Guest Post from Samuel Marquis Author of Soldiers of Freedom: The WWII Story of Patton’s Panthers and the Edelweiss Pirates

I recently read and reviewed Samuel Marquis’ most recent book in his WWII Historical Fiction series. I’ve read them all, and this one has more battle details than I’ve seen in any of the others. Which I think is warranted and deserving of the titular subjects of the book. You can check out the book review by clicking HERE. – Ronovan


Soldiers of Freedom: Why Patton’s 761st “Black Panther” Tank Battalion and Other African-American Units Fought Despite Racism in WWII

By Samuel Marquis

In Soldiers of Freedom: The WWII Story of Patton’s Panthers and the    Edelweiss    Pirates, Book 5 of his WWII Series, historical fiction author Samuel Marquis tells the story of Sergeant William McBurney and the 761st Tank Battalion, the first African-American armored unit in U.S. history. Fighting under legendary General George S Patton, Jr. in the grueling Lorraine campaign in France, the Battle of the Bulge, the Rhineland, and in the final conquest of Nazi Germany, Sherman tank gunner McBurney and his fellow Black Panthers had to fight two wars at once: one against the German Army, the other against the racism of their fellow white soldiers. In their fight on behalf of freedom, they changed the makeup of the modern U.S. Army and paved the way for the civil rights movement.

After the battle for Tillet—one of the many small Belgian towns U.S. forces had to liberate to eventually win the legendary Battle of the Bulge—a German prisoner took one look at the troopers from the all-black 761st Tank Battalion that had just vanquished him and was stunned to see colored men in uniform. “What are you doing here?” he asked one of the tankers in English. “This is a white man’s war.”

Grinning and offering the German soldier a cigarette, the Negro tanker replied, “You ain’t got no black or white when you’re over here and the nation is in trouble. You only got Americans.”

In a nutshell, the exchange explains why African-American soldiers were willing to risk their lives to fight in WWII, despite suffering from pervasive discrimination from their own white troops and American civilians during their training. They simply wanted to do the right thing in the name of freedom and democracy and make a difference in the world—the same as their white counterparts. But in the process, they also hoped to advance their own freedom. They longed to move themselves forward onto an equal footing, or at least a more equal footing, with whites they would soon learn from the hard experience of war were certainly no better than them.

In late 1945 and early 1946, the 761st Tank Battalion—the first African-American armored unit in U.S. history to see combat—returned home from WWII along with 1.2 million other black veterans. They had been handpicked by General George S. Patton, Jr. himself, fought in his vaunted U.S. Third Army until the German capitulation, and were damn proud of that fact. Patton’s veteran Black Panthers, whose motto was “Come Out Fighting” in tribute to boxing legend Joe Louis, should have returned as conquering heroes. Instead, while their white brethren in the armed forces enjoyed great fanfare, ticker-tape parades, and a plethora of newspaper ink, the Black Panthers, Tuskegee Airmen, and other black outfits that had put Nazism down like a rabid dog were largely ignored. They had no choice but to quietly resume their daily lives in a country that cared little about their contributions and sacrifices overseas.

They had gone to Europe and the Pacific to perform their duty on behalf of their country, hoping that by fighting on behalf of freedom they would become free themselves. But upon their return, the painful truth was they had not changed a nation. In fact, they found themselves in many ways more at the beginning of a civil-rights struggle than at the end as returning African-American soldiers. Having served their country with distinction during the largest and most violent conflagration in human history, they returned to second-class status and with expectations that were deemed unacceptable to those of many of their white compatriots. Most of them still could not vote, use public facilities, sit beside whites in buses or at lunch counters, or find work at anything but the most menial of jobs.

For the returning members of the 761st and other black units in the U.S. Army and Air Corps, it was apparent that America had never really cared for theSam Marquis Soldiers of Freedom Coverm and now had mostly forgotten them. Most people did not even know of African-American service on the battlefields of Europe. In the roar of postwar America, the battalion’s service might as well not have happened, so few people knew or even cared. What the 1.2 million black servicemen had done on behalf of their country was not acknowledged or even believed. But even more upsetting to the returning colored soldiers was that white America expected life in the U.S.—with its racial castes and customs—to go on as if the war had never happened. The majority of whites were still unwilling to look at them in the new light that black leaders had originally sought by insisting that colored men receive the right to fight. They experienced lynchings, beatings, and employment discrimination despite their veteran status, and they couldn’t help but feel excluded from the postwar economic prosperity they could see all around them.

The returning black troopers found all this perplexing, especially considering how well they had been treated by not only the French, Belgians, and Dutch they liberated, but by the German civilians who only days and weeks before had been their enemies. Sergeant William McBurney, Sherman tank main gunner and the protagonist of my book Soldiers of Freedom, had fond memories of Holland from his stay there in February 1945, recuperating and refitting after the brutal Battle of the Bulge. So did the other members of the 761st Tank Battalion. To them, the best thing about Holland was the people. The Dutch citizens spoke English fluently and treated them with genuine respect and warmth. They welcomed them not as black men but as Americans, honoring them as liberators from the German occupation forces. McBurney found the simple and sincere kindness of the Dutch people a welcome and pleasant surprise after the treatment he had experienced at the hands of many of the American soldiers, particularly those from the 87th Infantry, a Southern unit the 761st had fought alongside.

