Delve into the depths of history with The Boy from Pataliputra by Rahul Mitra

About the Book:

The Boy from Pataliputra

It is 326 BC and Alexander, the barbarian king of Macedonia, has descended upon Bharatvarsha with a multi-national horde of Yavanas, Pahlavas, Shakas and Bahlikas.

As the invader advances relentlessly and wins bloody battles in quick succession, as local rulers fall over each other to shake hands with the enemy and as the students of Takshashila University break into open revolt, one young man is faced with a terrifying choice, a choice that threatens to tear his carefully constructed world apart. for Aditya is the boy from Pataliputra, the boy who was once a reckless and carefree aristocrat, but who has now been forced to become a man with a purpose to fight for honour and love.

With a sweeping narrative and interesting everyday characters like the smelly old dhaba owner Tanku, Philotas the unlucky Greek soldier, the no-nonsense medical student Radha, Pandi the hard drinking mercenary and the lovely Devika, the Boy from Pataliputra is the mesmerizing story of a young man’s growth to maturity, but also, equally, a story about the rise of a nation.

My Thoughts:

Delve into the depths of history and a different phase in India’s story. The Boy from Pataliputra mianly focuses on Aditya Vikram, a young carefree, reckless boy, forced to grow up and learn the ways of life. It is a story of life, learning, finding a purpose, but this is not the entire plot. In addition, there is a deeper plot dealing with Alexander’s invasion of India. However, in this book, we are given but a glimpse of him and his army, focusing more on life in Takshashila.

It is evident that the author has done copious amounts of research before writing this book, ensuring that a lot of points are historically correct and also that the way of life is as accurate as possible. The techniques of sword fighting are also explained in great depth with a strong attention to detail. Of course, with the allowance of creative liberty and interpretation, there may be some differences in character sketches, even among the characters whose names we are familiar with. The author slowly introduces us to various well-known people like Charaka, Chanakya, Chandragupta, all at various stages of the story.

The story begins by introducing the reader to Aditya, his brother and the way of life in Pataliputra. When his brother is wrongly framed and hanged, Aditya is taken away from there by trusted friends and sent to Takshashila, with the advice to wait and learn. He is told that someday he might get his chance for revenge, but first he needs to prepare and live his life a little. As he journeys, he learns the meaning of hardship, hardwork and a way to deal with his new life. Slowly, we see him grow into a different and better human being, careful, and loyal. But as this progresses, we also meet Pandi, who takes over his training and responsibility for him, making him into the man he becomes. We also meet a number of people who are integral to this story and who compliment Aditya’s beliefs and support in bringing out his character.

As previously mentioned, though the major focus is on Aditya, the reader is given a glimpse into how the nation can rise and come together, into new beliefs and the advocacy of one country! The final Battle of Hydapses, gives us a glimpse into the invasion led by Alexander and gives us a taste of what is to come in the next books! The Boy from Pataliputra is a well-written story with some wonderful messages of learning. The story flows well and is simply written. It’s a refreshing and enjoyable read, not only for history buffs, but for those who would love to know more about a time in India’s history that isn’t generally touched upon in books!

In conversation with Roland Colton, author of Forever Gentleman

Forever Gentleman by Roland Colton

ISBN: 978-1681142296

Publisher: Anaphora Literary Press

Release Date: July 11, 2016

$29.99

http://www.amazon.com

http://www.rolandcolton.com

http://www.anaphoraliterary.com

In Conversation with Roland Colton

  1. At the beginning of Forever Gentleman, struggling architect and pianist, Nathan Sinclair, encounters the glamourous and beautiful heiress, Jocelyn Charlesworth. What draws Nathan to Jocelyn, and how does she respond to him when they first meet?

Although he has no expectation of an introduction, Nathan is intrigued enough to see if Ms. Charlesworth’s beauty is as extraordinary as the Sunday Times portrays it. Despite his protestations, the mistress of the estate insists on introducing Nathan to Jocelyn.  Once he observes her beauty firsthand, an intoxication of senses sweeps over him—never before has he seen a woman of such unimaginable beauty. Jocelyn’s reaction to Nathan is one of boredom, having endured countless stares from past star-struck suitors. She toys with him, looking for any opportunity to end the interview. Once she believes him to be a common servant, she rebukes him publicly, appalled that a servant would have the audacity to seek her acquaintance.

