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Final Polish Applied: Novel Three on Schedule

I spent the last week and half doing a final-final-final clean-up, read-through, edit on my third novel, “The Reach of the Banyan Tree.”

This final run-through was after my proofreader and editor worked her magic and all changes were made. But I just felt like I wanted to read it one more time before giving my final approval to the finished manuscript.

I’m glad I did.

As any writer knows, a manuscript is never really complete. There is always more to do and change. But on my final run-through, I caught some little things, changed some wording, varied some phrases, and ultimately just polished it a little more so it shines a little brighter. I am very happy with the results, and I’m very excited for its release in only 15 days.

So much more to do over the next couple of weeks and months, but the long, hard writing and editing process is officially finished. I can now, when I have time, move back to novel #4 which is about 70 percent complete, but which I haven’t worked on in quite a while. I’m excited to get back to it. It’s quite unique. Much more about that at a later date.

But for now, “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” is finished will be available soon.

Thank you to everyone who has been an encouragement to me. Let’s do this!FullCoversOnly-Finals-01

Three Generations – One Awesome Vietnam Story

As The Reach of the Banyan Tree gets closer to launch day, I want to highlight the one American family which always seems to be connected to Vietnam – the Carson family.

Charles Carson was a member of the OSS (pre-cursor to the CIA) and parachuted into Tonkin, French Indochina in the summer of 1945, just a month before the Japanese capitulated. His task? Train the Viet Minh resistance fighters to be more effective against the Japanese. But what he doesn’t bargain for is getting dragged into an adventure to find a truck load of missing rifles which in turn brings him face to face with a tough, but beautiful Vietnamese woman. Anything can happen from there.

Charles “C.R.” Carson II spent time in ‘Nam during the 1960s. He fell out with his father and eventually struck it rich with his grandfather in the oil business. He is brash, arrogant, slightly crooked with a good heart – maybe.

Charles “Chip” Carson III arrives in Vietnam in 1998 to do humanitarian work. He falls not only for the country but also for a beautiful young Vietnamese woman named Thuy. He just has to convince her father to let them get married.

Three generations of Carson men, whose stories in Vietnam get connected in the most unexpected and gripping ways.

It’s all about loving and leaving Vietnam.

The adventure begins July 1!


One Month from Today: The Reach of the Banyan Tree

I was excited about the release of both of my first two novels, but with my third novel on the horizon, I’m a little more excited than usual.


I guess it is because of the story and the back story of writing it. I was living in Thai Nguyen Vietnam (where much of the story takes place) and I remember sitting down one day to start my first novel.  I had a basic concept in mind and a particular scene that I wanted to write (yes, this scene is in the novel now). I wrote a few paragraphs and became disgusted that I couldn’t write anymore. I felt inadequate and uninspired.

From that point it took me ten years to finally finish my first novel in 2011, and that novel was not the one I started in 2001. But now, The Reach of the Banyan Tree, IS that novel. I did it. It took my 12 years but I finally wrote the novel I always wanted to write.

Now it is only one month away from releasing, so, naturally, I am very excited.

In June I’ll be high-lighting some of the unique characters, settings, and places which make this novel special. (at least I think so)

I hope many readers will enjoy it.

My last great Vietnam novel. Only 30 more days!



The Cover Revealed: The Reach of the Banyan Tree


The Story: Chip Carson intends to marry a young Vietnamese woman named Thuy until a tragic accident lands him in prison, forever altering the outlook of their relationship. As he struggles to cope with their strained love, a mysterious stranger appears, bearing a journal about Chip’s grandfather who parachuted into French Indochina at the end of World War II. As the words of the journal reveal a life that Chip never knew, he begins to understand the depth of love and sacrifice needed in order to have a second chance with Thuy.

An unexpected adventure that is part historical fiction and part contemporary love story, The Reach of the Banyan Tree explores the effects of war, love, culture, and family obligation in twentieth century Vietnam through the eyes of three generations of American men who each lost their souls in the tangled reach of the banyan tree.





It’s Finished! Moving on and other stuff for May

My manuscript for my third novel, The Reach of the Banyan Tree, is finished.

It has been edited and proofread. Done. I’m so happy and absolutely can’t wait to get it out to readers.

I’ll have a lot more to say about it in the next few weeks – including the cover reveal which is coming very soon!

Actually, I’ve decided to do several different promotions later this month in conjunction with my cover reveal.

I have some exciting deals and promotions coming up for both of my novels, The Recluse Storyteller and Beauty Rising leading up to the release of my new novel.

I have The Reach of the Banyan Tree ARC ready to head out to reviewers and readers over the next couple of weeks.

Finishing a novel is such gratifying work in and of itself that even if nobody likes it, I’m happy that I wrote it.

However, I am totally sold on this story. I think it is gripping and exciting. It’s certainly adventurous. It’s part historical fiction. It’s part contemporary love story. It is, as all of my novels are, rather hard to define. But I like it that way.

Oh, and it is 100% Vietnam. I call this my “last great Vietnam novel” whatever that means. I’m just so excited about it. I think I said that before.

Okay, enough hollow ranting. All I want to say is that I’m happy.

Novel three is “in the books” and now I’m ready to move forward.

It sure is fun being an indie author!

