The date is August 1914. The British Expeditionary Force is in France and You're in the Royal Field Artillery. You're riding alongside one of the battery's gun limbers on its way to the assigned position on the east side of Mons, Belgium. This begins your journey into the Hell they called World War One. To purchase this historical memoir go to https://createspace.com/3649268

Friday, December 28, 2012

New Information

Through my blog, "Coxen Heritage", I was contacted by my second cousins in the UK. Yesterday one of them sent me three photos of my grandfather.
One showed him in what appeared to be a flying suit. Through the Great War Forum I was informed that the suit was a standard RAF issue Sidcot Suit (from the inventor, Australian RNAS aviator Flight Sub Lieutenant Sidney Cotton) made from proofed khaki twill over a rubberized muslin inter-lining and a mohair liner.  However, he may not have been going to fly in the immediate future, as he's wearing ordinary shoes, rather than an airman's fur-lined 'fug' boots, though sometimes airmen flew without the boots if the flight was to be short and/or at low level.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Heroism - Man or Opportunity

While writing The Great Promise the thought came to me, "Does heroism come from the person, or is it the result of the opportunity presented?" Deliberating I've concluded that it is both opportunity and the person. It is the person's response in the critical moment that defines heroism.

However, recognition for a heroic deed is dependent upon a multitude of factors; such as witnesses that substantiate the act and the magnitude of it.

I pondered this while reading some of grandfather's journal entries, such as:

     The shells were falling like rain with such horrific force that
they caused all the Gordons to run for it. The shelling was so
murderous that I also felt like running. However, I realized
that if I left my instrument that our guns would not be able to
return fire. I stuck while the Gordons ran, all except Bruce. He
asked me if I was going to stay and I said yes. He replied, “If
it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me.”

To remain in position under those circumstances was a heroic act that required risking his life while performing his duty. I suppose that his act wasn't considered beyond the call of duty, even though its elements were of heroic proportions.

Recognition of heroism is different from the action itself since it requires criteria that is judgement based. Appreciation of one's actions is rewarding it doesn't alter the act itself, it is more for the benefit of others than  the perpetrator.

I salute all the everyday heroes. Those who's response places their lives in question for the prospect of saving another.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Royal Field Artillery Documents

My grandfather's assistant signally certificate
Letter from Liverpool AA Defenses stating my grandfather's appointment to Adjutant. Part of a dispute between he and the army on pay grade between 2nd Lt and that of Adjutant. He eventually won his case. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

One of the Great WW One Books

Order  The Great Promise

Clarion Review gave it four stars
Readers on Amazon have given it five star
A rating of 4.33 stars on GoodReads

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Question

From a letter written in 1945 Capt Frederick G Coxen RFA

I survived World War One and in only twenty years later our boys are fighting World War II and experiencing the horrors I know so well. So each night I ask myself, "What did I do today for those that gave their life for me?"

Monday, November 5, 2012

Review by Kevin Quirk

In 2014 we will likely begin to see a run of new books tied to the 100-year anniversary of the start of World War I in 1914. That will bring long overdue attention to what has long been called "The Great War" but more often is treated as The Forgotten War. "The Great Promise" is an early arrival among such books and it has so much going for it, I have no doubt that it will solidly hold its ground among any other reflection or exploration of the conflict that was so bloody it was expected to be the war that ends all wars.

The memoir is built around the journal entries of Frederick G. Coxen, then a British soldier with the Royal Field Artillery. Somehow he survived several of the war's earliest battles, with astoundingly high casualty rates: the First Battle of Mons, the First Battle of Marne, the First Battle of Ypres. Most of us have read some war journals, but few deliver what this one conveys with its vivid details and honest reporting of one soldier's perspective. Countless times Frederick Coxen somehow survives while others around him are dying every minute. He endures and maintains his focus and commitment, but we can feel his sense of loss and sadness as he witnesses his comrades going down. His voice captures the spirit of the British outlook toward what they expected to be a short war, rather than the prolonged conflict that led to the U.S. entry in 1917. Anyone seeking to understand not only the history but the impact of World War I from the beginning will have much to sink their teeth into through the journals alone.

Wrapped around these stark personal accounts from the battlefield, the author offers historical background and reference points that help us more easily follow along the trail. These added pieces are all the more poignant because the author is the soldier's grandson. Rick Coxen obviously took a thorough and meticulous approach to tying history into his own grandfather's experience.

Yet there's something else that will elevate this memoir above others sure to follow. Rick Coxen shares with readers how he came upon his grandfather's promise made to three chums at the start of the war. If any one of them made it out alive, he would visit the families of the others to share personal stories of how their loved one died and who they were among the ranks of soldiers. Frederick Coxen is the only one of the four who survived. Unfortunately, he did not fulfill the promise, something he laments over during an updated journal entry duing World War II, long after he had settled in the U.S.

Rick Coxen was so touched by this promise that he decided he would pick up the baton. He soon launched a relentless campaign to find some living relatives of his grandfather's three chums. Like World War I itself, his mission has turned out to be a long struggle, and it's still not complete. To achieve victory, Rick recognizes that he needs help "over there" (in Britian) or anywhere the clues may be lying. He's hoping that someone who reads this book can yet steer him toward those relatives to fulfill his grandfather's great promise.

