Tag: Futility collection

Weekend Writing Warrior 7/2/17 #8Sunday

coverI live right across the river from Iowa, which passed a law this year legalizing pretty much all fireworks. Normally to get the good stuff you have to drive a couple hours to Wisconsin or Missouri, but now everyone has access to everything, and for the past couple weeks my neighborhood has been under siege, with explosions ringing out nearly constantly. It’s irritating to me – and I can only imagine how bad it is for vets with PTSD.

So, in honor of the Fourth and my idiot neighbors, this week’s excerpt is from “Crash,” another story in The Futility of Loving a Soldier, my collection of short stories about veterans and their families.

In this story, a father worries about how his daughter, who has combat-related flashbacks, will react – but this year, she has a secret weapon.

* * * * * * *

It was July third and neighbors had been shooting off fireworks all evening. Members of his support group had shared how hard it was for some veterans on the Fourth, especially if they’d had experiences like his daughter’s. He anticipated she’d spend the next couple days holed-up in her room, alternating between depression and violent rage. He anticipated she’d be like that right now, in fact, and he had no idea how he’d deal with it.

To his surprise, she was smiling – laughing, even. She played a game of fetch with the dog, running and twirling and showing an exuberance he couldn’t remember her having since her mom had died six years earlier.

A string of firecrackers went off in the distance. Bill tensed, and so did Lindy. Not the dog though; it pressed its nose against her hand. She looked down at it, smiled, and threw a drool-soaked tennis ball for it to chase.

* * * * * * *

Post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

Head over to Amazon and get a copy of The Futility of Loving a Soldier, just $2.99 or free with KU.

Eleven stories of what it means to love a soldier:

  • A girlfriend explains why she knew her boyfriend wouldn’t come back from the front.
  • A stranger reminds a veteran what matters in life.
  • A wife struggles to trust her husband with their baby after he returns from deployment.
  • Old friends search for a way to reclaim the dreams and plans of their childhood.
  • A woman haunted by her experiences finds an unlikely ally.
  • One man’s enlistment creates ripple effects for generations as four sons seek to make sense of what they and their fathers are fighting for.

The stories in this collection explore the physical and psychological effects of combat, both on those who serve and those back home. Told from the points of view of spouses and children as well as the soldiers themselves, the stories tackle eleven different scenarios spanning five American wars. Guilt and acceptance, despair and hope, selfishness and sacrifice, and above all, love, blend together as characters come to realize maybe their feelings aren’t futile after all.

And if you’re a writer, sign up to be a Friday Five author, which gets you and your latest work featured on my blog.

Weekend Writing Warrior 6/25/17 #8Sunday

promoI meant to get a new story published this week, but I started a new job whose training left me exhausted. So, this week’s snippet is one of my favorite things I’ve written, from the short story “A Wedding” in The Futility of Loving a Soldier, my collection of short stories about veterans and their families.

In this excerpt, Abby is visiting her childhood friend, Eli, who was injured in Iraq.

* * * * * * *

I’d stepped into the room where he lay unconscious, passed out from pain and medication. He looked so pathetic lying there, with bigger muscles than the last time I’d seen him, but paler—deathly pale with huge black circles under his eyes, cuts all over his exposed face and neck, and a bandage where his left arm should’ve been.

I edged over to his bed and picked up his right hand—his only hand now—careful not to disturb any of the wires and tubes sticking out of him. I stared at his fingers and palm, tracing the calluses on his fingertips before gently setting it back down and leaving the room.

I didn’t go back.

***

Jamie Linn had been there to help him rebound and rebuild once he returned home. She’d had a crush on him for as long as anyone could remember. She was a nurse now, or home care aide or traveling physical therapist—something that got her into his house each day and got him back to healthy.

Once he was better, up and around and selling used cars with his dad, she’d stuck around. It was the perfect romance story come to life, except my mom said Eli had bad spells where he’d just lock himself in his room and stare at the walls, and Jamie Linn got all weepy whenever a show like The Bachelor or 19 Kids and Counting came on and reminded her that she was twenty-seven, childless, and engaged to a moody one-handed used car salesman.

* * * * * * *

Post a link to your eight-ten sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

Head over to Amazon and get a copy of The Futility of Loving a Soldier, just $2.99 or free with KU.

