Wednesday, May 30, 2012

CA Selection Course (Update)

I made it! I just passed the rigorous 10-day Civil Affairs selection course! I am not allowed to give out any details, so please don't ask. I will say that the course is no joke. If you are planning on going anytime soon, I recommend that you start preparing NOW. Talk to the CA recruiters if you have any questions on what to expect. So, what's the next step for me? I am waiting to receive a report date to begin the Q-course. I should know something by next week (hopefully!). My wife is due to have our first baby around November, so the plan is to PCS back to the States before then so that she can have the baby in America. (Pray that I will be able to be there with her when the baby is born.) Speaking of baby, my wife and I will be going to the doctor in about three weeks to find out what we are having!!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Civil Affairs Selection Course

I just received my official travel orders to attend the Civil Affairs Selection Course for May. According to the itinerary, this will be a rigorous ten-day course, designed to test candidates both physically and mentally. If (when!) I pass the course, I will be put on orders to PCS (move) from my current duty station here in Germany back to Fort Bragg, NC. There, I will attend a rigorous year-long pipeline, which will include Airborne school, language school, and the CA NCO course, among other things. According to the Special Operations Recruiting Battalion:
Civil Affairs Soldiers are the field commander's link to the civil authorities in his area of operations. With specialists in every area of the government, they can assist a host government meet its people's needs and maintain a stable and viable civil administration. Civil affairs units help military commanders by working with civil authorities and civilian populations in the commander’s area of operations to lessen the impact of military operations on them during peace, contingency operations and declared war. Civil Affairs forces support activities of both conventional and special operations forces, and are capable of assisting and supporting the civil administration in the area of operations. Civil affairs specialists can quickly and systematically identify critical requirements needed by local citizens in war or disaster situations. They can also locate civil resources to support military operations, help minimize civilian interference with operations, support national assistance activities, plan and execute non-combatant evacuation, support counter-drug operations, and establish and maintain liaison or dialogue with civilian aid agencies and civilian commercial and private organizations. In support of special operations, these culturally oriented, linguistically capable Soldiers may also be tasked to provide functional expertise for foreign internal defense operations, unconventional warfare operations and direct action missions.
To learn more about U.S. Army Civil Affairs, CLICK HERE.

Please keep me in your prayers, and wish me luck! HOOAH!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Join the Everafter Fan Club!

If you haven't already joined, now is the time! The benefits are boundless: Free online game room, member-exclusive contests with prizes, inside information on upcoming books, and MUCH MORE! Right now we are holding a drawing contest. The best artist will receive a $50.00 check, PLUS a free autographed copy of my upcoming book! (Details can be found HERE.) So JOIN TODAY! Membership is FREE! Just go to THIS WEBSITE and sign up!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Writing, the loneliest business in the world

I’m not trying to deter anyone from writing. In fact, I hope that this will help you to overcome what I think is one of the reasons why there aren’t MORE writers out there. Hey, in case you haven’t heard, WRITING IS A LONELY BUSINESS! It may very well be the LONELIEST business out there! Just remember that the next time you sit down to write. If you are overcome with the sudden realization that you spend a majority of your free time in seclusion either writing or thinking about what to write, that you are indeed ALONE through the entire book-writing process, don’t feel like you are the only person who goes through this. When you spend months (years!) pouring your heart and soul out into a book, and you suddenly realize that you spent more time alone than most people spend playing sports, going to clubs or hanging out at the mall, don’t feel like you are the only person who goes through this. Welcome to the writing world! Join the club! The key to success is self-motivation. In order to be an accomplished writer, you MUST have the ability to push yourself, even when at times it feels like no one is interested in the things that you write about, or when it feels like you spend more time alone than anyone else in existance. I hope this will help some of you to overcome the feeling of loneliness. Because, in reality, YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

The New 2012 Ford Ranger (not coming to the U.S.)

