Helping the Fight Against PTS

IWThank you everyone who purchased Gideon Hawke books this month! This was a strong month for sales, and as a result today I am donating $25.00 to Invisible Wound in honor of Veteran’s Day and the Centennial of the first Americans entering combat in World War I.

It has been said that Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) is not so much a disease as an open wound in the soul. That is an apt description, and far too many of my friends and colleagues bear such wounds. As we enter this holiday season, please remember that some of the best among us, who went to war on our behalf, are now in the toughest fights of their lives.

Thanks to you, this money will assist Invisible Wound with the mission of helping warriors of all sorts overcome Post-Traumatic Stress.

 

Invisible Wound Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/InvisibleWound/

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Damaged

A haunting (and graphic) video relating the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress. It is interesting: we have to include a warning that the video contains graphic images, but war does not come with such a warning label–the graphic experiences happen without warning.

Only The Lonely Press & Media

My husband is a veteran who served in both the Army and Navy from the late 1980s through till about 1996.  He has PTSD.  And he’s haunted by particular events.  He was present on the infamous Highway of Death at the start of the 1st Gulf War.  What he did, and witnessed there—still gives him nightmares most nights.  Many of the men he served with from those two plus days on the “Highway” have committed suicide.

War is horrible, and our soldiers pay a terrible price for it.

I wrote this little piece, and then created the video using pictures from that war.  Many are disturbing and graphic so beware as you watch.   For well over 18 years I’ve watched my husband struggle with PTSD, and the moral implications of those fateful days.  I wish I could take those memories from him, but unfortunately they are his to bear, alone. …

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Spreading the Word

PresentationYesterday I had the opportunity to discuss the Gideon Hawke Series with the 8th Grade and Mill Creek Middle School in Lenexa, Kansas.

I always enjoy the opportunity to share some insights on the American Revolution and the writing process. Our discussion of why the Americans fought so long and so hard against such incredible odds always comes back to motivation: the belief in the ideals that “all men are created equal” and have the God-given rights of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

We also discuss what the American Revolution means today. I always share this quote by Benjamin Rush:

“The American war is over, but this is far from being the case with the American Revolution.”

If I understand what Benjamin Rush was trying to say, it’s that while we won independence, there is still work to be done. We have not yet truly realized the ideals set forth in the Declaration of Impendence. The wonderful thing about talking to 8th Graders is that they are the future: they will have a say in how the American Revolution turns out.

I sincerely hope the Gideon Hawke Series reminds a few of them why we began this great experiment called “America,” and inspires them to do their part of the hard work of building a society in which all people are truly treated as equal.

 

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Invisible Wound

IWI would like to, in a tangible way, honor both Veteran’s Day and the Centennial of the first Americans entering combat in World War I. Therefore, I will donate 25% of all royalties I earn from the Gideon Hawke Series in the month of November 2017 to Invisible Wound, a non-profit organization with the mission of helping warriors of all sorts overcome Post-Traumatic Stress.

As a veteran with PTS, and a friend who served alongside one of the founders, Invisible Wound is near to my heart.

Please help spread the word so we can help warriors who are in the toughest fights of their lives.

 

Invisible Wound Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/InvisibleWound/

Robert Krenzel Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/RobertKrenzelAuthor/

Gideon Hawke Novels Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/GideonHawkeNovels/

A Life of its Own

Quill Pen Retro Ink Vintage Antique History Pen

I have a deliberate process for writing a Gideon Hawke novel. I build a historical timeline and then generate a story concept that fits into the timeline. I create a rough outline, break the outline into chapters, and develop scenes that fit into each chapter to tell the story. But sometimes the story takes on a life of its own.

I was recently working on the first chapter of Gideon Hawke #5: in the first scene Gideon receives news that causes a significant life change. Then he shared it with his mates, and he and Ruth prepared for this significant change (pardon my beating around the bush: I’m trying desperately to keep spoilers out of this). As I wrote it, the chapter ended with two new and significant characters knocking on Gideon’s door to take him on a short journey. Nice ending…great segue for the second chapter. All is well. Except…

In my outline, the next scene was to be in a new location, after the short journey. But then I realized I was missing a golden opportunity! You see, that short journey is chock full of potential! Here we can learn more not only about these two new characters and their backgrounds, but also the environment into which Gideon is headed. The dialogue almost wrote itself! Suddenly I realized my story had picked up a new scene on which I had not planned: a new scene which could be pivotal for introducing the reader to Gideon’s new reality.

