Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Blog Tour: Aboard Providence

Blog Tour: Aboard Providence

To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

In November 1860, Jonah Ashton boarded the Providence with a plan to escort his family to their new settlement in South America and then return to medical school in Pennsylvania before rumors of Southern rebellion erupt into all-out war. What he didn’t count on was getting lost at sea and falling in love. When they finally reach land, Jonah makes a startling discovery that changes everything, but will it change his heart?

My Thoughts

Aboard Providence is a delightful story about Jonah Ashton and Marian Foster, two young adults who are at crossroads in their lives. Each must make a life-changing decision that has repercussions for their families and loved ones. The story is a combination Swiss Family Robinson and Mayflower. Through realistic dialogue and vivid description I was immersed in the culture, social mores, and day-to-day living in the mid-1800s. Author Keely Brooke Keith extensively uses internal dialogue which allowed me to understand Jonah’s and Marian’s insecurities and conflicts. An enjoyable read.

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

About the Author

Keely Brooke Keith is the author of the Uncharted series (Edenbrooke Press) and Aboard Providence (CrossRiver Media). Her novels are known for blending genres in unconventional ways. When she isn’t writing stories, Keely enjoys playing bass guitar, preparing homeschool lessons, and collecting antique textbooks. Originally from St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely resides with her husband and their daughter on a hilltop south of Nashville where she dreams up stories, hoping to encourage, comfort, and inspire readers. She is a member of ACFW.

Guest Post from Keely Brooke Keith

The Uncharted series has a past…

The Uncharted storyline begins in the 21st Century in a hidden land that was settled in the 1860s by Americans. Throughout the Uncharted books, the characters refer to their founders’ history. Soon after the release of The Land Uncharted, readers expressed their desire for more. Why did the founders leave America in 1860? How did they plan the group migration? Where did they believe they were going? How did they establish what is now a fascinating culture?

I too was drawn by the founders’ story. When I set out to write it, I enjoyed fleshing out the mystery of how the founders arrived in the Land and what it was like for them, not only for the characters who wanted that adventure, but also those who didn’t. I became swept away on a journey of faith, sacrifice, and God’s unfailing provision.

The result is Aboard Providence (CrossRiver Media, 2016).

Join the founders as they embark on their voyage to an uncharted land.

Blog Stops

October 21: 1994
October 22: A Greater Yes
October 24: cherylbbookblog
October 26: I Hope You Dance
October 26: Mary Hake
October 27: Genesis 5020
October 28: A Readers Brain
October 29: Bigreadersite
November 1: Pause for Tales
November 1: Karen’s Krayons
November 2: Proverbial Reads


In honor of her tour, Keely is giving away The Uncharted Series ebooks! Click the link below to enter; be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine bonus entries for this giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a60d

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wartime Wednesday: Combat Camera Units

Wartime Wednesday: Combat Photography Units

Much has been written about the war correspondents and photojournalists who covered WWII (and previous conflicts) for commercial publications. But did you know there were sixteen Army Air Force Combat Camera Units (CCU) that took still and motion picture coverage in every theatre of operation? The photos and movies were used for analysis, training, public information, and permanent historical records. Each unit was comprised of twenty-three men, fifteen of whom were on combat status.

One of the CCUs was the 166th Signal Photographic Company that covered General George Patton. Among their many exploits was the landing in Normandy. Members of their crews included many veteran professionals such as Russ Meyer and Stanley Kramer.

The 4th CCU was responsible for documenting the damage to Germany after V-E day. They filmed Herman Göring and captured images of the death camps in color.

The 8th CCU followed the 8th Air Force and the 25th Bomb Group, participating in 230 combat missions.

The First Motion Picture Unit was made up entirely of Hollywood professionals. They were primarily responsible for propaganda and training films.

Does this sound like a glamourous job? Perhaps, but by all reports, casualties in these units were high as they put their lives on the line to photograph the war.



Monday, October 17, 2016

Mystery Monday: Edwy Searles Brooks

Mystery Monday: Edwy Searles Brooks

Edwy Searles Brooks
Authors have always used pen names. Some do so for anonymity to protect their identity while others to write in another genre or topic. Edwy Searles Brookes was a British novelist who used countless nom de plumes: Berkeley Gray, Victor Gunn (perfect for a mystery writer!), Rex Madison, Carlton Ross, and Reginald Browne just to name a few.

