“This is not Enough…”

It’s been a year since I first published my short story collection, Goldlust.

Yes. A full year on July 13.

I’m rather shocked.

Part of me… the driving critical monster of perfectionism demands that this is not enough. I should be further along.

Only half of that is true –

“This is not enough…”

No. Goldlust’s twenty short stories are not enough.

Those short stories were never meant to be the full collection.

Goldlust is simply a springboard.

So, for July and possibly August – I will take a break from blogging with intent of completing Red Trouble by September 2017.

No. This is not enough… There are many more stories to tell.



World War II Stories from Carville

Last week I mentioned the National Hansen’s Disease Museum located at Carville, Louisiana. And this week, I promised you World War II stories from those that were living there.

Recap: Hansen’s Disease is more commonly known as leprosy. The name was changed because of the fears and stigma attached to the disease. Its caused by a bacterial infection in the skin. Limbs and appendages do not fall off – they have to be amputated because of nerve damage. Throughout most of history, Hansen’s disease was thought to be highly contagious. It was especially dangerous because doctors did not know how it spread, and there was no successful treatment for it until the 1940s. Even then, the drug therapy used was experimental. Those with Hansen’s were often treated as outcasts to society because of fear.

On to the World War II stories…

In President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor speech, there is a mention of Guam, the Philippines and several other areas of the Pacific being invaded by the Japanese. While the history books tend to focus on the sneak attack of the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii – there were multiple attacks of blitzkrieg caliber occurring across the world.

As the Japanese forces rushed in, occupying  these small Pacific Islands, Allied troops were left behind, along with the native populations. Overnight things went from an island paradise to a hellish occupation…

Spy games and intelligence gathering had been present prior to World War I… but the main focus had been the Germans. Now the tactic had to change and that’s where ‘Joey’ came in.



Josefina Guerrero used the isolation and fear from Hansen’s disease to help her gather intelligence and smuggle information back to the Americans. Because there was such a fear of leprosy, the Japanese forces never searched her… even when she had photographs, maps and other top secret intelligence hidden in her clothing. She is hinted at in Johnny P. Harmon’s book, ‘King of Microbes,’ detailing his life at Carville but Johnny does not mention her by name – because she asked him not to.

Fortunately, author Ben Montgomery tracked down the full details of ‘Joey’s’ life and The Leper Spy: The Story of an Unlikely Hero from World War II was published.



US Army chaplains found her after the war and petitioned the US government to allow her to come to America, despite her disease. She was able to receive treatment at Carville, married another Carville patient, and was also awarded the Medal of Freedom for her work during World War II.


The Hornbostels


I mentioned that spying had been going on in the Pacific since World War I…

Well, its time for you to meet the real Indiana Jones: Hans Hornbostel

Hans Hornbostel was an American who spoke German fluently. In the early 1900s he traveled to the Mariana Islands to spy on the local German population. He figured out who the spy was – fell in love and married the spy’s daughter, Gertrude!

Hans and Gertrude were archaeologists who specialized in the ancient culture of the people of Guam. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s they worked as archaeologists excavating in Guam and were instrumental in building the collections of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum in Hawaii.

According to family history, when Hans heard war had broken out, he walked two weeks through the jungle at age 60 to Manila, where he tried to enlist in the Marines. They told him he was too old, and so he went and joined the Army.

He was captured by the Japanese that April, where he survived the Bataan Death March and was liberated from Cabanatuan, a notorious Japanese prisoner of war camp in 1945. He was sixty-four years old.

Gertrude had spent the war in a prison camp as well, where she had contracted leprosy. One year after the war’s end she was diagnosed and she chose to get treatment at Carville.

Hans followed. He wanted to live there with her, but the policies at Carville wouldn’t allow it. His devotion to Gertrude, the untreatable disease, and his status as a World War II hero, sparked national headlines and newspapers began sensationalist press… often filled with misinformation about Hansen’s Disease.

Those in the newspaper business at Carville, publishers of their newspaper ‘The Star’ fired right back – correcting the false reports and for the first time had a national audience who was interested in their condition.

Hans ended up staying at a local farmhouse near Carville, but spent most of his waking hours with Gertrude. Her leprosy was under control through drug treatment and she was cleared to leave Carville in 1949.

