Monday, August 31, 2009


I had a chance to tool around the AF Academy today. Saw my old house, my high school (Air Academy High), the base chapel... very fun visit.

I stopped by the military clothing sales picked up a couple sets of my new Master Space Badge, complete with star and wreath (pictured above).

I also picked up... some silver oak leaves. I won't actually be able to wear them until 1 Nov, but I figured that's not too far away. It felt very strange to buy them. I'm sure it'll feel even weirder to put them on. Whew!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Quick AdWords Update

I'm up to 21 clicks now, and 28,000 impressions.

The most effective keywords seem to be pirates and mystery.

More to follow...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Three Clicks!

So I started a little ad campaign for The Boomer Sisters Meet Champy, using Google's AdWords. They offered me a free $100 credit to get things started, so I figured I'd give it a try.

On the first day, my ad got over 9800 impressions (showings), and three clicks.

How cool is that? Almost ten thousand people saw the ad, and three people clicked on it. Total cost so far: 23 cents. I still have $99.77 of my credit left. Ok, I also had to pay $5 to start the account and activate my credit. But still, that's not bad.

BTW, the ad says:

Champ Book for Kids
Adventure & Mystery
On Lake Champlain

It'll be interesting to see if this leads to someone actually buying the book!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Apparently, all my books are available at now. That's pretty cool!

It used to be that authors would have to set up special distribution options with Lulu to get stuff on Amazon. I think there used to even be a fee involved. But cool, now it's all there already.

And Lulu used to charge authors for an ISBN number. Now I can get that for free too. Pretty sweet!

(I still prefer it when people buy direct from Lulu, cause I get to keep more of the royalties, but hey, a sold book is a sold book)

The weirdest thing? There's a used copy of Meet The Boomer Sisters available at Amazon too. You know you've arrived as an author when used copies start showing up, right?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Exciting New Outage!

I got an email the other day with a pretty interesting subject line. I removed the name of the system below, but otherwise left the rest unchanged. It said:

Exciting New System Changes...Coming 27 Aug 09 (System Outage)!

Wow, an outage! What a great new feature! What will they think of next?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Book Update

The Helper In The Sun is coming along nicely. It just transitioned into the second phase of the story, in which our hero (Skyler) finds herself in an entirely different part of the Sun than the part she originally encountered.

I won't spoil anything by giving details or anything, but I will say this is a very different kind of environment to write about. The type & style of action is going to change too. I'm looking forward to it... and I'm also discovering some forshadowing & imagery that wasn't deliberate, but is nearly undeniable now that I see it. Funny how that happens.

As for the writing process itself, I started out writing directly on the laptop, but after about 5 pages, I returned to my beloved spiral notebooks. Writing the story by hand and then typing it basically forces a rewrite - the typing process ends up being much more than a mere transcription.

So, this means I probably won't get around to posting many excerpts until the full story is written (unless I decide to start doing some more typing before the first draft is done). Or maybe I'll occasionally type up a page or two and put it here. We'll see...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Latest article

Hey everyone!

My latest Defense AT&L article is online now. It's titled The Courage Imperative, and you definitely don't need a technical degree to understand it. :)

Writing Update

Holy cow I'm having fun with this new book project.

As I previously mentioned, it's a very different kind of thing from The Boomer Sisters books. It's still an adventure, with a bit of mystery, but it's all takes place in a fantasy world, full of strange creatures and much danger.

I find that I can fill about four notebook pages in an hour, before running out of words. I'm going to go do that now.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Magnetic Poetry

A while back, I came into possession of a little box of words on magnets - a magnetic poetry kit. On campus, I found a bathroom stall with metal dividing walls and covered the back of the door with words. It was fun to periodically stop by and see what kind of poetry people created.

Then someone took the magnets away. I assume they were thrown in the trash.

So I put up another set. A few days later, they were gone too. But I still had plenty left.

Now that I'm in a new position, I covered the fridge at my new office, and people have so far not thrown them away. In fact, there's some pretty fun stuff there:

Friday, August 14, 2009


These days, most of my commute is by bus. I only drive about a mile or two to the bus stop, and it's at a relatively low speed, with plenty of stop & go.

