5 Star Review – “The Red Hand”

The Authors Show Interview: Faith Lost by Jerry Gerold

Check out Jerry Gerold’s interview about Faith Lost today on The Author’s Show. A contemporary fiction about “faith, love, and history.”


Another 5-Star review for ‘The Weight of Living.’ Thanks from a grateful author | Michael Stephen Daigle


The Authors Show – Marc Cullison

The Other Vietnam WarImzadi Publishing author Marc Cullison was recently interviewed by The Authors Show (www.TheAuthorsShow.com) about his book The Other Vietnam War: A Helicopter Pilot’s Life in Vietnam.

UPDATE! We now have a copy of that interview to share with you…

This book is available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook on AMAZON.COM today!

Why writing a first draft is like performing stand-up with hecklers

This was so much fun to read!

Michael Stephen Daigle


Who’s that?


Who’s she?

The woman in the story. I don’t know. I haven’t named her yet.

How are we supposed to like her if she hasn’t got a name?

How do you know you’re supposed to like her? Maybe she’s a thief.

Is she going to be a thief?

Possibly. Maybe I want to save that detail as a surprise to the reader.

Readers don’t like surprises.

Um, “Marylyn…”

That’s a weird spelling.

“Alright. “Marilyn…”

No. Too Marilyn Monroe-ish.


You’ll need a male character who looks like Clark Gable.

I’m not writing a 1950s black-and-white movie.

Nice hyphens.

Look, I’ll call her George or Bill. It disguises her sexuality.

Oh, how au currant.

Could I just write something?!

Sure. Go head. We’ll wait.

Alright. “She banged her head…”


“George banged her head on the locked front door glass when she realized she had left her…

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The Other Vietnam War by Marc Cullison #BlogTour #BookReview

We couldn’t agree more with this review! 5 Star all the way!

The Other Vietnam War is available today, buy your copy and let us know what you think too!

The Other Vietnam War

Rosepoint Publishing

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you by the C.E.  at my blog stop for The Other Vietnam War: A Helicopter Pilot’s Life in Vietnam by Marc Cullison on Sage’s Blog Tours.

Book Details

  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Imzadi Publishing, LLC
  • Publication Date: May 10, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • ISBN-10: 0990846539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0990846536
  • ASIN: B00XI1T7F2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank – #242 in Kindle eBooks, Biographies & Memoirs, Historical, Military & Wars, Vietnam War

Book Blurb

The Other Vietnam WarEach of us who served in Vietnam was the guy next door, the average Joe, not a hero. The boy who might date your daughter or sister. The young man who might mow your yard. In Vietnam, we weren’t out to be heroes. We just did our jobs.

For a helicopter pilot, each day was like all the others. You flew the mission and never stopped to think that it might be…

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The award-winning ‘Weight of Living’

Michael Stephen Daigle

“Outside, a steady rain washed away all other sounds; just the splash of water on asphalt and cement, tapping on roof tops and drumming metal car roofs; a perfect wall behind which to hide.

IMG_7092We walk through this wreckage, seeking what does not exist: wholeness.  This is the weight of what we are, he thought. The weight of living.

A few cabs and delivery trucks splashed through the streets left damaged by winter’s wrath. Walking again. I wish I could walk this all away. What did Del say the other day: You see how deep the poison goes, how strong is the wrong in what they doin’.”


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The Battle for the Four Realms – Dragon Bone

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Have you read Dragon Bone yet? Well, if you enjoy fantasy dragons, magic and mages you should! Also, if you are willing to read and review contact us here at Imzadi Publishing and we will provide you with a galley copy for review.

Siblings Aliedori and Maldar, heirs to the throne of the Southern Realm are attacked by an unseen assailant while camping in The Sacred Forest. Aliedori’s brother Maldar and his golden dragon, Keidrop, are trapped by a powerful binding spell; a spell that leaves Aliedori strangely unaffected.

In an attempt to track down their unseen attacker Aliedori uses her natural gifts and casts a “Seeker” charm enabling her to pursue a chase to a shadowy figure through the dark woods until he mysteriously disappears without a trace…and the adventure begins!

dragonAs the trio sets off in the direction the mysterious figure disappeared they encounter mysterious creatures formed from dark magic, a mage powerful enough to incapacitate dragons and other threats only ever spoken of by the Chronicler.

