The Protectors® Podcast

#462 | A.M. Adair |The Unexpected Path: Military to Indie Author

October 27, 2023 Dr. Jason Piccolo Episode 462
The Protectors® Podcast
#462 | A.M. Adair |The Unexpected Path: Military to Indie Author
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Have you ever wondered what life looks like after serving in the military? Imagine adjusting to a world without a chain of command, finding new rhythms, and navigating the unchartered waters of the civilian lifestyle. This episode takes you through those very journeys, as we explore the exhilarating freedom and, at times, daunting uncertainties that come with transitioning from a regimented military life.

We'll dive into the world of film school and voiceovers and how military intelligence training can open unexpected doors. You'll hear about the decision to forgo the traditional and instead become an indie author. And we aren't just talking theory - we reveal the launch of a new book and share where to snag a signed copy. So, brace yourself for an engaging discussion that promises to broaden your horizons, and immerse yourself in the exploration of life after the military and pursuing creative passions.

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Make sure to check out Jason on IG @drjasonpiccolo


Speaker 1:

We got a piece of corn. I was thinking it's like it's welcome to the protectors. Hey, my dare is here. But hey, we were just talking about like retirement and like both of us working for the government whether military, fat or anything having that like chain of command. And you know, the chain of command for me was like 30 years and like September, and for you was like 20 something years, right? Isn't it weird? Not, isn't it weird not having that anymore?

Speaker 2:

It is and you know you don't think it's going to be, and I think a lot of people. When you're getting out, you have a very different anticipation for what it's going to be like, and like having control of your life and your schedule again. It's just oh, sounds so wonderful and miraculous. And then when you're in it, you have those moments of like, well, what do I do with myself now? It's always decision lock. It's like there's too many options, too many possibilities, and so you know, finding that new battle rhythm is it's a little challenging. It's fun, don't get me wrong, but it is a little challenging. I can see how people pick up trying to transition out.

Speaker 1:

It's so weird not having a boss, Any boss, it's like.

Speaker 2:

I have a toddler, so I don't have a boss, but the demands are totally different. It's usually, you know, turn on this cartoon or give me a snack, and those are relatively easy to handle.

Speaker 1:

Oh, man, and you know I was thinking about that this morning I'm like the focus, the focus, the focus, focus. You want to do so much Because you think, like man, I don't have a lot of time left. But then you really, you know, you really do have a lot of time left. You just every, every day now seems like it's a lot different than every day when you're 20, when you first came in, you know.

Speaker 2:

It does and I completely sympathize with that sentiment of I think it's you put everything to the side for so long that, as soon as you can do the things that you're passionate about and you want to do, you want to do it all and you want to do it all immediately and you want to do it to the best of your ability and you just want to crush it. And finding out that one, that's not a good idea and two kind of prioritizing and seeing where things rack and stack with you know how you want to live the rest of your life, you know how you want to pursue those dreams, is always interesting. It's very individualized.

Speaker 1:

It's weird, it's just I love it, you know, I love it. I love and I see a lot more creativity when you get away from that like flagpole, oh yeah, when you don't have the restraints. Well, you know, when you're in there, when you're doing it, you could take notes and you're thinking, oh, this would be great scene, this would be great this, but there's no limitations. Now, there's absolutely no limitations.

Speaker 2:

It's. Let your imagination fly. So the limitations really are are yours, yours to say whatever your left and right lateral limits are. That is yours to say, the schedules yours. And I think that's where I'm extremely fortunate. Is like I love being an author, I love being a writer, but being indie, I am not beholden to somebody else's timeline and I mean that was a difficult decision to get to because the you know my ego really wanted me to pursue traditional publishing because I knew I could do it. But at the same time I had to make that priority call because I was back in school. I have my kids as like, how many bosses do I want, how many other timelines do I want to be beholden to? And so I had to make some tough calls and, truth be told, I'm very happy that I did. There's in the little thing in the back of my head that still kind of going should have what it could have, but in the grand scheme of things it's better for me Overall.

