I wrote about the Vietnam War in The Pig Parts Series in part because I wanted to better understand it.

The war lasted many long years. Some Americans blamed young recruits for its length and brutality.

Career military believed that politicians hindered their efforts by limiting the weapons they were allowed to use and compared it to being asked “to fight with one arm tied behind their backs.”

Many Americans considered the draft to be unfair as well as unjust. Blacks, Hispanics and the poor fought and died in Vietnam in unfair numbers while some young men of means and position found ways to avoid service: college deferments; National Guard service; real or imagined physical ailments documented by sympathetic physicians; or, as a last resort, escape to Canada or Mexico. Many Americans believed the U.S. had no business intervening in what some considered to be a civil war.

Americans took sides, and families fractured. Patience ran out while protests and counter protests swelled and clashed, sometimes leaving protesters and innocent bystanders dead.

Troop casualties soared, and most Americans personally knew someone who had been killed, wounded or disabled. TV news featured the carnage every day, up close and in color for the first time ever. Many young men serving in country considered themselves “cannon fodder,” and many Americans agreed with them.

As the war dragged on, most Americans wanted to be done with it.


It seemed as if every time I turned around, my writing was interrupted. I expected some but not all the interruptions. Most were brief, from a few days to a few weeks, but one shut me down for much longer. All were frustrating. I feared I would never finish my novels. The words churned in my head, desperate to get out.

Tax preparation took time out of each February and March. Vacations and trips took equally as long, but unlike taxes, they were fun.

The longest interruption was seven months of waiting for surgery, recovery and rehabilitation. It sorely tested my patience. The physical therapist warned me up front that she would cause me pain and that I should not expect any sympathy because she wouldn’t give it. She kept her word in spades, but when she was done, my joint worked well, and we were both pleased, as was my orthopod. And the long break was probably good for The Pig Parts Series, allowing me to return to it with fresh eyes.

And then, of course, the Coronavirus Pandemic and lockdown descended upon all of us. While it caused only minor interruptions to my editing, it disrupted my life. Things changed drastically. Plans and priorities changed. Long established routines changed. Suddenly, acquiring new and different skill sets became a matter of life and death. Like everyone else on the planet, I had to find ways to accept the changes and cope with deadly threats from invisible, ill-defined and unwelcome intruders.


Above all else, I want to involve the reader in the characters’ lives and transport him to their world.

One of my life’s greatest pleasures has been reading, and I want to give back. Life for too many has turned hard in recent years, especially for young people. I hope to provide readers a brief escape.

So why write a story set around such an ugly part of America’s history?

For one thing, I feel that I owe a debt of honor to the young men who died way too young as well as to those who survived grievous wounds. Many of them suffered through the rest of their lives in pain and disability.

Fifty years later, some still blame the young soldiers for the war’s brutality. From my perspective, it was not that those who served in country were callous and brutal to begin with, it was that some ended up that way given what they endured. I believe that happens in every war but was more visible during the Vietnam War.

No other American war has been opened up so thoroughly to the civilian public. News pictures and films from World War II and Korea had been mostly in black and white. Brief film clips shown in movie theaters were accompanied by patriotic music and stirring description. In the Vietnam War, dramatic images appeared on TV every day, at length and in color. For the first time ever, blood and gore became highly visible. Time allotted to news programs increased from 15 to 30 minutes. The entire world tuned in every day to the suffering of young Americans as well as North and South Vietnamese civilian and military populations.

Massive public opposition to the Vietnam War led to tighter military controls levied on reporting subsequent American wars.

Do I really think that anyone today will be interested in reading about the war and its times? I don’t know, but I hope so. However, I have recently read that books about the war are currently out of favor with publishers.

I still intend to keep pushing for publication of The Pig Parts Series. The series of novels offers a unique perspective on the war, that of the wife… a celebrity and business woman. The vast majority of books published on the war are memoirs from the soldier’s perspective. I believe the series is entertaining on so many different levels and deserves to be published.

Now I have to get it done. As Nick, the heroine’s Vietnam bound love would say, “Piece of cake, Baby.”



After years of good intentions punctuated by starts, stops and neglected self promises, I have finally written a book. Actually I ended up with seven novels, The Pig Parts Series. I hope to get them published.

Everything I read from publishing experts informs me that I should establish an active presence on social media if I am to have a chance of publication in a world rife with aspiring authors and legions of hopeful manuscripts. Hence this blog.

The deliberate involvement of strangers in my life does not fit with the privacy I have always enjoyed. It was difficult enough to record fictional  thoughts and feelings knowing others might one day read them. Documenting personal observations and opinions to attract potential readers to my hopeful literary career is foreign to my sensibilities. I was raised on the philosophy underpinning the famous quote from Thomas Fuller, a seventeenth century English churchman and historian: “Fools names, likes fools faces – Are often seen in public places.” Amen to that.

While I want to be published, and I want my books to be enjoyed by others, I have never desired fame. Fortune, of course, would be nice.

