Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year!

I wrote the first sentence for the fourth Sgt. Dunn novel (sd4) tonight. Wanted to get it started in 2014, and it is only four days after publishing the third Sgt. Dunn novel, Brutal Enemy (12/27/14).


Sunday, December 28, 2014

The new Sgt. Dunn novel, Brutal Enemy published! Available on Amazon.com.

The third Sgt. Dunn novel, Brutal Enemy, is now available for Kindle! 


Description

The third book in the popular Sgt. Dunn World War II action thriller series picks up right where book two, Behind German Lines, left off.

Colonel Frank Rogers, an American intelligence officer on the planning staff for the impending invasion of southern France, goes missing in northwest Italy. Sgt. Tom Dunn, recalled from his honeymoon, and his squad of lethal U. S. Army Rangers are tasked with the impossible: find and rescue the missing colonel before he is captured and gives up vital invasion intelligence.

Meanwhile, British Sergeant Malcolm Saunders and his Commandos parachute into Italy north of the impenetrable Gothic Line in an attempt to deliver a crushing blow to the German supply line.

While Dunn and his men race across Italy in search of Rogers, the rescue operation takes an unexpected direction. Suddenly, Dunn comes face-to-face with the brutal evil permeating the Nazis from Berlin to the occupied countries.

In Brutal Enemy, Munsterman takes the reader on a terrifying journey into Nazi occupied Italy with his trademark page-turner pace.




Sunday, December 7, 2014

7 December 1941 - Pearl Harbor

On a Sunday much like today, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The Japanese had completely incorrectly assessed the likely American reaction, fully expecting us to roll over and come to the table to negotiate a peace. Instead, witnessing an enraged American public, President Roosevelt and members of Congress declared war on Japan the very next day, hurtling the country into World War II. 

Here's a web site with all kinds of information:


Please share my post or make a comment. 

Thanks for stopping by today.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Go Kansas City Royals!

I took a 1/2 day vacation day to come home and watch the Royals game. World Series, here we come!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The third Sgt. Dunn novel's first draft is done!

Yay! I finished the first draft of Brutal Enemy.

I wrote twelve pages this weekend to finish the book. Now the fun begins: the editing and expanding the details here and there.

I can't predict a publish date, but know that I am working every single day to make the book the best it can possibly be for you.

I expect to have it in the hands of my trusted FIRST READERS in about a week. I will continue editing while they are reading it for things like story continuity, pacing, and, of course, every writer's bane of existence, grammatical errors and typos, most often words that are left out, like 'the.' At least no one has to try to decipher my even worse handwriting. 


Thanks for stopping by.

Ronn


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Started work on the 4th Sgt. Dunn novel . . .

 . . . even though I'm still writing on the third one! How can you do that? you ask.

As you can see from the little progress bar in the upper right I'm nearly 70% done with the first draft. So why start now on the next one? The truth is I'm always thinking about the next one when I'm in the midst writing one.

I'm writing a series with main characters whose lives we are watching at different points along a known timeline, specifically World War II. What I do as a writer is zero in on this group of ordinary men from America and England who would have been teachers, farmers, fishermen . . . if not for the war. The thing is, they do extraordinary things, which is what makes the stories. 

I have to take a look at all the events occurring around these men in the world of war torn Europe in 1944. Weaving their story lines with real events helps make them become people, not just characters in the books.

So, today I came up with about five or six plot points, or events, that need to occur. It's just a start, but I'm already excited by it.

Now it's time to get back to writing the third book, Brutal Enemy. By the way, I no longer title my books until I have written a good portion of them. I learned not to do that from my first one, which, if I recall correctly, went through three titles before Operation Devil's Fire. Now, I just title them sd# for Sgt. Dunn book number. Say hello to sd4.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The joy of plot changes! Making your book better.

Seriously, I do mean joy. The past few days, I've been working on the second half of my newest book. In the midst of writing some pretty action-filled chapters, I discovered a better way for my main character, Sgt. Dunn, to resolve one of the more important events in the book. 

