A Special Treat! Journey Into the Past with Amy Lane and The Bells of Times Square (Book Tour and Contest)



What a feast for readers we have today!  Amy Lane is here with a special blog post on “Dirty Tricks”, an essay about WWII, her grandmother, and special memories.  It all ties into the start of the book tour for one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Best Novels of the Year, The Bells of Times Square by Amy Lane. 

I have linked our review above, but you won’t need that to want to pick this up.  Just listen to Amy Lane’s thoughts below, read the story blurb, and don’t forget to enter the contest !

The Bells of Times Square by Amy Lane
Publisher:  Riptide Publishing

Hi, and welcome to the blog tour for The Bells of Times Square!  This book is close to my heart– if you read the extra front and back matter in the story, you will see that I drew inspiration from my grandparents and their roles in WWII.  There was a lot of research involved here and also an unusual romance.  I hope you enjoy this stop on the tour, and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter below for the giveaway of two ebooks from my backlist and a signed copy of The Bells of Times Square!  Feel free to comment, or to contact me at any of my links below–I’d love to hear from you!


Every New Year’s Eve since 1946, Nate Meyer has ventured alone to Times Square to listen for the ghostly church bells he and his long-lost wartime lover vowed to hear together. This year, however, his grandson Blaine is pushing Nate through the Manhattan streets, revealing his secrets to his silent, stroke-stricken grandfather.

When Blaine introduces his boyfriend to his beloved grandfather, he has no idea that Nate holds a similar secret. As they endure the chilly death of the old year, Nate is drawn back in memory to a much earlier time . . . and to Walter.

Long before, in a peace carefully crafted in the heart of wartime tumult, Nate and Walter forged a loving home in the midst of violence and chaos. But nothing in war is permanent, and now all Nate has is memories of a man his family never knew existed. And a hope that he’ll finally hear the church bells that will unite everybody—including the lovers who hid the best and most sacred parts of their hearts.

About Amy Lane

Amy Lane exists happily with her noisy family in a crumbling suburban crapmansion, and equally happily with the surprisingly demanding voices who live in her head.

She loves cats, movies, yarn, pretty colors, pretty men, shiny things, and Twu Wuv, and despises house cleaning, low fat granola bars, and vainglorious prickweenies.

She can be found at her computer, dodging housework, or simultaneously reading, watching television, and knitting, because she likes to freak people out by proving it can be done.

Connect with Amy:

Contest: Enter to win using  the Rafflecopter link below for the giveaway of a $10 Riptide Gift card and a signed copy of The Bells of Times Square!

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The Bells of Times Square Blog Tour-Stop 1


Dirty Tricks By Amy Lane

My Grandma Olga’s work with the O.S.S. became declassified about a year before she passed away. Before that, we knew she worked in what she called “the office of dirty tricks” but she wasn’t able to tell us exactly what she did. After the declassification, well, her stories were pretty wild.

“So, we would radio ideas to the people in England, the and they would get message to the people in the POW camps to do play dirty tricks on the officers there. They would try to schedule it when there was action going down, so the officers would be taken unaware?”

“Yeah?” I asked, sort of dubious. I mean, I’d grown up on old TV. Hogan’s Heroes was my favorite. She’d already had me believing that the scene from The Godfather—the one where her father the restaurant owner paid off the crooked Irish cop with wine during prohibition—had actually happened to her. (She only succeeded because I’d never seen The Godfather. By the way, my aunts and uncle thought it was high hilarity that I took this story on face value.) Was I supposed to believe this too?

“It wasn’t as glamorous as it looked on TV,” she assured me soberly. “Nine out of ten of those boys we sent on missions, they didn’t come back.”

Wow. That wasn’t a statistic that got thrown around on Hogan’s Heroes. “Really?” I asked, humbled by that much courage.

“Oh no. But they got in line. They begged their contact for more ideas. I mean…” her voice faltered. “We felt bad, sending those boys to their deaths. But they wanted to do it. They wanted to fight. They were fighting for a righteous cause.”

“Yeah,” I said, because that much could not be doubted. “So, what’d you have them do?”

“Well, you know. Dirty tricks. They’d give food poisoning to the officers, and then, in the middle of the night, move all of the toilets six inches backwards. The portable ones.”

I held my hand to my mouth, horrified. “Oh my God!”

“Oh yes, that was a favorite!”

“What else did you do?”

“I think we had them dose the farm animals, so the roosters would stay up all night. It was silly, really, but they kept the officers up all night before a raid, so they were sluggish and sleepy the next morning. You know, disoriented.”

“Oh my God!” Because no sixth grader had ever planned a campaign better. “That’s brilliant!”

She’d nodded then, a frail little old woman with an impish smile. As she got older, and needed to be hospitalized frequently, it became harder and harder to spot her as I walked through the care home corridors. She was so tiny in bed. She didn’t seem that tiny in real life. In my mind.