For the rest of their lives the Hornbostels continued to be active supporters of patients’ rights, especially those at Carville. Hans passed away in 1957 and Gertrude followed him in 1982. They had four children.



For Joey….

King of Microbes. Johnny P. Harmon. (Out of print, a few copies are around. The museum at Carville has a copy.)

Photograph 1: Josefina Guerrero: Leper Spy of the Philippines. http://www.rejectedprincesses.com/princesses/josefina-guerrero

The Leper Spy: https://www.amazon.com/Leper-Spy-Story-Unlikely-World/dp/1613734301


For the Hornbostels…

Photo: http://www.guampedia.com/gertrude-and-hans-hornbostel/

Biographical information: http://www.guampedia.com/gertrude-and-hans-hornbostel/ and http://www.guampedia.com/gertrude-costenoble-hornbostel/

Family history: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/568506/posts

The source I first discovered this story in: The Star, v12n5 (dated 1953) pg 6.  http://www.louisianadigitallibrary.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15140coll52/id/3175/rec/12

Colonizing Leprosy: (details the Hornbostels’ efforts and the national newspaper’s reactions and how The Star newspaper at Carville helped educate the general public. http://www.louisianadigitallibrary.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15140coll52/id/3175/rec/12





Carville, Louisiana

On my adventures through the state of Louisiana I rented a car and drove to a small historical site between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

The history hunter in me had devised a plan… Yes I would fulfill people’s expectation of doing a plantation tour. Its what every tourist does when they visit the Antebellum South – but I wasn’t going to visit the ‘typical’ plantation.

I visited Carville: The National Hansen’s Disease Museum.

Its on a Louisiana National Guard base, so no photos were allowed. Fortunately, the internet has everything and there are photographs of Carville.


What is Hansen’s Disease?


(I’ll include a photograph of leprosy/Hansen’s disease at the bottom of the page in order to prevent gross out.)

Leprosy – That awful disease without a cure, which left people blind and lame, was rumored to cause body parts to fall off and caused complete and total isolation for those who suffered from it. People who contracted leprosy were thought to be under a curse, those who had angered God or other deities and for the health of the whole community had to banished.

Completely banished from society. They simply ceased to exist.

Imagine, thrown from your home, your village, everyone you knew denying you. You were sent outside of the city to die – wondering not only what would happen to you, and how you’d survive – but what you did to deserve such an awful affliction.

You would never receive any form of affection, or even a handshake. Often people suffering from the disease would have to cry out ‘UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!’ or wear bells to announce themselves and for people to get out of the way – Beware, they might get it too!

This goes back to ancient times. That’s why in the Bible, Jesus of Nazareth healing the lepers was a huge event. (Even though the Greek word for leprosy includes other skin diseases of the time – not just leprosy.)

It was renamed Hansen’s disease because those with leprosy did not want the past reputation of the disease to impact their future, once a cure was found. So, the disease of leprosy was renamed after Dr. Hansen – who had taken the first steps to liberating those suffering from leprosy by identifying it – not as a curse, or a result of sin – but as a skin infection caused by a microbe.

Carville was established in 1894 at an old sugar cane plantation along the Mississippi River. It was extremely convenient because those newly diagnosed could be quickly taken to quarantine and disappeared before the proper people in society could hear of their misfortune. In 1921, according to federal law, other patients were brought to Carville from several of the other leprosariums throughout the country.

Carville is the only mainland treatment center for Hansen’s Disease still standing to this day. When the others were closed, they were burned to the ground because until the 1970s there was no cure for the disease.

All the arrivals to Carville knew they were being sentenced to die. Some already had arrived at the plantation in coffins because there was such fear of the disease spreading. They were referred to as inmates, because federal law prevented them from leaving the plantation.

Rather than this being a sad story that ended there – the folks at Carville decided to make the best of what they were given. It took awhile, but a community with its own unique culture and traditions emerged. They had their own baseball team, swimming races, raised livestock and remained self-sufficient, even producing their own version of Mardi Gras.

The staff at Carville consisted of Ursuline Nuns, who at its founding were the only ones brave enough to care for those who’d been exiled from society. Later, other doctors joined them, including a husband and wife team, Drs. Paul and Margaret Brand. She worked as an eye doctor. He studied and created orthotics for use at Carville and later adapted these techniques to diabetes patients.

