Working Together

This week I haven’t been feeling well. In fact, my eardrum burst in my left ear…twice, and it still hurts. So I sit here with pain shooting through my ear, trying not to think of the pain by thinking about how I can make this page better. On Tuesday, November 14, I had a marketing meeting with Lisa Frederickson about my book, Captured by the Enemy. We are working on making my Amazon page better. She suggested that I send a message to Chuck Bartok, another marketing genius who has worked with books similar to mine. My philosophy is that it doesn’t hurt to ask, so I sent him a message. Would you believe that he messaged me right back and offered to call me on the phone? A busy man with 57 years of marketing experience! He started at a young age and never quit learning. We talked on the phone for over an hour, and he looked at my FB pages and my website and gave me suggestions and advice as I tried to jot down the golden nuggets of knowledge. I have to say that I was slightly embarrassed by my lack of current posts on here. It was just the kick in the pants that I needed to get me going again. He told me to share the stories I’ve experienced through my life because those are what make us who we are. That’s important because my life does not just consist of my book, and I can share that with you. Did you know that after the landing page, the second most visited page is the “About Me” page? I didn’t, but I plan to share more life experiences through here. Then, we talked about how we all work together to make things happen, and I believe that is true. I look forward to make new collaborations with others because I have great hope for this book and any future books that are to come. When I sent Chuck a thank you message, he sent this back, “Keep me posted. Remember there are no mistakes, just better ways to get it done. That is why I am a strong advocate of “masterminding” with peers. Been doing it for 57 years.”  So my friends, that is why it is important to keep making connections, keep writing, keep sharing, and eventually sharing that great success that comes from it. We’re all in this together. Thank you for joining me on this journey.

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Greatest Video Book Review

Alan Mount gave me one of my greatest book reviews ever! Born in 1919, he knew exactly what was happening as he read my book, Captured by the Enemy, because he had been there fighting in the Navy right behind Carl. He remembered the action of WWII and was so impressed with the details in the book that he made me feel as if I had written a million dollar book. I had the opportunity to meet Alan and talk with him a couple times and discover the stories Alan had to share. Watch Alan’s review here:
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97-year-old WWII veteran, Alan Mount, shares his personal review of Captured by the Enemy

Educators–A FREE Book?

In honor of my granddad, all educators (homeschool, public, or private) have a chance to get a paperback copy of Captured by the Enemy: The True Story of POW Carl Leroy Good.

So, here’s the deal. I received a shipment of books that printed too dark (mostly on the pictures), but still read fine. I can’t sell them like that, so I will ship them out to interested educators (homeschool, public, or private) for only the price of what it costs me to ship media mail–$4.00! I only have about 20 copies available. The only way to get it at that price is to fill out the short form below. I will then send you the PayPal link. The first ones to pay, will receive the copies until they run out. The book itself is totally FREE.

Written as creative nonfiction (also known as narrative or literary nonfiction), it provides true stories with WWII facts and history. What gets better than reading an interesting book that reads as a novel but promotes learning at the same time? This style of writing gives the reader the best of both worlds. Depending on student maturity, I would say it would be best for 7th graders and up (Middle school, high school, and college history/war classes), but I would like to know what you think. Could it be used to enhance your curriculum? Could this book be used to teach about the personal perspective of WWII that doesn’t get talked about as much?

A friend of mine who taught college history courses said the following, “It may read as a story, but it is a true story, and that is more attractive to students than textbooks. This is the type of work that keeps history alive and makes it interesting to those who think it is boring and nothing more than dates and facts.”

To get your free book (just pay shipping expenses of $4.00), fill out this short form so I can send you the PayPal link:

If you submit it and it doesn’t show the information you submitted, try one more time. You should see a summary of your information.

Captured by the Enemy

True Story?

The other day I was disappointed to see that someone had left a one star review for “Captured by the Enemy.” I was even more disappointed to see that the person who left the review had only read a couple paragraphs before declaring that the book couldn’t be true because it read like a novel. He or she went on to boldly state that it was dishonest to label the book nonfiction. This has me shaking my head at so many levels.

