“Way back in 2015, I was commissioned to write a story for a forthcoming comic book format sci-fi website. Alas, the website never came to fruition, and I was left with an orphaned story, a story with no home, a story no one would get to read.
I thoroughly enjoyed creating Mechanical Mike and could not allow it to languish, unloved and unread, in the dusty archives of my computer. So, I took Mechanical Mike from the files, dusted him down, and carefully re-wrote the story.
The result is this Novelette, available as an eBook, or a Paperback Pocketbook.
This is a fun story, a modern pulp fictional tale of a ‘gum-shoe’ style detective, a beautiful blond ‘bombshell’ of a girl, a mad scientist, robots, and evil Nazis, all in occupied France during WW2.
What some readers say…
I can imagine Paul White had a load of fun writing Mechanical Mike. It’s a bit like sci-fi in drag… well a mix between that and a thriller.
Add in loads of World War 2 action, the Nazis with a devious plan to win the war – that’s enough from me – you need to read it.
I loved it.
Author Paul White has blended the history of war films, Nazis, World War 2, and Pulp fiction. It is an extremely fast-paced story that skillfully mixes a wide range of genres, including Romance, War, and Thrillers.
The title, the book cover, the colours and design, along with the language used, is very well balanced, making it a great all-rounder.
Pardon me for not sharing the story here, I believe it would diminish the effort of the writer to entertainingly mesmerize his audience… that’s gotta be you too.
I would love to see this book made into a movie.
What a great fun read. It is exactly what you glean from the cover… and more.
Pure pulp-fiction/comic book meets sci-fi adventure, war-time romance.
I mean, what other read has robots, a mad scientist, Nazi soldiers, a beautiful girl, and lots of action in Paris, France, during WWII?
This is a true must-read for those who want to be excitedly entertained.
Last year I had the opportunity to contribute a short story for an anthology which would go on sale in celebration of the 75th anniversary of VE-Day. I jumped at the chance. I’ve contributed towards various anthologies in the past but this one was and is special.
The Anthology is called, VICTORY 75 in celebration of the 75th anniversary of VE-Day:8th May2020. It is available on Amazon (Toad Publishing/Electric Eclectic).
My contribution is called, ‘We’ll Meet Again.’ My story is obviously set in WW2.
I was asked to contribute a blog post about the service my family has given to Crown and Country over many decades, and centuries, so forgive me if my post does not just touch upon WW2 and VE-Day. The consequences of going to war reverberates down through the generations. Even today.
My family has served in the British armed forces for generations, mostly in the Army but not exclusively, and we have long connections with various regiments, and with the Royal Military Academy (RMA) at Sandhurst.
My maternal Grandfather served at the RMA, my father was an Instructor there, so was an uncle, and a cousin and his two sons have passed out as Officers, during the latter part of the 20th century, and their cousin has also passed out during the mid-21st century. They all went on to serve in the various conflicts we all know about and many of which are still on-going, sadly.
Indeed, one of my cousin’s sons who served in Afghanistan in recent years was awarded the MBE for bravery, leading his men out of an ambush through enemy territory under fire. He has progressed in the army and became Commander of the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistics Regiment in Aldershot, later becoming Colonel of the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistics Regiment.
My maternal Grandfather served in WW1 and was in France. He was gassed more than once and discharged eventually with ‘influenza,’ which I soon realised when researching family history, is a euphemism for being gassed. He suffered all his life from what was called, ‘spongy lung,’ and he eventually died from being gassed, in 1955.
He didn’t get any help, either mentally, physically, or financially, and therefore when he was laid off work at the RMA every winter for three months, he and his family struggled to survive on money they put aside every month in a small insurance policy which paid a pittance per week when he was unable to work, fighting for every breath.
My Grandmother’s first husband served in WW1 and various other conflicts including in Afghanistan, South Africa, and India. He was wounded at the Somme and discharged with shrapnel injuries which eventually led to his death in 1923. Again, he did not receive any financial or psychological help. He served with the 2nd Sherwood Foresters.
