Tag Archives: Historical Romance

They Called Him Marvin, A History of Love, War and Family by Roger Stark (Book Spotlight)

THEY CALLED HIM MARVIN by Roger StarkContent Rating:  PG-13: No sex scenes, six mild profanities, depictions of war scenes.
 
 
 
They were just kids, barely not teenagers, madly in love, desperate to be a family, but a war and a B29 got in there way.

Three hundred ten days before Pearl Harbor, buck private Dean Sherman innocently went to church with a new friend in Salt Lake City. From that moment, the unsuspecting soldier travelled a remarkable, heroic path, falling in love, graduating from demanding training to become a B29 pilot, conceiving a son and entering the China, Burma and India theater of the WW2.

He chronicled his story with letters home to his bride Connie that he met on that fateful Sunday, blind to the fact that fifteen hundred seventy five days after their meeting, a Japanese swordsman would end his life.

His crew, a gaggle of Corporals that dubbed themselves the Corporalies, four officers and a tech Sargent, adventured their way across the globe. Flying the “Aluminum Trail” also called the Hump through the Himalayas, site of the most dangerous flying in the world. Landing in China to refuel and then fly on to to places like Manchuria, Rangoon or even the most southern parts of Japan to drop 500 pounders.

Each mission had it’s challenges, minus fifty degree weather in Mukden, or Japanese fighters firing away at them, a close encounter of the wrong kind, nearly missing a collision with another B29 while flying in clouds, seeing friends downed and lost because of “mechanicals,” the constant threat of running out of fuel and their greatest fear, engine fire.

Transferred to the Mariana Islands, he and his crew were shot down over Nagoya, Japan as part of Mission 174, captured and declared war criminals.

Connie’s letters reveal life for a brand new mother whose husband is declared MIA. The agony for both of them, he in a Japanese prison, declared a war criminal, and she just not knowing why his letters stopped coming.

 
 
 
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Meet the Author:
Author Roger Stark

 
I am, by my own admission, a reluctant writer. But there are stories that demand to to be told. When we hear them, we must pick up our pen, lest we forget and the stories be lost. Six years ago, in a quiet conversation with my friend Marvin, I learned the tragic story of his father, a WW2 B-29 Airplane Commander, shot down over Nagoya, Japan just months before the end of the war. The telling of the story that evening by this half orphan was so moving and full of emotion, it compelled me to ask if I could write the story. The result being They Called Him Marvin.

My life has been profoundly touched in so many ways by being part of documenting this sacred story. I pray that we never forget, as a people, the depth of sacrifice that was made by ordinary people like Marvin and his father and mother on our behalf.

 
 
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To Every Page a Turning: One Life’s Journey by Carl Buccellato (Book Spotlight)

 

In this novel, the journey begins in the innocence of America in the 1950s. Traveling through hope, a great cause, disenchantment, hopelessness, discovery, and rebirth, the novel also recounts the travel of a generation as they move through time. As you read the pages of this book, you will discover a man perhaps not unlike yourself, seeking knowledge, peace, and faith. Perhaps you, like he, have traveled through the paradigm shift of the twentieth century both in awe and fear of what lies ahead.

 

 

 

 

Each man who journeys through life must travel through its season and ultimate lessons. For some, the journey is brief, and their life’s light is fleeting. They are like rockets that flare to the heavens, glowing brightly only to go black in the next instant. Still others travel what seem to be an abbreviated journey, missing some of life’s seasons, never knowing the agony or the ecstasy of what they have missed. But some live each season, taste each tear, relish each sunrise, and brace themselves against each burst of wind. They have traveled life’s highways and finally joined the many pieces of themselves into the whole person they were born to be.

When a man is clearing old files out from his garage, he comes across a folder containing an old manuscript he wrote twenty years previously as part of his recovery therapy. It had served as a catharsis for him to help transition old painful issues from his past. He was still a young man when he wrote the words, and as a senior in his seventies, he begins to reflect on his life s journey. As he reads the old papers, many memories come flooding back. He begins to find that our lives are like pages turning from one place in our lives to another, each unique, holding treasures and pains of its own, and each a window to growth, learning, and acceptance of who we are and who we were born to be.