As they journey East more of the Chronicler’s prediction come true, Aliedori’s destiny lay ahead along with … the battle for the four realms!


Before they came to be, they were the whispers of the wind, the sparks of the fire, the mist of the ice and the dust of the caves. They dwelt within the caves of magic and were happy as they danced like sparks caught in the breeze and faded away only to bloom brighter again. Before they had form, before they had thoughts, before they could breathe, before they awoke, they were of fire, ice, wind and dust. Then they were given form, breath, and life and they carried inside themselves the elements of their birthplace.

They grew too big for the caves and ventured forth in search of new homes. Four Elements in the shape of dragons North, East, West and South they were the first, the brothers and sisters of the elements floating away on the breeze of the wind cave. As they floated and fluttered in the breeze the wind split their sides and wings grew from the lacerations. The dragons grew more beautiful as they flew, and as they flew elements dropped to earth. From each breath, great mountain ranges sprang up, while great lakes, rivers, ponds and streams were formed from the melting ice.

The breath of the wind dragon became the breeze and the breath of the fire dragon became the sun. From the gentle breath of the fourth dragon, trees, flowers, plants and animals were formed and all four dragons breathed life into them. Each dragon found a new home and settled. Their homes became their namesake and they lived happily. After many thousands of years, the four dragons returned to their birthplace to rest and reverted to what they had once been. The caves of magic saw what their firstborn had created and sent forth new life. Anterian led her people from the caves of elements into the Realm.


dragon-bone-final-coverChapter 1
Aliedori moved her hand before her face as if she was brushing away something only she could see. Maldar waited for her to speak. He clasped and unclasped the large knife. Surely she should be saying something by now, his sister’s calm, pretty face gave nothing away. One of Keidrop’s pointed golden ears flickered as if she too was becoming impatient; she was taking far too long. Maldar dropped his eyes to the campfire and waited some more.
“You know,” he said, more than a little anxious now, “it shouldn’t take that long, I need you on my side against the Olds.”
“Our parents are not that old.” Aliedori brushed her black hair from her face, pushing it roughly behind her ears, and surveyed her surroundings. Her green eyes often held a dreamy remote look when they scanned the surroundings, but this time it was with purpose. Maldar allowed his mind to drift while trying to ignore the mirth clearly visible in those emerald green eyes ever since he had told her what he had done.
“Well…!” Sometimes there was no telling what she was thinking but this time… this time he knew what was coming. Finally she lost her struggle and the laughter she had been trying to keep suppressed bubbled up spilling out of her mouth and rippled across the quiet landscape.
“I love you very much, dear brother, but really, was it not just last cycle you were the toast of the dragon towers. You never struck me as the handfast type. Aren’t you both too young?” Sobering slightly, she watched him carefully. He was nervous she could tell by the way he was playing with the knife but something had caught her attention.
“Okay,” Maldar replied, a little disappointed. “Laugh as much as you want just as long as you are on my side when it comes to the Olds.” A small smile played around his mouth as he drifted off into his own private Realm.
Aliedori had her palm pressed flat on the ground, and then she lifted her hand, curling her fingers slowly drawing in the elements before making a fist.
“What’s wrong?” Maldar’s smile vanished, replaced with a frown. He had a growing sense of unease; his mind had been elsewhere, but now it was fully focused on her. He gripped his boyhood sword, using it as a long knife. Aliedori didn’t respond. Instead, she waved an invisible annoyance away with her left hand while her right fist held the elements. She glanced first to her right and then to her left; Maldar knew that even with such a quick glance she had taken in everything.
“What is it?” Maldar asked again.
He could sense nothing, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t something wrong.
“Something is not right.’ She stood.


Maldar shivered as a feeling of dread crawled through his stomach. Keidrop, who had been resting peacefully, her golden wings drawn close to her body as she slept, now unfurled her wings and looked up the moment Aliedori got to her feet.

