My First Time at Penned Con

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Hi folks, I just got back from Penned Con in St. Louis and am still trying to mull over the experience. It’s strange isn’t it? I actually live in St. Louis, but had never been to Penned Con before this year. Last year I had planned to go as a reader but got sick with some nasty flu just before the event and couldn’t go. This year I bought an author table and was determined to not let that happen.

The convention started for me early Thursday morning when I took my daughter to the train station. She was on her way to Chicago for Riot Fest, something I normally do with her but this year she was going with a friend. The Red Lion hotel where Penned was hosted is just across the street from the Amtrak station so I was able to walk straight over pick up a cup of tea and make my way up to registration on the thirteenth floor. I dragged my suitcase of books up with me to dump at my table then bumped into my friend George Sirois. George has recently started an author podcast and snagged me to do an interview (I’ll post my interview when it is up on his blog but in the meantime please check out his podcast and his awesome YA series, Excelsior.)

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Next up was Author Education Day — those authors and assistants who came in early were treated to an assortment of speakers about different aspects of publishing and marketing. It was also fun hanging out with my author/illustrator friend Victoria Szulc during the whole weekend.

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That night we set up our tables and then in the evening I participated in an 80s trivia party where I discovered that I know far less about 80s trivia than I thought! Though our team the Brat Pack came third, mostly thanks to George! We even had our own T-shirts, though the sticky letters on mine all came off during the course of the evening!

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Friday was the first day of signing and sign I did — oodles and oodle of books. My highlight of the day was when a reader sought my out and brought me their own personal copy of P.A.W.S. to sign.

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Mostly I stayed at my table and talked to the readers. But in the afternoon I also got to take a short break and participate in the Cards Against Humanity panel. That was a lot of fun.

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Also that night after the signing was over for the day we gathered a group of YA author friends from one of my favorite online groups – AAYAA and we took a trip over to the Delmar Loop for supper at Blueberry Hill.

This is one of my favorite restaurants in St. Louis and for those of you who have read Cotula you may recognize it as the home of the goblin, Valerian Root.

Friday night saw a DJ night with some awesome 80s tunes and Saturday another full day of signing. I sold oodles of books and met some wonderful readers and authors and came home exhausted but happy.

Oh and what was the most prolific swag item at Penned? Why pens of course!

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Didn’t meet me at Penned? Well you have another chance in just two and half weeks as I’ll also be selling, signing, and panelling at Archon in Collinsville in from October 4th – 6th.  See you there!

It Takes a Village to Launch an Indie Book – Reflections on Blogging from A to Z 2018

So it’s May and the April showers have turned into the May flowers and now as is traditional I get to reflect back on the crazy month of April when I challenge myself to blog from A to Z.

I started doing the challenge 5 years ago over at my sister blog, Paws 4 Puzzles. For three years I puzzled from A to Z. You can find my old puzzles over here if you’re curious and I’m working to release a book sometime in the future.

Last year I decided to switch it up a bit. I brought A to Z over to this blog and introduced you to a character a day from my P.A.W.S. Saga. Confession here – I actually changed a few names in Londinium (the book I was working on at the time) so that I could have one for each letter! You can check my A to Z of P.A.W.S. over here if you’re so inclined.

This year April was a special month. I had planned to release my new picture book, Adana the Earth Dragon on Earth Day (April 22) that fell right in the middle of the month. I’d been frequented several Children’s Book groups on Facebook and had been wowed by all the talent there was out there in the indie community. But sadly while most of these authors and illustrators produced fantastic books, it was hard to get the word out. So I thought how about in exchange for spreading the word about my little dragon I featured a picture book a day on my blog.

I created a form and was overwhelmed by the response, so much so that for most days in April I ended up featuring not one, but two or three books. I also had to get a little cheeky on some days. For example no one submitted a book that began with the letter V – but I did have two awesome books that featured mice, so V became the day of VERY small creatures!

I hope you enjoyed my posts and have discovered some new great indie picture books for your little ones.

Here’s a link to all the posts in case there are some you missed.

And just a little nudge ADANA THE EARTH DRAGON is on sale this week for just 99 cents/99p on Kindle.

An Interview with an Artist – Meet Tina Wijesiri

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Today on Paws 4 Thought I’m happy to welcome illustrator, Tina Wijesiri. Tina created the awesome pictures for my new picture book, Esmeralda Grunch and the Red Tulip.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself, Tina.

