Thursday, January 23, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Ruth Brown of Under Ground


 Talkshow Thursday: 
An Interview with Ruth Brown of Under Ground

Ruth Brown is a small-town reporter who becomes an amateur sleuth as a result of her sister’s murder in Under Fire. When clues point to England, she becomes one of the few certified female war correspondents sent overseas to cover the war. The adventure continues in Under Ground when she stumbles on a twenty-year-old skeleton under her house. Let’s see what she has to say:

LM: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started your journalistic career.

Ruth: Thanks for having me. I’m front a tiny village in New Hampshire, very near Lake Winnipesaukee in the central part of the state. I have an older brother Chip who is serving in the Army, and my sister worked in the defense industry. I’ve always scribbled down stories and in high school I became editor of the student newspaper. During college, I submitted stories to Mr. Isaacs who runs the paper, and he hired me after I graduated. I covered mostly social events until getting my big break in covering the union negotiations at Coltrain Industries.

LM: What is it like to be a war correspondent?

Ruth: It’s quite an honor. Of the 2,000 reporters who received certification, there are only 127 women who made the cut. Certification acts as kind of a contract between the journalists and the military. We have to follow their rules and submit our stories for censorship, and in exchange they shelter, feed, and transport us and transmit our articles back home. I’m stationed in London which feels a bit like a combat zone with all the bombings.

LM: Most military leaders haven’t allowed the female correspondents allowed into combat zones. How does that make you feel?

Ruth: For me, I’m okay with that. There is enough to cover right here in London. But for gals like Martha Gellhorn, Dickie Chapelle, and Margaret Bourke-White, it’s not enough, so they find ways around the rules and manage to get themselves to the front. There are other women who have traveled with troops into the Asian and African theaters too.

LM: Maybe you’re content in London because of a certain detective inspector?

Ruth: (blushing): Maybe, but that’s all I’m going to say about that.

LM: What is life like in England?

Ruth: The British people are stalwart. They insist on trying to force normalcy in their lives, so that Hitler’s attempts at terrorizing them are unsuccessful. Women keep the households running as well as holding down jobs. Until the Americans began sending food and supplies, Britain was struggling to feed her citizens. Because the country is an island, a large percentage of their produce used to be imported. They had to become self-sufficient which was challenging in the face of having to manufacture war materiel and frankly, to just stay alive. I’m impressed with these folks in so many ways.

LM: What are some things that surprised you or gave you pause for thought?

Ruth: When I arrived, most of the street and directional signs had been removed or painted over for fear of invasion by Germany. The British didn’t want them to be able to find places if they did manage to get onto the island. Also, the planning and effort that has gone into saving national treasures such as artwork. I can’t say a lot about it, but most of the artwork has gone into hiding and storage in unusual places.

LM: What else would you like readers to know?

Ruth: I’m proud to be serving in this small way by keeping the people at home in America informed, and I know the experience has changed me. I will never be the same again.
________________________

It’s been six months since Ruth Brown followed clues to England and discovered the identity of her sister’s killer. War continues to rage as Ruth reports on food shortages, the black market, evacuation of London’s children, and the bravery of the British people.

When a bombing raid destroys her home and unearths a twenty-year-old skeleton in the cellar, her reporter’s senses tingle in anticipation of solving another mystery. Unfortunately, the by-the-book detective inspector assigned to the case is not interested in her theories. As Ruth investigates the case on her own, she butts heads with the handsome policeman.

Will she get to the bottom of the story before the killer strikes again?


Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/366EdN9



Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Wartime Wednesday: WWII Slang


Wartime Wednesday: WWII Slang


Every generation has its slang, and the 1940s were no exception. Here’s a collection of some of the words and expressions you might have heard hanging around the home front or armed forces during World War II. A few you still hear today.

All out: Full of vigor, determination, or enthusiasm.

All Wet: Bad, terrible. “That idea is all wet.”

Armored Cow: Canned milk.

Army Banjo: A shovel

Baptized by Fire: To have been under enemy fire for the first time; to have received one’s first wounds.

Bellyache: To complain

Beat Your Gums: To engage in useless or pointless chit-chat.

Cheaters: Eyeglasses.

Cool as a Cucumber: Alert and self-aware, self-possessed, calm.

Ear Beater: A person who doesn’t let you get a word in edgewise.

File 13: The trash bin

Glad Rags: A person’s best clothes

Jake: Fine, good. “Everything’s jake.”

Jane: A woman

Jane-crazy: Overly fond of women.

Mousetrap: Submarine

Mud Eater: An infantryman

Ninety-Day Wonder: An officer who holds a commission by having attended a three-month course direct from civilian life.

