Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Welcome Ron Corbin today

Welcome to my Reading Nook, Ron Corbin. Please make yourself at home and let my cabana boys/girls get you a drink.

Comfortable? Wonderful. Now let’s get started.

Tell us about your favorite character from your books.

Well, for my latest book, the word “favorite” might be a little misleading. Joe Claridge was the Chief Pilot for LAPD’s Air Support Division. And he was the one whom I centered this story around, focusing on the conflict we had with regards to pilot training objectives and his effort in getting my flying credibility tarnished.

Tell us about your current/upcoming release. What inspired this story?

BEYOND RECOGNITION is the title of my latest book. My wife was the one who encouraged me to write this memoir and expose’. After 36 years from when I had my helicopter crash, I felt that the story of what happened on that day needed to be told. I was never interviewed by the NTSB investigator. Why? I don’t know. There was a “cover up” with the Board of Inquiry when a piece of the wreckage turned up missing - after it was found – but before the lawsuits and litigation occurred between the City of LA and the LAPD, and corporate entities of Bell Helicopter, Textron and Lycoming Corporations.

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?

I have written several short stories and been a columnist for a magazine. This was my first full-length book. When I started it, I wrote 8-10 hours a day, both during the day and night, completing it in about two months.

What is the hardest part of writing your books?

Primarily, I think the hardest part was making the witness testimony portion for the Board of Inquiry investigators interesting enough to hold a reader’s attention. Secondly, editing the length to the degree that the publisher wanted it for print was difficult, because I didn’t know how I was going to cut-out text without leaving a gap in the story that was pertinent to the outcome.

What does your family think of your writing career?

They are happy and excited for me. Family and friends have told me that I was a good writer, but I always weighed their compliments as being biased with love instead of objectivity.

What do you think makes a good story?

Wit and humor. Cops are typically good at making sly comments and innuendoes,  even for serious situations. They have to do that in order to keep their sanity and not become emotionally tied to the incidents they have to deal with every day on the job.

Plotter or Pantser? Why?

In the case of BEYOND RECOGNITION, I was a “plotter.” I knew in my mind from page one how this story was going to begin and end. It was a personal situation that had a major impact on my life, the death of my police partner/trainee and his widow … whom I knew even before him… my wife and kids, and my future career.

How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?

I have had a variety of real-life experiences that have involved danger and death. From being an Army helicopter pilot having served two tours in Vietnam and losing 33 pilot friends, to the time I spent on the streets of South LA as a cop, to the impetus of this story, I have plots and characters that are real. And many of these adventures would seem unreal or imaginary to most people whom have never taken been a part of a soldier’s or cop’s life. I just relate real events and real people.

What book are you reading now? Any favorite authors/books you want to do a shout out for?

Currently I’ve been involved in getting this book marketed, so my reading is not active. But there is an anthology of stories about American patriotism and loyalty titled, I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE…. written by the Wednesday Writer Warriors that I just finished. The book has over 50 stories of heroes and patriots, and would make excellent reading for today’s high school U.S. History and Civics students, as well as every family having one to pass down to the next generation to share what made this Country so great. I’m one of the contributing authors of this group of writers. These men and women are all published authors and screenwriters, and most are former law enforcement and/or military personnel, or someone whom just shares a love for country.  And by the way, the authors are donating all the proceeds from this book to the Las Vegas Center USO. So it’s a worthy cause as well as inspirational reading for all.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

My wife and I like to go to the movies. And for vacation, we like cruising. I volunteer at the Las Vegas USO at McCarran Airport. In addition to helping at the USO Center, as a Vietnam veteran it’s especially gratifying for me to also meet and greet troops arriving from overseas, to thank them for their service, and to wish then safe journey when they are being deployed.

Morning Person or Night Person?

Definitely night.

Coffee, tea or other drink to get you moving in the morning? 

I recently started drinking more coffee in the morning so I would cut-back on my “Big Gulp” of Diet Coke. And I drink a lot of iced tea.

What is coming up from you in 2013? Anything you want to tease us with?

I’m thinking of a short memoir of my childhood. I was raised in a small farming town (pop. 500) located in southeastern Kansas on the Neosho River. I truly had a Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn life. It will be called, WHY ALL THE ELM TREES DIED. It will contain several true, short stories … such as the time my brother and I scared our neighbor lady with the eyeball of a catfish we had caught. Smearing a little blood and guts on my brother’s face, and with him holding one hand over his eye, and a catfish eye in the other, we went screaming…well, you get the picture.

Anything else you want to add?

