changes

Bayonets in the Military; Election Day Shift in Same Sex Marriage

As a coincidence, I’m working on a story for a European print magazine right now that has a military theme and bayonets are mentioned in one escape scene. Although this story will never see the light of day in digital book form, or even in the US, I want it to be accurate. I’ve been freelancing for small private publishers in Europe for years, mostly Germany and Russia, and they usually tell me what they want and I deliver it to them. In this case it was a military story, set in the present, with an escape theme.

And when I heard a comment about bayonets in the military during this week’s Presidential debates, I figured I’d better go back and do a little research to see if bayonets are actually used in the present day military. I probably could have just used gun or rifle instead of bayonet. But the story is ready to go and I didn’t want to revise the entire thing all over again. After fifty or so revisions, it starts to get tired. And the last thing I look forward to is revising a story in any capacity that I thought was ready to  be submitted.

In any event, this is what I found with a simple wiki search:

A bayonet (from French baïonnette) is a knife, sword, or spike-shaped weapon designed to fit in, on, over or underneath the muzzle of a rifle, musket or similar weapon, effectively turning the gun into a spear.[1] In this regard, it is an ancillary close-quarter combat or last-resort weapon.


However, knife-shaped bayonets—when not fixed to a gun barrel—have long been utilized by soldiers in the field as general purpose cutting implements.

In the US this is how they are used:

The American M16 rifle used the M7 bayonet which is based on earlier designs such as the M4, M5, & M6 bayonets. All of which are direct descendants of the M3 Fighting Knife and have spear-point blade with a half sharpened secondary edge. The newer M9 bayonet has a clip-point blade with saw-teeth along the spine, and can be used as a multi-purpose knife and wire-cutter when combined with its scabbard. The current USMC OKC-3S bayonet bears a resemblance to the Marines’ iconic Ka-Bar fighting knife with serrations near the handle.
 
To play it safe, I double checked with this link:
 
While the bayonet dates to the 17th century, it has evolved through technological innovations over the years. In 2003, the Marine Corps replaced its standard-issue bayonet with a longer, sharper model, the OKC-3S. The new model, designed by New York’s Ontario Knife Co., was also more effective when brandished as a hand knife – not to mention more ergonomically correct. Perhaps more vitally, the blades were also better able to pierce body armor, a concern particular to modern warriors. More than 120,000 bayonets were commissioned to supply one to each Marine, at an estimated price of $36.35 each, or $4,362,000 total. In addition to potential use in hand-to-hand combat, bayonets are said to be useful for keeping prisoners under control and for “poking an enemy to see whether he is dead.”


So they are still used and I didn’t have to change a thing in the story. As a side note, the hardest part of getting information about bayonets was finding a web site/article that didn’t have a snarky political slant. Almost every single piece I came across had a spin on bayonets, in one political direction or the other. And all I wanted to know was whether or not they are still being used. Evidently, they are. Not often. But they are still around.

Election Day Shift Same Sex Marriage

I’ve posted several times about how frustrated I’ve been about same sex marriage and equal rights not being mentioned in the mainstream or by any of the candidates running for President in this election. So frustrated I almost decided to stop posting or dealing with the issue altogether. And then I came across a fascinating article on CNN’s web site that helped put things into perspective for me.

From her Baltimore kitchen, Rebecca Murphy is lobbying legislators, crafting signs and making phone calls as she wages a battle to allow gays and lesbians to marry in her state.

The married mother of two doesn’t have a personal stake in the fight. Rather, Murphy represents the growing number of people nationwide who support gay rights regardless of their own sexual orientation.
 
I’ve been hearing things like this crop up almost daily in recent weeks. So this could be one reason why same sex marriage isn’t being mentioned at all in this election. There’s been a slow shift taking place for a long time, and more and more straight people are starting to support same sex marriage openly.
 
Of course there are still those who don’t support same sex marriage, and they tend to be very vocal about it:
 
While support has grown, there are still many who oppose allowing gays to marry and are doing their part to strike the measure down. The Rev. Frank Reid and his wife, Marlaa, of Bethel AME Church in Baltimore run workshops for single African-Americans in an effort to encourage strong marriages and discourage sexual behaviors that can lead to HIV/AIDS.
“I do understand and accept that there are other patterns for families,” Marlaa Reid says. “However, the basic prescription for marriage, I embrace it as a biblical prescription. A man and a woman.”
 
I’ve seen and heard this before. We all have, and coming basically from the same source with the same type of “holy” biblical mind-set. So that’s going to take a while to change, but for the most part I agree that people are starting to accept same sex marriage without even thinking twice about it, which can only move equality forward. Most people nowadays know at least a few openly gay people, or are related to at least a few. And those who think they aren’t exposed to gay people should take a closer look at their neighbor, their cousin, or their employer.
 
It’s a good article to read in full, and it gives a different perspective on how same sex marriage might become legal…and without the help of any President. From what I gather, people are starting to decide for themselves and there’s evidence that proves there’s been a shift in the way they’ve been thinking about same sex marriage everywhere.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

How Do You Stay Relevant In a Constantly Changing Environment?

I’m linking to an article where staying relevant in business in a constantly changing world is the theme.

The way things are changing in publishing, I know exactly what this article is talking about. I don’t think anyone in any profession can avoid these changes. I even know people with Antique shops who’ve had to learn how to sell online because that’s where a lot of the buyers and designers are going now. Those who didn’t bother to learn have become obsolete.

