Monday, October 21, 2019

Mystery Monday: Pinkerton's Lady Detectives

Mystery Monday: Pinkerton’s Lady Detectives

Kate Warne was Allan Pinkerton’s first female detective, but neither was she the last or only woman he hired. Here is a bit about three of his lady “private eyes.”

Hattie Lewis Lawton: a widow, she was described by Allan as “delicate and driven.” She often went undercover assuming numerous identities. One of her most dangerous assignments occurred during the Civil War. Posing as the wife of fellow operative Timothy Webster, they traveled to Richmond, VA where they pretended to be Rebel sympathizers from Maryland. Prior to this Timothy infiltrated the underground Sons of Liberty organization. Over the course of several months, the pair collected and conveyed information to the home office about troop movements, battle plans, and other intelligence.

Vinnie Ream: After the plan to assassinate President Lincoln in Baltimore was unearthed, Allan Pinkerton was placed in charge of the president’s protection. Rumors of plans abounded, and he investigated every report. He felt that some of the threats originated from within Lincoln’s cabinet, so in an effort to get inside the closed circle without suspicion, he hired Vinnie to sculpt a bust of the president. During her time of creating the sculpture, senators and congressmen wandered in and out of her work area to watch her work, giving her the opportunity to overhear conversations that she passed along to Pinkerton.

Elizabeth Baker: According to Pinkerton, a “genteel woman agent” who was “more than suitable” for her assignment. He had her contact two sets of friends she’d known from her days of living in Richmond and inform them of her intent to visit. She was invited to say with Captain Atwater of the Confederate Navy and his wife. There, Elizabeth met influential socialites, Confederate officers, and politically ambitious Southerners. During the many parties held at the Atwater’s home, she was able to collect vast amounts of information about the Confederate’s plans. Perhaps her most important opportunity was the time she was invited to watch a submarine demonstration. Afterwards, she successfully made her way to Washington where she reported everything she’d seen and included a sketch of the sub.

Although women were not admitted to any police force until 1891 or widely accepted as detectives until 1903, Kate Warne and her “Lady Pinkertons” paved the way for future female officers and investigators.

May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit.

Set in the early days of America’s entry into WWII and featuring cameo appearances from Hollywood stars, Murder of Convenience is a tribute to individuals who served on the home front, especially those who did so in spite of personal difficulties, reminding us that service always comes as a result of sacrifice. Betrayal, blackmail, and a barrage of unanswered questions… Murder of Convenience is the first the exciting new “Women of Courage” series.

 Purchase Link:

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Kathy McKinsey

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Kathy McKinsey

Linda:  Welcome to my blog. It’s such a pleasure to have you. Congratulations on your upcoming release next week, Millie’s Christmas.  This seems very different from your first book, All My Tears. What was your inspiration for this story?

Kathy: I wanted to establish a project to make me write every day. It was December, so I chose to do a Christmas story. I started without any plan of what the story would be, except that I decided to write it in the POV of a kitten. Then God gifted me with this fun story.

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

Kathy: I am growing in doing research. I use the internet, and I’m getting better at asking other people to give me information about things they are expert at.

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

Kathy: I’m still trying to get myself to write daily. So, as soon as I’ve finished whatever first things I need to do in the morning, I’m working on just sitting down in my armchair and writing.

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

Kathy: Whoa, that’s a long time ago to remember.:) I had to think about it. I learned to read braille when I was eleven, and then I could read as much as I wanted. Before then, my mom read to me, and she was a busy lady, a farmer, and mother of four. Plus, she had to work with me on my school work. So she couldn’t read just fun books to me a lot.

A fun memory I have is when she read MY FRIEND FLICKA. She would often read things from the book to my dad the next morning, things that had to do with farmers’ lives.

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

Kathy: this is another tough one. God has given me the gift of doing many of the things I wanted to do. Such as writing.

But also, as a blind person, He has given me the opportunity to do things I may have feared I couldn’t do, such as raise children, have a job, cook and bake, make pretty things—by crocheting and knitting and drawing tactile pictures using braille characters.

I have been allowed to do so many of the things I wanted to do.

LM: Here are some quickies:
Favorite Season:
Favorite Movie:
Favorite place to visit:

Kathy: Summer, because I hate to be cold. The Sound of Music. I love to visit my children’s and my mother’s homes.

LM: What is your next project?

Kathy: I am working on another collection of women’s fiction novellas, to be published in 2021.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?


About Millie's Christmas: 

Ruthie says Millie will love Christmas. Ruthie is Millie's best friend, s she's sure Ruthie's right, but why does Millie keep finding Ruthie and her brother Jake crying?