Eleven stories of what it means to love a soldier:

  • A girlfriend explains why she knew her boyfriend wouldn’t come back from the front.
  • A stranger reminds a veteran what matters in life.
  • A wife struggles to trust her husband with their baby after he returns from deployment.
  • Old friends search for a way to reclaim the dreams and plans of their childhood.
  • A woman haunted by her experiences finds an unlikely ally.
  • One man’s enlistment creates ripple effects for generations as four sons seek to make sense of what they and their fathers are fighting for.

The stories in this collection explore the physical and psychological effects of combat, both on those who serve and those back home. Told from the points of view of spouses and children as well as the soldiers themselves, the stories tackle eleven different scenarios spanning five American wars. Guilt and acceptance, despair and hope, selfishness and sacrifice, and above all, love, blend together as characters come to realize maybe their feelings aren’t futile after all.

And if you’re a writer, sign up to be a Friday Five author, which gets you and your latest work featured on my blog.

 

2016 Holiday Giveaway Extravaganza – Day 4

E.D. Martin's 2016 Holiday Giveaway Extravaganza!

You will get a sentimental feeling when you read, veterans’ and their PTSD affecting their friends and family.

Every day from now until Christmas, I’ll be giving away copies of my books (digital AND print), Amazon gift cards, and book-related stuff. A new chance to win, every day!

December 1st: ebook of “Not My Thing” short story
December 2nd: ebook of “Tim and Sara” short story
December 3rd: $5 Amazon gift card
December 4th: signed paperback copy of The Futility of Loving a Soldier (available exclusively through this contest!)

Told from the points of view of spouses and children as well as the soldiers themselves, the stories tackle eleven different scenarios spanning five American wars. Guilt and acceptance, despair and hope, selfishness and sacrifice, and above all, love, blend together as characters come to realize maybe their feelings aren’t futile after all.

Plus, each entry in the daily contests will be carried over to a big prize at the end (I haven’t decided what that will be yet, but it’s definitely something you want to win – more details coming soon)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Weekend Writing Warrior 6/26/16 #8Sunday

coverLet’s continue with the five-part story I’ve been posting from this month, “A Family Tradition,” in my short story collection, The Futility of Loving a Soldier.

Background: Joos, who served in WWI (and whose story is told in the first part of “A Family Tradition”), is estranged from his son Maarten, a man who served during WWII and has spent his life battling his father’s legacy, as conveyed by his single mother, Ophélie. Joos has shown up at Maarten’s house, but Maarten isn’t sure if he’s ready to reconcile.

* * * * * * *

“It’s a lot to ask, so out of the blue,” Joos said, “ but at the least, I’d like to see my grandsons. I can only guess at what you’ve told them, and I want them to know who I really am.”

Who was Joos, really? Nothing but an old soldier making up excuses for missed chances and regretted choices. Maarten brushed aside the similarities crowding his mind, focusing instead on the picture his mother had always painted. He would never be like Joos.

“I bet we have a lot in common, Maarten.”

He stared at his father, his face hardening. How dare this man come here now, thinking they were anything alike!

* * * * * * *

My grandfather during WWII

My grandfather during WWII

The Futility of Loving a Soldier is on sale for just $.99 (regularly $3.99) – pick up a copy to read more about Joos and Maarten, as well as how the legacy extends through three more generations of sons. Available everywhere – Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords

Then post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

And if you’re a writer, sign up to be a Friday Five author, which gets you and your latest work featured on my blog.

Weekend Writing Warrior 6/19/16 #8Sunday

coverToday is Father’s Day, and what better way to celebrate than to continue with the five-part story I’ve been posting from this month, “A Family Tradition,” in my short story collection, The Futility of Loving a Soldier.

Background: Joos, who served in WWI (and whose story is told in the first part of “A Family Tradition”), is estranged from his son Maarten, a man who served during WWII and has spent his life battling his father’s legacy, as conveyed by his single mother, Ophélie. Joos has shown up at Maarten’s house, but Maarten isn’t sure if he’s ready to reconcile.

* * * * * * *

“Ophélie wrote me to tell me you’d enlisted; she wanted to rub in that you were in combat and weren’t a coward like your father.” Joos stared at his son, his hands still playing with his hat, and said, “I sent her so many letters, trying to get her back and trying to see you, asking for forgiveness.”