- Kevin Quirk, author of "Your Life Is a Book And It's Time to Write It" http://www.amazon.com/Kevin-Quirk/e/B001H9XYQ0
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

I Promise To Tell Them


As the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) marched towards Soignies Belgium, four friends serving in the Royal Field Artillery, Fred Coxen, Pudgie Taylor, George Bramwell, and Bobby Glue were discussing their concerns. Their fear was how their possible deaths would be conveyed to their loved ones back home.
By August 20th the BEF was only two days away from Soignies when their plan took form. They promised each other that those that survive the war would find the loved ones of those that had fallen, and tell them how and where they died.
Little did they know that by October 9th George Bramwell, whose real first name was Percy, would be the first to fall. The following entry in Fred Coxen’s journal describes George’s death:
October 9th
This day was going to be well-remembered. During the morning things were a little more quiet than usual. We were sitting around the guns (6 inch Howitzers). I had left my telephone beneath one of the gun limbers.
We were having a feast of Bully Beef and potatoes (potatoes did not come our way often), when a battery of German artillery found us with shrapnel shells.
The first round burst directly over our number three gun, which was just a short distance from us. Needless to say we all scattered. Bramwell and I ran towards the gun limber where I left the field phone. George was on my right when I heard the shell burst and saw him go down.
I dove under the limber to phone my chum Collins, while two gunners dragged Bramwell to the shelter of the limber. It was just seconds after they delivered him when three more shells exploded and the two gunners went down.
Collins came running, and he and I did what we could for poor Bramwell but it was useless. Bullets from bursting shells hailed down on the limber as I held him in my arms. Collins and I expected to be hit any second but the limber saved us.
After the shelling stopped we removed poor Bramwell; it was an unpleasant sight to see a chum’s brains by one’s side. Once Bramwell’s body was removed, I noticed that a shell case was stuck in the ground just two yards from where I laid. Luckily it didn’t splinter, for Collins and I would have been killed. Everything seemed to bear marks of that lively hour excepting for us two.
Less than two months had passed since the four chums set foot in France and now only three remain to carry on. Who would be the next to fall?
Exerpt from the novel, “The Great Promise” written by Frederick L Coxen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Armistice Day November 2012

November 11th at 11am the world will pause to pay tribute to those that died during World War One. This recognition will gain additional significance within the next two years. August 2014 will mark the centennial of the Great War that devastated the economy of many countries along with consuming a cruel number of their men.
Historians have documented the causes of the war as well as the military strategies of how it was fought. Few books tell the story of the war from those that experienced it, The Great Promise is one of these books. Those that have experienced war somewhat understand what horrors the soldiers of this war suffered through, while the rest of us can only try to comprehend. However even those that have lived through war can fully realize the horrors faced by those that lived through this conflict.

Purchase, The Great Promise to help you pay tribute to those that served.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

N9111 Short 184

According to Sturtivant and Page's 'Royal Navy Aircraft Serials and Units 1911-1919', Air-Britain 1992, page 298.  N9111 is a Short 184:  Delivered to 1(S)MAD at Hamble 9 Jan 1919, then at 210 TDS Calshot (Just a bit further south down Southampton Water from Hamble) from16 Jan 1919 to about 30 Jan 1919.  It was also tested at Westgate 10 July 1919.  So RAF just post-war. It looks a bit like Calshot.

Friday, October 12, 2012

British WWI Soldier Returns Home

I'm trying to come up with an acronym or a title for a new blog about Americans returning British soldiers World War One documents back to England in time for the WWI centennial in 2014.

After writing my book, "The    I pondered on what to do with my grandfather's British military documents. They are a family heirloom that I cherish, but who should I select to take care of them after me? I already experienced the lack of interest from my brother. My children don't seem interested, which causes me concern regarding their care after I'm gone.

Because of their historical importance in telling my grandfather's war experiences I decided to donate them to the Imperial War Museum in London. After all, he was a British soldier and his documents would be of greater interest in the UK than in the US. This decision also gave me peace in the knowledge that his documents will be forever cared for. I will not worry that at some point in time his journal and documents might end up in a garage sale or worse of all, thrown away. Most importantly I feel it would be something that my grandfather would want. He would like to rejoin his comrades, to be taken back home.

So I was thinking last night, "There are no doubt hundreds of families that have inherited pictures and documents that once belonged to an English relative that served in the British Army during World War One." "Perhaps they, like myself, would want to safeguard their precious documents and donate them to the Imperial War Museum."

Please consider this meaningful gesture and let me know if you are interested by adding your thoughts in the comment section of this blog.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Review - Echoes of Armageddon, 1914-1918

I just finished reading the book written by B. Cory Kilvert Jr., "Echoes of Armageddon, 1914-1918. I really liked the book on many levels, the first being the human side of war. The author tells the story of the lives and deaths of eight British soldiers. While writing each story he weaves in his own experiences while researching the lives of each man. I was amazed by his efforts to uncover the details of each man's life and those people that were part of it. Perhaps if I would have read this before writing my book I could have picked up some pointers on how to find more about the three soldiers I was researching. However, he had at least a first and last name which I didn't, in fact I wasn't sure if any of the names were actual.

