Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

From my family and I to you and yours, a Very Happy New Year!

May your joys be plentiful.


Ronn

Sunday, December 25, 2016

My photos of the week

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.




Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor

"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.

http://www.clickondetroit.com/live/live-stream-pearl-harbor-75th-commemoration

Watch NBC live stream




Friday, November 11, 2016

Thank you, Veterans!

Today is Veterans Day. Please take a moment to reflect on what these men and women have done, and continue to do, for us.

Veterans: Thank you!




Saturday, October 1, 2016

Rangers Betrayed almost ready!

Almost ready to publish Rangers Betrayed. A couple of things to proof tomorrow, and then it'll be ready.



Friday, September 30, 2016

Rangers Betrayed final edit done!

Just finished an editing frenzy and knocked out the last edit in two days! Now for the final clean up and prep for publication. Hoping for Saturday or Sunday, 10/1 or 10/2.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sgt. Dunn Novel #6 title and cover reveal!

Hello Sgt. Dunn Readers!

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 support.

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 a plan.

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 missions.

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 Germany.

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 after another.

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.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sgt. Dunn hasn't done this to dogs

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


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

To plot or not to plot . . .

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.



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sgt. Dunn #4, Saving Paris, on sale 7/22 - 7/29 for only 99 cents!

Happy summer reading.


The fourth novel in the Sgt. Dunn series, Saving Paris, is on sale for only 99 cents beginning 7/22 through 7/29.


Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July! Some thoughts on the Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)

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.




Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Battle of the Bulge - Movie (1965)

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. 





Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Things you never expect to see at a garage sale

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.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Wanna see a Thompson .45 demo? Sure you do!

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Happy 241st Birthday, U.S. Army!

Say "Happy Birthday!" to the United States Army. Turned 241 today. 

Thank you to all soldiers for your dedication and sacrifices for our nation!

14 June 2016 - Flag Day

Today is Flag Day. Please consider flying a flag today to celebrate the flag and its history.


Monday, June 6, 2016

6 June, D-Day

Today is the 72nd anniversary of D-Day. 


Please take a moment to remember the men who died that day and also those who went on to successfully start the rescue of Europe from the Nazis.



Sunday, June 5, 2016

D-Day is tomorrow, 6 June

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.

The American Heroes Channel (AHC) is showing the programs below on the evening of D-Day, 6 June. Check your local schedule for times.

  • Storming Normandy (Parts I & 2)
  • Ike: Countdown to Normandy.

Here are some links to websites with great information about D-Day:




Hope you have a chance to watch some or all of these.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Memorial Day!

Wishing all veterans and active duty men and women, and their supportive families, a very Happy Memorial Day. 

Thank you for your service and sacrifices.

Warm regards,

Ronn

Monday, May 16, 2016

Indie publishing ain't for sleepyheads

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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sgt. Dunn #6 work started

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.

Sgt. Dunn novel #5, Capture, available on Amazon!


Good morning!

The Kindle version of Capture is now available on Amazon! It went live sometime in the middle of the night. Here's the link:



Monday, May 9, 2016

Sgt. Dunn novel #5, Capture published - available within 12 hours.

I just clicked the publish button on Kindle!

The fifth Sgt. Dunn novel, CaptureKindle 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.

Sgt. Dunn #5 Cover reveal

I'm pleased to reveal the cover to the newest Sgt. Dunn novel, Capture. I plan to release the book later today or tomorrow (5/10).




Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sgt. Dunn #5 final edit done!

Sgt. Dunn #5, Capture.

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.

Sgt. Dunn #5 almost there!

Only 24 pages of the final edit to go!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Only one more edit to go on Sgt. Dunn #5!

I'm working on the last edit! I should finish it some time next week, and then will be working on getting the book, Capture, released ASAP.

Stay tuned.

Ronn

Monday, April 25, 2016

Making progress on Sgt. Dunn #5, Capture

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.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sgt. Dunn novel #5 title reveal!

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).

Thanks for stopping by.



Friday, January 15, 2016

I love Chicago architecture!

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


Facing Wacker from across the Chicago River


Looking straight up on Wacker Drive


The Wrigley Building - yes, the clock works


The Merchandise Mart






Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Handling WWII weapons

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-1 Garand
  • Mauser 98
  • Luger
  • 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.

Real-time Earth and Moon phase