Millie, an orange kitten, shares about her first Christmas. Her best friend Ruthie, six years old, teaches Millie about Christmas-food, decorations, music, presents, and Jesus! Millie's friend Bruce, the family dog, also helps her celebrate Christmas, and sometimes gets her in trouble.

When Ruthie's big brother Jake breaks his ankle, Millie learns about sad things, like divorce, when Jake can't visit his mommy for Christmas. Millie watches Ruthie's family love each other through the sadness and find joy in Christmas.

Purchase Link:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Traveling Tuesday: Maryland

Traveling Tuesday: Maryland

Happy book birthday, Murder of Convenience. The first in my "Women of Courage" series was released one year ago, today. In celebration, I'm spotlighting the state in which it is set. Let's take a look at the state of Maryland and how they “did their bit” for the war effort.

As with all states, Maryland sent its citizens off to war, and even before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the state was preparing its National Guard units for combat. The 29th Infantry Division comprised of members from Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia compiled one of the most distinguished records in the war with two Medals of Honor, forty-one Distinguished Service Crosses, 816 Silver Stars, 5,151 Bronze Stars, and countless Air Medals. In addition, the division received a Presidential Unit Citation.

Production of war materiel commenced as over 900 factories were converted from manufacturing peacetime commodities, such as Bethlehem Steel at Sparrows Point who produced nearly twenty tons of steel. The Bethlehem Fairfield shipyard build 374 Liberty ships, and shipyards around the state repaired over 10,000 vessels. Between them the George L. Martin Company and Fairfield Aircraft Division assembled over 16,000 planes.

Aberdeen Proving Grounds (a military installation where weapons or technology are tested or experimented with, or where military tactics are tested) and Andrews Air Force Base are perhaps the state’s most famous locations, but numerous airfields were created for training pilots and air crew. Many of these airports were converted to municipal airports, while others were returned to agricultural use. Hundreds of “temporary” buildings survive today and used for other purposes.

In 1940, University of Maryland was tapped by the U.S. Surgeon General to help form a Medical Reserve Corps. Two years later, two dozen graduates were activated for duty with the 42nd and 142nd General Hospitals and served in Australia, the Philippines, and Fuji. Eventually, more than 150 graduates went on to serve in all branches of the military.

I lived in Gaithersburg, Maryland for ten years and had no idea it was one of the twenty POW camps located in the state. Fort Meade received the first POWs in 1942 and ultimately housed more than 2,000 prisoners. POWs worked on local farms as well as at Bethesda’s Stonyhurst Quarry where they broke and loaded flagstone. Others cut pulp wood at Smith Point.

Victory gardens were a part of everyday life of course, but Henry Irr, president of Baltimore Federal Savings and Loan raised the production bar by sponsoring a statewide competition that included bonds as prizes. Not to be outdone, Constance Black, wife of Baltimore Sun executive Harry Black, converted the hill behind her mansion to a Victory Garden and then opened a neighborhood farm stand.

These are just a few of the way, the tiny state of Maryland pulled her weight during WWII.


May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit.

Set in the early days of America’s entry into WWII and featuring cameo appearances from Hollywood stars, Murder of Convenience is a tribute to individuals who served on the home front, especially those who did so in spite of personal difficulties, reminding us that service always comes as a result of sacrifice. Betrayal, blackmail, and a barrage of unanswered questions… Murder of Convenience is the first in the exciting “Women of Courage” series.

Purchase Link:

Monday, October 14, 2019

Mystery Monday: First Female Pinkerton Detective

Mystery Monday: First Female Pinkerton Detective

Finding employment as a widow in the mid-1800s could be challenging. Prospects for jobs included teacher, store clerk, office clerk (although senior secretarial positions for mostly held by men,) housekeeper, governess, and laundress. None of these positions held allure for Kate Hulbert Warne, a 23-year old widow from New York.

Instead, she answered an advertisement Allan Pinkerton placed in one of the Chicago newspapers. Stunned at Mrs. Warne’s interest at being hired as a detective, Pinkerton replied, “It is not the custom to employ women detectives. Indeed, I never heard of a female detective.”

But Kate was persuasive saying, “Women can be most useful in worming out secrets in many places which would be impossible for a male detective. A woman would be able to befriend the wives and girlfriends of suspected criminals and gain their confidence. Men become braggarts when they are around women who encourage them to boast. Women have an eye for detail and are excellent observers.”

Pinkerton asked for twenty-four hours to consider her request. When he hired her the following day she became the nation’s first female detective. It is reported that she is the one who thwarted an assassination attempt on President Lincoln. She often worked undercover, and her cases included discovering the whereabouts of $40,000 stolen from Adams Express Company, finding the killer of City Bank of Atkinson teller George Gordon, and solving the attempted murder of Captain J.N. Sumner.

