I Just Added This To My Reading List!

PROMISES TO THE FALLEN

A VIETNAM WAR NOVEL

Glyn Haynie

Cover image of the new novel by Author Glyn Haynie
New Release

I just ordered a signed hardcover copy of Glyn Haynie’s newest release and cannot wait to read it!

Author Glyn Haynie

From the age of 19 until he retired in March of 1989, Glyn Haynie served his country as a member of the United States Army. Starting in 1969, his military career spanned 20 years. Haynie found himself turning 19 while fighting in the jungles of Vietnam with the 23rd Infantry Division. Before retiring, Haynie went on to serve as a drill instructor, a first sergeant, and finally as an instructor for the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA).


I have read all three of his earlier books!

When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir

Glyn Haynie’s first book, When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir, tells of the author’s experiences as a 19-year-old soldier sent off to fight an unpopular war. In this gripping narrative, Haynie shares his war experience with his readers.

They were just average Americans – sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers. Men who who came together and formed a bond that would endure a lifetime, a bond formed in combat.

Glyn Haynie shares the vivid experiences of his period as a soldier during the War in Vietnam.

Weeks of boredom, minutes of terror. Surviving the humidity, the heat, the monsoons, a raging jungle fire, and struggling to build a firebase on a remote jungle hilltop, all while fighting fear, exhaustion, and facing a fierce and implacable enemy.

Soldiering After The Vietnam War: Changed Soldiers In A Changed Country

This second work, Soldiering After The Vietnam War: Changed Soldiers In A Changed Country, picks up where the first book leaves off and gives the reader a rare glimpse of what it meant to a soldier to return from Vietnam and continue to serve his country despite the lack of respect and appreciation typically afforded soldiers returning home from war.

The vast majority of American service men who served in Vietnam served bravely and honorably. The atrocities so often focused on by the media, and in films and documentaries were actually few and far between. Men like Glyn Haynie would probably never ask, but many in this country owe them an apology … and some long overdue respect and appreciation.

Finding My Platoon Brothers: Vietnam Then and Now

Glyn Haynie carries the names of 13 brothers forever engraved on his heart. They are the names of brothers-in-arms, killed in combat during the War in Vietnam.

The bonds formed in battle are unique and not understood by anyone who has not served in the military.

This third book by Glyn Haynie, Finding My Platoon Brothers, Vietnam Then and Now, describes his efforts to find and reconnect with his brothers of First Platoon. These men, with whom he served during the War in Vietnam, are indeed a real part of his family.


And now, to Glyn Haynie’s newest release, a very intriguing Vietnam War novel.

PROMISES TO THE FALLEN: A Vietnam War Novel

I have not yet read Glyn Haynie’s new novel, Promises to the Fallen: A Vietnam War Novel, but I have just ordered a signed copy! You can order a signed hardcover or paperback copy by clicking here!

While I have not actually met Glyn, I have gotten to know him through collaboration on some projects as well as through social media vehicles such as Twitter, and Instagram where we have shared tips on topics such as marketing books on Twitter or Instagram and using Amazon Ads.

I did read one chapter of his novel while it was in-progress and found it very intriguing. And, I believe that if you’re interested in military history, the Vietnam War era, its soldiers, and its heroes, this will be one novel you will definitely want to add to your reading list. It is now available at Amazon.com in Kindle, paperback and hardcover formats.

Once I have received my copy of the book and read it, I will post a review here on my blog!

Have You Ever Thought About Doing a Book Trailer?

How do you market your books?

If you are a self-published author, you are often on your own when it comes to marketing your work. There are many avenues to explore including review blogs, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, email lists, etc. In fact, it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming!

In my opinion, social media marketing is great for getting exposure. You can build a support network of other writers (#writingcommunity), gain ideas about target markets for your books, and promotes specials or giveaways. You may even sell a few books.

But I have come to a conclusion that people who spend a lot of time on social media outlets, are probably not book lovers or voracious readers. If they were, they’d be reading, and not Tweeting. So, I decided to try something new!

I decided to try creating a book trailer.

Videos do seem to be another great way to grab a possible reader’s attention and interest, gain exposure, and maybe even sell a book or two. Videos are easy to share and can certainly be used with social media. But, they can also be used on your website, uploaded to YouTube, emailed, shared on blogs, etc.

Conspiracy. Terrorism. One SEAL stands between freedom and nuclear annihilation.

I started trying to do this myself, but quickly found out that there is a good bit to it. Access to appropriate royalty-free footage, editing software, having a script or storyboard, and a good soundtrack are all important and too much to learn all at once. Therefore, I enlisted the help of a video editor on Fiverr.com to help me get started. It turned out to be a lot of fun. You can view the results above, of course.

