Tag Archives: Seven in a Jeep

“The Genuine Articles” – An Excerpt from Seven in a Jeep by Ed Gaydos

The following is an excerpt from Ed Gaydos’s book Seven in a Jeep, reprinted with permission.


The Genuine Articles

Kline came rushing into my hooch with an M16. He had been in FDC only a few months, but had already figured out the angles of life in the field. There was an eager look in his eyes that always made me nervous. “I’m sending this home.”

“Kline, you can’t send your rifle home. What if you need it for something, like shooting at the VC?”

“It’s not mine.”

“Then whose is it?”


“It belongs to somebody. The Army keeps track, you know.”

“No, it’s a combat loss. I filled out some paperwork after the last mortar attack and made it a combat loss.”

“How’d you do that?”

“I got a form out of FDC. You weren’t there. I wrote I was sitting on the shitter when the mortars started coming in, but I didn’t say shitter, I said latrine. Then I said I jumped up so fast that my rifle fell down the hole. I wasn’t about to go in there and get it, especially with an attack going on. The next day the shit—latrine waste I think I said—got burned, along with the rifle. See? A combat loss.”

“Who signed it?”

“I just wrote the captain’s name where it said OIC. That means officer in command, doesn’t it?”

“No, but close enough.”

“Anyway, I made it squiggly.”

“You’re going to jail.”

“They gave me a new M16, so I’ve got this extra one that nobody knows about. Except now you and Junk Daddy.”

“Well, you can’t send it home.”

“I think I can do it. I know guys that have.”

“Kline, they X-ray everything that goes out of country.”

“That’s why I’m going to wrap it in tin foil, to fool the machine. Guys have done it.”

“It’s still going to look like a rifle.”

“Not if I send it home one piece at a time.”

“But even if you get it there, a fully automatic is illegal in the states.”

“Really? Cool.”

“What the hell, give it a try. I’ll visit you in Leavenworth.”

The next week Fred walked into my hooch. “I want to show you something,” he said and handed me a photo album. “I’m gonna send this home to my folks.”

“Wonderful,” I said flipping through the pages, “I’m sure they’ll like it.”

“You didn’t notice, did you?”

“Notice what?”

“The covers. Do you notice anything now?”

“They seem to be very nice covers.”

“They don’t look fat to you?”

“Well maybe a little, but nothing special.”

“Yes,” he said and pumped his fist.

“So what’s the big deal about the covers?”

“They’re stuffed with pot. And you can’t tell, can you? Listen, this is the best weed in the world. You can’t get stuff like this back in the world. And it’s cheap.”

“So your folks smoke pot. What is this, an anniversary present?”

When he grinned, his teeth stuck out in six different directions. “No, it’s for me…for when I’m back in the world.”

“You know if you get caught you’ll go to jail.”

“No I won’t. It’s foolproof.”

“What the hell, give it a try.”

What made me the go-to guy for sending illegal cargo through the U.S. Postal Service? Whatever it was I must have been good at it, because neither one of them got caught. To this day I imagine Kline in his den, a fire going, and mounted above the mantle is a fully automatic M16 rifle, the genuine article from Vietnam. And I picture Fred, seated in a circle of his closest pothead friends, the photo album on his lap, bragging about another genuine article from the war.

When the Military Police failed to show up for either Kline or Fred, I began to think about sending some of my own stuff home that I knew the Army would confiscate when I processed out of country. I had an AK47 banana clip, which I had come across partially sticking out of the ground on one of my jogs around the outside of our berm. Without thinking, I had bent down and pulled it out of the ground. It was only afterwards that it occurred to me what a stupid thing I had done. The VC, knowing the American weakness for souvenirs, often planted articles like this as booby traps. How many training films had I watched about booby traps?

I also had a handful of punji sticks, the sharpened bamboo spikes the VC planted in the ground along probable American patrol routes. I got them from a guy in one of the infantry units we supported. “They’re all over the place out there,” he said. “Smeared with shit ya’ know, so you get infected when you step on one. But don’t worry, I wiped these ones off.”

I wrapped everything in tin foil and sent the package home to my younger brother Joe. When Joe got the package he was thrilled. A nosy teenager, he gave the banana clip a close look, and then took it apart. Inside, tangled in the spring, were five live rounds. I remember thinking that the clip felt a little heavy, but didn’t give it much thought at the time. Then I realized that instead of a few wayward bullets stuck in its innards, the banana clip could have contained an explosive. What a present from Vietnam that would have made when young Joe opened the casing.

