D-Day On Lake Erie

Rob Child and Tony Antonucci, Commander 2nd Rangers
Recently I had the opportunity to attend my first WWII reenactment. I have been at countless Civil War and Rev War reenactments but never WWII. But in my opinion I started with the best WWII reenactmcnt out there the annual D-Day reenactment at Conneaut, Ohio http://www.ddayohio.us/

I was there to immerse myself in the time period as well as to get a sense of the general audience enthusiasm for WWII. You couldn't have gotten a more patriotic or enthusiastic crowd. Those in attendance were lovers of history and appreciative of WWII vets in particular. And I heard an announcement at the event that there were over 150 WWII vets in attendance. This event was massive but very well run and incredibly free of any admission charge. Yes, free. All the town asked for was a donation which I gladly gave. The event site is situated on the shores of Lake Erie an hour east of Cleveland in the Conneaut Town Park. The terrain actually mimicked Normandy as the park is on a high bluff overlooking the lake. And Erie being one of the "great lakes" after all looks like the ocean or the English Channel.

The most striking difference between the troops at this event and those at a Civil War event was the age. WWII Reenacting is still a young hobby and I saw many younger troops especially on the German side. Yes, they had a full German encampment with SS troops and the works. Since I am writing the WWII story, Blood and Armor, for the Ardennes Group I was very heartened to see this younger enthusiasm for the history and the time period.

The event itself was exciting. Prior to the the American troops landing on shore in the Higgins boats and other crafts the Germans fired a working 88mm gun as well as a flak wagon and MG 42 machine guns. They used these to "fire" on the troops landing. But what was ultra cool is they had American P-47 strafing the beach as well as bombers. And I even thought I caught sight of a Liberator. I took a very short video with my phone which is the reason I wanted to publish this post. My camera work is nothing to write home about but this clip gives you a sense of being there.  Enjoy!

Posted by Robert Child

Free on Amazon Today - 5-Star Thriller The Russian van Gogh

Free immediate download on Amazon this weekend only.

Link (Grab for Free on Amazon)

I wrote this story essentially as the female version of Indian Jones. I wanted  it to be a fun read, an across the globe adventure in the high stakes world of multimillion dollar art.

Here is more about the story:

A secure Russian government warehouse is breached in a violent raid. Chechen terrorist Sergey Karpov now possesses a priceless van Gogh the world thought lost in an allied bombing raid in 1945.

Seized in a German museum outside Berlin by the Red Army Trophy Brigade during the last chaotic hours of WWII the masterpiece is part of a hidden stash of billions of dollars worth of stolen art the Russians want kept secret.

Karpov's plans to extort the Putin administration are met with an iron fist and he turns to the world stage releasing a shocking tape to the BBC declaring he will burn the van Gogh and other paintings if his ransom is not paid in seven days.

The Russian van Gogh is a thrilling international race against time as the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam posts a $10 Million dollar reward for the captured painting's return. And British Secret Service along with WWII stolen art recovery experts, The Monuments Men, all join the hunt.

The Monuments Men, founded at Harvard University, dispatches Art History Professor and Forensic Art Detective Riley Spenser, the world's leading expert on the paintings of van Gogh to authenticate the painting. If it is truly the lost van Gogh from WWII it's value could reach $300 million. Riley teams with British MI6 Agent, Justin Watson, and together speed to Moscow and eventually to the most dangerous city in Russia to find the painting.

From first page to last the story is a gripping intelligent page-turner filled with intrigue and peppered with cinematic action that jumps off the page like a major motion picture.

A fast-paced ride, The Russian van Gogh, is one of my favorite stories that I have written.
Posted by Robert Child

New Hamilton Book I Highly Recommend

I received a signed copy of Hamilton: The Formative Years from author Michael Newton today. What a wonderful surprise. Newton's book covers primarily the same period in Hamilton's life that mine does but it is much more in depth and completely different. This latest release I can imagine will be a reference for many years to come as the definitive work on Hamilton's early years. I would have loved to have consulted it when I wrote my historical fiction work on Hamilton. Among the sources I had were Flexner's work on young Alexander Hamilton.  Flexner's accuracy was not always the best. He got the name of the township where Hamilton and Washington crossed the Delaware to attack Trenton completely wrong. In his book he called it Upper Wakefield. It was Upper Makefield I know because I lived there. But this is an just an aside.