The French, Belgian, and Dutch people were right to treat the members of the 761st as heroes and liberators: Patton’s Panthers had truly earned their reputation as a crack fighting unit. From the time that the battalion was committed to combat on November 7, 1944 through May 6, 1945, it had spent 183 days in action, its only pauses accounted for by the time needed to move from one mission to another. During its combat actions, the battalion destroyed or captured 331 enemy machine-gun nests, 58 pillboxes, and 461 wheeled vehicles; killed 6,246 enemy combatants; and captured more than 15,818 enemy soldiers. Not bad for an outfit that rarely numbered over a thousand men, including maintenance and supply. McBurney and his buddies also liberated the Gunskirchen concentration camp in Austria in the final days of the war. Since the war, battalion members have visited Jewish organizations and school groups throughout the country to share these memories and to testify to the horrors they witnessed during the camp’s liberation.

The Black Panthers paid a heavy price in the name of freedom. The unit suffered thirty-six men killed in action, including three officers. Thirty-nine officers and 221 enlisted men fell wounded in action. Nonbattle casualties stood at nine officers and 192 men, mostly trench foot cases. Total casualties pressed towards 50 percent, a disproportionately high number for a comparatively small outfit that fought alongside manpower and equipment behemoths like the 26th Infantry Division and the 4th Armored Division. The battalion lost a whopping 71 tanks in battle, more than one and a half times its original allotment.

The men themselves never thought of themselves as particularly heroic. All the members of the 761st had ever wanted was simple human dignity, to be recognized for their abilities as soldiers without being judged by the color of their skin. By taking up arms in the struggle against Tojo and Hitler, they had hoped to heal the old wounds of racial prejudice inflicted upon them by their white counterparts in the U.S. armed forces and by the bigoted white civilians at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, and Camp Hood, Texas, where they had undergone their training. But as fate would have it, the men of the 761st and other segregated African-American combat units like the 92nd Infantry Division and the famous Tuskegee Airmen received a less than warm welcome upon their return home. The continued discrimination towards the black soldiers after willingly giving their lives on the killing grounds of Europe and the Pacific was a source of significant disappointment and discouragement for the returning men, as well as their embittered families.

As Platoon Sergeant Johnnie Stevens of the 761st said: “We were treated better by the civilian German population than we were treated in America. See, in our own country, we could not buy a hot dog when we were in uniform, had to ride in the back of the bus when we were in uniform…. But over there, you were treated like a king. We ate together, slept together. After the war was over and the Germans had dances again, we were invited. That’s why a lot of black GIs took their discharges in Europe. They said, ‘Look, ain’t nothing in America for me. I can’t get a decent job when I go back, I know that. I’m not gonna have any privileges. I can’t even vote. So what the hell do I want to go back there for?”

Though the 761st’s vets were disappointed to return home to the same old prejudices, they soon began to put their lives together, start careers, marry, raise children, and lead in countless quiet but nonetheless significant ways. Though some struggled, the bloody battlefields of Europe had trained them to be disciplined, responsible American citizens who understood the true cost of freedom. But they would have an even greater impact in the future.

The brave actions of the 761st on the battlefields of Europe would eventually garner the men the recognition they deserved, pave the way for an integrated U.S. Army, and lay the foundation for the post-war civil rights movement. At the end of WWII, the distinguished service of the 761st Tank Battalion, Tuskegee Airmen, and other African-American combat units helped convince President Harry S. Truman and other high-ranking government officials to desegregate the U.S. Armed Forces in 1948. And then, after thirty-three years of intense lobbying by the unit’s veterans, the battalion was belatedly awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for “Extraordinary Heroism” by President Jimmy Carter on January 24, 1978. The award became official on April 10, 1978 by the Department of the Army under General Orders Number 5. The final award stood as a single citation for all the 761st’s actions from October 31, 1944, to May 6, 1945. Most importantly, the government finally acknowledged that “racial discrimination and inadvertent neglect on the part of those in authority” had played a role in the previous disapprovals and that “the climate created by the Army commanders could only have made it difficult to provide proper recognition for a ‘Negro’ unit during the period 1944-1947.”

Though the citation should have come thirty-three years earlier, it was ultimately the struggles of Patton’s Black Panthers—at home and abroad, within the armed forces and outside it—that led to the construction of a stronger U.S. Army and a greater nation. Since the new millennium, African-Americans make up around 20% of the U.S. armed forces (and no longer are they merely cooks, stevedores, and drivers), and black officers in the services stand at 5%-7% in the Navy, Air Force and Marines and 10%-15% in the Army.

That is the ultimate legacy of Patton’s Panthers.

Biography 

The ninth great-grandson of legendary privateer Captain William Kidd, Samuel Marquis is the bestselling, award-winning author of a World War Two Series, the Nick Lassiter-Skyler International Espionage Series, and American historical fiction. His novels have been #1 Denver Post bestsellers, received multiple national book awards (Kirkus Reviews and Foreword Reviews Book of the Year, American Book Fest and USA Best Book, IPPY, Readers’ Favorite, Beverly Hills, Next Generation Indie, and Colorado Book Awards), and garnered glowing reviews from #1 bestseller James Patterson, Kirkus, and Foreword Reviews (5 Stars). Book reviewers have compared Marquis’s WWII thrillers to the epic historical novels of Tom Clancy, John le Carré, Ken Follett, Herman Wouk, Daniel Silva, and Alan Furst. His website is samuelmarquisbooks.com and for publicity inquiries, please contact Books Forward at info@booksforward.com.

