Tuesday, July 27, 2021

NBtM Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway - Black Flag Journals: One Soldier's Experience in America's Longest War by Dennis John Woods

Welcome to my stop on the NBtM virtual book tour for Black Flag Journals: One Soldier's Experience in America's Longest War by Dennis John Woods. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as some interesting facts in a top 12 list by the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: Black Flag Journals: One Soldier's Experience in America's Longest War
Author: Dennis John Woods
Publisher: Koehler Books
Publication Date: September 11th 2016
Print Length: 343 pages
Genre: Memoir
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The story of America’s longest war is complicated and difficult to convey, unless you were there. Dennis Woods was there. By following his stories in Iraq and Afghanistan, we can sense the enormity of his combat experiences. Originally written for his daughter, Black Flag Journals is taken from the author’s nine battle book journals. It covers his time from the fall of the Twin Towers through his last combat tour.

Black Flag Journals contains not just stories from the first war of the new century, but a day-by-day record of events that other veterans may use to relate their own experiences. All who enjoy real life stories, and followers of history will connect with this first person account of America’s longest war.

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EXCERPT:
At higher echelons of command, the rules of engagement were used as a rheostat. That rheostat could be dialed up or down to adjust the level of violence. The level of violence was often adjusted to achieve military and political goals. At the soldier level, the rules allowed one to “kill with a conscience, if necessary.” I mention this now as, over time, the rules of engagement and what constituted a legal engagement would change from time to time based on conditions.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
CSM Woods combat tours include;
Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada, 82d Airborne Division.
Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm, Saudi Arabia – Iraq, 82d Airborne Division.
Operation Desert Fox 1998, Qatar, 5th Group Special Forces.
OEF 2 Afghanistan, 82d Airborne Division.
OIF 1 Iraq, First Armored Division.
OIF 6 Iraq, First Armored Division.
OEF X Afghanistan, 173D Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
OEF XIII Afghanistan, 191st Infantry Brigade

CSM Woods civilian education includes a Master of Education, (training & leadership) from North Central University, Prescott AZ, and a Bachelor of Science from Excelsior, Albany, New York.

Military education includes the United States Sergeants Majors Academy class # 58, Army force management course, Jump Master, Drill Sergeant, US Army Recruiter, Infantry Small Arms Master Gunner, Artillery Master Gunner, Amphibious Warfare leaders’ course (USMC), Anti-Armor Leaders course, Machine Gun Leaders course, Artillery Mechanics repair course, Small Arms repair course, Nuclear Biological Chemical defense, and all levels of air load planning and hazmat certification USAF.

CSM Woods awards include; one Distinguished Service medal, one Legion Of Merit,( 5) Bronze Star Medals, 5 Meritorious Service Medals, 4 ARCOM, 4 AAM, 1 Humanitarian service medal, 2 Armed Forces Expeditionary medals, Afghanistan and Iraq service medals. German Jump Master Wings, Qatar Jump wings as part of 5th Group, Netherlands Jumpmaster wings. Other awards include; Department of Defense “Inventor of the year” (2003) with 45 separate inventions. CSM Woods saved the United States Government over one Billion Dollars through cost avoidance. He is also the first recipient of the GRUBER award for an outstanding field artillery professional.

CSM Woods is credited by the US Army Smart Ideas program as the inventor of;
• The 105mm Howitzer night direct fire sight system M913 GELON.
• The 155mm towed Howitzer night sight system.
• The dual use day/ night direct fire sight reticule.
• The Dual optic MILES Laser trainer.
• The Urban Assault kit (PALADIN) improved crew protection, 155mm system.

On his most recent tour to Afghanistan, CSM Woods pioneered the first use of artillery training rounds in combat as a form of scalable fire support designed to limit civilian death and collateral damage. He is the author of, ‘Black Flag Journals One Soldiers Experience in America’s Longest War’, and numerous magazine, newspaper articles, including training pamphlets concerning Artillery, night vision, and combat operations.

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GUEST POST:
Ten things’ people do not know me as a first-time author are ten things that also helped me write.

1. Following the attacks of 9/11, I volunteered as a front-line soldier, during the great pandemic I volunteered again as an original vaccine test subject looking for a cure. In years to come when both events conclude, should I be asked by my grandchildren: what did you do in America’s longest war, what did you do in the Great Pandemic? I won’t have to say, well… I caught up on my TV shows. For in those times, I put myself in harm’s way in pursuit of the greater good. Therefore, participation in those events provided me with a unique story.

