A centennial Thursday teaser

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Today, April 4, 2019, would have been the one hundredth birthday of Maurice Bury, the late father-in-law of BSR member Scott Bury and the subject of three books. In honor of that centennial, we present an excerpt that tells much about Maurice’s character. Read on to see how you could win a free copy.

Army of Worn Soles

Army of Worn Soles cover

By Scott Bury

The next week, when the boys went to the Jewish quarter, Maurice stepped in front of Bohdan and knocked on the kitchen door. A man dressed all in black answered. He had a long grey beard, spectacles and a cap on his head. “Good morning, sir,” Maurice said. Warm air filled with delicious aromas came out of the kitchen. “We’re here to cut your firewood.”

The man nodded, frowning. His eyes scanned Maurice and his friends, and the pile of uncut wood beside the garden. He didn’t say anything, so Maurice pulled off his cap and smiled as warmly as he could. He held out his hand. “I am Maurice, and these are my friends. We did a good job last week, wouldn’t you say.”

The homeowner nodded without smiling, but he shook Maurice’s hand. “Yes, fine. Go to it, then.”

“Yes, sir, we will, right away, but there is just one thing,” Maurice said. He heard his friends shuffling behind him, mystified as to what he was doing. “Last week, you paid us fifty grozy, just half a zloty each to cut and stack your firewood and make kindling, too. And believe me, we are grateful—hmm, my, that smells good in your kitchen—grateful for the work. But you see, your honour, we are students at the gymnasium. Ukrainians, underdogs like your people. And the food at the gymnasium is not as good as the food in your kitchen. Are you baking?”

“What do you want?”

“Mister—I am sorry, I don’t know your name?”

“Kohn.”

“Mr. Kohn, rabbi—”

“I am not a rabbi, I am a printer.”

“My apologies. Please, sir, Mr. Kohn—we are four poor Ukrainian students, struggling to improve our lives and our families’, too. My mother, for instance, lives on a poor farm near Ternopyl, and my education is a great burden on her. Just think of how hard she had to work to pay the tuition, let alone my living expenses. And my friends are in the same situation.” He indicated the three boys behind him.

Kohn sighed deeply. “What do you want?”

Polish zloty coin. Couttesy Coinquest.com

“A zloty each.”

“A zloty. I can get any goy for a fraction of that. Go on.”

“Hear me out, Mr. Kohn. One zloty for each of us will allow us to buy a good supper tonight, and we are all hard-working boys, and we’ll send money home to our mothers. And in return, we’ll cut twice as much wood as last week—”

“I don’t need twice as much wood. I still haven’t burned all the wood you cut last week.”

“Maybe. But you could sell some of your surplus to other households.”

“So I’m supposed to peddle cut wood to my neighbours?”

Maurice had not anticipated that response.

Bohdan stepped forward. “Of course not. We’ll sell it and give you the proceeds.”

Mr. Kohn shook his head. “You goyim have no head for money. This is how it will work, boys. Instead of fifty grozy each, I’ll pay you twenty-five. You cut as much wood for me as you did last week. Then you cut as much as you like to sell to the Abrahams next door—Abraham never buys enough wood, the cheapskate. You charge him five zlotys for the week. That way you’ll have more money than you did before. And you come back here and give me a quarter of what he paid, and I’ll let you come back next week. I’ll have more wood for you to sell then.”

Maurice turned to the others, who nodded. It was a good deal if it meant more work for each of them.

Kohn dug in a front pocket and pulled out some coins. “Here are another twenty-five grozy for each of you—buy yourselves a beer after. And never let it be said that Chaim Kohn let anyone, even goyim, go hungry.” He closed the door.

Army of Worn Soles

1941: Their retreat across Ukraine wore their boots out—and they kept going. Three months after drafting him, the Soviet Red Army throws Maurice Bury, along with millions of other under-trained men, against the juggernaut of Nazi Germany’s Operation Barbarossa, the assault on the USSR. Army of Worn Soles tells the true story of a Canadian who had to find in himself a way to keep himself alive—and the men who followed him.

Find it in paperback and e-book formats on Amazon.

Army of Worn Soles is the first book in the Eastern Front trilogy comprising Army of Worn SolesUnder the Nazi Heel and Walking Out of War. It’s the true story a Canadian drafted into the Soviet Red Army in 1941, just in time to face Operation Barbarossa, the greatest land attack in history—Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union.

Read more about it on the author’s website.