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© 2020 Ronovan Hester Copyright reserved. The author asserts his moral and legal rights over this work.

#BookReview by @RonovanWrites of Stealing First and Other Old-Time Baseball Stories by Chris Williams.

Stealing First and Other Old-Time Baseball Stories

by Chris Williams

Non-Fiction: Bsaeball. 152 Pages Print. Sunberry Press (April 21, 2020)

Kindle and Paperback

The author provided a copy of the book for an honest opinion.

When you read the book, you realize a great deal of research and analysis went into its making. There are a few good stories about players, as the title indicates, but there is an overwhelming amount of stats packed into the few chapters. I think that’s an overwhelming amount for me. For a baseball fanatic, and I use that word in a positive manner, this would be right up their alley.

The stories and stats included are from the early 1900s, until the new millennium. There are names I’ve never heard of and I’m surprised, considering names and situations they’re attached to.

I’m not going to give away the stories and the statistics, unlike some other reviews. There are comparisons between players as well as times. And even I could understand the significance. I’m not a baseball novice by any means, I’m just not an avid fan these days. That’s why I say this is more for someone looking to get the details they might not find elsewhere. Because the more you read, the more you know.

RECOMMENDED TO

Avid baseball fans.

People who enjoy all things history.

Those who like quick reads with trivia.

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© 2020 Ronovan Hester Copyright reserved. The author asserts his moral and legal rights over this work.

#BookReview by @RonovanWrites of Soldiers of Freedom part of @SamMarquisBooks WWII Series

Soldiers of Freedom4.68 Gold Star Image

 

Soldiers of Freedom

by Samuel Marquis

Fiction: WWII Historical Fiction/German Historical Fiction/Military Historical Fiction/Biographies of World War II. 646 Pages Print. Mount Sopris Publishing (March 31, 2020)

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY:

The ninth great-grandson of legendary privateer Captain William Kidd, Samuel Marquis is the bestselling, award-winning author of a WWII Series, the Nick Lassiter-Skyler International Espionage Series, The Joe Higheagle Environmental Sleuth Series, and a historical fiction novel centered on the infamous pirate, Blackbeard. His novels have been #1 Denver Post bestsellers, received multiple national book awards (Foreword INDIES, American Book Fest’s Best Book Awards, Beverly Hills Book Awards, IPPY, Next Generation Indie Awards, Colorado Book Awards), and garnered glowing reviews from #1 bestseller James Patterson, Kirkus, and Foreword Reviews. Book reviewers have compared Marquis’s WWII thrillers “Bodyguard of Deception,” “Altar of Resistance,” and “Spies of the Midnight Sun” to the epic historical novels of Tom Clancy, John le Carré, Ken Follett, Herman Wouk, Daniel Silva, Len Deighton, and Alan Furst. (Emphasis by Ronovan.)

In addition Sam has been the Kirkus Reviews Book of the Year Winner. Kirkus Reviews, founded in 1933 it has been considered one of the big two along with Publishers Weekly. To be selected for review is a sense of worth for an author. To be selected as a book of the year? I can’t imagine but can dream. (Kirkus Reviews is owned by Nielsen Holdings, 2010.)

REVIEW:

In Soldiers of Freedom: The true story WWII Story of Patton’s Panthers and the Edelweiss Pirates, Samuel Marquis mixes his ability to capture authentic dialogue with his massive amounts of research to give societal issues and the human condition during the time not only by the obvious racial aspect but by nation and society ruled by a dictator and his self-important official and citizen followers. Marquis gives the experiences of the soldier as a person with thoughts and feelings beyond being in a war simply to be following orders and killing the enemy, but the rest of his life the experiences of war touches. This carries over to the military command level as well as citizens in the home nation of the Nazi regime.

With a book set in WWII Europe and involving the 761st Tank Battalion, there must be sensory loaded descriptions of battles; the roar of guns, the smoke, the smells, the confinement, but more than that, I am given the emotional mindset of a tank gunner, and his comrades-in-arms as they fight against the Nazi regime. Marquis does not stop there, he gives a taste of what it’s like to be a Black man in the 1940s and how that translates to being a soldier at war, while at the same time often outranking white soldiers who show disrespect, disregard, and disdain for them.

Getting flipped on its head, I then read about the physical and emotional state of a teenage German girl, who is resistance fighter with the Gestapo dogging her every step, a situation more treacherous than any man would face. She shows me not every German in WWII is either a Nazi, a Nazi supporter, or innocent of having blood on their hands.

The dialogue and action of the military and resistance fighters draw you in and give you a sense of being a part of a war environment, not just the battlefield of soldiers, but the battlefield of citizens fighting their own government. Marquis uses his research materials of government documents, biographies, interviews, and personal letters to great dramatic effect.

Soldiers of Freedom is told through the voices of three people; SARGENT WILLIAM H. BURNEY, a Black man from Harlem on Manhattan Island, New York who is a part of the 761st, GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON Jr, commander of the US THIRD ARMY, and 16/17-year-old ANGELA LANGE, daughter of a German Colonel, and member of the EDELWEISS PIRATES, a real German resistance group in Cologne, Germany.

