All the talk recently about the first two women to graduate from the
US Army Ranger School made me reminisce about my time in Ranger school,
37 years ago. Where to begin. Well, it was hard. Historically the
graduation rate is around 50 percent, and most quit within the first few
days, which surprised me. To apply for Ranger school you have to be
recommended by your cadre or your commander, plus you have to surpass
the prerequisites for physical fitness and military skills. Basically,
you have to convince everyone that you're the kind of demented,
hard-headed kook who could make it through the nine weeks of anguish.
Before you left for the school, you are briefed by recent graduates
about what to expect. I remember listening to their litany of misery and
asking, "Didn't you do anything fun?" The two Rangers looked at me like
I'd grown an extra head. I did spend the month before I was to report
for the school toughing myself up. Besides my usual routin…
I can't tell you exactly how the word Zaomancer first popped into my head, but I can give you a good idea.
Usually those moment of character creation happen very much on the back burner for me. Eric Courtney, from my Void City series, came from some point between High School and college when I was playing in a friend's roleplaying game. Eric's mad, murderous daughter Greta just showed up on the page as I wrote, but the protagonist of my new novella happened on a three-way call one afternoon.
I'd just heard about the death of a very cool guy in fandom. Giving his name might be a little disrespectful as I'd just met him and spoken with him for all of thirty minutes (valuable minutes I hope readers will find once they see the epic fantasy I've had lurking on my WIP list for the past several years). My friend Rob and I were talking about random stuff and my friend Richard cursed.