The Ghosts of Chateau Du Chasse
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Bill Marshall is a senior US Navy fighter pilot, who will not make admiral. During his career, he spoke his mind too often to the wrong superior officers. His wife, Kate, has subordinated her ambitions for Bill and for their children, but she has an opportunity for a great job. Bill decides to resign and support his wife, however, the US Navy has one more job they need from Bill. He receives orders to NATO military headquarters in Belgium. Kate feels betrayed by her husband and struggles to swallow her anger to preserve their marriage for the sake of her children. In Belgium, they will live in a castle. As Kate and Bill work to resolve their earthly problems, their castle home places them on a spiritual battlefield where a two-hundred-year-old struggle between innocence and evil is rushing toward a conclusion. Not many people's minds can stand with one foot in the spirit world and the other in the physical. Navy fighter pilot Bill Marshall cannot.


J. J. Zerr writes stories in the historical fiction genre, mostly, with a military setting, mostly. His writing career began on January 2, 2008 when he sat in front of his computer and began work on his first novel. Looking back ten years, he says he could still be at work full time revising his first book, but a second was pecking at the egg shell from the inside. Thus, somehow, The Ensign Locker managed to go live in 2010. Subsequently, he published six other novels and a collection of short stories. He has also written poetry, but novel writing seems to fit me best, he says. Some of his novels began life as an attempt to write a short story, but after creating a cast of characters for the piece, the characters weren’t done with being alive in 8000 words.

Zerr says writing is harder than work. Rewriting is harder than writing, and book promotion is harder than rewriting. “But I can’t not write.”

Retired Rear Admiral John Zerr served in the US Navy for thirty-six years as an enlisted sailor and as an officer. As a navy pilot, he logged 1000 landings aboard aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam war, he flew 300 combat missions. He considers it a privilege to have been able to serve as the commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Constellation, and to serve alongside and with thousands of the nations finest young men and women and their families.

After retiring in 1995, Zerr worked in the aerospace industry for eleven years.

He holds a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering. It was interesting, he says, taking the Graduate Record Exam at the start of postgraduate school and noting his literature scores were high and math and science average. At the completion of the school, the scores were reversed. Those GRE scores, he concludes, taught him something about his brain’s capacity and its trainability to deal with specific tasks. He was always an avid reader. According to his mother, he was born with a book in his hand. He would not be a writer were it not for his love of reading. Learning how to be a writer, though, is five percent reading and ninety-five percent writing and exposing your efforts to critique. He thanks God, he says, for editors and for the Coffee and Critique Group he belongs to.

He also thanks God, for his One and Only Squeeze, Saint Karen. She parented their six children through much of life, including puberty, while he floated and flew on the other side of the world. Zerr and Saint Karen reside in Missouri.


Zerr's novel is a dramatic mix of authentic aerial combat sequences combined with a taut story about the costs of war. Readers who enjoy the novels of Stephen Coonts and Dale Brown or even the tense drama in Aaron Sorkin's A Few Good Men will find similarly exhilarating pleasures here.
--Blueink Review

War Stories--

Another highlight of the collection is "Voices," the final short story in the book. While the story deals with very concrete details of the narrator's thirty- six years in the navy, this abstract exploration of "voice" captures the essence and ingenuity of War Stories in a lyrical, almost poetic way.

Exhibited At: International book fairs