Left for Dead at Nijmegen follows the extraordinary true story of an American paratrooper in WWII and the challenges he faced to survive in enemy hands. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this biography?
In 2014 I was in the process of drafting a series of WW II first person “remembrance pieces” for a WW II publication. I came upon Gene Metcalfe while researching the subject and drove out to interview him. By the end of the first interview, which ran more than five hours, I knew I had a story that needed to be told in a hard-bound, full-length book.
Life interfered and I was unable to pick up again until the summer of 2017. A publisher, Casemate Publishers, in response to my query, stated an interest in Gene’s story. Gene was all for it so I transcribed my tapes and re-wrote all of my notes into a book outline and began researching. In October, 2017, Gene and I commenced twice weekly meetings. I learned his sense of humor, his views on life and the War and many other aspects of his personality.
I researched every facet of what he relayed to me, and quite a bit more. I found it necessary to read the 1968 biography of Heinrich Himmler “Himmler” (Roger Manvell and Heinrich Frankel) as well as “The Private Heinrich Himmler” (Katrin Himmler and Michael Wildt.) I expended in excess of 2,000 hours piecing together Gene’s story.
As an aside, there is reference to a castle in one of the chapters. I could find no trace of it until I found it was actually referenced in Himmler’s biography. I have a “no stone unturned” research philosophy.
Observing Gene as he described grisly details of his experiences and proceeded to explain how humor got him through the ordeal impressed me. His sketches have a humorous flair too, as one can see from those he drew for the book. I will admit there was more than one time he had me on the edge of my chair, even when I was hearing the story for the 8th time.
The war was a series of ups and downs, sometimes happening in a dizzyingly fast sequence. Gene found it to be a matter of bending to the flow of events or being overwhelmed and succumbing.
I intentionally set out to write a book that conveyed the essence of Gene Metcalfe. In my opinion it was the best approach to truly convey what, and how, he experienced WW II.
The historical accuracy was exceptional in this, even down to the smallest detail. What kind of research did you undertake to write this book?
I read three books, including one book that focused only on the Nijmegen aspect of Market Garden. I researched US Army debriefing reports of POW’s and information on every base where Gene was stationed. I also read after-action reports.
I am a researcher by trade. Along the way I accumulated an entire box of print-outs. What pleased me the most was coming across the most rare and perfectly timed photo possible, the encounter with two older German soldiers. It took me six months to get permission to use the photo. The uniformed Dutch guide in the photo apparently did the “dirty work” and is the man who disappeared before the combat patrol encountered the tank. Mike, the bazooka-man, was carrying a bag of hand-grenades as in the rush to jump from the plane he left his bazooka rockets on the floor.
I understand that your “intention was to convey the essence of” Eugene Metcalfe. What were some important ideas or themes you felt were important to convey to readers about Gene?
I felt it important to provide Gene’s background as the basis for better understanding who he was and why he was/is that man. The fact he was an only child, but “not my mom’s favorite” played a large part in the formation of his personality. He was on his own.
He was talented as an artist and musician and is gifted with the ability to draw or paint anyone or anything he has come into contact with. The sketches in the book, though produced by Gene in 2018, are accurate reproductions from 1944-45.
I wasted little time in establishing his sense of humor. Without it, Gene would not have survived and there would not have been a Left for Dead at Nijmegen.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Nannini: Midnight Flight to Nuremberg, from the coal mines of Pennsylvania to the Explosive Skies of Nazi Occupied Europe in my next WW II biography and is ready to go. In this new book I actually spent weekends at the subject’s home interviewing him. I anticipate it will be considered to be at least as good as Left for Dead at Nijmegen and is jammed with photos, some of which have never before seen print.
I am in the process of placing Midnight Flight and, and four additional books, with an appropriate publishing house. If all goes as planned, I will have two new books on the market next year.
Left for Dead at Nijmegen recalls the larger-than-life experiences of an American paratrooper, Gene Metcalfe, who served in the 82nd Airborne during WWII. From his recruitment into the military at Camp Grant to his training with the 501st Paratroop Infantry Regiment at Camp Toccoa, it wasn’t until D-Day itself that he first arrived in England to join the 508th PIR.
