Book Jacket


rank 370
word count 44101
date submitted 06.03.2010
date updated 29.03.2014
genres: Historical Fiction, History, Christ...
classification: moderate

December Gold

Ronald Lee Mitchell

December Gold tells an epic story of a father and son in separate quests for gold, adventure, marriage integrity, and renewed faith.


Professor Rollie Marclay stumbles on troubling information about his father, Jacob, who was a soldier in the Pacific during World War II. A matter of national security brings Rollie’s faith to the brink as he discovers the truth about his father’s relationship to a girl named Alaya.

Retracing his father’s footsteps from time in the war and the years up to and after his father's death leads Rollie to face issues dealing with deception both in marriage and friendships. Rollie's marriage infidelity lends itself to lessons of forgiveness and healing when the marriage bond is breached. Rollie's search leads him to deeper truths and understanding sought by his father, and also two unlikely friends, a Japanese soldier and a Filipino native, each who dedicated themselves to live their Christian faith in the midst of war.

The settings within the story revolve around real life characters from history; fictionalized to meet the flow of the story, and three vital characters which include a Japanese Christian soldier and an American soldier (Jacob Marclay) whose lives become forever linked to a renowned goldsmith from the Philippines; all because of a mutual love for a small child.

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A Day of Infamy

        Chapter 4-A Day of Infamy

    The girls were with Aunt Flo as they gathered around the radio after the dinner dishes were finished to tune in their favorite music program. Since the weather had turned to a more southwesterly wind flow, all the ice and snow melted. By December standards it was quite mild, about 60 degrees; so mild, in fact, that Uncle Ed, John, and Jacob were all whittling on the back porch while talking about the farm and the latest price of pigs at the stockyard down in Saginaw. 

     Suddenly Aunt Flo came out to the back porch with her face ashen white half covered by her apron. Then she started to cry. Aunt Flo had only cried once since Jacob had ever known her, and that was at his mom’s funeral in early 1939. Thinking something bad had happened to one of the girls the men rushed inside to see, Rebecca Ruth, Jacob’s oldest sister crying. The other girls were whimpering because their older sister was crying. That is when the men stopped abruptly from talking as they heard the crackling sound of the announcer on the radio issuing the news alert that Pearl Harbor had been attacked by the Japanese.

      They listened as the first reports indicated that the entire U.S. Pacific Fleet had been destroyed, and the nation was at a state of high alert. Immediate steps were to be taken to ensure the safety of the nation from this aggression. Regardless, fear gripped their hearts. Jacob looked at his Uncle Ed and his father who both appeared stunned by the news. He saw them grimace. Uncle Ed said, “You know this means war is inevitable.” John nodded as he remembered back to when they had served as doughboys together in the Great War of 1917 against Germany.

    John had first met Ruth when he came home with Ed Whittingham for a week while on leave just before shipping out for Germany. Ed and Flo had fixed him up with Flo’s younger sister, Ruth Belle. John wrote back and forth to Ruth for the rest of the war while he was overseas.

      When he got back to the states he decided to settle on a farm in Michigan rather than by his parent’s home in Lindsay, Ohio. In the spring of 1923 he married Ruth. He wasn’t a perfect man, by any means. Ruth was a church going woman. He was not about to darken a church door every Sunday, except for the wedding, of course. He did end up going to church, but not as often as Ruth would have wanted him to go. It seemed he always had an excuse, especially after the kids started coming along a year later.

       After a particularly bad year for the farm when the crops dried up, Johnny began to drink again. He had stopped drinking after coming back from serving in the military. Three years after the crop failure when John had to sell off half of the farm to pay the debts, Ruth became ill. After she died a few months later in 1939, Johnny felt lost and empty passing the nights away by drinking. It was when he wrecked the car, although surviving the crash unhurt, that Flo and Ed stepped in to care for the girls. Johnny said it was a cow that had got loose from its pasture, and when he swerved to miss the cow in the middle of the road he landed in the ditch. The car was hardly damaged, but the woman he had picked up from the dance hall was killed instantly as her head struck the dashboard snapping her neck. No charges were filed.

      His drinking became almost a daily prescription drug after that time to numb his body to the reality that Ruth was gone and for the guilt he felt about the accident. He had felt so ashamed; especially when it became evident he couldn’t take care of the girls. Ed and Flo stepping in to care for the girls was one thing, but now he had been close to blowing it with his son. He said a silent prayer, asking God to keep him on course this time and away from the alcohol.

      “I suppose we will probably declare war against Japan and Germany,” Ed said breaking in on the melancholy that John was feeling at that moment. The wind up clock started to chime the top of the hour.Why, the whole world is going to be at war again I suspect,” John added quickly clearing his throat breaking his silence.

      The news was sobering despite the many months of speculation about the possibility of war with Germany. The attack on American soil without seeming provocation had a chilling affect on Johnny. His thoughts wandered back to the sheer fright he felt while in the trenches in Germany. When the whistle blew for them to charge out of the trenches toward the onslaught of German artillery and machine gun fire he remembered many of his war buddies who didn’t make it home from that war. The same would be true for this war he thought solemnly.

       He walked outside for a time to clear his mind, and when he came back in after that he stated to Ed and Flo that he wanted to be known simply as John rather than Johnny. After he supposedly had quit drinking and got religion, it just seemed right to abide by his wishes. They sat around the radio for the rest of the afternoon to get whatever news they could. Jacob and his father left late in the evening to go back to the farm talking all the way about the attack, and what it meant for them. “I will need your help Jacob,” John said to his son knowing it wasn’t going to be easy to stop his drinking. Even as he spoke he longed for a drink as the shakes started to convulse in his body. He prayed and the shakes went away. 

      Shaken from the events of the day before, they listened intently to the radio as President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a war message to Congress.

      “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

     Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commence bombing Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.


