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If I Were To Publish A Book...


Stargazer

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... would I be able to plug it, subtly of course, here on the board?  Like a discreet mention in my signature?

 

I ask this because I have just published TWO books.

 

Not LDS-themed, though.  Family memoirs from World War II.

 

I must tell this tale.  It's taken me literally years.

 

My wife's family is German.  My mother- and father-in-law were from Memel, Germany, which is now Klaipeda, Lithuania.  At the end of the war in Europe they had been living in Osterode in East Prussia (now Ostroda, Poland).  As the Red Army invaded East Prussia in January 1945, the family (consisting of Dad, Mom, and four little girls aged 4 through 11) fled via rail toward Elbing, near the Baltic Coast.  They got about halfway before a train wreck blocked further progress, and then there were on foot, walking near the rail line until they reached the town of Prussian Holland, which is where the Red Army caught up with them.  They took shelter in an abandoned house.

 

They were able to stay in Prussian Holland while the Red Army flowed through on the way towards Berlin, until the military occupation authorities declared that all German adults must register.  Mom and Dad left the kids in the house (a different one, because they had been forced to move), and duly went to report.  They never returned, leaving the four little girls to fend for themselves in the burned out town.  Both the father and mother were taken separately into the Soviet Union, where the Soviets took advantage of the Yalta Agreement provision permitting them to use "German labor" in rebuilding.

 

The two books track what happened to the little girls and their mother over the next four years,  To this day, nobody knows what happened to the Dad.  He never returned, which was the fate of nearly half of Germans taken into the Soviet Union to do forced labor.  And over 500,000 were so taken.  This is not including any prisoners of war taken during or after battle.  And these half-million were all civilians, mostly women and old men.

 

The books themselves are the first person accounts of one of my sisters-in-law, and my mother-in-law.  My SiL wrote her own book, and I have edited it extensively over the past seven years (I've actually rewritten it five times, but decided in the end to go back and stick closer to her own version).  My MiL's account was actually originally a transcript (in German) of a tape recording of her telling her entire tale from the moment they left Osterode on the train, until she finally returned to East Berlin.  My SiL provided my wife and I with the typed transcript, and we translated it into rough English.  I have spent the last two years working to turn it into a viable story that could be made into a book.

 

I am so relieved to finally be able to say: I'M DONE!!!!  During the past week we have finally gotten both books into print, using Amazon's CreateSpace, and both books are now available in both print and Kindle editions.  Actually, the second one isn't quite available on Amazon (in a few days it will be), but I can offer it on my CreateSpace eMarket already.  It's in the pipeline, though.

 

While I am happy to say I'M DONE, I'm not really done, of course.  Since this is self-published (and we formed an actual publishing company with an EIN and all that), we still have to market the books or nobody will ever see them.

 

I am going to go to bed tonight and I will not set the alarm clock.  I am sleeping in tomorrow, Saturday.  I've been staying up into the wee hours for the last 2 weeks getting all this finalized and I declare that it is now vacation time.  I am going to take a Saturday off.  For the first time in months.

 

 

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I believe other people have not only posted links in their sigs, but made thread announcements....

Go for it I say. You have posted enough to demonstrate you are not just spamming the board.

Very worthwhile effort btw.

Edited by calmoriah
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Thanks, Cal.  I kind of felt like it might be OK.  Just needed some encouragement.

 

Here are the covers:

 

bothcovers.png

 

I think I mentioned that we formed a publishing company to do all this, and it does have a website:

 

http://www.ProspectAvenueBooks.com

 

Even after all this effort, I don't think this is going to turn us into the next Tom Clancy.  Either book would make a good movie, though, I'm pretty certain, but dreaming of that is presently above my pay grade, to coin a phrase.  As the Terminator said, "I need a vacation."

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Sig looks good.

I want and don't want to. In my youth I grabbed everything I could get my hands on about the civilian experience of WWIi and I am still fascinated by the contrast of the worst and best of humanity often side by side. I think given my ability to visualise a little too well the horrors, I have never since been able to watch war movies or realistic violent ones. Makes me physically ill. Maybe another decade will toughen me up enough.

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Stargazer..,.

What incredible stories these must be...

As a small child during WWII, 1943 - 1945, I still have vivid memories... none of which can possibly match the pain and suffering of European families, particularly those that experienced and/or survived the death camps... but to my child eyes life around me left some indelible impressions that are still very real to me in my memory at 73 years of age... even though I later realized how safe my life really was.

I remember how confused and scared I was during the blackouts when we would hang blankets over the windows to block the light from being visible to possible enemy planes (we lived 60 miles inland from the Calif coast).  There was a time after Pearl Harbor that these precautions were taken, and I remember huddling fearfully in my bed wondering if we were going to be bombed.   

Many things in our daily lives brought us together as neighbors to help one another... I remember sharing during the rationing... and the "Victory Garden" my mom planted with the help of the neighbors so we could have fresh veggies and fruits like melons and berries...

I remember the small flag with the star on it hanging in the window of our neighbor across the street, and when it was gone because her son was killed.

So many things... which to me as a child were frightening... but were nothing compared to the suffering "over there." 

 

GG

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Sig looks good.

I want and don't want to. In my youth I grabbed everything I could get my hands on about the civilian experience of WWIi and I am still fascinated by the contrast of the worst and best of humanity often side by side. I think given my ability to visualise a little too well the horrors, I have never since been able to watch war movies or realistic violent ones. Makes me physically ill. Maybe another decade will toughen me up enough.

 

Thanks!

 

I've been immersing myself in these two books for years, as I said.  It's still a little hard on me -- last night as I was polishing up the very last paragraphs of Yesterday's Sandhills, my sister-in-law's book, and as I read her closing words I could not hold back the tears.  She writes

 

The pain of losing [my father] still burns in my soul and the years have not completely healed my wounds. Looking back on yesterday, I am still his little child and in my memory he never grew old. His face remains as youthful and as handsome as the time I saw him through my child's eyes. If I could see him again, I would tell him how we struggled and how I suffered in losing my mother and him. Again I'd ask him to please forgive me and that as he said, “Someday we will be together again,” we will walk together in Paradise, where there is Time no longer.

My wife has tried to comfort her sister by telling her about the continuation of the family in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but although Rita is a strong believer in God, she isn't moved by the possibility. We've done the temple work for the two parents, and my wife has been sealed to her father, and Rita could gain so much comfort if she would only listen and open her heart.

My mother-in-law passed away about ten years ago, but I remember her once telling me of a dream she said she had two or three times, in which she walked down a path in a garden lined on both sides by people standing there dressed all in white, as if they were in a cloud. And at the end of the path there was a stone bench where sat her husband, who was last seen in 1945, also dressed in white. It was to me a clearly revelatory dream, and I tried to suggest to her that she needed to pay attention to it. She had spoken with the missionaries a few times, even taking a few lessons from them, but never quite saw the need. My wife thinks that she held to her mother's strong faith in God (and the Lutheran church) and may not have wanted to change due to a feeling of loyalty.

A lot of that going around, I know.

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