The book gives the reader background of the battles each soldier was involved in, as well as some overall political happenings that impacted the war.

In summary, the book does an excellent job of describing the horrors of war experienced by soldiers, families and their community. I would give this book five stars.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Calling All Experts

My continuing search for a WWI expert to review my book continues. I just emailed Dr Ian F W Beckett, the author of several books including "Ypres". Currently he is on the staff of the Strategic Studies Institute, United States Army War College.

I'm torn between being up front and blunt by just requesting a book review, or supplying some background information to create interest. I suppose so combination would work best but I haven't discovered the magic sequence.

At times I feel that I wasted four years of my life and spent a money on loosing cause. The book has received great reviews by those that have read it. The problem is to find a way to motivate readers. I've thrown out a lot of seeds but few have germinated. Every day I search for new avenues to draw interest to the book but without success.

I'm writing this to inform new authors of the hardship of marketing of their books. I suppose there is equal frustration in all book types , but historical nonfiction takes so much time in detailed research before you even begin to write, it is disheartening that the author has to work so hard after they work so hard.

I've been told that I should be pleased and proud that I completed a book and one that has received good reviews. I am but I find myself saying, "No applause, just money".  The Great Promise

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Listen To The Story

I've tried to convey the compelling nature of my book The Great Promise so I've attached a link to an interview I had on the public radio program "The Story" Interview On The Story Take the time to listen and you'll enjoy the program.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Story

Everything has a beginning and an end. My transformation into an author began with The Great Promise . People become authors for various reasons, for me it was a “light bulb” moment when I found a typed letter.

In 2008 I was given a box containing several of my parental grandparent’s personal documents. When I removed the lid, I stared at the aged items, my eyes probing for the book that was my grandfather’s World War One journal. I carefully removed documents until a corner of the reddish-brown ledger peeped out from overlaying paper. Plucking it from the confines of the box I held it in my hands. With concerned care I opened it to a page yellowed by age. I started reading the faded penciled script written by my grandfather’s hand so long ago.

A flood of emotion welled within me. First was the realization that I was holding a piece of history, then comprehension that the document was written by my grandfather almost 100 years previously. In an attempt to read a few entries, I realized that many words were impossible to identify. I knew I had to do something In order to grasp the significance of each journal entry. My solution was to scan in each page, then enlarge the image to facilitate in the identification of certain words.

As I navigated through the entries, their detail and flow started to release their compelling nature. Moved by what I was reading, I pressed on each night for a month until the transcription was complete.

During the transcription I noticed that the journal entries ended in May of 1915. Wondering why, I returned to the box of documents. I was searching for military records so I examined each piece of paper lifted from the confines’ of the box. One document caught my eye, it was typed on onion skin paper and titled, “I Had a Dream The Other Night”. Little did I know that this two page letter would become the “light bulb” moment that would alter the next four years of my life.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Great War Forum

They did it again

I posted the new pictures on the "Great War Forum" and typical to form I received some great feedback. The single photo with him in uniform is marked 1915 but it had to have been taken some time between 1918 and 1919. This was brought to my attention because he has the RAF insignia on his uniform. The RAF was not formed until 1918.

The parade photo was taken around the same time or later. In fact, one believed that it was taken in the US. I'm wondering about this since my grandfather didn't bring his family to the US until 1922. Perhaps it could have been an Armistice Day parade after he moved to the US.

Trying to assemble a 100 year old puzzle without the person who created the pieces is difficult.
The Great Promise

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sept 11, 1914

The following excerpts were written on Sept 11 1914      The Great Promise

At 6:00 a.m. we marched ahead of the main body and we
were soon engaged in the thick of the fight that afterwards
would be called the battle of the Marne. We dropped into
action in the open. My chum and I ran our headphone wire
over a small ridge from our observation post and then back
to the battery. As we were running the wire a French Cavalry
man galloped past me with blood running from himself and
his horse.
I was about to connect my instrument when I heard a loud
whining sound followed by a horrific explosion. It was our
christening of heavy artillery fire, amounting to two hours of
continual hell.

Our forces came under heavy artillery fire for more than
2 hours and many of our infantry started to run. CRA General
Finley and Colonel Sharpe tried to stop the retreat by urging
the solders to turn and move forwards. In the process the
General was killed and two officers were wounded.
The German artillery found the range of our battery and we
came under heavy shelling. As shells were bursting all around
me, I crouched beneath a gun limber. The whine of incoming
shells followed by deafening explosions kept up for what
seemed like an eternity.
Fear started to overcome my sense of duty and I had to force
myself not to run. I don’t know where or how I found the courage
to stand up and yell out orders to the battery leaders so
they could fire their guns.
As the Northampton and Sussex Regiments retreated through
our battery they also drew the enemy’s fire. During the infantry’s
mad rush they broke my telephone wire. I thought that
my chum at the other end had gotten knocked over — he
thought the same of me.
Without the ability to communicate with my chum on the
other end, the battery guns couldn’t fire.

