International Best Seller Colin Falconer

stories of romance and epic adventure

WAS THERE REALLY A JACK AND ROSE ON THE TITANIC?

And did they have gorgeous sweaty sex in the backseat of a 1912 Renault?

The answers to these questions are: yes, yes and probably not.

titanic, jack and rose, renault, jack dawson, James Cameron, the writer and director of ‘Titanic’ actually based Kate Winslet’s character, Rose du Witt Bukater, on American artist Beatrice Wood.

Like Rose, Beatrice was the daughter of wealthy socialites and defied her parents to pursue a career as an artist. She lived an extraordinary life, earning accolades as an actress as well as pioneering the Dada art movement (she was called the ‘Mama of Dada’).

She also gained a great reputation as a sculptor and potter and her private affairs – she was reputed to have had a love triangle with artist Henry Duchamp and his friend Henri-Pierre Roché – scandalised America.

Then, when she was 90, she took up writing. Her 1985 autobiography was called ‘I Shock Myself.’

She was 105 when she died – when asked the secret of her longevity she said:

‘I owe it all to chocolate and young men.’

But Beatrice was never on the Titanic.

titanic, jack and rose, renault, jack dawson,

Beatrice Wood photo: Sheryl Reiter

There were two Roses who were and who survived the sinking: one was Rosa Abbott, a third class passenger, who jumped into the water with her two sons. She the only woman and the only passenger to be pulled from the water and survive – the rest were crew.

Sadly, her two sons died in the water.

The other Rose was Miss Rose Amélie Icard, who was a maid to Mrs George Nelson Stone. She and Mrs Stone were rescued by the Carpathia in lifeboat 6.

But what about Jack Dawson?

There was a J Dawson on the Titanic, but the ‘J’ stood for Joseph, not Jack and he was a member of the Titanic crew.

He had grown up in the notorious Monto tenements slums of Dublin and when he was twenty he escaped by joining the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was posted to Netley, one of the largest military hospitals in England – just three miles from Southampton.

It was there that he met a man called John Priest, a coal trimmer on the White Star liner, Majestic.

Through him he met Priest’s sister, Nellie, and the two fell in love.

titanic, jack and rose, renault, jack dawson, After leaving the Army, Dawson joined Priest in the boiler room of the Majestic, before they both signed on for the maiden voyage of the Titanic.

When they hit the iceberg, Dawson had the foresight to put his National Sailors and Firemen’s Union card – his card number was 35638  – into his dungarees before going topside. The card was found on his body the next day.

His friend John Priest survived; but tragically his sister Nellie lost her sweetheart.

Did her heart go on? We will never know.

Dawson was buried in Nova Scotia where he rested in relative obscurity before finding world fame 85 years later after the release of the film.

His grave is number 227 in Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia and has since become a shrine to many of the movie’s fans, who leave photographs, cinema stubs and pictures of themselves on the grave.

graves from the Titanic at Fairview Lawn (Photo: Archer10 (Dennis)

those who died on the Titanic are buried here (Photo: Archer10 (Dennis)

Some even leave hotel keys – though I wonder what they’d do if they heard the key turning in the lock at night, as Jack has now been dead a hundred and four years?

Now the question you’ve all been dying to know

Would getting on the door have saved Jack?

the iceberg that sunk the Titanic - but its fame has since melted away

the iceberg that sunk the Titanic – but its fame has since melted away

On the night of the sinking, the sea temperature was around 28° F.

Our bodies lose heat about thirty times faster in water than in the air and when our core temperature falls under 89° F, we start to lose consciousness. Under 86° F and heart failure can occur, which is the most common cause of hypothermia-related deaths.

So Jack could have survived for up to an hour, as he was young and fit and not trying to swim – people who move around in the water lose heat much faster.

However several people died from cold that night even in the lifeboats, so even if Rose had helped him up onto the door – and I still think, after all he’d done for her, she could have had a better go – there were no guarantees.

