The Ack Ack Girl

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Chris Karlsen and her historical romance novel, The Ack Ack Girl.

Author’s description

Love and War
A country under attack and the story of one woman’s fight to protect England and her heart.
1941. The German war machine has crushed all of Europe-only England holds fast. To force a surrender, the German Luftwaffe bombs cities and villages the length of the country. As the battle rages, Britain is in desperate need to put more pilots in the air.
To free up more men a new unit is formed: The Ack Ack Girls. These special teams of courageous women will now fight in the anti-aircraft stations. Determined to be part of the effort, Ava Armstrong, volunteers for one of the special teams.
Her unit just happens to be located near an RAF airfield teaming with pilots. Sparks fly, and not just from artillery, when Ava crosses paths with Chris Fairfield, a handsome and cocky pilot stationed there. But nothing is easy in time of war, not even love.

My Review

Chris Karlsen focuses on an amazing event in history that has received surprisingly little attention. As WWII drug on, some English women in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (the ATS, a branch of the women’s army) served in crews of anti-aircraft fighters.

Author Karlsen focuses on one such woman, as she takes you into her day to day life. You learn about Ava’s family history and details of the sort of cake she prefers, the cat she saves in Coventry, and her favorite songs. Karlsen lets the reader follow her emotional journey as she faces her anger at the Germans,  joins the ATS, and becomes attracted to a fighter pilot. The nonchalant sexism of the day (by both men and women) is presented through conversation, as are the fears and frustrations caused by the war.

What I liked most about this book was the way Karlsen made me feel as if I walked through life with Ava. This author has an incredible ability to include sights, sounds and smells to make a scene seem real. For example, Ava doesn’t just sit down. “Careful of the peeling paint and rough wood, Ava sat in the rickety bench in front of the barracks to wait for him.” See what I mean?

I also applaud the amount of research put into this novel. From details on the women’s uniforms (and shoes!) to specifics about the tasks the women were trained and allowed to perform, the breath of information is astounding.

I did struggled a little with the style of the book. The author inserts gaps in time, with no more explanation or transition that to say “Coventry-later that day.” To me, it gave the story a feel of walking through an art gallery, looking at related and beautifully done paintings. I’m used to a book being more like a movie, where the action flows and almost everything presented moves the story along. Here, a lot of the detail seems to only serve the purpose of immersing the reader in the immediate scene, well done though that scene may be.

I’d recommend this book to many sorts of readers. Those fascinated by modern history and particularly World War Two would enjoy it, as would those interested in stories of women being allowed to step out of traditional roles, particularly during wartime. It has a romance at it’s center, but it’s also a book about female friendship.

My strongest recommendation, however, would go to anyone wanting to leave this time and place for a while and thoroughly experience another. Go — be part of Britain’s war effort. Reading this book is as close as you’re likely to get to using a time machine.

About the Author

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I was raised in Chicago. My father, a history professor, and my mother, a voracious reader passed on a love of history and books along with a love of travel. My husband and I retired to the Pacific Northwest where we live with four crazy rescue dogs.

I am a retired police detective. After twenty-five years in law enforcement, I decided to pursue my dream of writing. I’ve completed a historical-time travel romance series called Knights in Time. I currently write a historical suspense called The Bloodstone Series.

I am also working on a world war two series of novella romances. The first is Moonlight Serenade and currently available. The second is The Ack-Ack Girl.

Find the Author

Website — https://chriskarlsen.com/
Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/ChrisKarlsenAuthor/
Twitter –https://twitter.com/AuthorCKarlsen
Pinterest — https://www.pinterest.com/chriskarlsen/

Buy the Book

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08VDSQGDM
Apple:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-ack-ack-girl/id1554149585
B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ack-ack-girl-chris-karlsen/1138717450
KOBO: https://books2read.com/u/bQdOXd
Thalia:  (this is a German site) https://www.thalia.de/shop/home/artikeldetails/ID150770183.html
Bol-de: (another German site) https://www.bol.de/shop/home/artikeldetails/ID150770183.html
Angus & Robertson: (British site) https://www.angusrobertson.com.au/ebooks/the-ack-ack-girl-chris-karlsen/p/9781393715412

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

When her mother turned around, the color had drained from her face and her eyes had a haunted look. “What is it, Mum?”

“They’re bombing Coventry. There’s a BBC reporter on site. He said dozens and dozens of planes are over the city.”

Ava sat on the sofa, listening to the live broadcast as the nightmare continued. Her stomach roiled. The mint-flavored tooth powder she’d used had tasted sweet and fresh, but now soured in her mouth.

“The cathedral is destroyed,” the reporter’s voice broke.

“Turn the sound up, Mum.”

“The sky is black with planes now. They’ve blotted out the moon.” The reporter broke into a coughing fit and then continued. “The city is aflame. It’s raining bombs. The terribleness of this night will never be forgotten. Coventry is no more.”

Eleven hours later

“Did you get any sleep?” her mother asked.

Ava shook her head. “The bombing only just stopped. They’re saying that most of the city is destroyed.”

Ava went upstairs to clean up and change clothes. When she came back down she told her mother, “I need to go. I have to see if Miss Finney is all right. I have to see if I still have a home there.”

Coventry-later that day

The train was standing room only. A blast of intense heat clobbered her as Ava stepped from the station. She found herself flashing back to the night of the blitz attack in London. Like London, hours after the last bombs fell flames still raged and painted the sky in orange and red here. Bright, hot embers filled the air, burning holes through the material of the umbrellas of those who carried them for protection.

She slowly and carefully made her way toward Miss Finney’s flat and the upstairs bedsit she let to Ava. She paused in front of the movie theatre around the corner from Miss Finney’s. The entire building had fallen but somehow the marquee remained undamaged. Perched on top of the rubble advertising, His Girl Friday. Ava had just seen the movie the previous week. She’d gone two nights in a row just to watch Cary Grant.