Win a free e-copy

Army of Worn Soles cover

In the Comments below, share some of the ways you earned extra cash as a young person. Author Scott Bury will share a free e-copy of Army of Worn Soles in return.

Scott Bury

can’t stay in one genre. After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. “Sam, the Strawb Part,” a children’s story, came out in 2011, with all the proceeds going to an autism charity. Next was a paranormal short story for grown-ups, “Dark Clouds.”

The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy, came out in 2012. It was followed in 2013 with One Shade of Red, an erotic romance.

He has several mysteries and thrillers, including Torn Roots, Palm Trees & Snowflakes and Wildfire .

The Eastern Front trilogy, Army of Worn Soles, Under the Nazi Heel and Walking Out of War, is the true story of a Canadian-born man drafted into the Soviet Red Army in World War II.

Scott’s articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia.

He has two mighty sons, two pesky cats and a loving wife who puts up with a lot. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

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Books and memory

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Over the next few weeks, BestSelling Reads authors will explore how their own memories inform their writing. In this installment, Scott Bury describes how the memory of his father-in-law and the subject of his Eastern Front trilogy meshed with a childhood recollection of his wife, and how it all fit into one of his books.

Going through some old papers and memoriabilia of my wife’s parents, we found a picture from World War II—it’s 78 years old. It’s a picture that my wife said she remembered seeing when she was a little . It’s also a picture that Maurice Bury told me about before he passed away: a picture taken in a small town in western Ukraine as it suffered under the Nazi occupation.

I wish I had found this photo years ago, before I published the first edition of Army of Worn Soles. You can bet it will be in the next edition.

It’s a photograph of my father-in-law, Maurice Bury, on the day he returned to his village of Nastaciv, Ukraine, after escaping from the German POW camp in late 1941. The woman beside him is his cousin, Tekla, who was named after her aunt, Maurice’s mother. Tekla was the first family member who met Maurice on his return home.

Here’s the story as told by Maurice, years ago

Even though it was wartime, the market bustled as farmers sold the last of their harvests: corn, wheat, parsley, apples, pears, onions and beets. Townspeople pressed through the stalls, haggling over vegetables, chickens and animal feed. Behind a stall selling eggs stood a slim woman whose dark brown hair threatened to burst the knot in her kerchief.

Maurice tapped her on the shoulder. “Hello, Tekla.”

The woman spun to face him, expecting trouble. She glared at him for several seconds before her eyes widened. “Maurice? My god, I cannot believe it.” She wrapped her arms around him and squeezed tight. She had to lean over her table of eggs, but she held on. Maurice hugged back, wary of knocking eggs down. When she let him go, she looked at him as if she were afraid he was about to vanish again. “What are you doing here?”

Tekla was his cousin, daughter of Myhailo Kuritsa, his mother’s brother. She had been named after her aunt.

“I’m coming home. Can you give me a ride?” he asked.

She threw her arms around him again. “Of course, Maurice, of course. Oh, I can’t believe it. We heard you’d been…been killed.” She held him at arm’s length. “You’re so thin. You must have been starving.” She called to the woman in the stand next to hers, who had been staring at them. “Hanyah, please, sell the eggs for me.”

“Of course, dear. Take the young man home and give him something to eat. Right away,” Hanyah said. She was older than Maurice’s mother, and Maurice did not know her, but she smiled at him as if he were a grandchild she had not seen for a year.

Tekla re-tied her scarf and pulled on her gloves, took Maurice by the hand and led him out of the market. “My wagon is over here,” she said, then stopped. “You know what we should do, Maurice? Let’s get a picture together.”

“Can’t we…”

Army of Worn Soles cover

But Tekla interrupted, took his hand and led him through the market to a small shop, where she paid a few rubles for a picture. The photographer had Maurice sit on a stool in front of a cloth draped against the wall, and posed Tekla standing next to him. Tekla could not stop smiling, nor babbling.

“I can’t wait to see Auntie’s face when she sees you standing on her doorstep. Oh, and my father, too. It’s too bad your father is not here, Maurice. He would be so relieved, so happy to know you’re home safe. Are you sure this is my better side?” She asked the photographer as he adjusted the camera. He smiled, nodded and calmly pressed the shutter.

“The print will be ready on Thursday,” the photographer said and handed Tekla a ticket. “Welcome back, friend,” he said to Maurice.

How it got here

The print was promised for that Thursday in 1941, 78 years ago. It’s suffered a little over the years, and it will appear in a new edition of Army of Worn Soles as well as the single-volume edition of the Eastern Front trilogy.