  1. Nathan also meets the simple and plain social worker, Regina Lancaster. What’s special about Regina, and why does Nathan feel such a deep connection to her?

Though her outward appearance is ordinary, Nathan initially feels a strong attraction to Regina’s eyes and senses a kindred spirit.  Her dark brown eyes convey a journey through unspeakable tragedy, resulting in a deep appreciation for life and depth of character. Nathan is also attracted to Regina’s modesty, simplicity and inner beauty, qualities he admired in his mother. Once he learns of Regina’s selfless service to London orphans, he wonders if any man could possibly be worthy of her.

  1. Music plays an important role in the story and in Nathan’s life. How do the musical elements in the novel tie together the themes in Forever Gentleman?

Nathan’s life has been steeped in music since his operatic mother gave birth to him. His pianistic bravado opens the door of London Society, and he becomes comfortable in a world far different than his humble abode. The music in Forever Gentleman accompanies the story as a soundtrack does a movie, enhancing both drama and mood. Women are attracted to Nathan’s musical genius, fostering love and romance in the story.

  1. The Victorian Era was a time of contradictory wealth and poverty, along with great change, in England. What drew you to write a story set in this time period in history?

I’ve always been intrigued by a world where great beauty and brilliance could exist in the midst of poverty and misery.  While writing the story, I imagined what it would have been like to have lived in both worlds, as does Nathan in the story.  Also interesting is the sanitation miracle that occurred in the 1860’s, pulling London literally out of the squalor and stench of rotting pipes and sewer overflow into a world free of cholera and other dread diseases. And I wanted the timing of my story to coincide with the advent of the modern piano and creation of some of my favorite compositions.

5. How would you describe your writing process? And can you tell us about some of the research you did when you were writing Forever Gentleman?

My writing recipe involves equal amounts of struggle and ease. Sometimes the words flow in abundance; other times, I labor over every word in a sentence. I try not to let my writing get in the way of the story, and my goal was to have the reader lose himself or herself in Victorian London.  Many hundreds of hours were spent in research in my attempt to evoke the sights, sounds and smells of that bygone time. I strove for authenticity in events and venues, including authentic references to concerts, plays, performers and other events depicted in the book. I wanted to capture the times as they were, which is no small task when we live in a world far removed from that melancholy era.

  1. Are you working on another novel? If so, what can you tell us about it?

Yes, I’m writing a new novel that highlights another passion of mine—my love for the sport of baseball. The book begins in 1911, highlighting the exploits of the wonder of the baseball world, Ty Cobb. Using newspaper reports from the time, the reader experiences some of the most incredible sports feats ever accomplished, usually thanks to the genius and skill of Mr. Cobb. After the opening chapters, a hit-and-run accident victim is discovered in modern times (with a face damaged beyond recognition), who purports to be Ty Cobb, mysteriously transported into the future. As the plot continues, this mystery man eventually shows exceptional baseball talent and ultimately plays a brand of baseball unlike anything in modern times, turning the sports world on its head. Is it possible that this baseball ace is truly Ty Cobb, or is it some imposter who has taken upon his attributes?  Only time will tell.

Release Blitz: Curiosity and The Sentient’s Oblation by Zachary Paul Chopchinski

2016-742 eBook Zash Chopchinski, Gabrielle B03


Curiosity and The Sentient’s Oblation by Zachary Paul Chopchinski

Series: Gabrielle Book #3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: February 27, 2017

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The widowed wife of a North Carolina plantation owner, Gabrielle awakens in this life with a broken heart and a sharpened spirit. Living in one of the darkest times in American history, she finds herself running a safe house for the underground railroad during the American Civil War. In order to save a life, Gabrielle must make a sacrifice that could damn her host for eternity.
Everything’s different this time. The rules have changed, Morrigan has changed, and Arawn is more dangerous than ever. He has sent a hunter after Gabrielle and she has to use every ounce of her new powers if she is going to survive.

Continue reading

Book Review: A Kind of Woman by Helen Burko

About the Book:

A Kind of Woman

He is married to the Devil, but can he be her advocate?

Jacob Barder, a successful New York attorney, returns home to New York after being trapped in Europe during the Second World War and miraculously surviving the Holocaust. Barder does not return alone: with him is his new wife, Rachel, a beautiful blonde woman whom he met in Warsaw shortly after the war – a Jewish survivor who lost her entire family and remained alone in the world. Jacob fell in love with her and brought her to the states. Now he will defend her in the biggest battle of her life.

