Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway: Whitehall Publishing Books

Gold - Description:

The year is 1850. Rumors of gold in California turn out to be true. In fact, there's more gold than anyone imagined. Thousands of people board ships or travel cross-country by wagon train, leaving their homes behind to head for the mines. 

In New York City, young Marcus Gale, out-of-work bookkeeper, would like to join them, if only to escape from his gambling debts. Too bad he doesn't have money for a ticket--or a square meal, or a bed indoors. He jumps at the chance for a berth as stoker on a sidewheel steamer headed for the gold fields, even though he's not sure what a stoker does. 

Fortunately, Marcus is a fast learner when it comes to shoveling coal and understanding steam engines. He finds it more difficult to understand people, especially the kind willing to risk everything to get to the gold. He wonders about Captain Cutter, who hates steam and lives in a state of paranoia, thinking people are plotting against him. He may be right. And then, there's the beautiful Alouette Thorndyke, the wealthy heiress who Marcus thinks is an angel. Then again, what is she, really--angel or swindler?


My most recently published book is “The Inventor, a tale of old San Francisco.” (I have two more completed tales not yet published.) The Inventor is one of a series of stories that take place in California and Nevada, from 1850 until the early 20th century. My first book in this genre was “Gold, a tale of the California Gold Rush.” That story was about getting to the gold country in the first place. The others are about what happens after you get here. 

I grew up in San Francisco and so have always been fascinated by the wonderful insanity and drama that have forever played themselves out there. The City was home to America’s only Emperor (See “The Imaginary Emperor.”) It has seen its share of ethnic and racial tensions, but they seem to work themselves out somehow. San Francisco was the stage for the nation’s first sit-in, when Mary Ellen Pleasant forced integration of the street cars. There were anti-Chinese riots, but the Chinese stayed, helped create the city, and built the railroad. 

The Inventor takes place in a time that seemed always on the edge of turmoil. The mayor was incompetent and corrupt and in a running feud with the San Francisco Chronicle, which kept pointing his lies. The mayor’s son solved the problem by shooting the Chronicle’s editor dead. He went to the editor’s office and emptied his gun. He was tried and acquitted on grounds of “self defense.” It pays to be the mayor’s son. 

However, the inventor in my book, around whom my story revolves, was inspired by someone who did not actually live in San Francisco. I changed his name and location because I believe he would have felt right at home in these surroundings. You will have to read the book to find out who I mean. 

I think I would have felt at home there myself, in the eighteen hundreds. When I was a child, we lived in old Victorian flats that were drafty and cold, with high ceilings and bay windows that were supposed to catch the sun. Some of these homes still had the old gas lights installed, though they no longer worked. The buildings may have been uncomfortable, but they had mahogany wood work and hard wood floors, as well as the old lathe and plaster walls. They would cost a fortune today. I think if I were to be transported back to 1880 I would find most of the city familiar and recognizable. Fisherman’s wharf was more than a tourist trap, Telegraph Hill really had a telegraph, and there were legendary restaurants. Hey, you could get a meal for a dime! 

The more I discover about history, the more stories I find. Some are real, some are made up, and I discover there is often a thin line between the two. Now and then, someone asks me where I find ideas. I point to any history book at random, and ask, “How can I not have ideas?”
Steve Bartholomew
About the author:
The author was born a long time ago. He spent three years in the US Army where he learned a lot of vital skills, such as how to use a soldering iron and screwdriver, as well as how to make the bed, mop the floor, and wash dishes. He grew up and spent most of his life in San Francisco. After obtaining a useless liberal arts degree, he became a social worker and did more than 20 years in the mean streets of New York City, San Francisco, and rural California. 

He is now devoted to writing books, which he should have been doing in the first place. He has written some science fiction and fantasy, but is now mainly interested in tales of the Old West. In this case, The Old West means California, Nevada, and especially Old San Francisco. 

Steve has currently eight novels in print, with a ninth, “The Inventor,” due for publication by September 1. Two others are completed and in the pipeline.

The Special - Description:

A call from a stranger leads me on a journey I could never have imagined. The caller said he had my uncle’s car. How could this be? My uncle died in WW II when his plane was shot down over the Bay of Biscay off the coast of England. After some questioning I realized I had the opportunity of a lifetime. An opportunity to learn a bit about the uncle I had heard about my entire life, an uncle who died 3 years before I was born, an uncle I had always wanted to know more about. I also was being given the gift of a car that had been built by this uncle’s own hands and the hands of those he had been close to in his final years. The real treasure was the bond I formed with a man and the incredible story he told. The story of my uncle, the building of the car, and the people they both loved.

