Torn Between Two Lovers: A Tragicomic Tale of Second-Novel Rivalry 💔

Torn Between Two Lovers: A Tragicomic Tale of Second-Novel Rivalry 💔

My first love, a thirteen-year affair, caused a lot of emotion over its long life—excitement, rage, fear, euphoria, satisfaction, frustration. It was both thrilling and exasperating and, truth be told, there were a few breakups, one I thought would be irrevocable. Friends were concerned we wouldn’t make it, calling it my phantom novel. But we went the distance and finally celebrated going public nine months ago. Since then it’s been a party, all champagne and celebration. A victory lap full of hard work, yes, but mostly pure joy.

One of the names I call the object of my affection is The Fourteenth of September. When I’m in a rush, I use its pet name, “A Woman’s Story of Vietnam,” sometimes just a short but sweet “Set in ’69.” We’ve had our moments. Never will a relationship be so volatile, meaningful, or memorable, and it will always be with me.

But I’m ready, as they say, to move on. It’s me, not it. No fault, harm, or foul. It’s just time.

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Coming of Conscience Scholarship Recipient Announced

Coming of Conscience Scholarship Recipient Announced

As I wrote back in February’s blog post, the Coming of Conscience Scholarship that was created in the spirit of the journey of the main character, Judy Talton, in my novel The Fourteenth of September had attracted a record-breaking 200+ applicants. The scholarship was open to all students (undergrad and graduate) at Northern Illinois University (NIU), the real-life model for the fictional university in the novel. It was designed to encourage meaningful activism and bold personal responsibility. Applicants were asked to write an essay to describe their understanding of Coming of Conscience, to share an example of a Coming of Conscience moment of their own, if possible, and, above all, to indicate their plan for how they will use their degree to help change the world. Essays were evaluated by a faculty committee established by the NIU Foundation, who chose the final recipient.

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Thank You: The Coming of Conscience Scholarship Is Fully Funded with 200+ Applicants to Date

Thank You: The Coming of Conscience Scholarship Is Fully Funded with 200+ Applicants to Date

The tag line for my book The Fourteenth of September, which came out this fall, is “A Coming of Conscience Novel,” a designation intended to echo yet distinguish it from the typical coming of age experience. In the story, which takes place during one of the most difficult times in our country’s history—The Vietnam War—the main character, Judy Talton, is plunged into a dangerous journey of self-discovery. She ultimately makes a character-defining decision with huge ramifications for who she is and what she will become. Her dilemma parallels that of America at the time: What are we if we stay in Vietnam? Who are we if we leave?

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Fifty Years Ago Today: When the Whole World Finally Started Watching

Fifty Years Ago Today: When the Whole World Finally Started Watching

They always say that Vietnam was the first war we saw in our living rooms as we watched the nightly TV news. I don’t recall those images as much as I should have, but I absolutely remember the night I watched the war at home—as I sat on the ’60s-splashed orange-flowered couch in the living room—when the police jumped out of the paddy wagon and began beating young people. This was happening in my hometown, only an hour from the suburb where I lived. And I was watching it with my mother—a World War II veteran. It was when the generation gap disappeared for us for a brief moment. It was the first time we agreed in months, and the last time we’d agree, for a long, long time. This was inexcusable. This was not America.

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