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Posts Tagged ‘Phyllis Zimbler Miller’

Courtesy of the Boston Bibliophile, here’s this week’s Tuesday Thingers … Today’s topic: LibraryThing authors. Who are your LibraryThing authors? What books of theirs do you have? Do you ever comment on an author’s LT page? Have you received any comments from an author on your LT account?

There are only two LT authors that I’ve read:  Phyllis Zimbler Miller (Mrs. Lieutenant) and Emmett James (Admit One).  Both of these were for blog tours, and we e-mailed and commented on blogs and LT accounts as part of the communication process before and after reviewing.

I’ll be doing an author tour with David Ebershoff (The 19th Wife) in November for TLC Book Tours, so he’ll be added.  I’d love to say I have Meg Waite Clayton (The Wednesday Sisters), but her novel is still on my wish list, not yet in my library!

I have heard from several (non-LT) authors after my review of their books have posted on my blog.  So many of them use “Google Alerts” or other notification services that they know right away when their name is mentioned in the blogosphere!  Since I usually e-mail a copy of my review (or a short note with a link to the review) to the author/publicist/publisher, I’m always surprised when an author “beats me to it” by contacting me shortly after my review has posted.

I’ve suggested LT Authors to someone whose work I recently reviewed.  I like the features available, such as author chat, and think it would make the author more accessible and more connected with his readers.  Here’s an idea for a new LT feature – a button/form/link that we could use to invite an author to join (does this already exist?).

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Random.org selected lucky #4 as the winner … Congratulations to Lori Barnes who won the giveaway of Phyllis Zimbler Miller’s Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel!

If you’d like to learn more about the author and the inspiration for her debut novel, click here.

 

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Phyllis Zimbler and Mitchell Miller at the Coronation Ball at Michigan State University on Saturday, November 18, 1967, sponsored by the Cadet Officers Club and the Arnold Air Society.

 

 

 

  

The U.S. Army as a Foreign Culture

Guest Post by Phyllis Zimbler Miller

 

 

In the comments to her review of MRS. LIEUTENANT, Dawn wrote this:

I enjoyed the novel because it allowed me to “experience” three things I haven’t in my life:

1. being an adult aware of the repercussions of the war in Vietnam (so I drew parallels to my own experience with the effects of the current situation in Iraq)
2. being in or involved with an active member of the military
3. moving into a culture so foreign from what I am used to, and having to figure out how far I was willing to adapt

As Dawn graciously offered me the opportunity to write a follow-up guest post to her review of the book, I wanted to talk about moving into a foreign culture:

 

Just as I began to write this post something that happened 28 years ago flashed through my mind.  My husband and I were moving from Philadelphia to Los Angeles because we wanted to live in LA even though we had no friends or family there.  A friend in Philadelphia said: “How can you leave all your friends here and start over trying to make new friends?”

 

Our reply: “We have already lived through an active-duty army experience, so we know we can make friends anywhere.”  My husband and I were no longer afraid to move someplace new.

 

Women and men who have never served in the military or have been a military spouse may have a hard time understanding that regardless what you think of a current war being fought if you are in the military (or a military spouse), the people who serve alongside you are your family.

 

Early in MRS. LIEUTENANT, Kim and Jim Benton visit the quarters of a captain and his wife.  Jim asks a question of the captain about Officers Candidate School (OCS) and this is what the captain replies:

 

“I’m talking about my buddies.  In OCS – OCS is hell on wheels, 120 days of pure hell – you can’t survive if you can’t trust your buddies and they can’t trust you.  There’s a motto – ‘Cooperate and graduate.’”

 

And that’s what I learned as a new officer’s wife in the spring of 1970.  Everyone is in the same boat.  You might as well extend a helping hand because someday you may need that helping hand in return.  In addition, you might as well try to work within the system so that your life is easier rather than harder although you can push the envelope somewhat as Sharon does in MRS. LIEUTENANT with the skit she writes for an official function.