As part of this process, I did learn the importance of having a script and storyboarding your video to get your ideas in laid out and conceptualized before you go looking for royalty-free video footage, etc. I am also looking into getting some better video editing software. I think this would be fun to do yourself, but then, you also have to consider time and investment.

So, for my next project, a “coming soon” book trailer for my sequel to Serpents Underfoot, I will certainly still get some help from the experts on Fiverr.com, but who knows what the future may hold!

One thing is clear. Writing a book is only part of the battle, and in fact, may be the easiest part. Getting your book out there and getting exposure, building a reader base, driving sales, all while continuing to write additional books can be quite a challenge. Hopefully, somewhere down the line, the work pays off. You have to truly believe that the investment of all your time and hard work will pay off in order to keep chugging away and eventually be successful.

Just don’t stop trying!

There is some sage wisdom from some old martial artist that seems appropriate here. The founder of Isshin-ryu Karate, Tatuso Shimabuku, used to say it, but I am pretty sure it didn’t originate with him. The saying goes:

If you fall down seven times, get up eight!

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My version of that is “I am to stubborn to know when I am beat, so I just keep going!” But, isn’t that the secret to success?

Stay tuned for future book video trailers. And for other blog posts and book reviews, click here!

Calvin Edney: 101st Airborne Veteran / Artist

You just never know who you are going to meet!

It is often interesting to me how we take other people we meet for granted, not bothering to listen to or learn about one another. I recently met a man named Calvin who I discovered, served in the 101st Airborne Division. This turned into a conversation, because I too, served with the 101st. But, by that time it had been transformed into the 101st Air Assault Division. Of course, Calvin is about 85 and I am 59. So, we served during different eras.

And as a side note, I recently learned that at least some units of the 101st have gone back to being Airborne.

Veteran and artist!

During the course of our discussions, it came out that I had published my first novel, titled Serpents Underfoot, a short time back, and that I am now working on its sequel, Montagnard. Of course, he wanted a signed hard-cover copy of Serpents Underfoot which I provided.

An artist utilizing vibrant colors and sharp contrast!

calvin edney
Young Dogwood at Grove Park by Calvin Edney

I then learned that, Calvin too was also an artist … a painter. And that he’d been painting for about 30 years. I learned that Vincent Van Gogh was one of his favorite painters and you can see that influence in the work he does. He is also was a fan of Frederic Remington, a painter and sculptor focusing on the American west, and a favorite of mine.

calvin edney
Fight for the waterhole by Frederic Remington

Calvin Edney has been a soldier, a grocer, a bookstore owner, a vegetable store owner, a butcher, and now … a painter. He was active in several Asheville galleries in previous years, but now mostly paints in his apartment relying on memories of scenes which stuck in his mind and are created on the canvas. Calvin has sold a good number of his paintings, including one to a former Ingles CEO. He also hosts exhibits at his apartment home.

December 7th Show

Saturday, December 7, 2019
2:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Tree Top Apartments
Asheville, NC

This is Calvin’s home. Over 140 originals hang on his walls. For more information, click here!

If you are going to be in the Asheville area on December 7th, you should stop by and meet this 101st Airborne Veteran and amazing painter. I think you will enjoy the paintings and the conversation, as well as the wine, cheese, and crackers he serves during the show.

I will start saving up my pennies, so I can afford one of his paintings some time soon.

James “Willie” Williams: The Most Decorated Enlisted Sailor in Naval History

I discovered this story about James Elliott “Willy” Williams in the Navy Times November 8, 2018 Edition. It was written by Doug Sterner. It is really quite a story and the man is most certainly an American hero! You can read the story here, or click here to read this on the Navy Times website

Willy Williams, the most decorated enlisted sailor in Navy history

By: Doug Sterner   November 8, 2018

In the history of the U.S. Navy only seven men have earned all of the “Big Three” valor awards: Medal of Honor, Navy Cross and Silver Star Medal. Six were World War II officers, including one aviator and four submarine commanders. The seventh was enlisted sailor James Elliott “Willy” Williams in Vietnam.

In 1947, Williams, a 16-year-old from Fort Mill, South Carolina, enlisted in the Navy with a fraudulent birth certificate. His first 19 years in the Navy included service aboard the destroyer USS Douglas H. Fox during the Korean War and tours on a variety of naval vessels from 1953 to 1965.

In May 1966 Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Williams was assigned to River Squadron 5 in South Vietnam to command Patrol Boat, River 105. The approximately 30-foot fiberglass boat usually carried a four-man crew who patrolled inland waterways to prevent the Viet Cong from using them to transport troops and supplies.