Had the person taken the time to actually read the book, he or she would have realized that the book is clearly labeled as Creative Nonfiction. It is on the back of the book cover, in the Amazon description, and addressed in detail on the Author’s Note at the beginning of the book. What does this mean?

Creative Nonfiction means that creative elements, such as conversation and characters, have been added to help carry along the storyline. Therefore, it reads like a novel, but it is still 100% nonfiction. Every element in this book has been extensively researched and all of the stories are true. Since Amazon does not have a section for Creative Nonfiction, it is listed under nonfiction and history. There is absolutely nothing dishonest about this placement.

So for those who are wondering. Yes, this book is nonfiction. It is a true story. What gets better than reading a true story, full of history, but in the format of a novel? In my opinion–nothing. That’s why I wrote it that way. 🙂

The Search is On–Captured by the Enemy

I need your help. As I researched and put together my granddad’s story of Captured by the Enemy: The True Story of POW Carl Leroy Good, I ran across other men who shared his journey. One was the Lt. Col. for whom my granddad was driving when he was captured. The Lt. Col. was KIA and my granddad was taken prisoner. The other five men I am searching for were in POW Camp 59 (near Servigliano, Italy) with him when they escaped. I have searched for family of these men, but I have been unsuccessful in finding any. Now that the book is done, I want to share the story with them, but I need your help in finding them.  Here is what I have gathered:

  • Lt. Col. John Oliver Williams. He was KIA (Killed in Action) on July 16, 1943 in Sicily. He was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on November 20, 1903 to Henry and Jennie(y). He married and had three children: John Jr. (1931), Nancy Ray, and Judith Ann in Texas. Perhaps we could connect with one of them.
  • Private James (Jim) Martelli escaped from POW Camp 59 in a group of six with my granddad. He and my granddad paired off after a couple days and they remained in the Italian mountains until they headed to Allied lines over nine months after they escaped. They made it home, but Jim wanted to forget about everything that had happened and my granddad never heard from him again. His ASN (Army Serial Number) is 32423241 and he was from the Kings Co. New York area in the 1940s.
  • Army Medical Dept. James (Jim) Snodgrass escaped with them from POW Camp 59. He was there for a longer period of time. His ASN is 20614252. He was enlisted in Illinois.
  • Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. George Tucker escaped with them from POW Camp 59 in Italy. His ASN is 37175260 and was listed as being from Minnesota. He helped my granddad make it to the train that took them to Camp 59, after an explosion at the previous camp nearly took my granddad’s life.
  • Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. James (Jim) Kingsland. There is some confusion on this name. It was reported that Kingsland went down on the same plane as Tucker. My granddad said they both arrived to the POW camp together. However, he pronounced the name as James Kingsley who was in the Air Corp as well. Nevertheless, Kingsland’s information matches better and it could have been just a misunderstanding in the pronunciation of the last name. I am going with Kingland, but searching for anyone who many have more information. Kingland’s ASN is 16024924 and he was also listed as being from Minnesota. He also helped Tucker get my granddad to the train that took them to Camp 59.
  • PFC (Private First Class) Joseph Altomari. My granddad remembered the name as Joseph Olinix, but I could not find his information (British possibly?). However, Joseph Altomari was listed on the same paper as my granddad, Martelli, and Snodgrass after they made it back to Allied lines over nine months after escaping. This name needs to be proved. If you have any information on the name Olinix or Altomari, let me know. He also escaped from Camp 59 in Italy. Altomari’s ASN is 32105474 and he enlisted in Kings Co. New York.

Please share this information and help me connect with the families of these men. Many men did not talk about their WWII experiences. In fact, my granddad did not open up until he was older. Every man and woman who serve in war should be recognized, and I hope that I can share these stories with the families of these men. Thank you to all of our veterans and active duty military–you are the silent heroes walking among us.

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Get your signed copy of Captured by the Enemy now!

