RSS

Tag Archives: A to Z Challenge

Z is for Zee End #AtoZchat

For a limited time - only 99 cents! Irene's World War 2 Childhood, (teen)Years Hidden As a Boy, and Escape to Freedom (East to West Berlin) Books 1, 2, and 3 in one volume.

For a limited time – only 99 cents!
Irene’s World War 2 Childhood, (teen)Years Hidden As a Boy, and Escape to Freedom (East to West Berlin) Books 1, 2, and 3 in one volume.

Zee end only of the A to Z Challenge for this year. The Historical Treasure of Irene’s memoirs will continue. Audio versions will be released. New covers will be completed. We’ll eventually make it onto promotion lists with wider readership.

Irene herself will continue to swim at the gym, make music with her choir and struggle to hold on to this life and live it to the fullest. Today that means she’s probably throwing the ball for her lab, Rusty, and visiting with friends at church. Tomorrow she might be on a seniors tour bus to a new destination, or sharing with folks at the German-American Club.

As I look over all the work to write 26 blogs in one month, I can’t help checking the results. 200 new followers, 60 comments, 3 times the number of average views, 8 books sold. Gains big and small.

What’s more important in this A to Z Challenge though is the message. The encouragement of one soul. The inspiration of a small kindness. The resolve to one act of bravery.

Irene’s memoirs continue to receive mostly 5 star reviews which is blessing and a problem, since we’ve been told books with almost all 5 stars are “suspicious” to buyers. A new review during the A to Z Challenge says:

Something new April 16, 2016
With all of the books (both fiction and nonfiction) about World War II, I thought that this memoir might say what already has been said. I was completely wrong — it is a new and fresh account of life in eastern Germany, during the war and after, that comes alive and moves at a fast pace. Irene describes her life in a matter of fact way — the reader takes in all of the facts and stories and comes away with new knowledge and new understanding, and the feeling of meeting face to face with a living heroine. To rise to your very best self in the midst of the worst of humanity is a story worth reading. I would recommend this book to both adults and teenagers.

Thanks to each one of you for reading, for liking, for sharing, for each review. Please continue to help us share by joining Irene’s Survive Little Buddy News list. Meanwhile, we pray all of you who joined her journey here or elsewhere find a nugget to hold to in rough days.

A to Z Historical Treasure – Nuggets

A is for Anne (Frank) and Irene in World War 2 http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Xb
B is for Bolsheviks http://wp.me/p8Fvh-X0
C is for Crazy Kids in World War 2 http://wp.me/p8Fvh-YF
D is for Dreams – What inspired ur career? http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Yz
E is for Eating, Cold War Style http://wp.me/p8Fvh-YS
F is for Fear of Rape, Post War Years http://wp.me/p8Fvh-YN
G is for Gestapo http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Z1
H is for Hidden As a Boy http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Z5
I is for Interview Videos – Morgue Normal, Nurse and War Bride – Beyond the Book http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Zd
J is for Jews in Hiding http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Zi
K is for Kindnesses http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Zs
L is for Louis Armstrong http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Zn
M is for Music to Survive http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Zx

N is for Nursing with Comrades http://wp.me/p8Fvh-ZG
O is for ON Vacation Soviet Style http://wp.me/p8Fvh-ZD
P is for Publishing Unexpectedly http://wp.me/p8Fvh-YU
Q is for Questions from Readers http://wp.me/p8Fvh-ZK
R is for Russian Accordion http://wp.me/p8Fvh-ZQ
S is for Spy http://wp.me/p8Fvh-ZT
T is for Temptation http://wp.me/p8Fvh-ZY
U is for Uranium Mine Punishment http://wp.me/p8Fvh-104
V is for Video “I was a spy?” http://wp.me/p8Fvh-10d
W is for West Berlin Refugee Camp http://wp.me/p8Fvh-10a
X is for Border Crossing http://wp.me/p8Fvh-10g
Y is for YELL ABOUT IT http://wp.me/p8Fvh-10q
Z is for Zee End

What’s next? Back to Living in Holland with a special event we attended last week…The King’s Ball.

_____________________

Kristin King is Irene Kucholick’s publisher and friend. She hopes you find the strength to, as the reviewer said, “rise to your very best self.”

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 1, 2016 in Memoirs & History

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Y is for YELL ABOUT IT

For a limited time - only 99 cents! Irene's World War 2 Childhood, (teen)Years Hidden As a Boy, and Escape to Freedom (East to West Berlin) Books 1, 2, and 3 in one volume.

