“Lyon Book Promotions Welcomes Author, Ron Yates and his “Billy Battles Trilogy,” Book One and Book Two just Released” . . . .
“I am a former foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Dean Emeritus
of the College of Media at the University of Illinois where I was also a Professor of Journalism.
My “Finding Billy Battles Trilogy,” Book One is the first in a trilogy of novels. Book Two has now been released. As Book 2 of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy opens, Billy is far from his Kansas roots—and his improbable journeys are just beginning. He is aboard an ocean liner sailing to the Mysterious East (Hong Kong, French Indochina, and the Philippines), among other places.
I am also the author of The Kikkoman Chronicles: A Global Company with A Japanese Soul, published by McGraw-Hill. Other books include Aboard The Tokyo Express: A Foreign Correspondent’s Journey Through Japan,
a collection of columns translated into Japanese,
as well as three journalism textbooks: The Journalist’s Handbook,
International Reporting and Foreign Correspondents, and Business and Financial Reporting in a Global Economy.”
“The Billy Battles Saga Begins Here”
“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 penned by his great-grandfather, 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 . . . .
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“Even though the trilogy is fiction, there are many historical facts within the pages of Ron’s action-packed adventures of Billy Battles. As we begin book two, it seems that Billy finds mystery and more adventures unfold as Billy starts to travel the world.”
“The Billy Battles Book Two Begins”
“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 beginning. He is aboard an ocean liner sailing to the Mysterious East (Hong Kong, French Indochina, and the Philippines), among other places.
The year is 1894 and aboard the SS China Billy meets a mysterious, dazzling, and possibly dangerous German Baroness, locked horns with malevolent agents of the German government, and battled ferocious Chinese and Malay pirates in the South China Sea. Later, he is inadvertently 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.
Later, in the Philippines, he is thrust into the Spanish-American War and the anti-American insurgency that follows. But Billy’s troubles are just beginning. As the 19th-century ends and the 20th century begins, he finds himself entangled with political opportunists, spies, revolutionaries and an assortment of malevolent and dubious characters of both sexes. How will Billy handle those people and the challenges they face?
Another one of Ron’s earlier book release’s sounds so interesting.
I know I have used Kikkoman products most of my life as many of us have.
But I had no idea of the history behind the products. But Ron does and
wrote about it in “The Kikkoman Chronicles.”
About The Book:
The Compelling Saga of One of the World’s Oldest Companies.Combining ancient craftsmanship with modern technology and marketing innovations, Japan’s Kikkoman Corporation has quietly become a $2 billion market leader.
The KikkomanChronicles is the fascinating story of how Kikkoman changed the course of international marketing, shrewdly adapting to 20th-century realities while never turning their backs on centuries of tradition; how one man envisioned the future of the global enterprise, spearheading the first Japanese manufacturing plant of any kind on U.S. soil; and how generations of Mogi family leadership have produced one of today’s most formidable global competitors.
More than an authoritative how-to international business, The Kikkoman Chronicles is the spellbinding story of Shige Maki, the tough and resourceful woman who narrowly escaped the 17th-century siege of Osaka Castle to sow the seeds to today’s Kikkoman Corporation. Kikkoman’s survival and adaptation across more than 300 years of social and political upheaval in Japan.
Innovative strategies Kikkoman has followed to become the world leader in the production and marketing of soy sauce – an Asian staple.The Kikkoman Chronicles is a one-of-a-kind corporate biography. By combining anecdotes and stories about Japan’s amazing history wth hands-on tips and recommendations for proven international business success.
Ronald E. Yates has produced an entertaining book that should become required reading for business persons and students throughout the world.
I am very pleased and honored to introduce Author, Ron Yates to all my readers and book blog friends. Ron and I met over on LinkedIn. He sent me an invitation to join him on another social media site, one I hadn’t explored before. But, soon after he sent me a nice email asking about my book promo services. Now, after I took a gander at his bio, I said to myself, “I could I ever promote such a seasoned and professional journalist?” Yes, ok, I will admit and own the fact that I was crazy nervous! Then I thought? I can never make one mistake! LOL. LOL.
The fact of the matter is, Ron is a fabulous down to earth guy. And here I am book promoting for my new buddy. LOL. Let me share more about this fantastic writer and see if we can find out more about him and his new trilogy series. Book one and now book two has just released. Here is an interview with Ron via Smashwords. . . .
“An Intimate Author Interview via SmashWords” . . .
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Probably when I was in the sixth grade. I loved writing stories and I had a teacher (Mrs. Gooch) who encouraged me. My mother also bought me books and took me often to the library–a place that I found mystical and magnetic. She often read to me and I could “see” the story unfolding before me. When I could, I began to read everything I could get my hands on. As I used to tell my journalism students at the University of Illinois, if you want to be a good writer, be an avid reader.
What was your inspiration to write the Finding Billy Battles Trilogy?
