Write about what you fear the most.

That’s what I did again. I think if we all take a close look at our fears, we probably have more than a few, but there’s one in particular for me that has always been prominent in my life.

Anti Semitism.

I’m a descendant of two Holocaust survivors who lived out full lives. I’m beyond grateful for the chance to have had that time with them. I was able to hear their stories, but unfortunately, also witness the grief in their eyes. Though I was young when most conversations were in motion, I was old enough to understand the velocity of their stories. 

An Excerpt from Unspoken Words

The house in front of me was a vivid shade of blue—bluer than the sky, not as dark as the ocean. The color reminded me of a blue-bird. The framed windows were a shade of forest green, and there were two small windows on each side of the matching door. The roof was old and tattered but supported the one lonesome dormer-window in the attic. The flower beds beneath the front windows were empty, but I imagine they were full of vibrant blossoms in the spring and summer. Trinkets clung to the windows from the inside where a fire illuminated an empty table covered with a freshly prepared dinner.

I wasn't standing in front of that house to admire the unique colors and decor.

I had a task.

Sven shoved his elbow into my side as he walked past me, continuing down a line of Jews who were waiting for their next order. "Charlie, kill that woman. She is out of line," Sven asserted his command with an authoritative intonation.

I tried to step forward along the uneven cobblestones from where I was standing. The sight in front of me had me frozen. Through wisps of fog, I set my focus on the middle-aged woman. With dark hair, tied in an unkempt knot at the base of her skull, and loose strands hanging in front of her eyes, she appeared forlorn while shouting for her children. She was wearing an apron, probably from the food she had just finished preparing for her family when a group of soldiers broke into her quaint blue house. "Let my children go!" The woman was trying to protect her family—her daughter and son. Sven told me to kill her because she was crying for her children, and we aren't supposed to tolerate such a disgusting display of emotion from a Jew.

Sven stopped walking when he noticed I wasn't following him. He stood, staring at me, waiting on me to fulfill his command. I still couldn't move. Rather than follow orders, I glanced back and forth between the woman's daughter, who was being pulled away by a comrade I didn't know, and then again at the distraught mother. She was reaching her arms out for her daughter, who was already so far away. At that moment, I knew the two would never reunite. The thought made me feel sick.

"Kill her," Sven shouted. "Do it now, Charlie."

I knew of the punishment I could receive for not following orders from a superior, but I couldn't move my arms, let alone, handle a weapon.

Sven's hand pressed against the lapel of my coat as he pushed me away. "Coward," he muttered, passing by me.

Sven retrieved his rifle from the left side of his belt and aimed it at the mother's head, while the other comrade had the woman bent over in shame.

I couldn't do much else but watch her daughter grieve what would be an extraordinary loss in a matter of seconds. "I love you, Mama. Please don't hurt her!" the girl shouted in a plea.

"Amelia," the woman countered. "Fight and be strong. For me."

Amelia was the girl's name.

Amelia deserved a mother to face the horrors she was about to encounter.

"Mama, no," Amelia grunted. "Please, don't leave me!" Amelia pleaded as if her mother had a say in the matter. Though we all knew, only one person had the final decision, and Sven no longer had a heart in his chest.

Amelia's words buzzed over the blasting weapon. Her mother was taken down with one bullet. To the ground, she fell. Blood pooled instantly. The smell of gun powder was potent even through the thick air.

The world went silent for me even though screams were coming from all sides. The Jews were scared, especially while watching one of their own sacrificed as an example of what disrespect earns.

I watched that woman's daughter, Amelia; the pale complexion wash through her face as she stared doe-eyed at her mother's corpse. Amelia's head shook slightly with disbelief as she was pushed within a herded line, farther and farther away from her mother's body. Amelia couldn't have been older than sixteen or seventeen, and in an instant, her world had become darker than she likely ever could have imagined it would.

My chest felt as though it was caving in. No matter how many Jews I watched meet their ending day as Amelia's mother had, the pain never lessened, and the heartache only grew stronger with the sight of every new-fallen body.

I was not meant to be a killer.

I refused to hate, no matter what I was supposed to believe.

* * *

Hello. I'm Charlie Crane.

Like many people who lived through World War II, I have spent years reminiscing about those years—the memories, decisions, losses, and gains. While I know plenty of older folk like myself who put the past behind them, I prefer to keep my past current to avoid letting anything I left behind, die.

My life has had many ups and downs, trials and tribulations, death, and destruction that have made me wonder if my birth was a mistake. Surely, I was not meant to live the way I have. Though beyond my dismay, I will carry the shadows from eradication within my heart.

I was born in a small town of Lindau within Bavaria, Germany—a place where houses and buildings replicate much of the fairytales modern parents tell their children today. Colored facades, in every hue, with gabled roofs, white-framed windows, cross-hatch decor lining the walls, stone-work adorned with deliciously pungent flowers; the world as I saw it was picturesque, and I was none the wiser that a place outside of Bavaria could look any different.

My mama and papa were Hans and Anja, a bread baker and a seamstress—both innocent and quiet.

My family didn't have a lot, but we made do to get by; always dreaming of a day when life might become more comfortable for us all. We weren't shy about our wishes and hopes, but as I became an older boy, I often wondered if we were too open about our desires. I began to think that by having enough and recognizing what we had, my family would someday have more than enough. Although, who was I to tell someone how to dream? Especially when that someone was Mama or Papa.

"He will change the world," I remember Mama saying, speaking of our country's new chancellor. "You watch, Charlie, he will make things better for us all. We will have an answer to our prayers."

There was no answer to our prayers. Hitler did not make life better for anyone. Instead, he stole everything from everyone.