Speaker 1:

Indy's great and you could always break out of it Nothing's. That's not. There's another zero, limitation, zero, some game right there. So it's like you can, you know you get your get your foothold in with the. You know you have the shadow series, three great books out there for coming on Friday. I know I saw that. The fourth book. So I mean you've been writing consistently. When did you first start?

Speaker 2:

I was still active duty when I started, so I started fiddling around with the idea well before I actually got momentum going for my first book. That was while I was on deployment, in like 2015-2016, and then my first book actually got published in 2019. So, I mean, there's there was a gap in time, but then, you know, I didn't know what I didn't know. I had a lot to learn. I had manuscript to polish, I had to get an agent, I had to get an editor and then I did initially pursue traditional publishing. So and that takes forever unless you're very, very fortunate and I made the decision to go indie on my final deployment in the military, and that was we've talked about it before but that was because everybody around me nobody was carrying stacks of books, everybody was, you know, using devices. They were using a Kindle and nook. You know the apps on their phones. I was like, well, why? Why not just go ahead and do this myself and I could be published right now and I could be getting out to my audience right now. And you know, at the time it's like, well, this is a great idea. Why don't I run with this? You know, 2020 hindsight, I would have done things a little bit differently, but I'm I'm very happy with the way things have worked out. I'm happy being indie, I'm happy with the direction my writing has taken and I love the fact that it's my call. It's, you know the, the content, the cover, the. You know whenever I get into, you know, philosophical debate with you know my editor or my manager, you know it is still my call. You know I trust them, I take their word for it, but at the end of today it's me. So I enjoy that. I enjoy that level of control and that flexibility to create and build things that I want.

Speaker 1:

I like that. Once you and I've noticed it's a lot with the, a lot of the mainstream authors and stuff like that is, once they get one book out, they have to have another book out within six months. It doesn't matter if you're creative, you're not or whatever. And you've seen a lot of people when I get that, pressure will jump into different means and we all know it's going on. I mean, we all know that it's going on, that you may not have that creative juice, you may need extra help, as in ghost writers and there's so many people out there that are in that they get in this conundrum they don't have their say and they have to produce, and they have to produce. And they have that over their head where, hey, you know what? I have to get good copy out in six months and then I immediately need to be on to the next one.

Speaker 2:

Yep, and you know some people really thrive under that. You know that that kind of that pressure, that push, that really kind of just gets get some going. But for other people, you know that could be, you know, extremely problematic, it could be stressful, it could hinder what they want to do. So it's give and take. I mean, with you're traditionally published, you do have kind of that that. That was that it kind of opens up doors for you. You have that kind of backing that gives you more access and maybe even some more. You know a little edge in the marketing world, but you know it's still predominantly on you. So at the end of the day it all comes down to the author and on the business side of writing that is, that is everything. The author is everything. So regardless of whether or not you have, you know, some imprint on your book, you know it's a major publishing house or a small publisher or if you're indie, it comes down to how much you're willing to put into it. So that levels the playing field to a certain extent. But at the same time that puts even more onus on the author, more pressure on the author to get out there and make it happen.

Speaker 1:

Being creative is probably the best part of it, because it's like a mental thing too. It's like if you get into the mainstream publishing market, I still think you can be very creative. I know we both know some authors that are just absolutely incredible and are super creative and they're going and going and going. The other thing, too is like when we first started the conversation, we were talking about having that government overreach, that boss that wake up in the morning you have to check your email, your phone ringing, the text, the this and that. That's the other thing that comes with mainstream is like you have that new general over you, the new commander, the new GS, whatever unit chief over you, and they're like, oh my gosh, I need this crap right now. I just want to take three days with the family or three days to get away. I want to go to Vegas for a shot show and shoot guns, or I want to do this and that and not have to worry about promoting.

Speaker 2:

Exactly.

Speaker 1:

But coming in from the Indie route to is promotion, and we both have Eric. Eric Bishops probably got the best promotion scheme down for being an indie author.

Speaker 2:

He's a beast.