I grew up in Kansas and was always fascinated by what life was like there in the 19th Century when the state was still pretty wild. At the same time, I spent a lot of time in the Far East as a foreign correspondent and I was equally intrigued by what life must have been like in the 19th Century colonial period in places like French Indochina, The Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. Then one day I got the idea to blend the two using a character from 19th Century Kansas who goes to the Far East in search of himself.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?
Try to write as much as you can from your own experiences. They are real and uncontrived and if you incorporate those experiences in your fiction your work will have a truthful ring to it. Beyond that, KEEP AT IT! Don’t let anybody (editors, agents, etc) discourage you. At the same time, be willing to accept constructive criticism from those who have experience as authors, editors, agents, etc. Notice I said CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Some people criticize just to be criticizing–or to be malicious. You must believe in yourself, your work, your vision and your story. If you don’t, who will?
What do you think makes a good story?
A good story needs a strong plot and even stronger characters. Otherwise, it falls flat. The writer needs to be first and foremost, a good storyteller. If you build a good story, THEY WILL COME, to paraphrase Field of Dreams. Make readers care about your protagonist. Make readers empathize, cry and laugh with them. At the same time, keep them off-balance. Don’t be predictable and don’t be afraid to do terrible things to your favorite characters. Have you ever known anybody who has sailed through life without some turmoil, some pain, some suffering? I haven’t.
Do you have any writing projects you are currently working on?
I am currently starting Book Three, with Book Two just released of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy. It will be ready for publication in February 2016. Then I will start on Book Three. After that, who knows. I may finally get around to writing about my own life as a war correspondent.
If your book became a movie, who would be your first choice to play the lead roles?
Clint Eastwood as the elderly Billy Battles; Clive Owen as the middle-aged Billy Battles and Ashton Kutcher as the young Billy Battles. I would pick Saffron Burrows for Billy’s first love, Mallie McNab and Famke Janssen for the widow Katharina Schreiber who Billy meets on the boat to the Far East. (Why these choices? They are all tall. Billy is 6’3″ and Mallie is about 5’10,” as is the statuesque widow Schreiber).
Tell us about your new release.
Book #2 in the Finding Billy Battles trilogy begins this chapter in Billy Battles’ life takes him to the Far East of the 1890s and places like French Indochina, The Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore. This phase of Billy’s life finds him mixed up with political opportunists, spies, revolutionaries and an assortment of malevolent and dubious characters of both sexes. In short, Book #2 in the trilogy takes Billy far away from his Kansas roots and out of his comfort zone. How will Billy handle those people and the challenges they present? It’s a question that you will have to read Book #2 to find the answer to.
Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?
Yes. I listen to Mozart, Haydn, Telemann, and Boyce when I am in a classical mood. When not, I listen to good “cool” jazz by people like Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, George Shearing, Bill Evans, etc.
How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?
I write from the seat of my pants. I don’t outline my books and I don’t write down plot scenarios. I just start writing and see where the story and my characters lead me. It’s a lot like life itself. We may have a goal in mind, but the route to it is often strewn with obstacles, surprises, and sometimes tragedy. I usually write 3,000 or 4,000 words a day and I edit as I go. In other words, I may write a few paragraphs and then rewrite them within a few minutes of creating them. I don’t write a ‘First Draft.’ For me, that seems like a waste of time.
When I finish writing a book it is finished. I may make a few tweaks with the plot here and there, or alter a little dialogue, or some action by a character, but there is no second or third draft. I know some authors write a draft and put it away for weeks or months and then go back and look at it with fresh eyes–OR they send it out to be critiqued by professional “readers” or “critiquer’s.” Those strategies may work for some people. They don’t work for me. I guess it’s my journalistic training: see it, report it, organize it, write it and then move on to the next story.
Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?
Back to Vietnam, Cambodia, and The Philippines–three countries I worked in as correspondent in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, and three countries where Billy Battles is going to wind up living during the 1890s. While I know a lot of those places, having lived and worked in them, I would love to dig deeper into their colonial periods and learn more about life during that era.
If you could have dinner with 1 person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Winston Churchill. He was absolutely brilliant and I would hope by the end of dinner some of that brilliance would have rubbed off on me, though I seriously doubt it. ONE food you will never eat? Monkey Brain Sushi (yes, it is a real dish in China and I won’t tell you how it’s prepared). It is considered a cure for impotence (what isn’t?).
Another dish I will continue to eschew is Balut, which is a delicacy in The Philippines. It is fertilized chicken or duck eggs in which the developed embryo is boiled and eaten from the shell. Yum!
Which brings me to some advice an old Chicago Tribune copy editor named Spokely gave me when I was getting ready to leave Chicago for my first posting as a foreign correspondent. “You are going to places that serve strange food and you will be tempted to say ‘no thank you,’ when it is offered. Don’t do that. It will be an insult to your host. When somebody offers you something to eat that looks or smells horrible, just remember Spokely’s law: Everything tastes more or less like chicken.”
What was the scariest moment of your life?