For a limited time – only 99 cents!
Irene’s World War 2 Childhood, (teen)Years Hidden As a Boy, and Escape to Freedom (East to West Berlin) Books 1, 2, and 3 in one volume.

ALL CAPS IS VIRTUAL SHOUTING, so I’ve been told. That’s sort of what I’ve been doing all month-long with the A to Z Challenge theme “Historical Treasure.” I’ve shared tidbits, excerpts, photos, interviews for Irene’s memoirs in order to convince you her story is one worth sharing.

“Sharing is Caring” is often at the bottom of blog posts. That is what I am asking you to do.

Share.

In fact, I’ve marked the digital copy of her memoirs down to 99 cents (or equivalent) on Amazon outlets worldwide, because I want you to have the opportunity to get the rest of the story–and to help spread the word.

If you are a reader, you’ll get drawn in by this book.

If you know a history buff, you could be the one that recommends the best history book they’ll read this year.

If you know someone who likes strong female leads, this is for them.

If you think Irene’s story could do well given a chance, share.

Here are some ways:

  • Share or reblog a post you liked from A to Z (& mention the 99 cents sale)
  • Share one of Irene’s youtube videos (follow the channel to get more)
  • Get the rest of the story for yourself and leave a review for her
  • Give the gift of history (signed copies available)

Survive Little Buddy has what it takes in terms of a compelling story that builds the world of the past for us to see today. I know it! Do you?

I wanna YELL ABOUT IT! That’s what A to Z was for me this year. Only one more post coming at you…Z is for….

__________________

Kristin King is a mom of four boys, US Army wife, and currently struggling with a nasty head cold–the kind of thing so trivial Irene never mentions it. Kristin wishes she was as stalwart as Irene.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

X is for Border Crossing

If you’ve been following A to Z, you know X is coming to you one day late. My apologies as I let a spring cold hold me back. Moving forward…

Working on 2nd edition cover of My Years Hidden As a Boy (Book 2)

Working on 2nd edition cover of My Years Hidden As a Boy (Book 2)

You also know that Irene crossed the East German border more than once in her years hidden as a boy. The first time, though, was one of the more harrowing at least until she was a young adult and fleeing spy accusations. This excerpt is much condensed, so, as always, I encourage you to get the rest of Irene’s memoirs.

Early in March of 1947 I set out to find my way across the border from East into West Germany [to look for my father]….Snow still covered the ground and an icy wind was blowing. From my hometown Chemnitz I was able to catch a train to…Glauchau….[next train to] Zwickau.

….I must have looked like…the homeless pitiful children who had come from [Poland]….They had pity on me and….gave me a cup of hot water that smelled like bouillon to which I added my two raw carrots Mama had given me for my trip….

“This little boy sure looks like he has come along way.”

“Poland?” suggested another?

I thanked them with a smile and stayed quiet.

….The next train took me to Plauen….Two men in western clothing were waiting on the platform, and I suspected by their speech that they were Czechoslavakians and that they must have been on the other side of the border before. A trail of ragged people, men and women, followed the two men.

….After all that zigzag riding we came back to Plauen and here we regrouped…..We finally reached the last train station, and beyond it was no man’s land, several miles of land between borders where nobody except for patrols were allowed to be. So we had to start walking. The leaders counted 22 people. Among us there were German soldiers who ran away from the Russians and wanted to be a POW with the Americans rather than with the Bolsheviks….Some women were among us but no children.

“Quiet!” whispered one of the Czechoslovakians sharply. “No talking or else.”

…in Lobenstein we came to an iron gate….I was pushed in the ribs….I saw some people arguing. Some woman had talked to a stranger….

As we got in a single-file line our silhouettes were like black shadow in the snow. It was then that I heard a sound that reminded me of someone chopping wood. No one said so, but I knew that the woman who had not obeyed orders was not with us anymore.

….Silently and swiftly we moved along…I began to doubt my strength to keep up. We were told that anyone dropping out would give the others away. I knew they had knives under their jackets and might kill anyone that got in their way.

….The soldier with a small bundle over his shoulder looked back and saw me struggling. Without a word, he grabbed my hand and pulled me a few meters uphill.

Our leaders whispered, “Don’t talk. Sound travels. Don’t step on any wood. It will snap and give us away.”

Irene's World War 2 Childhood, (teen)Years Hidden As a Boy, and Escape to Freedom (East to West Berlin) Books 1, 2, and 3 in one volume.

Irene’s World War 2 Childhood, (teen)Years Hidden As a Boy, and Escape to Freedom (East to West Berlin) Books 1, 2, and 3 in one volume.

