“The Wrath of a Righteous Man” available today!

BTHOM3 Front Cover

The Wrath of a Righteous Man

By the Hands of Men, Book Three

The epic saga continues:  After escaping enslavement in Russia, Charlotte Braninov fights to build a new life in London while the shadow of modern fanaticism looms over Europe.  Robert Fitzgerald faithfully serves the Crown in Africa until honor compels him to risk everything to overcome an ancient evil, only to discover that the greatest war rages within himself.

Available in ebook and paperback at Amazon

 Kindle version of Book One, The Old World, free until Sunday, May 29.

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Book Blitz Giveaway

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Book giveaway over at TomeTender, a festive book blog that has a lot of love for both The Old World and Into the Flames and who then had a lot of fun with me while putting it together.  Check it out!

 

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Nice review for “The Old World”

By  book blogger “Mrs. C.” This is for By the Hands of Men, Book One, “The Old World.”

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My Thoughts

About the time I discovered my grandfather’s role in WWI, I received a request from this author to review this beautiful novel set during The Great War.  Author Roy Griffis has the rare talent of writing vividly descriptive narrative which places the reader inside the scene as a nonparticipating character.  His impeccable research has allowed this novel to be compared to Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms.

This novel begins on the battlefield during the Christmas Day truce, and takes off like a bullet thereafter.  Charlotte, a nurse, physically cares for Robert, an officer, man of mystery, and eventually emotionally cares for him.  Charlotte longs for him, and he her, the only bright spot in their war.  Eventually, they part, but not their hearts.  Even in deepest despair, Robert remembers the giver of a cross he wears around his neck.

I appreciate the author sharing the graphic gore of this war without the vulgarity.  If you are a romantic, lover of history, and appreciate great writing which could be described as classic, you will enjoy this excellent work.  I have the sequel to The Old World at my side, ready to open as soon as I complete this review.  I also look forward to the third book in this series to be published this year.

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So…

I wrote the first page of By the Hands of Men, Book Four.

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Nice review for “Into the Flames”

Roy M. Griffis’ By the Hands of Men

 

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I’ve complained a bit lately (“lately,” you say?) about the various horse-puckey mechanisms that encourage Americans to ignore all but the most formulaic and famous of our national fiction. But part of this is perhaps the fault of writer-reviewers; even if we produce novels ourselves, we both avoid and screw up fiction reviews, because they are hard (and also not conducive to clickbait, you barnyard Internet animals).

The more enthused a reviewer is about a piece of fiction, ya see, the less we want to spoil its surprises—be they plot twists, turns of phrase, or a sweet new massage of a time-honored theme. We know the writer worked hard to come up with that left turn, dammit. Thus we overcompensate, giving the reader only the vaguest idea of why he would profit from the story, and the writer’s hard work is all for nought.

So I’m painfully aware of the need to strike a balance with Roy M. Griffis’s By the Hands of Men trilogy, which is the most touching as well as the most enjoyable historical fiction I’ve read in quite some time—though there were some technical flaws which I hope that I, as the second volume’s copyeditor (there’s my full disclosure for you), was able to resolve.

The first book, The Old World, was released to very little fanfare (unless you count me); the second, Into the Flames, came out on December 10, 2015—to what I hope will be a response more commensurate with its merit.

Read more here:

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“Into the Flames” ignites December 10

Very grateful and pleased to have Into the Flames, Volume Two of the By The Hands of Men series, finally released.

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Early reviews are enthusiastic.

Book Three, The Wrath of a Righteous Man, will be released in May, 2016.

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Coming Soon

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Covering Thoughts

The cover of Into the Flames, Book Two of my By the Hands of Men series is, like the first book, designed and executed by the ridiculously talented Kia Heavey.  No, I’m not exaggerating about her talents.  She plays the bagpipes, she’s a wicked graphics artist, and she’s a hell of a writer (I highly recommend her YA novel Underlake).

Kia was the one who recommended looking for an image to represent Robert Fitzgerald.  In her opinion, having a central image to tie the cover together would make it more effective.  I have to admit, I was hesitant…finding the photo of Nurse Florence Ethel Spalding, a strikingly beautiful woman (who actually worked in a field hospital at Gallopoli in WWI) was such a stroke of luck, I thought it would be a fool’s errand to even try to repeat the process.  I was forgetting, however, that coincidence and luck are God’s way of remaining anonymous.

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The day job had just recently become “the graveyard shift,” which meant my “days” off, in fact, left me awake in the middle of the night with only the cats for company.  So I began to wander through Google images looking for “World War One Veterans.”  That was a melancholy search, as it tended to either show historical photos of the devastation of the Great War or the aftermath.  I kept at it, though, and was led to “Discovering Anzacs,” a project of the National Archives of Australia.

It’s a wonderful site:  over a 1000 images, most of them cotemporary photos of the young men (and some women) who went off to war.  Even better (and more worthy of praise), in many cases you can read the digitized service record of the soldier.  For any person interested in history, that alone would make it worth trip.

I, however, was just looking for a photograp.  A few of the posed, studio photos (the kind typically taken in America while the young recruit is still in boot camp) caught my eye, but they weren’t quite it.  Most of the young men were putting on brave, jaunty faces.  Having presumably read By the Hands of Men, you know that jaunty is not an attitude that the young lieutenant assumes very often.

But there was another type of image, as well, one that struck me very powerfully.  Relatives of these veterans had also submitted photos of their graves.  And most of them, from the simplest flat marker on the ground to the most ornate mini-mausoleum, almost every one of them included the notation “…buried with his wife.”

Maybe it was the lateness of the hour, working alone in my attic office in the early fall chill, but I found those photos of marble and cement and brass slabs incredibly moving.  After surviving the crucible of the Great War, these men had returned to pick up their lives, get married, create families.  And at the end of their life, they would not be parted from those they loved.  I had to stop my research for a while.

There were hours of the night yet to fill, so after a time I returned to the Internet, scrolling through page upon page of the “Discovering Anzacs” website.

And then, after viewing more than 900 images, there he was.  Alexander Chalmers.  A handsome young man, to be sure, but a thoughtful one.  He wasn’t grinning at the camera.  It’s my guess this photo was taken after he had seen some service, and maybe he realized that war and what it required of you was nothing to take lightly.  It was the kind of expression I imagined would rest on the face of a man who’s beheld what Robert Fitzgerald has seen and the journey he’s undergone.

Alexander Chalmers

Like Lt. Fitzgerald, Chalmers saw action from 1914 – 1917.  Alex was part of the 3rd Light Horse Infantry before he was wounded and removed from active warfare, according to his service records.  It gave me a chill when I found that he and my fictional Robert served the same terms of service and were both wounded in the same year.

With some more research, I was even able to locate Mr. Chalmer’s gravesite, but, alas, almost nothing about his life after the service, except for the fact he married a woman named Maud, who died in 1964.  Alex Chalmers followed her in death almost exactly five years later.

They are, of course, buried side by side.

 

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Let’s talk about some real magic

Here I am, talking about writing, the magic and power of stories, and the world of my novel, “The Big Bang.”

As you know, the book is available in paperback at Amazon,Barnes & Noble, and other brick n’ mortar sites.  You can get the ebook at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and over 20 other sites, and it’s an audio book from Audible!  Something about that last part is just pretty damn cool.

 

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For my animal loving friends

Another worthy cause to consider supporting:  an organization dedicated to protecting the greater and lesser apes of Africa from being decimated as foodstocks for loggers.

http://bushmeat.net/about.html

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