Publication Day: New York City’s Little Black Book

New York Little Black Book


Today is publication day! It’s in Kindle Unlimited so feel free to thumb through and check out all this interesting stuff about the city.

To give you an idea of what’s in it, below are screen shots of the table of contents. BTW, I plan to do the second book in this series, since this only touches a portion of what I’ve learned.

The Stars Are Aligned: 2 Free and 6 discounted books

Survival Guide

In addition to the usual permanently free titles.

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide is discounted to .99 or Kindle Unlimited.

Today, Psychic Warrior and Area 51: Interstellar are free. The latter is the first time it’s ever been free.

3 other Area 51 titles are discounted to .99 or Kindle Unlimited.

Dragon Sim-13 (Green Berets) and Equinox (Time Patrol) are also discounted to .99 or Kindle Unlimited.

Shane and the Hitwoman is still in Prime Reading.

New York City’s Little Black Book: Secrets, History, and Trivia of the World’s Greatest City will be out next week on the 27th! I really like all the trivia and interesting details in this book.

New York City

And fall is here. A few leaves have dropped. The nights are bit cooler. Nothing but good times ahead!

Stay safe and stay cool!

Bob & Scout & Maggie

The Bombardment Movie Review: Brutal Realism About War on par with Breaker Morant.

The Bombardment

This Danish Movie from 2021 was titled in its home country as The Shadow In My Eye. It is a devastating movie about a real event during World War II.

First, though, I have to say neither title does much for selling the movie. One thing I learned as an author is title is critical. I learned this the hard way with horrible titles on my early books such as Eyes of the Hammer and Dragon Sim-13.

The real event it’s based on is one I studied while in Special Forces: Operation Carthage. This was a mission where British fighter-bombers attacked Gestapo Headquarters in Copenhagen. It was a high-risk mission to try to take out a single building in the middle of a city. It was also a high-risk mission in terms of one of its stated missions: freeing resistance fighters held prisoner in the very top floor as a shield against the building being bombed. Another goal was, of course, to kill Germans and collaborators and destroy their records.

One wonders if the Resistance made this difficult decision to push for the mission because there was concern some of their fellows who were being tortured by the Gestapo would eventually break (everyone breaks) and give up names and key information and destroy their network? So, yes, fine if they escape, but also if they’re killed, they can’t talk.

That is the core of war. Brutal.

And this movie which establishes several characters moving toward the fateful attack, or bombardment, is up there with the classic Breaker Morant about how insane and capricious war is.

The vast of characters range from the pilot and navigator of a Mosquito plane that was critical in the attack. Which went horribly wrong. There is also a nun questioning her faith. A Danish collaborator working for their police. And three young children. And the latter is the awful part.

I don’t want to say any more. It is a very well-made movie with a very tight script. Well-acted. Particularly the children.

I highly recommend it, but don’t expect to walk away feeling uplifted. There is one bright, ironic spot at the end, but other than that, it clearly shows War is Hell.

The Deadliest Place For Patriots In The Revolution Was . . .

Prison ships in New York Harbor.

More American soldiers and sailors died in prison ships (primarily Wallabout Bay in the East River, now Fort Greene Park) than in all the battles of the Revolution combined: over 11,500.

The conditions on these ships were appalling and disease and malnutrition ran rampant.

HMS Jersey

Bodies were tossed overboard and some washed up on shore.

There is a monument in Fort Green Park: Prison Ship Martyr’s Monument.

Martyr’s Monument

Excerpted from: New York City Little Black Book 1: Secrets, History, and Trivia of the World’s Greatest City.

Welcome to September and More Deals

Shane and the Hitwoman

Will it finally cool off a bit? Labor Day weekend looms. Fall beckons.

On a more serious note, because you know me, here’s a link to a free slideshow on how to deal with hot weather. As a side note, do you know which way your room fan should be turning in hot weather and then in cold? One of the many tidbits in Life’s Little Black Book. (Summer blowing down, winter up)

As usual, deals. Shane and the Hitwoman is in Amazon Prime Reading until December which means if you are a Prime member, you can read it for free. It’s also in Kindle Unlimited, where you get it for free, but I actually get paid, but, you know, whatever. Phoebe and the Hitwoman comes out in November. Lost Girls is also free today and the next couple of days. Several new Area 51 titles are discounted to .99 or Kindle Unlimited.

