My Debut Short Story

Today I’m releasing the first part of a short story I wrote which was previously rejected for publication (did I have too many errors? Or was it that bad? Hm). It’s six roughly equal parts for a total of about 11,500 words (6-7 book pages per post). I’m also serializing this on Wattpad, so feel free to find me there too. Here I’ll post a new part once a week. This is fantasy/sci-fi. Feel free to offer comments or swap stories.

Sometime in the near future The world is no longer what we once remember it to be. Nationalism has become so fierce that war is now the biggest global economic driver, but which has been outsourced to private mercenary armies to carry out.

An individual calling himself or herself “King” has appeared in the heat of battle to seize a portion of Arizona and New Mexico, setting up a home base in a labyrinth known as “The Palace”. Standing alone to face these new enemies is a small group of former soldiers, rogue bandits, and outcasts called the Chameleons, a group of twenty people who know they can never end the hardened state of warfare around the world, but who fight on nonetheless to do their part to stop as much of it as they can. Led by a gray-haired man who goes by the name Cutter, the Chameleons must reach The Palace and try to stop the “King” from beginning a war with even more tragic consequences than any war humans could ever dream up.

North Point, Arizona, former Hopi Reservation. Cutter tossed his cigarette and stared down his opponent standing about twenty-five feet away. He had expected something else- perhaps a common street thief plundering abandoned homes, or at least an army of rogue mercenaries roaming the desert in search of supplies or hideouts for their next war. The worst-case scenario would be running into government soldiers deployed to track down and kill disloyal citizens. But instead he found his eyes locked onto the cold gray eyes of a Closterim scout and its jagged orange-glowing Sun Sword, prepared to strike.

And it did, somersaulting toward Cutter so quickly he had to dive behind a burned-out car to avoid a slash from the Sun Sword. The cyborg held the blade up so the weapon could absorb the ultraviolet rays glaring down on the desert landscape. Cutter knew that, at maximum solar charge, it could sear his body.

Cutter had learned some jujitsu and judo from his days training as a Special Forces agent with the secret GEMINI unit of the United States Army Rangers, and he had his custom-built K-24 nine-millimeter handgun ready to be fired, though he preferred not to use lethal weapons unless he absolutely had to.

But these cyborgs were not ordinary people and could not be wounded by ordinary bullets. Pyrotek, a greasy-brown-haired engineer who became a Chameleon after he defected from the forced labor camps of New Age Global Armor Tech-the international weapons contractor that manufactured the Closterim-had given him a rundown of their anatomy: a human brain taken from an dying person and strapped into metal machines, kept alive on oxygen and liquid food tubes which fed into a stomach and then through artificially-created arteries leading to the brain. A nanochip implanted into their brains kept them moving and under their master’s control, whether that was the mysterious and untraceable computer program known as Arawn or some other source. Thanks to the nanochips and silver data cores in the chest area of their suits, the cyborg Closterim were able to kill more swiftly and more ruthlessly than an aging former special operations agent.

The Closterim scout slashed the Sun Sword through the car and Cutter did a sideways roll out of the way. He took out an Electro-Impulse Grenade, an explosive the size and shape of a quarter, and tossed it towards the Closterim. George Washington’s head popped off and as soon as the coin hit the ground, an electric pulse rippled through the dirt street of this now-ghost town.

The coin did its trick; the Closterim was stunned and fell to the ground. Cutter ran forward and, as soon as the cyborg was able to stand, grappled its arms, pulled them together, and tossed the metallic body over his shoulder judo-style. The Closterim’s body hit the ground with a crunch!

Cutter wasted no time running over to it, ripping off its cool metal chest plate from its hinges and pulling the silver data core out of the center of its chest. He wanted to pull out the nanochip and let this mostly-dead machine body rest in peace, but before he could act he heard the sound of machine parts and heavy footsteps approaching from around the corner. The odds were not hard to sum up-his single pistol and two remaining smoke grenades, three EIG’s, and a hunting knife would not help him last against what sounded like a small army of Closterim.

He saw a partially-busted window accessible fifty feet to his left and, without hesitating, crashed through the glass. He felt shards of glass hit his exposed face, but most of his body was covered in his custom-made color-changing rubber Mirror Suit, so he escaped with only a couple of cuts to his right cheek. The rest of the shards bounce harmlessly off his suit and hit the floor.

