Steve Stroble grew up as a military brat, which took him from South Dakota to South Carolina to Germany to Ohio to Southern California to Alabama to the Philippines to Northern California. Drafted into the Army, he returned to Germany.
I sincerely hope they entertain and maybe even help you on this journey called life.
Sam Smaltz faces a crisis of generations as he tries to relate to the Greatest Generation and Generation X and Generation Y.
Sam Smaltz just wants to be left alone.
But being sandwiched between the Greatest Generation and Gen X and the Millenials offers him no such comfort. As a Baby Boomer, he does not get to be a respected hero by fighting German and Japanese warriors during WW II or North Koreans invading South Korea, but instead leaves behind a stepson who is sucked into the nebulous world of present day international terrorism, where everyone is suspect and no one can be trusted.
Life is not easy as it requires his stepson Jack Smaltz to be just one more nameless, faceless hero whose story gets lost in the shuffle even as it makes his generation shine.
The Turning Point Series (3 Part Series)
The series covers three events that shaped America to make it what it is today: the 1849 California Gold Rush, which brought emigrants from around the world to California and began an exodus from the eastern United States westward; the decline and fall of the British Empire and Ottoman Empire, which had ruled much of the world for centuries; and America’s entry into wars in Cuba and the Philippines, which began over a century of foreign intervention.
“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil” (1Timothy 6:10)
“The lust for gold is a root of a whole lot more evil.” (Unknown miner, California, 1849)
Seventeen year old Thomas Schmidt loves his beer. But too much of it one night and a tragic fight at the local Gasthaus sends him fleeing from his tiny village in 1830s Germany. He is so desperate to outrun the avenger (Rudolph Stein) pursuing him that Thomas becomes an indentured servant to buy passage to America. Eventually, their misadventure leads Thomas and Rudolph to the 1849 California Gold Rush.
There they join one from China, an ex-slave, and a veteran of other gold strikes and find the lust for gold can result in more pain and death than happiness.
Their lost treasure of family left behind eats away at Thomas’s and Rudolph’s souls until they at last send for them.
Egypt is on the brink of civil war. It’s not present day but 1882, when an American journalist and British soldier meet in Alexandria and become co-authors, eventually writing a book about their dangerous times.
The journalist finds the big story he’s been searching for and sells it to newspapers back in America.
The soldier, Benjamin Worthington, finds love with an Egyptian woman but her father objects and duty sends a broken hearted Benjamin to India and then Hong Kong before returning to Egypt and then South Africa. He serves when the British Empire is in decline and the Ottoman Empire is beginning to lose its control of Islam. Nations now demand independence from both empires.
The journalist, Rod Lee, returns to his home in Indiana. He also finds love and more than he can handle when he battles life threatening political and social corruption fueled by the KKK.
“Inside every man dwells two wolves.” – Cherokee legend
“The howl of the wolf echoes humans crying for a place to belong” – Gray Wolf, Kentucky, 1899
Political movements demand government ownership of businesses, less immigration to America, universal health care, and other reforms as the 1800s become the 1900s. Eventually, a movement to prohibit alcohol succeeds even as middle-aged women are the ones most addicted to legal opium based elixirs. Members of Congress call American soldiers fighting in the Philippines “murderers” and a presidential candidate rails against what he calls his nation’s “imperialism.”
Two friends from different worlds come of age during this generation of upheaval. Though one is belittled as a backwoods hillbilly from Kentucky and the other ostracized because of his religion, they learn from each other how to live and love family despite wars and social changes.
The women who become their wives help them survive WW I and the beginnings of the Great Depression.
Americana Series (5 Part Series)
Five novellas that explore different eras of American history.
Part 5 to be released in May 2020.
Wayne Sundowner’s life unravels after his mother abandons him at the police station and only his Grandma Cathy agrees to take custody of him. Stuck in Bakersfield, Wayne learns details of his past that enrage him even more.
An acquaintance, Rex Lafyte, tries to mentor Wayne by offering him work and a lot of advice. But Rex has problems of his own, including trying to help his dying mother and as a result, owing a lot of money to unseemly characters.
And why is a federal agent after Rex?
It’s been said, “If you can remember the 60s, you weren’t there.”
The saying “If you can remember the 70s, you were there” is even more true.
On the eve of 1970, four former bandmates of the rock group The Aspirations have their lives changed forever by the war in Vietnam and draft lottery. All of that is only a prelude to what they will encounter during the turbulent decade when the Me Generation seemed to say: “Ask not what you can do for anyone else. Ask what they can do for you.”
1838 proves to be the turning point in Dan “Beaverman” McDaniel’s life. At first, he thinks he is always a day late when he misses fighting in The Battle of the Alamo. But tragedy then makes him think life’s burdens have been dumped on him at too early of an age to endure them.
He seeks comfort by retreating to the wilderness and life as a mountain man.
1966 proves to be the “make it or pack up and go home” year for The Aspirations. They are four high school students whose favorite extracurricular activity is playing the Top 40 hits of the day at parties and dances and getting paid to do what they love. Their leader Frank has the highest hopes. The other three — Sy, Chris, and Ralph — chafe under Frank’s demands.
Will they rise above the other more mediocre garage bands and hit success?
Victory to Dystopia Series (3 Part Series)
The series covers the 150 years of American history from 1945, when the United States took on the mantle of the number one world superpower, until 2095, when it has descended into a dystopia controlled by private citizen technocrats and governmental bureaucrats and the computers and drones they use to control a no longer free people.
