Sponsored by merchants…

in Clarksville, VA, LAKEFEST is a “happening”! Thirty-five to forty thousand people walked by the tents and tables of 150 venders, crafters, food merchants, and one old veteran author, lined up along the one main street of Clarksville. I feel blessed, the Clarksville Chamber of Commerce “adopted me” in 2019 and now 2021, to be one of the 150!

While hot and humid, the temperatures and humidity didn’t matter. People everywhere strolled by our table. We sold a lot of books and met a lot of people, eager to hear, why one old man and his silver-haired (and still pretty) wife, became authors at the age of 70some. “That’s amazing”, became a familiar frame. “You are donating your proceeds to veteran causes?”

“Yes, we don’t really need the money. It seems like the right thing to do for the privilege of writing combat survivor stories. After all, this is neither a burden nor a sacrifice; quite the contrary. It’s a privilege! As a veteran myself, the recognition rightfully deserves to flow to each of them, particularly those scarred by the trauma of combat. I enjoy the work. In fact, this beautiful hot day (96 degrees), is nothing compared to the heat and humidity of the middle-east desert.”

“God Bless you”, was a comment I heard several times. My respectful thought: no, God Bless the men and women in uniform, sweating through 100 plus degree temperatures, along with the stench of burnt, spent shells, explosive ordnances, fires,  and OH YES, the carnage and suffering of combat.

I thanked each one. Told them, a portion of all profits will be given to a charity or non-profit benefiting veterans or their families.

Oh yes, and thanks to Lakefest officials and the Chamber for adopting us. Can we return next year?

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If you enjoyed this blog, please like and share it with your friends on social media to help spread the word about Combat Survivor Heroes. A portion of all book proceeds is donated to local veteran causes. 


Jerry’s second book, So Help Me God is being reviewed and edited for a late fall publishing. His third book of combat stories is to be published in the late fall of 2022 and will be entitled:  Stories from the ‘Bone: B1B bomber

If you are interested in a signed copy of our first published book of combat survivor stories, When Heaven Visits: dramatic accounts of military heroes, you can click the link below. For a discount on your purchase, leave a review of the book on Amazon, take a screenshot of your review, and email it to combatsurvivorheroes@gmail.com.

 

contact me

               

Details of the two wonderful veteran causes we support can be found on the Resources page of the Combat Survivor Heroes website. 

 

Above: Photo from Clarksville Lake County Chamber of Commerce during Lakefest.

 

I do not Seek…

any recognition for what I am doing these days. In fact, I seek the opposite. 

You see, the combat heroes I write about—they are the real ones needing the recognition. They are the ones who sacrificed, bled, suffered debilitating injuries, and came home with inexplicable wounds of combat. They are the ones whose families need the recognition, whose moms and dads worried, prayed, and sought God’s protection for their son or daughter. They are the ones who put their lives on the line for people in foreign lands, many of whom didn’t want them there in the first place. 

They are the ones who truly deserve the recognition, not a near-senile old man, retired in the sunset years of life, truly enjoying the privilege of writing each story of a combat hero. They are truly are the ones we ought to be recognizing!

Yet, I am grateful, humbly grateful. It’s one of these humbling, sputtering moments where an old soldier, never at a loss for words, suddenly “doesn’t have a word to say”—or even mumble. I just stand there, looking around, seeing 22,000 people standing-cheering-clapping, while I think to myself, “my mom is proud. No actually, she’s crying, crying tears of gratitude for her boy”. I’m sure she looked down, smiled, and shed a heavenly tear. 

Thank you, David. As usual, you outdid yourself. All I asked was for a contact who could find a couple of tickets for me to the Mets-Reds baseball game. I am more than willing to pay for them, in fact, even buy a ticket for you my brother. 

Thank you, Patrick, Marketing Director for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. Thank you Reds fans. You’re all the best. 

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If you enjoyed this blog, please like and share it with your friends on social media to help spread the word about Combat Survivor Heroes. A portion of all book proceeds is donated to local veteran causes. 