To prepare, Mr. Hallock, 29, spends an hour or two a day at his business, TopFloorStudio in Asheville, N.C., tracking venture capitalists and start-up news, trying to divine the next frontier. He created TopFloorUniversity, where experts teach his employees and clients the latest in app development. When he could not find a good curriculum for information architecture, he and a colleague developed one themselves. As a pretext to learn from the luminaries in his field, Mr. Hallock even produces his own podcast.
 
This is interesting because if you can at least predict basic changes and figure out where things are headed it gives you the upper hand. I remember making a conscious choice to switch to e-publishing when everyone else in publishing was laughing at it. No regrets. I’m already looking at what everyone’s laughing at right now as the next possible trend. No spoilers, though.
 
You can read more of the article here.   

Changes At Ravenous Romance…

I literally just found out that Lori Perkins, editorial director at Ravenous Romance, resigned last Friday. You can read more in an announcement she made on her blog, here.

It was a very busy Monday. I’ve had deadlines with one publisher and I’ve been multi-tasking with issues at Amazon. I didn’t have time to read my e-mails until about an hour ago, which is something I rarely put off all day.

I have had a lot of titles published with Ravenous in the past four years and I’ve enjoyed working with Lori. She’s not only a professional in every sense of the word, she’s also a very nice, decent human being. I met Lori through blogging. I started to follow her blog about six years ago and I enjoyed her posts about publishing. To say I was stunned to hear this news would be an understatement. And I’ll miss her. Lori challenged me in ways no one else ever did.

And I’d like to wish Lori the very best. I’ll miss working with her. If you go back to some of my posts from four years ago you’ll see where I described how hard everyone involved with RR worked in the very beginning: authors, editors, copyeditors, and all staff at RR. It was a very intense…and challenging…time for me. I don’t think I ever posted about this before. I had slowed down a year before that to having only about four or five things published that year because Tony had been hospitalized, near death, in a coma for three months, in the summer of 2007. There is a doctor in Doylestown Hospital that calls Tony his, “Miracle.” Tony came home from the hospital weighing 99 pounds. He was still recuperating when I was approached about writing for Ravenous Romance. The timing was perfect; I was ready to jump back in full time after so many intense months of dealing with doctors and hospitals. I plunged into the work and didn’t stop for a break for almost a year.

I also received an e-mail from Ravenous Romance today letting me know that they are moving forward with a few exciting plans for the future. Part of being in publishing is the ability to constantly change and move forward. As an author I’ve had to do this many times and I will continue to do it. I don’t know any details about what Ravenous has planned for the future, but I’m very excited to hear what they will be. I have a soft spot in my heart for Ravenous Romance and I always will for many reasons. I’m very fond of Holly Schmidt and Allan Penn, who are still in charge at Ravenous. And they know they have my full support.

List of New Releases Coming Out This Spring and a Few Changes

“The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime!”

I’ve had a few e-mails asking me about why my ravenous romance titles have slowed down. First, I love ravenous romance, I love the books I’ve published with them, and I’ll always be there to support and promote them. The main reason you’re seeing fewer titles is because I’ve been working on books with my pen names. The second reason is I’ve been working on more titles for loveyoudivine.com. The third reason is I can’t split myself in three different ways. So even though I won’t have as many releases at ravenous romance this spring, I have been working even harder to get other new releases out.

I wish I could disclose the pen names. But that would be counterproductive to having a pen name, or names. Pen names for me are more experimental. Frankly, I don’t like using them. I always feel more comfortable with my own name, Ryan Field, which I can stand behind. But I do use pen names to see how I’ll do in other genres.

One ravenous romance release I’m looking forward to is “The Virgin Billionaire’s Little Angel.” This title is still tentative and is subject to change. But this is the last book in the Virgin Billionaire series and I had trouble saying good-bye to Luis and Jase.

This will be the final series for a while. I never wanted to do one, in spite of this I had a blast doing it, and I don’t want to push my luck right now. The entire Virgin Billionaire series surprised me more than anything I’ve done before. It’s hard to repeat something you loved doing so much and has been so well received by readers.

On March second, I have “Unmentionable: The Men Who Loved on the Titanic,” being released with Loveyoudivine.com. This is a very long short story…or a short novella. I’ve always been fascinated by this time period in history, and with the Titanic. A psychic once told me I was on the Titanic in a past life. I’m not sure I believe in this 🙂 But it’s food for thought.

After these two releases, I have an 8,000 word story being released by loveyoudivine.com titled, “Cowboy Howdy.” I’ve wanted to do another western themed m/m romance for a while and haven’t had time. I made time and did it. I’ll post more soon.

Right now I’m working on two things at the same time. One is a short story I posted about earlier this week called “Shmacked.” The other is a full length novel that’s m/m romance tentatively titled, “Chase of a Lifetime.” It’s about a younger guy who falls in love with his best friend’s father. The father has been living a lie all his life; the younger guy has been in the closet and he’s a virgin. I’m enjoying the emotions with this book more than any books I’ve written before. I’ll post more details down the line.

And, this is a big one for me. I’m looking into indie publishing with Amazon. I’m not saying I’m doing it. But I’m looking into it, with my partner, to see if it’s something I want to do. Though Tony, my parnter, worked corporate sales for fifteen years until he left to start his own business/firm two years ago, he’s a tech genius and he would be doing all the tech work if I decided to do an Amazon digital release. Nothing is definite there yet. It’s a huge decision because I’ll be taking on a lot more work. But if I do decide to do this, I’ll post it here first.

Let’s just say I’m taking Joe Konrath’s advice in this sense: as a career writer I’m thinking about where I’ll be five years from now, not five months from now.