A Jewish lawyer’s wife is accused of committing Nazi war crimes

One evening, in a Broadway theater, Rachel is attacked by a woman who accuses her of being Matilda Krause – a German SS officer who served at the Nazi concentration camps. Rachel’s arrest and police investigation open the way to a sensational trial that will be written in the pages of history. With no one willing to protect a Nazi officer, Barder decides to defend his wife himself. Why would a Jewish survivor speak for a Nazi in the court of law? Barder is called to make an impossible case in the name of his beloved wife, and that of humanity altogether. The jury, the judge, and the readers will be astounded by what he has to say.

My Thoughts:

 A Kind of Woman is set in post WWII Europe, following the aftermath of the Holocaust. An American lawyer, Jacob, having traveled to Europe with his wife and child for a vacation, ends up a prisoner in one of the camps and manages to emerge alive. He however loses his family to the war and while trying to find his way back to America, he encounters Rachel, a beautiful woman with an intriguing mind. They are drawn to each other and become inseparable. As the story unfolds, the author holds off on sharing too much with the reader about Rachel, who ends up being an enigma until the last few chapters when all is revealed.

The author brings out the devastation the war caused, the effect it had on the lives of people and the world. The reader is drawn into a world that is mistrusting, skeptical and where emotions rule the mind instead of intellect. The description of the post war scenario is detailed and ensures that the reader will be affected just as much the people were.

I was not very taken by Rachel character. She seemed too flighty and like a spoilt child who cannot make up her mind. Her way of talking and antics were in no way endearing. Jacob on the other hand was interesting with a strong and pleasing personality. Also, the author uses a lot of repetition throughout numerous paragraphs to emphasize the same point over and over which made me want to stop reading.

Moreover, the first half of the story did not hold my attention much and made me question the point of the story. The second half of the story, after the couple reaches America takes a turn for the better. The plot starts moving at a fast pace, and though there is a lot of repetition and some unnecessary things, the court case is rather well explained. It forms the crux of the story and the author has highlighted some points that I believe should be noted by all and thought about.

Jacob’s ideas and beliefs and in the end, his decision to defend his wife, who was a German SS officer is questioned by the world. However, his defense and the way he handles it make this story worth the read. He raises many relevant questions and puts forth intellectual ideas rather appealing to the emotions of the people as the prosecution does. In the end, the story is not about whether the two characters end up together, it is more about how the war affected the lives of people and their ideas.

Overall, this is a decent read and may appeal to History buffs and those who are fans of the genre.

In Conversation with E.S. Ready

We have had the pleasure of talking to E.S. Ready about the author’s life, writing and interests. Read on to know more.

Find my review of Until Someday on the blog. The review is also available on Goodreads and Amazon.com

The next book by the author, titled Crywood, is expected to be released in July this year!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself.

         I graduated from the University of New Haven in 2011 (A lifetime ago it seems) with a degree in Criminal Justice. Back when I was searching for colleges I wanted to be an English major. I was convinced the pursuit would be fruitless. The Criminal Justice major was ultimately fruitless so I wrote Until Someday. Funny how the world works. I wanted to become a cop and I became a plumbing apprentice for my father’s business and a writer of stories people seem to enjoy.

  1. How did you get into writing?

         I didn’t really get into writing, writing got into me. Don’t worry… it was consensual. Writing has been a part of me ever since I can remember. I always had a fondness and appreciation for stories and telling them, whether it was with a pen or in a social setting. I unfortunately ignored it for a huge chunk of my life and then Until Someday arrived like an overdue baby.

  1. What are your favorite genres and your favorite books?

          My favorite genres are mystery, crime, historical, action/adventure and some horror. I’m a sucker for a realistic romantic subplot. I’ll read just about anything accept fantasy or BDSM crap.

          My favorite author is Dennis Lehane. I’m also pretty fond of Richard Matheson and Charles Bukowski, two very different writers. I of course admire guys like Stephen King and Dan Brown. Its important to read a variety, you grow more as a writer that way. Some of my favorite books include the Kenzie/Gennaro series by Lehane, I Am Legend by Matheson, and Women by Bukowski.

  1. How did you get the idea for Until Someday?

       I’ve always been fascinated by the first half of the 20th Century. The 1920s, 30s and 40s were an especially interesting and tough time to be alive. The roaring twenties gave us the splendor of The Great Gatspy. Two of my favorite movies growing up were Key Largo and Die Hard. I guess you could say Until Someday is a sort of the oddball offspring of Gatspy, Die Hard and Key Largo.

