Book Spotlight: Vows to the Fallen by Larry Laswell

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About The Book

 

Vows To The Fallen

 



Title: Vows to the Fallen

Author: Larry Laswell

Publisher: Marshell Publishing

Publication Date: August 14, 2015

Format: Paperback – 277 pages / eBook  / PDF

ISBN: 978-0986385322

Genre: Historical Fiction / Military / Sea Story
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Publication Date: August 14, 2015
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Book Description:


Vows to the Fallen
An Officer’s Journey Through Guilt and Grief
Another techno-thriller from the author of The Marathon Watch
 
August 9, 1942, 01:42 hours
USS Green on patrol off Red Beach, Guadalcanal
Bridge Officer: Lieutenant Patrick O’Toole
Lieutenant O’Toole’s goal is simple: someday he wants to become an admiral. But in a few moments, his life will change . . . forever. Yesterday, the marines stormed the beaches of Guadalcanal. Today, the Japanese Navy will strike back. The sudden and horrific carnage scars O’Toole for life and throws him into the abyss of survivor’s guilt and posttraumatic stress.
The Pacific War does not wait for O’Toole to heal. Duty calls, each new assignment brings more responsibility, and the roll call of the fallen grows. At the Battle of Mujatto Gulf, O’Toole faces a superior battle-hardened Japanese fleet and discovers the strength within him to climb from the abyss and find his true life’s mission. To the fallen, he vows never to abandon that mission no matter how high the cost.

 

Book Excerpt:



Chapter 1

August 8, 1942, 2346 Hours

USS Green; 45 nautical miles northwest of Red Beach, Guadalcanal

Lieutenant Patrick O’Toole considered himself a career naval officer, and someday he hoped to be promoted to admiral. At Annapolis, his teachers had taught him the horrors of war, but he had never experienced combat. That was about to change and it would change him forever.

The steel ladder rattled as he clambered to the wheelhouse deck to assume the midwatch. On the wheelhouse deck, the port fifty-caliber gunner slouched with his back to the sea and chatted with the lookout on the flying bridge one level above. The helmsman faced the starboard bridge wing and had but one hand on the wheel. Dim red lights above the chart table and the polished brass compass binnacle added little illumination to the wheelhouse, and the men, gray smudges in the dark, seemed unconcerned. O’Toole’s concern bordered on anger, but he remained silent.

Find out what’s going on then fix it.

A man on the flying bridge lit a cigarette. This was way out of bounds. “Snuff your butt. The enemy can see that for miles,” O’Toole said, hoping his voice had a bark to it.

O’Toole had seen this before. Captain Levitte ran a relaxed ship, but this wasn’t peacetime. They were at war in enemy waters. O’Toole read the message dispatches, the captain’s night orders, and the chart. None of it good news, especially the report of a Japanese battlegroup headed south.

He located Lieutenant Karl, the officer of the deck on the port bridge wing. Karl’s life jacket vest was open, revealing a sweat-soaked khaki shirt, and sweat beaded on his brow.

Karl slouched on the bridge railing as O’Toole approached “What’s your status?” O’Toole asked.
Karl rubbed his day-old stubble. “At Condition III. Fire in all four boilers. Superheat lit, and the plant is cross-connected. Starboard steering motor, port steering engine” Karl droned as he went through the standard litany of the watch change. “On course zero-seven-zero at ten knots. Straight line patrol between points Able and Baker on the chart as per the captain. You have about ten minutes before you turn around and head back to point Baker. Received a report of Japanese ships headed south five hours ago. Told the captain, and he said Intel couldn’t tell the difference between a cruiser and a sampan. Besides, nothing will happen before dawn. Aircraft overhead, told the captain, he says they’re from our carriers. That, and the captain said to cut the crew some slack; they’re tired. I just ordered the cooks to make a fresh batch of coffee; you’re gonna need it. That’s about it.”

“Why aren’t we zigzagging?”

“Captain’s orders. Straight line patrol between points Able and Baker is what he wanted.”

“With an enemy force headed south we should be at Condition II at least.”

“I don’t know about that, but the captain wants to give the crew some rest.”

“Do we have star shells loaded or at the ready?”

“No.”

“Which gun mounts are manned?”

“Mounts 51 and 55.”

“Only two?”

“Yes, and before you ask, one-third of the anti-aircraft batteries are manned, and I told those gun crews they could sleep at their stations.”

“Are the crews in Mounts 51 and 55 asleep?”

“Probably.”

Out of professional courtesy, O’Toole didn’t challenge Karl, even though he would have been justified in refusing to relieve Karl of the watch until Karl corrected the battle readiness of the ship.

O’Toole saluted Lieutenant Karl and said, “I relieve you, sir.”

Karl nodded. “This is Mister Karl, Mister O’Toole has the deck and the conn,” Karl said to the bridge crew.

“This is Mister O’Toole, I have the deck and the conn,” O’Toole replied.

Karl handed O’Toole his life jacket, helmet, and gun belt and walked to the small chart table in the forward port section of the wheelhouse to complete his log entries. O’Toole brushed back his flaming red hair and put on the helmet, life jacket, and gun making sure all straps were cinched tight.

“Boats, over here,” O’Toole said to the boatswain mate of the watch as he headed to the starboard bridge wing. It was a lazy night: clear sky, high overhead clouds, calm sea, a slight breeze, and the ship plodding forward at ten knots. A night like this could dull the senses of the best of men. He couldn’t let that happen.

“Boats, square your watch away. We are in enemy waters, and there are reports of a column of Jap cruisers headed our way. I want everyone on their toes.”

“Aye, aye, sir.”

“Messenger, over here,” O’Toole said, beckoning the watch messenger.

“Go below and wake up the chiefs and tell them there are enemy ships in the area. I want them to make sure their watches are alert and ready. Tell the gunnery chief I want him on the bridge.”

“Yes, sir,” the messenger said and headed for the ladder.

A few minutes later, the gunnery chief appeared barefooted and in a white T-shirt. “Yes, sir, you wanted to see me?”

“Jap ships are headed our way. Check your gun crews; I want them alert with their eyes to the sea. Bring six star shells to the ready with one round in the mount. If we come under fire, I want Mount 51 to fire three star shells in a 180-degree spread without orders from the bridge.”

“What’s up, sir?”

“Not sure, chief, except we are in dangerous waters and the crew is asleep.”

“Will do, sir. Should I stay with the gun crews?”

“Wouldn’t be a bad idea, chief. Do what you think is best, but be aware things might get worse at dawn.”