Hansen’s disease impacts the nerves around the face and eyes. Many patients develop cataracts, if not treated. It also dulls the nerves throughout the body so that the person with Hansen’s disease cannot feel pain. This may not seem awful – but pain is how your body lets you know something is wrong. Dr. Paul Brand records an incident where he saw a person with Hansen’s disease trip over and sprain their own ankle, keep walking and still have no clue that they’d been injured, despite the ankle clearly out of alignment.

Despite being ostracized and feared by outsiders, the people of Carville did not shy away from the outside world. They wanted to interact. Sometimes they’d sneak through the hole in the fence for a weekend on the town. There are numerous reports of couples running away to get married. Others turned to writing, publishing a monthly magazine called The Star. It was subtitled, ‘Radiating the Light of Truth on Hansen’s Disease’. Its still published to this day.

Next week I’ll share some World War II stories from people who were at Carville during or after the war.


Sources – (and then the gruesome photos – you’ve been given warnings)

Photograph: http://alongtheriverroad.tumblr.com/post/8928826010/this-property-is-known-as-indian-camp-plantation

More photos and a bit of history: http://neworleanshistorical.org/items/show/621?tour=55&index=0

A History of Leprosy and how to treat it in modern terms: http://www.medicinenet.com/leprosy/article.htm#leprosy_hansen#39s_disease_facts

American Leprosy Missions: (a timeline of the disease, includes history of Carville and other sites like it) http://www.leprosy.org/leprosy-history/

Documentary of Drs. Paul and Margaret Brand: https://dod.org/programs/hearts-for-the-outcaste-the-story-of-drs-paul-and-margaret-brand-part-i/

Paul Brand’s wikipedia biography: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Brand At the bottom it includes a biography in book form, as well as several other books he wrote.

Margaret Brand’s autobiography: https://www.amazon.com/Vision-God-Story-Margaret-Brand/dp/1572931388/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497856851&sr=8-1&keywords=vision+for+god+margaret+brand

National Hansen’s Disease Museum’s webpage: https://www.hrsa.gov/hansensdisease/museum/collections.html



And the photographs of Hansen’s disease…

Photo 1: http://www.medicaldaily.com/history-leprosy-debilitating-disease-separation-photos-332998

Note the scaley looking stuff on the face – that’s Hansen’s Disease. You can particularly spot the lesions on his ear. (I started with this one, its the least gross.)


Photo 2: http://scribol.com/science/medicine/the-faces-of-leprosy/3/

Its what remains of a leg and foot after Hansen’s disease.


Photo 3: http://scribol.com/science/medicine/the-faces-of-leprosy/








I love this photograph.

Its seventy-three years old as of today.

It features Dwight D. Eisenhower of the Allied Command, during World War II, taken in the final hours before D-Day… the invasion into Europe to take an entire continent back from a country brainwashed and gone to Hell.

The faces of the paratroopers say it all.

Each man intently listening, some excited, some exhausted… and I’m sure there were fears too.

Eisenhower himself had fears, and was prepared to take full responsibility if the invasion failed.

Failure was all too present in their minds because days before, the Allies had sent troops into Italy with disastrous results.

I know, because the invasion of Italy is where the 36th Infantry was serving.

The 36th Infantry members are my reenacting/ living history unit. Our goals are to accurately represent and keep the memories and stories alive of those who served, specifically with the 36th Infantry during World War II. This past weekend, we were at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s World War II Weekend in Reading, Pennsylvania.

While the planes and paratroopers get the spotlight, there were thousands if not millions who served and did not show up in famous photographs. Yet, every photograph tells a story.

A story which begs to be told…

Told in something more than snippets in digital media…

Told in full length. Every bloody, ugly, cruddy detail… until there is resolution.

There isn’t always victory or even resolution in real life. But those stories need to be told regardless.


World War II.


May 30th. 1944.

Seven days before D-Day begins.

This is a sniper from the 36th Infantry.

His face is young. He is serious beyond his years. He’s studying his rifle because that is the only defense he has against the unknown troubles he will be facing in the coming days.

They’re supposed to be going to Rome.

He may or may not know that.

He studies the rifle as one would the face of a lover. Even though he has a wife.

Yes. There’s a wedding band on his hand.

