In the News

Can’t beat an article in the newspaper to help let readers know what this book is all about. Read below to see what it had to say:

In the News

In the News

‘Captured by the Enemy’ is Tribute to Grandfather’s WWII Service

It took eight long years, but 18 months after moving to Ponca City, the tribute was finally finished and author Crystal Aceves released her book, “Captured by the Enemy: The True Story of POW Carl Leroy Good.”

As a 12-year-old, Aceves was inspired by her grandfather Carl Good’s 1945 account of life as a prisoner of war and his subsequent escape. “…Although I was only twelve years old at the time, I was mesmerized by his story. It was so interesting and it made me proud that my granddad had lived through such an ordeal and he didn’t let it ruin the rest of his life.”

While Aceves was a college student, she interviewed her grandfather for a college paper. “As I started researching and things began to match up, I wanted to know more. With my granddad’s blessing, I began the journey to write a book that retraced his steps through WWII and the history that went with them.”

And the process of interviewing, gathering stories, researching, and writing began.

“Captured by the Enemy” covers Good’s landing in North Africa with Patton’s 3rd Division. Aceves retraces his steps across North Africa and his preparation for a second amphibious landing into Sicily. The book shares Good’s stories of Sicily during WWII until he is captured by the enemy.

After his capture, the book takes the reader through Good’s experiences in POW camps and participating in a mass prisoner escape into Italy. The book then shares Good’s harrowing life of living on the run for over nine months in the cold Italian mountains. It is a hard look at how the war and the stress from being hunted for so long changed him.

“It is an amazing view from a different perspective of WWII that shares a true and honest view of a hardworking draftee. The language is not harsh because most WWII draftees were not vulgar when speaking,” Aceves said. “It was a time when it is still okay to speak of God and to admit that in war many nonbelievers became believers when it came down to it. It is a good read for teenagers who are prepared to read about the atrocities of war, but it also makes an excellent read for adults who are looking for a true story written about an everyday hero.”

It certainly was not an easy journey to put it all together. When Aceves came up with the idea, she was finishing college, had three young children, and flipped houses at least yearly with her husband and his real estate profession. Although the real estate career changed, the moving did not. As she worked on writing and researching, she lived in Kansas, Iowa, Texas, and Oklahoma. While in Texas, she and her husband had their fourth child. Despite the sleepless nights and exhausting days, Aceves was determined to finish this tribute to her grandfather and veterans like him. The last three years were filled with long, sleepless nights, but she was determined to finish—and finish she did. She chose to put a picture of her family on the back of the book because everyone was involved during the years it took to write it—and yes, she is struggling to keep up with the toddler.

One “Captured by the Enemy” reader wrote a review on Amazon, awarding the book five stars while stating “Just as good as ‘Unbroken.’ You won’t be disappointed.”

With a smile, Aceves added, “I certainly hope you will not be disappointed. It is wonderful piece of history that was made from the true stories of my granddad. It recognizes him as one of the many soldiers who bravely fought in WWII and then was left to adjust to life with new and unforgettable scars that would last him a lifetime.”

Jail Time, Poo, and Writing

Just let me say, I have never even scraped my knuckles with the law before. However, lately going to jail doesn’t sound like such a bad idea—as long as it doesn’t involve a lie detector test (more on that later). I know that must sound awful, but let me explain how I reached this level of desperation so you can avoid it completely.

It’s quite simple, really. It’s all because of this idea I got back in early 2008—the great idea to write a book. Not just any book, but a historical non-fiction book on a subject that was very close to my family and me. After reading a wonderful article by Derek Murphy recently, I now know why you should never, ever do this as a first book. Unfortunately, his awesome advice came about six years too late for me. Take heed, readers, take heed.

So anyways, writing this great book was my call in life. After all, I was finishing my senior year of college with three young children, a hard earned 3.87 (yes, missing summa cum laude by .03 still makes me mad), and moving every year as my real-estate involved husband flipped our houses. Even so, with me loving research and writing, it was a match made in heaven! Although, I have since learned the devil is awfully deceiving.

As my graduation approached and the ideas bounced around in my head, I excitedly awaited all the free time I just knew I would have—just me and my book. With my youngest daughter going into kindergarten soon, it sounded too good to be true—time to write was almost mine. It was so close I could smell it as I skipped across the green pastures of hope.

Turns out, there must have been some poo in the green, luscious grass because somehow my life plans were tackled to the ground…and I landed in it along with my plans. For with the fall of our local real estate market (our livelihood), I had to go out and use my hard earned education and get a job. I really, really didn’t want to get a job that would take up the few precious hours of free time (aka writing time) that had filled my dreams. However, I had no choice.

