Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I'll Be Participating in the Books 4 the Next Generation Christmas Event

From 1 to 24 December the Books for the Next Generation Christmas Event will be held to raise money for the Friends of Edith Borhtwick School in Braintree, Essex. The school specializes in educating children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hypersensitive Disorder (ADHD), Aspergers, Down Syndrome, and other conditions that make learning difficult. The school needs new equipment to continue helping to teach these children, and this event will assist in that effort.

As part of this event, I will donate 50% of my net royalties from every on-line sale of Yeitso, including Amazon, Kindle, and Nook, sold between 1 to 24 December. This is an incredibly worthy event and I hope all of you will participate. Besides, nothing says Ho-Ho-Horrordays like a good scary novel.
If you've already purchased my books, then please buy from one of the other writers involved in the event. To see which other writers and genres will be represented, please check here.

I'm Giving Away a FIRE Tablet

I didn't want to be left out during Black Friday/Cyber Monday, so I decided to run an Amazon giveaway of a FIRE tablet with a 7" display screen with WiFi and 8 GB. To enter the giveaway, click here and do as instructed. Good luck.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

 Happy Thanksgiving to my family, fans, and friends. May you all be happy and healthy, and may you enjoy your Cthulkey.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Pictures From Our Trip to Germany and Poland: Treblinka

Alison and I never made it to Auschwitz as we had planned because on the day of our tour I came down with a bad intestinal bug. We did stop by and spend several hours at Treblinka, the most infamous of the SS death camps. My reasons for wanting to see these locations was two-fold. First, having studied modern German history for most of my adult life, I wanted to see first hand what I have read about in such detail. Second, I needed to ground myself in reality. As you know, I'm developing a new series about OSS officers battling Nazi occultism during World War II. While Nazis make great bad guys in books and movies, I do not want to trivialize the fact that Hitler and the SS attempted, and nearly succeeded, in the genocide of Europe's Jewish and Romani population, carrying out their plan with a ruthlessness and efficiency unparalleled in history.

I debated for awhile whether or not to post the photos of Treblinka, and have opted to do so for the same reason that I visited the site in the first place -- to make certain this period in history is never swept under the rug and forgotten. Sometimes you can not comprehend the true horror of the location until you see it with your own eyes.

One note: The SS leveled Treblinka in August 1944 to prevent it from being discovered by the advancing Red Army. The site was completely plowed under and a farmhouse erected at the location. Unlike many other concentration camps, nothing remained of Treblinka. Today only monuments stand representing the actual camp site.

Treblinka is the most notorious of the SS death camps because it was one of the few camps set up solely for extermination (all the other camps, including Auschwitz, the most infamous concentration camp, were also used as slave labor camps). Between it's dates of operation, from 23 July 1942 to 19 October 1943, Treblinka exterminated over 900,000 men, women, and children, more than any other camp except Auschwitz.

The path of the rail tracks leading to Treblinka's unloading platform, visible in the left center of the photograph.

The platform where the trains unloaded. A fake station was set up here to lull those who arrived into a false sense of security.

Those slated for extermination where led from the platform up this path to two buildings on the right and left where women/children and men, respectively, got undressed and surrendered their valuables. The victims were then led along a path that skirted the perimeter of the compound and through a fence to the gas chamber where they were suffocated with carbon monoxide. The large stone monolith in the center left marks the location where the gas chamber stood.

Once removed from the gas chambers, the bodies were placed in mass graves throughout the compound. Today, stones bearing the name of each city or town in Poland whose Jewish population was murdered at Treblinka mark the locations of where the mass graves were once located. To give you an idea of the enormity of the crime, the monument to the gas chamber is one hundred feet to the left, and the stones extend to within yards of the monolith. The stones also extend another one hundred feet to the right and then curve around (the tip of the mass grave is visible in the center right). On the opposite side of the field is another set of stones that extend back to the monolith. 

In the spring of 1943, fearful of what would happen when the Red Army found the mass graves, the SS began opening them up and destroying the remains in large cremation pits. The pits consisted of railroad tracks laid in grate formation on top of concrete blocks. The corpses were placed on the tracks, doused in gasoline, and set on fire. In this manner, the SS could continue cremating the remains without having to stop their operations. This site marks one such pit, located directly behind the gas chamber.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Pictures From Our Trip to Germany and Poland: Wolfschanze

Wolfschanze was Hitler's advanced headquarters just outside of Rastenberg (now Gierloz), Poland, where he spent much of the war conducting the campaign on the Eastern Front. Built to oversee the implementation of Operation Barbarossa, Hitler used Wolfschanze as his primary headquarters, spending more than eight hundred days there from 23 June 1941 until he left it for the last time on 20 November 1944. On 25 January 1945, the SS attempted to destroy every building on the compound two days before it was overrun by advancing Red Army troops.