To overcome this problem, we resorted back to using semaphore
flags4 to pass down firing orders.
With things seemingly under control, I set out to mend the
wire and restore communications. While I crawled along the
ground following the wire, I could hear bullets pass over my
head and striking the ground around me. Thank God the
Germans were lousy shots! I found and mended the break
just in time for the battery to help support the 60th Rifles’
advancement. They were able to retake the position that the
Northampton and Sussex regiments held prior to their retirement.
As the 60th Rifles advanced, the enemy retreated. The
regiment suffered heavy losses during this engagement.      The Great Promise

Monday, September 10, 2012

Find The Story

Several people have told me that they have family documents that they feel are noteworthy, that the information would appeal to a wider audience, should they write a book? My fist reaction is usually, "Hell no", who needs additional competition! Really it depends on the content of the documents and the person asking the question has any writing ability. The most important element, IS THERE A STORY? 

I was very fortunate in many ways. First, my grandfather already created my story line by detailing the promise. Second, my grandfather was a decent writer so his journal entries are compelling; plus the journal entries supported the story.

To determine if there is a story surrounding the documents, one must separate themselves from their emotional entanglements. Then they have to ask themselves, would others be interested in great uncle Jim crossing "No Man's Land" to capture 50 prisoners? If this event connects to a story line, then it must be determined if grate uncle Jim was a decent writer. If he wasn't, then one has to determine what genera the book will follow, non-fiction, memoir, or historical fiction. If you have to create the script for Jim's daring trip across the expanse of land between opposing trenches. Working his way towards the enemy's fortifications through the mud and water filled shell craters. Again I was lucky because my grandfather was a decent writer and thus his journal entries required very little adjustment.

I can use Neil's story to exemplify my point. His father was American and he volunteered to be a driver in the British Army. He was with the BEF when it first went to France in 1914 and experienced many of the battles my grandfather did. Therefore I found the information fascinating and expressed this to Neil. However, he thought that his father's writings were common among so many similar war accounts. He was right, except that the stories were from two different views, enlisted soldiers and officers. This makes the stories unique, but the problem remains, is there a story-line? I did express to Neil that together we could have written a very powerful book.

Friday, September 7, 2012

History net

Today I sent an inquiry letter to Weider History Group - Historynet.com/ British Heritage magazine. I gave them a brief summary of my grandfather's story, The Great Promise, and how I thought it would fit well with their magazine's intent. Since the story is a connection between the US, England and the up-coming centennial.

I have come to realize that the work involved in writing a book plays but a small part in having your story read. It has been an unexpected surprise that of the millions of people interested in The Great War only a few have purchased my book. Since the reviews I have received have been four out of five stars, it must be that I haven't reached them with the proper marketing. So the battle for readers will rage on!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Professional Review

As every author knows, book reviews control the success of their book. I've been fortunate with two excellent reviews and now one from Clarion Reviews -

Clarion Review
The Great Promise
Frederick L. Coxen
Create Space
Four Stars (out of Five)
Frederick L. Coxen’s life was changed when he stumbled upon his late grandfather’s journal
from World War I. Coxen did more than just transcribe the worn, weathered diary and annotate
it with maps and a historical narrative to create this volume. He devoted years attempting to
fulfill the terms of a pact his grandfather had made with three fellow soldiers in the summer of
1914—an unkept pledge that, to his dying day, haunted the elder Coxen.
The Great Promise is thus a primary source, a history, and a personal quest. Coxen’s
grandfather (also named Frederick Coxen) was called to the colors to serve in the Royal Field
Artillery. He was among the first British soldiers to land in France at the start of The Great War,
and he fought in every major engagement until being gassed in 1915. The journal covers his first
year at the front almost day by day. His reports, observations, emotional asides, musings, and
even occasional jokes lure the reader into a fascinating, detailed, and very human time capsule.
To assist those unfamiliar with the period, the younger Coxen intersperses his
grandfather’s entries with short but clear passages explaining the commanders, maneuvers, and
terminology of the First World War. His simple, clean maps show the routes his ancestor trod
and the towns he fought over. These help set the stage for his grandfather’s wonderful and rarely
hurried prose.
There are episodes of unconscionable horror, such as the crucifixion of captured soldiers
(by both sides) and reflections on the deaths of friends and enemies alike. Upon seeing one man
fall, for example, the elder Coxen writes, “I wondered if this means the breaking of a woman’s
heart, or had he little children?” There are also warm moments, such as when soldiers share their
already meager rations with starving refugee children, and bits of very British pluck, notably of
how “nothing short of an earthquake would make us miss our tea time.” The journal entries
allow the reader to follow one of many green young men as he matures within months into a
war-weary veteran.
While his ancestor’s words and experiences are the true stars of the text, there is a
second story here, one told almost as an afterthought in the last twenty pages of an already slim
book. The elder Coxen and three comrades made a pact that if any of them fell, the survivors
would visit the deceased soldier’s family, relate the story of his passing, and offer comfort.
Coxen saw all three of his mates die, even holding one of them in his arms as he expired. Yet, he
never made good on his part of the bargain.
As he laments in an entry made in another journal in 1945, when living in America and
writing during a second war, those old comrades continued to haunt Coxen’s dreams, asking if
he would ever fulfill that great promise. How his grandson sought to made good on Coxen’s
word, and the detective efforts he undertook to find the descendants of those dead soldiers, is a
short but engrossing and very moving story, and one well told by the author in his final chapter.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Another Amazing Story

