Monday, December 9, 2019

Christmas Round-Robin Scavenger Hunt

Christmas Round-Robin Scavenger Hunt 

Merry Christmas! And welcome to the Christmas Round-Robin during which you have the chance to win one of three generous prizes! First prize is a $300 Amazon gift card, second place is a $150 Amazon gift card, and third prize is a $75 gift card. How cool is that?!

In each participating author’s blog post, you’ll find a questions that can be answered by checking out the book blurb or free Amazon preview of his/her book. The hunt stars here:  (Please note that you must answer the questions for EVERY author in the round-robin to be considered to win THIS PRIZE. At the end of my post is the link to the next blog, who will provide a link to the next blog…and so on…to the very end. When you're finished fill out your answers on this form.

My novella, A Doctor in the House, is part of The Hope of Christmas collection that includes stories by two other authors. I’m a history geek, and I write about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. 

World War II was a particularly life-changing event for everyone: those who served in the armed forces as well as those who “held down the fort” on the home front.

In a society that dictated how (secretaries, nurses, teachers) and when (as long as they were single) women could work, the opportunity to hold positions only previously available to men was exciting and scary. Facing prejudice, ridicule, and disdain, these ladies worked extra hard to prove their capabilities to the detractors. It was only after working side-by-side with female employees and witnessing their performance, did men grudgingly agree theses gals had what it took to get the job done.

Margaret Craighill
The military was slow to create women’s auxiliary forces, but once the chance arose, more than 350,000 enlisted. However, it wasn’t until April 1943 that President Roosevelt signed the Sparkman-Johnson Act allowing female physicians to serve in the Army and Navy Corps. A month later, Dr. Margaret Craighill became the first woman doctor to serve in the Army inspiring my character Emma O’Sullivan in A Doctor in the House.

Emma is assigned to England to set up a convalescent hospital, and she leaves behind everything that is familiar. When the handsome widower of the requisitioned property claims she’s incompetent and tries to get her transferred, she must prove to her superiors she’s more than capable. But she’s soon drawn to the good-looking, grieving owner. Will she have to choose between her job and her heart?

Let’s continue this scavenger hunt! Go to the book on Amazon at this link and check out the book blurb. What is the name of the requisitioned country home in Britain where Emma is stationed?  When you have the answer, fill out this form and head over to the next blog!

Thank you so much for visiting! The next author on the tour is Valerie Comer, who will share with you about her Christmas book The Cowboy's Christmas Reunion. You can find it at this link. Remember the round-robin ends on December 16th at 11:59 PM EST.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Wartime Wednesday: The Lowly Milkweed Pod

Wartime Wednesday: The Lowly Milkweed Pod

“Necessity is the mother of invention” proved itself to be true over and over during World War II as the Allies fought to defeat the Axis powers. Each time the enemy conquered an area that provided goods, an alternate solution had to be found. After Japanese occupation of the island of Java, an exporter of kapok, the fluffy plant fiber found in pods of the ceiba tree that was used in life vests, the Allies found themselves in a bind. Cattail down, feathers, and “Bubblfil,” a plastic substance developed by DuPont, were considered by the military, but none of the options proved worthy.

Enter the lowly milkweed, a plant with pods that contain hollow fibers (or floss) coated in a waxy substance, making them waterproof and buoyant. Considered an annoying weed by most people, especially farmers, milkweed goes to seed creating the pods in September.

Physician and inventor, Dr. Boris Berkman was a long-time champion of the milkweed. During the 1930s, he proposed the plant as a new crop rivaling the soybean in usefulness. He suggested over twenty uses for the plant’s stems, leaves, and pods including insulation, pressed board, oil, animal food, rayon, cellophane, dynamite, surgical dressing, and textile fibers. In his 1939 patent application for a milkweed gin to process the plant, he touted that “milkweed is an American crop capable of producing untold benefits to the American farmer, and is not subject to the uncertainties attending the importation of foreign raw materials.”

