My guest is author Ricky Conlin. Ricky returns to the podcast as one of my most popular guests ever. He is a proud member of the mighty class of 1999, was an economics major and a member of the sixth company.
Ricky describes himself as a very mediocre midshipman. He graduated smack dab in the middle of the class militarily and was relatively quiet. He did stand 14 days of collective restrictions. He played varsity football at the Naval Academy. He describes his football career also as mediocre but is a really, really proud member of the Navy Football Brotherhood and has friends from there to this day that he keeps in touch with.
He graduated, served as an officer and eventually became a novelist. Ricky has had the opportunity to write all about his Naval Academy experience in the first book of his trilogy The Black N.
In this episode, he shares with us his second book in the trilogy - Sex in The Hall.
We share a lot of really entertaining and funny stories from the book that portrays real midshipman life, and he also gets the opportunity to talk about his motivation and driving purpose for writing this book, which I think you will really enjoy and is very noble.
Ricky is thoughtful, funny and a proud graduate of the academy that lets readers with his fictional novels behind the scenes of the midshipmen life in a way I have not seen in other writing.
His book The Black N is a must-read for those who love stories set at the naval academy with a little edge to the story.
This book, Sex in the Hall which I describe as a little spicy is not for G rated reading but is a "must read" for those who don't have that restriction. A little synopsis from Amazon is:
The U.S. Naval Academy was not an easy place to be a woman in the mid-nineties. Iterative progress two decades removed from female integration was hardly enough to transition a century-plus old fraternity into a modern era, co-ed leadership factory. Enter Mick McGee and Summer Harris, two junior midshipmen from the class of 99’ left struggling to find their relationship identity without losing their individual identities in the process. Ricky Conlin continues his Black N Trilogy with its second volume. Sex in the Hall is an unprecedented look into sex at the U.S. Naval Academy. Whether addressing the carnal act or focusing on the nuances of gender, Sex in the Hall canvases the topic of sex from many different angles. Passion and grit collide in this titillating tale of bravery and resilience.
Please order a copy today on Amazon here. I highly recommend it.
You can follow Ricky on twitter at @RickyConlin.
Grant Vermeer: 0:03
This is your host Grant Vermeer Naval Academy class of 2017 and I'm your academy insider. It's my goal to be your guide through the Naval Academy experience. By sharing my stories and providing you inside information into the life of a shipment. Academy insider is in no way officially affiliated with the United States Naval Academy. All of the content on Academy Insider is my own and does not reflect the views of the United States Naval Academy, the United States Navy nor the Department of Defense. All right, everyone, put your earmuffs on, because today we're talking about sex in the Hall. Ricky Conlan second book in the Black End trilogy. So we're really lucky to have Ricky Conlan, a class of 99 graduate from the Naval Academy, back on the academy inside of podcast to talk about his brand new book and the second book in the black and trilogy Sex in the Hall. It's a phenomenal book. You guys are really gonna enjoy it, but this interview is super fun as well. We share a lot of really entertaining and funny stories from the book that emulate real midship in life, and he also gets the opportunity to talk about his motivation in driving purpose for writing this book, which I think you guys will really enjoy and is really noble. So I hope you guys really enjoy this interview. Make sure to let me know what you think and have a good one. All right, everyone and welcome to the academy insider podcast and Ricky, thank you so much for taking the time to join us again, if you don't mind. For anyone who hasn't listened to our first podcast, where we talk about your first book in the black and trilogy literally called the Black End. If you don't mind introducing yourself to the academy inside our audience,
Ricky Conlin: 1:42
Grant thanks and ah, really excited for Round two. Had a great time on the first go around here for those that didn't listen to it. Listen to it. But as a cliff notes, this is Ricky Conlan. I am a Naval Academy graduate of the mighty class of 99 6 company alumni and the writer and creator of the Black and Trilogy, which I am currently two books into working on the third. And as you said, Black End was the first which I released back in 2017. Sects in the Hall, the sequel, which will have a chance to talk about in the session I just released. And yeah, I really enjoyed it and excited to be here talking about it.
