Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Traveling Tuesday: Buckingham Palace

Traveling Tuesday: Buckingham Palace

“It all happened so quickly that we only had time to look foolishly at each other when the scream hurtled past us and exploded with a tremendous crash in the quadrangle.” So said the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth about her experience during the September 13, 1940 attack made on Buckingham Palace by the Germans during WWII. She went on to say her “knees trembled a bit,” but she was “pleased by the behavior of their servants, some of whom were injured.”

Hitler was determined to break the morale of the English people, and used a period of incessant bombing that is now known at The Blitz to try to do so. Between September 7, 1940 and May 10, industrial and civilian centers. They began with London, specifically with Buckingham Palace.

The first of sixteen hits to the Palace and its grounds (nine of which were direct hits) was on September 8th. Fortunately that bomb was harmless. The second, which fell near the swimming pool, came the next day. The third attack, on September 13th found its mark. A single pilot specifically targeted the Palace with a stick of five high explosive bombs. Two hit the inner quadrangle, one hit the Royal Chapel, and the remaining two fell on the forecourt and roadway between the gates and the Victoria Memorial.

The King and Queen were in residence at the time, having publicly declared they would not leave London or flee to Canada as suggested by the Foreign Office. Elizabeth stated, “The children will not leave unless I do so. I shall not leave unless their Father does, the King will not leave the country in any circumstances, whatever.”

Two more attacks occurred that month, followed by one October and again in November of that year. A tantalizing target, Buckingham Palace would be bombed several more times before the end of the war. The building was damaged, but the British spirit that Hitler hoped to smash proved to be indomitable. 

Bombing Map of Buckingham Palace

Here are some photos of damage to the Palace during the Blitz.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet June Foster

Talkshow Thursday: Meet June Foster

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Your latest book is part of collection published by Forget Me Not Romances. How did that come about?

Author June Foster
June:  Cynthia Hickey, the owner and innovative editor, is putting together a collection which features contemporary and historical fiction set in every state of the US. Since I had a story brewing in my head set in an old silver mining ghost town, I chose Idaho which is famous for its silver mining.

LM: That sounds fascinating! You have published lots of books. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

June: Probably when the story and the characters begin to form in my mind. I love getting to know them better, understanding their goals, their fears, their spiritual standing. Then I begin to imagine in what difficult situations I can place them and how they grow in the Lord.

LM: Your novels feature locations all over the U.S. When you write, how do you go about choosing which location to use, and do you have a favorite?

June: Since my husband and I travel full time in our RV, it's not hard to come up with locations. When visiting an area, my author's brain goes to work imagining a story that takes place there. Sometimes, the editor's requests for a particular story will determine the location. For example, Cynthia wanted stories set in small towns. Since we lived in a small town in Alabama before we started traveling, I chose to set my story in a fictional town near Huntsville. I don't have a favorite but love each location where my characters live.

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

June: I seem to have a one track mind so listening to music is a distraction. I've found that morning is the best time for me to write, so after my quiet time with the Lord, I grab a caramel latte and sit down to write at my laptop perched on my tiny kitchen table.

LM: You’ve done a lot of traveling by RV. If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

June: Ooo, a challenging question. It would probably be a getaway from the RV. Though I would love to visit Jerusalem and Israel, my second favorite would be a fabulous two week trip to the island of Kauai.

LM: What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

June I'm almost ashamed to admit this. But before I became a Christian, I was waiting for my husband at the officer's club where he worked while in the Army. I sat alone at a table with a glass of wine and one of the officer's asked if he could sit down. Why I said yes, I'll never know. But in the course of conversation, I fabricated a huge story. I told him I had been widowed recently and was trying to get my life together again. I never saw the guy again and looking back, I can see how the Lord has refined me like gold since those days without Him. But in retrospect, I can use some of these old experiences to better understand my unsaved characters who find the Lord by the end of the story.

LM: What is your next project?

June: I am just about finished with the small town story I mentioned above then I'll write a sequel where two secondary characters from the book will be the hero and heroine of the new story. After that, I'm writing a story which will take place at a Wyoming dude ranch. Most exciting is we are spending the summer in Shell, Wyoming, where I can do research.

LM: Lots on your plate! It has been such a pleasure getting to know you. Where can folks find you on the web?


