Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Traveling Tuesday: The Mariana Islands

Traveling Tuesday: The Mariana Islands

Prior to WWII, the majority of Americans did not travel past a few miles of where they were born. Then the war came, and men were sent to corners of the globe that no one had ever heard of. Newspapers featured maps on the front page, and U.S. citizens suddenly became geography experts.

Located in the North Pacific Ocean, the Mariana islands comprise a crescent-shaped archipelago. Only four of the islands are inhabited-Guam, Saipan, Rota, and Tinian. Mostly dormant volcanic mountains, they were named for Queen Mariana by the Spaniards. The Marianas can be found south of Japan, west of Hawaii, north of New Guinea, and east of the Philippines. The islands remained a Spanish colony under the central government of the Philippines until 1898. When Spain lost the Spanish-American war, the islands were sold to Germany. After WWI, Germany's colonies were placed in trust under the League of Nations. As a result, the Mariana Islands were assigned to Japan.

Then came WWII, and these and many other Pacific islands saw heavy fighting. At the end of the war, the Mariana's were once again put into trust. However, this time they were assigned to the U.S. Several years later, they became a U.S. Territory. Guam is a separate U.S. territory from the other Mariana Islands, mostly because of the different histories experienced by the islands. Guam was occupied by Japan during wartime for nearly three years. The northern islands were peacefully occupied by Japan for over thirty years.

Today tourism is a large part of the economy for the Northern Mariana Islands with visitors primarily from China, Korea, and Russia.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wartime Wednesday: Sonja Henie

Wartime Wednesday: Sonja Henie

Sonja at the height of
her career
Long before there were boy-bands and teenaged celebrities, there was Sonja Henie. Born in Oslo, Norway in 1912, Sonja was adept at many sports, but settled on ice skating as her first love. By age fourteen, she won her first world championship, and captured the title for the next nine years. In a sport dominated by men, where women’s competitions were an afterthought, she burst onto the scene and captured the hearts of audiences. After a successful amateur skating career, she transitioned to Hollywood star with seemingly little effort.

Credited with being the first female skater to wear short skirts, white boots, and use dance choreography, Sonja’s skating techniques were groundbreaking. Her glamorous persona transformed the sport and its place in the Olympic games. However, she was not without controversy.

Henie with Hitler in 1936
The 1936 Olympics were held in Berlin, Germany, and Hitler was in attendance. Reports indicate Sonja skated into the rink at full speed and skidded to a stop in front of where Hitler was sitting. She raised her arm and declared, “Heil, Hitler.” Her colleagues were stunned, and the newspapers had a field day questioning “Is Sonja a Nazi?” According to her brother Leif, Sonja claimed, “I don’t even know what a Nazi is.”

However she may have learned during the lunch she had with Hitler at his nearby hideaway, Berchtesgaden. She kept up her Nazi connections after her movie career started. Joseph Goebbels personally handled the released of her film “One in a Million,” in Germany. During Germany’s occupation of Norway, troops reported that Hitler’s autographed photo resided on the piano in the Henie living room. As potential proof of her collaboration, none of the Henie property was damaged or confiscated during the occupation. Although supportive of the Allied cause through appearances in USO shows, Sonja never made any negative comments against the Nazis during the war.

Was she political? Did she have Nazi leanings? According to Dick Button, two time gold Olympic gold medalist, “She was an opportunist…I don’t think she could have cared less who Hitler was, except for whatever power he had and what it would do for her career.”

Whatever her connection to Germany, Americans loved her in film and on ice. Her Hollywood career was so successful, her estate was valued at more than $45 million at the time of her death in 1969 at the age of 57.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Mystery Monday: Foyle's War

Mystery Monday: Foyle’s War

I’m an anglophile – I love all things British. I watch BBC television, have a subscription to Britain magazine, and keep up with what’s happening in the British Isles through any number of means. I love crime fiction, and my favorite show is Foyle’s War. It combines my interest in WWII, England, and mysteries.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, let me give you the premise. Christopher Foyle is a veteran of The Great War and a Detective Chief Inspector on the south coast in the village of Hastings. Widowed, he has one son to whom he is very close. Their relationship is evidenced by dialogue and exchanged glances rather than demonstrated with hugs or physical contact. Foyle would rather be making a direct impact on the war by serving with the War Office in some way, but unfortunately, his requests for transfer are always turned down.

