December 19, 2008

Douglas Jacobson Explores WWII Polish Resistance

Recently Night of Flames author Douglas W. Jacobson delved into the real history of the WWII Polish Resistance organization Home Army (Armia Krajowa) for the Polish-American newspaper the Am-Pol Eagle.

Poland's Armia Krajowa and German V-2 Rockets in WW2

Part One of Two

Buried deep in a mountainside in the small town of Peenemunde on the Baltic Sea, German scientists were hard at work on the most secret and insidious weapons known to mankind during the dark years of World War Two – the V-1 and V-2 rockets. While rumors of these developments had been floating around Allied intelligence circles, it was not until the winter of 1942 that they were taken seriously. This occurred following a secret report dispatched to London from the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa or AK). The report included information gathered by an AK agent working at the Czech steelworks plant in Witowice who had learned of top secret tests being conducted by the Germans utilizing very special steel alloys and advanced manufacturing techniques to produce large steel cylinders.

Further undercover espionage activities by AK agents revealed the secret testing facility at Peenemunde. In the summer of 1943, one particular agent, posing as a forced laborer, was able to create sketches of the testing facility, which was now close to producing V-1 rockets, or “flying bombs” in large-scale quantities. Through a complex network of secret agents and safe-houses his report and sketches made their way to the AK commanders in Warsaw and then to Allied intelligence authorities in London. (Read the full WWII Polish Resistance article.)

Purchase Night of Flames: A Novel of WWII, by Douglas W. Jacobson at mcbooks.com

December 15, 2008

Four Kings: 2008 Best Holiday Reading according to SecondsOut.com

Thomas Hauser, writing on SecondsOut.com, named his favorite boxing books for holiday reading and included George Kimball’s Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing.

Here’s what Hauser had to say:

Each year during the holiday season, I publish a “top forty” list of what I consider to be the best books on boxing. That list, updated to accommodate recently published titles, follows . . .

Four Kings by George Kimball (McBooks Press) – Kimball recounts the epic nine battles contested among Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran between 1980 and 1989. It was a special time for boxing fans and more special for those who, like Kimball, experienced the drama firsthand from the inside. The bigger the fight, the better Kimball tells it. (Read the full boxing column.)

Purchase Four Kings, by George Kimball, at McBooks.com

December 12, 2008

The Book of Matthew chosen a 2008 Great Debut by Rocky Mountain News

Denver’s Rocky Mountain News came out with its choices for Best Debut Novels of the year and gave an enthusiastic nod to The Book of Matthew, by Thomas White.

In praising the novel, Justin Matott says, “There are many bland — been-there-done-that — kind of serial killer books out there. White’s literary style is fresh, inventive, engrossing and truly macabre.” (Read the full Great Debuts article.)

Purchase The Book of Matthew from McBooks.com

December 11, 2008

The Book of Matthew, by Thomas White, a pick of the year by Shelf Awareness


Calling The Book of Matthew a “superb, adrenaline-laced thriller,” Shelf Awareness has chosen White’s debut novel as a pick of the year. The crime thriller follows the macabre plans of a twisted serial killer with a very personal grudge, and the increasingly desperate attempts by San Francisco detectives to stop him from committing his brutal crimes. The novel came out in August and has garnered an enthusiastic fan base. (See full Shelf Awareness pick of the year list.)

Purchase The Book of Matthew at McBooks.com

December 2, 2008

Museum of Human Beings: Historical novel is “rich with unusual historical detail”



In a November 28, 2008 review, the Denver Post lauds Colin Sargent’s new novel:

Using Lewis and Clark's amazing trek as its springboard, Colin Sargent centers on Sacagawea, the journey's guide. Actually, it focuses on Sacagawea's son, Jean Baptiste, who began his life on that fateful voyage.

Jean Baptiste's mother had told Pomp — her nickname for him — that the Indian must be helpful but not too smart because, "It makes a bad impression." But, upon her death, Clark sends the boy to a Catholic school until, on the threshold of manhood, he becomes the traveling companion of Friedrich Wilhem, Prince of Wurttemberg. (Read the full review.)

