April 18, 2000
That was my last day as a United States Marine. It came twenty days after submitting a letter to my commanding officer declaring my homosexuality, which is very different from admitting homosexual conduct. It was the scariest day of my life. It was not how I wanted my enlistment to end, but I literally had no other choice. I had a homophobic staff sergeant who had it out for me and was pushing for an investigation, which wasn’t even legal.
Sometime next year I will mine these experiences and build a similar story for a character you haven’t met yet, Carson Kyle. Once that story is told, I don’t plan to write more books set during Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It doesn’t matter that it’s been twenty years, that experience remains a painful wound. At least it was a wound that resulted in multiple books.
April 17, 2020
Today, in the middle of the Great Pause created by shelter in place rules, I received the email I’d been hoping for since February. I was officially accepted into the Writer’s Guild of America Veteran’s Writing Project! Okay, I know why I’m excited, but you’ll be excited once I explain the program.
For the next year I’ll be learning all about screenwriting. We take classes, then are assigned mentors in our genre and spend the rest of the time writing our movie, receiving feedback the entire time. Then around May we pitch our movies to movie studios. They are teaching us everything we need to know to pitch our first movie, and all for free.
I have three movies already in my head. I could write them as novels, but they’ll be better as movies. All are lesbian/women loving women romances. One is a romcom, another is a teen movie with a trans lead, and the other involves a pansexual pop singer.
The program didn’t even have romance or romantic comedy as a category, but I made my case. I guess we’ll discover if they have mentors for romcoms or not. And if not, comedy works. I know how to write romance. Pure comedy will be a new skill to develop because we all need more laughs in our lives.
Beyond Twenty Years
The Marine Corps will always be a complicated issue for me. I made the best decision I could in 1998 when I enlisted. And I made the best decision in 2000 when I said enough was enough. Now, two of my most life changing events are thanks to the Marine Corps. My daughter exists because my VA disability benefits kicked in right before we had to switch to more expensive medications to get pregnant. They covered a lot of her conception and then all of her birth. And now I have this opportunity to write and pitch a movie through a program only offered to veterans.
The program starts this summer but I’m already brainstorming my movie ideas. The more I know about the characters, the more time I have to focus on writing the screenplays and get my other writing done as well. Thankfully, A Marine’s Conflict: A Marine’s Heart book 4 will be released by then. I’ll have Sharon’s novella, a companion piece to A Marine Awakening, available for newsletter subscribers. Which means I’ll be ready for the Rising from Ash sequel. My goal is still to have it published by the end of the year. I will do my best to meet that goal.
No matter what, I’ll keep everyone updated on what I’m doing on social media and this blog. For now, I’m basking in this major accomplishment.