Scouring the newspaper, I found something that didn’t seem too bad and paid fair…a police dispatcher. Let the process begin, I thought. Wow! I never knew what dispatchers went through to get their jobs. As I interviewed and learned of the horrendous shift swinging schedules, including holidays, I knew I didn’t want the job. However, needs and wants are two very different things—I wanted to write, I needed to work. While the police took my fingerprints at the jail and questioned every human with whom I had ever had contact, I started researching and working on my book. Without a lot a time, I would take what I could get.

When I passed all my extensive police checks, I was taken in for the mother of all tests—the lie detector test. I wasn’t afraid. I had nothing to hide. However, being in the police station with a big, serious detective who doesn’t smile much is somewhat intimidating.

As I sat in the hard chair and he began strapping cords across my body and arms, I felt like maybe I was going to be electrocuted. Please, sir, all I want is a job.

However, that was only the beginning. At 5’2” and 115 pounds, I felt I didn’t meet the stereotype of big, burly, muscular lie detector tester. This was confirmed as the bands tightened around my body and sent throbbing pain to the areas being restricted. Maybe the detective was an EMT in a prior life and confused these bands with tourniquets. Feeling the blood pounding through my body, I thought I was going to explode—literally. Although I mentioned this to the no-messing-around detective, he wasn’t at all concerned and continued to ask me questions.

Wow! Good thing I am an honest person because I was only concentrating on making it out alive. It’s a true wonder anyone works at a police station after such questioning. I guess I may have gotten my name written on the school board in third or fourth grade?

After all the trauma of that lie detector test, I didn’t get the job. It turned out that I was just too family oriented. And to be completely honest, that was another reason I wanted to write. I wasn’t ready to be gone all the time and miss school parties and programs. I didn’t need a lie detector test to know that. Well, at least I had tried.

Interviews for my book, writing, and research could continue for a short time more until I found something else. I quickly got stuck in a familiar routine—live, work on my book, live, work on my book. Somehow, these two things don’t mesh together. You have to force it to happen as life flows in unknown directions. As I got my insurance agents license, as I taught nights until I could get enough day hours, as I moved from Kansas to Iowa, Iowa to Texas, and Texas to Oklahoma, as I had another child (almost ten years younger than the last), as the years passed, my book was still there like an unwanted, lingering, nagging hangnail. This is why I completely understand what George Orwell meant when he said, “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
This explains a lot! It is the writing demon that makes me go in public without the comfort of make-up while quickly pulling back my hair in a sloppy ponytail, all for the hope of catching some writing time. It makes me put off the extra load of laundry, cook a late supper, and procrastinate all other projects until they become a priority. It is what makes me spend a sleepless night with the idea of never quitting—the idea of finally finishing.

This brings me to today.

With only two chapters left and the research mostly complete, I can once again smell success. This time I will dodge the piles of poo and sprint to the finish line. Wait. Speaking of poo, what is this? My not-quite-two-year-old son is showing me his feet. Praying that he has found some chocolate while playing behind me in the playroom as I pound away on the computer, I smell his feet. Yep, having just gone potty, I left him diaperless for a few moments as I wrote.

Taking a deep breath (but not too deep considering the circumstances), it is almost humorous because I want to write so badly. Once again, my book gets put on hold as I take him to the bathtub… and then on to scrub the carpeted floor of the playroom. Apparently, he doesn’t mind jumping in poo. This is when I think, I need a vacation!

Knowing that a vacation by myself is not going to happen, I wonder how quiet it is in jail. What could I do to get just one week in jail? Could I just go and ask if there are any free cells for the week, or poke at an officer and make an unoriginal doughnut joke? Wait a minute. Have I really stooped this low for some quality writing time? Whoa, I can see how my creative juices may have gotten a little too creative as I sit here and think about how scoring some jail time sounds like a good idea.

Then again, I’ve already been fingerprinted, interviewed, and passed a lie detector test, so I deserve just one week of pure writing bliss—no sibling rivalry, no chores, no whining, no laundry, no crying, no cooking, no expectations, no dishes, and most of all, no poo. I will finish my book one way or another, and if I can do it—so can you.

This is an article that I wrote for a contest. If I win, I get a free book edit. I really want to win. 🙂

If you enjoyed reading this article, please share from the contest page:

UPDATE: I won this contest! My book, Captured by the Enemy, will be published by December. Thanks!