Jackie Robinson military photo
Jackie Robinson

While reading I can’t help but feel the frustration of the young Black soldiers not just during the war, but from the moment of sitting down with a recruiter and being told that you aren’t allowed to so much as try for what you dreamed of doing in the military and for your country, that you would have to take another route. I am surprised by the honesty of the recruiter considering the times. Frustrations continue wherever McBurney goes, from one camp to another, all in the name of training. The use of the JACKIE ROBINSON’s court-martial hearing is perfect to put an exclamation point on the 761st time in the US.

761st Tank Battalion photo
761st Tanker Division the first all Black tanker group.

Samuel Marquis gives facts of history not taught to me even in my higher-level History courses at university, and that was as a History Education major. For example, the existence of the 761st TANK BATTALION, the reason for their formation, how they end up in Europe, and the impact they make on the war, which is huge. They are a large part of important moments. There are times in McBurney’s journey I want to punch so many people, run over them with my tank, or shot them with my big 76mm gun, preferably with a round of HE. I get to see the reaction of the German soldiers, and German citizens as well, misrepresented in every level from middle school through university. I learned what a HE was, as well as what a 76mm was and what it could do.

“But it struck him as ironic that he and his fellow Negro tankers were about to cross the same ocean their African ancestors had crossed in chains; and that, in taking part in the struggle against Nazism, they were about to fight a war in the name of freedoms neither the men of the 761st nor their forbearers had ever enjoyed.”—Sergeant William H. McBurney, Tank Main Gunner, U.S 761st “Black Panthers”

What I enjoy a lot is the sharing of the experience the tankers both in battle and in the everyday life of a soldier. The difficulty the drivers and gunners have using these machines is incredible. How although the tanks can be lions, they can also quickly turn into lambs. I haven’t come across another book, of any kind, describing with such honesty what a soldier goes through in the confines of a war machine, regardless of the genre. I don’t know how they did it. I’d still be shaking, rattling, and my eyes would be bopping all around to this day. Then there is what McBurney reveals about German towns and the citizens they come upon. I have never given much thought to that part of the story, at least not down to that level. One reason for not knowing is, history books don’t teach about the Black soldiers of WWI and what they did in Germany. You must read to believe.

General George S. Patton Jr.

“Lord help us,” [Patton] said, pulling out a fresh cigar. “And Lord help me when this war is over.”

“Why’s that, sir? I would think you would celebrate.”

“No, Codman. With nothing to do, I’m going to be a [***]damn wreck and an absolute nuisance to my wife.” – Major Charles Codman and General George S. Patton Jr, Freedom Soldiers

That sampling of dialogue is just a little taste to help you get in the spirit of General George S. Patton Jr.

Patton is as flamboyant and audacious as I thought. Using diaries and letters, Marquis gives me the colorful language and stories Patton liked to tell, but more importantly, his feelings about soldiers under his command, as well as the Generals and commanders he must work with. Those feelings are quite surprising, not only for the tough-as-nails Patton but from a field general at all. I laughed, yes laughed, reading old Blood and Guts Patton’s

Eisenhower and Montgomery photo
General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery

exchanges with GENERAL DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, as well as other generals, and his thoughts on the BRITSH FIELD MARSHAL BERNARD MONTGOMERY. And the honest opinions of Eisenhower, at least through research are eye-opening. What is revealed about the politics, perceptions, and egos of war and how they play out on the battlefield is not necessarily surprising, but are brutal when laid in front of you and you can’t help but see it and think about the outcomes.

The resulting command structure and atmosphere of the European Theater following Patton’s removal for slapping two shell-shocked soldiers in Sicily are painful to watch with Patton demoted then later given command of the US Third Army. How the war would have been different if not for his believing the soldiers were just trying to avoid fighting. No one had heard of PTSD in the 1940s. The press had a field day, but Patton had a powerful fan and ally waiting in the wings to help get him back in the war.

For the ugly truth was that every German was ultimately guilty for allowing Hitler and the Nazis to rise to power and hiding their head in the sand and turning their backs when the regime began singling out Communists, Jews, clergymen, and other racial, political, and social enemies of the Reich. – Angela Lange, Freedom Soldiers

Jackie Robinson military photo
Gertrud Koch, Edelweiss Pirate/Navajo. Inspiration for Angela Lange

Angela Lange is loosely based on real-life Edelweiss Pirate of Cologne, GERTRUD KOCH, but with elements drawn from events experienced by her comrades. I learn through Angela’s authentic filled voice and view, just how naïve and young these Edelweiss Pirates, who called themselves Navajos out of admiration for the Native American tribe, are in the beginning, but also how fast they grow up. Their main target is the Hitler Youth that patrols the town and enacts harsh punishment on those they deem conducting criminal or disloyal acts. The demented CRIMINAL COMMISSIONER FERDINAND KÜTTER of the Cologne Gestapo along with his interrogators are nothing but sadistic, rabid dogs who enjoy nothing more than torturing Germans and enemies alike until they get confessions, information, or death. Marquis settles into a groove with Angela’s story as the book continues. I witness the innocence, naivete, love, pain, tragedy, hope, despair, spirit, and determination throughout this young woman’s story and all while battling with the Gestapo. And not just any Gestapo, but some of the most factually brutal in the Nazi Regime, that were historical figures in Cologne.

As important as Patton’s story is, the 761st story is bigger and as big as their story is Angela’s story is the one that delivers a reality punch. We don’t think much about resistance within Germany unless we think of the Jews who hid from death and helped others escape it. Here we see German citizens fighting against the Nazis, not to help the Allies, but to take back the Germany they once knew.

