my home page

Hi, I’m Milo DeForest Larsen and I’m an aspiring writer looking to peddle my literary attempts.

ward of the state front cover

If you are looking for new books I’ve got one for you. The front cover of my book is centered above.

To get more coverage of my book, I put a copy of the cover on a web site named Good Reads along with a brief description of the story. In April 2013 Erica Lovett wrote the following unsolicited review.

Erica Lovett‘s review

Apr 21, 13
5 of 5 stars
Read in April, 2013

“Ward of the State” is an engrossing novel that starts in the 1940s, focusing on young Tom Packard, who is twelve when the novel begins. He’s already had a difficult life—his mother is dead, and he lives with his aunt—and when he returns from the library one day to find her lying dead in her bed, he becomes a ward of the state and is taken to a reform school, despite the fact that he’s not done anything to be considered a delinquent.
Though he’s told his father is dead, Tom doesn’t believe it, and he holds on to that belief despite the hardships of the reform school—the abusive placements he suffers to help Mrs. Fogarty and her “projects,” the bullying Mr. Landry, and the deceptive Mr. Hutchins. Along the way he meets a few kind souls, and while his experiences could push him into becoming a true delinquent, he instead maintains his character and dignity, fighting when he has to and standing strong when he does not.
This novel did an excellent job of evoking the feel of a reform school in the era, with a colorful range of Dickens-esque characters and a likeable main character who the reader becomes very engaged in. I wanted Tom to find happiness and discover if his father was alive; his refusal to be defeated by his circumstances made him a compelling character, especially in light of what he discovers about his mother and her character.
I would recommend this novel to readers who enjoy historical novels, readers who enjoy Mark Twain (stories about boys overcoming odds through their own strong characters, and learning lessons along the way), and readers who enjoy character-driven novels.

The author’s description of the story is as follows:

The story is about a kid who grows up being constantly abandoned and rejected by his significant others. When he has been rejected by his last living relative, his grandfather, and the state orphanage has also rejected him, he is swallowed up by the child welfare bureaucracy, and he is deposited in the state reform school, and when he protests, the school counselor tells him, “When you are a ward of the state, the state makes decisions for you.” Fortunately the kid has good attitudes which will help him survive this ordeal.

The story, which is set in Montana in the 1940s, cannot be pidgeon-holed into any one genre. It contains a little adventure, some violence, some criminal activity (graft and auto theft), and a little humor. Some of the characters use offensive language, and there are some sexual scenes in the story, so although the story is about a young man growing up, the story might not be recommended for children. Also there is a somewhat anti-religious tone in some areas of the book.

To see how the story begins click on Chapter 1 WARD OF THE STATE at the top right hand side of this page.

I have also decided to add Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 of WARD OF THE STATE. To see how the story continues select the links at the top right hand side of this page.

I have titled the novel WARD OF THE STATE, and you can find it on lulu.com or by clicking on http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/ward-of-the-state/6438209#

or from Amazon Books at, http://www.amazon.com/books

or from Barnes and Noble at, http://www.bn.com

Incidentally, check out my other websites at http://new-books-old-books.mysite.com and http://sites.google.com/site/theknightphaethon

If you wish to see information about some of my other writing activities and my comments to and about the comments from visitors to the site, click on ‘my experiences’ and ‘my other writing activities’ at the upper right hand side of this page.

It’s January 2012 and I am still alive and still writing. So many of us create web sites only to abandon them for various reasons. I had intentions of returning to the website to report on my writing activities, like I indicated above, but I got so busy writing that I couldn’t return.

One of the reasons for my absence is: my sister read my book and phoned me and told me that she liked the book and wanted to know what my main character did when he was in the navy. You see, at the end of the story my main character had enlisted in the navy.

I told my sister that the character wasn’t a real person and didn’t have a life beyond what I had already written about him. That was a lie,of course,  because I was writing a sequel about the character when he is in his thirties and already through college and trying to decide what kind of a life he was going to live.

In any event, I finally relented and began a sequel about this character’s life in the Navy.

I was in the navy during the Korean conflict. I enlisted to avoid being drafted into the army or marines, and the war, for me, turned out to be a very boring and uneventful experience. And being that I had been attached to the navy, I figured that I had a chance of writing a book about an area of the world in which I had some experience.

And so I began writing and doing research and ressurecting facts that would make the book authentic.

I was on the USS Frontier AD-25 for the first part of my enlistment and on the USS Bryce Canyon AD-36 the last half of my enlistment and the ships that I was on were destroyer tenders; very large (about 500 feet long with a complement of about 800 men) and our activity was to releave each other every six months. That is to say: our ship would stay in Long Beach, california, tethered to the dock or bouy for six months, the up anchor and go to Yokosuka, Japan and relieve a destroyer tender. The admiral would move his staff to our ship and then our ship would remain in Yokosuka tethered to a buoy servicing the destroyers who tied up alongside. The ship remained in Yokosuka, Japan for six months. Usually we hoisted anchor to make one voyage to Sasebo in order to be eligible for war pay, then, after our six months of duty we would return to the states and start the whole procedure over again.

The first thing I did was invent a new navy i.e., I went online and searched for ships that had never existed, and I found a couple of LSTs that had been named and numbered and scheduled to be built but the contracts to build them had been cancelled.

Then I had to gather my memories of what it was like to be a radioman in the navy in the 1950s

I was a radioman, and I served on the USS Frontier the first part of the Korean Conflict, later transferring to the Bryce Canyon for the remainder of the hostilities.

