Now that I’m battling cancer, I’ve upped the effort on my work to make sure I get it done. I’m currently working on Three books. The first, The Soul of a Dog should be out in a matter of weeks. New Roanoke Island should be out in August. It’s a post-apocryphal novel about the end of the Mayan calendar and takes place along the Washington coast. The third book an alternate historical novel about the discovery of North America, is about half finished. Not sure where I’m going with it so I feel my way page by page. God bless you all.
When Inuit was published I took a break and waiting for the muse to strike me with an Idea. One Sunday Brenda and I were rewatching that great movie Tora,Tora, Tora when it struck me, “What if one of the Zero pilots was shot down and ended up flying for us?” The result was my best work. “Crickets” is essentially a love story that spans the Northern Hemisphere. Kenji Watanabe crashes his Zero on Oahu and is rescued by Nisai who take him under an assumed identity to a concentration camp where they are interned. To escape the camp Kenji joins the U.S. Army and volunteers for flight school. He earns Ace status in Africa and Europe, falls in love with a British girl, gets court martialed after the war and returns to his home village of Hiroshima to determine whether any of his family has survived the atom bomb.
Running a competition to design/create a cover for my new book about what happens with the end of the Mayan Calendar. A firm on the internet provides entries from up to 50 artists and all I have to do is pick the one I want–fun.
When I had finished and published my story about the Indochinese war between the French and Viet Minh I felt I had pretty much developed my craft and I wanted to expand from war stories. I discussed this with my son and asked him if he had an idea about my next project. He thought about it for some days and offered this: “Why don’t you write about the ice melt in the Bering Sea? You and I have both been there. It shouldn’t take a lot of research.” I thought about it and, with Chris’ experience with tug boats coupled with my experience with the Alaska Scouts, came up with the Sea Adventure, Inuit. it has been a very popular read.
I found I was sucked up in this story. I wasn’t finished. I wrote the third of what became a trilogy. Dillon’s War, Deliverance resolved the conflicts in a tale that takes place in Laos after the Vietnam War. I introduced a new character, Claude Lelange who was to play a bit part as an assassin for the CIA in Bangkok. Once again a character imposed himself on my work and ultimately took over the story. After five years of work, the story was finished. I felt a bit of post-partem depression. “What do I do now?” I asked my wife. “Now you write the story of Claude,” she said. I thought about that. I’d have to research the French involvement in Vietnam before the Americans came. A year later I had created The Tiger of Dien Bien Phu. a historical novel about the French Indochina War.
My writing saga began early in the 21st century and was meant to be a memoir of my Army days. But when I got to the part where I faced a tiger, the character of the beast began to take over until I was forced to make the book a novel. Once I started writing about the exploits of Dillon and his companion the tiger I felt compelled to write a sequel; Dillon’s War: Revenge of the Weretiger. Now what started as a psychological drama morphed into a phantasy horror tale where Dillon’s psyche was blended with the tiger. All the while, the books told the actual history of the Vietnam War. The events were superimposed on two imaginary characters – Dillon and the tiger.
The book has been edited and blocked. I’m now waiting for cover layout drafts for approval. The books covers the stories of the lives of six extraordinary dogs who were associated in one way or another with my family.
When the Vietnam War came to an end in 1972, there were some two thousand military dogs serving in the war zone. Some were trained as guard dogs, protecting American facilities and supply dumps. Others were trained as scouts and worked in the jungles, on point for our soldiers, alerting them to booby traps and ambushes. Many were killed in action. All were heroes. Those dogs surviving when the fighting was finished were turned over to the Army Quartermaster Corps for disposal. Most were euthanized in-country.
My latest effort is currently being published and will appear soon. It’s called The Soul of a Dog. The soul of a human is defined in the dictionary as “the rational, emotional, and volitional faculties conceived of as forming an entity distinct from the body.” We think of the soul in a religious sense as being confined to the human spirit which lives on after and sometimes before life. No animals or other creatures need apply. If that’s so, how does it apply to angels? They surely exist. I know because I’ve had contact with them. But they are not human. Do they not have souls? Are they not rational, emotional, and volitional creatures of God? I believe the universe of God’s creatures consists of many souls. By observation, both rational and emotional, I believe that dogs fall into the category of creatures with a soul.
This was sent recently from Australia to a friend of mine: “Thank you again for the parcel. I’ve really been enjoying ‘The Crickets of Hiroshima’ and have almost finished the book. The author brings the story to life with an interesting perspective and a fine ear for the vernacular. He manages to convey the messiness of war and the continuing emotions of Ken with sympathy and understanding. Have you read it? Please thank the author when you see him, and tell him that his book has much to say far beyond the United States. It is well worth reading.”