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Blog Tour: The Secret Slipper

Blog Tour: The Secret Slipper

ext-align: center;”> Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book title: The Secret Slipper  
Author: Amanda Tero  
Release date: May 25, 2017  
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Being a cripple is only the beginning of Lia’s troubles. It seems as if Bioti’s goal in life is to make Lia as miserable as possible. If Lia’s purpose is to be a slave, then why did God make her a cripple? How can He make something beautiful out of her deformity? Raoul never questioned the death of his daughter until someone reports her whereabouts. If Ellia is still alive, how has she survived these ten years with her deformity? When Raoul doesn’t know who to trust, can he trust God to keep Ellia safe when evidence reveals Bioti’s dangerous character? As time brings more hindrances, will Raoul find Ellia, or will she forever be lost to the father she doesn’t even know is searching for her?

My Thoughts:

The Secret Slipper is a wonderful retelling of the Cinderella story. I love that the prince in this case was the father, and even though I'm quite familiar with the popular fairy tale, I found myself rooting for him as I wondered if he would ever find his daughter. I liked the flavor of the setting-kind of medieval, but not as primitive. The villain is so evil, it was a pleasure to dislike her, and I found myself getting angry as I read the injustices she meted out to Lia. There was a character near the end of the story who only purpose seemed to be to present the message of salvation to Lia. The woman seemed to have her own story, and I was disappointed the author didn't follow through with it. Perhaps a sequel? This is the first of Amanda Tero's books I've read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I plan to read the first in her Tale of Faith series, Befriending the Beast. Anyone who loves fairy tales or stories set in medieval times would enjoy this book. The main character, Lia, is thirteen, so teens may also like The Secret Slipper.

I received this book for free from Celebrate Lit, and a positive review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

A homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

Guest post from Amanda Tero

Do you ever have plans that come up from almost nowhere? That is kind of how “The Secret Slipper” started. I had written a fun novella, “Befriending the Beast.” It was a stand-alone. Just for fun. My relief project during a longer project. Well, no sooner had “Befriending the Beast” released when a friend asked me, “Hey, have you considered a father/daughter Cinderella story?” That night I stayed up until after midnight, mulling over ideas and coming up with the title. Lord Kiralyn, who appeared in “Befriending the Beast” as Belle’s uncle now had a story—involving a daughter that I didn’t know existed, but whose existence created a whirlwind of adventure, heartache, and excitement. And now that I have two books in the series, my brain is already pulling at ideas for a book three. But that’s another story for another day.

Blog Stops

Amanda has two more stops on her tour.

June 19: Henry Happens

June 19: Bookworm Mama


To celebrate her tour, Amanda is giving away a grand prize of paperback copies of Amanda’s three novellas: Journey to Love, Befriending the Beast, and The Secret Slipper.Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b994

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wartime Wednesday: The Atlantic Wall

Wartime Wednesday: The Atlantic Wall

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “The Atlantic Wall?” I imagined some sort of brick or concrete block structure similar to the Berlin Wall or Hadrian’s Wall. Perhaps even the Great Wall of China. Nope. That’s not it.

Turns out, the Atlantic Wall was an extensive system of fortifications and defenses created by the German Army along the coast of continental Europe and Scandinavia. Early in the war, Hitler anticipated an invasion by the Allies and set about to prevent their success. (The beaches of Normandy were part of this 1,670 mile “wall.”)

Nearly one million French were forced to build this collection of machine gun posts, emplacements, military installations, radar stations, mines, fortresses, and bunkers. It is reported that 1.2 million tons of steel (enough to make 20,000 tanks) and 17 cubic meters of concrete (the equivalent of 1,100 Yankee Stadiums) were used during the project. It cost 3.7 million Reichsmarks, equal to $306 billion in today’s money.

The Wall continues to create controversy in France. Some saw the Atlantic Wall as a sign of collaboration during the War. Many French construction companies got very rich out of building the Wall. Because these same companies were needed to help with reconstruction after the war, nothing was said, but others saw the abandoned defenses as a reminder of the occupation and couldn’t wait to tear them down. It wasn’t until decades later that the public began to preserve sections of the Wall, and these fortifications draw thousands of tourists.

Although never completed, bunkers still exist in Ostend, Channel Islands, Den Haag, Scandinavia, and other locations.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Mystery Monday: Who was Peter Drax?

Mystery Monday: Who was Peter Drax?

There were many famous people who lost their lives during WWII: Carole Lombard, Glenn Miller, Leslie Howard, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Someone perhaps less well-known who was killed in action was author Eric Elrington Addis. Writing under the pseudonym Peter Drax, Addis published six crime novels during the Golden Age of detective fiction.

