kgcummings

Book One Review

Genre: Historical Fiction 

 

Title: The Wind Whispers War: A Vietnam Love Story

 

Author: kgcummings (as it appears on book cover)

 

 

            The Wind Whispers War: A Vietnam Love Story, the first in K.G. Cumming’s new five-book series, lends a personal element to the history of the Vietnam War era. Beginning in the early 1960s, The Wind Whispers War follows Jeff “Mad Dog” Madison, a playboy and career airman in Florida, as he first meets Beth Campbell, a sweet, naïve country girl just stepping out from the traditional values of her hometown. Their whirlwind relationship and subsequent life together makes this a highly romantic, individualized work of historical fiction.

            The Wind Whispers War is almost too good to be true, and makes an excellent beginning to a series about the era. Author K. G. Cummings is clearly a master of romance, and the picture that she paints of Jeff and Beth will sweep readers off their feet along with them. Likewise, the author’s characters are so true to life that their emotions are almost tangible to readers, who may feel as though they’re experiencing the first pangs of true love along with them. Even the book’s steamy romance scenes are infused with a romantic depth, which make them all the more enjoyable.

            Clearly, K. G. Cummings is knowledgeable about the period she is dealing with, but what stands out most is her ability to interweave historical fact with her plot and characters. The result is a seamless story that gives readers a true feel for what the period was like to live through, from the perspective of real people. This is an especially valuable work because it is about the Vietnam War, a topic that is often neglected by historians and fiction writers alike. While it is not a historically detailed account of the military and political aspects of the conflict’s beginning, it is equally valuable as a look at the conflict through the eyes of a single family affected by the war.

            As the first in this series, The Wind Whispers War covers only the very beginning of the conflict and deals with the idyllic domestic relationship between Jeff and Beth during this period, so it is not an action-packed war story of the conflict. However, it is a wonderful beginning to a series about Vietnam, perfectly setting up the idealism and innocence of the beginning of the war as a backdrop for the next books, which deal with the tumultuous times ahead. Readers will want to buy the second and third books immediately to learn what becomes of the wonderful characters they discover in The Wind Whispers War. Highly Recommended by reviewer: Rebecca Henderson, Allbook Reviews


People often wonder why I chose to write about one of the most unpopular wars in American History.  Perhaps the following excerpts will give some insight.
Thank you for reading! Kathy

The Wind Whispers War: A Vietnam Love Story The Wind Whispers War: Book One

I dedicate this book:  To Bruce, Walter, and John.

My friend, my cousin, my classmate, each made the ultimate sacrifice in Southeast Asia.  To honor the deceased, their names are borrowed.  Within the content of this book, their lives are purely fictional, however their deaths are not.  Three young soldiers were killed in action, their personal stories can never be told.  They have no choice, their voices were forever silenced.

This work is the prequel to future novels that, in part, detail several true life experiences of soldiers who survived their tour in Southeast Asia.  To the Veterans who talked to me, thank you, for choosing not to be silent.

 Welcome Home.  I dedicate My Heart:  To those who served in “Nam”.

  

My Heart

honor my……..soldiers
it was the war we did protest
too many breaking hearts recall
that young boys were blown to bits
K I A Bruce * Walter * John and all
the brave men that gave us their best
58000 young soldiers went Home
alone in separate graves rest
sharing one tombstone
their Brothers call
“the Wall”
kgc

War Written Words: A Vietnam Love Story: Book Two War Written Words: Book Two

Dear Reader,

      The dilemma of how to write one story from both sides of the ocean was causing me much distress.  I prayed for insight, “Lord, how do I complete this task?”  The idea of writing letters became clear, as if it had been the plan all along.  But, could I write as a man, about war, in an area of the world where I’d never been?  No.

      I went to Washington, D.C. in 2005 to visit the Wall.  There I met a man who had served in the Air Force in Nam.  After much thought, he agreed to write letters as “Jeff”.  Without him, this book would not exist.  Having a writing partner created new challenges as he had full reign to write whatever he felt like sharing about his war experience.  The story line didn’t always go as I had planned, but that certainly made it more realistic.  I can never thank him enough for the wonderful job he did.  It was difficult for him to relive that period of his life.  But, he promised that he would see it through, and that he did, being a man of honor.  He chooses to remain anonymous.

      Writing exciting letters interesting enough to be entertaining, without becoming mundane was challenging. Quoting my friend David DeLong, “From one who knows, the simple things that  happened at home  were great reading for those there.”  Personal memories of events, and local gossip filled the “Beth” letters with stories about daily life, and the changing mood in America.

                                                                      Love and God Bless,

                                                                        Kathy

 

P.S.  Thanks to Dr. Dianna Miller, for her idea to publish the letters as a single book, Mike Kresan for his cover photos, Evelyn Quinn artist of the farm painting, Carol Wynn-Sandy for her assistance, Laurie for relating her memory of birthing a calf, and my Family.  Special thanks to Phil, Bo, and Chuck for sharing their Nam experiences.


