While watching the KC Chiefs on NBC tonight, they had a shot of KC's Union Station and downtown KC from Liberty Memorial. I took these shots right off the TV using my almost 9 year old Canon Rebel XSi. I used the auto setting "TV" which uses shutter speed 1/30, F4.5, and I set the ISO at 200. The view is looking north. The distance from the foreground flagpole to the Union Station is about 300 yards.
"Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." ~ President Franklin D. Roosevelt, addressing Congress. Please take a moment sometime today to remember those who died that terrible day, men, women, and children.
You can watch today's event's here. It looks like the first coverage begins at about 11:45 am CST. There's a countdown clock on this link.
I’m pleased to announce the
upcoming release of the sixth Sgt. Dunn novel, Rangers Betrayed.
I expect to publish very soon, probably this weekend, October 1st or 2nd.
Thank you so much for your
Here's the awesome cover my my good friend David M. Jones (Jonesy) created and below is the book description.
Rangers Betrayed Description
U.S. Army Ranger Sergeant Tom Dunn’s newest squad member has a dark secret. And
Nazi Germany’s V2 rockets are
streaking down on London, indiscriminately killing civilians. The Allies are
desperate to find out how the weapons work. Dunn and his British counterpart,
Commando Sergeant Malcolm Saunders, are assigned separate, but related
Albert Speer, the Nazi
Minister of Armaments, is transporting ten completed V2 rocket engines to
another manufacturing facility for installation into the deadly rockets. Thanks
to Bletchley Park’s Ultra intelligence, the Allies know all about it. Dunn and
his squad earn the assignment to intercept the rocket engines in western
Meanwhile, Saunders and his
men parachute into Poland, south of Warsaw, to retrieve a captured V2 rocket
gyroscope as well as schematics for the rocket obtained by the Polish
Resistance. His wedding day is a week away and he promised Sadie he’ll be there
on time, but something goes wrong. Separated from his squad, he scrambles to
reunite with his men in time to catch the only way home, but meets one obstacle
From their first moment in
Germany, as Dunn’s men execute their mission, things go inexplicably wrong. Betrayed
by one of his own, Dunn must rely on his quick thinking to get his men out of
an impossible situation so they can complete their mission and capture the
extremely valuable Nazi V2 rocket engines.
In the sixth book of the
Sgt. Dunn series, Munsterman continues to masterfully blend history with
action-packed plots in another of his fast-paced WWII Action Thrillers.
I recently ran across this little story and video. The original title of the article is misleading, so don't worry, no dogs were harmed. I can't tell if the dogs are wagging their tails or if the tail is just acting like a rudder against the air. Parachuting Dogs
I admit it. I'm a plotter, not to be confused with a plodder, although I might fall under that heading (nothing to do with writing, though). I work from a plot when writing my books. In the writing world you're either a pantser (as in, seat of the pants) or a plotter. Some people on both sides of the question argue for their method and against the other (perhaps a bit like politics). I don't presume to speak for other writers, just myself. When I start plotting, meaning typing stuff into my Excel spreadsheet, that's not the first time I've been thinking about the book. I have already worked on it mentally starting as soon as I get the BIG idea for the book. I know the important things that are going to happen before I open Excel. I typically already know the exact ending. Plotting is like preparing to take a road trip. You mark out the main roads you plan to take, perhaps even noting which locations you'll stop for pop or coffee and bathroom breaks, and where you'll spend the night. Writing is like actually getting in the car with your spouse, partner, or best friend, and hitting the road. You know what needs to happen in a particular chapter because you made a small note of it, but the details are not laid out (for me anyway). That's where the creative juices take over and you write the chapter. You accomplish the goal of that chapter, but then something you hadn't planned on happened! That's when it gets exciting. It happened to me today in my newest book, Sgt. Dunn #6. A British character named Steve Barltrop (after one of my good friends and a FIRST READER) was supposed to do one thing in chapter 22. Here's the plot point from my Excel spreadsheet: Barltrop waiting for C-47 to return for pickup, rising concern over missing Saunders. As I started writing the chapter, something unexpected happened that raised the stakes for Barltrop and the men with him. It occurred to me only in the midst of writing, not plotting.This is the equivalent to your spouse, partner or best friend on the road trip nudging you in the arm and saying, "Ooh, look over there. Let's go take a look!" I also realized that the chapter was too early and I moved it from number 22 to 35. If you are a plotter, this probably happens to you, too. I love it when it does because I know if I'm surprised, my readers will be, too. Thanks for stopping by.