“At the risk of repeating myself, what is it?” Maldar said also standing up.
There was a sliver of steel in his voice as he replaced his knife in its sheath, but it was when he brought his arm up and across his body to draw his sword that he sensed it. The hairs on the back of his neck bristled as he felt all the air being sucked out of the forest; he could neither move nor speak. Aliedori remained still for a moment or two then opened her fist and the light-filled sphere exploded, sending a brilliant illumination around the forest. The light found a shadow and chased it.
“Maldar, you go that side I will take this side. Keidrop, see if you can catch whoever that is, but be aware they are extremely fast.”
Aliedori spun on her heels; the illumination followed her, and together they gave chase as the shape disappeared into the distance. It dodged through trees, always slightly ahead just out of the light. Slowing her pace to enable her to draw her seax, she suddenly realised that she could no longer hear Maldar or Keidrop. She risked a glance over her shoulder as she picked up the pace again. An arc of lightning hit her taking the ground from beneath her feet. Magic, she thought, as she landed on her back, winded and dazed. She pulled herself quickly to her feet, ready to give chase again, but the shape was gone. She could feel the residue spell and taste it on her tongue; the bitter sick taste of dark magic. It caught in the back of her throat, making her gag. She leaned forward losing her supper; then wiped away the beads of sweat that had gathered on her forehead.
 Her stomach settled and the pain in her chest where the lightning had made contact ceased instantly as she placed her palm against the nearest tree. From a bush close by she pulled off three leaves, brought them to her lips and whispered. Then, opening her palm, she commanded, “Seek.” Two leaves fell at her feet while the third fluttered in a zigzag motion through the trees; she followed it at high speed before it fell to the ground ahead of her.
Here the bitter taste on her tongue increased and so did her unease that something or someone had been watching her; watching them. She searched the area where the third leaf had landed but found nothing; the shape had disappeared into the darkness. She sent the light sphere high into the treetops illuminating a larger area, but all she saw were shadows and dark areas where the light could not reach.
“Where did you go or are you still here?” She scanned the shadows, but despondent that her search revealed nothing she retraced her steps running farther than she realised.
She emerged from the trees, her light orb floating above her head “Did you see anything?” she asked as she came to a stop beside the dragon. “There was a lot of powerful magic,” she continued as she caught the dragon’s reins. Her action caused the dragon to move.
Maldar still wasn’t moving; he was caught motionless in mid-action, reaching for his sword, his right arm across his body. His face was frozen in a look of fury and his blue eyes were like ice. Aliedori knew that the binding spell was only partly responsible, her action had played its part in that look, but this was not the time; they would come back to it sooner rather than later.
Aliedori said in a stern voice hiding her fear, “Mal move yourself, we need to get to Skellglade.”
In an instant Maldar completed the action of drawing his sword and looked around him wildly.
“You won’t see anything, we – you and Keidrop – were caught in a binding spell, I think it came from the centre of Skellglade. A charm powerful enough to stop a dragon.”
Still Maldar did not move, “What did you chase?”
“I do not know. A mage perhaps,” she shrugged.
“From Skellglade?” He arched a brow questioningly.
pendant-colorIn a couple of strides, he was by Aliedori’s side. He took Keidrop’s reins and mounted his dragon, reaching out for his sister’s hand. She allowed herself to be helped onto Keidrop’s back, the dragon spread her wings and rose rapidly barely stirring the fallen leaves. They dropped down almost instantly on the spot where the shadow had vanished. Aliedori felt the power ripple through Keidrop’s powerful body as her feet touched the ground.
“What are you doing we need to get to Skellglade?”
“Skellglade can wait we need to find this mage,” he said. “Why didn’t you take Keidrop with you?” Maldar finished.
Aliedori frowned.
“I did not realise that you were both caught in the spell,” she said dismounting. The bitter taste burned the back of her throat like acid and she swallowed as she scanned the darkened trees and bushes beyond the illumination. The light spheres carefully chased the darkness wherever it was found, but it never went far enough, there was always a dark spot just out of reach of the light.
“Something or someone is out there.” She visibly flinched and stepped behind a tree. She drew her seax; the earlier static storm was playing havoc with her senses
“Do you think this is part of our coming of age test?” Maldar was standing over her. She pushed herself up into a standing position and almost gagged. She breathed deeply and slowly; surely this couldn’t just be her reaction to the use of the elements in dark magic.
“No one has coming of age tests any more. It is dying out even among the traditionalists; there are just those ridiculous ceremonies now.” She was having problems controlling the growing nausea. The smell of burning incense was mixing with the bitter taste of the dark magic and Aliedori was struggling not to be sick.
“I hate that smell,” she said, but Maldar could smell nothing.
Suddenly a phanthora materialised, its wings close to its body, its glowing claws swinging perilously as it appeared before them. Aliedori pushed Maldar out of the way and dived in the opposite direction. Landing hard on the ground she sprang to her feet instantly drawing energy from the earth as her palm made contact.
“I thought those things never left the sacred forest.” Maldar replied, slightly breathless, but springing to his feet his sword at the ready “Well, apparently they do tonight. Perhaps you are right it could be a test, but somehow it does not feel like one.”
She was moving as she spoke, her seax in one hand and a silver bolt in the other. Maldar matched her speed as they attacked from both sides. Aliedori was met with a powerful force and found herself flying through the air again. A searing pain ran from her head to her toes as her back and head made impact with the hard ground. The silver bolt dissolved into nothing. Winded, she stood a little slower this time; her head hurt, she felt drowsy, her eyes grew heavy and her feet and arms grew weak. Despite the energy she drew as her body touched the ground, her seax slipped from her hand. She was unable to focus as she bent over to retrieve her sword; she felt the warm handle with a finger.
“Aliedori!” Maldar screamed her name.