Behind him guys laugh, challenge each other, chuckle and smoke. One sits on a gas can, rolling a cigarette.

And they all wait…

This is where the story begins.

This is where history is made.

History cannot be kept in books. History is about people. These people lived, breathed, walked and wept. And now, all that remains, unless you learn of them and study their faces, are old photographs. And that is not enough.


Photographs from:

Eisenhower and Troops: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3a26521/

36th Infantry Sniper: http://bag-of-dirt.tumblr.com/post/63209778408/pfc-edward-j-foley-of-methuen-massachusetts-an

Ghost Unit

Memorial Day 2017

Talk to your local veterans. Learn their stories. Listen to them.

Veterans, please speak.

We need to hear of your friends… those left behind. Those you loved as only a warrior can. Those who your live as part of your heart and who’s memories carry on with you.

There is something I see in every veteran’s eye when they speak about those who they’re remembering. And I struggle with how to describe or approach it.

There is also the question of “Why? Why them and not me?”

I’ve tried to capture that in my fiction piece, ‘Ghost Unit’ – from my short story collection released last year, ‘Goldlust’.


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Ghost Unit

He was one man covered in what appeared to be shame. His spine curved, hunching his frail body forward while a World War II enlisted man’s jacket hung precariously on his shriveled shoulders. His uniform no longer fit and his medals had tarnished with age. The ribbons were faded and partially crushed as if they’d been thrown in a drawer and forgotten. He was an old man and his hands quivered as he was pushed in his wheelchair down the street of the Memorial Day parade route.

Most people were at home having a cookout or shopping. The small crowd which was present were paying more attention to his granddaughters… the youngest, too short to push him in the right direction and running down the street with him, seeming to chase the wheelchair instead of guiding it, and the oldest too absorbed in what her friends might think of her company, to appreciate the moment. To the memory of men like him was the reason for this day. The sadness in his eyes and the silent scars on his soul which he’d kept locked away were the marks of a man who’d seen Hell, and had friends fall beside him. These were the ones who bore our freedom and took it against the enemy.

And here he was. The one man who survived. He looked out at the fields of tombstones and white crosses before him. He’d been in this town long enough to know those who lay here. Those who were just a name, two dates and maybe a star, had been his family, friends and neighbors.

He’d had a stroke, half his face drooped and his eyes watered – but there was a man inside that shell. A man who had served his country and whom we all needed to respect. This man held the memories of those whom we were honoring today. He was the only one left. A moan came from his mouth.

The older granddaughter scolded the younger, “Don’t rock him like that! You’ll break him!”

The cemetery sat on a hill on the outskirts of the town. At the top the banner of freedom, its stars and stripes waving against the clear blue sky was at half-mast. His old feeble hand rose to salute… and trembling he made it before one of his granddaughters forced the hand down.

The girls’ mother appeared and locked the wheelchair into place appearing weary and annoyed… whether it was at her daughters or the veteran I don’t know.

As a veteran myself, I struggled for a moment. I could step in and talk to the man, or I could let him stay in his memories.

Then I saw them. Gathered with the modern day civilians was a small unit from across time – welcoming their own. Revolutionary War heroes stood next to Confederate and Union soldiers, while World War I and World War II’s boy soldiers stood grinning. Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm vets looked out among the crowd searching for their loved ones. A veteran from Afghanistan leaned over the baby carriage to peer into the face of his daughter, and planted a kiss on his widow’s cheek. A mother who’d been killed in action by a roadside bomb in Iraq watched her sons play. I saw her mouth, “Damn, they’ve grown.”

I went to the World War II vet. A look of awe was on his face. Kneeling beside his wheelchair I whispered, “You see them too, don’t you?”

The old man nodded.

“Who are they?”

He found his voice, and a smile grew as he recognized each of them. First, the World War II soldiers, “They were the ones I joined up with – Rob, Will, Sonny, Joe and Ed. We grew up together – in this town and then in war,” he whispered. “I knew the Great War sergeant Riley Neilson. He taught me how to ride a bike. The Civil War Confederate general George Thompson and his Union general brother William Thompson, used to sit in front of the general store in town. They gave me my first job – polishing the leather supplies, later I took over the general store as a clerk. The Korean War officer Jim Darwin was a linebacker on the local football team and could have gone on to state levels. He chose the military instead… and went missing. My son went to school with Tom Budwer, the Vietnam vet. Mike Richards, the Desert Storm veteran was a troublemaker, until I caught him stealing and straightened him out. The mother of the two boys, Sara MacConny-Young, was the homecoming queen – she had a crush on my grandson, but married someone she was in combat with. The Revolutionary War commander, Thomas Burton founded this town. The young man with the baby girl, Ryan Lotts, I taught him how to play baseball.”