….My heart was pounding so loud that I felt everyone around me could hear….The snow was deeper here….The stream was a good eight feet wide and too far to jump to the other side.

“Take off your boots. Shoulder them and cross!” was the whispered command….The soldier and i were just behind the Czechoslovakians. They saw how frail and tired I was.

“Look,” one of them whispered in my ear. “Over this mountain in front of us, there is freedom. Let’s go and don’t stay behind.”

….I cried silently, knowing not to show weakness. I prayed silently. As I prayed, I felt my energy return. The icy water was not the worst of it. It was all the sharp stones on the bottom that made it hard to walk through. I knew if I didn’t make it, they would kill me here at the border. It happened every day and Mama and my brothers would wait in vain for my return. (Excerpt from Survive Little Buddy: Iron Curtain Memoirs by Irene Kucholick Copyright 1996. All rights reserved.)

They did not make it across without further mishap, and I laugh to read once more the invention of the Czech leaders. Even so, shots were fired. “Then I heard a bang,” Irene writes. “One of the bullets had hit something in my knapsack. Whatever it was, it saved my life.”

Once again I am struck by a small kindnesses, a a worn soldier lending a hand. A moment of encouragement, a little help, can shine brightly in a dark place. Most of us live so much better today, but we never know who around us might be in a dark place or dark moment of their lives. Our hand, our thoughtful word can be a light today as well (K is for Kindnesses).

Irene does not often reference her faith in her memoirs; this moment stood out to me. This is because in my own dark times, it was clinging to faith and prayer that brought me strength as well.

_________________________

Kristin King is an author as well as the publisher of Irene Kucholick’s historical memoirs. Kristin lives as an expat in The Netherlands where the past few days have included 3 to 5 hailings amidst spring rain and occasional sunshine. Today she sat in the floor writing whilst her dog stretched out on the couch.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 29, 2016 in Memoirs & History

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

V is for Video “I Was a Spy?”

The A to Z Challenge 2016 is nearly complete. Historical Treasure remains after this theme is relegated to the past. I hope Irene’s memoirs inspire you. As you requested, here is another video, this one only 1 minute. Subscribe to our youtube channel, Beyond the Book, for upcoming releases.

That’s the power punch there at the end. “When you feel you are hunted, you cannot think rationally anymore.”

Survive Little Buddy ends with Irene’s flight from East Berlin, but in the interviews you can get some insights beyond the book.  W is for West Berlin Refugee Camp.

Thanks to everyone for your likes, comments and shares.

__________________

Kristin King published Irene’s memoirs and continues to try to get the word out about this incredible story and the inspiring woman behind the Iron Curtain Memoirs. Visit Irene’s author page on Amazon for more information.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 26, 2016 in Memoirs & History

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

S is for Spy Accusations #AtoZChallenge Historical Treasure

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 11.53.24 AMGrowing up in the 80’s, the Berlin Wall was to me a structure seemingly as permanent as the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall of China. I knew it separated The East from the The West, keeping those who lived under enforced communism away from freedom and choice.

What I didn’t know and somehow missed in my history classes was that The Wall was a quite recent edifice. Prior to its erection in August of 1961 (and excepting Soviet blockade times), people traveled back and forth between the Berlins for work and pleasure (see Iron Curtain Memoirs Book 3).

At first there was no sanctuary in West Berlin for those with identity cards from the east. Many who tried to stay in the west were returned or kidnapped and brought back. Guards were only posted on the eastern side, and some trams continued to run their route across the border and back.

Such was the time in which Irene Kucholick, my A to Z Historical Treasure writer, lived.

I began riding the electric U-Bahn. Although controlled entirely by East Germany, the U-Bahn traveled from Potsdam, through West Berlin, and into East Berlin again. Each time I rode the U-Bahn I watched and learned.

Many people got off the U-Bahn in West Berlin. At all train stops on the East side, people were spot checked by armed Russian border guards….After Russian guard separated out suspected persons for further checking, the German police mustered them into a large room….

Persons in possession of forbidden Western items were transferred to another police station in the city. Each case was punished according to the degree of the offense. Even foodstuff and soaps were forbidden. We had such bad soap powder that it could only be called sand. Western soaps of any kind were welcomed articles for the black market.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 12.04.07 PMConfiscated items were sold in a store run by the government in Potsdam….Few people could afford them. The exchange rate was still five East Mark to one West Mark and four West Mark to one American dollar. That gives one an idea of how little East German marks were worth. Next to nothing.

Persons caught trying to escape…were usually sentenced for ten to twenty years at hard labor.