Jerry’s second book, So Help Me God is being reviewed and edited for a late fall publishing. His third book of combat stories is to be published in the late fall of 2022 and will be entitled:  Stories from the ‘Bone: B1B bomber

If you are interested in a signed copy of our first published book of combat survivor stories, When Heaven Visits: dramatic accounts of military heroes, you can also click the link below. For a discount on your purchase, leave a review of the book on Amazon, take a screenshot of your review, and email it to combatsurvivorheroes@gmail.com.

 

contact me

               

Details of the two wonderful veteran causes we support can be found on the Resources page of the Combat Survivor Heroes website. 

 

Above: Jerry Barnes, Author of Combat Survivor Stories, honored by the Cincinnati Reds.

 

Lots of book news…

and a few “bumps” to share.

We finished book two and sent it to the publisher in early July. The work involved 1500 hours by yours truly, an additional 1500 hours or more from my dear wife Laura, and countless more from veterans who shared their stories. Writing books takes lots of research along with significant time from Andrea, our terrific editor in Tennessee. 

Laura mentioned, “Jerry, this is a lot of work! “

I responded, “I know, honey, but the veterans who protect and defend the US give their time, sweat, and sometimes, their blood. We spend our time listening to them recount their memories, often through tears. I owe it to them to reflect on the nature of their suffering, anxiety, fears, and sacrifice in this writing. So, let’s press on.”

We did and were able to press the send button on the manuscript of 30 stories, covering a book of over 200 pages, the third week of July. 

Three weeks later, our publisher emailed me with this alarming news. “Jerry, I will need to send the manuscript back to you. The material is just too graphic in spots for me (a dedicated Christian publisher) to bring to print. I am certainly not saying the book isn’t worth publishing. Quite the contrary. There are many publishers out there who will gladly publish this book. I can send you the names of two I know personally.”

When Laura and I got that news late on a Friday afternoon, I fluctuated between disappointment and sadness. After reflection and prayer over the weekend, I called my literary agent, Bob. 

“Sorry, you got that news, Jerry. It happened to another author I represent a few years back. After reflection, we decided to take another look at the manuscript,  re-worked the problematic areas, and re-submitted the manuscript to the publisher. The new manuscript was published.”, Bob recounted.

Armed with that terrific advice, I talked with my publisher on the following Tuesday morning, sharing the guidance of Bob, the literary agent. 

“That’s good advice, Jerry. If you are willing to take another pass through the book, soften the areas of intense suffering and gore, and reflect a bit more on the faith emphasis of the veterans while in combat, I believe I can publish it.”

She also suggested we change the book’s title to So Help Me God, after the last four words of the oath of enlistment. “With those changes, I will be able to publish the book.”, She said.

Isn’t life amazing? After four days of feeling sorry for myself, I received good news. But that is not the most exciting news. 

What she said after that news blew my 75-year-old mind. 

“Jerry, I was looking at your website: FBL4U.com.  I like what you are doing there. Let me take a look at some of the lessons. I may be interested in publishing them.”

So friends, in the middle of feeling sorry for myself, good news came. I encourage you to hang in there when you’re sick, tired, or sick and tired of being sick and tired. Keep working and clinging on to your dream. 

We are working to revise the vital areas of the manuscript for So Help Me God without losing any of the meaning and return the updated manuscript to the publisher. Our goal is to have it ready before Christmas. 

Stay tuned for the next update. 

God Bless!

*******

If you enjoyed this blog, please like and share it with your friends on social media to help spread the word about Combat Survivor Heroes. A portion of all book proceeds is donated to local veteran causes. 


Jerry’s second book, So Help Me God is being reviewed and edited for a late fall publishing. His third book of combat stories is to be published in the late fall of 2022 and will be entitled:  Stories from the ‘Bone: B1B bomber

If you are interested in a signed copy of our first published book of combat survivor stories, When Heaven Visits: dramatic accounts of military heroes, you can click the link below. For a discount on your purchase, leave a review of the book on Amazon, take a screenshot of your review, and email it to combatsurvivorheroes@gmail.com.