"I don't like that man, Mama," I replied, speaking out of turn.

"Charlie, do not talk that way. That is pure blasphemy. Our country needs change, and Adolf Hitler will do just that. You watch, he will." With a smart tap on my cheek, Mama pointed her finger, making her point clear, which only left me with more thoughts.

I was too young to understand the complexity and meaning of a country adopting a dictator as a leader. However, it might not have mattered how old I was, because Hitler's promises blinded many of us.

History was developing every single day. Life changed quickly for all young and old, men and women. No one was safe with their thoughts and opinions because we were no longer allowed to think on our own.

Hitler's troops tried to mold us—me, but I was a strong boy and a stronger man.

I bent, but I did not break.

Adolf Hitler made laws against loving a different kind.

Then, I broke the law.

It was the best decision I have ever made.

Unspoken Words will release on October 16th, 2019.

The Unspoken Words About Unspoken Words

It’s almost time to release my new book, and I’m so excited to share Unspoken Words with you all.

After Last Words released back in October 2017, I felt a longing to reconnect with the characters I spent so long with. At that point, I found a great storyline within Annie Baylin, a sub-character from Last Words. The Other Blue Sky came to life last October (2018). Spending another several months with these characters did nothing but create an even larger desire to stick with them. However, I came to a place where I had to decide if I would take the leap and write the point-of-view from the enemy's side.

If you aren’t familiar with Last Words, the story revolves around a Jewish prisoner, Amelia Baylin, held captive in a concentration camp during the Holocaust and a Nazi, Charlie Crane, who wanted to run away from his position of power. The two found a friend in one another—a forbidden friendship that could have resulted in untimely deaths..

Charlie Crane, the soldier—Nazi and SS guard, raised through Hitler’s orders has a story much different from one of a typical Nazi.

I continuously paused at the end of that last statement because in my mind, a Nazi shouldn’t deserve a story worth being understood, never mind, heard.

As a Jewish woman, I grew up in the fear of hatred, antisemitism, and the simple case of being a minority with religion. I hid the truth and kept quiet through my school years. However, it wasn’t as big of a secret as I once preferred. Regardless of the times changing and improving (relatively speaking), there were times when a swastika was drawn on my school bus window, spray-painted on my driveway, and etched onto my school desk. These instances only added to my fear—a fear of being proud of who I am.

I have said many times throughout my writing journey that I enjoy writing what fears me the most. Those stories seem to evoke my deepest emotions, so I like to dig in that area.

A Nazi, though … the thought terrified me. How could I write about a Nazi and spin it in a positive direction?

The research was endless, and so were my questions. How did such a large population come to hate an entire religion? The answers were out there, and I found them: manipulation, propaganda, and unimaginable tactics that brainwashed many.

There were many Nazis who were against what they were forced to do. Just as the Jews were left without a choice, many Nazis were given threats that would leave them in the same life or death situation.

At a young age, Charlie Crane was left with the unthinkable decision to protect himself or an entire religion.

Through Unspoken Words, I provide insight on the internal battles Charlie ensued and how he became a man with the power to kill. When the dust settled, Charlie did not move along in his life in contentment. As most would assume, his life was destined for a darkness that I dug into, understanding and realizing thoughts of a manipulated man more than I may have originally planned.

Now, reading back on Unspoken Words I see how raw, dark, emotional, disturbing, and truthful the story came to be. In the mind of most, Charlie would not deserve a happy ending no matter how the story spun, but since I don’t like to end a book with sadness, I had one heck of a time creating a realistic portrayal of Charlie’s journey—one that he needed to endure to find his peace in the world.

My goal was to offer myself a better understanding of the “enemy” and though it pains me to understand how much hatred grew during the years of the holocaust, I now have a broader understanding of how life came to be.

I have poured my heart and soul into this taboo story, and I am counting the days down until October 16th when I can share my words with the world.

If you haven’t already, I hope you find the time to read Last Words and The Other Blue Sky before Unspoken Words releases (Though, Unspoken Words can be read as a standalone).

Happy Valentines Day, Loves!

I’ll start this post by saying, I understand why Valentines day is so controversial. It’s a holiday that excludes anyone who isn’t in a happy relationship. Some people prefer to be alone, and some are going through heartache. It’s taken me a long time to understand the deeper meaning of this holiday, mostly because I spent so long yearning to celebrate it in the old-fashioned swept off my feet way. I’ve come to find that once you have that kind of relationship, you don’t need a day to prove it. Furthermore, I feel like I got a good taste of this comprehension while I sat in Starbucks, watching people walk in to the romantic atmosphere oozing with old songs that scream “love is in the air". Except there were so many people who looked sad or just stressed out, and I began to wonder if the holiday causes more heartache than love. I kind of wish Valentines Day would morph into the type of holiday where people show an act of kindness, or maybe just a day where people show love in general without the pressure of being in a happy situation in life. This isn’t an anti-Valentines day post because I’m thrilled for those who are happily celebrating. In fact, I do have a wonderful husband and we do little things to celebrate the days privately, but I don’t feel the need to prove it on one day of the year. However, I would like to offer kindness to everyone I can. If anyone needs a boost or a hug, I’d love to be that person.

With that said, I want to tell you all that I appreciate you. I’m grateful for you and adore the support you give me. If there is ever anything I can do for you, please tell me.

I was trying to think of something I could do for all of you, and while it’s hard to find one thing that will make everyone happy, I decided to make all the books in the Man Cave series free for just today. You can download the box set and keep them all for a rainy day :). If you’ve already downloaded the box set, you should update it because I’ve added the Milkman!

Anyway, I hope someone does something kind for you today because you deserve it <3.

Click to download! -> The Man Cave Collection