There have been several. One was during the evacuation of Saigon in 1975. The last day was chaos incarnate. Russian made 122mm rockets were slamming into buildings, 130mm mortars were hitting Tan Son Nhut airport, and the U.S. Embassy was surrounded by frantic South Vietnamese desperate to get out of the country because they had worked for the American military or some U.S. agency. The city was all in full-panic mode. Several of us made our way to the sprawling Defense Attache Office building at Tan Son Nhut and we were finally evacuated by a U.S. Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter. It was a relief until the door gunner told me later aboard the U.S.S. Okinawa that the pilot apparently had to drop a flare to misdirect an SAM-7 (surface to air missile).
Another was during the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre when I and several Chinese students were pinned down near the square for 30 minutes or so by Chinese soldiers shooting in our direction. Several students near me were wounded and we were helping them get to a doctor’s house nearby so he could treat them. I was convinced I was going to wind up dead in the square. Then suddenly the shooting stopped and I was able to get my Red and White Sprick bicycle that I had chained to a lamp-post and peddle like crazy for the Jinghau Hotel where I was staying and from where I was filing my stories to the Tribune.
Yet another memorable moment was during the revolution in El Salvador when I and two German correspondents were stopped in our car near the town of Suchitoto by Communist guerillas. They put cloth bags put over our heads and forced us to kneel alongside the road. We were sure we were going to be executed. But suddenly the “jefe” (leader) showed up and we were set free. “Don’t kill journalists–unless they are armed,” he yelled at his troops. I was greatly relieved that I had left the 1911 Colt Pistol I had purchased a few days earlier back in the hotel in San Salvador. I believe it is still there.
Ahhh yes, the life of a foreign correspondent…never a dull moment. But I still believe I had the best job in the world and I wouldn’t trade my career for anything.
What books have most influenced your life?
Scoop, by Evelyn Waugh; The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck; The Quiet American, Graham Greene; The Jewel in the Crown, Paul Scott; Kim, Rudyard Kipling; Huckleberry Finn, Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain); A Passage to India, E.M. Forster; Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser; The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer.
I also have an Amazon Author page and a Facebook Author Like Page called Ronald E. Yates Books. I am also on Twitter @jhawker69 … Readers can also follow and connect with me over on GoodReads as well.
Do you have any advice for inspiring authors?
Don’t let anybody discourage you from pursuing this work if it is really what you want to do. Don’t be discouraged by rejection. You must believe in yourself, your ideas, your stories. If you don’t, who will? Certainly not that dense editor or literary agent who couldn’t see your potential or grasp your book’s storyline.
Is being a writer a gift or a curse?
It is a wonderful gift if you allow the process to come to you and don’t force it. However, don’t let anybody tell you it is not damned hard work. It is. The joy of writing for me is telling a good story. I don’t care about imparting a “message.” Nor do I care about creating any hidden “meanings” that some literature professor will hold forth about in a writing class when I am no longer around to rebut him/her. I just want to tell a good story. That, to me, is the ultimate gift of writing.
The curse is that writing can take over your life, isolate you from family and friends and turn you into a kind of sophistic recluse if you are not careful. Writers need to take breaks from working. If they don’t I believe they run the risk of becoming stale, self-absorbed, and misanthropic.
Where do you like to write?
I have taken over the upstairs bonus room in our house. It is about 500 square feet. In it, I have my rather prodigious library, a good sound system for playing classical music, a large screen TV for watching sports, the Discovery, History, and National Geographic channels when I need a break from writing. My window looks out onto a plant and boulder-strewn foothill that rises in front of my house. Another window looks down onto the Temecula valley some 2,000 feet below. It is quiet and soothing. Couldn’t have a better place to write.
What do you typically drink while writing?
Very cold iced tea.
What has been the toughest criticism so far?
None, so far. Though it is still early in the process. Someone did say they didn’t like the fact that the book is part of a trilogy because now they have to wait for Book #2. I like THAT kind of criticism.
And lastly, what has been the best compliment?
There have been several, but I will list just four here. You can find these and other reviews on the book’s Amazon page: “The is easily the best work of fiction I have read in some time.”
“There is something about this book that is almost impossible to explain, but it takes it from being a *good* book to a GREAT one.”
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Books can be purchased on Amazon and Amazon Kindle Store.
Finding Billy Battles – Book One
The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles – Book 2
The Kikkoman Chronicles: A Global Company with a Japanese Soul
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More about Ronald Yates on a more personal level . . .
Ron was born in N.E. Kansas, USA and is married to his lovely wife. They have raised two daughter’s who are both married with children of their own, which makes him a Grand Pop!
When Ron isn’t writing, he enjoys hiking, biking, reading, swimming, history, writing (of course).
In his career as a journalist, Ron has won several awards which include, Three Pulitzer nominations; Society of Professional Journalists Peter Lisagor Award; Inter-American Press Association Tom Wallace Award for reporting on Latin America. His favorite color is blue and his favorite foods? “Just about anything from Thailand, Szechuan China, and Italy. ”
Author Spotlight Is Presented To You By “Lyon Book & Social Media Promotions” and Interview Courtesy of Smashwords ….