I am pleased and proud to announce a Book Launch for Rails of War: Supplying the Americans and Their Allies in China-Burma-India. The event is open to the public and will be held June 25, from 2-4 p.m. at the Lloyd House, in Alexandria, Virginia. Click here for more information.

Rails of War is the story of my father’s World War II railroad battalion operating in India to support the Allied war effort in the China-Burma-India theater. The book is receiving positive reviews but, most importantly, I’m happy that the story will be told and remembered.

I hope you can make it and I look forward to seeing you there.  – SJH

So, you write and book and get it published. That’s the fun part. Then, you market the product in a fast-changing environment where your familiarity with technology is as important as your understanding of mass social dynamics. As for the technology and dynamics, I’m a babe in the woods.

I’m not a Luddite, and sometimes I’m even an early adaptor of new devices and software. Forgive me; I meant apps. But, my sense is that the definition of an early adaptor has shrunken to a matter of days, perhaps hours, not weeks. The whole world seems to catch on very quickly these days. So, to market, you have to get in front of the world feet spinning like a Roadrunner cartoon.

I have used the following undercooked tagline in a few emails with friends, so I shouldn’t be held to its voracity in public, “My early take is that writing is fun, marketing is not.” But, that’s neither profound nor true. The truth is that I’m working with incredibly talented folks at University of Nebraska Press, Hattaway Creative, and NC Strategic Solutions and I love it. . – SJH

When I began writing Rails of War more than twenty years ago, I had in mind that I would chronicle the story for the men who served, their families, and mine. Commercial publishing was not on my radar. But, as I dug deeper into the details of the 721st Railway Operating Battalion, I realized that the story is epic. Epic, in the sense that it has a hero compelled to an involuntary journey full of challenges, tests, and danger, who then returns to fulfillment and the sanctity of home.

Of course, there were many heroes in Rails of War besides my father, James Hantzis, but narratively speaking, the story holds water.

But, here’s the thing. To the men who served, most saw their grand adventure as a simpler plot. Almost to a man, they summed up their service this way, “We had a job to do, and we did it.” This, of course, is the understatement of true heroes. . – SJH