Don't Miss a Single MWSA Post! Subscribe Here!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Calling All MWSA Writers: My Favorite Resource for 2010

OMG, I love this credible resource for anyone who wants to get their query letters and manuscripts past the scrutinizing eyes of gatekeepers. Find why I love it and what it is at

From you MWSA blogger Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Please let us all know what your favorite writing resource is! (-:

If your fellow writers or fellow soldiers or vets would benefit from this post, please use this little green widget to pass the news to your followers at Twitter:

Friday, December 18, 2009

A New Book on the Writing Process

I thought I'd let MWSA members know of a review of a new book on writing I just posted at It is:

The Essential Don Murray
Subtitle: Lessons from America's Greatest Writing Teacher
Edited by Thomas Newkirk and Lisa C. Miller
Afterword by Chip Scanlan
Boynton/Cook Publishers
ISBN: 9780867096002
Contact Reviewer:
Publisher's Site:

Those ready to build on their skills will want to pop on over. The New Book Review. It's also yours to utilize. The guidelines are in the left column. Just scroll down a bit.
Submitted by your MWSA blogger, Carolyn Howard-Johnson

If your fellow writers or fellow soldiers or vets would benefit from this post, please use this little green widget to pass the news to your followers at Twitter:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Interview with Jack Woodville London

If your fellow writers or fellow soldiers or vets would benefit from this post, please use this little green widget to pass the news to your followers at Twitter:

Here's an interview with Jack Woodville London, author of Virginia's War.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How Can Your Writing and Cookies Work to Make A Soldier Happy at Christmas?

Aha! A contest made in heaven for MWSA members. A way to get your work published and send cookies to soldiers! Learn about it at Sharing with Writers.


If your fellow writers or fellow soldiers or vets would benefit from this post, please use this little green widget to pass the news to your followers at Twitter:


Monday, December 7, 2009

one of our members, Michael Mullins, contributed a poem to help me commemorate Dec. 7on my blog at He is the author of Vietnam in Verse, poetry for beer drinkers. "ViV" won the Gold Medal for poetry from Military Writers Society of America in 2007. I hope MWSA members will go leave a comment--perhaps some encouragement--for their fellow writer.

Mike's book is available on line from on-line Amazon, B&N, and B-a-M book stores and as an audio-book from the author. Please contact him at this e-mail address; or via land mail at POB 456 Windfall, In. 46076.
Vietnam Veteran, Delta 3/7, 199th Light Infantry, '68-'69.
He is also Vice President of the MWSA. One dollar from either version goes to the Wounded Warrior Project.

If your fellow writers or fellow soldiers or vets would benefit from this post, please use this little green widget to pass the news to your followers at Twitter:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson wrote the foreword for Eric Dinyer's book of patriotic quotations, Support Our Troops, published by Andrews McMeel. Part of the proceeds for the book benefit Fisher House. Her chapbook of poetry won the Military Writers Society of America's award of excellence. Find it at Her novel, collection of creative nonfiction and much of her poetry is informed by interest in leading the world toward acceptance of one another. Find her web page dedicated to tolerance at If your Twitter followers would be interested, please pass this on to them using this widget:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Contest Just for Military Writers

Many of you may already be familiar with Winning Writers newsletter. It is a long monthly newsletter with tons of resources and contests for writers. They are also very good to their subscribers. They mentioned the award the chapbook I coauthored with Magadalean Ball received recently. It is She Wore Emerald Then: Relections on Motherhood. just because I'm a subscriber. At any rate, this from their recent newsletter will be of special interest to you:

12/1: W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction +++Highly recommended free contest offers $5,000 for the best published book of fiction set in a period when the United States was at war. Book must have been published in the calendar year prior to the award. For example, books published in 2009 are eligible for the 2010 award, which has a December 1, 2009 deadline. Sponsored by the American Library Association.

To subscribe to Winning Writers go to


If your fellow writers or fellow soldiers or vets would benefit from this post, please use this little green widget to pass the news to your followers at Twitter:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It is Time for a New Military Motto

I just entered a new blog on my War Peace Tolerance blog. It begins:

Yesterday was Veteran's Day. My husband and I were driving to the Laemmle Theater in Pasadena to see Skin, a movie set in South Africa during apartheid about (what else?) tolerance. And on the back of a bus was a sign from the military. Seems they have a new motto. I'm doing it from memory but this was the approximage message...

I hope you'll go to to see what this new message is and that, if you agree, you'll pass the blog address to others you know in the military. You is time.

Submitted by MWSA blogger member, blogger, MWSA award-winner Carolyn Howard-Johnson and advocate for writers.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sharing my Opinion-Editorial on

I'm honored that the prestigious news service recently ran an Op-ed I authored having to do with military members making the transition to civilian life. I focused a great deal on education and the importance it plays in a post-military career, especially a career in the security industry. While my Op-ed was not so much oriented to my writing, the wonderful people at were gracious to post a separate box with the article that contains my biography. My bio includes information about my writing and my background in the US Air Force. reaches an audience of 10 million, so this opportunity has been one of the best I've had so far in terms of getting my story out there.

Please visit the article here: New GI Bill is Key to a Successful Transition

Mike Angley
Award-Winning Author of the Child Finder Trilogy

Richard Lowry's Blog Entry -- INCOMING: The Firefight at COP KEATING

Richard Lowry's Blog Entry

James Jellerson Performs for Open Mic in Orlando, October 9, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

McCormick and Schmicks Honors Military with Very Nice Freebie

Vet DH Brown sent me this note that I thought you all should know about. It isn't writing but it's sure good stuff!

"I thought you'd like to know that McCormick and Schmick's restaurants are offering free entrées to veterans and active duty personnel, on Sunday, Nov. 8th. You need to provide ID proving service.

Submitted by your MWSA blogger, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Tweeting writers tips and resources @frugalbookpromo.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