Out at the end of this month is New York City Little Black Book. Lots of fun writing that, learning more about my hometown.

With Labor Weekend ahead of us, one special note. If you’re going to be out on the water, please wear your life vest. Just having it nearby isn’t good enough. It’s like having your seat belt off, but knowing its nearby. The very nature of an accident is that it is unexpected. I wrote about how I learned that the hard way while kayaking the Little River in TN after a storm. HERE.

Have a great Labor Day weekend.

Nothing but good times ahead!


Gear Notes: Tyger Multi-Use shovel

Tyger Shovel

Since people have been asking, I’m going to start posting quick notes on various survival, camping, and boondocking gear.

It’s taken me a while to accumulate and use all these tools and sort through what works and what doesn’t. The most important thing is to use everything before you HAVE to use it. There are few things worse than needing to set up your new tent in the middle of a storm and not realizing you don’t quite know how to do it.

So the Tyger combination shovel, axe, etcetera replaced the regular shovel I carried on my jeep. I find it very useful tending to and covering up campfires. Also for field latrines. I like that it breaks down into a small package. I still carry a full size axe and even an electic chain saw, but this is a great tool.

Availalbe here on Amazon:

FREEDOMLAND. Disneyland in the Bronx?


Part of the history of the north-east Bronx, but more recently, was the short lived amusement park, Freedomland.

It was a theme park built in 1960 in the northeast Bronx where Coop City now stands. My parents moved from a walk up in the South Bronx to a small house just off Bartow Avenue, very close to the site and I have memories of the park. Of course, my most vivid memories are playing in the ruins after it closed and went bankrupt in 1964. While almost all the rides were either sold off or junked, the concrete channels where the boats moved about were still there along with other remnants.

The park was developed by C.V. Wood who had been in on the construction of Disneyland in California, which opened in 1955.

On the surface it seemed like a good idea. A theme park in the largest city in the country.

However, one has to question the wisdom of the location. The area was marshland and used as a city landfill. It was also, nice bit of information, fed by Rattlesnake Creek. Apparently, there was a large population of rattlesnakes around this creek which flowed across the northeast Bronx and emptied into the Hutchinson River. By this time, however, most of the creek had been paved over and it was underground. You can see an above surface stretch in Seton Hall Park.

But, don’t worry, they held weekly meetings back in the old days to deal with the rattlesnakes and got ‘em all. So, they say.

I always wondered about building Coop City, the largest housing development on former marshland, but what do I know.

The park, based on a map of the United States, was built in just 300 days, at a cost, for land and construction of $65 million.

Interestingly, none of the park’s attractions were traditional rides such as roller coasters. Going with the U.S.A. theme. There was Little Old New York (which seems weird to put in actual present New York), Old Chicago (fire), the Great Plains (Indian attack), San Francisco (Earthquake), the Old Southwest (gunfight), New Orleans (pirates) and Satellite City. Are you picking up a motif?

Gay Talese reviewed the park as built on vacant wasteland. Which was true.

Several accidents and lawsuits sapped the park’s revenue. There was also Rye Playland just north of it where we went more often, even though we were blocks away from Freedomland.

There is a theory the park was built as a placeholder to get the land for future development, which happened when Coop City was built.

A Newsday review said “They came. They saw. They left. And most never came back.” Not much different than the Staten Island Peace Conference.

Excerpted from: New York City Little Black Book 1: Secrets, History, and Trivia of the World’s Greatest City.

The largest battle of the Revolution took place in New York City

The Battle of Long Island on 27 August 1776.

We lost.

George Washington, fresh from his victory pushing the British out of Boston, came south, knowing that the British wanted New York’s large harbor. He settled in for the defense.

The British fleet arrived and offloaded troops on Staten Island. Eventually, the British crossed the bay and landed in Brooklyn. I won’t get into the details of the battle, as shown on my handy West Point Department of History map (not surprisingly, we didn’t spend too much time on this battle—although for one semester I had an instructor from Sandhurst, the British Military Academy and he wanted to discuss it, for some reason). Bottom line? The British outflanked the Americans and Washington retreated to Manhattan.