Through the Western Front Assoc. a person by the name of Neil Munro contacted me regarding a book he was writing that is based on his father's memoirs. His father was Fredric Coleman, an American that went to France in 1914 and volunteered as a staff driver. He would drive officers around and thus experienced the war from both the enlisted soldiers and officer's point of view.
   I was stunned to find how closely Coleman's accounts mirrored that of my grandfather's journal. Mr. Munro is publishing segments of his father's story on the Western Front's website under the title "My Father's War".

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Want WW One Answers

I've been researching WWI for over four years and in the process I've joined several websites and forums. The best by far in the Great War Forum.

Why? Because the members of "old sweats" are experts on most topics. Beyond that, they don't just answer your post, they offer a great deal of background information. They have been a God sent to me and still are.
Check them out Great War Forum

The Western Front Assoc placed a nice article in their August newsletter about my submission of the journal, both images and transcription. Check it out! Western Front Assoc

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Information

Continuing my research into my grandfather's military experience, I posted a request for information about the Royal Field Artillery special reserves, ranks, makeup and such to the Great War Forum. As I've always said, this forum is a must for anyone trying to find information about a relative that served in the British Army in the Great War.

I found out that my grandfather joined the regular RFA in or around 1905 (which put him at the age of 18). After 6 years he transferred to the RFA reserves, which is not the special reserves. He remained in the reserves until he was activated in 1914. While serving in the regular RFA he received an additional education, as shown in his composition certification. In 1911 he received his assistant signal instructors certification.


I was told by a knowledgeable person that to sell books you have to really get involved in social networking, which includes "Tweeting". Now I'm a person of reasonable intelligence and I'm fairly savvy with today's technology. Somehow I missed the training manual for Tweeter. I received all these tweets that I don't understand and don't know how to respond to. I send out tweets that are not responded too, or at lease I don't know if anyone responded.
   I have several followers but I'm not sure what they are following and I'm following several tweeters although I'm not sure what I'm following. It is a different world and I always thought I was current until now. So, if anyone understands this tweet thing I would appreciate a short dissertation on how it works.

As of now book sales are moving along and I'm expanding my marketing base. Marketing is harder than writing. Writing you can put it down and when you work on it you can focus on just your ideas.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Western Front Assoc

The Western Front Association is dedicated to educating others on the history of the Western Front during World War One. I believe in the fine work that this association performs in presenting and preserving WWI heritage.
   I've been in communication with them regarding my grandfather's journal and they decided to post my transcription of the journal as well as the digital images of the first half. To view the journal and read the transcripts, go to http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/great-war-people/diaries/2613-the-diary-of-frederick-l-coxen-rfa.html

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sample Journal Entry

April 29 th 1915           THE GREAT PROMISE

We must have been spotted by an enemy observation airplane, for the German artillery gave it to us warm in the afternoon.
In the evening the officers made a bivouac beneath a layer of trees, just a few yards on my left. A few shells, real coal-boxes, were bursting very near the officers, so they moved into a dugout further over to the left. This was good fortune because a few minutes later a shell hit the tree and snapped it like a match.
Since other shells followed we had to leave the guns for a while. When the shelling was over, we went back to where the officer’s dugout had been. The hits had blown the place to pieces. The two coats that hung on the tree were absolutely in ribbons and almost everything else was ruined.
One of the officers had been sitting on a box of biscuits that was now blown yards away. The box was reduced to a piece of twisted metal with not even one biscuit remaining. Everything was almost unrecognizable, including the bodies of the officers.
Mr. Dowling, one of the officer’s servants, got both his arms badly splintered. All night the enemy continually shelled the roads to our right rear.

Monday, August 20, 2012

F G Coxen's Military Career

My grandfather may or may not have had an interesting military career but I believe that he did. He entered the service when he was either 17 or 18 by joining the Royal Field Artillery special reserves. I never had a chance to ask him why he choose the RFA but perhaps it was a chance to ride horses and fire canons.
  The training in the special reserves sounds much like that of the US National Guard. The reservist go each summer for two to three weeks of training and they can be called up for active duty when needed. Which was the case for my grandfather when he was called to active duty when Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914.
  When he was activated he had received training as a signalman for the RAF. This position required him to be in a forwards observation post to identify where the artillery shells were landing and report back to the battery so that they could adjust their effectiveness. In the beginning this was accomplished by using flags but by the time the war erupted they were using field telephones.  (see front cover on The Great Promise)
  My book, The Great Promise, is based upon my grandfather's memoirs of serving with the RFA during the early battles of the war. In one entry he describes how he and one of his close telephonist were called into their CO's office where he told them he was recommending them for a field promotion. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in August of 1915.
  According to his military records, he returned to England in September 1915 and was sent to review the AA (anti-aircraft) defenses around Liverpool; he was in this position from 5/1916 to 11/1916.   During this time he held the position of Adjutant and was responsible for the establishing and operating the defenses for Liverpool.  
  By December of 1916 he returned to the RFA and was responsible for training new recruits until November of 1917. At his time he was sent back to France and placed in charge of an anti-aircraft battery in Paris, France. He remained in this position until November of 1918 when he returned to England.
  In July 1918 he was temporarily transferred to the newly formed Royal Air Force to be in charge of their payroll department. He was promoted to the temporary rank of Lieutenant and after partitioning the RFA he was given the permanent rank of Lieutenant. The RFA requested his return but the RAF needed him so he remained with the RAF until his departure from the service later in 1919. After his departure he requested that he receive the rank of Captain since his responsibilities with the RAF were that of someone with a captain's rank. He was given his permanent rank of captain later that year.
  So my grandfather served with the RFA, the AA defense battery and the RAF during his military career.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Additional Research

