Somewhere in England…

I believe I must have a very serious fan, which makes me humble and grateful, for the following reasons.

Those who follow my blog (and thank you for your discerning wit and good sense in doing so!) know my last entry was on November 11, 2017. Last November I was engaged in the National Novel Writers Month contest, wherein I generated enough material to finish my latest novel, Thanks for the Memories, and start writing the next novel in the series, The New Kids.

So between then and now I finished Thanks for the Memories: a Novel of the SW Pacific Air War July-September 1942, a task that turned out to be harder than I expected, although I don’t know why I expect it to be easy. It never has been.

So when I published the work on Kindle last Monday evening I was surprised and gratified to see, the next morning, that it already had a sale! Then I looked at the market and found that first sale went to someone in England.

I like to think that, somewhere in England, someone was just waiting for my next novel to come out, and gleefully snapped it up the moment it appeared. Or, maybe, with morning tea/coffee, they were looking for a book to read, and there I was.

Either way, I’d like to thank that wonderful person, and hope someday to shake them by the hand and thank them face to face.

Oh, by the way, for my fans in England, the war as experienced by Jack and Charlie Davis will move to England within the next few books. But no more hints! I’m working diligently but it does take time to produce a good product.

Hopefully any of my readers who see this will reply, and even leave a review on Amazon!



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16 responses to “Somewhere in England…

  1. Rob McPherson

    Hi Tom – Glad to ‘read’ you back in action, and congrats on finishing your novel. I am now well into the first of the four now in print, very well written and a great read.

    Best wishes to your English fan too.

    Cheers and take good care.


  2. My next book will be science fiction, and I hope it will be “hard” SF. Title for now is The Voyage of the Starship Grissom. Haven’t thought up one of those three-line descriptions of the story yet, but the USS Virgil I. Grissom will be the second starship to leave our Solar System. Anyway, I’m asking if you like SF because that’s my next project. I’m looking forward to it — bit of a break from World War II, even though I’m not done with my characters and that war by a long shot. Got a lot more research to do before I can start writing more than the preliminary draft (“Hm, how do these characters actually work together?”) I did for NaNoWriMo 2013.

    • Rob McPherson

      Hey Tom,

      The second starship to leave the Solar System sounds like a great idea – I won’t ask what happened to the first. And I like the use of Gus Grissom’s name too; he’s certainly owed a tribute or two more; very brave man, very sad end of first flight experience and death.

      I’m a big fan of speculative science fiction, based on hard science, like Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001 series, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red, Green and Blue Mars series, Pournelle and Niven’s Lucifer’s Hammer and movies like Contact, Interstellar, Arrival, etc. I read a fair bit of science too, both particle physics and astrophysics. I don’t understand it all perfectly, but love to stretch my brain and think about how little we really understand of ‘reality’.

      Best of luck with it; looking forward to reading it someday. I’ll be purchasing book 4 in the SW Pacific air war series in the meantime.

      Travel safe and talk again soon.



  3. Rob McPherson

    Hi Tom,

    It’s Rob again. I just finished ‘Everything We Had” and it was a terrific read, It was very well researched and written – as authentic as any fictional work on the subject could be in my opinion. You sure know your avionics. I have the next two in the series on my bookshelf and am looking forward to the continuing saga of Charlie and Jack.
    Well done my friend!



    • Hey, Rob, glad you liked it! I may have mentioned that comments like yours help keep a writer going, so it’s very much appreciated. Hope you enjoy the next three even more!

      • Rob McPherson

        Hi Tom,

        Hope you’re doing well.

        I just finished ‘A Snowball’s Chance’; that’s two out of four – I now own all four. I’m really impressed that you kept my interest up using so little air or other combat in the story. That certainly must have been the way it was in those confusing, chaotic days, but it sure speaks well of your writing skill. I have enjoyed the continuing story of the Davis brothers immensely.

        Very best regards,


    • Thanks again, and do PLEASE tell all your friends!

  4. Hey, Rob, glad you enjoyed A Snowball’s Chance. I think you’ll be pleased with Boxcar Red Leader as well! I’ll look forward to hearing from you about it.

    It’s especially good to hear favorable comments right at the moment, since the fifth novel, The New Kids, is giving me fits! Doesn’t help that I’ve been on an out-of-town job since last March. But that job comes to an end this week (so I’m told — again!) and hopefully that means I can pick up the threads and get back to work.

    Thanks again!

    Tom Burkhalter

    • Rob McPherson

      Hi again,

      I forgot to add that your technical knowledge of flying, characteristics of the various aircraft you’ve included, and the locations and geographies of the areas discussed is very impressive. You must have done considerable research and I really respect that.

      I was wondering about one other thing though; Including photos of subject aircraft at the beginning of the book was a good idea, and really added authenticity. But did someone other than you add captions to the photos? In the case of the A6M Zero, never in all my reading have I ever heard that the Zero was flown by both Japanese Navy and Army pilots. The two Japanese air forces appear to have been very particular about flying their own aircraft, unlike the case of the SBD and A-24 for example. Just a bit of nit-picking on my part.

