It was a simpler time. It was a quieter time. A boy growing up in a small Northern California town in the late 1950s was fairly well isolated from the world at large. My 50,600-word novel Spears Odyssey chronicles the first experiences of a nineteen-year-old boy as he ventures out beyond the familiar. His name is Chris Clark and he joins the Navy. After boot camp, he is assigned to a Navy electronics school in Virginia. His story begins there in Norfolk, Virginia. “Wanna do it?” In response she hunches up her shoulders and says, “Okay. Where?” Imagine Chris’s reaction to his encounter with a girl in the park when she agrees to have sex with him. It would be his first time. It doesn’t work out, but not for a lack of trying. With the resilience of the young, he recovers from his disappointment and focuses on his first duty station at Dam Neck, near Virginia Beach. Upon reporting in, Chris learns he is being transferred to a World War II–era destroyer while awaiting the start of his class. The ship is the USS Spears, and it becomes the instrument of an odyssey from naiveté to maturity. On his months-long journey, he is schooled in the various aspects of shipboard life. From fellow sailors he learns about life in other regions of the United States and finally has his first, successful sexual encounter while in Scotland. Toward the end, his journey turns tragic as a couple of crewmembers die in horrible ways. Even though Chris was a direct witness to one of the deaths, with the help of his Division Officer he learns to accept what happened and move on. As Spears plied her way back toward Norfolk, Chris realized he was no longer the unsure, easily intimidated neophyte that left Virginia a couple of months before. Rather, he was coming away from his odyssey with an increased level of self confidence and a newly found sense of pride. I am retired from a career in California’s “high tech” industry and reside in Santa Rosa, California. My first book, Winged History, The Life and Times of Kenneth L. Chastain, Aviator (Turner Publishing, 2003) chronicles my pilot-father’s life, as well as major milestones in American aviation history.