Now, more importantly – could they have had sex in the back seat of Jackie’s car?

from Titanic (1997) - copyright 20th Century Fox/Paramount - claimed under fair use

from Titanic (1997) – copyright 20th Century Fox/Paramount – claimed under fair use

It is believed there were about thirty cars in the Titanic’s hold, all but five belonging to first class passengers returning from touring holidays in Europe – but only one is actually listed on the manifest.

It belonged to Titanic survivor William Earnest Carter, and it was a 1912 35 HP Renault Coupe de Ville.

Cameron looked for Carter’s original documents for the vehicle so that the car could be recreated almost exactly in the film. But what Cameron didn’t show us is that it was almost certainly packed in a wooden crate so unless Jack had a claw-hammer with him, the answer to the question above is – ‘probably not.’.

Besides, even if the car wasn’t in a box – I don’t believe our Jack would ever have cheated on Nellie.

His heart would have just gone on.

 

Everyone loves a love story. Love can bring out the worst in us, but it can also bring out the very best. Like this … 

 

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COLIN FALCONER

 

 

HOW MICROWAVED FOOD CAN HELP YOU GET MORE BOOK REVIEWS

So many authors, so few reviews.

Reader reviews are so important – but how to get more of them? reviews, books, funny, humourIt’s a question authors agonize over all the time.

Well the answer is: know your audience and have a really catchy title.

Like Sonia Allison and the brilliant: Microwave For One.

Although her book was published with little fanfare almost thirty years ago, she still attracts five star reviews …

Like this one from David Hiett:

THE PERFECT COMPANION PIECE FOR THOSE WITHOUT A COMPANION

“A great follow up read to ‘Drinking for One’, ‘Sex for one’ and ‘The 5 People You Meet in Heaven’. “

And no surprise she won another 5 stars from ‘Joe’

“I merely mentioned the title of this book to a lady with a shopping cart. Now I’m microwaving for two.”

But not everyone was sold. She only got 3 stars from Michael Pemulis:

“It used to be that I got home from work and the only thing I’d want to put in my mouth was the cold barrel of my grandfather’s shotgun. Then I discovered Sonia Allison’s Chicken Tetrazzini, and now there are two things.”

Sean Bennick wasn’t quite so sure about his hardcover version:

“After only 18 minutes in the microwave, the book caught fire. It did have a nice smoky flavor, but the middle chapters caused some paper cuts on my tongue.”

Derek S had this to say:

“I have to turn on the lights to read this book, but at least it’s better than sitting alone in the dark again.”

Johnny Redleg gave it five stars and then called some of his fellow reviewers on their shit:

“Many of the comments for this Volume are clearly facetious and should be ignored. Most folks are saying this because they only bought her first book, and haven’t read any further. Sonia Allison has been writing great books for singles for years, and this book barely scratches the surface of her warmth and willingness to help those who live alone.
“Undoubtedly, her books have helped me to survive the aftermath of my wife’s alien abduction, which was so sudden she could only relay a few scant details about it in that sealed letter she taped in desperation on the bathroom mirror. For months, I would read that note over and over at nights by the light of my unused microwave. Well, sometimes after traumatic events in one’s life, we need a guiding hand to pull us through–and when I tripped over this book which was propping up the short leg on my Formica coffee table, and picked it up, and began to read… I began to live again!”

It seems Allison has correctly identified her target demographic: ladies like Katrina Whetter:

NOTHING SOAKS UP TEARS BETTER THAN MICROWAVED GARLIC BREAD

“After a hectic day at work this book helps me put down the gun and pick up a cutting board! With delicious meals like this made comfortably in the prison-like confines of my sad lonely cold home why would I ever leave and shuffle my morose grotesque visage into public? These meals are not only delicious but affordable and quick for a ‘busy’ single woman like me! Before this book my dinner was only Vicodin and wine but now I can have an entree with it! Thank you Sonia for this great book!”