2. One aspect that made me an ideal subject to test vaccines was my low-level exposure and survival of nerve agent poisoning during the first Gulf War. And the following ingestion of nerve agent antidotes. The combination of which altered my DNA make up. The thought being that if my genetic makeup could metabolize that poison what else might it adopt to? While some listeners may reflectively reject this information, I ask that they hold for a few years. Historians typically wait 15-25 years post event to delve into a subject to bypass political spin of the era. Many of today’s blog participants will not be around when new data is released that may or may not confirm the presence of such substances. But one does have to ask: if the U.N. actively took part in, but never finished recovering chemical warfare agents following the first Gulf War. What happened to the remainder?

3. Depending on which Covid 19 vaccine one received if any, I may have been part of creating what resides in you now.

4. As a long serving soldier, 34 years of active duty, I deployed to war under every administration from President Reagan to Obama.

5. I managed to invent products that were adopted for use by the U.S. Government. Some of those products and devices are discussed in Black Flag Journals.

6. I am the originator of limited destruction for limited war as a means of reducing civilian death and collateral damage with artillery. In particular, the use of less lethal artillery training munitions in combat.

7. I did not suddenly gain acceptance of my first manuscript. I built an ever-escalating body of work by first publishing newspaper and magazine articles. Those articles facilitated the creation of instruction pamphlets. Together these things facilitated a publisher accepting my work. So, for future authors fear not. The process of publication does not have to be taken in one giant leap.

8. While much attention is given to stories of close-range fights, (I have 57 months in combat). I have just as much time practicing marriage counseling techniques with Afghan forces as a form of conflict resolution.

9. I once spoke 3 Middle Eastern languages and German with a Bavarian accent. After one particular night battle, upon hearing the words of dying men, I lost all but English. However, put a beer in my hand and German comes back when it is time to order.

10. I met and asked my wife of 33 years to marry me within 3 days of our initial contact. When I first laid eyes on her it was as if she had a yellow green light around her. More amazingly, she said yes.

11. As an inventor one of the strongest business lessons learned is having the right product name. A device that could have been adopted in the 90’s never came to light until its name was changed a decade later. When applied to publishing it highlights how important having the right book title is.

12. When developing the title for Black Flag Journals, I had to consider the stories origin and how it might place in search results. In Islam black is the designated color for Jihad and the reason so many of their execution videos featured a black flag in the background. As a consistent icon of extremist, the term black flag will remain popular for some time. The word Journals in the title denotes that the manuscript was derived from 9 journals kept for my daughter. It also didn’t hurt that when the first edition was published a popular video game titled Black Flag, Black Beards Revenge was also published.
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GIVEAWAY:
Dennis John Woods will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to one randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!
  
(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions assumes all responsibility pertaining to this giveaway.)
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

280 comments:

  1. Even though I know this book will make me very sad I must read it....

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    1. Thank you for the comment Michele S. Yes, there are some vignettes that may make one tearful. Some of the letters to my daughter still invoke emotion given the context. I never expected this to be America's Longest War. I though it would be over in a few years based on my previous wars experience, however, this conflict took us form Elementary School to Grad School. One of the driving factors behind my keeping the journals used in developing Black Flag Journals was a desire to explain my view of events as opposed to what my daughter was hearing second hand. Their are some uplifting chapters in this work too so expect an emotional rollercoaster following me through the First War of The New Century.

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  2. thanks this sounds like a great book

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    1. Thank you Wendy Hutton, please sign up for the $50.00 Amazon / B&N gift card. As this is the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, 2001 consider reading and reviewing one soldiers experience in America's Longest War.

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    1. Thankyou Rita, please share on social media.

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  4. I always enjoy reading about the author in any book review post. The wealth of information about Dennis Woods is author Dennis Woods is interesting as well as inspiring.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Thank you for the comment Nancy. This is my first non government work. Previous writings concerned; night fighting with large bore weapons, avoidance of civilian death when faced with an opponent who uses them as meat shields, standards of precision and time, as well as how to instructions on a number of subjects.

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  5. Sounds like a very good book.

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    1. Thank you Sherry, please sign up for the giveaway and share on social media.