 

 

 

For all things there is a season, a time to laugh and a time to cry, a time for planting and a time for harvesting, a time for making war and a time for peace, a time to live and a time to die. Ecclesiastes 3:1–8

Each man who journeys through life must travel through its seasons and ultimate lessons. For some, the journey is brief, their life’s light is fleeting. They are like rockets that flare to the heavens glowing brightly only to go black in the next instance. Still others travel what seems to be an abbreviated journey, missing some of life’s seasons, never knowing the agony or the ecstasy of what they have missed. But some, some live each season, taste each tear, relish in each sunrise, brace themselves against each burst of wind. They have traveled life’s highways and finally joined the many pieces of themselves into the whole person they were born to be.

Nietzsche has written, “That which does not destroy us makes us stronger.” This journey begins in the innocence of America in the 1950s, and travels through hope, a great cause, disenchantment, hopelessness, discovery, and rebirth. It is the travel of a generation.

And a man who was uniquely part of that generation.

Overcoming, survival, and success. It finally centers on the one day in 2019 when he must reflect upon his lifetime and must come to terms with who he is today. He must acknowledge he has kept himself apart from his surroundings and buried his feelings deep inside.

 


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Meet the Author:


Carl Buccellato was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1942, and is of Italian-American descent. Throughout his career and travels, Carl has met a broad array of different people. Some, down on their luck, some at the pinnacle of their careers and personal lives. Many of the people and their stories left a mark on Carl’s heart and mind. It is from some of these encounters that Carl has drawn inspiration for a few of the fictitious characters in this novel. Today, Carl resides in Coral Springs, Florida, with his wife Mary Ellen. She is an award-winning multimedia artist and speaker. Together, Carl and Mary Ellen love traveling the globe and looking for new inspiration for their gifts and talents given to them by their loving God.

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Iron Heart by Gini Rifkin (Book Showcase)

Who wrote Beowulf? Perhaps we’ll never know. Or did it happen this way….?

England: circa. 879 A.D. In the time of King Alfred the Great

With the heart of a warrior and the soul of a poet, Faran Kilbraun travels far from home in search of the sword and shield of his ancestors. Protecting the ancient relics was his responsibility. Now, to regain his honor, he must recover the stolen artifacts and battle a life-long enemy.

Following the accidental death of her cruel husband, Leanora Wrenn is wrongly accused of his murder. Forced into exile, a small north shore island becomes her place of refuge, exoneration her only hope.

When Faran discovers Leanora’s remote sanctuary, both their lives are changed forever. Destined to become comrades-in-arms, they fight side by side. Ending up in one another’s arms, will they find redemption and love?

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~~ Excerpt~~

    Leanora tapped her foot with impatience. Would the sun never set?

    Thank goodness, the autumnal equinox would soon be upon them. After Mabon, the hours of brightness, stretching into forever, would wane even more to her advantage. Until then, wait she must, for it was no longer safe to venture out

along the shoreline in the light of day.

    Of late, there had been an increase in the number of ships passing by. And although no one had yet to come ashore on her tiny isle, they might if they saw her. Like silent demons, the wretched ships appeared without warning. Their wickedly graceful, serpentine prows gliding out of the sea mist—mighty beasts, unstoppable and terrifying in their splendor.

   At the very sight of them her heart raced with fear, and it did not calm again until the ships were reduced to harmless blurs upon the horizon. Yes, it was safer to wait until nightfall.

   As darkness subdued even the memory of the sun, she grabbed up a large basket and drew aside the ragged piece of cloth hanging across the cottage door. She liked to think of her habitat as a cottage, although in truth she knew it only merited to be

called a hut. Woven of sticks and branches, it listed in the direction of the prevailing winds.