I have always wanted to write a book. I suppose I wanted to be like J.D. Salinger, a writer so skilled that the only interaction he had to have with the reading public was to speak cordially to the post office clerk who accepted his manuscript for posting to his publisher. After that, he escaped back into self-imposed exile in the countryside. His publisher took care of promoting and selling his book. Salinger was left with more time to do what he did best – write. That sounded good to me.

But alas! That world appears to be long gone, at least for a wannabe like me who will never measure up to Salinger. So here I am interacting, or so I hope.


While I have always been a dog person, there has almost always been a cat in my life. In spite of not currently “owning” a cat (if any human can ever rightfully claim to “own” a cat,) my life has been full of them over the last couple of years.

They have given me a thousand belly laughs during a time when any laugh was appreciated. They are some of the most amusing and charming creatures on earth, and to the many YouTubers who produce videos and still pictures featuring our beautiful furry friends, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Cats come in endless varieties, sizes, shapes, colors, patterns and pelts. They are supremely graceful. They slink, they stalk, they fly through the air and skate across slick floors. They insert themselves into impossibly small spaces, find a fit and promptly nod off. Almost everything they do is fascinating, even sleeping.

The videos have taught me a few things: All these years, I mistakenly “owned” a single cat at a time. Now I learn that’s not right. One should own at least two cats, not only for all they give to you, but for what they do for each other. It turns out that cats utterly adore other cats. Just as humans love to stroke a cat, enjoying the tranquility it brings, cats do the same for each other. They cuddle and snuggle. They sleep intertwined. They play together, stalk and race each other. They adopt strays: kittens, adult cats and even other species. They turn big strapping alpha human males into tenderhearted motherly creatures. Who knew?

Cats may have single-handedly saved childhood for an entire generation of young school children during the lockdown. YouTube is rife with credible stories of six and seven year-olds hijacking Zoom classrooms. Typically, at the end of a presentation, the teacher asks if anyone has a question. Invariably a sweet young voice pipes up, “Do you want to see my kitty cat?” And they’re off… the subject that is. All of them. Not only does the teacher have to show off his cat, but so do each of the students, providing every one of them with the best part of their school day, the part that they will remember when the school subject is long forgotten.

And if that isn’t enough to warm one’s heart, after way too many days of finding no survivors in the grotesque rubble of the collapsed condominium building in South Florida, a miracle suddenly appeared. Binx, one of the precious missing pets was found wandering near the rubble. Judging by TV video, he’s a big strong cat, but that doesn’t explain how he survived crashing to the earth from nine floors above, riding pancaking layers of concrete and steel down to the ground and escaping before another layer came down on top of him. But he did. And we are all so grateful. He warms many heavy hearts.


I wanted to credit all the photos I’ve used, so here they are:

Girl with horse photo: Photo by Tai’s Captures  on Unsplash

Great horned owl: Photo by Zdeněk Macháček  on Unsplash

Beetle: From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Vietnamese flag: This work is in the public domain in Vietnam for one of the following reasons:
• It is a cinematographic work, photographic work, work of applied art or anonymous work first published more than 75 years ago. (See Commons: Copyright_rules_by_territory/Vietnam)

Marine Corp flag: Public Domain Created: 18 January 1939

Trees Image: Michael Kopp from Pixabay

Pig Image: Yair Ventura Filho from Pixabay

Boat with Mexican flag: Photo by Francisco De Nova on Unsplash

Mexican flag: Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Big pig: Photo by Al Elmes on Unsplash

American flag: Photo by shota James on Unsplash

Great horned owl: Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash

US Capitol: Photo by Quick PS on Unsplash

Texas Capitol: Photo by Natilyn Hicks on Unsplash

Helicopter: This image is public domain. You may use this picture for any purpose, including commercial. If you do use it, please consider linking back to us. If you are going to redistribute this image online, a hyperlink to this particular page is mandatory:

HTML: CH-46 Sea Knight Helicopter

by Andrew Schmidt

Snowy House Photo: My web designer’s house in Austin, TX

Fern Hollow Bridge Collapse: National Transportation Safety Board, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Mountain Lion Photo: burntpoet.Coleridge/USA on Pixabay

St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow Photo: Nikita Karimov on Unsplash

Gate Guard at the Tianhou Palace in Tianjin Photo: ermell, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Raven Karate: Bird with right foot in the air: Bruce Jastrow@brucej6767 on Unsplash

Blackbirds: mountains-g98a29b6b9_640 on Pixabay

Noir photo of automobile and men talking in woods. Ulrich B. on Pixabay

Western Straw Hat: Ealdgyth 3.0 Strawhat via Wikimedia Commons

Transco/Williams Tower Houston. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-highsm-16800 (digital file from original) LC-HS503-2300 (color film transparency.) No known restrictions on publication. The Library of Congress

Frustrated Young Businesswoman: Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash

Photo of Snake Charmers at Market in Marrakesh Morocco: Jorge Láscar from Australia, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Roadrunner Photo by Joshua J. Cotten  on Unsplash