A speakeasy in the desert

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“Come on in and have a drink.”

I have always thought I was born several generations too late. I get nostalgic for decades that passed long before my birth. Perhaps that’s the reason I love writing about the past. There are several periods I wish I could have been around to experience, among them: 1940s London and 1960s San Francisco—but most definitely near the top of my list are the 1920s. The decade brings to mind jazz, illicit cocktails, gangsters, flappers, literary salons, and smoke-filled speakeasies.

The speakeasy has always fascinated me. The National Prohibition Act was ratified as the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at midnight on January 16, 1920. The nightmarish law made it illegal to “manufacture, sell, barter, transport, import, export, deliver, furnish or possess any intoxicating liquor.” When American cities were wrung dry, the speakeasy was born. It was a portal to another world, transporting those lucky enough to know where to look into a parallel realm of sinful entertainment and strong drinks.

I’ve always considered the speakeasy to be my kind of place—so, you can imagine how cool it was to find out there’s one not far from the Arizona town where I live. It’s beneath an Italian restaurant downtown. Access is gained via an unmarked stairway. At the bottom is a single door beneath a red light bulb. Walk through the door and you find yourself in a dark, subterranean cavern with low-hanging lights, exposed brick walls, red leather booths, and a well-stocked bar. My wife and I took a seat and immediately soaked in the ambience.

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The cocktail menu is fun to browse. Alongside each listed drink is the year and city in which it was first created. The drinks are made as they were back in the day. I was torn between the Trader Vic Mai Tai (Oakland, CA, 1943) and the Aviation (New York, NY, 1916). My wife settled for a Cosmo (alas, I failed to note the details of its provenance). I opted for the Aviation, a strong concoction of Aviation American Gin, Maraschino liqueur, Crème de Violette, and lemon juice, served in a coupe champagne glass with a Maraschino cherry.

It was excellent—and I’m happy to say I’ve found my new regular drinking haunt!

Combat, cigars, and whisky: Winston Churchill Reporting on The History Author Show

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Winston Churchill Reporting: Adventures of a Young War Correspondent is the of topic conversation on today’s podcast episode of The History Author Show. You can listen to it here.

Enjoying listening to writers discuss their books? Of course, you do . . . so, please, check it out! As always, you can also learn more about Winston Churchill Reporting at the book’s official website.

Winston Churchill Reporting hits bookstores Oct. 13.

‘Winston Churchill Reporting’ the Audibook

Here’s a sample clip from the upcoming audiobook release of Winston Churchill Reporting: Adventures of a Young War Correspondentproduced by Post Hypnotic Press and read by the great Simon Vance. Enjoy!

Winston has arrived . . .

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Received my advance copies of WINSTON CHURCHILL REPORTING this week. I must say, Da Capo has done a beautiful job with the book’s design. Cool cover, great interior fonts, gorgeous dark-green end-pages, maps, etc. Yes, I realize my opinion is biased, but it’s a great-looking book!

It hits stores Oct. 13 but is now available for pre-order. You can check out more at www.winstonchurchillreporting.com!

Official website for ‘Winston Churchill Reporting’ now live!

Winston Churchill Reporting

The official website for WINSTON CHURCHILL REPORTING is now live! You can read an excerpt, check out images, maps, and advance reviews–and, of course, pre-order your copy!

Click on the image above, or visit www.winstonchurchillreporting.com.

Redesigned Cover for ‘Winston Churchill Reporting’

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The good people at Da Capo (my publisher) didn’t think the original cover for Winston Churchill Reporting was dramatic enough, so they redesigned it and produced the brilliant work you see above. I absolutely love it!

The book is out Oct. 13 and is available for pre-order here:

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Kirkus Reviews: Winston Churchill Reporting “fast paced . . . a richly-detailed look at Churchill’s early ambitions and triumphs”

War correspondent Winston Churchill, man of action, in South Africa covering the Boer War, 1900.
War correspondent Winston Churchill, man of action, in South Africa covering the Boer War, 1900.

Well, very happy to report Kirkus Reviews has given WINSTON CHURCHILL REPORTING a nice write-up. You can read the full review here.

The book will be released by Da Capo Press on Oct. 13 in the US and UK.

Winston Churchill Reporting

"'Adventure' is my middle name."
“‘Adventure’ is my middle name.”
Work on Winston Churchill Reporting continues.  Originally, the book was subtitled Dispatches from a Young War Correspondent.  Now, it’s Adventures of a Young War Correspondent.  Although a work of nonfiction, the book is primarily an action-adventure story—something we definitely want to convey in the title.

It’s received a nice publicity blurb from Martin Dugard, author of the excellent Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone, and co-author of the Killing . . . books with Bill O’Reilly.  Several other authors I admire have also said they’d be willing to take a look at the manuscript, so we’ll see what happens.  The book is currently with a proofreader at Da Capo.

Plans right now call for the book to have four maps, one for each campaign Churchill covered as a war correspondent.  I’m also pleased with the pictures I’ve managed to scrounge up from various archives. Hopefully, the book will be a treat for not only Churchill fans, but anyone who loves a great adventure story.

More details to come . . .

Cover art for ‘Winston Churchill Reporting’

My publisher, Da Capo, sent me a composite of their proposed cover for Winston Churchill Reporting. I must say, I’m most happy with it!

The book is out Oct. 13.

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