It seems Allison has a way of writing that touches peoples’ souls:

THIS BOOK MOVED ME

“Me and the wife had been having a few rocky moments. After reading the first chapter, I thought enough is enough. I took the book, rented a bedsit and bought an 800w microwave. I’ve never been happier even though it’s a bit of squeeze when the kids visit.”

Though it must be conceded, this book hasn’t helped everyone:

CRYSTAL METH IN FIVE MINUTES

“My life has been hell since getting this book. Learning how to cook moonshine in a microwave has saved me thousands of dollars in booze. Problem is, her temperature specs were off and I went blind. The brail (sic) copy of this book costs twice as much, and since I lost my job, I can’t afford it. I need a copy badly, as the only way I can make a living is using her Crystal Meth in five minutes recipe, but I can’t remember it. I think the cat got into my last batch, he’s very stiff and cold and never moves.”

A reviewer called Amanda is already getting her followers prepared for the next book:

“Awesome book. Don’t forget to pick up her follow up book where Sonia takes you south of the boarder in Microwaving for Juan.”

reviews, books, funny, humourLooking further down the page I noticed that Allison’s readers have also bought: Sex For One, by Betty Dodson, How to Avoid Huge Ships, The Jewish-Japanese Sex and Cook Book by Jack Douglas and Crafting with Cat Hair by Kaori Tsutaya.

Don’t assume her avid followers just sit home and read! They also bought products like Radiant Farms Unicorn Meat (in a can), an Inflatable Evil Unicorn Horn for Cats and a UFO Detector for $87.66.

I am not making this up.

If you’re sitting at home on your own and you’re hungry, go here and pick up a copy.

Or, if you love historical fiction:

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COLIN FALCONER

Richard III and Leicester City FC – back from the dead

Something strange just happened in Leicester, in the English Midlands.

Richard III, Leicester City FC, Claudio Ranieri, Jamie Vardy, Shakespeare

Richard III’s cortege. Source: Kris1973

After narrowly escaping relegation from the English Premier League last year, and starting this season as 5000-1 outsiders, Leicester City just won the Premier League.

In doing so, they left billionaire clubs like Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United eating their dust.

It has been called the biggest shock in sporting history.

So what could account for this miracle?

Richard III, Leicester City FC, Claudio Ranieri, Jamie Vardy, Shakespeare

source: Robrto Viccario

Well much credit goes to their affable Italian coach, Claudio Ranieri, who took over at the beginning of the season and inspired a team of budget professionals with his ‘dilly-ding dilly-dong’ tactics.

He is surely one of the most likeable characters ever to grace a dug out.

And yet this was a manager who, at 64 years old, and after a long career in Italy and Spain and one stint at Chelsea in England, had never won a major title.

So could there have been other, stranger forces at work?

The team’s fortunes turned, somewhat eerily, in April 2015, shortly after the reburial of King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral.

Richard III, Leicester City FC, Claudio Ranieri, Jamie Vardy, ShakespeareThe English monarch was the last of the Plantagenets and was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field, just outside Leicester, in 1485. It was the last major battle of the War of the Roses and was immortalised in Shakespeare’s Richard III.

Richard, of course, is known to history as Shakespeare’s murderous hunchback – or was he?

Remember – England’s greatest playwright was not writing history, he was writing to entertain – and also to please a Tudor monarch.

So Richard was undoubtedly maligned for dramatic purposes after his bloody death on the battlefield.

History, after all, is written by the winners.

‘A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!’

Richard III, Leicester City FC, Claudio Ranieri, Jamie Vardy, Shakespeare

source: Sue Hutton

Like Leicester’s premiership win, the chances of ever finding Richard’s body was considered a long shot.

The belief that Richard had been buried in the grounds of a medieval friary – now a social services car park – was long overshadowed by a local legend that a mob had thrown his remains in the city’s river, the Soar, at nearby Bow Bridge.

In fact, among the exhibits in the new Richard III Discovery visitor centre, is a photograph of archaeologist, Richard Buckley, munching a strangely-shaped piece of cake – he said that if the city’s archaeologists ever found the long lost king ‘he would eat his hat.’