Happy 4th of July! The Revolutionary War, fought between 1775 and 1783, created our new country at a very high price in terms of casualties. The total number of American deaths in that war for freedom from the British was about 25,000, 8,000 in combat and the rest from other causes including disease. The total number of deaths in the Civil War was about 750,000 and WWII was about 405,000. At first glance, it appears that the Revolutionary War was inexpensive in human terms by comparison. However, when one takes the totals as a percentage of the population, the number is staggering; it is second only to the bloody Civil War. War Deaths % of Population at the time Civil War 750,00 2.385% (1860) Rev 25,000 0.899% (1780) WWII 405,000 0.307% (1940) I'm grateful to be an American and thankful for those who've come before us to create this great country.
I watched the Battle of the Bulge movie recently (released in 1965). I don't recall the last time I watched it, but it must have been before I started writing the Sgt. Dunn novels in 2004. The reason I point this out is that the writing of the novels has deeply improved my knowledge of WWII, partly due to a natural inclination toward WWII history and partly due to the need for accurate details which comes only from research and extensive reading. As a result, what I had previously thought was a pretty good war movie became barely watchable. The reason? So many errors permeated the movie it was like watching a train wreck, waiting to see what mistake would come next. I won't attempt to list the errors; you can Google for them and find a huge list someone took the time to compile. I'll just mention the big one that drove me crazy: the terrain. As you know, the battle took place largely in the Ardennes Forest, but the movie seemed to be in a mountainous arid location! In reality, the Germans had a terrible time finding roads to move their armor. The movie tank battles were taking place over great open distances rather than in the tight confines of the forest. If you want to see what the battle was really like, I think you're better off finding something on the History or Military History channels.
So we recently had a garage sale. Some stuff was out on the sloped driveway and other things inside the garage. One item was an old five-wheeled desk chair, which we priced at $3.00.
A man and his wife came by and he was looking for tools, which we didn't have. On the way out, he spotted the chair and promptly sat down. He said something about having it for his weekly poker game because it was more comfortable than the folding chairs. He offered a buck and we said, sure. As he started to leave, he said something about getting it to the van and thank you, etc. I said, "Or you could ride it down to the van." The look he gave me was worth the $2 we gave up. He grinned, sat down and rolled downhill in the chair, much to the displeasure of his wife, who looked as if this was her normal day life with him.
My main character, Sgt. Tom Dunn, and his men typically use the Thompson .45 submachine gun. I stumbled across a great video of some guys firing a Thompson with single shots, short bursts, and full automatic. Nothing sounds like this weapon on full auto. Hope you enjoy it. Thompson .45 Demo
A good friend (one of my FIRST READERS) sent me an email yesterday to tell me about four Public Television shows coming on about D-Day this afternoon, 5 June. Here they are. Check your local PBS schedule for day and times.
I published my fifth Sgt. Dunn novel, Capture, last Monday to Kindle. I clicked the "Publish" button about 4:45 p.m. CDT. So what happens after that? Amazon states that the book will go live some time within 12 hours in the U.S., longer elsewhere.
Naturally, I clicked the refresh button about every half hour looking for "LIVE" until bed time, when I gave up and went to sleep. I woke up without the alarm at 5:00 a.m. Believe me, this is not my usual time! I grabbed my laptop and refreshed the page. Yay! It's LIVE. So I send out emails to my Advance Publication list (newsletter) by 5:20 a.m.
Indie, or self, publishing is hard work. The author is responsible for everything from the editing to getting the cover designed, marketing, and all the other small details that publishing a book entails. If you don't do it, or have someone on your team who does it for you, it will not get done. I worked on preparing the file for CreateSpace, which we use to publish the paperback. You upload the file and can build your front and back cover using their tool. After the automated system checks your book, you can use a digital proof tool to view your book. It's really nice and it looks like you are flipping paper pages as you go. Everything was looking good until I got to a point half way through. One sentence toward the bottom of the page looked weird. In the paperback I use the Justified setting for the nice straight edges on both sides of the text. Here's what the sentence looked like, including the one previous. ‘don’t we have any armor to take care of them?’ ” Note the double quote on the second line. I use the convention of adding a space between a single and double quote at the end of a sentence for reading clarity. It should have been like this: ‘don’t we have any armor to take care of them?’ ” However, the Justify setting couldn't make room for that other space and pushed the double quote down a line. To fix it, I added a space in front of "them." This forced "them?' " to the next line and all is good. ‘don’t we have any armor to take care of them?’ ” My point? I could have missed it, but didn't. So make sure you're really focused on what you're doing. No one else will find until a reader sees it. Many thanks to my readers for supporting and reading the Sgt. Dunn novels. I'm working on number 6 now. Thanks for stopping by.
