My American History classes finished the upcoming epic American novel and hero memoir Witness to the American Century (formerly “Where Do We Get Such Men?” and also formerly “Accidental Odyssey”) yesterday, and it happened conveniently at the conclusion of the last lesson in American History that I will ever teach at Pace High School. I am still letting that sink in. What a way to go out!
To celebrate, we took a trip to the Pensacola Naval Aviation Museum and received a guided tour from the hero of the book himself, Capt. Allen Brady. We watched an incredible IMAX film about aircraft carriers, the might of the United States Navy and the military collaboration we have with other countries from all over the world. Make no mistake though, there is no military mightier than the United States!
Pops talked to them about three (of the dozens) of the planes he flew in his 32 years with the US Navy, including the AD Skyraider, the A4 and the A6 Intruder. They got a very in-depth explanation of his shootdown in the A6 over North Vietnam in 1967, and we learned more than we could ever imagine about “tail hooks” and “bolters.” Then it was on to the Vietnam POW exhibit, where Pops is featured. Things that were so familiar: the pink and red striped pajamas, the rubber tire sandals, the 7-line Vietnamese paper they used to write letters home, and a replica of the Zoo prison camp. Those kids will never, ever forget the atrocities that happened at the Zoo.
We ended our day trip with lunch in Seville Park where our hero signed all of the kids’ manuscripts for them and posed for pictures ❤
Witness to the American Century is currently being published by Kent State University Press with an anticipated release date of January, 2019.
Witness to the American Century (formerly titled “Where Do We Get Such Men?” and also formerly titled “Accidental Odyssey”) is the name of the jaw-dropping new book I was blessed to co-author with my heroic stepfather, Capt. Allen Brady. Read more
We are finished.
Get the beer, pop the cork, light the firecrackers…whatever you do to celebrate, please celebrate with us tonight!
Our manuscript is on its way to New York City (NEW YORK CITY???) and from there it grows its wings and flies itself. I like to use another analogy that describes the protectiveness a writer has towards their work, from my favorite author Liz Gilbert who said, “Put that kid on the bus already!”
Pops is 88 now. We started working on this book two years ago, sitting for hours…days…over endless weekends in these same spots on their couch, even when my friends said, “Wanna go to the beach/come over for drinks/go to the movies?” and I would always say, “No, I need to work on the book.”
…and trust me…since last summer it was often terrifying for all of us in certain moments as Pops had numerous surgeries… with complications…and heart thingies… and hospital vigils… and days when he said “I just don’t feel good today.” I’m not kidding when I say there was a huge WHEW! as I hit “SEND”. I always said to him, “Pops, I can’t finish this book without you.” and it was always truer than I wanted to admit.
And now we are finished.
An incredible man, an incredible life and now an incredible book, too. Where do we get such men?
Please look for
“Witness to the American Century”
Friends, I can hardly believe I am saying this, but I am almost finished with my second book project. This has been a unique opportunity and I think you will all be very surprised at what’s coming. It’s a collaborative work of non-fiction and I’m a ghost writer.
My step-father, Capt. Allen C. Brady (USN-Ret, pictured above, seated, with Bishop Mack Stokes), is a 30-year Navy Veteran, and has spent his life strategically placed inside of what is easily called a living, breathing American History textbook. He’s a real life Forrest Gump. Read more
Happy One Year Anniversary to my little book 💍
It took 6 years to write.
And 2 years to edit.
I waited 3 months for it to be picked up by a little Texas publisher…one who made me a real-life published author on December (of course!) 10th, 2015, which in itself was a huge, painful anniversary. Then in a moment, everything changed.
What came next gave me just slightly more than 15 minutes of fame, but what I hope will be a lifetime of literary circulation. Books, after all, are forever.
This book has given me more strength and self esteem than any other one thing I’ve ever done for myself.
And it continues to make me a bit of money. Imagine that.
Who woulda thought….