I encourage all to check out Newton's new work on Hamilton. I can't imagine the work it took to create something so authoritative. It must have been a Herculean task! So if you are at all interested in the most ambitious founding father of the United States run don't walk to your nearest book store and grab a copy or download it on your e-reader. I certainly wish Michael all the greatest success with his new book.

Here's a link to it on AMAZON

Posted by Robert Child

Ghost Carrier Now on Presale at itunes and Barnes and Noble

My forthcoming paranormal suspense thriller, Ghost Carrier is now on sale at itunes and Barnes and Noble at these links.

Purchase on itunes GHOST CARRIER

Purchase at Barnes and Noble GHOST CARRIER

Ghost Carrier: They Died to Fight Another Day.

“Frank, this has got to stop. I love you but we can’t live like this any longer. We have to make an appointment for you at the doctor.”
Frank remained motionless.
“If you’re not going to tell me, your wife, what’s going on maybe you can tell him or her or whoever.” She brought the back of her hand to her face and wiped an unexpected tear. She got up ready to rush to the bedroom. She was trembling and both eyes were now red with tears.
Frank continued staring past her but started to speak, “Every night it’s the same. It’s horrible, just horrible.”
Katie stopped and slowly sank back into her chair. She feared opening her mouth wanted Frank to finally get it all out.
Now turning to her, “It’s like something you never want to see Katie in your worst nightmares. But I’m seeing it and I know I ain’t dreaming but I can’t open my eyes.”
Katie looked at him strangely.
“Kate I am awake during it and seeing the worst visions you ever saw playing over and over again in my head. I am on a ship I think, it looks like WWII. I don’t know but it looks like old footage I’ve seen on the History Channel. I am running and there are with other men with me. We’re trapped. Men are yelling. We are below decks I don’t know how far but guys are scrambling up this steel ladder that’s glowing hot. Their hands are smoking but they are still trying to escape. They cry out as they grip the rails. I hear someone yell, it was a torpedo! The ship’s going down!
I start running in a different direction into this pitch-black oily smoke. Men are choking, heaving; they are just kids, eighteen, nineteen. I hear more guys ahead of me crying out, We’re gonna die! We’re all gonna die!”
Katie was transfixed.
“Water is starting to fill where I am. I am trying to walk through a foot maybe two feet of water. All of a sudden we hear this deep rumble, which becomes an ear splitting roar. Something has exploded. I feel the ship careen downward like on a roller coaster. I am falling through the air through this passage way surrounded by other falling men. I land with a jolt against other men at a closed hatch. Men keep falling piling on top of me. My body, my ribs, I can feel them all breaking and still more guys are piling on top of me. I can’t breathe. I know at this moment I am going to die. Inside I know it. Then an explosion topside rips a hole in the deck above. Light shines down but then the water from the hole floods on top of us like a freight train filling the passageway. It is all arms, legs, open-mouth muffled screams. I look to my left and in the dim light and see this guy who has managed to pull a rosary out of his service jacket. He holds it tight with closed eyes then I see his hand release it. He’s gone. I grab for the rosary and miss it gets sucked away. As I’m there groping in the water I see another guy near me that I feel I know, a buddy. I don’t know how I know this guy but I do. I know him. He struggles to get his arms and hands free in this crush of men and rushing water. I’m watching him. He is giving it every last bit of strength he’s got…”
Frank’s distant mournful eyes swelled and his voice cracked.
“Finally he gets a hand free and reaches out to me, to my hand flailing there in the water. He grabs my hand grabs it tight. I can feel him squeezing. I understand. He looks me in the eye. He doesn’t want to die alone.”
Frank’s words linger in the air.
“And then there’s nothing. Nothing. The vision ends. Every night it’s the same exact thing.”
***End of Excerpt***
The book will be released November 27, 2015. I will release more excerpts as the release date gets closer.