But find him they did.

Richard III, Leicester City FC, Claudio Ranieri, Jamie Vardy, Shakespeare

source: SnapperQ

The skeleton they unearthed had several unusual physical features, most notably a sideways curvature of the spine attributable to adolescent-onset scoliosis.

Further forensic examination showed multiple wounds on the king’s skull indicating that he was not wearing his helmet at the end; he may well have lost it when his horse became stuck in the marsh. (Though there was no evidence of the withered arm that afflicted the character in Shakespeare’s play.)

It took two years to track down two female-line relatives.

Richard III, Leicester City FC, Claudio Ranieri, Jamie Vardy, ShakespeareThe first was a British-born woman who had emigrated to Canada after World War II, Joy Ibsen. She was a direct descendant of Richard’s sister, Anne of York (and therefore Richard’s 16th-generation great-niece!).

She had died in 2008 but her son Michael agreed to a mouth-swab sample. It proved a perfect match.

Then the mitochondrial DNA of New Zealander Wendy Duldig, a 19th-generation descendant of Anne of York, also proved a match apart from one mutation.

But where to bury the last Catholic, Yorkist king?

Richard III, Leicester City FC, Claudio Ranieri, Jamie Vardy, Shakespeare

source: Isananni

Once confirmed, the British Royal Family made no claim on the remains – Queen Elizabeth II rejected the idea of a royal burial – and attempts were variously made to have Richard buried in Westminster Abbey and York Minster, (which some claimed was Richard’s own preferred burial site).

Some even wanted him returned to the Leicester car park in which his body was found – presumably he would have had his own ‘Reserved’ sign and a traffic cone instead of a tombstone.

All options were rejected, with Leicester mayor Peter Soulsby saying:

“Those bones leave Leicester over my dead body.”

Please, Peter. No more dead bodies.

Richard III, Leicester City FC, Claudio Ranieri, Jamie Vardy, Shakespeare

King Power stadium: Yes, really

So reinterment took place in Leicester Cathedral on 26 March 2015, in a televised memorial service held in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, a distant relative of Richard III, read a poem specially written by the poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

And this where it gets curiouser and curiouser; because at the time Leicester were rock bottom of the Premier league table and set for relegation.

They had won just 4 out of 29 games and looked well – dead and buried.

Richard III, Leicester City FC, Claudio Ranieri, Jamie Vardy, Shakespeare

source: Ronnie McDonald

But from that day they went on to win seven of their last nine games to haul themselves to safety.

The following season, as rank 5000-1 outsiders, they overcame the greatest sporting odds in history to win the English Premier League.

It seemed Richard came through for the city that had finally given him a home.

Was he present at the King Power Stadium – for that indeed is the name of Leicester City’s home ground – when they beat Everton 3-1 and were crowned Premier League champions?

Because wait, it gets weirder.

Richard III, Leicester City FC, Claudio Ranieri, Jamie Vardy, Shakespeare

Jamie Vardy’s Ranieri’s “horse”. Source: Pioeb

How well does Ranieri know Shakespeare?

Because when asked to describe his talismanic striker James Vardy in an interview with the Players’ Tribune, earlier this season, he said:

“This is not a footballer. This is a fantastic horse.”

Perhaps just the horse Richard was looking for – just 531 years too late.

 

And here’s another strange story from England’s real life Game of Thrones …

 

Isabella, Braveheart, Edward IIAMAZON buy3._V192207739_IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST WHY NOT JOIN MY NEWSLETTER?

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COLIN FALCONER

WHAT WAS THE REAL STORY BEHIND THE FRENCH PRINCESS IN BRAVEHEART?

GORGEOUS. DEFIANT. LOOKS GREAT IN A SKIRT.

But enough about Mel Gibson – let’s talk about Sophie’s Marceau’s character in Braveheart, the beautiful French princess who is also Edward Longshank’s daughter-in-law. In the film she has an affair with Mel and then gets pregnant to him, breaking the royal English line.