Grant Vermeer: 2:25
Absolutely. And I'm really excited to have you on. So for all of those who are listening, I got a chance to read the book. Ricky sent me the book before it really got released, and so thank you for that. Uh, it's great. And one thing I like to joke about, though, is I want to give everyone a fair warning is that it is rather inappropriate there. You know, there's some language there, some scenes where I wasn't sure if I was reading 50 shades of Grey if I was reading a book about the Naval Academy, but it was most fantastic is a very, very spicy, but ah, it just has such a good job of taking an insight into the life of a midshipman through a fictional story, right? Like there's so many aspects of that shipment life that you can't properly put into words unless you tell the story and you go through the mindset of a mid shipment going through those things. So just prefaced the book about that is, is a great insight into my ship in life as well. But I do want to turn it over to you, Ricky, to just give a little bit of a brief explanation, an overview of the book, and you have to talk a little
Ricky Conlin: 3:25
bit about the book. Yeah, so So Sex and A Hall is the sequel to my original book, The Black End, which, of course, is a fictional take on My Time at the Naval Academy in the middle late nineties. The trilogy really revolves around a couple of different protagonists. The main protagonists Gym Mick McGee, who is the the main character of Book one and a co protagonist of this one. Generally speaking, Book one really focuses on Plea beer and his her earning of his first black end, which, uh, for those that didn't get a chance to hear the explanation or new to the game black and is really the Naval Academy's version of The Scarlet Letter and the trilogy concept. When I initiated it way back when almost six or seven years ago, when I started writing it, I was. I was gonna write a book for each black end that this fictional character, Mick McGee, earns. And so sex in the hall, true to form, is really the story. At its surface level is really the story of mixed earning of his second black end, Um, but to take a step back and give a broader context in terms of this book, Sex in the Hall, I really did want to focus a large amount of this book dedicated to the whole concept of relationships. And, you know, I say sex in the hall, but sex for many different angles. So sex from the perspective of certainly from a spicy aspect, uh, you know, at face value what you would imagine, but but also from gender as well. It's just, you know, really taking. Ah, really honest look at what relationships? And a lot of the perhaps not so common perspectives of midshipmen life and so sex in the hall carries through mixed experience, predominantly through his junior year, second class year. There is what I'd say is a co protagonists in this book in mixed girlfriend Summer, Harris, who did appear in the first novel but takes a much, much more important role in this one very deliberately so. And you know what I'll say the book is true to form and that it tells the story of how Mick gets this second black end. I think what's different about this book and perhaps might be new and interesting to some folks that are new to the series is that aspects of gender and relationship. And so this is a book that I really, really wanted to write. I'm really proud of it. And, you know, I think when I started writing this book, it really started as me wanting to fictionally tell some of the tails some of humorous tales and not so humorous tales they experienced the Naval Academy. But what's been really great about it is is, as I've had a chance to really delve into it and write, you know, now, two books getting the chance to say something and have it being meaningful, and I'm sure we'll get a chance to talk about that. But I'm really proud of it and excited to get it out there.
Grant Vermeer: 6:17
Yeah, absolutely. And I do want to jump into speed about probably gonna talk about it. I do want to get into a part of the reason and your motivation behind writing this book. Why was gender and sex a topic that you really wanted to tackle? And was there any personal feeling behind this and wanting to bring up these topics in this forum?
Ricky Conlin: 6:38
Yeah. I mean, it's really an emotional subject because, you know, you want to get it right, and I think that look, the Naval Academy is certainly not you Normal college experience. But it is largely 18 24. 25 year old men and women is very much a coed institution. And, you know, I think that while there's a ton of progress out there and you know it's it's it's crazy to think that this year is the 40th year anniversary of the first women graduates of the Naval Academy. A big part of that book was was to really paint the picture of what life was like to be a woman at the Naval Academy and really, more than anything, I wanted to pay tribute to the women that I graduated with his classmates and for all the women that went to the Naval Academy. Certainly not an easy place for anyone to be, but particularly in writing this book and really reliving a lot of these experience. I think it's given me a new appreciation for just how great those women were. And, you know, in some ways it's a real duty to to honor them and to paint the picture of just how courageous and, you know, awesome. They were
Grant Vermeer: 7:53
Yeah, absolutely. And did you find it difficult at times, too tryin in, write these stories and properly explained some of the situations you have gone through? Obviously, just matter of fact, we having not been a woman like How did you try and overcome that obstacle and try and make it as realistic and fair as
Ricky Conlin: 8:12
possible? Yeah, I think that's a multifaceted answer in that, you know, to some extent, I think being older and a little bit more mature than I waas when I was 18 to 22 year old Ricky Conlan and that that's certainly not to speak to the Midshipmen there. There are many midshipmen that are far more mature than I am currently, Um, but you know, I think I think with age just having that additional perspective. And I think particularly being married to, ah, former naval officer. My wife, though not an academy graduate, is a former naval officer and being father to two daughters. Um, that perspective and experience definitely gave me a much broader lens to write by. And, you know, I think getting this right was really, really important to me. The one thing that I can't stress enough is this is not, you know, 400 pages of toilet humor. There certainly humorous aspects to this book and I tried to make things is genuine and realistic and true to form is, as I remember them, to the best of my ability. But, you know, I think when when I wrote this book having an all woman production staff and, you know, I really tried to vet this with both both the veteran community, the alumni community, and I was really, really wanting to do this the right way. And I hope that I accomplished that.