Without giving anything away, I suddenly realized he could "overcome" an impossible hurdle by doing something quite brazen, even for an action war story. As soon as I accepted this idea, which quite frankly came out of nowhere, everything else fell together rather quickly and I'm very happy with the results. Now that the plot has been revised, it's just a matter of writing the story, of following the little movie that plays in my head.

Writer's advice

Whether this is your first work or you've been at this awhile, always look for ways to make your story better. Examine what your character(s) is/are doing and how you can make things worse. Don't discard ideas that seem impossible to overcome. Figure out a way for your character to do that and you (and your readers) will root for him/her.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Writing the end before you get to the end . . .

Starting yesterday evening and then continuing into today, I wrote the ending of the book I'm working on before I actually got to the end. The book, Brutal Enemy, takes place in Italy during August 1944 and takes both Sergeants Dunn and Saunders there. Of course I'm not going to give anything away, so don't worry, no spoiler alert.

As you might know (previous posts) I completely plot my books. My first two books, Operation Devil's Fire and Behind German Lines had 64 and 67 chapters, respectively. The new one is at 67 right now.

As you can see from my little progress bar on the upper right of my blog, I'm at 56% done (as of today). So why write the ending? Think about how movies are often made: scenes taking place at the same location are filmed together. This is simply to cut down on production costs. Many times, the first scene might be filmed last and the last one, first. For me, it's because sometimes I'm not ready to write whichever chapter is "next" in line, but I am ready for a different one. Just because I create the entire plot, doesn't mean I'm forced to write the book in the order it will be appear to the reader.

So I had fun writing this piece of the book. It was an opportunity to wrap up things for some new characters.

Writer's advice

If you plot, but feel stuck or not ready for a chapter, skip around. Something else I've done is write an entire story arc for one character (or set of characters, in my case) in order, even though they are separated by chapters for other characters. Works very well with complex stories.

Thanks for stopping by.




Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Worst writing advice. Ever: “Write what you know”

People with good intentions, even authors, can be heard here and there telling aspiring writers (more on this later) "Be sure to write what you know." Writing about what I know would be horribly boring: trust me, I work in IT. What else do I "know?" Well, let's see, I know baseball, chess, and few other odds and ends. Maybe I even know a lot about things. The problem is, I don't want to write about those. I want to write about World War II. 

"Ah ha," say the write-what-you-know people. "That's what you know!" 

Yeah, okay, you got me . . . not really. I love World War II history. I have a passion for knowledge on that era of human history and am constantly learning about it (see Passion below).

"You should still write what you know!"

Uh . . . really? No. How about “learn what you write?”

Here’s why I think write what you know is the worst advice.

1 - Imagination

Dreaming stuff up is what writers do. You know how you role play, maybe when you're taking something back to the store for a return and you play this little movie in your head about how it will go? I say this then they say that, etc.? Welcome to my world. That's how I write. I spin up a little movie and I watch it and write what I see. I'll grant you it's more complicated than that, but that's the basis for my work. Sometimes when I'm writing a scene, I don't quite know exactly what will happen, so I rely on that movie. I'm often the first reader to be surprised by an event in my own books.

If it weren't for writers' imaginations we wouldn't have stories that take place in space, or the future, or in a country different from our own. Let’s use an example: the late Tom Clancy. He single-handedly created the techno-thriller, although I’m pretty sure he wasn’t calling it that when he was writing it, he was just telling a story he’d like to read. By the way, when he sold The Hunt for Red October, he was still working as an insurance agent. So how did he “know” all that technical stuff? See Research below.

2 - Passion

As I said above, I have that exact thing for WWII history. Other people like aliens, vampires, spies, or maybe a vampire spy  (hmm . . .) , the list goes on. Write what you're passionate about. If you love it, it will come across in your writing and your readers will pick up on it.

3 - Research

Some authors, very successful ones I might add, talk about going to the place they are using as a setting to get a feel for the people and the locale. Paris does not feel like New York or London or well, anywhere. This is a great idea if you've got several thousand bucks available to make the trip. Oh wait, you don't either? Okay, then how about oh, I don't know, the internet? For both of my published books and the one I'm writing today, I use Google Earth to "find" locales. I know exactly where certain events take place on a map and have in many cases used the street view (Google maps) to see what it's like to stand right there looking around in all directions. I can describe a place as if I've actually been there because, in a technological way, I have.