I published Sgt. Dunn # 5, Capture, yesterday, May 9th. Today, I'm starting on the plot for #6. I already know what Saunders' bunch will be doing, and have an idea for Dunn and his squad. Hope to start writing #6 in a few days.
Cover by David M. Jones and Nathalie Beloeil-Jones.
The fifth Sgt. Dunn novel, Capture, Kindle version
should be available within 12 hours of 4:45 CDT (5/9/16),so I hope to see it on
Amazon sometime later today, 5/9/16, or tomorrow, 5/10/16.
Amazon sites outside the U.S. could take 48 to 72 hours. Just picture me
sitting on the Amazon page refreshing every five minutes and you'll understand
what it's like on my side! No really . . .
While I don’t have the link to the new book yet, as soon as it
hits the Amazon store, you’ll be able to find it on my Amazon Author’s Page.
I'll post the link as soon as it's available.
Finished the final edit today. Now for the final steps for publishing. I will be doing a cover reveal (and book description) on Monday, 5/9. Sign up for my newsletter to be the first to see it! Releasing the book ASAP.
Finished edit #6 today. A bit of a bugger this time round. I also have received and processed all of my FIRST READERS' comments as well as my wife's edit, which usually has a million red marks. Okay, maybe not quite, but it seems like it. Only two more edits to go. Looking at early May for release date. We are taking a few days off to go see our beloved Royals play Monday night against the Nationals. It sucks to have to drive five hours to get to a game, but it'll be worth it to see Kauffman Stadium and the 2015 World Series Champion flag in person. Thanks for stopping by.
I'm pleased to announce the title to the newest Sgt. Dunn novel (#5)! I plan to release the new book in early May. Stay tuned! Capture Here's a very brief description: The story picks up ten days after Saving Paris (book 4). We find Dunn and his men still attached to General George S. Patton's Third Army and moving east across France, pursuing the retreating German Wehrmacht. Near the Moselle River, Dunn is presented with unusual situation and, as always, finds a creative way to solve the problem. Meanwhile, Sgt. Saunders and his men, accompanied by a British communications expert, travel to Spa, Belgium where they hope to create havoc at a Wehrmacht radio center. In the upper left of my blog, you can track where I am in the process of editing and pre-publication. As of today, I'm working on edit #4 (of 8).
From 2004 to 2007 I worked in Chicago, in the Loop. One Sunday afternoon in the April, 2005, I took my camera and wandered around. Here are some of my favorite pictures. The Sweet Spot (my name for it, official name: The Batcolumn). This enormous bat (101 feet) is at 600 W. Madison. I got the sun inside the bat, but missed the sweet spot by a bit, but maybe it's good for a sac fly.
Light and Dark on Wacker
Left to right: Water works, old Quaker Oats Tower and what I call the Jetson's Building
This past Saturday, I went to a local gun show with a good friend. It was dirt cold that morning, and the venue was the auto race track on the southwest side of the city. The paved parking lot was full by the time we arrived a little after ten am, so we had to drive over the ice-covered "grass," which had been previously driven on when it was wet and thawed, and the ruts were like something from the horse and buggy days. This was only my second gun show ever; I don't own any weapons, but find the show a great place to see and touch WWII weapons. It took a couple of hours to walk up and down the many aisles filled with sellers' tables. Here's the list of weapons I got to pick up and examine:
Thompson .45 caliber submachinegun
British Sten submachinegun
M-14 (not WWII, but still cool)
We ran across a Mauser 98 with a scope (like the weapon Madeline uses in the book Saving Paris). The seller thought it was produced at the end of the war and never issued. The price tag was $10,000! I did not ask to pick that one up!
The only thing I bought for myself was a dummy .50 caliber round. In the pics below you can see just how huge this round is. Imagine 700 of these hitting your aircraft in one minute. The .30 caliber was fired by the honor guard at my Uncle Amos's funeral a few years ago.
I looked for a 1911 Colt .45, but didn't find one. There were lots of .45s, but they were all new(er). Maybe next year.