She grabbed the seax and brought it up blindly. The phanthora let out an agonising roar and the light spheres splintered and perished like the embers of a dying fire. Darkness engulfed them and the red eyes glowed brighter.

“I think you only made it angrier.” Maldar grabbed his sister’s hand and pulled her out of the way of the springing feline. The forest was too dense for it to use its wings effectively.
They hid behind a large tree, breathing deeply.
“Where is that damn dragon when you need her?” Maldar said trying to catch his breath; they both peered cautiously around the tree.
“Whatever it is, it is not a true phanthora,” Aliedori said pulling Maldar out of the way just as the giant tree splintered showering them both in fragments from the tree trunk. The creature sprang again, and this time Aliedori was ready, using an incantation she snapped off and lit a branch before handing it to Maldar. She lit another branch, and they both charged at the creature. It faltered as they came hurtling towards it, swerving to avoid the flames and colliding with a bolder. Aliedori tore through forest with the seax in her hand. Then, using the boulder to elevate herself, she opened a gash in the creature’s side and watched as luminous fluid oozed from the wound.
“How do you know it’s not a true phanthora?”
Aliedori pointed to the ground; the luminous ooze was fading fast instead of setting everything alight.
“It can be hurt, and if that is the case, then we can send it back to the ancestors.” Maldar struck the creature with his own sword and more luminous fluid exploded onto the ground. The phanthora howled again.
“I think it’s getting bigger, Aliedori. I think each time we wound it, it grows.” Aliedori said nothing. A pale shape moved in the shadows. Hurriedly Aliedori dragged Maldar into the dense foliage of the fallen tree.
“There are more of those creatures. Look,” she indicated with her sword.
“What’s the plan again… send it back to the ancestors?” he sighed as he surveyed the area quickly.
She stood and pulled Maldar to his feet and touched a branch of the tree.
“Return to your place,” she commanded, “and tell your sisters of the gift I gave you.” Maldar stood still beside her as the splintered bark began to stir.
The sound they heard was like the Realm groaning under the combined weight of a thousand phanthora creeping along the ground, shaking everything; even the mighty oaks trembled and shuddered. When Maldar looked back to the tree, the old oak was standing firm as if it had never been touched. He stumbled and grabbed a small tree to steady himself. From out of the shadows the phanthora appeared. Maldar spun round, his blue eyes now large with fear.
They were surrounded!
He glanced towards his sister who did not appear to notice; her attention was still taken up by the newly reformed tree.
“Whatever you are thinking Alie, please think faster.”
“You’re right Maldar, this could be a test. If the phanthora’s intention is to send us to the ancestors we would be with them by now.”
“Test or not, we can still be sent home to the ancest…” Maldar’s words died in a scream as a mighty mouth came down and picked him up, flung him into the air then caught him and tossed him again. This time, he was hurled sideways. He spun round in the air and started to fall rapidly. He stopped with a sudden jolt and felt himself being pulled back. Then he was by her side, Aliedori had never used her abilities like that on him before. He collapsed onto his knees and knelt there for a while trembling. He felt her hand on his shoulder, a small comfort, but as she withdrew her hand and he attempted to stand, a slight tremor passed through him.
“A circular pit,” he said, “and we are on the inside, trapped.” He hoped she had built an escape route into her plans.
“Maldar hold on to me.” He did as he was told placing one arm around her waist while the other kept hold of his sword even though it was useless against the magical phanthora. In a last desperate attempt, Maldar slashed out at the approaching creature. Luminous fluid oozed out of each gash and sent a rancid, bitter smoke into the air each time the slime hit the ground. Maldar coughed, clearing the taste from the back of his throat. It was too dark to see the phanthora clearly, only the luminous slime and the red eyes shone in the gloom.
“Maldar, stop doing that! You said yourself that they grow when wounded.” Her voice was calm and even, without fear. With renewed strength and purpose Aliedori raised her seax to her lips and Maldar felt a new tremor rock the ground as she uttered the incantation. The serrated, long horn of the drac glowed brightly as did his sword; she dropped the seax.
“Throw your sword into the pit.”
“I liked my sword, that was my favourite,” he said as he watched it fall.
“We are sending them back home to the ancestors.” Jagged rocks, shaped like his sword and her seax appeared like teeth in the pit. The earth around them began to crumble, and broad fissures snaked out in four directions; the jagged razor-like teeth ran through each one.
“Why are we not moving?” It had taken him a while to come to his senses.
She ignored the question and instead wrapped her arm around his waist.
“This would be a good time for Keidrop to be here, hold on.” The pit of steel and bone became an endless grinding mouth.
“Return to the Ancestors!” she commanded.
The grinding increased. The ground was disappearing at an alarming rate. The phanthora took their chances and sprang into the air as one.
