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

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Up date on free downloads

So far 148 people have downloaded my book for free with just two days to go. Why do authors give free downloads - if they believe in their book then they want to get it into the hands of as many readers as possible so if they like it they will tell their friends and the book's following will increase. Thank you to those that have downloaded it! If you enjoy it - please pass the word around.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Money Pit - publishing a book

I sent a query to the "Naval and Military Press", "Penn and Sward", and so many others without even a rejection letter to show for my efforts - the question being is no news good news or is it just no news!

The same problem exists with those that agree to post a review of the book if I would send them a copy of the manuscript, but after several weeks not one review has been posted. The book is only 200 pages and several contain photographs so how long would it take to read?

I find it so frustrating to spend four years researching and writing a book that receives five stars by people who read it , but how does one go about getting people to pickup the book and read it. I suppose if I had the answer to this question I would't be complaining, I would be wealthy.

I've taken my mission on the road and told my story to the members of a retirement facility - those of the great generation, and it was well received.

FLASH!! I just received my first rejection - the "Military Press" sent me an email stating that they are not accepting book queries at this time. I guess it wasn't a rejection as much as it was a "I'm overloaded with war books at this time so I don't want to look at another one until the centennial is over."

I've been in contact with the US eastern branch of the Western Front Association to see if I can conjure up some more local interest. They are having a symposium in October in PA which I'll try to attend.

Does any one remember the movie "The Money Pit"? I should write a sequel but it would be a story of trying to publish a book. Hey! It could be a best seller and a possible movie since Hollywood tends to fall back on remakes of old movies.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

99 years ago today

Marched at 6 am, at head of [the] main Body, and was soon in the thick of the fight [that afterwards would be] known as the Battle of the Marne.

We dropped into action in the open, my chum and I deciding to run our telephone wire, over a small ridge from our observing party to the Battery. [Doing so], a French Cavalryman galloped past me with blood running from himself and [his] horse.
I laid out my wire quickly to the guns, and as 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. [The bombardment continued] for two continual hours, it was Hell.
I crouched beneath a gun limber, and thought each moment was my last. I was like a jelly man, and must confess my nerves were for the time gone. I wanted to run anywhere, and it was only by the greatest effort of will power, I stood to my work and yelled out the orders to the Battery Leader, for the firing of the guns.
The Northampton and Sussex Regiments retired right through our guns, and drew the enemy’s fire on to us. Their retirement developed into a hopeless rabble and panic, our CRA Gen Finley and Colonel Sharpe with a few more Artillery Officers tried to stop them, and urge them to go forward, but it was no use.
While trying to stop them the genl[sic] was killed and two officers wounded, and both regiments lost very heavily. Nothing was between us and the enemy. The infantry in their mad rush broke my telephone wire [and] I thought my chum at the other end had got knocked over, he thought the same of me. So the Battery for a few moments was out of action, but the orders were passed down by Semaphore by two more chums, and we set out to mend our wire.
[In the] mean time the 60th Rifles advanced where the Northampton’s and Sussex retired, and the enemy continued their retreat, how thankful we [were].

Tom Thorpe - Western Front Association

I met with Tom Thorpe, Jules, and Kathy from the London branch of the Western Front Association on 9/9/2013. We talked about my book, "World War 1 - An Unkept Promise", which is available on Kindle.

Tom invited me back next June to give another speech to his association after he and two of his members, Kathy and Jules take my wife and I over to France and Belgium to visit the battlefields. It will be a memorable trip which should impact me greatly knowing that a century ago my grandfather was involved in a battle whose landscape had changed so greatly.

Each now know the story behind the book and from just a few of the journal entries they agree that the world, especially at thins time, should read the book. However, as an independent writer it is so difficult to get the word out and draw people's attention to the historical importance of the journal the book contains.