He could hear the footsteps from the street, as headlights from the Closterim’s suits scanned the area for signs of human activity. Their data processors came with the ability to follow DNA back to its original source, so he knew he had only a short amount of time to cover his tracks and get away before they traced his DNA to the window.

He reached into his utility belt and found one of Pyrotek’s handmade specialties; an Atomic Shredding Laser, a converted laser pointer with enough power to cut through metal or burn specific particles; in this case, his DNA trail. The ASL was specially configured to Cutter’s fingerprints so he alone could operate it. He used the red removal laser to obliterate all traces of his DNA on the ground by the window and then he looked around for a place to hide for the moment.

He saw he was in a home which had remained largely undamaged by the war; paintings of flowers and still fruit covered the green and black-striped walls which housed three wooden night tables and a clear-colored coffee table with several dark red chairs around it. A dark red sofa sat along the wall closest to him.

Panting more than usual, he put a gloved hand to the wall and felt around until he found the spot where the wood foundation was weakest.  He used the ASL’s blue cutting laser to cut a large square hole he could climb through. As soon as he was inside the wall foundation he pushed the piece of wood back in and held it with the bottom of his boots.

“Pyrotek,” he said into the quarter-sized satellite phone stuffed into his headset. Pyrotek had specially modified the phone so it couldn’t be traced. “Come in, Pyrotek.”

“Here, Cutter,” Pyrotek said in his normally high-pitched voice. “What happened?”

“Closterim. I stopped one but there’s more. This part of Arizona’s been taken over completely.”

“That’s too bad.” Pyrotek’s voice cut out momentarily and then he returned. “This new kingdom just doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop growing, is it?”

“Yea,” Cutter said. “That Closterim scout back there carried a Sun Sword. I wasn’t expecting that.”

“There’ve been a lot of changes, Cutter,” Pyrotek said. “A lot of bad changes, and it seems like things are getting worse.”

Cutter carried a pack of cigarettes and he stopped to smoke one. He knew he wasn’t supposed to smoke; the other Chameleons had told him not to do it. Not that he cared; he never told the other Chameleons, but there was something wrong with his body no one and no thing could heal; the cigarettes were merely a brief respite for his pain.

“Smoking again, Cutter?”

“How did you know?” Cutter said as he continued.

“Inside a wall? That’s a wooden house and you know smoke and wood-“

“Don’t remind me, Pyrotek.” Cutter felt like a few muscles in his back were strained; “Are you monitoring the situation? How’s the rest of our team?”

Pyrotek was silent for a moment. “Pyrotek? Pyrotek?” Cutter’s blood pressure surged and he immediately felt cold and anxious. He reached back into his utility belt for a Lisinopril tablet which slowed his blood pressure down. He had been warned not to exert too much emotion in order to keep it under control, but the battlefield was no place to remain calm.

“Cutter…” Pyrotek’s voice was coming in faintly. “Most of the other Chameleons are dead.”

“WHAT?!” Cutter slammed his fist into the wall. The Chameleons were outnumbered on the battlefield against the American military, the mercenaries deployed in the country’s Southwest region, or the Closterim army. The Chameleons couldn’t keep up their activism if they sustained even a single casualty. “Dead? How-“

“Some of them were found by Closterim soldiers as they tried to scout North Point out for KeyKey-“ Pyrotek was referring to a tiny robotic monkey on wheels equipped with military computer technology and extendable legs, his first-ever invention. He paused, and then resumed: “-so KeyKey could gather more information on the Closterim before we try to break into The Palace. The others are strong but not like you. They never had a chance.” Somehow Cutter knew Pyrotek was shaking his head. “At last count fourteen of us are either confirmed KIA or are MIA with no signal from their Pulse Watches.” Pyrotek referred to one of New Age Global Armor Tech’s inventions, a concept he stole from the company when he fled it and distributed to every Chameleon: watches which sent heart beat signals to Pyrotek’s computer so he could keep track of their movements from a distance.

Cutter put the cigarette out and stared into space. Neither smoking nor the Lisinopril had calmed him down.

“Pyrotek, who’s still confirmed alive and moving?”

