Author Archives: Tom Mach
Tom Mach has written six novels. Three of these novels (Advent, An Innocent Murdered, and Homer the Roamer) are currently available only as eBooks. But the other three (Angels at Sunset, Sissy! and All Parts Together) are also available for sale both in print as well as in eBook versions. All three novels have received impressive reviews.
If you are interested in a print version of Angels at Sunset, Sissy! or All Parts Together, you can either order them from Amazon by clicking on the book cover at the right of this screen or you can order directly from the publisher, Hill Song Press. If you order from the publisher, you pay not shipping charges and will receive an author-signed copy of the book. Order from Hill Song Press, PO Box 486, Lawrence, KS 66044 The ISBN number as well as the list price for each of these books is given below.
1. Angels at Sunset #978-0-9745159-5-3 $16.95 ppb. It 1s 1920 and Jessica relives her life as a suffragist and also experiences the pain of having lost her daughter because of the supposed cowardly actions of her daughter’s fiance. Little does she know, however, that a revengeful man intends on murdering Jessica and her family. This novel gives an accurage portrayal and unusual insight into the late 19th and early 20th century struggle for women’s rights.
2. Sissy! #978-0-9745159-2-2 $15.95 ppb. In 1862 Jessica is on the path of revenge for a murder, disguised as a Union soldier. Although she survives the Battle of Stones River, will she survive a terrorist raid that killed 200 unarmed people? Conflicted over her love for Matt and her need for revenge, how does an “angel” named Sissy bring her peace? Discover why reviewers call “Sissy”! an outstanding read & a historically accurate novel. Historically accurate, this gripping novel won the J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award.
3. All Parts Together #978-0-9745159-4-6 $16.95 ppb. In 1863 Jessica travels to Washington, DC as a nanny for a married man whom she secretly loves. She faces a challenge to her romance as well as the abolishment of slavery. After meeting Lincoln, she is convinced Lincoln will provide equal opportunities for the freed slaves, but the assassination dashes that dream. Yet a knock on her door opens an unexpected goal she is determined to achieve.
Summaries of books only available in Ebook format which Mr. Mach has written are given below:
Advent: An astrophysicist sees something out of the ordinary and is ridiculed when he begins to believe it might be a “second sun” (Nemesis) on a dangerous approach to the Earth. Meanwhile, a corrupt U.S. president has plans to cooperate with Russia for a world takeover with a massive nuclear threat. Is the world doomed, either by nature or by mankind’s own hand?
Home the Roamer: Homer is bored silly because his owners won’t let him leave the house. One day he crawls inside a moving van parked outside, goes to sleep, and awakens to an adventure because the van drove across the country. Now he misses the kids. Will he ever find his way back home? (Recommended reading age: 6 through 9)
An Innocent Murdered: Detective Gunnison suspects that Officer Perez may not have murdered Father O’Fallon despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The murder may have been committed by one of two other women. But as Gunnison delves further in the O’Fallon case, he solves a cold case murder of a little girl,which eventually leads him to the real murderer of O’Fallon.
Angels at Sunset Reviews—
The Final Chapter in the Jessica Radford Trilogy – 5 Stars
The story of Jessica Radford began with “Sissy,” which extends from 1857 to 1863. “All Parts Together,” the second book in Jessica Radford’s story, extends from August 1863 to May 1865. This final book is told principally from the period November 2, 1920 to December 18, 1920, but the story flashes back through various means to key events in Jessica’s life between 1865 and 1920.
Jessica is ready for one final journey, travelling from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to Lawrence, Kansas. As Jessica travels, her daughter Emma urges her to read her manuscript, “Song of My Mother.” The manuscript takes Jessica back to events that are hard to remember and some she does not want to remember. We tend to forget the bad things that happen in our lives. Emma’s manuscript brings back some of the worst days in Jessica’s life.
We also learn that someone seems to be following Jessica, her daughter Emma, and Emma’s husband Francesco Bonelli as they travel from Pennsylvania to Kansas. That someone, Michael Alcott, seems intent on murdering Jessica.
