As a writer and speaker, I do many public presentations. I do speeches with slides about my experience during the Vietnam war, a class on fiction craftsmanship, and readings from my published novels and short stories. I can’t speak publicly about my experiences after 1975 because they’re still classified.

And occasionally, I do presentations on opera. That results from my more than ten years of presenting introductions to operas to be telecast from the Met at senior centers around the Washington, D.C. region. I hold a BA in music and became an opera devotee before writing took over my life. The presentations were very popular, and I enjoyed doing them. But as my books were published, I found I had less and less time for anything other than writing and speaking about the subjects I focused on in my writing. Nevertheless, once a year or so, I get a request to present about an opera shown on DVD.

My readings are from my four published novels and 17 short stories, derived, for the most part, from my 13 years in and out of Vietnam. Between 1962 and 1975, I was in Vietnam at least four months every year, and I escaped under fire when Saigon fell. Later this year, I’ll add two more books I’ll be reading from. My Secretocracy will be published in March, and Coming to Terms will come out in July.

My class on fiction is intended only for writers. It details the practices required to write publishable fiction—the rudiments of craftsmanship unique to fiction—basic reference materials, formatting, copy editing, and wording and structure, with a primer on the construction of dialogue.

More tomorrow.

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