I am hoping to have the final book of the Rawlins Trilogy, Rawlins Last Ride to Montana, out by late January. This historical western series has so far received almost entirely positive reviews. For those who have read the first two books, here’s a summary of this third book:
Rawlins Rides into The Sunset
Virgil and Sarah Rawlins are taking a journey back east, and Virgil is buying cattle in Abilene, Kansas to drive north through the Big Horn River Valley into the Montana Territory. The story includes a tumultuous journey down the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers to Council Bluffs, Iowa. From there they take a train eastward to St. Louis. Suffice to say it is an adventurous and eventful trip that leaves you wondering if Rawlins won’t be making the last ride to Montana alone. I could go into more, but don’t want to spoil the story for you.
If you haven’t tried the Rawlins Trilogy, I hope you will. I don’t believe you will be disappointed.
To all my fellow American veterans, my sincerest best wishes. To those who have supported my writing through your contributions and readership, I also extend my thanks. Although written as novels, my books contain your stories and this makes them truly yours as much as they are mine. https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00H2YO2SS
I recently had a veteran tell me that today’s social/political landscape is reminiscent of the years after he returned from Vietnam. It is indeed as Tom Hanks’ character Captain Miller said in the movie Saving Private Ryan: “Sergeant, we have crossed some strange boundary here. The world has taken a turn for the surreal….”
Of all I have seen and heard, one of the most vivid examples of this paradigm was a clip I viewed on a news site when two ANTIFA thugs were outed. They wore the prototypical outfits of total head-to-toe black, with hoods and masks, and they carried big clubs no doubt intended for clubbing some “woke” into the ignorant masses. Yes, I know: Adolf Hitler’s Brown Shirts did the same thing prior to his coming to power in Nazi Germany, but good luck finding meaningful history in the modern American school curriculum.
So, anyway: When some local residents and business owners brought two of these fearsome black-clad monsters to bay and ripped away their hoods and masks, I found myself as a vet in that same surreal world–much as it was in the sixties and seventies. The first thug was a boy no more than nineteen or twenty years old. Lying on the ground with silver dollar-size eyes as he stared up in stark terror as several men holding him there with raised fists. The kid couldn’t grow a beard if he had a week, and he probably still lived at home with mama and daddy. So much for lessons on “consequences for one’s actions.”
A moment later the second thug, although fighting madly, was throttled and unmasked. It was a girl with a bouncy little blond ponytail and an equally youthful face. At that moment, I actually thought of Jane Fonda sitting with the North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gunners in Hanoi. Yes, the surreal world of the sixties flashed back for me.
So, what are my thoughts on this?
These little rebel pawns have latched themselves to a counter-culture cause that may well change our country, diminish our Constitution, and take away our rights, but there are masses of veterans from all walks of life who may at some point make their voices heard. Therefore, don’t give up. Stand proud and be counted. Let’s lookout for one another. Give a fellow vet your best wishes on this our day.
That’s right. I don’t write Sergeant Rock comic books. Let me explain further. This is a recent unrated review I posted on the Goodreads site about my novel Raeford’s MVP:
“This is a love story and a story of finding one’s self and a future after facing the death and carnage of war–the Vietnam War. Billy Coker’s wild high school years led him down the primrose path to the war in Vietnam, and when it was over, he was left staring into the black abyss of PTSS and a futureless life. Little does he realize his redemption may depend on two women: a little six-year-old girl who has lost her father to that same war and a little fat girl he shunned in high school. It is the third book in the Vietnam War Series and one of my favorites.”
You may ask why I would review my own book. The purpose is simple, but first let me begin by saying: There is no rating attached to the review nor is there a recommendation—only a story summary. The reason for the review is to clarify my purpose and style of writing in the Vietnam War Series. I have received a few review comments for Raeford’s MVP and my other works whereby an extremely limited number of readers express disappointment that my stories are not purely “war” stories.
Here are a couple of comments: “Is this a War Novel or a Romantic Novel?” (Valley of The Purple Hearts) and “This author…has a tendency to morph a Nam novel into a romance novel.” (Raeford’s MVP). I believe the problem lies with reader expectations. Some want nothing more than stories of combat and its immediate results. The problem with this is two-fold: wars and combat do not happen in a vacuum whereby they affect only the combatants, and the effects of war and combat seldom end when a soldier returns home.
Soldiers have lives before and after they are soldiers, and soldiers have families, wives, and lovers who are just as much a part of their lives as are their combat experiences. And while most soldiers return from combat to civilian lives and move on without outwardly displaying the effects of that experience, most all are changed in some way by it. Frankly, I write my novels to fit these realities and not the voyeuristic pleasures of readers who believe war games like “Call of Duty” or comic books such as “Sergeant Rock” reflect the horrific reality of combat and its aftermath.
With that said, I must caution readers that all these novels do in fact contain very real and graphic descriptions of combat. Many readers have said my stories seemingly place them in such a state of mind that they feel they have participated in the actual combat scenes. These accolades are deeply appreciated, because to understand the entirety of the experience is to better understand the combat veteran, but I stand by my opening statement: I don’t write Sergeant Rock comic books!