My grandfather received a field commission to 2nd Lieutenant in 1915 but after that his commissions were rather confusing. Case in point is the following letter.

In this communication he is requesting that he be considered for permanent rank of Lieutenant with pay reimbursement at a Lieutenant's pay scale retroactive to when he was promoted to Lieutenant on July 1, 1917, which must have been a temporary rank. I say this because this correspondence is dated June of 1919 and he uses 2/Lieut Hon Lieut F. Coxen. Yet, in this correspondence dated 10th December 1916 he uses "From t-Captain F. Coxen R.F.A, "t" possibly representing temporary.
  So was he promoted to the temp rank of Captain prior to his temp rank of Lieutenant?  Was he given this temp rank because he was Acting Adjutant, Liverpool A.A. Defenses.

Then in 1919 he partitioned for the permanent rank of Captain, which was awarded.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Blessed With Friends

Everyday I experience unexpected help and support from so many people. Today a fellow writer congratulated me on releasing The Great Promise. He pursued it further by including my story in his blog, http://www.lifeisabook.com/blog/?p=308  I now realize how many lives I've touched during the past four years and how they took the journey with me and find joy in helping me bring my dream to fruition. To ALL of you - Thanks 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Old George

The journal contains two Georges, the first being George Bramwell and the second is George Millington. If you purchase The Great Promise then you'll find the differences between the two. However, George Millington was a major character in my grandfather's writings and they were dear friends; as shown by the following letter. I don't know if my grandfather ever found "Old George" but I hope that he did.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

More Research

Even after I completed the book I continued to look over my grandfather's military documents and in the process I've uncovered missing pieces of information; such as: Promotions

In April of 1915 his CO recommended him for a field promotion. According to his record book he was awarded the promotion to 2nd Lieut on 8/21/1915. Then when he was adjutant for the AA batteries defending Liverpool he was given the temporary rank of Captain. However, he was given the permanent rank of Lieut on 7/1/1917.

He was transferred to the newly formed Royal Field Artillery in 1918 and remained there until 1919. After leaving the service he partitioned the military to award him the permanent rank of Captain because of his position of responsibility during his time with the RAF. He was award his rank later in 1919.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Social Media Marketing

Spent time using social media sites for marketing. Since Amazon posted my book to their site today I was able to use this information for promoting the book.
  First I added my book to "GoodReads" website. For those that don't know about this site, it is one of the best sources for reviewing and rating books. If you're an avid reader and you know what books interest you, you can go to this website and pull up the appropriate category  for your type of book and presto books appear and you can checkout their review rating. It is a little risky for the author to post their masterpiece because your book may not receive favorable reviews, which is usually a death sentence for sales.
  Of course I posted information on my Facebook page and sent messages to everyone I could think of. The only problem is that CreateSpace doesn't report live sales numbers so I don't know how the book is selling. According to CS Amazon sales are reported within four days after the manufacture of the order. What this boils down to is a customer places an order and it is forwarded to production which schedules the book to be printed. Once printed it is boxed and shipped. The author's account isn't credited for the sale until the book is printed and your account is up-dated. Wouldn't it be nice if they credited the account when credit card is approved?

Now my loyal followers it is time to go to Amazon and order your copy of The Great Promise. If you've been following my posts, you know the work and time I spent on presenting an unforgettable book. Please check it out.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Post Partum Blues

Here I sit wondering what to do next. I released my book but it hasn't appeared on Amazon yet. Until that happens it really doesn't exist except in my e-store.

I order books for my book launch on August 24th but they will not arrive until, cross your fingers, August 22.

I thought I heard a drum roll when I clicked the button "I approve the proof". However, the cymbals never reported the results. How true it is that participation is ten-percent of  anticipation, or is it the other way around. Regardless of the structure, I was anticipating more of a response and it didn't happen!

It will never be known when or whom purchased the first book. I would like to know that information because that person purchased a part of me and I would like to thank them and find out why they did it; what made my book stand out from the rest.

So here I sit. All dressed up with nowhere to go. God! I'm beginning to sound like Eeyore!