Born in a suburb of London in 1889, Brooks found success early in life. His first publication, a short story titled “Mr. Dorien’s Missing £2000” was issued by the magazine Yes and No when he was 17. A 3,000 word piece, it was his first paid “gig,” and he earned thirty shillings. Three years later he was tapped by The Gem to write a serial named “The Iron Island.” The premise is that of a man who is marooned on an island by a gang of crooks. The man, Philip Graydon, manages to escape and return to England where he exacts revenge on the men who put him on the island. The story ran for two years!

Released from The Gem when the editor was let go, Brooks fumbled a bit to find other publishers who would take his stories. His personal papers includes numerous rejection letters from this time period. The following summer he was able to sell a series of Clive Deering detective stories to the magazine Cheer Boys Cheer, but sales for the next three years were intermittent.

Then came Nelson Lee and Sexton Blake. In 1915, The Nelson Lee Library was launched, and The Sexton Blake Library to his dossier. Brooks was a prolific writer, and he partnered with his wife Frances to complete each story. By all reports, he was a plotter, meticulously outlining each book. He created character “bibles” in order to keep an account of each one to ensure accuracy in any future references to them. An inveterate researcher, the shelves in Brooks’s office included train timetables and medical books – mostly about poisons.
At the time of his death, Brooks had written over one hundred books and more than two thousand stories!




Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wartime Wednesday: The 1939 World's Fair

Wartime Wednesday: The 1939 World’s Fair

When I was in college, the 1982 World’s Fair was held in Knoxville, Tennessee. As a young adult, it was an amazing experience to see the hundreds of thousands of people from all over the globe and to visit the eclectic displays. I must admit to being very wide-eyed each time I attended.
Those who went to the 1939 World’s Fair must have felt the same way. In a world that had struggled through a crippling depression, many people had been severely impacted by loss of savings accounts and jobs. Traveling was done primarily to find work, not take a vacation. But in 1939, life was improving. Roosevelt’s programs had brought the country through the worst of times, and U.S. citizens were guardedly optimistic. Little did they realize that six months later, Hitler would invade Poland and plunge the world in catastrophic conflict.
Held in Flushing Meadows on a site that had previously been a dump site, the fair opened on April 30th  to a crowd of more than 200,000 visitors. The grounds covered more than twelve hundred acres or nearly two square miles, and touted the futurist theme of “Dawn of a New Day.” Exhibits included Westinghouse’s time capsule that wasn’t to be opened for 5,000 years, a robot that talked, a science fiction convention, the introduction of nylon fabric, and early televisions. The structures at the fair were unusual, many of them considered architecturally experimental. The fair colors were orange and blue, and most of the building included one or both colors in their design. Only the Trylon and Perisphere, known as Theme Center, were completely white.
The fair operated for two seasons, from May to October in 1939 and 1940. Wikipedia said it best: “Although the U.S. would not enter WWII until the end of 1941, the fairgrounds served as a window in the troubles overseas. German was the only major world power that did not participate. The pavilions of Poland and Czechoslovakia did not open for the 1940 season, and the USSR Pavilion was dismantled after the first season, leaving an empty lot. Also in 1940 a time bomb exploded near the British Pavilion. When the fair closed, many of the European staff were unable to return to their home countries, being stranded in the U.S.”
Fairs continue to operate intermittently. This year’s event is a horticultural exposition in Turkey and will close at the end of this month. Kazakhstan will host Expo 2017 with a theme of Future Energy, certainly a hot topic.
Have you ever attended a World’s Fair or similar event?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Blog Tour: Time Trap

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

When problems arise during a field exam, Director Peter Matthews and Dr. Laura Nelson are sent through a time portal to investigate. While they search for their missing cadets, they encounter an enemy who is calculating and brutal—a mysterious nemesis who is holding a grudge against the TEMCO program. As Peter and Laura race to unravel clues directing them to their kidnapped cadets, their own survival comes into question. A deadly trap has been set, and they are forced to pit their wits against a serial killer who is intent on playing a deadly chess game through time itself.