For Jason and his fiancé Thelma, the bomb meant he never had to invade Japan and maybe die or at least be wounded. For Fred, the bomb means guilt and fear, wondering why it had to be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as his wife Sally tries to help him. For Soviet and East German scientists, trying to develop a sufficient weapon of mass destruction means involuntary servitude to a nation intent on catching America in an arms race. For a federal employee who worked where the first bomb was developed, life spirals into a search for an escape from nuclear annihilation.
When Jason discovers that radioactive fallout from the tests conducted after the war may be responsible for his child’s handicaps, he too looks for a safe haven, even if it’s only a bomb shelter.
Money may be the mother’s milk of politics, but no amount of money or politics has been able to get astronauts to Mars.
Mars Expedition I results in the deaths of its astronauts. Years later, Mars Expedition II seems headed toward the same disastrous ending, with its astronauts defying Mission Control’s orders from Earth and the political agenda of the mission’s chief scientist, Dr. Graves.
Already defeated while trying to manipulate the astronauts’ selection process, Dr. Graves now uses technology to force his will onto those hurtling toward Mars to establish its first successful human colony. Astronauts Bill and Jackie want to accomplish Mars Expedition II.
But doing so is costing more of everything — time, commitment, perseverance — than the bureaucrats or computer models predicted.
In 2095, becoming and being a parent is complicated but eliminating grandchildren is profitable.
Bud Lee believes he has proof that his boss is plotting to decide Earth’s fate by recruiting surrogate children into a think tank named The Club. Only one other agrees to help him, a ghostwriter more convinced that computers control him, Bud, and everyone else.
Family relationships are anything but pleasant for the unlikely pair because of expectations placed upon them, so exposing a conspiracy, no matter how far-fetched, is welcome relief from the constraints of a micro-managed existence. Their search for the truth eventually takes them around the world as they trace down the only ones capable of verifying Mr. Lee’s story. Even then, they both feel like a couple of nowhere men going nowhere accomplishing little, if anything.
Short Stories Series (4 Part Series)
Short stories about the human condition, set in the past, present, and future.
Short Stories Book 5 (Scheduled for release in April 2024)
Collection of short stories:
What Smells? — Little girl’s fascination with garbage trucks takes her on a wild ride.
Revenge of the Undead — Promoting and marketing self-published books turns out to be harder than it seems for an author and her book’s marketer.
Riding the Bullet — Casual conversation on a high speed train escalates into unexpected consequences.
The Case of the Missing Sophomore — Frantic mother hires P.I. Bobbi Heck to locate her missing daughter.
OFFAL’s Last Stand — Changes intrude on a fraternal organization’s longtime members, threatening their number one source of fun and fellowship.
Why Do You Look So Strange (All of a Sudden) — Life in a nursing home goes from mundane to bizarre for two of its residents.
Porthole in the Fog — Small opening in a dense fog opens up some long repressed memories for a jogger.
EMP Code Blue — The Mother of all solar activity leaves Earth’s nations scrambling for cover.
Battling the Big CA in Sunny CA — Cancer in any form can be deadly, especially when it moves from one’s body to soul.
A collection of short stories:
Pink Belly Man — One of bully Pink Belly Man’s victims seeks revenge years later.
Working by Committee — Three men and three women report to find answers about UFOs and Alien Abductions.
I Quit — Guitar player and singer is odd man out as his bandmates harass him.
Don’t Believe Them — POTUS’s departure from office leads to nationwide marital law.
The Case of the Wayward Grandson — A grandfather hires P. I. Bobbi Heck to save his grandson.
The Review — A review inspires a new author to higher expectations of turning her book into a movie.
The Last Move — Worn down after 16 moves during his marriage, a husband swears, “This will be the last one.”
No Drone Zone — Country resident declares war against a neighbor’s drone.
Collection of short stories:
The Conqueror Earthworms — Granddaughter’s fascination with earthworms brings grieving widow back to the land of the living.
You Asked for It — New pastor tries to cure church of “But we’ve always done it that way before.”
Something Smells Good; It Has to Be Brownies — Struggling writer and artist team up to sell their wares.
The Case of the Rich Dead Mom — P I Bobbi Heck is asked by one of the heirs to investigate a rich woman’s death.
Carrier Pigeon — Fledgling missionary is recruited by an organization that is not what it appears to be.
A collection of short stories:
“The Extra” — A movie extra who never fulfilled his expectations begins to feel like an extra to everyone around him. Then, an unexpected phone call revives his dream.
“The Case of the Alphabet Killer” — Private investigator Bobbie Heck’s latest client is convinced someone is murdering his former classmates. She attends his 10 Year High School Reunion searching for suspects and finds a L.O.S.T. boy, touchy/feely faculty member, and another teacher who is a perfect gentleman. Her client needs Bobbi to solve this case in a hurry because his fiancée won’t marry him until he finds the killer who she and Bobbi are not convinced even exists.
“Special Delivery” — A kind old lady handles the weekly grocery shopping for her neighbors in their trailer court. Unsavory characters make her once enjoyable task dangerous.
“Intervention Detention” — Gus Rains just wants to be left alone. But his wife and six of his friends convene a meeting to confront Gus’ nastiest habit.
“Sing Unto the Lord a New Song” — A late-life crisis drags a wife into her husband’s latest scheme.
“Short Stories Book 4” is part of The Short Stories Series.