Historical details are highly accurate, and viewers are educated about the era often through clever dialogue. For example, Foyle’s driver, Samantha Stewart, has a voracious appetite. Her struggles with rationing are a bit of a running gag throughout the series. During one show, a group of youngsters collect scrap in an effort to win a contest. The kids come to the police station a couple of times to pick up items, but Foyle repeatedly forgets to bring stuff in to work. He comments that the children are going to accuse him of being a “fifth columnist.”
In front of Foyle's House

Although a police procedural, the show is anything but dry. Each episode intertwines a crime, a home front issue, and personal situations of the characters, and I was disappointed when the show ceased production.

In March 2015, I was visited Hastings. It was very exciting to follow in DCI Foyle’s footsteps.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Forensic Friday: Computers

Forensic Friday: Computers

Computer Forensics
According to www.searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition, computer forensics is “the application of investigation and analysis techniques to gather and preserve evidence from a particular computing device in a way that is suitable for presentation in a court of law.” The goal is to examine digital media in such a manner as to identify, preserve, recover, and analyze the digital information to be able to present facts and opinions about the information.

Although most often associated with the investigation of computer crime, computer forensics is also used during civil cases. In addition to data recovery, forensics are used to create an audit trail. In the early 1980s computers became more accessible to the public. As a result, criminal activity increased with crimes such as hacking or the use of computers to commit fraud. The by early 2000s, other crimes such as pornography, espionage, and cyberstalking surfaced.

Dr. Conrad Murray
The good news is that computer forensics has helped solve numerous crimes. Two of the more famous cases are the BTK Killer Dennis Rader. He sent letters to the police on a floppy disc. Metadata within the documents led authorities to Rader’s arrest. Michael’s Jackson’s doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray was convicted by digital evidence on his computer that included medical documentation showing lethal amounts of the drug Propofol.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Who doesn't love a giveaway?

A special giveaway by Celebrate Lit!

Celebrate Lit is excited to announce their new Celebration Box! The celebration box is a unique, one of a kind box with goodies hand picked by the author just for you! These boxes are special because they are not sold anywhere else. There is a limited supply so be sure to get yours right away.
October's box features Molly Jebber's Change of Heart. Sales for the October box will close on September 16 or while supplies last.
The basic box includes:
  • A minimum of six items handpicked by the author themed around the book.
  • A themed charm specifically chosen for this book.
  • One lucky box will contain a special item that no one else will receive.
Along with the basic box, you can purchase the ebook or paperback book for a discounted price.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Traveling Tuesday: Belgium

Traveling Tuesday: Belgium

Map of Belgium during WWII
Belgium is nestled between Germany, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Their population of eleven million people is culturally split in two-the Dutch-speaking, Flemish communities (59%), and the French-speaking population (41%). There is a tiny-group of German-speaking people along the German border. Originally part of the Netherlands, Belgium seceded in 1830.

Worn out after WWI, Belgium had no desire to be involved in a war in Europe. The country declared itself neutral when the hostilities began. As such, they signed a neutrality agreement with Germany and pulled themselves out of the Locarno Treaty of 1925. The military reorganized into a defensive unit, and fortifications were built along the country’s borders. However, their force was no match for the Germans who invaded Belgium on May 10, 1940 as part of its campaign to capture France.
Belgium occupation WWII

 Realizing his cause was lost, King Leopold III, surrendered on May 28th, and was held a prisoner during the remainder of the war. The Belgium government fled to England, and the military fought alongside the Allies. The King became the focus for the Belgium Resistance-their slogan “The king is captive! Long live the king!” rallied people to the cause. During the occupation, Germany instituted a tax to handle the cost of governing the country. Reports indicate that nearly two-thirds of Belgium’s national income was paid out for these charges.

It is surmised that almost five percent of the population (Both Dutch- and French-speaking) was involved in the Resistance. In addition to sabotage of the military infrastructure, activities include assassinations of collaborators, publication of underground newspapers, gathering of intelligence, and maintaining escape networks to help Allied airmen. Resistance work was dangerous, and nearly twenty-five percent of the group lost their lives by the end of war.

The Allied liberation of Belgium began in September 1944, and the country was fully liberated by February 4, 1945.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Blog Tour and Book Review: Twice Redeemed

Blog Tour and Book Review: Twice Redeemed

History, Mystery & Faith is pleased to be a tour stop for Mimi Milan's book Twice Redeemed. Be sure to check out where you can purchase this wonderful book.

To purchase your own copy, click here.

About the Book

Who will save her from herself? After helping another girl escape, Mercedes Nobles suffers unspeakable abuse at Jericho. So when an American cowboy rides into town, she jumps at the opportunity to start a new life… even though she carries a secret that could destroy any chance of happiness for either of them. John Durbin may have turned in his badge, but he still believes in living by a code of honor. That includes returning to a seedy Mexican saloon and rescuing a woman who helped his friends escape. However, the tables turn and he finds himself married in name only. Struggling with cultural differences, they questions if their marriage will survive. Will John sacrifice his faith to make his new bride happy? How will Mercedes redeem herself when John learns of the secret she’s hiding?

My Thoughts About the Book:

"Twice Redeemed" is a sensitively written, fictional account about the "soiled doves" of the Old West. Set in 1918, when relations between Mexico and the U.S. were at odds with each other because of the killing of an innocent man at the border, the story captures the uneasiness and danger of the time. Through the effective use of Spanish phrases and vivid description, I was drawn into the dry, dusty, hot locale of Mexico. There are few characters in the book, affording Ms. Milan plenty of space to fully develop them. Secular writers could learn a lot from this author about crafting a villain without using profanity or cheap theatrics. Bits of history and geography woven through the story educated me without seeming like a lecture. In addition to the obvious theme of redemption, the concept of dependence on God is also evident throughout the story. Suspenseful and well-written this is the second in a series that was easily read as a stand-alone.

About the Author

Mimi Milan spent two decades scribbling away in notebooks before realizing that her life’s calling was to write. So she returned from Mexico and attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Film. She currently resides in the suburbs of Charlotte, making time for God, family and imaginary friends.

Blog Stops

August 11: Books,Dreams,Life
August 13: A Greater Yes
August 14: The Wits About
August 18: God is Love
August 20: cherylbbookblog
August 21: Karen’s Krayons
August 22: Bigreadersite

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Diane Theiler

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Diane Theiler

I'm pleased to introduce Diane Theiler, author of Black Mamba and Heaven's Bait. I hope you'll take a few minutes to get to know her.

Author Diane Theiler
Linda: You’ve been writing since you were a child. When did you know you want to pursue publication?

Diane: I’ve always wanted to publish but never knew how. It wasn’t until I met Jean Kinsey and Becky Kelley at a book signing that things turned around. They ended up taking me under their wing and mentoring me.

LM: Congratulations on publishing your latest novel. What was the inspiration for the story?

Diane: My latest novel was written for daughter Christene. I plan to write a book with each of my children as the main character. It’s a part of me they will be able to keep after I am gone. And of course, no one wants to be in a boring book, so it had to be Suspense.

LM: Do you have an unusual research story to share?

Diane: In Heaven’s Bait, I had to have a name that meant King but the word also had to sound like a person’s name. I went to the translator and translated King in a ton of languages to see what came up. I decided on a name, but halfway through the book, for whatever reason, I looked it up to show someone and low and behold it didn’t come up as King. I didn’t realize it wouldn’t translate back the same. Anyway, I had to go back to translator and start again.

LM: The age old question for writers-are you a “pantster” or a plotter?

Diane: A panster – It works for me. If I could be a plotter I think it would make things a lot easier. However, when I’ve tried, I’ve never been able to follow the plan. Whether its God that’s inspiring me or my characters that want to tell their own story, it always comes together at the end.

LM: Are any of your characters based on real people?

Diane: They are based on the essence of people. Maybe their personality, their sense of honor, or their individual struggle. Then of course Christ, in Heaven’s Bait is portrayed as I see Christ. Patient, gentle, kind, giving us free will, etc. But I also show how he hurts for us when we struggle, when we don’t trust Him, or refuse to accept his help. Satan is also my portrayal of Satan. Clever, conniving, biding his time.

LM: What is your next project?

Diane: I am working on Unintentional Deception. Cathleen Edwards, raped as a teenager, gives up the child for adoption and leaves town unable to face what happened. She’s sure God can never forgive her. When she loses her job, she has no option but to leave the man she loves behind and ask her best friend Simon for help. Matt Kellner follows her; sure she is the one he’s been praying for. When he arrives he isn’t sure what to think. Four men surround him and threaten him, claiming she belongs to them. Not willing to give up, he trusts the Lord and continues to pursue her in spite of their threats.

LM: What are your passions outside of writing?

Diane: I like to try new things. I loved sky diving, getting covered in paint, ziplining, and writing. Didn’t care much for bungi jumping although it was fun after I jumped. I also like quiet times where I can set and meditate, work puzzles, spend time with family and friends, and just enjoy the peace and quiet after everyone leaves.

LM: What else do you want folks to know about you?

Diane: The Lord has worked on my heart for years about witnessing. I kept telling him I wasn’t a good speaker. Every time I said those words, he’d say “Write a book.” I fought writing for years. Probably close to thirty years. Then one day I gave up and started writing. I loved it! I’m so sorry waited so long.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Mystery Monday: The Dartmouth Murders

Mystery Monday: The Dartmouth Murders

The Dartmouth Murders
by Clifford Orr
Authors are often told to write what they know. In this case, author Clifford Orr used his alma mater, Dartmouth College, as the setting for his first novel The Dartmouth Murders. Initially published as a serial piece in “College Humor,” in 1929 the story was selected by publishing company Farrar and Rinehart as one of their first publications.

The story features a father and son team of amateur sleuths. The local detective appears as an affable sidekick allowing the amateurs to take the lead on the case. The book opens with the discovery of a body hanging on the fire escape outside of North Mass (Orr’s living quarters while at Dartmouth). Authorities assume it is a suicide, but the victim’s roommate feels differently. The roommate’s attorney-father is in town for the weekend, so the two pair up to find the murderer. Not until after another two killings are committed is the perpetrator found.

Scene from "A Shot in the Dark"
In 1935, The Dartmouth Murders was filmed as "A Shot in the Dark," directed by Charles Lamont, a prolific director from the 1920s through the 1950s, whose work included several Abbott and Costello pictures. The movie starred Charles Starrett (best known for his role in the Durango Kid series) and Robert Warwick, an actor with over 200 film appearances. Unfortunately the movie was panned by most critics.

Author Clifford Orr
At the time of Orr’s early death from a “long illness,” a manuscript was found entitled The Cornell Murders. The story was never published, but scholars theorize he could have had wide success with a series that featured ivy-league colleges.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Forensic Friday: Forensic Psychology

Forensic Friday: Forensic Psychology

According to Wikipedia, forensic psychology is the "intersection between psychology and the justice system." What does this mean exactly?

A forensic psychologist may be used for numerous reasons during a criminal investigation. They might study crime scenes and use evidence or the lack thereof to develop a criminal profile. Psychologists are also used as expert witnesses during criminal trials. Areas of expertise include a defendant's competence to stand try, child custody and visitation, workplace discrimination, and validity of insanity pleas).