History, Fiction, perspective and the Search for Truth

When I started writing the book that eventually became IN THE SHADOW OF SURIBACHI, I thought that everyone would be pleased. I began the project with a trip back to my home town with my daughter. We armed ourselves with a laptop computer, video camera, a voice recorder and a list of issues that I was determined to explore. My sister gave us a room and seemed eager for me to find the answers to the many questions we both had about our strange, troubled childhood. I packed my car and headed south with little trepidation. The events I would be researching were 30-40 years in the past. Most of the main characters in this story were long dead. I looked forward to rummaging through old closets, libraries, and cemeteries.
It’s not that I believed it would be easy. My family has more than its share of dark corners and black secrets. However, I planned on shining the blazing light of my investigation into those musty places and come away with TRUTH – at last. That’s a good thing, right? I soon learned that I was naïve – and what I considered preparation to write a book about me and my family could be viewed as a crusade by others. I also relearned a hard-to-accept tenet – truth and fact aren’t necessarily the same thing.
My educational background is varied – I studied writing at the University of Arkansas in the mid-1960s, engineering science in the mid-1970s, Chemical Engineering in the early 1980s and Business in the early 1990s. I have, as they say, “been around.” I worked in the Oil and Gas Industry for years. When I left the corporate world, I was the Director of eCommerce. If there’s one thing I knew how to do, it was collect and analyze information. I could focus. However, I could be so focused on an idea, project, or event that I never noticed the anxieties such determination created in others. This failing, I discovered, was the proverbial “mixed blessing” in the coming adventure.
My trip to Arkansas resulted in more tales than I could possibly represent in a single book. It included background information on family intrigue, two murders, mental and physical genetic disorders, war, abuse, and a great love story – all set against the backdrop of history. In interviewing the remaining players in this saga, I was struck by the disdain that people felt for the perspectives of others. One person would describe an incident in great detail that would be fuzzy in another’s memory – although both were principle actors. There were times that the narrations were so different that I didn’t realize they were the same story until later.
Interestingly, when there were discrepancies, my subjects were quick to accuse each other of “lying.” The passage of time was only one issue. Most of these events were colored with passion. For example, when my grandfather was murdered in 1962, everyone thought they knew who ‘did it.’ Suspicion often had nothing to do with reality. Ancient rivalries and antagonisms fueled perspectives. When presented with physical evidence that contradicted someone’s prevailing opinion, folks told me that such evidence was “wrong” and that they knew better. When asked to explain, they couldn’t – they just “knew.”
At first, I thought this was a function of my dysfunctional family. Now, after having written several books on historical events, I’ve come to understand that this is human nature. For example, when my coauthor Pat Avery and I were interviewing the survivors of the Sunchon Tunnel Massacre, the men accused each other of being “full of s__t.” They assumed that if something didn’t happen to them, it didn’t happen. It was a source of great anxiety too. How dare that other guy “lie” about such things?
What we discovered over time was that if we assumed that that everyone was being “truthful”, we could explain discrepancies. One man might be in the front of a long line of POWs while another might be at the end of the march. Where a person was positioned could change how they saw things. In addition, the physical or emotional state of a prisoner could influence how effectively they collected and stored information. A man who was shot and bleeding out might not notice the same things as one who was uninjured.
Then there are the social issues. If a man expected a particular race or rank or type of person to have certain attitudes, he ascribed those attitudes to behavior that might have other interpretations. For example, my father believed that the Japanese were “sneaky.” Therefore, when a Japanese person would avoid “looking him in the eye,” he believed it was an example of their inherent sneakiness. When I went to Japan and learned that they believed that it was polite to avoid eye contact with someone that they respected, it became clear to me that my dad’s existing ideas created a different reality for him. He wasn’t lying, he was just describing how he saw it. It was a small leap for me to appreciate that who a witness is – how he views himself and his world – can change how he describes an event.
So, back to my trip to Arkansas. There was one final thing to learn about writing from this experience. I spent a month interviewing people – and collecting information. I talked to relatives, neighbors, police, private investigators, religious people, military people, librarians, historians and other witnesses. I read newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, trial transcripts, and other legal documents. I rummaged through boxes of clothes and pictures. I found old guns, knives, bloody flags and bracelets made out of Japanese airplanes. I was as confused as to the TRUTH of things as ever.
How to write a book that would allow my audience to experience the perspectives of the people involved in these stories? First, I had to narrow it down to one message – one aspect of the story. I chose to focus on my dad’s stories about his experiences as a young marine at the Battle of Iwo Jima. That was problematic though. When I was ten years old, Daddy had a “nervous breakdown.” He was afraid that someone was chasing him and that someone was going to shoot into the windows of our house. He’d slam on the breaks of his car, jump out and threaten the hapless driver who’d been tailgating him. He couldn’t eat or sleep. He’d sit in his recliner, using Dristan every few minutes to get rid of a “bad smell” that only he noticed, and cry. At one point, he tried to kill us and his mother and himself. They took him away and he remained in a mental hospital for months. In those days, people looked down on folks with mental and emotional problems. Doctors didn’t really know how to treat what Daddy was experiencing – so to “calm” him, they gave him shock treatments. When he came home, he was pale, thin – and he couldn’t stop talking about Iwo Jima. After a while, my mother couldn’t stand listening to all the gory details and she’d walk away from him. I listened though – partly because I was the right age, partly because I suddenly felt motherly about my own father, and partly because he didn’t give me any choice. These were the stories that haunted him – and as an adult, I thought they defined not only my father, but me. I grew up with Iwo Jima on my back too.
Once I had my focus, I had to decide how to go about it – should this be non-fiction or fiction? At the time that I was going through this process, another writer – James Bradley was doing something similar. We spoke on the phone a few times – marveling at the complexities of our fathers’ lives and how different and how similar their experiences had been. James Bradley’s father had been a Navy Corpsman who, along with five others, raised the flag on top of Mount Suribachi a few days after D-Day. My father was a Marine who fought all 36 days on the island below the mountain – his group was killed off to a man except for him twice. James had already decided to go the nonfiction route – and his approach was broad—the entirety of the historical event limited only by time. His book, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, became a best seller and a motion picture.
I chose to focus on one group of guys who were not famous and whose deaths broke my father’s heart. That made it even more crucial to decide how to handle the material. First, how accurate was my dad’s memory? His reveries were emotional and filled with the self-loathing of survivor’s guilt. My research had determined that Daddy’s Dristan addition combined with alcohol explained much of his psychotic behavior, but did those things also impact his stories? Hundreds of hours in the library, pouring over military records, exploring on the internet and talking with other Iwo vets confirmed the general outline of his experience. However, there were certain stories – like the specific circumstances surrounding the deaths of his friends that no one knew but Daddy. All of their deaths were ugly. Their parents were gone. Their siblings were elderly. They never grew up to have wives or children. Did I want to dig up sorrow in second and third generations once or twice removed?
In the end, I chose Historical Fiction. I consider it a great compromise. It allowed me to explore not only my father’s perspectives – but also those of his friends as well – without the pleasure of speaking with them personally. They came from all parts of the country, so I was able to use other historical events to introduce the boys that went to war in February 1945. For example, my dad often spoke of his sergeant. Although he was only 22, my father and his fellow marines were 17 and 18 years old. To them, the sergeant was an ‘old man’ with experience in the ways of the world. Daddy described him as “wise” and a “hero.” “I trusted him completely,” he often said. “I would have followed him anywhere.” In fact, he did.
To recreate the man that elicited this admiration in my father, I lucked upon a story one day when I wandered into the library in Key West. In 1935, Islamorada was struck by a deadly hurricane that blew over a locomotive sent to rescue World War I veterans who had been hired to build Highway 1. The images of that event created the perfect allegory for an innocent boy to become the wizened Marine Sergeant who led Daddy and his friends onto the beach below Suribachi ten years later. The day the man I called Emil Kroner learned about death was the same day he learned about hope. That quality was crucial to the story of his relationship with my dad – and what happened to them. In fact, it was more important than the real identity of that Sergeant. It was TRUTH and fact blended together.
The fate of others sometimes confuses and distresses thoughtful people. We cope with that reality with sayings like “only the good die young” or by reading books like “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” I submit that this impression is also a function of perspective. My dad never did figure out why Sergeant Kroner exploded in a mist of blood and bone splinters a few feet in front of him seconds after reaching the beach – while he, a lesser human being, survived 35 more days of fighting and 30 more years of life. Using fiction, it was much easier to let the reader experience this strange cognitive dissonance – in fact, it was easier to show it in the novel than to tell you about it now.
On the flip side, why is it that bad guys don’t know they are bad? In non-fiction, it’s hard to get a reader’s mind around that other perspective. We are all too locked into our own reality to accept it. One of the more enjoyable aspects of being a novelist is that you can explore those alternate ideas from the viewpoint of each character. Daddy’s anguish about the loss of his friends was aggravated by the survival of a man who was a thief and a coward – someone who complained constantly and refused to accept responsibility. Without alienating a veteran and his family (who view him as their personal hero), how would an author explore these themes in nonfiction? Fiction allowed me to create Sweet Tooth Tommy and follow him through his role on Iwo and his ultimate social achievements after the war – and to expose another truth -- not everyone who succeeds in life is likeable.
The messages of IN THE SHADOW OF SURIBACHI are those of emotion and human reaction. As I often tell people, of all the things I have written, this piece has my heart. Historical research along with information collected from many Iwo veterans allowed me to set the stage believably. My painful relationship with my father gave me a basic understanding of the sorrows associated with PTSD. Fiction freed me from the distractions of conflicting information and angry arguments over the accuracy of specific events or conversations. Blending history and fiction gave me the tools to tell a straight story that is both personal and philosophical. Perhaps the most intriguing result of this novel for me was the fact that the book has been praised on both sides of the political spectrum. It’s been called an “important anti-war” novel by the left and “supportive of American Troops” by conservative reviewers. It’s really just a story about my Daddy.

