Even after such milestones as Kathryn Bigelow winning an Oscar, there still seem to be few women in leadership roles.
Bikecopblog passed twenty-five thousand hits yesterday. The traffic that got us there seemed a bit confusing and obscure. I got a nice bit of traction with The Egg and I. An old post - The Sentry - burst to life. I cannot account for it except to say that, whoever you are out there, I hope you enjoyed the story of a strange man who did an awesome act of kindness for two tired travelers.
In addition, I finished A More Perfect Union and prepared the last seventy pages to be sent to Terri Valentine, my writing coach. In essence, this means that the manuscript is finished. Terri has been generally positive about this project. The next step is to try to find Cici a home, someone who will publish it.
For this moment I have a number of people to thank. As always, my wife Pat has fielded thousands of questions, endured countless moments of "If this was Kevin and Cici" and accepted my hours in front of a laptop instead of a lawn mower. She is my best friend and strongest supporter. Writing would be impossible without her.
Friends have lent an amazing array of talents toward this project: Wil Cochenour is my go to guy for all things involving tactical training - he and I have wiled away thousands of cycling miles putting Cici into peril and then getting her out. Jason Maines has walked me through so many practical scenarios and commended so many reading assignments that I'm thinking, in addition to adding depth to several battle scenes, I deserve a certificate of course completion. Matt Shay tried to explain the world of sniper craft to me. He was kind - not once did he say anything about teaching a pig to sing. Work friend Jason Jewkes's willingness to discuss his experiences in Afghanistan has made Kevin a more realistic character.
Several service members have helped me flesh out some of the peculiarities of their branch. Danielle Weichert is a former Marine officer who lent not just language, but depth to what Kevin might think in a number of situations. Often, Kevin's words were hers. Naval Officer Rob Dethlefs, also a Marine veteran, gave me a succinct answer to the question posed by this novel. Both of them were instrumental in getting the tone right. Anthony Gherardini's descriptions of life in an MRAP set the stages for the novel's conclusion. Mike Ruckdaschal's many hours walking me through his experiences in Iraq gave me a blueprint for what martial law might look like.
Finally, if you ever read this manuscript (I will be glad to email it to you for feedback) and think Cici is three dimensional, it wasn't me. Alicia Harris graciously lent hours of her time reading the first draft (a difficult process) and suggesting places where Cici could be improved. Without her help, I might have abandoned this story.
Twenty-five grand and a completed manuscript. And it may stop raining long enough to mow the front lawn!