BRAVEHEART, ISABELLA, EDWARD II

Sophie Marceau in Braveheart (20th Century Fox)

It is a tale of adventure, romance and terrible butchery – with English and Scottish history being mutilated beyond recognition.

But who was the REAL Isabella of France?

She was born in 1295, so she was ten years old and still living in France when Mel Gibson – William Wallace – was executed, so she certainly never met him, or have an adulterous affair with him.

The facts of her life are far more spectacular.

Isabella in fact succeeded where Wallace didn’t; she raised an army, invaded England and deposed Longshank’s son, Edward II, and ruled as regent for four years.

So why doesn’t history remember her as Braveheart? 

BRAVEHEART, ISABELLA, EDWARD II Isabella’s father was Philip IV of France – Phillip the Fair.

Yes, she was beautiful, but she was royal, and raised to be more than Mel Gibson’s love interest.

She was highly intelligent and had great diplomatic skill.

At 12 she was married to Longshank’s son, Edward II, as part of a political alliance.

But Edward soon became notable for his lack of aptitude for kingship – as well as his lack of interest in women.

That doesn’t make him the bad guy in the story either – but for a bright and politically astute woman, it was a terrible match.

Roll the clock forward fifteen years …

Isabella is starved of affection and has been sidelined in the political arena by her husband’s “favourites”. Were men like Piers Gaveston and Hugh Despenser the Younger just his advisers – or were they more than that?

BRAVEHEART, ISABELLA, EDWARD II

Isabella condemning the producers of Braveheart to a grisly death

Whatever the truth, by the time she was thirty, she faced a stark choice; retire to the country and spend the rest of her life with her needlework – or rebel.

She chose: Freedom!

When I went to school in England, I was told the last person to invade England was William the Conqueror in 1066. This was actually not true.

In 1326 Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer, raised a mercenary army in the Low Countries – by marrying her oldest son off to a the daughter of the Count of Hainaut.

As invasions go, it wasn’t quite D-Day.

Braveheart, Isabella, Edward II

Castle Rising photo: William M Connolley

The fleet got lost and landed miles from where she and Mortimer had planned.

Not that it mattered; by then, her husband Edward was so deeply unpopular that the barons of England welcomed her and Mortimer with open arms and the invasion became more of a bloodless coup.

She named herself Queen Regent and she and Mortimer assumed the rule of England – and not once did she have to wear a kilt and paint herself blue.

But it didn’t last.

Four years later Mortimer was himself deposed by Isabella’s own son and she was retired to Castle Rising in Norfolk and lived on for many years in considerable style, until her death in 1358.

Isabella, Braveheart, Edward IIPoor Sophie Marceau. History has repeatedly painted her as a beautiful ‘femme fatale’  – cruel and manipulative, and calling her The She-Wolf of France.

Braveheart was really the final insult.

And Edward II? Although he was an accomplished warrior – if not a very able tactician – he has similarly been portrayed as weak and effeminate.

Was that really how it was? It seems trite, doesn’t it?

I always imagined the truth to be less simple, and far more intriguing …

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COLIN FALCONER

SILK ROAD

 Jen Talty has made a new trailer for my best seller, “SILK ROAD”, which has just been re-jacketed.

I think the trailer’s fantastic, and I’d like to share it with you.

IF YOU’D LIKE TO GET A COPY, JUST CLICK ON THE COVER BELOW!

SilkRoad(11)

 

A GREAT LOVE OF SMALL PROPORTION

historical fiction, spain, seville, granada, Colin Falconer, reconquista, love

 

My big book with CoolGus is released this year on May 10!!

It’s called A GREAT LOVE OF SMALL PROPORTION. I’m really excited about this one …

We’ve just released the trailer.

 

And if you’re on my newsletter you’ll be able to read the first chapter. You can join the newsletter here.

And if you want to know why I wrote it, and some background about the novel, you can find out at The Falconer Club on Facebook … (You can find out how to join in my newsletter.)

