Posted in Guest Post

Guest Post: Chris DiNote on Space Force

New Author Chris “MOGS” Dinote takes over my blog today. He is one of 11 authors in the military sci-fi anthology, Space Force: Building The Legacy, edited by Doug Irvin and published by Midlands Scribes Publishing. The book is available today in both e-book and print editions at the link above. MOGS’s story is: Frickin’ Guard Guys!

 

We’ve all seen the memes, right? The minute the world started talking about the mere idea of a United States Space Force, we were all instantly greeted by “LOL, Space National Guard/Space Force Reserves!” Notably, many of these parodies feature poor Jek Porkins, and that guy just can’t catch a break.

All joking aside, the irreverent interservice banter and, shall we say, “robust,” back-and-forth on social media reflects the very real, and very important, national-level discussions about creating a new military service branch. Part and parcel of building a military service, is how to organize, train, and equip its reserve component (or components, if we end up following the three-component model of the present-day US Army and US Air Force). As the anthology’s theme is “the first 100 years of the Space Force,” what we decide to do now and in the next few years will set the tone for those first 100 years. That’s not a small thing.

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Regardless of whether we construct one or more reserve components to the US Space Force, the development of a unique reserve culture will inevitably follow. Currently, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units comprise the majority of reserve component space capabilities. If those organizations “swap patches,” then Space Force reserve culture will resemble the parent service components for a long time to come. However, as in the present day, reserve culture isn’t quite the same as the active component, and that’s perfectly okay.

I think the Guard in particular, with its unique dual-status existence, will still and always be “the Guard,” which is also perfectly okay, and that idea formed the basis of my story in this anthology.

The relationship between the parent services and their National Guard components is something I’ve experienced personally for about 14 of my 21 years in uniform so far. I’ve seen it go through many, many ups, downs, freezes and thaws. I recently completed a two-and-a-half year sentence assignment at the Pentagon, so I had a front row seat with the extra jumbo-sized popcorn to some of the conversations, staff work, research, arguments, politics, thinking, and pontificating on the Space Force itself, and the still unsettled questions about the role of the Guard and Reserve in its formation. As a professional, I’ll protect the integrity of what I bore witness to, but trust me, I do also have my own opinions.

While my story doesn’t take itself too seriously, it deals with some very serious experiences and issues, albeit with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Guard units are like families, and in many cases, they literally are families. They are often the closest and most direct community interaction that most of parts of America ever have with the US military, given that the majority of units aren’t on an active duty post and instead live in tiny armories and readiness centers, or on regional airports scattered throughout the country. Missions change, aircraft change, names change, but usually, the people don’t. To them, the unit is that much a part of life, and many if not most will stick it out unless the organization is no-kidding disbanded or moved so far away that commuting to drill isn’t a viable option for them. The dual lives of most guard members provide the military access to diverse skills, ideas, and perspectives that you often can’t readily find in the active component, in combinations that sometimes need to be seen to be believed.

Transitioning from the active-duty Air Force to my first Guard unit in 2006, the culture shock was very real. Then, as a full-time guardsman, later a staff officer, and as a squadron commander, I experienced and presided over drastic unit conversions, something else I briefly touch on in my story. Personally, I think there will be a Space National Guard in some form or another, and not just because the Guard’s actually been doing space missions since about 1995. Over time, the expansion and integration of space into the economic and social fabric of our states and communities, our daily lives, will only grow. Just a few short years ago, conventional wisdom didn’t see much of a role for the Guard and Reserve in cyber. Today, that role is significant, and rarely questioned, and that is largely because domestic cybersecurity demands emerged from our states, territories, and communities that few in the national-level defense establishment readily understood or foresaw. I think the same thing will happen with space, and that will spawn second, third, and nth-order effects we haven’t even thought of yet. I bet the Guard will be there for it too.

Christopher “MOGS” Dinote, has served twenty-one years so far in the United States Air Force and Air National Guard. Chris is currently serving an extended active duty tour in the Florida Panhandle. He has deployed for Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Noble Eagle. The views expressed in this article do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense of the U.S. Government.

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Not The Official Seal of the United States Space Force. This is a proposed seal for the USSF circa 2120 created specifically for this anthology.
Posted in New Release, News

Space Force: Building The Legacy

My friend Doug Irvin had a brainstorm not too long ago. When President Trump announced the formation of the United States Space Force as the newest branch of the U.S. Military, Doug thought it would be a great idea to write so speculative fiction about the first 100 years of the new service.