          It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

        The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu. Yesterday the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night the Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.”

     A strange foreboding overwhelmed Jacob at that moment when President Roosevelt mentioned the Philippines. He was almost overcome by an intense fear and bizarrely felt connected to the events that were occurring at that moment in that part of the world although he had no reason or understanding of why. He shook the depressive feelings off as he continued to concentrate on the words of the president.

     “Japan has, therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation. As commander in Chief of the army and navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.”

    The indication coming from the radio signaled that the Congress was on their feet in one accord applauding the president’s call to arms. A chill of patriotism and excitement ran up the spine of seventeen years old Jacob as he listened with eyes and ears glued to the radio. 


     “I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again. Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces—with the abounding determination of our people—we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.”

       Jacob and John were deeply moved to tears. Jacob had never heard such and outpouring before. John voiced outwardly his approval of what the President was saying. Among the thunderous applause resounding from the radio, President Roosevelt concluded his address:

 “I ask the Congress that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.”

      The President’s message jumped out from the radio as a rallying cry to the Congress and the nation. In response to this address on December 8th, Jacob read all the details he could in the local paper about the nation officially declaring war against the Empire of Japan followed by a subsequent declaration of war on Germany and Italy on the 11th with many Latin-American countries following the United States lead. Just as John and Ed predicted instead of just a European war most of the world was once again at war.

      After listening to the president’s declaration on the radio John went to the preacher who lived a few roads down from them to ask for his support in helping him to stay clear of alcohol, and also to quell his own emotions and the reoccurring nightmares as he remembered back to the year he spent in the trenches in Germany. John committed to become sober after that time, and began the journey back to reclaim his life and family. He vowed to the preacher and to Jacob that he was going to turn his life around. Although things were at a new beginning with his father it seemed, Jacob still had uneasiness regarding his life’s direction. Several of his friends had gone to the recruiter’s office to enlist.



       Jacob tried to enlist, but being only seventeen, the recruiter said he was too young. Frustrated as he watched several go off to fight in the Navy and Army, he settled back into the routine of the farm. The middle of April of 1942 the war effort was not going well. The Philippines, according to what Jacob read in the Weekly Chronicle, were on the verge of collapse despite a brave defense of the American forces there under General Douglas MacArthur.

        The last remnant of American presence was being defeated at the hands of the Japanese in the Philippines and in seemingly all parts of the South Pacific. General MacArthur barely escaped Bataan quoting as he left, gave his promise to the thousands left defending the Philippines that “he would return.” Bataan fell and then Corregidor a few short months later with an estimated 69,000 American prisoners taken by the Japanese; a monumental blow to the national morale including Jacob as he sat by the stove hearing the news on the radio.

       The fascist regime in Italy and Nazi Germany continued to dominate the Mediterranean with their oppression. Nazi Germany continued bombing London after driving Allied Forces out of Europe except for minor pockets of resistance. A few nations declared themselves as neutral, but they were generally regarded as being under the German umbrella. The German U-boats greatly affected the allied supply lines as they sank the merchant ships containing supplies, planes, and other war materials faster than they could be produced. With reports coming from both theaters of the war of gloom and defeat, some good news prevailed. On April 18th of 1942 Jacob read in the newspaper about a daring group of flyers, under what became known as “Doolittle’s Raid,” that had bombed targets in Tokyo, a major industrial city in Japan.

      Jacob kept up with all the news, and he was elated hearing that the Japanese advance had been stalled in New Guinea, even though he wasn’t quite sure where that was. Despite that news of victory he also read about the German troops under General Rommel who continued to dominate in North Africa.

      A newsreel before a movie to gave Jacob information that the Allied Forces had not been defeated in North Africa. They continued to hang on to strategic areas, although victory was not yet at hand. Russian troops stalled the German advance into Stalingrad. Jacob listened at every opportunity for any news or updates about the war.

       As the Japanese made their presence known in the northern United States territory in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, welcome news came of a stunning war victory for the United States at Midway. Jacob rejoiced with his dad at the news. In the midst of both the good and bad news from the war front, President Roosevelt informed the nation of an impending draft to begin in November of 1942. The initial draft would affect those who were between the ages of 18-19. Jacob received a letter in the mail from Dow Chemical asking if he was still interested in working for them. Jacob, who had continued to work on the family farm and for neighbors, still had some aspirations of getting into the Army, but with so many being killed and his life starting to fall into place his patriotism was waning. By the end of April 1942, Jacob was working full-time at Dow Chemical. There were several openings because of so many men volunteering for the service. It was a bitter sweet feeling being offered the job knowing that others were out fighting, but at the same time he was only seventeen. He felt fortunate to be able to have such a good paying job of $1.75 an hour at just seventeen. Because of his work he felt sheltered from the war, and turned inward to his good fortune.

     Jacob was thrust into an adult world of life in the city totally opposite his country upbringing. Although he was still staying on the farm with his father, helping out all he could, he acquired a new set of friends. Earning more money than he had ever seen before, he saved up to buy a new Ford truck. Jacob’s new friends convinced him that a Harley motorcycle would be a better fit, so that is what he bought. It was a beauty. The Harley was a burgundy monster; not the biggest, but he believed the sharpest Harley built to date.

        Jacob realized he was not saving much money, but he was enjoying life. His father told him he would have a different picture riding a Harley when it was 20 degrees below zero. Jacob shrugged off the gloom talk as he carefully positioned his blue biker hat snapped smartly around his neck and head. Adjusting his goggles he placed his cigarettes under his sleeve.

      This was a daily routine as off he went allowing the roar of the bike to intentionally startle the neighbor’s dog to get it barking. Jacob pulled into work on his Harley making sure all the girls he passed saw him as he drove by. Not wearing a jacket, he hated to admit that his father was right about it getting chilly.

