Tag Archive for Contests

Mrs. Lieutenant – Winner and Questions Answered


The winner of Mrs. Lieutenant from the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival is Jo, who asked:

Was your info on the four different wives taken from the lives of family and friends, or of strangers? Are you portraying yourself in one of the four women?

Phyllis Zimbler Miller responds to some reader questions:

Great questions! And instead of trying to answer all of them individually, I’m going to write overall replies that I hope will answer almost everything.

Background of Novel/Characters

I wrote this novel based on personal experiences I had in the spring of 1970 when I was, indeed, a new army officer’s wife at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, right after the Kent State National Guard shootings.

Of course I mashed up incidents and people’s characteristics. And I dramatized and expanded incidents and personalities.

But what’s true is that, besides me – a Jew from Elgin, Illinois, on the entertainment committee for the graduation luncheon for the wives of the AOB officers were a Southern Baptist, a black, and two Puerto Ricans, one of whom didn’t speak English. Needless to say, we all had to do some adjusting to each other.

And while Sharon Gold is the closest character to me, I was not an anti-war protester. I had my head stuck very far in the sand in order to ignore the nightly news of fighting in Vietnam because my husband had said on our third date: “I’m going to Vietnam.”

In fact, my husband served two years on active duty, although he had signed up for a third year under a voluntary indefinite program. Then the military decided to reduce the number of ROTC officers on active duty.

Coverage of Iraq War/Fictional Depiction of Combat

One of the differences between the media’s coverage of Vietnam and today of the Iraq War and the fighting in Afghanistan, I believe, is that there was a draft during the Vietnam War. This meant that many more people were affected by what was happening half-way around the world. Today, with an all-volunteer army, the war isn’t as much of a major topic, so I think the media tend to give less coverage to war news.

And as to whether any book or movie can ever completely represent what it is like in combat, I don’t think so. But sometimes there are telling moments in a fictional story that are very compelling.

There’s a moment in the movie THE DEER HUNTER before two of the protagonists escape their captors that has forever stayed with me: An unknown American soldier stands waist-high in water in a wire cage with blood dripping down his face. He’s alive, but he’s not there; he’s retreated from the reality of his surroundings. To me the hopelessness on his face feels completely real.

Various Questions Answered

What I think is most applicable from those days to these days is that it is important to show support for the troops. While showing appreciation doesn’t promise to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder, it must be helpful to have a supportive public rather than a hostile public.

Best perk of being an army wife was when we lived in Munich we could travel all over Europe (on a very limited budget). And traveling around Europe is the one thing I do miss from my army days.

Hardest thing was worrying about my husband being sent to Vietnam.

For people who have no idea what the military is like, I think the most important thing to understand is that it is a very large extended family. And soldiers have to trust their comrades to have their backs. Thus military spouses must accept this reality and be willing to play their part as to what is expected of them.

I frequently blog about Lifetime’s ARMY WIVES at mrslieutenant.blogspot.com. I’ve read the non-fiction book by Tanya Biank on which the series is based, so I know how the stories have been changed from the book. And because it has been 36 years since I was a Mrs. Lieutenant, I can’t vouch for how accurate the series is.

I also can’t say how things have changed for junior officers’ wives since that time. But I’m pretty sure the wife of a low-ranking enlisted man still can’t be good friends with the wife of a post’s commanding general as in ARMY WIVES. [Technically, spouses of service members of any rank can be friends. Fraternization rules apply only to the service member. However, the restriction on fraternization for the service member can make such spouse friendships difficult. –Ed.]

The biggest challenge in writing this novel was giving up being a journalist (I have a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University) and learning how to write as a novelist.

While I can’t speak personally about how to stay connected as I wasn’t separated from my husband, I can say what I think is the hardest part of being a military wife: Not having control over your own destiny. Some bureaucrat somewhere can change your life forever. (In my case an army clerk in St. Louis probably saved my husband’s life when she postponed his active duty date until he got a response on his request for a branch transfer from infantry to military intelligence.)