Few photos exist of Kate, but Pinkerton described her as: “Her features, although not was could be called handsome, were decidedly of an intellectual cast. Her face was honest, which would cause one in distress instinctively to select her as a confidante.” In his memoirs that were published as her death, he commented that “she exceeded all his expectations.”

Highly successful, Kate passed away at the age of 37. Newspapers praised her work saying “She was quick to perceive and prompt to act; she proved that females are useful in a sphere to which the wants of society have long been loath to assign them. As she lived, so she died, a fearless, pure, and devoted woman.”

May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit.

Set in the early days of America’s entry into WWII and featuring cameo appearances from Hollywood stars, Murder of Convenience is a tribute to individuals who served on the home front, especially those who did so in spite of personal difficulties, reminding us that service always comes as a result of sacrifice. Betrayal, blackmail, and a barrage of unanswered questions… Murder of Convenience is the first the exciting new “Women of Courage” series.

Purchase Link:

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back, Barbara Britton!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back, Barbara Britton!

Linda:  Welcome back to my blog. I’m a huge fan of your work and am so pleased you are taking time to visit. Congratulations on your upcoming release, Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey. How did you decide to write about this particular biblical character?

Barbara: One of my fellow Bible study leaders mentioned a story about five girls who inherited their father’s land in the book of Numbers. I had just finished a read-through-the-Bible challenge and didn’t remember the story of the daughters of Zelophehad. After reading about the sisters’ historic “ask,” I decided to write their story. One book turned into three.

LM: What is something you learned about Mahlah during your research that really stuck with you?

Barbara: I was amazed how much Scripture in the Bible deals with the daughters of Zelophehad. How had I missed it all these years? Mahlah and her sisters remind Joshua about their inheritance of land eight years after their promise of land from God and Moses (Joshua 17:3-6).

LM: How much, if any, of yourself, goes into your characters?

Barbara: My characters are bolder in most circumstances. Women in ancient times didn’t have the rights or support we do today. They had to fight to gain freedoms and financial stability.

LM: You write about biblical places. Out of all the locations you’ve researched, where is one place you’d like to visit if you had the opportunity and why?

Barbara: I definitely want to travel to Israel and see where Jesus walked, but also see where some of my novels are set. I would like to see the Jezreel Valley, Jordan River, and Jerusalem. Visiting the ruins of ancient cities in Israel would be interesting, and it may give me more story ideas.

LM: What words of advice do you have for fledgling writers?

Barbara: For aspiring authors, I would recommend joining professional writing organizations and getting involved in their local chapters. Going to conferences and meeting other writers builds a network of support. Fledgling authors makes me think of authors who are struggling to find writing time, or who are burned out on writing. Sometimes you have to sit down and write even if you aren’t excited about your project. In other instances, you need to make the time to write like getting up fifteen minutes earlier each day or writing during a lunch hour. It isn’t easy to find time to write and market books with a busy life. In the last years, authors are being asked to do more and more to promote their books. There is more work to be done with the same hours in a day. We love what we do but writing takes a lot of mental and physical energy, plus time. So, hug an author!

LM: Here are some quickies:

Sweet or Salty for a snack: sweet--chocolate
Coffee or tea as your “go-to” drink: iced tea
Walk, bike, or drive as your preferred mode of transportation: I love to walk on level pathways.

LM: What is your next project?

Barbara: A WWI Historical and another Biblical.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Barbara: My website is a one-stop shop or they can find me on Twitter and Facebook or Goodreads.

You can find “Lioness” at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Book blurb for “Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey:”
While the Israelites struggle to occupy the Promised Land of God, Mahlah bat Zelophehad is orphaned and left to care for her four sisters. But daughters of the dead are unable to inherit land, and it will take a miracle for Mahlah to obtain the means to care for her sisters and uphold the vow she made to her dying mother.

Mahlah must seek Moses, the leader of her people, and request something extraordinary—the right for a daughter to inherit her deceased father’s land. A right that will upset the ox-cart of male inheritance and cast her in the role of a rebel.

But, God is the protector of the orphan and the widow, and five orphaned daughters need His help. With God, anything is possible. Even changing man’s tradition.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Mystery Monday: The Pinkerton Agency Part II

Mystery Monday: The Pinkerton Agency Part II

With the death of Allan Pinkerton in 1884, the agency was taken over by his sons, Robert (in New York) and William (in Chicago). Shortly, thereafter a branch was opened in Denver, with James McParland and Charlie Siringo managed the Western Division. Many of the agency’s assignments were connected to the federal government, and operatives performed may of the same duties that are now handled by the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. In addition, Pinkertons (as they began to be called) worked for the railroads and overland stage companies, chasing down outlaws, such as the Reno Brothers and Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch.

