Thursday, April 9, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Allison N. Wells


Talkshow Thursday: Meet Allison N. Wells

Linda:  Welcome to my blog. It’s such a pleasure to have you. Congratulations on your latest release, When Waves Break.  What was your inspiration for this story?

Allison: Thank you so much! When Waves Break is the sequel to my first book, War-Torn Heart, so the timeline makes sense to follow the children of a WWII veteran. I chose Myrtle Beach as the setting as that is where I spent my teen years in the 1990s. I wanted to write a story that was very raw and gritty but focused on redemption. A Christian life doesn’t mean it’s free from despair, as we see with twins Eve and Juliette Nicholas.

LM: Research is an important part of writing any book. How do you go about doing research for your story?

Allison: It was interesting researching something that didn’t happen that long ago. I used my own mother as a research tool into fashion, social and societal norms and the like. So much of the story has to do with civil rights, so it was eye-opening to read about what happened in South Carolina in the late 1960s. There is one event that happens in Orangeburg that worked perfectly for this story, so when you read about it, know that it was a true event, only my character’s involvement is fictional.

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself to write (e.g. listen to music, set up in a certain location)?

Allison: I do like to listen to music that is appropriate for the time and setting. I grew up on those rock bands of the late 1960s, so I felt right at home and got into a good rhythm. I also find it easier to write if I don’t see a pile of dishes or laundry staring at me (so I turn away from them! Haha!).

LM: What was your favorite book or author when you were growing up?

Allison: When I was young, I would sit in the coat closet of my grandparents’ house and read books like Heidi and The Little Princess (both are some of my favorite Shirley Temple movies as well). As an only child, books were my constant companions.

LM: What is something you have always wanted to learn how to do?

Allison: Play piano. I was a trombone player through school and college, which I have always loved, but I wish I had learned piano. There’s something so magical and elegant about the piano.

LM: Here are some quickies:
Allison:
Favorite Season: Autumn. The colors, the crisp smells, the cozy sweaters. It’s perfection.
Favorite Movie: A League of Their Own. There’s no crying in baseball.
Favorite place to visit: Savannah, GA. It’s my happy place. You can’t be unhappy in Savannah.

LM: What is your next project?

Allison: My next book is called Bell of the Night and it again is a clean Christian book that takes a raw and edgy look at life in 1915 New Orleans’ Storyville District. Be looking for it later this year!

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Allison: My website is www.allisonwellswrites.com and you can find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/allisonwellswrites or on Instagram and Twitter at @OrangeAlli.


About When Waves Break:
One summer, one night, one mistake, and everything changes for Eve and Juliette Nicholas.

For the Nicholas twins, life is just beginning, until one summer of misguided love forces the twins to doubt everything they've ever believed. Eve and Juliette are the daughters of a preacher, raised to hold love in high esteem, although they may disagree on how to share it. As high school graduation looms, they must question the cost of love, and what it may mean for their futures.

The summer of 1968 is one of change for both the Nicholas twins and the nation. With Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speed fresh in everyone' minds, racial tensions are high and threaten to shake the very foundation that once held the twins together. Through it all, will the bod that Eve and Juliette share be broken? Can love truly endure all things? OR will their mistakes always haunt them?

Set during a time of racial instability, When Waves Break sheds light on the equality ad redemption we all have in Christ.





Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Traveling Tuesday: Escape Routes


Traveling Tuesday: Escape Routes


In my upcoming release, Spies & Sweethearts, my characters’ cover is blown, and they must escape from occupied France. Dozens of routes were in place all over Europe, and many were not for the faint of heart as they wound through deep forests, clung to the side of mountains, or snaked through heavily occupied cities and villages. Here are three of the most famous escape routes:

Pat O'Leary Line: Centered on the Mediterranean Coast, this route was used primarily to bring servicemen from the north of France to Marseille, over the Pyrenees Mountains into Spain. By crossing the mountains, official checkpoints were bypassed as well as contact with German patrols. The name of the route was taken from the alias of Belgium doctor Albert Guerisse who claimed to be French Canadian Pat O'Leary when he was picked up by the Vichy French Coast Guard during a 1941 mission. Ultimately taking over command of the escape route, Guerisse used the alias for the duration of the war. One report indicates that between 1940 and 1944, over 33,000 successful escapes were made along the Pyrenees (a mountain range over 300 miles long that reaches a height of over 11,000 feet)

The Comete Route: This line started in Brussels went through the south of France into Spain and then to Gibraltar. Created by a young woman from Belgium named Andree de Jonghe, the line was officially sanctioned by British intelligence in 1940 after Andree showed up at the British consulate with a British soldier. When France came under direct Nazi rule, the line became dangerous to use, and by 1942 it had begun to crumble because of betrayals and arrests.

The Shelburne Route: Created in 1944, Wikipedia claims this route is the only escape line not infiltrated by the Nazis. Perhaps because of its short-lived usage, perhaps because it began so close to the end of the war. From Paris, escapees made their way to the beach at Anse Cochat near Plouha where they were shipped across the English Channel to Dartmouth. The use of this line was suspended when preparations for the D-Day invasion began.
 
No matter which escape line was used individuals were given clothes, identity papers, and food before setting off on their journey. Guides took them to a location where the next guide would pick them up. Members who participated did so at great risk to themselves and their families.

__________________________

A secret mission. A fake bride. A run for their lives.

According to the OSS training manual, the life expectancy of a radio operator in Nazi-occupied France is six weeks. Partnered with one of the agency’s top spies, Gerard Lucas, newly-minted agent Emily Strealer plans to beat those odds. Then their cover is blown and all bets are off. The border to neutral Switzerland is three hundred miles away—a long way to run with SS soldiers on their heels.

Will Emily and Gerard survive the journey?

And what about their hearts? Nothing in the manual prepared them for falling in love.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/34ia2Dp



Friday, April 3, 2020

ACFW New Releases

ACFW New Releases

Check out these new releases to add to your TBR pile!

An Alaskan Twin Surprise
Belle Calhoune
4/21/2020
Contemporary Romance
When his ex fiancée returns home to Owl Creek with twin girls, Gabriel is faced to confront their past head-on.

Border Breach
Darlene L. Turner
4/07/2020
Romantic Suspense
When drugs are smuggled across the border it’s their duty to stop the culprits ... at any cost.

Copycat Killer
Laura Scott
4/01/2020
Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Murder strikes close to home in this new K-9 unit in Brooklyn.

Spies & Sweethearts: A WWII Romance
Linda Shenton Matchett
04/15/2020
Historic Romance
A secret mission. A fake bride. A run for their lives.

A Teacher's Heart
Cecelia Dowdy
4/01/2020
Historical Romance
Couples come together to teach and learn, but working together has challenges that test their faith.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Amre Cortadino


Talkshow Thursday: Meet Amre Cortadino

Linda:  Welcome to my blog. It’s such a pleasure to have you. Congratulations on your story being a 2019 Genesis Finalist. What was the inspiration for your entry and what made you decide to enter the contest?

Amre: Thank you for the opportunity to be on your blog! 

In 2018 I followed a writing prompt using the title From My Window. The prompt led me back to when I was a little girl. I’d sit in my room, gaze out my window, and write and write and write. I had a difficult childhood and writing was good medicine.

Since childhood, I hadn’t written for many, many years. After the death of a parent five years ago, I prayed. His peace covered me, and I knew He had released me to write again. From My Window poured from my soul onto the computer screen. In fact, I wrote 10,000 words in one day. Thank the Lord, the story has won several first-place awards, along with the 2019 Genesis Finalist Award. That felt like a hug and a kiss from the Lord!

LM: What is one thing you’ve learned during your writing journey thus far?

Amre: I am not alone. Before I begin my writing day, I pray and ask the Lord to give me His words. Safe in His arms, the words flow and my fingers go! 

I am so thankful for the home ACFW provides Christian writers. As a small critique group facilitator, we often comment that, though writing is a lonely pursuit, we know we’re not alone. Through God’s word and His inspiration, we encourage one another and strive to do the very best we can for His glory and our good.

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself to write (e.g. listen to music, set up in a certain location)?

Amre: I start each morning in prayer and spend time reading the Bible and a short devotion. Sometimes I write a devotion based on my time with the Lord. He’s never failed to inspire me, and sometimes I don’t even get around to my WIP. I’ve learned to relax and enjoy when that happens rather than feeling the anxiety or pressure to write x amount of words that day.

LM: What was your favorite book or author when you were growing up?

Amre: I could write volumes to answer this question but I’ll limit myself. :)

I read the King James Bible cover to cover when I was growing up. Now I wonder how I did that but...  :) 

My other favorite author is Louisa May Alcott (Little Women). I was pleasantly surprised by the movie this year—breathtaking. It inspired me to write better all over again.

LM: What is something you have always wanted to learn how to do?

Amre: I’m doing it!  From the time I was little girl, I said I’d be an author. Thank God for this amazing opportunity He’s given me to learn to write. I mistook storytelling for writing, and now I’m learning the difference.

LM: Here are some quickies:
Amre:
Favorite Season: Autumn!
Favorite Movie: Currently – Little Women :)
Favorite place to visit: Monticello, Virginia and Hood River, OR

LM: What are your plans going forward?

Amre: Follow the Lord one step at a time. Probably sounds cheesy but that’s my heart’s desire.

I’m completing a rough draft of book 2 in the Eventide trilogy (From My Window is book 1). When that trilogy is complete, I’ve had a burning desire to write a Back to the Garden series starting with the Garden of Eden. I’ve got a file folder full of ideas and can’t wait to get to it!

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Amre: My Facebook page is From My Window and my website is http://merryheartink.com.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Traveling Tuesday: Illinois During WWII


Traveling Tuesday: Illinois During WWII


Bordered by Wisconsin to the north, Iowa and Missouri to the west, Kentucky to the south, and Indiana and Lake Michigan to the east, Illinois is part of the mid-west and the Great Lakes regions. Of the fifty states, Illinois ranks in the exact middle in the size of its area. The state is the sixth largest in population, with nearly sixty-five percent of its residents living in Chicago and the surrounding area. Small industrial cities, extensive agricultural productivity, natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum give Illinois a diverse economic base.

Home to Native Americans for thousands of years, the area began to see exploration by the French in the late 1600s, eventually becoming part of New France and La Louisiane. In 1763, the land passed to the Britain after their defeat of France in the Seven Years’ War. To avoid British rule, many French settlers moved west. Exploration continued, and the area became the Illinois territory in 1809. After much discussion that included moving the northern border three times, the territory gained statehood in 1818.

By 1900, Illinois has a population of more than five million people. The Century of Progress World’s Fair was held in Chicago in 1933. Four years later oil strikes in Marion and Crawford Counties led to a boom which shot the state to fourth in U.S. oil production.

Manufacturing in Illinois during WWII was wide and varied. The Pullman Standard Car Company produced landing craft, patrol boats, tanks, cannons, and mortar. Ordnance plants manufactured shells, bombs, and torpedoes. Chemicals were produced by Monsanto, and industrial alcohol used to make smokeless gun powder and synthetic rubber by distilling companies. Nearly a dozen companies were responsible for making radios, radar, and other electronic devices. Textile companies converted to making uniforms, tents, mosquito nettings, boots, and shoes. By all reports, Chicago’s industrial output was second only to Detroit.

Then there was food production. By the middle of 1944, Kraft had shipped over sixty-four million pounds of cheese to the armed services. Canneries were located in Chicago, Hoopeston, and Rochelle. Candy and other foods were produced by the ton and provided to servicemen and women. The state was number one in the production of soybeans, and second in corn, hogs, and cheese.

Airfields covered the state, and the US Naval Station Great Lakes grew from six thousand to sixty-eight thousand recruits. In addition, Glenview was home to the navy’s largest air training facility, and the largest army training facility was located at Camp Ellis. All told, Illinois trained more than two million servicemen. A major transportation hub, the state transported ninety-eight percent of the nation’s military on its railroads.

Nearly one million men and women served in uniform with approximately 17,000 giving the ultimate sacrifice.

A big state with a big heart for service.

_________________________

A secret mission. A fake bride. A run for their lives.

According to the OSS training manual, the life expectancy of a radio operator in Nazi-occupied France is six weeks. Partnered with one of the agency’s top spies, Gerard Lucas, newly-minted agent Emily Strealer plans to beat those odds. Then their cover is blown and all bets are off.

The border to neutral Switzerland is three hundred miles away—a long way to run with SS soldiers on their heels.

Will Emily and Gerard survive the journey?

And what about their hearts? Nothing in the manual prepared them for falling in love.

Pre-order link: https://amzn.to/2vVSUqg




Thursday, March 26, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Wendy Wilson Spooner

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Wendy Wilson Spooner!


Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on the release of your debut novel Once Upon an Irish Summer. What was your inspiration for the story?

Wendy: I still catch my breath when I think of the trip to Ireland I took with my parents and husband a few years ago. It was while exploring the original estate connected to my Irish ancestors that the seed sprouted to write about Allen Hamilton, the oldest son of my 3rd great grandfather.

LM: The age old question for writers – are you a planner or a “pantster,” and what is your favorite part of the writing process?

Wendy: I started out as a pantster. Now I write with a loose outline I learned called “Story Beats” designed by Ara Grigorian and Janis Thomas, creators of the Novel Intensive Writer’s Workshop in Southern California. I’ve written seven chapters in two days with this method, which I highly recommend.

LM: In addition to your fiction, you’ve also written lots of nonfiction. What do you do differently for the two genres? The same?

