For over three decades, Rock Graham has carried the physical and emotional scars from a tour in Vietnam. He is a decorated war hero, but guilt from what happened one dark night in a steaming southeast Asia jungle is always lying in ambush, waiting for an unguarded moment to set his demons free. When he tries to find solitude at a cottage on Lake Michigan in the dead of winter, a chance encounter on the desolate, frozen shoreline changes his life forever.
John Wemlinger has written a powerful novel about a veteran suffering from PTSD and the unlikely path that leads to his salvation. Winter’s Bloom is a poignant tale of loss, love and redemption that will keep you turning the pages.
Frank P. Slaughter, author of The Veteran and Brotherhood of Iron
I retired from the United States Army in 1995 after twenty-seven years of service. I was honored to have led soldiers and civilian employees of the Army at a variety of locations around the world. Those experiences were profound. They changed my thinking about many things, shaping me into the person I am today. After the Army, I worked for Walt Disney in Singapore, returning to the U.S. in 1999, determined to go back to a profession of service rather than profit. I chose public education as an administrator serving at-risk youth at several alternative high schools.
When the U.S. economy crumbled in 2009, I watched politicians at every level of government scramble. The accusatory finger-pointing between them solved nothing. In the meantime, people, many of them my age, nearing retirement, saw their homes foreclosed, IRA’s devalued and the idea of a comfortable retirement slipping away. I was particularly distressed at the state of affairs in Flint, Michigan, a city solely dependent on the auto industry for its existence. Like Rock Graham, the hero of Winter’s Bloom, I wanted to help, but what could I do? The answer: write the book!
I am blessed in many ways. I have a loving wife who supports my writing with her encouragement and critical commentary. I have a circle of friends, some of them writers themselves, who provide support and encouragement. Eight years ago, I stumbled onto Sydney, our border collie, a 7-week old puppy turned out on a frigid, late-November night by someone I hope I never meet. This bundle of energy keeps me moving and is the inspiration for many of the events that occur in Winter’s Bloom. On top of all this, I live in a richly beautiful part of our country. Northwestern Michigan, in the summer, is dominated by mild temperatures and Lake Michigan, both of which draw people from around the world. In the winter, it is empty, snow covered and magnificent beyond words. Some call it Up North. I call it Paradise.
The old adage that a picture is worth a 1,000 words has never been truer than in these times we live in. The picture is prolific. Where two or more people gather, someone will always take out the cell phone and snap.
I thought the reader might like to see some of the pictures that inspired me to writer Winter's Bloom. I am blessed to live in a region where Nature is a magnificent force nearly every day. Northwestern Michigan has four amazing and distinct seasons and I try to get out every day and take advantage of the marvels that each day presents. On the best days, my wife, Diane, and I are privileged to join our border collie, Sydney, in doing this. On those days when Diane's work pulls her away from us, it's just me, the dog and Mother Nature. How can one not be inspired to write?
Everyone likes a springtime walk.
I see you; you see me.
Ice mound as described in Winter's Bloom.
Keeping a Weather Eye Out.
Lake Michigan ice field.
Scenic overlook, M-22.
Author's Wife + Sydney at Tight Lines for Troops.
Author + Sydney in Far Far View's Sunroom.
Sometimes you just have to stop to smell the flowers.
The Light House at Little Point Sable
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