Thursday, January 23, 2014

War Passions

Happy January! My name is Tara Fox Hall, and I’m here to promote my new Lash Series Book, War, the third installment in this paranormal fantasy action series with historical elements.

First off, let me say that I never expected to feel passionate about World War II. When I began writing the Lash series book which takes place during World War II, I didn’t know very much about World War II at all, other than there were Axis and Allies as opponents, and it had been fought in the early 1940s. I began researching that time period, to make the novel realistic historically. I planned to add a few battles, a couple key historical figures from the war, and that was going to be it; the rest of the book would all be fictional adventure. To facilitate this, I obtained several thick tomes detailing out every aspect of WWII, which gave me a lot of dry facts. I also watched many movies done of that time, as well as hundreds of hours of documentaries with historical footage and survivors telling their actual experiences, to get a feel for the time period, slang, and culture.
Before I wrote this book, I did not understand what war was, or how it could change someone who lived through it so utterly. I lived through war times myself, but those were foreign wars, where I remained safely in on United States shores and saw no real fighting. There was little impact on my day-to-day normal life. No soldiers camped on my property, stole my food, hurt me, or killed my loved ones. My sleep was not disturbed by gunfire, or my home and livelihood destroyed. I had taken many history classes in college, but most of the true horrors of war had been edited out, or smoothed over…errors that documentaries and historical footage made crystal clear to me. A fact on a book’s page of thousands dying in a battle I never heard of before is not that moving, and easy to forget. Seeing a 70 year old man crying as he remembered his friends dying in a burning tank, or the translation of an old woman’s words as she shakily told of how she hid herself and her sister from the Nazis while the rest of her family were shot to death outside their home absolutely wrecked me.
The more I learned of the true horrors the populations of Europe went through—especially retold by soldiers who had lived through it—the more historical facts I began to include, until this fiction book had vast sections of true historical data, much more so than the previous Lash books. I didn’t expect to be so affected by my research, but there was no way to tell a book about war without including all its horrors, both those that soldiers went through, and the tremendous life-altering situations that ordinary citizens faced in their day to day survival.
This experience got me thinking of how many other people in our tech savvy cyberworld might have no idea how terrible a world war is, or what World War II was like. And it suddenly became very important that I share what I had learned with others. Our World War II veterans are dying at the rate of about 600 per day. Many, like my grandfather who served in the Navy, died young. Currently, there are approximately only 1.2 million veterans remaining of the 16 million who served our nation in World War II; men like my great Uncle, who served in the Army Air Forces. That is why I dedicated the book itself to all the people who fought in World War II, or lived through that life altering conflict. You truly were the Greatest Generation. God Bless you…and thank you.

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Blurb from War: Weresnake Lash journeys to Europe on the eve of war, desperately searching for not only his nephew, but also his former lover Nancy. Leveraged into service to Germany by the malicious German werecougar Theodor von Kessel, Lash befriends fellow soldier and weresnake Dieter, even as he secures safety for Nancy. When Theodor divulges The German Final Solution and the part they are destined to play in it, Dieter and Nancy attempt escape to England while Lash orchestrates distraction. Horrified to learn upon his escape that Nancy and Dieter were captured, Lash returns to Europe in a second rescue, banding with another weresnake called Nails and his motley crew of various weremen to free Dieter and Nancy from the camps where they are imprisoned. Caught by demons in an ambush, Lash is imprisoned in a death camp, but breaks free with Dieter in time to join the American Forces near D-day. Resolute, Dieter and Lash fight onwards with Allied forces to Germany itself, their goals to find Nancy, kill Theodor, and survive the final bloody days of World War II.

Excerpt: “Don’t ask any questions,” I said coldly. “Just meet us here before your next mission.”
            “That is tomorrow,” Dietrik hissed back at me, his own fangs growing in anger. “There is no rotation of crews.”
            “Watch your temper,” I cautioned, another evil smile gracing my lips. “The snake will come out of you with any strong emotion. And that includes sexual release.”
            He jaw worked, but to my grudging respect, he contained the transformation this time. “Thank you for the warning.” He put on his hat, then holstered his gun. “I’ll send a car for you.” He strode out.
            I’d either engineered our escape or sealed our doom. I went upstairs to Evans, praying he was asleep.
            “I can’t believe you turned him,” Evans hissed to me the next morning as we waited for the car. “You realize he can now make his whole crew snake, right?”
            “Being snake doesn’t save you from drowning,” I hissed back, remembering my mother’s warnings long ago. “We’re not immortals. You were done for if I hadn’t saved you. We’re both done for if we don’t get out of here. Now shut up.”
            After the car’s arrival at the shoreline, we were blindfolded, then taken to the underground bunker where the U-boats were docked. After boarding, we were left alone in a small room, the only sound the whine of the boat’s engines. I could feel the pressure as we dived and resurfaced, but that was all. Evans’ constant hissing and bitching drowned out all other noise.
            Hours later, we were taken to the deck of the U-boat and our blindfolds were removed. Dietrik was there in front of us alone, waiting.
            “You are AWOL, Lash,” he said softly. “You’re wanted for questioning in the disappearance of another officer as well.”
            He was no match for me, not newly turned as he was. “Yes,” I replied, then stared at him, waiting for him to make a move.

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