   She had lived in a real house once. A home of timbered halls carved from towering oaks. Woven tapestries warmed the walls, but those who dwelled within had been wrapped in cold cruelty.

   Thank the Lord those days were over. She was safe now. Was it worth the price of living like a peasant, with threadbare clothes and no well-tended hearth? She had to believe it was so.

   Turning her back on her thoughts and the hut, she stepped through the doorway. The sand, still warm from the day’s heat, comforted her bare feet, and threading her way between the huge boulders, she glanced at the troubled night sky. The stars refused to shine, and high-riding clouds obliterated the full moon. There would be no helpful illumination to guide her to the nets along the shore.

No matter, she knew the way by heart, and the use of a torch might attract more than moths in her direction.

   At the breakers, she paused and listened to the ocean’s never ending song. Tonight the tune seemed filled with lament. There was no gurgle of happiness

where the waves lapped at the rocks, and no sigh of contentment as the receding waters rushed back to the sea.

   Perhaps the elements regretted their earlier behavior of today when the wind had terrified the air and the waves had battered the island. For a moment she had feared for her life, but the storm had soon passed. Like people, the wind and the

water were fickle and not to be trusted. Yet on occasion, the sea could be benevolent, and she gave thanks for the fish and crab it provided. Together

with foraged berries and the eggs from the chickens, her meals were healthy and varied. Not grand fare, but good enough for now.

    Angling to the left, she abandoned the shelter of the rocks and headed across the slope of open beach. A sharp wind teased her ankles, buffeting her from

behind. It felt as if another storm approached. Or did the cold herald more than a change in weather?

    In answer to her unspoken question, she tripped over something where nothing should be. Her skirt tangled about her legs, and she pitched headfirst over the unexpected obstacle. The basket flew from her grasp as she landed with a thud in the sand. A cross between a growl and a groan came from the mound that had caused her fall.

    On hands and knees she scurried to one side. Then leaning forward, she peered through the darkness trying to determine what lay before her. Was it a scaly monstrous thing from the sea? Or worse yet, a human? Instinctively she unsheathed the long-bladed dagger hanging at her waist.

    The thing groaned again, and uttered several words in a language unknown to her. Holy Savior, it was a man. She prayed he had not been sent to find her. Her mouth went dry, her throat constricted. She tightened her grip on the hilt

of the knife. “I will kill you before I let you take me back,” she threatened, not caring if he understood her Saxon words.

    He made no response in sound or movement.

    What should she do? Drive the knife swiftly into his heart, instinct urged.   

     Weapon at the ready, she awkwardly crawled forward on both knees and one

free hand. She was glad for the darkness hiding his features. A faceless enemy was so much easier to hate and deliver unto God.

     Drawing closer, she realized the man lay upon his stomach. In ire, she jammed the knife into its rawhide case. Reaching across his broad shoulders, she gripped the remnant of his tunic, and using her body as a counterweight, leaned backward. The stranger rolled toward her. She scrambled out of the way as he settled onto his back. A rush of air escaped his mouth.

     “Thank you,” he whispered, through lips that sounded stiff and parched. This time the words he uttered were in Saxon English. He may be the master of two languages, but he was a fool to thank her for helping him.

     She knelt once more at his side, and again took up the blade. Like a pagan priestess about to perform a sacrifice, she raised the knife high overhead and tensed for the downward thrust. Then the horrible truth of what she was about to do hit her full force and her resolve faltered.

    The moon broke through the clouds casting an ethereal brightness upon the man’s face and chest. He gazed up at her with an expression as startled and questioning as a child’s.

   She swallowed hard, shocked by the manner of brutality that had come so easily to her. The pain and suffering she had seen and endured did not give her free reign to become as merciless and savage as her tormentors. Still, she must protect herself.

    Leanora glared down at the man. His straight nose and the planes of his cheeks were highlighted by moon-glow, and the same celestial light turned his shoulder-length hair into a mantle of silver. Her gaze drifted lower.

