Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday's Film Adaptation: Sergeant York: His Own Life Story & War Diary by Tom Skeyhill & Alvin C York

This little book ought to be read by Americans everywhere, both because Sergeant York is a national possession, and also because it teaches the priceless value of individual character and may warn us here in America from allowing our children, who have to use machines, from being themselves made into machines.

His is the story of Sergeant Alvin C. York of Tennessee, the outstanding hero of the World War and one of the greatest individual fighters in the history of modern or legendary warfare. In the heart of the Argonne Forest on October 8, 1918, practically unassisted, he whipped an entire German machine-gun battalion, killing twenty-eight of the enemy, capturing thirty-five machine guns and with the help of a handful of doughboys bringing in one hundred and thirty-two prisoners.

The American-born boys and the Greeks, Irish, Poles, Jews, and Italians who were in my platoon in the World War. A heap of them couldn’t speak or write the American language until they larned it in the Army. Over here in the training camps and behind the lines in France a right-smart lot of them boozed, gambled, cussed, and went A. W. O. L. But once they got into it Over There they kept on a-going. They were only tol’able shots and burned up a most awful lot of ammunition. But jest the same they always kept on a-going. Most of them died like men, with their rifles and bayonets in their hands and their faces to the enemy. I’m a-thinkin’ they were real heroes. Any way they were my buddies. I jes learned to love them. —SERGEANT ALVIN C. YORK.

True story of the farm boy who made the transition from religious pacifist to World War I hero.

Release Date: July 2, 1941
Release Time: 134 minutes

Gary Cooper as Alvin C. York
Walter Brennan as Pastor Rosier Pile
Joan Leslie as Gracie Williams
Margaret Wycherly as Mary Brooks York
George Tobias as Private Michael T. "Pusher" Ross
Stanley Ridges as Major Buxton
Ward Bond as Ike Botkin
Noah Beery Jr. as Buck Lipscomb
June Lockhart as Rosie York
Dickie Moore as George York
Clem Bevans as Zeke
Howard Da Silva as Lem
Charles Trowbridge as Cordell Hull
Harvey Stephens as Captain Danforth
David Bruce as Private Bert E. Thomas
Carl Esmond as German Major (as Charles Esmond)
Joe Sawyer as Sergeant Early
Pat Flaherty as Sergeant Harry Parsons
Robert Porterfield as Zeb Andrews
Erville Alderson as Nate Tomkins
James Anderson as Eb
Frank Faylen as But! Boy
Uncredited Cast:
Joseph W. Girard as John J. Pershing
Sonny Bupp as Boy in Sunday School
Tully Marshall as Uncle Lige
Douglas Wood as Major Hylan
Russell Hicks as General
Victor Kilian as Andrews
Gig Young as marching Soldier
Eddy Waller as Man at Church

1941 Academy Awards
Best Actor – Gary Cooper – Won
Best Film Editing – William Holmes – Won
Outstanding Motion Picture – Warner Bros. (Hal B. Wallis and Jesse L. Lasky Producers) – Nominated
Best Director – Howard Hawks – Nominated
Best Writing (Screenplay) – Harry Chandlee, Abem Finkel, John Huston, Howard Koch – Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Walter Brennan – Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Margaret Wycherly – Nominated
Best Art Direction (Black-and-White) – John Hughes, Fred M. MacLean – Nominated
Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) – Sol Polito – Nominated
Best Music (Score of a Dramatic Picture) – Max Steiner – Nominated
Best Sound Recording – Nathan Levinson – Nominated

100 Most Inspirational Films - #57
50 Heroes in American Cinema - #35

Sergeant: Where did ya learn to shoot York?
Alvin: Well I ain't never learned Sergeant, folks back home used to say I could shoot a rifle before I was weaned. But they was exaggeratin' some.
Alvin: Well I'm as much agin killin' as ever sir. --- But it was this way Colonel. --- When I started out I felt just like you said, but when I hear them machine guns a goin' and all them fellas are droppin' around me --- I figured them guns was killin' hundreds maybe thousands and there wern't nothin' any body could do, but to stop them guns. And that's what I done.
Maj. Buxton: Do you mean to tell me that you did it to save lives?
Alvin: Yes sir, that was why.
Maj. Buxton: [amazed] Well, York, what you've just told me is the most extraordinary thing of all!
Alvin: ...What we done in France we had to do. And some as done it, didn't come back. And that kind of thing ain't for buying and selling.
Drummer: [remarking on the area's isolation] What I'd like to know is, how do you fellows get into this valley?
Zeke: We was born here!
Sgt. Early: [at the target range] Remember, guys, you're usin' real live ammunition! A bullet hasn't got any brains! It'll hit whatever you're aimin' at, so don't start murdering each other!
'Pusher' Ross: An' you haven't even seen a subway?
Alvin: I ain't never even heerd o' one.
'Pusher' Ross: 'Heerd'? 'heerd' What kind o' talk is that? Do they all talk that kind of English where you come from?
Alvin: Well there ain't any English people down our way - just Americans.