Speaker 1:

And you're getting into it. I've noticed that with this book you are really getting into the countdown for the book. We'll get some galley copies out there. You know you're always welcome on the show. You're always welcome. Everybody should talk about it because in the indie world you are pretty much and you know this actually goes from mainstream to you really do have to promote, you have to market.

Speaker 2:

It's a give and take, so you, it's up to you again. You know it's a business, so how do you want to run your business For me? I'm in an extremely fortunate position that not a lot of authors find themselves in where I am not pursuing this as my moneymaker. This is not going to be my next career. It's who I am, it's what I do, it's something I love, so that not having it be I need the paycheck or I need the accolades freeze me up to play with things like different kinds of promotions timelines. It also allows me to do things like create a fourth book, when I didn't anticipate originally having a fourth book in the series. L Anderson wasn't done with me, so I made a fourth book and there's going to be a fifth book, and having the ability to just reach out to my manager go hey. So I kind of have another book in the series. What do you think he's like? Let's do it. I'm like this works out fantastic.

Speaker 1:

You know, go and you do have a female protagonist, which is great, and you know, and, with your background, a lot of people. If you don't know, amy's been on a show a ton of times. I think he'd been on like once or twice as an author, but a ton of times as a co-host when we talked authors, because you and I are both picking our brains, whatever they are. But you know your background is pretty intense. You know, with the IC and the Intel community, what was your first specialty? Intel.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I came in as intelligence, which is a really good thing, and I was like I'm going to be a big intelligence, which that? That was a fun story, like going to the recruiter's office and trying to pick you know what my rate was going to be there. Give me just a list. Is a list with like one paragraph is like hey, pick the job and pick your life. Yeah, and it was like I'm looking through and I reach intelligence specialists. I'm like, well, this sounds interesting, can you tell me more about it? And they're like, no, we don't know what that is Like.

Speaker 1:

Thanks, guys, sounds good.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, this is fantastic. I was like well, I guess you know the sounds interesting. That was the way I did. It ended up being perfect for me. But then about uh?

Speaker 1:

was you human? Say again crypto.

Speaker 2:

I was all source and then in 2006, I became a human mentor. So counterintelligence and human intelligence. I was the first woman to go through the Marines uh see, I, human course. And that was quite eye opening Because when I showed up for class, I really thought I was there to be an analyst in support of human intelligence operations. Operations had zero clue that. No, no, no, you're being trained to do human intelligence operation. So I'm looking at like there you know interrogation source operations and like oh, things just got real and like Taking notes faster. I'm like I completely blindsided by it. But it was. It was fantastic. It is like I threw myself into it and it became. It became my life. I was like that was, that was my community. I is to the point where I was I wouldn't say ignoring, but that's actually fairly accurate. I was ignoring all the kind of tried and true. This is how you make rank strategies of the Navy. Where the Navy is like you've got to go to a ship if you're going to make rank. And I was like give them the finger and say no, I'm going to do my job and if I don't make rank, so be it. Strangely enough still made rank and became a subject matter expert in my community. And then it got to the point where I realized I needed to have more behind my collar to really have an emphasis, really impact to the community. So that's when I joined the dark side and became a warrant officer.

Speaker 1:

And nobody can find you for that day. And then there's a beard Nobody can find you.

Speaker 2:

Perfect clandestine operator. Then Nobody ever saw me again. He never knew where I was.

Speaker 1:

Oh, and if everybody out there who's a civilian, if you're a warrant officer, the big joke is like where's chief? I don't know and nobody can find and nobody like yeah, it's just funny, it's the funniest thing in the world.

Speaker 2:

Still. I mean, it's been a year since I've been retired now and I still. Every time somebody comes across a warrant officer joke, they send it to me.

Speaker 1:

Oh, it's going to be that the rest of your life.

Speaker 2:

And they're fantastic. I love them. But the truth be told, I got more done as a warrant than I could have ever done as a chief, which chief in the Navy is a big deal Like that is the rank that gets things done, but as a warrant it let me open that aperture even more. I can then write policy. I can get into the meetings that things needed to happen. We changed trajectories. We really kind of broke away from status quo and made things move forward in a way they probably should have a long time ago. But I found it very rewarding. It was everything to me and so saying goodbye to that was really difficult. But it was the right room for me and my family and since then I've been able to use a lot of that experience and expertise to help other people with details in their manuscripts.