“Kevlar, Cherise, Rigatoni, M.K., Spezzna, and you,” came the reply. “Spezzna is hiding now in a house across the street from you. His Pulse Watch is sending off weak signals so I can’t pinpoint his exact location. The other four are together in the cellar of what I think used to be a restaurant of some kind. I couldn’t tell. The photo KeyKey uploaded was real grainy-“

“Got it,” Cutter said. “Pyrotek, use KeyKey to monitor the area and as soon as the way is clear tell the others to head east towards the mountains and wait. I remember the map of North Point and the surrounding area and we’re about twenty-two miles due west of Red Valley, along the New Mexico border. We know The Palace is somewhere in that area. Closterim have one weakness and that’s that their bionic legs are not very good at climbing steep elevations. We’ll be safe from them if we make it to the mountains.”

“And what about you? You can’t stay in a hole in the wall forever-“

“I’ll go find Spezzna and together we’ll head for the mountains. My Mirror Suit hasn’t been noticed yet so I can still get around without being spotted. If anyone is still alive here I doubt they’ll tell the Closterim where we are. Hell, any humans still alive in these parts will be happy to see real people and not cyborgs.”

“That’s true,” Pyrotek said. Whoever had implanted the nanochips and silver data cores into the Closterim’s bodies had not given them the ability to show any emotion other than fight or flight. And mostly it was fight. “I’m on it. As soon as they’re safe I’ll send KeyKey your way to help you get out.”

“We’re so close,” Cutter said. He turned off his phone and stared at the wall, deep in thought. So close. No one who stands against the one called “King” has made it even this far and lived. All that’s left is to find Spezzna, cross miles of steep mountain terrain, and then- The Palace.


Amazon to pay you for giving away free samples

In a move which may make some authors happy, Amazon has decided to pay authors by the number of pages written:

“(Reuters) – It could soon pay more to write lengthier books, if you are an author self-publishing on Inc’s Kindle ebook platform.

Starting next month, the e-commerce giant will pay independent authors based on the number of pages read, rather than the number of times their book has been borrowed.

The move is aimed at authors enrolled in Kindle Direct Publishing platform – which lets authors set list prices, decide rights and edit the book at any time – and is applicable to e-books made available via the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library programs.

Self-publishing has transformed what it means to be an author. Simply uploading a document and adding a cover layout to it can turn anyone into a published writer on ebook platforms such as Kindle and Smashwords.

Amazon said on Monday the move would better align payout with the length of books and how much customers read.

“We’re making this switch in response to great feedback we received from authors,” Amazon said on its self-publishing portal.

Amazon uses a complex method to determine payments for independent authors – payouts are based on a fund, the size of which is set by Amazon every month.

Under the new plan, authors will get a share of the fund proportionate to the number of pages read.

While independent authors have largely embraced Amazon’s self-publishing platform, the company has in the past been involved in bitter fights with large publishers.

The company had a stand-off with publisher Hachette Book Group and some authors last year over pricing. The fight ended when Hachette and Amazon reached a multi-year agreement for e-book and print book sales in November.”

This change appears to be encouraged by other self-published indie authors but the gist is this: For those who were in Amazon’s KDP program or in Kindle Unlimited, writing longer stories didn’t benefit the writer, so many self-published authors began writing novellas and publishing those as they were shorter and the payouts were better. This way of doing business allowed people who sold short stories at 99 cents to make as much as an author discounting a book to 99 cents. if you get the same rates either way, then why write a 70,000 word book when you can put a short story trilogy of 25,000-30,000 words and sell that?

Everyone gives away page samples, and this move encourages authors to give away more free pages. This way, if someone “tries it before they buy it” you can still get paid. It’s along the same lines of the whole Taylor Swift vs. Apple controversy where Taylor called for Apple to pay artists for songs people streamed during their free trial period. No word if Amazon’s timing was perfect or if they reacted immediately to what was happening with the music industry.

The only catch is, you have to be in KDP to get this benefit. One argument going around is that this is a move by Amazon to try to convince more authors to go exclusive with Amazon. If you can get paid for free samples, versus putting up your book elsewhere and not getting paid for free samples, where you would go?

Actually, that IS the question for all of you. Who among you would take up Amazon’s offer to pay you for sample pages read, in exchange for going exclusive?

Book Review: Skeleton Run

Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there, including my own. 🙂 I will be with him today, at a pancake house with family.

If you missed my author interview with John DeBoer over his debut novel, Skeleton Run, check it out here.

As promised, here is my review of the novel, which I received from John’s publisher, Red Adept Publishing. For convenience, I’ve divided into five categories, and each was worth 0, 1, or 2 points. Scored on a scale 0-10.