“Yes, sir.” The chief trotted to the ladder and disappeared.

Lieutenant Karl finished his log entries and left the bridge. O’Toole stood next to the quartermaster at the chart table in the forward port section of the wheelhouse. He retrieved the sighting report. Five Japanese cruisers and four destroyers headed south at thirty knots. O’Toole plotted the ten-hour-old sighting location on the chart and walked the dividers across the chart to estimate the current location of Japanese forces. They would have passed the Green an hour ago and would now be on top of the northern defense line around Red Beach.

The receding drone of an aircraft off the port bow caught his ear. They were too far from the Japanese airbase at Rabaul for them to have planes this far south at night. It didn’t make sense: he didn’t think the carrier aircraft could operate at night, but spotter planes from a cruiser could.

Nothing had happened. Maybe the Japanese column had slowed or diverted. Naval doctrine taught officers to avoid night attacks since it complicated the battle, and everyone knew you couldn’t shoot at an enemy hiding in the darkness. Still, everything added up to a night counterattack against the Guadalcanal invasion force.

“Get the captain up here on the double. I’ll be on the flying bridge,” O’Toole said the watch messenger.

He felt better on the flying bridge where he had an unobstructed view of the sea and sky. He swept the horizon with his binoculars: nothing but a black night.

The crew was exhausted from the invasion of Guadalcanal the prior morning. The shirtless bodies of a hundred sleeping men escaping the oppressive heat and humidity of their berthing spaces lay on the dark main deck. Not regular navy, O’Toole thought, but he couldn’t object because the crew needed the sleep.

“What’s up, Pat?” Captain Levitte asked as soon as his head popped above the flying bridge deck level.

“I think we have trouble, Captain. The Japanese column sighted in the intelligence report should be on top of the northern defense line right about now. We should be at general quarters or at least Condition II and be zigzagging. There could be subs in the area.”

Levitte rubbed the back of his neck, then put his hands in his pockets, and walked in a tight circle with his eyes on the deck. “Look, the Japs aren’t that smart, and you should know not even the Japs are dumb enough to attack at night. Nothing will happen until the sun comes up. In the meantime, cut the crew some slack; they’re tired and need their sleep.”

“I’m sorry, Captain, but that doesn’t make sense. The sighting said the Japs were at thirty knots. They wouldn’t do that and then slow down to wait for the sun to come up.”

“No matter what happens we’ll kick their ass,” Levitte began. “We kicked their ass in the Coral Sea and Midway. Now we’re kicking their ass off Guadalcanal. The marines ran the Jap garrison into the jungle before lunch. They can’t stand up to us no matter what, so there’s no reason to get worked up about it.”

“To be safe, let me take the ship to Condition II and zigzag. It won’t hurt anything.”

“No, lieutenant. My night orders said to cut the crew some slack, and there is no need to waste fuel zigzagging. You read my night orders, didn’t you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. Follow them, and let me get some sleep.”

The shirtless lookout stiffened. “Sir, light flashes, port beam.”

Both men turned. Staccato bursts of light above the southern horizon illuminated the sky.

Another voice called out, “Flares off the port beam.”

The night erupted. White-golden flashes close to port blinded O’Toole. Captain Levitte’s chest exploded into a mist of blood. Shells exploded against the mast, and men dove to the deck.

On his stomach, O’Toole fought his life jacket as he rolled to the starboard edge of the deck. Crawling under the railing, he let himself over the side. He was about to let himself drop the last three feet when a jolt catapulted him to the deck below. His head hit the deck, and despite his cinched helmet, the blow stunned him to the precipice of unconsciousness. O’Toole fought to bring himself back to the present as he wobbled to a crouched position.

Concussions from explosions aft the wheelhouse punched at his chest and abdomen. He had to go through the wheelhouse to the port side to see the enemy ship. In the wheelhouse, only the quartermaster was up, crouching in the corner by the chart table. Sparks and flashes of incoming fire covered the aft bulkhead and enveloped the wheelhouse in smoke, shrapnel, and debris. Broken, screaming bodies littered the deck.

He fought his way through the wheelhouse across shattered glass that slid like ice across the blood-drenched deck. The Green’s guns hadn’t returned fire.

He turned to find the phone talker. A flash memory of the phone talker’s body falling next to the captain made him stop. The phone talker was dead along with most of the bridge crew. He was alone; he had no bridge crew, and there was no one left to command. To anyone who could hear, he yelled, “Tell the gun crews to return fire.”

On the port bridge wing, he peered over the railing. A thousand yards away, two searchlights blinded him, and a torrent of tracer fire arched toward the Green. Muzzle flashes from the enemy ship’s heavy guns ripped at the darkness, and spasmodic explosions on the Green followed each flash.

On his stomach looking aft, he tried to understand the hell erupting around him. Black smoke spewed from golden fires, and smoke boiled across the fantail near the depth charge racks. Antiaircraft rounds raked the Green’s main deck, tearing men apart; the lucky ones leapt overboard.

In the forward boiler room, the port bulkhead ruptured three feet below the waterline in a flash of light, wrenching the keel. Shrapnel pierced the two Babcock & Wilcox boilers, which exploded upward, shredding the main deck overhead. A half-second later, a second explosion severed the keel, and a third tore the shattered hull of the Green in two.

Sheets of water vaulted into the air, and the explosions pushed the Green hard to starboard and lifted it upward in a death spasm.

Torpedoes. The word lingered in O’Toole’s mind until he understood, then it vanished. He pulled himself to his feet. Ruptured boilers roared beneath clouds of steam.

The Green hinged aft the deckhouse. The stern rose and began its slide beneath the surface. When the cool seawater reached the aft boilers they blew a ten-foot mound of white water to the surface. The mound collapsed into a steam haze low above the water. As the first wisps of steam dissipated, they dragged O’Toole from his stupor.

The gunfire stopped. The searchlights were gone. Screams, moans, and the sound of rushing water welled up to fill the silence. He strained his eyes for an enemy invisible in the night. They had vanished. The battle was over.

There was no time for thinking or words; the conclusions flashed through his mind fully formed.

When the armed depth charges on the sinking fantail detonated, anyone in the water would suffer intestinal hemorrhaging and a slow, excruciating death.

To the men below he yelled, “Stay with the ship! Don’t go in the water; depth charges! Get everyone in the water back aboard!”

O’Toole took inventory. The forward part of the ship, though sinking, seemed stable. The wheelhouse was a confusing mass of shadows cut against golden fires, and the smell of blood and noxious nitrate gasses filled his head.