Speaker 1:

Well, you know you're bringing up. You mentioned one of my favorite words and I was like aperture. You know I'm a fledgling amateur photographer, but you open up the aperture and you're not only doing books but you're in film school now.

Speaker 2:

I am. And that was a perfect gateway too, Because that's how it started. Somebody reached out to me who's a screenwriter also happened to be Navy and asked for me to provide subject matter expertise on a script they were developing for a TV show. And it was so much fun, it was a blast, and it ended up working out that they'd let me sit in and participate with the pitches that they were doing to the TV studios, and so that was an incredible experience. It really kind of just wet my appetite to want to do more in that world, to create more in that world, and I was fortunate enough to get shortlisted to be in the writer's room on a couple of TV shows. But I couldn't get past the studio because I don't have the technical background. I don't have the resume that shows that I could handle myself in a writer's room. I know I could. I can't say.

Speaker 1:

I blame them. I'm like, OK, 21 years. You meant, yeah, OK, let's talk about that.

Speaker 2:

But I kind of understand where they're coming from. So I went back to school. I'm going to remedy that. My resume is going to have that technical foundation that they're looking for to give them the warm fuzzy. Once I get into the writer's room I know I'm going to be able to hold my own. But, I just got to get past the studio. So that's what I'm doing now and I'm going to get past the studio. Let me tell you what film school is. It's a blast. It is definitely different. It is different. And then anytime you do anything art related, regardless of what the medium is, there is a certain level of subjectivity. So it is always interesting to me to see the professor's take on things. So when we're doing an assignment that is very kind of creatively based, how are they gonna grade that? And then they give you rubrics so you can kind of see how everything's gonna lay out. But the feedback's always interesting and I think that helps prepare you even more for going into a world like Hollywood, where everything is very subject to the moment, to the buy-in to the emotion. It's one of those right time or not and then there's nothing you can do about it. You can have the most brilliant idea or show in the world, but if it's not the right timing it's dead. So it's been really cool to see the inner workings on how all that goes and to learn new tools for the tool bag.

Speaker 1:

I think that's perfect too is if you're writing a lot of so much stuff gets picked up for screenplays now and there's not enough content and it seems like so much is the same story. We're regurgitated in a different way.

Speaker 2:

It is Well, in all fairness, you know Joseph Campbell Hero's Journey. I was like that's kind of the basis for all stories, so if you really want to get into it, they all kind of are the same structurally wise.

Speaker 1:

But I tell you what was a really smart show. Was that lying a show? Have you watched it yet?

Speaker 2:

It's on my to watch list.

Speaker 1:

Oh, you need to start watching it right now. You know female protagonists very smart, very whoever their technical advisor was was spot on with a lot of stuff. I mean you know it's Hollywood, but it was emotional spot on. It was like very like. At first I was like, oh, come on, what are we gonna watch here?

Speaker 2:

And then you're like, oh, okay, you got some incredibly high caliber actors in that, not to mention that the writer's the same guy who does Yellowstone.

Speaker 1:

So I know.

Speaker 2:

That guy's a beast. I don't know how he writes an entire season of a show by himself, but bravo sir bravo, eliza Caffeine. It probably no sleep.

Speaker 1:

I'm not gonna say anything else. Come on, you know, I'm just kidding.

Speaker 2:

No, but that's what I'm hoping to go next. So you know I'm still gonna. I'm gonna write because I enjoy it. You know, book four and then book five will probably be a little bit further down the line, but I'm writing a novella. It's gonna be a standalone. It's gonna come out sometime next year.

Speaker 1:

I love novellas. I think they're great. I think it's nice to get a story out there, because you know what it reminds me of is graphic novels. You know someone who's like a comic geek from when I was a kid, like you know, when you got the like okay, so it was what? 65 cents when I got comic books, because I was in 80s.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I was gonna say you might be dating yourself.

