Damn. It’s been almost…two months…since I got back from Korea. And I’ve been back at work since this time last month. It’s good to be back. Now that my year overseas is done and the dust of the place has been thoroughly knocked from my boots, I don’t mind telling you folks that out of almost fourteen years in my chosen career, August ’13-August ’14 was the most challenging twelve-month stretch ever. And I don’t mean “challenging,” like Basic Training was challenging. I mean that I swear to Sweet Baby Jesus that 90% of the people I dealt with all year were “challenged,” if you get my meaning.
So, yeah, I’m real happy to be back in Georgia. My family never left, and I walked right back into the same house I left a year ago. I’m still waiting on my household good to arrive from the port in Savannah, but unpacking is going to be an afternoon’s worth of work, rather than the couple weeks a normal military move entails for my family. I have six years left in the military, and if prayer or magic is real, I’m going to finish out my career in Augusta and move right into a new civilian job–that is, if I can’t make my share of the household money between writing and my pension.
If you’d told my ten-year old, dyed-in-the-wool, New Yorker self that I was going to fall in love with a Southern state and decide to hang my hat there, I don’t know if I’d have believed you. But it stands to reason–when I was a kid, I was locked down pretty tight by an over-protective mother, and we were poor, and we lived in the ‘hood (so really, my mother probably had the right idea, after all). So it’s not like I really had a chance to fall in love with Rochester–I love a fair amount of folks from there, mind you, but I don’t even know if I’d find my way around the city without GPS, these days. Meanwhile, in Augusta:
I live five minutes away from a great, downtown, indie arts community with coffee shops, galleries and places to hear local musicians–and perform, if the bug hits me. That my wife has a ten-minute drive to work and my son’s school is the same distance in the other direction isn’t too shabby, either. There’s also a fair amount of regional-level geek activity, so I’ve begun looking for more closer, smaller conventions to attend in addition to some of the larger ones that draw people from all over the US and beyond. Combined with my increased output this year, I’m hoping this takes my level of readership to another level.
I’m able to get involved in local doings more than I let myself during my first three-year stretch. Military families tend to not get very close to the communities they’re living in, simply because they know their stay is temporary. But now, it’s not impossible for me to stay right here until I retire. Six more years isn’t a statistical improbability, especially given a few of the duty position shifts I can make across different units, with help from human resources folks. So my wife can pursue a career without worrying about pulling up stakes, and we’re buying a house early next year. I’ll be able to build strong relationships with folks and parlay that into a second career once I get my honorable discharge. I didn’t have this sort of “normal life” when I was growing up, much less as an adult in the military.
I’m settled back into an accustomed routine, with resources to help me learn some new tricks. I’m right back in the unit I left when I moved to Korea, but doing a different job. So I’m stimulated by new things to learn and do, but not completely lost at sea because I’m still training new recruits. Being able to jump right back into something familiar has helped me get back to work on the new novel, which I’m loosely describing as “a serial killer’s memoir.” And, while being in the Army means I’m not guaranteed writing time at the same time each day, I’ve been working with a psychologist, through a military program, on establishing particular habits and behaviors that will let me get into the “writing zone” on demand, no matter the time of day. I’ll be writing about that in more detail at some point, either here on my blog or for one of the larger websites I’ve pitched a column to, but for now, let me just say I’m already seeing results.
So, as much as last year sucked to the max, I’m kicking off Fiscal Year 2015 in one of the most heightened states of hopefulness I’ve ever been in. Augusta’s grown on me, and now, I figure I have a chance at growing on it.
UPDATE: This film went up on Netflix a month or two ago. Of course, I made time for it as soon as I found out! Not a bad film–the book was better, of course, as it often is–and certainly worth at least one viewing.
—— Fun fact about your humble scribe: I don’t watch much in the way of horror movies. I’m a huge fan of television shows like The Walking Dead and Dexter, and of course I read the crap out of the genre, but my taste in movies tends toward science fiction and crime, with some action thrown in. Not sure why I’m wired that way, but I am. Makes date night a little easier, at least, since my missus hates the scary stuff.
Dale has the miraculous ability to heal and raise the recent dead. But heâs also insane. When he uses his power to brutally kill the woman next door, night after night, no one will believe her impossible story, so itâs up to her to find a way to end the living nightmare.
