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Here is the latest news…
I have just finished editing an illustrated novel for a very talented new writer. It’s very exciting work and I can’t wait to see the finished product but it is all top secret at the moment. I will announce the book here when it’s published.
I have the basic framework for two scifi novels in my head and of course there is the second Wartime novel and the third installment of the Ordo Lupus series, both of which are with publishers and agents. I am hoping for to get signed but, if not, I will publish myself. If you want the very latest on release dates, competitions and free offers, sign up for the Newsletter. The next issue will go out in late September or early October.
It’s no secret that I am working hard on a new novel. It’s a romance set between the end of WWII and the Korean War and a work of literary nature, a genre I have only dabbled with in the past with The Ice Boat. The genre is highly competitive and readers expect an extremely high standard. Think Shakespeare, Dickens, Thomas Hardy, The Brontes, George Elliot, Jane Austin, D H Lawrence and Harper Lee and you will see what I mean. I don’t know who would qualify for that from 21st Century writers. Answers in your comments please! Best answer will get a free copy of my next published novel!
First of all, because this is a post which includes information about air warfare, I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathies to the families of victims from the terrible Shoreham Air Show crash on Saturday.
I am working hard on a new book. I don’t want to reveal the plot but I will give you a clue:
With all the tension between North Korea and South Korea at the moment, it’s sad for me to think that my father fought for the United Nations trying to push back the oppressive North Korean regime when it invaded the South in 1950. Lim Jong-un has taken over from his father now but sadly, the regime still starves its citizens and shakes its fist at other countries. Of course the conflict has a complex history and if you don’t know much about it, here is what wikipedia says about the Korean War:
The Korean War (in South Korean Hangul: 한국전쟁, Hanja: 韓國戰爭, Hanguk Jeonjaeng, “Korean War”; in North Korean Chosungul: 조국해방전쟁, Joguk Haebang Jeonjaeng, “Fatherland Liberation War”; 25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953)[a] was a war between North and South Korea, in which a United Nations force led by the United States of America fought for the South, and China fought for the North, which was also assisted by the Soviet Union. The war arose from the division of Korea at the end of World War II and from the global tensions of the Cold War that developed immediately afterwards.
Here are some interesting facts about the Korean War (1950 – 1953):
The Korean War was the first military action of the Cold War.
There are still more than 7,000 U.S. soldier missing in action from the war.
Although the British Army was present on the ground, the RAF had no squadrons based in Korea. They did however suffer casualties because pilots exchanged with pilots from the United States Air Force (USAF) and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), both having squadrons present.
The North Korean pilots flew many MiG-15s, generally reckoned to be the best jet fighter at the time. I outclassed by a large margin the RAF’s best jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor, which may have been a reason the RAF did not want to send its squadrons there.
The RAAF did however send it’s own Meteors, making its pilots sitting ducks.
Even the USAF’s best fighter, the F-86 Sabre, was no match for the faster and more agile MiG-15 for the first year of the War. Later updates allowed the American fighter to deal with the Russian jet on a more equal basis.
The Russians denied they had their own pilots in Korea but it is highly likely that they did. None were ever take prisoner to prove this.
The MiG-15 used a copy of the Rolls Royce designed Nene engine. The British had give the Russians 25 Nene engines in 1946 as a political gesture of good will, believing it would take the Russians too long to copy the engine for them to be threat. The Russians tricked the British and worked out the secrets so fast that they had the MiG-15 flying within 2 years. It went on to be the most successful jet fighter of all time, thanks mainly to the British-designed engine, while the British never used the engine themselves in large numbers. Some MiG-15s are still in service today with the The Korean People’s Army Air Force (North Korean air force).
The Korean War took a heavy toll—up to a total of 5 million dead, wounded, or missing, and half of them civilians.
North Koreans who were born after the Korean War in the late 1950s are on average about 2 inches shorter than South Koreans.
During the Korean War, the South Korean government provided women for its troops. According to one account, the government standard of performance for such women was to service at least 29 men a day. Intercourse should not last longer 30 minutes so the prostitute could move on to other men and make the maximum daily profit. There is heated and ongoing debate about how much the U.S. military was involved in providing prostitutes for its men.
The U.S. Army used approximately 1,500 dogs during the Korean War and 4,000 in the Vietnam War.
There were 7,245 American POWs during the Korean War. Of these, 2,806 died while in captivity and 4,418 were eventually returned to military control. Twenty-one refused repatriation.
An estimated 86,300 Korean War veterans are women, making up 7% of the estimated number of all female veterans.
According to the 1990 Census, of the 4.9 million Korean War veterans in the U.S., 4.5 million (92%) were white; 339,400 (7%) were African American; 30,400 (less than 1%) were American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut; 39,300 (less than 1%) were Pacific Islander; and 35,000 were of other races. There were an estimated 133,500 Hispanic (who may be of any race) Korean War veterans.
The world’s first all-jet dogfight occurred ruing the Korean War on September 8, 1950.
The United States still keeps troops in South Korea in case North Korea ever attempts to invade again.
The capital of South Korea, Seoul, changed hands four times during the Korean War. It was first captured by the North Koreans on June 28, 1950, and then retaken by UN forces that September. The Chinese seized the city in January 1951, but gave it up two months later.
One of the most brutal battles of the Korean War was the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, fought from November 27 to December 13, 1950. What made it different from other fierce fighting was the intensely cold and bitter weather. Temperatures dropped to -54° F. One survivor of the battle designed a bumper sticker that read: “Once Upon a Time Hell Froze Over. We Were There.