Posted by Robert Child

Ghost Carrier Release Date Announced

Releasing September 5, 2015
I am pleased to announce today the release of my forthcoming WWII paranormal suspense thriller, Ghost Carrier: They Died to Fight Another Day, will be released on November 27, 2015. I began it actually two years ago. It hasn't taken me two years to write it. I simply had to clear some items off my plate to be able to refocus on the story. It is in the final stages of editing and I am very pleased with the result. A beta reader of mine has commented that it had, "an incredibly gripping storyline." It is a departure for me but a story I felt absolutely compelled to write. It explores so many issues and is in my opinion the most thought provoking story I have ever written. And it has been one hell of a ride writing it.

I will announce tomorrow where it is available for purchase so you can reserve your copy. And thanks as always for continuing to purchase my books.

Here's the synopsis:

Frank Rusk hasn’t been sleeping well lately. He’s approaching his milestone 70th birthday. Each Night for the last two weeks indescribable scenes of horror have awakened him. He is on a ship in WWII, which is exploding. Men are burning alive all around him. He hears a man scream out, “a Japanese torpedo hit the bomb bay and we are all going to die!”

During these nightmarish visions Frank realizes he is not a spectator watching these events but a sailor living them. How can that be? How is it possible that everywhere he turns he sees buddies that he knows taking their last breaths.

Frank fears that with his approaching 70th birthday these awful nightmares mean the onset of senility or Alzheimer’s or worse. At his birthday party his son jokingly brings out a cake with 70 candles. A near inferno but Frank is determined to blow all the candles out. Before he does, however, he makes a wish he has kept secret his entire life; an impossible never to be fulfilled wish that defies the laws of the Universe. His wish is to turn back time and grow up with his Dad in his life. His father died two months after Frank was born in 1943. Although Frank never met him he remains his hero. His Dad perished on the aircraft carrier USS Liscomb Bay that year in the most tragic sinking of a carrier in Pacific theater. Six hundred men drowned in less than 20 minutes when a Japanese torpedo hit the bomb bay.
Posted by Robert Child

London Calling Now on Presale at Apple ibooks

On Presale Now, Release Date: October 16, 2015

Grab it HERE.

Forensic Art Detective, Riley Spenser, returns in this thrilling follow up to the, Russian van Gogh. With the $300 million dollar van Gogh returned safely to the Amsterdam Museum Riley relocates to London. She heads up the new Monuments Men UK Office where her mission expands from locating stolen WWII masterpieces to contemporary art theft.

This gives Riley the perfect opportunity to continue her life's mission locating the 13 works of art stolen from the Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990. The Boston museum has a standing $5 million reward for information leading to the stolen paintings return.

In an alarming twist her boss in the states phones one morning with terrible news. He tells Riley that the Boston FBI has identified the original culprits in the Gardner heist. Riley is devastated but soon realizes that the FBI has no idea where the paintings are. This is simply a stunt to flush the thieves out of hiding.

Unfortunately for Riley it works. She has been the most visible investigator into the crime for the past 20 years and the Gardner thieves working for an Irish black market billionaire kidnap and hold her for ransom. If it is not paid by the deadline Riley will die and the masterpieces will disappear forever. She has only one option left but only time will tell if she has the courage to act on it.

From first page to last, London Calling is a gripping intelligent page-turner filled with intrigue and peppered with cinematic action that jumps off the page like a major motion picture.

Posted by Robert Child

Keep HamilTEN!

Image Courtesy of the New York Post the newspaper founded by Hamilton
I wanted to add my voice to the chorus of boos directed at the Treasury for their recent announcement that Alexander Hamilton would be removed from the $10 bill to be replaced by a woman of merit to be named later. Come again? Remove Hamilton from the currency - the first Treasury Secretary of the United States and the founder of our banking system for someone unnamed? I agree completely with, Rand Scholet, President and Founder of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society in his comments about the injustice.