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  6. Sounds like a great book. I love first hand experience top of books.

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    1. Thank you Peg42. Black Flag Journals, one soldiers experience in America's longest war covers my time from the fall of the Twin Towers to my last combat tour. It's not just my story though, it's representative of those I served with as well to include glimpses of how a family deals with war.

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  7. Thank you for hosting me. I'm currently on the set of a reality TV show in Hawaii with a 6 hour time difference between the East Coast. I'll check in through out the day for questions.

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    1. Oh wow, that sounds interesting and in Hawaii, even better! Enjoy yourself and thanks for stopping by. =)

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  8. It's nice to learn about your book, really neat experiences shared in there.

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    1. Thank you Calvin F. Please share and sign up for a chance to win a $50.00 dollar Amazon / B&N gift card. As this is the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, 2001, an inflection point in history, Black Flag Journals serves as a memorial for people I lost in battle.

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  9. wow. thank you for sharing this with us. this sounds like a very inspiring book.

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    1. Lori Smanski some people view Black Flag Journals as inspiring, others as a communication aid between veteran's and society. Most communication rest on having some level of common knowledge. Concerning war and society at large theirs's little common knowledge. In this work I use education through story telling as a means of building common knowledge. That knowledge then becomes the base of improved communication.

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    1. Thankyou Shelly Peterson. I hope you like it, the Journals this work is based on helped me explain events to my daughter when she became of age. With multiple tours in the Middle East I missed quite a few years of her life.

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  11. I enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you for the giveaway!

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    1. Thank you for entering. In the excerpt I included the rules of engagement. Something not covered by media of any type leaving consumers left to infer what was or wasn't considered at the time as legal.

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    1. Zelda, love the name. Thank you for the comment, if you care to consider posting a review on Amazon.

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  13. This sounds like an interesting book and I also like the cover.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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    1. The cover was designed by an artist at Kohler Books. The black colored book cover was selected as in Islam black is the designated color for Jihad. Extreme forms of this religion provided the animating force in many of the organizations we faced. So, in the title I chose Black Flag. The term Journals reflects the 9 battle book journals that I kept for my daughter. The words one soldier’s experience in America’s Longest war came from a GOV legal office as I can’t represent the entire Army. The way the artist incorporated shadows within the solid cover also tells a story in itself

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  14. Sounds like a great book. I like the cover and excerpt.

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    1. Susan1215 thank you for commenting. Please enter for a chance to win the giveaway and share on social media.

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  15. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

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    1. Yes Slehan the contest is something that Goddess Fish Promotions offered as an option. I chose to finance it as an interesting item for my first book blog tour. I've won prizes under similar circumstance's so it felt right

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  16. Thank you for the comment Deb PelletierC. Black Flag Journals documents a number of events that part of our collective history. It also offers a look into other cultures not seen in media presentations.

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  17. I think me and my husband would enjoy this book! Ty for the opportunity too!

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    1. Thank you for the post DreaDrake1. If you like real stories and historical events you'll enjoy Black Flag Journals One Soldier's Experience in America's Longest War.

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  18. Love the cover and the excerpt sounds amazing.

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  19. Amazingly Thomas alot of comments revolved around the rules of engagement excerpt. I include changes in the rules as they affect our actions in my book.

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  20. What an amazing story you have to tell. We will never forget,

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  21. The excerpt is interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

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  22. thank you for your response to my previous post.

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  23. Do you listen to music when you write?

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  24. How long was the writing process?

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    1. Thank you for the question Deborah. The journals cover 2001 to 2013. In 2016 I took about 4 months over weekends and while in air transportation. As this is the 20th anniversary of 9/11 I updated the manuscript to reflect wars end.

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  25. Where is your favorite place to write?

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    1. Slegan, my writing places are a desk in the back room, and the kitchen counter inside the house. Outside the house its definitely in the air or airport terminal waiting areas.

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  26. seems like change is inevitable. even in reenacting it is there. Is there a better time of the year that you find writing is better than other seasons?

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    1. Lori, as reports never stop I find that I can compose year round.

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  27. Replies
    1. I hope you like it Leela. Please sign up for a chance to win a $50 gift card and share. Also consider posting a review. Most of my reviews are on Amazon

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  28. Can you see yourself writing for the rest of your life?

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    1. Yes, I learning screen writing at the moment.