Speaker 1:

I'm dating myself now. I'm like I'm thinking myself. I'm like I have like I still have like 5,000 comics, but you know 65 cents. But when you got that graphic novel and I suck, it was like 450. And it was like when they put together a graphic novel, you were like wow. And it's just it was like such a cool like does it stand alone most of the time? And that's the same thing with a novella. You can get in there and you could get a good story and you can still get vested in the characters and everything, but it just it's almost like you know, it's like a. It's really cool.

Speaker 2:

Well, that's it. That's actually how it came to be. It was like I had a storyline that popped into my head while I was writing a new game so book four but it didn't fit for my story, it didn't fit for my characters, it just wasn't the right direction. But I liked it too much to get rid of it, so I put it off to the side and decided that you know, I would do this as a standalone and actually Josh Hood helped me out a lot with kind of getting the creative juices going, because I had the concept but I couldn't figure out what direction to go with it. And he kind of just gave me a little nudge that sent me into the direction I'm in now, and you know. So now I have the novella. That's chugging along pretty well, and then I actually use that as the foundation for the screenplay that I'm writing for film school. So I have a full outline for a movie right now and well, one as a pancer. That was a big deal. Like I, outlining anything is just voodoo magic to me. So the fact that I'm writing outlines Bravo films, books. But then to be able to say I have an outline for a feature film and then you know it, that all just kind of came from that one idea as I was writing a novel and that just Didn't quite fit in the novel but I could play with in other mediums, and so that's what I did with it, and that I love having that ability, that flexibility, to just kind of run the direction I want to go.

Speaker 1:

Now you know, talking about direction, let's talk about the whole lot. I gotta Gotta get my voice in here. Let's do this a new game Killers on a loose one, with nothing to lose. An assassin is killing cartel members with lethal precision. Each crime scene leaves more questions and answers and no one in law enforcement Are they intelligence communities has any leads, except for one man, navy seal turned CIA operative, julian Saunders. He knows they're hunting for a ghost, someone the US government declared dead. Joined by an elite covert operations team, julian heads in New Orleans searching for the only person capable of taking the cartel head on, l Anderson. But as the body count rises and a brutality of the kills becomes more intense, he questions whether the woman they knew still exists or if, by pursuing her, they're signing their own death warrants. There it is a new game.

Speaker 2:

Such a future in voiceovers. This is awesome, although the little eyebrow raise right there. Oh yeah, sold it so much. I mean, I hope people see that on the video, because that was.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I try to get that rock eyebrow.

Speaker 2:

It worked, you got it.

Speaker 1:

Okay, get my regular podcast voice back now. I'm really excited for this one. What's the release date on this?

Speaker 2:

on Friday, so 27 October 2023.

Speaker 1:

Oh, and I like how you're still using that to 7 October 2023. You, you're out of the military, emma. I'm super excited for this book. Everybody, where can we find it?

Speaker 2:

That's what the other things are gonna be on Amazon, too it is it is, so it'll be available paperback and Kindle on Amazon right now. I will eventually do the audiobook and then, for anybody who wants a signed copy of the paperback from me, you can get it off my website. That's gonna be a. I'm a darecom and the only thing there is I get my author copies after Customers get their copies, so it might take me a minute to get my copy. So if you order one sign from me, just give me a little bit of time to actually get my hands on them. I will post the second I do and I will get them in the mail immediately thereafter. So just very long.

Speaker 1:

Your website is alpha mic, alpha Delta, alpha india, romeo dot, charlie, oscar, mike oh.

Speaker 2:

What were you just saying about being out of the military?

Speaker 1:

Uh-huh, I'm looking on your side right now says coming 27 October. I'm like, oh my gosh, am I why? I appreciate coming on a show and I I'm looking for you co-hosting again soon.

Speaker 2:

I would love it. I love every time you bring me on. I love chatting with people and I love chatting with you.

Life After Military, Pursuing Creative Passions
Military Intelligence to Film School Transition
Excitement for Voiceovers and Book Release