    He labored for each breath, and through the rips in his tunic a wet glittering iridescence reflected off his powerful chest and well-muscled abdomen. The

arm rings he wore and the scars that he bore proclaimed him a warrior, a man who had faced many enemies, a man who had won the day.

    Captivated by these thoughts, she remained unmoving. The rough pebbles dug into her knees, and her arms ached from holding the knife on high. A decision must be made. But she was more familiar with taking orders than making far-reaching

resolutions.

    “Half the treasure will be yours,” the man croaked, “if you let me live.”

     Treasure? There were not enough riches in the world to prompt her to risk her freedom.

She brought the knife down with all her might, burying it to the hilt in the sand beside the stranger’s right ear. “You owe me your life, warrior.”

     She spat out the words like bitter fruit tart upon her tongue. The man’s eyelids drooped, and his head lolled to one side.

    Leanora rocked back on her haunches. Then she began to shake, not out of dread for what she had almost done, but out of fear for what she had not been able to do.

     Desperately she prayed her compassion would not also prove to be her undoing.

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Gini Rifkin’s books follow characters who are courageous and passionate about life, and when they meet, sparks fly while danger often threatens. Her settings include the American West, Medieval and Victorian England, and contemporary fantasy. When not writing, Gini has the privilege of caring for her rescue animals including ducks, geese, goats, rabbits, donkeys, and cats. Her writing keeps her hungry to learn new things, and she considers family and friends her most treasured of gifts. So step back in time or into the future, where adventurous romance is waiting just for you.

 

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Trapper’s Moon by Gini Rifkin (Book Review)

As a free trapper, mountain man Kade McCauley is wary of the Hudson Bay Company. Their form of vengeance against those who are not part of the company can be deadly. When he and his partner are attacked, he fights back, only to discover one of his shots struck an innocent. A woman who touches his soul, and he will do anything to keep her safe.
 
While searching for her Native American tribe, Blind Deer crosses paths with Kade—with near fatal results. Once she is patched up, she decides it is safer to travel with him than alone Their uneasy alliance turns to genuine caring, but Blind Deer’s past gets in the way, and she must choose between love or old obligations.
 
But nothing in life is carved in stone except the mountains, and those formidable peaks have been known to change the course of a man’s life—or a woman’s.
 
 
 
 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

Throughout history, there’s been hate, violence, racism, and death. You can’t point your finger at any period in time and not find it. However, even in the darkest of times, there is light. No entire race, religion, culture is 100% evil. It’s not 100% good either. 

Life is about balance. 

In Trapper’s Moon, Gini demonstrated how vile a human or group of humans could be. She also focused and reinforced the goodness in people. How different races can live in harmony. How love and compassion can and should triumph over hate and violence. 

This message should be embraced and utilized in our everyday lives. 

We can’t allow history to repeat itself. We all have the power to love, or at least tolerate one another. 

Trapper’s Moon was a historical story, but I genuinely believe it’s message pertains to the here and now. 

 

Heart rating system:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
Score: ❤❤❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
About Gini Rifkin…

Gini Rifkin’s books follow characters who are courageous and passionate about life, and when they meet, sparks fly while danger often threatens. Her settings include the American West, Medieval and Victorian England, and contemporary fantasy. When not writing, Gini has the privilege of caring for her rescue animals including ducks, geese, goats, rabbits, donkeys, and cats. Her writing keeps her hungry to learn new things, and she considers family and friends her most treasured of gifts. So step back in time or into the future, where adventurous romance is waiting just for you.

 

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Trapper’s Moon by Gini Rifkin (Book Showcase)

As a free trapper, mountain man Kade McCauley is wary of the Hudson Bay Company. Their form of vengeance against those who are not part of the company can be deadly. When he and his partner are attacked, he fights back, only to discover one of his shots struck an innocent. A woman who touches his soul, and he will do anything to keep her safe.
 
While searching for her Native American tribe, Blind Deer crosses paths with Kade—with near fatal results. Once she is patched up, she decides it is safer to travel with him than alone Their uneasy alliance turns to genuine caring, but Blind Deer’s past gets in the way, and she must choose between love or old obligations.
 