So, my gas mileage isn't as good as it is on a highway. It's actually taken a bit of a dive. But, while my MPG is getting worse, my Gallons Per Week is fantastic. I hardly ever have to go to the gas station. And that's the real point, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I (don't) Got The Power!

Every move, something goes missing. This is one of the factors contributing to the truism of military life that says "three moves is equivalent to a fire."

This time, we seem to have lost the charging station and spare battery for my cordless drill... along with the charger cord for our cordless weed eater. I spent quite a while looking for them both, but no luck (yet). So far, both devices have a bit of juice left, but it won't be long before they're stone cold dead.

The one hopeful aspect of this absence is that both chargers were in roughly the same place in our Ohio house (the garage). So maybe they're still tucked away in a secret box somewhere. The weedeater charger is small enough that it could conceivably have been accidentally thrown away, but my goodness, the battery and charging station for the drill is pretty much impossible to overlook. So, I'm cautiously optimistic that they're still around here, somewhere.

I'm just running out of places to look, and like I said, the charges are running down...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This Morning...

There are times when a brutally hot and humid day, followed by an epic midnight thunderstorm, will conspire to create a graceful morning that is exquisitely crisp, as if the weather is apologizing for its previous rudeness.

This is not one of those times.

Yesterday was indeed brutal, and last night's thunderstorm epic, but this morning was no apology.

At 5:45, I stepped outside to go for a run across the surface of Venus. The morning air was trying to be cool, like a balding, fat, 53 year old man in a Member's Only jacket, driving across campus in a t-top Camaro and blasting Barry Manilow's 1978 disco hit, Copacabana, while winking at the girls going past. OK, it wasn't quite as cool as that.

Tiny invisible fairies stretched their coarsest woolen gossamer across my path, lovingly wrapping me in a warm, damp embrace and helpfully thickening the air I'd hoped to breath. It was quite an interesting run.

My new goal for the day: stop sweating at some point before bed.

Monday, August 10, 2009


This weekend, I spent about 30 minutes "mowing" the grass, using my uber-green eco-nerd reel mower.

Note, that's "reel" mower, not "real" mower. If it was a real mower, it would probably clip the long grasses, rather than just press them down a bit.

Fortunately, my "lawn" (which consists largely of a strange, low-growing green plant that is not grass) doesn't really do much of what you'd call "growing." Get this: the last time I mowed was July 6th. I mowed this weekend more out of a sense of duty rather than because the grass (such as it is) was actually getting long.

That's really good, because the end result of my mowing didn't look all that different from what it looked like before I began.

So, my earlier post about figuring out time does get balanced out a bit by the fact that I'm not spending 90 minutes every Saturday mowing the lawn. I kinda dig that.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I got really spoiled during my last assignment. Sure, being a full-time student had its own time pressures, with assignments due and lectures to attend... but I was still able to get to the gym on a regular basis, get some writing done, and spend time with the fam.

These days I'm struggling to figure out how to get to the gym - partly because there isn't a gym to get to. I could pay money for a membership at the Pentagon gym, but that's a 15-min shuttlebus ride each way (plus time waiting for the bus to show up), and I'm just not sure how often I'd be able to carve out 90+ minutes during the day for a workout.

My best bet is probably to get up and run in the morning, before work, but I'm already leaving the house at 6:30 am as it is. I don't know how much less sleep I can manage. Working out after work isn't a very attractive option either - mostly 'cause it means getting home later, and partly 'cause I'm usually kinda tired by the end of the day. Sigh. I'll figure it out, but at the moment I'm a bit stumped.

Also, early morning has always been my writing time. Saturday mornings like today are the best. I got up for a run and still had an hour or so to write before everyone else was awake. But now that I'm working on my new book, time for working out gets rarer and rarer.

We'll see how it goes...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

It's started...

Well, I've started writing my book for this year: The Helper In The Sun.

I'm probably not going to do much posting on this blog for a while, preferring instead to put updates on Facebook and focusing most of my writing on the book.

But I really like how it's coming together so far. It's going to be quite a different thing than the Boomer Sisters books. More grown-up. A bit more serious, and definitely more challenging. I can't wait to see how it comes out.

While I've aimed to do the previous books in 30 days, I'm giving myself a bit more time on this one. I still plan to have it done by Christmas, and I still plan to write at a frantic pace, but I know I won't be done by Sept 1st.

I'll keep you all posted...