      As I may have told you, I ended up doing photo caption editing for a Military mag a few years ago. The material in the magazine was first-rate, but the photo captions were a disgrace and that really compromised the credibility of the mag.

      Good to hear that you’re homeward bound soon. Fly right and keep well.



      • Hey, Rob,

        Almost certain I read somewhere that the IJA used the Zero as well. On the other hand, now that you mention it, I couldn’t say where, or even when, I read that! The IJA used Mitsubishi bombers (like the G3M “Nell”) but once you started me thinking on it it does seem that they were more partial to Kawasaki and Nakajima products for fighters.

        I also read somewhere (!) that Allied pilots, especially early on, tended to identify all Japanese fighters as “Zeros” — possibly because, except in China, USAAF and USN pilots were usually going up against the Zero, which could be a traumatic experience. So that’s a possible source of error.

        I’m going to look into that when I get home this weekend. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, and I appreciate your comment on the level of research I brought to these books. I may have mentioned I did that partly out of respect for those who were there, and partly so that the reader could get something like a realistic view of what happened, inasmuch as words of mine can convey.

        Best as always,


      • Rob McPherson

        Hi Tom,
        I piqued my own curiosity and did some research on IJN an IJA aircraft today. Although I can’t say this with 100% certainty, it looks like my assumption was correct, that the two services stuck pretty much to their own aircraft. Given the well-known rivalry between them, and their respective prideful attitudes, it isn’t that surprising, wouldn’t you agree?

        And you’re correct, Allied pilots in the earliest times in the southwest Pacific and China often mistook the Oscar and Tojo (which I was surprised to learn flew in combat on an evaluation basis from early 1942) for the Zero. Anything with a radial engine…

        I was recently taken aback when a name institution that should know better, the Smithsonian, blew it in this kind of respect. A recent special edition of their aviation publication, called ‘WW2 in 65 Aircraft’ called one of the reconstructed trainers used in the movie ‘Tora, Tora, Tora’ a Zero and used a large photo of same as the story header. I guess us old guys who like the detail are a dying breed, and that it doesn’t matter that much to younger generations, but I think that history should be presented as accurately as possible. There would have been nothing wrong with captioning the photo ‘a replica of a Japanese Zero’ but I’ll bet the photo editor didn’t know the difference.

        I enjoy looking into these kinds of things and exchanging thoughts and ideas, but I hope I wasn’t being too pedantic re the photo in your book.

        Take care my friend.


  5. Pedantic? Heck, no, certainly no worse than me! And your note about it not mattering that much to the younger folks coming along is exactly why I want to get it right. Maybe they won’t pay attention, but it’s still there.

    FYI, in among other things this fall, I’m going to issue a “second edition,” of my books. Text won’t change (maybe, unless I go into full-OCD editor mode) but I’ve discovered that I can do a fair job of tracing and reproducing maps, for example, that will give a better idea of geography than those maps I reproduced from the CIA. So if I’m going to do that I’ll take another look at that caption, and you’ll get a credit in the new Acknowledgements!

    As far as anything with a radial engine, compare the head-on silhouette of a FW-190 with the A6M Zero and tell me what you think.

    Historical side-note: when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and Clark Field, our pilots were unprepared for the A6M. Seems the USAAF didn’t believe Claire Chennault when he told them about the airplane. I found a copy of a silhouette manual issued in 1941 that mentions the Zero, but has no picture or silhouette of it. I suspect the kids going out to the Pacific to fight through at least the end of 1942 probably had to learn from the veterans things like, “Don’t worry, sonny, if it has a radial engine and meatballs on the wings, it’s a Jap. Shoot him before he shoots you.” Probably all you really need to know in a situation like that.



  6. Hey, Rob, had a chance to do a little research re the IJA/IJN use of the A6M Zero. There’s a pretty neat series of books, War Planes of the Second World War, published in the early 1960s and divided among different aircraft types, fighter, bomber, etc. The publisher was Doubleday & Co., Inc., and the author is listed as William Green. That series has a lot of interesting facts about the development of the different variants, who ordered what and how many, etc. Anyway, it’s kind of my first go-to resource if I want a starting point for research on a particular airplane.

    Anyway, Green goes into considerable detail about the Zero, as one might expect, and never mentions the IJAAF as obtaining the airplane. This is a negative result, but it tends to confirm your thought.

    Besides, you’re right about the rift between the IJA and the IJN. They were probably worse than the Army and Navy here in the States during the war, wherein it was said the Army and the Navy fought each other, and occasionally took time out to fight the Axis.

    I also asked a friend of mine, Kyle Kirby, of whom I may safely say I once thought I knew a thing or two about aviation history until I met Kyle! When I asked him the same question he got very thoughtful and said, I don’t know, but that’s a good question. So if Kyle doesn’t know off the top of his head I suspect, again, the Zero was the exclusive property of the IJN.

    This may be one of those questions where an explicit answer, for us, doesn’t exist because the people concerned at the time found it too obvious to mention. So I’ll just make that correction and say thanks to Mr. McPherson!

    Best regards,


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