What about you readers? Have you ever read a book that meshed with your own personal memories?

Scott Bury

Scott Bury’s military biography trilogy comprises Army of Worn Soles, Under the Nazi Heel and Walking Out of War. It’s the true story of a Canadian-born man drafted into the Soviet Red Army in World War II.

Scott Bury has also published two Hawaiian Storm mysteries, Torn Roots and Palm Trees & Snowflakes. Another mystery, Wildfire, is set in California during the wine country wildfires of 2017.

His first published novel is a historical fantasy, The Bones of the Earth.

Learn more about Scott on his:

Website   |   Blog    |  Facebook    |   Twitter

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Thursday multi-teasers

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Good news for readers!

Your favorite bestselling authors have been burning up their keyboards to bring you more of the books you love. Since the beginning of 2019, we’ve brought you a whack of new titles to enjoy, with more to come before the summer’s heat.

Like what? Read on …

Thrillers

M.L. Doyle will release The Bonding Blade this summer. The follow-up to The Bonding Spell, the bestselling supernatural thriller that features Inanna, the Mesopotamian goddess of love, sex and war, in a world-risking struggle against Hecate, goddess of witches. This story goes back far in time to determine the source of the spell that binds Inanna to Hester, her 21st-century vessel, and Hester’s closest friends to her.

Pre-order The Bonding Blade today.

The third volume in Alan McDermott’s Eva Driscoll Thriller series, Fight to Survive, will be on Amazon’s electronic shelves on June 20, 2019. Eva Driscoll needs all her formidable skills for a mission that forces her to cooperate with an organization she had sworn to destroy.

Pre-order it today.

Rainy Night to Die, is the second ini the Quiet Assassin series by longtime bestseller Caleb Pirtle III. In this tight, fast-paced book, Roland Sand, the Quiet Assassin, is sent to Ukraine. His mission is to rescue a lounge singer who’s been passing Russian secrets back to MI-6 in Britain. He has 24 hours to get her out before the ship waiting to take them away from danger leaves without either of them. And before relentless Russian agents kill them both.

Mysteries

Caleb Pirtle is one of the most prolific of BestSelling Reads authors. In addition to Rainy Night to Die, he has also published the second in his historical Boomtown Saga mysteries series.

In Bad Side of a Wicked Moon: The Boomtown Saga, Book Two, it’s up to the town’s most beautiful and richest widow to save an innocent man from being convicted of a murder he didn’t commit.

The Hilo Bay Mystery Collection by J.L. Oakley, comprising Coconut Island, Volcano House and Hilina Pali, is now available for pre-order. The e-book version of the complete mystery adventures of the retired Auntie Bee Takahashi and her niece, hard-nosed investigative reporter Tawnie Takahashi, on Hawai’i’s Big Island will be live on Amazon on April 13. The paperback will be available in May.

Pre-order it today.

The prolific and terrific Toby Neal will release Wired Truth, the tenth Paradise Crime volume, on April 30. In this adventure, Sophie Ang faces an adversary whose skills match her own. Meanwhile, events far away threaten the fragile happiness she has built.

Visit Toby’s website to find out how you can pre-order your copy today.

In fact, Toby’s pace for the past several years makes many of us breathless. Last December, she published the first volume in her memoirs, Freckled, in the same year that she published the previous three books in the Paradise Crime series, and boxed sets of the first six books. She also published boxed sets of the Scorch Series, co-written with Emily Kimelman.

Romance

You may be tempted to describe Torino Dreams by DelSheree Gladden as a romance story about a highly stressed lawyer and a beautiful mechanic. Kate can fix the damage to Sam’s car—after all, she caused it—but she has a lot of secrets that put her at risk if she falls for a lawyer.

As one reviewer says, it starts with a “romantic swoony vibe,” but then kicks into overdrive with suspense and mystery.

Sydney Landon has released the eighth book in the Pierced/Lucian & Lia series of sizzling-hot romances. Marco is the story of a man who has never fallen in love with any of the women he’s been with. But when he meets Nina Gavino, he realizes that he cannot live without her.

The problem: she’s not impressed with his charm, even before she learns he killed her stepfather and stepbrother.

Samreen Ahsan is about to publish the second part of her time-travel historical romance, Once Upon a [Fallen] Time, book 2 of the [Stolen] series and the sequel to Once Upon a [Stolen] Time.

The tortured Edward Hue, the last king in the cursed dynasty, is in deeper anguish over the woman he loves when he discovers which woman his father has chosen for him to marry.

