Before the Belle Approved for Printing

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All of us have been waiting patiently for the publishing process for “Before the Belle” to finally bear fruit. Yesterday we received word from our publisher our manuscript has been approved for printing. According to our publisher we will be receiving sample copies of the completed work within a week. After checking for print errors and providing approval, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play and iTunes should have the print version listed in the next couple of weeks.

It’s been a long journey from conception to completion. Compiling facts and visuals along with suitable dialogue has been nothing short of a labor of love. We’re astounded how much we’ve come to appreciate what the crews of the 93rd Bombardment Group endured in the early air war over the European and Mediterranean Theaters of Operation. We as authors feel we’ve come to personally know each member of the crew of Hot Stuff.

The “Belle’s” back cover reads as follows:

On May 3, 1943, a lone American B-24 on a secret mission from Bovington airdrome in England neared the Icelandic coast bound for the United States. Captain Robert “Shine” Shannon was at the controls. He and his nine man crew of Hot Stuff had been honored two weeks earlier as being the first heavy bomber in the Eighth Air Force to complete 25 combat missions. That number was a benchmark established by the Army Air Force for bomber crews to be rotated back to the United States where the plane and its crew would tour the country to promote the war effort.

By the time Hot Stuff and its crew received word they were to rotate back to the States, they had endured not just 25 but 31 combat missions. A combat mission was defined as anytime an American aircraft came under hostile fire over enemy territory.

Hot Stuff was honored to be chosen by Lt. General Frank Andrews, commander of all American Forces in the European Theater of Operations, to fly him and his staff to Washington, D.C. for an undisclosed purpose. However, the accomplishments of Hot Stuff and its crew along with those of Andrews went unheralded in the annals of World War II.

We all look forward to the debut of “Before the Belle”.

The Heat is On

93rd Bomb Group formation flight. Near aircraft is Consolidated B-24D-25-CO (S/N 41-24226) "Joisey Bounce" and second aircraft is (S/N 41-24147) "The Duchess." (U.S. Air Force photo)

After a very comfortable spring in Central Texas, we’re now paying the price – the temperature has soared to the 100s for the past couple of weeks. Everything we do we do in air conditioned comfort.

Since our last posting, we’ve been busy with three editing cycles of our manuscript which chronicles the life of the WW II B-24 heavy bomber named Hot Stuff. The historical narrative is tentatively entitled Before the Belle. We have included 38 visuals consisting of seven maps and 31 photos. We sent our publisher the latest and final edit on 27 July. We’ve been informed by the publisher that the book will be released in October.

We have engaged a professional model builder to build a plastic 1/48 scale model of a B-24D. It will have the exact markings as Hot Stuff to include the nose art. BTW, Hot Stuff is one of the rarer WW II aircraft to have nose art on both sides of the fuselage. The model is expected to be completed by Labor Day and we plan to have it encased in a clear plastic enclosure for display at book signings and other events.

In between editing cycles we’ve been putting the final touches on another novel as yet to be titled. The mystery entails special federal protection for a man believed to have been killed by the mob. The main character is guided by fate and is able to extract vengeance through unorthodox  means.

We’re taking a few days off to stay at a B&B. We plan on doing the good stuff – visiting museums and antique malls.

We hope you all have a great summer.


Hot Stuff

Photo 2 Kp7_3kx4KIPTcHuAYkOYE9uQtQRsaDOZn9Bw6m6Z6rsGood news! We signed a contract with a publisher for our historical novel tentatively titled “Before the Belle.” We have submitted the manuscript along with historic photos gathered from relatives of the airmen involved, national archives and museums around the country. We want to extend our appreciation to all those who helped us bring this very poignant WW II saga to the forefront of a new generation.
On May 3, 1943, a lone American B-24 christened “Hot Stuff” took off on a secret mission from Bovington airdrome in England bound for the United States. “Hot Stuff” had been honored two weeks earlier as being the first heavy bomber in the Eighth Air Force to complete 25 combat missions.
“Hot Stuff” was chosen by Lt. General Frank Andrews, commander of all American Forces in the European Theater of Operations, to fly him and his staff to Washington, D.C. However, the accomplishments of “Hot Stuff” and its crew along with those of Andrews have been relegated to a footnote in the annals of World War II.
Our purpose in writing this narrative is to enshrine these heroes.
According to our publisher we expect this book to be released by November 2015.
We will keep you apprised of our progress as we go along.

A New Year Has Begun

With the holidays and our having suffered a bug, we fell behind on the saga of Hot Stuff. However, for the last couple of days we’re back on track working on the manuscript.
We have over 80 K words at the moment and we’re reviewing the whole manuscript as it stands today. As we go along we’re making small adjustments in the writing and adding needed details. In addition we’ve begun selecting photos and maps to be included in the finished product.
The writing is being characterized as a historical narrative and is not a pure documentary. By this we mean the characters, places, dates and events are actual based on research. Only the dialogue is the product of our imagination. We feel by adding actual conversation with the slang of the era, we give the reader a glimpse into the 1942-43 world of seven decades ago.
We chose a human approach using dialogue. In this way we hope to bring the characters to life, each with his own personality.
The chapters are now titled and we took care to describe each of Hot Stuff’s individual 31 combat missions.
At the end of the narrative we discuss what could have been if circumstances had been different.
The game’s afoot in search of a publisher.

New Novel in the Works

It’s been a while since we last updated our blog. The reason is we’ve been consumed with writing the true story of Hot Stuff, a B-24 bomber in WW II that completed 31 combat missions months before Memphis Belle, the B-17 that is so well known.
We want to tell the true story of the first heavy bomber in the Eighth Air Force to complete more than 25 combat missions, the magic number required to allow the crew to rotate back to the United States and gain some fame as well.
Our background information comes from extensive research conducted by Jim Lux, an Austin, TX retiree. He spent years working with the Commemorative Air Force, an organization that rebuilds and flies vintage WW II aircraft. One of his friends, the bombardier on Hot Stuff told him about the exploits of the brave crew members. The old veteran related that Memphis Belle may have been the first B-17 to have completed 25 combat missions in the Eighth Air Force, but Hot Stuff was the first.
Our compelling story follows the bombardier’s log and key events of every completed combat mission. It relates what the bomber crew went through to survive enemy antiaircraft fire and fighters over hostile territory.
It was the breaking up of the crew just before returning to the United States that led to a tragic ending.
In addition to the research material we used, we enjoyed conversing with Jim Lux and a living member of a B-24 crew.
As our manuscript approaches closure, it will require some time before the novel is published complete with myriad photos.
Although we haven’t come up with a title as yet, watch for Hot Stuff in the coming year.