  1. Tell us about your research process into the year the book is set in.

       Thank God for the internet. I found everything that I needed to find far faster than I would if I’d written this book even fifteen years ago. Having said that, that doesn’t mean it was easy. I had to get everything accurate or as damn close to accurate as possible. This meant materialistic things such as cars, clothing, guns and décor, but also language/ dialect. I wanted it to feel real an immersive. I wanted the reader to be right there in the action.

  1. Who is your favorite character among those you have created and why?

       I won’t include Emmett as an option for favorite. I don’t think its fair to include the main character of anything in a favorites contest since the reader spends more time with that person than anyone else. If my arm was being twisted I would have to say that Luther Irvin was the most fun to write. Actors often say its more fun to play a villain and now I see why. Unfortunately, the creation of Irvin’s character was bittersweet for me because I already knew how he would end up before I put him on the page.

  1. What do you find most difficult while writing a novel?

       Not much was difficult about actually writing it. Stories flow out of me pretty easily. Finding the time and place of peace to execute it wasn’t always easy. It will be harder in the future since I’m now working full time. But where there’s a will there’s a way.

  1. Do you have any advice to share about writing a novel?

       My best advice to anyone wishing to write a novel is to read a lot of novels. When you actually do write, start small with poems or short stories. If you do want to dive into writing a novel, try and keep it under 300 pages. Think shorter but dream big. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

 

Kick-start the new year with the Goodreads Challenge for 2017

This is the first post of the new year and I wanted to share my reading goals for the same.

As many of you may be aware, I was a part of the Goodreads reading challenge for last year, having pledged to read 60 books. I am proud to share that I surpassed the goal by 5 books, managing to complete 65 books in the year.

Hence, I have decided to increase that goal a little more and am pledging to read 75 books this year!

I am confident that this can be achieved and I would like to thank all you authors out there who had helped me achieve my goal last year! It is thanks to a whole lot of you contacting me for book reviews and putting your trust in me and my blog that I am here today!

Moving on from all the mushy talk, here’s to hoping that 2017 turns out to be even better than last year!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year once again!

Book Review: Until Someday by E.S. Ready

About the Book:

Until Someday

The year is 1927 and professional boxer Emmett Roane is losing his grip on reality. His career is faltering, memories of a lost love haunt him and the horrors of the Great War muddle his mind. Emmett’s past is hobbling his future, and no amount of booze or knockout blows can ease his painful memories. Seeking solace in the place where he and his Anna had once been so happy, Emmett leaves Brooklyn for a few days alone in Newport at the gilded waterfront Hermann Hotel. During a fateful weekend as he tries to make peace with his ghosts, Emmett crosses paths with Maude Mable, a lively beauty with secrets of her own. But they soon learn the luxury hotel also hosts Luther Irvin, an opium-addicted mobster who is as violent as he is desperate. When Emmett and Maude discover Luther’s hideous plan to wage war on a rival gang, the pair is thrust into a deadly match of wits and force. His back against the ropes, Emmett finds his quest for self-restoration has become a mission of survival-for him, Maude and everyone at the Hermann. Can Emmett Roane, a fighter who desperately seeks an elusive peace, halt the embodiment of evil while finding a way to heal his own heart and mind?

My Thoughts:

E.S. Ready has given us a good novel set in the year 1927, when mobsters tended to make the rules. The protagonist Emmett Roane, a professional boxer is seen fighting not just people but also his own demons. Haunted by the death of his love, Anna, he is seen talking to her a lot. These situations feature direct conversations which make us believe that Emmett is actually talking to Anna and in a way I assume he is. As he struggles to move past her death, while trying to divert his mind with alcohol, he goes to Newport for a few days to take a break. As fate has it, we are introduced to Maude, a sassy, forward lady who singles Emmett out and spends time with him.

In a slightly cliche manner, a romance develops between the two. However, the author does throw in some twists when we find out that a mobster, out for revenge is also staying at the same hotel. Pulled into the same plot, Emmett and Maude are forced to face their fears and help save innocent lives. Emmett, having fought in the Great War, and partly haunted by the horrors of then, but well trained is seen wielding the various guns that the mobster and his goons have.