“She never forgave you.” Even on her deathbed, Ophélie had cursed Joos.

“And that’s why I’m here, Maarten—I have cancer, most likely only a couple months left. There’s nothing the doctors can do, but I don’t want to die without you understanding my side of what happened. I want you to forgive me and to know what happened wasn’t my fault.”

Forgive my father?

* * * * * * *

oscar

My great-grandfather in his WWI uniform (left) with his brother and sister.

Will Maarten forgive him? And how will this decision affect Maarten’s relationship with his own sons? Get a copy of The Futility of Loving a Soldier to find out!

Then post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

And if you’re a writer, sign up to be a Friday Five author, which gets you and your latest work featured on my blog.

Weekend Writing Warrior 6/12/16 #8Sunday

coverFor June I’m continuing to pull from my short story collection, The Futility of Loving a Soldier.

It’s eleven stories about veterans and their relationships with family and friends.

Today’s excerpt comes from the second of five related stories, “A Family Tradition.” This one is about Maarten, a man who served during WWII and has spent his life battling his father Joos’s legacy, as conveyed by his single mother, Ophélie.

In this excerpt, continuing from last week’s, he’s just arrived home from a Scouting trip with his sons, to find a strange car in the driveway. Once inside, he comes face-to-face with his father, whom he hasn’t had any contact with in over thirty years – although his father claims to have written to him on a regular basis. Maarten’s mother never told him any of this.

* * * * * * *

“Listen, Maarten.” Joos’s words were clipped. “Your mother left me – I didn’t leave her. She thought I was larger than life, that I would somehow carry her away from a farmer’s life and make all her big dreams come true, but times were tough for us, starting out. She was impatient, and less than honest herself, because the big inheritance she’d always mentioned never materialized. I tried to support us, God knows I tried. I wanted to work it out, to make our family work, but Ophélie wanted excitement. She wanted some hero—”

“Which you’re not.”

* * * * * * *

promo

The Futility of Loving a Soldier is on sale this week for just $.99 – pick up a copy to read more about Joos and Maarten, as well as how the legacy extends through three more generations of sons. Available everywhere – Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords

Then post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

And if you’re a writer, sign up to be a Friday Five author, which gets you and your latest work featured on my blog.

Weekend Writing Warrior 6/5/16 #8Sunday

coverFor June I’m continuing to pull from my short story collection, The Futility of Loving a Soldier.

It’s eleven stories about veterans and their relationships with family and friends.

Today’s excerpt comes from the second of five related stories, “A Family Tradition.” This one is about Maarten, a man who served during WWII and has spent his life battling his father Joos’s legacy, as conveyed by his single mother, Ophélie.

In this excerpt, continuing from last week’s, he’s just arrived home from a Scouting trip with his sons, to find a strange car in the driveway. Once inside, he comes face-to-face with his father, whom he hasn’t had any contact with in over thirty years – although his father claims to have written to him on a regular basis.

* * * * * * *

Was Joos really as bad as his mother had led Maarten to believe? He knew all about his temper and his cowardice in the First World War.

“He had the chance to save his family and he didn’t,” Ophélie had told her son. “And then he lied about it. He claimed he and his brother were war heroes, but they weren’t, they were nothing but cowards. Don’t you be a coward like him.”

Maarten hadn’t been a coward. He’d enlisted right after Pearl Harbor had been hit and had tried his best to serve, but he’d been sent to Algeria, not France or Italy, to work on trucks instead of shooting Krauts. He’d tried a second time, but Catherine’s cajoling had kept him out of Korea.

Now he was raising his own sons to be soldiers, to be tough, to be heroes—the opposite of that man in the living room.

* * * * * * *

Read more about Maarten’s and Joos’s struggles by picking up a copy of The Futility of Loving a Soldier, then post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

And if you’re a writer, sign up to be a Friday Five author, which gets you and your latest work featured on my blog.

Weekend Writing Warrior 5/29/16 #8Sunday

coverFor May I’m pulling from my short story collection, The Futility of Loving a Soldier.

It’s eleven stories about veterans and their relationships with family and friends.

Today’s excerpt comes from the second of five related stories, “A Family Tradition.” This one is about Maarten, a man who served during WWII and has spent his life battling his father Joos’s legacy, as conveyed by his single mother, Ophélie.

