This past weekend I had the opportunity to do a book signing at the American Legion State Convention held in Rochester, MN. After Governor Dayton spoke to the Ladies Auxiliary members he stopped at my booth. We visited for a few minutes and I presented him with a copy of my memoir. He thanked me and said he would cherish it.
(Written by Patt Rall, Bemidji Pioneer Previews, published Sunday, April 20, 2014.)
•Northern Exposure to Lifelong Learning continues their spring season of talks with “A Healing Journey with Wendell Affield,” who is the author of “Muddy Jungle Rivers.” Affield will talk about his life after publication of his book, and his speaking engagements when he listened to hundreds of veterans and witnessed the devastating long-term effects of posttraumatic stress disorder. The program will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Gonvick Community Center. This NELL program is offered free of charge, however, donations are gratefully accepted as is membership in the organization.
Northern Exposure to Lifelong Learning (NELL)
Program will be in Gonvick Community Center:
Coffee at 9am, program at 9:30 and wrap up around 11 or so. depending on questions.
Open to the public
(From NELL Newsletter)
In January 1968 Wendell Affield went to Vietnam as the cox’n of Armor Troop Carrier 112-11 with the Mobile Riverine Force. Part of his tour of duty was in the Mekong Delta with the Army 9th Infantry Division and, for four months, with the 3rd Marine Division on the Cua Viet River. He was wounded in an ambush and medevac’d home in August 1968.
Forty-five years later he reconnected with four of the ambush survivors after one of them discovered his book on Amazon. Affield will talk about his journey since Muddy Jungle Rivers was published in 2012. During book signings and speaking engagements he has listened to hundreds of veterans and witnessed the devastating long-term effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“As we age, we hope to make peace with the past; to make sense of long ago traumas. PTSD is not unique to Vietnam Veterans,” Affield says. “World War Two Veterans have broken down when they shared their story with me. We need to educate the public. PTSD is a normal human reaction to violence. And it’s normal not to burden loved ones with those memories. With this new generation of young men and women returning from combat zones it is our responsibility to listen to them and not judge. It is our responsibility to help them reintegrate into the community they left.”
Books will be available for sale at the NELL gathering
Tamara Edevold, NELL coordinator
Northern Exposure to Lifelong Learning (NELL) is a 501(c) (3)non-profit organization, created to enrich the quality of life in our local communities through lifelong learning and the arts. Our goal is to inspire people to learn, to grow, and to give to their communities.
Northern Exposure to Lifelong Learning provides programs in humanities and the arts, including a series of lectures in the spring and fall that are free and open to the public. NELL also offers performing arts and intergenerational programs in local schools, the Evergreen Reader program in area assisted-care facilities and special cultural events.
Minnesota’s Historic Northwest
Armor Troop Carrier
Mobile Riverine Force, Vietnam
About a month ago I received an email from “Snipe,” the engineman on the boat I was cox’n on, ATC 112-11 in Vietnam. We’ve exchanged a few messages, he has not heard from any of the other crewmembers either. Perhaps one day—
June I participated in Bemidji Library Week “Author Showcase.” Later in the month I spent a weekend at a regional Gun Show. Many interesting comments and stories shared by folks who stopped by my table.
Early July I received an order from University of Indiana, South Bend. Muddy Jungle Rivers will be used Fall Semester in an American History class. Hawthorn Petal Press, LLC, is now an authorized vendor with Barnes & Noble College Bookstores and Follett Higher Education Group.
Mid-July I attended Northwoods Writers Conference at Bemidji State University. Joni Tevis, Professor of Creative Writing and Literature, Furman University, was our instructor. It was a great week of learning, sharing, making new friends, and attending the Evening Reading Series.
This past week I spent time at the Minnesota American Legion State Convention; again, a great weekend of meeting new people, listening to many stories from veterans as they visited my table.
Later this month Patti and I will attend the Mobile Riverine Force Association Reunion in Indianapolis, Indiana.
I am deep into the manuscript of the first-in-a-series of memoirs about my mother’s life. As I learn more about our past each day it saddens me at how this past century’s wars have impacted our family. It is a universal truth that people do not learn from the past.