Today the bullets and the punji sticks are gone, lost in a move. The banana clip is back in my possession, a souvenir of the things that did not happen in Vietnam.


Seven in a Jeep: A Memoir of the Vietnam War is available from all major retailers, and as an e-book on all digital markets.  Find links to buy the book here.

Welcome to Author Shannon McRoberts

It’s good to make friends.

In addition to the wonderful people we’ve been meeting in person at book signings and speaking engagements, there are a wealth of great authors out there on the Internet. Small presses and independent publishing are growing by leaps and bounds.

One of our new friends out there is writer Shannon McRoberts, author of Verses of Athine: The Daughter of Ares Chronicles. You can find out about her work on her blog, The Obsidian Poet. Shannon was kind enough to tell us a little bit about herself, and to let Ed do the same on her blog.

So without further ado, what’s new in the world, Shannon?


Verses of Athine Trial 31)  Tell us a little bit about your book, Verses of Athine:  The Daughter of Ares Chronicles?  What are the main highlights?

The book is the overhauled version of all four of the stories in my series that have been published so far.  It focuses on Athine, an immortal born goddess, and her rise to obtain her mysterious destiny.  Is it her true destiny or one of someone else’s design?


2)  Tell us a little about yourself.  What is an interesting fact that you would like to share with the readers today?


I don’t think there is much interesting to share!  I spend most of my time working or spending time with my family.  Sometimes I get to make fantasy art or write on my books :)


3)  What is your favorite part about writing?


The creation of a plan and throwing in the twists and turns.


4)  What are you working on right now?  Is it top secret?  


No, I am still pounding away at Cursed Bloods, which is the next book in the series and picks up where Verses of Athine stops.


5)  Bologna or Ham?


Both.  Although I am more likely to eat ham because I have to be in the mood for Bologna.


6)  Do you listen to music when you write?  


Yes, I have to.  I have ADHD and I find that if I’m distractible I need the music to occupy my brain so I can concentrate.   I am mostly into heavy rock type music, but I also like country and sappy love songs (the sad depressing kind).


Shannon McRoberts
Shannon McRoberts

7)  Where can we find books you have written?


You can find me on Amazon and Smashwords along with B&N, Kobo, Sony, iBook 😉   I also have a few nice sites to visit: www.shannonmcroberts.com, www.daughterofares.com,  and www.theobsidianpoet.com.  I am constantly working on finding new website layouts.  I have recently discovered WordPress self-hosted and I am loving it!


8)  What genre do you like to read?


Fantasy mostly and sci-fi.  Paranormal things.  Sometimes I will read a romance IF it is something like Lara.


9)  Anyone you would like to give a shout out to?


Right now I would just like to give a shout out to my peeps at ASMSG (asmsg.weebly.com) and say go and visit this great group.


10) How long have you been a writer?


I have been writing since I was old enough to write :)  I didn’t come back to prose writing until around 2005 when I wrote The Secret of Genetic Corp X.


11) Do you write any poetry or make any kind of art outside of writing?


Why yes I do!  If you visit my www.shannonmcroberts.com or www.theobsidianpoet.com you can find a link to my Renderosity Gallery and Poetry blog!


12) What advice would you give to new authors?


If you have to spend your pennies wisely, invest in an editor.  Find good cover art even if you have to buy something pre-made.  Write the story YOU want to read.  Don’t copy someone.  Don’t listen to people who are mean just to hear the sound of their keys clacking.  Don’t give up on yourself.


13) What is the most important thing you have learned about marketing your “brand”?


If you are not on the internet you do not exist to many of today’s world.  You need to be on Facebook, GoodReads, Twitter, and have a website.  The more you are out there, the more your SEO goes up and the more likely people will find you!

Book Giveaway for Seven in a Jeep

It’s time for our latest book giveaway for Seven in a Jeep, this time with a little something not available for purchase.

We’re giving away a handful of autographed, limited edition Advance Review Copies (copies that are given to reviewers ahead of time, and may still contain some proofing errors).

The giveaway is taking place through Seven in a Jeep‘s Goodreads page, which you can access here. The giveaway ends in less than three days, so if you want a chance to get on it, check it out right away.