My Thoughts

Time Trap is the second book in Danele Rotharmel’s The Time counselor Chronicles series. I didn’t read the first book, so I had a little bit of confusion in the beginning of the book trying to keep the characters straight. However, Time Trap can be read as a stand-alone novel. (I didn’t immediately realize the author included several glossaries, one of which was a character list.) The plot is complex, and the story is told through multiple viewpoints. Through the author’s use of vivid description I was able to visualize the location, people, and events. I would have preferred more showing and less telling, but the story moved at a fast pace which I enjoyed. Ms. Rotharmel does a great job of creating a very creepy villain, and I only guessed his identity shortly before it was revealed. There are regular incidents of violence, and although not gratuitous, they are somewhat graphic.

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

About the Author

Danele Rotharmel grew up with a love of the literary word, and by age five, she knew she wanted to be a writer. However, her life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a low-level carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace in her home was slowly poisoning her. This poisoning triggered severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and partial amnesia.

During this time, the hardest thing she faced was a crisis of faith. She had to quit her job and stop going to church. She couldn’t write, couldn’t drive, and could barely remember who she was. To say she was upset with the Lord was an understatement. She began reexamining her faith in light of her illness, and eventually, she came to the firm conclusion that God is real, God is good, God is interested and involved, and God is trustworthy regardless of tragedy.

When her illness became even more severe, she was put into quarantine and could only talk to friends and extended family through the glass of a window. This quarantine lasted for seven years. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.

Danele currently lives in Colorado where she continues to write. Although her journey back to health was long and difficult, it provided her with the opportunity to grow closer to God and to write her books. For that, she is forever thankful.

You can learn more about Danele by visiting her blog at https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

Guest Post from Danele Rotharmel

I’ve always loved to read, but I hate that horrible moment when a good book comes to an end. It’s torture saying goodbye to characters I’ve come to love. One of the best things about being an author is having control over your own stories. I wrote The Time Counselor Chronicles while I was extremely ill and enduring seven years of quarantine. During that time, I didn’t have control over many aspects of my life, but I did have control over my fictional characters. I found extreme pleasure in the fact that since I was the author, I didn’t have to say goodbye to the TEMCO crew—I could just write them another story.    

Time Trap is the second book in my series. It can be read as a sequel to Time Tsunami, or it can stand alone. Time Trap was written for one reason only—I was enjoying myself, and I didn’t want to say goodbye to the people I’d created in Time Tsunami. And that’s why the other books in my series were written as well. By the time I finally sought publication, I’d completed six books. Writing, for me, was an act of pure enjoyment. When I began, I wasn’t thinking about publishers or reading audiences, I was simply thinking about what type of adventure I wanted to write next. My books brought me joy, and that was all that mattered. For years, I didn’t let anyone know I was writing. TEMCO was my personal world—my escape hatch from illness and pain. I was afraid that if I let others into my imaginary world, it would crumble away. As it turned out, the exact opposite was true. Knowing that people were enjoying my stories filled my life with incredible happiness!  

I always fill my books with suspense, romance, action, faith, and comedy. I keep them clean, and I work hard to make them full of page-turning fun. Communication is such a wonderful thing. I love that fact that we can relay our ideas, hopes, and dreams to each other. My books are more than just stories, they symbolically chronicle the way I stood up to my illness and fought it. They speak about the value I place on love and friendship. They show that humor can be found even in the midst of great difficulty. And most of all, they demonstrate that a crisis of faith isn’t the end—it’s simply the first step to understanding God on a deeper level. Life isn’t easy, but I’ve learned that even in the middle of tragedy, God is faithful and trustworthy. That’s what each of my characters eventually learn, and that’s what I hope my readers will take away from my books.

Blog Stops

October 6: A readers brain
October 10: CTF devourer
October 12: Pause for Tales
October 13: Blogging With Carol
October 14: Donna’s BookShelf
October 15: Carpe Diem
October 16: Petra’s Hope
October 17: henry happens
October 18: Vic’s Media Room


To celebrate her tour, Danele is giving away a package that includes an autographed paperback copy of both Time Tsunami and Time Trap, a Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord” journal, a lovely coffee cup, and a 4X4 picture frame. Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/a5da

Friday, October 7, 2016

Blog Tour: Mary, Chosen of God

To purchase your own copy, click here.

