As many of you know, I was thrilled last week to learn that my thriller/mystery novel, I Know Why the Dogwoods Blush, had been nominated as best book of the year in the Fiction-Mystery category by the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA). The winner will be announced at the MWSA annual convention in Pittsburgh, PA on October 1, 2011.
After my euphoria wore off, I decided I’d best see whom I was nominated against. It’s ALWAYS good to know your competition. Any little leaguer can tell you that! I’d done and said all the expected things … “thanks so much: it’s an honor just to be nominated; I just write because I love telling stories, etc” … but since I REALLY want to win this thing, I needed to find out the names of the authors and books standing in my way. After I found out, all I could say was WOW!
There are four books nominated in this category, of which Dogwoods Blush is one. First and foremost, the name that jumped out at me from the other three was Dale Dye. Yes, I am talking about THAT Dale Dye! Anybody out there ever hear of a book and movie called Platoon?
Dale Dye, USMC, rose through the ranks to retire as a Captain and served in Vietnam in 1965 and 1967 through 1970, surviving 31 major combat operations. Appointed a Warrant Officer in 1976, he later converted his commission and was a Captain when he deployed to Beirut, Lebanon with the Multinational Force in 1982-83. Following retirement from active duty in 1984, he spent time in Central America, reporting and training troops for guerrilla warfare in El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica.
Upset with Hollywood’s treatment of the American military, he established Warriors Inc., the pre-eminent military training and advisory service to the entertainment industry. He has worked on more than fifty movies and TV shows including several Academy Award and Emmy winning productions (Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and the current TV show, Falling Skies, to name a few)! He is a novelist, actor, director and show business innovator. In other words, he’s a BIG as they come!
Dye’s newest book, Laos File, follows the death of a salty old senior NCO who ran special operations in Vietnam. This death leads Marine Gunner Shake Davis on a shocking and potentially lethal quest to find out what happened to hundreds of American POWs.
If that was not enough to get my attention, book #2 is from multiple published author and retired USAF colonel Bob Doerr. You can check out his site here:
His book, Loose Ends Kill, draws Jim West into the middle of a murder investigation. The police believe they already have the murderer in jail … Jim’s old friend. When Jim discovers that even his friend’s lawyers believe he is guilty, he knows he will have to go it alone. In doing so, he attracts the ire of the police, defense attorneys, and, eventually, the killer.
Finally, book #3, Argopelter, is by multiple published author Ronald Smith. Argopelter tells the story of Air Force Sergeant Sandy Coker. Now retired, Coker joins his family’s lumber business as its new Director and immediately hires old military comrades to fill key positions. Two of them assisted Coker in the dramatic rescue of his wife, kidnapped by a maniacal industrialist while stationed in England; the third saved his life in 1968 in the jungles of Vietnam. While on a routine company familiarization trip to one of its plants in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula forests, Coker and his friends find themselves suddenly entangled in an eighty year old murder mystery which crosses borders and leads to a present day pattern of murder and violence.
Again, I am honored just to be named in the same category of these great writers. And I’ve always wanted to meet Dale Dye in person. I’m one of his biggest fans! What’s the use of competition if I’m not going to run against fast horses. I had to chuckle when I told my wife, Renee, about Dale Dye. I said, “This is bad news for Jeremiah Bronson (my hero from Dogwoods Blush).” Her response? “Wrong! It’s bad news for Dale Dye!”
I’ll keep you posted. Wish me luck!