Purchase Museum of Human Beings, by Colin Sargent at McBooks.com

December 1, 2008

George Kimball on NPR's "Only a Game"


Bill Littlefield, host of NPR's "Only a Game," interviews George Kimball about his new book Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing. George and Bill discuss the fights, the fighters, and the golden days of middleweight boxing. (Listen to the show.)

Purchase Four Kings, by George Kimball, at McBooks.com

November 17, 2008

Author Colin Sargent talks about Sacagawea and the inspiration for his novel Museum of Human Beings


“Sacagawea is always portrayed with her ‘papoose,' who appears to be a fashion accessory.”

During a recent interview for the York Independent newspaper, Sargent spoke of his inspiration for this work of fiction that is steeped in historical fact.

"All the images of Lewis and Clark's famous Shoshone guide, from elementary history books to the coin in currency today, are titled ‘Sacagawea.' But there are two human beings in those pictures... Sacagawea is always portrayed with her ‘papoose,' who appears to be a fashion accessory as central to her legend as a flag is to Betsy Ross... I found myself wondering, who is that boy? Whatever happened to him?"

From there, Sargent explained that he began hunting through archive entries that mention Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, who lived from 1805 to 1866.

As a result of that search, Sargent said, "a picture of a man struggling to emerge from the shadow of his celebrity mom began to take shape, and I felt a real connection - Baptiste is a touchstone for so many of us who are searching for our own place in the world." (read the full interview with Colin Sargent)

Purchase Museum of Human Beings, by Colin Sargent at McBooks.com

November 7, 2008

Museum of Human Beings: Sacagawea’s son searches for his true identity in a changing world


Publishers Weekly: “A stylish look at the fate of Sacagawea’s baby son”

Playwright Colin Sargent's debut novel is a stylish look at the fate of Sacagawea's baby son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, the first Native American to tour Europe—as a curiosity and entertainment, of course. Twenty-four-year-old Sacagawea, though married, becomes William Clark's lover while helping guide the Lewis and Clark Expedition; after she dies on the trail, Clark adopts her son, Baptiste. Soon, Clark establishes his home in St. Louis, as well as a garish museum dedicated to his expedition, and sets to educating his new son. –-Publishers Weekly (read the full review)

Purchase Museum of Human Beings, by Colin Sargent at McBooks.com

November 3, 2008

A Fistful of Diamonds: The blood diamond trade meets the world's luckiest gem dealer


A Fistful of Diamonds: A Gemstone Thriller

By John B. Robinson

A suite of priceless diamonds surfaces in Central Africa. Fast-talking gem expert Lonny Cushman wants them. As cover, he chaperones a young seminarian to Rwanda in search of her missing father.

Once there, Lonny chases the diamonds through the killing fields of the Congo. Survival depends on negotiating the bloody machinery that benefits from the conflict diamond trade--Islamic jihadis, corrupt army officers, Israeli diamantaires, and Ukrainian arms dealers. Can he save himself, the diamonds, and the seminarian from a terrible end?

“If you’re thirsting for a canny, ironic international thriller . . . jump into John B. Robinson’s A Fistful of Diamonds.”

—Portland Magazine

Purchase the Gemstone Thrillers, by John B. Robinson, at McBooks.com

October 21, 2008

ESPN boxing blog: Four Kings by George Kimball “terrific”

George Kimball gives Bernard Hopkins a copy of his book, Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era if Boxing, at the Pavlik-Hopkins Pre-Fight Press Conference

ESPN Fight Credential: Pavlik vs Hopkins blog had some laudatory things to say about the “Pavlik–Hopkins and the Era of the Four Kings” panel discussion held at Caesars Palace on Saturday October 18. Reporter Don Steinberg filed three blog entries about the panel. Here’s one:

The guest panelists who discussed George Kimball's terrific book "Four Kings" shared some awesome inside stories.

Emmanuel Steward on Tommy Hearns' loss to Marvin Hagler in 1985: "The night we lost that fight was the most painful night of my life."