015-6x9-Book-Ereader-Mockup-COVERVAULT“Hold on,” she said, again her voice still calm, still strong. Maldar did not feel the same so he shut eyes and brought his free arm up to cover his head as a phanthora’s gaping maw opened ready to swallow them whole. Maldar felt something wrap around his waist, binding him to Aliedori, then he was swung up, and he felt weightless and small. When he opened his eyes again he was suspended high above the pit. Aliedori was clutching a vine, and her other arm was wrapped around his waist. He looked down, the ground had disappeared and the last of the phanthora was struggling to get free of the grinding teeth.
Aliedori gripped the vine tighter and turned her face upwards. The moon hit her face covering it in a silver light. She closed her eyes against the cold rays of the moon and drew the silver light into her lungs letting the light restore her energy.
“Take us down,” Aliedori commanded.
“Are you sure?”
“Well, we cannot stay up here forever; we still need to get to Skellglade.”
“You think the phanthorans are the work of the man-child?” Maldar asked in disbelief.
They were being gently lowered and by the time the ground came up to meet them there were no mouths of steel and bone and no phanthorans, just an abundance of green leaves blanketing the ground with their swords lying on top.
“Poor trees,” Aliedori said, not answering his question. She picked up their sword. Maldar took his and replaced it in its sheath. When he looked up she had her palm pressed again an old oak tree that had stood for centuries in the fabled Forest of Souls. Her incantation was, as always, strange but beautiful to his ears. Her voice… her words… came from the breeze, the earth, the moon and the water… all speaking in one voice through her.
“New leaves?” Maldar whispered in awe. He would never get used to her abilities. She said something else, this time she was talking to the trees; he would never get used to that strange secret language either.
“Heal yourself Maldar”. We need to free Keidrop.”
He rested against a tree and drew on the restorative energy. He felt better, reinvigorated, “Thank you,” he said talking to the tree. Then he turned to Aliedori, “What do you mean, free her?” he demanded.
Maldar turned and rushed back to the spot where he had last seen his golden dragon.
“In the name of the Ancestors,” he cried in disbelief as hot fury stung his insides. His beautiful golden dragon was ensnared in a trap of vines and giant makka bushes that had pierced her skin. Wherever they touched her body, small spirals of smoke emitted and blood was dripping from the wounds.
“They are burning her alive!” Aliedori do something!” he shouted, anguish evident in his voice.
“Move back Maldar.” When her brother didn’t move she shoved past him, took a deep breath and gathered her strength. Her mind was swimming with strange images, each one more violent than the next. She knew she had to stop this; she could not let those images take control, and so gripping her seax she strode forward. She shook her head, trying to eradicate the images from her mind. Her green eyes flashed gold. Aliedori moved through the darkening trees until she was in front of Keidrop who was suspended too high by the vines and thorny bushes for Aliedori to reach her.
“It burns,” the dragon said as her golden eyes fluttered open. Her wings were folded at an odd angle and her voice was sharp and filled with pain. There was the smell of burning flesh, unpleasant and cloying in her nostrils.
“Hold still Kei, I will get you free. Maldar I need your help. “Put your hands together like this.” She put one booted foot on his interlaced fingers and one hand on his shoulder for balance as he hoisted her up to reached Keidrop. With some difficulty, Aliedori placed a palm against the dragon’s face. She held it there for a short while until the dragon visibly relaxed. Her nostrils flared, and smoke was added to the gloom of the forest.
“Put me down now.”
Aliedori released a healing light sphere, momentarily penetrating the darkness. It splintered round her, sending shards of light like glowing stars that floated up and settled on the dragon. They worked their way onto her skin and under her scales, healing wherever they touched. Hundreds of giant thorns fell at their feet; they were as long as Maldar’s arm, and they watched as they melted into the ground and disappeared. A low rumble of relief was emitted from somewhere deep within the dragon. Aliedori shifted and placed one hand on a vine and the other on the ground and called to the earth to release Keidrop.
Nothing happened.
She tried again, but the vines remained steadfastly green; then she remembered something touching the largest tree.
“Ask your sisters to release my dragon,” she commanded and stood back, but Keidrop was sill suspended in the tight coils of vines and bushes that were pulling ever tighter.
“You know me, and you know I did not do this. I did not bring those creatures here.” She glanced behind her, and Maldar saw her green eyes flecked with gold for an instant.
“Release my dragon!” she said again. This time, Maldar did not recognise the voice; it seemed to come from somewhere else. Suddenly the vines and thorny bushes sprang back releasing the dragon.
Keidrop crashed to the ground with a mighty thud. Maldar rushed to the side of the motionless dragon, noticing that the burns and cuts were already healing.
“I can’t believe you actually argued with trees,” Maldar laughed. “And I don’t believe that the man-child is responsible for this.”