Grant Vermeer: 9:38
I think you absolutely did. And I'm gonna take the time to specifically finds the last part of the book here. So So bear with me this this line, I think the way you end of the book. And this is this maybe a little bit of a spoiler that really took the story itself, but literally. The last line of the book was I was at the Naval Academy to be a hero, not to find one. And I think that line totally encompasses the entirety of your book and what you really strive for. I think you did a phenomenal job is just to say these woman are absolutely and part of my French badass and they were absolutely fantastic. And I do think you do a great job in this book in portraying that story, and I just wanted That's why I'm so glad to have you on his podcast is give you the opportunity to talk about that and share these stories and do that, and you talk a little bit about You're saying you want it to be as authentic, genuine, true form. It's possible. Did you draw upon a lot of the stories within the book from your own memories? Or these just created tales kind of based on, like being at the academy and and kind of piecing things together?
Ricky Conlin: 10:50
I would say a little bit of both. Um, you know, certainly there's a level of my own experiences, and I think in in fictionalizing the book, you know, I can't say that anyone character, you know, inclusive of Mick and any of the character summer, um, nd and even that proliferate characters. They are truly fictional. Um, some of them are, you know, combinations of folks that I knew both male and female, but I definitely feel like there's, ah, genuine nature to the stories they tell, um, you know, in terms of getting that right, you know, I think that just back to that last line you wanted to be a hero, not to find one. There's no such thing as being a passive participant at the Naval Academy And, you know, is as much as as we certainly appreciate our female classmates and appreciated our female classmates back then. You know, I think in writing this book and a lot of self reflection, I don't know if I appreciated them enough for that. We appreciated them enough. And you know, there's a lot of that in the book and, you know, trying to be honest and not sugarcoat at, you know to really create that genuine picture. Um, and to really show how resilient those those women were, Um, you know, t go through that time. It was a historic time at the Naval Academy. Um, it was actually rated the turning point where women were taking on combatant rolls. Um, you know, some of the some of the women that I went to school with were, you know, some of the very first women to fly combat missions in in the back seat in front seat and in many other different situations. And, you know, it's not that it's not that there was, ah willing ignorance in that as much as it would just wasn't appreciated. And you're so self centered at that time in your life in general. And you're so just worried about getting through there yourself, Um, that that sometimes you you miss those things, things. And in writing, um, I've been given the privilege of being a reflect upon them. And so just being ableto to show, you know how courageous a lot of those women had to be. And I don't think that anyone congratulate the Naval Academy without going through their own struggles and I think is a woman. Ah, whether you're at the academy or even in the fleet, there are unique struggles that you have to deal with. And so, you know, being able to convey that was something that I really wanted to get right And, uh, you know, tried really hard to do.
Grant Vermeer: 13:24
Yeah, absolutely. And from my opinion, for what matters again, just as as a man who didn't have to go through a lot of the experience, I think you did a great job And, uh, the book, the book itself eyes absolutely phenomenal. Um, And while we're on that topic, I do want to give a quick plug and shout out. Um, there is a podcast out there called The Sisterhood of Mother. Be, uh, and if you have not heard it, if you are not familiar with it, I would absolutely encourage you all to take a listen because those women are fantastic. One. Not only is their podcast entertaining, but they talk and tackle a lot of these subject on topics that are brought up in this book. Um and so I think that's a great one. If you're if you're looking for again more stories about the Naval Academy, but also about the trail. The trail Blazer, women who have gone through and really set the path to continue to move forward and military community. It's a phenomenal podcast.
Ricky Conlin: 14:22
Yeah, I couldn't agree more grand and, ah, just to give them a plug. Quite genuinely, I love that that podcast and, um, the two episodes that I that I love, the boats they They just recently did an interview with Amy McGrath, who is about to run for Senate against Mitch McConnell. Just an absolutely fantastic podcast. I mean, you want to get a sense of a real hero that that went through the Naval Academy, look no further. And then just in terms of, ah, fun episode, they also recently did during Army Navy week Ah, a an entire podcast dedicated to Army Navy pranks, which I know we had a chance to talk about, um, in the last Todd cow, and, uh, I must have it must have taken It was an hour long podcast. I think it took me three hours to get through because I was rewinding over and over and over again because I was laughing, left her stories But I'm a big fan of of the Sisterhood of Mother Be and definitely check it out.