He entered the wheelhouse and stumbled. His knee landed on something soft. He looked down at the chest of a headless body. O’Toole’s stomach wrenched.

A figure appeared. “Sir, we took three torpedoes. No water pressure to fight the fires, no power, and we are flooding forward.”

One by one the sinking depth charges designed to sink submarines began to detonate, sending tremors from each concussive blow through the ship. When the explosions stopped, O’Toole took a deep breath, and the acid-laced air burned his lungs. “Get below. Pass the word to abandon ship.”

O’Toole turned his attention to the main deck, and released the one remaining life raft stored just below the bridge railing. Not waiting for orders, shirtless survivors leapt overboard. It seemed to take hours, but soon the decks were empty and the survivors were off the ship. With nothing left to do, he wondered if radio managed to send a message. He doubted it. He turned to the quartermaster and said, “Let’s go.”

The quartermaster collected the ship’s logs and joined O’Toole.

As he prepared to jump the last ten feet into the ocean, the quartermaster yelled, “Stop! Your helmet, sir.”

O’Toole had forgotten he was wearing it. Going overboard with a cinched helmet would break your neck. He tore it off, and they jumped together.

There was no past and no future, only the immediate need to survive. O’Toole swam from the sinking bow section, demanding his muscles move faster before her sinking hulk sucked him under. His muscles grew tired from the frenzied effort until a voice yelled, “She’s going down.”

He stopped and turned to what remained of the Green. Out of breath, he bobbed in the one-foot swells and coughed to clear the salt water from his lungs. The Green’s prow swung skyward while the hulk of the remaining bow section backed into the depths. The sea extinguished the fires as she slid under.

She died a silent death. After the tip of the bow disappeared, his eyes lost focus and he stared at the empty sea for several seconds, unable to grasp the meaning of this moment.

He linked up with a small group of survivors, and they linked up with other groups. They located two floater nets, lashed them together, and placed the injured in them. They found several of the watertight powder canisters used to protect the five-inch brass powder casings while in the magazines. The crew used empty canisters to stow stable dry food and water with the floater nets. He ordered several men to attract scattered survivors by yelling into the night.

At first, groups of four would swim toward them. Now an occasional lone survivor would show up. O’Toole gathered the surviving officers and chief petty officers. The group of seven rolled with the lazy sea, clutching the floater net to stay together. Three wore life jackets; the other four relied on the floater net.

“Someone said there is another group with a floater net south of us.” Pointing to Ensigns Carter and Fitch, O’Toole said, “Swim to the south floater net, if there is one, take a count, and tell them to swim their way to us and lash-in. While you’re at it, round up volunteers to scavenge for debris we can use. The men should also collect all the powder canisters and bring them here.”

Turning to Chief Brandon, he said, “Make sure the injured are wearing life jackets, and get those with serious wounds in the floater nets.” Brandon swam off.

To Ensigns Parker and Adbury, he said, “You two make the rounds and get a head count of the healthy, injured, and critically wounded. After you report back, take charge of the injured. Collect the morphine ampules from the crew.” O’Toole reached into his trouser pocket and handed over two morphine ampules. “Bring the wounded together, especially those with bleeding wounds. Get them in the floater nets and get the bleeding stopped; the sharks will show up soon enough.”

To Chief Zies, O’Toole said, “Chief, make the rounds, talk to everyone, and make sure their heads are on straight. Find anyone who might lose it and buddy them up with someone. We don’t want panic or men going nuts.”

Chief Zies swam off, and O’Toole reached underwater to remove his shoes. He tied the laces together and draped them over his neck.

Chief Zies made his rounds and returned to O’Toole’s position.

“You get a head count yet?” O’Toole asked.

“My count is fifty-seven, including you.”

“Just fifty-seven?”

“Lieutenant, the aft two-thirds of the ship sank like a rock. From the time the Japs attacked to the time the stern sank wasn’t more than a minute. I’m surprised we have this many left.”

O’Toole’s chest went hollow, and his mind went blank. Visions of shattered bodies and blood-soaked decks, the sound of dying men flashed through his mind. His gut radiated the hollowness of failure.

The dark corners of his mind whispered, “You’ll never be the same.”

“Three-fourths of the crew is missing,” O’Toole said.

“There has to be more out there,” Zies said.

“Yeah, there has to more out there,” O’Toole said.

As the deck officer, he was responsible for the safety of the ship and crew.

He had scanned the horizon, and he had jacked up the lookouts and the bridge crew. It hadn’t been enough. Either way it was his responsibility. It takes three minutes to get a torpedo firing solution, and one zigzag might have destroyed their firing solution and saved the ship. He hadn’t seen his options; the wall had blocked him again. His grandfather’s words stabbed at him.

You’re not adequate.

It was the story of his life; he always fell short of adequacy. There was always one more thing he might have done, but he could never see it until it was too late. The wall was always there to stop him and hide the solution. His wall had damned him to failure again. The wall was always there blocking his way a single step short of success.

Ensign Parker swam over to him. “Got the head count. Fifty-seven men. Twenty-one wounded. Six critical. That includes the south floater net we got lashed-in.”

“We’ll wait till dawn to find the others,” Zies said. “What the heck happened, sir?”

“Wish I knew,” O’Toole began. “A column of Jap ships were headed to Guadalcanal to counterattack. I suspect they left a destroyer behind to ambush us once the fight off Guadalcanal started.”

“That means they spotted us, but how did that happen without us seeing them?” Zies asked.

“That part is easy. We weren’t looking, but I still can’t figure out how we missed them once we did start looking. I should have zigzagged despite the captain’s orders.”

Zies looked at O’Toole for a long minute. “You’re not blaming yourself for this, are you?”

O’Toole didn’t answer.

“Are you?”

The question tore at O’Toole, but he had to look forward, and swore the wall would not stop him. “For now, we’re not losing any more men, Chief. Keep the men together. They’ll start looking for survivors tomorrow; they’ll find us.” O’Toole said.

Voices shouted. Zies turned. A searchlight from an approaching ship probed the surrounding sea. When it reached the far end of the floater nets, gunfire erupted. Spikes of water shot up around the Green’s survivors.

Both O’Toole and Zies screamed, “Everyone down!”

O’Toole shed his life jacket, took a deep breath, and dove. He figured five feet would be enough. He pivoted his feet beneath him and tried to maintain his depth. When the burning in his lungs became unbearable, he kicked hard to reach the surface. When his head cleared the water, he sucked in a chest of air, preparing to dive again, but the gunfire stopped.

