Friday, May 27, 2016

Having Their Say: Veteran Authors Share Military And Life Experiences

I am a poet by life experience and Army Officer by trade. Captain Adrian Massey wrote this on his blog in 2008 during his second tour in Iraq. While there, Captain Massey shared with his readers life “as I know it” in Baghdad: “The good, the bad, and the ugly.” 

Veterans and service members who are authors have stories to tell and they are sharing them in their own special way, whether at home or on active duty as Captain Massey, who also penned a book of poetry titled, A Soldier’s Poetic Response: A Slice of His Life. (To read his poem, “The Bugle Calls” in tribute of those who gave their lives for our country, click HERE)

Some veterans receive help with their writing, thanks to major supporters such as The Veterans Writing Project. The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization, funded by veterans and their family members, offers writing seminars and workshops for veterans, service members, and their adult family members. 

While Captain Massey chooses poetry, some veterans decide to pen their memoirs in non-fiction short stories and novels.  For instance, Sam Gaylord author of Then I Came Home, recalls his harsh childhood growing up in poverty in Southern Indiana and then deciding to serve his country by joining the U.S. Marines. Gaylord was later deployed to View Nam where he was seriously wounded. He describes in a straightforward manner his feelings of the government betraying veterans in general, and disabled veterans, in particular. Many veterans – Viet Nam and otherwise – will be able to relate with Gaylord’s telling of tragic events. 

Some veteran writers take the fictional route to tell their war-related stories. This is what retired Navy veteran Richard S. Rose did in his novels, Tarnished Brass Curtain: A Novel of Vietnam, and Vietnam Through Rose-Colored Glasses, which was a co-winner in the 2011 Indie Excellence Awards in the Military Fiction Category. Rose, a Navy senior chief petty officer in Saigon and throughout the Mekong Delta, based many of his stories on his personal experience. Rose was also the first prize winner of MANA's 2013 Sunrise Writer's Contest for his work, Did You Ever Try To Melt A Lemon Drop? And Other Tales Of Life Seen Through Rose-Colored GlassesThe book is a collection of commentaries, editorials, short stories and doggerel verse from Saigon.
In some instances, non-veterans write convincingly about the war and the difficulties of readjusting to civilian life, such as T. Patrick Devlin did in his first book, Redball Mission. Devlin skillfully weaves a story about  a veteran having difficulties with what he perceives and what is actually occurring, which at times becomes very thin. Devlin is “right on target” with the issues service personnel face after returning home:

About a hundred years ago, after I got back from Nam, I wasn’t fit to be in civilized company…I had forgotten what life was in the world. This was the essence of the DoD’s readjustment plan for personnel returning from a war zone. It was the,”You’re on your own” readjustment plan. After learning and perfecting the techniques of slaughtering other human beings individually or en masse, the grunts were rotated out and sent home to reassemble the fragments of their lives as if nothing had ever happened. (Read sample chapters of the book HERE)

Whether writing fiction or nonfiction, veterans and service members who are authors are having their say and sharing their stories with the masses–and readers are all the better for it. If you are a veteran and have a manuscript that you're ready to publish, we can help. Contact  MarketingNewAuthors today and 734-975-0028 or email us at marketingnewauth@aol.com.

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