Some New Beginnings

Two weeks ago I said there’d be news. It’s finally here. 

Since I have kept you in the dark, I’ll do them in reverse order of universal importance to keep you waiting a bit longer.

First, I’ve formed an inventing company: Agzo-inc.com.

You might be (legitimately) asking, “What does that doofus know about inventing?” That’s a danged good question. I’ll give you a danged good answer. 

I’ve always been right on the edge of ADHD, but blessed with the ability to direct that energy. I’ve got degrees and experience in technical and classic topics, and have been exposed to a wide range of technologies. I’m comfortable discussing most concepts, and have enough of a grasp of the physical sciences to be able to figure out how things work. Not on a micro level in every case, but on a macro level. 

One of my passions has always been law enforcement. As you will notice, the logo above has a pair of handcuffs for the letter “g”. Not by accident. Over the course of the years, during ride-a-longs, and watching Live PD and Live Rescue on A&E, I’ve noticed some very needed things for the first-responder community. I’ve spent hundreds of hours sketching, doing research, designing circuits (yeah, that computer science degree seems to be paying off) and investigating patent law.

Two weeks ago I attended the IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police) conference in Chicago with my sister Jean. We went wearing two hats – the second will be revealed below. One thing I wanted/needed to do was see who was making things and what was out there that I was unaware of in the world of police technology. I specifically reference that one, because much of the technology I can improve is common to police/fire/EMT units around the world.

We worked our backsides off, hitting 700 booths in 11 hours on the conference floor. Some we could skip, they were single product booths where we didn’t have an interest. But we did talk to a lot of people about our two missions, and I came back with several improvements to make to existing technology: the kind you can patent and sell/license. I’ve been hard at work getting those ready to reach out with, and by the first of the year I hope to be working with a few of the companies on at least three of the inventions I have been developing.

The second item/mission, both in my life and at the conference, was for The Command Post

The Command Post is a non-profit dedicated to first-responder wellness. I’ve been asked to serve as the Vice President for the initial board term, and one of my jobs was to attend IACP  and see what other groups are out there, and to try and find some funding. While our board  is dominated by researchers/university professors and senior police officials around the world, two of us are not. But all of us have a heart for making things better for the community. Better first-responder wellness means fewer traffic accidents during chases, lowered suicide rates in the job, fewer shootings, and generally an improvement of the lives of our people serving on the front lines. 

I met some great people at the conference, and came away with a lot of ideas we shared in our board meeting this past weekend. We do it by video conference, as one of our members lives overseas. 

Now, with a better idea of what we have for resources, we’re ready to really get rolling. But we need funding, as the board members pay for all their own expenses. So, if you know of grants, generous people, and other funding sources for our board, we’d appreciate it. Much of the research is covered under scholarly grants, we still have to travel some and pay for hotels! 

Yes, I’m still writing. Yes, I’m still doing audio books. Yes, I’m still Santa. Yes, I’m still doing voice over. And, strangely, working a full-time job in the real world. 

The salvation is that I will be able to retire from the day job next year if I want. If all of the rest of these pursuits work out like they seem destined to, I will be cutting back to just 40 hours a week sometime in the next year.

So, that’s the update. 

I Am A Cheesebag

I lied. Didn’t mean to, but I lied. 

The “Big Announcement” scheduled for today has been delayed for 1 week. The reason is simple, I’m a member of a board, and the board deserves to hear it all from me first.

As to the second announcement – well, let’s just do them both at once. 

I will say, in any event, that all of you praying for me was appreciated. And, it appeared to work!  I had great results at the IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police) convention in Chicago.  More to come, as it relates to both announcements. 

 

In the meantime, I’d just like to make my opinion known regarding the Ukrainian Impeachment Follies the democrats are holding at the capitol.  Russia didn’t work. So now they are meddling in foreign policy. Regardless of what your opinion is of Donald Trump, Presidents of the United States have wheeled, dealed, and squeezed foreign leaders using aid as leverage since at least Thomas Jefferson.

It is not the place of anyone in the chain of command to countermand, or deny, or report the President for doing so. Having been in the chain of command, you never know what the big boss has in mind. You aren’t there to judge it, but to support it. Do your best, keep your mouth shut and move along smartly.

Sometimes you are asked to do things that others might view as a crime, but the command authority has a good reason for doing them. I speak from experience. A Lieutenant Colonel is a nobody. A two-star General is a nobody. They don’t get to second-guess the President.

And, for those of you who are saying “He can’t criticize anyone in uniform” I’d just like to remind you that plenty of people wearing the uniform have been very wrong over the years. I’d give you a list, but either you’re nodding your head already or you think I’m a jerk. 

Joe Biden bragged about quid-pro-quo regarding firing the prosecutor in Ukraine. It’s on video. President Trump was within his rights to ask that it be investigated. If you really want to tell me that running for President absolves you from the law, every stupid drug-dealer in America should run for president to avoid  going to jail. 

There’s an election in 2020. If you don’t like Donald Trump, don’t vote for him. But this insane drive to impeach him began before he was sworn in. It’s not good for our country. Period.

Now, back to what I was doing earlier. Looking at pictures of Chewy.

 

Chewy

A Little Late This Week

Today’s post will be a mere teaser. I’m asking you all to keep me, and my family, in prayer this coming week.