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1899, Eric was the son of a retired Indian civil servant and the daughter of an officer in the British Indian Army. He attended Edinburgh University and then entered the Royal Navy. After serving with distinction, he retired in 1929 and became a barrister focusing on admiralty law and divorce. (A barrister is a lawyer who specializes in courtroom litigation.) At the outbreak of WWII, he was called back in to service and was assigned to HMS Warspite. Unfortunately he was killed in action during an air raid on the British Navy base at Alexandria, Egypt.

Despite his short career as a novelist, Eric is considered an important author during the Golden Age. As one reviewer put it, “Rather than the artificial and outsize master sleuths and super crooks found in so many classic mysteries from the Gold Age, Drax’s novels concern police who are not endowed with supernatural powers and crooks who are also human.” Two of his books, Death by Two Hands and Tune to a Corpse were published in the United States, and received excellent reviews. When he died he left an unfinished manuscript Sing a Song of Murder, and his wife, author Hazel Iris Wilson completed the book, it was published in 1944.

Eric was a voracious reader of thrilled, and felt most were “lamentably unlikely affairs,” and set out to write mysteries that were “credible.” Critics and readers agree that he met his goal, creating seven gripping stories, not for the faint of heart. (An interesting aside, I searched for quite a while and never found a photograph of Eric.)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Carly Turnquist

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Carly Turnquist

Today we’ve managed to corral Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, as she shares the story behind the story for her latest adventure, Hidden Assets. She is being interviewed by her creator, Leeann Betts.

Leeann:          Well, Carly, nice of you to drop in.

Carly: Not like I had any choice. I didn’t want you to write me out of my own series.     

LAB:   Hard to do that. But that’s a threat for another day. Carly, your readers love that you don’t take yourself seriously. Why is that?

CT:     Why do they love me, or why don’t I take my seriously?

LAB:   Why don’t you take yourself seriously?

CT:     My husband Mike says I’m a full-time job. I think he’s right, and that seems unfair. So I try to laugh at myself more than I cry, because I think maybe that will make his job easier. Also, although when I’m faced with a decision, I feel like I make the right decision, but when I look back, I can see I should have thought it through a little better. Which means I can laugh at myself later on. Not as much as Mike laughs at me, but some.

LAB:   You’re a forensic accountant. What exactly do you do?

CT:     Besides create work for Mike? (laughs) A forensic accountant is an accountant who has been specially trained to look for things people try to hide. For example, the IRS hires tons of us to ferret out taxable income people try to disguise as something else. Divorce attorneys hire us to help their clients find money and assets that the opposing party has hidden. Estate attorneys also use our services. Because we use standardized accounting principles, our work can be checked and tested, which gives us credibility in court. Forensic really just means “forum” or the ability to testify credibly in court. It doesn’t have anything to do with dead bodies. Although, I have been known to stumble over one or two bodies in the past.

LAB:   Which is what makes you an accidental sleuth, right?

CT:     That’s a term used by some, and I guess I like it better than amateur sleuth, because when it comes to me, I’m no amateur. Not like that railway copper I get mixed up with in this book. Now he–

LAB:   Not here to talk about him. So your friend asks you to help her find some missing property, right?

CT:     Right. She’s getting a divorce, and I know how that feels. And she thinks her husband has taken some of their joint marital property and hidden it so he won’t have to share it with her in the divorce settlement. Plus we haven’t seen each other in years. We were friends in college, and have kept in touch ever since.

LAB:   Apparently there’s a backseat driver story she’s going to share with Mike?

CT:     Apparently so. I was a little bit wild in college, not to mention a wee bit controlling. Don’t ask Mike, though. He’d say I haven’t changed a bit.

LAB:   And then there’s something going on with Mike’s client, right? Didn’t that happen in the last book, too?

CT:     Yes. In Broke, Busted, and Disgusted, Mike’s client ends up murdered, and Mike is suspected, except he is missing. Which caused me no end of grief, let me tell you. He hasn’t had the nerve to complain lately that I’m a full time job, after that little escapade. In Hidden Assets, his client is trying to pull the wool over his eyes. Mike is writing a new computer program for this client, and Mike discovers some bad practices and crooked dealings happening behind the scenes of the program, in a ghost module, so to speak.

LAB:   So why did you take the train to Wyoming?

CT:     Because of the episode on the plane to New Mexico, Mike thought it would be safer to take the train. Days of boring nothingness. At least, that’s what he hoped. And he was right, until the night we were due to get off.

LAB:   Without giving away the ending, does the story end well?

CT:     As you know, I have a strong sense of justice. Of course the story ends well. Not for everybody, of course. But the good guys win and the bad guys—not in the gender sense, because I don’t want to give it away, as you said—get theirs. Justice is satisfied, and I’m off home again to quiet Bear Cove, Maine.