The dragon was breathing easier now and Maldar ran his finger over the dragon’s rough scales and down under the chin to his soft spot.

“Neither do I, but a spell did come from Skellglade. We still need to know if it was intended for our mother’s people.”
“Don’t you mean your people?” Keidrop was stirring and Aliedori sat down beside them frowning. She waved Maldar’s words away with an elegant movement of her slender hand that was run through with steel.
“Besides, I saw the mage responsible, he was still here.
Come on, Keidrop, open your eyes. We have things to do.”
The dragon opened her large golden eyes and looked at her two charges curiously but said nothing.
“He is gone, I saw him watching us fight,” Aliedori said, replacing her sword in its sheath. As she stood up Keidrop and Maldar also got to their feet. Keidrop unfurled her golden wings, flapped them twice creating a leaf storm; they had healed completely and were free from any scars. Before the small leaf storm could gather momentum, Keidrop and her riders were gone heading west.
The only evidence of a battle was the green blanket of leaves that covered the ground and the few dancing in the draught caused by the dragon.
Make sure you leave a review too! Just a few words for the author means so much to them and to their standings in the book industry.


Blog Tour – The Other Vietnam War

nam banner.pngMarc Cullison’s compelling book about his experiences as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam is now at #264 in it’s genre for Kindle downloads. Download your copy today and see why so many people are downloading and responding to this soldiers unique approach to telling his story, it has already received fifty reviews!

To participate in this blog tour, hosted by Sage’s Blog Tours, visit the following blogs and see what they post.