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  29. #1 Thank you so much for your willingness to help out at 9/11. A lot of volunteers were needed, and not just for that week. We have a very close friend who is a paramedic/fireman, and he was able to go and help out with rescue and those who needed a paramedic. Our friend is also a strong Christian, so he was able to help that way when he could. Hope in situations like this are crucial.

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  30. #2 Wow this is just interesting. I dont know much about nerve poisonings and what happened at the Gulf War. It seems odd that the antidote would alter your DNA. Wow but that opens up a whole slew of things. That is a good question-what happened to the remainder?
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

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  31. Where do you get inspiration from to write your books?

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  32. #4 Thank you so much for being one of the special people who have served to keep us free and safe.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

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  33. What author do you most admire?

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  34. What's your all time favorite book?

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  35. Guest Post #6 Thank you for what you did to reduce civilian casualties. Too many times I have read where this just wasnt something that was thought about.

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  36. Do you ever experience writer's block?

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  37. Is it difficult for you to think of a title and cover for your books?

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  38. How long did it take you to finish this book?

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  39. Guest Post #9 - There is nothing like the real thing to make the perspective not only different but realistic. I seems like this coaching would be something that is much needed where emotions run high and there is a lot of high stress.

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  40. Do you have a special place where you love to write?

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  41. Do you set an alarm so you don't write for too long at a stretch?

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  42. Guest Post #10 That is one of those wonderful stories that is so encouraging. Congrats on 33 years. We are now at 38 years. It is all about communication and commitment to each other.

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  43. Guest Post #11 You are so right about the right name. I know quilters who made fabulous patterns but didnt get published because of the name. I can so see that with books also. I have actually picked up one book years ago. The title was so interesting. But it didnt match the story at all. Strange indeed

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  44. What author do you most like to read?

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  45. What book are you currently reading?

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  46. This book is such an important story to tell. I love the idea of using the journals to relay past events.

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  47. David HollingsworthAugust 15, 2021 at 11:26 AM

    What's the next book going to be about?

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  48. I looked up information about: 105mm Howitzer night direct fire sight system M913 GELON. WOW What a neat picture. Congratulations and thanks for helping out our troops.

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  49. The 155mm towed Howitzer night sight system
    wow this is interesting. looks like this has become a very useful tool

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  50. Do you ever not been able to finish a book?

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  51. Do you write more or read more?

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  52. David HollingsworthAugust 17, 2021 at 11:53 AM

    How many times have you proofreading your own work?

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  53. I would think it would be a challenge to find the right title and cover for your books.

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  54. The dual use day/ night direct fire sight reticule.
    this is really an interesting tool. i really like that it can be used both in the day and at night.

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  55. Do you use a computer, tablet, or a typewriter to write on?

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  56. At what age did you start writing?

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  57. The Dual optic MILES Laser trainer. oh but this looks like a wonderful tool. practice at home.

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  58. Do you really want a comment a day for 2 months?

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    1. You don't have to leave a comment. Goddess Fish Promotions is the one who set up these giveaways. If it was up to me, I wouldn't have a comment daily option. I would just do a comment one time because otherwise, people start leaving pointless comments as well as comments that have nothing to do with the book or are repetitive.

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    2. You can contact Goddess Fish Promotions (who run these giveaways) at goddessfish@gmail.com and let them know about the commenting daily thing.

      Unfortunately, the giveaway is out of my hands.

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  59. The Urban Assault kit (PALADIN) improved crew protection, 155mm system. Some interesting handbooks.

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  60. What time of day are you most productive in writing?

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  61. What is the most impactful book you've ever read?

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  62. David HollingsworthAugust 21, 2021 at 2:40 PM

    How long does it take to write a book?

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  63. many authors seem to have a four legged helper. Do you have one or more?

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  64. while you are writing, do you see out a window that makes you peaceful?

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  65. David HollingsworthAugust 23, 2021 at 7:43 PM

    What's your favorite song to listen to when you need inspiration?

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  66. Do you have characters living in your head?

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  67. thank you so much for what you have done to help the USA. I know I quilt more in the winter, because I am busy in the garden during the summer. Do you have one season over another where you tend to write more?

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  68. What inspires your main characters?