On July 1 Williams led a patrol that came under fire from a Viet Cong sampan. His deft maneuvers and accurate fire killed five VC and resulted in capture of the enemy boat, earning Williams a Bronze Star Medal with a “V” for valor. Twenty-two days later the capture of another sampan brought Williams a second Bronze Star for valor. Less than a month later, he received a Silver Star and his first Purple Heart.

On Halloween, Oct. 31, 1966, Williams was commanding a two-boat patrol on the Mekong River when he was fired on by two sampans. He and his crew killed the occupants of one and then went after the other. That pursuit put the Navy boats into a VC staging area containing two junks and eight sampans, supported by machine guns on the river banks. Williams called for helicopter gunship support while holding the enemy at bay. During this movement he discovered an even larger force. Not waiting for the armed helicopters, Williams attacked. Maneuvering through devastating fire from enemy boats and the shore, his two-boat patrol fought a three-hour battle that destroyed or damaged 65 VC boats and eliminated some 1,200 Communist troops. For his actions, Williams was nominated for the Medal of Honor.

On Jan. 9, 1967, the Navy dredge Jamaica Bay was blown up by mines in the Mekong Delta, and PBR-105 arrived to pick up seven of the survivors. Another man was trapped in the rapidly sinking dredge. Williams dove into the water and, with a rope attached to a nearby tug, pulled clear an obstruction, then swam through a hatch to recover the sailor.

Six days later Williams was wounded while leading a three-boat patrol that interdicted a crossing attempt by three VC heavy-weapons companies of 400 fighters. He and his boats accounted for 16 VC killed, 20 wounded and the destruction of nine sampans and junks. Williams was awarded the Navy Cross.

When Williams returned home in spring 1967, he had a list of awards unmatched by any enlisted man in Navy history. He retired after 20 years of service and began a career in the U.S. Marshals Service.

willy williams

On May 14, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented Williams with the Medal of Honor. For his lifesaving actions at the sinking Jamaica Bay, he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, often called “the noncombat medal of honor.”

During his last seven months in the Navy, Williams received every sea-service award for heroism including the Legion of Merit with “V,” two Navy Commendation Medals for valor and three Purple Hearts.

Williams died on Oct. 13, 1999, and in 2003 his widow, Elaine, watched the launching of the Arleigh Burke class destroyer, USS James E. Williams.

Doug Sterner, an Army veteran who served two tours in Vietnam, is curator of the world’s largest database of U.S. military valor awards.

This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of Vietnam Magazine, a Military Times sister publication. For more information on Vietnam Magazine and all of the HistoryNet publications, visit historynet.com.

Click here for more interesting blog posts and book reviews.

Be on the watch for my new thriller, Montagnard, coming out this summer, and check out the original JD Cordell military action thriller available on Amazon.com.

The Lost Constitution

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

The U.S. Constitution

Clarence Thomas is an American judge, lawyer, and government official, and for the last three decades, a highly respected Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He is, perhaps, one of our era’s most consequential and controversial jurists.

Often described as an originalist or textualist, Thomas would be ranked neck and neck with the late Justice Scalia for being considered the most conservative justice on the court, and for being a part of the conservative wing of the Supreme Court.

Myron Magnet

I was reading a article in the September issue of Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College. The article was adapted from a speech given by Myron Magnet at Hillsdale College’s Constitution Day Celebration in Washington, D.C. on September 17, 2019. Magnet earned an MA from Cambridge University and a PH.D. from Columbia University where he taught for several years. He has worked as an editor for the City Journal, and written for several publications including The Commentary, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He has also authored several books, including The Founders at Home, The Building of America, 1735-1817, and, most recently, Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution.

A fascinating article

According to this article, during his almost three decades on the bench, Justice Thomas has been laying out a plan for reshaping Supreme Court jurisprudence. His template for this endeavor is the U.S. Constitution as the Framers wrote it 232 years ago. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in the first Federalist, the plan was to create “good government from reflection and choice,” rather than settle for a regime based, as are most in history have been, on “accident and force.”

In Clarence Thomas’s view, what the Founding Fathers achieved 232 years ago remains as modern and up-to-date as it was in 1787.

However, according to Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court lost its way. During the 1930s and the implementation of the “New Deal,” the Supreme Court buckled under President Franklin Roosevelt’s threat to enlarge and stack the court. Roosevelt had wrongly diagnosed the cause of the Great Depressions as a “crisis of overproduction” and therefore, wanted to take control of the entire economy to regulate it. Sound vaguely familiar?