The bestselling and prolific Raine Thomas will release the fourth book in the House of Archer rock’n’roll/reality TV romance series.

In Beautiful Finale, Lily, Archer, and the rest of The Void rock band continue their journey towards fame and fortune…but are they prepared to pay the price it will bring?

Visit Raine Thomas’s website to find out when and where to pre-order Beautiful Finale.

Contemporary literature

Scott Bury will publish the Eastern Front trilogy as a single-volume e-book, comprising Army of Worn Soles, Under the Nazi Heel and Walking Out of War. The paperback version will follow soon after. It’s the true story of a Canadian drafted into the Soviet Red Army during the Second World War.

Non-fiction

Top Advice for Authors Promoting Their Book: From a survey of 500+ book bloggers is not new, but this week, at least, it’s on sale from author Barb Drozdowich.   

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Monday musings: The difference between imagination and memory

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Photo: Photo by Vidar Kristiansen on Unsplash

What’s the difference between the way a writer imagines a realistic scene, and the way a reader experiences something? Could it be similar to the difference between the way we watch a motion picture about, say, a day at the lake, and the way we remember a day at the lake?

I sometimes edit novels for other writers, looking for ways to improve the story and the way it’s told, without changing the author’s voice.

I have noticed I often change or suggest a change to a particular kind of writing: excessive description of a sequence of small actions. They’re little things that happen in a story, but that the reader doesn’t need to read. And it makes me think about the difference between the way we remember and the way we imagine.

I’ll make up an example here:

She pulled the lever and opened the car door. She stepped onto the dirt driveway in front of the summer cabin, and walked past the old porch in front. She passed the little cedar trees that had never grown very high, past the big old maple and down to the wooden dock. She walked to the end, and sat down on the boards. She removed her sandals and dipped her bare feet into the lake, only to jerk them out—cold!

It’s way too wordy. Sure, it describes what happened. It takes the reader through all the action. But it doesn’t actually bring the reader into the setting. And do we really need to read every single action?

When I think back to summer days at the lake, I don’t really think of long sequences. My memories are things like seeing my grandfather standing in his wooden boat, tinkering with something in his hands as the boat bobbed gently on the water. Or the backs of my father and grandfather, looking up at the big tin barrel that collected rainwater as the wind rippled the backs of their shirts. Or sitting on a dull, cloudy afternoon on a big rock over the shore, my uncle beside me, holding a toy fishing rod in my hand.

Which brings me to the original question: what’s the difference between imagination and memory?

It’s an important question, as things like “false memory syndrome” have a bearing on criminal cases. And maybe it’s part of the profound influence of motion pictures on our whole society.

Think about the passage above. It’s not from any particular book, but it’s typical of what I tend to tell a writer to re-write. And it’s kind of cinematic. It might be the way a screenwriter would provide instructions to a cinematographer. It has all the action, something that an actor and a camera operator could follow.

This is how I remember arriving at my grandfather’s summer cottage.

Thin fir boles and low-hanging evergreen branches framed the back of the cottage. The tires crunched softly over the dirt and forest litter before the car bounced to a stop. I popped out of the back seat—no thought of seat belts then—to be greeted by the scent of forest and water and the outhouse tucked behind a thin screen of bushes.

I ran around the log cabin, reaching out to touch the structure supporting the tin barrel that collected rainwater. The lake gleamed far below the cabin, separated by a steep slope crowded with dark evergreens and lighter deciduous bushes. A bright leopard frog leaped away, into the bushes as my sneaker-clad feet made soft drumbeats on the beaten ground of the path down to the dock.

See? Flashes, like the “Live” setting on photos on my iPhone these days. Not a long cinematic sequence.

What do you think? Are your memories more like cinematic sequences, or short live photographs?

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Thursday teaser: Finding You

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This week’s teaser is from the romantic suspense novel

By D.G. Torrens

Noah Ainsworth’s need for solitude was warranted. His regular headaches and the steel plate in his cranium served as a reminder.

Noah had acquired a vast empire over the last decade and at just 29-years-old, he was in his prime. His security was profoundly tight and his tech team kept his empire safe from hackers. Luke was a genius who headed up the tech team. He was a computer wizard and often head hunted by other firms. Nevertheless, Ainsworth Global Communications treated Luke and his team very well and their loyalty to the company was affirmed. After coming off the phone to Imperial Home, Noah instructed Luke to find out everything he could about Eden Marshall. He never allowed anyone to enter his home without learning about them first. No matter how captivating they were. He liked to know every detail about them. He was security conscious bordering on obsession. Noah had every reason to be after his near-fatal accident several years back. Although, he was fully aware of Imperial Home’s impeccable reputation and long, affluent client list. That did not account for the staff that flowed through its doors. It was not long before Luke produced a short file on Eden Marshall.