Up until WW II, Korea had been one nation, known as the Korean Peninsula, and was part of Japan. After WW II, the winners of the war divided it into two countries. The Soviet Union took the northern half, and the U.S. took control of the southern half. It was divided at the 38th parallel.
In occupied areas of North Korea, the North Korean Army executed every educated person (such as those who held education, government, and religious positions) who could lead a resistance against North Korea.
And look out for the deluxe, illustrated edition soon!
Get all 3 books: Too Bright the Sun, Unknown Place, Unknown Universe and Worlds Like Dust together for the price-busting $8.99!! making a saving of nearly of nearly $4!!
Too Bright the Sun A man hell-bent on revenge for the death of his friend, in battle!
Seeking revenge for the death of a friend ten long years ago, Major Jake Nanden has pursued his own personal demons with an almost religious fervour through life and through battle.
He is a soldier so highly decorated for bravery that his fame reaches far beyond the desolate Jupiter moon, Io, where his battalion is stationed. His victories in the Jupiter Wars are hollow though, for he is a man scared of his own soul.
His life seems to be a trap from which he cannot escape. His is the Replicant Company, and replicants, or clones, are despised by all.
Follow the life of Jake and his son, Stone, as they battle to save Earth from the Ischian alien invaders.
Unknown Place, Unknown Universe
Three rookie space cadets crash on an unknown planet with aliens hot on their tail!
While a dissident alien scientist struggles to control time, he discovers that his wife will betray him. His favourite student discovers a way to see into the past but find himself surrounded by enemies in a complex, fragmenting culture.
Meanwhile, Stone, douchebag son of Iron Cross winner Jake Nanden, a nerd and a feminist from the Space Fleet Academy crash-land on an unknown planet after falling through a worm-hole in this gripping and visionary science fiction thriller.
Called Anubians by humans, the jackal-headed aliens are now revealed as Ischians but they are hiding something on this unknown planet in an unknown universe.
Stone’s world is shattered while he tries to escape and warn Earth of danger.
Worlds Like Dust
Domes now cover Earth’s big cities and soon a force field will trap Earth inside!
The jackal-headed Ischians are here! When General Jake Nanden retired from the USAC, he could never have guessed that his greatest battle was still to come.
Since then, he has joined a spiritual cult called the Blue Path, trying to establish communication with a few peaceful Ischians.
But now his world has been torn apart; his wife and youngest son have been killed, probably his eldest too and the Los Angeles and Washington citizens sweat it out under inescapable alien domes.
His son, Stone, warned him of the invasion and he joined up with Gary Enquine to form a rudimentary resistance network.
Now, they must find a way to rise up and defeat the conquerors of Earth! Nanden must escape and unite the remaining human and clone forces, scattered across the Solar System.
Don’t forget, the deluxe, illustrated edition is coming soon!
The 1966 movie, The Blue Max, stands out in my mind as the only movie I can think of without a hero.
I watched The Blue Max last week (okay I admit it, I have it on DVD). I am a huge fan of aviation films and this one is all about a German Air Force pilot in World War I. Skip the bits about aircraft if that is not your thing but that’s not the main point of this review.
Briefly, Bruno Stachel is an infantry corporal in the trenches. From a working class background, he nevertheless longs for the noble arena if death in the skies and enlists for the German Air Force. He proves a talented pilot but his new squadron of officers, enlisted from the ruling classes, do not accept his ambitious ruthlessness. They have a strict code of conduct, which he breaks in many ways, including bedding the top scoring Willi’s aunt and lover, the Countess Kaeti. Willi’s nobility, until now, has extended to taking Stachel under his wing but now the gloves are off and the two duel for supremacy in the skies and in bed.
Kaeti is herself ambitious and enjoys the titillation of bedding pilots whose lives are on the line. Her husband, the taciturn General Count von Klugermann, beautifully underplayed by James Mason, encourages her liaisons and appears to use her to control his aces. However, Kaeti overreaches herself with dire consequences.
Kaeti is played beautifully by Ursula Andress. If ever proof were needed that she really could act, and act superbly, this film is it. I have rarely seen a film in which you see a woman reaching adulthood in a single moment as poignantly as you do with Andress in the final scene.
Mason is of course excellent throughout, as is Jeremy Kemp as Willi, but its George Peppard’s part I want to focus on. Peppard is naturally morose and always has a sour look on his face so he must have been the natural choice for Stachel, whose ambition quickly becomes cruel in the face of the prejudice surrounding him. Peppard turns in a fine performance and thoroughly deserved his nomination for a Golden Laurel award. But it’s the director’s handling of the character that is astonishing, and in some ways perplexing.
I cannot think of another leading character in a movie that is less likable than Stachel. He is not even badass enough or gritty enough to be an anti-hero. He is over-ambitious, a liar and cheat, a traitor to just about anybody who gets close to him, probably ashamed of his parents although he denies it (probably another lie) and ultimately proved to be a fool by Kaeti. Indeed, it is she that claims she likes his ‘innocence’ but if she does, it can only be a foolishly ambitious innocence. Her naivety is found out at the end of the film but its not Stachel but von Klugermann who reveals it.
Apart from being a good pilot, Stachel has no redeeming features. Stachel’s good looks mean that bedding the gorgeous Kaeti is no achievement. How on earth then does the film hold together? It certainly does and its a masterpiece of tight direction and high tension action. Perhaps, because it was made at the height of the anti-war movement in America, the director simply wanted to make a heavily disguised anti-war film. He certainly succeeded there. All the main characters suffer terribly. But this still doesn’t explain how a ‘no hero’ film holds together so well. I tried to decided who is the hero in this film and there really isn’t one. You just have to watch it yourself and let me know what you think.