Monthly Archives: June 2017


I spent about an hour and a half yesterday reading two books:  This Must Be My Brother  by Leann Thieman and Carol Dey  and The Vietnamese Boat People, 1954 and 1975–1992
by Nghia M. Vo .  I vaguely remember the first story, so I either read the book when I was younger or watched a show on television about it. The story takes place over the course of two days and is a fast, easy read. The second book is more in-depth. I am probably going to have to read it two or three times to really understand what it is saying.

Writing a book takes a lot more than just sitting down and putting words on paper. Any book, even a fiction book, takes time, research, planning, and time. If you are writing a book, give yourself time to make it the best it possibly can be before publishing it. Taking the time and necessary steps will be worth it, to you, and to your readers.

We Were Soldiers

As part of writing Hieu’s memoir, I have been researching Vietnam’s history, especially the Vietnam war because those events shaped Hieu’s life directly until he was twelve and indirectly after that.

Yesterday, a friend and I watched “We Were Soldiers.” My friend commented that the hardest part of watching it was knowing that the men were giving their lives for such a senseless war. She admired the soldiers for fighting; she said that their sacrifice means something important. My friend didn’t say exactly what she thinks it means. I think it means that we are a brave, courageous people. I admire every person who is or who has ever been an American soldier. They are undertaking one of the bravest, most selfless jobs a person can do.

One of the people this movie portrays is journalist Joseph L. Galloway, who was present at la Drang Valley, the first major American-Viet Cong battle of Vietnam.  Even though he was not a soldier, he earned a Bronze Star for Valor for rescuing a wounded soldier during the battle. ( Editor, From the front lines of Ia Drang Valley: ‘Killing, dying and suffering indelibly marked us all’, Stripes.comNovember 10, 2015.)

Galloway and Lt Col Hal G. Moore went on to write the book “We Were Soldiers Once and Young.”

(My computer won’t let me continue the above paragraph, so I am starting a new one.) I fully intend to purchase and read his book. I also hope to find his collected Vietnam journalist’s works.

Until I started researching, I had always thought of the Viet Cong as heartless, cruel animals without human feelings. The more I study the war, the more I am realizing that they were real people with real feelings. They loved their families and cared about their children and wanted basically the same things most people want. The movie shows this in one poignant scene.

I highly recommend watching this movie.

Meeting Cassondra Coulter

Last night I traveled to the Carlin-Ingersoll Public Library, Canton, IL, to hear breakout novelist Cassondra Coulter talk about her experiences publishing her first book: Broken Silence: Book I.

In spite of the fact that I am not into witchcraft, her reading of the first page drew me in and left me wanting to explore all that this book has to offer.

Main character Anna Shaw”s first words to us are not about witchcraft, not about personal tragedy, not about love lost. Her first words are about something almost every woman wants from the moment of birth: a mother’s love. She speaks of a deep desire for her mother’s love and to be a source of pride to her mother. Anna shares her secret fear, one that resonates with many women: that she has not become the daughter her mother had hoped to have.

Author Cassondra Coulter’s settings are so accurately portrayed, that one reader actually recognized one of the places in the book as a local point of interest. That is one of the greatest compliments an author can receive.

A huge bonus to this talk is that Cassondra has the speech and mannerisms of Jennifer Lawrence. Her voice is musically warm, and her delivery added humor and spice.

I plan to reserve an afternoon to savor this, the first in a series of books, by Cassondra Coulter.

Her book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble. Also, request it at your local library.

In case you are interested, here is the link: