Interview with Author Robert Stermscheg

I’m thrilled to host an interview with author Robert Stermscheg. This will be of special interest to those intrigued by WW2 history. Enjoy!

Q1. Thanks for joining me today, Robert. Why did you write this book?

A1. I’ve always had an interest in aviation and hold a personal connection to WWII.

Q2. Your story, Stealth, is also about two men, the Horten brothers. Who are they?

A2. Actually, there were three brothers. Wolfram, Walter, and Reimar. All three men were Luftwaffe pilots during the second world war. Wolfram was shot down over the English Channel early in the war. Walter and Reimar were best known as aircraft designers.

Q3. That’s interesting. Pilots for the Luftwaffe as well as designers. What was their claim to fame?

A3. The two brothers had worked on gliders for many years. This led to a new delta-wing design, a “Nurflügel” (one wing). It was revolutionary to say the least.

Q4. A one-wing design? Please explain.

A4. A standard airplane design at the time had a prominent cockpit, fuselage, or empennage, wings and a tail component. For example, the American P-38 Lightning even had a twin tail boom. But the Horten brothers envisioned an aircraft with no tail at all.

Q5. Hmm, that went against traditional thinking. So, did it make it past the design stage?

A5. It did indeed. They developed several designs, initially with gliders and followed up with a full-scale prototype utilizing two piston-powered motors in the aft portion of the wing. It wasn’t until 1943 when Herman Göring, head of the Luftwaffe, called for all designers to come up with new ideas/concepts. That is when the Hortens introduced their revolutionary design, amidst skepticism from well-established designers like Messerschmitt and Heinkel. Göring, though himself skeptical at first, was dully impressed and authorized the Hortens to commence building a jet engine powered prototype.

Q6. Were they successful? It seems like they encountered opposition from the start. I mean, every new design is wrought with all sorts of inherent problems and supply issues.

A6. That’s very true. They encountered some issues, like securing the favoured type of jet engine that would fit into the existing inlets. Still, they were able to overcome many obstacles and began conducting test flights in late 1944. The prototype exceeded many expectations. The Horten came close to the unheard of speed of 1000 km/hr, or 600 mph. By way of comparison, the latest version of the American P-51 Mustang could only reach a top speed of @700 km/hr, or 430 mph, and that apparently was in a dive. A reciprocating engine airplane was no match for a turbine-powered jet. The British were developing a jet fighter, but it didn’t factor into the war.

Q7. I heard of rumours that the Horten airplane had stealth capabilities. Is that really true, or was it something dreamt up by the notorious German propaganda machine?

A7. It’s not propaganda. Many years after Germany had lost the war, Reimar Horten related that his team of designers had delved into what we today would refer to as stealth technology. Reimar stated that he and Walter experimented with mixing charcoal dust and other compounds, together with glue used in cementing the wood panels. Reimar speculated that this would allow the wood surfaces—specifically the wings—to absorb a segment of electromagnetic waves (as opposed to bouncing off), thus minimizing the aircraft’s radar signature to Allied radar. Anyway you look at it, you have to admit that the Germans—in this case the Hortens—were far ahead of proven designers, German or American.

Q8. Earlier you mentioned a personal connection. Can you explain?

A8. Sure. My father, John Stermscheg, was conscripted into the Yugoslav army prior to WWII, and a few candidates were chosen to train as pilots in their Air Force contingent. My father was fortunate to be accepted and began training, logging several hours in the French made Potez 25 trainer. Unfortunately, his training was cut short by the advent of imminent hostilities with Germany. Along with many other hopefuls, he was reassigned to the army. Months later, in the spring of 1941, his entire company –with many men on horseback—was captured by an advancing German Panzer division. As a result, he, along with his company, was confined to a German Stalag for over a year. Many years later, having heard my father’s war-time experiences (over and over), prompted me to collaborate with him and write his biography, POW #74324.

Q9. I understand that you’ve also produced an audiobook. Can you explain?

A9. Yes. Savvy readers are always looking for the next thing, a better experience. Not long ago we were introduced to eBooks. Well, they certainly have their place and have gained in popularity. But the latest innovation –I hate to use the term fad – is the audiobook. I think it’s taking the book world by storm. Sales of audiobooks are exploding. I’ve heard that some avid readers listen to an audiobook while following along on their tablet. It seems that there’s no limitation for what readers want these days, looking for ways to enhance their journey. So, I’ve engaged a voice narrator, Ron Hughes, to produce an audiobook of Stealth. It is currently available on several platforms, including Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Nook. I’m waiting for approval from Audible (Amazon).

Q10. Thanks so much for sharing, Robert. I’m sure readers will want to know more. Where can they find you online?

A10. My website:

I can also be found on these social media sites:

A Divergence

The Proposed Cover of my Work in Progress. What do you think of it?

Hello everyone!

You might notice a bit of divergence from the usual fare here on my website blog in the next while. I’ll continue to post the devotionals now and then but will vary that with other posts letting you know what I and some of my writer friends are up to, as well as a few posts that are just random thoughts. I hope you won’t mind.

So … to start this off, I want to let you know about my latest WIP (work in progress). I’ve been having such a good time with this one. It’s a children’s book! Yes, that’s right, I’m sticking my finger in yet another pie!

Merrigold’s Very Best Home is about a little girl who thinks God has put her in the wrong house because her parents make her eat veggies she doesn’t like and take naps when she doesn’t want to. So she goes off to find another home. She visits a puppy but bumps her head going into his house, which is rather smelly. She spots a raven and climbs the tree to get to his house but the sticks poke her when she sits down. She chats with a chicken but her house is full of sawdust that gets into her shoes. She meets a fox but his house is just a dark hole. She steps in something gooey and stinky in the pony’s house and finally she ponders what the pig says in his very muddy pen. “Maybe you should go home to your own house.” Merrigold decides that is a very good idea. Her mommy and daddy welcome her back, give her a nice meal (even the veggies taste good) and a nice warm bath. When Merrigold snuggles into her nice warm bed with her favourite blue teddybear, she thanks God for giving her the very best parents and the very best home in all the world.

So it’s a book about being grateful, with an ending reminiscent of the story of the Prodigal Son. And the illustrations are wonderful! Kyla Wiebe has done an excellent job on the ink drawings (don’t you think so? see some of the ink drawings below. Go to my Instagram profile to see more). I’m anxiously waiting to see them in colour.

As I said, I’ve been having a blast putting this all together, but I am a little nervous too. Producing a children’s book is expensive, mostly due to the illustrations. I think they are worth every penny, but my pennies are limited these days. I’m also going “hybrid” with this one, which means I’ll be paying Siretona Creative Publishing to help me with some of the production (layout etc.) and promotion. So I’m going to be running an Indiegogo fundraising campaign. Picturing Merrigold will launch at the beginning of September. You’ll be hearing more about it in the days ahead.

But for now you can join a discussion group set up there and join in the excitement. Please do! I’d love to get some ‘buzz’ going about Merrigold. I’ll be posting a question every now and then and it would be rather embarrassing if no one responds. 😉 You can also sign up there to receive an email when the campaign goes live. Or, sign up for my newsletter, Home Words so you won’t miss any of the exciting ‘reveals’ as we go along. That link will put your name on the list and take you to a free download of one of my most popular short stories.

I also hope you’ll partner with me by supporting this project through the Indiegogo campaign. I promise I’ll try to make it as much fun as possible. And of course there will be ‘perks’ added to all levels of support. If you aren’t able to help in that way, I totally understand, but would ask that you spread the word about the campaign and pray for me and the team working to make it happen. Above all, pray that the children who hear Merrigold’s story would be blessed.

So – to sum up, here’s what I’m asking you all to do –

1 – Pray for me, the production team, and for the kids who will hear this story.

2 – Join the discussion group and fill in the form on the discussion page to be notified when it goes live.

3.- Keep up with it all by subscribing to my newsletter, Home Words

4 – Participate in the Indiegogo Campaign and spread the word to friends and family.