July 17th Review Tales ~ BOOK SPOTLIGHT
July 18th Breathe, Love, Create & Display ~ GUEST POST
July 19th Mythical Books ~ BOOK SPOTLIGHT
July 20th Rosepoint Publishing ~ REVIEW
July 22nd Celtic Lady’s Book Reviews ~ AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 23rd Reecaspieces ~ REVIEW

If you have read this book read the reviews and let the blogger know your thoughts. If you have read this book and haven’t left a review for it yet….what are you waiting for? Go directly to the bottom of this page (do not pass GO), there you will find a link that will take you directly to Amazon’s review page….leave a few words, it means more than you can imagine to the author.

If you have not yet read this compelling story, here’s a sneak preview for you!



It was the mortar round that exploded just behind us that shattered my concentration. If I had drunk any more coffee before we left LAH, I would have pissed my pants. My stomach tied itself into a knot and I think my asshole did too. I checked my chicken plate, that protective slab of whatever it was that covered my torso. I had never worn one before. I wanted to know that the heavy hunk of armor was still resting in my lap protecting my chest. It was held in place with two Velcro straps that wrapped around my body. I had already sweated out what beer I had downed the night before and now I was working on the coffee. My Nomex flight suit, as thin as the fireproof material was, still felt like the inside of an oven. The chicken plate just added more insulation and turned up the heat. Somehow, I didn’t mind just then.

For nearly a week I had been assigned to Suds, the units IP (instructor pilot.) He showed me the layout of the AO (area of operations) and drilled me in safety procedures. We would go to an abandoned airstrip in secure territory and practice autorotations, much like I did in flight school. He would roll back the throttle, simulating an engine failure, and in the few seconds before we hit the ground, I would have to bottom the collective, reduce airspeed, find a safe landing area, and aim for it. At about fifty feet from the ground, I’d flare the aircraft nose high to bleed off forward airspeed. Then of course, it would begin settling and just before the ship hit the ground, I’d shove the cyclic forward and pull more pitch to cushion the landing. I got pretty good at it after the fifth time.

This is one of the most important safety procedures a helicopter pilot must know. Without power, as my instructor in flight school used to say, “The Huey has the glide path of a streamlined crowbar.” You can fly only a short distance, and you have one shot at setting the bird down. If you’re lucky, you’ll walk away from it.

We also practiced tail-rotor failures. Suds would keep his feet locked on the foot pedals and I would have to make a safe landing. Since I had no pedals to counteract the yaw of the bird when I reduced collective, the idea was to reduce throttle and keep forward motion during landing so the tail of the aircraft would maintain alignment with the direction of motion. So about three feet above the runway, I had to control the direction of the bird with the throttle while flying it onto the runway and letting it slide to a stop, just like landing an airplane. You just hoped the skids didn’t catch on an obstruction on the runway. Then you’d be trying to figure out how the aircraft turned over. I got pretty good at tail rotor failures, too.

The hydraulic failure, though, was a bitch. Without the assistance of hydraulics on the flight controls, flying a Huey is like wrestling a grizzly bear. I’ve never actually done that, but I’m pretty sure I know what it would be like after flying a Huey without hydraulics. I should have done some weight lifting before shipping over.

While all of this was going on in between the rains, I got my orientation about RPGs (rocket propelled grenades), which would make mincemeat out of a Huey, and the radar controlled .51 caliber guns that Charlie kept hidden around the area. You could monitor their frequency on the radio and listen for the squeal. The first one detected you. The second one tracked your path. The third one was followed by a stream of bullets. The whole process took just a few seconds. Then there were the 122 mm rockets. You didn’t ever want to be in the path of one of those babies.

A week of that shit wore me out and bored me to death. I imagine Suds got his fill of entertainment from all of my screw-ups. I was no longer in flight school trying to satisfy the instructor. I was in Nam and this was getting ready for the real deal, whatever that was going to be. Not once did Suds yell at me or chew my ass. I don’t know if that’s because I was good enough that he didn’t see the need, or he was just a nice guy. I did find out later that Suds was, in fact, a nice guy. That didn’t make me feel real good about my performance. Or my confidence, for that matter.

After he’d had his fun with me, I got word the next morning that I was to report to operations with flight gear. I walked in and looked at the assignment board, a large Plexiglas sheet behind the operations desk that listed aircraft numbers, pilots, crews, times, and missions. I wasn’t on it. I looked at Captain Latham, the Operations Officer, his fatigue shirt already soaked with sweat around his armpits and back this early in the morning.