A Photo and a Description

I posted this photograph the other day when I highlighted that northern Vietnam was my favorite place in Asia:

rice field workers thai nguyenIt made me think of the opening paragraph of my new novel, The Reach of the Banyan Tree, set to release this coming summer. I’d be curious to hear what you think of the two of them, the photo and the description. Here goes:

This part of the Vietnamese countryside has witnessed little change through the centuries. The crooked-back peasants face another daunting day every time the sun slips over the eastern ridge, greeting them with stoic reminders of the paddies which need tending. The giddy, shirtless, barefoot boys still ride the water buffaloes out through the paddy ridges to find slivers of green grazing that will keep the beasts contented until the next time they are needed to plow-under the sun-baked soil, readying the field for another planting. The dawn illuminates a village, which awakens like a colony of ants, miles to go to feed themselves for another day. The crows overhead witness the ants, scurrying out from underneath the palms which shield the single-story cement dwellings from the relentless afternoon sun. The busy-bodies hunker down in the fields, women side by side with sister and aunt, neighbor and cousin, donning the cone-like, pointed straw hats, which protect their face from darkening in the heat of the day. The dainty hands, each with a single stock of rice seedling no more than six inches tall, skillfully pushes the heroic staple into the mud until it settles in the place where it will thrive and grow, giving the planters their rewarded survival. They owe their lives to the blessed crop which gives them sustenance; they owe their age to the cursed crop, which robs them of years and sentences them to curved backs and ridged, hard skin. This is the land of their ancestors; a canvass of paint so vivid, so real, so far removed from the toil of the modern masses. These people have become one with the land, one with time, one with each other as they etch out a noble existence for which two thousand years of Vietnamese history owes them much.


Novel #3: The Reach of the Banyan Tree – Coming Soon!

It’s done.

I spent the last couple of weeks working on a final revision for my third novel “The Reach of the Banyan Tree”.

I’ve received some helpful feedback from my beta readers.

I’ve received back an awesome cover from a friend designer of mine.

I’ve read and re-read it many times.

Now it is ready for my editor/proofreader to put the finishing touches on it.

It’s my longest novel, clocking in at just under 80,000. It’s the novel that’s been in the works for the past twelve years. I’m so excited to get it out there.

Estimated time of release: July 1, 2014.

Stay tuned, and thanks for your support.

BTW: the cover reveal will happen within the next 6 weeks. Can’t wait!


Here’s the first lines that the reader will read in my new novel:

“A banyan tree sees all, knows all, and keeps many secrets. It knows a time of bondage and a time of freedom. Its reach never stops; it keeps growing and expanding regardless of circumstances, regardless of difficulties. Time and destiny are on its side. In the end, the grand banyan tree, with its thirty-foot expanse, will once again sense order restored to the universe.”

Nguyen Van Vinh, 1945, French Indochina

Novel Three: The End Game

It’s hard for me to believe that I’m finally at this point with my third novel. What point? The end game.

Yes, that’s right, I’m using February to go over the manuscript one last time before I send it on to my editor for proofreading.

Novel title: The Reach of the Banyan Tree

Tentative Release Date: July 2014

I wrote this novel last summer over a five week period. After I finished, I just set it aside for about six months and hardly gave it a second thought. I did send it out to some of my beta readers and got some good feedback. Still have a few copies out there that I’m waiting to hear from.

This past week, I’ve been using some of the feedback one of my readers gave me in order to expand and re-write a few sections. My reader was absolutely right – now it is better, and I am so grateful for her insight.

Now I will be doing a thorough read-through, looking to improve phrasing, provide clarity where needed, and make sure everything is in top-notch shape for my editor.

I expect to have the finished product by some point in April, and then I’ll ramp up the pre-release juices, getting ready for, hopefully, a big summer.

I’m really excited about this novel. It’s the novel that I first tried to write about a dozen years ago, and I failed miserably. I wrote about a page and a half before abandoning it.

Well, now it is almost here.

My designer has the book cover just about ready to go, and it’s fantastic!

I can’t wait for this year-long process to be over, so I can eventually get this work into the hands of readers.

It’s been a great journey thus far.

Time to start reading chapter 1 again.

Vietnamese General Giap: 1911-2013

The revolutionary general of the Viet Minh and the North Vietnamese communists died earlier today.

(You can check out the slide show of his life on yahoo HERE!)

He was the military mind and right hand man of Ho Chi Minh. He dressed in street clothes and a fedora, making an unassuming presence. But his presence was felt on the battlefield – not that he won many huge decisive battles. He just won hug, decisive wars.

He worked with the Americans of the O.S.S. in the summer of 1945 as they received training in order to help defeat the Japanese and bring an end to WWII in Indochina. But when the Americans, under Truman’s leadership, did not back the Vietnamese claim for independence, instead backing the French and General de Gaulle’s desire to reestablish authority in their show-piece colony.

With American support waning, Giap and Ho Chi Minh declared war against the French in December 1946. The brutal French-Indochina War ended in 1954 with the French’s stunning defeat at Dien Bien Phu.  This was Giap’s signature achievement – one of the most strategic and important military victories of the 20th century. It directly led to the split of Vietnam and the Vietnam War a decade later, followed by the fall of Cambodia, Pol Pot & the Killing Fields, a war with China in 1979, the boat people of the 1980s,and complete isolation from the world. All the Vietnamese wanted was their independence, but no one could have seen the far reaching effects of that battle.

Giap continued to be involved with the military throughout the Vietnam War and became a national hero during his long, twilight years.

Two last notes. The general makes an appearance in my upcoming novel entitled,The Reach of the Banyan Tree.” It’s a completely fictional account of an American meeting him and Ho Chi Minh in July of 1945 during the waning moments of WWII. I like the scenario that I’ve created that enabled me to confidently bring these two historical figures into my story. I hope everyone will like it. Estimated arrival: mid-2014.

Lastly, next year is the 60th anniversary of the battle of Dien Bien Phu. Vietnamese officials are expecting one million visitors to the remote mountain city during the course of the year. It is one out of the two northern Vietnamese provinces which I have not yet visited. I really want to go next year. I hope I get the chance.