I’d love to hear what you think about all this, so let me know with a comment or reply by email.

Blessings to you all! Marcia

Here are a few of the ink sketches Kyla has done:

Letting Go and Holding On

When we made the decision to sell our home our middle daughter, Laura, was living with us. She had come home from Bangladesh where she’d worked with a mission group for a year. She was excited when she realized we would have to pare down our belongings. Every day she would ask, “What room can I de-clutter now, Mom?” She’d grin at me. I didn’t grin back. I would remind her we had six months before we had to move. She’d laugh and remind me that we were moving from a five bedroom into a two-bedroom house. It was like a cold cup of water – thrown in my face!

But it was reality. My husband had convinced me to follow the advice of the realtors and renovate our home before putting it on the market. We tore down and built up, we ripped out and replaced. We even bought new furniture. The process was not easy for me. I resented and resisted all these changes. I confess I am a packrat and I tend to hold onto things a little too tightly. I had a hard time letting go. I felt safe and comfortable in the midst of my clutter, my own little nest, surrounded by all my things.

And Laura, dear minimalist that she is, set about enthusiastically deciding what had to go. The problem was, she was a little too enthusiastic and my husband was cheering her on! For the next few months there was a litany that sounded in our house. “Laura, what did you do with… Laura, you didn’t throw that away, did you?”

Then came the day I couldn’t find my favourite potato peeler. I didn’t care that the handle was cracked, it was my favourite! Laura had thrown it away. And I was upset. In fact I was downright angry. The potato peeler was the proverbial last straw. Nothing in my house was the same anymore. It didn’t feel like my home, my nest. It had been disrupted and I was disturbed.

I realized that day that I’d forgotten something. My reaction was disproportionate to what was happening. I told myself that it was only stuff, that I shouldn’t be so attached, that it was good to let go. But when you let go of something you have to find something else to hold onto. I knew what that something else should be. Or rather, that Someone. I knew I had allowed my identity to be wrapped up in a house and a lot of ‘stuff’ instead of in Jesus Christ.

I remembered the passage in Matthew, one my husband would half jokingly point me to – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth …” (Matt.6:19).

I realized then I needed to not only reorganize my home, but my heart as well. I pray we can all let go of those things that don’t matter and hold onto the One who does.

I Want To Be Like Babe

Photo by Danny Gallegos on Unsplash

The wrangler patted my horse’s neck. “This is Babe,” he said, “and she’s been trained as a cutting horse. Know what that means?”

I nodded. I’d seen cutting horses in action as they stepped into a herd of cattle, singled out a steer and manoeuvred it until it stood alone or was forced into a nearby shute. I knew cutting horses were trained to respond immediately to the rider’s cues.

Babe was definitely a cutting horse. The slightest touch of the rein on her neck made her respond, indeed, leap to respond. She almost put me off a couple of times, as we made our way along the mountain trails, but once I got used to her she was a delight to ride.

I thought of Babe one time, when I felt a nudge from the Lord. But I was busy that day so I ignored it. The next day I felt the push again, but again, I dismissed it. I’ll make the call later, I thought. But the days flew by. The nudge kept coming, so finally, more than a week after I felt that first prompting, I picked up the phone and called my friend. “Been thinking about you,” I said. “How’s life?”

There was silence for a moment, then a soft whimper. I heard my friend take a deep steadying breath. “My mom died a week ago.”

I groaned and expressed my sorrow. We chatted for some time and then said good-bye. “Thanks so much for calling,” my friend said. “It means a lot.”

I was so glad I’d finally responded to God’s prompting. But I couldn’t help but wonder if my words would have been more of a help if I’d called right away, on first nudge.

Lord, I prayed, make me like Babe. Make me willing to respond to your voice immediately. Make me as eager to obey as Babe was.

I want to be like David, too, as he says in Psalm 119:59,60 – “When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies; I hasten and do not delay to keep your commands.”


