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™
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.
OP-DEC: Operation Deceit by K. Williams
It’s 1933 and the height of Boston’s social season. Claire Healey overhears a terrible argument between her industrial-tycoon father and her socialite mother. Claire’s father sends her mother away, declaring she is hysterical with fatigue. Displaced by this disastrous outcome, Claire is brought to New York by her spirited aunt, to be raised beyond the reach of the damaging turn of events.
Nine years later, Claire returns to her childhood home to face her past once more. The world has long since exploded in war. A mysterious stranger named Carsten Reiniger has infiltrated the scene, placing his commanding presence among the old familiar faces of Boston’s elite. Intrigued by the newcomer, Claire struggles to piece together his identity and finds a dangerous connection to her troubling past.
When Claire’s prying comes to light, she and her aunt are whisked away in the middle of the night to ensure their silence. Can Carsten Reiniger be trusted or is he implacably loyal to duty alone?
“Williams’ World War II spy thriller brings to life a shadowy world of espionage, Nazis and secret agents, vividly evoking the pre-war and wartime eras, depicting days of chaos, confusion and uncertainty. The narrative crackles with intensity. She excels at historic details and characterization.” – Kirkus Indie Review
“Op-Dec: Operation Deceit delves into a story of high society…[with] Claire Healey. [She] uncovers secrets that many with money and power would prefer to keep quiet, and Claire isn’t sure how far they will go. Op-Dec is a riveting read with plenty of twists and turns, highly recommended.” – Logan’s Bookshelf, Mid West Book Review, May 2012
“…K. Williams’ determined efforts to draw the reader into the visceral and almost-tangible experience of the fatigue, hardship and duration of the journey…this diamond-of-a-novel, author K. Williams has a hit on her hands and a bright future in historical fiction,” – NY Indie Review
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!