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Why should you buy this book–Captured by the Enemy? This book was written to retrace the steps of Carl Good through his WWII experiences. It combines history with his personal stories and recreates an amazing story. From his landing in North Africa to a second amphibious landing in Sicily, this book covers it all. When Carl was captured in Sicily, it details his experiences from the prison camps as he was moved ahead of Allied forces and into Italy. After a mass escape, he lived in the mountains of Italy for over nine months.

Learning more about WWII couldn’t be more interesting as the stories carry the history along. Since the majority of the civilian draftees were hard-working and clean spoken, this book has kept true to that element. It is a clean read and makes for a true story without all the vulgar, gruesome Hollywood scenes (true stories only.) This is what makes this book stand out against the rest. It can be read by advanced readers who are ready for WWII material and the atrocities associated with it, or it is a great read for adults as well.

Recently, it received a five star review on Amazon that compared it to the WWII book phenomenon–Unbroken. This one is for Carl–the quiet hero who never expected to be recognized, but deserved it through his amazing story of Captured by the Enemy.

Buy it from Amazon, or pay safely through PayPal here and get a SIGNED copy from the author for only $19.95 plus discounted priority shipping!

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Captured by the Enemy is looking for teacher reviews

Captured by the Enemy is a book that retraces the steps of WWII POW Carl Leroy Good. It was written so that his amazing story could be shared along with the WWII history that went with it. Through interviews, memoirs, division reports, WWII records and books, and lots of research, this book takes you for a ride in Carl’s jeep as they move across North Africa and into Sicily. When Carl is captured in Sicily, his life is changed forever and the first two chapters deal with that change as he tries to readjust to normal life. Unfortunately, life can never be the same as he returns to the war in his dreams.

Author, Crystal Aceves, is currently looking for teachers (3rd grade to post high school) who would be interested in reading a free Kindle version of Captured by the Enemy. Carl would have been 96 years old on July 3, 2015. Therefore, in his honor, this book can be downloaded FREE from Amazon Kindle for these three days only–July 3, 2015-July 5, 2015!

Click here to get Captured by the Enemy on Amazon Kindle

In exchange, the author asks for an honest Amazon review and that participating teachers fill out the contact form below. Besides the free Kindle download on the days listed above, any teacher who responds by leaving a review will be entered to win a $100 gift card to purchase classroom supplies at http://www.reallygoodstuff.com/ . The chances of winning will depend on the number of teachers who participate (must have at least three submissions to hold drawing). Only one gift card will be randomly selected for one lucky teacher. All forms with required suggestions will be due by Saturday, July 25, 2015. The winner will be announced and contacted through email on Monday, July 27, 2015.

(UPDATE–I did not have enough submissions to have a winner, but I will do one more free day soon and the contest will continue. Keep your eyes open for the new contest date!)

Please pass this information on to any teacher who might be interested. Thank you!

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Final full layout

Final full layout

A special commemoration in Italy

I have mentioned several times that through my journey of research, I have connected with many wonderful people. Recently, I was asked to write a letter for Riccardo Funari.

For those of you who are new or who don’t remember who Riccardo is, let me briefly explain. Riccardo Funari was a WWII Italian Partisan who fought for a free Italy. He didn’t want to be repressed under the Fascist rule and especially not under the rule of Hitler when Germany took control after the fall of Mussolini in 1943.

How does this relate to me? Well, my granddad, Carl Good, was captured in Sicily and ended up in a prison camp in Italy. After a mass escape, his path crossed with Riccardo’s. Many years later, Riccardo was recognized for what he had done for his country and a memorial was set up in his honor. This year, the commemoration was held today in Italy, but through Riccardo’s nephew, Ricardo Funari, and his great-niece, Vanesa Funari, I was able to be part of this special day.

Although I couldn’t be there, my letter to Riccardo was read at the church and Ricardo and Vanesa were there to send pictures and keep me updated. Vanesa sent me a message saying it was very rainy and although I’m sure it was inconvenient for the commemoration, I found it somewhat fitting. The night before Riccardo was killed, it was raining. Staying under umbrellas, they put up a beautiful wreath in Riccardo’s honor, and then moved over to the church.

