Beautiful Aviation Art Slideshow

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In 2011, when I first uploaded individual slides from the PowerPoint presentations as collected by Maj. Gen Yago F. de Bobadilla, Spanish Air Force, I couldn’t find a way to embed the slide show in a post. My recent collaboration with the webmaster of the Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society, however, has prompted me to upload the entire presentation for viewing.

The process quickly morphed into a perfect example of “The McIntosh Brothers’ Pandora’s Box Syndrome,” in which a task that initially appears to be straightforward proves to be anything but, and that forced me to learn far more than I ever wanted to know about embedding PowerPoint slideshows into a WordPress site.

It should be easy, right? Online tutorials by the millions cover every possible topic imaginable. In this case, however, most of the first page of results focused on problems with achieving my objective, as evidenced by an error message that said, “Content cannot be embedded for security reasons.”

But wait! There are plug-ins that make it easy. So I try a free version of one and encounter the same error. But wait again! The paid version appears to be a possibility, so I spend $29 to find out, and when I try to download the app, here’s the result:

This is a classic example of the syndrome in action, so I try to sidestep the problem by emailing the developer, which produces the following all-too-common “it’s not our fault” response in the midst of Covid-19:

Thanks for contacting us. Your request has been received and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We currently have reduced staff and a significantly higher volume of enquiries. Our response time could be up to 4 days. We apologize for the delay and thank you for your patience.

It should come as no surprise that my quota of patience does not include paying for something that can be delivered instantly and having to wait because the download link is broken.

The saga continued with multiple searches and false starts, and finally ended with a video tutorial that allowed me to use Google Slides, which had previously worked, but far less effectively than I wanted because it didn’t embed the presentation on my website.

For visitors interested in the background for the series, I’ve elected to keep the six individual parts previously published. Here are the links to them:







And so, with a restatement of my thanks to Gen. Bobadilla for creating this tribute to the boundless heroism of airmen who took to the skies as warriors in the defense of freedom and defeat the abomination of the Axis Powers, here is the original PowerPoint Slide Show presentation as collected by my friend and fellow fighter pilot Yago, with expanded descriptions of the events added by me.

Note: To view this gorgeous slide show in all its glory, click on the full screen symbol in the lower right corner of the Presentation window below. Advance the slides with the left and right arrows in your keyboard, or use the arrows in the lower left corner of the full screen presentation. Exit full screen with the esc key.


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Beautiful Aviation Art Series Makes an Impression

Not long ago I received the following email:

Dear Col. McIntosh,

I serve as webmaster for the website of the Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society (AFEES).  See  It was founded in 1964 by some American airmen who were shot down during WWII and were helped to evade capture by the Germans thanks to the help of ordinary people in the occupied countries.

A cousin of mine brought to my attention the aviation art by Yago F. de Bobadilla.  It is quite remarkable and I would like to add a page to the website devoted to it.  I think that visitors to the website would be very interested to see it.  Are you the person I should ask for permission?  If not can you direct me to the correct person?  Any assistance you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Best wishes,

Bruce Bolinger

Air Force Escape and Evasion Society (AFEES)

My reply:

Mr. Bolinger,

Although I can’t speak to the currency of Yago’s email address, I’ll be more than happy to forward your email so that he may contact you.

Yago and I haven’t corresponded recently over the past few years. I would expect him to reply to me, but in case he doesn’t, I would appreciate knowing if he responds to you.

Neither Mr. Bolinger nor I have received a response, and I have decided to honor his request for two reasons: 1) Under no circumstances could I envision that Yago would have any objection to sharing the examples of aviation art in his collection; and 2) what better way to expand the enjoyment of these paintings than to share them with visitors to a website honoring American airmen who managed to evade capture and the brave patriots in occupied territories who made that possible.

I will update this post as necessary to showcase the results of this collaboration.

“The purpose of AFEES is to encourage airmen who were aided by Resistance organizations or patriotic nationals of foreign countries to continue friendships with those who helped them. AFEES had its first reunion in Niagara Falls, NY in 1964. Over the years, hundreds of evaders, helpers, family members, and friends have gathered each year to commemorate, remember, and honor all those who were involved in escaping and evading-–both the escapers and the thousands of brave, ordinary people in occupied countries who took extraordinary risks at huge cost to help these airmen.”