O.A.O.” One and only. “You’re my one and only guy.”

Sugar Report: A letter from a girl.

What is your favorite slang expression?

 ________________________

It’s been six months since Ruth Brown followed clues to England and discovered the identity of her sister’s killer. War continues to rage as Ruth reports on food shortages, the black market, evacuation of London’s children, and the bravery of the British people.

When a bombing raid destroys her home and unearths a twenty-year-old skeleton in the cellar, her reporter’s senses tingle in anticipation of solving another mystery. Unfortunately, the by-the-book detective inspector assigned to the case is not interested in her theories. As Ruth investigates the case on her own, she butts heads with the handsome policeman.

Will she get to the bottom of the story before the killer strikes again?


Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/366EdN9


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Traveling Tuesday: North Carolina During WWII


Traveling Tuesday: North Carolina During WWII


Last week we traveled to South Carolina to learn about its contribution to the WWII effort. Today, we’re going to head north and visit its neighbor, North Carolina, a state that ranges from its sandy coast line to rugged mountains in the west.

Established as a royal colony in 1729, North Carolina was named for King Charles I, and is one of the original thirteen colonies. The state is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee. A rich history includes nearly a dozen people groups of Native Americans, exploration by Spain, pirates, a coup d’รฉtat, and sit-ins.

North Carolina was mostly rural at the beginning of the war and had been hit hard by the Great Depression. Only one out of four farms has electricity, and almost none had indoor plumbing.
Then war descends on the U.S.

Fort Bragg, an old field-artillery training grounded headed for decommissioning instead becomes home to more than 100,000 soldiers (including all five Army airborne divisions). Camp Lejeune opens along the coastal land outside Jacksonville and trains more than 40,000 Marines. At Montford Point, the Marines enlist the first of 20,000 African-Americans and by 1942 North Carolina is the location of over one hundred military installations. Of the 362,500 men and women who served in the armed forces, 9,000 never come home.

Manufacturing plants pop up all over the state. South of Wilmington at North Carolina Shipping, Liberty ships slide down the slipways into the Cape Fear River at the rate of one per week. Dayton Rubber Company, Chatham Manufacturing, Alcoa, Fairchild Aircraft, Carolina Aluminum, Ecusta Paper, and Consolidated Vultee Aircraft all join the war effort to provide essential materiel.

To power the growing defense industry, the Tennessee Valley Authority constructs Fontana Dam on the Tennessee River. The dam is 480 feet high, the tallest east of the Rockies, and generates 304 megawatts of electricity per day (the equivalent to the energy produced by ten automobile engines).
Between April and July, 1942, the war got up close and personal when German submarines were sunk in the coastal waters off Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout.

With the rest of the country, North Carolina purchase war bonds, donated their scrap, and fed their family with Victory gardens and rationed food items. They “made do and mended,” adhered to blackout regulations, spotted planes, and volunteered for one of the many organizations that supported the war. In the end, North Carolinians could be proud of their efforts.


________________________

It’s been six months since Ruth Brown followed clues to England and discovered the identity of her sister’s killer. War continues to rage as Ruth reports on food shortages, the black market, evacuation of London’s children, and the bravery of the British people.

When a bombing raid destroys her home and unearths a twenty-year-old skeleton in the cellar, her reporter’s senses tingle in anticipation of solving another mystery. Unfortunately, the by-the-book detective inspector assigned to the case is not interested in her theories. As Ruth investigates the case on her own, she butts heads with the handsome policeman.

Will she get to the bottom of the story before the killer strikes again?


Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/366EdN9

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Sandra Ardoin

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Sandra Ardoin


Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your latest release, Unwrapping Hope (Widows Might novella). Where did you get the inspiration for the story and its characters?

Sandra: I’m honored to be on your blog, Linda. Thanks for having me.

In all honesty, I wanted to write a Christmas novella for release in 2019. As I pondered the story, it became more than that. It turned into a prequel novella for what will be my Widow’s Might series. Unwrapping Hope begins a little before Thanksgiving and goes up to Christmas. It has a holiday backdrop, however, I don’t consider it thoroughly Christmas. Besides being set in 1896 (as opposed to a contemporary setting), I wouldn’t call it a Hallmark story, though **spoiler** , it does have a happy ending. ๐Ÿ˜Š

LM: Your website indicates you are “passionate about horses and history and a fan of old westerns.” What is it that draws you to that time period?