Plot (semi-spoiler alert): The plot centers on four friends: Doctor Jim Dawson, Alan Granger, Bob Kretchman, and Tom Webster. An accident occurs where someone dies and the friends harbor guilt about the death. They later discover the baby of the deceased survived, and is engaged to a woman who later learns the truth. This will affect the plot at some level.

Enter Wendell Logan, billionaire casino magnate. He is frustrated by previous failures to get politicians to “buy” into his vision, which means his money, your vote. After years of failure (who knew George W. Bush wasn’t a team player?) he finally finds Alan, who left his Philadelphia law job and is now Governor of Pennsylvania. The goal? Get Alan re-elected in 2018 (PA’s next cycle), and then have him run for President in 2020, where he will agree to be Logan’s vassal in exchange for money. To help, Logan gets rid of Alan’s only real challenger.

Dr. Dawson, who is the main character, tries to keep his friends together as relationships fall apart. Alan is turning from them, focusing on his political ambition more than anything else. Logan, who wants to make sure no one threaten’s Alan’s chances of winning, begins eliminating characters. Soon only Dawson is left to face Logan’s minions. It will be up to the Doctor to find a way to keep himself, and his family, alive.

If you like political thrillers, this one is a sound, if not epic, page turner. Even when the plot was somewhat expected (too many Points Of View), I still found myself finishing chapters quickly to see what happens next. 2/2

Writing style: It was okay, not noteworthy. However, I am not a huge fan of multiple points of view, and this book had a couple too many. The main character was the Doctor, whose POV was first person, but more than half the book It made what should have been a fanatically thrilling ending a little more obvious because we, the readers, knew what was coming in the Doctor’s house when he went back. He also had a lot more narration in places than I normally like, which slowed down the flow, especially in the middle. 1/2

Editing: The editing was really well done. I didn’t spot any missed proofreading marks, or they were so few in number it didn’t bother me. Luckily for the author, and for future authors whose books I read, I’m a little more tolerant on proofreading errors than most. 2/2

“Believability”: This is a category I invented right now. This varies from genre to genre, but the point is, can I believe what’s going on? In John’s novel, I would say yes, I believed what I read. It is not implausible to think that a billionaire casino magnate might want to influence a particular race, and since I understand for book purposes, only focus on one race. Was it a little weird that Alan Granger’s opponent was as controllable as an RC car? Yea. Did ot seem at times like John used a POV for some characters who really shouldn’t have had them? Yea. But four friends, one accidental manslaughter, and a politician desperate for power are completely believable. 1/2

Emotion: This is another made up section, where I give my emotional feel for the book. I have a saying: If you, the author, can make me cry, you will write a book as successful as Twilight. I’m not joking; emotions besides hot and cold are not easy for me. This section can be for any emotion, though.

John’s book moved well and while I would have liked to see stronger emotional language in a few places, I think he captured the feel well. No, I did not cry. But I noticed that I rarely put my Kindle down once I started to read, and I was finishing chapters. That’s a great sign. 2/2

Final grade: 8/10. This is a solid book, not a blow-me-away, but one worth reading. The editing is excellent, the writing is not bad, and the plot is comparable to most bestselling thriller novels, if not exceptional. Even when you know what’s coming, John has a good way of keeping you interested. Will not top the bestseller’s lists, but this is a book worth reading if you’re into political thrillers.

Visit the Red Adept Publishing website for more information.

Author Interview with John DeBoer

For the first in the Author World Tour series which I just made up now, I had a chance to interview John DeBoer about his new novel, Skeleton Run, published by Red Adept Publishing. This is a political thriller for those of you who are into political conspiracies an d a behind-the-scenes tour of how money affects the election process. I spoke with John about his debut novel:

S: Let’s start out with the inspiration for your novel, a political thriller. What made you choose Pennsylvania as the setting for much of the novel, and why?

J: Pennsylvania met the requirements I needed – reasonable proximity to the other locations, an important state electorally, and one with which I had personal experience. New York and New Jersey could have been used instead, I suppose, but their governors get a lot more national press than that of Pennsylvania, and I thought this might make my fictional governor easier to accept.

S: Was the villainous Wendell Logan modeled after any particular casino magnate? I keep thinking Sheldon Adelson, but maybe I’m wrong.

J: I kept thinking of Sheldon Adelson, too! But I wanted my Las Vegas billionaire to be younger and physically more robust.

