One of the authors that influenced me most is Arthur C. Clarke. Years ago he wrote a little masterpiece called Tales from the White Hart. If you’ve never read it, it’s a collection of short stories. They have a common theme of a bunch of scientists swapping stories over a beer. Sounds boring as watching a faucet drip.

It isn’t. The stories are all entertaining, some funny, some tragic. All worth reading.

I loved it. And I always wanted to do something like it. Only I could never figure out how.

So last night, I was driving to my friendly neighborhood Walmart when inspiration struck. One of the best places to tell war stories is over a couple of beers, and nowhere will you find better war stories than at a cop bar or a NCO club.

So, I came up with the bright idea of taking a piece from Book Four (the book is already written – I’m just not talking much about it yet), and then build a story around an evening when the Regulators spent at an NCO club at Ft. Riley. They’re all there helping to teach a course, and after hours they’re downstairs, drinking a beer, and entertaining the young MPs with their stories.

I figured it was a nice way to tell some stories that really don’t belong in the books, but at the same time have some fun doing it. I also wanted to take some of the stories told by others and immortalize the tales. Every one of the stories has happened. Only I’ll be putting the stories in the mouths of my characters. Some of them are terrifying. Some are hysterically funny. I think those stories are worth the telling.

So after I finish Book Two in Will Diaz’s journey, and between the super heavy stuff that happens in the next three, I’m going to fall back and write Tales from the NCO Club.

Hopefully, it will be done by April of next year.

And, oh. Does anyone know the difference between a war story and a fairy tale?