Grant Vermeer: 15:25
Yeah, Speaking of Army navy pranks, if you if I drop the term the Baltimore Aquarium and you're sitting there in your list and you're like, What the heck is he talking about? You learn all about it flawlessly executed just ah, phenomenal job done by the fictional fictional Mid shipment in the story so perfectly executed again. If you're ever looking for some Army Navy stories, um, you know, taking a trip to the barbershop, whatever it may be, without a doubt, check out the book Sex in the hall. All right. Um, I Ricky, thank you so much. I do want it now. Just pivot a little bit to talk about some interesting topics that I think came up in the book that describe Midshipman life. Ah, that I do want to point out here to try and make some explanations for people that are potentially reading The book on the 1st 1 kind of starts in the first chapter when you are talking about the seem odd, which is the company mate of the deck from your best remembrance way back in the day when you were enable academy midshipman, Do you mind just explaining to the people a little bit? What the responsibilities and rolls of a seem odd
Ricky Conlin: 16:39
are so seem odd is a glorified mall cop, and it's it's it's really your first introduction T Naval Academy Watch. Um, they used to make the the Pleads and the youngsters do it. I don't know if they still do it that way, but that's who manned and seem odd stands for company made of the deck. And, ah, the Naval Academy has seem odd. Rock watch, basically, and it might be a little bit off on the details, but, um, we had demand that watch every day from six AM until I want to say midnight tonight. And ah, and you would get assigned blocks of time during the week. You know, no matter what, whether you were the star of the football team Ah, or whatever. In fact, I remember my please year, um, our starting quarterback, Chris McCoy, was in our company, and it was his first year starting at quarterback, and he actually ran for, like, some ridiculous 282 190 yards in our opener against I want to say s m u. And it was on the road. And then he came back, the team came back and you got back at, like, three in the morning. And he was back on seem odd the next day, um, and did not complain a bit. But, you know, we're plead the c'mon watch is a difficult watch because, you know, it's just one more chance to be out in the hall and have upper class. Screw with you
Grant Vermeer: 18:09
the attentions on your isolated by yourself behind that desk.
Ricky Conlin: 18:12
Totally. And you're supposed to kind of keep an eye on things and make sure that, you know only midshipmen are there. But, you know, eventually there's gonna be a time when your seem odd where all hell breaks loose and, you know, some some alumni wants to get wild after a night of the bars and come back up. I had that happen on me and seem odd, Uh, you know, or we talked about, um, you know, the signature sheets you particularly early on when you're seem odd, I just always cringe If I had it at night and it was like September, and I didn't know all of the upper class, and you're kind of walking alone in the hall. But buddy bopping along and you see some upperclassman that you didn't know and you know you're getting you getting crapped on, you know, we always had. I think it was, like, at least once a month, he had to stand seem odd over the weekend. And
Grant Vermeer: 19:01
oh, yes, a way we can do is the worst is when you're talking about you should mention that duty runs from 06 until midnight on the weekends. It's a 24 hour watch, and as a plead you get double screwed because all that you signed like we call it a watch bill. You signed the watch bill in the week leading up to it. Well, guess what? All the youngsters that stand seem odd. So youngsters and plead stance iPod. Guess what? All the youngsters signed the watch first, so they take all the you know, all the good watches, and then the please air left standing watch from like you 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. On Saturday and then again on like a Sunday morning,
Ricky Conlin: 19:37
as they say rank hath its privileges.
Grant Vermeer: 19:42
Ah, absolutely. So definitely a good introduction to seem odd who absolutely does fail in his duties in this book, which is phenomenal. So definitely a good insight there. The next thing I want to shift to is you talk about summer training in this book, which I think is very interesting again, as we are approaching the end of the spring semester again, this is not that we're necessarily close, but, you know, spring semester, which means summer training is next. Um, you talk a little bit about being a midshipman on a ship where everyone's kind of looking at you, the junior enlisted or like who are you? Why are you, like, kind of wearing Ah ah, an officer uniform. But you're like ranks were like, What are you you know? And that's, like one of the most real midshipman experiences ever. As you like, trying to explain. You're like, Well, I'm not one of you, but I'm also not one of them yet. I'm kind of in this twilight zone. Maybe, You know, uh, so I think if you're looking first of insight into, like, what a surface cruises like for some mid shipment. And, you know, being on a ship is a midshipman book. Ah, because it does a phenomenal job of explaining. Do you have any personal summer training stories that stick out to you is like something that to this day makes you laugh or it was memorable to you?
Ricky Conlin: 21:07
Yeah, and you know that that's you asked about it earlier. You know that the stuff that was experiential in the significance fictionalized most of the fleet stuff was actual experience. Um, and you know, it's funny, because I I actually there was so much material that I excluded from this book because I just didn't have the space for it. But, um, the story in that book in Sex in the Hall is absolutely genuine, and and without giving anything away, Um, there was an experience where, uh, one of the new enlisted on the ship had gotten into a bit of trouble. Um, And so instead of incident, formally punishing that the chiefs who really run the boat that the senior enlisted, um, they did a little bit of street justice or ship justice, I should say. And, uh, they had that Ah, semen on the side of the boat scraping barnacles off the side of the ship. Um, and what the chiefs didn't realize was the bitterness of that list in person had had written in giant eight foot letters on the side of the boat. Uh, f this And, uh, it happened that the admiral realized the admiral walking doors and chip. And so I remember my first week and I was getting off and heading out to, like, my first liberty session out in San Diego. And other than the superintendent, I'd like never even really saw an admiral. And then all of a sudden, we saw this really, really agitated admiral coming on board the ship and and asking for the XO on the commanding officer and were like, Whoa, what is going on? And so right away, we're like, Let's get off this way. Yeah. Yeah. And I think we ended up in Tijuana that night, which was like, where we're directly ordered not to go to go. Yeah, of course we went there.