In the past few months I seen a large increase in those visiting this site and if each one would pass this information on to others that are also interested in stories of WW1, it might just help interest others in hearing a grandfather's story.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Michelle McGrath

Last night we had dinner with my friend Michelle McGraff and her husband John. This was our first face to face meeting since our conversations previously have all been through email exchanges. Michelle was instrumental in my rewriting my original story and releasing "World War 1 - An Unkept Promise". She is an accomplished author with a background in historical writing. Through the website, Goodreads, she reviewed my first book, "The Great Promise". She only gave it three stars because I didn't have a bibliography to give credit to my sources. I questioned her review because the story was not meant to be non-fiction and I didn't believe that I needed to give credit because my information was obtained from many sources and not limited to a couple of sources. Long story short, we got into a discussion through emails and she convinced me to rewrite the story as non-fiction. She tricked me into believing that it would take long since I was so close anyway - will, eight months later I finally finished it except the last chapter.

The restaurant was crowed so it was very noisy making it difficult to hear each other's conversations; we did the best we could  under the circumstances.

John was balding and had white hair which matched his beard that was neatly trimmed. Wearing a Navy blue sport coat with an opened collar yellow dress shirt. At first meeting he seemed to be a pleasant man suffering the same problem with hearing as myself.

I inquired about his work and discovered he did something in health and safety. Whatever it was, he stated that he finally found his life's calling after 66 years,

Michelle was sitting across from Lynne, my wife, so it was very difficult to distinguish what she was saying. I did get the message that she was pleased that I decided to rewrite the book because she believed that the journal should was important and should be read by those interested in learning about the war. I also gleaned from our conversation that I should expect to receive criticism from other historians and not to take them to heart. That the journal will stand on its own for what it is and regardless if they agree with what it says, it was written as he experienced it.

She made one comment that I was lucky to be having dinner with them because my grandfather, according to his journal, missed death on several occasions. I replied she was right, but there was the event of my grandfather deciding which country to immigrate to based upon the flip of a coin. Lucky for me it came up America or we wouldn't have been having this conversation.

The restaurant was very popular - I have to say the food was excellent, so they had a two hour time limit in order to turn over tables. Our time was up so I paid the bill - I thought it only fair for the time Michelle had spent on helping me. We left and looked for another place to have some desert, a place a little quieter. I remembered one where Lynne and I had dinner so we went there. The place was so much quieter than where we had dinner, that is until a large group of people came in.

Lynne and I discovered that Michelle and John lived on the island of Man, which is in the Irish sea between Ireland and Scotland. It is a separate country which is a dependent upon the United Kingdom. However, it has its own monetary system, passport, laws and such just like any other independent country. Even though it is a dependency of the Royal Crown, it is not a member of the UK.

Time was growing late so we made plans to meet the following day but Sunday morning Lynne was in pain with a fibromyalga attack and I was having Parkinson's issues so we cancelled. We want to make sure we can make the meeting with the WFA group on Monday.  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Capt. Fred G. Coxen now resides at

Met this morning with Anthony Richards of the Document and Record Section for the Imperial War Museum in London. It was nice to place a face to the dozen or so emails which have been passed back and forth over the past two years.

I brought with me all of my grandfather's military records, including his journal to donate to the museum. Mr. Richards was kind to sit with me so I could go over some of the more significant documents that pertain to my grandfather's military career, such as when he was seconded to the newly formed Royal Air Force, which Mr. Richards found interesting, and my explanation as to why he was seconded.

He agreed with me that my grandfather's writing and the way he described what was happening around him was unique. Also this was significant because there wasn't a great deal of coverage of the war until after the first year.

I was assured that the museum would keep his papers together under his name and at anytime we could, if we wanted, to have them pulled for our review. Although it saddened me to loose the last physical evidence and reminder of my grandfather, I know it was the best decision. Who knows, if such a collection of documents, and the story they tell, may find its way into one of the exhibits in the up-coming WW1 centennial event in the museum. Right now there wasn't much to see at the museum for it was going through a complete renovation to create all new WW1 displays.