S: Following up on Logan, why did you decide to give the reader a view into his head, as opposed to telling the story from the Doctor’s point of view?

J: One of the reasons I like to write in the Thriller genre is the freedom to get into the heads of the bad guys, to show their POVs out of the awareness of the protagonists. Nelson DeMille, Greg Iles, and John Sandford, among others use this device, which I think actually ramps up the suspense rather than mitigating it. In this particular novel, I use more POVs than my usual, but I felt I needed all of them for the story. My editor did make me eliminate one of them, though!

S: How long did it take you to write this novel?

J: More than six months, but less than a year, I think. I workshop my novels online. I write as I go, posting one chapter at a time. The back and forth reviewing/revising process this entails adds to the time, but then when it’s done, I end up with a fairly polished product – subject to my publisher’s editors’ input, of course.

S: Did you show this to anyone before submitting it for publication? What was the response to Skeleton Run?

J: Eleven other authors reviewed the novel from start to finish when I workshopped it, and all of their responses were very positive. I don’t let my wife read my novels until they’ve been published!

S: Which character was your favorite to write about, and why? Least favorite?

J: I had the most fun writing Logan’s character – ruthless, powerful, obsessive in his Machiavellian scheme – he represented evil self-fulfillment, and I enjoyed showing this. I also liked creating Granger’s character, beginning as a teenager and developing it into middle age. His personality was probably the most distasteful, but it made him the character he grew into.

Then we have the moral ambiguity of Luke Elliot, the hit man.  All are characters with flaws, tarnished in ways big and small, which make them more compelling as personalities. In one of my novels, The Flame, the antagonist – a femme fatale character in the vein of Matty Walker in Body Heat – actually got more print space than my good-guy protagonist. And in Skeleton Run, the narrator and putative protagonist, Dr. Dawson, though smart and able to rise to the occasion when push came to shove, has a less interesting character overall than those he must contend with. But since he’s a little bit of an alter ego for me (as are all my physician/surgeon protagonists to one degree or another), he also has to, by definition, be one of my favorites! Tom Webster, one of the boyhood pals of Dawson, has to be my least favorite character to write, only because I knew what I had to do to him, and that wasn’t pleasant.

S: What’s next for you on tour? your next book?

J: I’m about a quarter of the way through my blog tour, which will end on July 5. I’ve got interviews, like this one, guest posts, and reviews of Skeleton Run lined up to keep me busy until then.

My next completed novel, now titled, How Little We Know, does not yet have a publication date. A woman hiding from not only the mob via Witness Protection, but an incident from her earlier past,  meets Luke Elliot (the hit man from Skeleton Run) in Seattle, where he has gone to start a new life after a personal tragedy. Both have secrets to guard as they begin a relationship, in the course of which Luke has to call upon his past life to keep his love interest out of harm’s way.

My current WIP involves the ISIS threat to Americans and is tentatively titled, When the Reaper Comes.

S: Thank you for your time, John.

J: Thanks, Sam, for the interview.

I’ll post my honest review of Skeleton Run on Sunday.

Buy John’s book on Amazon by clicking HERE

Why Authors aren’t ‘sexy’ and how to fix this

is this younerd

Have you ever noticed how much people around the world idolize singers, dancers, models, athletes, and even reality TV “stars”, but not authors? Today’s post is about the decline in reading for pleasure, or frankly at all, around the world.

There are many reasons for this, such as, the sad state of literacy, the boringness of reading still words when moving images and games are so much more interesting, the lack of respect for education in many parts of the world, the poor (or perceived poor) quality of books being put out around the world, and the work overload, especially here in America. For these reasons, even an indie musician can still gain respect, or a Broadway actor, but an indie author gets very little, and books simply don’t reach as many people as we’d like.

But there’s one reason I believe, whereas music and movies have grown in appeal, books have not: Authors just aren’t sexy.

I mean it. Think of the most stunning, dashing writer you know. Most likely, it’s someone writing a nonfiction book about their life, or it’s a celebrity writing a children’s book (this seems to be common). In those cases, the author may be Channing Tatum or Scarlett Johansson hot. However, most fiction authors, particularly those who may earn fame or respect from writing, are not walking the red carpet in $10,000+ suits and dresses.