Joyce Faulkner

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Joyce Faulkner Featured on The History Czar

I know that many of you who follow this blog are not only history buffs but military history blogs. Gosh, but I'm smart! Therefore, I thought you'd be interested in Paul Bruno's radio show, the History Czar - All History, All the Time!

That's important news but even more important is that our MWSA president is featured there. She recorded on 10/09/09 and we all know she is the author of In The Shadow Of Suribachi, a novel about her father's experiences at the battle of Iwo Jima! Her website is

Listen to Joyce Faulkner at

The History Czar blogs at

Coming Up on the History Czar:

10/16/09 - History of Denistry with Dr. Paul Goldwin.

10/23/09 - Frances Delmar of the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Pennsylvania. Visit the website at

10/30/09 – History IQ and Living in an historic home with Robin Grover, The History Channel's History IQ champion!

11/06/09 - Flight 93 National Monument with JoAnne Hanley. Visit the website at

11/13/09 - Colonel Charles Young the first African- American to reach the rank of Colonel in the U.S. Army biographer, Dr. David Kilroy of Nova Southeastern University.

11/20/09 - Flying B-17's during World War II with Captain William Terminello U.S. Air Force (Ret.).

11/27/09 - Repeat show, our premier, Nevada and Las Vegas history with Dr. Eugene Moehring of the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

12/04/09 - Woman's Suffrage with woman's history expert Lindsey Greene- Barrett.

12/11/09 - Guy in the Back (GIB) Lt. Peter Gilespie U.S. Air Force (Ret.) tells History Czar listeners all about the F4 Phantom!

12/18/09 - History of Aviation with Blair Smith!

01/08/10 - Dr. Maria Raquel Casas of the University of Nevada Las Vegas on the Spanish Borderlands!
Posted by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, blogging War Peace Tolerance at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MWSA Silver Award Winners Featured on The New Book Review

I have a new series going at my New Book Review blog. Well, sort of a series. I wanted to pass forward the joy of being honored by the Military Writers Society of America for my chapbook of poetry Tracings. The 2009 batch of award winners are up and Colonel Michael “Mike” Angley is one of them.

Mike's award-winning book is the Child Finder Trilogy. He retired from the Air Force in 2007 following a 25-year career as a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). He held 13 different assignments throughout the world, among which were five tours as a Commander of various units, to include two Air Force Squadrons and a Wing. He is a seasoned criminal investigator and a counterintelligence and counterterrorism specialist. His debut novel, Child Finder, received the Silver Medal for Fiction in the 2009 Military Writers Society of America’s Annual Awards program. Child Finder features a USAF Special Agent protagonist, and it gets its inspiration from Angley’s long, multifaceted career.

So, won't you go by and read the review of his book at Leave him a comment. I know he'd love to feel the love.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Silver Award Winner of Interest to Military Buffs

Whatever happened to all those news reels we used to watch in the movie theaters when we were kids? Or those training films they made us watch when we were drafted or enlisted in the military?

They have been catalogued in a reference by a silver medal winner of the recent MWSA awards, Phillip Stewart. Go to for a review of book that will be of interest to all MWSA members.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Military Writers Society of America Announces 2009 Book Award Nominees

Nominees for the Military Society of America Book Awards for 2009 were announced by MWSA president Joyce Faulkner, founder Bill McDonald, lead reviewer Rob Ballister, award-winning author, Richard Lowry, and Veterans Radio host Dale Throneberry at on August 29, 2009. The winners in each category will be announced on at 9am EST on September 12.

The nominees for the 2009 Book Awards are listed here in no particular order. For more information on these fine books, go to

For an Anthology.
Home of the Brave by Jeffery Hess
By Dammit, We’re Marines! by Gail Chatfield
Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Salutes the Military by Andrew Lubin, et. al.