The story is fast paced and set over a weekend. The plot flows well in-spite of some of the cliches and it makes for a good read. There is a good amount of action thrown in and each persons desires and fears are brought out. The plot features characters filled with hatred, lusting for revenge and death while others that want to move forward from their pasts and have a better life. As one can conclude, our protagonist cannot go somewhere and expect a quiet time! Trouble does seem to follow him around even if he isn’t trying to seek it out.

The characters of the story are well developed and the story comes to life withe the author’s vivid descriptions of the scenes, especially the ones that involve fighting. Everything is described as though under scrutiny of a microscope and each part is broken down to the very last bit. A good read, the author seems to have depicted the time in which the story is set pretty well. He paints a strong and vivid picture.

Until Someday, the title of the book resonates in the pages towards the end when Emmett makes peace with Anna’s death and promises her, in his mind that they will meet again, someday! A worthy read!

Review: Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero

About the Book:

Broken Angels

A Nazi doctor. A Jewish rebel. A little girl. Each one will fight for freedom—or die trying.

Imprisoned in the Lodz Ghetto, Elsi discovers her mother’s desperate attempt to end her pregnancy and comes face-to-face with the impossibility of their situation. Risking her own life, Elsi joins a resistance group to sabotage the regime.

Blonde, blue-eyed Matilda is wrenched from her family in Romania and taken to Germany, where her captors attempt to mold her into the perfect Aryan child. Spirited and brave, she must inspire hope in the other stolen children to make her dreams of escape a reality.

Willem, a high-ranking Nazi doctor, plans to save lives when he takes posts in both the ghetto and Auschwitz. After witnessing unimaginable cruelties, he begins to question his role and the future of those he is ordered to destroy.

While Hitler ransacks Europe in pursuit of a pure German race, the lives of three broken souls—thrown together by chance—intertwine. Only love and sacrifice might make them whole again.

My thoughts:

How would you feel to be imprisoned in a Ghetto with the bare minimum amount of food and clothing provided? How would you feel to be on the other side which is inflicting all this pain and horror?

How does one hurt people in the name of science and research? How did it feel to be a Jew or a German at the time of the Holocaust?

The above are just a few of the questions that the author has chosen to address in her book Broken angels. The story has 3 main protagonists and it is divided into chapters from each of their points of view. This heart-wrenching story, filled with raw emotions, touches on the topic of the lives of Jews and Germans alike, set in the time of the Holocaust. The three protagonists are brought together through various circumstances which alters their lives forever. The various people we meet along the way add some color to the plot and complement the setting.

A riveting story, this tells a tale of love, loss, heartbreak, sacrifice, death and cruelty among various other emotions.

The heinous acts by German doctors, justified as medical experimentation on women in Auschwitz was difficult to read about. The vivid and graphic descriptions of the reality of the situations and the kind of life people led, made the story darker and all the more chilling.

To be honest, I had to put up a fight with my sane self (or conscience) to read the book and at times I had to pause for a while to let go of the emotions that were building up while reading. Sometimes the plot sows down, but the author does justice in the way she has described each scene and the setting of the story.

I enjoyed this book immensely in-spite of  everything it portrays and I strongly urge you all to give this book a chance. It will be worth spending time on this book, it is truly about Broken Angels!

Guest Post : The Cyclist and an Inspiration by Fredrik Nath

We have the pleasure of hosting Fredrik Nath on our blog. He would like to share some of his thoughts and has shared the following post with us. Read on to know what he has to say. Readers can find more information about the author at his website: http://www.frednath.com/

The Cyclist and an Inspiration

Fredrik Nath

The early morning sunlight flickered from behind the high clouds and reflected golden and crisp from the monument in Bergerac’s market square. Around me, shoppers bustled and in the roadway a car beeped its horn. The grey stone pillar rose fifteen feet above me, its shadow pointing away towards the elm trees that line the roadway. A smell of garlic wafted as I read those brave words that showed the strength of the French and France’s indomitable leaders. The monument was a reminder of the valour and sacrifice of those brave local partisans who gave up their lives in the struggle against the occupying Nazi forces all those years ago.

Yes, it is moving. Surely there’s a story here.

In my head a story began to form. What would it have been like to have to make the choices needed to protect oneself and one’s family yet still remain French? The main character would need to do something admirable. He would need to depart from the norm. If you became a partisan you would endanger the people nearest you. What if you were caught?