Need to know how many rounds per minute a Thompson .45 caliber submachine gun fires. I did. Google. Answer: around 700 / minute, depending on the version of the weapon. By the way, I also learned that the 30-round box magazine could sometimes fall out! So everyone preferred the 20-round mag instead. What's the service ceiling for a P-51 Mustang fighter? Answer: 41,900 feet. Time to find out these answers? 10 seconds for each question. In the olden days, I'd have needed to go to the library and dig into a real book. Time: hours? Although, going back to Tom Clancy, I can imagine him back then sitting at the library, happy and contented as he digs through books and magazines about submarines, helicopters and sonar.

Yes, in a way I write what I know because I looked it up, have seen a documentary, or I've read a book on it. I read at least one book a month on WWII (non-fiction), sometimes four. I watch the History and Military channels all the time. So to be truthful, I'm really learning what I write (about) instead of the other way around.

So there. My take on that statement.

One last thing. I found this Clancy quote after I wrote my blog post above. Nice to find out I’m not alone in my thinking. And yes, I used Google. Google R my friend.

My wife will tell you I'm practically addicted to the History Channel . . . and I read a lot of history.” ~ Tom Clancy, CNN interview on 22 August 2000

Saturday, August 2, 2014

New Sgt. Dunn novel title reveal!

The title of my newest Sgt. Dunn novel is:
 
Brutal Enemy.
 
Planned publication date late this year (2014).

This is the third book in the Sgt. Dunn series and begins right about the time the second novel (Behind German Lines) ends. This book takes Dunn and Saunders on missions to Italy.

I'm 50% done with the first draft as of today (2 August 2014)!

Stay tuned for for more updates.

Thanks for stopping by today.


Warm regards,

Ronn

Saturday, June 7, 2014

D-Day celebration in Normandy - best coverage

This is the best coverage I found on the D-Day celebration in Normandy:


It's a time-stamped blog feed with great photos, so read from the bottom. There are many extra great articles on the right side of the blog.

One item of note is the clip of the RAF Red Arrows.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

D-Day 6 June 1944 - 70th anniversary

Please take a moment to remember the men who died in the invasion of Normandy 70 years ago.

NBC has a show at 7:00 PM CDT about Normandy that will include interviews with men who went ashore that day.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

To all veterans: Please accept our gratitude for your service and sacrifice. Always know we respect you and hold you in the highest regard and esteem.

To the families of veterans: Thank you for your love and support toward your veteran. Your sacrifices are remembered today, too.

To the WWII veterans who went ashore on 6 June 1944: the 70th anniversary of D-Day is coming up. The people of the entire world owe you a deep gratitude that can never be repaid. The best we can do is to try to pay forward your courage, dedication, determination, and sacrifice.




In memory of my mom and my uncles who served:

Olga - U.S. Coast Guard
Amos - U.S. Army, Silver Star
Hugo - U.S. Army, Purple Heart
Norman - U.S. Army 
Lester - U.S. Navy

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

European theater versus the Pacific theater - Battle of Midway

While my books are focused in Europe, I have a keen interest in the Pacific war. As I've mentioned before, I read a lot of WWII non-fiction to deepen my knowledge. Additionally, I record and watch many shows on the Military and History channels. 

One recent show was about the Battle of Midway between Admirals Nimitz and Yamamoto. It gave a particularly good account of the battle. It highlighted the Japanese arrogance including their own operational security failures such as mentioning "Midway" in clear radio transmissions prior to the battle.

In what can only be described as the fog of war, or perhaps merely drawing the wrong conclusions from intelligence, the Japanese made terrible command decisions. Among them were events that led to having fueled and armed aircraft parked on the deck far too long, and the Zero air cover being too low (fighting off the Avenger torpedo bombers). This resulted in allowing the Dauntless dive bombers to arrive at the correct altitude. 

