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Archive for the ‘Men’ Category

While watching a retrospective on the American film maker, Ken Burns, the commentator announced that Burns was soon to release a new documentary about the Vietnam War. After seeing a short heartbreaking clip, I thought about the 50,000+ American soldiers (many of them drafted) who lost their lives in a foreign war the U.S. inherited from the French who originally colonized this southeast Asian country.

Ken Burns’s, The Vietnam War, recently shown on PBS, brought back the images that were so much a part of my childhood, many of them indelible—the sort of images that you can never erase but you wish you had never seen.

I admit I don’t know much of the history and have not researched the politics surrounding the decision to send our troops into this small country. I have read only a few books about this war and seen even fewer films. The experience of the war for me, as a girl who had just lost her own father, is still raw and painful.

My Vietnamese and Cambodian friends are too young to have experienced the war itself. Of course, its aftermath affected their futures in many ways, most are now American citizens, arriving as children with their parents as refugees, establishing new lives and professions, raising families.

Today, my featured book is the book I most often recommend about this seemingly endless war written by John Podlaski—a drafted Vietnam War Veteran, a “cherry”—from his own experiences. Below is the full description of the book:

“When a soldier leaves for war, those left behind often wonder what their loved ones are experiencing. Letters home are always cheerful and vague – no sense in worrying the family. Then upon returning home, these young soldiers do not want to talk about their experiences. Family and friends allege they are now distant, changed, and not the same person they remember from several months earlier. What causes this?

“Although the backdrop for this novel is the Vietnam War, ‘Cherries’ exist in every war. They are the young ‘Newbie’ soldiers, who are trained for war. However, most are not ready to absorb the harsh physical, mental and emotional stress of war. Once they come under fire and witness death firsthand, a life-changing transition begins. This eye-opening account offers readers an in-depth look into the everyday struggles of these young infantry soldiers. You’ll feel their fear, awe, drama, and sorrow, witness the bravery and sometimes laugh at their humor.

“No two war experiences are the same, but after finishing Cherries – A Vietnam War Novel, readers will have a much better understanding as to why these changes occur and why our military heroes are different upon their return home. Veterans will relate!

“Parental Rating: This book contains content that may not be suitable for young readers 17 and under.

“Author’s statement: While Cherries is largely a work of fiction, many of the events and anecdotes described in the novel were based on the actual experiences of the author. The places and units mentioned were real and did exist. All characters portrayed are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events, and locales, are entirely coincidental.

“Award: Finalist in Sixth International Literary Awards at Washington State College, 1986 (titled The Ingenuous Soldier).”

Another of John Podlaski’s novels is When Can I Stop Running, reviewed on VVA Books. John is a Goodreads author.

When you see a Vietnam veteran, please say “Welcome Home, thank you for your service.” These “Cherries” deserved better than they received.

Welcome home, John! Thank you for your service and your willingness to write about your experience.

— Leigh Verrill-Rhys

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While writing my novel by installment, I consciously chose holiday celebrations.

The one common thread about these holidays—besides the story itself—was the undeniable commercialization of every one of them as an opportunity for Big Sale Weekends, a fact I did mention in several of the 10,000 to 11,000 words short stories/novellas that make up the novel.

One could argue that the use of these holidays in book titles was a blatant and shameless exploitation in itself. Guilty!

In my defense, I used each holiday to structure an event in my protagonist’s growth from a pouty, self-pitying, rejected girlfriend to a woman capable of giving, as well as accepting, love from the two most important men in her life: her father, who she willingly believed had abandoned her in childhood, and her future Number One, who she must learn to trust when his profession makes demands, both of whom are men who have put their lives on the line for others.

The commercialization of Memorial Day, Presidents Day, Independence Day/4th of July, Cover Image Nights Before: The NovelVeterans Day, while celebrating our traditions and national values, as well as commemorating the sacrifices of those who have died to keep us safe and to secure our freedoms, also speaks to our fundamental identity as the land of opportunity.

As one of my English friends expressed the strength and success of our nation: “If you can’t make it in America, you can’t make it anywhere.”

The 4th of July, our ancestors’ declaration of independence from oppressive laws and unfair taxes, is a perfect occasion to celebrate what Americans do best: making our work, our lives, our families, our country great.

Happy Independence Day to all!

 

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https://fourfoxesonehound.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/leigh-verrill-rhys-guest-fox-redux

Many thanks to my friend, Jeff Salter, who has now written fourteen books since we last had an encounter of the blog kind.