LAB:   But Bear Cove, Maine, isn’t always peaceful, is it?

CT:     True. It probably has a higher per capita murder rate than New York City, but it keeps things interesting.

LAB:   So what’s up for you next?

CT:     Well, a good friend wants to thank me for solving the murder and saving her life, so she’s sending us on an Alaskan cruise. Think about it, seven days of sailing, whale watching, and eating. What could go wrong?

LAB:   Yes, Carly, what could go wrong, indeed?

Author bio: 

Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released five titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at www.LeeannBetts.com or follow Leeann on www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com

Find her on Facebook or Twitter. Her books are available on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wartime Wednesday: Albert Staehle

Wartime Wednesday: Albert Staehle

Although photography had been commercially available since 1839, it was an expensive process. Therefore, newspapers, magazines, billboards, and posters were produced using illustrations rather than pictures well in to the 1930s and 1940s. Some of the more famous illustrators include Charles Dana Gibson, Norman Rockwell, and Beatrix Potter. Artists who were well-known at the time, but have fallen into obscurity are J.C. Leyendecker, Sarah Stilwell Weber, Edmund Franklin Ward, and Alfred Staehle.

Born in Munich, Bavaria in 1899, Alfred Staehle came to America with his parents in 1914. His father and maternal grandfather were both artists, so Alfred came by his talent naturally. In an effort to improve his skills, he attended The Wicker School in Detroit and the Arts Student League in New York. He found early success after entering a poster contest for Borden milk and was soon providing advertising and cover art for magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, American Weekly, Jack & Jill, and Good Housekeeping. He also created posters, and one of the most prized posters of the 1939 World’s Fair is his.

A large portion of his work featured animals, and he was considered by many to be an animal expert. Often using live animals as models, it is said that Staehle surrounded himself with creatures while working in his studio. He also painted from pictures, and he eventually married one of the photographers he hired to photograph his models. Staehle was also successful with his billboard work, and in 1938 he was awarded the Kerwin H. Fulton medal for Achievement of Art in Outdoor Advertising.

But he became a household name with the February 19, 1944 issue of The Saturday Evening Post when he drew a cover that featured a Cocker Spaniel named Butch chewing up ration coupons. The magazine seemed to sellout overnight, and letters poured into the Post’s offices defending the puppy. A few readers also sent replacement coupons. Butch was incredibly popular, and he was featured in twenty-five Post covers and thirty American Weekly covers, often getting into trouble for chewing something, “borrowing” an item that didn’t belong to him, or getting into some sort of predicament. Staehle purchased his very own “Butch” in June 1944.

Butch was so popular, Hagen-Renaker Potteries of California created figurines of him, Atlas Toys produced a stuffed version of him, and Saalfield produced a coloring book and jigsaw puzzles. Butch also made personal appearances to help raise money for worthy causes, and after the war he appeared on a Navy re-enlistment poster resulting in his being sworn in as the official Navy mascot.

Not bad for a small, mischievous puppy.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Traveling Tuesday: Canterbury

Traveling Tuesday: Canterbury

What do you think of when you hear the name Canterbury? Perhaps Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales comes to mind. How about St. Augustine or Archbishop Thomas Becket who was murdered at the cathedral, or even Joseph Conrad who is buried in one of the city’s cemeteries. Suffice it to say that Canterbury has a lot of history associated with it, and as with most of England, incidents occurred during WWII.

By May, 1941 the eight month Blitz of London had finally ceased. Having realized the British were not going to cower, no matter how many bombs were dropped on them, the Germans switched their focus to invading the Soviet Union, with periodic “hit and run” raids on England’s coastal towns. The night raids the British were conducting were determined to have been mostly ineffective, so those came to halt as the Allies reconsidered their strategies.

Canterbury was one of the coastal towns that suffered from bombing attacks. Located on the River  Stour, it is about sixty miles southeast of London and has been inhabited since prehistoric times.
As a result of the destruction of the German towns of Lubeck and Rostock, Hitler was furious and ordered retaliatory attacks. The targets were selected to have the greatest possible effect on civilians. 

According to Goebbels, Hitler “intended to repeat these raids night after night until the English are sick and tired of terror attacks” and that “cultural centers, health resorts, and civilian centers must be attacked…there is no other way of bring the English to their senses.” The raids were referred to the Baedeker raids because of a comment made by the German propagandist Baron Gustav Braun von Stumm who said, “We shall go out and bomb every building in Britain marked with three stars in the Baedeker Guide (a popular travel guide at the time).”

