Friday, 21 November 2014

Military History Photo Friday: Filipino Weapons and Armor of the Nineteenth Century

The Museo Naval in Madrid has a fine collection of artifacts from Spain's Golden Age of Sail. One of hte more unusual collections is this set of Filipino weapons and armor. The Philippines were a Spanish colony for many years, and the Filipino people fought against the Spanish for their independence. The Americans inherited this war when they took the Philippines from Spain in the Spanish-American war of 1898.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

An excellent World War Two novel

Last month I had the pleasure to be a beta reader for Operation Dervish, Book 4 of Jack Badelaire's series of action novels on World War Two Commandos. I've readn and nejoyed all of his novels, and this series keeps getting better. If you like good military fiction, grab this. There's a blurb below:

North Africa, November 1941. Days before the British launch Operation Crusader, Corporal Lynch and the other Commandos are given the task of accompanying a makeshift strike force of British tanks and armoured cars deep into the Libyan Desert. Their mission: carry out a series of lightning-fast raids against Axis bases, creating a diversion to confuse the enemy commanders in the critical hours before the British Eighth Army pours over the border into Libya. Meanwhile, Afrika Korps Captain Karl Steiner guides a squadron of German panzers into the deep desert in order to provide warning against any British advances. The two forces, German and British, are on a collision course than can only end in blood and flames, littering the desert sands with slaughtered men and shattered tanks.

Operation Dervish is the fourth book in a series of military action - adventure novels written in the spirit of classic war movies and wartime adventure pulp fiction.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Halfway through the NaNo challenge!


I made it to 25,325 words in National Novel Writing Month, halfway through the challenge! Still a long way to go. Having half a book is like having half a house--not too useful and kinda funny looking until you finish it. Actually I'm only about a third done. This feels like a 75,000-80,000 word novel to me.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Old West Photo Friday: Chinese Firefighters of Deadwood


When we think of the Chinese in the Old West, we tend to think of three things--the railroad, laundries, and opium dens. While all of these were indeed a big part of the Chinese-American experience, that's nowhere near the whole story.

Take the Chinese community in Deadwood, for example. This roaring gold rush town in South Dakota grew out of nothing in the 1870s. People came from all over to work the hills, including a large number of Chinese. They worked as miners and also at the more profitable job of "mining the miners." Soon there was a Chinese laundry, grocery store, herbal medicine shop and yes, an opium den. Manual laborers, both Chinese and non-Chinese, took opium to ease the pain of their 15-hour work day and to get a good night's sleep. Generally they were hard at work the next morning.

Soon there was a flourishing Chinatown with its own police officers and fire brigade. You can see them in this photo, which was taken after they had won the great Hub-and-Hub race at Deadwood on July 4th, 1888. If you needed a quick response to your fire, these were the guys to call.

I'm curious about the Chinese medicine shop. I've heard of other Chinese medical practitioners in the Old West but know little about them. Does anyone out there know what kind of medicines they dispensed and if the non-Chinese community went to them too? Did Wild Bill Hickok get acupuncture to limber up his shooting finger? Did herbal cures from Asia work better than patent medicine? Drop me a line if you have some answers!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Trench Raiders at a discounted price

I've just reduced the price of my World War One action novel Trench Raiders to $2.99. This is the lead up to book two in the series, Digging In, coming out next month. Trench Raiders is available from all the Amazons, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and all other major outlets.

In other news, I'm going to be participating in National Novel Writing Month starting November 1. This year's project will be We Had Flags, Book Three of my Toxic World post-apocalyptic series. Should be fun!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Book Review: Girl of Great Price

Girl of Great PriceGirl of Great Price by Milo James Fowler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this novella, Fowler blends hardboiled detective fiction with a futuristic dystopian society and delivers with effective storytelling.
Charlie Madison is your typical down-at-the-heel detective with seedy connections in the underworld and a desperate need for a real life. His associates are the kind of people you'd expect in a gritty 1950s noir film and Fowler sets the mood well. I couldn't help but picture the action in black and white!
The twist is that the story is set in a near future where pollution and lawlessness are the rule of the day and the crime syndicates have all but taken over. Madison's case brings him in contact with several players in this world and this helps flesh out the setting nicely. Given that this is a short work, I can't really get into the plot without giving away spoilers, but it's an intriguing story with a hint of fantasy to add spice to the science fiction.
My only criticism is that I would have liked the story to be longer in order to round out the characters a bit more and wrap up the case more completely. Seeing as this is part of a series, I suppose that will happen in later books.
If detective science fiction is your thing, you'll enjoy this book.


View all my reviews

Friday, 24 October 2014

Military History Photo Friday: Indian Troops in World War One

This week's photo shows Indian troops on the march somewhere in France during World War One. India was still a British colony at the time and contributed 1.5 million men to the war effort. They fought in every theater of the war. The Indian troops weren't the only colonial troops. Every colonial power drew upon their overseas possessions for the war effort. I've written about this more at length, and with some cool photos, over at Black Gate.


Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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