As Jessica, Emma and Francesco travel to Kansas, we relive key events in Jessica’s life, with the past and the present converging on Lawrence, Kansas, which Jessica had last visited more than 50 years earlier. The events are often horrific, such as a scary first person perspective on what the Great Chicago Fire in October 1871 must have been like. Other events are disturbing, such as Jessica’s incarceration in the Occaquan Workhouse.
Every one of Tom Mach’s background events are true and accurate historical events, with enough detail so that you feel as though you could have been right with Jessica Radford. Certainly, you have to think about the injustice that Jessica saw and hope we have become a better nation with time.
The point of this third novel is resolution. Jessica needs to come to resolution with the facts of her daughter Mitzi’s death. Michael Alcott, who is intent on exacting what he thinks is justice on Jessica, needs to come to terms with the death of his father. Perhaps more broadly, we need to remember the things our society has done in the past with the intent that we not repeat the same mistakes.
As with Tom Mach’s previous two novels in this trilogy, angels make appearances once again. The appearances are initially subtle, which I liked the best, but later are much more direct. The appearances are necessary for the flow of the story and are needed to help at least one of the characters to come to terms with the past.
Another aspect of this novel that I loved is the visits to Chicago, Columbia, Missouri, and Kansas City, Missouri, all places where I either lived or grew up. I kept looking to see if Mach got his facts correct (he did), and it was fun remembering those places that even for me are fading into the past.
According to my database, I have now read four books by Tom Mach, including two of the Jessica Radford trilogy. I liked “All Parts Together” and thought it was his best book prior to reading this book. In this book, Mach has written his best book yet and has matured into an excellent author. He was able to make use of various historical events to tell the stories of several principal characters in a wonderfully consistent and coherent way. I always knew where I was in history and location. The purpose of the flashbacks was always apparent. I was most captured by the story involving the Great Chicago Fire and I read as quickly as possible to the next portion of the novel because the events during the fire were a defining moment in Jessica’s life. I could only wish that all the books I read were as good as this book.
If you enjoy historical fiction, particularly the history of the United States between 1865 and 1920, and most particularly the history of Women’s suffrage, you will likely find this book a fascinating read. This book incorporates much more than Women’s suffrage, incorporating references to the Ku Klux Klan, racism in the period after the Civil War, and many other aspects of American history. If you enjoy historical fiction and have an open mind, then you will absolutely enjoy this book.
Do you need to read “Sissy!” and “All Parts Together”? It is not necessary, but this novel will have much more depth if you read all three. You will also have the opportunity to see how much Tom Mach has grown as an author by reading all three.
If Tom Mach continues to write as well as he did in “Angels at Sunset,” he will be a must-read author for me.
–Lonnie Holder, senior reviewer for Amazon
Angels of Sunset regularly traverses between the past and present as it draws out intricate relationships among numerous characters as well as Radford’s early interactions with the suffragists. While the novel lacks the literary punch of historical works such as Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City, it is solidly written and clearly well-researched, enabling Mach to add interesting historical details. (For example, in one aside, Radford thinks to herself, “Oh yes, 1886. Wasn’t that the year that w woman named Belva Lockwood appeared on the ballot for the U.S. presidential election?”)
With its strong pacing, effective use of foreshadowing, and deft storytelling regarding important historical events, Angels at Sunset is a winning book that shines a fresh light on the critical beginnings of feminism in the quest for women’s rights.
–Blue Ink Reviews (posted February, 2012)
The long-fought campaign for women’s suffrage was equally important on both sides of the Atlantic, and Tom Mach’s recent novel Angels At Sunset tackles the battle our American sisters won less than 100 years ago.
With a foreword by Coline Jenkins, a relative of the American suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Angels At Sunset is instantly steeped in authority, and is painstakingly well researched throughout.
The novel follows Jessica Radford, a former suffragist in her elder years who is reminiscing on her activist past while her stepdaughter writes her memoirs. But Angels At Sunset isn’t simply a suffragist’s memoir, it is also the mystery story of a man who is plotting to kill the ageing Jessica, and the two stories run parallel to one another.
Combining true life figures (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul et al) alongside fictional characters, Angels at Sunset really brings the US campaign to life and stresses the importance of voting… both in the 1910s and 1920s as well as now. And with the recent local elections in the UK having seen a turnout of less than a quarter, perhaps this is a message worth repeating to contemporary voters.