Grant Vermeer: 23:02
Ah, that's like that's like rule one a one again. I do not condone or promote this behavior. If you tell Midshipman to specifically not do something Donna, there's like a pretty good chance they might dabble in it just a little bit. And, you
Ricky Conlin: 23:20
know, it's funny, the for the for the parents out there of midshipmen. Um, you know, not not too scary thing off. I'll genuinely say that the fleet cruise time. You know what you get to do before your junior year in your senior year? You know, I probably didn't appreciate it quite as much when I was there because I thought, Man, I wanna be, you know, at the beach or by the pool on summer vacation and said, I'm working and on a ship and, you know, sometimes deployed. Um, looking back, some of the best experiences of the academy is like seeing the fleet and just getting to taste the adventure that is the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Um, I actually have tremendous memories. And like I said, I I wish that I had more space in the book to tell my tails because, um, there are no better see tails. And the one told on a ship
Grant Vermeer: 24:14
without a doubt, now that I have, ah, you know, done some navy things and I've become a cz one. What one might say a salty sailor Now, from my time at sea sea stories of the greatest city in the world And they get better every every year detached from the actual happening of the story. It gets better. So, you know,
Ricky Conlin: 24:32
no doubt, no doubt. And so for that, for any of the midshipmen that are still there, they're they're bummed about missing summer vacation, which, you know, it is a sacrifice. Just know that that to live the adventure of the United States Navy and Marine Corps is something that you will remember long, long after, Um and you get a taste of just how great the the people are out in the fleet. You know, just some of the best people that I've met in my entire career
Grant Vermeer: 24:59
without it out. But now I'm a I'm not. I'm not much of a me talk officer, but I feel a hurricane coming, and that's why I want to bring up a conversation of a story in a book. Now, obviously, we're not near, please Summer. But, um, for anyone who may be wondering, there's a scenario in the book where they talk about a hurricane. Ah, in my pleads summer. We called it tornadoes, but I mean similar things, whether phenomenon that destroy things. Ah, so, uh, if you don't mind Ricky just talking a little bit about what, a tornado or a hurricane when we never use that reference? What is that reference in regard to the Naval Academy?
Ricky Conlin: 25:37
Yeah, So this is something that typically happens. I'm sure that there's been some upperclassman give a plea. Ah, tornado hurricane during the academic year. But it's typically a, um ah, please. Summer sort of torture technique. Not really torture, but tormenting, tormenting, agitating, so to speak. Where The upper class detailers, for whatever reason, that they're agitated either at an individual or a room or at the entire company. Um, where they go into the room and literally take all of the contents of the room. You know, close out of the closet, mattress pillows, everything that that plead owns and they're roommates and tosses it out in the hole and just says, get your trash out of my P way and ah, you know, for for the pleads who have such limited time, there is nothing worse than coming back, you know, at the end of a long, long day on seeing all of your crabs constant Al. And you're like you're thinking about eating that Snickers bar out of the care package. But instead you're you know, you wish. You try and you're, you know, unscrewing your pile of garbage in the P way. That is definitely something I experienced, and I'm sure that they still exist in this day.
Grant Vermeer: 26:58
I can guarantee that at least at least back back in my day now that they still absolutely exists. So funny story with tornadoes for me, they have a personal team. Deep seated remembrance in my heart because during my peeps, summer one of my roommates was a athlete as well. Ah, and the upperclassmen from his team actually took the pleads phone and kept them in the locker room during please summers. That way, the police were able to use their phones during sports Period. Now, that's like a big no no, just forever. Anyone listening, just in case. Just know that is an absolutely terrible idea, and you should never do that, ever. Ah, but they got caught naturally, and as a result, there was I mean, it was a huge, huge scandal during our please summer that that was going on and everyone got punished accordingly. But the players that were going through please summer just got a little a little extra bit of love. Good. Just going on in that process. And I was just the unfortunate recipient of being in proximity to this. So because I was a roommate with one of those people, um, we would come back. There was a span of about 10 straight days where I would come every time I left my room and come and came back. My room is tornado are flipped upside down. Our sheets were thrown out into the hall, all of our closest ripped out over shelves. All are folded. Clothes were all on the floor in the hallway. All of our materials in the like shower and sink area had just been thrown all over the place. And it was just like the most depressing thing ever goes. Like you're saying at the end of the day, all you want to do is take your 30 minutes of personal time. 30 minutes. That's all I want. 30 minutes. You know I want it. I want to eat my Snickers. bar. I want to eat my golden double stuffed Oreos. And I want to write a letter to Mom to let her know how Mr Play its place. All right, I want to do it in peace. I want to do a piece that z is that too much to ask too much. So, um, and the worst part about it is they were like, all the details every time we came back there, like, Hey, Mr So and so we were searching for your third phone. We know you're hot in another one somewhere. We're gonna find it, identified it. If you think this is done, you don't know what's coming. And you're just like I was just like I'm so I'm so I'm so I'm so did, uh oh, please, just let me change. Can we change rooms? Is the