Sandra: I’ve always loved horses and owned three in my earlier years. It may also be the time period in which I grew up—the sixties with its westerns such as Bonanza, High Chaparral, The Big Valley, as well as actors such as John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. Oddly enough, so far, none of my published books take place in a western setting. They are all set in an 1890s small or mid-sized town. I do have some unpublished (hope for the future) manuscripts with an earlier, Texas setting.

For me, there’s something romantic about the past, even though I think we can sometimes see it through rose-colored glasses. I like to think there was a certain moral code most people lived by, although, they clearly dealt with the same behaviors we see today.

LM: Research is an important part of writing a book, especially historicals. How did you go about researching Unwrapping Hope, and did you unearth a particular fun fact you knew you had to include in the story?

Sandra: For one thing, I’m a big fan of Google Books and Chronicling America. They’re incredibly helpful for in-the-period language, advertisements, illustrations, even weather, train schedules, etc.
I grew up in Indiana and travel through there to see family but needed to research the history of the area in which I’d set my story, along with the landscape. On my latest trip, my husband and I made a short visit to the area. I wanted to see it for myself before the book came out.

In my story’s era, department stores were hitting their stride and five and ten-cent stores were coming into being. I wanted to incorporate both, so my department store-owing hero’s goal is to gain financing for a new venture into five and ten-cent stores. At one point, it takes him to Chicago and the historic Prairie Avenue where people like Marshall Field owned a mansion. Including it was a personal plus for me, because I remember going to Chicago at Christmas and seeing the animated decorations in the windows of Marshall Field’s.

LM: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Sandra: I think it’s exploring the ideas that pop up for a new story. I wish I could say I enjoy writing them down as much, but that’s just downright hard. After getting the draft down, though, I enjoy the rewriting, rediscovery process.
LM: What do you do to prepare for writing (e.g. listen to music, set up in a certain location, etc.)?

Sandra: I retreat to my office. After that, I have a routine for my day. I take care of the “business” part of writing first...emails, blog posts, marketing, etc. I usually begin writing in late morning or after lunch. I don’t listen to music while writing. I like quiet. But I’ve been thinking of trying it after reading how music sparks creativity.

LM: What is your next project?

Sandra: I’m working on the first novel in the Widow’s Might series, Enduring Dreams. It takes a secondary character from the novella, Claire Kingsley, and introduces her to an architect named Mark Gregory. It was a tremendous period for illustrious architecture and the skyscrapers we take for granted these days. Again, I get to incorporate some Chicago history and drop in the names of some of the great architects of the age. The book is planned to release the second half of 2020.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Sandra: All over. ๐Ÿ˜Š You can find me through my website at http://www.sandraardoin.com. Connect with me on BookBub, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest. I also have a Facebook launch group, Sandra Ardoin’s CornerRoom.

I keep in touch monthly through the Love and Faith in Fiction newsletter. It’s a great way to inform everyone about what’s new, what’s upcoming, book deals, and my reading recommendations.

About Unwrapping Hope

A talented musician struggling to support her child.
A wealthy businessman seeking to prove himself worthy.
A little girl searching for her mother’s prince.

Phoebe Crain naively trusted her heart to an affluent man who broke it, leaving her penniless and guarded around men with wealth. Unable to give her small daughter the Christmas gift she desires and deserves, Phoebe appeals to Spence Newland—a skilled craftsman…and department store heir. She'll work with the man, yes. Trust him, no.
A mistake threatens Spence’s effort to gain his family’s respect as a businessman, and Phoebe uses it to pressure him into building her daughter a dollhouse. Though shocked and angry, when he hears her brilliance as a pianist, he’s drawn to uncover the mystery surrounding the young widow and her frosty attitude toward him. But it’s the mystery of missing store merchandise that could destroy everything Spence has sought to achieve.
As scandals come to light will Phoebe run and Spence lose hope? Or will they overcome their hurts to make a little girl’s fairy tale come true?

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2MSYgYw


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Release Day! Under Ground

Release Day! Under Ground





Under Ground is the second adventure in the Ruth Brown mystery series. Here's a bit about the book:

It’s been six months since Ruth Brown followed clues to England and discovered the identity of her sister’s killer. War continues to rage as Ruth reports on food shortages, the black market, evacuation of London’s children, and the bravery of the British people.

When a bombing raid destroys her home and unearths a twenty-year-old skeleton in the cellar, her reporter’s senses tingle in anticipation of solving another mystery. Unfortunately, the by-the-book detective inspector assigned to the case is not interested in her theories. As Ruth investigates the case on her own, she butts heads with the handsome policeman.

Will she get to the bottom of the story before the killer strikes again?

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2t9TOhy


Under Cover (book three in the series) is now available for pre-order and will release on February 15.

