Spotlight on Idaho authors

“15 Years of War: How the Longest War in U.S. History Affected a Military Family in Love, Loss, and the Cost Of Service” by Kristine Schellhaas (Boise native); Life Publishing ($16.99)

Less than 1 percent of our nation will ever serve in our armed forces, leaving many to wonder what life is really like for military families: He answers the call of duty in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Pacific; she keeps the home fires burning. Worlds apart, and in the face of indescribable grief, their relationship is pushed to the limits.

“15 Years of War: How the Longest War in U.S. History Affected a Military Family in Love, Loss, and the Cost Of Service” provides a unique he said/she said perspective on coping with war in modern-day America. It reveals a true account of how a dedicated Marine and his equally committed spouse faced unfathomable challenges and achieved triumph, from the days just before 9/11 through 15 years of training workups, deployments and other separations.

This story of faith, love and resilience offers insight into how a decade and a half of war has redefined what it means to be a military family.

“Launching Vee’s Chariot” by Kate Riley (Hailey); Balboa Press ($11.99)

Dying a good death is Vee Riley’s final wish, and she believes a good death is a conscious death. In the grip of end-stage cancer, she decides how she will interact with her deteriorating physical condition, while letting go of family and friends, her home and her independence. For most of her life, Vee pursued a daily spiritual practice that included artwork, writing, meditating and communing in nature, and she devoted herself to compassionate service enriching the lives of hundreds. Now, at 87, Vee knows the door to life is closing, and she valiantly engages her daughter Kate as her ally.

Vee’s goal is to die at home, but the process is not as straightforward as she envisioned. Mother and daughter find themselves entering the mystery, where they apply the wisdom of mutually intelligent hearts to overcome each obstacle that threatens to derail them from fulfilling Vee’s ultimate goal. With fortitude, integrity and compassion, Kate supports her mom every step of the way home. Vee’s death is not pretty, but it is enlightening. Her final act takes us through a labyrinth, and the supernova of Vee’s leave-taking illuminates a way for all who choose to live consciously into death.