We were invited back next year to visit the museum and Anthony would be pleased if we let him know in advance so we could meet.

Everywhere we gone in this city we have met very friendly people that have gone out of their way to help us. Today we stopped by for a bit to eat and my wife asked our waitress what public transportation we could take to return to where we were staying. She didn't know, but got the entire working crew working on the project so by the time we finished eating they had the route planned for us.

Monday we meet again with the people from the WFA to discuss plans for next year's visit

Friday, September 6, 2013

Can't trust cabies

Last night I was to present my story to the London branch of the Western Front Association. When gave the London cab driver the name of the venue, he entered it into his GPS and off we went. I was going over my speech and didn't pay particular attention to where we were going - even if I did it would not have helped since I don't know my way around anyway.

We left our hotel early and thankfully so because with rush hour traffic in London so it took almost two hours to arrive at the wrong place. I didn't know that there was two Barley Mows and of the two we were dropped off at the wrong one.

Our cellphones were not equipped to be used internationally so they were of no use. Luck would have it that a friendly Londoner was coming out of a building and my wife asked if he know where the Western Front was meeting. Even though  he didn't, he took the time to look up the information on his phone. I must say that everyone we have met while we've been here has been friendly and willing to help us beyond what I would expect. The gentleman suggested that we flag down a black cab and give him the address information he obtained from his phone search, then used Google maps to determine how long it would take us to get from where we were to the correct venue - if we caught a cab immediately - which we didn't.

As we ran down the street trying to locate a cab, which are usually everywhere, not one was to be found. My lovely wife would stop and ask for information from others on the street and found out that we were near a train station and there would be cabs there.

Walking at a fast panic pace, we arrived at the station without spotting a cab that didn't already have a passenger. Nothing was working out until fortune would have it an empty cab came by. We hailed him down.then explained out misfortune and asked if he could get us to the correct location as quickly as possible, which he did, but it was too late.

We arrived at the meeting as it was breaking up, so I was unable to give the speech I had been working on for months. I introduced myself to Tom Thorpe, the chair, and explained our failed attempt. He was apologetic - fancy that! He introduced us to some of the people still at the meeting, then invited us to join them for a drink so they could get to know us.

I presented some parts of my speech when they asked questions. An older gentleman sitting next to me, his name was Charles - I believe he was the same Charles that turned down writing my book's foreword. He was very pleasant chap and was interested in several of the documents I had brought with me, some items he had not seen before so he was pleasantly surprised. Perhaps he would have written the foreword if we would have had a chance to meet.

The others were very pleasant individuals that were truly interested in what I had to say. Tom even wanted me to return next summer and give my speech. In fact, he and the others offered to take us over to the battle fields in France to show us around. There were two ladies that I didn't get a chance to talk to, but my wife Lynne did and they befriended her like old friends. One of the ladies worked for a large London newspaper and reviewed books - Tom suggested I get to know her. They all wanted to meet with us again so we made plans to meet at 6:30 pm on Monday.

So even though my big moment was a disappointment, the night wasn't a total bust. I believe we have met kindred  souls that seem more than please to help me in anyway they can to launch my book.

Perhaps God opens a window when he shuts a door.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Although World War 1 - An Unkept Promise is based upon my grandfather’s journal, it does not follow the same pattern as most journal based stories. It is different in several ways; first it has a storyline, which is supported by the journal. Another distinction is how the journal entries were written. Although in first person, they describe more of what is happening around him, which is similar to how a journalist would report the action. However, the major difference is that the story begins during the Second World War, which sounds strange being a WW1 story.

It was during WW2 that he wrote a letter titled “I had a dream the other night”, and it was this letter that altered my life’s journey:

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Free PDF Manuscript

I have many followers on this blog and would like to offer them a free PDF copy of my manuscript in exchange for a written review of my book on Amazon Kindle.

If interested, please use the blog's comment section to let me know what email address to send the manuscript to.

Thank you

Frederick Coxen - author of World War 1 - An Unkept Promise