Berkman presented his case to a congressional agricultural committee in March 1942 followed by extensive testing by the U.S. Navy that proved a 150-pound man could be kept floating in the water for more than forty hours using just over a pound of milkweed floss. Calling the weed “wartime strategic material,” the government rushed to appropriate $225,000 to build a processing plant in the milkweed-rich hills along Lake Michigan.

Word went out across the nation about the need for more than two million pounds of ripe milkweed pods. Citizens of twenty-five states and two Canadian provinces leapt into action. By the end of September 1942 more than 1.5 billion pods were collected to make 1.2 million life vests. Kids were paid fifteen cents to fill an onion bag, the open mesh sack holding about a bushel of 600-800 pods. Two bags provided enough floss for one vest.

Frances Joey Wilson, Jr. remembers his father tipping him off about a poster promoting the pod harvest near their home. “All my friends jumped on our bikes and took off for the post office to read the notice for ourselves.” Later his bags were collected behind the post office and hauled away by a big truck.

From problem to purposeful, the lowly milkweed saved the day.

Does milkweed grow where you live?


Now available: The Wartime Brides Collection. You can read this four-book collection all at once! Inspired by exciting and romantic stories from the Bible (Ruth and Boaz, Shiprah and Puah, Rahab and Salmon, and Rebekkah and Isaac) each book is a modern retelling set during WWII.

Purchase Link:

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Traveling Tuesday: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Traveling Tuesday: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

This year marks the 95th anniversary of the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, however, it will be only the 92nd time participants will have marched the New York City parade route. After the U.S. entered World War II, the festivities were cancelled in 1942, ’43, and ’44, and the rubber balloons deflated and contributed to the government for use in war materiel-a total of 650 pounds.

Originally called the Macy’s Christmas Parade as a way to celebrate the store’s expansion (which now took up an entire city block), the majority of the participants were employees. Professional entertainers, bands, and animals from the Central Park Zoo (bears, elephants, and donkeys) were also included. In 1925 and 1926, lions and tigers were added, but it was determined they were too scary for viewers, so were removed. Santa may have brought up the rear of the parade and been popular with children, but the real reason for the event was to unveil Macy’s Christmas window displays.

During the late 1920s, at the end of the parade, the balloons were released, and a monetary reward offered for their return. Apparently, the balloons included an address label on them so folks would know where to take them. Setting the balloons free was seemingly good idea until a cartoon character burst into flames when it hit a high tension wire, and a cat balloon sent a two-passenger plane plummeting. Needless to say, after those events, the tradition ceased.

Over the years, hundreds of celebrities have participated. The early years saw big names such as Harpo Marx, Jackie Gleason, Bob Hope, Diana Ross, Sammie Davis, Jr., and Tony Bennett.
In 1947, the film Miracle on 34th Street brought the parade to theatres, and the following year, the parade was televised for the first time by NBC. The estimated number of viewers for this years is 3.5 million people!

I grew up in New Jersey, and as part of our high school band marched in the parade each year. We’d leave the school at 3:00 AM (thanks mom and dad!) in order to arrive at our lining up location at the appropriate time. Those wool uniforms that were too hot during early September football games, barely kept up warm during the frigid early morning hours waiting to being. We’d surround the twirlers and flag girls, who wore tiny skirts and lightweight blouses, in an effort to block the wind and keep them warm. I’m not sure how successful we were.

Because of participating as a band member, the bands are my favorite part of the parade. What do you like best about the parade?


Inspired by exciting and romantic stories from the Bible, each of the Wartime Brides novellas is set during WWII. Read modern retellings about Ruth and Boaz (Love's Harvest), Shiprah and Puah (Love's Belief), Rahab and Salmon (Love's Rescue), and Rebekkah and Isaac (Love's Allegiance).