Then he retreated up the island, engaging the advancing British several times before having to do the thing any New Yorker hates: retreat to New Jersey.

Battle of Long Island

Courtesy Department of History, United States Military Academy

They didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the largest force on force battle of the war. Over 40,000 soldiers and sailors took part.

The British reported 59 killed, 268 wounded and 31 missing. The Hessian mercenaries fighting with them reported 5 killed and 26 wounded.

The Americans reported 300 killed and over a thousand captured. Those captured would suffer a terrible fate in prison ships, covered elsewhere in this book, but it’s estimated that less than half of those would survive their ordeal.

As a sidenote, the Army owed a great debt of gratitude to the First Maryland Regiment which bravely fought and kept the Army from being overrun. They took two-thirds casualties, around 256 and the dead were buried in a mass grave. The location of that grave still remains a mystery.

While it was a defeat for Washington, his ability to retreat the following night and day proved a strategic masterpiece, allowing the Army to survive.

I touch on this tangentially in two books: Nine Eleven (the Staten Island Peace Conference) and Equinox (Nathan Hale’s execution).

New York City would become the center of British forces in North America throughout the Revolution.

Evacuation Day, on 25 November 1783, when the last British left the city was long celebrated in the city.

The statue of George Washington in Union Square Park commemorates Washington’s return to the city on that date. It is also in a scene in New York Minute.

On Evacuation Day 1864, the Booth Brothers (one named James Wilkes Booth) performed Juliet Caesar at the Winter Garden Theater. That same day, Confederate saboteurs attempted to burn down the city by igniting a building next door to the Theater. What a coincidence.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving Day and eventually Evacuation Day fell out of favor as it was now a redundant holiday.

Excerpted from: New York City Little Black Book 1: Secrets, History, and Trivia of the World’s Greatest City.

Area 51 discounts, Survival Guide free and exclusive deals on rare print editions


Yep, that’s a lot.

To start with the Green Beret Pocket Sized Survival Guide is free on kindle today and through Saturday. Other book deals are Eternity Base of the Green Beret series free, and Equinox (Time Patrol) discounted.

The first two books of the Area 51 series are also discounted to .99 or free in Kindle Unlimited. Area 51: The Sphinx is also discounted. Why my publisher decided to skip Area 51: The Mission, I don’t know. But all of them are in Kindle Unlimited.

My next book published is next month: New York City Little Black Book 1:  Secrets, History, and Trivia of the World’s Greatest City

It’s full of things I learned growing up and more that I picked up on my research for the Will Kane series which takes place in the city. Lots of fascinating stuff. And yes, there will be another Will Kane. I’ve started Shelter from the Storm.

 Phoebe and the Traitor is coming out in November.  

For those who are interested, I’m clearing out a bunch of boxes of books. If you click on the box on this page, you’ll see a list with links to eBay. Many are previous versions of titles or with covers that I decided not to use. They all have buy not options that are pretty low. Everyone I ship will be signed and be one less book we’ll have to move, whenever we get around to doing that, hopefully some time near the end of the year. To where? We know not.

In a few months, I hope to have an exciting announcement on a project I’ve been working on for the past several months. I’ll announce as soon as I am able to.

I hope everyone is surviving the heat. I am definitely looking forward to the fall!

Stay safe and enjoy!


Review: Irma Vep—the series.

Irma Vep

We caught the first two episodes last night on HBO Max and were sucked in. We came in cold, not having seen the latest movie, but it was so good we didn’t even see our latest Westworld episode, which is saying a lot.

We’re looking forward to seeing the rest of the episodes. Right now, it’s mainly about an actress who comes to Paris to make a TV series, Irma Vep, and the weird people who surround the making of that series. Every character is well drawn. Particularly engaging is the director, Rene Vidal, played by Vincent Macaigne.

Alicia Vikander is great as the protagonist, Mira. She’s wonderful as herself, and when she’s playing Irma.

The show violates a supposed rule in Hollywood which is don’t make shows about Hollywood, but this is set in Paris, so. Plus there are plenty of great shows and movies in this vein. Episodes, starring Matt Leblanc as Matt Leblanc was hilarious. The Player is a classic.

Looking forward to eight more episodes.

Highly recommended.