I’m Tina Wijesiri. I live in Sri Lanka and I’m 27 years old. I love drawing.

  1. When did you start drawing?

I’ve liked to draw since I was a kid.

  1. What is your favorite thing to draw?

I like to draw every kind of thing and improve my skills.

  1. Do you prefer working on the computer or by hand?

I love both. But by hand is easier. (The pictures that Tina created for Esmeralda Grunch were hand drawn with watercolors. DMK)

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  1. What’s your favorite food?

Rice and curries, pizza, and burgers.

  1. Tell us a little bit about Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is in the Indian Ocean. It’s an island and a tropical country. We speaks Sinhala, Tamil, and English. Our main religion is Buddhism, but there are also Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Catholics. Sri Lanka has lots of natural beauty and a great history.

  1. Do you have any pets?

Yes, I have a cat. (Aw – we like kitties here at Paws 4 Thought, DMK)

  1. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not drawing?

I like to write to my pen pals, and enjoy reading and writing stories.

Tina has written and illustrated her own picture book, Bob the Cat, which currently available FREE on Amazon. Download a copy today.

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Do you want to hire Tina as an illustrator? Check out her page on Fiverr!

And of course, if you haven’t already pick a copy of Esmeralda Grunch and the Red Tulip, now available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

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Meet P.D. Workman

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Hello everybody today on Paws4Thought I welcome YA author P.D. Workman. P.D. is a prolific writer and her name title, Chloe is releasing this month.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I write riveting young adult/suspense fiction about mental illness, addiction, abuse, and other tough subjects. I am a wife, a mother of one, born and raised in Alberta, Canada. I love to read books in all formats and am a technology geek with a love for all kinds of gadgets and tools. For as long as I can remember, the blank page has held an incredible allure, leading me to write my first complete novel at the age of twelve. I kept writing, but did not start publishing until three years ago. With Chloe, I have now published 23 titles.

  1. When did you first start writing?

I have little construction paper books that my mother kept from when I was very young. Even before I could draw or write, I was making scribbles and stapling them together into books. I guess it was inevitable!

  1. Who are your favorite authors?

I have so many of them! S.E. Hinton, J.R.R. Tolkien, L.M. Montgomery, Jay Bennett, Kristen D. Randle…

  1. Tell us a bit about Chloe and the Between the Cracks series.

The Between the Cracks series begins with the award-winning book Ruby, Between the Cracks. Ruby is a tough-as-nails street kid, doing whatever she has to to survive and proud of her independence. She blocked out a lot of her past history rather than dealing with it. Ruby is a hard-hitting, conflict-filled journey of discovery as Ruby is forced to face her past and decide what she really wants out of life.

The other books in the series follow other members of Ruby’s family as each of them strives to overcome their toxic histories in order to survive and move on in their lives.

Chloe is book four of the series, and is my favorite. In books 1-3, the reader has only seen Chloe from the perspectives of her siblings—the polar opposite of Ruby, June and Justin’s bossy big sister, the only one of the children who stayed by their mother’s side through everything. Now it’s time to hear Chloe’s story. Take a deep breath and buckle your seat belts, because it’s going to be a tough ride.

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Pick up your copy of Chloe to meet this handsome fellow!

  1. What attracts you to writing young adult literature?

The genre sort of picked me. Because I started writing so young, the young adult genre was a natural fit for me to begin with. And while I’ve written non-young-adult books as well, I never really grew out of YA and it is still my preferred genre. I still see, as I did when I was a teen, so much unfairness and heartbreak in this age group. I want to reach out to those who are hurting, and this is my way of doing it.

  1. Your books deal with some tough subjects how do you prepare yourself mentally for writing?

It can be hard, especially with a story like Chloe’s. My heart breaks for everything that she is going through, but I have to write my truth. Because it is happening to kids all over the world. It isn’t just something I have made up, but an attempt to capture their stories and the pain and struggle of their lives. I need to take breaks, and I need to make an effort to pull myself out of the story to deal with my own family and life.

  1. Do you have a favorite character you have written?

I love all my kids. J

Chloe is amazing because she is so strong after everything she goes through. She doesn’t see herself that way, but she is something special. She also gains a special friend along the way, one who understands better than anyone else could what she has gone through. But I don’t want to give any spoilers!

  1. What was your favorite book you read this year?

Tough call! I usually prefer fiction, but I think I’m going to have to go with I am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai. There is one strong young lady!

