Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Wartime Wednesday: Spam

Wartime Wednesday: Spam (SPiced hAM)


Hormel’s Spam was first produced in 1937, and Ken Daigneau, brother to one of a Hormel executive was awarded $100 for coming up with the name. Alternately loved and despised, Spam became a staple during World War II.

Provided as part of the fifteen million cans of food to troops, Spam became a constant part of a soldier’s diet, often eaten three times per day. The canned meat was used as a B-ration (to be served in rotation with other meats behind the lines overseas and at camps and bases in the U.S.). Often the brunt of jokes, Spam was referred to by GIs as ham that failed the physical, and a meatball without basic training. The product was so prevalent in the Pacific Theater were a long-shelf life was crucial to feeding the vast number of troops, that one camp had the dubious honor of being named Spamville.

One hundred million pounds of Spam were used as a Lend-Lease staple to Russian and European troops as well. Civilians partook of the product as well. In Britain, a 10-ounce tin costs 12 ration points (or 1 shilling/sixpence). Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher later referred to the product as a “war-time delicacy.” She later talked about Boxing Day 1943 during which “we had friends in and  we opened a tin of Spam luncheon meat. We had some lettuce and tomatoes and peaches, so it was Spam and salad.”

Spam was also distributed in Red Cross parcels to prisoners of war in Germany. Reports indicate one can of Spam could be traded for three packs of cigarettes. Advertisements for Spam appeared in newspapers and magazines, and on radio, with the company becoming a main sponsor for the Burns & Allen show in 1940.

In America’s health-conscious society, Spam has been relegated to a side dish, but in Korea, the second largest consumer of the product, the meat is a luxury item and according to one source, is a popular gift especially for the Lunar New Year.

I grew up eating Spam. Mom often served Fried Spam with eggs or pancakes on Sunday nights. I still enjoy the flavor but the high sodium and fat content makes it off limits for me. How do you feel about Spam?

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About The Widow & The War Correspondent

Are a new life and new love possible in a country devastated by war?

Barely married before she’s widowed after Pearl Harbor three years ago, journalist Cora Strealer travels to England where she’s assigned to work with United Press’s top reporter who thinks the last place for a woman is on the front lines. Can she change his opinion before D-Day? Or will she have to choose her job over her heart?

A sought-after journalist, Van Toppel deserves his pick of assignments, which is why he can’t determine the bureau chief’s motive for saddling him with a cub reporter. Unfortunately, the beautiful rookie is no puff piece. Can he get her off his beat without making headlines…or losing his heart?

Pre-Order Link: https://amzn.to/3eBolHb

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Traveling Tuesday: Georgia Does Its Bit

Traveling Tuesday: Georgia Does Its Bit


The southern state of Georgia made great contributions to the war effort during World War II. Bordered by Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, and the Atlantic Ocean, Georgia is the last and most southernmost of the original thirteen colonies. The state’s geography varies from the mountains of the Appalachian Mountain system to the Piedmont plateau and coastal plains. In 1829, one of the earliest gold discoveries in the U.S. happened in the North Georgia Mountains leading to the establishment of a federal mint in Dahlonega.

Named after King George II of Great Britain, the colony covered an area from South Carolina south to Spanish Florida and West to French Louisiana at the Mississippi River. In 1788, Georgia became the fourth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

The Great Depression hit Georgia hard, and was part of an economic study conducted by President Roosevelt’s cabinet. World War II served to put the state back on its feet, but unlike other U.S. states, the improvement was not immediate.
 
Eventually, every major city in Georgia had a military installation of some kind. Columbus housed Fort Benning as the largest infantry training school in the world, and Robins Field in Macon became an Army Air Force Depot, and Atlanta native Colonel Charles Thomas oversaw construction. The Navy trained combat pilots at the University of Georgia in Athens. Hunter Field and Camp Gordon trained thousands of enlisted men. 

Defense contractors swarmed to the state building factories. Bell Aircraft employed 28,000 people to produce B-29 bombers. Macon and Milledgeville were home to ordnance plants. Brunswick, located at the confluence of three rivers, and Savannah located on the Savannah River, made perfect locations for shipyards. Of the eighteen shipyard on America’s coast, these towns were two of the nation’s largest facilities. The plants became so proficient, they produced one 440-foot liberty ship every eighty-nine days, ultimately manufacturing ninety-nine between 1943 and 1945.

