I discovered something while cleaning out a cabinet this morning: A 2005 email from the late Ron Cima about our OCS reunion in San Antonio that year. He attended briefly enroute to somewhere else.
“I was very moved by my short time in San Antonio and very much appreciated having the time to talk with you and Tom [Ringwald, I think it was],” he wrote. “I regret I could not have stayed longer and spent more time with everyone else.”
He also mentioned a tip I gave him in line with his then MIA-hunting job at the Pentagon, on a mass burial of dead VC near my basecamp in 1969 on the southeast side of LZ Baldy, which was southwest of Da Nang. I had a faded old photo of the dead in a pile but not the exact location.
“Your information about a mass burial is something I could potentially share with the Vietnamese,” Ron added. “Although they may not know what to do with it, our relationship with them is reciprocal and we try to give them what we can when we can. If and when you can come up with a more specific location, I’ll look for an opportunity to pass them the information.”
I wrote a short story about the encounter and the mass grave, collected in my book “Leaving The Alamo, Texas Stories After Vietnam,” but never had anything specific to share with Ron so our correspondence ended.
Another from OCS bud Jay Fortun. My old stomping ground of Hoi An (first half of 1970) was a major stop on the ancient Europe-to-China sea route around Africa called the Silk Road. As such the seaside town of about 120,000 today has long had warehouses and villas built by Dutch, Portuguese and Japanese.
My Advisory Team 15’s compound was believed to have been built by the East India Company. Subject of one of my short stories in Leaving The Alamo and more in my novel The Butterfly Rose.
Hanoi is now promoting the little port for tourism, including building hotels, and Jay says the crowds of foreigners show it’s working. Even UNESCO is in on the act, branding the core area of about five by five city blocks a historical preservation site.
I happily ended November with six more ebook sales for Alamo and Knoxville—including twice as many of the latter. Which brings that one to a total of 91 since its first month in April, 2010—finally edging in on breaking even for the cost of ebook formatting.
Hardly bestseller material here, these single-digit sales months. Haven’t had a double-digit month since 15 sold back in April. Record still 27 for Knoxville alone in August 2010, thanks to a plug from power-blogger Instapundit. It’s a nice lunch-money hobby, however.
Thanks to all my loyal readers, including those who promised reviews at Amazon but haven’t gotten around to it. Several have good excuses, including one in San Antonio who’s seriously ill. Best wishes to him, of course, for a recovery soon.
Still in the works: polishing a Vietnam War novel which loyal-reader Snoopy was kind enough to read and criticize, finishing a Civil War digital regimental still in blog form, and writing a memoir about growing up in the Cold War.
War-Is-Us, obviously. One of these days I may do something different. Meanwhile, coupled with new violin lessons and full-time parenting, I’m busier than before I retired.
My indie short-story collection, Leaving the Alamo, Texas Stories After Vietnam, is now on Smashwords in multiple ebook formats, such as Stanza and Sony, at $2.95. Meanwhile, I’m shifting the paperback version from POD distributor Lulu to CreateSpace where it is suffering birthing pains at the moment. The print shift should mean more sales and a little bit more revenue, assuming my new marketing/advertising campaign keeps producing the orders that have been trickling in to the Lulu version for the past few weeks.
Working to format my Indie books Leaving The Alamo and Knoxville 1863 for this program to provide free ebooks to active military, particularly those in Afghan and Iraq. It’s even “adopted” a light aircraft carrier, the Bonhomme Richard. Formatting (or, rather, deleting the old formatting) is a pain, so it’s moving slowly.
Another interesting Normblog profile, this time on NYC grandmother-of-three Ann Ulanov, a former rare reader I seldom see or hear from around these parts anymore. I would join the crowd and add a comment to her link to it, but I can never get her comment system to work, even though it’s TypePad which is supposed to be the same as mine but isn’t for some reason. My own is balky enough.
If I could comment I would say, "Ah ha, you work in software. That explains why you change the layout of your blog so often." I also see how well-read and educated she is, which makes me doubly happy that she still touts my book Leaving The Alamo on her front-page sidebar. Though she’s never said nor have I figured out why she considers it non-fiction. No matter. I hope she enjoyed it.
My self-published book of short stories, available for free in pdf in the upper part of the sidebar on the blog’s main page, or for a mere eleven bucks in paperbook at the link above it, has a new fan. Lucky for me, he even posted an appreciation on his own blog. Thank you.