He and my Grandmother served in the RFC (Royal Flying Corps/RAF) after his discharge from the British Army, even though wounded.
In 1916 one of my Grandmother’s brothers was giving his life at The Somme whilst another brother was arrested and incarcerated in HM Prison Wakefield, for his part in the Easter Uprising.
My great uncle is buried in France. He was with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards.
I often think of this and wonder what conversation around the dinner table must have been like for the others left behind in a small village in Tipperary.
My great uncle who was imprisoned in Wakefield later went on to become a Sergeant in the Garda Siochána in Dublin, despite his prison sentence for being part of the Easter Uprisings.
Of course, every household in the British Isles and beyond experienced their loved ones being sent off to war and they had to deal with the consequences if/when these men and women returned possibly (probably) injured, both mentally and physically.
The photo above is of my Great Uncle George in his Duke of York School uniform before he went into WW1 aged 14 Photos (c) Jane Risdon 2021.
My paternal Grandfather and his brothers went off to WW1, having lied about their ages so they could join up. All three had been through the Duke of York School in Kent which was a boarding school for children of soldiers who were orphaned or whose family couldn’t afford to keep them. The three brothers who went off to war together in WW1 posed for a photo before leaving. Happily, they all survived the war.
I know my Grandfather was 14 when he was in the trenches in France I have seen his army records. He served in France and was later posted to India (early 1920s) where he was part of the British Indian Army. He was sent to Africa in WW2 with his men – mostly Indian Sikhs – to fight Rommel. Later he returned to see India gain independence in 1947 when he and his family returned to England, except my own Father, who had joined the British Army in India (IEME – Indian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) and was posted to Africa, and various other conflicts before being sent to the RMA (Royal Military Academy) Sandhurst as an Instructor to the Officer Cadets.
In 1952 my father was sent to Korea and took part in the Korean war – I was just a baby and apart from his seeing me aged 3 months, we never set eyes on each other again until he was posted to Singapore and Malaya (Malaysia) to rout bandits raiding rubber plantations in Johore Bahru – where my Mother and I joined him in 1954.
We lived in many countries whilst he was still serving, including Germany and England.
One of my brothers became a ‘boy’ soldier and eventually joined the same regiment as my father (REME) and served in Bosnia, Ireland, and elsewhere. His son joined the RAF and was Awarded a Commendation in the Queen’s Birthday Honours a couple of years ago. He has served in The Falkland Islands, and in Afghanistan.
A paternal Great Uncle served on submarines in WW2: one he was on sunk. He returned home a shadow of his former self following his experiences trapped inside for a long time. He was a talented artist and had hoped before the war to study in Paris. Sadly, he suffered the rest of his life with mental illness, and he didn’t get the help our Forces hope to get today. He used to book himself voluntarily into a local psychiatric hospital whenever he felt himself losing control and he’d stay there until he felt well enough to leave. He was not violent, just someone who’d become agitated and withdrawn, tormented by what he’d seen and experienced.
I could go on listing relatives who served over many years, going back to the very first Army/Navy we had as a country, but I am sure every family can do this.
Our family detests war, but many have heeded the call to arms when necessary and have fought proudly and bravely for Crown and country. Including one of my stories in Victory 75 has been an honour.
When I first thought of the idea for doing an anthology to commemorate VE Day’s 75th Anniversary in 2020, it was the end of 2019. I was with Karen Mossman at the Christmas book and Craft fair I had organised in November and you know what it’s like when two writers get together… ideas burst into life!
At the time, my Grandad (I always called him Gramps) was still alive, still healthy and I guess me and my whole family thought that we would have him in our lives for longer. Secretly willing him to be able to get his telegram from the Queen. Time transpired against us and he went peacefully in his sleep, at home in his 100th year. He was aged 99 and 12 days. I was lucky enough to share 46 years of my life with him and during the time we had possibly only had a few conversations about the war. When I was at secondary school we had to write about what our grandparents had done during the war and my Gramps, being quite a quiet, modest man told me to talk to my Nan. Between these conversations I learnt that they had met in the RAF, my Gramps a mechanic and my Nan helped to taxi the planes onto the runway or back into the hangers. She confessed that she really wanted to be working on the parachutes as they got to keep the spare scraps of silk to turn into underwear.