"The injustice of women not yet placed on U.S. currency does not justify creating another injustice by removing Alexander Hamilton from the $10 bill. The ‘Women on 20s’ campaign makes a persuasive case for the use of the $20 bill for highlighting distinguished U.S. women. Hamilton gave the United States its economic, financial, banking, and monetary systems that strengthened the nation during its founding, and has fueled its economic growth for over 225 years. Alexander Hamilton deserves to be "Right on the Money!" 

Rand is certainly not alone. Numerous articles have appeared highlighting the outrage including articles in the New York Times.

Ron Chernow, author of Hamilton makes an eloquent unapologetic argument to keep Hamilton on the currency in a recent article on Politico.

Ironically in our increasingly politically correct world the person who deserves to be removed from the currency is Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. He is the President responsible for the Trail of Tears, which removed Native Americans from their tribal lands. If you read further into Jackson's history I am confident you will be appalled.

I had the opportunity to study Hamilton in depth while writing my historical novel Rush on Boys: Hamilton at War. I felt after months and months I came to understand the man and his motivations and especially his hopes and dreams for what America could be. We live in Hamilton's America not Jefferson's and the groundwork that Hamilton laid has supported our nation's economy for over 225 years. He was an immigrant who saw the greatness of America before it was even a nation. And in my opinion we should honor and celebrate the man who gave us so much by keeping him "on the money." 

If you want to learn more about the Keep HamilTEN initiative the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society has created a Resource Page with many links and quotes. They will also be highlighting this issue at their upcoming Celebrate Hamilton Days July 10 - 14 in NY/NJ. More information HERE.

Posted by Robert Child

99th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme

Ninety nine years ago today, July 1, 1916 was the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army. On this day more than 57,000 casualties occurred in a capture of less than five miles of ground. Imagine that type of carnage. Even casualties in the battle of Gettysburg which occurred over three days are thought by most historians to number around 51,000.

WWI, the Great War, was thought by most combatants involved to be the LAST WAR. They thought it had to be so terrible as to prevent another one. Well history of course proved them wrong. 100 years ago in 1915 marked the introduction of gas attacks on the battlefield. It was a horrific way to die as many at first did not know what was happening but once they did it was too late. They died essentially from drowning from the fluid in their own collapsed lungs.

I have written a book on the last 100 days of the war called, How Canada Won The Great War. It is a provocative title but one that is based on meticulous research and absolutely accurate. You can pick up a copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and many other places.

Below is an audio except from the book which describes the Battle of the Somme read by the great Colin McLean. It is available on itunes and Audible.com
Posted by Robert Child

Thomas Child Cited for Courage at Fredericksburg Battle

I wanted to write a follow up post to my discovery about my Great-grandfather, Thomas Webber Child. And a debt of gratitude goes out to Don Thompson historian of the 18th Massachusetts for this information.

First of all I knew little about my Dad's side of the family but came to a point in my life where I felt it was long overdue to find out more. And what I discovered about my lineage was astounding. Not only did I learn more about my Great-grandfather's service in the Civil War but I discovered that my 4th Great Grandfather, Jonas Child from Waltham, MA fought with Abraham Pierce's Company at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. He subsequently fought at the battle of Dorchester Heights and of course survived the war.

Returning to Thomas what was incredible was that a Carte de Visite survived and last week I came across a picture of him on the website Find a Grave. According to Don Thompson 1400 men served in the 18th Massachusetts but only about 110 images of them exist. So this photo that I am sharing with you now is truly rare.

Thomas Child, My Great-grandfather
Thomas Webber Child:  born Dec. 11, 1837 at Dorchester, MA, the son of Jonathan and Sarah Child. Per the 1860 U.S. Census, Thomas, age 22,  was listed as the head of household as his father died in 1853. The home was occupied by his mother Sarah, age 24, sisters Hannah C., age 24, and Louisa, age 18, and brothers France J., age 14, and Fred E., age 10.