WHAT I LIKED:
  • facts about unheard of people
  • a sensory experience from each view of the war
  • the action of the tank soldiers
  • how the 761st put aside bigotry for country
  • revealing details of the German citizens’ attitudes and the towns the 761st encounter
  • Patton’s loyalty and love for his men
  • the camaraderie among the US Generals in Europe
  • learning of and about the Edelweiss Pirates
  • continuing to learn about the types of Nazis through Marquis’ books (They aren’t cookie-cutter and all fall-in-line Nazis.)
  • the afterword information and further details of what happened next for these people
WHAT I LIKED LESS:
  • There are a few moments in Angela Lange’s story that don’t ring as emotionally engaging or authentic as they should be. I don’t mean the events don’t occur historically. What I mean is the telling of certain scenes are not as detailed or as emotional as they should be. Those parts that don’t capture the emotion of the scene do not take away from Angela’s experience, they lessen the impact in those specific scenes. It might be the nature of situations that gives hesitation to going deeper.
  • The book isn’t quite as smooth as I am accustomed to with Sam’s books, (I’ve read all the WWII series books, amazing series.) I put this down to the massive amount of action that takes place during this important period covered. Transitions within the three views sometimes take a moment to become clear as to who is speaking. I know the setting because that is clear at the beginning of each chapter. I just at times don’t know the individual speaking or spoken to. That could be me.
  • There are one or two, what I will rudely call minor, battles that I could do without the description of the battle, just given the information that the 761st wins and why it is important. This happens with several battles after the war turns heavily into the Allies’ favor. I always want the wins, losses, and strategic information. There are simply a few scenes where I feel like I’m reading the same scene from earlier, with minimal differences. Tanks do what tanks do, and similar battles occur, but at times there is a battle, though important, as every battle in WWII is, that can be told with just the telling of its victory and its strategic importance. Sam gives a few hugely important battles brief mentions, but we see their importance. In these cases, if Marquis went into detail, we would have more books to read.
COMPARABLE TO:

Others have compared Samuel Marquis’ writing style to New York Times #1 Bestselling author, Ken Follett who has seen some of his books turned into movies and TV series. Also, another name mentioned is Adam Makos, another New York Times Best Sellers list author.

As for me, there is an author who wrote many historical fiction novels, the late British author John Gardner, an ex-Royal Marine commando, and Anglican Priest before losing his faith. I’ve read over 20 of his books, perhaps that is one reason I enjoy Sam’s books so much. Gardner’s historical fiction work includes the five-book Herbie Kruger Series of action encompassing WWII, the Cold War as well as subsequent events inspired by the two, and there is also the three-book Railton Family Series, which has ties to the Kruger books. If you are a James Bond fan, he wrote 15 novels, beginning in 1981 with License Renewed and ending in 1996 with Cold/Cold Fall. All of us know him for the 007 book GoldenEye, in who’s film adaptation Pierce Brosnan made his Bond debut. I’ve read most of them.

As one review states:

“Marquis is a student of history, always creative, [and] never boring…A good comparison might be Tom Clancy.”Military.com

RECOMMEND TO:
  • Obviously for fans of the authors mentioned above.
  • Those who enjoy digging into the personal details of historical figures.
  • Those who are interested in untold stories of African American History.
  • People who want to understand a little more about the imagery of war in ways not normally described in books or shown on film.
  • For those who like to understand the citizens of war, their struggles, fears, tragedies, and sometimes why they participate in a war.

Review by: Ronovan Hester

THIS IS A 4.68 STARS REVIEW:

Character Development 5
World Building 5
Editing 4.5
Believability 5
Enjoyment 5
Clarity 4.25
Flow 4
4.68
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© 2020 Ronovan Hester Copyright reserved. The author asserts his moral and legal rights over this work.

Six Whole #Books for only $5.00? | She Must Be Nuts! @PSBartlett

This post originally appears on my co-authors PS Bartlett’s Blog. I am personally fond of Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, yeah, that’s the one I co-authored with her.

PS Bartlett Author ImageAuthor PS Bartlett

If you love adventure, action, intrigue, romance and historical fiction, these are the books for you!

Good morning…afternoon…or evening, depending on where you are in this great big, beautiful world!

In one day, I’ll be practically giving away every book in The Razor’s Adventures series on Kindle!

That’s right! You’ll get all six books for $5.00!

Just click on the graphic to go to each book in the series! Save this page so that on Friday 10/11/19, you can get them all for $5.00!!!

The wait is over-Pre-Order Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling. @PSBartlett & @RonovanWrites

The wait is over. My debut novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, written with Award Winning Author PS Bartlett is available for Pre-Order Now! The Prequel to all of the The Razors Adventures Pirate Tales, of which there are currently 4 titles with another in the works if not already on the way.

Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling by PS Bartlett & Ronovan Hester

The autumn of 1705 brings Royal Navy Captain Gabriel Wallace to face off against an enemy within the ranks of the Admiralty itself that threatens his career, his reputation, his family, and something even more far-reaching in its plot.

Court-martialed and with Admiral Chambers, the mastermind fearfully known as the Chambers of Hell, out for his destruction, Wallace finds he has allies willing to face the might of the mightiest power on earth, with some allies in the most unlikely of places. The crew of his former command, the Majesty’s Venture, mutinies from the Royal Navy. With capture by his enemies close behind, Wallace agrees to become captain once again.