(That one’s on my TBR list too – DMK)

  1. If you could choose a superpower what would you choose?

I think it would have to be super speed. I am always trying to squeeze so much into my day!

  1. So what’s next? What are you currently working on?

I just put out a new series of YA thrillers called  ThMedical Kidnap Files, and I’ve been working on a sequel to Tattooed Teardrops and some private eye stuff. I’m kicking off the New Year writing a cozy mystery series. So, something a little lighter, but you can bet that I will still work my passions into the story!

(I admire how prolific you are J – DMK)

  1. How can readers and parents connect with you?

You can find me at http://pdworkman.com and on most social media platforms as pdworkmanauthor. I love to hear from readers and can also be reached directly at pdworkman.author@gmail.com

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Check out P.D. Workman’s books on Amazon!

Meet Maggie Larche

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Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome children’s author Maggie Larche.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Maggie.

I’m a former economist turned stay-at-home mom and children’s author. I’m originally from Pensacola, Florida, though I’ve lived in the Midwest as well as the Gulf Coast.

  1. When did you first start writing?

All writers start out as readers, and my love of books was handed down to me by my parents as a small child. I remember being only seven years old, falling asleep at night as my dad read the Lord of the Rings trilogy out loud to my sisters and me.

I wrote plenty of stories as a kid (though most of them were awful), but I don’t think I took writing seriously until I started learning the mechanics of academic writing. Something about the structure of having to prove your argument really appealed to me.

When I was in graduate school for economics, I decided to take a crack at writing my own children’s novel. Striker Jones, my awesome kid detective, was born on those cold Chicago nights, as I typed away at my laptop in my one-room apartment.

  1. What were your favorite books as a child?

This is a tough one to narrow down! Some of the top contenders are From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, and the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. When I got a little older, I fell in love with the works of Jane Austen.

I was already a teen when the Harry Potter books hit their stride, but I’d have to say that these ended up having the greatest impact on my writing. (Mine too – DMK)

  1. What inspires you to write?

Like many avid readers, I remember the joy I’d feel as a kid when I found a good book. I would spend all day on the couch or in my room, devouring the story.

I want to recreate that joy for kids today. I try to write stories that are entertaining and that speak to the desires of kids – for adventure in their lives, for strong friendship, and for ways to grow and prove themselves.

  1. Tell us a little bit about your latest release.

I’ve recently launched two new books!

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The first is The Mardi Gras Chase, Book 1 of the True Girls series. It follows Melanie, a twelve-year-old girl who’s tired of both her little sister and yet another Mardi Gras in her hometown of Mobile, Alabama. When Melanie discovers a code hidden within the Mardi Gras floats of a parade, she discovers the adventure and excitement that she was lacking. She even learns to appreciate that little sister of hers, as well.

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My second new release is Charlie Bingham Gets Clocked, also the first in a series. These are funny, fast-paced chapter books that follow the antics of Charlie and his friends. Charlie might be a little featherbrained – and he is certainly talented at getting into scrapes – but he and his friends always manage to muddle through somehow.

  1. What are you currently working on?

I’m starting the second book in the True Girls series. No title yet, but it’s about a girl who starts her own dance school after her dad gets laid off from work. I’ve also got a new Halloween Charlie Bingham in the works.

  1. What do you like to do to relax?

No surprise here – read a book! I also love a good beach day in the summer and a crisp hike in the fall.

  1. If you had a super power what would it be?

Teleportation! Flying sounds exciting, but nothing would be so efficient as teleporting. Think how easy travel would be.

  1. If you could hang out for a day with a fictional character who would you choose?

Another tough one to narrow down. It’s a tie between Elizabeth Bennet, Hercule Poirot, and Bertie Wooster. I like to think that we’d all sit down for a game of Spades. (Love this – DMK)

  1. How can readers connect with you?

Please join my mailing list at www.maggiemlarche.com! As a bonus, you will receive a free download of my second Charlie Bingham book, Charlie Bingham Gets Serious.