Helping Our Troops

Right now Operation Soldier Care is a collaborative summer project between eMail Our Military and Mary Kay sales director Nancy Sutherland to get sun care and skin care packages to the troops dealing with the desert heat in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Go to http://emailourmilitary.blogspot.com to learn about the different ways you can help this project.

In addition, on my website www.mrslieutenant.com there’s a section about organizations supporting military families and personnel. One in particular – Soldiers’ Angels (www.soldiersangels.org) – is involved in sending letters and packages to deployed troops. And be sure to send your old cell phones to Cell Phones for Soldiers (www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com).

[There is also a post on An Army Wife’s Life about supporting our troops.

Thanks, everyone, for such good questions. I hope you’ll all read MRS. LIEUTENANT, and you can reach me through my website at www.mrslieutenant.com with more questions. And thanks to Candace at An Army Wife’s Life for hosting this giveaway. I really appreciate it.

Please feel free to continue the discussion in the comments section!!!

Mrs. Lieutenant Giveaway

We had a lot of fun last time with our giveaway of a signed copy of Mrs. Lieutenant, by Phyllis Zimbler Miller. Check out her guest post about an Army Wife’s First Day.

So, for the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival we’re doing it again!

Mrs. Lieutenant is a great read for anyone who enjoys Vietnam-era historical fiction, stories about the life of a military spouse, or a book that explores the relationships between a group of diverse women.

To enter to win a copy, just leave a comment here by August 1, 2008, 11:59 PM EST with a question for Phyllis Zimbler Miller.

You can visit the Mrs. Lieutenant site and/or check out her guest post from last month for ideas. You must leave A QUESTION for the author. Comments that simply say, “win” or “hello” or “nice book” will not be eligible. All readers with US, US military, and Canadian addresses are eligible.

Check back and we’ll post (and e-mail) the winner and, as a bonus, Phyllis will also answer a few select reader questions (will post on the morning of August 2). So don’t forget to bookmark An Army Wife’s Life and come back next week!

PS–A reader told me she got an error message. Not sure why Haloscan is acting up, but if you are unable to leave a comment, feel free to e-mail me your comment and your nickname and I’ll be happy to post it for you. Have fun with the contests!!!

“Tell-Your-Own-Story” Contest for Military Spouses

YourMilitary.com Announces “Tell-Your-Own-Story” Contest for Military Spouses forSeason 2 of the Lifetime ARMY WIVES TV Series

From June 8 (premiere of Season 2) to June 29

Submit the Story of Your Happiest, Saddest or Most Significant Moment as a Military Spouse (All Branches Eligible)

Go to www.YourMilitary.com and click on “Contest Submission.” Fill out the submission form, including a title for your story. Then paste your story into the box (500 word maximum). Present and past military spouses may submit multiple entries.

In honor of the Fourth of July – YourMilitary.com and YourMilitarySpace.com will feature the best 15 submissions. All 10 2nd place winners will receive prizes from YourMilitary.com, including the new book Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel by Phyllis Zimbler Miller (www.mrslieutenant.com). The five grand prize winners will also receive Season 1 of ARMY WIVES on DVD.

And in the meantime, check out the information on www.YourMilitary.com – information to help make your life better.

Military Supporter Contest Winner

First, I want to thank everyone who entered the Military Supporter Contest I hosted for the The Bloggy Giveaways Carnival. It was a lot of fun and I definitely plan on participating again.

Lots of troops and their family members find this blog and I think they will be heartened to read your words of support. It is nice to hear from even a handful of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who support our troops, regardless of their personal political opinions.

I’ll be mailing the book and bracelet this week and I’ve sent out the donation in honor of our winner, Christine, who said:

I want to say a big thank you! to all the troops who are serving our country and to my husband who is on deployment now also. Thank you so much!

Christine told me her husband will be home very soon, so please keep him and all of our soldiers in your thoughts and prayers.