Sometimes an author just has to let the characters be themselves, and the story will create itself. When that happens the real challenge is just trying to keep up!

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Finding Inspiration in the Not-So-Distant Past

We understand history by looking at the past through the lens of the present.

It is an inescapable fact that no person alive today was alive at the time of the American Revolution. Even if there were one or two people around, their perception of the events of that time would be limited to their perspective: what it was that they saw and experienced. People of my generation have lived through monumental events: The Space Program, the Collapse of the Soviet Union, The First Gulf War, German Reunification, The Somalia Crisis, The Balkan Crises, 9/11, the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…just to name a few. But none of us has an omniscient view of these events. For each of us, we will always know these things from our own unique points of view.

When I write about the American Revolution, it is from my own perspective. Naturally I try to learn all I can to inform that point of view, but when finger lands on keyboard, my own experiences are shaping the story.

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C-66 in Paralovo, Kosovo in 2000.

As I write Gideon Hawke #5 I am telling the tale of Gideon Hawke at Valley Forge. Gideon finds himself in command of a company in the Pennsylvania Line. Perhaps inevitably I am looking at Gideon’s experiences through the lens of my own experience as a company commander in the U.S. Army. Unfortunately for Gideon, he will not be blessed with the amount of talent I had. I am biased, but when C Company, 1-37 Armor deployed to Kosovo in 2000, I had the privilege of working with an incredible group of men; it was an honor to serve by their sides, and frankly they made my job easy and enjoyable. Gideon will have many more difficulties than I did: his authority will even be challenged. But in his interactions with his troops, there will be more than a hint of what made the “Cobra Company” special.

 

They may be separated by an ocean and a couple of centuries, but the Cobras will find kindred spirits in the men of Hawke’s Company, 9th Pennsylvania Regiment.

Hiss!

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This is NOT the End of the Line

TWsEvery time I have turned on the news in the past few days I have heard the sound of automatic gunfire; it reminds me of being back in Baghdad in the dark days of early 2006. Scores are dead, and hundreds wounded. What’s more, I just found out that Tom Petty died. Enough already!

At times like this, I have to believe we can make this world a better place, and that something even better is waiting on the other side. We have a responsibility to handle our world, and each other, with care.

Now that Tom is up there with Roy and George, I have to believe the Heavenly Choir is rockin’ just a little bit more. I’m guessing it sounds a bit like this:

Traveling Wilbury’s Handle with Care: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=L8s9dmuAKvU&feature=share

Traveling Wilbury’s End of the Line: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cwqhdRs4jyA

Enjoy! (I’m just looping these…pardon me when I sing along!)

240 Years On…Saratoga

We are now 240 years on from the Battle of Saratoga. The clash called Freeman’s Farm took place on September 19th, 1777. The two sides dug in and probed each other until the decisive clashed misleadingly named after Bemis Heights occurred almost three weeks later. Shortly afterwards John Burgoyne would surrender his army, and his once proud name would forever be associated with defeat. (The Americans would even turn it into a verb: getting “Burgoyned” was something you DID NOT want to happen to you)

Hudson emplacementSo what? Well, Saratoga was decisive in the way few battles can claim. It more than outweighed the fall of Philadelphia to the British. While the Americans lost their capitol temporarily, the British lost an army of thousands of men for good. Saratoga was the trigger for France to entire the war on the American side, and the family squabble in America became a global war between empires. Ultimately, of course, the Americans and French would “Burgoyne” another British army at Yorktown, and the British would seek peace.

The guns at Saratoga are long since silent. The fields and forests that were once places of battle are now peaceful, even serene. They are excellent places for reflection, and for appreciating the efforts of those on both sides of the family squabble that gave birth to the United States of America.

To read about Saratoga from a participant’s perspective, check out A Constant Thunder.

 

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Release Party!

A Constant Thunder front cover SMALLMy fourth novel, A Constant Thunder, will be released on Saturday, September 16th, 2017 (just in time for the 240th Anniversary of the Battle of Freeman’s Farm on September 19th).

Why not join me at a Facebook Release Party on September 16th? From 4:00 to 8:00 PM (that’s 1600 to 2000) US Central Daylight Time, three featured authors and I will discuss our work, hold contests, and even do some giveaways. It is a great chance to meet some incredible authors and find out more about their work.

Click the link for details: A Constant Thunder Release Party