The site "Good Reads" is brought up by many. They ask if my book will be listed on their site. Until they asked I didn't know it existed. I'm now a proud member but after trying several methods for adding my book it came down to, "only librarians can add a book"; I didn't pursue that avenue. I believe that a book has to be released by the publisher in order for it to exist - at least it seems that way.

So here I stand - got tired of sitting, pacing the floor wondering what I can do to make life move a little faster - at least in the realm of books.

Monday, August 13, 2012

First Journal Entry

This is the first page from my grandfather's journal. The entries begin on August 4th 1914 and end in May of 1915. He served in the 40th Battery, 43rd Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. In 1918 he was transferred to the newly formed Royal Air Force where he served in accounting and payroll until 1919.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hard Marketing Facts

Everything I've read relaid the message that to be successful you have to develop a marketing plan and then stick to it. I did just that and so when my book was released, I started to implement the first part of the plan, which was to activate my support base.

I thought that my family and friends would help spread the word and push my book - wrong! With releasing my book I was riding on an emotional high by finally reaching a four year goal. However, my support group wasn't directly involved and therefore not at the same level of involvement as I was. Personal involvement leads to commitment, without participation, words are not converted into action.

People, which includes family and friends, are involved in their own lives and by nature they proceed through their day without wanting additional burden. Therefore, your greatest asset of a pyramid of exponential numbers is only potential energy.

Thank goodness I was diverse in my plan which included organizations and websites. Even these are difficult to motivate to action. I found this to be true with the Western Front Association, Great War Forum, and a few others.

Only sure thing is paid advertising and that is cost prohibitive. I suppose that marketing a book is like writing one in that both take a great deal of time before results are displayed.

I was hoping that upon releasing the book I would see leap in initial sales - it didn't happen. Disappointing but expected.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

For Sale!

I just approved the final book proof and "The Great Promise" is for SALE!!

It will take a couple of days for it to be listed on Amazon, however it can be purchased on The Great Promise

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Houston! We Have a Problem

In one of my earlier postings I said that I talked with a customer service representative from Create Space regarding the correction of just one element. I thought that I gave her my approval of the remainder of the book so that once the correction was changed they could move on with printing.

Will it never goes like one believes it will. I received an email informing me that the service group applied for a proof book to be printed and shipped. Now I have to wait a few days for the book to be printed and a couple more for shipping. This would place the print date around August 17 th, just one week prior to my book launch. This is not good!!

I'm thinking of accepting the proof before I actually receive it in order to move up the print date. I examined the digital proof in detail and didn't fine an error so my comfort level is elevated.

I'll wait until Friday to see if they printed the book and shipped it. If it isn't, I'll accept the changes and the book should to into print next week and shipped by the end of the week. They should arrive at the gallery by the middle of the week of the 24th.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Second Proof

Received an email from Create Space that the corrected proof could be downloaded for review. I downloaded the file but I was about to leave on a trip so I didn't have a great deal of time to look it over. The first error was found within the first few pages.

The first change I made was removing the "fictionalized description of the following", and added "memoir account of the following battles:". The change resulted in, "memoir account of the following: the following battles".

I quickly reviewed the other changes  and each seemed correct so I called the Create Space service desk. I requested the correction to the double "following" and told them that the other changes seem correct so I approve the proof. The representative said that the minor change would take two business days, which is hard to believe in this day and age.

Even if it does take two days the book would be finished on the requested date of August 8th, although it would be ready for printing on that date. It is my hope that the book would be in print by the end of the week.

I'm feeling that the up-coming book launch is going to be huge so I'm considering the purchase of 200 books, that is in addition to the 50 free books. With that quantity I'll have to prepare a standard quote or the signing would become a nightmare. Anyone out there have a suggestion on how I should handle this?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Electronic Book?

In this day and age many readers have strayed from the marvelous feeling of hold a book while reading. The smell of a newly printed book when it is first opened. However, like so many of our old standards such as magazines, newspapers, music CD and movie DVDs, times are a changing.

In order to make money, or break even, I have to consider publishing my book electronically on the Kindle format. The royalties are higher but the reader's cost per book lower, but then again the volume is higher, so I guess the money that can be made is about the same.

To convert the book to electronic format I contacted Create Space. They have a program that will convert the book but they didn't say if it is free. It seems that nothing is free except advice and often, if taken, can be very expensive.

I haven't heard from Create Space on the progress they're making on the changes I've made. Wondering why, I logged on and saw that my upload of changes were still active. I clicked on the update button and my upload vanished from the page. This worried me since I uploaded the changes over a week ago and my print deadline is approaching. Worried, I sent a message to my support contact wondering why I haven't been contacted regarding the changes and I was told that until I actually sent the changes they didn't have the information to work with. It would take 7 business days for them to make the alterations and then a couple of days for print and mail the proof. My God! This is cutting it close - too close.

With the launching coming up on the 24th, I fear that the books will have to be sent express in order to make it to the Gallery on time, which will cost a lot more for shipping. I'll keep you posted on how this event unfolds.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Planning The Launch

I met with Nancy from the gallery that will host my first book launch. She sent out their news letter that included an ad for the launch (eyecandygallery@centurylink.net via mail29.us1.mcsv.net 
An ad is was also placed in a local magazine, the Pinestraw. 