Purchase Link:

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Ane Mulligan

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Ane Mulligan

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. You have had a wide and varied career. What led to you becoming a novelist and seeking publication? 
ANE: Thanks for having me, Linda. You’re right, I’ve tried my hand at several things. Strangest of all, a failed job search led to my husband telling me to stop looking for a job and write a book. He figured I’d spent so much money buying books, I could write one of my own. And he was right!
LM: What is your favorite part of the writing process: research, writing, or revising?
ANE: I love research and revising. Then again, I love when my characters take over the story and go places I hadn’t expected or thought of before. But editing and revising is my favorite part. That’s where the magic happens. 
LM: Your books cross several genres within the fiction realm, and you have also contributed to a non-fiction publication. What made you decide to write in multiple genres, and how is the writing process different?
ANE: I never thought of them as different genres. In When the Bough Breaks, there is an issue dear to women’s hearts: family and adoption. The fact it reads like a romantic suspense or mild political thriller is beside the point. Really. I write fiction set in the South, with a bit (some with a lot) of humor, and women helping women deal with life’s issues. My new series which launces next summer (2020), is true to my brand. All my books have an ensemble cast of strong women who traverse life’s issues together.  
LM:  Research is an important part of the writing process. What are some of the ways you have researched your books, and did you conduct your research differently for your fiction and non-fiction books?
ANE: I’ve travelled to locations, used the internet, and queried the members of ACFW. In Chapel Springs Revival, I wrote myself into a corner at the 50k word mark. I needed a geologist and fast. In ACFW, I found someone whose husband was a geo geek. He knew a lot and connected me with a PhD who knew the rest. I was able to carry on with a minor tweak.  
LM: How do you decide which genre to write for each subsequent project?
ANE: This historical series was started before my first book was published. At the time, God kept all the doors shut in the pub world. I was going to pub boards all the time, but no contract came out of them. My agent suggested trying historical. But after 30k words in, she said I needed to choose. I chose contemporary at the time.
After the last book in the Chapel Springs series published, my agent said my brand had been established. The historical book was true to my brand, just in another era, 1929-30. So I pulled it out, finished it, and it was contracted quickly. 
All that to say, if I remain true to my brand, my readers will read the books in any genre.
 LM: What advice do you have for fledgling writers?
ANE: Number 1 is to enjoy the journey. It could be years before you publish. Network and make friends. Then, write what’s on your heart, not to market. 
LM: Here are some quickies:
Favorite vacation spot: mountain lake
Favorite childhood author: Julie Campbell. She wrote the Trixie Belden series.
Favorite season: Fall
LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Traveling Tuesday: Indiana and Its Hoosiers

Traveling Tuesday: Indiana and Its Hoosiers

The mid-western state of Indiana had only been part of the United States for 125 years when it was drawn into World War II. Bordered by Lake Michigan, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Illinois, the state was initially settled by the French. After the territory was released to the British after the French and Indian War, the area was divided between colonists and Native Americans. By the 1840s the US had purchased all of the Natives’ land and removed them to other areas. Europeans began to flock to the area with Germans and the Irish making up the largest percentage.

With the industrial revolution, Indiana became a hotbed of manufacturing, and the state soon developed ties to the automobile industry, boasting more plants than Detroit, Michigan. As with the rest of the nation, Indiana was hit by the Great Depression. The subsequent Dust Bowl sent many people out of the state in search of employment.

Then came World War II.

The almost dormant steel mills went back into full operation producing wartime materiel. New factories were construction creating boomtowns; small villages that explodes from several hundred to several thousand. International Harvester’s Richmond facility went from producing truck parts and pickup trucks to manufacturing the two-and-a-half-ton, six-wheeled cargo trucks. Other factories included RCA where proximity fuses were made, Guide Lamps produced cartridge cases, South Bend Toy created tent poles, and Republic Aviation built P-47 Thunderbolts. Shipyards lined the Ohio River. Ranking eighth among the states, Indiana ultimately produced 4.5% of the US military armaments.

Airfields were installed or expanded, including Baer Army Air Base at Fort Wayne, Stout Field in Indianapolis, Bendix Air Field in South Bend, and others in Evansville, Seymour, and Columbus. Constructed immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Camp Atterbury trained thousands of soldiers and later housed German and Italian POWs. The Camp’s 6,000 bed hospital treated over 85,000 patients during the course of the war.

Approximately 338,000 men fought in the war (about 10% of the population), with over 13,000 losing their lives. More than 118,000 of Indiana’s women also served in the military. Unsurprisingly, the state fair and the Indianapolis 500 closed until after the war.