Just after midnight on June 1, 1942, the Germans dropped over 10,000 incendiary bombs. This kind of fire bomb caused more damage than explosive bombs because of the intense blazes that start when the land. In short order, the city was a conflagration, and over 700 homes and nearly 300 other buildings, including the bus depot, three churches and two schools, were destroyed. Reports indicate that 115 people perished. Canterbury was hit again on June 6 and 7 resulting in another forty-five deaths.

Raids of this type continued well into 1944 when the Germans once again turned their sights to London.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wartime Wednesday: Who was the Mystery Chef?

Wartime Wednesday: Who was the Mystery Chef?

Although television had been invented in 1927, it was far from being the mainstream item it is today. In fact, very few households had one. When WWII rolled around, the manufacturing of TVs stopped, so radio remained the mass communication tool of government and industry. As such producers recognized that the population would desire entertainment in addition to news and public service announcements. Rather than thirty and sixty minute programs like today, many radio shows ran for a mere fifteen minutes.

One of those shows was The Mystery Chef. Airing from 1932 to 1945, it was one of many popular recipe programs. The host, James MacPherson, was a Scotsman who came to the U.S. via England, but he remained unnamed, so the general public had no idea who he was. Speculation abounds as to why he maintained his anonymity. One blog claims it was because his mother would be horrified that he had an effeminate hobby such as cooking. A museum exhibit claims because his family was well-to-do, they would be upset that he was doing such menial tasks. Whatever the reason, Mr. MacPherson was a huge success.

In addition to sharing recipes on his show, he discussed cooking on a budget as well as what he called artistry in the kitchen. “Always be an artist at the stove, not just someone who cooks.” He published his first cookbook in 1936: Be an Artist at the Gas Range: Successful Recipes by the Mystery Chef, and followed that up with The Mystery Chef’s Own Cookbook in 1943. Copies are still available on Amazon. In 1949, NBC launched the show one television, but it did not fare well and was canceled after only one season.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Unsung Female Sleuths of the 1940s

Unsung Female Sleuths of the 1940s

When asked to list famous fictional sleuths from the 1940s, you probably think of Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, and Philo Vance. Maybe you also come up with Nick and Nora Charles, and of course, there are always Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.

But with the 1930s and 1940s being the “Golden Age of Detective Fiction,” there are dozens of others, unfortunately many of whom have faded into obscurity. Here are just a few of the female sleuths, you’ll want to investigate:

Author Joan Coggin
Lady Lupin: A vicar’s wife, Lady Lupin was featured in only four novels written by Joan Coggin, the daughter of a vicar herself. Born in 1898 in Lemsford, Coggin and her family moved to Eastbourne, a small seaside village in England, after the death of her mother. She worked as a nurse during WWI, and after the war worked with the blind, writing novels on the side. Her character Lady Lupin is a 21 year old earl’s daughter who marries a vicar twice her age. They settle in Glanville (a town much like Eastbourne). She doesn’t do a lot of detecting, but her off-hand remarks and keen observations set the police on the right track to finding their culprit.

Lily Wu: Author Juanita Sheridan’s detective Lily Wu solves crimes in New York and Hawaii, and is most probably the first Asian female detective to be a principle character in fiction. Sheridan lived for many years in Hawaii and integrated herself into the diverse community, so wrote with authority as she created minority characters. Like Lady Lupin, Lily on shows up in four novels. Her “Watsonesque” sidekick is Janice Cameron who narrates the stories and gives the reader insight into Lily’s multi-faceted personality.

Maggie Bryne: Australian author June Wright created Maggie Bryne in the late 1940s, and only used  her in two novels. Born in Melbourne where June set most of her stories, she wrote her first, Murder in the Telephone Exchange, from experience, as she had been working in one for four years. June only published six books having to take a “regular job” when her husband became unable to work. In the first book, her protagonist, Maggie, is a single, career girl, and in the second, she is a married, stay-at-home mom. In both books, she is intelligent, sensitive, and sarcastic making her a realistic, complex character readers can fully enjoy.

Jeanie Halliday: Jeanie is only featured in one mystery written by Ianthe Jerrold (pen name Geraldine Bridgman). Ianthe was born into a family of writers. Her father, Walter, was a well-known author and journalist, and her grandfather was Victorian playwright, Douglas Jerrold. Published in 1940, Let Him Lie, is a traditional mystery set in a country home (a popular setting with many authors at this time.), and Jeanie is a fledgling amateur sleuth, learning as the story progresses. She is highly conversational, and uses that trait to interview witnesses, suspects, and anyone else who might help her solve the murder. Ianthe went on to write romantic fiction and psychological thrillers and left Miss Halliday behind.