Bob Arum on Hearns's 1984 knockout of Roberto Duran: "The best knockout I've ever seen."

Larry Merchant said he always knew how concerned Hagler was about an opponent by seeing how many quarters of a pound under 160 Hagler weighed in at. Steward told how he got Leonard drunk to talk him into fighting Hearns into a 1989 rematch for $12 million.

Bottom line: Check out the book. -- Don Steinberg (read all three ESPN blog entries)

Purchase Four Kings, by George Kimball, at McBooks.com

October 13, 2008

George Kimball’s Four Kings: Boxing’s Golden Era


Four Kings
Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing


By George Kimball


Their names are legendary: Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas "Hit Man" Hearns, and Roberto Duran. They were exceptional boxers endowed with unique combinations of power and speed. They matured in the 1980s and fought each other as middleweights. With unforgettable courage and skill, they ruled the ring and ushered in the last Golden Age of boxing.

Veteran sports journalist George Kimball takes an authoritative look at the rivalries that fueled this great era in sports history. The result is a fast-paced, blow-by-blow account of four extraordinary adversaries and a remarkable boxing epoch.

“George Kimball cooks up some compelling nostalgia by recounting an era when great American fighters bestrode the planet. A former Phoenix sportswriter and long-time Boston Herald scribe (and current Phoenix contributor), he knows the game and, more important, the characters who inhabit it.” --Mark Jurkowitz, The (Boston) Phoenix (read the full boxing book review).

Purchase Four Kings at McBooks.com

October 6, 2008

From the Depths author Gerry Doyle interviewed on Notes from the Handbasket blog


Octoberguest! Interview with Gerry Doyle

by Laura Benedict, Notes from the Handbasket

I've owed thriller novelist Gerry Doyle a guest spot for a long time. His debut book, From the Depths, came out early last November--just a month after my own debut. Debut writers always go to the head of the line at the Handbasket. Newbies need all the exposure and support they can get!

Gerry's an editor for the Chicago Tribune's Metro section, but From the Depths takes place far from the Midwest. He brings new energy to the techno-thriller with CIA forensic scientist Dr. Christine Meyers, who must work with the Navy SEALS to discover what killed the entire crew of a defecting North Korean sub.

This past summer at Thrillerfest, From the Depths was one of the five finalists for the International Thriller Writer's Best Debut Novel award.

Today he's in the Handbasket to answer a few questions.

Welcome, Gerry!

As a career journalist, what was the instigating factor in your jump into fiction? And thriller fiction at that?

The instigating factor for my jump into fiction is the same as that for my jump into journalism: I just love writing. I've been writing fiction since the time I could pick up a crayon, and my love of the written word was what ultimately nudged me into journalism. Writing a book was almost an accident: An idea that just started gathering momentum as I put it on the page. All of a sudden it was a novel! The thriller genre is one that I think just about all of my work fits into. I tend to launch writing projects from ideas: What if? Why? How? And in the course of answering them, tense and precarious situations tend to unfold.


Who first encouraged you to write? (read the full interview)


Purchase From the Depths, by Gerry Doyle, at McBooks.com

September 11, 2008

Peter Wicked: latest historical novel by Broos Campbell finds Matty Graves taking on the French, the British, and a notorious pirate


Library Journal: Peter Wicked “eventful and enjoyable”

The third novel in the Matty Graves series (after The War of Knives and No Quarter) takes place during the Quasi War of 1798 to 1800, an undeclared naval conflict between France and the United States. Recovering from his ordeal during the slave rebellion on the island of Saint-Dómingue, naval officer Matty Graves is summoned to Washington for questioning about his role in the death of his captain and the sinking of a ship. While not formally accused of wrongdoing, Graves is removed from command and ends up "on the beach." —Library Journal (read full historical novel review)

Purchase Peter Wicked from McBooks.com

August 11, 2008

Fan of Julian Stockwin's Kydd Series builds model of HMS Teazer



Princess Anne in attendance as model of Teazer unveiled at the Ivybridge Library, U.K.

