Walking Out of War cover wins 1st place



I’m thrilled to announce that the cover of the third book in the Eastern Front trilogy, Walking Out of War, has won first place in the East Texas Writers Guild 2017 Blue Ribbon Book Cover Contest for Nonfiction/Memoir.

The contest drew entries from across the U.S.A., as well as from the U.K, Australia and Canada.

A team of artists and designers from the Dallas, Texas area judged the entries in five categories:

  • romance
  • mystery/thriller
  • science fiction/fantasy
  • historical fiction
  • nonfiction/memoir.

You can find all the winning entries on Caleb & Linda Pirtle’s blog, Here Comes a Mystery.

Walking Out of War’s cover won first place in the nonfiction/memoir category. It tells the story of my father-in-law’s experiences from 1944 to 1947, as he fought in the Soviet Red Army across the Baltic States, Poland and Germany, finally at the Battle of Berlin.

This award-winning cover was designed by David C. Cassidy, who also created the covers of the previous books in the Eastern Front trilogy, Army of Worn Soles and Under the Nazi Heel.

It depicts a Red Army soldier, walking calmly away from conflict and toward a brighter future. Meanwhile, the shadow of the Soviet Union reaches for him from behind. It’s an image that perfectly captures the main theme of the book.

 

David has also done covers for most of my other books, as well, including One Shade of Red, Torn Roots, Jet: Stealth, Palm Trees & Snowflakes, Dead Man Lying, Echoes and The Wife Line.

You can see all the covers on the Books by Scott Bury page.

David, of course, also designs covers and websites for a lot of authors and companies. He is also the author of excellent and truly scary horror novels, such as Velvet Rain and The Dark. Check out his work at his website.

I would like to thank David for his excellent work, and the East Texas Writers Guild for holding the contest that helps promote so many excellent authors and designers.

Photo from World War II: A soldier returns home



Maurice-soldier-1941-smallerForWebMy wife and I found this picture from World War II—it’s 75 years old! I wish I had found this photo years ago, before I published the first edition of Army of Worn Soles.

This is a picture of my father-in-law, Maurice Bury, on the day he returned to his village of Nastaciv, Ukraine, after escaping from the German POW camp in late 1941. The woman beside him is his cousin, Tekla, who was named after her aunt, Maurice’s mother. Tekla was the first family member who met Maurice on his return home.

Here’s the story as told by Maurice, years ago

Even though it was wartime, the market bustled as farmers sold the last of their harvests: corn, wheat, parsley, apples, pears, onions and beets. Townspeople pressed through the stalls, haggling over vegetables, chickens and animal feed. Behind a stall selling eggs stood a slim woman whose dark brown hair threatened to burst the knot in her kerchief.

Maurice tapped her on the shoulder. “Hello, Tekla.”

The woman spun to face him, expecting trouble. She glared at him for several seconds before her eyes widened. “Maurice? My god, I cannot believe it.” She wrapped her arms around him and squeezed tight. She had to lean over her table of eggs, but she held on. Maurice hugged back, wary of knocking eggs down. When she let him go, she looked at him as if she were afraid he was about to vanish again. “What are you doing here?”

Tekla was his cousin, daughter of Myhailo Kuritsa, his mother’s brother. She had been named after her aunt.

“I’m coming home. Can you give me a ride?” he asked.

She threw her arms around him again. “Of course, Maurice, of course. Oh, I can’t believe it. We heard you’d been…been killed.” She held him at arm’s length. “You’re so thin. You must have been starving.” She called to the woman in the stand next to hers, who had been staring at them. “Hanyah, please, sell the eggs for me.”

“Of course, dear. Take the young man home and give him something to eat. Right away,” Hanyah said. She was older than Maurice’s mother, and Maurice did not know her, but she smiled at him as if he were a grandchild she had not seen for a year.

Tekla re-tied her scarf and pulled on her gloves, took Maurice by the hand and led him out of the market. “My wagon is over here,” she said, then stopped. “You know what we should do, Maurice? Let’s get a picture together.”

“Can’t we…”

Army of Worn Soles cover

Army of Worn Soles

But Tekla interrupted, took his hand and led him through the market to a small shop, where she paid a few rubles for a picture. The photographer had Maurice sit on a stool in front of a cloth draped against the wall, and posed Tekla standing next to him. Tekla could not stop smiling, nor babbling.

“I can’t wait to see Auntie’s face when she sees you standing on her doorstep. Oh, and my father, too. It’s too bad your father is not here, Maurice. He would be so relieved, so happy to know you’re home safe. Are you sure this is my better side?” She asked the photographer as he adjusted the camera. He smiled, nodded and calmly pressed the shutter.

“The print will be ready on Thursday,” the photographer said and handed Tekla a ticket. “Welcome back, friend,” he said to Maurice.

The print promised for that Thursday, 75 years ago, is the one at the top of this post, and we found it in a box of Maurice’s old things in our basement last week.

