Writer’s Burden Crushes Chair

Desk chair collapseMy daily companion for many years collapsed yesterday under the weight of writing three books: HOTEL CONSTELLATION: Notes from America’s Secret War in Laos; The Mark of the Spider; and most recently, Beware the Spider.

That’s right. My desk chair died.

I was not injured, but the sound of the left arm giving way under the strain of tens of thousands of typed words startled me from my day dreams. I mean, it interrupted my plotting of a new story for readers.

Fortunately, one of the office supply stores is having a sale on chairs (ending tomorrow), and I got a new one for less than what the old one cost.

You served me well, chair. RIP.

 

Book 3 Coming June 17

Book Proofs_IMG_6256

There they are: Proofs of the three books I’ve managed to kick out the door.

My Viet Nam-era memoir, HOTEL CONSTELLATION, and the first Black Orchid Chronicle, The Mark of the Spider, are still available on Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd and Smashwords.

The Mark of the Spider is available FREE on Amazon in ebook format for just a few more days.

On Monday, the lastest but probably not the last, Beware the Spider will debut.

Give it a look.

More to Come

I’m taking the summer off from the Black Orchid Chronicles, but I’ve committed myself to finishing a sci-fi first contact book I’m calling PSNGR.

And I’ve told myself I must wrap up the short story about my experience as a morgue escort on a dark and stormy night many years ago. I think I’ll call that one A La Cart.

Awards Judge: Hotel Constellation A ‘Fascinating Memoir’

Writer’s Digest informed me that my Viet-Nam era memoir, Hotel Constellation: America’s Secret War in Laos, missed the top prize for memoirs in its 2018 self-published book awards.

But it did give me a heckuva good writeup as a consolation prize. The judge called it “a fascinating memoir written by a seasoned writer.

Hotel Constellation got a 5 — the highest rating on a scale of 0-5 — on five of the six criteria judged. It stumbled on “Plot and Story Appeal,” which I grant is a really important factor. It rated a 4 out of 5.

Here is what a judge of the 25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards wrote: (This is the complete review, unedited except to correct the spelling of the name, Branfman.)

Hotel Constellation - 3D

Hotel Constellation opens with a good self-description of a stubborn young man absolutely bent on going to Vietnam, obsessed with entering the country and studying for a year at the Buddhist University in Saigon. He arrives in September of 1970. The level of danger involved in his enterprise, for which he has prepared for an entire year, can be seen in his father’s taking out a $5,000 life insurance policy on his own son. Mr. Haase Sr. knew he would not be able to afford to ship his son’s cadaver back should anything go wrong. Wrong, in fact, was how things went from the first moment Haase disembarked from the plane. He ended up being shipped off to Bangkok, from which place he worked on finding a way back in to Vietnam. I really felt for the author’s frustrations in Laos. The story about Branfman forced departure from Laos is interesting, especially when the reader considers it might have been engineered by the U.S. Embassy. The author explains a great deal about the Meo people. He also shows that he had a most original life in Laos. It is ironic, however, that he felt things were happening everywhere except where he was. I like the pictures: they bring a nitty gritty ethos to the memoir, none more convincingly than the shot of the author interviewing Jane Fonda on the tarmac of Wattay Airport in July of 1972. I liked the reasons the narrator gives for his going to Vietnam—to prove to his father that he was “not a coward, not afraid to face war just because [he] opposed this one” (251). This is a fascinating memoir written by a seasoned writer who shows that our ideals at 20 influence choices that impact us for a lifetime and may, as in the case of Haase, give us rare perspective.

Thanks to Writers Digest and congratulations to all of the self-published winners.


Hotel Constellation is available in ebook and paperback formats.

Get your ebook now at: Amazon | AppleBarnes & Noble | Kobo | ScribdSmashwords

Also available in paperback at Amazon.

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