He had the general theme and he wanted it to be a collection of short stories. But what he didn’t have was a working knowledge of how to get the completed collection published. Which is where I entered the picture.

Tuscany Bay Books is swamped as far as its production schedule for 2020 what with the Planetary Anthology Series cranking out a new title every six weeks until February 2, 2021. So TBB couldn’t publish it.

But, with Doug doing the heavy lifting of putting out the submission call, sifting through the subs and selecting those he felt were best suited for the anthology, I could handle the publishing side of it for him.

Thus, under the Midlands Scribes Publishing banner, Space Force: Building The Legacy was given the green light. As you can see from the link, the book is up on Amazon for a May 25, 2020 release and you can pre-order your e-book copy right now. There’s even a cool book trailer for it too.

Doug has done an excellent job assembling 11 talented authors from around the globe. Yes, it isn’t just American authors who wanted in on the action. Three different countries and two continents are represented in this collection. We even had one sub from Italy.

EBOOK_COVER copyWhich left it to me to get the manuscript formatted for print and e-book, get the covers for both formats ready, get the book trailer together and all of the other little details that goes with putting a book up on Amazon these days.

I’m happy to say that I couldn’t be more happier with the final product. And I am sure that you will enjoy reading these stories too.

When we first decided to launch this project, I hadn’t intended to submit a story to it. I’ve never written anything close to Military Sci-Fi in my life. But one thing I have noticed over the past few years is I haven’t been afraid to try writing in a genre that I’ve never written in before. Okay, I sincerely doubt you’ll ever catch me writing romance or erotica (Hey, I’m a guy, so…) but who knows?

Still, one fine day, when I found myself with nothing to do for all of three minutes, I had an idea pop into my head that I thought would fit the parameters of what Doug was looking for and decided to give it a go. Even if he said no, at least I had tried my hand at MilSciFi.

As an aside, Doug had the clear option to airlock my story if he didn’t like it. This was also made clear to the editors of the Planetary Series. Just because my name is attached to the publishing house, doesn’t mean I get a free pass. If its a no, its a no and I’ll have no issue with that.

In this case, Doug liked the story and included it. The title is simple: CAG. Military folk will know who the main character is from the title. Doug’s reaction after he read it was: “You went full Heinlein!” I’ll take that compliment and run, especially on my first attempt in the master’s genre.

The other ten stories? I’ve read them all and they are incredibly well done. After you have read them, I think you’ll agree.

My only disappointment is that I had intended the print edition to be the old pocketbook paperback size of the pulp days of Heinlein. A 4″ by 6″ book that could easily slip into the back pocket of your blue jeans or the jacket pocket of one of our servicemen and women. Sadly, the smallest size Amazon allows is 5″ by 8″. So we’ll roll with that size and pray everyone has big pockets.

So, in the meantime, check out the trailer at the link above and pre-order your copy. Doug’s already hinting at a second Space Force anthology. Hmmm, I have a story idea that might work for that one too…

 

Posted in New Release

Planetary Anthology Series: Pluto

Tuscany Bay Books presents the first book in its Planetary Anthology Series: Pluto. Twenty-one tales of death and great wealth. Sci-fi/Fantasy adventures told by today’s up and coming authors.

Pluto, the Roman god of death and wealth, ruled the underworld far away from all of the other gods. So it was only fitting when, in 1930 and working on a theorized ninth planet proposed by Percival Lowell, Clyde Tombaugh used the telescope at Lowell Observatory to locate the ninth planet in our solar system, far, far away from its brothers and sister.

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Then came that day in July of 2015. Like the Romans when they found themselves within Pluto’s realm and discovered it was nothing like the desolate fires of damnation assigned to his Greek counterpart, Hades, those of us in modern time discovered that Pluto was nothing like we had imagined since 1930.

That iconic photo of Pluto, with the heart-shaped plain later named Tombaugh Regio, told us that there was so much more to the planet. First, it was not blue and not just solid ice as so many had expected it to be. Just like Pluto’s mythological domain, the planet displayed a variety of features and composition.

In this volume, what you will find in the pages that follow are twenty-one amazing stories of death and wealth set around a wandering cousin far out in the cold edges of our solar system. You will find Vikings, knights, warriors defending home and hearth, of triumph and tragedy, and, yes, even the god himself. You will read tales of great courage and great loss. Of sacrifice for a greater good and of justice delivered to the overly greedy. You will even find the aforementioned Walt Disney himself.

Pre-order the e-Book here: Pluto. The print edition will be out soon.

Meanwhile, check out the book trailer here: PAS: Pluto Book Trailer

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