I began to think of how it would be to be the one who is rounding up the local Jewish people. Would you hate it? Of course you would, even if you were forced to it for fear of endangering your family. For a religious man it would be even harder. Surely one would do anything to avoid such ‘duties’ if you had a conscience?

The story began to form. A Vichy French policeman, a man of conscience, a family man working with evil Nazis whom he secretly hated. I created Auguste Ran, a good policeman, but in essence weak, until a certain event tips him over the edge and slowly he begins to fight back.

That’s where THE CYCLIST came from and it was my springboard for the other books in my French resistance books. Each take a character and makes life hard for them, allowing them to become. In the end, THE CYCLIST sold 30,000 copies. It was Editor’s choice in the Historical Novel Review in 2011.

You can catch the Books on Amazon – all six books: a policeman, a teacher, an artist, a chef, a philosopher and in THE PROMISE a medical student.

If you like drama and character-based plots check them out!

In conversation with Roy M. Griffis

We have had the pleasure of talking to Roy Griffis, author of the series ‘By the Hand of Men’ among others. We would like to take this opportunity to thank him for taking time out for the same. Read on to know what he has to say.

Griff Biking Author Photo

So, please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an American writer, currently living in California.   Born in Texas City, TX, the son of a career Air Force meteorologist. Attended a variety of schools at all of the hot spots of the nation, such as Abilene, Texas and Bellevue, Nebraska.  I was the new kid at something like ten different schools while I was growing up.

I’ve written poems, short stories (twice runner-up in the Playboy college fiction contest), plays (winning some regional awards back East and a collegiate Historical Play-writing Award), and screenplays. I’m a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, West, with one unproduced screenplay sold to Fox Television. Along the way, I’ve done the usual starving artist jobs. Been a janitor, a waiter, a clerk in a bookstore. I was the 61st Aviation Rescue Swimmer in the Coast Guard (all that Tarzan reading wasn’t wasted). I’m also not a bad cook, come to think of it. Currently, I’m a husband, father, and cat-owner. I’m an avid bicyclist and former EMT.

I live in Southern California with my lovely wife. My friends call me “Griff,” my parents call me “Roy,” and my college-age son calls me “Dadman.” It’s a good life.   By the Hands of Men, Book Three: “The Wrath of a Righteous Man” will be released in May, 2016.

What prompted you to start writing?

When I was ten, I was sent to my grandparent’s house in Tucson, Arizona when things were tough at home. I was pretty damn lost, as my grandparents were largely strangers to me. My older brother, a more taciturn type, refused to discuss what was going on. Fortunately, like so many kids before me, I was rescued by literature. Or, at least, by fiction.

In a tiny used bookstore that was just one block up from a dirt road, I discovered that some good soul had unloaded his entire collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” series in Ballantine Paperback. Moved by some impulse, I spent my RC Cola money on the first book, “A Princess of Mars.”

           I think what struck me was how these books were possessed of magic: they were able to transport me far from this dusty land of relatives who I didn’t know and relatives pretended not to know me to another dusty land of adventure, heroism, nobility, and even love. It was the first magic I’d encountered that wasn’t a patent fraud, and when I closed the stiff paperback with the lurid images on the cover, I decided it was the kind of magic I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to mastering. And, thus, I was saved.

Since then, I’ve never looked back.

Tell us about the books you have written so far.

First professionally published novel: “The Big Bang, Volume One of The Lonesome George Chronicles

In this page-turning post-apocalyptic thriller, Roy M. Griffis explores an alternate timeline in which America falls victim to a coordinated attack by Islamic jihadists and Chinese Communists. It’s 2008 and George W. Bush is still president. Three years later, the man called “Lonesome George” is in hiding, leading the resistance from a secret location. Multiple plot lines skillfully braid the tales of resistance fighters in various parts of the country. Whistler is the hard-bitten commander of a military unit in Texas. Karen, a former congressional aide, stumbles through the radioactive rubble of Washington DC. Griffis also entertainingly works in real-life liberal celebrities and pundits whose eyes are finally opened to threats they once discounted as obsessions of the right. “Molly,” a left-wing columnist in San Francisco, finally puts her talents to good use on the underground radio as the voice of the resistance. “Alec,” a famous actor and liberal gadfly, loses his wife and daughter in the nuclear attack on Los Angeles and becomes a legendary fighter, inventing the gun that bears his name. A vivid imagining of an America gone horribly wrong, written in gripping detail.