When Metcalfe boarded the C-47 which would drop him at Groesbeek Heights, just outside of Nijmegen, Holland, he was handed a box of twelve dozen condoms by an over-confident British lieutenant. He was to be among the first to jump into what should have been a picture-book meadow, free of German troops. Instead, it was defended by three German anti-aircraft cannon emplacements.
As he jumped into a hail of bullets and exploding shells he watched his plane roll over and plummet into the ground. It was at that moment he realized the condoms had either been a bad joke or the planners of Operation Market Garden had seriously underestimated German resistance. Gene was listed as KIA and left for dead by his patrol, who presumed the worst when they saw his injuries from a shell explosion.
The rest of his story is equally gripping, as he became a POW held outside Munich, being moved between various camps ridden with disease and a severely undernourished population. Eventually, after making an escape attempt and being captured within sight of the snow-capped Swiss mountains, his camp was liberated by American troops in April 1945.
Gene’s story is both remarkable for his highly unusual encounter, and his subsequent experiences.
SCOTLAND’S FORGOTTEN HEROINE…
Daughter of The Chief of Clan Farquharson, young Anne was the envy of her peers… until she made the mistake of marrying for love!
The man she married was Angus Mackintosh – 22nd Chief of Clan Mackintosh and one of the most powerful men in the Scottish Highlands. At first, Anne was blissfully happy. But the year was 1745 and Bonnie Prince Charlie was about to step off a boat on the west coast of Scotland and plunge the nation into war.
Angus Mackintosh was a serving officer with the British Army and joined the brutal ranks of troops hunting the young prince down. To her horror, Anne realised she would have to choose between her husband and her country.
She raised a regiment of 500 men and joined the prince. This young woman, with little experience of combat, led her men into battle against regiments of the British Army led by “Butcher” Cumberland. As her clansmen fought their way through the fog at Dornoch, “Colonel” Anne Mackintosh was suddenly reunited with her husband… but not in the way she wanted.
Everything Anne did, during her hectic life, was for love. She married for love and then she picked up the broadsword for love. This novel follows her adventures through the chaotic events of the last Jacobite Rebellion on a sometimes heroic, sometimes tragic, journey that led her clansmen into clouds of sulphurous gunsmoke at The Battle of Culloden with bullets coming thick as the rain falling from the dark skies.
It has been a full trilogy of books, since we have come back to the main timeline of Joshua Landeros’ Reverence series. Having established an entire prequel series to flesh out his world, Landeros has come back to deal with the fallout and what is left of the UNR. Both sides have taken huge losses, but neither will retreat. And it will be up to the last Marconi, Damien, to rally the surviving UNR Cabinet to lead the country into this brave new future. Meanwhile, the Crimson Angels are in a difficult place, despite their successful strike on the International Summit. Gabriella will have to pick up these pieces and decide who she trusts more. All of this coming to a head to see who will end up in a grave or standing astride it, in this new installment of an epic military science fiction saga.
It is refreshing to be back in uncharted waters, having spent so long in the past, and Landeros ensures readers hit the ground running and wondering where all of our heroes of the past have landed after the last battle. The tension ramps up with little effort and with trademark pacing. The story unfolds with our cast of characters struggling against one another as they seek to either win the upper hand or to make sure they enforce justice.
Landeros’ prose continues to improve with each installment and his stories are becoming more and more complex, rather than a simple military sci-fi thriller they initial books were when the series began years ago. It is a pleasure to see how an author has not only grown, but developed his own flavor in the genre as well. This is another solid entry in the ongoing series and it shows little sign of slowing or stopping anytime soon!
Fans of military fiction or military science fiction should already have Avenge the Silenced on pre-order. Readers, who enjoy gritty action among thought provoking themes would also find themselves quite intrigued with this book.
Pages: 366 | ASIN:B07NNV7GKB
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Bloodfest by Ryan Grimbly is a paranovel set in Pacoven – an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean that the government uses to conduct social experiments. The story follows the activities of an elite squad of Hidden Government soldiers captained by Ace McDagger, aided by his childhood friend Shimon. The soldiers are sent to Pacoven in a shroud of mystery, not knowing why they are going there or what, or who lies in wait for them.