Angels At Sunset catalogues the humiliations and horrors that the suffragists endured in their determination to secure the vote for women for generations to come. But it wasn’t simply the right to vote that our American sisters fought for, they also campaigned for married women to be permitted to own property, sign contracts or keep custody of their children should they divorce their husbands.
Our heroine Jessica has fought against slavery as well as for suffrage, she has endured prison, fire and all number of tortures. And her story takes us across a range of time periods to incorporate a variety of essential historical events that shape our world to be the place it currently is. Although the dialogue is somewhat stilted at times, and the characters seem to share the same voice, Angels at Sunset is a gripping account of the suffrage campaign from the US perspective.
—from the blog “MadamJ-MO” by Jane Duffus (http://madamjmo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/tom-mach-angels-at-sunset.html)
The final installment of Mach’s Jessica Radford trilogy concludes a life story that began on the brink of the Civil War (Sissy! 2003) and blossomed during the fight against slavery (All Parts Together, 2006) Now an elderly woman with only months to live, still-spirited Jessica looks back on her career as a pugnacious suffragist as she travels with daughter Emma and family to her final resting place in Lawrence, Kansas. Emma has written her mother’s biography, a convenient frame through which Jessica can relive memories both satisfying and hearbreaking–hersuccess as a novelist, printer, and tireless advocate, the death of her daughter Mitzi in the Great Chicago Fire, her meetings with legendary figures in 19th century history. Most chillingly evoked is her horrific stint in a brutal women’s prison, where she landed for the mere act of picketing. The suffragist is not the only one looking back, however, as Michael Alcott, a man twice wounded by Jessica’s wrongful condemnations, pursues her with murder on his mind. But other angels are at work here, and Michael’s attempts are thwarted by a mysterious old soldier. Mach’s text is rich in period detail and deftly illustrates a singular period in history when women ceased to be the “angel in the house.” Within the story, a few inconsistencies go unaddressed–the dispassionate dismissal of Jessica’s tragic, spirit-seeing adopted sister and the blind eye turned toward Jessica’s unease with the African-Americans she once fought to free. At times, forced exposition, a caricatured Italian accent and a tendency to speak in feminist statements may interrupt the reader’s engagement. Such quibbles fade as Jessica ultimately comes to grips with her past mistakes, just as her would-be assassin realizes the precious gift of forgiveness.
A compelling…fictional primer on the suffragette movement, revealed through the eyes of a fierce campaigner in her sunset years.
—Kirkus Reviews (February, 2012)
Daring to make a difference can make one many enemies. Angels at Sunset follows the continuing story of the Jessica Radford trilogy, about a woman who has survived all consuming fires and made her moves to better the lives of women. But this time the better life she seeks must be her own, as she is in the sights of murder, and it may take her family with it too. Angels at Sunset is an excellent pick for community historical fiction collections.
-The Midwest Book Review
The author uses a unique writing device that formulates an unusual flashback technique. Protagonist Jessica, who was on intimate acquaintanceship with the movers and shakers within the Women’s Suffrage movement, is living in the 1920 time frame but keeps reviewing a manuscript written for publication of her biography authored by her step-daughter Emma. The story continues through the real-time of 1920 and the past as seen through her biography up until her death. The author has built in plenty of conflict, past and present, with psychic visitations (guardian spirits of dead friends and acquaintances), historical facts and settings, and redemption and revenge motivations. Mr. Mach is always an engrossing writer. He is active in the Kansas Writers Association and is highly respected amongst his peers. We rated this interesting novel a score of four hearts.
This book is about a woman, Jessica Chandler, of notable interest from the late 1800s, early 1900s. During some of the times of this story woman were anything but honored. The battles for their rights were being fought, and won, but not without true hardships. As you read this work, you truly understand how it felt for a woman to live in this time and experience taking part, for the first time, in issues that mattered, like voting. Jessica was a strong woman who faced much
adversary, as she struggled for women’s rights As I read this story so many emotions flooded my soul, and I was thankful to be living in my times. Although Jessica never looked at herself as accomplished, her family does. Her daughter writes a biography about her, shared in this book, and as Jessica reads it, she relives the torment and the accomplishments of her life.