      He didn’t smoke much, but the cigarette package tucked under his rolled up t-shirt came with the image while he was at work or out with friends at the pool hall. During those first few months of independence Jacob became especially enamored with a young girl he met while at the county fair early that fall. She was a cute sandy blonde senior at the local high school. She was at the county fair with her friends. Not much happened at the fair because of the war rationing, but that didn’t matter. He was in love for the first time in his life.

      The first time Jacob met Susan’s father was at the soda fountain where she worked. Jacob was slurping a malted shake. “Hi Dad!” she said. “So this is your young man you have been talking about!” Susan’s father, Sean Bradley responded. After a formal introduction was made, Mr. Bradley said to Jacob, “Why don’t you come by the house this Saturday night, and we will get better acquainted?”  Jacob could tell it was more than an invitation; rather a requirement if he desired to continue seeing his daughter. Jacob looked into Mr. Bradley’s brazened eyes.

     Jacob tried to squeeze out of the invitation, but Mr. Bradley was very insistent, saying, “You will want to come by if you want to continue seeing my daughter!” “Daddy,” Susan exclaimed, “that is a little harsh.”  However, Jacob took it as an honor. 


       “Mr. Bradley cared enough about his daughter to make sure the guy she was hanging with was an okay guy,” he thought. Jacob accepted the invitation saying, “Saturday night then.” After the quizzing by the Bradley’s he began seeing Susan Marie more and more, but the war increasingly became a focal point. Rationing of gasoline and other items were becoming an tiresome issue.

       The casualty list of the war became a daily reminder that things were different than they were before December 7th of the previous year. When Jacob was within days of turning eighteen he decided not to enlist. “Not that he was afraid of going to war or anything like that,” as Jacob displayed his reasons to Mr. Bradley. He was just enjoying his new life, his new girlfriend, and his job too much to leave it all to fight in a distant war on the other side of the world.

      However, a haunting nightmare continued to plague his mind with a dark, sinister cloud. His dad, John, his Aunt Flo and Uncle Ed, and his sisters threw him a grand eighteenth birthday, complete with carrot cake with eighteen candles. Rebecca Ruth, Sarah Louise, and Ruth Ann got in the act as they cranked some ice cream for the party. Also in attendance was Susan, Susan’s immediate family and the preacher and his wife. Overall, it was a great day. That same week he went into the courthouse to register for the draft. It was now the end of October 1942.












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Chris Bostic wrote 16 days ago


I’m finally getting around to December Gold. Sorry it took me so long. I tend to comment as I read along to give you my impressions, so sometimes things are answered later. I read your Prologue and first chapter closely and found this to be interesting. The following are my comments:

-P1, that first sentence is a bit of a monster. I’d be tempted to split it into two.
-P2, this comment is stylistic again. You have only two sentences, and semi-colons in both of those. It might be nice to mix up sentence length to provide a variety.
-P3, I’d hyphenate “white haired” and “well worn”. Now that I think about it, this is already published, so my line edits may not be all that helpful. I’ll keep noting them, but feel free to ignore. The part “to others” is probably unnecessary as aloof describes it well enough.
-P4, it seems like you have two different speakers in the same paragraph. Each speakers needs their own paragraph, no matter how short their dialogue.
-P6, there seems to be an abrupt transition in narration here where you talk about his father at one point, then the next two lines are about someone totally different and what they’re doing right then.
-P8, more multiple speakers in the same paragraph
-I really like the description of the beach landing, though it seemed to me like there should have been a bit more of a reaction or more emotion when his buddy was killed by the mortar. I get that he blocks it out, but it’s dealt with very quickly.
-A bit of a minor tense issue in the flashback. It should be “that was when he saw” not “that is when he saw”
-A couple other things, you say Jacob laid the baby on the rocks, then go back to repeat “had previously set the baby on the rocks.” It sorta unnecessary. Also, you call the man a Filipino right off, then later say “not Japanese, rather Filipino”. It’s kind of an after-the-fact redundancy.

Chapter 1:
-I like the idea of following the story from the Goldsmith’s perspective. You have more flashbacking here, starting in ’44 before MacArthur’s return then jumping to the Japanese invasion of ‘41. It seems to work fine.
-The brutality is amazing, but (sadly) absolutely the truth as far as I know. I like the way you have Enrique survive and how he ends up with the Japanese office who speaks English (and to find out that he’s a prince too – shocking). That was convincing. If anything, this might benefit from a bit more dialogue and a little less of the ‘this happened, then this happened’ sort of narration. Dialogue gives it more immediacy and emotional connection rather than reading a bit like a history textbook.
-There’s some crazy stuff in here, like a wedding in a prison camp. You cover a lot of ground here in a long, but not too long chapter. There are some really unexpected, but believable, details. One phrase at the very end of the chapter confused me. “embraced her lips” seemed oddly worded to me.

It’s a unique story so far. I’ve enjoyed it, as I’m a fan of historical fiction, especially dealing with the wars. It’s a solid story.

Best Wishes,
Poisonwood Key

Lindsay Cross wrote 18 days ago

I finished all 11 chapters. Beautifully written. I was captivated all the way through. This is a mystery, at least to the players involved, that seems to keep coming up with the passing of time. And on that note, you use the passing of time amazingly well, without losing any information in the process. The years roll by perfectly in the telling. Loved all the characters in that roll.

Great story.

Lindsay Cross

Lindsay Cross wrote 18 days ago

I've read up to chapter 5. I like the perspectives of both people leading up to the war. We get to see a little history of peoples and life with them. I actually shed a tear at the part where Jacob's father found solace after reading the Bible.
Nicely written.

Lindsay Cross

Lindsay Cross wrote 19 days ago

I started reading chapter 1. I enjoyed the start and the flashback to the history. I also love the humanisticvalue to the story. I is so refreshing to see how human nature can thrive in the face of devastation or tragedy.
I look forward to reading on.