Thank you!

Chris Karlsen we appreciate your sharing your book  The Ack Ack Girl with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Vaccination Distractions

Most of us are getting vaccinated these days, and not all of us feel so great the next day.

I’m a pretty driven person, so I’m usually doing whatever needs to get done. However, I decided to give myself a vaccine break and just do what-ever I felt like for the afternoon. A sort of spontaneous sick day playing on my computer.

It was great. I drank hot tea and cuddled up under my favorite blanket and I even ate cookies. I started out with my newest pastime — I recently discovered Mahjong and now I’ve found two different places to play it online. I already knew I was drawn to classic games, those without people or plots, maybe because I tend to write such complicated books. Matching patterns soothes me, and let’s me turn off the words part of my brain.

I’ve also reaffirmed that I love playing with graphics. It’s what I do if you leave me alone with a computer and I’m not playing a game. Look at this cool collage I made with the first five main characters in my new series. I had more more fun doing this than I can possibly explain.

What can I say. To each our own, huh?

If you do get vaccinated (and I hope you will!) I wish you a nice recovery day, too, doing whatever dumb little things relax you and make you happy.

Moscow Nights

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author R.W. Buxton and his urban fantasy/paranormal romance novel, Moscow Nights.

Author’s description

Erin is desperate to save Gerry from shadowy forces that would do anything to prevent him from fulfilling the prophecy. But when she arrives, he’s with another woman and the worst thing is it’s Tina, his former partner at the FBI.

Can she convince him the threat is real, and not just to him, but Mary his young daughter.

Halfway around the world ominous figures hiding in the night plan the unthinkable and Gerry is the only one that can stop them. The threat is genuine but will he believe her? Will he believe in the prophecy? 

Erin must face her own past, a past she thought was over. It opens old wounds that send her careening on a path of destruction. Can she overcome them in time to save Gerry or will she lose everything because of a deep-rooted hurt that can’t be healed?

Guest Post

I love to ask other fantasy authors how much vocabulary they created for the book of theirs which I’m featuring. Author R.W. Buxton surprised me with his answer of  “one word.” Read his interesting explanation of why.

This is an easy one… Just one. Day-walker, a person with vampiric powers that aren’t undead and can survive the sun. Although in this book I break the rule, I guess you’ll have to read it to find out how, and why.

In urban fantasy, in general, I don’t see the need for the creation of many new words. After all, it’s set in the world we are all familiar with. A world we can reach out and touch every day. Sure there are fantastical creatures like vampires, werewolves, or ghosts, but they don’t require that many new words. There is one exception to this, and that’s urban fantasy that involves the Fae. For me, these usually cross over into the realm of true fantasy novels. In this sub-genre I find there is a good deal of new vocabulary and of course new worlds, or should I say realms.

Not that the first draft of Capital Thirst, my first novel, didn’t have its fair share of new vocabulary. After I posted that draft to an author critique site, I received overwhelming feedback that it wasn’t necessary and confused the reader. It disheartened me. I worked hard to create that vocabulary to build a mystic vampire world. Not to mention it was my first novel, and I wanted everyone to love it.

After much thought, I decided these other authors were probably right. It wasn’t necessary, and I wanted the book to take place in the real world, albeit one with vampires. So I took it out.

There is clearly a time and place for creating new vocabulary. Science fiction or pure fantasy, for example. But in the end, it just wasn’t necessary for the type of writing I’m doing. Overall, it just confused things.

About the Author

I love a good paranormal read, something about the un-dead haunts the fringes of my mind. Mix in romance, love, loss, and you have a great story.

I voraciously read everything, fiction, and non-fiction but always find myself turning back to the darker stories. I’ve always wanted to write and the dream became a reality with Capital Thirst, and the remainder of the Erin Kingsly novels.

I spend most of my days designing and building websites, but my free time is devoted to my wife, family, and cats. Yes three grown children and three cats. Things can be hectic.

For fun you might find me driving winding roads with the top down or out photographing nature.

Find the Author

Website — RWBuxton.com
Facebook — R.W. Buxton – Home | Facebook
Twitter — RW Buxton Author (@rwBuxtonAuthor) | Twitter
Bookbub — https://www.bookbub.com/authors/r-w-buxton
Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19658320.R_W_Buxton
Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48481089-capital-thirst
Allauthor — https://allauthor.com/author/rwbuxton/

Buy the Book

NOTE: The book is on sale for $0.99.

Amazon — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KXG6CWS
Apple — https://books.apple.com/us/book/moscow-nights/id1527771232
BN — https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moscow-nights-rw-buxton/1137483626
Kobo — https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/moscow-nights-7

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

The car roared into the small town. She turned down the main street and headed for the road out of town. Free from the town’s confines, the country road that led to the highway lay ahead of her. She floored the gas pedal. The scream of the engine thudded in her ears. She pushed in the clutch without letting off the gas and crammed the car into a higher gear. The tires chirped as the car surged forward. She calculated in her mind that the drive with traffic took an hour or a little less. She had to do it tonight in record time, less than thirty minutes. Trees blurred past the window. The ramp to the highway now loomed ahead of her. She pressed the brake and downshifted to take the turn. The car slid but held the road. On the highway she could let the car loose. She prayed she would make it in time.

Lights flickered past in a constant succession as she tore down the highway. She glanced at the speedometer. She was nearing 190 kilometers per hour. It wasn’t all the car could do, so she pushed harder. Her head swam with images of Gerry as he faced Dumitru alone. The possibilities of what might happen to Tina.

Thank you!

R.W. Buxton — we appreciate your sharing your book Moscow Nights with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.