You can pre-order your copy here: just follow this link!

COLIN FALCONER

THE COMANCHE FROM BERLIN: JULIA ROBB’S ‘DANCES WITH WOLVES’

We all remember Kevin Costner’s best movie, Dances with Wolves, in which Mary McDonnell played a white woman who had been captured and raised by the Sioux.

final boy nov. 12This wasn’t the product of a Hollywood scriptwriters’ imagination. It was a fate shared by many, the most famous was  Cynthia Ann Parker.

Which leads us to this book: The Captive Boy.

I don’t do usually run posts promoting anything, and I don’t do reviews or interviews – so don’t ask me! But in Julia’s case, I’m making an exception.

Because it’s just a fantastic book. Her writing style reminds me of Cormac McCarthy, she’s that good. So after I read it, I asked her over for an interview.

A little about your writing background. You were a journalist for many years, right?

DSC02968I was a journalist for twenty years; I covered everything from cops to features to investigative stories.

One of my most memorable stories involved following the blood trail made by a drug dealer who was fleeing another drug dealer.

The guy (I refuse to call him a victim) burst into a stranger’s house, seeking refuge, but his assailant tackled him and cut his throat.

I didn’t know anyone could bleed that fast.

Well, the throat’s a sensitive area, I guess. Now one sentence: what’s The Captive Boy about?

Col. Mac McKenna recaptures August Shiltz from the Comanche and becomes his foster father, only to see August flee back to the tribe and become his greatest enemy.

What inspired you to write this novel? Is this based on a true story?

final boy nov. 12Inspiration? I wanted to show readers that America’s frontier army was a brave group of men. We should be proud of them. I know I am.

Boy is based on the lives of many white captive children, taken here in Texas. They ended up as sad people. Many witnessed the murder of their families, and were then forced into a culture completely different from anything they had known.

Many adjusted and were even happy with the Indians. Most Comanches loved their children and did not draw a line between the adoptive kids and their birth kids.

But when the army recaptured the children (or they were, in some instances, traded back) they lost the Indian culture, and those parents, and were again bereft.

Most of these kids, if not all, ended up as unhappy and unstable people who were unable to keep jobs or maintain relationships.

August Shiltz, my captive boy, tried to recover his balance after the cavalry took him back. The reader can decide if he was successful.

How did you research this?

I read everything possible, and had a 100-page research book compiled before I even started writing.

I owe a lot to Scott Zesch, who authored The Captured, a non-fiction account about the fate of captured white kids.

What was the hardest part of writing The Captive Boy?

frederic-remington-indian-in-headdressThe research.

Every organization is detailed, but the Army runs on routine and rules and uniforms and bugle calls and so much I can’t even make a list.

And the Comanches lived in a traditional, rigid environment, so the writer better get it right.

Your favorite quote from the book?

I liked two places especially well. Here is part of the scene in which Asha (August’s wife) has been captured and is living (chastely) in McKenna’s house, and he discovers her in a revealing situation.

The scene is narrated by Eliza, Asha’s chaperone.

21d215c4b41b5ad5ee5c5e6eae92fbda        A few weeks ago, I offered to help Asha wash her buckskin dress. She’s a smart person and learns fast, so she took her dress off and dropped it in a tub of soapy water, and put on a chemise I brought for the occasion.

        The chemise is very thin white cotton and clings, and Asha is dark, so it was possible to see things that a man should never see, and it also left her ankles and shoulders bare.

        Between her braids and bare feet and her womanly aspects, she looked very fetching.

        I heard something and looked up from the tub and was shocked to see Col. McKenna standing in the shadow of the door, wrapped in darkness, so rigid and still.

        Had I not been there, he could have done anything and my dear, I know it’s indecent to say such things, but I felt he would have done something; if you know what I mean.

        He never returns for the noon meal, and I had left the door ajar, as no one was in the house but myself and Asha.         She stared at him like a bird hypnotized by a snake.

