Thursday, September 17, 2009

Military Writers Society of America Names People’s Choice Finalists

The Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) recently announced eight finalists for its 2009 People’s Choice Award.

The open format competition presented over 800 MWSA members with an opportunity to write a story, poem, song or essay inspired by one of four patriotic pictures or sketches by MWSA photographers or artists.

Entries were required to be short enough to be read aloud in under five minutes in order to be read on the Veteran's Radio Show -- "Talking with Heroes" -- hosted by Bob Calvert of Colorado Springs, CO. The eight finalists' entries will also be read at the society’s annual convention on October 10th in Orlando, FL.

This year’s finalists are Mindy Phillips Lawrence, Springfield, MO; Jack L. Wells, Lakeland, FL; James R. Jellerson, Oahu, Hawaii; Jerry Yellin, Vero Beach, FL; Bonnie Bartel Latino, Atmore, AL; John Cathcart, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, FL; Marlyce Stockinger, Branson, MO; and Jeff Senour & CTS, Phoenix, AZ.

Their entries may be read as PDF files with links from this MWSA web page: After reading stories which interest you in the PDF file format, you can go back to the bottom of that web page and click on the name of the author you’d like to vote for, enter your name, and click the vote button.

Or you can vote by sending an email stating that you vote for (name of author) and (title of work). The e-mail address for each entry is listed at the bottom of each story. One vote per person or email account. Note: You do NOT have to register to vote.

Today Mrs. Lieutenant features the first 300 words of Bonnie Bartel Latino’s flash fiction entry “The Rush of Butterflies.” Bonnie is one of only two women who are finalists. You may remember Bonnie from her guest blog here about how she came to write for Stars and Stripes in Europe.

As her inspiration image, Bonnie chose an untitled sketch by MWSA artist Bob Larkin (see above). Although Bonnie was an active-duty Air Force spouse for 30 years, she gave her story an Army setting.

The Rush of Butterflies by Bonnie Bartel Latino:

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jerry Pruet loved America and the U.S. Army as if they were his blood relatives. Alone in his parked UH-1H “Huey” helicopter, he was a long way from the comfort and safety of family or country. He peered through the windscreen. Fog clouded his view as the sound of a northbound F-105 “Thud” reverberated overhead.

Not far away, somewhere in this godforsaken Quang Tri River Valley, six exhausted Rangers had been on the run all night. Radio reports painted a bleak picture. The North Vietnamese Army surrounded their long-range reconnaissance patrol.

Scanning the airfield perimeter for his launch signal, he saw no one. He pulled a snapshot of his wife from his flight suit. His mouth curved into a grin. Yen brought more than the "peace" her name implied. As fair of spirit as of face and form, she had proven as faithful as dawn. To thrive, he needed Yen, just as his helicopter needed JP-4 to soar.

# # #

The somber tones of Walter Cronkite reporting the daily body count from Vietnam filled Yen Pruet’s Honolulu apartment. She constantly rotated the gold band around her finger. When she and Jerry left her homeland, she never dreamed he would volunteer to go back.

Chills raced along her arms raising tiny bumps. Hawaiian friends called the unexpected sensations chicken skin. The description fit perfectly. From the day she and Jerry met in Soc Trang, they shared a sixth sense connection. It had never felt stronger.

# # #

“Mr. Pruet,” an operations sergeant said from outside the Huey. “The major says the Rangers are taking a heckuva lot of fire. We’ve got to get ’em outta’ there ASAP. Cobras aren’t available, and fixed-wings don’t have visibility in the zone.”

. . . To read more of “The Rush of Butterflies” and to read the other finalists’ entries, please go to Bonnie Bartel Latino’s PDF file found at

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION. She is also an Internet business consultant and the co-host of the BlogTalkRadio show

Phyllis' company provides Internet marketing training as well as social media marketing to promote your business more effectively.


Natalie Neal Whitefield said...

Thank you for publishing this entry from the finals of the MWSA People's Choice Awards. I love Bonnie's story so far and am looking forward to reading her entire novel!

Bonnie Latino said...


Thanks so much for sharing news about the Military Writers Society of America People's Choice Award contest and the first three hundred words of my "Rush of Butterflies" story.

I truly appreciate your generosity.

Bonnie Bartel Latino