Come Back to Me will be released in select theaters and on-demand services near the end of the month. I only hope I’ll be able to see it for myself sooner, rather than later. After you’re done hitting all the links I’ve just thrown at you, check out the short trailer for the film. It looks like it could be a fairly faithful representation of the novel…something else that makes me very happy.
Got back from Oz almost two weeks ago. I’m back at work, I’ve started writing again, I’ve gotten some good news I probably won’t be able to share for at least another six months, and I’m getting caught up on a few deadlines (one of which *gulp* isn’t self-imposed). I also found time to tweak my site design a bit (hope you like it) and pull photos and vid off my camcorder.
Here are a few clips of me chillin’ with some wildlife at a Brisbane koala sanctuary, and a bit of aboriginal music I was fortunate to catch during a shopping trip. One vast difference between Australia and the States that I noticed was that they have all sorts of interesting, colorful wildlife just out in the open. I saw parrots in my father-in-law’s backyard, kangaroos crossing the street in suburban neighborhoods and was told of koalas residing in people’s trees. I’ve never lived anywhere in America where the typical outdoor fauna consisted of anything more breathtaking than a possum in the trashcan. The aborigines were basically buskers–they played their music and had a box nearby for people to throw change into. They played for a few hours, then packed up and left. I almost died of shock this past weekend when, while signing books in conjunction with a local arts festival, I saw a vendor selling these same instruments, called didgeridoo.
A portrait of Marilyn Manson cuddling a koala. Bet you never thought you’d see THAT.
Pettin’ a ‘roo.
Crikey! This wild bush turkey just rolled up on this lizard, dropped a deuce beside the lizard’s tail, and took off!
I’ll be in Brisbane, Australia from the 3rd to the 10th. It’s a bittersweet sort of trip; on one hand, we’re travelling to pay our last respects to my wife’s stepmother, who passed recently, and to support my father-in-law. On the other, I’ve only gotten to meet my father-in-law once, as has my daughter–and my son hasn’t gotten to meet him at all, yet. The last time my wife’s family was together all at the same time was for our wedding, in 2006.
Will I get some writing done? I frickin’ hope so. The flight is 19 hours either way, not counting layovers. I have a novella and a comic script to finish. Neither require a large amount of work, but together amount to what I can reasonably expect to accomplish, considering I also have ten credits on online college I’m trying to knock out before the last week of September. I haven’t scheduled any public appearances–it just didn’t seem classy, considering the reason we’re going–but if I have any readers in the Brisbane area who want to meet up for coffee or something–can’t make any promises, but drop me a line.
I’ll try to throw up a post or two while I’m gone–a couple of choice picks from the archives, maybe a link roundup–to keep the site active. I’ll be checking and answering messages throughout, and will be ready to kick ass and take names again on the 11th.
I’m working longer hours lately at work–this does not bode well for bloggery or fiction writing (though I am adapting my schedule to accommodate the latter), but is great for my reading time. It’s only six days into the month and I’ve read five or six books, reviews for which you’ll see in the next couple weeks. Other than that, there’s not much else going on in LincolnLand other than preparations my co-conspirators have been laying for the June release of FOUR IN THE MORNING. Life is still continuing apace for my friends and family, however.
My wife, Consuela, is taking on Teh Gubmint in an effort to change policies and procedures by which military spouses are hired. Long story short, she quit a higher-paying job for a federal job on base helping wounded warriors–after being given a start date–and then was told she couldn’t have the job due to some bureaucratic guidelines. She’s since uncovered at least four ways they could give her the job–and the people she interviewed with chose her over several other competitors. She’s still out of work. Luckily, this gives her time to conduct a few interviews with local media, pursue the possibility of a lawsuit and organize the petition you can read about and sign here.
In other petition news, plagiarism victim Rick Moore has launched one to make legislators take plagiarism more seriously. He was ripped off last year, along with a multitude of authors–some of our most famous genre authors–by a dude named David Boyer, and his state attorney general doesn’t give a rat’s ass, even with the support of a local union and thousands of authors. You can learn more about that here.
One of my favorite comics EVAH! is Fables. I don’t think I caught the announcements about this last year, but picked up the first two issues of the FAIREST spinoff–and I like. Here’s a review from Comicbooked.