        My dear, she didn’t even make an attempt to cover herself.

        It seemed the colonel would stand gazing at her forever, his eyes traveling to places they should not have traveled, then he turned on his heel and left the house.

I really enjoyed that because it was fun to introduce sex and sexual feelings into the book.

Then, I also enjoyed the place where August, who was having a parley with Mac, threw a scalp at him.

Hair-raising scene, that one. Sorry. Now most people would classify The Captive Boy as a western. What do you say to people who say: Westerns don’t sell?

Well, it’s not a Western. A western has strict rules (as do all genres), none of which I’ve obeyed for this book. The Captive Boy is an historical novel, meaning it explores the reason why things happened in this time period.

You have a lot of Cormac McCarthy about your writing. How do you feel about that?

6a0133f2e9fdbf970b019aff271024970d-800wiI’ve been told that, but I guess it’s just happenchance; I’ve only enjoyed one of Mr. McCarthy’s books, and that is All the Pretty Horses, which I consider an American classic, and perhaps the best American novel written in the last 25 years.

That said, I’m flattered anyone would compare me to him.

The scene in Horses where the protagonist crosses the Rio Grande and happens on the radio station is brilliant, and Jimmy Blevins, one of his minor characters, is one of the best characters in American fiction.

Are you working on another novel?

Yes, I’m deep in thought about another historical novel set in 19th Century Texas–but there’s not an Indian in it, thank God.

What’s your future direction – do you have a plan? What are your dreams for your writing career?

I don’t have a plan. Each time I come up with something, I end up saying, dash it, foiled again. But I can honestly tell you that I want what every other writer on earth wants and the ones who deny it are liars: I want sales, respect and eternal fame.

What are your favorite writers. Who inspires you?

1785937One of the reasons I write is to repay all the writers who have gone before me by helping to replenish the treasure house of books. They have saved my life; literally.

I can even remember books that enthralled me as a child. I remembered The Adventures of Remy (after fifty years). I searched for it on Amazon, read it again and loved it again.

I wish I had the room to wax eloquent about all the wonderful books in existence.

However, if anyone surpasses Lord Jim, by Joseph Conrad, I hope it’s me.

What makes you laugh? What makes your cry?

51eZ1sBtaYL._SX331_BO1204203200_Mrs. Duchek made me laugh. She’s a minor character in Del Norte, a novel I published in 2013.

Mrs. Duchek tried to stop Thomas, my hero, from capturing her husband and when Thomas failed to catch her husband, Mrs. Duchek said:

“Well, I guess that shows you.”

Many things make me cry.

I love Mac McKenna (from The Captive Boy) and his fate made me cry.

What are they going to write on your headstone, Julia?

Read my novels, you can find them at Amazon, or at your local library. Thanks, Julia.

COLIN FALCONER

 

 

the funny, bloody history of the Tower of London

I wish this guy had taught me history at school … I might have stayed interested!

[cta id=”8243″ vid=”0″]

COLIN FALCONER

DISAPPEARED: THE MOST TERRIBLE SECRET IN THE WORLD

What would you do if you discovered that your mother and father were not your real parents after all … that the two people who raised you knew the truth and hid it from you … that you were one of those children known as … the Disappeared?

Agencia de Noticias ANDES

source: Agencia de Noticias ANDES

What would you do?

How would you feel?

For most people it is almost impossible to contemplate.

But a year ago this was the situation that Ignacio Hurban had to face.

On August 5 2014, Ignacio received a phone call informing him that DNA tests had proved that he was the stolen grandson that Argentina’s most famous grandmother – Estela Carlotto – had been searching for.

Archivo Hasenberg-Quaretti 3

source: Archivo Hasenberg-Quaretti

Carlotto is the leader of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, which had been founded to search for the 500 babies stolen from political prisoners during Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship of the late seventies.

The organization worked with testing centers to carry out DNA analysis to find the missing babies.

Hurban had gone to them on a hunch.