Pick up your copies today!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Traveling Tuesday: England During WWII


Traveling Tuesday: England During WWII


Do twenty-one miles seem like a lot to you? Perhaps if you’re walking, then yes. In a car, not so much. How about one hundred and fifty miles. Now, that’s a fair distance no matter what mode of transportation you’re using. Unless your opponent in a war is at the end of those miles.

The English Channel is twenty-one miles wide at its narrowest point and one hundred fifty miles at its widest. In May, 1940 during the Battle of France, Germany captured Boulogne and Calais creating difficulties for a retreat of the British Expeditionary Forces. Fortunately, thanks to hundreds of boats, hard fighting by the troops, and German indecision, the port of Dunkirk was kept open allowing 338,000 Allied troops to be evacuated. When Germany began the occupation in France a month later, the threat of invasion became a constant fear of the British people. Street and directional signs were removed as an impediment to invading forces.

That summer, rationing began in earnest as did blackout regulations, plane spotting, and women rushing to the workforce to help produce planes, tanks, and munitions. With September came the Blitz as well as flying bombs and rockets. Germany conducted multiple air raids across the country every night. The raids went on for months…well into May 1941. Identity tags were issued to the population in the event they would be unrecognizable if killed. Barrage balloons were put into place and shelters were created in the Underground system. Citizens also built personal shelters on their properties.

By early 1942, the Americans arrived to shore up the British defenses and take the offensive getting to Italy, France, and Germany. Troops were met with mixed reactions. Many people were relieved. Others wanted nothing to do with the men who were “overpaid, oversexed, and over here.”

The war ground on until May 8, 1945 when Victory in Europe was declared with surrender of Germany. By the end, England’s citizens were exhausted and malnourished, but proud that they survived. The troops were months getting home, some of them not demobbed until 1947, and rationing would continue for some items until 1952.
___________________________________

It’s been six months since Ruth Brown followed clues to England and discovered the identity of her sister’s killer. War continues to rage as Ruth reports on food shortages, the black market, evacuation of London’s children, and the bravery of the British people.

When a bombing raid destroys her home and unearths a twenty-year-old skeleton in the cellar, her reporter’s senses tingle in anticipation of solving another mystery. Unfortunately, the by-the-book detective inspector assigned to the case is not interested in her theories. As Ruth investigates the case on her own, she butts heads with the handsome policeman.

Will she get to the bottom of the story before the killer strikes again?

Pre-Order/Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2t9TOhy

Monday, January 13, 2020

Mystery Monday: Under Ground The Story Behind the Story


Mystery Monday: Under Ground
The Story Behind the Story


A common adage says that truth is stranger than fiction. That axiom is why some of my books have been inspired by news reports. As time passes, the world loses hundreds of people from the “Greatest Generation.” As a result, their children and grandchildren are finding numerous treasures and associated stories when they go through their loved one’s personal effects. One such incident became the kernel of an idea for Under Ground, the second installment of the Ruth Brown mystery series.

About ten years ago, there was a newspaper headline about a family who tried to sell a painting they’d inherited after their grandfather passed away only to discover the piece had been stolen during WWII. Stunned, the descendants immediately returned the piece to its rightful owners.  Intrigued, I began to research artwork stolen during the war. There were numerous reports about Nazis and German soldiers who had commandeered sculptures, oil paintings, water colors, and other masterpieces.

As I dug deeper, I began to unearth articles about looting that occurred throughout the war, especially during the chaotic last days of the conflict…looting that was perpetrated by soldiers from the Allied troops. Many of the items were shipped home, through the postal system.

Were the military clerks complicit in the activities? What did the soldier’s family think when priceless artifacts showed up in the mail? Did the soldiers think they could get away with the thievery? Apparently, a large percentage of them did.

With dozens of articles in my hands about artifacts coming to light decades after the war, I knew I had my story. I added a twenty-year old skeleton just for good measure.

Under Ground releases tomorrow, but you can pre-order your copy today. Don’t miss the next exciting adventure for WWII war correspondent/amateur sleuth Ruth Brown.

______________________________

It’s been six months since Ruth Brown followed clues to England and discovered the identity of her sister’s killer. War continues to rage as Ruth reports on food shortages, the black market, evacuation of London’s children, and the bravery of the British people.

When a bombing raid destroys her home and unearths a twenty-year-old skeleton in the cellar, her reporter’s senses tingle in anticipation of solving another mystery. Unfortunately, the by-the-book detective inspector assigned to the case is not interested in her theories. As Ruth investigates the case on her own, she butts heads with the handsome policeman.

Will she get to the bottom of the story before the killer strikes again?


Pre-order/Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2t9TOhy