Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

Tag: Books on the Korean War (page 1 of 4)

A Boxful of Books

BooksOne of my fondest memories of elementary school was the day the books from the Scholastic Book Services arrived in my classroom. Back in the 1960s/70s when I was in elementary school, there would be a Scholastic Book Services book fair at school or our teachers would hand out a two-four page flyer-like catalog with books that we could order such as The Trolley Car Family, Homer Price, and 100 Pounds of Popcorn. We would take the flyer home, which also included an order form that we would fill out and then bring it back to school with our money. After our teacher collected the money, she would send it off to the Scholastic.

And then we would wait.

And wait.

And wait.

One week would pass; then another week.

Every day we would come to school we would look toward the front of the class to see if the “box of books” had arrived.

Another week passed.

And then one day it was there! Yes, right there on the teacher’s desk! It was like Christmas, the Fourth of July, and our birthdays all wrapped up into one and inside the box. We couldn’t wait for our teacher to arrive and distribute the books. One by the one, our teacher would call our names, and we would march to the front of the class, grinning from ear to ear as our teacher handed us our books. And then we would be back at our desks ooh-ing and aah-ing as we thumbed through our new books.

That’s kind of how I felt today when I received a box of my books. It’s one thing to see your book posted on Amazon or someone’s Facebook page; it’s entirely something else when you see your books that you ordered inside the box. This was the first time that I had a multiple title book order, so there was a lot of ooh-ing and aah-ing when I saw all these titles together in one box.

I’ve come a long way since Washington Grade School in Oglesby, Illinois but one thing remains the same: the thrill I get when I look inside a box and see “my” books.

Work in Progress: The Roads We Must Travel

500_F_58456380_SPF3r3PB4Bopt5SLe3GbBRpbTSoXaEitFor my next book, I am returning to my roots: the short story.

I am tentatively calling it The Roads We Must Travel.

I’ve been writing some new stories and tweaking some old ones (ones which have already been published in online literary magazines). Unlike my previous self-publishing projects, for this one I plan on submitting it to an indie publisher (keep your fingers crossed).

Currently, I have fifteen stories that I would like to include in this collection. Three short stories, in particular, “Mojave Green,” “Going After Sexton,” and “Black Roses” are stories that I cut my teeth on as a writer when I was in graduate school (1987-1989). These are stories which demand a wider audience: “Mojave Green” takes place at an Air Force base in the Mojave Desert; “Going After Sexton” takes place in Carbondale, Illinois; and “Black Roses” takes place in Chicago. Other stories are set in Cambodia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and Panama. One story, which I hope makes the cut, takes place on the night of the first night game at Wrigley Field in 1988.

This is a tentative list of stories which I hope to include in the collection:


As Long as I Have my Cokes and Smokes *

What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas *

For Emily

Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell

The Footlocker

Black Roses *

And that’s why they call it the Blues

Greetings from Cambodia

Night Shift

In Autumn, the Ancient Gingko Rains Yellow Tears

The Roads We Must Travel

Maid Rite *

Mojave Green *

Going After Sexton *

(* previously published)

After spending nearly two years writing my last novel, The Panama Affair, it is refreshing to go back to my roots and write some short fiction. Don’t worry, I have already started another novel. It’s a cold case thriller which takes place at Lake Arrowhead, California.

Welcome Home, Sgt. Paul M. Gordon


Another service member from the Korean War will soon be coming home:


Sgt. Paul M. Gordon was a farm boy from Dry Ridge, a top-notch basketball player who dreamed of one day going to Alaska to pan for gold.

He graduated from Crittenden High School when he was 16 and joined the Army soon after, in January 1949.

Gordon was 20 and serving in the Korean War when he died in June 1951 in a prisoner of war camp.

For decades, his family wondered about his fate.

“None of us really knew what happened to him,” said nephew Tony Gayhart of Burlington.

Now they do, and on Tuesday, Gordon’s remains will be brought to the United States, and he will be buried Friday at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North in Williamstown.

You can read the rest of the story here.

These articles always choke me up because of their connection to my Korean War novel, War Remains. However, this one hits a little closer to home because he was with the 38th Infantry Regiment of the US Second Infantry Division, the same division and regiment that Bobby Washkowiak was with.

Welcome Home, Sgt. Gordon.

War Remains — The LaSalle County Link

A Korean War Novel

When I sat down and started to write my Korean War novel War Remains in the fall of 2009, I based parts of the novel on some of the interviews I had with US Second Infantry Division veterans who were at such places as the Pusan Perimeter, Kunu-ri, Chipyong-ni, and Hoengseong.

Then, there was the LaSalle, Illinois link. I never intended to write a war novel; instead, I wanted the novel to be just as much about the war as the war experienced on the home front. Bobby Washkowiak could have been any service member from any small town in America who ended up in the Korean War. And as it turned out, I was a lot closer than I had ever imagined.

One of my friends, Doug Mayes, who lost an uncle at the same battle near Hoengseong, South Korea in February 1951, passed this link along to me. Although it doesn’t say which town in LaSalle County, most likely the soldier who was killed in action was killed at the same battle and the one that I describe in my novel.

Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. In this case, it hit very close to the heart and soul of this novel.

War Remains Cracks Amazon’s UK Top 20 Charts

Number 15 UK -- May 28 2013

Now I know how The Beatles felt when they cracked the US charts in the early 60s!

War Remains UK

War Remains US

Welcome Home, Pfc James Constant


It’s only fitting that a soldier listed as missing in action from the Korean War for nearly sixty years will finally return home this Memorial Day weekend.

It has been a long, convoluted trip but finally, 63 years after he was killed in action during the Korean War, an American soldier returns to the Indiana soil.

Pfc. James L. Constant, Beech Grove, was 19 when he died while defending an area near Changnyong, in what is now South Korea.

His funeral is Saturday at 1 p.m. at Beech Grove High School, 5335 Hornet Drive, with visitation from 11 a.m. Burial will be in New Crown Cemetery. The public is welcome.

Constant was killed Sept. 8, 1950. His body was recovered almost immediately. But it wasn’t recognizable. The remains were buried in a cemetery in Miryang, South Korea. Later, they were transferred to the United Nations Cemetery in Tanggok. Then they were moved yet again, to the U.S. Army’s Central Identification Unit in Kokura, Japan, for laboratory analysis.

After the lab failed to make positive identification, Constant’s remains were transferred to Hawaii, where they were interred with many other unidentified Korean War casualties in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl.

Following advances in lab analysis techniques, such as the advent of DNA testing, another attempt at identification was made in 2012. The attempt succeeded. Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, or JPAC, determined the remains were Constant’s.

Remains of hundreds of deceased soldiers are recovered each year, from Korea, Vietnam, even Europe, left from World War II. Between 80 and 100 are identified each year.

Constant is survived by his two sisters, Betty Kelley and Margaret Rigdon, and by many nieces and nephews. They declined to comment for this story. He was preceded in death by his parents, William Thomas and Jessie “Lula” Constant, five brothers and two sisters.

One more American has made the final trip home from a forgotten war.

Families with loved ones still missing from the Korean War who have read War Remains have told me that my story about Bobby Washkowiak could have been the story about their father, brother, or uncle who never came home from the conflict. That is such an honor for me when someone tells me how much my story has resonated in their lives and how it has helped them.

Welcome Home, Pfc Constant.

War Remains Cracks Amazon’s Top Ten

Number 6 -- May 22 2013And I am in some great company.

I know it’s only for a while (by now the book has probably slipped out of the Top Ten) but it was a good feeling while it lasted. I hope this exposure at the top of the charts will make more people interested in downloading a copy and that’s why it is still available for only .99 cents. Just doing what I can to create a little “buzz” for this book.

War Remains, a Korean War Novel

Upcoming Book Events: 10 Magazine Book Club


On Sunday, April 28th, I will be the special guest author at 10 Magazine’s monthly book club meeting. I’ve been looking forward to this event for some time and the chance to talk about my books, especially War Remains and Ice Cream Headache. Kudos to Barry Welsh, the organizer of this event, who personally invited me to participate in this event.

I am following in the steps of greatness, a who’s who of Korean Arts, History, and Literature including, Michael Breen, Daniel Tudor, Charles Montgomery, Andrew Salmon, and Robert Neff. I invite you to check out what they have written and done.

Now On Sale at Peru’s HyVee


I like what HyVee does: allowing local authors to sell one’s bo0ks at their stores. And now, people can buy Ice Cream Headache and War Remains, A Korean War Novel at the HyVee store in Peru, Illinois.

A few of my friends back in the Illinois Valley, including my best friend, Chris Vasquez, told me I should do this and that’s exactly what I have done. I sent a box of books to another friend, Billie Cassin, and she is going to be my go-between with HyVee. From this week, my books will be available at the Peru store.

Pretty cool, huh? It’s great that people, will browsing the books at HyVee will come across mine and perhaps buy it. Thanks to Anna Takahashi’s great cover design, Kris Wilke’s photograph and the blurb from the Boston Literary Magazine, people will most certainly notice it.

I might not be able to go home, but my books can.

Today HyVee. Tomorrow the world.

Welcome Home, Corporal James Rexford Hare

2013_02_20_HarePOW-thumb-300xauto-29484It could be a page right out of the Korean War novel, War Remains.

Another soldier, Corporal James Rexford Hare, has come home from a forgotten war. And this time, it’s a soldier who was captured during the battle at Hoengseong.

Hare was in the 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, which was part of the American forces supporting Republic of South Korea forces near the South Korean town of Hoengsong, when Chinese forces launched a massive counter attack, according to a news release from the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office in Washington.

According to the release, “During the attacks, U.S. and Korean forces were forced to retreat south. Over the next few days units of the 2nd ID were attacked again, suffering more than 200 casualties, including more than 100 servicemen being captured by enemy forces.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Thanks to advances in DNA testing, more and more remains are being identified and quicker than in the past. Although there are still more than 7,900 missing Americans from the Korean War, with each set of remains identified and another service member coming home brings hope to those families waiting for their loved one to come home.

Until They Are Home

War Remains (Ebook)

War Remains (Paperback)



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