About the Book

Blessed are you, Mary, chosen of God.” Mary is ordinary girl from Nazareth. She helps her mother with household chores, she daydreams about a handsome carpenter’s son named Joseph, and at night she lies on the roof and contemplates the stars. But one evening, a heavenly visitor comes with unexpected news—and her life is changed forever. Experience the life of the Messiah from the perspective of his mother, who must place her trust and obedience in Adonai, the Most High, as he fulfills centuries of prophecy in the middle of her daily life. Walk with Mary as she witnesses Yeshua grow, mature, minister, and even be crucified—and then raised again, to the kindling of her new faith.

About the Author


Diana Wallis Taylor has written eight biblical novels, including Mary, Chosen of God, Martha, Journey to the Well, Mary Magdalene, Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate, and Ruth, Mother of Kings. Well-known in the Christian book industry for her biblical fiction, her most recent five books have received over 3,000 ratings on Goodreads. Taylor is a former San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild’s “Writer of the Year” and her biblical novels have earned her a variety of awards. Diana lives in San Diego with her husband, Frank. They have six grown children and ten grandchildren.

Blog Stops

October 4: Simple Harvest Reads (spotlight)
October 5: Proverbial Reads
October 5: I Hope You Dance
October 6: Book by Book
October 10: A Greater Yes
October 10: Back Porch Reads
October 11: The Power of Words
October 12: Book Babble
October 13: Mary Hake
October 14: Splashes of Joy
October 15: Bigreadersite
October 16: Henry Happens


To celebrate her tour, Diana is giving away a gift basket that includes Mary, Ruth, Whitaker House’s study Bible, and The Lord is my Shepherd candle from Abba Anointing Oil! Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/a5b

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Wartime Wednesday: Manufacturing Awards

Wartime Wednesday: Manufacturing Awards

More than 85,000 U.S. companies were involved in war-related production during WWII. From bullet casings to tanks and airplanes, these organizations manufactured millions of tons of materiel. Less than five percent of the companies received the Army-Navy E Award for Excellence in Production.

Also known as the Production Award, the E Award was the result of merging three awards: the Navy E award created in 1906 during Theodore Roosevelt's presidency, the Army A award, and the Army-Navy Munitions Star award. The awards remained separated until mid-1942 when the War Department decided to create a single, service-wide award.

All factories involved in war equipment manufacturing, including government facilities were eligible to receive the award. The criteria were extensive:

  • Quality and quantity of production 
  • Overcoming of production obstacles
  • Avoidance of work stoppages
  • Maintaining of fair labor practices
  • Training of labor forces
  • Good record keeping with regard to health and safety
District procurement officers would recommend facilities, and an award board would review the recommendation and determine of the organization was award-worthy. The company was given a pennant, and each employee received a silver lapel pin.

Even now ore than seventy years later, U.S. manufacturing companies such as Hershey's, Westinghouse, Ford, and Jeep are proud of their awards and include the information in the history section of their website.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Mystery Monday: Phyllis Bentley

Mystery Monday: Phyllis Bentley

Even though she was often compared to novelist Thomas Hardy, most of today's readers have never heard of mystery writer Phyllis Bentley. Born in 1894 in Halifax, Yorkshire, United Kingdom, she worked in a munitions factory during WWI. After the war, she returned to Halifax where she taught English and Latin at a girl's school. But her first love was writing.

In 1918, she published a collection of short stories, followed by several novels, all of which did not sell well. Finally in 1932, she rose to fame after her publication of Inheritance in which she used her native Halifax and the growing textile industry as the setting. The novel became a best-seller, going through twenty-three printings by 1946. In 1967, the book was made into a movie, further expanding Bentley's fame.

Over the course of her career, Bentley wrote twenty-four short stories that featured the amateur sleuth, Miss Phipps. In each story, Miss Phipp's quiet life is interrupted by some sort of unusual event. Through her perceptiveness and keen deduction, she solves crimes that range from misdemeanors to murders. Bentley is one of the few Golden Age writers to feature a female detective, and her prim-and-proper character brings to mind Josephine Tey's Miss Pym and Dorothy Sayer's Harriet Vane.

