Saturday, September 12, 2009

Coming Soon! Well Worth the Wait

Tomorrow they would be together forever...
Tomorrow came, binding two hearts, sharing one love... forever. The endearing cast of characters triumph through a series of obstacles ranging from ghosts out of the past, to events no one saw coming. Facing life head on, united through happiness and hardship,the Madison's know that the past can not be changed, however the future is being built together, one precious day at a time.

This is the final book in theseries about the lives of fictional characters Jeff Madison, and the love of his life, Beth. They met long ago in Florida. In the final chapter, they return to the place they fell in love to find all they hoped for in life was truly Well Worth the Wait. The story ends with a heartfelt message to all that served in Vietnam.

And they lived happily ever after...

Those were the words I waited for, and remember most clearly as a little girl snuggled up next to Mom, as she read us our fairy tale before putting my sister Pat, and I to bed. Once upon a time, during the worst crisis of my life, I began to type. There had to be a fairy tale somewhere to rescue me. Jeff was a knight in shining armor, rugged, handsome, thoughtful and true. Beth was a fair young maiden, loved by her family, beautiful, pure and naive. It was destiny that they fall in love in an almost too good to be true era, Camelot, 1961. So, why not happily ever after? Well, because that would be as boring as listening to a clock tick!

The series conclusion, however, was not happily ever after, but it was what it was, until... At the grand opening of a new motor scooter shop, a Vietnamese man walked over, and initiated a conversation with two men. If not for that event, the series would have ended quite differently. In a moment of time, I eye witnessed a new ending, one that required a major rewrite of book six. With one very real and true incident, hundreds of pages were gone with a single tap of the delete key. I thank that unknown man for the heart behind his words. He was one of the many "boat people" that escaped Vietnam, seeking their happily ever after.

A big thank you goes to two of our nation's finest, Lt. Bryan Whitty, Ret., and Lt. Billy Rath, NYPD Ret. for investigation protocol, and proper police procedures. I have much respect for our men in blue.

Again, I'd like to thank Monique, a French World War Two bride who talked about living in Nazi occupied France. I also thank the family for allowing me to use the diary of the late "Pvt. Billy". With the exception of changing his wife's name to Michelle, his journal, copied word for word, became that of Vince Madison.

My daughter and I were visiting "Auntie Florrie" in England when she began sharing her life during the London Blitz, and details about her husband, "Uncle Charlie". He was one of only two survivors from his platoon during the eleven hour Moonlight Sonata siege in Coventry, November 1940. Florence Best, and her family will forever hold a special place in my heart.

What "Nurse Beck" experienced years ago while her husband was in Vietnam helped weave this tale. That was unexpected a year ago when she reviewed a poem I'd written about a creaking floor! Billie, thank you for expanding that review with more details, and allowing me to use it here. While I'm on the topic of poetry... Thanks are in order to Bryon Kearsley from Australia who met a challenge issued to write a poem for Jeff. The poem, "Breath of Love" by Bryon was the clear winner as he said it all, and it left me breathless. My dear friend, Robert "Bobby" Fossum, wrote the lyrics, "An Eighteen Year Old Boy Left Behind in Vietnam". His words speak for many who bear the pain of the hated War to this day. I thank him, and all Vietnam Vets for serving. And, I thank Phil, Mr. Meeks, Bobby, Hank, Jim, Mike, C.B., David, and Tony for stories of their tour of duty in Nam, whether they were battles with NVA/VC, or lizards and snakes!

Special thanks to Chaplain (Brigadier General) Steven Rounding, Ret. for relaying his experience as told by "Doc Steffano" the team medic on a rescue mission of a Marine chaplain captured by the Viet Cong. Many thanks to my friend, and former coworker, Sherye McKenzie for understanding what I endured during my struggles. She most generously loaned me a copy of her father's book, Old Glory Is the Most Beautiful of All. I learned from his hand what he experienced as one of two men in America who was a POW in both World War Two, and Vietnam. With all due respect, I would like to posthumously thank Colonel Richard "Pop" Keirn, USAF Ret., one of our nation's heroes. I salute you, Sir.

On the cover, the upper photo was taken from my front yard capturing a breathtaking Florida sunset. It blends into another sunset photo taken several years ago, linking the past to the present with it's mystical ambience. That photo, by Henry Czajkowski, was also used on the cover of The Wind Whispers War. The vintage Vietnam photo belongs to Gary Jacobson. He is the creator of the web site Vietnam Picture Tour. He has authored two books, Just A Walk in the Park: Grunts Call Vietnam, and My Thousand Yard Stare: Poetry from the Heart Of a Soldier in Vietnam. Thank you Henry, and Gary.

Sometimes, a scene feels incomplete. That's what happened during the dream sequence as Marianne released her emotional attachment to Jake. It was written with a blend of prose and poetry to enhance the dream like state. As much as I liked the flow, it remained lacking. Then, I received an email from my friend, Nam Vet, and fellow poet, Paul G. Dailey telling me that poems "come far and few these days". But, a poem, "I Will" came to him that day, so he sent it. It fulfilled what was missing. I emailed Paul asking (okay, begging) for his permission to add his poem to the dream. Paul's words, spoken by Jake, freed Marianne to search for her "happily ever after".

And now my friends, this tale has come to an end. May each of you find your own happiness with the prince, or princess of your dreams. Please, always remember to say "thank you" to those who give, or gave of themselves to protect our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


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