See my other Blog Page, Chickenhouse Chronicles—
Tuesday, April 16, will be a busy day:
At 8:30 AM I will be on “Coyote Country Radio” KKWB 102.5 FM discussing Muddy Jungle Rivers.
At 7:00 PM Fosston Community Library and American Legion have teamed up to host a book reading and discussion. The public is invited.
This past month I visited with two classes at Bemidji State University who used Muddy Jungle Rivers as a text book Spring 2013 semester: Thank you Professor Marsha Driscoll and Professor Tom Murphy. I recently received an inquiry from University of Indiana, South Bend about purchasing Muddy Jungle Rivers for the Autumn 2013 semester for a History class.
This past weekend was very successful at the Bemidji Gun Show. I have booked for two up-coming gun shows in other cities.
We’ve been working on electronic marketing these past few months with great success. This past week we ran a Facebook promotion titled “Remembering Vietnam Forty Years Later.” 12,778 people clicked on it, many following through to purchase the Kindle edition. Others went to my web site for signed copies.
Thank you TJ Design Studio, Bemidji, MN and Hofmann Consulting, Edina, MN, for a job well-done.
This past year has been very rewarding with the publication of Muddy Jungle Rivers. In December it was nominated for the Minnesota Book Award. On January 26 the four finalists for each genre will be announced.
Bemidji State University used the book in a Fall 2012 History Class and will use it again in a Spring 2013 Honors Program class. Thank you Professor Tom Murphy—it was rewarding to speak to your students.
Two years ago Muddy Jungle Rivers was a 350 page manuscript collecting dust in my office. I was busy doing research and writing my next book. Each day I was distracted by that dusty manuscript and finally realized I must publish it before I could fully concentrate on my next project. After sending query letters to several agents and publishers who worked with war genre literature I realized no one was going to publish an unknown living in northern Minnesota.
I began studying self-publishing avenues and was horrified at the exploitation of uninformed first-time authors by so many Self Publishing companies. As I researched, I came to the realization that I could publish my own book. On January 1, 2012, my wife and I created Hawthorn Petal Press, LLC. Today, Whispering Petals Press is our imprint and a resource center for other self-publishing writers.
2012 has been a learning experience about book-selling and distribution. I received a $1,000 Individual Artist grant from Region 2 Arts Council for marketing. The grant allowed me to purchase three advertisements in the New York Review of Books. The reason I used NYRB was because Steve Almond, a well-known East Coast author, had graciously written the Foreword for Muddy Jungle Rivers. Steve’s work is light-years from war genre literature. I reasoned that his name on a Vietnam War memoir would piqué his audience’s curiosity. Steve and I had developed an interesting connection when I studied under him in a writing workshop. After each advertisement in NYRB I experienced a small on-line sales increase but certainly not worth the cost of the ads.
One morning at breakfast, Kent Nerburn, a local resident and nationally recognized author, and I discussed book marketing and sales. Kent expressed frustration with the traditional publishing industry and said that he is impressed with the positive reception and interest he receives when visiting regional libraries. I respect his knowledge and experience.
2013 my goal is to expand into the regional systems of Kitchigami Regional Library and Lake Agassiz Regional Library.
My marketing plan is:
Sell a minimum of thirty books at each presentation. At that threshold, I can donate five dollars to the library for each book—a minimum of $150.00—and five dollars for each additional book sold. Because it is a Vietnam War memoir, I hope to create a partnership between the participating library and the local American Legion and other veterans’ organizations.
I just scheduled my first presentation at Lake Agassiz Regional Library—Fosston Branch, for April 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm. Rob Mayer, Commander, Fosston American Legion, is excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the library in this veteran Community Support idea.
If your organization is interested in booking a presentation, please contact me at email@example.com
Our community has been fantastic in their promotion of Muddy Jungle Rivers since it was published in April 2012. Thank you, Bemidji Public Library, Bemidji Community Art Center, Beltrami County History Center, Region 2 Arts Council, Luekens Village Foods, Book World, Kat’s Book Nook, TJ Design Studio, Shannon’s Art and Soul, KAXE Radio, Lakeland Public Television, David Quam Video Productions, and American Legion.
View Muddy Jungle Rivers interview on Lakeland Public Television at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3bWJGUstUo