The “Court’s dramatic departure in the 1930s from a century and a half of precedent,” Thomas says, was a fatal “wrong turn” that marks the start of illegitimate judicial constitution-making.

Myron Magnet, Author, Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution

Starting with this fateful decision, over time the “Supreme Court” has over seen and sanctioned the development of a new administrative system. One in which the Congress has given up its legislative role, and has delegated the power to make and enforce laws to nameless, faceless, and unaccountable bureaucracies. According to Thomas, this new legislative process has no basis to exist within our constitutional structure.

You can read the entire article here if you like.

Why does it matter?

The United States is a Constitutional Democratic Republic, and a wildly successful experiment in self-government that lifted more people out of poverty than any other system in existence. Americans have shed more blood in the name of Liberty and Freedom than any other nation on the planet.

To exist, such a nation relies on a system of ethics. It does take a certain level of character to be capable of liberty.

Unfortunately, for the last several decades, some have been leading a movement toward the politics of victimization, the politics of race, or gender. The Left divides Americans into categories and then pits one category against another in order to gain and keep power. They have succeeded in dumbing-down our education system to the point that we have a generation of young people incapable of critical thinking. These kids can only regurgitate what they have been spoon-fed by the public school systems for their entire time in school.

The Left simply wants a compliant citizenry and to take total control of your life.

And I think Thomas Sowell agrees …

The U.S. Constitution

According to Sowell, one of the more painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is the number of people who are unable to make a coherent argument. Sure, they can vent their emotions, question other people’s motives, make bold assertions, and repeat slogans. They can do almost anything … except reason.

And what about Thomas Sowell’s thoughts on the divide and conquer politics of today’s left?

If you believe in equal rights, then what do “women’s right,” “gay rights;” etc. mean? Either they are redundant or they are violations of the principle of equal rights for all.

Thomas Sowell, Random Thoughts column, 2013

Give up your freedom, give up our Country!

Socialism, communism, fascism … all different names for the same authoritarian form of government, and the antithesis of everything America was founded on.

Socialism, in fact, has a clear history of failure so blatantly obvious, that only a truly dishonest liberal intellectual could successfully ignore it. But for today’s new radical left, the facts don’t matter and the U.S. Constitution is a thing to be disregarded and destroyed … except in the rare occurrence (sort of) following it just happens to suit their agenda.

Character, honor, critical thinking, ethics, integrity, and America’s great history: all the things needed to help ensure the continued success of this constitutional democratic republic are ridiculed, discarded, or removed.

In a government system based on equal opportunity and individual rights, the truth is much relies on the individual. In this land of equal opportunity for all, each citizen must forge their own fate, like all the other Americans that came before them. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

If you fall down seven times, get up eight

Not everyone can or will succeed every time they try. But you have the right to try again. Yes, we as a country provide certain safety nets, but they are a hand up … not a hand out. And, they need to be viewed as such. If you come to rely on the government for your existence, the government owns you, body and soul.

Regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sex, or gender, everybody faces adversity at one time or another. Each individual must choose whether or not to buckle down and overcome that obstacle, and in this way, shape their own destiny.

Unfortunately, it is simply easier to blame life’s adversities on some powerful evil entity that forces us into a state of victim-hood … powerful entities that only a mighty and benevolent government master can protect you from.

The Constitution, as created for us by our Founding Fathers is a brilliant document designed to ensure individual freedom for all American citizens,. But, it presupposes citizens of the first kind, not the second. Without them, and a culture that nurtures them, no free nation can long endure.

Ignore My Browser History …

I’m a writer … not serial killer!

So, you type into your google search window, “What is the best way to wash blood off your hands?”

Hmm! I just realized how bad this sounds. For the record, I just had a very serious nose bleed … I am not a serial killer.

But to some folks out there, this would sound pretty bad! I get that. Especially those who project what is going on in their own dirty little minds onto my above mentioned search phrase. But what if I really had just had a bad nosebleed?

And, the fact is, hydrogen peroxide dissolves blood.

Hmm! I wonder … if you gave someone a huge shot of hydrogen peroxide directly into their blood stream … would it kill them? Let me google that!

ignore my browser history

Uh! No officer, I swear I’m not a serial killer. I’m a writer!

Me (After they search my browser history)

In my sequel to Serpents Underfoot, my main character’s mother (who is Vietnamese) returns to Vietnam in hopes of finding her long-lost adopted Montagnard brother.