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  69. I never thought about how vets don't talk much because the public really don't understand what they are talking about or what they had gone through. Oh now I feel 2 inches high. I know some vets and this will change. I can educate myself on some things so we can have a meaningful discussion. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

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  70. How do you handle writer's block?

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  71. What is your favorite book you ever wrote?

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  72. When do you start your next book?

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  73. I really like the idea that you all have journals that you can write in. Were there times where you didnt want to write something down?

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  74. David HollingsworthAugust 27, 2021 at 5:09 PM

    What is your favorite pastime when you're not writing?

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  75. How many pages do you try to write each day?

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  76. Sounds like a great read. Adding to my TBR list.

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  77. What inspires your book titles?

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  78. Did you always want to be a writer?
    Or did you consider other occupations?

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  79. What is your favorite childhood book?

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  80. What is your favorite genre to read?

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  81. Where has been your favorite place to travel to?

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  82. Do you prefer ebooks or solid books?

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  83. David HollingsworthSeptember 4, 2021 at 7:05 PM

    How many books of yours have you actually read?

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  84. Do you do a lot of people watching?

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  85. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

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  86. David HollingsworthSeptember 5, 2021 at 2:52 PM

    Did you have an emotional reaction while writing this book?

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  87. Is there anything weighing on your mind?

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  88. Do you take holidays as time off from writing?

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  89. Do you prefer writing in the cooler weather months?

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  90. david HollingsworthSeptember 8, 2021 at 2:45 PM

    Have you read anything this summer?

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  91. Do you carry a notebook with you when you are out to jot down thoughts about the book you're writing?

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  92. How often do you write books?

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  93. Have you always wanted to be a writer & what helped you to decide on it?

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  94. What do you drink while you're writing?

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  95. Have you ever had a dream that came true?

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  96. What is your favorite season of the year?

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  97. What is your favorite thing to do in the Fall?

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  98. Do you take weekends off from writing?

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  99. What's the scariest thing that's ever happened to you?

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  100. Do you write short stories too?

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  101. Are you a planner or a panster kind of writer?

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  102. What's your favourite keyboard shortcut?

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  103. What inspired you to write this book?

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  104. What would be your best advice for someone who wants to become a writer?

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  105. Have you ever won a giveaway before?

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  106. What do you think of books now?

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  107. Do you take time off from writing?

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  108. How much help have you received from other authors?

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  109. Tell me about the best day of your life.

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  110. I so want to read this one and love the cover.
    heather hgtempaddy

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  111. What's your favorite character?

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  112. I tend to get in a rut reading the same authors.
    I am going to read one of your books so I get some variety.

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  113. Have you ever dreamt up ideas for books?

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  114. What is your favorite movie genre?

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  115. What do you want to be for Halloween?

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  116. What's your favorite movie to watch on Halloween?

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  117. Do you use your local library for research?

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  118. Do you listen to music while writing?

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  119. how do you come up with the main story plot? thanks

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  120. Is this the first book you've ever written?

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  121. Happy Fall. What is your favorite season?

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  122. I like everything about this book - title genre & cover!
    Well done.

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  123. how do you settle on a plot twist? thanks

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  124. What's the furthest away you've ever been?

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  125. What is your favorite travel destination?

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  126. What's the best time to write a book?

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  127. What do you like to do in Fall?

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  128. Just saying Hello.

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  129. Do you prefer beach or mountains?

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  130. What did you do for your community this year?

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  131. What are you doing for Halloween?

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  132. I think this book would make me teary eyed if it had anything to do with war or related issues in the world. It deff looks like a good read for sure.

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  133. What's your favorite book you've written?

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  134. What's your favourite urban legend?

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  135. Thank you for your service - both my parents were also military

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  136. What is the best the piece of advice you have ever received?

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  137. looks like an interesting book - lots of work. thanks

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  138. What's your favorite season?

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  139. Have you ever been so stuck that you stopped writing a book?

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  140. Just saying Hello.

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  141. First of all, Thank You for your service. My husband was a Vet in the Vietnam War. He doesn't talk about it much, other than he was spit on wearing his uniform in the airport. Your book sounds very interesting to read. Thank you for sharing.

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  142. Thank for this book and for fighting our country.

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  143. What's your favorite sound?

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  144. When do you do your best writing?

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  145. Dennis John Woods certainly has led an outstanding career in the military. I am sure his experiences make his books ultra true to life.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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