Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Gift From My Dad

Monday, May 11th, marks sixteen years since I lost my dad to cancer. As a special honor to him, I will be giving away both my military themed short stories, Panel 35 and The Shadow Soldier, free on that day. My dad was a combat wounded Vietnam veteran, one of the forgotten ones. His name isn't on any wall. No Purple Heart fills the box of medals and mementoes of him I collected.  He is one of the ones that returned to this country and hid from his past. In a time before PTSD was a buzzword, and before they knew that Agent Orange would kill almost as many soldiers as the Viet Cong did.

My dad was a proud man. As cancer ravaged him, he fought to stay below the radar. Never wanting anyone to see him falter. And although our relationship had been strained in my teen years, marred by things I am not getting into in the here and now, we got back the closeness we shared. I spent the last two years of his life by his side, in and out of the VA hospitals in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. In those months my dad gave me his greatest gift, his memories. And when he grew too weak to talk, and cancer stole his voice box from him, we wrote letters. Letters that still give me strength to this day.

Some of those memories have made it into stories I have written. Bits and pieces grace the pages. But I am still not ready to share all he told me, and I might never be. His time in Vietnam was short, tragic, and way to much for the eighteen year old boy he was.

I want to honor him with my writing, keep his memory alive, and help all veterans in the process. And while I figure out the best way to tell his story, which I will when the time is right, little tales spring from me. Fleeting glimpses of the emotions behind the stories.......

Sixteen years ago I knew so little. I was a newlywed, had yet to become a mom, and was still struggling to find my place in this world. I still needed my dad. The comforting smell of pipe smoke, and the special smile he seemed to reserve for me. That is the place my short story Panel 35 comes from. Named for the 35th panel of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC, it would have been the panel his name was on had he died in country, and not thirty years later. Read more about the story here:

The pain and struggle felt by those left behind, those left to deal with the scars of war, and the what if's that play on everyone's mind. Those are the thoughts that built The Shadow Soldier. I combined the feelings of those returning, with stories my dad told me, to bring the modern day tale of recovery to the page. Read more about this story and it's connection to Wounded Warrior Project here:

On May 11th visit my Facebook page for the links to Amazon where you can download your free ebooks. (12AM - 12 PM). Please share with all your friends. I will be donating an additional $10.00 that day to Wounded Warrior, so hopefully we can get at least ten downloads.  Thank you so very much for your support.

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