Alvin C York Obituary
Reluctant Warrior Dies
Sgt. Alvin York, Legend In His Own Time, Was 76
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Sgt. Alvin C. York, the reluctant Tennessee mountain boy whose World War 1 exploits made him a legend in his own time, died Wednesday in Veterans Hospital. The specter of death had hung over the 76-year-old Medal of Honor winner for two years. He fought his way back from serious illness 10 times during that period.

Death came at 10:40 a.m., the result of "general debility" in the w ords of a terse hospital announcement.

At his side during his closing hours was his wife, "Gracie," the childhood sweetheart who had greeted him when he returned home a hero from the battlefields of France, and his seven children.

A conscientious objector, York finally resigned himself to the war, and on Oct. 8, 1918, single handedly killed 25 Germans and captured 132 more. That feat put his name alongside Davy Crockett and Sam Houston as idols of schoolboys and a nation.

An offer by Gov. Frank Clement to have the body lie in state at the state capitol was declined with thanks by the family. "We think it's best just to take him on back to Jamestown," said a son, the Rev. George Edward York.

The Rev. Mr. York said the funeral would be at 2 p.m. Saturday at York's Chapel at Pall Mall, where York taught Sunday school for many years before he became ill. Burial will be in Wolf Creek Cemetery, Pall Mall, and Jamestown are about 140 miles east of Nashville, in the Cumberland Mountains.

An American Legion guard of honor stood by as the body of the old soldier was taken from the hospital to a waiting ambulance. Mrs. York accompanied the body to Jamestown just as she had gone with him on his many trips to hospitals in the last dozen years.

York's last hospitalization came Saturday and his final days were spent in a coma. Multiple diseases, including a stroke which left York partially paralyzed and bedridden, finally took their toll, doctors said.

York tried to" enlist in World War II when he heard some Tennesseans were turned down by the Army because of illiteracy.

"Give me some of these Tennessee and Kentucky riflemen that the Army says are illiterate," he said. "I'd like to take a battalion of those boys and train them for combat duty .... they're the best soldiers in the world."

The War Department agreed and commissioned York a major, but the project had to be abandoned when York failed to pass the physical tests. He had suffered several heart attacks.

He made appearances and speeches in behalf of the war effort instead.

It was on Oct. 8, 1918, that York won everlasting fame. As a corporal of Company G, Second Battalion, 328th Infantry he was a member of a detail of 17 men including a sergeant and three corporals ordered to silence German machine guns pinning down Yanks in the, battle of the Argonne Forest in France. All but seven of the Americans were cut down by enemy fire. York took command.

"Sergeant York" was the title of a 1941 motion picture based on his life. Gary Cooper won an Academy Award for the title role, and another generation of Americans learned of York.
Date: 3 Sep 1964
Dallas Morning News 

Tom Skeyhill

Alvin C York



Review Tour: The Jackal's House by Anna Butler

Title: The Jackal's House
Author: Anna Butler
Series: Lancaster's Luck #2
Genre: M/M Romance, Steampunk
Release Date: October 30, 2017
Cover Design: Reese Dante
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Something is stalking the Aegyptian night and endangering the archaeologists excavating the mysterious temple ruins in Abydos. But is it a vengeful ancient spirit or a very modern conspiracy….

Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with Gallowglass First Heir, Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and when Rafe’s House encourages him to join Ned’s next archaeological expedition, he sees a chance for it to deepen further. Since all the Houses of the Britannic Imperium, Rafe’s included, view assassination as a convenient solution to most problems, he packs his aether pistol—just in case.

Trouble finds them in Abydos. Rafe and Ned begin to wonder if they’re facing opposition to the Temple of Seti being disturbed. What begins as tricks and pranks escalates to attacks and death, while the figure of the Dog—the jackal-headed god, Anubis, ruler of death—casts a long shadow over the desert sands. Destruction follows in his wake as he returns to reclaim his place in Abydos. Can Rafe and Ned stand against both the god and House plots when the life of Ned’s son is on the line?