I'm concerned if the book will be published in time to place an order and have it delivered to the art gallery in time for the

There hasn't been any feedback from Ken, my WWI expert even-though it is the first of August and he said that he would
read it by the end of July.  I'm also waiting to hear from the webmaster from the Western Front Assoc. to see if he received 
the journal images I sent as well as the corresponding transcriptions. It seems that you try so hard to do what counts and 
then it comes down to depending on others and I'm helpless to influence the timing. 

This coming week I'll meet with my daughter to organize a time and place to give a presentation to a group of seniors in 
one of her healthcare facilities. I'm going to promote that they consider writing their stories for their family's. In the process 
I'll tell them about my experience in writing the book and the power of the journal. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Book Review Services

I've been researching services that offer a professional that will read my book and write an honest, objective review. They are a little pricey, but then again I'm not having a great deal of success getting a known reviewer to read and evaluate my work. One additional benefit is that some services, like Clarion, add the review to their database and it is used by libraries and other institutions for selecting books.

Create Space, my self-publishing company, offers this service through both Clarion, and Kirkus Indie. I was torn as to which one to select since they sort of specialize in different markets. Kirkus was interesting since show and movie writers use this service to scan for new books that could be of interest. Those that have read my book say that it would make a great movie, especially with the 100 year anniversary coming up. But, being conservative, I decided to go with Clarion, since Baker & Collins use their service to select books, and they supply all the US military bases. I figure my target reader are those interested in military history.

I feel nervous putting my book out there for review. So much is pending on the out come and one never knows how their work will be received. It would be salt rubbed into a wound if I didn't receive a favorable result after paying for it. I guess it goes along with, "if you believe in your story then proceed".  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Proofing For Errors

I've had the chance to look over the book proof and found a few errors. I contacted Create Space and inquired as to the process for making changes. I was told that they would attach a change form to my account which would allow me to make up to 80 text changes without incurring an additional expense, unless the error was their fault. I'm uncertain if they count each letter or text as in a word. If it is based on each figure, then 80 isn't a realistic number.

From my account I downloaded the change form and began the process of finding and recording the mistakes. One issue was spacing between the period at the end of one sentence and the letter at the beginning of the next sentence. It varied throughout the book without rhyme or reason. Since this was a book-wide problem I called Create Space to find out how to handle it. Their service representative requested that I give her an example. Of course it took me a little time to locate an example. She pulled up my submitted manuscript to determine if the error was their fault or mine; It was their error.

She thought that it could be handled by their design department but wasn't sure so she would get back to me.  The next morning I received an email from the design staff stating that I would have to record each instance on the change form. Knowing that there were more than 80 cases and statistically my chance of missing one or more would be probable, I called the support line.

This time the representative said that she would have a member of the design team call me so that we could explore possible solutions. It took a couple of hours before I received the call, but it was good news because the designer discovered that the problem was in the type of word font that was used. They had experienced a similar issue and by changing the font would correct the problem. THANK YOU LORD!

On one page I found that apostrophes in a conjunction, such as "can't" were replaced with right pointing arrows, such as "can>t. I wasn>t sure this was another font issue or something else so I recorded it on the change form just in case.

In order to meet my August deadline I completed the change form today and downloaded it to my account. The design representative told me that she would make the font change at the same time they make my requested changes. The whole process would take less than a week and they would mail me another proof for me to approve.  Once I approve the proof the book should be available for print within a week, which is within my deadline for ordering books for the book launch on August 24th.

I'll sleep a little better tonight knowing that the book will be in print on time.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Proofing The Proof

I finally returned home after travelling for two weeks. There waiting for me was the proof copy of my book.

Removing it from the confines of its cardboard encasement I marveled at the impressive book cover. However, I had envisioned the book being thicker then it was. Whenever I printed out a manuscript it amounted to almost 190 pages, yet the final book contained but 134 pages.

Immediately I delved into reviewing the contents of possible errors. I already knew that I wanted to change the statement that it was a "fictionalized account of the following". The first error I spotted was in the "Prologue". The next to the last sentence was cut short and its ending was carried down to start a new sentence.

On page 6 my conception of Fred reviewing his journal is italicized and indented matching that of the journal entries, this must be reformatted.

I'm not overly pleased with the maps, however most readers skip the maps in order to maintain the flow of the story, besides, I can't change them now.

Over all the book looks and reads well.

I a little concerned about the price I decided upon. Comparing other books, I ended up with a price somewhere in the middle, but the competition's books are of smaller dimension thus have more pages than mine. I'm afraid that potential readers will compare cost per page than content. Again, it is something I can not change right now.

Apprehension must be a normal feeling prior to the release of one's first book. It is unknown, uncharted territory with much riding on it. As I've always done, draw in a deep breath and move forwards with confidence that I can make the necessary adjustments as issues unfold.

On Monday I shall call Create Space and find out how to go about making the changes I discovered. I'm torn between forging ahead, "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" mentality and getting things right. It would be a mistake not to make the corrections now because if discovered by the readers they might think the book was poorly written. Once released it is out there for the world to evaluate!