But nothing in life is carved in stone except the mountains, and those formidable peaks have been known to change the course of a man’s life—or a woman’s.
 
 
 
 
 
Where was Blind Deer? The water bucket and rifle were missing. Probably gone down to the stream. She had been at his side since the accident. He remembered hearing her voice and the stories she had told. He remembered fighting to come back to her. She had been his warmth and light. Her spirit his only sanctuary in the fearful world he’d roamed alone.
 
Opening the cabin door, he stood in the sun, soaking up the healing rays as he awaited her return, a vision to fill his eyes and heart. Instead, an Indian brave materialized before him.
 
The solitary man stood several yards away, clothed only in leggings, a loin cloth, and moccasins. The man stared back, formidable and unafraid. The white talons of his bear claw necklace glinted in the sun, reminding Kade of another brave and the eagle claw that had ripped his leg open those many years ago. The man’s face was slashed with red and black paint, adding a terrifying bit of decoration to the already threatening spectacle.
 
Armed with a Missouri war axe, bow, and knife, the solitary figure stood stock still, a painted bag at his feet. The feeling he thought himself invincible radiated from his stance and demeanor, although he made no move to attack.
 
Holy mother of God, what a way to start his first day out of bed. Kade didn’t feel fit to take on a lame rabbit let alone an unexpected Indian. As nonchalantly as possible, he glanced around for Blind Deer. Had this man already found her? Did she lie injured or dead nearby? If she were unharmed, he hoped she had the sense to stay hidden.
 
“Easy, friend.” Kade straightened to his full height and tried not to weave about. “We weren’t expecting company.” He fought to keep the man in focus. “But you’re welcome. We’ve always lived in peace, wishing no harm to anyone, and expecting none to ourselves.”
 
The stranger’s reply came first in Indian, and then in French. Unfamiliar with either language, Kade didn’t understand the man’s intent. The silence hanging in the air became increasingly uncomfortable, and Kade’s strength began to dwindle.Just as passing out seemed a possibility, he sighted Blind Deer approaching from behind their uninvited guest.
 
Rifle at her shoulder, she moved silently through the grass. When she was a few paces behind the man, she cocked the gun, and call out. The intruder appeared to recognize the language she spoke. From his topknot to his beaded moccasins, the warrior tensed for action and slowly turned around.
 
Sweat broke out on Kade’s forehead. Blind Deer only had one shot, and he had none. If she missed, they would both be dead before either could make a second move.
 
 
 
 

~~ Customer Reviews ~~

N. N. Light
 
 
 

Darlene Fredette

5 Stars. First, I want to say how beautiful this cover is. Blue is my favourite colour, so this book won me over right away. If I saw this book on a store shelf, I would pick it up to learn more about the story. And the story is truly an enjoyable read. Kade and Blind Deer are the perfect match. Their chemistry is sweet and emotional. Blind Deer’s background is filled with sadness that will pull at your heartstrings. You’ll want her to find her happy-ever-after and Kade fits the role as the endearing rugged hero. The secondary cast is outstanding with Tucket, Maggie, Nikota, and the mischievous Kinnapa and Kintama. Blind Deer’s bother, Nikota could definitely lead a story of his own. The historical aspect is very interesting. The added romance, bits of humour, drama, and tension makes this story a page-turning hit. Reviewed for Still Moments Magazine. 

 

 
 
 
 
About Gini Rifkin…

Gini Rifkin’s books follow characters who are courageous and passionate about life, and when they meet, sparks fly while danger often threatens. Her settings include the American West, Medieval and Victorian England, and contemporary fantasy. When not writing, Gini has the privilege of caring for her rescue animals including ducks, geese, goats, rabbits, donkeys, and cats. Her writing keeps her hungry to learn new things, and she considers family and friends her most treasured of gifts. So step back in time or into the future, where adventurous romance is waiting just for you.

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