About The Word Hunter-Rick DeStefanis

Mississippi Author/Writer Rick DeStefanis writes below about the motivation behind his award-winning Vietnam War Series.

Rick DeStefanis, The Word Hunter

Rick DeStefanis, The Word Hunter

A military veteran and former paratrooper who served with the 82nd Airborne Division from 1970 to 1972, Rick brings a wide variety of life experiences to his writing. While his Southern Fiction, such as his novel Tallahatchie, is qualified by his lifelong residence in the South, it is his military training and expertise that informs his Vietnam War Series. These novels include Melody Hill, the award-winning novel The Gomorrah Principle, Raeford’s MVP and the latest, the 2018 Best Indie Book Award winner for Literary/Mainstream Fiction, The Valley of the Purple Hearts. An avid outdoorsman, Rick lives in rural Mississippi with his wife Janet, five cats and three dogs. And when he’s not photographing wildlife, he writes. Learn more at his Amazon Author Page.

Rick DeStefanis Writes About The Word Hunter and his Vietnam War Series

I grew up in the South, and though I write fiction, my stories are true reflections of my experiences and the people I know. Writing southern fiction without denying the truth requires care inasmuch as it can easily offend neighbors and friends. Southern writers seldom cross that line with cheap exhibitionism, while mimics from other parts of the country do so with relish in cliché-filled creations that come off like a Hollywood actor imitating a Southern accent. When I laugh and cry, it is not at or about my fellow southerners, but with them. We are a proud people, and because we speak slowly and appreciate a less chaotic lifestyle does not mean we are not intelligent or self-driven.

I served as a paratrooper in the military, and although I am not a combat veteran, I know the Vietnam era and have many personal friends who served in that war. After jump school at Fort Benning I was separated from most of my classmates and friends who went either to the 173rd Airborne Brigade or the 101st Airborne in the Republic of Vietnam while I was ordered to the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg. Paratroop Drop 82nd Airborne scan0014

Upon their return, many of my buddies rejoined me at Fort Bragg where I had gone through extensive and continuous training while they had stared the beast in the eye for a year. Most of them would talk about their experiences only after a few glasses of bourbon, but none would speak about them to anyone outside the military. And when I offered to write their stories as nonfiction accounts, each one to a man refused. They did not want to relive those horrific experiences and also because they were humble heroes who had left behind some of our buddies in those mountainous jungles. The “fiction” I write is closely based on the stories these men shared with me in bars around Fayetteville, North Carolina and during reunions years afterward.

With these men in mind, as well as all veterans who have given of themselves for their country, I attempt to produce the best Vietnam War Stories possible. And as with my southern fiction, when I write Vietnam War fiction, it is with the knowledge that I am telling the stories of these men with an unvarnished truth that reflects their experiences. These combat veterans have earned that along with my unfailing respect.

Rick DeStefanis books can be purchased at Amazon.com or ordered through a bookstore near you.

Please enjoy these articles about my books

Valley of the Purple Hearts

Rawlins: No Longer Young

Tallahatchie

 Connect with Rick on:

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Recent Posts

Designer Dogs and Such

…Or, a failed July beach landing…

Okay, I am certain there have been numerous articles written in dog-world publications about the fad of creating designer dogs for the bored rich. I finally met both at the beach in Florida last week—the bored rich couple with their boutique dog. Properly trussed in a decorative harness with leash, the mutt was tethered to their Yeti cooler, which of course was well decorated with travel decals from around the US. To say the dog looked strange would be an understatement. On occasion, I’ve watched the grandkids with their little animal puzzles assemble such things: A unicorn head with a giraffe body and such, not that the dog had either, but the breeding process must have been similar. The dog’s head resembled something like a Brittany or a Cocker Spaniel, but its body was strangely tapered to very small hips which were covered with a wiry fur resembling that of a Schnauzer.

After studying the animal for a while, I decided to ask the obvious question: Why bring a dog to bake in the July sun at the beach? Just kidding. No, I didn’t, but I did ask what kind of dog it might be. The woman quickly donned a beach wrap upon my intrusion, which was actually a favor to the eyes of nearby beach-goers—not that I am a showpiece of human manhood myself, but just sayin’. The response from the dog was considerably less frosty as she furiously wagged her stubby little tail. The man answered my question with something that sounded like he was trying to say “Cockroach Cereal” with a mouth full of marbles.

After studying the dog for a moment I proceeded to put my foot in my mouth by saying, “Oh! She’s a mix.” And I suppose I could have offended them worse by kicking sand into their wine glasses, but calling the mutt a “mix” seemed to have done the trick. The woman’s lips parted and Mister Dog Owner’s cheeks grew noticeably flushed as his voice tightened to the tone of a blender trying to grind ice. “No! She’s a very popular breed in Souyuth Jawja (I think he meant to say South Georgia)…” but whatever he was saying was lost to my ears as I realized what an inept social klutz I had become.

The thought occurred to me to make amends and regain some social equilibrium by introducing a little humor. “Oh! I see. Yes, we have quite a few dogs like that where I am from. We call them full-blooded Mississippi Mutts.” Their faces solidified into something resembling crimson granite countertops as I tumbled miserably into the abyss of the totally gooberfied nerd world. “Nothing to see here, folks–move along, now.”  I wished them a good afternoon and continued scavenging for seashells.

Update July 2019: Hopefully, in a week or so, I will be announcing the publication of the second book in the Rawlins Trilogy, Rawlins, Into Montana. Rawlins into Montana book coverIn the meantime, I have begun work on the fifth book in the Vietnam War Series, tentatively titled The Birdhouse Man. There’ll be more to come on that later in the summer. As always, I humbly beseech you to write a review on Amazon for any of my books that you have read. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace. A single line is enough as long as it describes some facet of the story you particularly enjoyed.

 

Rick DeStefanis

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