The searchlight now centered itself on his small group, and a Japanese heavy cruiser loomed over them. With his hand, he blocked the searchlight so he could see the bridge. He studied the bridge and a man with a patch over his left eye. By his position on the bridge wing, his carriage, and the separation between him and the other officers, O’Toole guessed he was the captain.

They locked eyes. Neither man flinched. After several seconds, the Japanese captain walked away. The cruiser picked up speed and disappeared into the night.

Zies asked O’Toole, “What was going on between you and the guy with the eye patch?”

“I wanted the bastard to know we weren’t defeated,” O’Toole began. “The Japs won this battle not with equipment but with smarter officers and sharper training. How they pulled it off was brilliant: at night, torpedoes first, guns second, no star shells. They mauled us with their guns, but knew that wouldn’t sink us. Once the Jap ship saw the torpedoes hit, there was no need to continue a gun battle and endanger their ship; they knew they had sunk us, so they vanished into the night.”

O’Toole shook his head; he would have to figure out what happened later; he put it out of his mind.

“Okay, Chief, have the men with life jackets chain up. Make sure they lash in each chain to a floater net. As you make the rounds, make sure everyone is secure for the night. By God, we’re not losing any more men.”

“Aye, sir.” Zies swam away, yelling, “Everyone chain up and lash in!”

Men formed spiral chains. One man would loop his arm through the hole below the high collar of the next man’s life jacket, burying the arm to the shoulder. The chains provided security, extra buoyancy, and a way to sleep without drifting away.

 

About The Author

 

 

 

 

Larry Laswell

 

 

Larry Laswell served in the US Navy for eight years. In navy parlance, he was a mustang, someone who rose from the enlisted ranks to receive an officer’s commission. While enlisted, he was assigned to the USS John Marshall SSBN-611 (Gold Crew). After earning his commission, he served as main engines officer aboard the USS Intrepid CV-11. His last assignment was as a submarine warfare officer aboard the USS William M. Wood DD-715 while she was home ported in Elefsis, Greece.
In addition to writing, Larry, a retired CEO fills his spare time with woodworking and furniture design. He continues to work on The Marathon Watch series, an upcoming science fiction series titled The Ethosians, and an anthology of over eighty humorous sea stories titled A Ship-load of Sea Stories & 1 Fairy Tale.
 
You can visit Larry Laswell’s website at www.larrylaswell.com
Connect with Larry Laswell:
Author Blog:  larrylaswell.com/blog

 

Poetry Contest
 

Win a dinner for two, a night on the town, or whatever you want to do with $250!

Enter Larry Laswell’s Vows to the Fallen Poetry Contest!

Pre-release sales of Vows to the Fallen will begin on July 1, 2015 for release on August 14th. One of the characters in the book has a habit of reciting excerpts from classic poems. If you are the first to correctly name all of the poems you win! $150 for second place and $100 for third place.

Here are the rules:

1. Order Vows to the Fallen in Amazon’s Kindle store.

2. At midnight (EST) download Vows to the Fallen and read it to find the poetry excerpts.

3. Leave a review on Amazon (How you rate the book has no bearing on your eligibility to win.)

3. Go to http://larrylaswell.com and click on “Contest.” In the form tell Larry under what name you left the review, and then list the poems by name and author. (Watch your spelling – it must be exact!)
4. The first correct entrant who left a review wins a dinner for two, a night on the town, or whatever they want to do with $250!

5. If Larry cannot identify the entrant’s review they will be disqualified (don’t use an anonymous name!)

6. If Larry receives more than one entry at the same time stamp, Larry will hold a drawing to determine the winners.

7. Any organization, or individual who received an advance review copy, their employees or family are ineligible.

8. Larry is the contest judge, and his judgement is final.

9. Larry is not responsible for delivery delays in the Amazon Kindle system.

10. Larry will post the winners on his website at 8AM EST on September 1, 2015.

Pre-order Vows to the Fallen today!

 

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Character Interview: Joseph Halderman from Jonathan Raab’s military novel ‘Flight of the Blue Falcon’

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today former Staff Sergeant Joseph Halderman from Jonathan Raab’s new military novel, Flight of the Blue Falcon.  Joseph Halderman is a 28 year old veteran living in Denver, Colorado.

flightIt is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so much for this interview, Joseph.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? 

Well, Raab did a pretty good job capturing what it’s like to be a grunt and serving in a chewed-up unit. The book’s a quick read, and it covers about a year or more of our lives. There was a lot of stuff he had to cut out, so I’d point out that there’s a lot more to a deployment than can fit in a book. But overall, I feel like he got the important details right.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I just wish he had left out the parts where I was drinking too much… And sometimes I come across as a Grade-A asshole. Then again, I kinda was a Grade-A asshole sometimes, so I guess that’s alright.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’d say my flexibility. Being in the Army means the situation changes all the time, and you gotta be ready to go from zero to sixty in a flash. You’re never able to rest.

Worst trait?

You’ll see this in the book, but sometimes I get an attitude problem. I can blow up or get snarky when I should just shut my mouth and drive on. I’m working on it with those headshrinkers at the VA.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Who’s the most handsome dude out there? Preferably someone with big muscles. One of those guys.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yep, and I’m still with her. We moved to Denver after the deployment. She puts up with a lot of my crap. I couldn’t make it without her.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I’d say the first time I show up. I’m not shown in the best light. It’s honest, sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to read about yourself being a jerk or making bad decisions. But there’s good in there, too.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

Good question. I’d say LT Gracie. Him and I had a lot of differences, and there’s a few decisions he made that went the wrong way. But now that I’m home and the uniform is off, I can appreciate how tough he had it, and how he had a lot of pressure on him at the time. I should give him a ring and tell him that.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

That’s the thing – the ending is somewhat open-ended, because we’re still going through things. We’re still dealing with what happened in the desert. Us—and everybody else who served overseas. These problems and issues don’t just get resolved like some stupid movie. We’ll be dealing with this shit for the rest of our lives. I’m not trying to tell you a sap story or anything, and most people don’t want to hear that. They want to hear that veterans come home and things are all squared away and prim and proper. That’s bullshit. War isn’t neat and clean. It’s a goddamn mess, and it jacks people up, in ways big and small. I’m gonna be alright, sure. I’m a survivor. We all are. But that doesn’t mean I’m not still dealing with all this.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I’d tell him to move on to another character, another subject. You can only be in the headspace of war for so long before it makes you crazy. We all have to try to move on, best we can. He shouldn’t be one of those guys that rides his service for his whole writing career. War doesn’t go away, and it’ll always be there for guys like him and me, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about or think about or write about other things. But I think he already knows that. 