The author has woven a lot of historical facts and details within
the pages of this read. I found those to be interesting and definitely brought light to the story, that fact makes this book a must read for historians who like fiction. I also feel this is a story that our youth would benefit from reading. To that end, it is somewhat like Titanic – the movie was to the real Titanic, this novel is to the real struggles faced by women in that day. And you are treated to a bit of mystery. Unknown to our lady, there is a man following her who is trying to kill her and her family. Will he succeed? All in all, an exceptional read, great story and history all wrapped up in one.
–Shirley Johnson/Senior Reviewer for MidWest Book Review
I found “Angels at Sunset” to be a real page turner — one I didn’t want to put down. I can even see a wonderful movie made from this story.
I found Jessica and Emma to be the threads that held the book together in so many ways. Also, it’s a book I could easily pick up and read again because there is so much wonderful information about women’s suffrage which I knew very little about previously. I wish I had read “Sissy” before I read this book since I’m sure it would have given me some good background. I appreciated all the research done on this book even though it is a fictional novel, there are so many real facts.
–Sandy Nease (sandynease[AT]gmail[DOT]com)
Stories To Enjoy FIVE STARS! “Tom gives us unique and fun stories, with thought-provoking plots. His narratives are sometimes poignant, sometimes humorous but always memorable and engaging, with O. Henry twists that are sure to surprise and entertain.”
An Innocent Murdered is one of the best mystery novels I have ever read. You had me going there trying to figure out who the real murdered was. And you certainly added a great twist to the story by adding an unexpected second murder that helped solve the case of the priest’s slaying. Great job! Five Stars!!
An Innocent Murdered by Tom Mach is 191 pages, packed with unexpected twists and excitement. The hero, Detective Matt Gunnison, is propelled through a child abuse case into one of murder, moving from one crisis to another, always exemplifying compassion and understanding. The characters exhibit all kinds of alternate lifestyles but are presented in an objective, non-judgmental manner. The notable exceptions are the suspected child abusers and murderers, and the venom of those who try to do away with them.
An Innocent Murdered is a great page turner and ends satisfactorily with all of the loose ends gathered up to convict the evil perpetrator. It is worthy of addition to one’s collection of murder mysteries. —reviewed by Barbara Boatright, Author of Impaled on the Horns of the Devil
A Belt Buckle for Camilla is a heartwarming tale of the magic of Christmas. Camilla’s mom struggles to make ends meet, and Christmas looks bleak. Mach has offered up a wonderful Christmas gift for us all. ( ) Reviewed by Jackie Anton
Homer the Roamer is a fun story of a cat that loses his family. Young readers will enjoy his adventures as he is whisked away from his home.
Inspired by a true story this book is easy to follow for most young readers 8 and older. The only drawback is that it is only available in e-book. ( ) Reviewed by Jackie Anton
Tom Mach plans to write and publish more short stories as a very low, affordable price. One such story which is currently available–and very popular–is entitled “A Belt Buckle for Camilla.” Here is the plot summary:
Out of money and with no food for the Christmas table, Camilla’s mom gets invited to dinner by a stranger. The only thing six-year-old Camilla wants for Christmas is a belt buckle, just like the kind her daddy wore before he died. Will her wish come true?
[Available as an eBook only and not included in Mach’s Stories to Enjoy collection. Click on the cover to the left if you wish to order “A Belt Buckle for Camilla”]
Tom has also published a collection of his short stories entitled Stories to Enjoy. Like his novels, Stories to Enjoy involves stories of compassion. For example, “Real Characters” is about a writer who has deep feelings for the characters who come alive through his writing. “The Crossword Puzzle Murders” not only offers you a surprising twist to a serial killer, but also makes you feel compassionate toward his next victim. “Breakfast Over Easy” puts you into the mind of man who needs to weigh his personal desires against his feelings toward a good friend.
You can either order Stories to Enjoy by clicking on the cover of the book at the right-hand of this screen or order it directly from the publisher, Hill Song Press. If you order from the publisher, you pay no shipping charges and will receive an autographed copy. The book is $14.95 and can be ordered through Hill Song Press, P.O. Box 486, Lawrence, KS 66044.