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Beautiful Aviation Art – The Jet Age – Part Two

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My good friend and fellow ex-fighter pilot Yago F. de Bobadilla, Maj. Gen. SAF (ret), has assembled a PowerPoint slide show as a companion to his original collection honoring the aviators and flying machines of World War II and the artists who commemorate specific events with exceptional skill and dedication to their craft.

He followed the original collection with an addendum to showcase more WWII art, then added a collection devoted to The Jet Age, and this second installment includes the next 9 slides. I hope you enjoy them and will check back for Parts 3-6, to be published about once per month.

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Tosh’s Book Cover Gallery v3.5

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Here’s the latest addition to my book cover design efforts.

I began writing the Future Fiction, Sci-Fi novel Oasis in 1992 and completed 11 drafts over the next 16 years while unsuccessfully attempting to secure a literary agent and a contract with one of the Big 6 (at the time) legacy publishers.

On the advice of an instructor at the Writers’ League of Texas, in 2003 I wrote Pilot Error, an aviation mystery-thriller about airborne murder, and once again tried to secure representation of a literary agent. In late 2010, I received the first positive response with agent requests for 1 partial and 3 full manuscripts.

In March 2003, I removed the novel from consideration by the one remaining agent, who kept asking for more time, and began teaching myself how to design the covers and interiors for print and eBook editions.

I indie-published Pilot Error in November 2011, the 2nd-in-series novel Red Line in 2014, and began writing the 3rd novel Test Flight in September 2017.

A debilitating case of writer’s block halted progress for the better part of two years, until I finally realized that a common cure is to begin a new project.

Then, like the proverbial cartoon light bulb, it finally dawned on me that I didn’t need to begin yet another novel. In May, 2020, I began a final revision of Oasis, and as of October 14th, the print and eBook editions are for sale on Amazon.

My publishing imprint Aviator Writer Press has assisted over 25 authors with design of interiors and covers, but the projects don’t keep my hand in Photoshop frequently enough to prevent fumbling around with using all the available tools.

This morning, for example, the time had come to write this addition to my Cover Gallery, and I had to find my notes for how to create these 3D versions of the front and back covers of the Oasis paperback.

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Tosh’s Book Cover Gallery v3.4

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Imagine my surprise when my niece, Carey McIntosh, asked for my help in publishing a book about her 25-years of living and working overseas. I had no idea she had written it, and as I would come to find out, neither did her immediate family. That began a secret collaboration lasting more than 11 months, and now that the book is published, I can showcase the cover in my gallery.

While waiting for the manuscript, I began fiddling with cover concepts. The intriguing title, Beans, Bugs & Bombs, gave me an idea that I frankly never expected to survive for very long, but Carey again surprised me by liking it.

The first version used green beans, a bug that looked like a cockroach, and a cartoon-style bomb that looks like a black sphere with a fuze. The second version featured pinto beans and a mosquito. We kept the bomb, but I couldn’t resist adding a flame burning at the tip of the fuze.

I am enormously proud of her accomplishment and pleased in the extreme that I could assist her in the publication of this marvelous book.

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Tosh’s Book Cover Gallery v3.3

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My friend and fellow author Sharon Scarborough has just published Book 2 in the Texas Ranger Nightingale series. Not an Ordinary Death follows A Promise of Water with another murder and an investigation complicated by small town interpersonal dynamics and political intrigue.

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Tosh’s Book Cover Gallery v3.2

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In July, 2018, my friend and fellow writer Laura Resnik-Chavez introduced me to Danielle Jaussaud, who had reached the point of wanting to publish a memoir and needed help with formatting and cover design. Although I can’t speak for Danielle, my guess is that at the time, she couldn’t have predicted a publication date any more accurately than I.

For my part, the project presented a number of new challenges, with photos, endnotes, and a cover design concept I’d never encountered before, with the photo of a couple superimposed on an image of the entrance to a village in Germany. After too many trial iterations to count, Danielle elected not to include the couple, and once we had a fully edited and proofed manuscript, I began the process of uploading the interior and cover files for the print and digital editions of The Dilsberg Engagement — Love, Dissent and Reprisals.

A few years ago I began working with 3-D cover images to add a little pizzazz to promotional materials. Here are front– and rear–quarter views of the paperback cover of Danielle’s book.

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Tosh’s Book Ad Gallery

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They say you can’t tell a book by its cover; you can’t attract shoppers to your book without a good cover; and you can’t sell many without advertising.