Commemoration for Riccardo Funari 2015 (taken by Vanesa Funari)

Commemoration for Riccardo Funari 2015 (taken by Vanesa Funari)

Once they were at the church, my letter was read to those who had gathered for this special day. Here is what I had to say (pictures of the area were sent to me by Vanesa and Ricardo Funari today and I have added them into the letter so you can see where this all took place.)

Dear Riccardo,

My name is Crystal Good Aceves. Perhaps you will better recognize the name of my grandfather, Carl Leroy Good. When my grandfather escaped into the mountains outside of Camp 59, he had no idea where he should go. He was with five other prisoners and they only knew they had to get as far away as possible. As they climbed the mountains into the night, the adrenaline pushed their weak bodies towards Monte San Martino. After going all night, they only made it to the edge of town where they hid in grass and brush to wait through the hot day until it was safe to walk again.

Monte San Martino in 2015 (taken by Vanesa Funari)

Monte San Martino in 2015 (taken by Vanesa Funari)

View of Monte San Martino in 2015 (taken by Vanesa Funari)

View of Monte San Martino in 2015 (taken by Vanesa Funari)

The next night, they started walking and met a man who was a neighbor to your family. His name was Giovanni Straffi and although he didn’t own his land, he was a good, hardworking, Italian farmer who wanted and believed in a better Italy.

Riccardo, I know you wanted the same thing. You could have stayed home and rested after being injured in war, but you chose to fight. You knew that Italy deserved more than to be under the control of the Fascists and the Germans. You knew that to free your family from the pain and suffering, you had to step up and join the fight from a different position.

Together with your friend, Gino, you were not afraid to join with Decio’s group of Partisans in the mountains. You chose to defend your country with other men who agreed that living in fear and punishment was no way to live. You were tired of the enemy stealing your things and threatening to kill you. Although my grandfather and his friend, Jim, wanted to join you, it was too dangerous with their limited Italian and American accents.

However, you helped them when you could. They hid in a ditch across the road from your house in a hut made of plants. The hope was that they would be secluded enough that the enemy would not find them, but it would also allow them to view the lower roads and the farms of the families who were helping them.

The house where Riccardo Funari lived with his family before he was killed by Fascist (taken by Ricardo Funari in 2015)

The house where Riccardo Funari lived with his family before he was killed by the Fascist (taken by Ricardo Funari in 2015)

Looking away from the Funari house. My granddad would have spent a long and hard nine months surviving in this area.

Looking away from the Funari house. My granddad would have spent a long and hard nine months surviving in this area. (Picture taken by Ricardo Funari, 2015)

Another view of the mountain side (Picture taken by Ricardo Funari, 2015)

Another view of the mountain side (Picture taken by Ricardo Funari, 2015)

You took them food and information whenever you visited your family. You invited them to go with you to return the stolen grain the Germans had taken from the people back to the hungry Italians who deserved it. My grandfather was able to get some for the families who risked their lives to save his.

That rainy night in April when you went home, you stopped and talked to my grandfather and Jim. My grandfather said he would see you tomorrow, and he really thought he would. It tore him up when he woke up at the light of dawn to find the Fascists had discovered you at home. He could do nothing to help you as those Fascist pigs lined you up against the ox stall. They put your mother on one side of you, your father on the other side, and your brothe beside your mother. Then they shot you in front of them (this story differs from the family in that his mother wasn’t allowed to look out the window from where she watched or they would kill her too.)  Then the enemy took everything from your home, including the livestock. Your mother screamed an unearthly scream. You were her son. You were her protector. She didn’t understand why you chose to risk your life and fight with the partisans. Her agony and pain of losing you was so deep that she scratched the wooden floors with her fingernails, but that wasn’t the end.

