Finding Inspiration in the Not-So-Distant Past

We understand history by looking at the past through the lens of the present.

It is an inescapable fact that no person alive today was alive at the time of the American Revolution. Even if there were one or two people around, their perception of the events of that time would be limited to their perspective: what it was that they saw and experienced. People of my generation have lived through monumental events: The Space Program, the Collapse of the Soviet Union, The First Gulf War, German Reunification, The Somalia Crisis, The Balkan Crises, 9/11, the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…just to name a few. But none of us has an omniscient view of these events. For each of us, we will always know these things from our own unique points of view.

When I write about the American Revolution, it is from my own perspective. Naturally I try to learn all I can to inform that point of view, but when finger lands on keyboard, my own experiences are shaping the story.

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C-66 in Paralovo, Kosovo in 2000.

As I write Gideon Hawke #5 I am telling the tale of Gideon Hawke at Valley Forge. Gideon finds himself in command of a company in the Pennsylvania Line. Perhaps inevitably I am looking at Gideon’s experiences through the lens of my own experience as a company commander in the U.S. Army. Unfortunately for Gideon, he will not be blessed with the amount of talent I had. I am biased, but when C Company, 1-37 Armor deployed to Kosovo in 2000, I had the privilege of working with an incredible group of men; it was an honor to serve by their sides, and frankly they made my job easy and enjoyable. Gideon will have many more difficulties than I did: his authority will even be challenged. But in his interactions with his troops, there will be more than a hint of what made the “Cobra Company” special.

 

They may be separated by an ocean and a couple of centuries, but the Cobras will find kindred spirits in the men of Hawke’s Company, 9th Pennsylvania Regiment.

Hiss!

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This is NOT the End of the Line

TWsEvery time I have turned on the news in the past few days I have heard the sound of automatic gunfire; it reminds me of being back in Baghdad in the dark days of early 2006. Scores are dead, and hundreds wounded. What’s more, I just found out that Tom Petty died. Enough already!

At times like this, I have to believe we can make this world a better place, and that something even better is waiting on the other side. We have a responsibility to handle our world, and each other, with care.

Now that Tom is up there with Roy and George, I have to believe the Heavenly Choir is rockin’ just a little bit more. I’m guessing it sounds a bit like this:

Traveling Wilbury’s Handle with Care: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=L8s9dmuAKvU&feature=share

Traveling Wilbury’s End of the Line: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cwqhdRs4jyA

Enjoy! (I’m just looping these…pardon me when I sing along!)

240 Years On…Saratoga

We are now 240 years on from the Battle of Saratoga. The clash called Freeman’s Farm took place on September 19th, 1777. The two sides dug in and probed each other until the decisive clashed misleadingly named after Bemis Heights occurred almost three weeks later. Shortly afterwards John Burgoyne would surrender his army, and his once proud name would forever be associated with defeat. (The Americans would even turn it into a verb: getting “Burgoyned” was something you DID NOT want to happen to you)

Hudson emplacementSo what? Well, Saratoga was decisive in the way few battles can claim. It more than outweighed the fall of Philadelphia to the British. While the Americans lost their capitol temporarily, the British lost an army of thousands of men for good. Saratoga was the trigger for France to entire the war on the American side, and the family squabble in America became a global war between empires. Ultimately, of course, the Americans and French would “Burgoyne” another British army at Yorktown, and the British would seek peace.

The guns at Saratoga are long since silent. The fields and forests that were once places of battle are now peaceful, even serene. They are excellent places for reflection, and for appreciating the efforts of those on both sides of the family squabble that gave birth to the United States of America.

To read about Saratoga from a participant’s perspective, check out A Constant Thunder.

 

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Release Party!

A Constant Thunder front cover SMALLMy fourth novel, A Constant Thunder, will be released on Saturday, September 16th, 2017 (just in time for the 240th Anniversary of the Battle of Freeman’s Farm on September 19th).

Why not join me at a Facebook Release Party on September 16th? From 4:00 to 8:00 PM (that’s 1600 to 2000) US Central Daylight Time, three featured authors and I will discuss our work, hold contests, and even do some giveaways. It is a great chance to meet some incredible authors and find out more about their work.

Click the link for details: A Constant Thunder Release Party

How do you define success?

IMG_4318I have to be honest: when I started writing the Gideon Hawke Series it never occurred to me I might win an award. Imagine my surprise when this happened! On Saturday I had the great honor of receiving the Kansas Notable Book Award for my novel A Nest of Hornets.

That was an incredible experience…but it was not the best experience this weekend.

On Friday I had the opportunity to speak to the 7th and 8th Graders at Chase Middle School in Topeka, Kansas. We discussed authorship, the American Revolution, and what “all men are created equal” means today.

When I started writing the series I did hope that I might in some small way be able to enhance young people’s understanding of the Revolution and what it means. The visit to Chase was a remarkable opportunity to do just that. Even better, I had a young lady approach me after one of the sessions and share her aspiration to be a writer; I was able to give her a bit of encouragement and advice.

I will probably never win a Pulitzer Prize or bust into the New York Times Best Seller List; but that’s just fine. If success means having a positive impact on a younger generation, I’m already been there! Now the challenge is to keep up the momentum!

 

Kansas Book Festival Weekend!

KBF-Logo-300x193This is an exciting weekend for me!

On Friday, September 8th I will be delivering author talks to the 7th and 8th Grades at Chase Middle School in Topeka, KS. Afterwards, my wife and I will be attending a Reception for authors and Book Festival Sponsors at the Governor’s Mansion.

On Saturday, September 9th, at 9AM I will receive my 2017 Kansas Notable Book Award, and at 10:30 I will deliver an author presentation in the Auditorium at the Kansas Capitol Building Visitor’s Center. Afterwards I will do a book signing, and then soak in the Book Festival: book vendors, authors, and food trucks!

Many thanks to the fans of the Gideon Hawke Series: this would not have happened without you!

I hope to see some of you there!

Kansas Book Festival: http://www.kansasbookfestival.com/

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Radio Interview!

Radio

I recently had the wonderful experience of sitting for an interview with Kaye McIntyre of Kansas Public Radio; the subject was my novel A Nest of Hornets!

On September 3rd Kaye’s Program aired, featuring interviews with 2017 Kansas Notable Book Authors. My segment was certainly not the best; in fact my “MUST READ” list has expanded significantly after listening to the show. Nevertheless, it was an honor to air on KPR.

Here is a link to the program: KPR Presents!

(I come in at around minute 41)

Enjoy!

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Vote Early! Vote Often!

VOTE NOWVoting has opened for Metamorph Publishing’s Summer Indie Book Awards and Gideon Hawke needs your vote!

 Please vote for A Nest of Hornets at the link below, and remember that each person can vote once every day during the voting window of September 1st through September 11th, 2017.

Please share! Please tell your friends! Please VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!

Vote Here!