I have always been a fan of Ford trucks. Before coming to Germany, I owned a 2007 Ford first truck. However, because the streets in Germany are so narrow, my wife and I decided to trade the Ranger in for a Honda Civic. (Also a very good vehicle!) I miss my truck. Quite often, I find myself searching the Internet for new Ford trucks, and I have to keep myself from drooling on the keyboard. (Not really!) My favorite Ford truck to date is the new Raptor. (Holy cow, that's a NICE truck!) Second to the Raptor is the new 2012 Ford Ranger.
According to Car Connection: "The new 2012 Ranger is powered by a 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, or a 3.2-liter in-line five-cylinder turbo-diesel, making 200 hp. The larger engine makes 347 pound-feet of torque—as much as some V-8s. Those engines come mated to six-speed manual or automatic transmissions; a version of the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission are also offered. While the exterior of this truck bears a strong likeness to the 2011 F-150, the interior carries some design cues that are part of Ford's new global look (with a central controller and high-mounted screen), as well as some detailing borrowed from the F-150 as well as Bosch and DeWalt power tools and G-Shock watches, according to the automaker. The new truck comes with the all the updated connectivity features including an iPod connector and Bluetooth, as well as steering-wheel controls."
Want to know what SUCKS about the new 2012 Ford Ranger? Can you guess? IT'S NOT COMING TO THE U.S. Yep, you heard me right. This beautiful, awesome truck will NOT be sold in America.
Want to know why? Here's what Car Connection has to say: "The new Ranger that was just introduced at the Australian International Auto Show in Sydney is a good deal larger than current versions—so much larger that it might overlap, to shoppers, with smaller F-150 models."
So what they're saying is, they will not be bringing the new 2012 Ford Ranger to the States because THEY'RE AFRAID THAT AMERICANS WILL CONFUSE THE TRUCK FOR AN F-150?! I agree that the body style looks a lot like a small F-150, HOWEVER there are enough differences between the two trucks (in appearances, especially) that I honestly don't believe that Ford manufacturers need to worry about Americans getting the two confused. Even so, the worst case would be that someone might look over at the 2012 Ranger and say, "That's a NICE F-150! I want one of THOSE!" Just saying...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What it's like to be an Author in the military

People often ask me what it's like to be an author in the military. I simply reply: "It's not easy, but writing is my passion. It's something that I have to do." When I initially joined the Army back in 2007, I joined with the hopes of becoming a journalist. Murphy would have other plans! It turns out that, at the time, the Army was over strength on journalists. I would have to choose another job. This is why today I am not a writer for the military. (I eventually lost interest, anyway.) These days, I continue to write books and stories, while at the same time serving the military. I always find time to write. Depending on which assignment I am on, that could be late hours during the night or just on the weekends. I prefer to write using my computer, but often I find myself in situations (like in the field, or on a deployment) where I must write the old-fashioned way, using a pen and a notebook. (We’re spoiled these days, aren’t we?) Right now, I’m blessed to be stationed somewhere that has Internet (Germany), or else I would not be writing this blog! My strategy is simple: I believe that, if you are passionate about doing something, you can always find time to make it happen. It may be at zero-dark-thirty in the morning, or during those five minute breaks between staff meetings. There really is no excuse to not make time for the things that you are passionate about. The hardest part about being a writer in the Army is switching between Soldier mode and Author mode. (You thought I was going to say having to explain to the 1SG that I REALLY AM a published Author, and that I REALLY DO have a book signing at the Barnes & Noble at 1800, didn’t you?) For you writers out there, you know how complicated it is to switch from writer mode to “oh, crud, I have to go to work” mode. Well, imagine having to switch modes when your “work” is troop leading and warrior tasks and drills. IT’S NOT EASY! Especially for a children’s book writer! But the hardest part of all is going from “I am an American Soldier, I am a warrior and a member of a team” to talking to children about griffins and magical worlds during a “meet the Author” event! (Don’t get me wrong; I very much enjoy speaking to children. But you understand where I’m coming from…) I suppose the transition would be just as complicated for a fireman, or a police officer. (I really feel for the D.A.R.E. guy!) Like I said, I really enjoy public speaking. For some, it is the hardest thing to overcome. But for me, public speaking has always come easy. So what about my relationships with other Soldiers and leaders? That’s easy. I write on my own time. My writing career and my Army career are two completely separate things. To the Army, I am SGT Casey Harmon. I am a non-commissioned officer, a leader of Soldiers. To the civilian world, I am known as Casey Sean Harmon, Author. (Unless you’re my wife, in which case I’m known as “honey”, or my mother, who calls me “Case”, or some of my friends, who call me “Sean”, or…) So there you have it. A little taste of what being a writer in the military is like. So what can YOU take from this? Just remember that if you are passionate about doing something, you can always find a way to make it happen. There is no excuse not to pursue your dreams! (If you are a military veteran who also writes, check out the Military Writers Society of America.)