 

Lifetime TV’s series ARMY WIVES portrays this bonding friendship between the wives of officers and the wives of enlisted men.  This was not true in 1970 – the wives of officers and enlisted men did not mix – although I understand this class separation has been easing nowadays in the military.  (If you would like to know more about current army life, read Tanya Biank’s non-fiction book ARMY WIVES that is the basis of the television series.)

 

And if you’d like to show support for military families today (or deployed soldiers), check out my website at www.mrslieutenant.com to find out how you can help.

 

(note from Dawn:  Many thanks to Lisa at Books on the Brain and Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book Promotion for introducing me to Phyllis.  ** Check back on Tuesday June 24 for an announcement about a contest for a copy of Mrs. Lieutenant! **)

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  • Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel by Phyllis Zimbler Miller
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (April 7, 2008 )
  • Paperback: 494 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1419686291
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419686290
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    In Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel, Phyllis Zimbler Miller tells the lives of four young women who accompany their husbands to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, as the men attend a nine-week Armor Officers Basic (AOB) school.  Set in 1970, in the midst of the war in Vietnam, the couples live with the very real possibility that each man might be sent to fight, and might not return.

     

    The women come from vastly different backgrounds:  Sharon is a Jewish girl from the North side of Chicago who holds liberal social and political views and is accepting of those of other races, religions or family history.  Kim is a Southern Baptist from North Carolina; raised in foster homes, she has been trained to be suspicious of those who are different than she.  Donna was born in Puerto Rico, and grew up as an “Army brat” while her father, an enlisted man, moved the family from one post to another.  Wendy is a black woman from South Carolina; her mother and father, a doctor, have sheltered her from the rampant racial discrimination that has plagued the country.

     

    With the men busy during the days, and with the expectation of the Army that the women will exhibit behavior becoming an officer’s wife, the four struggle to find their place in their new lives.  The realities of off-post housing, one car families and the need to work together on committee bring the four women together for practical and social reasons. 

     

    As they spend more time with each other their relationships gel, they learn to trust one another with their secrets and to rely on the friendships that develop.  Each woman faces a crisis at some point during their time at AOB, and they realize how much they depend on, and appreciate, this support network.

     

    Each chapter is narrated in the third person, in the perspective of one of the four officer’s wives.  Sharon is the thread that binds them together; almost twice as many chapters are devoted to her perspective as to any of the other three women.  In this way, their individual stories blend together into one cohesive novel.  Ms. Miller provides relevant character history as memory or flashback scenes; we get a very clear picture of the experiences that have shaped these women.

     

    The title of the novel, Mrs. Lieutenant, is from a guidebook of the same name, written in early 1970 by Mary Preston Gross.  This booklet was “an invaluable guide for an officer’s wife,” detailing expectations such as proper use of calling cards, acceptable dress for any occasion, and how to host a tea.  Ms. Miller includes a quote from the booklet as well as a true news headline at the start of each chapter; this adds authenticity to the narrative, as well as a sense of urgency as the Vietnam conflict escalates and the casualty rate rises.  

     

    The author herself was a Mrs. Lieutenant at the same time as the fictional Sharon Gold.  Clearly her own observations have added rich detail to the emotions shown by the four main characters.  There are many parallels to our current conflict in Iraq, which will resonate with the general reader, and especially with a reader in a military family.  The book’s website offers discussion group questions, information about how the reader can support military families, copies of authentic documents from Ms. Miller’s time at Ft. Knox, and a glimpse of each main character in out-takes from the book.  Read the first four chapters online; you’ll want to buy the book and read more!

     

    Ms. Miller has previously written a non-fiction Jewish holiday book, Seasons for Celebration, as well as Flipping Burgers and Beyond: Find Your Own Path Through High School, College, and Life.   I was pleased to read in an interview on Fiction Scribe that she is currently at work on not one, but two sequels to Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel; the first, Mrs. Lieutenant in Europe detailing Sharon’s time during her husband’s assignment in Germany, the second about her return to civilian life.

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