By this time, the company had become heavily involved in the anti-labor movement, often hired by large organizations to break strikes or prevent them from happening by using undercover agents to infiltrate the unions. However, the state of Ohio was not impressed with the agency, and in 1890 outlawed them saying that Pinkerton’s 2,000 active agents and 30,000 reserves were larger than the US army and could be hired out as a “private army” or militia.

At the turn of the century, Pinkerton began to face competition from other security agencies that had popped up as well as from improved city police departments. As a result, the agency expanded its operations to conduct investigations for insurance claims and provide protection at racetracks and public events. In 1907 Allan Pinkerton II, grandson of the company founder, inherited the agency. By the 1920s, the firm also began investigations into the growing Mafia presence in New York and New Orleans.

In 1930 Robert Pinkerton II, the great-grandson of Allan Pinkerton became head of the agency. During the labor upsurges of the Depression years, strikebreakers and union-busters relied heavily on spies and espionage. With an emphasis placed on undercover work, Pinkerton became the most important supplier of industrial spies in the country. By 1940, however, the agency narrowed its focus to private investigative services and guarding of property. During WWII, operatives were hired to guard war supply plants.

With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.

Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.

Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?

Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.

Purchase Link:

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Author Maria Bostian

 Talkshow Thursday: Meet Maria Bostian

It was October 9, 1871. The day started out like any other for most residents, but little did they know that it was going to be hot… and dry… and windy… and that their heroic firefighters were tired and weary from yesterday’s work. 

And Chicago sat… waiting like a matchbox.

One spark quickly spread from structure to structure, wagon to wagon …person to person. Embers flew through the air as far as a mile, lighting everything they touched.

Sounds like the gripping introduction to a fiction piece, doesn’t it? Does it make you feel sad? Anxious? Scared?

You can find the rest of the story below, on the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) website, or another reputable source. Just Google “Great Chicago Fire.” Yes, that is right. This isn’t the beginning of a good tale, it’s a reality… it’s our past, it’s a tragic part of our US history.

While it is a sad fact that the Great Chicago Fire is the 3rd greatest fire in US history, something good did come from the event. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed fire prevention week as a national observance. It is the longest running public health observance in our country. And why is it celebrated during the full week of October 9th each year? It’s celebrated during this time to remember the devastating Great Chicago Fire.

So how to you plan to remember the heroes and the victims of the Great Chicago Fire during Fire Prevention Week 2019?

  • Are you testing working smoke alarms?
  • Are you creating or practicing a fire escape plan?
  • Are you purchasing safety devices such as long-like smoke and carbon monoxide alarms   and fire extinguishers?
  • Are you looking into a residential fire sprinkler retro-fit?

Whatever your plans, make sure to take time to talk “fire safety” with the family. Do you have small children? If so, make it fun!
  • Time your fire drill. Now do it again. Can each of you make it to your meeting place a little quicker?
  • Visit a local fire station and deliver cards, cookies, or other treats. Ask firefighters to explain the importance of a safe, outdoor meeting places and other important fire safety information to your children. 
  • Read fun and engaging fire safety stories and see if you can act them out. Looking for some suggestions? My What Should Daisy Do and Firefighters’ Busy Day are both factual, yet interactive and provide additional safety tips and activities in each!

Once your family has practiced fire safety, encourage friends and neighbors to do so.
  • Have a neighborhood fire drill.
  • Plan a fire safety block party.
  • Visit and assist shut-ins; checking safety devices, clearing exit pathways, etc.

So, have I “sparked” any Fire Prevention Week ideas? If so, I’d love to hear from you! Need more fire safety information? If so, feel free to reach out. I can always be found on Facebook as @MJBostian or on my Pinterest page @K-Town Fire Girl.

Interested in copies of my children’s fire safety books? Today’s special for Linda’s blog readers and friends is: $12 per copy or $20 for both. This includes personalized signed copies, coloring sheets, and shipping. Email me for details with FPW BOOK OFFER in the subject line. Need multiple copies for classrooms, libraries, or fire stations? If so, please put FPW MULTIPLES in the subject line for special pricing. All orders received on Thursday will be mailed out by Saturday afternoon for use during Fire Prevention Week!

About Maria: Maria Bostian is a Montessori-trained Fire & Life Safety Educator for a NC fire department with 10 years in the classroom and 15 years of fire service experience. She began the long road to publishing in 2014 and is looking forward to the release of her injury prevention chapter book series featuring the lovable Fraidy Brady Bobcat.