Why?  As if I don’t have enough to do, I’m launching two major changes/additions to my life in the next few days.

I don’t want to release details until we’ve reached orbit, but that will be sometime next week. 

What I can say, for the moment, is that years of preparation and hard work (not all of it on my part) have gone into this moment.

If part I works as envisioned, I’ll be doing great things for good people all the time. And, I’ll be financially secure if part II plays out.

So, it’s a two-parter that needs your prayers. 

 

Details next Thursday.

 

Thank you in advance.

Joy In Doing What We Love.

The backstory is something that all writers are warned about. It’s death to lead into a new story with a recap of the protagonist/antagonist history, physical description, and motivation. Well, tough cookies. Gotta do it this time.

Back in the 1990s I read a lot of “Techno-Thriller” books. I am a voracious reader (when I’m not writing) and back then I hadn’t even considered being an author. I’d make the pilgrimage to Barnes & Noble every week and look for new books from my favorite authors. One of those authors was Michael DiMercurio. I even forgave him for the cheesy back-cover photo of him standing next to a torpedo. Why? Because he got it. 

I’d spent three years riding submarines doing intelligence work, and his books all rang with authenticity. I had even been on the same submarine he was on, the U.S.S. Hammerhead. But I loved those books, and became a fan of the most dedicated sort. 

Fast forward a dozen years and Barnes and Noble had moved all the military techno-thriller works in among the general fiction. They made it hard to find my favorite authors – had to walk the aisles and hope I spotted them. I missed new works from Michael, and figured he had moved on.

Then, about six years ago I was in a Facebook group for submarine types. They’d allowed me in even though I had never qualified as a submariner. That didn’t last, and eventually I had to leave the group. But during that time I met Michael on-line and we became friends. He was gracious enough to read Assault on Saint Agnes and give me some very good guidance on my writing career. He was kind about it, funny as can be, and kind of a curmudgeon. And, as is often the case of veterans, the fact that we didn’t know each other personally didn’t diminish the bond of brotherhood. 

Once I was published, I started nagging him to put his books up on Kindle, as there was no doubt a market for them. He’d regained the rights as they’d fallen out of publication. He did just that, and with the good offices of Crossroad Press, he was back on the charts. 

I next nagged him to do audio books. He’s brilliant, and I sent him a document on what he needed to do to make it work. A couple of weeks later he said it was too much like work, and would I like to do the books?

That moment I knew things were good. Now, several books later, my monthly revenues from Audible pay for all of the kids I sponsor overseas. There is a tangible benefit for my work and it impacts the lives of many others.

This past weekend, Michael flew to Saint Paul to work on recording parts of the latest book, EMERGENCY DEEP. We finished up after a couple of marathon days, and adjourned to the dive bar mentioned in the previous blog. In the meantime, my wife had a chance to meet the guy who has kept me up late and gotten me up early to work on the recordings. Michael also stole Chewy’s heart, and now the dog is loyal to him as a result of all the cookies Michael fed him this weekend. It will take me another week to wean the dog from the diet of attention and biscuits he was showered with the past three days.

Fun. Just plain fun. We had some fans show up, talked about writing, conspiracy theories, the afterlife, faith, and good whiskey. 

Sunday, we qc’d some of the final recording files. Michael went back home and I’ve just got about 5 minutes of recording and 3 hours of editing left and we can ship it off to the publisher. I think it sounds great, and DiMercurio did an excellent job for a first-timer.

Thank you, Michael, for coming to town to do this. It’s not often that you get to meet a virtual friend, especially when it’s someone you greatly admire. 

I look forward to some new books, and one more audio book – at the moment – from his pen. 

So, set aside some money and I’ll let you know when EMERGENCY DEEP  is ready for purchase!

Meet The Authors In A Saint Paul Dive Bar Day Featuring Michael DiMercurio & Joseph Courtemanche.

You may have noticed all the audio books on the right hand side of the blog. You may also have noticed that most of them are by Best-Selling author Michael DiMercurio. This Saturday, the 12th of October, we’re celebrating the completion of recording “Emergency Deep” at the palatial recording studio at my home. 

Well, maybe not palatial, but Chewy lets me kick him out of the living room when the microphone is on.

Michael is coming to town to record parts of the book with me, and we decided to have some fun. Part of the fun will be a chance to sit with us in one of my favorite dive bars from 4-6 pm on Saturday. We will tell lies, talk about writing, and be obnoxious. It’s inevitable when a spook and a bubblehead get together like this, and it’s even worse when we’ve both deployed on the same submarine (at different times.) 

So, if you want to join us, and find out how the sweeping octopus of world communism was swept from the seas by The U.S.S. Hammerhead (and her intrepid crew) put a comment on the blog and I’ll invite you to the event. Now, if you really want to go, leave both your email and your phone number. I won’t publish it, but I will call you with the location. We’re trying to avoid a crushing crowd. And, also, there may be unhappy ex-wives and bill collectors out there, so we have to keep it quiet. I’m not saying any more than that.

Leave a comment and you’ll get an invite. The location is in Saint Paul, Minnesota. That’s all I’m saying for now. You might luck out and get a drink on the authors.

Either way, we’re going to be good and not embarrass Crossroad Press. They treat us too well. You should go and check out their authors and audio books.

See you Saturday at 4!