I vividly remember sitting on the sofa as he got out this battered photo album and started to show my black and white photos of his time in India and then onto the Cocos Islands (also known as the Keeling Islands). It almost looked like they were having a great holiday, sitting on the beach under palm trees or swimming in the Indian Ocean. The full horror was never talked about, especially as he fought on after VE day until VJ Day on August 13th and even then he never returned home for nearly a year as transport was so sporadic and disrupted. It was only recently and watching the Stephen Spielberg series ‘The Pacific’ that I discovered the hardships of those left fighting the Japanese on these small islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Later in life I learnt more through talking with him and my Dad as he said that he was quite often chosen to accompany the RAF Officers to meetings in Great Britain which they would fly to in a small plane. A mechanic would go with them in case there was any difficulties and he remembered an occasion when they were flying in thick fog and the pilot asked if he would help to guide them down by peering through the window. He said he’d been scared that if he made a mistake then the plane would crash. On the other hand, he would have to wait while the meeting took place and spent many hours sitting in the Officer’s mess, even though it was above his rank. I wish now that I had asked him more about this period, what it was like, what it felt like, but I always thought I would have more time for that. I was and still am fascinated by the photo of the falling bomb over fields, so powerful an image as I have only ever lived through peace.
Writing the tribute story in this anthology was my acknowledgement of his sacrifice for our country today, one I knew too little about but which I am so proud. This story was hard to write as I wanted to keep certain things based on fact’s, but I never knew my Gramps’ full story. I found little online but with what I could I was able to add to the few parts of his life that I did know about. In my own words it was a story of true emotion as I let him fly free for the final time, yet still have a part of him close to me in the words of his story – 99th Squadron. A carthartic write in the middle of the turmoil of bereavement and a pandemic that can be likened to a war with an invisible enemy.
‘We had a radio to keep in touch with the news and as the 8th May, 1945 dawned nothing felt any different until we all heard a shout from the NAAFI and we scrambled from our places on the sand or in the sea to find out what was happening and whether it was good news of bad. It was good, the war was over in Europe with Hitler and Germany surrendering to the Allied forces. But would it be the same for us, forgotten in the Pacific Ocean. We raised a quick glass to our boys on the Western front but then it was back to work. More screws and bolts to check and tighten before the next flight sortie took off. Then it was the long wait until they returned.
I always found that part the hardest, waiting to hear the drone of the Liberator engines returning to base. As chance would have it our bombing raids were very few as the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan and that was the beginning of the end of the Pacific war. I had been in the RAF since the start of the war so I was lucky enough to be one of the first men to start the journey home. I remembered the buzz of the plane engines as we took off, we actually had to stand until the plane was in flight and it was one of the memories I always came back to in the years since. Through the chink in the bomb doors I watched the landing strip fall away before a view of the small island, surrounded by the bright blue of the Pacific ocean. We had been such a small part of a huge operation, with so many lives lost along the way.’
Today, as its Electric Eclectics third birthday, (hip hip hooray), rather than post about books, or writing, or authorship, or ‘being Indie’, I thought I would share a useful tool with you.
It is one I often use when communicating ‘overseas’ via the ‘net’.
I am sure you will find it as useful and as helpful as I…
As the founder of Electric Eclectic, part of my job is to keep in contact with our authors, which is not as easy as it might appear.
One of the main reasons is, Electric Eclectic authors are dispersed around the world, from the USA, through Europe, right to the Antipodes, which means there is no suitable panoptic time to engage with everyone simultaneously.
Okay, there is UTC – Universal Time Coordinated, which is another term for GMT – Greenwich Mean Time. It has nothing to do with Greenwich village and everything to do with Greenwich in the UK, which is on the Zero Meridian, that’s 0° longitude meridian, also known, unsurprisingly as the Greenwich Meridian.
Now, to have a standardised time the whole world can utilize when communicating, especially when using the internet or worldwide web sounds a great idea… but for a few issues.