In this excerpt, continuing from last week’s, he’s just arrived home from a Scouting trip with his sons, to find a strange car in the driveway. Once inside, he comes face-to-face with his father, whom he hasn’t had any contact with in over thirty years.

* * * * * * *

“You have such a beautiful family,” Joos said once they were gone, “such a beautiful home.”

“What are you doing here?”

“I was passing through town, and I thought I’d stop…” he started, but his voice trailed off under Maarten’s withering stare.

“How’d you get this address?”

“Your mother sent it to me, years ago, and I’d always meant to stop by, but with work, and not wanting to intrude… and I never got a response to all the letters I sent you, when you were growing up.”

Maarten’s eyes narrowed as he said, “I never got any letters from you.”

“I sent them—every six months or so, birthdays, Christmas.”

“I never got them.”

“I sent them.” Joos’s jaw clenched and Maarten’s thoughts turned to the one picture he had of his father, taken on his parents’ wedding day, where Joos’s fist was clenched in the picture, a sign of his anger, as Ophélie had often pointed out, and his quick temper; if she’d known he was a fighter, a liar only after her for the money he thought she had, she’d told her son again and again over the years, she never would’ve married him.

* * * * * * *

 

Read more about Maarten’s and his son Artie’s struggles by picking up a copy of The Futility of Loving a Soldier, then post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

And if you’re a writer, sign up to be a Friday Five author, which gets you and your latest work featured on my blog.

 

Weekend Writing Warrior 5/22/16 #8Sunday

coverFor May I’m pulling from my short story collection, The Futility of Loving a Soldier.

It’s eleven stories about veterans and their relationships with family and friends.

Today’s excerpt comes from the second of five related stories, “A Family Tradition.” This one is about Maarten, a man who served during WWII and has spent his life battling his father’s legacy, as conveyed by his single mother, Ophélie.

In this excerpt, continuing from last week’s, he’s just arrived home from a Scouting trip with his sons, to find a strange car in the driveway. They go inside to find out who the visitor is.

* * * * * * *

“These are the boys,” Maarten heard his wife say, “John, Ted, and Arthur.”

“They’re wonderful,” said a male voice that tickled at the edge of Maarten’s memories.

He followed his sons into the living room but froze on the threshold.

A man roughly his height stood as he entered, hands twisting the army hat he held. He had the same nose and dark hair as Maarten, and the same way of standing and of cocking his head slightly to look at someone when sizing them up.

“Hello, Maarten,” said the man.

Catherine, sitting on the sofa, turned towards her husband, her eyes apologetic as she said, “Dear, this is—”

“I know who this is.” Maarten took a small step forward, willing his voice and heart to calm.

* * * * * * *

promo

Weekend Writing Warrior 5/15/16 #8Sunday

coverFor May I’m pulling from my short story collection, The Futility of Loving a Soldier.

It’s eleven stories about veterans and their relationships with family and friends.

Today’s excerpt comes from the second of five related stories, “A Family Tradition.” This one is about Maarten, a man who served during WWII and has spent his life battling his father’s legacy, as conveyed by his single mother, Ophélie.

In this week’s excerpt, Maarten is just arriving home from a Scouting trip with his three sons.

* * * * * * *

A large black Chrysler sat parked in front of their house. Catherine usually accompanied them on Scouting trips, but at seven months pregnant with their fourth child she had been looking forward to a quiet house to herself – or so she’d said. He didn’t recognize the car, especially with Michigan plates.

Normally he enjoyed arriving home, with the perfectly cut lawn, Catherine’s fastidiously pruned roses, and the white picket fence the boys repainted every spring—everything perfect for his perfect wife and family—but not now. His hands trembled slightly as he parked in the driveway, then got out and leaned against the car instead of going in. He and his wife both had cousins in Michigan, and although they didn’t talk often, maybe they’d stopped by.

Of course, that’s what it was, not Catherine with a strange man while he was gone, she loved him; he was so good to her and the boys, never drank or swore, maybe a little tough at times but never violent, not a monster like his father had been towards Maarten and his mother. Ophélie had left him because he was violent, a coward not to be trusted, not putting his family first.

Now Maarten put his family first, and Catherine knew that, of course she knew that, so this man, this stranger in his home while he was gone, must be—

“Dad?” Artie asked.

* * * * * * *

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