Ricky Conlin: 29:25
limit. Say they're upperclassmen. That relishing that one of the fun things about writing the police summer stuff was, um, you know that that the protagonist, uh, co protagonists of Summer Harris, who's mixed girlfriend and in her own right, a primary character of the book. And she is a detailer. And so she's telling her perspective of and she wasn't the one doing that. The Hurricanes, It was another another character, Dick Li
Grant Vermeer: 29:53
Wei affectionately given nickname,
Ricky Conlin: 29:57
um and ah. So to write that to write that chapter from the upper class detailers perspective was a lot of fun, but but yeah, hurricanes Absolute gold standard in the ah, in the plead, uh, sort of speak, giving them their medicine playbook
Grant Vermeer: 30:16
their doubt. Uh, all right. The next topic I want to cover, which I think is a really funny thing that unless otherwise prompted, like in this book, you would just never find a reason to talk about it. And that is wardroom dues. So when I was reading this story, I was cracking up because the most like the most classic thing at every formation, every military information. And then once you get into the fleet, you have this thing called officer training where just officers get together for training and, ah, we'll always be like, hey, make sure you pay your wardroom dues. But at the academy, it was every morning court information, the the ah, the wardroom officer. We get their information to be like, Seriously, guys, Hey, your dues, Please just pay your dues. Uh and so what's funny is, if you're reading this book, you don't otherwise realize you probably just like skin right past that. Nothing much about it. But it's a really funny thing for the idea of wardroom do's and to read about it. So if you don't mind just telling the audience a little bit about what wardroom dues are and when you're at the academy, what did your what your wardroom dues go
Ricky Conlin: 31:20
towards? Yeah, so in the fleet, the wardroom is is really like a financial fund. Ah, that that genuinely funds things like ship parties or, if they want to donate, ah, gift to you know, somebody that rut won an award or, you know, they they want to pay their officers pay into their meals. And so it's It's quite genuinely, the officers paying their share for what they're receiving from the ship, whether it be food or entertainment, Um, and and that's very, very regulated. I'm a former supply officer, so usually the supply officer has at least a cognizance of what's going on there. A two naval academy, a little bit of a different story, the wardroom fees, a RM or of the company's slush fund. Or shall I say that your funds in that there's not nearly as much regulation on what happens with the wardroom do's and I don't know exactly how they do, and I might be mistaken, but I feel like there was some level of different levels of pay of what you paid into the wardroom dues. But it ultimately was like never equitably and that, you know, the please might have paid, like 20 or 30% last. But, you know, you were weird ice cream paying for the keg CDs.
Grant Vermeer: 32:37
Okay, phase of the war drums and form a
Ricky Conlin: 32:39
sound dated like we used to buy. All of our God really makes you sound dated because DVDs weren't even out yet. You would buy VHS tapes and move.
Grant Vermeer: 32:49
Oh, my gosh, you're old, old. Oh, don't show your age like
Ricky Conlin: 32:54
I won't. But you know, it was ah, it's quite a genuine thing. You know, in terms of mentioned earlier, rank has its privileges. And, of course, every plead that pays the wardrobe dues gets too one day. Um, if they if they stick around, they get to get to enjoy the benefits. Um Yeah, I just remember being a plea, been a youngster and being infuriated because it was like my entire paycheck was gone. And I get a burn hot dog out of it. E in the front of the line B s
Grant Vermeer: 33:25
S O. So I can confirm that that still happens. It is a little bit better now, So obviously there are different amounts that are paid for the fourth class, third class and class in first class, the first class obviously paying the most second class playing second most. And then the excursion pleads, but still contributing and all of that money. And we're talking like please, like $20. Ah, semester. So $20 just semester. Ah, youngsters like $30 a semester, Uh, second class, like 50 or 60 a semester, and then the first class of you, like 100 a semester. And that you're saying it mainly just goes to providing alcohol for the tailgates at the football game. So usually each company has the tailgate. Um, they're so like as a play of your like, Yeah, I get it. I'm on Lee paying $2 but I'm paying $20 or something. I will never, ever touch, like, really, ever touch. But there there is a slight justification that money is also go. That goes to paying for the buns and the hamburgers and the hot dogs. But then, to get back to your point, it's like, Yeah, we a plea back of the line back in the line like we're eating first. So
Ricky Conlin: 34:25
it just hit us to the golden rule of the Naval Academy. It sucks to be a plea. It's
Grant Vermeer: 34:30
