Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Under the Nazi Heel - NEW Release

New Historical Fiction from Scott Bury

Under the Nazi Heel

Excerpt 8: Night Raid

The first wagon was beside the door, its horse moving nervously, trying to push its way back. The young boy driving it no longer held the bridle, but stood still, eyes wide. “Quiet that horse,” Maurice ordered. “Load as many bags and barrels as you can. Hurry.”

Kuchnir and Marchuk pulled Hammer’s body into the back of the wagon. Maurice and Spike loaded sacks of flour beside him. “Go on, get that out of here and make room for the next wagon.”

The boy led the horse around the barn, back to the opening in the fence as the other teenager led the next wagon over. Everyone pitched in, loading barrels and sacks. Minutes felt like hours, like days as Maurice kept looking toward the garrison.

Sweat stung his eyes and made his shirt cling to his skin.

With the second wagon full, Maurice slapped the horse’s rump, sending it around the barn like the first. Yulia led the third wagon, and the men had only loaded one sack onto the back when they heard the tailor’s voice. “Get out! Fritz is coming.” Maurice looked up as the tailor melted into the shadows. He heard pounding footsteps and saw shadowy figures running from the garrison, a hundred meters away.

From his left, he heard the tailor’s shotgun fire, and one of the shadowy figures fell. The gun roared again, and Maurice could see a German soldier get down on one knee to aim at the tailor.

Kuchnir fired at the guard, and Maurice fired his own pistol. Two more Germans fell, but in the dark no one could see how many were left. They could hear more running footsteps from the garrison, and shouts in German.

Maurice threw the gate open. “Go! Get out of here!” Yulia climbed into the seat behind the horse. Maurice heard the reins slapping the horse’s back at the same moment he heard another rifle shot. Yulia’s head jerked back and she fell into the bed of the wagon. “Shit!” Maurice swore and jumped into the wagon, firing his Luger at the Germans he could not quite see.

The tailor’s shotgun spoke one last time, and then the horse neighed and charged through the gate, nearly tipping the wagon over. Maurice pulled it to the right as Kuchnir and Marchuk jumped on. Marchuk had a huge revolver and fired again and again. Kuchnir tried to aim his rifle but fell into the back. A bullet smacked into the side of the wagon and the horse ran even faster. They rattled over the railroad tracks. Marchuk, sitting beside Maurice, had to hold his fire for fear of hitting Kuchnir, who managed to crouch down in the wagon bed with his rifle barrel resting on the side, and fired toward the German guards behind them. Maurice pulled hard on the reins, turning the horse toward the forest and escape. The horse jumped over the railway track and the wagon followed, tipping to the right. Maurice slammed into Marchuk, who dropped his revolver but managed to grab onto the wagon and stay aboard.

Then they were under the trees, in the protecting shadows of the forest. Maurice gave up trying to steer, trusting the horse to follow a path, any path away from the Germans. He bit his tongue as the wagon shook over ruts and bumps.

“Maurice,” Kuchnir called. “She’s not dead. She’s wounded in the head, but she’s still breathing.” Maurice looked down, but he could barely see the outline of the girl’s body, sprawled on top of bags of flour.


Under the Nazi Heel

Walking Out of War, Book 2

For Ukrainians in 1942, the occupying Germans were not the only enemy.

Maurice Bury was drafted into the Red Army just in time to be thrown against the invading Germans in 1941. Captured and starved in a POW camp, he escaped and made his way home to western Ukraine, where the Nazi occupiers pursued a policy of starving the locals to make more “living space” for Germans.

To protect his family, Maurice joins the secret resistance. He soon finds the Germans are not the only enemy. Maurice and his men are up against Soviet spies, the Polish Home Army and enemies even closer to home.

Experience this seldom seen phase of World War 2 through the eyes of a man who fought and survived Under the Nazi Heel.

Find it on Amazon.

About the author

Scott Bury just cannot stay in one genre.

After a three-decade career in journalism, his first published fiction was a children’s story, followed by an occult spy thriller. The Bones of the Earth, his first novel, crossed the boundaries between historical fiction and magic realism. He has also published spy thrillers and two police procedurals set in Hawaii.