And here are a couple early reader blurbs…

BEYOND RECOGNITION is a must read. Ron Corbin’s latest book will take you through his journey of life with its many twists and turns. I can promise you, you will laugh, you will cry, and many times you will wish you were in the LAPD patrol car with him and his partner. Some of his misadventures are so unbelievable you know they have to be true.

Spend your time growing up with Ron, his two tours in Vietnam as a US Army helicopter pilot, his early years as a police officer on the streets of Los Angeles, and his time in the Los Angeles Police Department Air Support Division, as well as his near death experience and the tragic loss of his partner.

If Michael Connelly or W. E. B. Griffin wrote non-fiction, you would think this is one of their books, however, it is Ron’s. If you are approaching a birthday, anniversary, retirement or are owed a belated Christmas present, this is the book you want as a gift. I know, I have read this book once and can’t wait to read it again. You will not put it down until you have worked your way to the last page, and then still want to know more.

Keith Bettinger author of Fighting Crime With “Some” Day and Lenny, and End
of Watch.



BEYOND RECOGNITION shares the experiences of a Los Angeles Police Officer protecting and serving the various communities within the Los Angeles Metropolitan area. Ron goes into great detail expressing his thought process, emotions, techniques used to evaluate and diagnose the various situations confronting him. Eventually, Ron was assigned to the Air Support Division as a helicopter pilot and later became an instructor. During a training session, Ron’s helicopter crashed, killing his student pilot.

Ron survived with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 70% of his body. It is hard to imagine the mental stress, pain and suffering he felt during his recovery in the burn center. Ron expresses his feelings on the emotional impact of the tragic accident, the findings of the Board of Inquiry, and the CMA attitude of various individuals had on himself and family.

Albert Ellis, FBI Special Agent - Retired

Beyond Recognition is a “fact-based account” of the memoirs of Ronald Corbin, a former Army combat helicopter pilot and Vietnam veteran who becomes a Los Angeles Policeman, and eventually a pilot for LAPD’s Air Support Division.
Being selected as one of the first former Vietnam pilots for LAPD’s air unit, Ron’s’ training and flying experience as a combat pilot goes beyond recognition of the unit’s long time chief pilot, Joe Claridge. He immediately becomes the target of jealousy by Joe, whose animosity leads him to do everything he can to undermine Ron’s skills and ultimately “railroad” him out of the unit.
As one of the unit’s instructor pilots, Ron soon finds himself going head-to-head with Joe over differences in training objectives. It becomes evident that Joe is nearing the end of his career and is actually afraid to fly as an instructor. The stress Ron goes through with Joe causes Ron to have flash backs of some of the fear and horror encountered during his Vietnam missions.
When an aircraft accident claims the life of Ron’s pilot trainee, and one which puts Ron in the hospital with 70% burns, the Chief of Police assembles a Board of Inquiry into the cause of the accident. Joe sees his opportunity to seek jealous revenge on Ron by feeding false and misleading statements to the Board that suggests blame for the accident on Ron. But the “finger-pointing” quickly backfires as Ron exposes a “cover-up” in missing evidence from the wreckage that has the city attorney scrambling to make a settlement with Ron and his trainee’s surviving widow.


I quickly led my ‘cuffed prisoner to the right rear door of our car. Sam jumped in the driver’s seat and started the engine. The crowd was getting angrier and coming closer. I shoved the arrestee into the rear seat, slammed his door, and ran around the rear of the car to get in on the left side.

No sooner than I had gotten to the rear bumper of our vehicle, that Sam sped off, leaving me there with my jaw dropped. And there I was, standing in the middle of a drive way with an angry, approaching crowd of blacks who were solely intent on “Getting Whitey.” I felt like Custer at Little Big Horn.

He burned rubber and swung the car out onto Adams and headed west. Fortunately, the traffic light was red, and he had to stop. But I saw him flip on his red lights and hit the siren in order to stop traffic and get away from the mob scene. I ran toward the corner yelling for him to stop, hoping to get his attention before he left me to the
“feeding frenzy” of a few angry folks.

As traffic stopped for his emergency lights and siren, and the intersection cleared, I reached the corner, frantically waving my arms. As he turned south on Western, I saw him look at me, then turn and look in the back seat, then look at me in disbelief. I could see his lips moving as he mouthed the words, “What in the hell are you doing out

He slammed on the brakes, which gave me time to run and jump in the back seat with our arrestee. As we raced away, I yelled at him, “Why did you leave me?” Eyeballing me in his rear view mirror, he shouted back, “I thought you were in the car!”

After a few seconds of silence, we both burst out laughing. I’m sure that our arrestee was thinking that he had just been taken captive by two of the “Keystone Cops.”

Oak Tree Press

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