Publications for Linda Adams

Published November 28, 2013 by Linda Maye Adams

If you’re interested in my publications, please visit my publication list on my website.  I’ve identified stories that about Women at War and Women Veterans.  Enjoy!

Coming in 2015:

  • “The Stones Next Door,” published in the Tales of the Talisman anthology
  • Soldier, Storyteller: A Woman Soldier During Desert Storm
  • Same Time, Different War, a collection of stories and poetry about war.  Will include some I wrote during Desert Storm.
  • New Robot Smell, a short story.  Add technology to the military and sometimes you get what you ask for.
  • Rogue God, a contemporary fantasy set in an alternate world of Hawaii.

A Desert Storm Fiction Story

Published February 23, 2015 by Linda Maye Adams

Just ran across this story today from Kristine Katherine Rusch.  It was published during Desert Storm. All I can say is go read it.

Desert Storm: Ground War Starts — and Ends

Published February 23, 2015 by Linda Maye Adams

It was almost four months away from home and war pressing down on us. The cracks were widening. Several of the married men approached me about letting them kiss me. I could see how lonely they were, and I certainly knew the feeling. At least they were getting mail. But they were also married, so it was just going to be plain wrong, and I wasn’t going to be a part of that.

One of female soldiers also got pregnant. One of the things that amazed me about the pregnancy of women soldiers was how much in denial the Army and the male soldiers were. Everyone blames the women, as if there wasn’t anyone else involved. The Army recruits men and women who are 18, 19, 20 years old, and that’s by intent. At that age, they don’t have enough knowledge to question orders and can be just directed to follow them. But that’s also the age when a lot of people make families. Plus, some of the soldiers of both genders are still immature. The result is that the Army looks the other way when the men have sex as long as they don’t get into trouble, then blame the women when the results of the men having sex is pregnancy. The men also blame the women because now the women are perceived as not pulling their own weight and getting out of duty because their pregnant. It’s a complete disconnect, and our company’s isolation was contributing to it.

We were so isolated that most of our news either came back with the convoys or from the radio. One of the soldiers heard that another soldier had discovered a bullet lodged in his helmet though he didn’t remember being hit. But we knew when the ground war was about to start. Members of 82nd Airborne stopped by our mess hall a day or so before and ate with us and told us about it.

If it was scary watching the sorties head into Iraq, the ground war that started on February 24, 1990, was even scarier. I couldn’t see where the planes went or what they did. It was always somewhere that way.

It was different with the ground war.

I could hear it. The artillery went off non-stop for two days. I sat out in the cargo container and watched the horizon. I couldn’t see any smoke, but the sounds were quite frightening. Worse was when they stopped because it went back to that unknown. What was happening?

The ground assault last all of one hundred hours. The Iraqis were woefully unprepared and started surrendering pretty quickly. Shocking, the war was suddenly over. It was February 28.

Desert Storm: Female Prisoner of War

Published February 3, 2015 by Linda Maye Adams

What little news I did get came from a small AM/FM radio that was Irwin Allen yellow (TV producer Irwin Allen liked the color yellow and on his TV show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, it had a very yellow Flying Sub). As the war progressed, the radio stations tried to establish music for it. Music became a big part of the Vietnam War, so the stations tried songs from that time for us. One of the ones I remember hearing was Janis Joplin.

But the music didn’t seem to stick much.

I’d sit in the back of the cargo container looking out at the horizon where the war was and wondering when it was going to come my way. Around January 30 or after, I heard some news on the radio that sent a chill through me.

A woman soldier had been captured.

She was lower enlisted soldier, like me. She’d been in a truck with another soldier, delivering equipment, when she was captured.

I’d been in some of the convoys. The same thing could have happened to me.

And still could. I thought about that a lot as I watched the horizon where the front line was.

No more reboots of TV shows — please!

Published February 3, 2015 by Linda Maye Adams

I just heard in passing that the studios are thinking of rebooting both The X Files and Twin Peaks.  My first reaction was, “Please don’t.”

