War History online is a great resource to start your next war based novel, or even non-fiction work. I love the articles they post and this one caught my eye back in December. It made me a bit nostalgic for OP-DEC: Operation Deceit and helped to fuel that fire I need to write the sequel. It’s the little things…
Writing in a cafe on a warm laptop, the sun shining and a spring breeze carrying the smells of baked goods is one of my favorite fantasies. Not Paris. Not Berlin. Not London. Okay, maybe Berlin! But, I picture it as some byway. A little town out of nowhere, peaceful and idyllic with that old world charm us Americans long for. The smell of old everywhere like it was in March of 2000 when I visited Ireland. Oh, Adare, I miss you and the peat.
There is just something so inspiring in the act that my soul comes back down from whatever black nap it’s been on to pay attention again. So when I saw this post on Facebook, I naturally wanted to share it with all of you. It’s a glimpse into the corner of my mind, as well as a peak at the mind and process of author Michael Pokocky. I, too, like taking photographs, check out my art section. And the cafe dream, well, he’s living it. Check it out: Cafes And Journals – Pixotale™
Flight of the Bumblebee
A soot-propelled blast of dry air blew through the streets. Bunjo men, rag collectors, and persons of interest milled about in the drab uniforms of their poverty and woe. Some pushed decrepit, wooden carts; others pulled misshapen, canvas sacks behind them. Their movements were orchestrated in an industrial cacophony of old tin, pilfered iron, and the odd, twisted coil of brass. Clank! Clang! Scrape…shuffle—it went.
Just around the corner…
Tattered and grimy curtains did what little they could to filter the orange haze streaming in from the toxic, ochre atmosphere just outside the window.
Mick awoke in his Archibald Square flat to find everything just as he had remembered: broken furniture—old and cheap—empty whisky—old and not cheap—bottles and newspapers—older still—strewn about as if the place was a dime-store snow-globe cocktail shaken by The Brigadier’s over-zealous bartender. His head felt much the same way.
What happened? Little came to mind just then. He ached—everywhere.
The go-men made a right mess of it this time, he thought. It was always like this….the blackouts, the pain, the disorientation.
It’ll clear soon enough, he thought assuredly.
Right now, he had orders to satisfy. The Brigadier had a mission for him. Oh, The Brig. Always planning, he was.
Mick stretched out, pain cutting every joint. Slouching his shoulders, he put a hand in the right pocket of his trousers. A rumpled piece of paper, parchment quality, or something like it, chafed his fingertips.
He pulled out the playing-card sized scrap of vellum. It was The Brigadier’s stationery all right. Mick unfolded it.
Bumblebee. G7 at Vicker’s Brae, scrawled in ink along the surface.
Mick dropped his arm and the note fell to the floor.
The mission was a go. The pit of his stomach dropped, realizing what was being asked of him…..
If you want to continue the shenanigans, you ought to be here.
Op-Dec: Operation Deceit by K. Williams
2nd Edition, Booktrope Publishing
Coming Early 2015!
I love a good story. I’m a sucker for it. However, I have a short attention span so most of the time I stick to movies. Very rarely do I sit down to read a book. If and when I do take the time to read one it had better grab me right away and keep my attention throughout. I have zero patience for boredom. And I do not tolerate it from a book. I will put that thing down and never pick it up.
I’ve seen thousands of movies and I have reviewed quite a few of them. I’ve only read a handful of books in my life. I’ve tried to read several, but like I said, very few keep my attention. With that said, I have never reviewed a book before and frankly, I’m not really sure how to, but I’m going to give it a shot. How difficult can it be?
The latest book I’ve read is “Operation Deceit”. A World War II spy novel written by my good friend K. Williams. I met K a little over a year ago and we’ve become really good friends. When I found out she was a writer I wanted to support her as a fellow artist. So I picked up a copy of Op-Dec and I checked it out.
I must admit, I was a little nervous. K a really good friend, what if I didn’t like the story, what was I going to tell her? I’m not one to lie when it comes to the arts. If you ask me my opinion on your project I will give you an honest opinion. Hopefully, I am tactful. Unless you’re an ass. Then to Hell with you!
Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about it at all. I loved the book. It took me a long time to read it because I’m a slow reader and also, finding the time to read is very challenging for me. So at first, I was just reading a chapter a night, but not every night. It all depended on my schedule. However, as I got through the book, the characters and the story made the book increasingly difficult to put down. I found myself reading late into the night and I believe I even called in sick a few days so that I could finish the book.
It goes without saying that Op-Dec, is not only a fun book, but it’s also incredibly well written. K’s use of language is thought provoking and genius. She often painted scenes that to this day I still have burned in my memory even though I have never actually seen those locations. I can probably count in one hand the number of books that have had that effect on me.
There is so much to love about her writing, but if I have to pick just one aspect where she excels would have to be her dialog. Op-Dec dialog often made me forget that I was reading a book and instead fooled me into thinking I had watched a very exciting movie about World War II spies.
There is only one beef I have with the book. I consider K to be very smart. A lot smarter than I will ever be. Her use of words I never heard of had me running back and forth to my dictionary to make out what the heck was meant. I guess it’s not her fault that my reading level is that of George W. Bush’s. Nevertheless, her use of language is beautiful and almost poetic.
I know that I haven’t said much about the story. There’s a reason for that. I feel that if I said anything about that story that I might give away too many clues and ruin the many surprises that this book has to offer. That would just deprive you of the real fun about reading it and that I couldn’t live with. I can say this. Claire, the main character is a strong, smart, and independent woman. Quite a feat considering the time period she lived in and her environment. As a feminist, it was refreshing to read a story based in this time period that did not have her be a sexual object, or a damsel in distress. Kudos!
Carsten, the leading man in the story, will have you wondering about his intentions throughout the entire film… Er, I mean book, sorry—Told you! I think I must’ve traveled in time and watched the movie for this book then came back to the present to read the story. I really do have memories of scenes etched into my brain that I know I’ve never seen before. Or have I?
Booktrope publishing has picked up OP-DEC: Operation Deceit with good reason and will be releasing a new edition in early 2015. I recommend you get a copy. Here’s hoping a film will be made, and soon!
The Cocaonut Grove Menu cover. The Grove burned the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 1942, resulting in over 400 deaths, and is featured in the upcoming sequel to OP-DEC, OP-GHO: Operation Ghost.
One of the greatest things about writing is that you can do pretty much anything that you want – within reason, whatever that means in the frame of your story. Historical writing is pretty wide-open when you think of all the tales of daring-do, love and revenge. You don’t have to settle in with an action historical figure, unless you’re writing a salacious biography or historical fiction about an event. Still–you want to consider how ‘historical’ you want the work. There are a number of parameters which the would be history fiction author has to consider: Where is this taking place? Can I find maps and images or renderings of the place? Is it somewhere I can easily visit, despite a tight budget? What were the people like? What did they wear, say, eat, and do for fun on Saturday afternoons? Ah, yes, the feeling of being overwhelmed sets in!
Don’t let research of this kind discourage you. There are tons of manuals and books written about just about everything – time, place, persons, etc. The good thing, many of the newer historical research books take a fun look at the history they’re covering. You won’t be sawing wood five pages in, as the author waxes nostalgic about their work, and the contents of the book, throwing a thesaurus full of “I’m qualified to talk about this stuff” words at you.
The other reason you can’t be discouraged–you have to do this work. If you’re going to write historical fiction, you can’t skip the work of knowing the history of the period in which the story is set. This is necessary for getting you published and taking you seriously. Research reflected in your work makes it stronger, more immersive and engaging. Just think, you can teach someone about the period without being “that teacher from high school American history” that everyone dreaded. Besides, if you love the time period, sharing what you know in a creative way, learning more about it and sharing that as well, that will bring your readers back for more.
Take a look at this excerpt from “Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing” by Melissa Mohr. Published by Oxford University Press. Note that Oxford University Press USA (all rights in the Work and the Excerpt except as explicitly provided herein reserved).
Then go and take a look around your favorite bookstore (online or in person) to find more resources regarding history that you might not have considered including in your work. Don’t trust your cultural knowledge to be correct on the topic!