With a ship at his command, Captain Gabriel Wallace sets out to fulfill his mission, the completeness of which only he knows.

Now a pirate by situation, Wallace sets out for the Colonies and the Caribbean. Will his crew remain loyal as they leave a life the rule of the Royal Navy behind? Will  his lifelong friend Miles Jacobs follow Wallace’s lead without knowing the whole story? Finally, will  the young Lieutenant Maddox Carbonale remain a follower or try to become captain himself?

With these questions in his thoughts, Gabriel Wallace wages war on Chambers and goes after the largest haul in the history of the Spanish Main. Whom does Wallace meet along the way? To whom are his loyalties to: vengeance or something more powerful?

If you love tales of adventure, of the sea, of the struggles of men, and nods to history, this is your book. Read Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling and you’ll have a new appreciation for all of The Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales.

It’s been a long year of nervous excitement on my part, waiting for this week.

My big goal in writing this book was to become a published author. Sounds like a duh type of thing, right? Well, it’s not for the reason you think.

I worked hard, even agonized over my creations, because I wanted my son to be proud of his daddy.

Two and a half years ago I suffered a fall in my home. As a result I ended up with a Grade 3 Concussion, and the discovery of multiple herniated discs in my spine beginning with my neck. There are a lot of other problems, but that’s enough of that story.

My son has been tough through it all. Considering he’s 11 now, it’s been difficult for him. Now he has something he can tell his friends that his daddy has done.

Now for the book, right now PS Bartlett and I have a good price set for the Pre-Order phase. She is even lowering the prices on her other books in the series for a short time. Of course those prices won’t always be that way.

Help us get to the top with my debut. That would put a surprise of an ending to this little story of mine. Not really an ending. I’m still writing. It will be one great thing though.

Visit Amazon to Pre-Order. Here are a few to click to now.

Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling on Amazon.com

Amber Wake; Gabriel Falling on Amazon.co.uk

Amber Wake; Gabriel Falling on Amazon.ca

Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling on Amazon.in

And wish my son good luck with his baseball tryouts in Little League coming up Saturday. Maybe he’ll have someone who can catch better than I can. This past Saturday I suffered my first black eye ever. I might resort to an eyepatch if any photos are needed for guest spots during book promotion.

To connect with me:
Amazon Author Page: Ronovan Hester
Amazon UK Author Page: Ronovan Hester
Personal Blog: RonovanWrites.WordPress.com
Author Site: RonovanHester.com
Book Review Site: LitWorldInterviews.com
Twitter: @RonovanWrites
Goodreads: Ronovan Hester
Facebook: Ronovan Writes
Google+: Ronovan Writes
LinkedIn: Ronovan Hester
About.me: Ronovan
Pinterest: RonovanWrites

Stevie Turner interviews @RonovanWrites

I am pleased to feature an interview with Ronovan Writes, who has kindly invited me here to submit articles for LitWorldInterviews.  I am a self-published author, who enjoys interviewing other authors and people connected with writing.

Ronovan

As well as being an author with a debut novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, coming out in February 2016, Ronovan also provides invaluable resources for Indie authors here on  LitWorldInterviews.com

I also admire Ronovan because, like me,  he is trying to turn a health issue into something positive.

1.  You tell me that you were born of migrant fruit pickers.  How old were you before your parents settled in one place?  Where do you call home now?

As best as I can tell, it was about the time of Kindergarten. I recall taking naps on those floor nap mats each day and swinging in swings to dangerous heights, at least they were high in my mind. Today people would see that as neglect by playground attendants. I somehow survived until recent years somewhat unscathed.

Now I live in a University town near Atlanta, GA.

2.  What did you learn from such a diverse group of students at the ‘Alternative School’ when you taught them History?

All people are the same if given a chance. A number of students were there because the court system forced them to be there. Some teachers treated them as though they couldn’t be trusted. I told the entire class from the beginning that I didn’t care what they did before coming in the door, as long as they treated me good, I didn’t have a problem with them. It worked out fine. I never had a problem with any of them.

3.  You say you were too honest to sell life insurance.  What was so bad about the job that you stopped doing it?

There were a number of reasons. Even though I was a top seller I was having to work hard and doing it the honest way, which there is no problem with that. The problem came when my health started taking over. I didn’t know it at the time but I had for a number of years been showing signs of Fibromyalgia and multiple herniated discs throughout my spine, including my neck. The pain of driving hundreds of miles a day, during the worst economy we’ve had in decades, combined with seeing how so many previous agents had cheated some of these people, finally became too much.

4.  Do you still teach, or are you a full-time writer now?

I’m a full-time writer now. Two years ago I fell in my home from a migraine. I became dizzy and as I fell my head hit three to four times before I hit the floor. There have been problems from that since. I don’t look at it with regret, I am taking the time I have and probably shouldn’t have and turning it into something positive.

5.  You are fortunate in being able to write about any subject.  What is your debut novel about?  How long did it take you to write it?

Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling is a Historical Adventure based around 1706.  The main character is Gabriel Wallace, a Captain in the Royal Navy who is court-martialed on charges brought mostly out of scorn by the friends of a dead Admiral. Wallace discovers other goings on about the Admiral and his friends and sets out to correct the wrongs against himself and others by taking his previous ship and crew and becoming a pirate of sorts. I say of sorts because his actions are more a war against the ships belonging to a list of men.