One is DST – Daylight Saving Time, or in the UK, BST – British Summer Time, (Other countries have various terms for the same thing), it is where the clocks are advanced for one hour in the spring.
The other is Local Time. Knowing which Local Time Zone you are in.
Considering the USA has 9 time zones, Canada 6, Europe 7, Asia 11, Russia 11, China 5, Australia 3 and New Zealand 2, you can see arranging an inclusive scheduled event on a global scale is not as easy as it may first appear.
I often query those who create Facebook events without considering the above. Those who do so are surely naïve if they do not understand the importance of looking further afield than their backyards?
Therefore, to schedule a live global meeting between, say, seventeen authors, who reside over four continents needs to be planned carefully.
One tool I have found to be immensely helpful is World Time Buddy https://www.worldtimebuddy.com/ Here you can see your time and those of locations you select so you are in no doubt of what time it is, anywhere.
The ‘Event Widget’ is an excellent tool, schedule your event using the Widget and all those using World Time Buddy will have the time automatically displayed in your time AND there local time… you need do nothing, its automatic.
Bookmark ‘World Time Buddy’ now. There is even a mobile/cell app for Android and Apple.
Better still, the basic mode is FREE. (Paid upgrades available).
In November 2019, writer Audrina Lane, and I were at her home in Ross-on -Wye, having attended a book and craft fair that she had organised. As we drank wine and chatted she mentioned that the 8th May 2020 was 75 years since VE day. I hadn’t known, and an idea formed. Why don’t we put together an Electric Eclectic Books anthology? We could ask some of our brand friends if they would be interested. We could theme all our stories to VE Day. It was something we hadn’t done before and none of our Electric Eclectic books are set in the war.
It was an interesting concept and having brought it up, I needed to go away and think about what I could write. What did I know about the war? It was mostly stories from my dad about his father’s days in Europe. He had a lot of interesting tales to tell. So I had a vague idea of weaving them into a story.
It wasn’t until I saw the cover made by Paul White, Electric Eclectic’s founder, that a title came to me. It seemed fitting that my story, The Dome of St Paul’s should be the first one in the book. It brought together the front cover and the stories inside.
My dad had long since passed away but luckily I had written down what he told me. I chose to tell a tale of a boy listening to the stories of his grandfather, which went on to influence his life. Those stories were the ones my own grandfather experienced, and with the help of Wikipedia, I was able to confirm these long ago tales really happened. It was at that point I realised I wanted to dedicate my piece to him, too. To have his name in a book for prosperity, would be a wonderful thing to do. I passed this idea onto the other writers and some were able to dedicate theirs. Audrina Lane’s story is so poignant as it tells of her grandfather’s 99th Squadron, and how she held his hand as he passed away.
The other stories are equally as compelling. Paul White told of Patricia, Annie and Jean. Three girls living through the war and the celebrations when Victory was announced. There is a secret unmentioned, that gives food for thought when days were not so liberal. Paul dedicated his to the white butterflies saying it was remarkable how thousands fluttered around. It was as if the souls of the dead soldiers had come to haunt the spot where so many fell.
Purely by co-incidence, Claire Plaisted story was entitled Butterflies of Dunkirk. It talked about the battle of Dunkirk and the souls of the men and the amazing sight of butterflies rising from the ground.
Rosemary for Remembrance by Julia Blake is a haunting story of two people caught up in the celebrations and falling in love. If you have ever read any of Julia’s novels you’ll know this was always going to be something special.
We were also honoured to have another amazing author, Jane Risdon to contribute We’ll Meet Again. Jane, who wrote Only One Woman about a rock band in the sixties, brought us this thrilling crime story set during the war. It will keep you gripped right until the end!
Finally, Audrina Lane’s 99th Squadron rounds off the book in the most perfect way.
I was thrilled to see my grandfather’s name there in black and white when I held the book in my hand. Cyril Parry of Chester was just one of the thousands who played their part, and lucky enough to come home. It occurred to me that my Uncle Derek, Dad’s brother, would love to see his Dad’s name, too. So I sent him a copy. We ended up having a long conversation about Grandpa and this is one of the most interesting things to come out of it, and I wished I’d have known, as it would have written it into the story.
