Dee S. Knight hasn’t led a dull life, she’s led a lucky one. For instance, she was lucky enough to grow up in a military household where she got used to seeing lots of handsome men in uniform. Thus, at thirteen she was prepared when she met her future husband. He also grew up in a military family and then attended a military high school and college. Another handsome man in uniform—Yes! Lucky Dee!
For the past forty+ years, as long-distance truckers, teachers, computer trainers and consultants, Dee and her hubby have experienced many of their dreams and happily lived the adventure they call their life. Wanderlust strikes often, but fortunately they consider anywhere they’re together, home.
For excerpts, reviews and the newest on what’s happening in Dee’s world, please visit https://nomadauthors.com. And drop her a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’d love to hear from you.
Only a Good Man Will Do: Seriously ambitious man seeks woman to encourage his goals, support his (hopeful) position as Headmaster of Westover Academy, and be purer than Caesar's wife. Good luck with that!
Coming Home to finally being able to write about Vietnam
Are you a member of my generation? No, not Generation-X. I mean Generation-OTD (Older Than Dirt). If so, the Vietnam War was a definitive event in your life. The news bombarded you with it each night, you heard it debated in classrooms and saw anti-war protests—or maybe participated in them. I grew up in a military family, so I had a perspective of the war and politics that many of my friends in school didn’t, but the war infected my life, just the same. You couldn’t have lived in the US during the 1960s and 70s without that being the case.
Because Vietnam was such a huge part—though a hard, painful part—of my teen years, I wanted both to put them behind me and to write about them in equal parts. After long delays, I finally wrote two stories with Vietnam as the backdrop. One is a novel, Burning Bridges (under the name Anne Krist because it’s non-erotic, and in the process of being republished) and the other is a paranormal novella, Coming Home. Neither are statements on the war itself, just on how it affected families, careers and lives.
Coming Home is a fictional account of a young man’s Christmas leave during his tour of duty in Vietnam. Tom Stabler goes back to his home, a Nebraska farm, and the world has shifted. His soul is troubled; he’s seen things and done things he doesn’t know how to process. His parents seem older, the house smaller. Then he is reunited with the girl he left behind, and with her he finds peace. I think the cover says it all!I grounded Coming Home in Vietnam, but Tom Stabler’s story is not unique, though it is more intense. On a smaller scale, remember the first time you went back to your childhood home after being away at college? Didn’t everything seem different? Lives changed, neighbors came or went, and you weren’t there to experience it. You felt out of place, slightly disoriented. Now you understand a bit about Tom and the idea behind Coming Home.
What do you think? Have you ever had this feeling?
Unfortunately, Coming Home was published by Whispers and went out of print with their closing. But very soon I am providing a place on the Nomad Authors website for short stories and novellas that will be available to subscribers to my newsletter, Aussie to Yank. Please sign up (on NomadAUthors.co or by sending me an email) and then please enjoy Coming Home.
In this excerpt, Private Tom Stabler is home from Vietnam for Christmas leave. His childhood sweetheart is Susan Swenson, the girl who has arrived unexpectedly in the middle of the night. Tom has just come outside to see her.
She was leaning against the big elm tree in the front yard, hands tucked in her coat pockets, her face toward the horizon where the North Star perched low in the sky. Straightening and turning to face him as he approached, she smiled again, so dazzlingly the heavens dimmed in comparison. Tom swore he wouldn't care if they didn’t speak or touch or anything, if she would just keep smiling.
“Hey, Tom. Welcome home.”
Had her voice always been this deep, this smooth? His insides melted just listening to her. At the same, God! Instant hard-on. He shifted his stance and hoped Susan couldn't tell. “Thanks.”
Suddenly, she seemed shy, ducking her head to examine her shoes, scuffing the frost covered grass. He'd grown another couple of inches in the Army, and his lean body was strong and quick. He liked the contrast in their height and size, enjoyed the confidence he could protect her like a warrior, or tuck her gently against his chest where her ear would be over his heart. His heart which threatened to burst through his chest, being this close to the object of his dreams.
“I’m surprised to see you. It’s early, you know?” It’s early, you know? Hadn’t he learned anything about how to talk to a woman after nearly two years in the Army? Granted, for the last few months he hadn't had much opportunity to practice romantic lines, but Christ. Fortunately, Susan didn’t seem to notice his lapse in seductive conversation.
She nodded. “I filled in for a friend at the hospital, so she could get an early start on the holiday. We only have off until the day after Christmas, and she lives in Oklahoma. I’d planned to sleep in, do a little work, and drive up early this afternoon, but I was in a hurry.” She gave a funny, kind of half smile. Like she had a secret and would split at the seams if she couldn’t tell someone.
Tom laughed softly, his breath freezing in the morning air. He waved his hands toward the pasture land, over the fence, and beyond the tree where they stood. “Missed the damned old cows so much you just couldn’t wait until later, huh? Or was it the empty corn fields of your dad’s you were in a hurry for?”
Cocking her head, she said, “Neither, smart aleck.”
He jammed his hands in his pocket. Shit! It was colder than a witch's tit out here. Susan must be freezing. “Well, then, why did you rush back to the middle of nowhere before daylight?”
Stepping forward, she rose on tiptoes and crooked her finger. Smiling, he bent to her. She whispered in his ear, “To see you, silly. I couldn’t wait to see you.” She pecked his cheek then stood back. Her cheeks blushed as pink as a prairie dawn.
Sucking in his breath nearly froze his tonsils. He gazed down into eyes he knew to be the bluest blue. … His fists clenched in his pockets, lest he pull her to him and take her on the hood of her car—the only warm place not inside his parents’ house.
“Oh, look!” She’d turned back toward the north, and he followed her direction just in time to see the death of a star. She looked up at him. The quick smile on her face sounded in her voice, too. “Did you make a wish?”
“Nah, that’s kid stuff. Or girl stuff,” he teased. Yeah, girl stuff. Susan stuff he wanted so badly he could taste it. He needed her goodness and sweetness and the passion he was certain she held just for him. And he wanted something else, too, something he couldn’t quite name but which he knew she could give him.
He kicked the thought aside. The last thing he wanted was to psychoanalyze this moment.
Suddenly, her smile faded, and she reached up to hold his cheek in her palm. “It’s not silly, Tommy. You’re here because I wished for you, you know. I wished for you to come home so hard I knew it would happen, and here you are.”
The intensity of her words struck his heart at the same time a shiver ran up his spine. He covered her hand with his own. “Yes, here I am.”
Time stopped. The wind died away. Not a blade of grass moved, nor a cow nor a car on the road a quarter mile away. The stars twinkled, but that was okay—just then they owned the stars.
“And here I am,” she whispered.
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