Well, it looks like we’ve finally wrapped my brief career as a combat extra (with a whimper, not a bang. I spent 12 hours sitting in “holding” until the director decided not to shoot our scene and sent us home). I came home exhausted and kind of bummed to end on such a low note, but my mood was quickly lifted by an inbox jammed with moving stories from folks about the veterans in their life and how they inspired them in response to my Veteran’s Day Giveaway contest. It’s so awesome to see so many people for whom veterans are such a powerful influence. I wish I could give everyone who entered a prize, but … well, if I did that, I wouldn’t be able to do this more than once, and that’s no fun. But, not to worry! If you didn’t win this time around, I will being doing these kinds of contests with more and more regularity as CONTROL POINT gets released and my career begins in earnest. So, watch this space!
So, without further ado — our winners!
1.) John sent this story about his grandfather (for whom he is named):
It all started in Astoria, Queens, New York, where I was born and where my imagination and desire to write and tell stories were first cultivated by my grandfather,
Gramps, who I was named for. Gramps was a storyteller. Everywhere we went, from his favorite watering hole to the OTB to dark and dank boiler rooms of Queens, he told me stories. I listened and learned how to tell a story. He would buy me paper, from notebooks to blank construction paper so I could practice the craft. My favorite stories all revolved around him serving in Panama during WW2. He also did something else for me. He took me to the library. The Steinway branch of the Queens Borough Library System to be exact. And made me take out books. Lots and lots of books. Books that I devoured like a fat kid eats cake. It’s because of him that I write every day and want to see my name on the spine of a book.
A real inspiration! And what service was John’s grandfather in? The UNITED STATES COAST GUARD. The awesome can barely be contained. Congratulations to John, who gets a signed copy of the CONTROL POINT Advanced Read Copy (ARC)!
2.) Mia writes her nephew in the USMC.
He signed on at 18, did 2 combat tours in Iraq, received a Purple Heart among others, and became a husband and father to 2 boys while a Marine. All that and he’s just 27!
I owe my introduction to GI Joe and Xmen to Archie. I’d come over when he was little, out came action figures for mock battles and an extensive lecture on their skills, powers and back stories. How fitting that the boy who earnestly taught me about soldiers and superheroes grew up to be both. Whatever my views on conflict may be, because of Archie and a few other soldiers I know, I’ll always have respect and affection for those who choose to be soldiers.
Love this story, Mia. You win an autographed copy of the 2012 Stephen King Desk Calendar, featuring my essay OF KNIGHTHOOD AND NOSTALGIA.
3.) Reesa sent me brief but touching note about her father.
My father, Mike Herberth, served in the Army in Vietnam. Despite being involved in several veteran’s groups, and fighting the VA for his pension for years, my Dad has never really liked talking about his service. It was something he did, that altered the course of his whole life, but I’ve always gotten the sense that what he saw hit him so hard that he didn’t want to share it with his kids.
He’s coming to visit for Thanksgiving, and we’re going to go see the Vietnam memorial together. I’m hoping that while we’re there, he’ll be able to share some of it with me. I’ll always be proud of him and his service, and I don’t want to him to feel like it’s anything to be ashamed of.
I like Reesa’s story because it shows some of the hardships that veterans face as a result of their service. Thanks for your support of your father, Reesa, and of all of us. You win an autographed copy of WRITERS OF THE FUTURE VOL. XIX featuring my story BLOOD AND HORSES.
Thanks again to all those who entered, both for your inspiring stories and your support of veterans. I mean it when I say that it helps us to stand the watch when we know the people we’re doing it for are covering our six.