When Cyril’s regiment, the 8th Army, were dropped off in the water at Saleno beach, in Italy, the American’s dragged him out. He had been in the water for so long he almost died. The first thing they did was to stick a cigarette in mouth and from that day onwards, he was a heavy smoker.
We received this wonderful review on Amazon recently. It’s so nice, I wanted to share it.
Victory75 is available on Amazon as an ebook and a paperback. Please leave us a review as it means so much to the authors to hear what their readers think.
This year, 2020, marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2. Probably the most momentous historical occasion in living memory.
Many military and veterans’ associations and charities planned special events, shows, exhibitions and displays in remembrance of VE-day, D-Day and VJ-Day, which, due to the Coronavirus pandemic necessitated cancellation.
Every day, memories of World War 2, its sights and sounds, its terrors and triumphs, disappear. Yielding to the inalterable process of ageing, the men and women who fought and won the great conflict are now in their late 80s and 90s. The oldest reported, 110 and 105 respectively.
It is doubtful how many may still be with us to observe future milestone in our history of remembrance. One of the main reasons 2020 was to be a major worldwide commemorative event.
At the time I write this post, both the VE-Day and D-Day dates have passed which is one reason I write of VJ-Day.
Another reason is, my grandfather, Percy Doswell, a Royal Airforce doctor, witnessed the surrender ceremony at the Municipal Building of Singapore, headed by Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia Command, who came to Singapore to receive the formal surrender of the Japanese forces in the region from General Seishirō Itagaki on behalf of General Hisaichi Terauchi.
A photograph montage, near the end of this blog post were taken by my grandfather and have never been published or publicly displayed before.
However, let me start with a simple historical explanation for those who may not know too much regarding the ending of World War 2.
D-Day; the popular name given to the Normandy Landings, on 6 June 1944. (D-Day and H-Hour being common military terms of the period.)
VE Day marks the end of World War II in Europe, (Victory in Europe, hence ‘VE’.) May 8th, 1945 the date the Allies celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler’s Reich, formally recognising the end of the Second World War in Europe.
VJ Day signals the end of World War II in its entirety. It is when Japan finally surrendered. (Victory over Japan Day, VJ-Day, also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, or VP-Day.)
In Japan, August 15th is known as the ‘Memorial Day for the end of the war‘. 終戦記念日, Shūsen-kinenbi); the official name for the day, however, is ‘the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace.’ (戦没者を追悼し平和を祈念する日, Senbotsusha o tsuitōshi heiwa o kinensuru hi. (This official name was adopted in 1982 by an ordinance issued by the Japanese government.)
In the UK and the US, VJ Day is celebrated on different dates.
The initial announcement of Japan’s surrender was made on 15 August 1945, the date the UK marks as VJ-Day each year.
However, the surrender documents were officially signed on the USS Missouri battleship on 2 September 1945, which is why America celebrates on 2 September.
This blog, however, concentrates on the 12 September 1945, the date the surrender instrument was signed at the Singapore Municipal Building, (now known as City Hall), simply because, (as stated above), this was the part of the war’s official ending my grandfather witnessed and of which my family have personal records.
On 12 September 1945, Supreme Allied Commander (Southeast Asia), Lord Louis Mountbatten, accompanied by the Deputy Supreme Commander Raymond Wheeler, was driven to the ceremony by a released prisoner-of-war. As the car drove by the streets, sailors and marines from the East Indies Fleet who lined the streets greeted them.
At the Municipal Building, Mountbatten was received by his Commanders-in-Chief and high-ranking Allied Officers based in Singapore. Also gathered in front of the Municipal Building were four Guards-of-Honour, from the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, the Indian army, and Australian paratroopers. Mountbatten led an inspection of the officers before proceeding to the chamber where the ceremony was to be held. During the inspection, a fleet band played “Rule Britannia” accompanied by the firing of a seventeen-gun salute by the Royal Artillery.