Thank you for this interview, Joseph. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Yeah. Yeah, I’m afraid you will. As long as we keep fighting wars, guys like me will always be around. I hope one day that isn’t the case—but I’m not holding my breath.

Stay frosty.

Title: Flight of the Blue Falcon

Genre: Fiction – Adult

Author: Jonathan Raab

Website: http://www.warwriterscampaign.org

Publisher: War Writers’ Campaign, Inc.

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About the Book:

FLIGHT OF THE BLUE FALCON

By

JONATHAN RAAB

“Jonathan Raab is not only a genuine advocate for veteran causes, he is a preacher of their tales; both fiction and nonfiction. His writing will immerse you into a combat environment that parallels the imagination of those who have never had the pleasure.”

—Derek J. Porter, author of Conquering Mental Fatigues: PTSD & Hypervigilance Disorder

“Jonathan Raab uses his experience to illustrate the raw world of the common soldier. His masterful use of edgy humor and intellectual commentary creates a space for discussing the military culture.”

—Nate Brookshire, co-author, Hidden Wounds: A Soldiers Burden

In FLIGHT OF THE BLUE FALCON (War Writers’ Campaign; July 2015; PRICE), a chewed-up Army National Guard unit heads to a forgotten war in Afghanistan where three men find themselves thrust into the heart of absurdity: the post-modern American war machine. The inexperienced Private Rench, the jaded veteran Staff Sergeant Halderman, and the idealistic Lieutenant Gracie join a platoon of misfit citizen-soldiers and experience a series of alienating and bizarre events.

Private Rench is young, inexperienced, and from a poor, rural, broken home. He’s adrift in life. The early signs of alcoholism and potential substance abuse are beginning to rear their ugly heads. He wants to do right by the Army, but doesn’t quite know who he is yet.

Staff Sergeant Halderman has one previous combat tour under his belt. He got out, realized his life was going nowhere, so re-enlisted to serve with the men he knew, and to lead the inexperienced guys into combat. He is manifesting the early signs of post traumatic stress, but is too focused on the upcoming mission to deal with it. He sees the Army for what it is—a big, screwed up machine that doesn’t always do the right thing—but he doesn’t think all that highly of himself, either.

Second Lieutenant Gracie is fresh, young, excited to be in the Army, and trying to adjust to the new to the military and his life as an officer. Although he faces a steep learning curve, he is adaptable and has a good, upbeat attitude. As he tries to forge his own path, he nonetheless turns to the experienced NCOs in his unit for guidance and support. He must continually make tough decisions that have no “right” or textbook answers. Yet these decisions are catalysts enabling him to grow in maturity, experience, and wisdom.

Preparation for combat is surreal: Rench is force-fed cookies by his drill sergeants. Halderman’s “training” is to pick up garbage in the blistering heat of the California desert for four days straight. Gracie contends with a battalion commander obsessed with latrine graffiti.

Once they reach Afghanistan, things really get weird.

FLIGHT OF THE BLUE FALCON is the story of three men who volunteer to serve their country. It’s about what it means to be a soldier, to fight, to know true camaraderie—and to return home.

This is a war story. This is their story.

Only the most unbelievable parts are true.

jonathan

About the Author

Jonathan Raab is a veteran of the Afghanistan war, where he served as an infantryman assigned to a combat advisor team. He is the editor-in-chief of Muzzleland Press and an editor for the War Writers’ Campaign. His work has appeared in The New York Times’ At War Blog, CNN.com, the Military Success Network, Literati Presents, The Stars and Stripes, and many others. His second novel, The Hillbilly Moonshine Massacre, will be available in late 2015. He lives in the Denver metro area with his wife Jess and their dog, Egon.

Connect with Jonathan Raab on the Web: Website Facebook /Twitter 

Interview with Vanessa de Largie, author of Don’t Hit Me!

Vanessa de LargieVanessa de Largie is a multi-award-winning actress and author based in Australia. She was introduced into the world of make-believe when she was 3.  Her mother was a film buff, who made her watch films from the 50’s era. Her father, an avid reader and vinyl collector gave her a love of books and music. Combined, her parents influence allowed her to know early on, what she wanted to do with her life. At 22, Vanessa left her hometown of Perth for Melbourne and within a month, she had a lead role in a play at Melbourne’s La Mama Theatre. Over the next decade, she would begin to hone her craft.

In 2006, Vanessa was cast in the lead role of Nocturne, Night of The Vampire, directed by prolific Melbourne film maker Bill Mousoulis. The film earned her the Best Female Actor Award at the 2007 Melbourne Underground Film Festival.  The film was accepted into the main program of the Athens Film Festival, Cork Film Festival and the Brussels Fantastic Film Festival. Vanessa was flown over as a guest. (Nocturne, Night of The Vampire is now distributed by Troma.)

In 2009, Vanessa was cast as the lead in horror film Context, the film premiered at the Razor Reel Film Festival in Bruges, in which Vanessa flew over as a guest.  Context is part of the extras on the American release of El Monstro Del Mar by Breaking Glass Pictures Distribution.  (Unfortunately it isn’t listed on the dvd’s cover.)

Later in 2009, Vanessa was accepted into the New Actors Workshop in New York, run by famous film director – Mike Nichols (The Graduate.)  On her return she worked on the film Crazy In The Night starring film director Frank Howson and Prisoner actors Tommy Dysart and Joan Brockenshire.  Vanessa won a second Best Female Actor Award at the 2010 Melbourne Underground Film Festival for her leading role in the film.

In 2011, Vanessa was selected as a Victorian finalist in The Miss Pinup Australia Pageant, where she competed under the title Miss V-Bomb. She was given a spread in Beat Magazine as well as being interviewed by various Victorian newspapers.

In 2012, Vanessa became a freelance writer and mentor for Topic Media, writing over 90 lifestyle articles and winning many writing awards.  That year, she was also commissioned by Australian publisher Hampress to write her erotic memoir Tantric Afternoons.

Tantric Afternoons launched in April 2013 to rave reviews.  Vanessa followed the book’s release with 4 more titles – Tough ChoicePowers At PlayLascivious and her latest book, Don’t Hit Me!