Welcome . . . With Wrath: Book Three Welcome... With Wrath:  Book Three

            Andrew is the voice, and inspiration for little Jason in this novel.  He is a fine boy, whom I pray will become a fine man.  My mother Gertrude, Krista N. Stuart, Rosie Yates, Carol Wynn-Sandy and Benita Richards helped me to keep going when the going got rough.  Ray and Greg talked to me about different sides of life that I had no knowledge about.  Much gratitude to each of these fine people. 

Many thanks to the family of the late Pvt. Billy for allowing me to copy word for word from his handwritten journal, dated December 1944 through March 1945.  Thanks to my Dad, Raymond for sharing his story about Leyte.  Thank you to Monique for granting me an interview, for sharing personal knowledge about life and death in France when she was a young woman during World War II.  

So few men are willing to talk about their Southeast Asian experience, that I have to commend the men who did.  Experience, by definition is: the act of living through events.  Not all lived.  I thank each Soldier’s name on the Wall for making the ultimate sacrifice.  My purpose in writing about Vietnam, was, and is to try to bring knowledge, and comprehension about a period in history of which so little is known.  A war is more than dates, and places, and armor.  A war involves men.  Men who may have done what they didn’t want to do, but did what they had to do, to protect, and fight for their brothers.  The bond among Vietnam veterans is the strongest bond I have ever witnessed among men.  I thank God for each Nam Vet that made it back.  A special thank you to Al Yates, for the books on, Internet links to, and maps of Vietnam.  He made research much easier.  Thank you Mike, Bo, Bob, Casey, Chuck, David, Jim, Keith, Phil, Sam, Steve and Thom for sharing your stories not only with me, but with everyone that reads this book.  Welcome Home.  I love you all.

 

                                                              kgcummings… Kathy 


What Went Wrong?: Book Four What Went Wrong?: Book Four

It was the encouraging and prompting of many friends, and readers across the country that sprung this novel into being.  It’s no secret that there were six books written in the series, but the third book, with it’s typical Gone With the Wind ending, may have been the last had it not been for old and new friends alike asking, What Went Wrong?  Thank you Becky for the title!  To each of you that urged me along, I say thank you.  Because when I make friends, I keep friends, the thank you list here could go on for pages.  So, once again “thanks” to all of my friends that are named in previous novels.  Thank you to Claire and John Ellis, and Ada and Jerry Forney who have opened doors to new opportunities for me.  Thank you to Wandalyn Ure who has a beautiful heart and soul, and helps with her unending prayers for me.  Thank you once again to Nam Vets, Mike, Phil, Tony, Bob, Sam, Steve, and Bill who gave of their time, and their stories.  I love you guys.  Without the strength and support of my mother, Gertrude Kathryn, my daughter, Krista Bella, and my dear “Jimmy McHaelik”, things would fall down around me when I’m off in Cyberland typing day and night.  Thank you, and big hugs.  A special thank you goes to Kelley Bracken-Rainey of KBR Photography who wow’d me with the cover photograph on this novel.  She is a dear lady I met on MySpace who has an artist eye for photography.  When I saw the picture on her page, it “spoke” to me, and I knew at that time Book Four had to be published.  Thank you Kelley for your friendship and generosity, and please keep that camera at work!

Without further ado,  find out What Went Wrong.

                                                                                                                        kgcummings…  Kathy


Wine, Women and Worries: Book Five Wine, Women and Worries: Book Five

I first put my fingers to the keyboard creating this story in 2003.  Originally, I planned on writing one novel, having it become a best seller, then live in seclusion for the rest of my life.  That sounds very juvenile, and idealistic now!  The series actually took on a life of it’s own as I attempted to bring closure with each book.  Instead, each ended with a cliff hanger that brought a variety of threats from being bitten (by a vampire? ha ha) to, “I’m gonna kill you!” by my dear sister in poetry, Janice Parker.  She was joking, so let’s not call the officials… yet! During an extensive telephone conversation with Janice, I realized there were some misconceptions about Beth.  True, What Went Wrong? revealed that she was more affected by life’s events than previously disclosed, but she still remained an enigma to the reader.  After the phone call, I rewrote the story to bring into black and white what was only alluded to in the previous book.  Brace yourselves, it isn’t pretty.  But the important thing is, she endures, and overcomes oppressive circumstances, then presses on with her life.

Thanks Janice, for your outstanding observations, honesty, and friendship.   Kudos to my Mom, and Krista for their continued support, and thanks Phil, Steve, Carol, Janet, and Jimmy McHaelik for all you do for me.

Once again, “thank you and welcome home” to all Vietnam Veterans, especially those mentioned in previous novels.  Many thanks to Sam who begins sharing his story in this novel, and to Mike who filled in responses as the voice of Jeff, drawing from his own Southeast Asian experience.  Without the Nam Vets who shared, this would have been just another love gone bad story.

Sincerely,  kgcummings…  Kathy


Well Worth the Wait: Book Six Well Worth the Wait: Book Six

And they lived happily ever after...