Unlike other forensic disciplines, forensic psychology has been used for decades. Some well-known cases include:

  • The case of the "Mad Bomber:" During the 1940s and 1950s, George Metesky planted bombs around New York City and bragged about them to newspapers. Psychological profiling combined with other police work led to Metesky's capture in 1957.
  • The case of the "Guilford Four:" After a 1974 bombing in England, confessions were coerced from the suspects. Expert psychologists testified about the unreliability of confessions.
  • The case of the "Twinkie Defense:" Psychologists convinced a jury that Daniel White was not guilty because of his dependence on junk food.
  • The case of John Hinkley: Multiple "experts" testified for and against Hinkley's claim of insanity.
  • The case of Richard Trenton Chase: A psychological profile was created after review of the murder scene, giving police the ability to identify and arrest Chase for the crime.

Forensic psychologists play an important role in the legal system. Combined with other forensic sciences and good police work, psychologists bring closure to cases that might otherwise remain open. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wartime Wednesday: Coca-Cola Goes to War

Wartime Wednesday: Coca-Cola Goes to War

Coca-Cola Advertisement
During WWII, nearly sixty years after its humble beginning as a soda fountain drink, over five billion bottles of Coca-Cola were sent to servicemen and women in every corner of the earth.

Created in 1886 by pharmacist Dr. John Pemberton, the syrupy goodness was combined with carbonated water to create a drink that was "delicious and refreshing." Pemberton's partner, Frank Robinson devised the name and logo that continue to this day. But it was businessman Asa Candler who purchased the rights after Pemberton's death, and launched the product into a well-known, sought-after beverage. By 1899 large scale bottling of Coca-Cola allowed it to be sold nationwide, mostly commonly to farms and lumber camps.

As Coca-Cola became more popular, the company had to fight "knockoff" drinks being promoted as the genuine product. In 1916, a unique contoured glass bottled was created to differentiate the beverage from others with its distinct shape. The company continued to grow, and by the late 1930s was bottled in forty-four countries.

Coca-Cola teams with the USO
When America went to war in 1941, so did Coca-Cola. Company president Robert Woodruff issued a decree: "Every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca-Cola for five cents, wherever he is and whatever it costs the company." To execute the order, a group of employees called Technical Observers were tasked with supervising and operating the overseas bottling plants. Nearly 150 men served as "TOs" and were given Army rank, pay, and uniforms with  a unique identification patch.

Overseas Coca-Cola Plant
The plants were set up as close as possible to combat zones. Portable soda fountains and dispensing units called "jungle fountains" were sent to the remote areas of the war. Over one thousand of these units were used in the Pacific Theatre alone. This popular taste-of-home went a long way to boost troop morale, but it also gave locals in dozens of countries their first exposure to the beverage, thus creating a market after the hostilities ceased in 1945.

What American food or drink have you experienced overseas?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Love's Harvest Blog Tour

Love's Harvest Blog Tour

I hope you'll join me on a journey across the internet. Over the next fourteen days, I'll be visiting various blogs as I share a bit about the inspiration, research, and writing of my recently released novella, Love's Harvest, available on Amazon or through your independent bookseller.

For those of you who are local to Wolfeboro, NH, I will be holding an author meet and greet/book signing at The Country Bookseller on August 13, 2016 from 11:00 AM to noon. For those of you in Maine, I will be at the Lambs Books and Bibles in Bangor on October 15, 2016. Additional events are in the works, so visit often for more information.

Need more enticement to participate? There's a fantastic giveaway at the end of the tour. The more you visit and enter, the more chances you have to win!

The blog stops are listed below:
August 4: A Reader's Brain
August 7: A Greater Yes
August 9: Sharon R Paavola
August 10: Texas Book-aholic
August 11: Pause for Tales
August 12: Vic's Media Room
August 13: Karen's Krayons
August 14: Donna's Bookshelf
Many of these bloggers regularly post book reviews. Consider following these ladies to discover lots of new authors!