For More Information

About the Book:

Don't Hit Me!#1 Amazon Bestseller
# Winner of the 2014 Global eBook Award Bronze (women’s studies)
# Winner of the 2014 Honourable Mention Award London Book Festival (memoir)
# Five-Star Review Midwest Book Review
# Five-Star Review San Francisco Book Review
# Five-Star Review #1 Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer – UK
# 3 out of 4 stars Official Online Bookclub

Australian actress and author Vanessa de Largie is a survivor of domestic violence.
Don’t Hit Me is the true diarised account of her time living with an abusive man. The story is conveyed through poems, journal entries and fragments of lyrical prose. The book is a snapshot of domestic violence in real time. Raw, poignant and brave – it’s a tale that will stay with you.

For More Information

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Vanessa. Can we start out by asking whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

I am a multi-published author.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I was published by a small press the first time. It happened serendipitously.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

It was about a year from first discussions to publication.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

Tantric Afternoons was published on the 8th of April 2013, which was the day that Margaret Thatcher died. So, I remember drinking champagne, celebrating my book whilst also celebrating the life of an incredible woman.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I bombarded my social networks and received great support and feedback.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I’m a professional actress too. But I think in both acting and writing, you can believe that some magic-fairy is going to come along and give it all to you. You can’t afford to wait for that moment. It’s best to be active and do it yourself. You’ll often hear those in high positions scoff at artists who are independent or who self-publish. But every thing you do leads to something else. So I think it’s better to take some sort of action than wait around for a gatekeeper to say yes. I’ve had to do everything myself. It’s character building! But I would not hesitate to go the indie way with any project because often publishers, agents, producers etc will hop on board along the way. A lot of my work has got legs that way. I am a better writer and a more confident business woman. I no longer take offense to rejection. It just means I’m a step closer to success.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

They are so lovely compared to the entertainment industry. Publishers and writers actually have the grace to reply to emails and answer their phones. The writing and publishing industry is a lot kinder to one’s soul than the acting industry. I am much happier since writing became my main thing.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

I’m proud of what I have achieved thus far but I intend to do big things over the next decade. I’m only really beginning. Being a published author gives you a platform to raise awareness about things you’re passionate about. It gives you a voice.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Don’t dream about it. Take action!

Book Spotlight: The Demons of Plainville by Daniel R. Mathews

 

About The Book

Title: The Demons of Plainville: A Survivor’s Story of Storms and Reconstruction

Author: Daniel R. Mathews

Publisher: Lost Legacy Press

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Format: Paperback – 292 pages / eBook  / PDF

ISBN: 978-0990710745

Genre: Autobiography / Memoir / LGBT / Non Fiction
Buy The Book:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Demons-Plainville-Survivors-Storms-Reconstruction-ebook/dp/B00XYWRZUY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1433300766&sr=1-1&keywords=the+demons+of+plainville

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-demons-of-plainville-daniel-r-mathews/1121966956?ean=9780990710745

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14029330.Daniel_R_Mathews
Book Description:

Some true stories read like fiction, but for those who have to personally live through the experiences, the nightmare is vividly real. Daniel R. Mathews digs into the darkness of his past with his haunting memoir, The Demons of Plainville.

As a child, Daniel struggles to find his footing in an upside-down world. His mother is mentally ill and addicted to drugs; she performs black masses to summon demons, is physically abusive, and plays brutal mind games that make him doubt his sanity and despair of ever making sense of life or himself. Even his father beats Daniel after “rescuing” him from his mother. Thanks to a few unexpected friends, Daniel survives his devastating youth and emerges stronger for it.

But Daniel’s battles aren’t over. Finally free of his abusive parents, he now must face himself and wrestle with his sexual identity in a community that sees nothing wrong with homophobia.

Candid and compelling, this is a triumphant tale of a young man who walked through the darkness, bravely faced his demons, and against all odds carried the faint light of hope with him every step of the way.
Book Excerpt:



Chapter 1: Telling The Truth



Accusations. This is how it always begins. S Screaming follows when my answers prove inadequate. Then come the threats, and finally the misery of surrender.

I was about eight at the time, living in a small red brick apartment building

in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Our apartment was on the basement floor, so

there was not a good view outside, only a few small quarter windows allowing

in some daylight. The building stood on a grassy hill that overlooked Myles

Standish State Forest. Some days I would just curl up on the sun-warmed

grass, staring down into the forest below me and imagining that I was a bird

darting between the trees.

My anger grew as we went through the same cycle day after day. I stood

in our tiny living room facing the yellow sofa with my mother giving me that

disdainful stare that made me feel ashamed. I’d look towards the light tan

carpet, afraid to make eye contact with her. The details of the accusation did

not matter, as I seldom had any idea what she was talking about. Whether

there was a quarter missing from her bureau or the bathroom light being left

on at night, there was no end to the possibilities of accusations. Each day the

school bus dropped me off at the bottom of the hill, I paused at the bus-stop

to gather whatever courage I could muster. I knew that a new accusation

would be awaiting me, starting the cycle anew.

“Stand up straight when I’m talking to you!” She barks at me. “And stop looking

down at your feet. Where is it, what did you do with it?” she screams, finger

pointed towards me.



“I don’t know,” I say defensively, shrugging my shoulders.



“You little fucking liar,” she says, standing up from the couch and slapping my

face. “Now get in your room!”

I would rush into my small room in our apartment, slamming the white door

shut before ripping clumps of my own short blond hair out. I hid the hair

under my giant stuffed bear, which stood up to my waist in height. The bear

was a gift from my maternal grandparents, ever standing ready to accept my

love. I clung to the bear; its soft white and gray fur brought me comfort during

times of sadness or anger.

My mother grew suspicious of the growing bald spot on the top of my

head and one afternoon decided to tear the room apart. Eventually, she found

the tangled lump of blond hair hidden under the bear and challenged me for

answers, answers I did not have. I could not explain the anger inside me, at

least not an explanation I dared speak in front of her. I had begun craving

independence and the seeds of rebellion sprouted forth. She pushed me at

every opportunity, accused and cursed me for anything ranging from theft to

family misfortune. I just did not understand.

My only outlet was to punish myself through self-inflicted pain, just to

release the frustration. My mother took an attitude of open hostility against

me, one that persisted throughout my childhood.

“I’m going to send you to a mental institution!” she screamed at me, her long

dirty blond hair swinging between her shoulder blades as she frantically shook

her head. She wiped the sweat from her flushed brow then paused for a moment

and looked down at me with great disgust waving the fist full of my hair

she found at me. I clung to my stuffed bear, looking up at her.