“Oh it was,” she said, eager to share her secrets. Suddenly she became sober. “You know, when I was young—and really, until a couple of years ago, I was so excited about it. So proud. But in later years…” She looked unhappy. “I mean, it was easy to hate the Nazis, because they were the enemy. And because they were doing horrible things. But they were soldiers. Our soldiers did what we told them, and their soldiers did what they were told. I mean, in the end, they were their mother’s sons, same as ours, weren’t they?”

I’ve tried to explain this to people—this moment to people. They are as titillated as I was about her details of her time in the OSS, and sometimes, as dubious as I was about how much was true. But so far, I don’t know how many people hear that statement right there and think what I do:

It was this moment of realization that made my grandmother a great woman. She had no reason to think well of the Nazis. She had no reason to think of them as human beings. Part of the dirty tricks she played was to minister propaganda, the essence of dehumanizing people.

But she came to this conclusion on her own, after raising children, after watching her country become involved in unjust wars, after becoming more and more liberal in her political beliefs (which were pretty liberal to begin with) as her compassion became greater and greater, and not smaller and more miserly as sometimes happens as people age.

She was brave, smart, funny, resourceful and gutsy.

And she saw that the enemy too, was beloved of foreign mothers. I think that’s an incredible thing. I think that’s an incredible truth.

It’s a truth I’d lay down my life for, right there. It’s one of the things that makes me my grandmother’s granddaughter. It’s a reason to be proud.


A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Bells of Times Square by Amy Lane


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

TheBellsOfTimesSquare_500x750What does it say about a story when I admit that I started to cry as I was reading the blurb? Knowing that my favorite “Queen of Angst” was likely to pull out all stops on this one, I went into it with a box of tissues in hand. And I was not disappointed. And yes, the tissues were needed. This story is a beautiful, poignant, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and bittersweet look at a romance that transcends time.

Nate Meyer, a nice, sweet, young Jewish man decides to enlist in the Air Force in World War II, in part because he knows he’s a disappointment to his father, a fact more evident after his brother passed away at a young age. His brother was the one who got all the pride and affection his father could give out, and Nate just feels that it’s time to get away from the stifling environment. The son of a clockworker, he’s surprised to find that his knowledge of cameras and photography are not only appreciated, but needed for the war effort. He’s promoted to Second Lieutenant and together with his pilot, assigned the role of taking photos of potential targets during night missions over France and Germany. On one such mission, he spots a suspicious series of smokestacks and they move in to get a closer look, but the flare he and his pilot use to light the area for the photos is seen by Messerschmitt pilots who give chase. Their plane crashes in a wooded area over Nazi-occupied France, and though the pilot is killed, Nate survives.

He’s rescued by Walter, a diminutive redhead from Iowa who is an escaped POW, and fortunately for Nate, a medic as well. Walter has been living in an abandoned cottage in the woods for several months. He’s resourceful and self-sufficient and the cutest little man Nate has ever had the pleasure of seeing. However, at this point in our history, it’s extremely dangerous to reveal any attraction to another man so Nate hides it until one day when Walter is bathing his extremities and “Little Nate” is too obvious for Walter to ignore.

They confess their mutual attraction and act out on it slowly, engaging mostly in kissing, handjobs, blowjobs, and frottage. Nate doesn’t consider himself deeply religious, nevertheless, he knows that committing the act of mishkav zakhar, “the one act between men that was considered unforgivable”, will guarantee that he won’t find his way to heaven. But when the time comes for them to prepare to leave their nest in the woods, they finally do have sex, and Nate forgets his worries about heaven. Though they don’t verbalize the words “I love you”, they do make the promise to meet at Times Square at midnight on New Year’s Eve after the war is over, with or without the church bells ringing. They know they’ll be separated as soon as they are rescued since Walter is an enlisted man and Nate is an officer, and they have no choice about leaving their cottage, because a Nazi soldier has been using it for a tryst with a local Frenchwoman and they’re fortunate they haven’t been discovered yet. What the Nazi doesn’t know is that the Frenchwoman is working with the resistance and plans to help the men escape.

Circumstances never go according to plan, however, and ….(spoilers) click for hidden paragraph that contains spoilers for the ending of the story.

I have chills right now as I write this review. Amy Lane is an excellent author, her grammar and punctuation are perfect, but what really makes her books stand out among the rest is her ability as a storyteller. I am in awe. This story should have more than 5 stars. Superb is a mild word. By all means, do not miss the chance to read this book. And if you love historical romances, consider it a bonus. I think I may go hide out for a while and reread this story right now. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe how amazing this outstanding story is. Don’t hesitate to buy it.

Cover Art by Reese Dante. At first sight, the cover appears to be a faded collection of random objects, however, it actually tells the story contained within the book. Representations of the plane, the photography equipment, the clock at Times Square are all present and the brown-white rotogravure effect is reminiscent of the early days of photography in the 20th century. Beautifully done.

Sales LInks:  Preorder at Riptide Publishing    amazon    buy it here

Book Details:

Author: Amy Lane
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-185-4
eBook release: Dec 15, 2014
eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 978-1-62649-186-1
Print release: Dec 15, 2014
Word count: 65,300, Page count: 236
Type: Standalone

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