The downside to the manufacturing sector was the impact to agriculture. Men left the farms as they enlisted or were drafted (agricultural deferments didn’t begin until 1942). Farm workers moved to the defense industry where salaries were exponentially higher. Some farmers sold their land to defense contractors. Italian and German prisoners of war housed at Camps Gordon and Stewart were used to supplement the need for workers during harvest season.

Approximately 320,000 Georgians served in the armed forces, with about 7,000 giving the ultimate sacrifice.
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About The Widow & The War Correspondent: Coming June 15

Are a new life and new love possible in a country devastated by war?

Barely married before she’s widowed after Pearl Harbor three years ago, journalist Cora Strealer travels to England where she’s assigned to work with United Press’s top reporter who thinks the last place for a woman is on the front lines. Can she change his opinion before D-Day? Or will she have to choose her job over her heart?

A sought-after journalist, Van Toppel deserves his pick of assignments, which is why he can’t determine the bureau chief’s motive for saddling him with a cub reporter. Unfortunately, the beautiful rookie is no puff piece. Can he get her off his beat without making headlines…or losing his heart?

Pre-Order Link: https://amzn.to/3eBolHb

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back, Barbara Britton

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back, Barbara Britton

I am thrilled to have Barbara back on my blog today talking about her latest release, Until June. I was honored to receive an Advance Reader Copy, and devoured the book in one day. Well-written and powerful, the story will stay with you long after you finish the last page. 

Linda:  Welcome back to my blog. I’ve loved your books about biblical characters. Your upcoming release Until June is a total departure from your past books in that the story is set during WWI. What was the inspiration for the story?
Barbara: Thank you, Linda. I appreciate being back on your blog. Almost twelve years ago, I was on an Alaskan cruise excursion and visited the Taku Glacier Lodge outside of Juneau. Over lunch I heard a story about how a WWI veteran and his caregiver stayed at the lodge and raised sled dogs. I began thinking about a man and a woman being alone in a lodge for a long period of time and Until June was born.
LM: How has writing Until June differed from writing your previous books?
Barbara: Until June was the second story I wrote, and it was written before I started writing biblical fiction. I wrote three sweet romances before I wrote my debut novel based on a Bible story. My biblical novels have hundreds of mentions of God’s name, but Until June has ten. I also cover PTSD and the loss of limbs in a world war, which aren’t themes in my biblical stories. I worked on Until June over the years because it’s my Mom’s and mother-in-law’s favorite book, and veterans issues are near to my heart. I’m so happy it’s finally seeing the light of day.
LM: What sort of research was required to prepare you to write the story, and did you find any tidbit(s) you knew you had to include?
Barbara: I had to research various topics. I went on E-bay and purchased magazines from 1918-1920. One of those magazines was Woman’s Home Companion which is featured in the book. I read the romantic serials in the magazines and looked at the advertisements for dresses and food items. I also had to research war tactics from WWI and what veterans suffered as a result. I based the Gilbertsen Lodge on the Taku Lodge that I had visited, but I had to find out what Alaskan life was like in those early days during the mining boom.
LM: Tell us a bit about your journey to publication and what lessons you learned along the way.
Barbara and her family
at Taku Lodge
Barbara: I have learned to never give up on a story. I wrote four manuscripts before I received my Until June would still be under my bed if my son hadn’t seen the movie trailer for Me Before You. He texted me that someone had stolen my story. I looked up the blurb for Me Before You and discovered it differed from my novel. Both books are caregiver stories, but mine has a happy ending. I dusted off my manuscript and asked my publisher if they would like to see it. They offered me a contract over a decade after the story was written. I have improved the story over the years as I learned the craft of writing.
first publishing contract for biblical fiction.
LM: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Barbara: I enjoy taking long walks when the Wisconsin weather cooperates. I read a lot of books when I’m not writing them. I love teaching about the Bible to adults and children. You never know when you’re going to stumble upon a little-known Bible story.
LM: Here are some quickies:
Lakes or Mountains for vacation: Lakes
Dog or cat as a pet: It’s a tie on this one.
Favorite shoes: boots or high heels or something in between: Boots, definitely

LM: What is your next project? Can we expect other WWI or non-biblical era books from you?
Barbara: I’m working on another biblical story right now, but there is probably another Historical in my future.
LM: Where can folks find you on the web?
Barbara: I have a website—www.barbarambritton.com
I’m also on:

About Until June:
When seventeen-year-old seamstress, Josephine Nimetz, agrees to take care of a WWI amputee in a remote Alaskan lodge to escape the influenza of 1918, there’s enough friction to melt the Mendenhall Glacier. Her position is only until June, and it pays well enough to overlook the hardship of managing a rustic home and a shell-shocked veteran, Geoff Chambers.
Geoff makes it clear that he isn’t too fond of the “runt” sent to take care of his needs, nor of her painful mistakes. Dealing with a depressed and addicted amputee, pushes Josephine to the brink of leaving, if not for the money her salary brings.
But Josephine is a perfectionist, determined to get Geoff back on his feet—figuratively. Though, sending a rich, handsome veteran back into society may cost Josephine the man she has grown to love.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Traveling Tuesday: Colorado During WWII

Traveling Tuesday: Colorado During WWII

Bordered by seven states (Wyoming, Nebraska Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona), Colorado is considered part of both the western and southwestern United States. A diverse landscape includes mountains, forests, high plains, mesas, canyons, plateaus, rivers, and desert lands. The only state that lies entirely above one thousand meters’ elevation, Colorado’s lowest point is higher than eighteen states and the District of Columbia.

Named for the Colorado River (from the Spanish for Red River), the territory was organized in February, 1861, but Colorado was not given statehood until 1876 by President Grant. Because of the date it was admitted to the Union, Colorado is nicknamed the Centennial State.

As with many of the western United States during WWII, Colorado was home to many army and air force bases. Lowery Field alone trained 57,000 each year to supply the Army Air Forces with bomber crews, armourers, clerk typists, and aerial photographers. Camp Hale, located near Leadville in Eagle Valley, was created specifically to train soldiers in mountain warfare. The idea originated with Charles Dole, president of the National Ski Patrol who had heard about the exploits of the Finnish ski troops in the Russo-Finnish war. Named for Irving G. Hale, a Coloradoan veteran of the Spanish-American War and a founder of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the camp also served as a dog training and POW camp for German soldiers (one of forty-eight POW camps in the state).

In addition to its military camps, Colorado was the location of a Japanese-American internment camp called Amache that opened in the fall of 1942. At its peak, the camp held more than 7,300 internees who were confined in a one square mile, barbed wire enclosure watched over by armed guards. Nearly 1,000 of the Japanese Americans held at Amache joined the military and fought in the war, thirty-one of whom lost their lives.

The defense industry also took up residence in the state with Denver being a large home to many of the plants such as Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Remington Arms Co., Colorado Fuel & Iron, and Pueblo Ordnance Depot. Western Cutlery and steel manufacturers received contracts and subcontracts to supply the military. Railroads, trucking companies, and airlines flourishes and oil producers, coal mines, and cement factories boomed. With the need to provide food for the U.S., her troops, as well as her allies, Colorado farmers increased their output.

Colorado also sent her young men and women to serve in uniform, and nearly 3,000 residents gave the ultimate sacrifice.

______________________

The Widow & The War Correspondent

Are a new life and new love possible in a country devastated by war?

Barely married before she’s widowed after Pearl Harbor three years ago, journalist Cora Strealer travels to England where she’s assigned to work with United Press’s top reporter who thinks the last place for a woman is on the front lines. Can she change his opinion before D-Day? Or will she have to choose her job over her heart?

A sought-after journalist, Van Toppel deserves his pick of assignments, which is why he can’t determine the bureau chief’s motive for saddling him with a cub reporter. Unfortunately, the beautiful rookie is no puff piece. Can he get her off his beat without making headlines…or losing his heart?

Preorder link: https://amzn.to/3d0pQ1h

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back Bonnie Engstrom!

Welcome Back, Bonnie Engstrom!

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your latest release When Hearts Entwine. The plot sounds intriguing. Where did you find your inspiration for this series and the story?
Bonnie: Thank you, Linda, for inviting me. I need to clarify a bit about When Hearts Entwine. It is a standalone and not part of a series. Also, it is not a recent story, but a book with a reinvented cover and title that was chosen by suggestions from clever followers on my Facebook author page. It might be confusing for readers to click on the link below the cover and see A Cup of Love as the title. But, it’s really When Hearts Entwine.
LM: Research is a large part of any book. How did you go about researching When Hearts Entwine, and did you discover any extra special tidbits of information?
Bonnie: This is one story I did very little research for. I based it on a cooking class I had taken and loved. Many of the minor characters are developed from memory. Erik, the hero, is a total fabrication, so I made him a dream hero ~ a handsome hunk EMT, angry, confused, but with a soft heart. Jillian, like many of my heroines, works in education. The story takes place in my former home town, Newport Beach, California. I did have to research some of the food referred to, especially Erik’s favorites, Danish pastries. I was mostly familiar with the Swedish food since I grew up with a Swedish grandmother. I researched the various types of fish served in Sweden. A lot of it in the ugh category. Although since we visited Sweden I love to have cold salmon for breakfast.
I want to make it clear that this story is not really about food, but about complex emotions. Mostly hurt, anger and redemption. The food part is fun background.
It’s also about healing and expanding horizons of faith. The Prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10 is prominent to the story, and to Erik’s sometimes shaky beliefs. There is also a substory about Josh, a Muslim student of Jillian’s, who embraces Christianity but fears ostracism from his family. So, there is definitely more complexity than food. But I’ve been told the food references make readers’ mouths water.

LM: Do you do anything special to prepare yourself for writing? (E.g., listen to music, set up in a certain place)
Bonnie: I write in my den surrounded by photos of my grandchildren and the mementoes they’ve Wine, because no great story ever started with salad. But what’s funny about it to me is the first story I wrote (now shoved under the bed) was inspired while I was making a salad.
given me over the years. I am an only child, so I like quiet. I have a funny little plaque that says
LM: What is your favorite part of the writing process: creating story ideas, researching, writing, editing, or something else?
Bonnie: Definitely not editing! I enjoy editing for others, but hate doing my own. I self-edit each manuscript at least five or six times, and I always miss something. The process I enjoy the most is creating the story in my head, then seeing where it goes. I am a seat of the pants writer who lets her characters lead the way.
LM: How do you decide where to set your stories?
Bonnie: Most are set in Newport Beach or Scottsdale, Arizona, my former home and my current one. Some are combo settings with characters traveling between the two. One book is set in Pennsylvania where I grew up. I don’t like the idea of making up a town, especially since I don’t write cozies.
LM: Here are some quickies:
Favorite season: Winter in Arizona and the beginning of Spring when our resident mockingbird tells me it’s 5 am.
Favorite place to visit: Can’t go anywhere now, can we? But I loved visiting Scotland and Sweden years ago. I’ve gone back to Newport Beach several times, but it’s sad to see how much it’s changed. Other than cities or countries, my favorite place to visit is Steinmart!
Favorite author: Deb Macomber. I collect her books and have two packed shelves of them. The two other authors who inspired me are Bev Rainey and Randy Alcorn. I sure wish I could tell a story as beautifully as any of the three. One of my favorite secular authors is Carolyn Brown who writes clean, compelling fiction.
LM: What is your next project?
Bonnie: Natalie’s Red Dress, the final book in my Candy Cane Girls Series. Also, author Gail Kittleson and I are talking about writing a devotional together. I have several pre-written stories and some on the back burner that need to be completed, plus a few short stories and devotionals.
I have a short story, never published, that won second place in The Writers Digest Short Story Contest in 2008. WD only published the first place winner, but it sent me a $500 check! I’m still deciding whether to publish it. Maybe, someday . . .
LM: Where can folks find you on the web?
              www.facebook.com/bonnieengstromauthor
              bengstrom@hotmail.com
Bonnie is giving away an ebook or signed paperback to one commenter. Please join the conversation for your chance to win.


About When Hearts Entwine: The cooking class was to be a respite for Jillian from her stressful job as a high school guidance counselor. Was meeting co-student Erik who carried baggage of guilt for his parents' murder and his unique way of witnessing an invitation to emotional disaster? Caught between "friendship" with Erik and her politically incorrect support of Josh, a Muslim student turned Christian, Jillie almost lost her faith in love. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Wartime Wednesday: Macaroni Mousse for Six

Hot Macaroni Mousse for Six
(From Better Meals in Wartime)

1 Cup uncooked elbow macaroni
1 ½ Cups scalded milk
1 Cup soft, white breadcrumbs
¼ Cup melted margarine (Remember, this was wartime!)
1 green pepper, minced
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped onions
1 Teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon paprika
½ Cup grated cheese
3 eggs, beaten

Boil the macaroni in salted, boiling water as directed on the package. Drain and place in a greased bread pan or oblong baking dish.