Hitler's bunker (#13 on the map below). The walls of this bunker were twenty-five feet thick in some places and designed to withstand bombing attacks from the air. Most of the bunkers were so heavily fortified that the SS found it difficult to destroy them to prevent the Red Army from using them.

Martin Bormann's bunker (#11 on the map).

A collapsed section of the Bormann bunker wall. This photo gives you a good idea of the thickness of the walls and how heavily they were reinforced with rebar and steel.

Herman Goring's bunker (#16 on the map).

 Herman Goring's private residence (#15 on the map).

The interior of Goring's house.

Me inside Goring's house.

The bunker belonging to Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, chief of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht OKW, the supreme command of the German armed forces (#19 on the map).


The bunker belonging to General Alfred Jodl, chief of staff of the OKW. (#17 on the map).

 The former barracks for Hitler's SS bodyguard detachment, now turned into a motel for visitor's to Wolfschanze (#1 on the map).

The accommodations are far from luxurious.

The layout of Wolfschanze's Sperrkreis 1 (Security Zone 1), the inner circle of the headquarters reserved for Hitler and his closest associates. Following the destruction of the compound by the SS in 1945 and its capture by the Red Army, the area was abandoned and left for nature to reclaim the land, only becoming a tourist attraction following the collapse of Communism in the 1990s.

[Next week: Treblinka]

Monday, November 7, 2016

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Pictures From Our Trip to Germany and Poland: Berlin -- The Adlon Hotel, Salon Kitty, and Karlshorst

While In Berlin, we decided to go stay at one of the most luxurious hotels in the city -- the Adlon Hotel, within a stone's throw of the Brandenburg Gate (and a major location in my upcoming techno-thriller).

The Adlon Hotel has built in 1907 and served as both a luxury hotel and major social center in Berlin until the end of World War II. The guest list included such dignitaries as Czar Nicholas II, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover, Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplain and Mary Pickford, and more. The hotel suffered heavy damage during the war; what portions remained were burnt in 1945 after Red Army troops raided the wine cellar, got drunk, and set fire to the building. The hotel was torn down in 1952, leaving only the rear service wing. What remained of the hotel was renovated and reopened in 1964, closed in 1970 to serve as a lodging house for East Germans guarding the Berlin Wall, and finally demolished in 1984. The current hotel was built and reopened in 2003-2004.

The view from the Adlon Hotel today.

The view in the summer of 1945.

Salon Kitty, a high-class German brothel located on Giesebrechtstrasse in the Charlottenberg District of Berlin, a favorite spot for high-ranking Nazi dignitaries, important foreign visitors, and influential diplomats and business leaders. Taken over by the Sicherheitsdient (SD), Germany's security service, the SD employed the most attractive prostitutes they could find, trained them in how to gather sensitive information during pillow talk (in rooms bugged with microphones), and set up a workshop in the basement where these conversations could be transcribed and the information passed on to Reinhard Heydrich. (Heydrich frequented Salon Kitty, but always made sure the microphones were shut off during his trysts.) The salon was closed after a bombing raid destroyed the building in 1942.

The interior of Salon Kitty.

Karlhorst, a former Wehrmacht mess hall in the Lichtenberg borough of Berlin, which was taken over by Soviet Marshal Zhukov as his personal headquarters and where, on 8 May, the Germans surrendered to the Soviet Union, formally ending World War II in Europe.

The hall where the surrender was signed. The small table on the far right, extending outward from the table-mounted French flag, was where Field Marshall Keitel (representing the Wehrmacht), Colonel-General Stumpff (representing the Luftwaffe), and Admiral von Friedeburg (representing the Kriegsmarine) signed the document of unconditional surrender.

From 1945-1949, Karlshorst served as the headquarters for the Soviet Military Administration in Berlin. This is the conference room and table where they met.

[Next week: Wolfschanze]

Thursday, November 3, 2016

My Interview from THe GaL iN THE MaSK's 62 Days of Horror

Please check out my interview from THe GaL iN THe BLue MaSK's 62 Days of Horror. And if you haven't already, be sure to buy one of the books featured in the interview -- Yeitso or Nazi Ghouls From Space.