Archivo Hasenberg-Quaretti

Archivo Hasenberg-Quaretti

At that time Carlotto’s group had managed to find 113 missing children – but that phone call meant that Estela had finally located the lost grandchild she had been desperately searching for herself.

Hurban was actually the son of Walmir Montoya and Laura Carlotto, leftist activists abducted by government agents during the regime’s “dirty war” of the seventies. Laura gave birth while in prison; she was murdered shortly after.

The infant was handed over to two farm workers by their employer, who had close ties to the military junta.

Thirty seven years later his ‘parents’ are now facing trial.

Archivo Hasenberg-Quaretti 2

Archivo Hasenberg-Quaretti

Hurban – who now calls himself Ignacio Montoya Carlotto – still speaks of them with some fondness. He said they had loved him and cared for him and given him a good life. Why should he hate them?

And Carlotta herself described just how difficult it had been for her and for him to sort through his tangled identity. With one phone call he had lost his entire history and now had to grapple with a terrible truth that until then had been kept secret from him.

It is unimaginable; and yet for hundreds of men and women, the secret still remains hidden, even today …

Disappeared, Dirty War, Argetine

 

AMAZON buy3._V192207739_LOVE, INDIA, TAJ MAHAL

12 WAYS TO SEE HISTORY

Not all history is in books.

Some of it you can see for yourself in a photograph.

history, world war two, blitz

What can you see here?

What you are looking at is a little boy who had just come home to find his house in rubble and his mother, father and brother dead inside.

It happened during the “Little Blitz” when Nazi Germany employed V-1 and V-2 rockets to bomb England.

It was taken in 1944 by the legendary photographer Toni Frissell.

The little boy survived the war and actually recognized the picture many years later when it was used to advertise an exhibition.

Hollywood, movies, MGM

‘Leo the Lion’ having his famous roar recorded in 1928 so that it could be heard throughout history at the start of every MGM movie.

The lion’s name was actually Jackie, though I suspect he didn’t come when he was called either way.

Mata hari, spies, world war one

The legendary World War One spy Mata Hari.

In this instance, she’s the one being spied on.

wild west, Billy the Kid, gunfighters

The only known picture of Billy the Kid.

It was taken some time between 1873 and 1881.

apache, geronimo, wild west

And one of Bill’s contemporaries, the legendary Geronimo.

He is seen here on the right with fellow Apache warriors, Yanozha (his brother-in-law), Chappo (the son of his second wife) and the inappropriately named Fun (his half brother).

The photograph was taken somewhere in Arizona in 1886.

Berlin wall, East Germany, Cold War

A mother in East Berlin passes her young son across the border to his father while the East German police are momentarily looking the other way.

The photograph was taken in August 1961.

bowling, history

‘Pin boys’ working in a bowling alley in South Street Brooklyn, in 1910.

It was taken at one in the morning. Three much smaller boys were not allowed to be photographed by the manager of the hall.

Machu Piccu, Incas, Peru

The first ever photograph of Machu Picchu, taken by Hiram Bingham III himself in 1912.

The beautiful peak of Huayna Picchu overshadows the city. On its summit were found a few rough caves from where Inca guards could once give warning of approaching danger.

What they couldn’t see coming was tourism, and hordes of western backpackers taking naked Selfies of themselves on the sacred sun dial stone.

einstein, relativity

Albert Einstein’s school report when he was seventeen.

Pupils were graded from 1 to 6.

As you can see, he performed quite well in maths, but in other areas there was Room For Improvement.

samurai, Japan

Satsuma samurai during the Boshin war period in the 1860’s.

You can tell it’s an old photograph because they’re not using Google maps.

elephant man, joseph merrick

Joseph Merrick, on whom the film Elephant Man was based.

The photograph was taken in 1886.

And finally:

abraham lincoln, slavery

Abraham Lincoln, before he became Abraham Lincoln, holding the anti-slavery newspaper ‘Staat Zeitung’ in 1854.

LOVE, INDIA, TAJ MAHALCOLIN FALCONER

 

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