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Awards Season

In recent months, we have been honored to receive awards for Follow His Lead in the categories of military and animal fiction. We have also received kind book reviews in K-9 Magazine, the Vietnam Veterans of America Books in Review, and the Vietnam Dog Handlers Association newsletter Dogman.

Days ago, we learned that Follow His Lead has made the Short List for Chanticleer’s Hemingway Book Awards for “outstanding works for 20th Century Wartime Fiction.”

Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899 and became a journalist and war correspondent at a young age. His experiences in WWI led to his acclaimed novel A Farewell to Arms in 1929 just three years after his debut novel The Sun Also Rises. Years later, he witnessed the Allied invasion of Normandy, though was not allowed to come ashore. In 1953, he won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction and in 1954, a Nobel Prize for literature.

In March of 2019, my wife and I visited the Hemingway home in Key West, Florida. It was inspiring to see his writing studio above the garage and get a close-up look at some of his unusual six-toed cats. Later, a short visit to his evening haunt, Sloppy Joes, closed the day. Between fours wives, car accidents and plane accidents, he lived a rather complex life. It seems that pain and setbacks often inspire greatness in those who survive and then thrive.

I was recently interviewed on the radio by a book reviewer. He told me, “I really think this is the first ‘Feel Good Story’ ever written about Vietnam.” There have been plenty of other compliments about the book, but this one really resonated with me since it was an angle I had in mind the whole time. I wanted those who served in Vietnam to be proud of what they overcame during and after the war. The pain of leaving their friends and beloved dogs behind weighed heavily on an entire generation. I’ve met too many veterans now who hid the fact they served in that one war.

They deserve a ‘Feel Good Story’ before they leave us for good.

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