Sins of the Past – Cleve Sylcox

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  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born the youngest of thirteen children. My mother was pure Irish. Her father was a Newell and her mother a Sample. She had pure hazel eyes and temper to match. My father was from a line of tough rugged country folk who were self-reliant but bonded in tight family clusters. Ironically, my father was born on 12/13/12. I was his thirteenth child, born 2/9/58. We were not rich, but not dirt poor. My father by the time I was born worked at McDonald Douglas in St. Louis working as an assembler. We didn’t have a lot of anything, but what we did have was a lot of was books. There were all kinds and I loved reading Life and Time magazines along with the encyclopedias given to us from various families. I fell in love with Sci-Fi and Mysteries. No particular author. My bedtime was ten o’clock on school nights and I slept in a corner of the basement containing a bed, chest of drawers, and nightstand with a light. I would stay up for hours reading whatever I could find. I wrote most of my earlier stories in school, and did not publish a book until 2004. Scants (later to become Nucor) was 526 pages of Sci-Fi excitement. Since then I have written sixteen more in various genres. 

  1. Who are your favorite authors?

 I do not have a favorite author. I’ve read many from Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and many other popular authors. I read like to read in various genres.

 If I had to choose one over them all it would be M.J. Pike. She writes romantic ghost stories with an elegant twist.

 Sci-Fi I like, Saxton Andrew, T.R. Harris, Suzy Stewart Dubolt, and Michael Thomas.

Detective Mystery Noir – Russell Blake, Billy Kring, Donna Blanchard McNicol, Stephen Thomas, Kathleen Steed, Nick Russell, George Weir, and Jason Deas.

Fantasy – Robert Thomas, John Daulton, Randall Morris, C. Crag Colman, and John Salter.

Horror— Brandon Hale, Corrie Fischer Stout, Shaorn Delarosa, Kate Aaron, Chris Ward, and Andy Downs.

 And this list is the tip of the ice berg- AJ Rose, Valrie Chandler, Steven Hammond, Nick Pesci, Cameron Lowe, Ella Medler, KS Haigwood, Holli Marie Spaulding, Jay Allan, Michael Edwards, Nick Thomas, Robbie Taylor, Miranda Stork, Ben Cassidy, Beck Bee, Sam Neumann, Pinkston, Eddie Boggs, Jess Mountifield, Colleen Hoover, Dale Roberts, Karen Davison, Mike Meyer, Len Du Randt, Albert Benson, Liz Miller, James Rozoff, Molly Pendelton, Carol Cadoo, Mona Mellissa, Jacques Duvoisin, Stephen Arsenault, Suzie O’Connell, Scott Langrel, Lindsay Sabbarton, Shirley Bouget, Nancy Furner, Elizabeth Moore, Stephen Scott, Newsome, Debbie Manber Kupfer, and so many others.

 If you write it, I will read it. 

  1. Tell us a bit about your story, The Innocent?

The Innocent is about a returning Vietnam War hero who finds home not so different from the jungles of Southeast Asia. A mob awaits his return and seeks revenge for the massacre of My Lai. It is a first person narrative in the voice of the returning GI. The first draft contained a lot of cursing in an attempt to express a true representation of a battle harden soldier returning home. The language was toned down for the sake of the anthology. I enjoyed the research and learned far more than I wished too and even though this was a short piece, I hold it dear to my heart. 

  1. If you could travel back in time to any place and period in the past where and when would you go?

If I could go undetectable from those I was observing, then break out the cart-blanche and take me back to all the events with a brief rest bit to research and chronologically record each event free from government or scholarly scrutiny. If I had to choose one though, it would be, beyond a doubt, the time of Jesus, from birth until the day of ascension.  

  1. What attracts you to writing horror?

Back in the days of black and white television, vampires, werewolves, and Frankenstein ruled the night. Sometimes, I would sneak upstairs and flip on the TV to watch the late, late show on our local CBS channel. They always had something exciting like The Blob, The Thing, The Mummy, The Hand, The Fly, and of course the before mentioned staples. I was addicted to being scared and in turn wanted everyone to be scared just like me. Boo…  

  1. Tell us a little about your books. I see you like to delve into many different genres.

Yes, I like writing in various forms. I am hyperactive and have a habit of wandering from one genre to another. I get bored easily. So, I write some on Nucor and finish the saga, then write on David Winter Mysteries, then on another project. It is a constant cycle of writing and creativity. I am never bored with writing, but with the story line and switching from one to another helps me to maintain focus and my writing is always fresh and clean, rather than becoming old and stagnant. I never want to become someone who writes just for the sake of completing a series or because he feels he has to. I love writing and hope that alongside me on my deathbed there is my laptop opened to a story requiring my attention. Of course my wife and sons would there be too, I hope. 

  1. Are you planning to write a story for Sins of the Future? Any hints about your story?

No, I have three projects in the works and I have very little time to devote to any anthology. However, I will be making the cover. 