Lindsay Cross

Neville wrote 71 days ago

December Gold.
By Ronald Lee Mitchell.

I was fascinated by the prologue, so very well written that I felt I was there at the dedication ceremony amid the throng.
The beach landing at the Lingayen Gulf, Luzon captured my imagination with your excellent description.
I liked Jacob for his caring manner in the face of battle—the baby’s in good hands, that’s for sure but the parents are gone…part of war I suppose some would say, but innocent deaths all the same.
I like the scene of battle and the tenderness erupting from within the quagmire.
I wanted to know more about Jacob, I have a soft spot for him, so I read on with your compelling story.
Good storyline. Good characters. Good dialogue. It’s all there as the pages are turned.
I feel that with a good book cover, there will be no stopping this!
Love the book…many stars and backed with pleasure!
Well done, Ron, great writing!

Very best wishes,


One Off, Sir!
The Secrets of the Forest (Series)-Cosmos 501.
The Secrets of the Forest (Series)-The Time Zone.

Andreea Daia wrote 73 days ago

I read the first two chapters and I believe you can make a movie only based on their plot. Rarely I have seen on this site, the story of a man distilled so well. There was not one single instance when I felt that the narration rushed, or that elements I wanted explained weren’t present. In fact, as I read, I thought over and over “Enrique is a survivor.” After all, despite being captured, he becomes a prince’s protégé, he builds a news life for himself, for his wife and daughter, he survives the departure of his protector and an abusive new commander, he even survives the departure of this commander. When he realizes that they took the wrong direction he still doesn’t give up his fight (this made me stop and wonder a bit if realistic, but I guess lots of folks can’t tell North from South). The most spectacular fact is that, even in his death, Enrique still gives the impression of a survivor—after all he managed to protect his daughter and to insure her future. There was something very heroic in his death. I wanted to read on and on to learn how she fares.

I believe you do a great job of portraying your main character as a real man who has a distinctive aura of a hero. He is always supported by his religion and the belief that everything will work out, amazing proof of strength in a time when there was little hope for anyone. I was also fascinated about the vivid scenery and by the details about goldsmithing. I was a bit curious as why they threw away the “bad” gold when it would have been easier to purify it—that’s the reason it is called a “noble metal,” because it doesn’t combine with most other chemical elements.

You clearly have talent for narration and I believe this story will capture a large audience of historical fiction readers, as well as those of action and adventure, and Christian literature. Well done and best of luck!


Sheena Macleod wrote 87 days ago

Ronald, I read the first two chapters of December Gold and enjoyed this epic tale. I liked the fact that it is based on real characters and events. The research behind it must have been phenomenal, The details are well presented in a way that kept me reading on to find out more.

I love HF and feel that this could be a winner. The story has all the elements of a good read, hardship, love,survival, relationships and a puzzle waiting to be unravelled as the story unfolds. I know from my own writing that following an accurate path with a true story, while making it readable, is no easy feat. You achieve this and more.
High stars. I will keep this wl and read on.


Shiloh Yazdani wrote 144 days ago

You've written a very interesting historical fiction here. I enjoyed it from the first word I read. It is well written and intriguing. I am a student of history and especially WWII. I especially liked that you wove faith in as a river running through the parts of your story I've read so far. Excellent job!
"Courage through Faith"

Elizabeth Kathleen wrote 144 days ago

I am so impressed with your book! Your story is deep and draws the reader in. The story is strong, well-written and deep! I was rooting for Enrique and his family. I am impressed by the fact God blessed you with the ability to tell a story and show the power of God's love at the same time!
Good job!
Elizabeth Kathleen
"If Children are Cheaper by the Dozen, Can I Get a Discount on Six?"
"The Sticks and Stones of Hannah Jones"

Elizabeth Kathleen wrote 144 days ago

I am so impressed with your book! Your story is deep and draws the reader in. The story is strong, well-written and deep! I was rooting for Enrique and his family. I am impressed by the fact God blessed you with the ability to tell a story and show the power of God's love at the same time!
Good job!
Elizabeth Kathleen
"If Children are Cheaper by the Dozen, Can I Get a Discount on Six?"
"The Sticks and Stones of Hannah Jones"

RMAWriteNow wrote 283 days ago

Hi Ronald; I have just read your prologue and first chapter.

This is a most unusual read. The reason I say that is the scope of it. This feels like a truly epic story that is very visual and at times quite moving, very cinematic. It is also sprinkled with some quite beautiful lines. I could have picked many, the opening just for one, but really liked, "only God knowing his name as he died."

Special mention to the smelting scene and purposely boring the guards; that was great.

The issue is, as others seem to have said, some of the sentence construction. It is like you have been so keen to get the story out of your head that its style sometimes suffers. (This is easily solved) A wise person here told me and others to read out loud the work if unsure of it. This works. You will notice errors and easily sort them. A lot here could be corrected by simply shortening the sentences.

Here is an example of what I mean:
That night they spent the night in each others arms / might be better as, They spent that night in each others arms. (Hope this helps.)

This takes nothing away from a comprehensive and classy storyline that demonstrates historical knowledge and good storytelling. There are some heart rendering moments of the sort only the better writers can generate.

Good luck
The Snow Lily

Lourdes wrote 303 days ago

I apologize for my tardiness in reading your work, and I want to thank you very much for your past support of The Path to Survival.
I’ve got to tell you that stories such as yours always pull at my heart strings. There’s a cauldron of emotions in the prologue and first chapter alone, and the pictures you painted made me tear up a few times.
You are a good story teller and December Gold can be a winner, with a little editing. I’m in no way a professional, but I noticed a few things that can be easily fixed. Please ignore my rambling if you don’t agree.
“…Honoring World War II veterans and those veterans who died defending our country.”
You don’t need the second ‘veterans’
I noticed you’re not very fond of commas and neither am I, but I find they help me sort my thoughts as I write, otherwise they all run together.