Indiana has been home to two presidents, numerous athletes, entrepreneurs, actors, musicians, and celebrities. It also produced two writers during WWII. The first, Ernie Pyle, was a journalist who traveled far and wide to report on the war. He focused on the ordinary enlisted soldier and often listed them by name and hometown in his articles. Pyle won awards or his reporting and was killed by machine gun fire on April 18, 1945, just three weeks before VE day. The other writer, Kurt Vonnegut, dropped out of college to enlist and experience the war as a soldier. Captured during the Battle of the Bulge, he survived the bombing at Dresden by hiding in a meat locker. He published his first novel in 1952, but would not see commercial success until 1969 with the release of Slaughterhouse-Five.

Just as important, if not more so are the women on the home front who kept the farms going, raised their children, and waited for their husbands to come home. Said one Indiana housewife, Virginia Mayberry, “It takes all kinds of people to fight a war, even a popular war like WWII. There are soldiers and sailors. There are spies and nurses and aviators. And then there are those who only stand and wait. Service wives are like that; I was a draftee’s wife.”

Now available: The Wartime Brides Collection. You can read this four-book collection all at once! Inspired by exciting and romantic stories from the Bible (Ruth and Boaz, Shiprah and Puah, Rahab and Salmon, and Rebekkah and Isaac) each book is a modern retelling set during WWII.

Purchase Link:

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: When Valleys Bloom Again

Talkshow Thursday: 
When Valley Bloom Again by Pat Jeanne Davis

Christmas 1942 would be for many men who were sent abroad to fight their first time outside of the United States. Receiving handmade items of apparel and baked homemade goodies from loved ones back home in the states, would be a huge morale booster at any time but especially at the holiday season. Even when these were prepared and packaged for overseas shipment in plenty of time, it usually took many weeks before these items reached our homesick soldier.
Excerpt from When Valleys Bloom Again
November, 1942
            Abby looked up from measuring sugar to see Carol and Phyllis working side by side. In spite of Carol’s many complaints, Abby sensed she and her mother were close.
Abby wiped her hands on a red polka dot apron. “I never baked with my mother.” She heaved a loud sigh. “I missed out on all this.” Startled by a clang, she swung around. Aunt Val stooped to pick up a dropped baking pan.
“I’ll get it, Auntie.” Abby knelt beside her, noting a confused look in her eyes.
“I can manage, dear. Don’t fuss.”
Abby returned to her counter. “We’re much better off than they are in London. Jim wrote that brides have to make do with cardboard wedding cakes because sugar’s rationed.”
“Then why bother at all?” Carol said, turning on the electric mixer to blend the ingredients for cookies.
“We must have our situation reviewed again by the ration board,” Aunt Val said from across
the room. She added chopped walnuts to her batter. “I do hope this war’s over before next autumn.”
“Then maybe we’ll have butter again,” Carol said, lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper. She worked dough into large balls. “And not this awful oleo.”
Valerie poured the contents of her mixing bowl into baking pans. “I don’t see much choice about that since butter costs eight points a pound, while oleo only costs five,” she said, scraping the bowl. “Still, William likes butter, so we’ll have it occasionally.”
“By pooling all our ration points we got everything we needed. Even enough sugar.” Abby shaped dough into crescents. “My sister tells me even toilet paper and quality soap are rationed.”
Carol put an arm around Abby’s waist. “Thanks to you I’ll have a new dress and coat for Christmas with your unredeemed clothing coupons.”
“I look at the consumer report each month, to see how I can best use my points.” Phyllis stood at the sink, washing the utensils. “But I shouldn’t complain. There’s much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving Day.”
Valerie opened the double oven range door, sliding her pans inside. A miscellany of copper-bottom pans hung from brass hooks above the range. “Our cook complains she’s finding it hard to stock the pantry for the children and needs stamps for almost everything and that meat is scarce.” She shook her head. “She says those instructions on how to use stamps are too complicated.”
Soft laughter filled the room, while the delicious smell of baked goods filled the air. Abby bit into a scone. She pictured Jim opening the box with their treats. He’d written saying the men in his division held a party for the children near the base. She set aside some for Edythe. Jim would want her to. It was her habit to mentally submit her decisions to Jim for approval. How did she manage before without this reference point?
Carol transferred the cookies to a rack, taking one. “Do we need to send all these?”
Phyllis grabbed a dish towel and whacked her across the shoulder. “They’re for your brother, not you. And our package must go out tomorrow so as to be there in time for Christmas.”