  1. What do you like to do to relax?

I watch Jeopardy, read, do yard work, cook, take long drives, fish, walk along the rivers, pet my dog, talk with my wife and make love to her. I have also been known to go up on the roof at night and just lay there looking up at the stars. I dislike television but love movies. 

  1. What are you currently working on?

I have several projects at various stages of completion.

One is the fourth book of the Nucor series called, Nucor—Season of the Androids. I am five chapters into it and I am so excited and anxious to see this saga unfold. Really is a thriller. 

 The first book of the David Winters Mystery series, Fly Paper Soup is in edit with outstanding reviews from all who have beta read it. (I’m one of those beta readers, and confirm it’s a wonderful story – DMK) The second book, Recluse is in production and it promises to be a great companion to book one.

  Then there is Cern – The God Particle. I cannot tell you how enthusiastic I am about this story. It has everything from espionage, to demon elfs, LSD, ENT, Et’s, So much coming at me so fast that sometimes I can’t pull myself away from it.

 I just launched Nucor-Invasion in Audiobook form. Soon, I will have Death in Gravely Falls on Audiobook.

At the moment that is all I have going.  

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  1. How can readers connect with you?

There are several ways.

My Blog— http://www.csylcox.com

Facebook— https://www.facebook.com/clevesylcoxauthor?ref=bookmarks

Twitter— @csylcox

Amazon— http://www.amazon.com/Cleve-Sylcox/e/B00GW8AECS

Banes and Noble— http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/cleve+sylcox/_/N-8q8/?No=0&Nrpp=40

Itunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/cleve-sylcox/id509703132?mt=11

 

Or you can email me for a signed copy cssylcox@charter.net

Want to read a little of Cleve’s story, The Innocent? Sure you do!

November 1969

A plane lands at LAX on a cool November morning. GIs are returning home after fighting in Vietnam. They look forward to home cooked meals, seeing love ones, and sleeping on a soft mattress. To some though, returning home is nothing more than a continuation of a war they hate. Take Reuben Weston for instance. He served his country well from his enlistment in Nov. 1966 to his discharge in Nov. 1969. In that stretch he was wounded three times in Vietnam, rose to Platoon Sergeant, saved countless lives, and was well respected among the troops despite his rough and tough attitude. This story could very well be titled, “In the wrong place at the wrong time.” For Sergeant Weston, it is just that.

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The wind whips at my back as I debark the 707 at LAX. I wear khakis. It is the uniform of the day, my last day, because as soon as my foot touches the asphalt I will be a civilian. My name tag above my right pocket reflects the sun. Reuben Weston, it reads. A damn good name. Two of my three medals, Distinguished Service, and a Purple Heart, flop around beneath my service ribbons above my left pocket as I make my way down the ramp.

I am the first black soldier ever awarded the third medal, the prestigious medal of Blackism – made from a beer can top cut into the shape of a middle finger with a makeshift pin glued to the back. It would be the last beer I’d drink in the bush. My platoon gave it to me the last night I was with ’em, in Damn Nam. It means more to me than the other two put together. Blackism, I must’ve been pretty drunk to come up with that.

To say I’m glad to be off that rotten plane is an understatement. Civilian jets suck. I’m a GI, oval drab to the bone. Why they flew me home in one of those is beyond me. Meat job General’s idea I bet, maybe some congressmen’s idea of rewarding our fine soldiers for a job well done? Well, screw’em! I’m home now and they can have their uniform.

I earned my stripes, every last stinking one of ’em. Arrived in Nam as a, ‘right off the farm, piece of know-nothing crap.’ I was green but learned quick. No thanks to those politicians in D.C. What’s the matter with all those morons in DC?  Really, what isn’t wrong with ’em?

They sent us off to the land of the gooks, and we got our ass kicked because of bureaucratic bull. Don’t fire until fired upon, don’t cross this line and that. Stay put until we tell you to advance. Who the hell is ‘we’, anyhow?

Wasn’t like that in the jungle, no sir. We were the judge and jury of the gooks. The giants rule the land. We are the conquering heroes who drove the black pajamas across the DMZ into Laos and Cambodia. The south was clean in ‘66. Then those cameras started following us around. Hell, we tossed one camera man and his gear into the swamps. None of those gooks were ever gonna escape back north, at least not on our watch.

