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8 With An Author -- Stephen L. Park

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

What better way to kick off a new week and a new month than by jumping into another interview with one of our authors.

STEVE PARK


1. Where do you like to write? If you could write anywhere, where would that be?

I am happy sitting at the desktop in a quiet room. I hate interruptions from the phone, pets, or other people. The TV is usually on, but it provides white noise more than intrusions.

If I could write anywhere, pictures of an old farm house in Italy or France come to mind, but in truth that would likely be too distracting if I had any kind of view.

2. Is there a genre you haven’t tried but would like to? What genre could you not write?

I haven’t really tried anything other than non-fiction/memoir. I started on a couple of other fiction pieces but didn’t get very far. One of them was sort of a murder story and think that would be fun to do. There is a vast number of things I could not write, but think romance novels would lead the way.

3. In hindsight, many of us find that our writing was impacted by our schooling. What was your favorite assignment in high school English, your least favorite, and the one that affected you the most?

I can almost laugh at this since I can barely remember high school English classes. I can remember only one teacher I had. We had to memorize a lot from things like Beowulf and Shakespeare and write a number of five-hundred word essays, but I would be hard pressed to recall any of it. I wasn’t very inspired in English class.

4. You’re stuck on a deserted island with three books and only one other author. Name the books and the author then tell us why.

I’m a terrible at reading books and probably even worse at remembering what I’ve read. The three books I would have on a deserted island are: A Boy’s Life, a fictional story of a young boy growing up, The Things They Carried, Vietnam fiction with outstanding writing, and a collection of poems by Billy Collins, any one several collections he has written.

I would like to share the island with the poet, Billy Collins. I am certain he could alleviate any boredom by turning the elemental truths of the situation into thoughtful reflection.

5.Which is your more dog-eared friend: Your dictionary, your thesaurus, or your copy of AP’s style guide?

The dictionary definitely goes front and center here. I have found the older I’ve gotten the more it gets used.

6.When you wrote your memoirs, did you use notes that were made at the time, and did you find that your perspective had changed over the years?

I relied on two things to keep me on track, my original diary and collection of photographic slides. The combination of the two kept chronological order to the work which was important to me. As I wrote, I generally took my mind back over forty years earlier and often caught myself writing in the present tense. I think that helped keep my perspective where I wanted it - in 1968. I didn’t want any sentiments changed by time, and think I maintained the same perspective over the years.

7.If you could co-write a book with any author, who would you choose and what genre would it be?

I have no idea on this. I can’t imagine co-writing anything. I think too many feeling would be hurt over ideas unless it was a historical non-fiction based on lots of shared research.

8.What one question about your writing do you hate to be asked?

I don’t have any particular gift of gab so I don’t welcome questions although I have had a number of them pitched to me. I guess I hate to be asked why I wrote the book as much as anything.

 

Stephen L. Park is the author of BOOTS: An Unvarnished Memoir of Vietnam. The title says it all, written by one who was on the ground, in the midst of that war. We would like to thank Steve, as well as everyone else who has or is wearing the uniform, for their service and sacrifices. Steve's book can be purchased in print, digital or Kindle format at most on-line bookstores.

IPPY Award Nominations!

Posted on August 31, 2012 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

         

2012 IPPY NOMINATIONS

 

The Editors of Writers AMuse Me Publishing are thrilled to announce the names of their writers who have been nominated for an Independent Book Publishers Award (IPPY).

1. Tony Walkden’s With A Dying Breath. With so many animals on the brink of extinction, Tony has created a book that allows us to know many of these animals, understand the threats they face, and discusses what can and is being done to help them. All royalties from his book go to the IUCN to continue wildlife conservation efforts globally.

2. DeeJay Arens’ The View From a Rusty Train Car. A gay ‘coming of age’ story, this novel is long overdue. As young boys, Luke and Jared meet, become best friends then fall in love. This is more than their story; this is the story of the pain, the hatred, the discrimination the two young men face in dealing with their feelings and the extreme prejudices of both society and their families.

3. Stephen Park’s BOOTS: An Unvarnished Memoir of Vietnam. War isn’t glamorous, exciting or romantic. Stephen Park shares with us a glimpse of the real war – the endless trudging with full pack through heavy growth, enduring incredible heat or unending rain. Vietnam was wet – sweaty or otherwise. It was frustration, adrenalin peaks, ambushes and little red Xs on a calendar that indicated one more day of staying alive while keeping his men alive, and one more day closer to returning to his bride.