Yes, I watched both shows in their original run.  I enjoyed most of The X Files because it really did have some awesome episodes.  It played in the perception of the time that the government was keeping secrets, and aliens exiting was a great secret to play with.  Twin Peaks was strange, and that was the draw.  I rewatched it on DVD, and honestly, it wasn’t that great after all.  It was very experimental at the time, but now looks a little on the tired side for the same reason.

My problem is that it’s a continuing trend of the networks and studios not wanting to take the risk of having something that might fail, and in doing that, they tend to fail anyway.  Worse, they keep repeating the trend, expecting it to have a hit, and not getting much out of it.

Take Fantasy Island.  This was a long-running show in the 1970s that starred Ricardo Montalban where you could pay a large sum of money and be a king for a day or meet the man of your dreams.  My favorite actor starred on this show at least once a season.  The studio decided to reboot it, and some of the news traffic on it seemed to be on “improving” it by making it darker.  It was pretty clear that the executives of today didn’t really understand why it had been popular then.

It didn’t last the season.

Then were was Knight Rider, also a 70s staple.  It was fun show when I saw it — honestly, having a car talk back to you would be cool.  William Daniels, who did the voice, was perfect for giving KITT a bit of snootiness that brought a lot of personality to a computer.  Then there were the cool stunts.  On rewatching reruns, the stunts are good, but the lead actor was a pretty bad actor (for which I am shocked to say; I’m not that fussy).

The studio decided to reboot it.  I watched one episode and it was so awful that it was no surprise that it was cancelled within weeks.

The Bionic Woman also was another reboot.  Again, I kept hearing people talk about the original show as if it was a joke and they’d been surprised it hadn’t been cancelled right away.  I doubt it they actually watched it.  Much of the characterization of the title character was due to Lindsey Wagner’s influence.  It changed the nature of the show to be very different from the one it spun off of, The Six Million Dollar Man.  Again, they veered darker on the reboot, left some big plot holes with how the character got bionic.  It didn’t last the season either.

All of these shows have several things in common:

  • They occurred at specific times where it was just what the audience wanted to see.  We were starting to see the glimmer of what technology could be in the 70s — the personal computer had yet to exist — so shows like Knight Rider and The Bionic Woman showed us what the future could hold.  Shows like Fantasy Island and The Love Boat (also rebooted) gave us the happily ever after.
  • They had great stories that ended happily.  I know the trend now is dark and gritty, and it can work like in the case of Battlestar Galactica (and I still like the original), but I think a lot of audiences still want things to resolved in a satisfactory way.
  • They had great characters.  Honestly, if you return to a show again and again, characters are a major part of that.   Most of the reboots haven’t had great characters.

My biggest gripe is that we’re losing the creativity.  It feels like Hollywood has run out of ideas, and its only choice is to pluck things from the past.  Instead of a reboot of The X Files, how about something new?  How about taking a chance, Hollywood?

A Pantser Technique: Editing as I Write

Published January 30, 2015 by Linda Maye Adams

Usually when it snows here, the day warms up enough to melt it off.  We’ve been staying in the teens and twenties though, which has left snow on the ground and more is on the way.  Being from California, I thought snow was cool when I saw it the first time.  Then after getting stuck in it, trying to navigate it, trying to deal with crazy drivers who think “Hey!  I’ve got an SUV!  I can drive whatever way I want!” —  well, it’s not neat.  Give me warmth!

One of the things I started doing again was “editing as I write.”  This isn’t the right term for what it is, but that’s the one I heard over the years.  I always did it, but I kept hearing things like “write straight through the story and then fix it on the revision.”  It amazes me now how much writing advice that works for pantsers is decreed as a “Do NOT do this.”

What I do is bounce around the story like a pinball and continue to work on different sections.  It’s not revision — I’m not going back to Chapter 1 to tweak the words and make them perfect (which I did do on a past co-written project called Valley of Bones).  It’s actually still part of creating the story and making everything fit together.