The plot is fast paced but easy to understand. There are a couple of flashbacks to Ace’s childhood, however they are easy to follow and add to the depth of his character. Some of the flashbacks include Ace’s friend Shimon, this builds up their relationship and explains there closeness even in the professional field. However, the loyalties of some of the characters are tested, and as they progress with their mission it becomes unclear whom can trust whom. As with any good tale there are several twists and turns to keep you guessing.
Bloodfest is filled with characters. Most of the characters belong to the Hidden Government Army and work with the main character Ace McDagger. Other less developed characters are the residents of Pacoven. The characters are easily distinguishable and are not hard to follow. Some of the characters are described physically, for example Ace’s eye patch is often referred to. Others have their skills (often magical) described – Shimon reads minds and sees the future, another character – Resh- erases memories. The dialogue is cleverly written, with each character having their own unique dialogue that aptly fits their character.
Of course, there are also the paranormal characters – zombies, warlords and man-made monsters. These characters are also cleverly and thoroughly described; “one of bones and loose red flesh”. The vivid descriptions had to the suspense of the story.
Adding to the suspense is the setting itself. Pacovern is an island like no other. Although it appears typical with streets, shops, nightclubs, buses and churches looks are deceiving. It is in fact full of trapdoors, an artificial church and a vortex. Just like the humans and monsters traversing the island itself is dangerous and unpredictable.
Bloodfest is a fast moving and gripping read. The characters and setting are described in graphic detail, creating a book that is hard to put down.
Pages: 538 | ASIN: B07GBZ5KHJ
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The Immortal Queen follows first, the life of Endya, an elven warrior with demon magic. Although plagued with prejudices, Endya finds her soulmate and becomes a leader that the kingdom of Sundregham never wanted. Elizabeth, on the other hand, grew up on Earth with a normal life. Her own nightmares reveal to her that life on earth is about to be thrust into chaos. Both women are needed as dark forces seek to end all of existence. Worlds collide and every kind of magic imaginable is released on Earth as war begins. Even the gods themselves are on the edge of their seats as the final encounter arises.
The Immortal Queen has the potential to be a best selling fantasy novel. Complete with magic and guns, queens and intrigue, even gods and demons. This book combines lore from several fantasy sub-genres and mashes them into one, making this a highly ambitious epic fantasy novel. However, at times I felt that there was too much going on in this story and felt like some things were not explained completely. While the magic in itself isn’t always meant to be understood, I would have liked to have a better understanding of how things worked because what is presented is intriguing.
As the story jumps from scene to scene with little background information, I spent my time trying to figure out where and when a scene took place. This is exacerbated by the fact that halfway through the story all the main characters names were changed.
The Immortal Queen has huge potential to be on par with other high fantasy novels, which is a genre I enjoy. I love it when worlds collide and there are seemingly infinite types of magic. Near the end of the book, dragon riders were even introduced and I almost squealed in delight. There is a constant stream of action throughout the story that kept me interested and was one of the main factors in getting me flipping pages.
Pages: 426 | ASIN: B07N1PW8KL
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The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
Gold Award Winners
Silver Award Winners
Posted in Literary Titan Book Award
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Soul Dark: Chosen thrust readers into the middle of a war between deities and demons that determines the fate of mankind. How did the premise for the story begin and how did it change as you were writing?
As we began, it started out as a simple good vs evil story. But it had to be more. What if you weren’t sure who was good or who was evil? Caught up in a world of hurt, can a person be expected to see through the pretenders? By the end, we realized that at a cosmic level, we are all just pawns of our beliefs, but also that those same beliefs can make us stronger or carry us through our darkest moments in life. We wanted something close to home, in rural Iowa. For our setting, we used memories of our grandparents farm.
What was the collaboration like between you and A.M. Wade on this novel?
I ( E. L. ) wrote the first draft, then we ripped it apart and put it back together. I am a terrible typist and have created a great number of useless words, which made it all the more fun. But We’re also weave-writers. We like to blend our ideas and changes. We also edited one another’s work and caught the plot holes. It was a lot of work but it was fun.
Lukas is an interesting and well developed character. What were some obstacles that you felt were important to his character development?
We kind of formed him after ourselves as teenagers. In HS we were quite often oblivious to the attention of others. With the tremendous powers Lukas had at such a young age, we wanted to make his every obstacle either challenge that power on equal or greater footing, or be a challenge where such gifts did not matter. Otherwise he could easily have grown into quite the psycho–though I doubt Sabine would have allowed that.