Under the Nazi Heel is the sequel to Army of Worn Soles. They describe the real life experiences of Maurice Bury, a Canadian living in Ukraine during World War 2.

You can find all of Scott’s books and other writings at his website, The Written Word.

Read his blog, Written Words

Find him on Facebook at Scott Bury Author

Visit his Amazon Author page

Or follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

Also, check out book 1: Army of Worn Shoes

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Crazy Drivers Stink ... 11th Time Around The Force Awakens is Still Awesome

Part of seeing The Force Awakens a ridiculous amount of times has been the adventure of checking out new theaters. I used to see it in tiny theaters very close to my apartment, but as time goes on, the only places that still have it are those that keep a ton of movies for a long time. This time, I stopped at the AMC at the Garden State Plaza on a Tues mid-afternoon.

I nearly got run over in the parking lot.

Not kidding about that, unfortunately. You'd think we were pod racing. It was raining and parking spaces in the deck were hard to come by. Mind you, there were spaces, just outside under the pouring rain. I found one and put my blinker on to indicate that I'd take it as soon as the person pulled out. And the idiot in front of me backed up. I beeped, checked the mirror, and reversed in time to avoid a collision. I didn't have much time to think, but thankfully, I had enough sense to move my car out of the way before the fool hit me. Try explaining that to a cop, "yes, it looks like I hit him from behind but he really backed into me because he couldn't stand the thought of walking twenty feet in the rain."

Doesn't exactly give one the warm fuzzies when thinking about the state of humanity. It's a parking spot, people, there's no reason to come across as a complete nincompoop. I know drivers in NJ have a reputation to keep, but yikes ...

I digress.

Can I just say I am blown away by how many people are still watching this movie?

I tried to count discretely, but I lost count somewhere mid-sixties today. Granted, the theater was nowhere near full, but for a Tues in the middle of the day with a movie that's been out since Dec 18th, that's quite impressive.

And yes, I still noticed new things. I think I miscounted the times Finn gets knocked off his feet. On Jakku alone I think the number's near 4-5. Would be fun to see how many lines I actually remember at this point, but I'm sure the script's already floating around the internet somewhere. There are only two-three highly convenient points that are hard to explain. 1. How Finn knows Rey's going to be taken to the Starkiller Base. 2. How Rey knows where to find Finn after the duel with Kylo Ren. The woman must have a killer instincts in tracking, which is possible given her job as a scavenger. 3. How Chewie finds Rey and Finn. Timing's not always clear in the movie, but it still flows very nicely. I love some of the transitions. A lot of the scenery is downright gorgeous.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Star Wars The Force Awakens – By the Numbers

Tenth Time's the Charm

*Definitely contains spoilers*

As usual, I found all images on the internet, and I make no claim of owning any of 'em.

I have no idea why I felt compelled to count, but as I saw the movie subsequent times, I found myself keeping track of events by the numbers.

6.02 x 10^23 (ish) - # of CGI trees that died for this movie. (Starkiller Base pretty much takes out a forest while firing

the first time on the Hossnen System – sorry about the spelling; the Falcon cuts a nice swath through another forest while landing on Starkiller Base; planet explodes = bye, bye trees)

6.02 x 10^23 (ish) - about the # of times I can listen to Rey’s Theme

6.02 x 10^23 (ish) - seemingly about the # of steps poor Rey had to climb on that Jedi island at the end of the movie.

12 - # of X-wings that head into the battle over Starkiller Base

10 - # of times I’ve seen it in theaters as of 2/9/16. (Note: That’s largely what I’m basing this off of, so some of the counts might be slightly off. Please feel free to comment with any corrections you noticed. I could have very easily missed something. I’ve only seen it 10 times, mostly at 1 week intervals and a few with some shoddy neighbors using cell phones right in front of me. What is it with people and their dang phones in the movies. Grrr. If you wanna play on the phone do others a favor and skip the movie, just play Candy Crush to your heart’s delight.)