In another show, a Dauntless pilot talked about making the first hit on the aft of a carrier deck: the stress of the near-vertical dive, releasing at the right moment to get the bomb to fall where the zig-zagging carrier would be, and then pulling up out of the dive which took all of his strength. 

The final outcome was four carrier losses for the Japanese. This turned out to be the fatal blow for them because they never recovered their naval strength again. The Battle of Midway was when momentum shifted in the Pacific. From that time on, the United States began to win over and over again. This is not to say it was a forgone conclusion, that would be insulting to the sailors and marines and soldiers who died after June 7th.

This Memorial Day, please take a moment to remember those before us who gave everything. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Why write about WWII? - Part 3

In a previous post I mentioned reading Up Periscope by Robb White, my first war story. Other things that I loved were the TV shows Combat! and 12 O'clock High. Occasionally, on Saturday morning, one of the Kansas City stations showed WWII movies, not all of them with John Wayne, but many were. The land battles, especially those with tanks, were exhilarating, the submarine movies tense, the dogfights incredible. I was always awed by the credits scrolling by at the end thanking the the Department of the Navy, or the US. Army, etc. Wow! They approved this movie! Finally, let's not forget the Rat Patrol!

On top of all that, there were two fabulous comic books about WWII: Sgt. Rock and Sgt. Fury. A few blocks from my house was a used comic book and record shop. Most of my meager weekly allowance was spent there, handed over with glee to the small, dark-haired man behind the counter. If I had to choose between a comic book or a Coke, the comic book won.

We're all products of our past. So is my writing. My fascination with WWII had its genesis as shown above. As I grew older, the fascination didn't abate, I just changed sources. In high school and college I studied some history and military history. In 1977, at age 25, I first read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer. I own the 1960 version, not the abridged version. I have subsequently read it twice more, all 1,242 pages of a view into utter evil. This is a must-read for anyone wanting to learn more about WWII.

It's my goal to provide my readers with several things in each book:


  • a fast-paced book with lots of battle action.
  • characters you can love (and care what happens to them) and others you can hate and want them to get their just rewards.
  • tidbits of facts interwoven within the story.
From the feedback I receive by way of reader emails and reviews, I'm on target.

I'm working on the third Sgt. Dunn novel, which is untitled, but to which I refer as sd3. I didn't set out to recreate Sgt. Rock and Sgt. Fury, and until yesterday, hadn't thought about them much at all, and not during the writing of the books. Sgt. Dunn is clearly defined in my head and on paper, and while I owe part of my WWII fascination to Sgts. Rock and Fury, Sgt. Dunn is his own man. 

Thanks for stopping by today.

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would to love to hear from you.

Monday, January 27, 2014

D-Day, June 6, 1944; The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose

D-Day, June 6, 1944; The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose.

I finished reading Ambrose's book on D-Day recently. It's a 600 page account of the lead up to and then the day itself as seen from the perspective of men on the different beaches as well as the airborne units who landed inland to take out specific targets. 

My impression of the men who participated in the invasion is one of utter awe. There are so many stories of bravery and determination. Doing the impossible seemed to be the order of the day and was the norm not the exception. 

Ambrose's storytelling is compelling, as if the topic itself wasn't enough, and his easy style makes the book a terrific read. He doesn't pull any punches and criticizes certain military leaders whenever their decisions or lack of them nearly ruined various operations. On the other hand, earned praise is given, too.

Do yourself a favor and either buy this book or borrow it from the library. While I borrowed it from the library, I'll have to order my own copy to have as a reference.

Now I'm reading A Man Called Intrepid by William Stevenson. The subtitle is: The Incredible WWII Narrative of the Hero Whose Spy Network and Secret Diplomacy Changed the Course of History. The book's person of focus is William Stephenson (what are the odds a man would write a book about another man with a similar name?).

Although I write action thrillers and have no plans for a spy thriller, the insider's view of the intelligence world is fascinating. And I do have a British spy character who appears in the Sgt. Dunn novels, just saying. On page 57 of 497. . . 

Thanks for stopping by.

Ronn

Real-time Earth and Moon phase