For a Children's Book:
The Elementary Adventures of Jones, JEEP, Buck & Blue, Jones, Books 1-4 by Sandra Miller Linhart
Memories of Me by L.M. Romagnoli
You and Your Military Hero by Sara Jensen-Fritz, Paula Jones-Johnson, Thea L. Zitzow
If I had a Daddy by Mary M. Sullivan

For Fiction:
The Take-Us by John Raymond Takacs
The Sandman by David Lucero
Child Finder by Michael Angley
Honor Defended by D. H. Brown

For Historical Fiction:
Hollywood Buzz: A Pucci Lewis Mystery by Margit Liesche
True Colors by Erin Rainwater
The Final Salute by Kathleen M. Rodgers
Virginia's War by Jack Woodville London

For a Memoir:
Embedded: A Marine Corps Advisor Inside the Iraqi Army by Wesley Gray
The Lady Gangster, A Sailor’s Memoir by Del Staecker
Cat Lo, A Memoir of Invincible Youth by Virgil Erwin
Immeasurable Spirit: Lessons of a Wounded Warrior by Latoya Lucas

For a Music CD:
Goin Home by James Jellerson

For Non-fiction:
Sacred Ground by Tom Ruck
The Ether Zone, US Army Special Forces Detachment B-52 by Raymond Morris
Fire in the Night: Creative Essays from an Iraq War Vet by Lee Kelley
A Vietnam Trilogy by Raymond Monsour Scurfield

For Poetry:
Tears for Mother Earth by Jim Greenwald
Poems of Passion & Songs for the Soul by James Randy Jellerson
Sugar, Zeroes, and Lemon Drops by Jim Greenwald

For Reference:
Strike from the Sea by Tommy H. Thomason
USAF Prototype Jet Fighters by Dennis R. Jenkins and Tony R. Landis
The Book of War by Dwight Jon Zimmerman
America's Film Vault by Phillip W. Stewart

For a Spiritual Book:
God in the Foxhole by Charles W. Sasser
Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from World War II by Larkin Spivey
Bible Promises for Soldiers by J. M. Barnes
I Will Never Give Up on God Again by Derek W. Clark

MWSA is an association of more than eight-hundred authors, poets and artists drawn together by the common bond of military service. Most members are active duty military, retirees or military veterans. A few are civilians who have chosen to honor our military through their writing or their art. Their only core principle is a love of the men and women who defend this nation, and a deeply personal understanding of their sacrifice and dedication.

For the latest news releases and other information, visit MWSA on the Internet at

# # #

Saturday, July 18, 2009

MWSA Conference & Awards Banquet

  • MWSA Conference and Awards Banquet will be held at the Westin Imagine Orlando in Orlando FL -- October 9-11th, 2009. Basic information is in the July Newsletter posted at

    New programs this year:
  • Conference will be broadcast live through streaming video on the website -- by Videographer Paul Sninchak.
  • Opening Mixer
  • Open Mic Emceed by Mike Mullins
  • Bob Calvert's Hope For Heroes Radio Show
  • Winners will be interviewed on Video by Bob Calvert
  • Precious "Medals" Reception
  • Screening of Chris Martini's Movie in the works TROOPER
  • Volunteer & Reviewers Invitational Breakfast
  • Saturday morning Opener -- Jeff Edwards
  • People's Choice Award Event hosted by Dwight Jon Zimmerman
  • Radio Show by Dale Throneberry of Veterans Radio Network
  • People's Choice Finalist Performances
  • Workshops
  • People's Choice Award Voting
  • MWSA Awards Banquet and Ceremony
  • Screening of PERFECT VALOR -- Richard Lowry
  • Sunday Morning Opener
  • Dwight Jon Zimmerman Talk about his experiences converting his book to documentary for Military Channel
  • State of the Organization -- Joyce Faulkner, President
  • MWSA Bucks Auction
  • Closer

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Green Expo Offers Video Package an Author Can't Refuse

I just posted an unique opportunity for authors on my Sharing with Writers blog. It's a Book Pavilion at a Green Expo. The package for table (booth) and video interview that will keep you promoting your book for a long time in the future to everyone all over the world (well, anyone who is connected to the Web)is under $300. I will be hosting. I'm more than a little excited about this!

Go here:

And know that you are green. If you do green stuff in your office, you're green. If you publish on recycled paper, you're green. E-books? Green. Kindle or other readers? Green. Yes, you can make this work for you. Or just pronounce your commitment to green and you're on your way.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Freedom, Soldiers, and Myths

Raff Ellis and the adjudicator of the Reid trial dish on freedom, what soldiers are, mythsm and more on this week's last two blogs at

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Authors Access to 49 Cent, 20 Minute Wonder on Book Proposals

I love to give my blog readers (and, yeah, readers of my books) free information when I can. There are others who like to do that, too, including Irene Watson and Victor R. Volkman of Author Access. We are some team when we get together as we did last week when they interviewed me on the fine art of book proposal writing and why it matters. Many of the tips were taken from my 49 cent wonder "The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need to Know About Selling Your Book in Twenty Minutes or Less." We talked about the "A" to "Z" of book
proposals and how to make your unique voice shine through. We also talked about:

* Why I wrote "The Great First Impression Book Proposal"
* Why this how to on book proposals differs from most–-other than it’s being only 49 cents
* The most important part of a book proposal
* Why you need a query letters to go with your book proposal
* Why I chose the Amazon Short format for "The Great First Impression Book Proposal"

Download the free podcast at
Learn about the 30 Success Secrets for Authors and Publishers at Authors Access.
To learn of other free podcasts that benefit writers follow Victor and Irene on Twitter at: Follow me at

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , ,

Contributed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Book Review on Social Marketing for Authors

Because I believe so strongly in social marketing as a tool in an author's box for great promotion, I am sending my fellow MWSA members this review I just wrote. I hope you'll all consider it.

Successful Social MarketingBy Dana Lynn Smith
Contact Reviewer:
Publisher's Site: Understanding Frugal and Effective Social Marketing

Veteran Marketer and Author Benefits Promotion-Minded Authors

Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of This Is the Place and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, Tracings, a chapbook of poetry, and the author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers

There is not much to say about Successful Social Marketing by Dana Lynn Smith that can't be said in one sentence. This book is basic and clear enough for writers just beginning to use social marketing as a marketing tool but complete enough that even veteran marketers will find new applications and new marketing ideas within its pages.

OK. Let's add a few more sentences--out of enthusiasm. This book is absolutely amazing. It is organized and even includes calls to action at the end of each major section. I would have wished for a real in-the-hand book because that's the way I am, but with something as explosive as social marketing, an e-book is perfect. Smith will find it easy to keep it fresh for you with new online developments and links. I'll be recommending it to those taking my marketing classes at UCLA for sure.

If you've been saying "I don't 'get' Twitter (or Facebook or any of the others including some you've never heard of)," this is the book for you.

PS: I printed my e-book copy out and have carried with me for two weeks, reading, underlining and nodding. "Oh, yeah!"

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel, This Is the Place, has won eight awards. Her book of creative nonfiction Harkening, won three. A UCLA Writers' Program instructor, she is also the author of another book essential for writers, USA Book News' Best Professional Book of 2004, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't. The second in her HowToDoItFrugally series is The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success also a USA Book News pick and winner of Reader Views Literary Award and the New Generation Award for Marketing. Learn more at

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The True (?) Story of Taps, Memories, and My Uncle Bob

I just posted a story MWSA members may want to see. The author believes it to be the true story of Taps. That one some of you may have seen floating around the Web. I added the story of my uncle, a WWII bomber pilot veteran, who died recently. Sort of a mini memorial.

I also added a new followers feature where you can follow this blog and have your little avatar appear at the top of the blog--front and center.

So, please come by. I consider it sort of a sister blog to this one. (-:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Are You Using Your Expertise to Teach?