“They told me I was supposed to be here,” I said.

He glanced at me. “Hang tight. Maybe something will happen.”

Lieutenant McNally stuck his head in. “Latham, put Cullison with Suds.”

Then he looked at me. “Oh, Cullison. Hey, first mission ride today. You ready?”

I looked at him, his buck teeth hanging over his lower lip and those wild eyes like some cartoon character trying to pull an answer out of me.

“Hell yes,” I said. I thought I saw a glimmer of doubt in those big eyes, not that I could really tell. Most of the time his eyes looked the same, big and wild. I’ll bet if the little bastard cried you wouldn’t know it, except for the tears, if he had enough compassion in that egocentric little body of his to produce them.

After a week of hanging around and flying circles in the sky and practicing not crashing a UH-1H, I was ready for something. Everybody looked at me, the FNG (fucking new guy), wondering if I could cut it. That made me wonder if I actually could. It was time to test my mettle. I just hoped I didn’t screw everything up.

That’s what it was all about, right then. Screwing up, or worrying about when you would. I faced a lot of challenges in flight school, but this was no longer a practice session. Actual combat. Real, live bullets. I had always wondered what it would be like. To get set for battle, I mean. It wasn’t like I was going to go charging into enemy lines or anything like that. I was going to be flying a helicopter in an enemy fire zone, or at least I would be the peter pilot. I would still be up front behind all of that Plexiglas and thin sheet metal. Not much protection, except for the armor plates around the seat. The knot in my stomach got tighter and the thought of real bullets just got more real. You think about this stuff, but not really. Not in the sense that you actually think about it. It’s just there in the back of our mind giving you doubts about your worth as a pilot while you wonder what it’s like to be dead. And if you really are worth a shit as a pilot.


I found this memoir to be an engaging read that does an excellent job in describing the physical reality of the Vietnam War as seen from the pilot’s seat of a Huey. In equal measure it also relates the mental machinations of a young Army officer who finds himself plopped down in a very foreign land and culture that is in the middle of a war he scarcely understands. It goes on to describe the lingering impact of the experience on his worldview after his return home. The authentic style of Cullison’s writing, and its focus on the deployed soldiers and their day to day missions, captures with great realism the cynicism, sarcasm, humor, and courage that enabled these men to accomplish their jobs day in and day out even in the face of bureaucratic stupidities, the occasional incompetent leader, and a determined lethal enemy.
All I can say is “thank you” for writing this book – so sad that it’s not available in hard copy, so I could give it as a gift. Marc Cullison’s ability to share his deepest thoughts and feelings, as well as addressing the still unanswered, hard questions that surround the nightmare that was Vietnam, remind me of a very young Warrant Officer who shared those gifts for self awareness, introspection and courage. Sadly, that young Warrant Officer was one of the “1 in 18” who didn’t come home. Mr. Cullison has captured the story of every brave, young, idealistic American boy who quickly grew to manhood in the brutal skies over Vietnam.
I was a slick crewchief in I Corps in 1971. Although close to my pilots as the missions allowed; I never looked beyond the ship and the flight line. When the flying was done, we crew members tended to the bird and the pilots wandered off to “Officer Country”. It was really interesting to read about the other side, so to speak. All ‘nam aviation vets should read this book.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00073]


Marc Cullison has also written about his return to Vietnam 40 years later, once you have read “The Other Vietnam War”, make sure to pick up your copy of “Vietnam Again” and see how going back again can change everything.

Looking for a Quick Read?

Who Shot The Smart Guy at the BlackboardLooking for a great quick read this weekend? We have the perfect one for you by award winning author, Michael Stephen Daigle!

Local reporter Derek Mainly was assigned to cover the political campaign party of the year for federal prosecutor Cassie Blondell, but soon found himself being drawn back into the morning’s front page headline – the murder of an unassuming college professor.

Learn more about this author here!
Other books by Michael Stephen Daigle
The first Frank Nagler mystery. Available at Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Wal-Mart

Frank Nagler Series
Book 1


Frank Nagler Series
Book 2


Frank Nagler Series
Book 3