In ‘67 those regulations came down and tied our hands. We couldn’t fight like aggressors anymore. We couldn’t fight like we had too. They stuck us in camps deep in the jungle and on top of hills. Nothing happened for weeks at a time, nothing. We smoked pot, and screwed every whore we could, some of the guys were bangin’ each other. We called ’em Jill’s, and the name stuck.

Some of the lucky units saw some action. They pushed the gooks to the DMZ and our armors pounded them for three straight days. The Ho Chi Min trail across the DMZ was blown to bits, and then the aerial attacks bombed them everyday for weeks. I saw a tank bounce three feet off the ground two miles away from the damn trail. Three feet! It didn’t matter. At night those little bush babies were filling in the holes.

Our patrols reported large movements of men and ammo to the south along the trail. By the time we got there, they were gone. They crawled into their holes like rats or vanished into the jungle like ghosts.

Jan of ’68, the Tet Offensive…gooks were all around us and we didn’t even know it. All hell broke loose on January 30, 1968. The Tet Offensive began.

Early in the morning they attacked everywhere in South Vietnam. There was supposed to be a cease-fire ’cause of New Year or some crap. I don’t know. We got our butts handed to us. Those bastards were in the wire…in the wire! All over us. I fought till early morning, hand to hand. I had blood all over me and none of it mine.

A lot of good soldiers died that night. It didn’t stop there. In some areas their attacks were like bugs hitting a windshield, they didn’t make a dent. Other places they were fleas on a hound’s back. Saigon and Hue, those two took a long time, nearly a month, to clean out. The Cong even held the US Embassy in Saigon for eight hours.

Near the end of February, they assigned me to a bunch of greenhorn rookies. Charlie Company arrived in theater, December of ‘67, they hadn’t seen any action. Tet was popping all over the country in Jan of ’68 and this unit missed out, lucky dicks. I was assigned as a Platoon Sergeant and given orders to sweep the jungles west of a group of villages near Mai Lai.

I looked at this ragtag group of potheads and said move out. Worst bunch I had ever seen. Simple shit-like quiet maneuvers, securing gun straps and no smoking, they couldn’t do. Drunk, high, they were the walking dead and didn’t know it.

War has a way of cleaning the gunk out of the can. By mid-March, 28 of em’ were wounded because of mines or booby-traps, and five dead.

Cong never came knocking. That’s what frustrated us and made us angry. Charlie Company was sent to find gooks and Cong, and kill as many of the black pajama’s as we could. All we found were tunnels and villages that we knew, we just knew, were Cong but we couldn’t prove it, and we moved on. These villages, our intelligence said, had VC crawling all over them but we found nothing. Not even a dirty black pajama.

Then intelligence told us of a hold-up of Viet Cong in and around a tiny village of Mai Lai. We were given orders like I had never seen before. They said kill all suspected Viet Cong. Even civilians, if they ran, would be considered hostile. Our unit would follow the main assault. We swept the countryside first clearing out huts and setting them afire. Anyone we suspected of being VC, we rounded up and pushed forward. No shooting, just simple snatch and burn. As we got closer to the village, we could hear gun fire and see smoke rising. The radio was going crazy with talk of Cong all over the place. Several of our prisoners took off and we dropped them before they made it ten feet. Before I knew it, I saw soldiers from a different outfit shooting civilians and raping women. I ordered my men to stand down. I even threatened to blow their heads off if they started that. They listened alright, because they knew I wasn’t bluffing.

As we advanced through the village, we witnessed huts set on fire with civilians still inside. We saw whole families shot to hell. In a ditch we passed countless men and women dead or dying. I sent our medic to care for the wounded, but they were pushed back at gun point and told to back off. A lieutenant and sergeant fired into the ditch with .45s.

At another ditch, a helicopter landed and its gunner stared down a squad who were going to kill the men, women, and children. We helped the helicopter crew load as many wounded aboard as possible, and then we held our position protecting those still alive. A helicopter gunship forced its way between fleeing refugees and their American pursuers to end the carnage.

We heard rumors of hundreds dead and even more wounded. I don’t know how many died. The military doesn’t even know. All I know is many were killed and the rest will never forget. To top it all off, they only found two AK47s. Two. With maybe three Viet Cong identified.

As George Carlin said, ‘Military intelligence is an oxymoron.’ Military intelligence got us into it, but it cried foul and played dead when their house of cards tumbled.

Read more in Sins of the Past – pick up your copy today!

Sins Of The Past