To begin with, a radioman’s skills were usually acquired by attending Radioman ‘A’ School.

I didn’t attend radioman school, because I had been working in a warehouse before I enlisted and the counselor at boot camp, when he learned of this, was determined to send me to storekeeper school. I told him that I would like to go to electronic technician school, or, if not ET school, perhaps radioman school. The counselor persisted and I resisted, so I went into the fleet unassigned, FFT (for further transfer) to re-commission the USS Frontier AD-25, and I found myself mustering with the deck division. I struck for the radioman rating, and after I reported to the operations division I assumed that I would go to radioman school, but I was mistaken.

When I discovered my mistake, I borrowed a study guide for the third class radioman rate, from which I learned radio-telegraph and radio-telephone operating procedures; the various types and forms of messages, their contents, and their priorities; the radio wave, it’s propagation through the atmosphere and the antenna from which it emanates; the description, operation, and maintenance of radio communications equipment, and keeping circuit logs and how to update publications.

I also got a typing instruction manual that would teach me to touch type, a record that would teach me to copy the Morse code at or about sixteen words per minute, and a record player, and eventually I was copying Morse code at sixteen WPM (words per minute), and, with a little more effort, eighteen WPM and I got my RMSN rating.

The radio room was manned twenty-four hours every day, including holidays, both in port and at sea (in today’s jargon, it’s 24/7), and the radio room had to be manned, ideally, by at least two qualified radiomen. The reason for this was: the radio room had two very important communications circuits: FOX and Able-Two-Able.

FOX was the U. S. Navy fleet broadcast circuit over which messages were sent, in Morse code, at about eighteen WPM, to all ships, and submarines around the globe, and we were required to copy every entire message, because the Frontier and Bryce Canyon were service ships and our mission was to supply copies of all communications that we received, to the various ships that were moored along side. We weren’t required to keep a log on FOX, but we were required to keep a log on Able-Two-Able.

Able-Two-Able was the ship-to-shore circuit over which we manually sent and received messages with Morse code. The circuit usually wasn’t very busy, but still a qualified radioman was required to monitor this circuit and keep a log of any communications. During the watch the radioman would enter any communications that was sent or received, and if there were no communications for a period of fifteen minutes or longer, the radioman was required to type the time, and the words ‘no signals’ on the log. When the radioman on duty was relieved, he entered the time and indicated that he had been relieved from the watch and the next operator would sign on.

Able-Two-Charlie was the ship to shore radiotelephone circuit. We monitored this circuit with a speaker that we plugged into the receiver’s output jack. We were rarely contacted on the circuit, and we did not keep a log of communications over that circuit.

There was a complete teletype system (receiver, transmitter and teletype printer) in the radio room, but we did not use the system.

When we were in the states we usually had a skeleton crew, because of the lack of personnel. After a six-month tour of duty in Japan, everyone in the radio gang was anxious to get home, and was taking extended leave, so, in this case, we stood a three-section-watch.

In the three-section watch system, each section was composed, ideally, of two qualified radiomen (one as supervisor) and a radioman striker as messenger of the watch. Sometimes radiomen were transferred to other ships and to shore duty and they were sometimes replaced by graduates from radioman school who were not yet qualified to stand a watch on FOX, so there were occasions when there was only one qualified radioman on watch.

The three-section watch operated in such a way that each watch-section acted as a dogwatch to toggle the watches when a watch-section returned from off-duty status. For example: When you examine the table below you will see that watch-section-two, which came off duty from the mid-watch on Monday, toggles the watch when it returns to duty on the morning watch on Wednesday. If you examine the table further you will see that the other watch sections follow the same pattern.

 

 

Mon

 

tu

 

we

 

th

 

Fri

 

Sa

 

Su

 

Mor

 

1

 

1

 

2

 

2

 

3

 

3

 

1

 

Aft

 

2

 

3

 

3

 

1

 

1

 

2

 

2

 

Eve

 

1

 

1

 

2

 

2

 

3

 

3

 

1

 

mid

 

2

 

3

 

3

 

1

 

1

 

2

 

2

 

Also when you further examine the table above you will see that the three section watch system was configured in such a way that a radioman, in any seven day period, would work ten six hour watches (that’s sixty hours in a seven day week) and a radioman would be off duty for two un-consecutive twenty-four hour periods. These two off-duty periods weren’t actually liberty, because liberty didn’t commence until around 1630 hours (That’s 4:30 in the afternoon)..

Besides a radioman’s duty to stand watch, a radioman, at various times, would have other duties as assigned. Over a period of time my additional duties were: to clean the officer’s head in officer’s country; to update the radio publications; to take the burn-bag to the furnace to burn certain kinds of classified messages, and occasionally a radioman, during his off-duty hours, would find himself on various working parties. For example: one time, after coming off the mid-watch, the master at arms came to the ‘O’ division, when we were at muster, and I found myself on a working party loading a couple of tons of canned rabbit. It was on the menu as chicken, and I was surprised that rabbit did taste a little like chicken.

When we were deployed to Japan to relieve a ship from its tour of duty, the admiral (we called him ‘the flag’) would come aboard with his entourage, and on his staff were many radiomen who helped reduce the workload, and the watch situation changed to a different type of watch system where we had a lot more off duty time.

2 thoughts on “my home page

  1. Ray

    I read your book and it touched me in many ways. I enjoyed it very much. You have a way with dialogue. You should write plays. Are you writing a new book now?

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