On October 23, I'll be giving a presentation as part of the Life Long Learning series in East Greenville, Pennsylvania.  My topic will be Napoleon's 1812 invasion of Russia which is, of course, the backdrop for my book, Russian Snows.
I won't be speaking about my book, however.  Rather I'll be talking about the campaign and working in some of the eyewitness accounts that I have been blogging about at www.Napoleon1812.wordpress.com.
If anyone is local to the East Greenville area (southeastern Pennsylvania) and is willing to plunk down $15 to register for the series is invited to come out to my 9:30 am presentation on Tuesday, October 23.
Additional information and registration information for LLL is available by following this link.
 
 
Today I talked to the middle school students at West-Mont about the history of Napoleon's invasion of Russia, my background with re-enacting and how, with God's blessings, it all came together in the writing of Russian Snows.

I had a great time and the audience was very well behaved and attentive.
 
 
On Thursday it was announced that Russian Snows has made the cut and is now in the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award contest.  Of the 5,000 entries, 1,000 are picked to go on to the second round.  The 1,000 are picked based on a 300 word pitch each contestant writes for their story.

The next step is when the field gets narrowed down to 250 on March 20.

Here is the 2012 pitch for Russian Snows:Russian Snows: Coming of Age in Napoleon’s Army is the fictional account of 14-year-old Henri Carle as he accompanies France’s Grande Armée from Paris to Moscow during Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia.

When his older brother Luc enlists in the army, young Henri follows and finds work in the camp bakery and later joins the supply train to stay close to Luc on the long march through Europe.  Shy and unprepared for life on his own, Henri is shaped by the people he meets.  As the French army crosses the vast plains of Russia in search of a decisive battle, he develops skills and confidence.  When the battle finally comes at Borodino, Henri is caught in the thick of the action and proves his bravery.  The victorious, but battered French army is now caught deep in enemy territory.  Henri and the devastated army begin the retreat in a desperate attempt to escape the Russian army and the Russian winter.

Henri is forced to use his wits, skills and quick thinking to survive. He experiences the horrors of battle, the heartbreaking agony of the wounded left behind and the death of those around him. As he is maturing and becoming a man, the army is disintegrating around him.  With a quiet determination, Henri triumphs as he becomes both the first Frenchman on enemy soil and the second to last Frenchman out of Russia. 

A cross between Stowaway and The Hunger Games, Russian Snows follows actual events and incidents from the campaign as Napoleon’s invading army was reduced from 500,000 to barely 20,000.  The story brings the disaster to life through the eyes of Henriin this sometimes humorous, sometimes heart-wrenching, but ultimately uplifting adventure that paints a picture of what life was like for the common soldier.

 
 
When I entered Russian Snows into the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award contest, I had just finished writing the manuscript and my wife and I had each given it one pass of editing.  At 115,000 words, the story was too long for its intended Young Adult audience.  (I must throw in here that many adults have read and enjoyed the book, not just young adults).
Now that the book is trimmed to a svelte 51,000 words, it is a much better fit.  As a self-published book, Russian Snows is eligible for the contest and repeat entries are allowed.
Because the length of the story was given as one of the reasons for its elimination from last year's contest, I want to see how it will do this year in its final version.
 
 
I have begun to edit the sequel to Russian Snows, Paris Winter: Fall of the Empire. The process is slow as I'm still working on promoting Russian Snows and finishing my blog about the 1812 invasion of Russia.
Russian Snows has also been entered into the Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award contest.  Last year, the barely edited (and much longer) manuscript made it into the top 250 (of a potential 5,000 entries).  The entries goi
 
 
It was on this date in 1812 that the Grande Armee left Russia.
 
 
Paris Winter: Fall of the Empire was a winner in the 2011 National Novel Writing Month competition.  The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50k words of a novel in the month of November.  Over 250,000 people signed up to make the attempt, only 14% were successful.

Paris Winter has many revisions and much editing ahead of it before it is ready for public consumption.  Right now, I've set it aside for a little whil

 
 
I'm at the 25% mark against the November NaNoWriMo challenge.  A little behind schedule, but plan to catch up soon.
 
 
November marks the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.  Last year, this is how I started Russian Snows.
The sequel will pick up during the invasion of Russia and will show the perspective from the home front.  The story will continue through 1813 and end with the invasion of France
 
 
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I held the book launch for Russian Snows last night at Cedarville United Methodist Church's weekly Cedarville Nights dinner.  People came for a great dinner and also got to see a book launch and have some cake.
The best part was being able to autograph copies of Russian Snows for people who bought a copy.