  

 

Those were the words I waited for, and remember most clearly as a little girl snuggled up next to Mom, as she read us our fairy tale before putting my sister Pat, and I to bed.  Once upon a time, during the worst crisis of my life, I began to type.  There had to be a fairy tale somewhere to rescue me.  Jeff was a knight in shining armor, rugged, handsome, thoughtful and true.  Beth was a fair young maiden, loved by her family, beautiful, pure and naïve.  It was destiny that they fall in love in an almost too good to be true era, Camelot, 1961.  So, why not happily ever after?  Well, because that would be as boring as listening to a clock tick!

            The series conclusion, however, was not happily ever after, but it was what it was, until... At the grand opening of a new motor scooter shop, a Vietnamese man walked over, and initiated a conversation with two men.  If not for that event, the series would have ended quite differently.  In a moment of time, I eye witnessed a new ending, one that required a major rewrite of book six.  With one very real and true incident, hundreds of pages were gone with a single tap of the delete key.  I thank that unknown man for the heart behind his words.  He was one of the many “boat people” that escaped Vietnam, seeking their happily ever after.

            A big thank you goes to two of our nation’s finest, Lt. Bryan Whitty, Ret., and Lt. Billy Rath, NYPD Ret. for investigation protocol, and proper police procedures.  I have much respect for our men in blue. 

            Again, I’d like to thank Monique, a French World War Two bride who talked about living in Nazi occupied France.  I also thank the family for allowing me to use the diary of the late “Pvt. Billy”.  With the exception of changing his wife’s name to Michelle, his journal, copied word for word, became that of Vince Madison.

            My daughter and I were visiting “Auntie Florrie” in England when she began sharing her life during the London Blitz, and details about her husband, “Uncle Charlie”.  He was one of only two survivors from his platoon during the eleven hour Moonlight Sonata siege in Coventry, November 1940.  Florence Best, and her family will forever hold a special place in my heart.

            What “Nurse Beck” experienced years ago while her husband was in Vietnam helped weave this tale.  That was unexpected a year ago when she reviewed a poem I’d written about a creaking floor!  Billie, thank you for expanding that review with more details, and allowing me to use it here.  While I’m on the topic of poetry...  Thanks are in order to Bryon Kearsley from Australia who met a challenge issued to write a poem for Jeff.  The poem, “Breath of Love” by Bryon was the clear winner as he said it all, and it left me breathless.  My friend, Robert “Bobby” Fossum, wrote the lyrics, “An Eighteen Year Old Boy Left Behind in Vietnam”.  His words speak for many who bear the pain of the hated War to this day.  I thank him, and all Vietnam Vets for serving.  And, I thank Phil, Mr. Meeks, Bobby, Hank, Jim, Mike, C.B., David, and Tony for stories of their tour of duty in Nam, whether they were battles with NVA/VC, or lizards and snakes!

            It is with deep sorrow I share that Chaplain (Brigadier General) Steven “Doc” Rounding, Ret. passed away days before this novel was sent to the publisher.  His experience is told by “Doc Steffano” the team medic on a rescue mission of a Marine chaplain captured by the NVA.  Thank you Steven, may you Rest in Peace.

            Many thanks to my friend, and former coworker, Sherye McKenzie for understanding what I endured during my struggle.  She most generously loaned me a copy of her father’s book, Old Glory Is the Most Beautiful of All.  I learned from his hand what he experienced as one of two men in America who was a POW in both World War Two, and Vietnam.  With all due respect, I would like to posthumously thank Colonel Richard “Pop” Keirn, USAF Ret., one of our nation’s heroes.  I salute you, Sir.

            On the cover, the upper photo was taken from my front yard capturing a breathtaking Florida sunset.  It blends into another sunset photo taken several years ago, linking the past to the present with it’s mystical ambience.  That photo, by Henry Czajkowski, was also used on the cover of  The Wind Whispers War.  The vintage Vietnam photo belongs to Gary Jacobson.  He is the creator of the web site Vietnam Picture Tour.  He has authored two books, Just A Walk in the Park: Grunts Call Vietnam, and My Thousand Yard Stare: Poetry from the Heart Of a Soldier in Vietnam.  Thank you Henry, and Gary.

            Sometimes, a scene feels incomplete.  That’s what happened during the dream sequence as Marianne released her emotional attachment to Jake.  It was written with a blend of prose and poetry to enhance the dream like state.  As much as I liked the flow, it remained lacking.  Then, I received an email from my friend, Nam Vet, and fellow poet, Paul G. Dailey telling me that poems “come far and few these days”.  But, a poem, “I Will” came to him that day, so he sent it.  It fulfilled what was missing.  I emailed Paul asking (okay, begging) for his permission to add his poem to the dream.  Paul’s words, spoken by Jake, freed Marianne to search for her “happily ever after”.

            And now my friends, this tale has come to an end.  May each of you find your own happiness with the prince, or princess of your dreams.  Please, always remember to say “thank you” to those who give, or gave of themselves to protect our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

                                                          Kathy 

 

 

 

 

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