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Facing My Failure


This time of year makes me a bit jittery. It’s that time when people ask, “Do you garden?” I take that question personally. I guess it’s a hold-over from my Yukon days, but I always have the feeling the person is really asking, “What are you good for, anyway?” The question always makes me squirm because I’m not good at it. I inherited my mother’s black thumb. I’m death to fruits and vegetables and most especially flowers.

Not that I haven’t tried. For twelve Yukon summers I dutifully planted rows of cabbage and broccoli, peas and lettuce. I even built a greenhouse and kept a fire burning in it at night to keep a few tomato plants alive. Once I replanted three times when late frost hit, only to have it all wilt from an early one in August. With a season of twenty-four-hour sunlight, the plants that survived grew furiously. So did the weeds. A neighbour once drove by, honked and called out – “tendin’ the weed bed, are ye?”

I wanted to give up, but at the end of each summer, I harvested what had managed to survive. I was thankful there was a grocery store in town. We surely would have starved if we’d had to live on what I could grow!

When we moved south, I anticipated the “game” would go on, but was delighted that there were so many grocery stores to choose from! When spring arrived I dutifully got out my spade and tested the ground in the back yard. But, oh, woe is me, it was full of roots! The large old cottonwood in the corner of the yard had spread its thick underground fibers far and wide. My husband took a turn at the spade but could find not a single spot suitable to till. Such a pity.  

Having an excuse eased the guilt, but I feared my failure was apparent to the world. When friends asked if I wanted their harvested leftovers I always said yes, with thanks, but had that nagging suspicion they were pitying me. I knew I was a failure. So did they.

Then one day, a friend asked if I’d like some potatoes. Seems she’d planted way too many and they all grew wonderfully (of course!). My family and I spent a morning digging up part of her potato patch. It was one of those special times – a glorious morning with the smell of earth freshened by rain and the delight of children’s voices in the crisp air. But the most wonderful part was the look on my friend’s face as we loaded the boxes of food into our vehicle.

“I just love being able to do this,” she said. “Thanks for coming out.”

The power of her words hung in the air around me for days as a simple truth sank in. There were things I loved doing that could be a blessing to others. I don’t have to be good at everything. It’s okay to be a failure at gardening. It’s not my gift.

1Peter 4:10 says – “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” My friend did a great job of that the day she invited us to her potato patch. On that day I started admiring the work of people with green thumbs, without feeling guilty. They have that gift. I have others.

Do you know yours?

A Journaling Pilgrimage for Writers of Faith

Hello everyone. There are only 8 days left before we begin the Abundant Rain Pilgrimage for writers of faith. To register please email vinemarc at Telus dot net with a “Yes, I’m in” in the subject line. Registration is complete upon receipt of payment of $45.00 sent to that address by etransfer or paypal. If you wish to send a cheque please email me for instructions.

The zoom link will be sent as soon as it’s set up, just prior to the meet and greet on the 2nd.

Here’s the link to purchase Abundant Rain –

Canada –


Looking forward to walking with you on this journey!

Something of Interest, Perhaps

My friend Travis Williams designed the signature banner on my website. He’s a great designer and very generous with his time and talents. So I’d like to ask you to check out his new website, where he’s highlighting his recently published book, Uly Quits His Job. It’s a fun read, about a quirky character trying to find his way in the world (which just happens to be Georgia, USA). Just click this link –

BTW, you can download a FREE copy of the book right now!

A Telling Comparison

I squirmed in my seat as I watched the drama unfold on our TV. The scene was disturbing, to say the least. I don’t remember the plot of the movie but I remember that scene.

A well dressed white woman opens the door to her luxurious apartment to find an indigenous woman standing in the hall. There is a long awkward moment before she finally invites her in. She sits on the edge of a dainty chair. The white woman looks down at the woman’s feet, clad in ragged sandals. Her feet are bleeding. The white woman disappears for a moment and returns with a newspaper. The indigenous woman raises her feet without a sound as the white woman places the newspaper under the bloodied sandals.