Amber Wake

Wallace is a character that is very important in the future lives of two of the main characters in the Ivory Shepard Pirate Tales series by PS Bartlett.

The story is written more about the character of a person than so much about what people might think of as the chauvinistic swashbuckler adventure, sex romp. That’s not my style. The main character has some historical bases in real people, and actions you see are believable. And Wallace is not a woman chaser. He has a mission and he has the men who have volunteered to stick with him to make sure are taken care of.

I probably wrote the initial draft and then second draft in maybe six weeks or less. I have a lot of time and when I’m worked up about a project I tend to become a bit obsessed. Then PS Bartlett took over and put her touches to it, mostly in giving it the language fitting her series. Language such as pirate speak and the like, as well as certain verbiage I am prone not to use but may be likely in certain settings. Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling isn’t the usual pirate adventure with profanity flying left and right, though. The main characters are educated and accustomed to speaking in certain circles and use certain words when situations bring them forth. She also used her experience through the writing of several books to make certain things flow well. We then would go back and forth with the drafts from that point to catch what each other missed. It’s amazing what eyes miss in the middle of things.

Here’s a link to the first chapter of Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling on Ronovan’s new author site: http://ronovanhester.com/2015/12/28/my-debut-novel-amber-wakes-gabriel-falling-it-all-begins-here-chapter-one/

6.  Do you prefer to write novels, short stories, or blogs?

I prefer to write novels. Researching to develop a world and characters is something I enjoy a great deal. Writing short stories on various blogs helped me discover the voice and even certain genre I like or for which I have an affinity.

7.  What is the most difficult genre for you to write in?

I’m not a horror writer. I can do it, and have, but it’s not my thing. Nor is anything that involves the harming of women or children.

8.  Which genre do you prefer to read?  Who is your favourite author?

It’s difficult to narrow it down to one. I’ve found I don’t enjoy fantasy and science fiction as much as I once did. Contemporary Literature and also Historical Fiction based from the 1950s back to perhaps the late 1800s are things I like at the moment. I enjoy the style of Clive Cussler for his research and detail, John Gardner for his realism and historical writing in the Secret Generations and Herbie Kruger books, and recently a new author named Claire Fullerton has me hooked on Contemporary Literature with her Dancing to an Irish Reel.

9.  You founded Lit  World Interviews https://litworldinterviews.com/ to help promote authors and provide advice about writing and publishing etc.  Do you prefer to interview authors of your own choosing, or are you happy to interview any author who contacts the site?

There is a bit of selection process. For those who have something prepared I’m happy to publish it. For interviews I conduct myself I prefer to read the book of the author first and then conduct an interview, if I like the book. I don’t like every book I read and I don’t publish a review of those without permission of the author first. In fact, I include on the submission form a question about reviews that would be below a 3. I have no desire to hurt a career with my opinion. Opinions can be subject to so many influences. One may be having a bad week and the book, normally a great read, ends up being a low score. If the review is good, then I normally suggest an interview.

10.  Have you ever sought out any alternative therapies for your fibromyalgia?

I haven’t sought any as of yet, although I do look at my nutrition to see what different foods do to the body. I was diagnosed with Fibro two years ago, so right now my doctor is attempting to get things in hand so I can perhaps do other things that will help.

11.  How did you ‘lose part of your world in a mind-jarring way’ in 2013?

In the aforementioned fall in my home, I ended up with a Grade 3 Concussion. That’s the type of concussion you hear about quarterbacks in NFL Football in the USA suffering from, and soldiers who are too close to explosions. As a result of the concussion I ended up with retrograde amnesia. Pretty much any person I knew prior to the fall, other than my son, I lost memory of. I had to learn to write again; I would even switch hands in the middle of a sentence and write just as well with either. I was writing because I lost the ability to speak for over a month.

The amnesia is still there but I am able to find my way to anywhere I need to go, although I don’t drive any longer. But I’m better than a GPS if it’s someplace I’ve already been. I also have the learned, education things, other than math. My math skills all but disappeared.

12.  How do you cope with not being able to sleep properly?  Are you permanently tired?

Yes, I’m pretty much always tired. What I do is get myself involved in whatever I am doing and ignore the tired factor. That is unless it’s the Chronic Fatigue thing kicking in. But everything combined makes writing not bad, although the memory thing can be a problem at times. It’s a pain to write ten chapters and one morning wake up and not remember any of it. Then I have to read it all over again, and my notes, and try to pick up from there. Normally it’s if I sleep too long that I have the memory issue, too long meaning more than four hours at a time. And if it’s a deep sleep, even four hours could be too much.

13.  Like you, I also like to sit in the shade and listen to the birds.  We have a robin that comes into our garden every day and sits on the same branch.  Do you ever think about whether the souls of deceased loved ones can be reincarnated, possibly returning to us in animal or bird form?

No. I’m not a believer of reincarnation. I don’t make fun of others who do though. Everyone has a right to believe as they wish, as long as it doesn’t encroach on or harm others. When I sit and enjoy nature, I think of the beauty of it all and how so many people fly past and miss it. I try to teach my son to enjoy those one of a kind moments like a sunrise that has those pinks and orange colors that will never be like any other sunrise.

14.  You are a true Southern Gentleman.  Health willing, I would like to visit New Orleans in 2017 for the Mardi Gras.  Have you any advice for me if I do go there?

