Tag Archives: Finding Billy Battles

Indie Author Ronald E. Yates Takes Top Prizes!

Congratulations to Indie Author Ronald E. Yates on winning the Grand Prize in the Goethe Historical Fiction Division and the Overall Best Book of 2018 Ribbon at the 2019 Chanticleer Writers Conference! Well done, sir! Find Ron on Twitter: @jhawker69

 

When a great-grandson inherits two aging trunks and a stack of meticulously detailed journals penned by his great-grandfather, he sets out to fulfill his great-grandfather’s last request: to tell the story of an incredible life replete with adventure, violence, and tragedy. The great-grandfather’s name is Billy Battles–a man often trapped and overwhelmed by circumstances beyond his control.
For much of his 100-year-long life Billy is a man missing and largely unknown to his descendants. His great-grandson is about to change that. As he works his way through the aging journals and the other possessions he finds in the battered trunks he uncovers the truth about his mysterious great-grandfather–a man whose deeds and misdeeds propelled him on an extraordinary and perilous journey from the untamed American West to the inscrutable Far East, Latin America and Europe.
As he flips through the pages of the handwritten journals he learns of Billy’s surprising connections to the Spanish-American War, French Indochina, and revolutions in Mexico and other Latin American countries. But most of all he learns that in finding Billy Battles he has also found a long lost and astonishing link to the past.

Billy Battles is definitely not in Kansas anymore.

As Book 2 of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy opens, Billy is far from his Kansas roots and his improbable journeys are just starting.

The year is 1894 and Billy is aboard the S S China sailing to the inscrutable Far East. Trouble is not far behind. He has met a mysterious and possibly dangerous German Baroness. He has locked horns with malevolent agents of the German government and battled ferocious Chinese and Malay pirates in the South China Sea.

Later, he is embroiled in the bloody anti-French insurgency in Indochina–which quite possibly makes him the first American combatant in a country that eventually will become Vietnam. Then, in the Philippines, he is thrust into the Spanish-American War and the brutal anti-American insurgency that follows. But Billy’s troubles are only beginning.

As the 19th century ends and the 20th century begins, he finds himself entangled with political opportunists, spies, revolutionaries, and an assortment of vindictive and dubious characters of both sexes. How will Billy handle those people and the challenges they present? The answers are just ahead.

Where in the world is Billy Battles?
As Book Three of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy begins we know where Billy is. He is in Chicago with his wife, the former Baroness Katharina von Schreiber living a sedate and comfortable life after years of adventure and tragedy. That changes with a single telephone call that yanks Billy and Katharina back into a life of havoc and peril.
Persuaded by a powerful old friend to go undercover for the U.S. government the two find themselves in Mexico during the height of the violent 1910-1920 revolution. There they encounter assorted German spies, Mexican revolutionaries, devious political operatives, and other malefactors. Caught in the middle of the 1914 American invasion of Veracruz, they must find a way out while keeping their real identities secret.
Later on, disaster strikes. It is a tragedy Billy is all too familiar with and one that will send him plummeting into a chasm of despair and agony. Then, Billy vanishes leaving family and friends to wonder what happened to him. Where is he? Is he dead or alive? What provoked his disappearance? In Book 3 of the Finding Billy Battles Trilogy, those questions are answered, and the mystery behind Billy’s disappearance is ultimately revealed.

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Welcome to “FINDING BILLY BATTLES TRILOGY” Blog Tour! @JHawker69 @4WillsPub #RRBC #RWISA

Today, I have the honor and pleasure of hosting author, fellow Blog Talk Radio host, RRBC member, and friend Ronald E. Yates here on The Indie Spot. Please give a warm welcome to Ron by leaving a comment below and sharing his post.

Take it away, Ron. . .

