Author of The Duffy Series
Yesterday I got a thank you note from Kabul, Afghanistan.
Air Force Lt. Colonel Martin Balaskas had come across one of the copies of “On the Ropes” that I sent over to the troops. He’s a big Duffy fan and when I offered to send “TKO” and “Out Cold” he said he was already a couple of chapters into “TKO” and had “Out Cold”.
He wrote and said that he liked the characters and the plot development.
Lt. Colonel Martin Balaskas
Tanya and Derek Erickson are basset hound folks. They bid $1,000 to get their hound Arthur in “Out Cold”. The money goes to the hound rescue organization in Michigan.
Tanya is stationed in Bagdhad in one of Hussein’s old palaces. The place is called “The Perfume Palace.” Derek isn’t with her because he’s in the Navy.
Do you remember that pirate incident awhile back? Derek was one of the guys that secured the pirated ship and took care of the crew. He's on the USS Bainbridge.
I sent them copies of all the books and one to Tanya’s mom, Anita who is taking care of the hounds back in the states.
There are days I feel all self-important and I take writing my crappy little murder mysteries quite seriously. I think about the pressure, the hard work and the sacrifice I put in making shit up on this laptop.
Then, I get an email from one of these people.
Talk about feeling small.
I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that said, “I’m Already Against the Next War.” That’s how I feel. I’m not patriotic and I think the government isn’t honest with us.
That has nothing to do with how I feel for these folks in the military. They are away from home, separated from the people (and hounds) they love and in harm’s way where everyday someone on the other side would consider it a good day if they got killed.
My dad had four Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars and two Bronze stars. General Patton pinned the Silver Star on my dad. And I believe my father carried the war every day of his life for the fifty years he lived after it was over. He wouldn’t let me or my two brothers consider the service.
Probably has something to do with how I feel about war and the soldiers involved.
I’ve met a new friend through the internet. Ginny Tata-Phillips is a nut and she’s another hound person. She writes Haiku books about bassets.She sent my books over to Kabul for her husband Rick to enjoy. When I found out I was honored and with her help sent more over. Colonel Richard Phillips sent me this photo of him and his buddy, Colonel Hickenbottom reading Duffy in Afghanistan.
In the meantime Ginny has been home in Florida taking care of her hounds and supporting basset rescue. She sends packages to soldiers every month.
She loves my books and promotes them all the time.
I’m not sure why. I’ve only met Ginny through the internet but I’ll tell you this—I wouldn’t mess with her. I can tell she is a strong and powerful person.
But then when your husband spends his time in harm’s way she’d have to be.
I think Ginny’s hounds will be noisy today. I’m guessing they’ll bark and bay and howl and jump up and down and do even less than they are told than usual.
I’m happy to let everyone know that Colonel Phillips arrives home today in Florida.
God Bless him, Tanya and Derek Erickson, Lt. Colonel Balaskas, Colonel Hickenbottom and everyone in harm’s way. Pray for them and their families.