About The Series
Lancaster’s Luck is set in a steampunk world where, at the turn of the 20th century, the eight powerful Convocation Houses are the de facto rulers of the Britannic Imperium. In this world of politics and assassins, a world powered by luminiferous aether and phlogiston and where aeroships fill the skies, Captain Rafe Lancaster, late of Her Majesty’s Imperial Aero Corps, buys a coffee house in one of the little streets near the Britannic Museum in Bloomsbury.

So begins the romantic steampunk adventures which have Rafe, a member of Minor House Stravaigor, scrambling over Londinium’s rooftops on a sultry summer night or facing dire peril in the pitch dark of an Aegyptian night. And all the while, sharing the danger is the man he loves: Ned Winter, First Heir of Convocation House Gallowglass, the most powerful House in the entire Imperium.

Rafe and Ned have settled into the early stages of a blossoming relationship but Rafe's family is about to way in and expect him to not only continue his "friendship" but to encourage it so they have Ned's possible House support in the future.  When Ned's latest dig is going to take him away from Rafe for nearly 6 months, situation presents itself for Rafe to go along.  Will the find danger during the expedition and will said danger cause heartache for the new lovers or will it strengthen what is already there?

Once again we find ourselves in the steampunk AU that Anna Butler has created and once again I was bowled over by the story.  As I always include in my Blogger Note for any steampunk review, I don't really get the whole sub-genre definition of steampunk for me it's all just science fiction but however you label it, I am fascinated in the idea of historical science fiction settings and Anna Butler has created an amazing AU with her Lancaster Luck series.

With The Jackal's House we get to see a little of the House politics again but even more so we get to see Rafe and Ned's relationship grow.  As much as these two would love for things to run smoothly I don't think it's in their nature or in the cards for intrigue not to follow them.  There is just so much packed into this story that I don't even really know where to begin without doing spoilers so I'll just say this: I loved it, there is just no more simpler way to express it.  I was glad to see Sam and Hugh back as well as the introduction of Ned's son Harry and his four legged companion Molly.  Such an eclectic little band of characters that you just knew intrigue, danger, schemes, and deception wouldn't be far behind.

As I said above, I was delighted to revisit the AU of Lancaster's Luck series that Anna Butler has created and I hope The Jackal's House isn't the last time we see Rafe and Ned but if it is, I know I'll be re-reading their journey for years to come.

Blogger Note: I have to say that I don't really get the whole terminology of steampunk.  I know what it means and I know it is a sub-genre of science fiction but to me science fiction is science fiction, nothing more, nothing less.  As a reader, I will be putting this and others labeled steampunk on my science fiction library shelf but as a book blogger I will defer to the whole steampunk terminology labeling.  Just wanted to put that out there.


I like kissing.

Like Ned, I’d spent years in hiding. His constraint had been matrimony and the sense of honor and duty that would never have allowed him to be unfaithful to the mother of his sons. Only her untimely death had released those bonds. Mine had been less noble: I had no desire for a court-martial and a dishonorable discharge from Her Imperial Majesty’s Aero Corps. Most of my encounters over the years had been quick and furtive, but I’d taken every chance I could to practice my technique.

I not only liked kissing, I was good at it.

Fast little kisses to start with, kisses that barely made contact with the skin of Ned’s throat, kisses meant to tease. He tilted his head back to let me in, closing his eyes. His mouth opened on a soft sigh. I hoped he was giving himself up to the pleasure, losing himself in it, that nothing mattered to him at that moment except the feel of my mouth on his throat and lips. I hoped so. I wanted to please him.

I kissed and licked the delicate skin under his ear until he choked with laughter at the tickling. He tightened his grip on my hands and tugged at them until I raised my head. Ha! He’d lulled me into trusting him there and took full advantage of it. He swooped to capture my mouth with his, cutting off breath and thought, bringing a dizzying warmth with his hot tongue, and making me moan.

Of course, they were very manly moans.

The Gilded Scarab #1
When Captain Rafe Lancaster is invalided out of the Britannic Imperium’s Aero Corps after crashing his aerofighter during the Second Boer War, his eyesight is damaged permanently, and his career as a fighter pilot is over. Returning to Londinium in late November 1899, he’s lost the skies he loved, has no place in a society ruled by an elite oligarchy of powerful Houses, and is hard up, homeless, and in desperate need of a new direction in life.