A good example:
“We’ve eaten Grandma.”
“We’ve eaten, Grandma.”

“Instead Jacob, his father, seemed deeply saddened and moved, at times, by those events remembered.”
Comma after ‘instead’
No comma after moved

“His father was a mystery when it came to his war experiences in the words he didn’t share.”
I had to read this sentence a couple of times to get your meaning, and all it took to fix that, was a comma after experiences. There are a few examples of this through the Prologue Chapter one.

Following this sentence you introduce Dr. James and his wife, and Dr. Laurel, as they sit to witness the dedication.
Perhaps they should have their own paragraph, so they don’t interfere with the beautiful sentiments of the previous sentence.

December Gold is very compelling. There’s so much goodness in the story and I believe it has great potential, but it does need a little attention. I'm keeping it on my WL so i can check back later. :)
Best of luck,
Maria x
The Path to Survival

Charles Knightley wrote 317 days ago

December Gold
Ronald Lee Mitchell

We read the prologue and four chapters. We were very impressed with the story, quite an epic. Chapter one was a lovely tale of the goldsmith and then his love but then in chapter two we had the sad story of his and his wife's death but hope in the survival of his baby. In the background we have the gold!

We enjoyed reading the story but found many of your sentences quite clumsy and cumbersome. For instance in the prologue, "Even the dignitaries lined up in their traditional place for ceremonies such as this seemed excited about the events unfolding." Another example, "Because of the drinking his father could barely hold down odd jobs", do you need "barely" and "odd"? You could just say, "Because of the drinking his father couldn't hold down any jobs." Another example - what are you saying in the sentence, "Late last night had been quite challenging, and yet, it had been typical for most nights of the week anymore"? Do you mean, "Last night had been challenging, another typical night"?

Jacob's father's redemption was quite sudden!

The scene at the beginning of chapter four was slightly odd - when Flo came in crying, presumably because she'd heard about Pearl Harbour on the radio, then the men heard it on the radio. We think you could build on the tension.

Anyway, a good story which with some editing can become a great book.

Charles & Yasmina Knightley
The Secret of Netley Abbey

Janet/Helen wrote 318 days ago

December Gold. Ch 1 & 2.

This feels like the start of an epic war story. Very well written - I found the second part of chapter 2 particularly gripping and moving.
Two places where I hesitated -
Chapter 1. 'His fortune had turned to despair.' sounds a little odd to me, as despair is an emotion - fortune isn't. Perhaps 'His optimism had turned to despair.'
Chapter 2. '.....knowing his life was soon over.' Again this just sounds wrong. Perhaps '....knowing his life was coming to an end.' or '.....knowing his life would soon be over.'

Minor points in an otherwise error free two chapters. Very enjoyable and morish. 6 stars and onto watchlist for backing when I can. Janet

The Stranger In My Life

Janet/Helen wrote 320 days ago

December Gold. Chapter 1 (Prologue)

An interesting opening to this story. I've only time to read the Prologue this morning but that's enough to make sure I return tomorrow to read a few chapters. One or two points which caught my eye as I read the Prologue.

In the opening paragraph '......who died defending our country.' sounds a little odd since you are not writing in the first person. Perhaps '.......who died defending America.' Again in a later chapter you refer to 'our troops' [American troops]

'He chuckled as he viewed the mother reigning in the enthusiasm of her young patriot.' [reining]

In the first conversation between Rollie and his wife, Rollie comments 'So many people with so many stories.' Then his wife's response is broken into two sentences, one finishing with 'Laurel agreed with him' and the second finishing with 'Rollie's wife responded'. The separation is unnecessary and makes the dialogue sound strange. I would write this as '"There are so many memories present in this place it would take a lifetime to tell them all, but at least we've brought one memory to rest regarding your father" replied Rollie's wife, Laurel. '

'.....his father last shared with him personally from an experience he had in the war.' Delete the word 'from'

I like the analogy of Jacob telling his story using the backdrop of the War Memorial as his easel. I also like the hook at the end of the Prologue.

High stars for this and onto watchlist. Will return to read more. Janet

The Stranger In My Life

Software wrote 341 days ago

Very well researched and presented piece of quality writing, fascinating in its specific details and engaging in its delivery. December Gold has the feel of a classic war story, epic in proportion and graphic in description. 5 stars and WL'ed. Bookshelf candidate when space is available.

Clive Radford
Doghouse Blues

MaryBe wrote 443 days ago

I read the first chapter of your book and found it very detailed about war. I found the experiences were beyond what I knew about war. The picture of war you presented was done with out emotion which surprised me. I imagin experiences like those are very hard to get over.

fictionguy8 wrote 451 days ago

Captivating and fast paced. I do the same thing with surrounding real people with fictional circumstances which makes the story seem realistic. It's not easy to do but you did it well. The narrative is good and the dialogue is perfect. Five stars,

James Workman wrote 452 days ago

I've read authonomy chapter 1 and want to read more. It is an engaging story and the opening makes me want to know how it turns out and what the mystery was.

MiriamNConde wrote 457 days ago

After the first chapter I’m interested in reading more. Enrique’s story is especially fascinating. A miracle seems to have saved his life. You lend the reader a feeling that Enrique may have been saved for some unique purpose.