“That’s everything we could find, Mr Ainsworth,” advised Luke handing over the file.

Noah took the file from Luke’s hand and Luke left the room without a word. Noah spun around in his chair to face the window and began to read.

About Finding You

Eden Marshall catches the eye of the wealthy and mysterious bachelor, Noah Ainsworth. Noah has been hiding away in his ivory tower for far too long. He decides it’s time to start living again. Eden Marshall is his motivation – captivated by her, he begins to trust in love again. Until a dark secret from his past threatens all that he loves…

Find it on Amazon.

D.G. Torrens

is a mother/writer/blogger who has a dream to inspire as many people as possible through her story. To show those with little hope that dreams can come true.

Born in England, passionate about writing, D.G. Torrens is married with a daughter. Her first book, Amelia’s Story, has inspired people all over the world. Amelia’s Destiny, book #2 is the sequel and is followed by Amelia The Mother book #3 in this awe-inspiring trilogy. A memoir that remains with D.G.’s readers long after they have put the book down …

D.G is a prolific writer. In 2013, her works were recognized by BBC Radio WM, where she has given several live interviews in the BBC studios in Birmingham, UK. Thereafter, D.G. became a regular Headline Reviewer for the radio show for the next 12 months.

Visit her:

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Book publishing trends readers need to know

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Photo by Laëtitia Buscaylet on Unsplash

Publishing is evolving rapidly. There’s been a lot of chatter, real and virtual, about what the changes in technology and markets mean for authors and publishers. But in this space, we’re going to look at how some of them will affect readers.

Independently wealthy?

Last April, Amazon reported that over 1,000 independent authors made more than $100,000 in KDP royalties in 2017. That is, more and more authors are able to make respectable livings solely from their books.

What this means for readers is that more writers are able to give up their day jobs and concentrate on writing more. So you’ll have more to read from your favorite authors.

More diversity

A panel discussion at the Book Expo in New York last year pointed out that publishing is getting more diverse: more writers and publishers are realizing that their market is not just straight, white, relatively affluent women and men.

Readers can expect to see more cultures represented not only among authors, but also in the books their produce. In other words, it’s going to be easier to find books that reflect your reality.

Wider buying choices

There are also more platforms for e-book publishing. You would have thought there were enough with Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play and Barnes and Noble. Newer entrants to the field include Draft2Digital, Findaway Voices, Book Baby, Booktango, Nu-book and more. Some are spin-offs or evolutions of vanity publishing firms like IUniverse, while others seem to be more closely related to book marketing services.

What it means for readers is more choice of where to get your books. Sure, Amazon is by far and away the leader, and will continue to be for a long time. But no one stays at number 1 forever. Not even the Zon.

More marketing


Photo by Josh Edgoose on Unsplash

While we’re on the topic Amazon, several publishing pundits have predicted that its advertising programs are going to get more important. Amazon made a number of changes last year that affected independent authors, such as cancelling the Kindle Worlds, and changing the book suggestions that appear under a title you’re looking at.

Authors, especially indies, are already using AMS ads more, and spending more money on it. Eventually, they’ll get better at managing their ads. Expect to see more of your favorite authors using them, and to get more ads that are better directed to your interests—whether you want that or no.

Competition drives quality

With more authors making a living and more choices for making and selling books, there are more books being produced more quickly than ever before. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better.

Written Word Media surveyed readers who subscribe to a number book promotional services. They found a common complaint about the numbers of typographical and grammatical errors in independently published books. Low quality can make some readers give up before finishing a book, and even if they persevere through to the end, they aren’t like to come back for the same author’s next book.

Hopefully, this will sink in among authors and drive up the quality.

More audio

Photo by Findaway Voices on Unsplash

Audio book sales grew strongly in 2017 and 2018, and most analysts are expecting that to continue. Harper Collins saw audiobook sales rise 55 percent in the third quarter of 2018 compared to the same period of 2017. Audiobook fans are going to have more to listen to, from both commercial publishers and independent authors.

More innovation

It’s impossible to predict with any certainty what is going to be the “biggest thing” this coming year. Doubtlessly, some author will come up with an innovation that will stun even the biggest players in the marketplace, and reinvent book writing or marketing.

Maybe some of you have already noticed it. Share the news with us!

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