Terauchi was not able to attend the surrender ceremony as he fell ill due to a stroke. However, he personally surrendered to Mountbatten on 30 November 1945 in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city).
He also surrendered his two swords: a short sword forged in the 16th century and a long sword forged in the 13th century. Mountbatten later presented the short sword to King George VI.
The Japanese signed a total of 11 copies of the Instrument of Surrender; one each for the British, American, Chinese, French, Dutch, Australian, Indian and the Japanese governments; and one each for King George VI, the Supreme Commander, Mountbatten and the South East Asia Command’ records.
The ceremony was also witnessed by 400 spectators (one being my grandfather, Percy Doswell), made up of commanders and officers from the navy, army and air force, as well as senior officers from the Supreme Headquarters of the South East Asia Command, 14 leaders of the Malayan communities, the Sultan of Johore, Sir Ibrahim, and released prisoners-of-war, who were all seated behind the Allied representatives.
In the chamber, flags of Allied forces were hung and at the bases of its pillars as were one officer representing the different fighting forces; the Gurkhas, Sikhs, Australians, British airmen, Dutch, Americans, French (from the battleship Richelieu) and the 5th Indian Division.
The surrender ceremony ended with the hoisting of the Union Jack and the playing of the national anthems of all the Allied nations. The Union Jack used was the same flag which flew over the Government House before the war and which was hidden by a Malayan civil servant, Mervyn Cecil Frank Sheppard in his pillow during his captivity in the Changi Prison during the Japanese Occupation.
The official ceremony was followed by a celebration at the Padang, which included a victory parade.
A British military administration, using surrendered Japanese troops as security forces, was formed to govern the island until March 1946.
King George VI addressed the nation from a balcony at Buckingham Palaceand streets across the nation were filled with people singing, cheering, dancing in scenes which echoed the declaration of peace in Europe three months earlier.
Bonfires were lit, fireworks sent soaring into the sky and historic buildings floodlit as the whole country celebrated the news that their remaining troops would soon be returning home.
Immediately operations began to repatriate some of the 130,000 Allied prisoners held by Japanese troops in POW camps across the region. The RAF parachuted in 136 teams to negotiate the release of prisoners in Operation Mastiff.
Sadly, the end of World War 2 did not bring the everlasting peace so many wished for, war and conflict still rage around the world to this day.
I note two books you may wish to read, the first, an anthology from the authors of Electric Eclectic, written to celebrate the 75th VE-Day anniversary, is simply called ‘Victory 75‘. This can be obtained in Paperback from Amazon, here, or as an eBook/Kindle,here
The second is ‘Life in the War Zone‘, n award winning collection of short stories classed as fiction, yet are based on true accounts given by those living in areas of conflict around the world. Paperback only. Here.
We all know, so far, 2020 has been a wash-out regarding public occasions, such as exhibitions, displays and spectacles, which is more of a shame when you consider this year is the 75th anniversary year of the end of World War II.
2020 was to see celebrations for VE-day (Victory in Europe), The D-Day landings and VJ-Day (Victory over Japan), which marked the end of WW2, and more.
Many military charities, organisations who care for veterans, support families, work with the injured and those requiring rehabilitation needed to cancel their planned commemorations and tributes often losing the investment they made in the organising of those events.
The Royal British Legion, SSAFA, Combat Stress, Veterans Outreach Support, The Invicta Foundation and Navy Wings are just a few who have been hard hit by these cancellations.
The shame is, none of those who served are getting any younger and, for many, this year was possibly their last chance to travel to memorial events and exhibition showcases.
As part of these 75th anniversary commemorations, Electric Eclectic has published an anthology containing several stories, from a number of their authors and friends, all focusing on and around VE-Day.
The title is simply, ‘Victory 75‘. This book is available in paperback and as an eBook from Amazon and many other online bookstores, with a percentage of the profits destined for SSAFA – the armed forces charity.
The promotion of this book has been as hard hit by the covid19 outbreak as the cancelled events mentioned above, so now we are counting on your support to help us help those in need.