Tom Mach is no stranger to poetry, having been published in Tallgrass Voices, Parnassus Magazine, Eternal Echoes (Poetry Press), and Dreams (Poetry Press) and is a frequent contributor to the Poet’s Showcase in the Lawrence Journal World.
One of his poems was a finalist in a Writer’s Digest Poetry competition. He came in 9th (out of 3,000 contestants) with the following poem:
The Uni Verse is a collection of poems divided into three sections: Part One–Song of Beginnings; Part Two–Song of the Solar System; Part Three–Song of the Earth. It contains both rhymed and unrhymed poems dealing with various awe-inspiring aspects of our universe. The Uni Verse won the 2008 Nelson Poetry Book Award from the Kansas Authors Club. The Uni Verse came from his research on Walt Whitman in writing his historical novel All Parts Together. “Whitman’s Leaves of Grass,” Mach says, “spoke volumes on the human condition and on the tenacity of the human spirit.” (The Uni Verse is available both in print as well as in an eBook version.)
- You wanted to kill those bastards who did it.
- You couldn’t believe it.
- You were scared.
When I wrote a historical novel named Sissy, I had a character named Jessica Radford in 1862 who was shocked to learn her parents were brutally murdered–burned alive in their house–by a border ruffian named Sam Toby. Jessica’s words were: “He’s the wretch I’m going to send straight to hell.”
In my murder mystery, An Innocent Murdered, I had a detective named Matt Gunnison who couldn’t believe that a certain someone killed a sweet 8-year-old girl. Matt later goes to a church and weeps. A friend of Matt’s offers him a tissue. “Hey, I’m all right,” he said, embarrassed that she had seen him cry. She dries her own tears. “This is a good place to go when you’re in a lot of pain,” she says wistfully. “Yeah,” he says, “I guess it is.”
Audrey, a level-headed intelligent astronaut becomes unglued in my novel Advent when she finally tells Greg she now believes the earth may be on a collision course with a celestial body called Nemesis “Oh, Greg, I’m frightened. Even Bowles is now curious about your SOR21 star. He said he wanted to gather all the available data on it from other observatories and see if he could make some sense from all of it. I’m sorry I was so stubborn, Greg. Why can’t I see things the way they really are?” With the state of the world being as it is, what are we to do when our child is born?” Greg frowns. “What do you mean?” “Oh, Greg, I think I may be pregnant.”
When the attack on the Twin Towers occurred on 9/11/2001, our initial emotions were probably a mixture of shock, anger, and grief, probably all mixed into one. Mine was one of fear as I dropped to my knees and prayed to God, believing that the entire country was under attack. But now that I’ve sorted through all of this ugliness, all of this unbelievable horror, I realize that some good came from this tragedy. Signs of compassion were evident just about everywhere.
Take 33-year-old Todd Beamer, for instance. Todd and other passengers on the ill-fated United Airlines Flight 93 learned via cell phones and air phones that two other airlines were hijacked and flown into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. There was no doubt in his mind that UA 93 was probably headed for its next target–either the U.S. Capitol or the White House. A normal reaction would have been one of shock, followed by climbing into one’s shell to prepare to meet his or her Maker. I mean if you know you’re going to die, you shut everything else from you mind and concentrate solely on thinking about yourself and your loved ones. Not Todd Beamer. Yes, he thought about his family–his wife Lisa, his two young sons, and a daughter who was to be born four months later. But he also felt a sense of duty and a compassion for our country should UA 93 meet its intended target. While on an air phone with a GTE supervisor named Lisa Jefferson, he told and Ms. Jefferson that he and other men on the plane would jump the hijackers. Then he prayed the “Our Father” with her, but his last two words–full of unselfish determination–were “Let’s roll.”
I’ll continue this discussion on a future blog about 9/11 and what it might have to do with angels. But in the meantime, you might be interested in learning what role compassion played or didn’t play in Lincoln’s assassination. My historical novel All Parts Together, will give you some interesting insight into the matter. I hope you will at least click on the book cover at the right of this page and read the summary. I think you will discover why this novel was seriously considered for a Pulitzer Prize nomination.