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Humor-Social Commentary/Contemporary

As you’ve probably guessed, Linton Robinson is one of my favorite go-to authors for humor, particularly male humor. Call me whatever you like but Lin’s humor makes me laugh. It’s ironic, twisted, often self-deprecating and always ROFL funny. My favorite line is “Have they ruled out suicide?” (You’ll have to read Sweet Spot to get that one.)

This week I’m featuring The Way of the Weekend Warrior, a sardonic look at the world of the wayward journalist, gone rogue and a whole lot of other things.

I am enthralled by Lin’s humor, caustic wit, sarcasm, insights and social commentary. He sees the world for what it is, full of people who have no business pretending they are anything other than—well, you be the judge. But remember, we’re in the same boat.

The Way of the Weekend Warrior is available on Amazon, in Kindle or Paperback.

 

 

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Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance
Size Matters, By J. L. Salter
 
Size does matter, when you’re only a foot tall.
  
Concept:
Accidentally swallowing a mysterious pill from her eccentric scientist cousin, Emma Hobby shrinks to under a foot tall. When she resumes normal size, she must track down her cousin, who’s obviously in trouble (based on those unsettling messages he left). Can those sci-fi miniaturization pills help find him? How about Logan Stride, the attorney who wants to handle more of Emma than her case? 
 
Blurb:
Emma Hobby mistakenly takes a pill from a bottle mailed her by her eccentric/brilliant cousin — and it reduces her to eleven inches tall. Now she’s eye to eye with the Cyndi dolls she lovingly collects and sells in her shop.
Nobody – not even her best friend – believes her, so Emma takes another pill to see if it happens again. It DOES! This time she has a witness (Vickilee), who records things as they happen… and establishes a partial timetable.
Now that she thinks she knows what happens and when, can Emma use these pills somehow to help rescue her cousin, who left those unsettling messages? And will that handsome attorney she’s almost dating help her efforts? Or will Logan Stride just get in her way?
 Size Matters. Novel, $1.99. Size Matters

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Book Cover Image The WayChristian Fantasy

A boy alone in an ancient forest always forbidden for him to enter or even go near. Now there is no choice as all that lies behind him are the broken dreams and shattered bodies of his people set ablaze in the night all because they refused to bow to tyranny. His nation gone, it’s up to him to survive or perish in the night as the case may be easily enough. Nothing is for sure in a forest where even the trees go to war.

The Way – is a story of High Christian Fantasy that reveals truth. Evil is evil and all that is good is under a never ending assault to be polluted by that which is diametrically opposed to the ways of Eloah, the Most High, the Creator of everything. Expect to be led on a journey that reveals what it’s like to be a warrior cast into the epic struggle of Good vs Evil.

The Way is available for Kindle and Nook as well as at other online book outlets.

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I posted this review about Linton Robinson’s book, Sweet Spot, several years ago, but with all the political upheaval recently, this particular book keeps coming to mind. I loved it then and love it still.

Mazatlan Confidential Sweet Spot, Linton Robinson

Linton Robinson’s  novel of corrupt politicians, Mazatlan Carnival and baseball has all the credentials for a block-busting read: gritty, graphic and gripping. This is a fortuitous find among the many thousands of titles that are published every year and well-worth the effort. Fans of Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler and Tennessee Williams will discover resonances with Robinson’s main character, Raymundo Carrasco – retired, short-haul, major league star turned investigative journalist and local government flunky.

The depth of this novel is astonishing and the skill with which Robinson interweaves his dramatic motifs is a lesson in craft for any writer. Robinson’s command of his metaphors is masterful. The background information needed to create the depth of this story is fed through Carrasco’s columns and his insights about his native city and fellow citizens. If you thought you knew something about Mexico, this book will set you straight.

Carrasco has returned to his native Mazatlan after a few seasons over the border where he held his batting average steady – good enough for the Majors. Despite his success, he hasn’t found that “sweet spot” in his life. Although it seems a foolish choice, with the murders and mayhem of all the vultures surrounding him, he seeks that moment working for the mayor’s office press team. Just when his life can’t get worse, it does, spiraling into gruesome hilarity and poetic decadence.

Despite the relentless brutality, this novel is a glorious celebration of humanity in all its joyful exuberance and soul-destroying routine.

Sweet Spot is a novel I can recommend. It is thoughtful, intense and violent. It is also hilarious and beautiful in its compassion for all we poor/pure souls seeking that moment of absolute perfection.

While I read this, word for unrelenting word, I realized that the United States’ most intimate foreign relationship is mutually dependent and as destructive as Mundo’s love affair with Mijares.

 

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