Even if you didn’t win, you can still donate to the USO, and even make your donation in honor of someone: Support the USO. Show US troops America still cares. Give what you can today!!!

A Prize for Military Supporters (USO Donation in Your Honor, The Sandbox, and a Bracelet)


I have a great time participating in the Bloggy Giveaways, and the last few times, I’ve given a military book. Frankly, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the number of contest entrants who popped over to enter either for themselves, or for those they know who are in need of some moral support.

This time, I was trying to think of something that was military related but would have a broader audience.

So, here’s the prize–a military supporter pack:

To enter, leave me a comment by 11:59 PM, Friday April 25th about how you show support for our troops–or leave a supportive message for our troops! Put your e-mail in the e-mail field and I’ll be able to reach you but it won’t be publicly visible. I’ll ship to any US, Canadian, or US Military address.

If you’d like to enter more contests, check out
The Bloggy Giveaways Carnival, this contest post is part of that carnival!

On my personal blog, I’m giving away a copy of Deceptively Delicious.

Also, we have lots of contests on Mamanista, my baby gear review blog.

The Homefront Club Military Wife Advice Book (Review and Contest)

The Homefront Club: The Hardheaded Woman’s Guide to Raising a Military Family is essentially a much needed pep talk for Military Wives.

Author Jacey Eckhardt provides a way of looking at the life, not as a burden, not as a paradise, but simply as it is. Military Life, just like any other, has its ups and downs and its pros and cons, although the service does seem to heighten the highs and the lows.

The key to a happy life, military or otherwise, is how you view it. There are plenty of guides out there that will tell you what to do as a military spouse, but The Homefront Club shares some ideas about why.

Another guide book may tell you all about TRICARE and teas and coffees, which is useful information, but quirky variations between branches and posts and sudden changes of policy can quickly render any authoritative statement obsolete. So, instead of trying to take the place of a good Family Readiness Group, Eckhardt helps the reader put herself in the right frame of mind to make the most of her husband’s military career.

Don’t worry, though, this isn’t a rah, rah, Stepford Wife, rose-colored glasses kind of book. The book acknowledges all of the sacrifices inherent in military life. Assuming your husband is worth those sacrifices (and Eckhardt says he absolutely has to be for things to work), how can you accept and even embrace these challenges?

You don’t have to fall in love with the military, but if you are in love with your husband, isn’t it better to celebrate your life, rather than to wallow in misery?

After providing this food for thought, Eckhardt gets down to advice for military wives about finding a job, moving, and raising a family. She provides some excellent resources and ideas. The strength of the book lies in helping the reader be open to these suggestions.

We’ve all met the person who just wants to complain. You try to offer some help, but for every idea, she has a reason why it just won’t work. Eckhardt first tries to adjust that perception, then provides the strategies.

In addition to a philosophy of Military living and lots of tips, the book also has plenty of laugh out loud anecdotes about our warriors, our children, and ourselves.

Like many first editions, the book could use a little more editing–there are some minor errors and sometimes the train of thought gets a bit muddled.

Overall, though, The Homefront Club is an excellent read for a military wife at any stage of her “career.” Newcomers will get a helpful introduction that could save them years of bitterness. Wives a few years in will find a friendly voice to guide them in redirecting their thoughts towards happiness. And old timers will get a friendly reminder about why they continue to choose this life.

WANT IT: BUY The Homefront Club ($13.57)

WIN IT: I have a gently used copy (I read it once for the purposes of the review and the back cover has a crease from our latest move) up for grabs for anyone who would like this book for themselves or someone they know. Just leave a comment here with a helpful tip or a few words of encouragement for military spouses by February 1, 2008, 8PM EST. I’ll choose the winner at random and will ship to any US (including US Military addresses that count as US shipping) or Canadian address. This contest is part of the fabulous Bloggy Giveaways. Check out the other contests, but be sure to first leave your comment on this post if you want to be eligible to win this book. Good luck!

