Sunday, 26 July 2015

Get my ebooks for half off!

Over at Smashwords I'm participating in their great summer/winter sale. Whether you're sweltering in the summer of the Northern Hemisphere, or chilling out somewhere south of the Equator, it's always a good time to read an ebook. Through July 31, all my ebooks at Smashwords are 50% off. You can see an entire list on my Smashwords page.

The books include my Trench Raiders World War One action series, each now $1.50; older works such as the short story collection The Night the Nazis came to Dinner and the historical fantasy The Quintessence of Absence, both $1.50; and my Civil War horror novels A Fine Likeness and The River of Desperation.

Use the coupon code SSW50 at checkout to save 50%!

Friday, 24 July 2015

Military History Photo Friday: WWI Indian troops cooking on the Western Front

This is an interesting image of World War One you don't generally see--some Indian cavalry troopers cooking a meal. It was taken in Estrée Blanche, France, on 25 July 1915 and is part of a massive collection of images the British Library has uploaded onto flickr. The collection, numbering more than a million public domain images that are totally free to reuse, spans every subject imaginable from old maps to children's books. It's an amazing resource for researchers, indie authors, and pretty much everyone else.

As I mentioned in an earlier post about Indian troops in World War One, the British colony contributed some 1.5 million men to the war effort. One wonders if the guys in this shot brought along some curry powder from home or if they were stuck eating the bland fare everyone else had to deal with!

You can get a large-format copy of this image here.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Travel Tuesday: Flying around Tenerife in the Canary Islands

Wait, who's that in the pilot's seat? Yep, yours truly is flying a plane! More specifically I'm flying a Piper Cherokee Archer II, a small four-seater, around Tenerife.

One of my wife's colleagues, an astronomer named Carlos, is a licensed pilot and loves to fly small planes. Carlos is also a licensed instructor and can fly the big passenger jets too. He's a member of the Real Aeroclub de Tenerife (Royal Flying Club of Tenerife) and offered to take us around the island. When he first said I'd be flying the plane, I made polite laughter at what I thought was a predictable joke. Once we were in the air, however, he handed over the controls to me! I flew for about 45 minutes, making ascents, descents, and simple turns.

Jump the cut for more pics!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Military History Photo Friday: WWI German Trench in Cameroon

While the iconic image of World War One is the trench, the trenches we usually see were on the Western Front, that jagged line from the North Sea to the Swiss border. The bulk of the fighting and dying for Britain, France, and Germany was done there, and those years have been seared into the national memory. My own Trench Raiders series takes place on the Western Front. There were other fronts, however, including those in the Alps, Eastern Europe, Turkey, the Near East, and Africa.

This shot shows a German trench in Cameroon sometime between 1914 and 1916. The Germans had a number of colonies in Africa and their colonial forces fought the colonial forces of Belgium, France, and Britain. The majority of soldiers were local recruits fighting in colonial regiments. Civilians, too paid the price.

In a fascinating article on the BBC about the East Africa Campaign, the author tells how more than one million died just in that one region of the continent. No one is clear just how many died in Africa as a whole since the colonial rulers didn't bother counting.

Photo courtesy Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft (DKG) - Koloniales Bildarchiv, Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Travel Tuesday: Exploring the Canary Islands

This is a Dragon tree, a native species to the Canaries.
 As I mentioned last week, I'm in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. My wife is doing some work with the Gran Telescopio Canarias, one of the best ground-based telescopes in the world. she also works with the Hubble Space Telescope. too bad we couldn't get the funding to go into orbit!

While she's doing smart stuff and the kid is in day camp atop a nearby mountain, I'm here in La Laguna writing. Working vacations are the only kind of vacations writers get. The change of venue has done me good, because Madrid is stifling this time of year. Not that Tenerife is much cooler. Being off the coast of Western Sahara it's part of Africa even if it is owned by Spain and filled with Spanish Colonial architecture.
Seventeenth-century private home, now a museum.
Jump the cut for more photos!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Travel Tuesday: Cheesy Shot of the Canary Islands

Hello from Tenerife in the Canary Islands! I'm here for the next two weeks while my wife works at the local astronomy institute. I'll be doing some writing and exploring. The Canary Islands are volcanic, and Tenerife is basically one big extinct volcano. Should be some good hiking!

The islands are Spain's most distant possession, being off the coast of Western Sahara. It has a sort of Moroccan feel to it even though the architecture is Spanish Colonial or tastelessly modern. The local cuisine uses a lot of different sauces and they absolutely love garlic. This dish is baked cheese, a bit like the Greek saganaki except they don't bring it flaming to your table. The sauces are dill, coriander, and blueberry. They were all good, although the blueberry didn't work with the cheese because it masked the flavor too much. There are also several local wines that we'll be sampling. Look for more pictures soon!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Military History Photo Friday: An Assyrian Chariot from the National Museum of Iraq

This bas-relief shows an Assyrian chariot, c. 9th century BC. The king stands in all his splendor, relaxing under a parasol as he runs over an enemy. His soldiers have gathered a pile of heads for his inspection. Yeah, the Middle East has been a rough place for quite some time now.

If we are to judge from Assyrian art, the chariot was an important arm of their powerful war machine. Chariots could move quickly, with a driver steering while an archer fired from the back. The chariots could be used to break up enemy formations before the Assyrian infantry moved in, as well as for scouting missions and running down fleeing soldiers. The Assyrians had one of the most organized and technologically advanced armies of the time, with elaborate siege machines, a disciplined and professional force, and quality weapons. It's no wonder they were both feared and hated.

I took this shot in the National Museum of Iraq when I was in Baghdad in 2012. Yeah, I'm still nattering on about that trip. I haven't gotten to travel much in the past year so I miss being on the road! Hopefully 2016 will be a better travel year. I've also blogged about the museum for Black Gate, with plenty more photos.
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.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.