An Affair to Remember – “The Oath” Awarded MWSA Silver Medal

Military Writers Society of America
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Some of you are probably too young to recall the movie An Affair to Remember, starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you check it out on Turner Classic Movies. It’s said to be the most romantic movie of all time. A real tear-jerker.

What, you ask, does a Cary Grant film have to do with my novel being awarded a Silver Medal by the prestigious Military Writers Society of America a week ago? Well for me it was, indeed, an affair to remember (and, since I choked up when the award was announced, I guess you could also say it was a real tear-jerker).

Dennis Koller receives Silver Medal from Military Writers Society of America for The OathThis all happened a week ago. Sarah and I flew to San Antonio, Texas, for the Military Writers Society of America’s annual conference. If you’ve never been to San Antonio (or have, but it’s been a while), be sure to put it on your bucket list. The weather was magnificent – warm, but with a pleasant breeze to keep you comfortable. The San Antonio River Walk is something you don’t want to miss. Parts of it are touristy, for sure, but if you walk its big loop, like Sarah and I did, you’ll find it beautiful, peaceful and romantic.

The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas.

San Antonio is also the home of the Alamo. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the Alamo (after all, I remember John Wayne as Davy Crockett, rifle in hand, standing on the Alamo parapet with no hope for victory “… for God and freedom, a man more than willing to die …”), but I was wrong. The exhibits in the Alamo are so vivid and so instructive that I came away with an entirely new understanding of the why’s and the how’s of that battle. If you have children, you must visit this monument to heroism.

But for Sarah and me, all this sightseeing was just a prelude to meeting and spending time with the men and women of the Military Writers Society of America, some of the most interesting and talented people we’ve ever met. All are writers. Most, but not all, are veterans. When they put pen to paper, however, their writings are exclusively about things “military”; be they non-fiction, such as biography, memoirs, history, etc.; or fiction, including historical and literary fiction, science fiction or, like my novel, a mystery/thriller. 

If you are reading this, and you yourself write military-themed books, I’d recommend you join like I did. It’s a prestigious group. All are welcome. (Just so you know, the Society enjoys and encourages any military-themed genre. There is, for example, a member of MSWA who wrote a military-themed picture book, My Soldier Dad, and one who wrote a civics handbook for young adults called Americana.)

The MSWA web-site can be reached through this link:  www.mwsadispatches.com

Check it out.

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5 Things You Need To Be Doing While Writing Your Book

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Many people think that writing a book is all about having a good story or hook, but the reality is you are in the book writing “business.”  Here are five things that you should do while you are writing the book that can help your “book business” once you finish. Continue reading

Strength In Numbers

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CALL ME CRAZY, BUT …

For the past three months, my third novel, The Custer Conspiracy, has been circulating among the NY Literati looking for an agent. To date, I have received five requests to see the entire manuscript seeded between thirty-three outright rejections.

Even though I think The Custer Conspiracy is worthy of a mainstream publishing house, I’m not surprised at the level of disinterest. I understand the book business pretty well (I think), and can appreciate the pressures the agent class is under when trying to select books the ordinary reader (you and me) will be allowed to read. Continue reading

On June 25, 1876, George Custer was killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Or was he?

Tombstone of George Custer's brother
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** Image above is tombstone of Custer’s brother, Tom.

One hundred forty years ago, on June 25th, 1876 , Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and 210 troopers under his command were wiped out fighting the Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne at the Little Bighorn valley in southeastern Montana. To this day, the Battle of the Little Bighorn remains one of the most studied, publicized and controversial battles in American history.

Two years ago, on the anniversary of the battle, I stood on that hallowed ground. Continue reading