Win it on Wednesday! – November 14, 2007

If you are hosting or know of a bloggy giveaway, just drop it in the comments and I’ll add it if it is still active next week!

Also, I’d love for you to check out:

Win it on Wednesday! – November 7, 2007

Got another bloggy contest for me to add? Leave a comment! And let me know if you win something!!

Sammy’s Soldier Giveaway

Wow! I added the contest late in the giveaway and I did not think there would be so many military families and friends of military families playing!

I wish I had forty-four copies to give away–there were so many touching stories about military children who need some support and encouragement while their soldier is away! I would strongly encourage you to ask your local or post library to pick up a copy. If you are near or on an Army Base, Army Community Services and the unit Chaplains should also be able to order copies to share with families.

Also, I will have an interview with Sarah White, the author of Sammy’s Soldier, in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, check out her new MySpace for “Sammy’s Soldier”.

Without further ado, random.org chose: Margaret Herrin.

If I don’t hear from her by this Wednesday, I’ll select another winner. Thank you to everyone who entered. Hopefully you all won at least one Bloggy Giveaway.

ETA: Sarah White has also begun a wonderful blog, called “Healing Little Heroes,” on which she will share advice, tips, and information to help children of military families from her perspective as a trained counselor, mother of two, and wife of a former Marine. One of her first articles is about preparing children for a deployment. She was so touched by your interest in the book, she is giving away two more signed copies of Sammy’s Soldier on her blog this week.

If you didn’t win: If you would like to purchase a copy of your very own, Sammy’s Soldier is available on Amazon.

More Contests: Remember, I’m listing more awesome contests throughout the blogosophere on my Win It On Wednesday feature. Check it out for more chances to win.

More Military Family Bloggy Fun: Finally, I hope you’ll stick around to participate in my new Military Family Carnival (starts Monday) and consider Guest Posting on An Army Wife’s Life (all members of the Military family are welcome–you don’t have to have a blog to share and I will accept anonymous contributions)!

Sammy’s Soldier Helps Children Cope With Deployment: Review & Contest

Sammy’s Soldier is sweet picture book, written to help young children feel more comfortable with the deployment process. You can have a chance to win a signed copy at the end of this post.

As both a trained family counselor and the wife of a former Marine, Ms. White understands how confusing and trying deployments can be for our littlest patriots.

Her book follows Sammy through the preparations leading up to his father’s deployment, some of the activities Sammy and his mother do during the deployment, and then finally the homecoming. Personally, I would have enjoyed seeing a few more pages identifying ways Sammy and his mother pass the deployment.

The naturalistic illustrations and simple text make for an easy and enjoyable read for children, ages 3-8. At the end of the book is a page for the child to draw a picture of his or her own hero.

This picture book is a wonderful starting point for children to discuss deployment with their families, including their feelings about the deployment and also ways they can cope with their emotions positively.

Military life is certainly different from civilian life (in fact, this review was delayed as our final military move ended up taking up more time and energy than I had planned) and Ms. White understands that. Sammy’s Soldier goes a long towards normalizing the deployment experience, making it less threatening and stressful for military children.

This is a great book and I’m hoping to pass it along to someone who can use it. Whether you have a young child who loves a soldier, or you know of a friend who would like the book, or you are a soldier’s angel, it is simple to enter this contest.

As part of the Rocks in My Dryer Fall, Y’all Bloggy Giveaway, I’m hosting a giveaway of a copy of this book, which has been signed by the author.

All you have to do is leave a comment by November 2 and make sure to include an e-mail or website where I can reach you. Your e-mail does not appear publicly but I will be able to view it. I hate spam and will only e-mail you if you win!

Contest Ends: 11:59, November 2 and the winner will be announced on Nov. 3

While you are here, don’t forget to check out my upcoming Military Family Blog Carnivals (with a prize) and the opportunities to Guest Blog.