Child  was a 23 year-old Shoemaker from North Bridgewater, MA, (Brockton) when he enlisted in that town on August 24, 1861 and was mustered into the 18th Mass. Infantry on August 24, 1861 as a Private in Co. E.  Per records he was 5 ft. 6-3/4 in. tall, with a dark complexion, hazel eyes, and brown hair.

 He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on Nov. 1, 1862.  Child was engaged with the Regiment in 1862 at the Battle of Fredericksburg. He was one of 11 men from Company E cited for their courage at the battle of Fredericksburg, fought on Dec. 13, 1862, by Lt. Col. Joseph Hayes, regimental commander (see citation below).

Head Quarters 18th Regiment Mass. Infty
Camp near Potomac Creek Va Dec. 21 62

General Order No. 51

The Lieut. Col. Hayes Commanding conceives it his duty to publish in Orders the names of those brave men of the command who when repulsed in the first charge made by this Regiment upon the Enemys batteries in the action of the 13th this attested their courage discipline and devotion by again rallying around their colors and advancing to the second attack.

Co. "E"
Sergeant T. Child  (Thomas W.)
               N. Dorr  (Nathan)
Corporal  Walter Weston       (Killed in action)
               Henry Wright
Private    Edmund Churchill
               C.A. Broadbent  (Charles W.)
               Henry Weston
               Francis Purrington
               Jesse Swift
               Ham Wadsworth  (Hamilton)
               James J. Dowd

Thomas was with the Regiment during 1862 in the Peninsula Campaign, including the siege at Yorktown, Second Bull Run, where the Regiment absolutely got decimated, Shepardstown, and Fredericksburg.  In 1863 he would have been at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg along with a number of other relatively minor actions.  The Regiment, for example, only had about 110 men

Diary Entry: A Trip to Alexandria, VA Feb 5, 1862

Diary of David C. Meechan, Co. E (Drew Archival Library, Duxbury, MA)
"February 5 [1862] - Sun out this morning.  Tom Child , Herbert Baker , and myself got passes from our colonel to go to Alexandria for all day.  Had a nice time.  Queer looking old town, old fashioned buildings, narrow, muddy streets.  No business but military, lots of soldiers, provost guards, freight details, officers, and men like ourselves on leave to see the town.  Only a few restaurants and rum shops open doing business, unruly soldiers cleaned others out.  We got back to camp at night; came on the military railroad free.  Mud, mud, mud.  We can not move on the enemy now, and I guess the enemy cannot move on us."

18th Mass Infantry Monument, Gettysburg Battlefield

At Gettysburg Thomas fought with the 18th Mass under Colonel William Tilton and the First Brigade under General Barnes and the 5th Corp. They fought a fierce battle near the Wheatfield and the Rose Woods. Below is an except from Col. Tilton's actual report on the battle.

Middletown, Md., July 9, 1863.