Please note: I am not saying authors are ugly. What I mean is, we do not live the “glamorous” life so often depicted on reality TV, live in the hills of Malibu with the other Hollywood stars, etc. Whereas other entertainers make their living performing in front of other people, book writers make a living working alone, indoors, probably not in stylish clothes.

Authors also tend not to be very extroverted: Compare the lifestyle of the biggest-name authors to rock stars or actors. THOSE people go to A-list parties, fly around on private jets, and have paparazzi following them around (Most of them secretly like this, even if they pretend not too) telling the celebrity-obsessed public what the celebrity is wearing, who s/he’s hanging out with, and what restaurant they eat at, etc. In contrast, most authors are like the type who’d rather wear sweaters and go on NPR to discuss Immanuel Kant’s philosophies or the secret meaning of Catcher in the Rye. I can’t think of one big-time author who behaves the way the public expects a rock star to behave.

Here’s the problem: As the concept of celebrity obsession travels from America and goes around the world, people are connecting to anyone they see on TV, the Internet, or magazine covers. These are going to be populated by hyper extroverts. Reality TV shows and cable shows depicting the next superstar singer/dancer/model/actor/personality drive the global demand for celebrity.

Even indie musicians have it made. For example, Delaware is home to one of the biggest indie music festivals in America, Firefly. Based in my former hometown of Dover, roughly 70,000 people are expected to go this year. In comparison, Woodstock had about half a million people. While top indies may not fly in private jets or drink $10,000 wine, you still get the “cool” prestige in being a band that can afford to go on tour around the country, and you can still have the groupie/roadie tag attached to your band. At least you can still sell some merch.

In contrast, there isn’t a single author reality TV show (at least not in America) to get people up. Imagine American Idol or The Voice but with people performing short stories pieces, judged by authors with quirky or interesting personalities. Before you say “It can’t be done. People don’t want to hear someone talk about stories”, just know there is basically no limit to what folks will watch, provided you make it interesting and entertaining.

Picture aspiring authors showcasing their best stuff to demonstrate their storytelling skills. Who says talking and performance don’t matter?

Perhaps find some A-list authors and let them to a Hard Knocks style show where they show the process of what inspires them to write, and how they come up with their ideas. With a little showmanship from the author(s), this could be done to get people interested.

Musicians perform their art in front of other people. Actors make films which are show to people. Models walk catwalks in front of other people. In all cases, the person is shown, moving, acting alive. In comparison, all most people see of authors are the completed books, and maybe a photo on the dust jacket or back cover. Nothing moves, nothing looks alive in the moment. All is frozen in time.

I sincerely believe that if we could find a way to make reading and writing “cool”, and use A-list authors to show this to younger people, we could build some interest in reading. This does NOT mean dumbing down the product or turning into “pop”, the way many songs and movies have become. We can still tell great stories, inspire, explore, and share messages. We just need to figure out a way to make what we do appealing so people get connected to the reading and writing process and gain interest in books.

if you’re concerned that writers will soon become associated with fur coats, VIP lounges at clubs, and a sleazy lifestyle, let me be clear: we can panic only if Stephen King and James Patterson are caught snorting coke of the backs of dancers at Le Crazy Horse. THEN we can worry about the negative celebrity effects of exposing the greater public to the world of writing.

Your thoughts: What do you think should be done to build people’s interest in reading and writing? Would my idea listen above work? Why or why not?

photo credit: (note: This link does not work anymore)

We Don’t Say Thanks Enough

Our lives are routinely full of distractions, not only with work, family (if you have one), school (if you’re still there), but also writing, blogging, tweeting, exercising (hahahaha!) and whatever else it is going on. We gain followers online who sometime who sometimes become friends, and occasionally we fend off haters. But rarely do we remember to say thanks.

On Saturday, America will commemorate the 71st anniversary of D-Day, when thousands upon thousands of brave men were orders to cross the English Channel and land at Normandy, at one of five beaches where the Nazis were fortified and waiting. Despite the massive casualties, the Allies persevered, and ended up over-running the Nazis and their allies, many of whom were forced to shoot at the Allies from bunkers. This brave sacrifice led to the eventual collapse of the German Army, though the Soviets advancing on the east contributed  greatly. To all those who served, and who died, we say thanks.

However, today’s thanks is about you, the dear reader. I’ve now passed over 2,000 reads on this blog, and 60 followers. Every week this number grows, and it encourages me to keep blogging. We all do what we can to try to make it.

So thanks again for reading my blog, and I look forward to reading yours!