Finding Billy Battles
Excerpt from the Prologue

My first meeting with William Fitzroy Raglan Battles was on a warm June afternoon in 1958. We sat on the veranda of a red-brick dormitory building on the grounds of the Wadsworth old soldiers’ home in Leavenworth, Kansas. Battles was really old, and the truth be known, he kind of frightened me, though I didn’t let on that he did. I was only twelve at the time, and I didn’t even want to be there.
Chances are you have never heard of William Fitzroy Raglan Battles, and there is no reason why you should have. I know I hadn’t—until that humid afternoon in the waning days of the Eisenhower era. Today, I often wonder how I could not have known about Battles, how a life as full and audacious as his could have gone unnoticed for so many generations. God, how I wish I could have known him better. But his life—as was no doubt the case with that of millions of other anonymous participants in history—was simply lost, crushed underfoot in the unrelenting stride of time.
Of course, there was no way I could know at the time that this meeting would trigger a series of events that would lead me on an extraordinary journey into the past and change my life in ways I could never imagine. When I look back on that first meeting, I wonder why I was so fearful. William Fitzroy Raglan Battles was not a particularly menacing man. But there was a definite hardness to him—the kind of stern, leathery countenance that you get from taking, and perhaps giving, too much punishment over a lifetime. I particularly recall his eyes. They were the color of pale slate, and almost as hard.
Maybe that was what frightened me—those eyes and the way they cut into you.
It was my grandmother who had insisted that I meet the man with those flinty gray eyes and that gristly exterior. One day she simply announced that we were going to drive to Leavenworth, to meet her father—my great-grandfather. That winter, my father had suffered a fatal heart attack, and my mother thought it would be a good idea if I spent the summer with my cousins on their farm near Troy, Kansas. Most of the time, I roamed the hills by myself, riding horses and occasionally helping out with the chores. I wasn’t thrilled about spending an hour in the car with my grandmother driving the forty-five miles to Leavenworth. First, she drove really slowly; and second, I didn’t even know I had a great-grandfather.
Nobody, including my grandmother, had ever really spoken about him—at least not in my presence. Why this was the case I was to learn much later when I was older and could “understand such things,” as my grandmother put it.
The only explanation for this visit that I was able to extract at the time from my grandmother was that she wanted me to go with her because the home was commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, and my great-grandfather and several thousand other Kansans had played a significant role in it.
Big deal. The Spanish-American War. Who cares? I thought as my grandmother maneuvered her pastel-blue 1957 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham south down State Highway 7 through the undulating farmland of northeast Kansas and into Leavenworth. The Spanish-American War was ancient history. And besides, being around so many old people made me nervous. Death had taken on a new meaning for me. It was no longer some abstract event that happened to others. I had seen and felt its uncompromising manifestation when the emergency crew carried my father from our home several months before. And now I would be in the presence of someone who could die at any time.
Those were the kinds of self-indulgent thoughts that pranced through my adolescent brain that day. Today I know a lot more about my great-grandfather. The biggest regret of my life is that I was too young and too obtuse to understand what kind of human history database my great-grandfather was. I would only learn that many years later when, as a journalism student at the University of Kansas, I began to appreciate the value of personal narratives from people who could speak firsthand about events I could only read about.
That’s the way it is when we become absorbed with history. We discover that the events and people of antiquity are not ghosts, or simply lifeless words on a page, or fading sepia images. They have an essence we can touch and hear and even speak to if only we have the right medium—someone who has experienced the past with passion and perceptiveness and has the keen senses with which to make it come alive to those who, until that moment, could only fantasize about it.
In this case, that medium was a rare individual who lived during what might have been the most tumultuous years in American history. Luckily, my grandmother, intractable and single-minded as she was, made sure that I would not forget this event or my great-grandfather.

Ronald E. Yates is an award winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. His extraordinarily accurate books have captivated fans around the world who applaud his ability to blend fact and fiction.

 

Ron is a former foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Illinois where he was also the Dean of the College of Media. His award-winning book, “The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles,” is the second in his Finding Billy Battles trilogy of novels and was published in June 2016. The first book in the trilogy, “Finding Billy Battles,” was published in 2014. Book #3 of the trilogy (The Lost Years of Billy Battles) was published in June 2018.

 

As a professional journalist, Ron lived and worked in Japan, Southeast Asia, and both Central and South America where he covered several history-making events including the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia; the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing; and wars and revolutions in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, among other places. His work resulted in multiple journalism awards, including three Pulitzer nominations and awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Inter-American Press Association, to name a few.

 

BOOK PURCHASE LINKS:

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KHDVZI/-/e/B00KQAYMA8/

TRILOGY LINK: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DNDWHH6/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

BARNES & NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/finding%20billy%20battles/_/N-8q8

MY WEBSITE & BLOG:  https://ronaldyatesbooks.com/

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TWITTER: https://twitter.com/jhawker69

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LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ronyates/

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