Erle Stanley Gardner
Bertha Cool: Created by Erle Stanley Gardner while writing under the pen name A.A. Fair, Bertha is an overweight, penny-pinching widow who is a professional private investigator. As with all of Gardner’s characters, Bertha is not your everyday gumshoe. Alternately greedy, corrupt, dishonest, and offensive, she partners with attorney Donald Lam, and the two of them always get their man (or woman). The books are fast, fun reads filled with colorful characters, interesting plot twists, and in-depth plots. There are twenty-nine books in the series, with captivating titles such as Spill the Jackpot, Turn on the Heat, and Gold Comes in Bricks.

Have you ever heard of any of these unsung ladies?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Pegg Thomas

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Pegg Thomas

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your debut story “Embattled Hearts” with Barbour Publishing. How did this come about? Did you submit a novella and the publisher decided to add it to a collection, or did they contact you?

Pegg: It was a God thing. My son was dating a young woman whose sister is a Christian literary agent. We became Facebook friends and she gave me the ‘heads up’ that this Pony Express collection was in the works, but hadn’t been contracted by Barbour yet. They were three writers short and she asked me if I’d like to work up a proposal for it. Well … yeah! When Barbour picked up the project, I sent in my proposal and they took it.

LM: Congratulations! That’s exciting. Research is a huge part of writing, whether historical or contemporary. Do you have a research tidbit you stumbled on that caused you to thing “aha?”

Pegg: For “Embattled Hearts” that moment was linking the story to the Civil War. President Lincoln needed the communication between the coasts during the early years of the war. The fear was that California might side with the South. With the Pony Express – and then the telegraph – the line of communication remained open and the president knew what was happening on the west coast.

LM: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Pegg: The next new idea! The work is in fleshing them out.

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

Pegg: I turned our son’s old bedroom into my office and that’s where I work. I prefer quiet to work in, other than the natural sounds around me. I live in a rural area, so my sheep baaing, horses clip-clopping past on the road (we live in an Amish area), birds singing, that sort of thing.

LM: If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Pegg: I’m not a globe trotter. We camp weekends during the summer and that’s what I enjoy. I guess even if money were no object, you’d still probably find me on the shores of Lake Superior, camper behind me, cook fire in front, book in my hand. Doesn’t take much to make me happy.

LM: What is your next project?

Pegg: I have another story, “In Sheep’s Clothing,” coming out in January with The Bouquet of Brides Collection from Barbour. That one is set in Colonial Connecticut and the heroine is a spinner and weaver. It was fun for me to write. I raise sheep and spin and knit with the yarn. I have a few other proposals out to Barbour, but I’m also working on a new full-length novel I hope to have finish by the end of this year.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?


Pegg's Bio: Pegg Thomas lives on a hobby farm in Northern Michigan with Michael, her husband of *mumble* years. A life-long history geek, she writes “History with a Touch of Humor.” An avid reader and writer, she enjoys fiction stories threaded through historical events and around historical figures. Pegg is also the Managing Editor of Smitten Historical Romance, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When not working on her latest novel, Pegg can be found in her garden, in her kitchen, at her spinning wheel, tending her sheep, or on her trusty old horse, Trooper. See more at www.PeggThomas.com.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Blog Tour: Alice's Notions

Blog Tour: Alice's Notions

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Alice’s Notions
Author: Tamera Lynn Kraft  
Genre: Christian historical romance
 Release Date: April 1, 2017

 In this quaint mountain town, things aren’t always what they seem.World War 2 widow Alice Brighton returns to the safety of her home town to open a fabric shop. She decides to start a barn quilt tour to bring business to the shop and the town, but what she doesn’t know is sinister forces are using the tour for their own nefarious reasonsBetween her mysterious landlord, her German immigrant employee, her neighbors who are acting strange, and a dreamboat security expert who is trying to romance her, Alice doesn’t know who she can trust.

My Thoughts

Despite having won the war, Americans were struggling in the aftermath of WWII for many reasons, the worst being the loss of loved ones. Alice Brighton is a war widow and must figure out how to go on without the love of her life. Heading home to the small town of Burning Bush, WV, she opens a fabric shop as a way to earn a living. One difficulty after another strikes, yet Alice is determined not to let them get in her way. Tamera Lynn Kraft has created an uplifting, moving story despite dealing with a topic that could easily get maudlin. Alice and the other characters are realistic and well-developed. References to songs, actors, and products evoke the era, if readers are familiar with them. I enjoyed following the clues trying to figure out the “whodunit.” Well-researched, the book was fast-paced and exciting.