Do you plan to continue this story in a second book? If so, where would that book take readers?
We’re knee-deep in book two. The first act is about letting Lukas know exactly how much help he had in book one. (To build his character and to attract the attention of his new teacher, we had to make him feel quite alone, abandoned by all – Sorry bout that, Lukas.) The rest will tell us about his Grandma Helen, when she first came to the farm, fell in love, and first battled an all too familiar demon. Also more background on the mysterious stranger who tried throughout Soul Dark: Chosen to warn Lukas and Helen of what was to come.
War is coming between Lukas’ Goddess and an ancient Demon Lord. But the death of his parents shakes his faith, and with the loss of his remaining family it is shattered. Blinded by rage, Lukas turns away from his friends and trains under a deceptive, yet formidable master to hone his magic and prevent the demon’s final objective–obliteration of all life on earth.
War begins! A forged weapon, Lukas rejoins his friends and sets after the Demon King. From a hidden crypt, where evil lies waiting, to the Iowa countryside, they battle to prevent the end of all they know. Lukas must overcome his doubts and allow the Light to work through him–to defeat both the foe of his Goddess and a new more familiar one.
Soul Dark: Chosen is a coming of age tale in the modern-day world when a war between ancient deities and demons culminates in a winner-takes-all battle that could determine the fate of all mankind.
Posted in Interviews
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The Final War Begins is a dystopian sci-fi novel of a fractured society and the people trying to bring peace to the colonies. The story starts as Lieutenant General Bastien is running from the law. He’s wanted for murder and is running to avoid execution. Bastien is an easy character to root for and he had me empathizing with him right from the beginning. He’s a soldier, but one with good and careful judgement.
Queen Marie Dubois was a character I did not like as much but still loved how fierce and determined she was. Marie’s voracious nature had her kill her father so she could assume the throne. She then turns to Bastien to get rid of her sister Belle. With an exciting plot twits, Belle tries to do the same thing her sister had in mind and turn Bastien against Marie. This turn of events makes the book thrilling to say the least and shows how unpredictable this novel is, which keeps you on the edge of your seat.
There is a strong theme of technology throughout the book that is used deftly and subtly so that you always know this is the future and you can’t wait to see what things S.A. Asthana has dreamed up. Cube the robot is tasked with hunting down Bastien. Cube has a few human features and qualities, like familiarizing himself with emotion through music, which made him endearing. Every character we’re introduced to is developed thoroughly, leaving you with complex and intriguing characters. Marie had extraordinary physical abilities, General Crone is as firm as his job required, and Belle brought balance to the story when other characters appear mean. The main character, Bastien, was everything I would want to see in a protagonist in a fantasy novel.
If you enjoy thrilling fantasy novels, then you will love this book. The author has given the characters contrasting roles that make the plot unfold easily and builds tension organically. Every chapter focuses on a single character; which helped me follow the plot. The adventure, shock, politics, murders, tension among characters and the suspense after every chapter will give you an adrenaline rush. The Final War Begins is a top notch dystopian science fiction novel.
Pages: 287 | ASIN: B07LD73841
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Jake Drecker, a special operator, pursues a mission across country borders to neutralize a terrorist cell, which may be holding an American missionary hostage. When Jake’s boss, Lt. Colonel Mike Sanchez, wonders at Drecker’s insistence and the CIA’s apparent carelessness for his and his team’s safety. The mystery of motivations and history of the missionary begins to settle in for both men. As the rescue operation becomes more and more dangerous, Drecker and Sanchez begin to believe that they may have bitten off more than they could chew.
Military thrillers are always ripe with adventure and thrilling pacing, yet Tim Moynihan’s Prodigal Avenger, seems to subvert his trope. His style is crisp and light and sails over the narrative with ease. There are plenty of nitty-gritty details and numerous mentions of military jargon to please even the most extensive army aficionados. Set in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the setting is immediately visceral and relevant, given the extensive USA presence there in the last 18 years, although Moynihan avoids labeling or commenting on the political foibles that led to the conflict. The mentions and reflections of faith were unexpected, but felt surprisingly welcome, especially in the face of such dire circumstances.