Everything changes when he buys a coffeehouse near the Britannic Imperium Museum in Bloomsbury, the haunt of Aegyptologists. For the first time in years, Rafe is free to be himself. In a city powered by luminiferous aether and phlogiston, and where powerful men use House assassins to target their rivals, Rafe must navigate dangerous politics, deal with a jealous and possessive ex-lover, learn to make the best coffee in Londinium, and fend off murder and kidnap attempts before he can find happiness with the man he loves.

Original Review March 2017:
I really enjoyed the blend of romance, mystery, and steampunk/science fiction that The Gilded Scarab brought to the table.  Rafe is a service pilot that can no longer fly due to wounds to his eyes and he's left floundering trying to discover what the next stage of life will be.  When he discovers a coffeehouse on one of his jaunts, he didn't expect it change his life but that's what it does.  I have to admit that even though I loved the blend of romance and mystery set in the alternate history that Anna Butler has created, I would liked to have seen a bit more time spent on the steampunk factor throughout the story.  Having said that, I loved the character study of Rafe, watching him evolve from pilot to citizen to coffeehouse owner and yet he never lost sight of his values, even when he had to accept financial help from his House, which was the last thing he wanted to do.  This is the first Anna Butler story I've read but I can honestly say it won't be the last.

Blogger Note: I have to say that I don't really get the whole terminology of steampunk.  I know what it means and I know it is a sub-genre of science fiction but to me science fiction is science fiction, nothing more, nothing less.  As a reader, I will be putting this and others labeled steampunk on my science fiction library shelf but as a book blogger I will defer to the whole steampunk terminology labeling.  Just wanted to put that out there.


Author Bio:
Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She recently moved out of the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London to the rather slower environs of a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside, where she lives with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo.


The Jackal's House #2

The Gilded Scarab #1

October 30 - Love Bytes
November 1 - Nerdy, Dirty & Flirty
November 3 - Scattered Thoughts & Rogue WordsThe Novel Approach
November 6 - RJ Scott 
November 7 - Gay Book Reviews
November 8 - MM Good Book ReviewsMy Fiction NookJim's Reading Room
November 9 - Alpha Book Club
November 10 - Drops of InkBayou Book JunkiePadme's Library

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Release Tour: A Matter of War by AL Simpson

Title: A Matter of War
Author: AL Simpson
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Jack was on the last few days of his tour of Iraq when his truck was blown sky high by a missile. He and his two marine buddies survived, barely. Clinging to life Jack and his buddies are flown home to the US.

Bree is a nurse who accepts a position at the Military hospital where Jack is a patient. Before he even opens his eyes, she realizes they have a special connection.

Greg is an owner of real estate and passionately disagrees with the US Involvement in Iraq.

Liz is a talented musician who hides a dark secret. She is riddled with doubts and fears about her feelings for Greg.

Can Bree help Jack adjust, come to terms with his nightmares or will he succumb to the darkness?

After suffering the horrors of war, Jack knew - coming home was never going to be easy.

Can these four very different people sort out their differences and find happiness?

Washington DC
February 2011
Bree sat on a bench in the park and opened the paper to the Seeking Accommodation section. She was getting desperate. She had been in the hotel for more than a week and it was rapidly depleting her savings. The rents were expensive in the area near the hospital and she had no way of paying for an apartment on her own. She circled an ad in the paper. This one sounded perfect but she cautioned herself not to get too excited. A girl who had just graduated Uni, probably around the same age as her, needed someone willing to share an apartment. As luck would have it, the area was close to the hospital where she’d secured a job. Bree took her cell from her purse and with trembling fingers, tapped in the number she had circled.

“Hello?” The voice on the other end sounded shy, almost uncertain.

“Hi, my name is Breeanna Patterson, everyone calls me Bree,” she said, trying to get down to business quickly. “You posted an ad for a roommate?”

“Yes,” the girl replied. “Oh, I’m Liz Strickland by the way.”

“Can you tell me why you need to share?”

“Well,” Liz said, sounding more confident as the conversation progressed. In the background, Bree could hear Katy Perry. “I recently graduated from music school was lucky enough to get a position playing my viola in the National symphony.”

“Wow, you must really be good. That’s impressive for a recent graduate. Do you earn enough to live on?”

“Almost,” Liz sounded sheepish. “I tutor a few private students as well. But, housing here is so expensive…”

“Tell me about it,” Bree replied. “Makes perfect sense that you need someone to share.” Hopefully it would be her.

“What about you?”

Author Bio:
I have always loved to write and have a vivid and overactive imagination.