10 - # of Tie fighters Poe shoots down in the fight over Maz’s cantina

7 - # of X-wings that fly out of the battle over Starkiller Base

6 (ish) - # of time Rey’s referred to as some version of “the girl” (Unkar Plutt to his thugs telling them to get the droid; First Order officer in his report; Kylo Ren’s reply “What girl?”; Maz to Han “Who’s the girl?”; Kylo Ren to Rey right before he kidnaps her “The girl I’ve heard so much about.”; Han to Chewie “The girl knows her stuff”)

5 (ish) - # of times Finn was knocked off his feet (Tie fighter crash, encounter with Rey’s bo staff, Tie fighter assault on the tent, fight with the Stormtrooper wielding an electrified weapon, fight with Kylo Ren)

5 (ish) - # of main characters captured (Poe, Rey – extended; Han, Chewie, Finn – briefly)

5 - # of planets taken out by Starkiller Base’s massive attack on the Republic

4 (ish) - # of Tie fighters Finn destroys (2-ish on the escape – it’s hard to tell how many explode and I’m not sure whether to count the one he was shot down in, 2 on Jakku)

4 (ish) - # of time Rey cries (talking to Maz, as Kylo Ren’s “guest” – when he’s trying to get the map out of her mind; Han’s encounter with a lightsaber; over Finn’s unconscious body)

4 (ish) - # of people Rey hears in her vision (Luke, Yoda, Obi-wan, Vader)

4 - # of dropships sent to Jakku to retrieve the piece of the star map.

4 - # of times heroes say “I can do this.” (2x in a row Finn, then Rey)

4 - (at least) # of trees cut with lightsaber on the Starkiller base during the duel with Kylo Ren (Kylo hits one while fighting Finn, I think he hits another just into the fight with Rey, and she hits at least two during the duel.)

3 (ish) - # of Stormtroopers Rey shoots

3 (ish) - # of times Poe calls someone or something “buddy” (BB-8 2x, Finn)

3 - # of times BB-8 gets told to haul it on Jakku alone. “Come on BB-8” – Poe “Stay close” (Poe, Finn, Rey)

3 - # of times Rey either knocked off her feet or knocked out (once escaping Jakku, KO’d being kidnapped by Kylo Ren, blasted up and into a tree right before Finn fights Kylo Ren)

3 - # of Stormtroopers Poe shoots to free Han, Finn, and Chewie at the battle around Maz’s cantina

3 - # of Stormtroopers Finn kills in the battle around Maz’s cantina (one he runs through with a lightsaber, two he shoots once getting hold of a blaster)

2 (ish) - # of lightsaber vs equipment hissy fits Kylo Ren throws

2 (ish) - # of times Han calls Finn “Big Deal”

2 - # of people Kylo Ren freezes with the Force (Poe, Rey)

2 - # of modifications Unkar Plutt made to the Falcon that Han and Rey think are stupid (he did something to the fuel pump and something else that puts stress on the hyperdrive)

2 - # of times Han borrows Chewie’s bowcaster.

2 - # of people tortured with the Force by Kylo Ren (Poe, Rey)

2 - # of times BB-8 had to use his grappling hooks (once during the escape; once when Finn and Rey left him in the smuggling hatch)

2 - # of times main characters try to run away (Finn, Rey)

2 - # of people BB-8 almost takes out while rolling his way over to reunite with Poe (Finn, random Resistance fighter)

1 - # of blaster bolts Kylo Ren freezes with the Force

1 - # of times Han uses his signature line – “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”

1 - # of people who actually believe Finn works for the Resistance (just Rey; BB-8 and Han and probably Chewie are skeptical from the first moment)

Other observations:

- First thing Rey says isn’t in Basic. (She’s essentially yelling at Teedo to get off her turf and turn that droid loose.) “Your antennae’s bent” is her first Basic line.

- BB-8 has the first line of the movie and almost the last. I think R2-D2 gets in a last second beep, though Chewie’s shout to Rey is close.

- Finn claims Chewie almost killed him 6 times. “Which is fine!”

- Han warns Finn that women always find out the truth.

- 60 portions – price Unkar Plutt put on BB-8’s little metal head.