This post begins the gallery of ads I’ve designed for others over the past year or so.

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Geronimo’s Bones Kirkus Review

Kirkus Reviews has just published their review of Darrell Bryant’s debut novel Geronimo’s Bones. According to their guidelines, the review can now be published elsewhere under the following conditions:

  • All excerpts must be attributed to “Kirkus Reviews” in italics, and industry standard best practices for proper excerpting must be followed. These practices include, but are not limited to, the following guidelines:
  • If words are omitted from a quote, ellipses must be inserted in their place.
  • No words may be added to the review.
  • The integrity of the review may not be altered.

What follows is the review in its entirety. If you are familiar with Kirkus Reviews, the absence of ellipses is relatively unusual, because it means the review contained nothing the author wishes to extract so you don’t get to read it.

As with most Kirkus Reviews, it starts with a short opening paragraph that provides a concise overview of the story and the genre. The second paragraph presents a synopsis that lasts until about halfway through when the meat of the review begins with, “For a story that’s . . .” From here to the end of the review, we are treated to words of the kind that any author would love to read in an independent evaluation of their novel.

The bottom line is that Darrell Bryant did it right, and here’s the proof:

A Native American warrior journeys through the towns, train depots, and wilds of the early-20th-century West in this debut historical novel.

Young Chaco only knows the prisoner-of-war camp in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he hears stories about his people’s old ways at the knee of his uncle, the famed Apache chief Goyaa?é, known to whites as Geronimo. But Chaco is soon forcibly taken to an “Indian school” in Pennsylvania—leaving behind Goyaa?é; his adoptive mother, Aná; and his sister, Bui. He joins the Marines after he graduates, and during a stint in Cuba fighting the 1906 Pacification Campaign, he receives terrible news: Goyaa?é is dead. Shaken, he returns to Fort Sill, where he cares for his aging mother and finds out that Bui has ended up in the local whorehouse. His mother also tells him Goyaa?é is actually his father and wanted his bones to be taken to the mountains he called home. Shortly after she delivers this revelation, she dies. Chaco is filled with a steely resolve: to break Bui out of the brothel (owned by an unscrupulous proprietor named Alton McDonnell) and to bring Goyaa?é’s bones to the mountains. His quest to do so will take all of Chaco’s tactical skill and courage—and a few daring car chases and shootouts—as the resulting manhunt draws lawmen from all over the region. For a story that’s equal parts rollicking adventure and a sensitive account of a Native American’s odyssey in a particular era, Chaco is an ideal protagonist: intelligent, battle-worn, quick on his feet, and occasionally philosophical (“As he stared at the young wolf, it occurred to him that the Indian school had never been about education. It had been about domestication”). Bryant also clearly depicts the extreme racism Chaco faces, which makes his successes all the more satisfying. The book is full of historical details, deftly deployed so that they heighten the action instead of impeding it: People hop on trains, cut telegraph lines, and wrestle with high-maintenance automobiles. Add in a few colorful, nuanced characters along the way, like the cancer-stricken, former Civil War surgeon dwarf Doc Kale, and the novel shines.

A thought-provoking tale about an Apache’s struggles as well as a rousing romp.

Kirkus Reviews

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Tosh’s Book Cover Gallery Addendum

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When I began looking for background images to use on the cover for Geronimo’s Bones by Darrell Bryant, my initial search keywords focused on the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. The fifth image I discovered figuratively took my breath away. I immediately emailed the copyright holder and received a reply within an hour, telling me that he had received the email on his cell phone while hiking in the Superstitions on a photo shoot. I obtained a limited-use license and began designing the paperback cover with the single image wrapping around both front and back covers and the spine.

A previous post covers the saga of finding an image to use for the early 20th century automobile I wanted to place on the background, and combining the two required a number of steps to position the automobile in proper perspective to the background and blend it to avoid the appearance of it being pasted in. This usually demands making a decision about which portion of the original photo works best, and especially in this case, it wasn’t easy to crop any of it.

And while I really like the final result, the added text, publisher logo, and ISBN box unfortunately distract from the viewer’s ability to fully appreciate the photo, not to mention that it can’t be viewed as a complete image when wrapped 180 degrees around a book.

To share with you more of this stunning photograph by Travis Neely, here is the paperback cover with only the two added key elements visible.

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