Red Light District encounter leads to trouble for US Army soldier

KANSAS CITY, Mo.Sunbury Press has released Pink Crucifix, Johnny Strife’s first installment in The Passion Plaything Trilogy.

pc_fcPink Crucifix is a darkly comic romance with horror and fantasy elements. The story of courtship between a vampire and her thrall endeavors to be analogous to that of a young man’s awkward attempts to maintain a relationship with an emotionally distant, much older, much more powerful woman. The story spans one night, but stretches back ninety years into the past, through the recollections of various characters. Ian Raith is an American soldier stationed in the medieval Bavarian town of Bamberg. Since his unit is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan soon, he and his friend and subordinate, Nikolas Skandalis, take advantage of an Easter training holiday to abscond to the Netherlands. There, they score a large quantity of “Pink Crucifix” ecstasy from the Bosnian drug dealer Omar Amsterdam, in the hopes of selling it to their buddies downrange at a vastly inflated price. While sampling the pills in the Red Light District that night, Ian encounters a lovely German girl named Lorelei Böse, who appears to be surrounded by a glowing red aura. Enchanted and besotted, he follows her into the darkness, and quickly descends into a maelstrom of death and destruction, in which everything he has is taken from him. But Ian might discover that sometimes, one must lose everything in order to find the one thing that matters.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
This is Johnny Strife’s first novel. He spent most of his adult life in the army, and is now focusing on writing full-time.

EXCERPT:
I was cresting a chemical-induced wave of euphoria from three hits of Omar Amsterdam’s “Pink Crucifix” ecstasy the first time I laid eyes on Lorelei, so it didn’t strike me as strange that her alabaster arms and legs glowed with an eerie iridescence in the neon night. Her heels were clicking quickly toward Nikolas and me as we meandered down Bloedstraat, a narrow, crowd-congested artery running through the heart of Amsterdam’s Red Light District. The litter-strewn street was rimmed with crimson-lit show windows exhibiting bored whores in various states of undress and stages of gender reassignment.

I nudged Nikolas on the shoulder. “Check her out,” I semi-shouted into his ear to be heard above the pulsating din of polyglot prattling.

“Check who out?” asked Nikolas, looking as if I’d roused him from some placid reverie. He hadn’t dropped any of the X yet, but he’d smoked a fat joint after our dinner at the Café Remember, and his angularly handsome Greek features exuded that beatific beaming he only evinced when stoned. “All these chicks are dimes.”

“The girl in the black dress,” I said, motioning with a sideways nod toward the raven-haired pixie that was just then hovering past us like an apparition.

Nikolas, never one for subtlety, turned mid-stride and unabashedly ogled her up and down. He nodded noncom-mittally. “Not bad.”

“Not bad?” I replied, somewhat surprised. “She’s glowing, dude.”

Nikolas’s guffaw rattled my drug-addled jaw. “You’re X-ing like Malcolm, Sarge.”

“Al-Khalil did not lie,” I said. “This shit is intense.”

“Al-Khalil never lies,” agreed Nikolas. “Unless you’re a teenage runaway looking for a place to stay.” I couldn’t help but laugh. Khalil Kaya, a Turkish pimp and narcotics dealer we’d befriended back in Germany, had the skewed brand of honor that only exists among reprobates.

Nikolas—professionally known as Private First Class Skandalis—was my soldier, and as close to a friend as I’ve ever had. Our unit, Charlie Battery, First of the Thirty-third Field Artillery, was part of the First Infantry Division of the United States Army, stationed in the small Bavarian town of Bamberg. It was in that medieval municipality, in a soapsuds-soaked techno rave held in a seedy basement discotheque, that we’d first met Khalil.

Our unit was scheduled to ship out to Afghanistan three weeks hence, and Nikolas and I had taken advantage of the four-day Easter-weekend training holiday to drive up to the Netherlands and purchase one hundred grams of ecstasy pills, which we planned to sell to our brothers in arms downrange. It had been Khalil who had facilitated our clandestine transaction with the Bosnian gangster known as Omar Amsterdam earlier that afternoon, in an abandoned, malodorous windmill in the southeastern Dutch city of Maastricht.

Pink Crucifix
Authored by Johnny Strife
List Price: $16.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on White paper
220 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620066003
ISBN-10: 1620066009
BISAC: Fiction / Thrillers

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Pink-Crucifix-9781620066…

A point of light emerges

by Mike Campbell, author of “Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last”

amelia pubThe few Earhart enthusiasts who regularly read my blog (Earhart Truth) are aware that the second of the two major storylines that describe Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, the near-complete media blackout of the book, has greatly overshadowed its most important aspect – its presentation of the most comprehensive and compelling case ever for the presence and deaths of Amelia and Fred Noonan on Saipan.

