Truth and Fiction…

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and sometimes life imitates art. In this case, the premise of my novel BLADE OF DISHONOR made the news today. The book revolves around Butch, a World War II vet who came home with a war trophy: a treasured Japanese sword. I based this on the fact that several priceless Masamune blades from the Tokugawa era disappeared at the end of the war, and have never resurfaced. And I wrote in the book that very few swords are returned.

Now this veteran has proved me wrong, or become the exception that proves the rule. A good man who fought bravely and wished to make war no more. Orval Amdahl, I salute you.

Reminder: Blade of Dishonor Part 1: The War Comes Home is FREE on Kindle for next two days.

Thanks to Dan Malmon for the tip.

WWII vet from Minnesota to return Japanese sword

The Associated Press
POSTED: 09/13/2013 04:08:47 AM CDT | UPDATED: ABOUT 2 HOURS AGO

LANESBORO, Minn.—A 94-year-old veteran from southeastern Minnesota plans to return a sword he took from Nagasaki, Japan, as a token of his time during World War II.
“At first, I kept it as a souvenir,” said Orval Amdahl, of rural Lanesboro. “Then, all of a sudden, I began thinking—someone had to own this.”

Amdahl said he got the sword because he was a Marine captain in the war. Over the years he kept the sword in good condition. He tried contacting people about the sword but had no luck.

Then Caren Stelson asked to interview him for a book she’s writing about the dropping of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended the war in 1945. Amdahl mentioned the sword.

“I showed it to her, and it blossomed from there,” he told the Post-Bulletin of Rochester ( http://bit.ly/1auU6LK). “She has people in Nagasaki she can work with.”

Stelson used those contacts to find Tadahiro Motomura, the grandson of the Japanese military officer who once owned the sword.

Amdahl will hand the sword to Motomura during a ceremony Sept. 21 at the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul, which is a sister city to Nagasaki.

Amdahl said he was on a ship during World War II, ready to take part in an invasion of Japan, when the two atomic bombs were dropped.

In Japan, he was stationed at Nagasaki after the radiation from the bomb had dissipated. Before he left, he was allowed to take home one souvenir. That’s when he saw the sword with a wood-covered scabbard and a block of wood attached by a string. It looked like it might have belonged to a cavalry officer, and Amdahl liked horses. He took that one.

“I want to get it back to the rightful owner. … I won’t miss it,” Amdahl said. “I believe in peace.”

 

Do you have a ninja infestation? Call ‘Rage Cage’ Reeves.

Meet ‘Rage Cage’ Reeves. MMA fighter. Marine. Back home from Afghanistan, looking for his Grandpa Butch, who he finds mixed up in a centuries-old battle between ninja and samurai over a stolen Japanese sword.

If your home has become overrun with ninjas (sic) or shinobi and yakuza, the Warriors of Hachiman will send Rage Cage Reeves to help, at reasonable rates.

He will be available starting September 10th, so set your appointments early.
bladeofdishonor-art1

If you review books for a blog, publication or website please contact me for an Advanced Reading Copy for review.

The Next Big Thing: BLADE OF DISHONOR

I got tagged by Ed Kurtz, author of Bleed, Control and others, to join in The Next Big Thing blog tour. Normally I don’t jump in for these things but he’s a good guy and it’s an easy way to talk about works in progress, and let readers know about other writers they might enjoy.

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Blade of Dishonor, a novella for Beat to a Pulp. (I’ve mentioned Bury the Hatchet a lot on the blog, and it is still in progress, but this will be done first.)

2) Where did the idea come from?

David Cranmer asked if I’d be interested in writing about an MMA fighter tussling with ninjas over a stolen sword. How could I say no to that? David published my mixed martial arts fighter tale “A Glutton for Punishment,” and I grew up on ’80s ninja movies and the Shogun Assassin “baby cart” samurai films. It is set in the present day, but the action begins in World War 2. I enjoy writing this so much that there may be a prequel written in the era of feudal Japan.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Adventure. Pulp is not a genre and “men’s adventure” paperback originals aren’t either, really. Adventure covers it, with a little War thrown in.

4) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Mixed martial arts fighter Reeves comes home from Iraq to help his wheelchair-bound grandfather run his Army-Navy store, and becomes embroiled in a centuries-old battle between ninja and samurai over a priceless and powerful Japanese sword.

5) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters?

Reeves, the MMA fighter, would be played by Joel Edgerton. He was in Warrior, he played a fighter and made it look real. Plus he’s got those sad eyes that women like, and looks like someone went over him with coarse grit sandpaper. My kind of hero.

Joel Edgerton vs. Hiroyuki Sanada

His grandfather Butch, the wheelchair-bound war vet would be played by Ed Asner. He’s big, old, and angry as hell. Better known for comedy, but the man is a firestorm. The villain is a Japanese businessman, who could be played by Tadanobu Asano, best known for his role in Thor.