I am thinking of incorporating it in a new edition of Army of Worn Soles, or maybe I’ll use it as part of the cover design for an Eastern Front trilogy boxed set.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Walking Out of War wraps up the trilogy



The long-awaited final volume in the trilogy recounting the wartime experiences of my father-in-law launches in e-book form on Wednesday,  February 22. You can pre-order it now from Amazon at a special discounted price.
Cover-WOOW-500x800 (1)

Walking Out of War follows up on Army of Worn Soles (2014) and Under the Nazi Heel (2016).

What’s it about?

Ukraine, 1944: After the Soviets burned the Ukrainian city of Ternopyl to the ground to crush the stubborn Nazi occupiers, they rounded up every remaining Ukrainian man around for the Red Army’s final push on Germany. Maurice Bury, Canadian citizen, Ukrainian resistance fighter and intelligence officer, is thrust once again into the death struggle between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s USSR.

Fighting across the Baltics in the autumn of 1944 is tough and bloody. Then the Red Army enters Germany, where they’re no longer liberators—they’re the long-feared Communist horde, bent on destruction, rape and revenge. The Communists are determined to wipe Nazism from the face of the earth. And the soldiers want revenge for Germany’s brutal invasion and occupation.

Maurice has determined his only way out of this hell is to survive until Nazi Germany dies, and then move home to Canada. But to do that, he’ll have to not only walk out of war, but elude Stalin’s dreaded secret police.

Pre-order for less

Walking Out of War will officially be available on Amazon on February 22 for just $2.99 for the Kindle edition. But if you order before midnight at the end of February 21, you’ll be able to get it for just $1.99.

Get it for free

If you’re willing to write an honest review (tell the world exactly what you think—no influence from me), I’ll send you an advance review copy (ARC). Just email contact@writtenword.ca and put “Walking Out of War – ARC” in the subject line, and I’ll fire back a copy as soon as I can. The only thing I ask is that you post your review on Amazon as soon as possible, and if you have a chance, post the same review on the Goodreads page.

 

Book launch: Under the Nazi Heel



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It’s book launch day for the follow-up to Army of Worn Soles: Under the Nazi Heel tells the true story of Maurice Bury, the Canadian drafted into the Soviet Red Army in 1941, as he joins the struggle for Ukrainian independence.

The book has a terrific cover designed by David C. Cassidy and was edited by the matchless Gary Henry and proofread by the Typo Detective, Joy Lorton. Thanks for all the help!

What’s it about?

Under the Nazi Heel

Walking Out of War, Book 2

For Ukrainians in 1942, the occupying Germans were not the only enemy.

Maurice Bury was drafted into the Red Army just in time to be thrown against the invading Germans in 1941. Captured and starved in a POW camp, he escaped and made his way home to western Ukraine, where the Nazi occupiers pursued a policy of starving the locals to make more “living space” for Germans.

To protect his family, Maurice joins the secret resistance. He soon finds Ukraine faces multiple threats. Maurice and his men are up against Soviet spies, the Polish Home Army and enemies even closer to home.

Experience this seldom seen phase of World War 2 through the eyes of a man who fought and survived Under the Nazi Heel.

It’s available on Amazon for just $2.99. And if you buy it by March 5, send me an email and I’ll send you a bonus e-book, Jet: Stealth.

Get previews

Want to read a few preview? Some very gracious book bloggers are hosting excerpts.

Operation Book Launch looms



Image by Clément Bucco-Lechat. Licenced under Wikimedia Commons
Army of Worn Soles, my third book, will launches June 22, the anniversary of the start of Operation Barbarossa, Nazi Germany’s invasion of the USSR in 1941.
Army of Worn Soles is the true story of my father-in-law, Maurice Bury, who was drafted by the Soviet Red Army in 1941 just in time to be thrown into that struggle.

“But I am a Canadian citizen,” he told the conscripting officer.

“You live here now, tovarisch,” the officer said. “You must help defend the motherland.”

Listening to my father-in-law tell stories like that inspired this book. Army of Worn Soles is his view of the war, a perspective rarely seen in the West. The popular image of the war in movies and books mostly focuses on events in western Europe or the Pacific. The only movie I can think of about the eastern front is the excellent Enemy at the Gates.


The details will shock some readers—Maurice’s accounts certainly shocked me the first time I heard them. One example? The way the Germans deliberately starved their eastern front prisoners of war. It was an explicit policy, the “Hunger Plan.”
I only wish I had buckled down and written it years ago, and he were still alive to read it.

Surprises in store
There are a lot of other little facts that surprised me and I hope will inform the readers. You’ll have to wait to find out, but not necessarily until June 22.

David C. Cassidy
Your first chance comes on Thursday, June 5, when the David C. Cassidy reveals his fantastic cover design on his website. The cover reveal continues to the blogs of my good friend Cinta Garcia de la Rosa, and then Raine Thomas, Onisha Ellis, Gae-lynn Woods, Frederick Lee Brooke, Dana Griffin and the BestSelling Reads site.