The house where Riccardo Funari lived with his family before he was killed by Fascist (taken by Ricardo Funari in 2015)

The house where Riccardo Funari lived with his family before he was killed by Fascist (taken by Ricardo Funari in 2015)

Even after sixty years had passed, my grandfather told me about you by name. He told me that you had a heart of gold. He wasn’t able to trust many at that time while he was hiding in the mountains, living day to day, but he trusted you. I could see the look of remembrance in his face when he mentioned your and Gino’s names as he slightly smiled. He thought highly of you two and respected you for taking the positions you did. You gave the ultimate sacrifice and several months later your Italy was freed from that oppressive power against which you fought.

My grandfather survived over nine months in the mountains near where you lived. You would be happy to know he made it to Allied lines on June 21, 1944—not even two months after you were killed. He made it because like you he was a fighter, but also because you and the community you lived in worked together and helped keep him alive.

Carl Good in uniform in WWII

Carl Good in uniform in WWII

Your family moved away from Italy after the war, but you were never forgotten. Your blood boldly runs through descendants who honor your name. I am privileged to call your nephew, Ricardo, and your great-niece, Vanesa, my friends because we have a connection through you. Now, seventy-one years later, I write you this letter to tell you thank you. Thank you for helping my grandfather. Thank you for fighting for justice. Thank you for giving the ultimate sacrifice.

Sincerely,

Crystal Aceves

Coming soon there will be a book that puts all of Carl’s war experiences into one true story. I will let you know when that is ready.

Carl's book to soon be released

Carl’s book to soon be released

Connecting

As many of you know, I wrote a book about my granddad’s WWII experiences. In fact, I worked on it since 2008. There were many reasons why it took me so long–the main reason being life. However, I did not quit. I kept working on it and researching and discovering. I tracked his steps from his landing in Fedala, Morocco, as he passed through Algeria into Tunisia, as he made a second amphibious landing into Sicily, his capture in Sicily just 6 days after landing, going from POW camp to POW camp and ending up in Camp 59 near Servigliano, Italy, and his escape into the nearby mountains where he lived near Monte San Martino for over nine months. Nine months may not seem like a long time, but when you’re in the open mountains during the wintertime with little food and people are out to kill you, it most certainly becomes an eternity.

On my journey of research, I found and connected with several people who answered questions and helped fill in the blanks. It is interesting how these people I had never met in person began to feel like long time friends. Here is one such story.

As my granddad was still surviving in the beautiful Italian mountains, he wasn’t able to enjoy the scenery as spring approached. Having just made it through the cold winter, starvation had become a very close neighbor. Not far from where he stayed, there was a young man who had become a partisan for Italy after being injured in the Italian Army and sent home. His name was Riccardo Funari. In short, Riccardo was discovered by the Germans and they went and shot him in front of his mother, father, and younger brother, Umberto. My granddad heard the commotion and saw the murder take place. There was absolutely nothing he could do about it, and the image was permanently burned in his memory.

Seventy years later, as I researched the story and put facts together, I found Umberto’s son, Ricardo. Umberto had moved to Argentina after the war and raised his family there. However, because Riccardo died for his country, he was listed as a hero of the people and not forgotten. Although Umberto had passed, Ricardo and his daughter, Vanesa, were most helpful. Ricardo was still living in Argentina, but Vanesa had moved to Italy and lived close to the area where my granddad had spent those nine long months. They were happy to hear from me and gave me some wonderful information that added to my story. They were proud of their family history in Italy and Vanesa shared stories and pictures. They also helped connect me to other knowledgeable people in the area who could help me fit missing pieces together and recreate such a fascinating story. I have enjoyed the friendships I gained, and I hope to meet them some day. This is the fun part of the many hours spent on research, and it was worth every minute.

Italy, Monte San Martino, mountains of Italy, POW

This is the area where my granddad hid out for most of his nine months near Monte San Martino, Italy. Vanesa Funari sent me this picture. Thank you, Vanesa.

This is just a very small part of what will be found in the book, Captured by the Enemy. I have lots of great stories to carry the book along and although it is a true story with lots of history, I promise you that it will not be a boring read.

Once again, here is the full spread. It will be available for sale this year.

Once again, here is the full spread. It will be available for sale this year.

I can’t wait for you to get to read it.