In time for Veteran’s Day, a Korean War memoir

Battlefield Doc booksMy military veteran friend is excited! Finally, after three years of us working together, his wartime journal notes have been whipped into shape and are now a book. Battlefield Doc: Memoirs of a Korean War Combat Medic already has one excellent Amazon review. I have set up a Goodreads Giveaway and some Kindle e-book freebie days. The Missouri Veterans Home St. Louis staff are planning a book release party for him. I am so pleased to present him with a dream come true as a Veteran’s Day present.

Actually, Doc never meant for his journal notes to become a book. They were personal writings, penned in spare moments in primitive battlefront conditions and sometimes terrible weather. I suspect he wrote them to document the craziness that is war, something he discovered shortly after he landed in Korea as a greenhorn. After Doc adjusted to civilian life and got enough feeling back in his frostbitten fingers, he rewrote his notes, some faded from rain or snow. Many years later, his friends read some of them, were impressed, and encouraged him to find a publisher. Through an odd circumstance, he found me and I, too, was impressed by his stories. I don’t commercially publish other people’s work (too much trouble), and the stories needed a lot of editing and organizing, but I agreed to take on this very big project. Doc is a sweetheart of a guy very open to letting me make changes to his writing, and that had a lot to do with my decision. That and no publisher these days would take on this kind of labor-intensive project without charging Doc a ton of money he doesn’t have. Our work together was definitely a labor of love, and I made a wonderful new friend—priceless!

Doc tells of deadly serious experiences, but he has such a personable and positive attitude that the book is not a dark tome. His voice shines through. It is like your grandfather sitting back in his rocker and casually telling stories that make your jaw drop. “How do you sleep at night?” I asked him during one of many discussions. “I don’t,” he said. Sadly, that story is a common one among combat veterans. This year is the 65th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. All these years later, Doc still has flashbacks. His final story tells of the after effects of combat duty.

Next week, I will write about my experiences with Amazon CreateSpace and with Lightning Source/Ingram Spark—both good, but different. Battlefield Doc is printed through both companies. In the meantime, I am still looking for reviewers. Check out the promotions!

Battlefield Doc Kindle e-book:  free days this Tuesday through Thursday, Nov 10-12, in honor of Veteran’s Day. (Amazon Prime members can borrow for free anytime, and the book is a fast read.)

Goodreads Giveaway:  Nov 16-30

For those in the St. Louis, Missouri, area:  Saturday, November 21, book signing event at the Missouri Veterans Home in North County, 10am-1pm

Posted in book talk | Tagged | Leave a comment

NaNoWriMo Your Memoir

National Novel Writing Month is now! But, instead of writing fiction, feel free to challenge yourself to work hard on your memoir. Write anything, just write, and write every day. The point is to get something down on paper – figure out later how it all fits together, edit later. I gave this advice at a recent talk on memoir writing and marketing.

If you are like me, you want to edit everything immediately. That can really hold you back, particularly in memoir when you have to grab wisps of the past as they happen to float by in your brain – before you forget. Keep a little writers notebook if memories come to you at inconvenient times or in odd places, like when you’re trying to go to sleep or are at the grocery store. Flesh them out and let your thoughts and impressions come to you more fully later. I also think this is good practice on how to loosen up and not be so obsessed with little details – at least not in the first couple drafts.

Unlike other participating writers, memoir writers doing their version of NaNoWriMo should not worry about the interruption of Thanksgiving. Family gatherings are a great source of old memories and a way to validate (or not) what you remember. While your memories are the apparent truths that have affected your life and you should generally stick with them, it doesn’t hurt to consider other people’s perspectives on the same story or situation. You may have an “aha” moment or discover more details to give readers a fuller picture.

Update on Battlefield Doc: It is live on Amazon and B&N in print (Kindle e-book coming) and boxes of books are on their way! Anyone who likes military stories and is interested in reading a pdf file to write an (honest) Amazon review, message me with your email address. Warning: not for the highly sensitive as while the stories are gently told, battlefield scenes can cause emotional distress. Also, you may want to keep a tissue nearby.

Posted in lifewriting, memoir writing | Tagged | 1 Comment

Korean War memoir update

Yes, I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I am too busy! The big Korean War memoir project I’ve been working on for over two years is in the final stages before publishing, and I need to get it to the printer as soon as possible for a November release to celebrate both my veteran friend and Veteran’s Day. He is excited, and so are all his friends.

The manuscript has been formatted and I’m proofreading. Unfortunately, I think the font size needs to be a bit bigger. Doc and I don’t have such good eyesight, and probably plenty of older veterans don’t either. Lesson learned, after the first chapter is formatted, get it back from the designer and print it out so you can make font decisions right away instead of after a lot of work has been done. Hopefully because the chapters are short, re-sizing a bit won’t make too much difference.

This week I will open an account with Ingram Spark and transfer over my Lightning Source book, Cherry Blossoms in Twilight. I will be uploading Battlefield Doc to both Spark and CreateSpace when it’s ready. Then I will be better able to answer some new Spark-CreateSpace comment questions on my Resource page.

After 62 years, Doc’s journal notes have been turned into a book—it’s never too late to write your memoir! Well, you do need to still be alive . . . so quit wasting time!

Click over to the new Battlefield Doc page.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 4 Comments