 

contact me

               

Details of the two wonderful veteran causes we support can be found on the Resources page of the Combat Survivor Heroes website. 

 

Above: Jerry Barnes, Author of upcoming book, So Help Me God.

 

here is the view…

from my “author writing area” on Christmas morning, 2020.  It is pretty rare to see snow this heavy here, even in the mountains, hence the picture. 

When snow isn’t falling in buckets full, we have a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains which run through this area of Western Virginia. 

I never get tired of the view, particularly when leaves are forming in the spring or falling in buckets of beautiful fall colors.  Rare snow on Christmas is a  treat, hence the photograph. 

These beautiful views motivate my brain to write the stories of combat survivor heroes, standing at 70 plus and counting.  We have enough stories to publish three books while gathering more for book 4. 

And, the stories keep coming. Who knows where we will finally hang it up, but writing these stories of combat heroes is a labor of love. God willing, we will continue doing so.  

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If you enjoyed this blog, please like and share it with your friends on social media to help spread the word about Combat Survivor Heroes. Also, don’t forget to sign up for my Friends of the Author Newsletter to get regular updates on new and upcoming projects! And as always, a portion of all net profits from book sales is donated to local veteran causes.*


Be among the first 1,000 people to receive an advanced, signed copy of Angels on the Battlefield. You can contact me for details by clicking the button below.

If you are interested in a signed copy of our first published book of combat survivor stories, When Heaven Visits: dramatic accounts of military heroes, you can also click the link below. For a discount on your purchase, leave a review of the book on Amazon, take a screenshot of your review, and email it to combatsurvivorheroes@gmail.com.

 

contact me

               

*Details of the two wonderful veteran causes we support can be found under the Resources tab of the Combat Survivor Heroes website. 

Above: Christmas 2020 from Jerry’s office.

 

Trigger, a baby goat…

greeted me as I walked in the door of the barber/ beauty shop.

“Don’t bother the customer, Trigger”, Helen said, while completing a lady’s blow-dry.  

As soon as I sat down, Trigger started butting my leg.

“Where did you get this critter, Helen?”

“Well, his mother had four of them, but only nursed two at a time. Trigger and his sister were not able to get enough milk to make it. We lost his sister and I got to Trigger just in time to rescue him”, Helen responded. “With me feeding him by bottle every couple of hours, it looks like he is going to survive.”

I picked Trigger up and started holding him.

“You want a goat, Jerry? I got three available”, Helen said.

“I can’t imagine what Laura might say if I walked in the door with a pet goat.  But I don’t think it would be that positive”.

My mind raced to a GI who picked up a stray puppy in Afghanistan and brought him back to base. Despite misgivings, the commander could see how the critter helped improve morale and gave a reluctant “OK” for the soldiers to keep him. Over time, the dog became the pet of the entire unit and did wonders to perk up the morale of young soldiers. The little guy reminded them of home, and diverted their minds from the horrors of war, if only temporarily. 

Then one day, the dog, traveling on patrol, was killed in a battle skirmish. There is no way to describe how this incident affected morale. Grown men were crying in the combat zone as if one of their best and closest friends had been lost.

In a measure of reflection, that is exactly what happened.

This story will appear in one of my future books.

*******

If you enjoyed this blog, please like and share it with your friends on social media to help spread the word about Combat Survivor Heroes. A portion of all book proceeds is donated to local veteran causes. 


Be among the first 1,000 people to receive an advanced, signed copy of Angels on the Battlefield. You can contact me for details by clicking the button below.

If you are interested in a signed copy of our first published book of combat survivor stories, When Heaven Visits: dramatic accounts of military heroes, you can also click the link below. For a discount on your purchase, leave a review of the book on Amazon, take a screenshot of your review, and email it to combatsurvivorheroes@gmail.com.

 

contact me

               

Details of the two wonderful veteran causes we support can be found on the Resources page of the Combat Survivor Heroes website. 

 

Above: Jerry nuzzles Trigger the goat.