accepted a plea, which is the last thing that I want to talk about, Um, about this book specifically. And there's a phenomenal line in here and ah, the line res. We all really had a good situation in terms of the Naval Academy existence, but we still part of my language bitched and moaned about it at every opportunity we could. And there's There's another line, another line in there that talks about Ah, it's about commissioning and then basically at commissioning, you promote right. So if you're like a second class the day of commissioning, you also promoted put on first class mint shipment and with promotions comes privileges. You get more privileges like you get you know what you're saying When you become from a youngster to a second class, you now have the ability to drive. You now have the ability to wear civilian clothes. You get all these privileges and but then this is quote unquote from your book. Then after a few months of having those new privileges, you realize it still sucks to be a naval academy. And totaling this is this is the topic. I'm a turned over to you and just sex. But this is a topic that, like, even like it's the It's the classic phrase like, yeah, it's it's the best place to be from But, you know, like it sucks to be there And that's yeah, you know, I turned it over to you. Yeah,
Ricky Conlin: 35:47
I think that's one of those things where the Naval Academy is really great. It just giving you just enough, you know, just enough. And you know, from that hop from Plead the youngster you just said I remember just being so genuinely excited to not be a plead. And you know that lasts for genuinely the summer. And certainly when you come back in the academic here, you're like, Oh my God, I'm so thankful that I'm not a plead. And then you hit that October time frame and you're like, Yeah, but But I still can't drive and I still gotta wear my uniform out and
Grant Vermeer: 36:22
you know, I'm not cut out. That's what we that's what I joked. Ah, as a youngster, I I equate a youngster as just a plead, but with carry on like that, that's how I describe it. You're just that you're just plead with carry on,
Ricky Conlin: 36:35
right, right, and you know it did. Oh, second class year, you know, you get to drive, but you don't have as many weekends is the first ease do. And there's a lot more restrictions on when you can wear where your clothes. And, you know, there was this feeling, at least for me, that by the time I was a first, he like In some ways I was probably most content plea beer just because it was so new. And then there gets to be a point where you know, you given a little bit more and a little bit more and a little bit more, and the first year is great and it's definitely best of all to be a first day at the Naval Academy. There's also like this feeling of, you know, you just you've been doing it for four years, and ultimately, you know, you're never a riel college student and ah, and you know, of course, you know that going in. But when you live it, you know you can You can't help but complain just a little bit. Just But I will say this. I have, as you mentioned earlier, I genuinely believe the fleet is run by senior enlisted and that there's so much wisdom to be learned from a salty chief on a ship. Rest assured. And, uh, I had ah, really, really Well, I won't name the name, but I had a chief that I work with, and he used to just say, You know, part of my friends, but but a bitchen sailors, a happy sailor is like, you know, you don't you don't really, really need to worry when they're complaining. It's when they stop complaining when you need to worry. And so you know, that's just all part of it. And, ah, you know, when you look back on it, it becomes part of the tradition and it's it's That's the type of stuff that you ah, you bond over in the reunions and years passed.
Grant Vermeer: 38:12
That's a phenomenal way to put it, and I couldn't agree more, and it kind of ended on a sentimental note. Um, it is a funny culture about the Naval Academy. I was talking a parent's past weekend. I actually was blessed enough to get to go to, Ah, the Kentucky Parents Club. They're having a meaning and a Dark Ages packing party Park era. Packing some care packages for midshipman during the Dark Ages was awesome, and I was I was talking to a mom. She was saying, It's funny because whenever she talks to her kid or kids like ah, hate it, display stocks like the worst. And he's like, Well, then why don't you, like, just do something else or go somewhere else? And he's like, Well, I wouldn't rather be anywhere else like that, Like that's That's the thing is like we we realized this is where I want to get sentimental is like we realized how great of an opportunity it really is to be at the Naval Academy. The Naval Academy is such an amazing place for your life to be a part of the network. The community, the experience, the mentors, the friends, all of those different aspects make it such an amazing place to be. And I couldn't like more highly recommend the Naval Academy. To anyone, the experience is phenomenal, but like you're saying, that's not gonna stop people from complaining. Always, there's always a reason to complain. At the end of the day, you're not living a fun experience, not having that normal college experience, which will always lead to complaining. But at the end of the day, a rest assured, When you make it to that second class in that first class year, you really realize how good you have it and how lucky you are to be where you're at. And although I might complain about it, I do know that I wouldn't rather be anywhere else. And that's just that's just the bottom line of it,
Ricky Conlin: 39:48
right? And I mean, look, I think the bonds that you share, especially with your classmates and your roommates, I mean that that is what builds that bond. You know that the toughness of the time that you're living through all together the fact that it's crappy, but it's crappy for everyone and you're all over again. Yeah, there is truly and genuinely one of the great things about it.
Grant Vermeer: 40:12
Absolutely. All right. Ricky will have one last question for you. What's next? What's book three? What? What? What? What's next? What can you spoil for us? What can you give us? What should we be looking forward to?