…that my little story about bring-you-to-your-knees pain, and intimate love, and beautiful sons, and confident daughters, and true beauty, and unavoidable ugliness, and crippling weakness, and then soaring strength would turn into a story that so many people told me was just like reading their own.
Ben hasn’t read it. Won’t. He doesn’t read books. Sadly. And he definitely gets that from his dad. But maybe one day he will think it’s awesome….rather than just ‘kinda cool”…
…that his mom published a little book about her life called Aprils and Decembers, and dedicated it to him. Anyway.
As the one year anniversary of the publication of Aprils and Decembers approaches, I am hosting my very first Giveaway! How exciting!
It’s weird…Goodreads has been around forever and I’ve popped in and out over the years, but I am just now *really* getting into it. (I probably should listen to my reading friends more often.)
If you’re a reader too and haven’t given your Goodreads a lot of attention lately, get back in there. It’s absolutely my new favorite thing. There are SO many great people who (like me) love chatting about a good book, and the recommendations! Oh my goodness, I can’t keep up.
Go there! Enter the Giveaway! Follow my Author Page! Find a great new book!
In June of 2015, I gathered 20 of my best friends together to celebrate the completion of my memoir, Aprils and Decembers. Much of what we talked about that night was how I got here, how I got to be the luckiest person in the world, one who lives through a bunch of tough stuff and still emerges from it with a blessed life and a published book. In other words, in this picture the girls are getting the backstory. (Jaco’s Restaurant, downtown Pensacola)
For you, here’s a little more of my backstory…
- I absolutely cannot stomach horror movies and I am a staunch critic of tattooing oneself. Having said that, Dexter and Sons of Anarchy are two of the best shows I have ever watched. Ever. (once again, mothering determines everything)
- My guilty indulgences include chocolate milk and french fries. I need to make note here that the chocolate milk I like the most is light brown (you could say I like chocolate-infused milk) and I love my french fries a little soggy, if I’m honest.
- I am extraordinarily easy to wait on in a restaurant. After waiting tables all through college, I can promise you, it pays to be kind to the waitstaff. I know their power.
- I tried to train my dog not to jump on people by pinching his paws. Now he refuses to shake hands. My mistake. #dogwhisperingfail
- I once had a vivid dream that I had surgery for stomach pain and when they opened me up all of my insides were microwaved. I haven’t been back to a tanning bed since.
- When I was little, my mom told me that Jesus doesn’t like it when you write on yourself. So I don’t EVER write on myself. Thanks for that warped guilt, Mom.
- I can get lost in watching someone cut the grass. The sounds, the smell and the linear, methodical nature of their movement makes me unusually content.
- I never wear yellow. No one should decide to bury me in yellow, either.
- I own a first edition printing of Gone With the Wind. I bought it for $1 at a flea market in North Dakota in 1991. It’s worth a lot more now, folks.
- When I write a blog like this one, I have to proofread it on each of my devices before I publish it. I think psychologists call that OCD.
We’re all a just little bit nuts, aren’t we kids?!
If you’d like to know more about my journey as an author, and by more I mean more important than my tastes in junk food, I invite you to check out the Frequently Asked Questions link above! Enjoy!
It was a pleasure to visit the set of “Conversations With Jeff Weeks” on WSRE in Pensacola, our local PBS affiliate.
When a writer like myself finally finds her groove, the projects pile up in my imagination like a week’s worth of laundry!
I can’t wait for you to get your hands on my next book. I am honored to be collaborating with a true American hero as he and I march through the last one hundred years of American history as we tell the story of his extraordinary life. He is a bona fide Forrest Gump. Capt. Allen Brady painstakingly detailed his experiences on a series of legal pads and he and I have worked together tirelessly to bring those handwritten notes to life. You will be inspired, you will be humbled and you will be amazed and honored to know that there are still some Great Men in the world. “Where Do We Get Such Men” by Capt. Allen C. Brady (USN-R) is slated to be finished by Summer 2017! Read more