Dec
11

Revisit notes success: Trio of transitions for army veteran, McKendree R. Long III

On this WoW, Words on Wednesdays at year end, we revisit and record new success in Mike Long’s story of transition from military member, to money manager to award winning writer.

Below you’ll find a revisit of Mike Long’s progress since we first published the rest of this post on September 25, 2013. Kudos and congratulations to Mike.

The Military Writers Society of American (MWSA) bestowed the 2013 Gold Medal, Historical Fiction on Long’s book: Dog Soldier Moon.

Recently accepted for publication is: Unfinished Business, for Cactus Country IV Anthology, Resurrection in Broken Promises Anthology and Choteau’s Crossing in Rough Country Anthology. And, his No Good Liked It Is just went live as an audiobook on Audible.com, iTunes, and Amazon.

On December 15-16, he’ll be signing books at the Mike Kent Gun Show,SC State Fairgrounds.

It’s inspiring to follow Mike Long’s progress in his 3rd career. Enjoy this MilSuccessNet REVISIT…..

McKendree R. Long III’s path to retirement in 1980 after 20 years of Army service, has taken distinct and rewarding turns. His career as a financial advisor with a major investment firm for 29 years then morphed into yet another late life turn as a published author.

Mike Long

Mike Long

“Mike,” as he generously invited me to call him, now devotes his time to his family, his writing, his guns, and travel. Married in 1960, he and his wife Mary have two married daughters and four grandchildren.

He is a gun enthusiast, life member of the NRA and VFW, and is active in Sertoma.  He is often found on Seabrook Island, S.C. where I had the pleasure of speaking with him on the Father’s Day 2013 weekend.

He is a former soldier with two tours as an advisor to South Vietnamese Army units.  His awards and decorations include the Parachutist Badge, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Silver Star, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry (Gold and Silver Stars).

Words on Wednesdays conversation highlights:

  • Mike Long’s  two historical fiction novels
  • Echoes of the Cavalry, Civil War and The West
  • His own military to civilian life transition story

Now, in our WoW guest writer and Veteran’s own words….

Tell us about your experience?

I doubt that anyone would benefit from tales about my military service, as it was undistinguished and I retired so long ago.

In a nutshell, I enlisted in 1960 at 18 years of age because I wanted to get married and needed a job; I opted for airborne infantry because we needed the jump pay and I thought promotions might come faster in the infantry.

After I made sergeant I was encouraged to go to OCS, and elected Field Artillery as I was pretty good with numbers. I went to night school whenever I could (no ‘Bootstrap’ for reserve officers then). Finally, I got a BS in Business Admin.

You retired in 1980 as a major. Were you able to capitalize on your military experience and perhaps to apply your educational preparation during service years?

I wanted to become a banker, but my Merrill Lynch stockbroker at the time, talked me into going into that field instead.

When I said I had no sales experience, he said, “You were a staff officer, right? Didn’t command anybody, got people to do what you wanted them to do through logic? Hell, you ARE a salesman.”

Turns out he was right, and I’m eternally grateful to him.

Mike, other MilSuccessNet interviewees have told me that Vets are likely to have 4-6 jobs in the first 5 or so years of retirement. Or, they slide straight into defence contracting. You did something different..Can you tell us about that?

It was a giant leap of faith to go from 20 years of salary on a semi-fixed schedule to commission sales, but next to my wife it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

We prospered quickly and I was able to hire both my son-in-laws and a nephew as partners, as well as the brother-in-law of one son-in-law. We also had five support people on the team, including one of my daughters.

I’ve been retired from Merrill since December 2009, but my four former partners are still in the business.

Mike, after all that you became an author.

Your second has been selected as a finalist in the Western category of the 2013 International Book Awards. It has as its centerpiece, Custer’s fight at the Washita River in 1868.

Where did the writing come in to your life? Does it stem from your military experience or interests?

Prosperity allowed me to begin collecting firearms in a serious manner. I focused on antiques-mainly the Western Era, circa 1850-1890.

As I approached my second retirement, I decided to write a non-fiction book on the explosive changes in ‘gun tech’ during those years.

In my research of the Civil War period, I stumbled on the story of the 8th Texas Cavalry and got so excited about their accomplishments, that I changed gears and wrote a historical novel about them instead. It’s entitled NO GOOD LIKE IT IS. I’ve subsequently finished the sequel DOG SOLDIER MOON and started on the third piece of the trilogy (HIGHER GROUND). The latter includes the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Can I venture a guess based on experience, that after the intense work of research and writing, you’ve had to circle back to the world of business and numbers?

I now spend much of my time marketing my books. In addition to direct sales at book festivals, gun shows, county fairs, church fests, etc., I call Indie book stores and ask them to look at my website  and consider carrying the novels on consignment.

I’m also in the process of getting both books into Ingram’s distribution program, which will make them eligible for big chains (Barnes&Noble, BooksaMillion, Costco, Walmart, etc.)

Have you got any suggestions for our community of veterans? 

Advice?

Marry well. Work hard. Save vigorously.

And, if you EVER wake up thinking you want to write something that could be remotely associated with ‘Westerns,’ roll over and go back to sleep. Or at least put a vampire in the story!

 ABOUT Mike’s work:

Mike Long No Good Like It IsHis first novel, No Good Like It Is,  is a winding tale of violence, tolerance, and changing racial acceptance.  In it, two hard-bitten Confederate cavalrymen barely survive the Civil War, riding with the famed Eighth Texas Cavalry.  They then must struggle home to the Texas Panhandle, while accumulating enough misfits and strays to populate a small village.

This rowdy historical fiction is filled with rich characters, both real and should-have-been.

Mike Long Dog Soldier MoonThe sequel, Dog Soldier Moon, became available in December 2011. A centerpiece of this second historical novel is the attack by the Seventh Cavalry on a peaceful Cheyenne village on the Washita River in November 1868.

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