The Special is a fact based novel; the story of family, love and trust in the face of worldwide catastrophe. In 1941 Billy Pendleton hitch-hiked to California to seek his fortune not knowing what the future held. After encouragement from his new found friend and landlord he is soon building an automobile to set speed records and rubbing elbows with some true legends of motor racing history. Into this heady world walked the woman that would change his life forever. As the car is built romance blooms and the world slips into a war that will touch every person on the planet.

About the author:
J. E. (Jim) Pendleton was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. He has had an interest in automobiles and history for most of his life. He spent several years as an SCCA road racer and a lifetime involved with hotrods. It wasn’t until after he retired from a long career in the telecommunications industry that Jim decided to pursue another of his dreams and write his first book.

His first novel, The Special, was born from his love of family, hotrods and history. These are topics that are sure to be the center of future works. He is currently working on a series of novels where a young China Marine watches regional conflict explode into what becomes World War II. Jim has long considered World War II the single most important historical event of the twentieth century. His father fought in the Pacific and his uncle, Billy Pendleton is the main character in The Special and was lost in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Above and Beyond - Description: 

This is the first in a series of 7 books on the B-17 bomber crews in World War II England. All the “action sequences” are based on the actual experiences of men who flew with the 8th in the war, and were personally interviewed by the author. The story begins:

It was February 1942 when two future B-17 pilots began their training from Primary to Advanced Flight School where they become best friends. Join Captain Jack Harrington (age 22), the pilot, a Nebraska farm boy; Lieutenant Matt Moore (age 21), the copilot who is half Cheyenne Indian; Lieutenant Dale Kennedy (22), the navigator, a high school teacher; Lieutenant Kenny Donnelly (21), the bombardier, the son of a multimillionaire; and gunners that include Sergeant Keith McNeil (24), a career Army man; Sergeant Greg Cerminaro (19), a college student until the war intervened; Sergeant Al Schulze (19), a bottle capper from a Wisconsin brewery; Sergeant Joe Angelino (21), a longshoreman; Sergeant Jim Robinson (20), a truck driver, and Sergeant Tad Furmanski (18), a Polish national who survived the horrors of the Auschwitz death camp, as they move to England and become members of the 324th Squadron of the 91st Bombardment Group (heavy), stationed at United States Army Air Force Station #121. Fly with the rookies through their first mission to bomb German airfields at Romilly-Sur-Seine, France, on December 20, 1942. Listen to their reactions to the shock of combat and relate what it is actually like to fly dangerous daylight precision bombing missions.

About the author:
A native of New York Mills, New York, Cheryl Pula is a retired Reference Librarian. She is a Regents graduate of New York Mills Jr.-Sr. High School, with a concentrate in science and mathematics. Cheryl attended Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, New York, where she received an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts, then went to SUNY Oswego, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in the Russian Language with a minor in German. She was on the Dean’s List at both schools. After substitute teaching in the New York Mills Union Free School District for five years for both foreign language and special education classes, she went back to school and received a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she is a lifetime member of the University of Michigan Alumni Association. Her first library position was as the supervisor of the Lending Department at the Mid-York Library System in Utica, where she performed all the reference work for the system’s 43 member libraries. After almost ten years, she became the Head of the Adult Services Department at the Utica Public Library in Utica, then in 1987, the Reference Librarian at the Dunham Public Library in Whitesboro. Though officially retired in August 2011, she now works part-time at the New York Mills Public Library in New York Mills, NY.

In 1988, she was awarded the New York Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Award. She served on the Board of Trustees of the New York Mills Public Library. Cheryl also teaches for the Mohawk Valley Institute for Learning in Retirement at SUNYIT in Marcy, New York, teaching a variety of historical subjects to retirees who are interested continuing their education. She has taught courses on unsolved historical mysteries; the American Civil War; World War II; The Titanic and several other topics.

Cheryl was a founding member of the New York Mills Historical Society, and served as its first president in the late 1970’s. She is currently the village historian of New York Mills and President of The History Club, which she founded in Whitesboro in 1995. She is the club’s newsletter editor. She is also the founder, current secretary and newsletter editor of the General Daniel Butterfield Civil War Round Table in Whitesboro. She is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary of the Arthur Moran Post #66 in Camden, New York, as well as an honorary member of the Memphis Belle Memorial Association of Memphis, Tennessee. She is known around the central New York area for presenting a number of historical lectures (89 to be exact!) on topics from the Titanic to the first moon landing in July 1969. Cheryl was elected “Historian of the Year” by the Oneida County Historian’s Association in 2006. In 2010, she was listed in Who’s Who In America.