….This time I was stopped….Suddenly I remembered the Western literature. Ice cold fear gripped my body. There was no place to discard my borrowed material.

…[A scuffle broke out], I threw my magazines to the floor hoping no one would see where they came from.

Too many police and Russians were watching. Everyone saw me!

….I was immediately labeled a dangerous spy, as the papers were considered propaganda material from the West. [Excerpts from Survive Little Buddy. Copyright Irene Kucholick 1996. All rights reserved.]

One of many great images collected on Stacy Andersen's "Berlin Wall" Pinterest page

One of many great images collected on Stacy Andersen’s “Berlin Wall” Pinterest page

Can you imagine being able to cross the border, see the relative prosperity, soak in freedom for a couple hours before having to return? It’s no wonder Irene’s longing to break free from the Soviet communism strangling her homeland was so strong.

I have a short but powerful video of Irene talking about this incident that I hope to have ready for V is for Videos You Requested.

Coming next…T is for Temptation

_________________

Kristin King is an indie author and sole-proprietor of Three Kings Publishing, which released Irene Kucholick’s Iron Curtain Memoirs in 2013, and released the digital edition as Survive Little Buddy in 2015. Irene reminds Kristin of her own grandmother whose strength and convictions have endured from harder times.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 22, 2016 in Memoirs & History

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

R is for Russian Accordion

A beautiful Russian accordion

A beautiful Russian accordion

Do you enjoy learning some new, random bit of knowledge? Maybe you enjoy playing Quiz Up or it’s more ancient predecessor, Trivial Pursuit. Those sort of entertainments are up my alley, so when I discover nuggets in a book like Survive Little Buddy I’m all together hooked. Here’s one for you from my A to Z Historical Treasure:

One day while singing and playing in the waiting room at the Riesa railroad station, the Russian patrol came so quickly we could not escape. shouting in Russian that we had committed a crime, they arrested us.

“We have been looking for you two a long time,” said one of the patrol. “You have broken the law. No entertainment is allowed in railroad stations.”

They yanked my accordion from me, forcing us outside and into a truck. It was evening when they took us into the military police headquarters.

….”You broke the law and you will be punished,” was what they repeated over and over….They took our ID cards, the contents of my pockets and Krista’s handbag….They made fun of me for all the girl stuff I had in my pockets, but I did not reveal myself and would not dare, since I always used my brother Ortwin’s ID.

….With nothing left but our clothing…we were forced…through the building….They opened a door and pushed us down another flight of stairs….They pushed us in [a totally black room] and I stumbled and fell down a step I could not see. The door banged shut and someone helped me stand up. My hands were we and we were standing in ankle-deep water….

….My eyes adjusted….The cold water looked very dirty and the odor of urine grew stronger….

Krista grabbed my hand and whispered loudly, “They’ve put us in here until they kill us or send us to Siberia!”

….I touched the wall. It was slippery and wet. Hours passed.

“How long can we stand like this?” Krista asked. “My knees ache and my feet are numb.”

I didn’t answer. We held each other and cried quietly….We counted the hours by the chimes of a church clock we could hear ever so faintly through our prison walls.

[Later]….We were taken through the same passage….A different officer was there now. With much gesturing he said, “You will be put away for good if you are caught in a railroad station again.”

….When I saw our things I knew we were going to be released. I could not see my accordion and asked the officer for it….

“You didn’t even have a an accordion, you little liar,” he bellowed. “If you don’t shut up and get out of here we’ll arrest you again and never let you go!”

….Though we stood all the way home, the train felt very comfortable after the sleepless night standing in water.

….With no accordion there was no way to make money and we had no articles to trade for food in the black market. A few days later, Mama, carrying a large bag of rutabagas for that family, made a visit to Zschopauer Strasse to ask Herr Hillebrandt to make a trip to the Musik and Toy Towns Klingenthal and Zwothal to find a new accordion for me.

….In Zwothal we walked to the factories where they made accordions and other small instruments and wooden articles. “We are not making instruments for the German population, only for Russian needs,” was the disheartening information we received.

Seeing my fallen expression, one of the workers in another factory thrust an accordion at me saying, “The Russians have a different musical scale. Here, try it. You cannot play it.”

….I reached for the instrument and found it difficult to play. The notes didn’t sound right.

….Herr Hillebrandt had heard me play my old accordion….”You want it? Think you can learn to play this one?”

“I’ll learn no matter what,” I promised.

“Okay. You got it.” He turned to the factory representative and said, “Sell it to me. The Russians took her accordion.”