Vehemently opposed to fascism, Bentley used her many contacts to use during WWII by working with the American Division of the Ministry of Information. She was proud of the fact that her books were banned and subsequently burned in Germany.

As a result of her writing, Bentley numerous awards: an honorary Doctor of Letters from Leeds University, a Fellow in the Royal Society of Literature, and in 1970 she was appointed an OBE. She passed away in 1977.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Blog Tour: How to Make Victoria Sponge

Blog Tour: How to Make Victoria Sponge

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Victoria Sponge – a well-known cake? Maybe, but also a wife and mother of four children. Disorganized and chaotic, with obligations galore, sweet Victoria clings to God, her best friend who shares His amazing love with her. From tripping over a hoover left in the hallway to discovering her son’s desire to die because he is different, she journeys through her own Lent. Giving up is not an option, but saying ‘yes’ to God each day is. Tragedy and comical events follow Vicki through her week. Does Victoria Sponge rise through all the messiness that life offers or does she sink?

My Thoughts

How to Make Victoria Sponge is a fictional story, yet has the feel of a devotional memoir. Written in the first person, it is a "day in the life" of Christian, wife, mother, day care worker, and friend Victoria Sponge (also a popular dessert which was a fun analogy) who greets each day with humor and grace. She doesn't sugarcoat her experiences, so we see her failures and her fears as well as her successes. Her prayers are more like conversations with God, and they color every aspect of her life, so when tragedy strikes she draws strength from her relationship to Him, enabling her to bear up. The format of narrative interspersed with prayer is unusual but effective, allowing the reader to get deep inside Victoria's head. I enjoyed the characters who were unique and well-developed.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

Born in England, Margaret Kazmierczak loves storytelling, but dyslexia made writing difficult. After marrying and birthing three children, she finally got around to it. She and husband Peter live in Dorset, United Kingdom with two daughters.

Guest Post from Margaret Kazmierczak 

For those that know me cooking is not a talent that I am famous for. I follow the recipes, but for some unknown reason my cakes remain flat, albeit cleverly disguised with chocolate.

My friends were, quite understandably, shocked that I appeared to have written a cookery book. My friends let me introduce the Baker who inspired me to write, ‘How to Make Victoria Sponge’. His name is God the Father. This cook needs all the help she can get.

In 2010 God literally took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to become vulnerable. He took away my health and job. An active middle aged woman reduced to a shell. For two years I struggled to come to terms with my condition. Then one night I prayed and asked what I was supposed to do now? The message was simple, “write a book”. Well I could think up a million and one reasons why not to write a book. I declared them one by one but God the Father was having none of it. He reminded me of WHO was commissioning me.

To say that my reading and writing skills were on a par with my cooking skills was an understatement. So I stopped questioning and listened to His answer. “I shall give you the ingredients and you provide the humour and story outline with your life experiences.” So Victoria Sponge was born. Not a cookery book per se but a recipe for a closer relationship with God the Father through story and petition.

This journey took two years, a long time to wait for a cake to rise! The proof, however, was in the tasting which for some time was bitter due to rejection. Then a sequence of events happened one after the other and ‘How to Make Victoria Sponge’ was cooked, oops, birthed. I have been blown away with the face to face reviews in England of the book. A Methodist minister used it to empower her congregation, to show them how even the simplest things in life can lead to a prayerful response.

Victoria known as Vicki, married to Bob, is a normal woman with four children. The book looks at a week in her life and compares it to Jesus’ Lent week. Many issues are explored through the pages. Vicki Sponge could be you or me and the response to each situation, a solution to your own challenges.

Without the Baker this book would end up like my cakes! The writing of it helped me to begin a new life and I hope it helps you to do so too if you read and journey through its pages.

Blog Stops

September 29: A Reader’s Brain
September 30: The Power of Words (spotlight)
October 2: Bukwurmzzz
October 3: Artistic Nobody
October 4: Quiet Quilter
October 6: Mary Hake
October 10: Petra’s Hope
October 12: Onceuponatime


To celebrate her tour, Margaret is giving away a themed gift bag containing an apron, whisk, Bible, and a limited 1st edition paperback copy of How to Make Victoria Sponge! Click here to enter: How to Make Victoria Sponge Giveaway