Sauce: Pour scalded milk over breadcrumbs. Add margarine, onions, parsley, seasonings, green pepper, and cheese. Stir in well-beaten eggs and pour the entire mixture over the macaroni.

Set the dish or plan in a pan of hot water-allowing the water to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake 40 minutes or more in a moderate oven (350 degrees). Test by inserting a knife to be sure it is firm. Turn out on a platter and decorate with watercress. This can be served as a main dish and meat substitute.


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About The Widow & The War Correspondent 

Are a new life and new love possible in a country devastated by war?

Barely married before she’s widowed after Pearl Harbor three years ago, journalist Cora Strealer travels to England where she’s assigned to work with United Press’s top reporter who thinks the last place for a woman is on the front lines. Can she change his opinion before D-Day? Or will she have to choose her job over her heart?

A sought-after journalist, Van Toppel deserves his pick of assignments, which is why he can’t determine the bureau chief’s motive for saddling him with a cub reporter. Unfortunately, the beautiful rookie is no puff piece. Can he get her off his beat without making headlines…or losing his heart?

Pre-order Link: https://amzn.to/2LCiDIs

Monday, May 18, 2020

Mystery Monday: The Mother of Detective Fiction

Mystery Monday: The Mother of Detective Fiction

If Edgar Allan Poe is often referred to as the father of the American detective story, who is its mother? Many scholars believe the answer to be Anna Katharine Green, born in Brooklyn, New York in 1846. (Metta Fuller Victor published The Dead Letter twelve years earlier, but the book was the only piece of full length mystery fiction she released, instead focusing on dime novels and short magazine stories.)

Anna graduated from Ripley Female College (now Green Mountain College) in 1866. Having met Ralph Waldo Emerson, she developed poetic ambitions which failed to gain much recognition. She turned her hand toward mystery novels, and her first novel The Leavenworth Case initially sold over 150,000 copies. Over the course of fifteen years, the book sold nearly three quarters of a million copies-a staggering number at the time. The story featured her fictional detective Ebenezer Gryce who “was not the thin, wiry individual with the piercing eye you are doubtless expecting to see. On the contrary, Mr. Gryce was a portly, comfortable personage with an eye that never pierced, that did not even rest on you.”
 
She published two more novels, A Strange Disappearance (1880) and Hand and Ring (1883) that sold well, but never met with the success of her first book. In 1884, she married Charles Rohlfs, a struggling actor nine years her junior. Unable to find success in theatre, he turned to furniture making. Anna and Charles had three children: one daughter and two sons (who both had careers in aviation as test pilots).

Over the course of her forty-five year career, Anna published forty novels, and is credited with developing the series detective. In three of her books, Gryce is assisted by society spinster Amelia Butterworth, a prototype of Miss Marple, Miss Silver, and others. Anna also invented the “girl detective” when she created Violet Strange, a debutant with a secret life as a sleuth.

Although hardly high literary work, her stories were tightly plotted and well-constructed. She used her father’s expertise as an attorney to ensure accuracy and realism. Some of her innovative plot devices include newspaper clippings as clues, expert witnesses, and the coroner’s inquest. So accurate was her work, Yale Law School used her books to demonstrate the danger of relying on circumstantial evidence. An interesting aside is the anecdote that says The Leavenworth Case sparked a debate in the Pennsylvania State Senate as to whether the book could “really have been written by a woman.”

Anna’s influence and popularity were so great that Arthur Conan Doyle sought her out during his 1894 visit to the U.S. Despite her “progressiveness,” she did believe women should get the right to vote. She passed away in 1935 at the age of eighty-eight.

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The Widow & The War Correspondent: A WWII Romance

Are a new life and new love possible in a country devastated by war?

Barely married before she’s widowed after Pearl Harbor three years ago, journalist Cora Strealer travels to England where she’s assigned to work with United Press’s top reporter who thinks the last place for a woman is on the front lines. Can she change his opinion before D-Day? Or will she have to choose her job over her heart?

A sought-after journalist, Van Toppel deserves his pick of assignments, which is why he can’t determine the bureau chief’s motive for saddling him with a cub reporter. Unfortunately, the beautiful rookie is no puff piece. Can he get her off his beat without making headlines…or losing his heart?

Pre-order Link: https://amzn.to/3bzMgVn