Follow highlights of British modeller John Thompson's progress over the twelve months of his project to build a model of Kydd's first command, the little brig-sloop HMS Teazer. HRH Princess Anne viewed the completed model, on loan to the Ivybridge Library.

John explains how the project came about:

In late March 2007, I contacted Julian to tell him how much I enjoyed his Kydd series of books. There were a number of e-mail exchanges between us, following which, to my huge surprise and joy, I received in the post early one Saturday morning a piece of rope from HMS Invincible (captured from the French in 1747 and sank off Selsey Bill in 1758) beautifully mounted and engraved.

I was so touched by Julian's generosity to a complete stranger that I pondered how best I could return his kindness - and the idea of this build of HMS Teazer germinated.

THE WAY AHEAD So, how would I go about this build? There were no pre-existing wooden model ship kits (Teazer being a composite vessel based on several real ships of the time), but to scratch build her would have taken up to 2 years or more. After research to glean further details of her origins, I deduced (and Julian confirmed) that HMS Teazer was based loosely on the “Cruizer Class” brig rigged sloops in operation from 1797 onwards. The Cruizer class were in fact the most common type of vessel operated by the British Navy and in effect were the real workhorses - and the backbone - of the Navy (read the full model ship-building story).

Purchase the Kydd Sea Adventures, by Julian Stockwin, at McBooks.com

August 6, 2008

The Book of Matthew: a serial killer outwits detectives in this macabre crime thriller


The Book of Matthew
A Macabre Novel of Suspense


by Thomas White

A series of frightening murders plagues San Francisco. To solve the crimes, Homicide Inspector Clemson Yao enlists the help of Angie Strackan, a realtor who once tried—and failed—to become the city’s first female homicide inspector. The two face off against a ghoulish, black-humored serial killer who whimsically refers to his grotesque murders as “messies.” Gripped by macabre obsession for a decade, he’s evolved into a grandmaster of slow, anguished death, roaming the globe to catalog the most despicable methods of execution and keeping his research in dozens of leather-bound notebooks.

Clem and Angie slowly unravel the murderer’s clues, but their quarry is always one step ahead of them and even an FBI profiler can’t help them pin down the twisted mind behind the crimes. It’s a desperate race against time, for the killer has an agenda. His next victims are already picked out—and it seems no one can stop him.

Purchase The Book of Matthew from McBooks Press

July 2, 2008

Douglas W. Jacobson’s Night of Flames Wins Wisconsin Library Award


Night of Flames
A Novel of WWII


by Douglas W. Jacobson

The Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) has chose Night of Flames for an Outstanding Achievement Award for 2008.

Every year the WLA’s Literary Awards Committee reviews approximately 250 books written by Wisconsin writers, which were published during the previous calendar year, and selects no more than ten to be recognized as outstanding books. The books are judged o their literary merit as well as the quality of the writing, editing, printing and publishing.

Night of Flames is a sweeping thriller that follows the struggles of Jan and Anna Kopernik, two Polish patriots caught up in the struggles of WWII. When the Germans invade Poland in 1939, they set off a fire storm of violence and destruction. Jan and Anna become separated during the ensuing years of German occupation. Anna flees to Belgium and is caught up in the Resistance there, while Jan escapes to Britain with the battered remnants of the Polish army. (See list of 2008 Literary Award winners.)

Purchase Night of Flames: A Novel of WWII, by Douglas W. Jacobson at mcbooks.com

June 10, 2008

Jewish Princess Cookbook: humor and recipes celebrate the JP in everyone

If you ask almost any Jew "What does a Jewish Princess make for dinner?" the answer would probably be the punchline of an old joke: "reservations." Ask Georgie Tarn and Tracey Fine, however, and they'll respond with one of their unique recipes, such as Bloody Mary Borscht.

"We were tasting our borscht recipe and we thought, 'Why not jack it up a little bit?' So we gave it a kick," Tarn said.

That kick: tomato juice and vodka.