Wendy: Nonfiction is totally different for me because I’ve never written anything lengthy of that genre. But I write from my heart for nonfiction, even when I’m writing a professional article for the field of Genetic Genealogy, my other day job, which requires a lot of citations and a more cerebral approach..

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? (e.g., listen to music? Go to a certain place in your home?)

Wendy: I grab my favorite snacks, water, comfy clothes, and a blanket and whatever else I need to hunker down for hours.

LM: Research is an important part of writing, especially historic fiction (and you’re a professional researcher!). Did you discover any “aha” sort of tidbit(s) that you knew you want to include in Once Upon an Irish Summer?

Wendy: Oh my, yes. SO many tidbits. When researching a historical figure that left behind fifteen boxes of papers and letters, as well as a legacy left in who his descendants became, I had quite a job in honoring the main historical character and his family--in sticking to actual history and filling in the many blanks. That’s why Once Upon an Irish Summer took three years to write!

LM: Here are some quickies:

Wendy:
Favorite childhood book: The Magic Summer by Noel Streatfield. Funny that it takes place in Ireland in the Summer! Hmm, was I influenced much?
Favorite food: Ice cream. Does that count as a food?? I think it DOES.
Favorite vacation place: Disneyland

LM: What is your next project?

Wendy: The next book in the series! This story is a continuation of the present-day main characters, and in the historical timeline, it goes back in time to the little sister who was left behind in Ireland when her favorite brother set off for America.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Wendy:
Professional Genetic Genealogy Site https://knowmyroots.com/

About Once Upon an Irish Summer:

Two teenagers, two centuries, one city.

1817 Ireland: Allen Hamilton crosses the Atlantic alone to find a way to save his family from imminent financial and social ruin before it's too late. Instead, he is met with prejudice, sickness, and starvation.

2018 Fort Wayne, Indiana: A gift young artist struggles with debilitating grief after a sudden death in her family. When she unearths Allen Hamilton's noble rise from rags to riches in Antebellum America, their shared connection inspires her own healing and renewed inspiration.

Based on a 200-year-old letter collection, Once Upon an Irish Summer brings to life and weaves together this true story of romance, mystery, and hope.

Pre-Order Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B082LWVX3H

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Wartime Wednesday: Censorship During WWII


Wartime Wednesday: Censorship During WWII


The Office of Censorship was a wartime agency set up during the weeks following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941 with Executive Order 8985. Chartered with the mission to protect sensitive war information, the organization walked a fine line to maintain constitutional freedoms. Executive News Editor at the Associated Press, Byron Price was appointed under the condition he would report directly to President Roosevelt. A Censorship Policy Board was created to advise the director on policy coordination and the integration of censorship activities.

Issued by the Office of War Information on January 15, 1942, the “Code of Wartime Practices for the American Press” gave strict instructions on the handling of news. Surprisingly, the manual was quite short: only seven pages for broadcasters and five for the print press, and explained in simple terms the subjects that contained information considered valuable to the enemy, which therefore shouldn’t be published or broadcast in the U.S. without authorization by a qualified government source. Sensitive topics included factory production figures, troop movements, damage to American forces, and weather reports.

During Director Price’s tenure, the responsibility for censorship was entirely on the journalists, depending heavily on patriotism and voluntary cooperation. At one point, there was discussion about merging his office with the Office of War Information, but he was able to prevent the action, believing that a merger would prevent the public from receiving truthful information.

Great Britain, Canada, and the U.S. signed an agreement providing for the complete exchange of information among all concerned parties and created a central clearinghouse of information within the headquarters of the Office of Censorship. In early 1942, Army and Navy personnel engaged in censorship responsibilities were transferred to the Office of Censorship where they monitored the more than 350,000 overseas cables/telegrams and 35,000 international telephone calls. Offices in LA, NYC, and Rochester, NY reviewed films.


The official closure of the Office didn’t come until November 1945, but the day after the Japanese surrender on August 14, 1945, Director Price is said to have hung a sign on his office door that read Out Of Business.

______________________

A secret mission. A fake bride. A run for their lives.

According to the OSS training manual, the life expectancy of a radio operator in Nazi-occupied France is six weeks. Partnered with Gerard Lucas, one of the agency's top spies, newly-minted agent Emily Strealer plans to beat those odds. Then their cover is blown and all bets are off. The border to neutral Switzerland is three hundred miles away-a long way to run with SS soldiers on their heels.

Will Emily and Gerard survive the journey and get home?

And what about their hearts? Nothing in the manual prepared them for falling in love.

Pre-order Link: http://amazon.com/dp/B086696351