I swam with a Blacktip shark

Or at least tried to lol.

(Screenshot from my GoPro)

Myself and my PADI instructor, Nick, were approaching the sunken winch in Molasses Reef down in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

We were about 22 feet deep. This was my third open water dive for certification.

The shark was approaching from my right and I caught him briefly on the GoPro. (video below)

We were both kicking with powerful strokes, perfect form and we could BARELY keep up.  That magnificent beast was swishing his tail about once every two seconds, hardly moving, but enough to lazily outpace us.

Later on we came across the shark again!

I was in trail when my instructor looked back at me and pointed back and to my left.

I twisted myself back a bit … BAM!  There he was!

He was just cruising along, no stress at all, with his entourage, a few stuck to him, the others swimming along with him.

We just hovered briefly as he went by and you could see his right eye take us in momentarily, “just the pair of SCUBA slowpokes from before.”

When he passed Nick we started following him. But like I mentioned above, he simply outpaced us.

What an incredible creature.

This experience created the spark later on for one of the scenes in the upcoming science fiction thriller ‘Distance In Time: Michelle’

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The Chairman’s weapon of choice

The Chairman of Curve Aerospace is a CMP Distinguished Rifleman.

But his weapon of choice is his old Winchester Model 1300 Defender 12ga shotgun, holding 6+1 three inch shells.

Winchester 1300 Defender shotgun

The Chairman’s Winchester Model 1300 Defender shotgun

Shotshell hook and loop card attached to left side of Winchester Model 1300 Defender

Shotshell hook and loop card attached to left side of Winchester Model 1300 Defender

The reason? One of his company’s research projects for future military sales is ammunition development.

And the 12ga format provides for considerable flexibility in ammunition design.

An example is the Rocket Propelled, Fin Stabilized, 400 grain hardened lead alloy slug shell. The ‘beanbag’ round for armored folks.
Traveling at over Mach 6.5 it’ll deliver over 40,000 ft-lbs of energy into the target. More than a 20mm cannon shell.

Externally a shell looks like a typical 3″ magnum shell, complete with primer and brass base.
It even fires like one. The specially designed wad inside allows for a standard powder charge to eject the rocket motor and shot combo. An impulse activated, time delay fuse ignites the rocket approximately three feet from the muzzle.

Other payloads include, but not limited to:

RPFS armor piercing
RPFS high explosive, armor piercing
RPFS grenade
Gas shells
Signal shells
EMP shells. These use a special gel and electric charge to deliver a damaging, high amperage shock to electrical systems, computers, etc.

The beauty of the 12ga. That’s why he loves it so much and why his humadrones use the shotgun format for base and home security.

Besides, ‘shells’ sounds cooler than ’rounds’. :D

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Holtharia. An alien world in the Distance In Time series. Fortunately the citizens are not one of these ‘apostrophe'(1) or ‘forehead'(2) aliens. I actually put some brain matter to work concerning the species and their world.

Plus, I added some twists. Not so much to them but to their history :D

Can’t give too much away now can I? You’ll find out in Book 1 ;)

(1) You know, those ‘alien’ names that abuse the apostrophe: Tal’kar’eth’cha. Puuuuuuuuuhlease.
(2) ‘Forehead alien’. An alien that is totally human below the neckline and all that changes above the neckline are things like forehead adornments, head antenna, fanged teeth … whatever. lol

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Filed under alien world, Aliens, Science Fiction Thriller, Writing

The Blue Vase University

Ah, the Blue Vase University.

Are you a graduate?

What does it mean to graduate from the University?

It is a real thing, though not a real place. It is tangible and brings peace. And just to be clear it is not related to some insurance thing.

Then what is it?

To tell you would be to rob you, to deny you the …….. well, let’s just say that the graduate of the Blue Vase University fully understands why someone would be circumspect to explain, much less to explain it in full detail.

“So, if I’m not a graduate how do I get to be one?”

If some of you readers know the answer, don’t go posting it below ;)

For those who are still asking the question just look in the mirror and tell yourself ‘It Shall Be Done.’

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The Humadrone

So what is a humadrone?

Our Chairman brings the concept to life. With Michelle’s programming providing the impetus the humadrone serves the Chairman and Michelle and also anticipates their needs.

Everything from doing the laundry to providing Base Security, the basic drone has a humanoid appearance. This helps it interact with the human world around it. Like negotiating stairs or flipping a light switch. Such seemingly simple and straightforward maneuvers for people.

They all share the same internals; nuclear battery, rad hard circuitry, titanium alloy skeletal systems, electric musculature, full spectrum vision, full spectrum audio, speech center and more.

The EVA humadrone is designed with armoring to protect against micrometeoroid strikes. Such orbital debris travels at double digit Mach numbers and the armor is set up accordingly.

The Base Security humadrone adds multiple layers of the same armor plating. Mobility suffers, but only slightly. They are still far more maneuverable than any human could hope to be.

These humadrones carry 12gauge magazine fed semiautomatic shotguns. Using ammunition designed in-house the Base Security drones can defend against land and air attacks from a variety of aggressors.

The Chairman does not sell or share the design with anyone. Strictly company assets.

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How to format your manuscript

Ever wonder how to format a manuscript?  Ever wonder why even format it?

It’s called a baseline, a standard if you will.

My initial reason for looking into the matter involved my iPad.  I’ve written half a book on just my iPad Mini using Pages for iOS.  No external keyboard, just the soft keyboard.

And it wasn’t bad!

But back to formatting.  Everywhere I searched I found the same answer, one inch in from the margin.  My one glaring question though was ‘one inch in from where?’.

I kept looking.  Did that grand committee of ‘they’ want the margin in from a 6×9 piece of paper such as the typical hardcover novel?  8.5×11?  8.5×14?

It seemed like the simplest question …. but no answer anywhere.

Well here is the answer: One inch margins in reference to an 8.5×11 page.

I suppose everyone just assumed that everyone else knew!


But why format at all?  My layout is majestic, a treasure trove of literary beauty, a feast for the eyes and even the soulllllllll!!

Well your soul will end up in the circular file or the electronic Recycle Bin if you neglect the format standard.

The standard makes it easy for the agent, the editor, the publisher …. everyone to read.  And to make notes on it.

If you make it difficult … well, the next manuscript is right underneath it.

So make it easy!

William Shunn’s straightforward 7 page treatise is the best single source I’ve found concerning the whys and details of how to format your manuscript.

PDF download: manuscript format



Manuscript Format 1 Manuscript Format 2 Manuscript Format 3 Manuscript Format 4 Manuscript Format 5 Manuscript Format 6 Manuscript Format 7


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