“If you do not learn to behave, I’m going to send you to a reform school

for boys.” She had hesitated for just a moment longer before her voice shifted

into a menacing tone. “They just love cute little white boys at the reform

school. They will take care of you real good.” Turning her back on me, she

stormed out of the room, leaving me weeping into my bear’s fur while I continued

to hug it with all my strength.

I’d heard of reform school before I was in second grade. However, I was

left pondering the nature of how they would take care of me. Strange feelings

overtook me. At first, heat surged through my body, then excitement.

My heart began to beat faster, and for the first time that day I smiled. The

words take care of you echoed in my mind over and over. Other boys at this reform

school were going to take care of me. My mind reinterpreted her hidden

threat; other boys were going to be touching me. I did not understand what

this might mean, but I wanted desperately to find out. These strange longings

would grow and expand in time. The seed long within me had sprouted. Yet,

it did not grow for a while.

We eventually moved from the basement apartment to my grandparents’

house in the same town. The small ranch style house was nestled in small

groves of pine and oak trees. There were numerous cranberry bogs in the

area and a large waterfront district a few miles east of the house. Small single

engine airplanes frequently flew overhead, taking off and landing at the local

airport just to the north.

The yard was ideal for play, with a large back yard that sloped down into

a small grove of pines and blueberry bushes. The neighbors behind the house

owned a pair of horses that I visited every day. The house had three small

bedrooms. My room was adjacent to the living room, just wide enough to fit

my bed and a small dresser. When in the house I spent most of my time looking

out the large living room bay window watching the cars and trucks drive

by. Otherwise, I sat on the back deck with my grandmother. We would try

to identify the particular birds visiting the feeder using a small field guide to

birds. I went down the stairs and tossed a ball around with my grandfather on

the lawn or helped him weed his small garden.

Because of the influence and presence of my grandparents (my mother’s

parents), my problems decreased. More often than not, my mother would

go off with her cousin Alice, leaving me behind. Alice’s arrival frequently

corresponded with noticeable changes in my mother’s behavior. Alice was

stern yet generally pleasant towards me. However, when they left together,

they would return in a giggly or light-hearted mood, which would come

crashing down a few hours later. I found the sudden mood shifts to be the

most troubling occurrence because it added uncertainty and fear to my already

besieged mind. One afternoon, though, while my grandparents were

out for the day, my mother and her cousin called me into the small bedroom

my mother was staying in at the end of the house.

Mother closes the curtains and shades, leaving just a shaft of sunlight entering the

room. She held a large red case, almost like a toolbox of some sort. She opened

the case and took out some items, including candles, a bell, incense, goblet,

matches, and a book. The book was entitled The Satanic Bible. She placed the

black and red candles around in a pattern that she refers to as a pentagram

with a circle around it. She ordered me into the imaginary circle and told me

to remain silent and not leave the center of the circle for any reason,” or else.”

She and Alice joined me in the circle while they lit a burner and then some

incense. The snaking trail of smoke climbed towards the ceiling. The ritual

was both exciting and frightening. She picked up the book and looked over at

me, smiling. She told me that she would pray to Satan and summon demons,

but the demons were not allowed to enter the circle. As long as I remained

calm, I would be protected.

She began the mass by ringing the bells; she used the book to speak words

I’d never heard before. The ringing echoed faintly in the room, combining

with the sweet smell of the incense. I felt almost dizzy, overcome by a giddy

feeling of excitement.

She proceeded to cut herself with a silver knife with an ornate looking

pearl handle, just enough to draw a steady trickle of blood from her finger, allowing

it to flow into a tarnished bronze colored chalice. Alice took the knife

and sliced her own finger, allowing drops of blood to fall into the chalice. My

mother held the chalice upwards as an offering and mumbled a few words.

After placing it back on the ground, she took a long slender writing instrument

and dipped it into the blood. The blood served as the ink, allowing her

to write on a small blank piece of white paper. I couldn’t see the writing, but

she told me it was an offering for our luck and fortune. She ripped the paper

into small pieces and set it ablaze. The mass finished with a final ringing of

the bells, driving away the demons.

I couldn’t see these creatures, but the air was laden with smoke and darkness.

I was sure the demons were there.

That afternoon was my first introduction to the “Lucifer,” originally the chosen

angel. The year was 1976 but on this otherwise bright summer afternoon,

it might have been 1692. Witchcraft was alive and well in the suburbs of

Massachusetts.

Mother and Alice repeated this scene several times during the summer,

always when my grandparents were out of the house. Since these rituals were

never performed in their presence, I always wondered what the ramifications

would be if they found out. As strange as it sounds, these were the few times I

felt emotionally close and accepted by my mother, so I was grateful for them.

As October approached, we were on the road once again. My mother,

Alice and I settled down one town over into a small cottage in the woods

of Carver. The cottage was just a ten minutes’ drive from my grandparents’

home, nestled amid lush green pines and small evergreen trees. Alice worked

for the state in Boston and money my mother received from welfare covered

the cottage’s rent. The commute from Carver to Boston was long, so Alice left

early in the morning before I got the bus and did not return home until the

sun had set. My mother spent a great deal of time sleeping during these times,

taking various prescriptions that generally left her tired and moody.

Loving the outdoors and the woods, I approved of our new home’s location.

Surrounded by miles of forest and a large lake that reflected the sunlight

in shimmering ripples of yellow, it was almost a boy’s dream come true. The

dream didn’t last long though.

I started the third grade at age nine that autumn. School became an issue

for me almost immediately. The first day I climbed into the bus, the driver

assumed I was a girl, as did the kids on the bus.

“Who are you?” the bus driver inquired, searching his list.

Before I could answer, he said, “Oh, there must be a mistake. Your name

is Danielle, right?”

I looked at him in surprise, “No, it’s Daniel!” I snapped back. The kids

in the front seat immediately giggled and pointed at me. I looked down and

began blushing.

The bus driver cleared his throat. “Well, Danielle is French for Daniel. So

climb on in, let’s go.”

This led to the unavoidable teasing and taunting one would naturally

expect from such a mistake. I could barely contain the tears of shame though

I did a reasonable job of keeping some composure for the trip to school. My

natural femininity provided a constant source of irritation throughout the

first semester, though eventually the kids forgot about it. Perhaps subconsciously,

I began to isolate myself.

Yet school was only a passing nuisance because my mother’s attitude towards

me changed quickly. She resented my growing desire for privacy and

independence. Away from the influence of my grandparents, my mother’s disposition

soured. The cycle of accusations and threats began to accelerate, taking

on a more menacing tone.
Book Trailer: 

http://www.daniel-mathews.com/site-news/tdop-book-trailer-released/

 

 

 

 

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE
    About The Author
 

An avid reader of science fiction, horror, and fantasy, Daniel R. Mathews is a novelist and nonfiction writer whose books feature LGBT youth braving danger with honor and dignity, including his personal memoir, The Demons of Plainville, and debut horror novel, The Unseen Kingdom.