Self-published:

The first two books in a four-volume Historical Fiction series (Book Three coming out in May), called “By the Hands of Men.”  The series begins in the trenches of France during The Great War, and will conclude in California in the mid-thirties.

 Book One: The Old World

Lieutenant Robert Fitzgerald has managed to retain his sanity, his humanity, and his honor during the hell of WWI’s trench warfare. Charlotte Braninov fled the shifting storm of the impending Russian Revolution for the less-threatening world of field camp medicine, serving as a nurse in the most hopeless of fronts. Their friendship creates a sanctuary both could cling to in the most desperate of times. Historical fiction about life, loss, and love, By the Hands of Men explores the power that lies within each of us to harm – or to heal – all those we touch.

 Book Two:  Into the Flames

Charlotte Braninov, traumatized by loss and her service as a frontline nurse, returns to war-torn Russia to find her family. Captured by the Red Army, she exchanges one hell for another. Her still-loyal Lieutenant, Robert Fitzgerald, believing the woman he loves is dead, struggles to recover from the ravages of combat and typhus. In a desperate bid to rediscover himself, he commits to serve his country as a pawn in distant Shanghai. Forging their destinies in a world reeling after The Great War, Charlotte and Robert will learn anew the horror and the beauty the hands of men can create when they descend into the flames.

How much does your day to day life contribute to the stories you write? How much of what you write is inspired by people you have encountered along the way?

Day to day events form part of what one creates, even if it’s only an interesting clay that contributes to the final qualities of the fired pot. Since I’m writing historical fiction, or “a history of events that have not yet taken place,” there is a little one-to-one cause/effect to what appears on the page. However, larger parallels can make themselves known, and those will appear in in what I write.

            People who know me and my history well might be able to pick out one or two characters clearly inspired by individuals known to me, but for the most part, very little of the characters are consciously designed.

            This is going to sound fatuous – or moderately deranged – but once a story makes itself known to me (almost like a religious vision, typically I can both see and hear some important moment of the story), at a certain point, I’m merely recording the story I hear and see in my head. Characters are not planned, they show up. “Orlando Pyle,” in By the Hands of Men, is a prime example of this…in fact, most of the characters in that book are. So I am often as surprised by what they do and say as I hope the reader is. It very often feels as if I am writing a true story that no one has ever heard before.

Would you describe a perfect writing day for your readers?

Up early (4am – 6am or so), quick check of email while the coffee is brewing. Then get started on original creative work, picking up where I left off the day before.   Write for about two hours, get breakfast. Refill the coffee work until about lunch time. That leaves a good portion of the day left for chores (like editing or marketing), housework, play with the cats, bike ride. I like it because it balances the writing/creative life with the ordinary “stuff that’s got to be done” parts of life.

If you had to pick a career that was not writing, what would you choose and why?

Probably something helping animals. I find cruelty to children and animals abhorrent, as they are innocents who cannot make other choices for themselves. The individual who abuses either is the worst kind of scum.

Which author (other than yourself of course) is your favourite? Who would you say inspires you?

Wow, that almost depends on genre or the work itself. In fiction, either Richard Adams or Harper Lee. Both took us to fictional worlds, made them rich and full and enveloping (which is one of my goals), but since much of Ms. Lee’s work was based on her own young life, I’d have to give the hat tip to Richards Adams. Anyone who suggested it was possible to write a thrilling, timeless, and ultimately moving novel about rabbits would have sounded insane. But he pulled it off in a tremendous act of imagination. I hope someday to write something as good.

How much field work do you do as research, since your novels are historically inclined and set?

Most of my research has been book-based, although I did visit London, France, and Brussels before beginning By the Hands of Men. Some of my contemporary novels used bits of my own hands-on experience. I will be doing some on-scene research for BTHOM4, as it is set in Central California in the 1930s.

Finally, what message do you want to share with us readers?

Personally, I am weary of books with the theme “Life is awful and people are horrible.”  I might write books about people going through trials, but I, and the novels, am ultimately hopeful because of the actions of individuals.

We can always make a choice, if we are willing to pay what it will cost us. Everything has a cost (even Salvation: Somebody had to pay for that). As in my books, I believe it is up to each of us to make God real. We are His hands and feet. Our actions every day are how God manifests in the world. And every day, we can make a choice for good or evil.

Thanks for taking the time to interview me. As I note above, By the Hands of Men, Book Three: The Wrath of a Righteous Man will be out in November, with a Lonesome George sequel shortly after that.