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Introducing ....

So, you know how I've been hinting about my novella, Sweet Remembrance? Well, today I get to share some crazy exciting news ...

Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales

Six fairytales you thought you knew, set against a tapestry of historical backgrounds.

A lonely girl plots revenge in the shadow of a mountain. A stolen princess fumbles a century backward. A dwarfish man crafts brilliant automatons. A Polish Jew strikes matches against the Nazis. A dead girl haunts a crystal lake. A terrified princess searches a labyrinth. A rich collection of six historically inspired retellings, Once is a new generation of fairytales for those who thought they'd heard the tales in all their forms.

Featuring the novellas of Elisabeth Grace Foley, Rachel Heffington, J Grace Pennington, Emily Ann Putzke, Suzannah Rowntree, and Hayden Wand.

Coming December 2nd, 2016

(You're scratching your heads right now wondering which story is mine, right? Yeah, actually I'm pretty sure you nailed mine right away.)

I was so excited when Suzannah Rowntree and Elisabeth Grace Foley asked if I'd consider writing a retelling for their fairy tale boxset. Little old me alongside authors like Rowntree and Foley, Rachel Heffington, J. Grace Pennington, and Hayden Wand?!! I'm honored to be a part of this exciting adventure!

My story, Sweet Remembrance, is a WWII retelling of The Little Match Girl set in the Warsaw ghetto. So, yes, it's sad by nature. But there's young love, courage, resistance, hope, and music weaved throughout the tale creating a wistful longing for what was and what could have been. It's been said to leave readers in tears. 

Check out the storyboard of Sweet Remembrance to get a feel for the retelling:

Eager to find out about the other retellings in the collection? Grab a cup of joe and do some blog hopping!

Mountain of the Wolf by Elisabeth Grace Foley
She But Sleepth by Rachel Heffington
Rumpled by J. Grace Pennington
Death Be Not Proud by Suzannah Rowntree
With Blossoms Gold by Hayden Wand

We are currently looking for advance readers. If you're interested in receiving a free copy of Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales in exchange for a review on Amazon and Goodreads, please email us at: cinderella19395@gmail.com

Hayden Wand created these beautiful promotional banners to be shared on social media! Please spread the word about our boxset using the hashtag #OnceFairyTales and adding Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales to your Goodreads shelf.

We're so excited to share this collection with you SO SOON!


Robert Lopiano | Tail Gunner on a B-17

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to meet Robert Lopiano who served in the 548th Squadron, 385th Bomb Group from 1943-1944. He enlisted a week before his twentieth birthday and started out as a waist gunner on B-17s, then become a tail gunner. He flew 25 missions over France, Germany, and Holland. Out of the 100 men in his squadron, only 17 reached the mark of 25 missions. 

This photograph was for fake ID in case he was shot down and taken into the underground. 

The insignia of the 548th Bomb Squadron, featuring Bugs Bunny! 

His friend suggested that after every mission, he write a brief summary. Even though Mr. Lopiano said he was too busy thinking about girls (he received a Dear John letter from his girlfriend) and didn't fancy himself a writer, he keep a record of all the missions!

Mr. Lopiano receiving his Air Medal award ... 

"The flak was the outstanding part of this mission. It was the most accurate we have encountered so far; as a matter of fact I was hit on the chin by some fragments. I was only grazed by it thank God. I looked out of my right side window and saw that the tail's horizontal stabilizer was shot away."

"Finishing my 25th on Christmas Eve day is no doubt the best gift anyone could receive. The relief of tension, doubt, and sleepless nights over and done with."

His short snorter dollar. Short snorter dollars were signed by flight crews and conveyed good luck to soldiers crossing the Atlantic.

I wanted to be a pilot
And you along with me,
But I guess if we were all pilots,
Where would the Air Force be?
It takes guts to be a gunner;
To sit back there in the tail
While the Messerschmitts are coming
And the slugs began their wail.
Sure, the pilot's just a chauffeur,
And it's his job to fly the plane;
But it's us who do the fighting 
But we never get the fame.
So, if some of us have to be gunners,
Then we'll make you a little bet.
We'll be the best damn gunners,
Who have left this station yet.

— A Gunners Vow (Author Unknown)

It was such an honor to meet him!


Giveaway + Hint on New Project

Now that life has (sorta but not really) calmed down for Emily Chapman and I, we've been back to our long emails full of exciting ideas, dreams, and a good dose of teasing. ;) It's good to be back brewing up adventures with my partner in crime. First things firsts, we want to welcome in the glorious season of Autumn by giving away one eBook copy of Ain't We Got Fun! The giveway is open until Friday at midnight, so be sure to enter and share with your friends!

 The hint? 

Emily and I are collaborating on an exciting Christmas project, so keep an eye out this December! No, it's not a sequel, but we're pretty sure you're going to love it all the same. =)

Drink some coffee today. Gi's orders.