The Army of Worn Solesblog tour kicks off on June 15, when D.G. Torrens, author of the bestselling Amelia’s Story, hosts the first excerpt. That will be followed by excerpts appearing on the blogs and websites of Literary Gary Henry, Scholarly Fred Brooke, Cultivated CR Hiatt, Scintillating Cinta Garcia, Dazzling David Cassidy, Raffish Rob Guthrie, Ozzie Onisha Ellis, learned Michael Lorde and Stupendous Seb Kirby.
Thank you all very much for your support. I’ll send each of you a free e-book.

Win a paper copy
And for all you readers who follow the tour, something special: I’m borrowing a page from Fabulous Fred and making a contest out of it. Collect the clues on each stop on the tour, email me the solution and I’ll send you a free, autographed paperback copy.

Come back to this blog often for updates and links to every stop on the tour. 

First look: My new novel, Army of Worn Soles



A Red Army anti-tank squad in World War II
Photo source: WWII in color http://www.ww2incolor.com/soviet-union/sovietatsquad.html

I’m very excited because my third book is getting closer to publishing! 

I’ve settled on a title: Army of Worn Soles. Thanks to my good friend Martin Champoux for suggestions that led me to this.

I’ve just received the second editing pass by my editor, none other than the renowned Rebecca Tsaros-Dickson. So while this may be a little premature, I think the first chapter is pretty close to being done. So, here it is. Let me know what you think in the Comments.

Chapter 1: Prisoner of War

Kharkiv, October 1941

Maurice sat on the ground, put the bottle beside him and took off his shirt. Spreading the officers uniform on the smoothest piece of ground he could find, he lay the bottle near the collar then pushed down and rolled it over the shirt. The lice cracked under the glass. He rolled the bottle back and forth, feeling a dull satisfaction at his first pathetic victory in more than half a year.
Crunch, crunch.
The effort was exhausting. He stopped. His stomach ached and his throat burned with thirst.
He slumped back until he leaned against the barracks. Men in grey uniforms stood or walked across the cobbled courtyard of the ancient castle. One came toward him, a slim man with light brown hair and hazel eyes. He stopped in front of Maurice and leaned down.
Maurice? Is it you? he said.
Breathing required effort. So did looking up. Maurice had not eaten in days, but he still trusted his sight. He knew the man with the light-brown hair and hazel eyes, even in a Wehrmacht uniform. 
Maurice?” the young man said again. “What are you doing here?
He couldnt swallow. His mouth held no moisture. Dying. Im starving to death, Bohdan. Maurice closed his eyes and hung his head.
Bohdan crouched beside him. You got drafted?
Maurice made the effort to look up again at his old friend. The Red Army made me a lieutenant. What the hell are you doing here in a German uniform, Bohdan?
The Germans kicked the Russians out, something we couldnt do. Why shouldnt I join the winning side? And it’s Daniel now, not Bohdan. He looked around to make sure no one noticed him, a Wehrmacht officer, talking to a prisoner of war. Im glad you survived, that you were captured instead of killed. The Germans killed a lot of Red soldiers.
I know. I was there.
Bohdan looked around again to make sure no officers were watching him talk with a prisoner. “How did you get here?
Like you said, we were captured, the whole army, outside Kharkiv. They brought us here.
Bohdan shook his head. Are you all right? Ill see if I can bring you anything, but I have to be careful.
Maurice looked into his friends eyes. Get me out of here.
Set a prisoner free? Are you crazy?
Bohdansorry, Daniel, youre my best friend. Or you were. If I ever meant anything to you, get me out.
DanielBohdan, looked left and right again. I cannot let Red soldiers go, he whispered.
Maurice took a dry breath. His strength was almost gone. Daniel, youre an officer in a victorious army. You have the power. You can get me out, me and my boys. You have the power to get us out of here.


Daniel shook his head and stood. Stalin’s going to surrender within six months, and then all the prisoners will be freed. Hitler has promised freedom for all nations. Well all be free. Ukraine will be free.
Maurice looked at the ground between his splayed legs. He could no longer lift his head. I cant wait six months. I cant wait two days. If you wait, youll find a corpse. Well all be dead. You have to get us out now.
Daniel, the Ukrainian man in a German uniform, hesitated. He looked around the camp again, but no one paid attention. So the Reds made you an officer, did they? Where are your men? All dead?
Somewhere, Maurice found the strength to stand up again. He staggered to the barracks door, went in and called his odalenye, the unit he commanded. Step over here, boys.
Daniel followed Maurice inside, and Maurice wondered if he wasnt breaking some regulation by entering prisoners quarters unaccompanied by at least one guard. Maurice scanned the room, taking in the injured, starving and defeated men. He realized when they saw Daniel, they saw their captor. 
Daniel stepped out of the barracks and waited for his friend outside the door. Ill see what I can do, Maurice. But youre on the wrong fucking side. He left.
Maurice picked up the bottle on the ground beside him and returned to crushing the lice out of his uniform shirt. It was the only thing he could do to reduce his misery.
He thought about the last time he had seen Bohdan, before he was Daniel. It was in the gymnasium, the pre-university school in Peremyshl. What used to be Poland.

Wikimedia Commons


Watch for Army of Worn Soles on June 1!