Sunday, June 15, 2014

Remembering Dad.

First off, I want to thank everybody who came to my Facebook party yesterday in honor of the launch of Scorched Earth this past Tuesday. Everybody seemed to have a good time, and I gave away all the prizes, which makes it a successful event in my book.

Congrats to the winners of the Rafflecopter here on the blog. Vi Pieske won the $25 Amazon gift card, and Shelly Hammond and J.r. Barker each won a $5 gift card. Ladies, I hope you enjoy them.

I admit that I was curious about what the contest entrants wanted me to do for my next project. The majority told me to take the summer off -- aww, thanks, you guys! Next most popular was a new series with new characters; then a short story collection; and finally, a book about Naomi's kids. I don't know whether I'll follow the advice to the letter, but I do appreciate knowing what my readers are interested in. So thank you.

And yes, Scorched Earth is out! It's available in paperback and for the Kindle at Amazon, and in multiple formats at Smashwords. It's also been shipped to B&, Kobo, and iBooks. So if those are your ebook-buying platforms of choice, you should be able to get it there shortly. Big thanks to everyone who has already bought a copy. You're my new best friends.

Today is Father's Day: the day when we give our fathers ties they'll never wear and change our Facebook pictures to a snapshot of dear old Dad.

My father, John Cantwell, died in 1984 at the age of 69. He was the oldest of five kids. His own father died when he was nine years old; my father had to drop out of school in the fifth grade and get a job to help support the family. Sounds crazy now, but this was in the 1920s, and attitudes about child labor were different then.

Dad apprenticed to a tailor first, and then he got into what was then the hot, new field of auto mechanics. He worked as a mechanic until he retired at the age of 65. And like many young men in the '40s, he served in the Army Air Corps motor pool in World War II -- Belgium, Germany, Iceland. Most of his war stories revolved around goofy stuff he did with his buddies; like most vets of that era, he never talked about the battles he had been in.
US troops crossing the bridge in 1945

But he did admit to one thing. Whenever the movie "The Bridge at Remagen" came on TV, Dad would say he was among the soldiers who crossed the bridge (which is actually the Ludendorff Bridge) just days before it fell.

In 1994 or '95, when I was in grad school, I wrote this factoid into a story that I dedicated to my father. When I workshopped the story, both my professor and another student informed me that the battle over the bridge had actually happened in World War I. I got angry and said, "If you guys want to argue with a guy who was there, be my guest. My father wouldn't have lied about it." They shook their heads sadly at me (well, actually, the professor smirked -- he was kind of a jerk) and we moved on. But I don't mind admitting that the dispute stuck in my craw.
See? It's just to the right of the Battle of the Bulge.

Years later, the National World War II Memorial opened here in Washington. A few months later, I walked through the memorial with friends. And there, chiseled into the granite on the Atlantic side of the memorial, was a list of battles that had occurred during the war -- among them, Remagen Bridge.

I felt vindicated -- both for myself and for my dad.

So Dad, here's my gift to you on this Father's Day. As usual, you were right.

These moments of bloggy vindication have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

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