There were tears in the World War II veteran’s eyes. He swallowed as he met the eyes of his buddies. “I’m the only one who came back.”

The four members of his unit knelt beside him, recognizing the missing member, despite the age difference. They embraced the man as tears fell on both sides of eternity.

A speaker took the podium, but said nothing important to the deceased. I watched the veterans move among the living, pointing out relatives and marveling at the dwindling crowd. Babies and small children seemed to sense their presence.

The local pastor took to the podium and offered a prayer. In the respectful silence, the ghost soldiers took a formation away from the living, tears in their eyes, wondering if they could return. The World War II veterans stood for a moment longer – boys, with their hands on the shoulders of their friend – the one who had not yet joined them.

Then, moving through the crowd came Saint Michael – patron saint of soldiers. Those in formation saluted him, while the young veterans at the side of their buddy waited. Hesitantly they parted for their commander, nervously glancing at the wheelchair bound veteran and then back to the angel.

Saint Michael knelt, so he could be eye-to-eye with the World War II veteran. There was a pleading in the man’s eyes, as he looked at his friends. Saint Michael studied the dwindling crowd.

The pastor concluded with a hearty, “Amen.”

Saint Michael grabbed the veteran’s hand and pulled him forward. His buddies rushed to his side, helping him up. He took a hobbling step and then all changed. The men were a unit again. Young strong and cheering for they had beaten the enemy.

The veteran was immediately embraced into the fold of others who had come and served before him. Gripping of hands, shouting of jokes, hugging around shoulders and back-slapping laughter followed.

Saint Michael cleared his throat.

They all turned as a children’s church choir lifted their voices in song. Strains of the national anthem echoed through the valley. The ghost unit saluted, as a tiny girl finished off the highest notes, the American flag waving in the breeze.

I blinked the tears from my eyes, and searched the graveyard. Its true what the old poem says, “Old soldiers just fade away.” I could see them and then like smoke, they were gone. They had vanished into the fading sunset.


Saint Michael turned to look at me. “Now is not your time.”


A week later, deployed on foreign soil, the sounds of gunfire echoed as a helicopter lifted from the ground. A sudden harsh beeping brought me back, screaming. A medevac nurse yelled, “We’ve got him! Got him back!” She tucked the blanket around my chin and amid the fog of pain, I heard her order to another officer for medical supplies. Then she turned back to me, “You’re going to live. It’ll be a long road back – but you’ll live.”

“My unit?” I managed to choke out.

She looked broken for a moment. “There were no survivors, except you.”

I fell back against the stretcher, and suddenly realized: I’d be the old man.



If you know someone who this story would benefit, share.

The short story collection Goldlust – which contains this excerpt can be found here. https://www.amazon.com/A.-R.-Mitchell/e/B01ID1ND1U/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

The photograph is one I took last year in East Prospect, a small town south of York, Pennsylvania. They have a Memorial Day event at their local cemetery which is the inspiration for Ghost Unit.


Living History and Honor


This past weekend was Armed Forces Day – a celebration of those who are serving. Next Monday, is Memorial Day – where we honor the ultimate sacrifice of those who have served, and remember them even though they’re no longer physically present in our lives.

I spent part of my Louisiana trip at the National World War II Museum, in New Orleans and on the USS Kidd – a naval destroyer docked along the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The National World War II museum in downtown New Orleans is filled to bursting with history, first hand experiences and multi-media. Its also filled with people. People. People. People.

I used to work at a convention center. I’ve seen wall to wall people. I’m thrilled that the population is that interested in history… however, they’re missing the best part.

History is a living thing. I spent my weekends among planes, tanks, and trains from various eras (mostly World War II, but there is a 1920s Barnstormer event on my calendar this year). This to me is history.

I walked through the displays, thinking – “They’re stuck in a museum. They never get to go out and play.”

(Yes. Tanks need to go out and play.)