    "At 4:30 p.m. on July 2, the brigade, under my command, advanced to the front, and was placed, by order of General Barnes, in order of battle in a piece of woods at the south of Mr. Rose's house. The Second Brigade was on our left, but there being no infantry upon our right, I made a crotchet by refusing the right wing of my right battalion (One hundred and eighteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Gwyn).
                        No sooner was the line formed than the foe attacked our front. The onslaught was terrible and my losses heavy--so much so that I was somewhat doubtful if our line could withstand it. This fact I communicated to the general commanding division, who ordered me to fall back in good order if unable to hold the position; but my men behaved nobly, and twice repulsed the assailants. My colonels wished to advance. Being anxious about my right, however, I reconnoitered in person, and discovered the enemy in large force coming from the direction of Rose's house, with the evident design of outflanking me. I immediately retired and took up a new position (in two lines), at the left and rear of a battery which had been posted about 300 yards to my right and rear. The battery soon commenced to retreat, firing, followed by the rebels, who were now again upon my right flank. To avoid this flank movement, I retired, firing, a short distance in the timber, and then moved across an open field, took up a new position upon the right of the Second Division, and reported to General Sykes. In this last movement I was greatly embarrassed by squads of men and parts of regiments, who, hurrying from the front, broke into and through my line. I think, however, that I saved my brigade from great disaster after it could no longer do any good in front, and succeeded in forming a new line, which was retained through the night.
            All of my officers and men did their duty, their whole duty, and showed the greatest coolness and courage, and where all did so well it were invidious to mention names.
On the 3d, we relieved the Third Brigade, on duty, holding the rocky hill upon the extreme left. (Little Round Top)
        On the 4th, I advanced the brigade to the edge of the woods in our front, and sent out a strong line of skirmishers to feel the enemy. The report of this reconnaissance has been made by order directly to Major-General Sykes.
        My loss on the 2d instant was 12 killed, 80 wounded, and 17 missing; total, 109.
        Owing to forced marches, we had remaining on the 2d only 474 men, and as part of these were not actually engaged, it will be seen that the percentage of loss is very great."

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel, Commanding First Brigade.

After Gettysburg Thomas Child drew what was considered a very plum assignment, In late July 1863, he was assigned to train recruits in Long Island and Galloups Island, both in Boston Harbor, from July 21, 1863 to June 20, 1864. The diary entry below by David Meechan confirms the assignment as well as David's envy that he was not going.

"July 19, 1863 diary of David C. Meechan, Co. E Pleasant again today.  Another short march about five miles toward the Gap.  Tom Child and Capt. [Thomas] Weston are detailed to go home to drill conscripts.  I wished I could go."

Thomas was mustered out of military service on August 23, 1864 at the expiration of his three year enlistment. Following his military service, Child resided in North Bridgewater (now Brockton), MA, where he worked as Shoe fitter. He married Martha B. Sawyer, the 21 year old daughter of George and Susan, at Bridgewater, MA on Sept. 18, 1870.   Per the 1880 Census he resided with his wife Martha B., age 31, and 4 year-old daughter Susan E. at 153 Keith Ave., Brockton. He ended up having four children; Susan, Warren, Wilbur and my grandfather Herbert Shurtleff Child who was born in Brockton, MA on April 27, 1883 and married Genevieve Hoyt at Brockton on October 11, 1904.  Herbert and Genevieve had three children, Madeline, born in 1907, Donald S. born in 1910, and my father Robert Warren Child, born in 1912.

Tom Child was a member of the Fletcher Webster, G.A.R. Post No. 13, Brockton.  He applied for an Invalid pension on Dec. 21, 1900 and received initial  benefits of $6.00 per month under Certificate #: 1025516, due to disabilities from rheumatism, a hernia, and piles.  Child, who was receiving a pension of $30 per month, died at his home, 36 Keith Ave., Brockton, MA on Jan. 21, 1914 and was buried at Union Cemetery, Brockton.

New Screenplay and Manuscript Analysis and Consulting Services Offered

Today I am announcing new professional services for authors as well as screenwriters.  I have been asked by folks over the years to review or take a look at their stories. I am always humbled as it means they value my opinion. But they also know I have actually sold and produced stuff in addition to having a publishing deal with Random House. So they get pretty sound advice.

So I am announcing the availability of my script and story consulting services with a wide variety of choices all purchasable online. It could not be easier and turn around is fast. My insight will help you know if you're on the right track, strengthen your character development as well as story arc. But ultimately my industry insight will make your project more marketable and sellable. Who knows it may even help to land you a writing deal with a major publishing house! No guarantees of course.

One thing I have always loved is writing. It is my passion and escape and profession. So if you are a writer at any skill level explore my offerings at the link below. There are economical options all the way up to full manuscript analysis. And of course I offer straight hourly consulting as well.

When you have a moment check all the options out at the link below. And thanks in advance if you become a valued client.


Posted by Robert Child

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