I thought I'd share a tip from my Sharing with Writers newsletters.

Tip: Those of you who teach (which is one of the best ways to get the word out about your book, by the way!) will want to read Judi Silva’s review of a book from McGraw Hill that tells how to develop an online course:

Authors may subscribe to Sharing with Writers by sending an e-mail with SUBSCRIBE to HoJoNews @ (Yeah, take out the spaces! (-: )
Submitted by one of your MWSA Member Talk blog managers Carolyn Howard-Johnson. She is author of Tracings, a chapbook of poetry that includes memories of WWII and is an MWSA award-winner. She also wrote the foreword for Support Our Troops, a giftbook of patriotic sayings that supports Fisher House and includes a red, white and blue car magnet.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Want to Start a Military or Writer's Blog?

One of my writing partners, Phyllis Zimbler Miller, has a link to one of our articles that makes blogging simple. Let us know what you think?

You MWSA Blogger
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author of the MWSA Award of Excellence winning chapbook of poetry, Tracings

Monday, March 30, 2009

An Interview with Writer Jack Woodville London

Jack Woodville London burst on the writing scene February 2009 with the first book in a trilogy – French Letters: Virginia’s War ( Using vivid word pictures, he shows how war affects a small Texas town during World War II.

Military Writers Society of America recently conducted this e-mail interview with him as he heads out to speak about and sign his book..

1. Tell us about you. What makes you tick? Conflict. I am astounded that people spend much of adulthood acting in ways that a paper boy or Girl Scout knows not to do. All of us know someone who made up stories to cover something up, figuring that they could sort it out later. Virginia Sullivan wakes one morning to find that her father has told her town and friends that she eloped, which was not true, in order for him to save face in front of the town over her pregnancy, which she should have known could be a problem, given that Will, the young man to whom her father journalistically married her, was a soldier in Europe at the time and knew nothing about it. Virginia was all set to have a clash with her father over the pregnancy, the false elopement, and Will, until later the same day she ran into Shirley, her long time rival for Will’s affection. Then, at least for a while, she enjoyed letting the lie be the truth, just to poke a stick at Shirley. Conflict.

2. Where do you get your ideas? Little known facts that I run across. For example, it is well documented that the out-of-marriage birth rate in England went through the roof when American soldiers were there between 1942 and 1945, a phenomenon known as ‘over-paid, over-sexed, and over here.’ A statistic almost no one knows is that out-of-marraige birth rates in the US went up too, to 7.3 births per thousand in white women under the age of 25 before 1946. A lot of mail went down in the North Atlantic on US ships during that time. We know that some of the letters mailed to soldiers were Dear John letters. What do you get when you combine Dear John letters that the soldier doesn’t receive because of a torpedo to the mail boat and 7.3 out-of-marriage births per thousand to the girls back home? Some soldiers got a shocking surprise when the war was over. Conflict.Another little known fact is that after the initial panic over food rationing, most Americans gained weight because the eventual allowance for meat was more than Americans had been getting before the war. Then there was a black market in rationed goods, such as tires and gasoline....

3. I’ve read that you create maps of your scenes. What made you decide to do that and how do you do it? I learned mapping and orienteering in the Army, and later as a pilot. It is very helpful to me to create and inhabit a place and let the reader live there for a while. I usually map-sketch the streets and businesses, such as Poppy’s newspaper and the town square, Doc’s clinic and Bart’s post office, the road out to the cemetery and the quarry. When I do, events that happen there always happen in the same place and people go to them or leave them or refer to them the same way. In the sequel, many of the things that happen to Will in France are in a town where his field surgery is dug in for a week. He spends much of it in a Calvados barn near a wash house on the river, and across from a gothic monastery that was abandoned after the Germans took away some of the monks for labor.

4. What first fascinated you with writing? Mind travel. I remember very clearly reading about the Italian Mille Miglia, the one thousand mile auto race through Italy for sports cars, and from the words on the page I could see red Ferraris, green Jaguars, Porsches and Alfa Romeos, all downshifting on hard corners in Tuscan villages. I was ten years old. I had a wonderful high school teacher who led me through literature that most students didn’t read. As for the writing of it, my seismometer moved when I read ‘The Eve of St. Agnes,’ then read a marked up draft in which Keats had struggled with word choices about the sound that a woman’s night clothes make on their way to the floor. I hadn’t gathered until then that writing was work, and it was rewarding to discover the many ways one could express a single idea. Then I discovered ‘Men at Arms’ by Evelyn Waugh, and I was hooked.

5. How did you conduct your research when you were writing French Letters, Book One? Source documents where possible. I looked at original ration cards, cotton gin engine specs, the shift mechanism of the 1937 Ford, brands of beer sold in Clovis, New Mexico in 1944, who trained to fly what kind of aircraft in Lubbock and Clovis and which airplanes were manufactured in Fort Worth. I tried to know what people living in a Tierra, Texas would know.

6. Who are your favorite contemporary writers and why? Donna Tartt has more skill to put you in a story than anyone I can think of. I am taken with every sentence she writes. Alain de Botton writes prose that makes me believe he was sitting behind me as I went through my day, then cracks me up. He wrote one chapter in which he meets a girl on an airplane, then falls in love with her, asking ‘what are the odds?’ He then replicates the seat layout of a Boeing 737, multiplies the number of seats by the number of passengers and applies the formula to determine what the odds were. Simon Schama writes about many of those little facts that are hidden between the big facts. Michael Chabon has the ability to make complicated stories appear disarmingly simple.

7. What made you choose this particular topic? My wife and I were in Belgium reading the morning paper. I learned that a farmer was tending to his barn one morning when a cow exploded in his pasture. The cow had stepped on an unexploded shell from World War I. I believe we are all still walking on, and occasionally being exploded by, shells from World War II. Sometimes those shells are in the form of people who were born to parents we don’t know as well as we think we do, and for reasons we would never dream of (talk about a baby boom...). Much is made of what our fathers and grandfathers did in the war. No one seems to have asked our mothers and grandmothers what they did while they waited or even if they waited.

8. Did you model Tierra, Texas after a particular place? If so, where? I grew up in a small town in the Texas Panhandle but went on to do military service in small towns in Kansas, Kentucky, and Virginia. As a lawyer I have worked in hundreds of small towns all over the United States. I have learned that people are much the same everywhere. Each town has its gossips, its bankers, a lawman with a second set of rules, someone with his thumb on the town’s scales, somebody with a perpetual belief that a bigger town has a lot more to offer but no one would want to live there, and a lot of very nice people who get caught up in their whirlwinds and conflicts.9. This is the first in a trilogy. Tell us about the next two books in the series and when they will be released. I have alluded to Will. The second book is what happens in his life during his military service as a field surgeon in France at the exact same time as the events in Virginia’s War are unfolding in a small town in Texas. The publisher says sales have to drive publishing but, subject to that Draconian caveat, the editor and I hope to have Will (tentative title) in your hands before the summer of 2010. It is well along now.Book Three is "Children of the Good War." The prologue to Book One sets the stage for that novel about Virginia’s and Will’s children, if they are Virginia’s and Will’s children.