For the past two decades, Mathews has worked as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified ground instructor, meteorologist, and a member of the web development and Internet technical support community. He currently lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.

 
Connect with Daniel R. Mathews:

Website: www.daniel-mathews.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/AuthorDanielMathews 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DanielRMathews

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Daniel_R_Mathews

 

 

 Virtual Book Tour Page
 

First Chapter Reveal: The Silver Locket, by Sophia Bar-Lev

Originally posted on Plug Your Book!:

Book Cover - The SIlver LocketTitle:  THE SILVER LOCKET

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

Author:  Sophia Bar-Lev

Website:  www.sophiabarlev.com

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:   When The Silver Locket opens, it’s July 1941 in Boston, Massachusetts. War is raging in Europe and the Pacific. But for two young women in a small town in New England waging their own personal battles, the struggle is way too close to home.

When extraordinary circumstances bring these two women together, one decision will alter the course of their lives.  And with that one decision, their lives will be forever changed…and forever intertwined.

Were these two women thrust together by happenstance—or fate?   A tragedy. A decision. A pact. Lives irretrievably changed. A baby girl will grow up in the shadow of a secret that must be kept at all costs. But will this secret ever see the light of day?  And what happens when—or if—a…

View original 740 more words

Character Interview: Sarah Rosenfeld from Sophia Bar-Lev’s novel, THE SILVER LOCKET

Book Cover - The SIlver LocketWe’re thrilled to have here today SARAH ROSENFELD from Sophia Bar-Lev’s new novel, THE SILVER LOCKET. SARAH is a 23-year-old nursing assistant living in Boston, Mass.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Sarah.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Given the intense emotional components of my story, I think the book portrays an accurate and penetrating look into my mind and soul. As you know, sexual assault leaves far more than physical bruises, it is intensely traumatic and when followed by an unexpected and untimely pregnancy, you have the recipe for potential disaster.  I am thankful that my story ends in a reconciliation that was beyond my wildest dreams and the journey to that point is unfolded from chapter to chapter in a sensitive yet very realistic manner.  Yes, I do feel I was fairly and compassionately portrayed.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently? 

I do think the author did a good job. Having been forced to cope at a young age with the loss of my parents, I struggled with feelings of rejection and abandonment. It is my hope that my eventual triumph over those fears will inspire the readers to find within themselves the courage to overcome whatever fears that haunt them.

What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

Persistence.  I struggle but I do not give up.

Worse trait?

Fear of abandonment.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)? 

Jennifer Garner – I admire her and think she’d play a fantastic ‘Sarah’.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

My husband, Joe, the love of my life.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

In the chapter where I finally decided to come clean with Joe about the baby I had when he was away for nearly a year, working in Arizona during the war.  Joe was a diabetic and couldn’t qualify for military service. As jobs were scarce in Massachusetts at the time for a man of his skills, he went to Arizona to work for nearly a year.  It was a difficult separation for both of us and the attack happened shortly after he’d left.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

I would not want to be my assailant’s mother because of the terrible heartache that was hers regarding her wayward son.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

(Sarah smiles) – It’s the best part and that’s all I’m going to say.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

I think it would have to be a sequel to THE SILVER LOCKET and I’d recommend she pick up right where this book ends and chronicle the important midlife years of a wife and mother.

Thank you for this interview, Sarah.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I certainly hope so!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author PhotoA native of Massachusetts, Sophia Bar-Lev divides her time between the Fort Worth, Texas area and Israel.  A former school teacher and adult education lecturer, Bar-Lev now devotes the majority of her time to writing.  Sophia Bar-Lev is also the author of Pasta, Poppy Fields, and Pearls and Pizza and Promises. The Silver Locket is her latest novel.

Connect with the author on the web:

http://www.sophiabarlev.com/

http://www.sophiabarlev.com/#!blog/cnf7

https://www.facebook.com/SophiaBarLevAuthor

////////////////////////////////////////////////

Title:  THE SILVER LOCKET

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

Author:  Sophia Bar-Lev

Website:  www.sophiabarlev.com

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

When The Silver Locket opens, it’s July 1941 in Boston, Massachusetts. War is raging in Europe and the Pacific. But for two young women in a small town in New England waging their own personal battles, the struggle is way too close to home.

When extraordinary circumstances bring these two women together, one decision will alter the course of their lives.  And with that one decision, their lives will be forever changed…and forever intertwined.

Were these two women thrust together by happenstance—or fate?   A tragedy. A decision. A pact. Lives irretrievably changed. A baby girl will grow up in the shadow of a secret that must be kept at all costs. But will this secret ever see the light of day?  And what happens when—or if—a promise made must be broken?

Adopting a child is not for the feint of heart—but neither is being adopted…

A sweeping and suspenseful story that unfolds in a different time and a different place, The Silver Locket explores universal themes that ring true even today. Secrets. Unbreakable bonds. The healing power of love.  Deception. Anguish.  Redemption.

In this touching and tender tale, novelist Sophia Bar-Lev weaves a confident, quietly moving story about adoption, finding hope in the face of hopelessness, and how true love can overcome any obstacle. With its brilliant juxtaposition of the wars fought both on the battlefield and internally, The Silver Locket is a poignant novel, resplendent with drama.  Featuring an exceedingly real and relatable plot, and characters that will stay with readers long after the final page is turned, The Silver Locket is a sterling new read.

 

The Writing Life with Jonathan Raab, Author of ‘Flight of the Blue Falcon’

Originally posted on As The Pages Turn:

jonathanJonathan Raab is the author of Flight of the Blue Falcon, a military novel about the Afghanistan War, based on his time in the United States Army. He is also the author of the upcoming The Hillbilly Moonshine Massacre, a novel about UFOs, conspiracy theories, militarized police, and what it means to come home. He is also the editor in chief of Muzzleland Press, a horror and weird fiction small press. He lives in Golden, Colorado with his wife Jess and their dog Egon.

What’s inside the mind of a military fiction author?

That depends on what type of book it is. This is a novel, and my intention was to write something that was funny, tragic, true, and accessible for people who hadn’t been in the military. I had to be careful not to be too cynical—but I also wanted to tell a true war story, as…

View original 1,106 more words

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