My 1st MWSA meeting.
I just returned from attending my first Military Writers Society of America meeting. I joined the group a couple of months ago and was really eager to attend this year’s meeting in Dayton, Ohio. I was not disappointed. The women and men of MWSA are devoted to those wearing the uniform today and those who wore the uniform in years past. They are committed to preserving the stories of our nations military. They write, they publish, they share.
I was able to give a preview of my forthcoming book Death in the Baltic: the World War Two Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff http://amzn.to/W0jMIB. Though the book is not yet even in galleys, I read an excerpt from chapter one. I couldn’t have had a better welcome to the group. The response energized me and everyone had interesting and thoughtful questions. More importantly, I met people that until now were Facebook friends. Truly, nothing can replace face-to-face encounters.
I met Betsy Beard editor of TAPS Magazine www.taps.org. Betsy and her husband Randy lost their son Army Specialist Bradley S. Beard in Iraq 8 years ago. Her strength and smiles give one pause. Betsy is the author of an incredibly moving children’s story Klinger: A Story of Honor and Hope. The beautifully illustrated children’s book teaches children and families who have lost loved ones to war that finding joy in life is all right, even when grieving. In living a life fully we honor those who sacrificed so much.
I also got to meet Marcia Sargent, author of the memoir Wing Wife: How To Be Married To A Marine Fighter Pilot www.marciajsargent.com and Leila Levinson, author of Gated Grief: The Daughter of a GI Concentration Camp Liberator Discovers a Legacy of Trauma. Levinson founded www.veteranschildren.com, a website where children and their veteran parents can share stories. She understands that a father’s or a mother’s war can become their children’s war.
I’ve worked with Swenson Book Development, LLC for nearly 3 years. Every time I listen to Jill Swenson and Danielle Sherwood explain what it takes to get published and how to market yourself as an author I learn something new.
Joyce Falkner, Dwight Zimmerman and Jim Greenwald all did an incredible job putting together this four-day conference. Alas, I had to leave early but look forward to next year when I can meet and talk with even more members.