The U.K. duo of Tarn and Fine, lifelong friends and co-authors of "The Jewish Princess Cookbook: Having Your Cake and Eating It" (McBooks Press, $18.95), said they've written the book in the voice of a classic Jewish Princess, or JP, an illustrated character in the book whom the authors describe as their shared alter-ego.

According to the cookbook, which was first published across the pond in 2006, being a JP involves adhering to a princess pledge, like "buying lots of evening shoes and wearing them" and "embracing my mishegosses, because they make me who I am." Most importantly, the JP must always abide by the three Ps: staying positive, productive and princess-like in every way.

Tarn and Fine got the idea for their cookbook after a self-proclaimed midlife crisis. Both were successful in their careers (Tarn was an aerobics trainer, while Fine ran a giftware company), but they wanted to try something new. -- Molly Binenfeld, The Jewish Journal
(read the full interview)

Purchase The Jewish Princess Cookbook at McBooks.com

May 30, 2008

Jewish Princess Cookbook authors Tarn & Fine pitch to Jewish book festivals


The Jewish Princess Cookbook
having your cake and eating it . . .

by Georgie Tarn and Tracey Fine

Cookbook authors Georgie Tarn and Tracey Fine flew from their native Britain to the U.S. to attend the Jewish Book Council’s Book Network conference in Los Angeles. Georgie and Tracey took part in the Meet-the-Authors program on May 28 where they pitched their humorous take on classic and nouveau Jewish recipes to more than 150 of the council’s Network members. Members who like what they hear, will sign up Georgie and Tracey for appearances at Jewish book fairs this coming fall. Good luck, ladies. Our fingers are crossed.

Contrary to popular stereotype, the Jewish Princess is simply a woman who knows how to make the most of herself and how to enjoy life to the fullest. She also knows that good food is a large part of that enjoyment. The Jewish Princess Cookbook shows her how to have her cake and eat it too.

Purchase The Jewish Princess Cookbooks at McBooks.com


May 7, 2008

Broos Campbell, author of Matty Graves series, interviewed by JAAL


James Blasingame, from the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, corresponded with historical fiction author Broos Campbell by e-mail.

James: Your books are easily compared to the Aubrey-Maturin sea adventures written by Patrick O'Brian, such as those that formed the basis of the Master and Commander movie. Anyone who enjoys the authenticity of his descriptions of sea battles will enjoy your detailed narratives of the strategems of war at sea even more. Tell us a little about your work on a tall ship. Did you ever think you would wind up writing about it?

Broos: That's a tremendous compliment. I don't deserve it, but thank you all the same. My time in a square-rigger isn't extensive—just long enough to say I've done it, really. I kept telling the other crewmembers that I was going to write a book about being aboard, but at the time it was more of a way to explain why I was there than anything else. I used to dread going aloft, and sometimes they looked at me funny. I mean, it might've been my imagination, but probably not entirely.

James: Crewing on a sailing ship is surely a dangerous proposition. Were you ever in a situation where you wondered if you would make it home alive? –James Blasingame, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy (read the full interview)

Purchase Broos Campbell’s Matty Graves novels at McBooks.com

March 23, 2008

From the Depths Nominated for Thriller Award!


"As Vice President of Awards for the International Thriller Writers, it is my distinct pleasure to announce that From the Depths by Gerry Doyle has been nominated for the 2008 Thriller Award in the Best First Novel category." James Rollins, ITW V.P. of Awards


BEST FIRST NOVEL 2008

Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell (Dutton)
Big City, Bad Blood, by Sean Chercover (William Morrow)
From the Depths by Gerry Doyle (McBooks Press)
Volk's Game by Brent Ghelfi (Henry Holt and Co.)
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (William Morrow)

January 15, 2008

Night of Flames author Douglas W. Jacobson on BlogTalkRadio

video
Douglas W. Jacobson, author of Night of Flames, was a guest on WVTA TV's Today's Author, interviewed by BlogTalk Radio's Ewen Prime. Ewen interviews Doug and learns about the fascinating history behind the European Resistance in WWII, and Doug's extensive research in Belgium and Poland, which led him to write his debut novel, Night of Flames.