The Immortality Experiment

Laurence Howard wrote 463 days ago

Your book has originality and intrigue; your eloquent prose weaves a tale that has depth and sensitivity that grips the imagination. Masterly piece of writing.
Backed with pleasure.
Laurence Howard The Cross of Goa

Dr. Surya Kumar Daimari wrote 470 days ago

Hi Ronald,
Your ‘December Gold’ has truly created a land mark in the writing of an epic story of love inside a war. What I like most is the presentation of the message of humanity and peace, love and forgiveness even in the midst of deadly war and brutality. It’s something like War and Peace. Your soldiers in the battle field are not only the soldiers of your country but they are also the soldiers of God displaying their true and renewed faith in Him. The happy ending of your story is another facet of glory. Yours is a pure literature. The art of writing , the use of words, phrases, similes and imageries are superb. I like yours, “The sun cascaded over the snow covered landscape ; each of the fallen flakes creating their individual magic as they danced……..”
“The early snow blanketing the road way” ……..
The only thing I don’t like about the book is its length , however, it’s moderate for an epic. I feel, whoever will read it will surely enjoy the story full to the brim. Good luck,
The Names of the Believers

Dr. Surya Kumar Daimari wrote 470 days ago

Hi Ronald,
Your ‘December Gold’ has truly created a land mark in the writing of an epic story of love inside a war. What I like most is the presentation of the message of humanity and peace, love and forgiveness even in the midst of deadly war and brutality. It’s something like War and Peace. Your soldiers in the battle field are not only the soldiers of your country but they are also the soldiers of God displaying their true and renewed faith in Him. The happy ending of your story is another facet of glory. Yours is a pure literature. The art of writing , the use of words, phrases, similes and imageries are superb. I like yours, “The sun cascaded over the snow covered landscape ; each of the fallen flakes creating their individual magic as they danced……..”
“The early snow blanketing the road way” ……..
The only thing I don’t like about the book is its length , however, it’s moderate for an epic. I feel, whoever will read it will surely enjoy the story full to the brim. Good luck,
The Names of the Believers

lexington_ky_writer wrote 478 days ago

Ron, Good afternoon. Your writing is incredible. Well placed desciptives. The picture you painted on the beach when rollie's father found Ayala was awesome. I was put right there on the bach with them, thanks to you. I am continuing to read, but had to share my thoughts before I move on. Cheers, kerry.

Alice Barron wrote 479 days ago

We are introduced to this wonderful story by being at a ceremony of respect for the good and the brave who fought for our freedom in world war two. Rollie and his wife are at the ceremony as Rollie's father bravely fought in the war.
We are brought back to the war that Jacob fought in and we learn that jacob rescued a little baby, Alaya, as her father lay dying. Her father's name was Enrique. We are then told the story of Enrique and the author expertly leads us on in the telling of his story.

The end of chapter one is uplifting.

In chapter one you use "task at hand" in fairly rapid succession. From my time on this site I have learned not to use the same type of phrase twice.

I think you need to insert the word on in the following sentence.........It was on this frantic trip back from manila to Mindanao that the japanese captured the boat he was a passanger "ON"

Looking forward to reading on. This is great.

Highly starred.

Seringapatam wrote 480 days ago

Ron, I have been waiting to read the rest of this for some time now and have only just got back to it. Its a cracking story for which it is clear you are passionate about. It is so crisp and flows so well. You certainly have talent here without doubt. There have been numerous comments below so it just leave me to say, good luck with it and so well done.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R)

faith rose wrote 497 days ago

Dear Ron,

O this really pulls at my heartstrings! I loved the way you seemed to tell two stories in one in the opening chapters. The soldier's rescue of baby Alaya hooked me immediately, and then you beautifully filled in all the pieces as Enrique's story unfolded. You painted a vivid, realistic picture of war with all its heartbreak, tragedy, and raw emotion. Yet there was a underlying sense of hope. I loved the prayer the German missionary shared with Enrique: "In the midst of the battle there will be the Lord. When we can go no further, it is there God will take us." Beautiful and powerful and so, so true. This is a real gem, Ron. I am starring this very highly and holding on my WL for future reading. A deeply moving read.

All the very best,
Faith Rose
Now To Him

LCF Quartet wrote 503 days ago

Hi Ron,
I just finished reading the first two chapters of your book and I think your MC Enrique is a well-rounded, fleshed persona with a story to tell. Your third-person voice is very clear and easy to follow. I also liked the pace and the overall structure, including the prologue.

The main concept behind your novel is strong and injects hope to the reader immediately.
I look forward to reading more and see where the story is going from here.
High stars and best wishes,
Lucette- Ten Deep Footprints

KMac23 wrote 527 days ago

I read this story before a while back, and am recalling the beauty of all of it. I loved how you set up the first scenes, with the baby, Alaya being saved by the soldier, then going into the tale of Enrique and his marriage to Kayusha and bringing it all back to Alaya again. Then, revealing the background of the soldier, Jacob and leading him up to the point where he saves Alaya. And then you take us to Rollie, Jacob’s son, who has told the story of his father and the rescue of the baby. Lastly, Rollie is set upon an adventure of finding out about Alaya and the missing gold, ending up in a coma as a result. The ending is very good with his father’s dreams being fulfilled.

I can’t say anything that I would work on in this story. It is written so well. I love the themes running through it, God’s help in times of trouble, family and the importance of it, love for our country, self-preservation, war heroes and war causes. There is much to like about this story, and I enjoyed going back to take a second look at it.

A Gate Called Beautiful

Chris Whitson wrote 645 days ago

Hi Ron, I am so impressed first of all with your knowledge and research of your subject matter. Your Christian touch adds a lot of depth and feeling to this captivating story. Your hard work is really paying off here! I love the way you get into the action quickly. That hooked me. Your descriptions are vivid but not too wordy. This keeps the flow very appealing. There is so much going on in these first few chapters, but you do a masterful job of keeping it clean, clear and easy to follow. I'm truly surprised how much I'm enjoying this selection. The characters and the story are totally engaging and I will be back for more. This book is historical, adventurous, extremely well written and purposeful. A wonderful recipe for success.
I have starred this very high! Wow! Well done.
God Bless.

Kerrie Price wrote 647 days ago

I returned to read your book again today, and must say you have done a great job. It has an easy reading flow, with a sense of anticipation of the story about to unfold. I wish you every success for publishing.

