Tag Archives: disability

What I’m Doing on My Summer Vacation.


POP frontcoverNNWM3I wasn’t going to do Camp NaNoWriMo this year, but then I thought it would be a good opportunity to hammer away at the work-in-progress while I spend more time on the companion blog. I still have features I’ll be posting here, but in July my blogging focus will be on development of the companion site for The Passions of Patriots.

2014-Participant-Vertical-BannerThe NaNoWriMo crew has done some great work on the Campground. This time, in addition to having our choice of project and flexible word count goals, we get to have private cabins, to which we can invite up to 11 campers we already know, so I’ve registered for my own cabin. And the new graphics for this summer’s camp are really cool. (Click to enlarge detail.)



So, check out the new, improved Camp NaNoWriMo, and look for The Passions of Patriots companion blog to go live on July 1st.







Filed under Blogging, Camp NaNoWriMo, Uncategorized, What I write

Why I Remember.


Days like Memorial Day and Armistice Day (Veterans Day) are bittersweet occasions for many currently serving, their families, surviving veterans, and even for remote descendants of those who served in wars long past.

While researching my novels, I learned that an estimated 200,000 Irish soldiers served in the British Army during the Great War. The survivors returned to their country only to be treated as pariahs – sometimes persecuted for their service by their peers who stayed home – and subsequently forgotten by all. During the Second World War (which neutral Ireland would officially recognize only as an “emergency”), 70,000 Irish chose to join the British Army to fight the Nazis – nearly twice as many as those who enlisted in the country’s home defense forces, which spent much of their time digging peat. About 7,000 of the latter decided to drop the broomsticks they were drilling with, and nearly 5,000 of them crossed the border and joined the British. When WW2 was over, the Irish government passed special legislation to punish defense force deserters – but it was selectively applied: only to those who had gone to serve with the Brits. Recently the Irish government decided to extend amnesty to the soldiers who left the safety of service at home to help defeat Hitler – a decision that is still hotly debated in some circles.

Our own doughboys received precious little recognition for what they did in the Great War, and many of the tramps and hobos of the interwar period were WW1 veterans, often physically and/or psychologically disabled. When a bonus was finally legislated in 1924 (overriding presidential veto), it was with certificates that weren’t redeemable for 20 years. Veterans who held protests were dealt with severely by the government. It wasn’t until 1936 that new legislation enabled the bonus certificates to be redeemed early, and exceptions were made to Civilian Conservation Corps employment rules, to benefit married and over-CCC-age veterans.

The Pan-Germanic belligerents who were instrumental in beginning both sets of World War hostilities (and their allies) also lost millions of soldiers, but their families and surviving veterans had to come to terms with not being able to publicly mourn their losses. Their peoples bore the burdens of rebuilding and reparations (Germany finally finished paying off the First World War in 2010), and they chose to concentrate on the benefits of their liberation from domination by absolutist and totalitarian regimes, as they restructured their cultures and economies.

American GIs who came back from the Second World War benefited from several employment, education and financial bonuses that have been extended (in evolving formats) to all US veterans since then; nevertheless, Korean War veterans suffered the ignominy of having to fight the first war that was run openly by politicians who objected to winning it. Some Vietnam War veterans also still feel the sting of the abuse that many of them received upon their homecoming from the next war that politicians refused to win.

Those of us who are non-combat veterans are the invisible veterans. I have a service-connected disability, although not as obvious or severe as what many others have lost, so I’ve been at the bottom of the Veterans Administration priority list since 1979. I will likely stay there until I’m buried in the nearest VA cemetery, where I plan to share my grave marker with my dual-service veteran father, whose cremains were buried at sea.

We all served. Some know us, and care, like those who quietly remember us today and on November 11 – or like the Native American tribes who honor veterans as warriors at their public pow wows, even though their ancestors often suffered at the hands of the US military. There’s no doubt that war brings out the worst in people, but all veterans can stand together and show how war can bring out the best in people, too.


Source of icons: Wikipedia. Not all participants are represented by unique flags.


Filed under Uncategorized, What I write about, When I write about, Who I am, Why I write

Blog Award.

liebster-blog-awards-2Phantomwriter143, aka Inkcouragement tagged me for the “Liebster Award.” Details about this and other Blog Awards can be found on the Ephemera page. I’m not sure I can find many qualifying bloggers who are willing to participate, but here are my answers to the assigned questions, which all have to do with the writing process:

1. What kind of music do you like to listen to while writing, if any at all?
It’s always instrumental (lyrics derail my train of creative thought), and sometimes it’s one track for several hours at a time. I also have music playing when I sleep. When I was writing Irish Firebrands, it was Irish trad, soundtracks and classical. For The Passions of Patriots, so far it’s mostly Wagner’s operatic accompaniments, some Beethoven, and a few soundtracks.
2. What is it about writing that keeps you going, even when you’re not sure you want to continue?
Now that I’m disabled, writing is the only creative outlet that I have left.
3. Who is your favourite author?
Any author who loves language, commands an advanced vocabulary, and isn’t afraid to use it, will have my business.
4. What genre do you read, but swear you’ll never write?
If I wouldn’t write in a genre, I wouldn’t be interested in reading it, either. Actually, my answer is the reverse: I wrote Irish Firebrands in the Romance genre, which I don’t read.
5. What do you do when you tell yourself something along the lines of ‘I’ll only procrastinate a little bit longer’?
I check deadlines to see how much leeway I have. I know how long it takes me to do things, so it’s easy to tell if I’m in the green zone, the yellow zone, or the red zone.
6. What brings you right into a writing mood, and how do you keep it that way?
Re-reading my current work-in-progress. There’s always some editing to do, even if I’m temporarily short on new material to write. I’m an “organic” writer (or, a “pantser”), so writer’s block doesn’t exist, for me.
7. Favourite series, and favourite stand alone?
I don’t read series, although a few of the books I like enough to re-read have had one sequel. Probably my all-time favorite is The Robe, by Lloyd C. Douglas.
8. Have you ever seriously screwed up your sleeping schedule because of a book? Was it worth it, and what were you reading?
Of course I have, and of course it was, and it’s happened so often, I can’t put a finger on any particular title, but because I’m currently engaged in research for my historical novel, I’ll go out on a limb and say the last one might have been one of Siegfried Sassoon’s novels.
9. What do you do to remember those ideas you come up with when you’re not able to write?
I use what I call a “paper brain,” meaning that I write longhand notes on whatever scrap of paper is handy at the time, for future reference.
10. Are there any books or series that you thought were great, and then the ending just ruined everything for you?
In my experience, a story that ends that badly usually gives advance warning, because it exhibits serious writing flaws throughout the book, so the end isn’t a surprise. There have been too many of those to count.
11. Why do you write?
Writing is my calling, now. When I was in my early twenties, a wise old man admonished me to develop my writing skills, so that I would increase my influence for good in the world. During the next thirty years, I wrote a lot of non-fiction: mainly research papers (while I was earning my undergraduate and graduate degrees), plus two self-help manuals and some crochet patterns published in two craft magazines. I started writing fiction five years ago. Now the occupation I list on my income tax return is “independent writer,” although I’m nowhere near the break-even point.


Filed under Blogging, Indie Authors, Reading, Writing