4. David Smith’s Outskirts of Insanity. Once you meet the Nagging Little Man, the voice that has taken over Harry’s head in this psychological thriller, you will never forget him. Harry was a precise, practiced killer for the mob, but The Nagging Little Man doesn’t have time for precision or cleanliness – he has a wide path of destruction to reap, and will touch, and even destroy, many on his new mission. The challenge of FBI agent Paul Lightwing is one he cannot pass up. David, however, isn’t going to make it so easy for his readers. He shows us that good and evil, right and wrong, antagonist and protagonist are not always crystal clear. The truly crazy part of this insane ride is realizing who you will be quietly cheering for when you reach the end.

Good luck and congratulations to the nominees. Our thanks go to all our writers at WAMM for making 2012 what will be an amazing year, with another five books up for release on November 22, 2012. We are blessed to have so much talent on our shelves.

BOOTS: An Unvarnished Memoir of Vietnam by Stephen L. Park

Posted on July 31, 2012 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)


We are very proud and pleased to be presenting

Steve Park's Debut Book

BOOTS: An Unvarnished Memoir of Vietnam

PREVIEW

CHAPTER 1

I was at 35,000 feet. War was looming on my mind. Knowing someone on the same flight had not been foremost in my thoughts. Seeing that it was Lieutenant Ed Mello was not a bonus. Mello, a former classmate in the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, was a likeable, fast-talking, street-smart kind of guy from Boston. He always flashed a big, white-toothed smile while talking some kind of shit. It had been a mistake to rent him my car.

A few weeks before our graduation, I had bought a new car, a 1967 Chevy Camaro, but kept my old 62 VW Beetle rather than trade it in. It sat unused in a parking lot near our barrack and when Mello found out, he asked if he could rent it.

He had met a woman in town and wanted a quick way to get back and forth from base during our sparse free time. Her husband was in Vietnam. I didn’t share his idea of good fortune in finding a woman, but as a favor to him, I agreed to whatever he offered to pay. It wasn’t much, but when it came time to pay, it was always ‘I’ll pay you later’. We lived by an honor code, but it only went so far with him. He never paid. I never forgot the lesson learned. It was nothing like the many lessons I would learn in the year to come.

#

My orders arrived in October, 1967. I was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, known as the Big Red One; the shoulder patch was an olive green background with a large, embroidered red one in the center.

In February1968, Mello and I jumped off a truck at the 90th Replacement Company at Long Binh, Vietnam where we waited to be picked up by another truck that would take us to our base camp. There I was, in a real war zone for less than an hour, already checked in at our transit headquarters, when Mello says, “Hey Park, I’m going to shoot some pool. Come get me when we’re ready to leave.” He was off to find a pool table. I didn’t bother to respond. It was inconceivable that anybody’s first priority in a war zone could be to play pool.

There were about a half-dozen of us going to the First Division. A clerk wielding a clipboard with the manifest list announced, “Transportation will be here soon, so don’t wander off.”

There was no sign of a war going on during my first hour on the ground. The 90th was a gathering place of incoming and outgoing personnel jumbled together, yet easily recognized as two distinct groups: The outbound, mostly tanned and looking relaxed; the inbound showing the February paleness of the stateside winter. It was a place without real activities, soldiers in limbo, going one direction or the other, names on lists waiting to be called. Purgatory for some, it was a perfect time and place to move around, ask questions, glean any useful information. The ultimate goal was learned quickly: be back here in twelve months as a member of the outbound group.

As told, the truck was there within the hour, and every man was onboard except Mello.

The driver yelled, “Truck to the 1st Division is leaving!” His words relayed through the company area.

Mello came running, breathless and climbed on, “Why didn’t you come and get me?” He was indignant.

“I didn’t know where you were,” I told him. True, I didn’t know, but it didn’t matter. I owed him no favors and would have left his ass there to catch the next truck.

#

As the truck rolled toward our base camp in DiAn, Mello resumed his usual style of constant chatter. He had already planned his return to the states, a long year away.

“You know what I’m going do when I get back to the states? After I land in San Francisco, I’m going to Seattle, buy an Austin Healey and drive back to Boston. I’m going to drive back home, cross-country.”

It was a good enough idea, something that could be done by a single man, which he was. I thought, ‘Personally, I wouldn’t be able to get across country quick enough.’ A year was a long, long way off.

We were assigned to the same battalion but different companies. Once dropped off in my new company area, I never saw him again; he didn’t return to the 90th Replacement Company or drive cross-country in an Austin Healey. Lieutenant Mello was killed in action less than three months later. I was sorry to get word when it came through the grapevine. War never cared about the future.