She is an author, having written on Irish immigrants to the Utica area in a book entitled Ethnic Utica, published in 1994 by Utica College. With her brother, she is co-author and co-editor of a book on the Civil War regiments from Oneida County, which was published by the Eugene Nassar Ethnic Studies Department of Utica College in November 2010 entitled, With Courage and Honor: Oneida County’s Role in the Civil War. She is a contributing author, co-editor and served as proofreader for The Polish-American Encyclopedia, published by McFarlane Publishers in January 2011. For her work on the Encyclopedia, she has just been awarded the Polish-American Historical Society’s Distinguished Achievement Award. She is author of a novel, the first in a proposed series about Eighth Air Force bomber crews in World War II England, titled The Children’s Crusade, was published in October 2011 by Whitehall Publishing. At this point, six more have been published: The Ragged Irregulars (April 2012); The Rookie (July 2012); A Wing and a Prayer (January 2013); Maximum Effort (July 2013); The Dogs of War (January 2014) andAbove and Beyond (July 2014). The eighth in the series, Some Gave All is currently in the writing stage.

EXCERPT from Gold by Steve Bartholomew

That March morning in 1850, Marcus Gale wandered down to the docks and stared toward the far horizon, wishing he might sail away. He owed a lot of cash to certain money lenders, and they were looking for him. He needed to get out of New York City, but he had no idea how to do that. Somewhere out there was California, but the cheapest passage by ship started at two hundred dollars, a sum far beyond his means. 

He tugged his coat over his nose in an effort to block the smell. Although the cold weather tended to keep odors down, there was always the background aroma of old seafood. He hadn’t eaten for two days, but when he recalled what that fellow, Oscar, had said he would do to him if he didn’t come up with a payment soon, he forgot about eating. 

It was a month into sailing season, and the docks were piled high with crates and baggage, crowded with passengers, dock wallopers, and sailors. He had never seen so many people in one place before. The demand had not declined since the rush for gold started the previous year. The masts in the East River looked like a forest. Every vessel that could still float was there. Some of them had been dragged out of wrecking yards and hastily refitted. At least half of them didn’t seem as if they’d make it as far as Mexico. Still, he would have boarded in an instant if he could. 

It wasn’t that he couldn’t find work. Since the gold rush started, there were plenty of jobs because half the labor force had headed out for California. But if he were to take a job in town, Oscar would find him. He’d even thought of applying for a job as sailor, but was certain he’d be turned down. After all, Marcus had always worked indoors, sitting at a desk. A sailor would probably laugh at him. 

It crossed his mind he might stow away—in all the confusion it wouldn’t be hard to slip aboard unnoticed—but he dismissed that idea. On a crowded ship, he would not go undetected for long. Like as not, some ruthless skipper would have him tossed overboard, if not chained in the bilge ’til he could be turned over to authorities. 

Perhaps, he thought, he might somehow get to St. Louis and beg passage on a wagon train headed west... 

He gave a long, weary sigh and sat down on a mooring bollard. He’d spent the night in a horse barn, with only his overcoat for warmth. It had been a long, miserable night. Idly, he thought about his twenty-third birthday, now two days past, and with no one but himself to notice. 

Happy birthday, Marcus! 

He might as well go face the music with Oscar, or just throw himself off the dock. At the end of his tether, he could see no way out. It was at that moment his life changed forever. 

“Hey, you!” 

At first he didn’t realize the voice was directed at him. He continued staring into space. Someone poked him roughly on the shoulder. “Hey! Sailor!” 

Marcus turned and saw a large man wearing a black sweater and watch cap. “You mean me? I’m no sailor, sir.” 

“I thought you were. Look like one. Don’t matter. You lookin’ for a berth?” 

“A b ... berth? Oh, you mean a job? On a boat?” 

“Not a boat, a ship. In fact, that one right behind me, the steamer. 

The American Sword. She needs another stoker. Fact is, we need no less than nine and had that many, but now one’s gone off and got himself drunk in jail, and we sail in half an hour. Come to that, we oughta have three Engineers, but we only got one. So, you interested or not? I could always get somebody down at the Sailor’s Hall.” 

Marcus got shakily to his feet. He wasn’t sure what a stoker was, or what one did, but he looked at the steamship and thought her the most lovely sight he had ever seen. He took a deep breath. “Count me in,” he said, and had a gut feeling his world would never be the same again. 

“I’m First Mate,” the man said. “From now on you address me as Mr. Scuggins. Where’s your duffle?” 

“My ... you mean my baggage? I’m afraid I don’t have any, Mr. Scuggins.” 

The man shrugged. “Don’t matter, you can get enough for a kit on board. Come on with me, we can’t keep Mr. Lewis waiting. He’s our Engineer. From now ’til the end of the voyage, he owns you.”