Close to the Sun


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Flying fighters over Europe

Close to the Sun follows the lives of two Americans and a German. As boys, they idealize the gallant exploits of WWI fighter aces. Hank Milroy from Wyoming learns his first flying lessons from observing falcons. Karl, Fürst von Pfalz-Teuffelreich, aspires to surpass his father’s 49 Luftsiegen accumulated during WWI. Seth Braham falls in love with flying during an air show at San Francisco’s Chrissy Field. The young men meet exceptional women. Texas tomboy Catherine “Winty” McCabe believes she is as good a flyer as any man. Princess Mariya-Xenia, a stateless White Russian, works for the Abwehr, German intelligence. Elfriede “Elfi” Wohlmann is a frontline nurse. Mimi Kay sings with a big band.

Flying fighters over Europe, Hank, Karl, and Seth experience the exhilaration of aerial combat victories and acedom during the unromantic reality of combat losses, tedious bomber escort, strafing runs, firebombing of entire cities, and separation from the women they love. Callous political decisions and military mistakes, especially horrific atrocities they witness at the end of WWII, add to their disillusion.

Close To The Sun by Donald Michael Platt

Three boys in the 1920s idealize the exploits of WWI fighter aces. Hank Milroy, raised on a Wyoming ranch, learns his first aerial combat lessons observing how falcons burst out of the sun to attack their prey. Son of a WWI 49 victory ace, Karl, Fürst von Pfalz-Teuffelreich, intends to surpass his father’s Luftsiegen in the next war. Seth Braham is thrilled by his first flight during an air show at the San Francisco Presidio’s Chrissy Field. As competitive young men flying fighters during WWII, each seeks to become top ace. They mature during the grim reality of bomber escort and strafing runs, harmful political and military decisions, and a horrifying climax.

Exceptional women affect the pilots’ lives: Catherine “Winty” McCabe, a Texas tomboy who believes she is a better flyer than any man; Princess Maria-Xenia, a stateless White Russian who works for the Abwehr, German intelligence; Elfriede “Elfie” Wohlmann, a combat unit nurse; and streetwise Mimi Kay, who left home at age fourteen to pursue a career as a big band singer.

About the author

Donald Michael Platt received his B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley. After two years in the Army, he went to graduate school at San Jose State where one of his short stories was published in the college’s literary magazine, The Reed, and won the following awards in the annual Senator Phelan Literary Contest: 1st & 2nd in Plays; 1st & 2nd in Essays; 1st & 3rd in Free Verse.

After teaching English and Creative Writing at Los Gatos Union High School, he moved to southern California and began his professional writing career. He sold to the TV series, Mr. Novak, ghosted Your Hair and Your Diet for health food guru, Dan Dale Alexander, and wrote for and with diverse producers, among them Harry Joe Brown, Sig Schlager, Albert J. Cohen, and Al Ruddy as well as Paul Stader Sr., dean of Hollywood stuntmen and stunt/2nd unit director. Also, options were taken on his unpublished WWII fighter ace novel and several treatments.

While living in Hollywood, Donald married Ellen, who is from Brazil, and he taught Creative Writing and Advanced Placement European History at Fairfax High School where he also was Social Studies Department Chairman. After living in Florianópolis, Brazil, setting of A Gathering of Vulutres, reissued by DarkHart Press, an imprint of Grey Gate Media, LLC, in 2011, they moved to Florida where he wrote as a with: Vitamin Enriched, pub. 1999, for Carl DeSantis, founder of Rexall Sundown Vitamins; andThe Couple’s Disease, Finding a Cure for Your Lost “Love” Life, pub. 2002, for Lawrence S. Hakim, MD, FACS, Head of Sexual Dysfunction Unit at the Cleveland Clinic.

His historical novel, Rocamora, set in 17th century Spain and Amsterdam during their Golden Ages, was reissued in a 2nd edition in paperback and ebook form by Raven’s Wing Books, an imprint of Grey Gate Media, LLC in 2011. Its sequel House of Rocamora was also published by Raven’s Wing Books in 2012 and is available as a paperback and in various ebook formats.

Donald’s books have won awards. Rocamora was a finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards for Historical Fiction, and A Gathering of Vultures was a finalist in the Indie Book awards for Horror in 2013.

Currently, Donald and Ellen reside in Winter Haven, Florida. He has completed his magnum opus, a novel set in the 9th century Carolingian Empire, Bodo the Apostate, that will be released by Grey Gate Meda in July 2014, and his novel, Close to the Sun, about the lives, loves and fates of fighter pilots during World War II, has just been released (June 2014) by Fireship Press.

Donald is currently being house trained by his new cat, Bodo, a loquacious tyrant.

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