2019 Writers Digest Award WinnerPRIVATE LUCKY
Written by Melissa Guzzetta as told & lived by Hendrik C. Gillebaard, Published by Good Luck Publishing
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This true story of survival, determination, and incredible luck will lift your spirits and inspire you to never give up on your dreams!

SOME PEOPLE ARE BORN LUCKY. Others make their own luck. As a boy, Hank wanted nothing more than to fly like the fighter pilots he admires in the skies over Amsterdam. When the lives of Dutch citizens are turned upside down with the Nazi occupation of Holland, his dreams will have to wait as he witnesses the tragic unfolding of events affecting those around him before finding himself in a fight for his own life. He must go into hiding before his sixteenth birthday despite the fact that he is not Jewish.

After the war, his life takes another unexpected turn when he is enlisted by his father in the American Army in Germany where his inability to speak English results in hilarious missteps at every turn. He can roll with the punches if the Army will teach him to fly, but when he learns that pilot training stopped with the end of the war, it seems he'll never reach his goal.

Undaunted, Private Hank evolves into a suave and popular soldier. He learns what it means to be American, arriving in America broke but determined to pursue his lofty goals in a manner only this quirky and very lucky Dutch-American would even think of trying, flying by the seat of his pants to some of the highest levels of aviation. [downloadable bookcover]

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Author 7 Computer Trainer Melissa GuzzettaMelissa Guzzetta has owned The Computer Tutor Training company since 1998 and has always been an accomplished writer in the technical field, though recently, she has expanded into writing memoirs. She also founded Good Luck Publishing in 2014.
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Booklife review of Private Lucky
BookLife 2019 Memoir/Non-Fiction Contest Review: 
“Author (Melissa Guzzetta) succeeds is crafting a compelling and highly personable narrative and captures a sense of the subject’s individuality with poignancy, emotion, and humor.”

Judge's note from 2016 Benjamin Franklin Awards, IBPA
"I can only marvel that the author is not a full-time writer and put together the compelling real-life story of Private Lucky because she was inspired by the subject. I would certainly read more books by Melissa Guzzetta; she demonstrates a real knack for bringing history to life in a way more seasoned writers do not. Outstanding capture of a WWII story that no one knows, but should." ~ Tiebreaker#3

Kirkus Reviews:

"Guzzetta relates Gillebaard's varied experiences in an engaging and affable voice."

★★★★★ Reader's Favorite:

"Melissa Guzzetta and Hendrik C. Gillebaard's non-fiction autobiography, Private Lucky: One Man's Unconventional Journey from the Horrors of Nazi Occupation to the Fulfillment of a High-Flying American Dream, is one of those memoirs that's such a good read that it often seems like it's fiction. I had to remind myself several times that I was actually reading the author's life story. I was instantly captivated by what Gillebaard had to share. While I've long been a student of the Second World War, I wasn't all that familiar with the effects the Nazi occupation had on the Dutch people, and seeing those grim and frightening times through Gillebaard's eyes was a powerful and moving experience. As I continued reading of his adventures in the military and then as a pilot, I was struck by his resilience, his resourcefulness, and his sense of humor. If you're going to read one set of memoirs or autobiography in your lifetime, make it Private Lucky. You might find yourself wondering why you haven't been reading books in this genre all along. This book has something for everyone, and it's beautifully written as well. Private Lucky is a remarkable story, and it's most highly recommended."

~ Jack Magnus

"Ms. Guzzetta gave a superb, interactive presentation at our branch exactly a year ago this month and I can highly recommend her for giving a presentation at your branch."

~ Alicia Randolph, MLIS. Librarian, West L.A. Regional Branch

Blog Reviews:

"Private Lucky comes out of the gate establishing a fascinating, hilarious and determined tone that catches the readers eye and doesn't let go. Immediately we find that Hank is a man whose life is filled with adventure. His story is certainly worth telling and I warn you now, you will have trouble putting this book down. I thank him for his honesty and I applaud Guzzetta for telling it." ~ Allie's Opinions [read full review]

Free Private Lucky Book Reading Information

  Private Lucky Book by Melissa Guzzetta
Listen to a Sample of Private Lucky  
The Private Lucky Audiobook will be available after May 1st on your favorite audiobook service.
$16.72 Softcover Book (includes tax, shipping & handling - US Residents only)
Also available on Amazon and in Kindle Edition

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Article: San Clemente Times Newspaper
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Article: Orange County Register Newspaper
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"That is certainly a remarkable string of circumstances that Hank survived, and you wove the tales together nicely. This is a very different type of World War II "veteran" story and quite a testament to being grateful for the opportunities that this country affords."

~ Fred Swegles, Reporter, Orange County Register

Amazon Reviews from Readers:

"Melissa Guzetta is a talented writer that brought Private Lucky's words to life in this biography that reads like a novel. I wish I had met him and am reminded how many of the older people in our society that are taken for granted have amazing stories to tell. " ~ L.L.