In my spare time, when I’m not writing, I love to walk, read and shop.

I believe no mountain is too hard to climb, no river is too wide to span and no journey is too difficult to complete. I follow my dreams and I urge and encourage others to do the same.

With a positive attitude, the impossible can become possible.



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Release Tour: Guardian Unraveled by Georgia Lyn Hunter

Title: Guardian Unraveled
Author: Georgia Lyn Hunter
Series: Fallen Guardian #3
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: November 7, 2017
From the scorching pits of Tartarus, a warrior emerges with a deadly need for more than vengeance…

A loner, Dagan, lives with an inexorable thirst he’s kept hidden for eons, even from his fellow Guardians. Until he meets a beautiful, maddening human who awakens in him a hunger that shakes him to his very core, and threatens to shatter his tightly erected shields, exposing his dangerous secret. And wanting her is a path leading to destruction.

Driven to find her missing mother in a shadowy world, Shae Ion refuses to be sidetracked. When she becomes the target for a sinister force, a sinfully sexy and utterly impossible immortal abducts her, and he’ll stop at nothing to keep her safe.

Stuck in an isolated place with the reclusive Guardian who allows no one close, Shae struggles to control her new burgeoning powers, and is unprepared for the tangled emotions he stirs in her. But passion has a way of obliterating barriers.

However, the road to happiness is strewn with treachery. When an old enemy strikes, and comes after Shae, they are drawn into a terrifying, supernatural battle. And not even Dagan, a lethal, immortal warrior who’d lay down his life for her, can save her now…

Shae inhaled deeply, counted to ten, and prayed a madman hadn’t abducted her.

He remained hunkered down in front of her, eyes cool, his powerful forearms braced on his muscular, leather-clad thighs. Small scars marred his tanned fingers he kept loosely clasped in front of him. He wore a wide, corded leather band on one thick wrist and several narrow ones on his other. His black t-shirt stretched across his broad shoulders like a second skin, the short sleeves revealing bulging biceps. On his left one, he sported a sword-like tattoo made up of a myriad of intricate designs. It was unusual, like nothing she’d ever seen.

With those clothes and his long, ropey hair, he dressed like an extra from a movie shoot or something.

“You can’t keep me here,” she tried to reason with him. “You have to let me go. My uncle will be frantic and calling the cops by now.”

“Not until you answer my questions. Those dead men?”

She scowled, all thoughts of being calm and rational flying out the window. He’d accosted her outside the club, kidnapped her, and now he expected her to answer his damn questions? “Just what the hell are you talking about? What dead men?”

Sure, he was infuriatingly good-looking, but then so was Ted Bundy.

At the thought of the serial killer who’d charmed and murdered several college girls, Shae sprang to her feet and bulleted for the door. He grabbed her around the waist. Crap, she’d forgotten how fast he could move.

“Lemme go!” She hit him, but he merely swept her into his arms like she was some delicate freakin’ daisy and carried her back. Furious, she bit him. Hard. And hoped her teeth did some real damage to his biceps.

An annoyed grunt escaped him. “Stop that, you little hellcat.”

Like a bag of unwanted grain, he dropped her on her butt, back on the mat again.

Pain jarred up her spine, and she clenched her teeth. But the three angry, red streaks scored on his powerful forearm had her blinking.

She’d done that? Shocked to her core at her dreadful behavior, Shae opened her mouth to apologize but when she met those burning yellow eyes that had taken on hints of orange, a spurt of anger cut through her guilt. “This is kidnapping. I’m gonna have your barbaric ass thrown in jail!”

“Try. When you’re ready to talk, scream. Maybe I’ll hear you, maybe I won’t.” His eyes like flint, he stalked out, shutting the door quietly behind him, only to stride back inside. He crossed to the far end of the room, grabbed all the swords from the stand there, and walked out again. Leaving behind a small fridge. Right then, she wanted to fling the appliance at his arrogant head. Except he looked like he could break her neck with just one hand.

She had to get out of here before he came back.

Author Bio:
I’ve been creating stories from the moment I could string two words together. No matter the tale, it always has romance woven through them. Yes, I'm a hopeless romantic.

When I’m not writing or plotting new books, I like to read, travel, painting, or troll flea markets where I usually buy things I might never actually use because they're so pretty.

After working in a few jobs all art related, a chosen career as a fashion designer, then an art teacher, I finally found my passion four years ago: writing. There really is no other job I’d rather do.

Oh, and I live in the beautiful country of South Africa.


Guardian Unraveled #3


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