10. Where will you be speaking next and signing your book? Maple Street Book Store, New Orleans, on April 1.Lakeway, Texas Activity Center May 13Steve’s Sundries in Tulsa the morning of June 6, D-DayFull Circle Books in Oklahoma City the afternoon of June 6Still pending in November are Silent Wings Museum, Lubbock, on Veteran’s Day andPanhandle Professional Writers in Amarillo on November 26.
To see if I'm coming to your town, please view my complete tour schedule at
I also invite your readers to blog with me from the link on my website,

If you are in the vicinity of any of these places, go by and meet the author.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ever Wonder About Those Split Infinitives?

Oh, to split infinitives or not!!

Learn when it's OK, when you shouldn't do it, and when it is OK. Go to today's Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog at

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Anyone for a Trek Down Memory Lane?

My writing and photography friend May Lattanzio sent me this link of Oscar Brand singing his Marine song and others. Those of you who are too young to remember Oscar and his blatantly Un-PC songs, must check it out! Others will get a good laugh and be glad for how far we've come in terms of tolerance while keeping a sense of humor for the way we were.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
MWSA blogger and author of Tracings, an MWSA award winner

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mrs. Lieutenant Author Reviews "Brothers at War"

MWSA member Phyllis Zimbler Miller reviewed Brotthers at War on her blog. I thought because we at MWSA are interested in both the military and writing, it would make a perfect place to visit. So, mosey on over and see what you think.
Posted by your MWSA blogger, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the foreword for Support Our Troops (Andrews McMeel), and Tracings, a chapbook of poetry informed my memories--some of them of wars remembered. It is an MWSA award winner. To learn more visit

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Helping Families Share Military Tradition

I have attended my share of military graduations. My husband's OCS graduation in Utah. My grandson's boot camp in North Carolina, my cousin's graduation from the Seals in San Diego.

I am one of the lucky ones. Many families can't afford to travel to do that. But someone is trying to help with that so I thought I'd pass this information to the MWSA membership.

These graduations are one of life's proud moments. Parents, wives, and other loved ones should be there to share the joy no matter what the financial circumstances. Please take a minute to click here for information on the program from the author of Mrs. Lieutenant. Or copy and paste:


Carolyn Howard-Johnson blos for MWSA Member Talk. She wrote the foreword for Eric Dinyer's book of patriotic quotations, Support Our Troops, published by Andrews McMeel. Part of the proceeds for the book benefit Fisher House. Her chapbook of poetry won the Military Writers Society of America's award of excellence. Find it at

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Getting Your Publishing Options Straight


Publishing Possibilities
Subtitle: Eight Steps to Understanding Your Options and Choosing the Best Path for Your Book
By Cheryl Pickett
Brighter Day Publishing, 2009
ISBN: 9780615260808
Contact Reviewer:
Publisher's Site:

The days when authors were at the mercy of others is gone. Any writer in any genre now has choices; those who rely on the old, traditional mode of publishing may be doing themselves a disservice. Equally so of those who plunge headlong into the world of partner, subsidy and self publishing without considering what that will entail.

Publishing Possibilities, by Cheryl Picket gives a new author the essentials they need to choose a publishing process that is best for his or her books and experienced writers options they may never have considered.

Authors who have been around publishing for a while may have picked up shreds of publishing wisdom that are not rooted in fact, even terms that are misused. Picket clarifies. She also offers these more experienced authors new possibilities, especially if their work has taken a new direction. A publishing plan for one genre may work fine but not work as well for another.

I must insert a disclaimer here. After reading Publishing Possibilities, I asked Cheryl to contribute a column to my newsletter, Sharing with Writers. That does not diminish my belief that this book serves authors. In fact, it confirms that I found it a useful resource for writers.

Publishing Possibilities is short and clearly written so it does not soak up unnecessary valuable time an author could use doing other things to further their careers. It gives them the essential on publishing as well as resources for finding more information from seasoned and trusted publishers, writer’s Web sites and consultants.

Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor. Learn more about the reviewer's own how-to books for writers at

Monday, March 9, 2009

Contest for Military Writers

A writing and speaking and consulting friend, Pam Kelly, send this to me to pass on to you writing military. Pam is author of Speak with Power! Speak with Passion!


Are you an active or veteran woman in the military?
Share your stories!

Are you a family member--or friend--of a woman in the military?
Daughter, sister, mother, aunt, cousin... Write a TRIBUTE to her.


Heart of a Military Woman

Stories and Tributes to Those Who Serve Their Country

This book honors all those who are currently serving their country,
veterans who have served, and those are considering enlisting.

Inspiration and experiences from deployments, military exercises, basic training, special missions, motherhood, friendship, marriage and relationships, day to day duty and life, promotion, professional military education, temporary duty and any other topics of interest.

We are looking for real stories, from real people, about real life.
What got you INTO the military.
What were your experiences like?
Relationships? Boot camp? Officer school?
What did you learn about OTHERS as a result?
What did you learn about YOURSELF as a result?
How are you different as a result of your service.
Why did you re-enlist? Honorably discharge? Retire?
What advice might you offer to anyone considering enlisting?


DEADLINE: March 31, 2009.
Up to 1,200 words per submission. More than one submission welcome.
Email in a text message or Word.doc file to:
Indicate “Book Submission” in the subject line.

• Your suggested submission title.
• Your name, and position/title/rank/branch to be printed with your contribution.
• Your contact name, email, phone. Website (optional).
• Name of publication, if your submission has been previously published.
• Indicate that you have permission to reprint if your work is previously published.

August, 2009--in celebration of Labor Day, September 7th

Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez is passionate about touching the lives of female veterans. Being a retired veteran with 23 years of honorable service in the United States Air Force, Eldonna is teaching women how to take more RISK in their lives for maximum results. When she enlisted in October 1980, women made up only 8% of the military and today although more than doubled still only 20%. Professionally, Eldonna is a contract specialist in purchasing, negotiation and administration of government contracts. She is the President of Dynamic Vision International, based in Redondo Beach, California.

Sheryl Roush is an inspirational conference speaker, and creator of the Heart Book Series. As a former Navy wife, she recognizes the dedication, unique lifestyle (an understatement) and challenges of military life. She was only the third woman in the world (in 93 countries and out of 4 million people served) to be honored by Toastmasters International with their elite “Accredited Speaker” designation for outstanding platform professional speaking skills. She is the President of Sparkle Presentations, Inc., based in San Diego, California.

Original stories, quotations and poems remain the property and copyright of the contributor.
NO FEE to participate in this publication. NO OBLIGATION to purchase printed books.
NO royalties are given for selections accepted. Books are published through: Sparkle Press.