I stopped doing it on Cascadian’s Blight, a later project, partially because I kept hearing “Don’t edit while you write,” and also because I was frustrated with the story and I wanted to get it done.   That was the lure of doing it — just get the draft done, and then everything could be fixed on the revision.

The problem was all those little things I left for later added up to a lot of big things.  I got the true impact of not doing this when I took Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel (which is threaded with outlining techniques).  In one of the early lessons, we had to go through the entire manuscript and identify problems.  It was so bad because I hadn’t bounced around that I was pulling out my hair.  I ended up scrapping the book and starting again, which was hard because of all the time I’d spent on it.

So this is how I “edit when I write”:

1. I don’t change words unless I’m fixing a typo.  Granted, I keep finding those pesky things!  Grr!

2. I don’t revise sentences unless I can’t figure out what I was trying to say (usually resulting from typos or missing words).

3.  I don’t revise anything to make it perfect or better.

4.  I do add more of the five senses, since these are hard for me to get in.

5.  I do add more setting from the character’s perspective.

6.  I do update any places where I put placeholders in for research.

7.  I “shake out the wrinkles” in the story, which means that if I thought I needed a fence in Chapter 7, but realize it’s creating a problem in Chapter 29, I take out the fence.

Mostly, it’s a lot of additions, and, well, a lot of typo fixing.  But it’s fun also because I can see how the story is taking shape.

 

Desert Storm: Scud Attack

Published January 26, 2015 by Linda Maye Adams

Three days after war had been declared, Iraq launched scud missiles at us. Well, not at us specifically. More likely, it was the Patriot missile battery not far from us. I’d passed it a number of times, an ominous (word) aimed at the sky.
“Ten missiles were launched at Riyadh. Nine were shot down by Patriots, and the tenth went into the Gulf.”

The launch came in the middle of the night, and we got an alarm.

Gas attack!

We scrambled for our masks, which seemed like it took me utterly forever. All I could think about was that there was poison gas outside the mask and if I breathed it in, I would die. The mask was instantly claustrophobic to me, not because I have a fear of closed in places, but because it was so little protection against something as deadly as nerve agent.

We evacuated into a foxhole out back. This was where the differences between men and women came into play in a major way. On the day where we took the PB Pills, I was so scared that I was physically ill. This time, I said two words, muffled by the mask, “I’m scared.”

Evidently that translated as something else to the men because the following day, my squad leader was hearing comments from other people in the foxhole that I had been yelling my head off. It was very strange, because frankly, I’d been too paralyzed to do anything remotely close to yelling.

Was that them projecting how they would like to have reacted on me? I was the only woman in that foxhole, and maybe their expectations were that women were going to be hysterical and yelling their head off. It went back to that double-standard where I was always perceived as never good enough because I wasn’t a man.

Just a few nights later, we had another scud attack:

January 22: “I awakened to a bright flash, followed by a whoosh! About 4 a.m. Missile came from Kuwait. I started to mask, but these morons acted like I was nuts, telling me I was panicking.”

These were the same people who launched entirely into a panic when a truck backfire, running around hysterically because they thought someone was shooting at us, but somehow I was panicking after a scud attack?

I look at some of the stuff I wrote during this time, and I was blaming myself for not being good enough:

January 26: “This morning — I guess I was dreaming, but I could’ve sworn I was awake. I heard the M8 alarm go off. It beeped a couple times, then cut off. That was when I waited a couple minutes because I did think I might be dreaming. But then I heard ‘Gas!’ just once … Am I panicking? I really don’t even know any more. I don’t even feel scared right now (or maybe I’m scared all the time)… I mean, I know what fear is like. I spent a long time being afraid. This is different. I feel different.

“I can tell it sometimes when I see flashes at night. I don’t think that was ‘lightning.’ I think ‘What was that?’ And I looked around and listen. I hear each sound and listen for more. I usually jump or startle when I see the lights go off.”

In hindsight twenty-five years later, it wasn’t me not being good enough; it was the craziness of war, and not one person was prepared for that.

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