About When Valleys Bloom Again

As war approaches in 1939 Abby Stapleton’s safety is under threat. Her father, a British diplomat, insists she go back to America until the danger passes. Abby vows to return to her home in London—but where is home? With her family facing mortal danger so far away and feeling herself isolated, she finds it hard to pray or read the Bible. Did she leave God behind in war-torn London too? Abby becomes friendly with Jim, a gardener on her uncle’s estate.

Jim can’t get Abby out of his mind. Did she have a sweetheart in England? Was it foolish to think she’d consider him? He curses his poverty and the disgrace of his father’s desertion and drunkenness haunts him. Can he learn to believe in love for a lifetime and to hope for a happy marriage?

Abby couldn’t know the war would last a long time, nor that she would fall in love with Jim—soon to be drafted by the U.S. Army—or that she’d have to confront Henri, a rejected suitor, determined by his lies to ruin her reputation and destroy her faith in God’s providence. Will she discover the true meaning of home and find happiness with Jim?

Barnes & Noble:                                       

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wartime Wednesday: Sadie Hawkins Day

Wartime Wednesday: Sadie Hawkins Day

According to one of the “national calendar days” websites, today is Sadie Hawkins Day. Only vaguely aware that the “holiday” entails gals asking out guys, I decided to look up the history of this auspicious occasion. I was surprised to discover the day stems from the L’il Abner comic strip started by cartoonist Al Capp (born Alfred Caplin) in 1934.

Capp arrived in New York City in 1932 with less than $5.00 in his pocket, and lots of ambition in his heart. He secured a job creating advertising strips, but soon found work with the Associated Press. Hating it, he quit after only a few months and moved to Boston where he met and married Catherine Wingate Cameron. Continuing to seek fame and fortune in cartooning, he moved back to New York where he was hired to ghost on Joe Palooka.

Working nights on the strip that would eventually become L’il Abner, Capp finally found success. Launched in eight newspapers on August 13, 1934, the cartoon was an immediate hit. Considered a classic of the genre, according to Wikipedia “what began as a hillbilly burlesque soon evolved into one of the most imaginative, popular, and well-drawn strips of the twentieth century.” Some of the characters who appeared include Hairless Joe, Lonesome Polecat, Evil-Eye Fleegle, Lena the Hyena, Senator Jack S. Phogbound, Available Jones, Nightmare Alice, and of course the gals Wolf Gal. Stupefying’ Jones, Moonbeam McSwine, and Daisy Mae (all of whom ended up on the painted noses of bomber planes during WWII and the Korean War.)

Character Sadie Hawkins, “the homeliest gal in all them hills,” was introduced on November 13, 1937. Her father, Hekzebiah Hawkins, a prominent resident of Dogpatch, was concern his daughter would never marry. So he declared Sadie Hawkins Day, and brought all the town’s eligible bachelors together to be chased down the by the resident single ladies in a footrace, the loser winning Sadie’s hand in marriage.

The idea caught on with the public, who wanted the date commemorated each year, as evidenced by the tens of thousands of letters Capp received from colleges, communities, and church groups, as when he would declare Sadie Hawkins Day that year “so they could make plans accordingly.” The concept took on a life of its own, and by 1952, Sadie Hawkins Day was reportedly celebrated in over 40,000 venues. That same year Capp said in an article, “And how about that Sadie Hawkins Day? It doesn’t happen on any set day in November; it happens the day I say it happens.”

Apparently not, because in the United States, Sadie Hawkins Day is now officially celebrated on the first Saturday after November 9.


Now Available! The Wartime Brides Collection: Books 1-4