Drecker and Sanchez play off one another quite well and give an almost classic “brothers in combat” that is present in most military dramas, yet Moynihan plays his hand slightly closer to his chest by not allowing either man to be too intimate to the reader. This keeps us at a distance when observing the violence and chaos that occurs throughout the story. There is special attention to show how in war, black and white isn’t clear and that no one is purely at fault nor innocent in war. That kind of appreciation for warfare is rare in these sorts of patriotic, Americanized thrillers and Moynihan must be commended for his discerning prose.
The only fault I found in this book would be the loose ends. Considering how complex and confusing the operation becomes over time, this is no surprise, but the careful narrative never becomes overtly twisted so as to confuse the reader further. The loose ends otherwise will have us begging for answers and one can hope that Prodigal Avenger does not leave Drecker and Sanchez behind.
Any reader of military thrillers or military adventures stories surrounding the Middle East would be well served by reading these.
Pages: 248 | ASIN: B07KX5K894
Tags: action, adventure, afghanistan, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, military, mystery, nook, novel, pakistan, Prodigal Avenger, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, smashwords, soldier, story, suspense, terrorist, thriller, Tim Moynihan, war, writer, writer community, writing
Boomerang Will Not Return follows a stealth bombers crew as they travel back through time and must battle for the future in the past. How did the idea for this novel start and how did it change as you were writing?
I always loved the time travel stories starting form the classic tale of the H.G. Wells The Time Machine and movies such as Time After Time, Back To The Future trilogy and the Terminator movie franchise. The idea for Boomerang Will Not Return came to me from two motion pictures featuring time travel, The Philadelphia Experiment and The Final Countdown. The novel had evolved from a short story I wrote titled Sword of Gabriel, which featured my story protagonists accidentally traveling back in time because of the time and space altering comet called Gabriel. I wanted the story to have a broader aspect and therefore the battle to save history happened in both past and resent.
Time travel is rife with paradoxes. Were there any challenges to writing because of this?
Yes, the time travel paradoxes presented an interesting challenge to me as a writer. The general theory of relativity does not forbid the time travel, but there are technological and moral questions that arise from the use of such an invention. I wanted my time travel story design to be simple and straightforward, and let the readers use their imagination as to how the process of time travel in my story had occurred. The best part about working on a time travel story is that it offers a possibility of a new timeline, where temporal interference alters history as we know it. Time travel is a great tool for entertainment and I hoped to make the best of it.
Your characters Stugel, Hartmann, and Crown are interesting and well developed. If Hollywood came knocking who would you cast to play your characters?
Characters are the ones who drive any story and I had a great time developing them to make them realistic and interesting. I am a military history buff and I learned that in any conflict there are decent people on both sides, who were caught in the maelstrom of war and did their duty to the best of their ability even if it was for a wrong reason. And if I was fortunate to be approached by the Hollywood agents with a movie offer and given a casting choice, I would probably cast Liam Helmsworth as Hartmann, Jennifer Lawrence as Crown and actor Alexander Ludwig as Stugel. I think they would be good for the roles.
Do you plan on continuing this series in another book?
Well, I would like to do it, except that I think the story had a definite ending and final resolution. If I decided to change history in my novel, then yes, I think a sequel or two might have been in order. Time travel story ideas are definitely on my shelf for the future projects, and as soon as I am ready, I shall develop another time travel tale with a new and fascinating plot that hopefully will be interesting and enjoyable.
It was supposed to be a simple mission–deliver six nuclear missiles back to the United States onboard the most advanced Stealth bomber in the world. The B-3 Boomerang is a super weapon that knows no equal. Nearly invisible to radar and lethal, it’s a paragon of present-day military technology. And America’s enemies want its secrets. What no one expected was an aerial phenomenon that catapults the plane and its crew from the present day to the year 1942 into the heart of Nazi Germany.
With their plane disabled and captured by the Nazis, Major Richard Hartman and his copilot, Captain Deana Crown, are forced to fight for survival in a hostile land decades away from home. With the plane’s superior technology and its nuclear onboard arsenal, the Nazis could win the Second World War. The battle for the future will happen in both past and present. The pilots trapped in time now have a new mission: to save history at any price.
Posted in Interviews
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