Hendricks drives and Ed is Bad-ASNER

And his brutal henchman Mikio would be a good role for Hiroyuki Sanada, who is in “Revenge” and the new Wolverine film. He has the scruffy, beat down look. Tara, the gal with the suped-up muscle car, could be Gina Carano, but Tara is an art major, not a fighter. She’d break a fired chunk of pottery over your head, not try the flying armbar. She’s more of a Christina Hendricks, tough on the inside.

She’ll be in my next story, I promise.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It is a work for hire for Beat to a Pulp press.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?

8 weeks.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Action-oriented thrillers like the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child and the Pike novels by Robert Crais, but grittier. War novels like The Short-Timers, James Brady’s The Marines of Autumn. I won’t say there’s nothing like it out there, but I haven’t read anything close. Maybe my readers can enlighten me.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My great-uncles all fought in World War 2, in Europe and the Pacific. The book is dedicated to them. They never talked in detail about the War, but their feelings were made clear. And I’ve been fascinated with Japanese culture since I was a kid. I loved Clavell’s Shogun, the Lone Wolf and Cub manga–I read all 28 volumes–Musashi, the yakuza gangster movies of Suzuki, Takashi Miike, Takeshi Kitano, and of course, the samurai films of Kurosawa and Hiroshi Inagaki, any movie with Toshiro Mifune in it.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

The story follows Reeves in Part 1, then his grandfather Butch Sloane, in Part 2.  Butch was a commando in the Devil’s Brigade. It is meticulously researched, and while we are in the trenches for all of the story, if you look up the battles date by date, what weapons, who fought in it, and how they won, it will satisfy all but the most unforgiving. It’s fiction, after all. I took license here and there, but I put the characters into real situations. The Devil’s Brigade existed, they fought the battles in the book, and if I change history, it is to insert the lost history of a grand plan that failed. The Devils were the inspiration for Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, only they were even badder.

And if you enjoy mixed martial arts, I trained in them for seven years. I write them realistically. I know a pro and amateur fighters and trainers, and I write them with respect. But also show just how brutal this training translates into combat outside of the ring.

This story is as tight and intense as anything I’ve written, fast-moving and thrilling while giving you plenty to think about. With enough action for three movies, much less one.

I’m tagging five writer friends you may know about already. If you don’t, I recommend you get acquainted with them, they are fantastic. I will admit, they have all talked to me about their projects or mentioned them on social media, so I dub them not only to spark your interest, but because of my own. They haven’t let me down yet, and I want to know what irons they got in the fire.

Josh Stallings is a film editor by day, and the author of the Moses McGuire crime thrillers by night. And I mean long into the night. We shared a hotel once, and when our sleep apnea machines were not dueling into the night like two Darth Vaders arguing over a dinner check, he was tip tapping away into the small hours. And the work shows. The McGuire books, Beautiful Naked, and Dead and Out There Bad, are two excellent tales about a bad-ass Marine who survived Beirut but never really came home. He’s a strip club bouncer, muscle for hire, and when he’s not trading slugs and elbow strikes with the bad guys, he’s at war with the demons within himself. The poetry of James Crumley’s sad, elegiac prose and the rip roaring action of Robert Crais.

Lynn Beighley delivers pills of sharp and subtle humor hidden in the steak of her fiction… like she’s sneaking medicine to one of her two Bernese Mountain dogs. She cut her teeth as a tech writer, but her short stories have appeared in journals and all over the web. She brilliantly depicts our fractured modern lives, interweaving social media personae with cold splashes of reality.

Steve Weddle is the editor for Needle: A Magazine of Noir and the creator of hitman Oscar Martello. Steve often combines hardboiled grit with absurd and fatalistic humor, but is also capable of fascinating introspection, as in the story he wrote for the Protectors anthology.

Jen Conley is an editor for Shotgun Honey, and no one captures the attitude and dialogue of New Jersey like she does. Her stories have appeared in ThugLit, Protectors, Beat to a Pulp, Out of the Gutter and elsewhere. Her characters are so full of life they claw their way off the page.

Chad Eagleton is a two-time Watery Grave International finalist and Spinetingler award nominee. His socially conscious crime fiction packs a wallop. Chad has also been researching novelist Shane Stevens, who wrote the first serial killer novel and was the basis for Alex Machine in Stephen King’s The Dark Half, and also happens to be one of the most underappreciated writers of his time.

I’m eager to hear what their fierce imaginations are up to… aren’t you?

And if you want a taste of how I write Edo Period Japan, with samurai and yakuza… read “Shogun Honey,” which I wrote for Sabrina Ogden when she was at Shotgun Honey.