"An inspiring Story that shows how we attract luck when we hold fast to our dreams. What a delightful, engaging, and inspiring story! Hank has indeed led a lucky, even a charmed life as he emerges from one near-miss after another." ~ Flora Morris Brown, Anaheim Hills, CA

"A fast-paced memoir of aviation and more that will touch, inspire, and amuse." ~ M.Harrell, WA

"I agree with Private Lucky that it was "pluck" (courage or resolution in the face of difficulties) that got him through his amazing life. Melissa captured the tale in such a realistic way, I thought I was sitting with Hank hearing him tell the story. Thoroughly enjoyed reading every page!" ~ S.M.

"Buy this book and read it aloud at your next family reunion, before your family members in the Greatest Generation can tell their tales no more. I'm certain that it will spark discussions that you will enjoy as much as your elders will enjoy being heard." ~ P.C.

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Our Reader's Reviews

“It arrived only yesterday, and today I sat down with the intention of reading a chapter or two. I could not put the book down! I completed the entire book in one sitting! (We old pilots are a sucker for any story about “bootstrap” pilots!) Congratulations on your first publishing effort. Well done!”

~ Jim Cavender, United Flying Octogenarians (aka UFO) Executive VP


[Press Release]
~ [Downloadable Bookcover]

Friday, April 24th, 2020 - 4pm-5:00 pm - Online Event: Private Lucky Book Audiobook Launch

Sunday, December 15th, 2019 - 9:00am-1:00 pm - Event: Private Lucky Book signing-LAX
Location: Terminal 2 - Los Angeles International Airport, 1 World Way, Los Angeles, California 90045

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 - 10:00-4:00 pm - Event: Festival of Flight book signing
Location: Long Beach Airport, 4100 Donald Douglas Dr. Long Beach, CA 90808 Information: 310-390-3454

Friday, November 8th, 2019 - 10-2:00 pm Event: Author book signing in Terminal 2 at the LAX airport, Los Angeles, CA 

Saturday, November 9th, 2019 - 2:00 pm - Event: Private Lucky Reading and Slide show
Location: San Clemente Branch Library, 242 Avenida Del Mar, San Clemente, CA 92672 Information: (949) 492-3493

Sunday, November 10th, 2019 - In honor of veteran, Hank Gillebaard, OnlineBookClub will send out the Private Lucky ebook free to it's first 200 customers.

Thursday, November 15th, 2018 - 10:00am - 12:00pm - Lecture on writing an autobiography
Sponsored by OLLI- UCI, 15207 Barranca Pkwy, Irvine, CA 92618

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018 – 2:00 pm - Private Lucky Reading/Slideshow
Mar Vista Library, 12006 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066
Map & Directions

January 2019, Book Signing at the American Library Assn., Seattle, WA

June 22, 2018 - Private Lucky Presentation at the World War II Museum
The National World War II Museum - 945 Magazine Street | New Orleans, LA  70130 | Phone:  504.528.1944

June 23-25, 2018 - Private Lucky on display with Author at the American Library Assn Annual Conference 2018
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center , 900 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70130

Saturday, November 4th, 2017 - 10:00-4:00 pm - Event: Festival of Flight
Location: Long Beach Airport, 4100 Donald Douglas Dr, Long Beach, CA 90808 Information

Saturday, October 14th, 2017 - 2:00-4:00 pm - Event: Author Talk-Celebrating Local Authors
Location: Mar Vista Public Library, 12006 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90066 Map & Directions

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 - 10:00-11:30am - Event: Private Lucky Reading and Slide show
Sponsored by: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute/OLLI
Location: Mackey Auditorium, located on the north side of the Ruby Gerontology Center (RGC #22) http://www.fullerton.edu/campusmap/
California State University Fullerton - 800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92831 Map & Directions

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 - 3:00 pm - Event: Private Lucky Reading and Slide show
Location: Montana Avenue Branch Library- Montana Ave. Branch, 1704 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 904035 Map & Directions

Saturday, January 21st, 2017 - 2:00-3:00pm - Event: Private Lucky Reading and Slide show
Location: West Los Angeles Library, 11360 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., CA 90025 Map & Directions

Monday, December 12th,2016 - 4:00-8:00pm - Event: Holiday Boutique
Location: HotRod Hotel, 869 W. 17th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Map & Directions

Sunday, December 11th, 2016 - 11:00-12:00pm - Event: Private Lucky Reading and Slide show
Location: Tustin Library, 345 E. Main St., Tustin, CA 92780 Map & Directions

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 – 5:30 – 6:30pm - Event: Private Lucky Reading and Slide show
Location: Laguna Beach Library, 363 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Map & Directions

Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 7:00 - 8:30pm - Event: Private Lucky Reading and Slide show
Location: Pasadena Public Library, 285 E Walnut St, Pasadena, CA 91101 Map & Directions

Free Private Lucky Book Reading Information

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