I could not help but think of that scene when, later in life, I read John 13 for the first time. It’s another scene that perhaps should make us all squirm, as no doubt it did the disciples of Christ that night. Jesus “laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet …” (John 13:4.5, ESV).

The contrast between these two scenes is stark. One reveals a shocking callousness, a hardness of heart, while the other reveals a shocking concern, a compassion that speaks volumes about the one holding the towel.

Imagine the scene that played out in that upper room over 2,000 years ago:

The silence as Jesus, the revered teacher, removed his outer tunic, revealing the short inner one, which in the minds of the disciples meant Jesus stood naked before them.

The gasp they no doubt gave when he tied the towel around his waist, the act of a servant.

The sound of the water being poured into the basin, the disciples no doubt wondering what on earth he intended to do.

Their astonishment would have been complete when he likely got down on his knees before them and washed their feet. No wonder Peter protested. This was a scandalous act, incomprehensible to them, that their master should make himself their servant. It was a demonstration of the love He then commanded from them – a scandalous love that went beyond any convention, beyond their normal experience.

It is telling, too, that the scriptures record that “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper …” (John 13:3,4, ESV). It was because Jesus knew who He was that He could, without hesitation, humble Himself before His disciples.

It is only when we understand who we are, children of this same God, and indwelt with His Spirit, that we too are capable of such humility, compassion, and love.

In His Spirit we are able to follow the example of Jesus, rather than the example of a callous woman who showed no sympathy.

The comparison is telling. Which one will you emulate?

When Jesus was Silent

Photo by Dušan veverkolog on Unsplash

I almost leaped to my feet, but instead turned my head to stare at my pastor’s wife. “Say something!” I screamed the words in my head. But Ella did not speak.

The pastor of our tiny mission church had just announced that he would be away and, as had been the custom in the past, his wife would take the pulpit the next Sunday. A man, (a new-comer to the congregation), stood to his feet and exclaimed that allowing a woman to preach was not Biblical. A fair bit of discussion ensued, ending with the pastor inviting that man to preach in his place.

As a strong ‘women’s lib.’ proponent at the time, I was incensed. It was not until years later that I realized God’s will was being done and my pastor’s wife had the maturity and discernment to see it.

When I first came across the passage in Matthew 26 where Jesus does the same thing, it pushed that same justice (or was it vengeance?) button, and I could feel the anger rising. “Say something, Jesus! Do something!” That was the cry of my heart.

We all have a streak in us that cries out for justice. Or perhaps, on occasion, its more ugly cousin, vengeance, rises up.

But Jesus was silent before His accusers. In this, as in all things, He obeyed His Father, so prophesies about Him would be fulfilled – “He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7, ESV)

For we who have a limited, earthly perspective, the silence of our Saviour seems outrageous. As David Guzik says in his commentary on Matthew 26, “Jesus could have mounted a magnificent defense here, calling forth all the various witnesses to His deity, power and character. He was silent but not helpless.”

Charles Spurgeon puts it well: “His was the silence of patience, not of indifference; of courage, not of cowardice.”

Jesus knew speaking up would not change the minds of his accusers or change the course of the path before Him. None of that mattered, because He knew who He was and the destiny He was to fulfill.

It is not until the high priest finally confronts Him bluntly and asks if He is the son of God, that Jesus responds, “You have said so.” And He goes a step further, telling Caiaphas that one day even he will see Jesus’ true identity. David Guzik states: “Instead of defending Himself, Jesus simply testified to the truth. He was indeed the Christ, the Son of God. He answered as briefly and directly as possible.”

Jesus had no need to defend Himself to those who did not recognize Him. He knew the day was coming when even the High Priest would bow his knee.

Every believer is able to follow His example, to pray for that same patience and courage in the face of ridicule and even persecution. We too know who we are – children of the most high God who can depend on His promises to fight our battles and guide us in the way we should go, as He did for the Hebrews in the book of Exodus.

We can be assured that, at just the right time, the Holy Spirit will lead us to testify to the truth, that Jesus is “… the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29, ESV).

Until then, perhaps it would be wise to be silent.