If you can’t wait for the giveaway, you can always find Seven in a Jeep in both hardcopy and digital edition on Amazon.

Serious, isn't he?
Serious, isn’t he?

Speaking of giveaways, have you taken a photo yet for our $20 Amazon gift card contest? You can find all the details about the contest here, but the short version is this: snap of photo of yourself (or a friend) reading Seven in a Jeep in a creative or interesting location.

Post it to social media with the #seveninajeep hash tag, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card, along with a signed copy of Surplus: The Long Arm of Vietnam.

Pretty easy, right? We thought so.

Swapping Stories

We had a great time yesterday swapping stories and watching Ed give his presentation on Seven in a Jeep to the Upper Arlington Senior Center current events discussion group. Our thanks go out to Earl Goldhammer for helping to organize the event.

UA senior center presentation 1One thing that always impresses me is the level of service performed by the generation represented at the UA senior center. Going around the room, nearly every senior in attendance either served in the Armed Forces, or supported a spouse or child who had served. Throughout Ed’s informal presentation, the other veterans shared their stories (both humorous and sobering) from their experiences in World War II, Korea, and even Vietnam. It’s one thing to read these sort of stories in a book; it’s a completely different experience to hear the tale as the one who experienced it speaks. This is why we do what we do.

Speaking of stories, we recorded Ed Gaydos telling a few of his own – here’s a little clip of him telling the tale that gave Seven in a Jeep its name.

As always, you can pick up your copy of Seven in a Jeep on Amazon.

A Great Review from The Ohio Book Review

A very flattering review of Seven in a Jeep was published recently on The Ohio Book Review blog. The kind words from writer James Nickras are greatly appreciated. You can check out the review here, and follow The Ohio Book Review through its Twitter feed.

“A mostly apolitical work, Seven in a Jeep avoids any real discussion of why the US military was engaged in combat against the North Vietnamese forces, instead using both the war and the military bureaucracy as darkly comic foils. From fake reports about flies, to incompetent fresh lieutenants put in charge of seasoned veterans, to minesweepers holding their helmets on with one hand for Army protocol, while sweeping for mines with the other, the war seemed to be more about regulations, protocol, and more regulations than anything else, and soldiers fought the rules just as much as they were fighting the Vietnamese. In this sense, Seven in a Jeep is reminiscent of Richard Hooker’s M.A.S.H.

A Busy July

July looks like it’s going to be a busy month for the folks here at Seven in a Jeep.

Between new contests, special holiday sales and public speaking engagements, Ed’s going to have his hands full for the next several weeks. And that’s the way we like it.

Just to give you a rundown of what we have coming up in the month of July, here are a few highlights:

Photo by Steve Dunleavy, courtesy of Flickr.
  • Our Independence Day Sale is underway, and will continue for the rest of the week. To honor the holiday, the Amazon Kindle edition of Seven in a Jeep is available for only 99 cents.
  • The latest book contest is well underway. For a chance at a $20 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of Surplus, all you need to do is photograph yourself reading Seven in a Jeep in an interesting setting. You can check out the details here.
  • Ed will be speaking at several spots around central Ohio this month. Kicking things off next week will be a presentation at the Upper Arlington Senior Center with its Current Events Discussion Group on July 9, followed by a book signing at The Book Loft in Columbus on July 11. Feel free to come out and join the discussion!

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

Now that a little bit of buzz has started with Seven In a Jeep, Ed’s going to be speaking at a number of locations around central Ohio in the coming months. One that we’re especially excited about is this Sunday, at the Wild Goose Creative in Clintonville.

As it says on its web site, WGC is ” a catalyst and a gathering place for local artists, audiences, and creative people. With a multipurpose creative space at 2491 Summit Street that is sometimes a gallery, sometimes a school, a kitchen table, a living room, a concert hall, or a dance floor, Wild Goose Creative cultivates the creation of excellent and surprising art.”

Ed’s speaking from 6-8 pm this Sunday, June 23, for WGC’s writing group. He’ll talk about about his experiences in Vietnam, his writing process, and he’s even got a slide or two to show (if you follow the Facebook page, you’ve seen some of these already). He’ll also be signing and (hopefully) selling a few books afterward.

Stop on by if you’re in the area, to meet Ed or to just find out what Wild Goose is all about. The more the merrier! There’s also a few more public events at which Ed will be presenting in the coming month; we’ll update you on those once they’re set in stone.