Ricky Conlin: 40:26
Yeah, so? So, Book three. I think you'll definitely see the continuation of, ah, Summer and Mick and how that relationship plays out. Um, and you'll certainly see how Mick earns his his third black end. Um, but, you know, I think with the third book, um, there's definitely gonna be, Ah, good bit of the honor system really delved into the name of the third novel will be honor code. Um, and I'm really excited about it, so I'll get a chance to die of a bit more into the honor system and in that world. And I think that what you'll see is perhaps an opportunity to dive into a few other characters more deeply mixed Roommate and D ah. It's certainly going to be an expanded area. Focus in in book three. But, you know, I'm, like, 50 pages into it. I'm hoping that I could knock it out, knock on wood, Um, in another two years, So Ah, that gives everyone plenty of time. But but certainly rush out and Redbook one and two. And I think I said this before, but, you know, I think that that sex in the hole in black End do hold a standalone books And so, um, if you want to check out sex in the hall But you don't necessarily want to read the whole whole two books, I think they can certainly stand alone, and vice versa for black end. But, um, I'm definitely excited about about the third book. There's a lot I want to say. They're very similar to the feelings that I had in the second book. You know, when I wrote these books, like I said, you know, it started way back when is just being a venue to tell some of my funny stories, and I think as I've had a chance to write it and reflect about it, um, I think the thing I enjoy the most is to really have something to say and just like I had something to say in sex in the Hall. I will definitely have something to say in honor code. And, you know, I also think it'll be fun to wrap up the book and see that to come to fruition. You know, Mick will make it to graduation day. But if if if you read the 1st 2 novels, it will be an adventure to get there. And, uh, the third book will be no different.
Grant Vermeer: 42:38
Absolutely. All right, ladies and gentlemen, Sex in the hall by Ricky Conlan. Ah, and Ricky, Thank you so much. If people want to learn more about you or more about your books or find a place to go Ah, where would you direct them to learn more about you and your work?
Ricky Conlin: 42:58
Yes. So, uh, I maintain a Facebook page. Ricky Conlan is black and trilogy, certainly. Check that out. I do generally keep that is the hub of ah, all things. Uh, you know, trilogy news related. There's a bunch of stuff coming up in terms of press around the book, um, and Annapolis in a couple of weeks to do a couple of interviews, and I'm really excited about, So tune in there. Check that out. Follow me on Twitter. And, of course, if if you're at all interested in the book, go to Amazon and, ah, they both sell the hard copy as well as the Kindle. But definitely check it out. So Amazon Facebook on there. And, ah, if you love it, you hate it. Say something about it. There's no such thing as bad press. Um, just check it out. I think that Ah, if you at any point have anything to do with the Naval Academy or just have a curiosity of what that place is all about in a really genuine, honest way, check out the book.
Grant Vermeer: 44:03
All right, we will put a link. Ah, an Amazon link to purchase both the black end and sex in the hall in the show notes of this episode to make sure you go check it out, as well as links to everything Ricky has talked about again. Make sure to read sex in the hall. It gets a very strong recommendation for myself and the entire academy insider team. Um, for those of you guys, I've gotten to know Ricky extremely well. Now, over the past couple of months on. Everything you're hearing on these episodes is truly genuine to who he is. He's one of the kind of people that you'll ever meet. And I can't recommend enough his book, his works and who he is and what he stands for. So make sure to go support him and his books. I think you'll really enjoy them. They do give a great inside intimate shipment life, Um, and really send a great message. Ah, that we definitely all need to adopt in our military moving forward. So, Ricky, thank you. Thank you, thank you. It's always a pleasure having you on.
Ricky Conlin: 44:57
Thanks, Grant. And ah, you know, the one last thing that I'll say And I really wanted to say it in this podcast is, uh, you know, from my perspective, as a midshipman, particularly when I was there. Um and I'll say that that it wasn't a holistic attitude, but it was a perpetuated attitude, an attitude that I had where, you know, it was it was Oh, well, she's great for a girl. Um and I think what I want to get across this book is the concept of, you know, for any woman that made it through there is currently going there. It's that she's great, period. Um, and I think that if there's anything that I want to convey, like I said in this book in the series is that, you know, women at the Naval Academy have every right to be there. And we should be gracious that they're there because, um, you know, the proof is in the pudding. At this point, I could I could do an entire other podcast about some of the women that I had the privilege to serve with and, you know, to To be able to do that is a real privilege. And, you know, for everyone wanting to get a sense of what that's all about, check out the novel.
Grant Vermeer: 46:11
Thanks, Ricky. I I appreciate it a second everything. And I think it just goes to show everything that I just said is absolutely true about who you are. So thank you for taking this opportunity to share your thoughts, share your perspective, share your gratitude and thanks to all the amazing woman that have gone before and made it possible for the woman that air going today. So again, thank you guys into the entire Academy Academy insider audience. I really hope you guys enjoyed the episode. Make sure to subscribe or leave a review here on Apple podcasts. Have a good one. All right, everyone. I really hope you enjoyed these episodes with Ricky. I love Ricky. He's such a great guy. It was such a fun episode to record on. Getting to talk to him really is fantastic. So everything I said in the episode, I absolutely mean. I highly recommend you check it out. But as always again, please subscribe to the academy instead of podcast and leave me a review on Apple podcasts. Thank you so much for letting me be your guide to the United States Naval Academy. Have a good one.