KMac23 wrote 656 days ago

I don't usually read war stories much, but I did sit down to read this one and am really impressed with your work and see this as one that would appeal to a wide audience, with its descriptive imagery, historical accuracy and vivid accounts of the pain of the war. The settings are very well described, and it's such a moving tale. I'll be giving it lots of stars! Kara

Mule wrote 658 days ago


Thank you for sharing your work! The writing style is clean and easy to read, and the storyline is engaging. This is an interesting premise that deserves to be developed through the length of a novel, and not anything shorter. Enrique is an engaging protagonist, and his dilemma is enough to carry the reader through the first stages of the novel. I encourage you to show rather than tell--to describe Enrique's emotions and reactions through action and reaction, rather than laying it out through the voice of the narrator. I think the story would be better if the narrator's voice disappeared and the story itself is told through the actions/reactions of the characters. Of course, it is necessary to "tell" what a writer is thinking at times; but, maybe only at select times, rather than saturate the whole scene with narrative second-hand description. I think the premise of this story is quite good enough to be packaged and placed in a bookstore, and to get there I encourage you to keep developing the action. There are paragraphs that are excellently done, so keep improving on those.

Also, I appreciate immensely the scripture references that Enrique and others cite. These help ground the story in a deeper truth; namely, the Bible and the Writer of the Bible, Jesus Christ. Great work!

Keep up the good work!

Sam Cronin

JamesRevoir wrote 662 days ago

Hello Ronald:

I read the first two chapters of December Gold. What a riveting story! There are so many dynamics which bring this novel to life on so many levels. While there are so many elements-war, romance, gold treasure, divine favor, all of these elements are woven together in such as way as to create a fine tapestry to appeal to a wide spectrum of readers. It is clear that, beyond someone who is simply dabbling in writing, you truly have a gift as a storyteller.

The book is well-edited, though occasionally I spotted a few minor typos, which is common regardless of how many times one has gone through the editing process. In Chapter One, in context, "reigning in..." should use the homonym "reining in..."

Also in chapter one, "that the Japanese captured the boat he was a passenger", I would add "on which" before "he was..."

This is an epic novel of which you can be very proud. I see that it has been uploaded since 2010 so you have been very patient to see this rise in ranking to where it is. I am confident, however, that your patience will be greatly rewarded. This book is truly a treasure

Blessings to you, to your family and to your ministry.


Cariad wrote 681 days ago

Hi Ron. An interesting story. Your style is very personal, as though you are sitting telling it to a bunch of avid listeners. It's easy to read, in that it flows well, and the events you relate are recognisable, human ones.

I noticed something in chapter three - the first paragraph is only about seven lines, but you have at least 5 instances or variations of the word 'drink' - drunk, drank, drinking etc. and it began to jar a little, so maybe substitute for one or two? The end of this chapter - just when things seem to be changing and going well - the fact that some evil was about to be unleashed, is a bit 'Oh no!' moment, and a page turner.

Like everyone, it would be even better for a final edit, or even that old trick of making yourself lose at least a hundred words from each chapter - great for weeding out weak, repeated, or wasted words, leaving it all tighter and leaner. Enjoyed the read - have some stars.

David Price wrote 688 days ago

Ron, just read chapter 2, and it's at times like these, I wish I were a faster reader! There is an epic quality to your work, encompassing a range of human experience from war, death and cruelty, to love, beauty and hope. Along the way, you give us visceral, exciting and moving insights into the horrors of being stuck in the middle of a war zone. This is a work of great dedication and I look forward to continuing the journey.
As my strengths as a reader lie in the editing area, I hope you won't mind if I mention a few minor things that slow the action down occasionally. In para 3, in the phrase beginning 'Enrique had crafted an intricate locket...', the word 'image' appears 4 times in 2 sentences. How about simplifying it to something like: 'Enrique had crafted an intricate locket which also incorporated a one of a kind specialty coin, featuring Kyusha's image and her name underneath. After fashioning the coin, he destroyed the imprint of her name on the coin, but left her engraved image..etc'.
In para 6, the word 'being' occurs several times. How about: 'Rumors were rampant that the smelted gold was being hidden in the cave caches prepared for it, and sealed off'.
Also I noticed one spelling mistake: 'a crane like devise'. Should be 'device'.
And in chapter 1, it crossed my mind that you might want to consider using the authentic Filipino expressions 'mamang' and 'papang' rather than 'mom' and 'dad'.
Hope you take these comments in the spirit in which they were intended. And please let me know if you find any of them helpful.

Lenny Banks wrote 690 days ago

Hi Ron,
I read Chapter 10, it was gripping, you have a great way of conveying the story as if you were a thrid person watching from the side, I was facinated. I like the way I was compelled to start guessing what the key was for myself. I love using unusual words and I love the word procrastinating !
Good luck with this book, and Best Wishes.
Lenny Banks

irelandsmemories wrote 691 days ago

Hello Ron
I have read up to ch. 17 and am delighted to have found this historical piece of work. This is Memorial Week so it was a welcome read, how detailed and specific you were with the characters, the countries at war, the political happenings and of course, the emotions of those held captive and for those struggling in the country...

The incidents and characters were kept clean and you just focused on the story at hand, which I liked, the back and forth story lines were well setup so the reader didn't totally drift into another era... For someone who has never sat through a history lesson, this could certainly be a stand-in, with personal and emotional value.

All families go through times of revelations, secrets and issues and your book covers these subjects in an authentic and realistic way.

I am not an expert but I believe the demographic for this book is not just for the mature or middle-aged, many young readers would be attracted to its historical value also.

I will probably see this on a Barnes & Noble bookshelf one day, and I would pick it up without hesitation.