Heart of a Woman, Heart of a Mother, Heart of the Holidays,
Heart of a Woman in Business, and Corazon de Mujer (Heart of a Woman in Spanish). • • • Borders Bookstores
From your MWSA blogger, Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Also blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick,

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Participate in the LA Times Festival of Books Without Being There!

Let Your Book Be Seen in the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books

Many of the authors I know have been disappointed that we no longer display books unless the author is signing. Truly,there is no ulterior motive. We have just found that a display without the author present to chat up the book and to sign is not the best way for an author to spend his/her promotion dollars. That goes not only for our booth but most booths.

But here's a way you can participate if you'd like. As part of the service to participating authors and to readers who stop by and purchase a book from our booth, we give a free book from a pretty little basket. Yours could be among them. Who knows who might get a free one. An editor? A director? A Screenwriter?

So, if you have returned books or slightly damaged books and can send in lots of six or more, please contact Christine at She'll give you an address to send them. When you send them please mark on the outside of the box GIFT WITH PURCHASE BOOKS. That will help her lots!

Thanks to all authors who have done this in the past, especially to Leora Skolkin, author of EDGES. She sent a huge box last year and I am always proud to suggest it to people who want a literary novel. BTW, her book is now being made into a movie!

PS: Don’t forget to sign your books. Many readers get VERY excited about a signed book. (-:

Left over gift-with-purchase books will be held over for giveaways the following year or donated to libraries of literacy groups.

Learn more about the fair booth at

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
MWSA blogger and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers,

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Most Discusting SPAM of the Year...

...takes advantage of those who sympathize with the plight of our soldiers. Find it at, but also find legitimage ways to contribute if you are so inclined. I thought MWSA members would want to know about it at

Submitted by MWSA member, Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

MWSA VP Contributes Poetry to Military Blog

The vice president of our Military Writers Society of America is featured blogger at War Peace Tolerance blog today. Michael D. "Moon" Mullins, author of Vietnam in Verse, Poetry for Beer Drinkers, won the Gold Medal for poetry, 2007, from the Military Writers Society of America contributed a poem on the bitter sweet experience of coming home. Please drop by and support his efforts.

His poetry won the MWSA gold award for poetry in 2007.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Military Writers Society of America Award Winner Publishes for Mother's Day

Remembering Mothers a New Way

Award-winning Poets From Two Hemispheres Co-Author Chapbook

She Wore Emerald Then was conceived by Californian Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Aussie Magdalena Ball as an alternative to the cloying greeting cards usually available for mothers in card shops. In fact, originally it was to be a thoughtful digital upgrade for a card. It would be about the same price as a card but an entire chapbook full of poems.

That idea was influenced by the pair’s awareness that the Net was, in fact, what allowed them to meet and collaborate. But the chapbook turned out to be both digital (for greenies who want to save paper, postage and airline fuel) and a lovely to have-and-hold book for those who still have room in their hearts only for the real thing. And the book is still no more expensive than some of the fancier cards.

Howard-Johnson's first chapbook, Tracings (Finishing Line Press) was honored for excellence by the Military Writers Society of America and named to Compulsive Reader's Ten Best Reads. Her poetry has also been published in journals like Pear Noir, Montana State University's literary magazine, Writings from the River, Mt. St. Mary’s College journal Mary, The Pedestal magazine and in the soon-to-be released anthology by UCLA’s own Suzanne Lummis. She is the author of several other award-winning books. She is also an instructor for the UCLA Extension Writers' Program.

Ball’s novel Sleep Before Evening received unanimous 5-star reviews for its linguistic beauty and the intensity of its plot. She is also the author of an award-winning poetry chapbook Quark Soup, and a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment: How to Review Anything. Her website The Compulsive Reader,, has become a benchmark for high quality online literary criticism.

The two poets collaborated last year on a book of what Howard-Johnson calls "unsyrupy" poetry for Valentines Day. It is available at

Artwork for She Wore Emerald Then is by May Lattanzio. She is a freelance writer/photographer, and author of Waltz on the Wild Side -- An Animal Lover's Journal and contributor to Native West's anthology Least Loved Beasts of the Really Wild West - A Tribute.

Learn more about Magdalena Ball at

Learn More about Carolyn Howard-Johnson at

Find a catalog of Lattanzio's writing at and her photographs at or

Find She Wore Emerald Then on Amazon at:

Friday, February 13, 2009


We want to update all groups and individuals that have RSVP'd for the helping agencies summit in San Antonio, TX 18-20 June, 2009.

We need your website links ASAP so we can start work on the summit program.

We also are running low on space and have an estimated 75 attending. We have heard from (ASY) that they are not doing an event this year.

For that reason we all need to take up the mantel and ensure we are doing everything we can as helping agencies and individuals to increase awareness.

Here is why: PTSD is at 300,000 and counting based on the RAND report below!

Military suicide rates are at a three decade high.

Families are getting divorced and a record pace.

We are the agencies and people that can solve this!

If you have not RSVP'd please do so today.
Send email with contact info and number attending to:

Helping agencies summit

DATE: 18-20 June, 2009
TIME: 0800-1800
LOCATION: San Antonio, TX
MORE: Visit ww and click the national summit link!

Riverwalk Plaza Hotel at: 100 Villita Street ▪ San Antonio, Texas 78205 ▪ (210) 225-1234 ▪ Fax (10) 226-9453
Reservations (800) 554-HOST (4678) ▪

This is a NO-FEE event!! Just RSVP and book your rooms. We will work as a team to tackle the tough problems listed above and come up with solutions for Congress and the VA.

Vic Luebker

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sullivan Brothers Museum in Waterloo, Iowa

My wife and I visited the Sullivan Brothers Museum in Waterloo, Iowa in January. They opened this year with new exhibits in a just completed multimillion-dollar facility. I was interviewed and recorded several years ago for their archives. They had a narrator record one of the poems from “Remembering Willy," the MWSA 2005 Silver Medal Winner, that museum visitors can play by pushing a button.

They also used a one-an-a half minute recording of my interview in another exhibit.

Highly recommend that you visit the museum if you have a chance.

Best to you all,

Dennis Maulsby
Ames, Iowa 50010

Information from the Museum web site:

The Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum honors the service and sacrifice of all Iowa veterans from the Civil War to present. Their rich history is chronicled and interpreted through traditional exhibits, interactive activities and an electronic Wall of Honor.

The museum is named in honor of the Five Sullivan Brothers, from Waterloo, who died while serving together on the USS Juneau.

Service and Sacrifice on Exhibit

The story of Iowa veterans is drawn from their own remembrances. Diaries, letters, autobiographies and oral histories were used to help develop these exhibits, and their words are integrated into the story. Major features of the permanent exhibit include:

Communication Stations

The communication stations contain stories about how the troops and people at home kept in contact with each other. Each station has six stories per combat era. The stations show how communication has changed over 140 years, from the telegraph and post office to the electronic and video messages of today.