I received a copy of this book for free from CelebrateLit Publishing, and a positive review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest and has other novellas in print. She’s been married for 38 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and two grandchildren. Tamera has two novellas in print: A Christmas Promise and Resurrection of Hope. Her first full length novel, Alice’s Notions released in April through Desert Breeze.

You can contact Tamera on her website at http://tameralynnkraft.net

Guest Post from Tamera Lynn Kraft

How Classic Movies from the 1940s Made Their Way in My Latest Novel

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

One thing I loved about writing my post World War Two novel was my main character’s passion for movies. Alice Brighton and her late husband loved to go to movies on Friday nights. Now, even after the war made her a widow, Alice still loves movies and compares everyone she meets to a movie character.

Of course for Alice, all these wonderful classic movies and movie stars and a part of her culture, but for me, it was so much fun because I love classic movies. In the novel, Alice compares her landlord to Cary Grant. Cary Grant is one of my favorites. After starring in movies like Suspision, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Notorious, Grant was one of the biggest stars around in 1946 when Alice’s Notions takes place. My favorite Cary Grant movie wouldn’t be made until a few years later. An Affair to Remember, released 1957, with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr is one of my all-time favorites.

At one point in the novel, Alice thinks back to when her late husband always said she reminded him of Judy Garland. Garland would have been twenty-four at the time, just a bit younger than Alice, but she became a big star in her teens. She began acting at two years old when she debuted as Baby Francis and sang Jingle Bells. After playing in various roles including a few movies with Mickey Rooney, Garland had her big break in The Wizard of Oz. She went on to star in a ton of movies and had a thriving singing career until she committed suicide in the 1960s. One of my favorite Judy Garland movies released in 1945 during the war was The Clock. The Clock was about a woman who met and fell in love with a GI on leave. Their romance was intensified because they only had the weekend before he was shipped out again for the remainder of the war. This movie must have been in Alice’s mind since she had lost her husband shortly after the movie came out.

During Alice’s Notions, Alice goes on a date to see the movie, The Postman Always Rings Twice, starring Lana Turner and John Garfield. It was released in 1946 and was considered scandalous at the time because the two main characters have an affair and murder her husband. The main theme of the movie is you can’t get away with your sin. The truth will be revealed. In Alice’s Notions, the truth being revealed is also a main theme.

So you may be wondering what classic movie Alice’s Notions reminds me of. Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn was released in 1963. In that movie, Hepburn is being pursued and doesn’t know who she can trust. The movie has light hearted intrigue, suspense, and romance just like Alice’s Notions. Alice, also, doesn’t know who she can trust.

Blog Stops

May 11: Genesis 5020
May 13: Carpe Diem
May 20: Mary Hake
May 22: Vicky Sluiter


To celebrate her tour, Tamera is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b72

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

I'm looking for Book Brigade Members

I'm Looking for Book Brigade Members

Do you love historical fiction? Have you read any of my books? (It would probably be good if you enjoyed it!). Do you love telling people about books you like? Then perhaps you'd like to join my Book Brigade Street Team.

What's a street team, you ask?

In simple terms, it's a group of like-minded people who enjoy an author's writings (dare I use the word fans) and want to help get the word out about his or her books. It's also a fun place to hang out and socialize with the author and other fans. Does that sound good to you?

I'm recruiting folks for my street team during the month of May in order to get the team in place by June. I'll run the Book Brigade as a private group through Facebook. As a member of the Book Brigade, you'll receive "missions" such as sharing a post, pinning a book cover, or tweeting a bit of news. You'll also be asked (but not required) to vote in a contest, leave a review, or share another person's review. We'll also have discussions and parties to get to know each other.

What's the catch?

Nothing. Really.

You're not required to do anything but hang out, make friends, and get gifties.

Gifties?  Yes, indeed. As part of my Book Brigade you'll get exclusive content, sneak previews, bonus content, the chance to win an appearance or name a character in a future book, and Book Brigade-only swag.

Have I got your attention yet?

If so, click on Linda's Book Brigade Application to open the application, which hopefully answers all your questions. If you're still not sure, post a comment, and I'll get back to you.

Sign up today. Applications will only be accepted through May 31st.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Blog Tour: Behind the Scenes

Blog Tour: Behind the Scenes

To order your copy, click here.

About the Book


Book: Behind the Scenes  

Author: Jen Turano  

Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance  

Release Date: April, 2017

Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn’t guaranteed to “take.” After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she’s finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill.”

Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it’s simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country. When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she’s determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she’ll end up at risk as well.

As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there’s more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . . .

About the Author


Jen Turano, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

Interview With Jen Turano

  1. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you personally?
Amusing things happen to me all the time, but I think my favorite was back in college when I was a lifeguard. You see, there’s a lifeguard code – You will be cool at all times, especially when you’re sitting in a lifeguard chair, twirling your whistle exactly so, and, you know…looking cool. So, there I was, in my black lifeguard bathing suit – swinging my whistle. It was an unusually hot day, so I’d angled my umbrella exactly right as I watched the diving-board section. Now, I know this might come as a surprise, but being a lifeguard at the neighborhood pool isn’t exactly thrilling. It’s rare that anything exciting happens, and that particular day was no exception…until a large gust of wind came out of nowhere and the umbrella took it upon itself to close – right over me. And because it was now really gusty, the umbrella then lifted up, taking me with it right off the chair and into the depths of the deep end of the pool. From all accounts, it was quite the sight. First, there I was, swinging my whistle and looking groovy. Then all you could see were my legs flailing about as the umbrella covered the rest of me, and then…I was plummeting toward the pool, hit the water with the umbrella over me, and promptly sank. Obviously I managed to get out of the umbrella, but in the process, part of my bathing suit came off, and…well, that’s a story for another day.

  1. What is your favorite book from your childhood?
“Andrew Henry’s Meadow.” It was actually my little brother’s book, gotten from one of those book of the month clubs, but I loved it. I recently found a copy on an e-site and ordered it, and it’s just as delightful today as it was back in my childhood.

  1. Who does the cooking and cleaning in your house when you are on a deadline?
I don’t actually cook much even when I’m not on deadline, so that’s not really an issue. Al and I do a lot of salads or throw some chicken on the grill. We also have a lot of grocery stores that have wonderful deli and gourmet foods, so we get a lot of things there. As for cleaning, I’m one of those neurotic people who can’t work without everything being in place, so I do a lot of tidying up before I go to bed. And, because I do some of my best thinking when I clean, I’ve been known to abandon my writing when I get stuck and pick up a mop or cleaning rag, which means my house is rarely a disaster since I need to get unstuck a lot.

  1. Where is your favorite place to write?
I do the majority of my writing in my office, although I will occasionally take a pad of paper and a pen outside to handwrite when I get bored of my office or it’s a really nice day and I don’t feel like being trapped inside. It’s not that my office is my favorite place to write, it’s more that my writing is my job and I’m more focused on that writing when I approach it as such.

  1. What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I really like when characters and new story ideas begin to fester. That normally happens when I’m in the midst of another series. By the time I’m done with whatever series I’m working on, the next series is pretty firmly set in my mind, which means I can jump right in as I wait for edits on recently completed work. My absolute favorite part of writing, though, is when I turn in the very final edit on a book and don’t see it again until it comes out in print. Although, I must admit, I’ve never, not once, read one of my books after it has gone to print. Seems rather pointless since I do always know how the book is going to end.

  1. Why did you choose the timeframe or setting this book is written in?
I’ve been wanting to set a book during Alva Vanderbilt’s famous costume ball of March, 1883, for years. Since I decided to slowly travel through the Gilded Age, I just reached 1883 on my plot timeline, so knew I was finally going to get to throw some characters into the very midst of Alva’s ball. It was a blast to write, loved going back to all my books on this particular ball and seeing the pictures, and only wish the Vanderbilt house at 660 Fifth Avenue was still standing so I could visit it in person to visualize the splendors located inside a little more clearly.

  1. What inspires you?
I think like most writers, I simply get inspired by the world around me. I love to people watch, and I love to imagine all sorts of outlandish scenarios as I do that watching. I also get inspired by reading the headlines of the daily papers, and by the research books I read. I also love to look through old photographs of the Gilded Age, and became intrigued with Alva Vanderbilt’s ball when I saw a picture of a young lady, Miss Kate Strong, with a stuffed cat on her head and wearing a choker necklace with the name Puss engraved on it. That was all it took for me to investigate the Vanderbilt ball further, delighted to discover it truly was a ball that only comes along every blue moon.

Blog Stops

April 27: The Scribbler
April 27: Genesis 5020
April 28: Back Porch Reads
April 29: Bookworm Mama
April 30: Radiant Light
April 30: Bigreadersite
April 30: Lane Hill House
May 3: Book by Book
May 5: Baker Kella


To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card and the four books: After a Fashion, In Good Company, Playing the Part, Behind the Scenes!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04910/