Good luck with the rest of its journey

Thanks for introducing to this wonderful piece of work.
Max stars

David Price wrote 693 days ago

Ronald, I've just finished Chapter 1, and wish I had time to read more today. This is quite a story, both touching and informative. I also have to mention that I spent a year in South Cotabato in 1970 as a Rotary Exchange student. In fact, the last chapters of my book are set there. It was one of the happiest years of my life, and allows me to conclude my book on a hopeful note. So there is particular resonance for me in your story, and I will be back for more as soon as I can. For now, five stars.
MASTER ACT: a memoir

Tod Schneider wrote 700 days ago

Sorry it's taken me so long to take a look. I'm pretty backed up on read requests.
You've done a good job with story telling, and documenting an important slice of history. You're at your best with the anecdotes that you share.
You might want to reconsider the phrase "embraced her lips" in the last paragraph of chapter 1 -- that doesn't sound right to me, unless he's hugging her lips with his arms.
Best of luck with this!
Tod Schneider
I'm in a VERY different genre, but of course take a look if you'd like:

Lena M. Pate wrote 708 days ago

A very well written story with good hooks to keep the reader interested. I liked the going back and forth between the story lines and the characters are well built. The history is not so far back that it isn't remember and it brings to light how one life and lifetime bleeds and feeds into another.

patio wrote 714 days ago

December Gold is close to my heart. A load of aspects are identical to personal experience.

Kerrie Price wrote 720 days ago

Beautifully written. Not my kind of book, Ronald, but I know it would appeal to many who have served in the forces, and their families. I've rated it five stars.

TDonna wrote 729 days ago

Great start, good flow, good pace and writing style. It made me emotional about Alaya and her parents, but it portrayed a selflessness of our soldiers. I will return very soon for more.
(No Kiss Good-bye)

Shelby Z. wrote 731 days ago

This is a well written book.
I would have liked to read chapter 1, but it didn't come up.
Anyways, I like your story a lot. It has an originality to it. I haven't read any book like this one. I like they way you develop it and leave a tension always in the air.
The names are really great. I enjoy new names.
Good work.
Best wishes with it.

Shelby Z./Driving Winds

Melissa Writes wrote 737 days ago

I really enjoyed reading this - I like the use of cliff-hangers/small mysteries at the end of the chapters that made me want to keep reading on (e.g wondering what was in the pouch at the end of chapter one - I was intrigued by that).
The MS is well-written but I noticed a touch of repitition here and there and maybe a few overlong sentences. Apart from that, the story flowed beautifully. Great job!
Lessons in the Dark

junetee wrote 741 days ago

This is a most enjoyable book and I was hooked to the story from the beginning. I read seven chapters and had to stop myself. What a page turner!
The story flows so well, and although you revert back in time, and then back again, you do it well.
A great story with a strong backbone.
Highly starred
Junetee(Four Corners)

grantdavid wrote 741 days ago

A fine, stirring piece of work, Ronald, told rather than written, like a fireside story, so that we miss all the marks of a novel, such as clear, controlled punctuation, well-indicated changes of mood, subtly introduced history of this war, planned preparation for climaxes, and general management of the whole.The highly dramatic plunge into the midst of the conflict might have benefited from reference back to Pearl Harbour, and the Burmese and Malayan invasions by Japan, etc.

Your statement "that carried our troops to victory in 1945". In Luzon, yes, but what about the fatal campaigns in Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and finally the atomic bomb?
With more accuracy, as so fully detailed by other authonomists, your book would have significant promise.
I'm putting it on my W/L in the expectation of that.
David Grant,
"Pompey Chimes"

grantdavid wrote 741 days ago

A fine, stirring piece of work, Ronald, told rather than written, like a fireside story, so that we miss all the marks of a novel, such as clear, controlled punctuation, well-indicated changes of mood, subtly introduced history of this war, planned preparation for climaxes, and general management of the whole.The highly dramatic plunge into the midst of the conflict might have benefited from reference back to Pearl Harbour, and the Burmese and Malayan invasions by Japan, etc.

Your statement "that carried our troops to victory in 1945". In Luzon, yes, but what about the fatal campaigns in Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and finally the atomic bomb?
With more accuracy, as so fully detailed by other authonomists, your book would have significant promise.
I'm putting it on my W/L in the expectation of that.
David Grant,
"Pompey Chimes"

Philthy wrote 758 days ago

Hi Ronald,
I’m here for our read swap. Sorry it’s taken me this long to get here. Below are my findings/comments. They are of course my humblest opinions, so take them for whatever they’re worth (and feel free to ignore whatever you disagree with).
Brilliant imagery and smooth sentence structures. However, a lack of commas in key places make some parts a more tedious read than they need to be. For instance, “The dignitaries lined up in their traditional place for ceremonies such as this seemed excited about the events unfolding,” ought to have a comma after “dignitaries” and “this.” Otherwise, it sounds like they’re in the act of lining up, instead of you describing them already lined up. Just something to think about. There are other examples like this. I know some don’t think this is a big deal, and it really isn’t a huge deal, but strategic and proper uses of punctuation help an author control how the reader interprets what he or she is reading.
“older, white-haired gentleman” you can drop older, as white-haired implies older.
Strong dialogue.
The pros: Strong language paints a vivid picture. Wonderful flow and a knack for storytelling. Strong dialogue makes for great characterization.
The cons: Wordiness at times (some things could be condensed, consolidated or whittled down). Punctuation—I’m not a complete grammar hawk, but when a lack of or misused punctuation disrupts or hides the wonderful writing that’s there, it’s something worth noting.
Ultimately, I don’t think this reads like a final, polished draft. However, I love your writing style and your method of storytelling. This is strong stuff. Highly starred and I’ll gladly give it a spot on my shelf when space becomes available.
Best of luck. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on mine when you get the chance. It’s a completely different style and genre, but it’s always great to get feedback from a gifted writer.
(Deshay of the Woods)