Voices of Veterans Theaters

The Voices of Veterans theaters provide more detailed accounts of experiences by Iowans. The theaters in the lower level areas feature historical reproductions about the activities of specific units: the 21st Iowa Volunteer Infantry, the 51st Iowa Regiment and the 168th Iowa Regiment, part of the Rainbow Division. The productions have been drawn from letters, diaries and historical accounts. The upper level theaters feature the voices of actual veterans through video interviews, which capture the emotion and pride they experienced.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Still Offering Marketing Opportunities!

Christine Alexaninans and I still have a few places available in our authors' coop booth. We reserved it at LA Times Festival of Books (on the UCLA Campus) in the same location as in previous years. If you're interested contact Christine: And learn more about book fair booths in general and thisone in particular at

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"Sons of military families find camaraderie, prep for Arizona tournament

Claudia Pemberton -- “Love Leaves No One Behind”

SENSUOUS-SATIONAL!!! One word for Claudia Pemberton’s novel, “Love Leaves No One Behind”

Not normally a reader of love stories, Claudia Pemberton hooked me in this heavyweight romance. Traveler Mikayla and Army Ranger Jesse cross paths on a dark, deserted road, where fear and suspicion blunt any chance of a connection. Soon, safe passage allows a casual breakfast together. They intuitively feel that magnetic attraction we all yearn to find – before original plans take them in separate directions. Their developing relationship is held together by a thread through time and distance. Passionate sparks fly when they occasionally visit - but they wait to be completely intimate for respectful reasons and somehow control what they mutually desire to share. With Mikayla in the grip of a serial killer, Jesse saves the day in true John Wayne fashion. I thank Pemberton for using her research - she reveals Jesse’s Army Ranger character in an accurate way. Mikayla and Jesse are FINALLY able to love without apprehension before the cover closes … it’s a great finish! This wasn’t a cheesy romance novel. Reading it will refresh anyone who believes in love. I truly recommend it – especially if you aren’t inclined to try one like this on for size.

Hodge Wood
Author, Chum Water

Friday, January 30, 2009

Not Arguably: The Best Assessment of the Future of Novels and Books In Past Few Years!

In its Arts section, Time magazine has presented what may be the best assessment of the future of books and the publishing industry of the past few years--and a lot has happened in the past few years. My mini review and the link to this essential reading from the pen of Lev Grossman , is at I hope you'll subscribe to the blog while you're there.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Writers Can Do Good Just by Letting People Know

Some school children in Texas are doing are trying to do some good in Afghanistan. MSWA writers might be interested in helping them out by publicizing what they are doing or contributing in some other way. Go toA:

What Can You REALLY Expect from Book Fairs

I'm popping in here because I figured that the recent post at No Hum-Drum Book Fairs Allowed would interest MWSA members. It's the real thing. What to expect and how to get free publicty (but not get too rich!) using book fairs. Go to

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Mark Coker of, the new web site for self published e-books, got tired of dealing with the submission process for mainstream publication. His service reformats Word or RTF files for all of the various e-book formats, including iPhone, which is now generally agreed to be the dominant platform in the future for e-books (based on the installed base of units in readers' hands). Moreover, he allows you to set your own price and returns 85% of the net to the author. The upload process is easy to manage. You can also give away the work or allow customers to set their own price. This looks like a good place to beta-test fiction and get audience reaction (the link above is to my e-book BUYING RETAIL: A DIFFERENT KIND OF DETECTIVE STORY). This site is highly recommended.

I have also become a contributor for a new blog--Self Publishing Review. This was created by Henry Baum, another guy who got tired of dealing with the process. It's a very professional Web site with lots of good information mostly oriented towards the print side of self-publishing. The goal here is to create more professional products and diminish the prejudice against self-published work. My novel, THE SHENANDOAH SPY, is still selling well, despite the recession.

We're off the book tour for the moment, trying to get the second book ready for publication later this year. We'll start up again in March or April.

Francis Hamit

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Golden Griffin Award Recipient:
Please vote for my Post Combat Stress Disorder concept and Purple Heart Medal proposal sent to President-elect Obama. Please help save the lives of America's brave warriors! Please send to friends and relatives in your e-mail address book. Thanks for your help and consideration! Sincerely, Peter (& Brenda) Griffin Griffin's Lair


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

C'mon! You Know You Want To Learn More About Editing

All you need to do is go to . There will be a link to listen to Yvonne Perry and Carolyn Howard-Johnson's podcast, "Converssations with Editors." We talk about the most common errors we see in manuscripts we edit and about questions some of our blog visitors have posed ( the questions we have received on the topic. Go directly to the podcast at

Submitted by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
MWSA blogger and author of Tracings, a chapbook of poetry and Military Writers Society of America Award of Excellence winner

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ops for Authors Living In Southern California or Those Who Want to Travel

MWSA Members Inivted to Join Us as a Participating Author at the LA Times Festival of Books

Booth planner Chistine Alexanians invites you to participate in our next LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books booth--the last weekend of April 2009--and/or any of the value-added programs aligned with the fair. The book-signing portion of the fair requires that you attend, the others do not.

(To see the 2008 video made by Rey Ybarra, go to Best Selling Author Television site

Our group of authors will again be sponsoring a booth at the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books on April 25, and 26, 2009. We focus on making a humdrum fair into a sizzling success and from past experience, we make changes every year based on what we learned the year before and the year before that.

One hour (50 minutes to allow set up) signing segments cost $150 for the first and $100 for the second day. The fee includes display in the booth for the full two days.

For cost, participation details and benefits of a cross-promotional booth like this, please go to

To participate send an e-mail to Christine Alexanians at chalexwrite @ She can invoice you for PayPal or give you an address to send a check. Please put "LA Times Fair" in the subject line and please let her know the programs you would like to participate in so she will know how to bill you. She will then send you details for participation and answer other questions regarding this show. The booth promotion will be handled by Christine and Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

PS: You can see from the photo that your new MSSA president Joyce Faulkner is a big fan of this coop booth!

Monday, January 5, 2009

"We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."
George Orwell

'Ed Freeman... A True Hero'

You're an 18 or 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley, 11-14-1965 LZ Xray, Vietnam. Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8 - 1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.

You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is 1/2 way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.

Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.
Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gunfire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.

He's coming anyway.

And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gunfire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.
Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the doctors and nurses.

And, he kept coming back...... 13 more times..... and took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.

Medal of Honor Recipient Ed Freeman died at th eage of 80, in Boise, ID...

May God rest his soul...

Oh yeah, Paul Newman died that day too. I guess you knew that.

He got a lot more press than Ed Freeman.

*For Those Who Fought For It, Freedom Has A Price The Protected Will Never Know*



Richard Lowry's Blog