He peeled some money off a roll he carried and with a wink at the factory people I now owned a new accordion. I put it in its brand new case and said a silent prayer of thanks to God. [Excerpt from Survive Little Buddy, copyright Irene Kucholick 1996. All right reserved.]

The Russians have a different musical scale? Really? I love discovering a bit like that. I wonder what their do-re-mi sounds like. I should ask a friend. One of the ladies in my book club might know, and one of them pointed out that the airman taken prisoner by the Russians in the movie “Bridge of Spies” was also put in a cell with standing water. Living in Holland, I can tell you that the Dutch could not abide a room with even a puddle, they are so determined to control every drip of water.

What pluck and determination Irene had as a young teen. Honestly, she is still like that today. A credit to Herr Hillebrandt’s kindness (K is for Kindnesses), she did learn to play that instrument and was soon riding the rails with Krista again. Her next adventure was near the Reisa black market.

Our next A to Z Challenge bring us to S. S is for….oops. Well, not really. But I used my S topic for M, M is for Music to Survive. I’ll dig up another S for you in a flash.Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 9.42.40 AM

__________________

Kristin King is an author and publisher of Irene Kucholick’s Iron Curtain Memoirs which include Books 1, 2, and 3; My World War 2 Childhood, My Years Hidden As a Boy, My Escape to Freedom. All three books are contained in Survive Little Buddy along with photos, a historical time line, and maps not available in the stand alone books.

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 21, 2016 in Memoirs & History

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Z is for Zombies

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 4.57.02 PMThe A to Z Blog Challenge

Can’t help talking about what I want to write. It’s a danger though to talk about it too much and not be doing. For the final blog of the A to Z Challenge, I offer you an excerpt from my Zombie Romance (Title to be determined). This is the WIP (work in progress) my husband and I are planning to co-author. Hope you like it.

Dean Logan could not tear his eyes away from his supposedly lost and dead wife. He had thought if he ever saw her again, she’d be a walker. There she sat, though, alive and well. The soft waves of her honey brown hair draped across the shoulder, the bright green eyes hooded by heavy dark lashes, the sprinkle of paler than pale freckles across her aquiline nose. How many photos had he taken of those features? It was like a window to the past, to happier times before Kelley began working at the Infection Institute and became obsessed with the cause.

I shouldn’t be surprised to see her so altered, yet again. Impulsive and sure of what she wanted, they’d married within eight weeks of meeting at a presentation he gave for the Institute.  As a prominent local photographer, the Institute had enrolled his expertise to document in photographs the stage by stage progression of the Great Infection. Kelley had been mesmerized by the series of photos of infected wounds time lapsed from months into minutes. But it was the faces of the victims that touched her most. Seeing their humanity fade from infection onset into slackened face muscle, gray eyed monsters. At that first introduction to his work she’d said, “You’ve captured the plight of the victims so perfectly.”

Legally the infected were no longer human beings.  They had no rights and were a walking danger to society. To Kelley they were people sick-unto-death who ought to be treated as such. Her compassion had been part of her allure. It was a tender affection that grew after she got the internship at the Institute and she began documenting the victims’ fall into greedy oblivion. She called them by name, documented when they stopped responding to it, and knew that for a short time beyond remembering their own names they still recognized the sound of her caring voice. But the more she poured herself into her work, the less there had been of her in their home.

She had seemed so changed to him then. It was nothing compared to now. This quiet, shy woman who moved with careful grace touching things and glancing away from him. Completely altered.

He could have helped ease her, made more than monosyllabic conversational responses. He could have. He didn’t. Whether she was a zombie or not, part of him wanted to pick up that gun and shoot her for what she’d put them through. He wanted to shake some sense into her so she wouldn’t run off to help the monsters again. He was so angry with Kelley. He wanted to pour it out on her. How could he do that, though, when he couldn’t find one ounce of who she had been in her manner or attitudes? Could a person’s character be so fundamentally altered by trauma? He wished he was closer to his father-in-law and could have had a man-to-man discussion about finding your wife so changed.

Dean tore himself away and went into the kitchen without a word. Maybe reorganizing the cabinets would be a helpful distraction from the stranger in his living room who was his wife.

Zombie Romance © Copyright 2014 by Kristin King

Adios A to Z, it really has been a challenge.

_________________

Kristin King is an author and publisher. Her top sellers are “Unsinkable Vampire” and “Cain’s Coven,” and her latest novel in the Begotten Bloods Series is Death Taint. Her imprint Three Kings Publishing can be found here. Three Kings is a Mom & Pop publisher of Christian writers (not necessarily Christian books).

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Story Bites

 

Tags: , , , ,