Given the terrible situation the few remaining Montagnard people in Vietnam find themselves in these days, she would naturally have to look in some pretty bad places such a refugee camps, slums, re-education camps, prisons, or maybe … red light districts. Image what doing research for this part of the story could cause to appear in your browser search history.

ignore my browser history

And then, there’s this awesome rescue mission where the main character and his friends are helped by a mysterious Thai go go dancer!

States of confusion

“What do you mean that’s not a girl?”
“‘I’m telling you, that’s a guy … a lady boy.”

ignore my browser history

“The hell you say! There’s no way that’s a guy!”
“I’m telling you, this is a lady boy bar … and that’s a not a girl …”
“Well, actually guys. That could be a girl working in a lady boy bar, posing as a lady boy!”
“Now my head hurts!”

Other areas of research that hopefully won’t trigger the NSA!

This would be the research into topics like drug smugglers in the Golden Triangle, al Qaeda in Niger, gun smuggling, clandestine flights to obscure airstrips, American drone bases, Thai go go bars, and CIA contractors! I am pretty sure I am now on somebody’s watch list … somewhere.

But the fact is, the better the research and the more realistic the background for your story, the better the story will be. And, if this is truly the case, my next book Montagnard, should be a killer!

Ahh! Yes officer, I meant “killer” figuratively … not literally.

Me (after we continue the “discussion” downtown)

Therefore, to satisfy my loyal readers, I will bravely continue to do my research, no matter what the cost. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make in the pursuit of my chosen craft.

And I, umm, also do plan to do a few murder mysteries in the future. That should get really quite interesting.

I’m innocent I tell you … I don’t know what happened to the guy that gave me that really awful book review. His disappearance must be a coincidence. I swear …

Me (as they lead me away in handcuffs … )

For more great blog posts and book reviews. click right here!

Asheville Waterfall Tours: Get your adventure on!

Are you going to be in the Asheville area? If so, this is something you will definitely want to add to your “to do” list!

It was an absolutely gorgeous day for an outdoor adventure

Yesterday, I went on an amazing tour of some of the less well-known waterfalls in the mountains surrounding Asheville, North Carolina. The tour was led by Carolyn Wilde, owner of Asheville Waterfall Tours.

This was not your average tour. Carolyn provides more of an adventure, leading us off the beaten path and away from the tourists. We were able to get up close & personal with some pretty amazing waterfalls! Carolyn has the ability to customize your personal tour (from 1 to 14 people) based on your level of skill, hiking preferences, and tolerance for adventure.

She will also push your limits just a bit. On the tour yesterday, a couple was not so sure about climbing up or down to some of the vantage points she wanted to take us to. However, Carolyn was very competent and guided them along with safety first in mind; even offering a helping hand at a few of the rougher spots. But each time, once you reached the location, the reaction was, “Oh my God, that was so worth it!”

Our fantastic guide!

asheville waterfall tours
Yours truly posing with our guide, Carolyn.

Carolyn provided water and snacks, along with some great stores about local history (I loved the story of the white squirrel), culture, and pointed out waterfalls and other sites for future visits to the area (there is simply way to much to see in a single day), as well as advice for local “after tour” activities in downtown Asheville.

asheville waterfall tours

Interesting side note …

As we hiked along surrounded by beautiful forests, babbling streams, and the region’s assorted outcroppings of rock, I discovered this huge chunk of what looks like milky quartz or feldspar surrounded by what looks like granite to me. While I am not a “mineral” expert by any means, I did find the contrast fascinating.

asheville waterfall tours

Wild life viewing is included …

We even encountered some of the local wildlife along the trail. Not wanting to intrude, we were very careful to keep our distance … especially from these guys!

asheville waterfall tours

I will be a repeat customer!

Again, this was a truly fantastic day! I cannot stress enough how good Carolyn is at what she does. There are simply so many hidden waterfalls in the region … that are not shown on tourist maps or marked by signage, and that you will not find without a knowledgeable local guide.

I did manage to choose a time when the Asheville area is experiencing a minor drought, so the water flow was a bit less than it might have normally been. I absolutely want to come back and see these falls in all their glory … maybe right after a real rainy season!

You can see images of many of these falls on Carolyn’s website at AshevilleWaterfallTours.com. You can check out her reviews on Trip Adviser here, but you will want to go to her website to book a tour. It helps Carolyn keep the costs down.

asheville waterfall tours

I highly recommend Carolyn Wilde and her Asheville Waterfall Tours to anyone who enjoys nature, hiking, and waterfalls but always wished they could see just a bit more than the typical drive-by tourist attractions.

Definitely a Five Star Saturday afternoon!

For some adventure of a different sort, check out my books, Serpents Underfoot and Adirondack Bear Tales. Both available on Amazon.com! And for more great posts and reviews. click right here!