Go with someone, go everywhere with that someone, and don’t get into a state in which you lose your head about you. You’ll have a great time as long as you do the buddy system and stay to the main areas during the night events.

15.  You state that you love to learn about other places and their customs.  If money and time were no object, where in the world would you like to visit?

I’ve come to enjoy the idea of visiting the Orient lately. I have a book idea and it would be nice to go through all the countries, visit the ancient locations, experience the food, and hear how the people speak.

16.  How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve in the South?

There are the usual fireworks shows around, and staying up till midnight. There’s no alcohol in the house, so it’s sparkling grape juice at most. Sometimes with the way the weather is here, there might be a barbeque/cookout. As I’m writing this, it’s in the 70s, and it’s almost New Year’s Eve. There are also moments we are all wondering if the tornado will bypass us this time or go right through out town.

17.  What is your favourite piece of music?

Anything from Sgt. Pepper by the Beatles is a hit with me. I enjoy them so much I even taught a lesson about the Paul is Dead idea.

18.  What do you think the world will be like for future generations?

Things won’t change as much as people think. We have past theories of the future to look at and realize how slow things do change. It’s becoming scarier though. There is too much political correctness and not enough people doing things to fix the world right now for the world’s own good. And I believe the world is losing its sense of humor where a joke can’t be told without offending someone.

19.  Can you tap dance or do the cha-cha?

Nooooo. Well I don’t think so. I can get my groove on to amuse my son. Being a teen in the 80s you don’t have any shame when it comes to dancing, and you realize everything is dancing.

20.  Which three possessions would you rush to save in a fire?

Other than human lives: 1) My Laptop with all my work on it, 2) My Captain America #100, and 3) The Archaeological Study Bible my youth group gave me as a gift when I handed the reins over to the new Youth Pastor I helped select.

Thank you Ronovan, for agreeing to answer my 20 questions.  Below you can find links to Ronovan’s new author site and other social media.  If any authors or publishers reading this would also like to be interviewed, please contact me on my website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk with some information about yourself, just as Ronovan did.

——————————————————————————————————
Brand New Author Site: http://ronovanhester.com/
Blog: https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RonovanWrites
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ronovan-Writes-630347477034132/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/20596002-ronovan-hester
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RonovanWrites

LitWorldInterviews.com-The Week-In Review. 11/9-11/14

BOOK REVIEWS

‘The Blue Crimes’ by Enrique Laso
by Olga Núñez Miret
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The Blue Crimes by Enrique Laso. An intriguing case and an even more intriguing investigator.

The Blue Crimes by Enrique Laso
The Blue Crimes by Enrique Laso

The Blue Crimes is the first book in Enrique Laso’s collection of Ethan Bush Thrillers. Ethan Bush is a young FBI agent, one of the most promising, top of his Psychology class at Stanford and self-assured, or so he seems. He arrives to Jefferson County fresh from solving a serial murder case in Detroit and expectations are running high. Read The Complete Review.
 
 
 
 


The Judas Apocalypse by Dan McNeil “At times his encounters are humorous, deadly, and explosive.”
by Ronovan Hester
Ron_LWI

McNeil gives us a story that spans two thousand years, not year by year or hanging out in that distant past for so long you want to skip pages, and that story threatens to devastate a world, a way of life, and rewrite history. And he does so by piecing together historical The Judas Apocalypse by Dan McNeilfacts with bits of legends and myths that are most familiar and some not so to the average layman. He brings some new twists to the saying “everything old is new again”.

There are times when you completely lose yourself in Dan McNeil’s world. You see and hear things. You feel remorse at times, even surprisingly for characters you can’t stand. McNeil makes you have emotions and thoughts, or perhaps maybe I should say he has you examine things about yourself at times that may make you wonder. Read The Complete Review.


 

Fort Applegate & The Battle of Wounded Knee by Brian Wu.
by Jason Royle
Judas Hero Misunderstood

Brian Wu’s approach to teaching children about the immune system in his book, Fort Applegate & The Battle of Wounded Knee, was informative and effective. As Wu Fort Applegate & The Battle of Wounded Kneestates in his opening “tips” section, Fort Applegate & The Battle of Wounded Kneeone of the primary goals in the writing of this book is for it to be used as a means of getting children interested in their immune system, and as a teaching tool. I found this to be true. Read The Complete Review.
 
 
 
 


FEATURE ARTICLES

Are You A Published Author? Then I Have A Question For You.
by Hugh Roberts
5c7f0fa5629d1be714bbc32bb9e48ddf

When Ronovan initially started Lit World Interviews, his idea was that it would be a place where authors could promote themselves as well as their work. It’s also a place where authors come to seek help and advice from others. Of course there’s the book reviews as well.

I don’t know about you, but I often find that my pride gets in the way when I want to ask for some help. That’s where blogs like this can really help because I don’t feel as afraid to ask for advice especially as many of the readers here are published authors. I am sure that all of them will have been in a similar situation to where I find myself today. Read The Complete Article and Comments.


Promoting Your Books on Amazon
by Jo Robinson
Jo Robinson Author

I’ve only just discovered, too late, that when you run a Kindle Countdown deal it either happens at Amazon.com or Amazon.UK, and not all regions at the same time. So while this time I’ve managed to put different books on Countdowns for the different regions, I’ll know better for next time.

The thing to do if you want your deal to be available to both regions is to set up two separate promotions for the same book on the same dates – one for UK and another for the USA. Read The Complete Article.

 

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