Tag Archives: Iraq War

It pays off to try your best

12 Dec

As an author you put your heart out there and hope people will enjoy your work. In the beginning there is a lot of angst associated with each review, each rating. The good ones melt your heart. They encourage you to keep writing, keep publishing. The bad ones devastate you. You want to throw in the towel never to touch the keyboard again.

As time passes by you realize that while you strive to satisfy each and every reader, you just can’t. You’re only a mortal and there is no such thing as being liked by every single soul on this planet. So what you do is grow a tough skin for the critiques and shift your focus toward the full side of the glass.

While I appreciate all reviews and ratings, I rarely read them. They are not for me, but for the next reader interested/or not to read my novels. I have people from all over the world contacting me and telling me how much they enjoyed them. One of them is Javiera from Chile. I’m beyond ecstatic she took the time to write me. Thank you, Javiera! With her permission I copied her message here:

Screen Shot 2012-12-12 at 9.43.45 AM

Book Review–American Sniper by Chris Kyle

1 Oct

The other night, watching the show ‘Stars Earn Stripes’, my son recognized Chris Kyle, the author of The American Sniper, a biography he read for a school assignment. Curious about it, I picked up the book and browsed through it. Needless to say, I finished it in 1 and 1/2 days.

I come from a country where patriotism used to be forced down our throat on a daily basis, a continuous lie the communists told us for generations. The result of it? We all hated it.
After moving to the US I always wondered what drives Americans to stand when the national anthem is played before each game. What unseen force tells them to fly their flag, high on a mast, for the world to see it, for the wind to dance with it. What drives them to enroll in the military, leaving all they love and their family and make the ultimate sacrifice.
Chris Kyle’s autobiography answers to all these questions and more. As Chris explains it, it’s God, country and family. It’s being selfless and the need to protect all that you inherit from your forefathers, believe in, all that you have, and all that you are.
American Sniper is Chris Kyle’s account on the Iraq war where he’s deployed 4 times. To most people one time is more than enough. You serve your country, do your duty the best you can and then return home. But not for Chris. He needed to be there among his fellow countrymen, covering them, taking fire for them and protecting them with his life if it meant that was the last thing he’d do.
What media presented (and I should say manipulated) about the war in Iraq is by far different than Chris’ view on it. We American’s didn’t go there to, as Chris says, “bring democracy to Iraq”. We went there to protect fellow countrymen, fight for our country not Iraq. It’s a war that politicians deemed necessary, not our soldiers. They only followed orders.
As a kid Chris had always dreamt to join the military. A dream he’d fulfilled, lived and finally shared memories of it by writing this biography. It’s written from Chris’ point of view, concise and detailed, a progressive narration of war seen through a soldier’s eyes. From time to time his wife Taya pitched in, giving us an insight of what a family goes through while their loved ones is at war, the constant fear, the anguish, the frustrations. The biography tells untold stories of unknown heroes. It doesn’t sugarcoat, doesn’t use fancy words and artistic scenes. There’s nothing artistic about the war.
Like you and I doing our job, that’s what Chris did: his job. People might or might not agree with his cold-blooded attitude toward the people he killed. But before you throw that stone let me ask you something: if you disagree with Chris why didn’t you stand to protect this country?
God Bless America!

My rating: 

Guest Post and Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

17 Feb

As part of the Virtual Book Tour for A World Apart Kathleen at Jersey Girl Book Reviews has a guest post about a special character in the book, not a fictional character but a living, breathing one. A real character  in a fiction book? Well yes… a tiny one. Curious about it? All you have to do stop by  Jersey Girl Book Reviews and you won’t be disappointed.

She also posted her review of A World Apart. I have to admit my stomach was up in a knot, excited to see how she found my book. And to my relief, she nailed it. In her words A World Apart is “The complexity of the characters and their strong personalities are realistic, their interactions which each other are fascinating, you can’t help but be intrigued by them. The description of Romania, Iraq, the military bases and the war zone activities is astounding, I could close my eyes and feel like I was transported there alongside Cassandra, David, Robert and the other characters in the story. When a story can transport you to another place and make you feel the full range of emotions, then you know that the story is one that you can’t put down until the very end.”

Can’t thank her enough for the wonderful words!

The beginning of “A World Apart”

8 Dec

The story of “A World Apart” goes back to the end of 2002. It all started with some headlines in a Romanian newspaper announcing the Romanian government signed an agreement with the US government to grant complete access to one of the airbases at the Black Sea. The base was strategic in the war against Iraq starting several months later, in March of 2003. It housed thousands of US soldiers on their way to Iraq, as well as provided medical assistance to victims returning from the front line, too weak  or unstable to be transferred directly to the US or other European countries where US has several military bases. Along with other facilities, the military base has several runways and airplane sheds as well as a medical center.

The news kind of leaked into the media because at the time there was no official announcement that the US prepared for an invasion, and so the Romanians were quite confused with the agreement. Why would US need to open a military base on our soil? We were told as a compensation for using the space US agreed to help with infrastructure at and around the Black Sea, which of course was to our advantage. But what about Americans? What was in for them?

Eventually the media furor died out, but the idea of having lots of Americans at once on our soil stayed with me. Later on when the first American contingent arrived at the Black Sea the media went abuzz again. I remember reading that among them there was a team of US medical personnel deployed as well. They were supposed to collaborate with Romanian doctors already working in the medical center.

Without knowing what was the real reason Americans were on our soil, I began making up stories… Enter Lieutenant Cassandra Toma, trauma surgeon in the Romanian National Army deployed at the Black Sea to work with Major David Hunt, trauma surgeon for the US Air Force. She’s too outspoken and rebellious to be in the army, or as David sees her, “the mother of all mules.” She’s in the army for all the wrong reasons, which eventually will determine her actions later on. David on the other hand is the quintessence of the American soldier, who takes pride in his rank and work. That and more is about to change the minute he lays eyes on Cassandra. I promise to talk about them in a different post.

2003 marked not only the beginning of a long and bloody conflict, but also my immigration to the States, to follow the man who stole my heart. Over the next years a come-and-go relationship developed between Cassandra, David and myself until 2009 when, after 6 years of war in Iraq and the military base still open at the Black Sea I decided to finally sit down and write their story. Little did I know that writing their story was a journey of intense research, emotional hell and heaven at once, and self-discovery.

I’m no longer the person I was when I began writing this story. I’m more aware of what war gave and what it took away, aside from human life, destruction, fear, agony… I remember living in horrible conditions during communism and desperately wishing for someone to come save us from Ceausescu’s tyranny and the Russians’ steel fist with which they maneuvered our government. In looking back, I’m not sure  that would’ve saved the Romanian nation from our own demons.

I’ve never lost anyone at war. I can’t imagine how a family left behind goes on with their life after losing a loved one on the front line, be it in Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere else our soldiers fight the enemy. Yet they do it and because of that I need to do my part and give back, keeping alive our soldiers’ memory.

“A World Apart” is my dedication to all men and women in uniform serving in the army. I can’t bring back the ones we lost, but I can give them life through my story. Their story. A World Apart.