I hate to say it, but Indiana Jones was wrong. It doesn’t, “belong in a museum!”

As long as that baby can still shake, rattle, roll, boom and fire – its out there meant to be experiencing history. There’s nothing like watching a tank rattle through your hometown streets and realizing – “Oh. This is a small sample of the heart-shaking terror of blitzkrieg!” When the German war machine barrels into your town, firing… and your only option for cover is shrubbery.

And… “This is what it was like when Paris was liberated.”

When more tanks, half tracks and jeeps come into town, cornering the intimidators and forcing their surrender. (And once again, all you have are bushes to hide behind.)

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Truthfully – I am spoiled. I am spoiled beyond belief. I have crawled inside tanks, planes and ridden in vintage jeeps. I took a flight on a B-24 Liberator. I’ve fired the weapons of the era and know there is nothing like the sound of .45 round with an alternating firing rounds of M-1 Garand rifles. (Buddies of mine call it ‘Rolling Thunder’ – and its beautiful.)

I also live in Pennsylvania, which is reenactment central.

History isn’t supposed to sit on a shelf.

While the National World War II Museum is great and epic in scale, foremost in collecting veterans stories and honoring those who fought –  please – get out to a living history event, talk with the remaining veterans if you see them, crawl inside a tank, ask the reenactors and veterans all the questions you can possibly think of.

(We answer dumb questions too – like, “Is that a real fire?” “Did you really sleep in that tent?” “Are you eating real food? Is it left over from the 1940s?”)

We’re living historians – we take the past out of the textbook and put it into your heart, mind, body and soul. And if you come home sweaty, grimy and all gross…. Trust me its been a great weekend.

For a chance to experience all that I’m talking about: June 2-4 in Reading, Pennsylvania is the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s World War II Weekend.



National World War II Museum’s Website: http://www.nationalww2museum.org

Photo 1: From: http://www.sheratonneworleans.com/national-wwii-museum – Yes I went to museum. Yes, I took a lot of photos. Yes – I will admit to missing my reenactor buddies as history interpreters for the equipment. (Yes, I missed you guys – A LOT!)

Photo 2: A fellow reenactor, writer and photographer’s work: Phil Zimmer

Photo 3: My own photo from the 2016 Liberation of New Oxford (Pennsylvania). The entire town is taken over by Germans and then liberated one weekend morning in September. Its the same weekend as Eisenhower National Historic Site in Gettysburg, holds their World War II weekend. (Usually its the 3rd weekend in September.)

Mother’s Day



This is a difficult post to write – since I’m not a mother, nor have I ever been one… so I can’t fathom the loss of a son or daughter. Especially in a violent situation such as war.

But I do have to face it. My writing and my hobby has forced me into a corner and allowed me to see with awe what mom’s do.

Its not just giving up nine months of extremely personal space before we pop out into the world. Its a lifelong commitment. Some mothers set aside their careers, their education and put their entire lives on hold… only to have the kids turn into total jerks and deadbeats.

Part of me wants to say that your children’s futures depend on how you raise them and that is true, but rebellion happens. Mistakes get made. Kids get thrown into situations that no parent (loving or neglectful) could ever prepare them for… like war.

Next week, (May 20) is Armed Forces Day. It celebrates those in the military who are currently serving.

But I want to make a comparison and suggestion. Moms are in the military with their kids as well. Maybe not active duty – but no boy is foolish enough to think that there isn’t some woman out there who’s hit her knees a couple of times in prayer for him, probably because she knows her son a little too well… and that mom instinct is going off, just telling her that her boy is out doing something stupid or dangerous.

As for the mothers of daughters in the military its the same… more complicated perhaps, but the feelings are the same. The mom danger sense goes off and she responds.

I just finished writing what I hope to be the final draft of Red Trouble. The main character, Karina Morrison, is rescuing her children in the ruins of Europe still attempting to crawl out of the rubble and ruins of World War II. Having spent time exploring her thoughts and feelings, I’ve struggled as an author to place myself in her mom mindset.

Which brings me to my own upbringing. To my parents – especially my mom.

I received my creativity, impulsiveness and loud mouth from her. I don’t know where that’s going to lead me in life but –

Happy Mother’s Day!

…To all the Moms, past, present and future… and the Moms who’ve adopted us in friendship through the years!