I won’t go into details about all the radio hosts, newspaper people and bloggers who’ve pledged to help, only to back off and ignore me after they learn the unpleasant truth about the wretched ends of our two heroes almost 77 years ago. The ugly truth in the Earhart case simply doesn’t fit into the rose-colored worldview of most of our media types. It’s not PC and “it’s not artistic,” as Rosie Perez told Billy Hoyle, Woody Harrelson’s character in White Men Can’t Jump, as they argued about winning versus losing on a bus ride in South Central Los Angeles. And, for most of the rest, it’s just not important anymore, what happened to a pair of Americans who landed in the wrong place the Pacific in 1937 and paid for it with their lives. Now, of course, we have the continuing cover-up and mystification of the truth, which long ago became an accepted piece of our cultural furniture that none but a scant few even questions anymore.  And don’t forget, the wonderful Japanese people have been our best friends in the region since 1945, and we don’t want to re-open old wounds or embarrass our friends, would we?

At the risk of being accused of extreme redundancy and even sour grapes, I must say it again: The establishment’s aversion to the truth in the Earhart case is very real, and it has been  trending even worse than normal until only recently, when a distant point of light emerged from the most unexpected place I could have imagined.

In mid-December, Larry Knorr, Sunbury Press publisher, advised me that he had received a phone call from Kay Alley, vice chair of the Kansas Chapter of the Ninety- Nines, the international organization of licensed women pilots, with members from 35 countries and over 5,500 members worldwide. Ms. Alley asked Larry if she thought I might be interested in speaking at the Ninety-Nines South Central Section Fall Meeting, to be held in Wichita, Kansas, the last weekend of September, 2014. Is the Pope a Catholic? I’ve talked to Kay a few times already, thanked her profusely for this golden opportunity, and we’re on track for the last weekend in September. Kay also says that two other aviation groups that are having conferences at the same time in Wichita have expressed their interest in having me speak to them, so this could be even bigger than we initially envisioned.

Here’s more about the remarkable organization that is the Ninety- Nines, who elected  Amelia Earhart as their first president, taken directly from the Kansas Chapter’s website:

The organization came into being November 2, 1929, at Curtiss Field, Valley Stream, Long Island, New York. All 117 American female pilots had been invited to assemble for mutual support and the advancement of aviation. Louise Thaden was elected secretary and worked tirelessly to keep the group together as we struggled to organize and grow until 1931, when Amelia Earhart was elected as first president and the group was named for the 99 charter members.

Today Ninety-Nines are professional pilots for airlines, industry and government; we are pilots who teach and pilots who fly for pleasure; we are pilots who are technicians and mechanics. But first and foremost, we are women who love to fly!

Our Headquarters, located at the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is home to our large archival records, video oral histories, personal artifacts, collections and memorabilia, and biographical files on thousands of women pilots from around the world. This is also the site of our 99s Museum of Women Pilots.

To say this elite group of women pilots is pure “establishment” would be an abject understatement.  The Ninety-Nines are universally respected as the ultimate group of professional female aviators – “aviatrixes” in the old parlance. For them to recognize the existence ofTruth at Last at all is more than any establishment organization, outside of a few chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a Kiwanis group and some senior assisted living facilities in Jacksonville have done so far. But the Ninety-Nines carry serious weight, and others who have previously looked askance at this book may reconsider after the September event. This presupposes that my presentation will be good, and so I’ll do all I can to be as ready and professional as I can. I’ve already begun to assemble a comprehensive power point presentation that will tell the Truth at Last story in 90 minutes, and there’s plenty of time to polish it.

Finally we’re going to get a real break, an opportunity to make friends and influence people, all because just one woman likes my book, recognizes the truth and is in a place where she can make a difference. That’s all it takes, so basically it’s in God’s hands. Perhaps the most amazing irony of all –it’s almost impossible for me to label this a coincidence – is that the Kansas Chapter of the Ninety Nines is, of course, the chapter of Amelia’s state of birth.

A few others who want to help this cause are also beginning to emerge. David C. Henley, the publisher emeritus of the Lahontan Valley(Nevada) News, has promised to do a story for the Carson City newspaper, the Nevada Appeal, after he takes some photos of the old Garapan jail on Saipan during a forthcoming visit to the scene of the crime, and I’ll be on Truth Frequency Radio this Sunday, March 9 at 5 p.m., EDT.  A few other things are in the works, but it’s too early to announce anything.

So please stay tuned. As I’ve told Larry Knorr several times, “This book has not yet begun to fight!” Nor have I.