Michal | WWII Reenactor Interview

1. Why did you choose your impression? 

Which one? My American, British, German, or Polish one? Every particular soldier impression I chose to portray over the years was motivated by my interests. My American G.I. was motivated by my interest in the life of an American soldier on the line and his daily struggles and challenges he had to face, while my American aviator portrayal was motivated by my daily work in the aviation industry and the love of flying. My British dispatch rider impression was on the other hand influenced by my interest of motorcycles and my purchase of a WWII veteran 1942 BSA WM20 motorcycle. On the other side of the medal is my German impression which I decided to assemble simply due to a need to familiarize myself in German equipment and the fact that I lived in Germany and spoke German. Finally my Polish Army in Exile was a product of my own Polish heritage. 

All of us reenactors invest their time and money into an impression only when they find a certain personal connection to it, from just being an American or being a Pole, to speaking a language. I don't think there are many people out there who chose a particular impression because it just looked cool, but even if they did in the beginning, eventually they found something in common with it, something that gives them a certain personal connection with it. Those who choose to portray an impression simply on the basis of it being cool usually don't stay in the hobby long. 

2. Can you tell us about your reenacting gear?

Well I could produce a long list of standard equipment used by any of the impressions used above, a verbatim copy of the manual and quartermaster supply paperwork, but it would be hardly relevant, or interesting to those just starting out, or not initiated with a particular impression. What I can tell you about my gear is that it takes me a very long time to finally decide on purchasing it. It involves meticulous research, which first begins with before mentioned manuals and quartermaster paperwork, to the analysis of period photographs, combat camera footage and memoirs written during and shortly after the war. I rarely have asked a veteran if he wore his canteen this, or that way, because many a times they simply don't remember. Those are not things that stuck in their memory, however they will gladly tell you how they obtained a chicken for Thanksgiving, or booze for New Year's, because those are the memories that stayed with them. Lastly I try to invest in original gear whenever it is not prohibiting cost wise, or I reach for the high end reproductions, rather than purchase a stop gap
cheap piece of equipment that will not last, or simply looks incredibly incorrect. I would rather put away money for three months and skip an event, or pick up time at work, rather than buy some historical atrocity and have it by next weekend. 

3. What's your favorite part of reenacting? 

That would be when a veteran tells me I am doing a good job, or a family of four thanks me for telling them more about history. Being able to use my knowledge, share it with someone, or to be noticed by a veteran are the most rewarding things in this hobby. If it wouldn't be for those things I would have never done it, I would rather just kept my collection in my house and my WWII vehicles in the garage. 

4. What group do you reenact with? 

Some groups have come and gone, but since I started I have been a member of the WWII Historical Reenactment Society, however the ones I consistently reenact with are the Hampshire Regiment
and the 9th ID 60th IR "Go Devils", I also spent a brief time in the 5th SS Wiking and the Polish Independent Parachute Brigade.

Nowadays I spend my time mostly in Europe reenacting, or touring WWII battlefields, I rarely reenact in the US anymore. 

5. What have you learned from reenacting?  

Between 2013 and 2014 I was the Vice President of the WWII Historical Reenactment Society, which put my in charge of the Safety and Authenticity committee overseeing almost 1500
reenactors. That was an intensive time for me when I had to really dive into a lot of peculiarities of the different groups and their ever different equipment as well as the hobby itself. Overall I've learned a lot from fellow reenactors about equipment, uniforms and the different life of the various units in all theaters of the war. 

That's the equipment side at least, my biggest lesson was not to limit myself to reenacting itself, it has a tendency to draw you in whereas you forget the main reasons behind the hobby, which are honoring the veterans and teaching new generations about World War II. I learned not to be absorbed by it and not live in an alternate weekend warrior universe that some of us do, ending up squabbling about gear, while ignoring spectators and kids wanting to learn more about the war. 

6. Who's your favorite WWII hero? 

All of them, pretty much every Allied service man, or woman is my hero, not only that but so many of our civilians helped win the war that, to me at least, it was a generation of heroes. 

7. What advice would you give to newbie reenactors? 

There's a few things. Choose one impression, excel at it, don't start putting together three, or four at a time when you first get into the hobby, be patient. Once you have one down and sometimes it takes years, then begin your long research for the next one. Shop around for a unit, go to an event in your civilian clothing and talk to the different groups, see how inviting they are, do they talk a lot about the equipment to people, or are they hiding in their tents and squabbling about reenactor gear. Is there a bunch of modern stuff all around the camp. You want to have the best impression, pick the best unit to do it with. The unit members will be an invaluable reference and help to you. Do your research on your impression, buy a book. I know it sounds boring, but buy a book. Let's say you want to portray a member of the 82nd Airborne, or the German Wehrmacht, there are numerous books for both. Furthermore, use the book, it is your best reference. The authors of WWII equipment books have put countless hours of research into them and they are your best friend. Sure you might think that the book is 60 dollars and you could buy equipment with that but you might end up buying the wrong equipment, or one that just looks horrible. Buy higher end equipment, don't use stop gap gear, it is really not worth it. Last but not least, be patient, this takes time and to make you feel better, you will never be a so called "expert", there aren't any. There are so many variations and peculiarities of different WWII units that it is impossible to know and remember everything. 

This is the fourth interview in my WWII reenactor interview series: