Thursday, June 28, 2018

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Marilyn Turk

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Marilyn Turk

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Your new release Shadowed by a spy is the sequel to The Gilded Curse. Where did you find your inspiration for this story? (Readers: Be sure to scroll to the end for the book blurb and purchase link)

Marilyn: Hi Linda. Thanks for having me. Where did I get my inspiration for Shadowed by a Spy? From my readers, first, who wanted to know what happened to my characters after my book The Gilded Curse ended. To answer that question, I had to brainstorm where the characters from the first book went next. It was only natural that they went to New York, my heroine, Lexie Smithfield’s home and also where she planned to attend nursing school. As a historic writer, I search for interesting events that happened in a particular year, and it just so happened a major event, the landing of Nazi spies on Long Island, happened after Lexie moved back.

LM: I love reading stories that include real events. The age old question for writers – are you a planner or a “panster,” and what is your favorite part of the writing process?

Marilyn: I’m a hybrid – both. I have to plan the story to pitch it, so I have a synopsis first. But what happens during the writing is often a surprise. However, I don’t think I’d ever be able to do a chapter by chapter synopsis as I’ve heard some publishers have requested. What I do plan is based on the 3-Act screenplay, so I know the turning point and the black moment and the end and pace the rest of the book around these points.

LM: You write historical fiction which requires an extra layer of research to ensure accuracy about the era. How did you go about researching this particular book and did you discover any extra special tidbits of information?

Marilyn: Writing historical fiction is an excuse to do research. Really, I LOVE the research because I learn so many interesting things. For this book, I contacted every place mentioned in the book. The nurses’ school no longer exists so I had to contact a number of NY agencies for information. Although the building still stands, it is currently abandoned, but what a gem when someone found a map of the original building for me! I read nurses’ journals from 1942 and even interviewed a 90+ former nurse who let me know about the uniform code. The hotel in the story is still in business after years of change, but someone at the hotel was a historian and gave me great information about it. The fun part was when my husband allowed us to put Long Island on our summer vacation so I could see the area where the spies landed, Amagansett, and also see the posh areas of East Hampton nearby. One of my favorite places was the neo-Elizabethan East Hampton Library built in 1912. The research librarian was a great help, and the library is so charming, I could live there!

LM: A fellow research junkie – excellent! I love research too. You write about multiple historic time periods. How do you decide which project/era to tackle next?

Marilyn: I started out writing about the Civil War’s effects on the coast of Florida, but a series developed that covers a period from 1861 to 1883. Since I live on the coast of Florida, I’m particularly interested in what happened here. Much of that history is relatively unknown, so I love finding a nugget of history and letting my characters experience it. At the time I brainstormed my World War II book, I was visiting Jekyll Island, GA, so that’s where I met Lexie. In addition, I’ve been writing a lighthouse blog for over five years, so I’ve done a lot of research about lighthouses, and that research, of course leads to stories. If you see a common thread, it’s a coast, so I doubt I’ll ever write a book set anywhere else.

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

Marilyn: When I lived in Atlanta, I liked to drive by historic mansions in the Buckhead area of town and imagine what stories they could tell. One day a friend was in town visiting and we were driving around and I decided to drive into the driveway of one of the more forgotten-looking mansions. When I discovered the owners were in Europe and workmen were there, we decided to do a self-guided tour until we were asked to leave. I might still write a story set there (even though it’s not the coast). I learned later it’s called the Pink Castle and was built in 1923 – think Downton Abbey in Atlanta – ooh!

LM: You live in Florida, a beautiful area of the world, and a place many people visit. If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Marilyn: That’s a difficult question to answer, but I’d love to take one of those river cruises in Europe and see castles. I’d also love to go to Tuscany and take a cooking class.

LM: Sounds fun! What is your next project?

Marilyn I’m currently working on my Coastal Lights Legacy series. The second book will be out soon and then I have to finish book three, then book four. After that, I have a standalone book to write.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Marilyn: 
You can also find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.turk.9

Twitter: @MarilynTurk

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/bluewaterbayou/ - where I have a page devoted to Shadowed by a Spy with lots of cool 1942 pictures!

Book Blurb:
In the dead of night on June 12, 1942, four sailors climb from their German U-boat and make their way toward the coast of Long Island, NY. From there, they board the Long Island Railroad heading into Manhattan. One of the men, Cal Miller, is a US citizen, making him the perfect candidate for a special mission to infiltrate the States and gain access to key economic targets he can destroy.

Three seats ahead, Lexie Smithfield ponders her future as a nurse at Bellevue Hospital and wife to her fiancé Russell Thompson. A brief encounter with Cal Miller on the train leads to an unlikely friendship, and ultimately to the fearsome discovery that this handsome, kindly man is not who he appears to be.

When Russell is given an opportunity to work overseas, Lexie reluctantly encourages him to go. But his absence leaves Lexie alone in a strange city where her path becomes increasingly darkened by her unwitting connection to the German saboteurs. As the spies lay plans to destroy American factories and bridges, it becomes clear that only two people can stop them. One is a catatonic patient at Bellevue who must be strapped to his bed and sedated. The other is Lexie herself, a young woman who longs only for the security of marriage while ministering to the war’s physically and emotionally wounded.

Can Lexie’s unintended friendship with a Nazi spy thwart a terrorist attack? Or will her hopes and dreams—peace on the American homefront—become another casualty of war?



Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Traveling Tuesday: The Great State of Washington During WWII


Traveling Tuesday: 
The Great State of Washington During WWII


Despite a wartime population of only 1.7 million (which equates to 28 people per square mile), Washington State more than “did its bit” for the WWII war effort. From the manufacturing and production of war materiel to housing POWs and providing food for the armed forces, Washington was a busy place to live!

Manufacturing: Fifteen shipyards peppered the coastline and rivers of Washington, producing thousands Liberty ships, aircraft carriers, LSTs, transport, and cargo ships. The Pacific Car and Foundry manufactured hundreds of Sherman tanks, the mostly widely used medium tank by U.S. and Western Allied troops. Then there was the Boeing Company that made thousands of B-17 and B-29 bombers. According to one report, floor space of Seattle based aircraft companies increased from 800,000 square feet to 4.1 million square feet by the end of the war.

War Materiel: In the eastern part of the state, Hanford designed the plane and refined the plutonium for the bombs that were dropped on Japan in 1945. Additionally, at the beginning of the war the state had no aluminum production, but by war’s end, Washington was the third largest producer of the metal. Lumber was also in huge demand, and the state stepped up. Billions of board-feet were milled to build barracks, minesweepers, barges, training planes, and much more.

Food: The fishing industry had always played a large part in the state’s economy, and continued to do so. In addition to salmon and halibut many other seafood was harvested. The army and navy purchased nearly all the tinned salmon the state could produce. Washington was also a leading agricultural state. Improvements in dehydration processes, allowed the state to ship dried fruit, vegetables, milk, and eggs to troops worldwide. An estimated four hundred million pounds of dried eggs left the state annually!

POWs: Nine POW camps at various locations around the state housed thousands of enemy troops. The state’s remoteness and fair treatment of prisoners resulted in very few escape attempts. One story is told about a prisoner who snuck out by hanging on the underside of a truck as it was leaving camp. The man lived with a woman for two weeks, but after an argument turned himself in. Prisoners performed a variety of jobs and paid eighty cents an hour for their efforts.

Internment Camps: After the implementation of Executive Order 9066, Seattle’s “Japan Town” was emptied and by all reports, never recovered. Many Japanese-Americans operated farms, and the strawberry industry was severely impacted when these families were moved out of Bellevue. Three “enemy alien” internment camps were created. McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary held Japanese individuals, Seattle INS Detention Facility held Italian and Japanese, and Fort Meriwether German, Italian, and Japanese.

Washington State also sent its sons and daughters to serve, and more than 6,200 lost their lives.

Have you ever visited this beautiful state?

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Blog Tour: To Claim Her Heart With Jodie Wolfe

Blog Tour: To Claim Her Heart With Jodie Wolfe



About the Book

  
Title: To Claim Her Heart  
Author: Jodie Wolfe  
Release Date: May 14, 2018  
Genre: Historical Romance

In 1893, on the eve of the great race for land, Benjamin David prays for God to guide him to his ‘Promised Land’. Finding property and preaching to the lost are his only ways of honoring his deceased fiancee, but he didn’t count on Elmer (Elsie) Smith claiming the same plot and refusing to leave. Not only is she a burr in his side, but she is full of the homesteading know-how he sadly lacks. Obtaining a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run is Elsie Smith’s only hope for survival, but not just any plot will do. She has a specific one in mind. The plot’s not only a way to honor her pa and his life, but also to provide a livelihood for herself. Elsie’s willing to do whatever it takes to get that piece of property, and she determined to keep it, but she wasn’t planning on a kind, handsome preacher standing in her way. Her bitterness is what protects her, and she has not intentions of allowing that preacher to lay claim to her land … or her heart.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I finished Jodie Wolfe’s To Claim Her Heart in two sittings and loved every word. The protagonists, Elsie and Benjamin are complex, relatable characters with realistic dreams, issues, and struggles. Elsie was a delightful mixture of rough-n-ready and femininity she didn’t realized she possessed. I fell in love with Benjamin because of his gentle strength, integrity, and faith. Minor characters were well-developed and likable (except those I wasn’t supposed to!). The threat of outlaws added tension and intrigue which I enjoyed. As with all of Ms. Wolfe’s books, I learned information about the life and events in the Old West without being lectured to, creating a desire to know more and do my own further research (which as a history geek, I love). Plot twists and turns added depth and kept the story moving. If I could give this book more than five stars, I would. Highly recommended.

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

About the Author



Jodie Wolfe got bitten by the writing bug as a young girl after reading and watching Little House on the Prairie. She creates novels where hope and quirky meet. The power of story to influence lives and change hearts is what motivates her to weave tales that tell of the Savior’s faithfulness and forgiveness. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.


Guest Post from Jodie Wolfe

The Heart of a Book

I think there’s always a little bit of the author in each book they write, but sometimes something deeper and very close to the author is wrapped up in the pages of a story. That’s the case for To Claim Her Heart. This is the tale that my mother-in-law always wanted me to write. She was so proud of her family heritage and almost twenty years ago, she was anxious to share it with me. We visited Oklahoma where several of her relatives had staked claims in the last great race for land in our country – the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893. This September will mark the 125th anniversary of the land race.

While it saddens me that my dear mother-in-law never lived long enough to see this story in print, I’m thankful that she shared her rich heritage with me. In To Claim Her Heart I was able to mention a recipe passed down through her family for prune cake. I also made sure the heroine had a Rose of Sharon quilt that was given to her. My mother-in-law gave me this quilt dating back as early as 1834 when it was stitched by my husband’s great, great, great, great grandmother. It’s been passed down to the oldest daughter for generations. But, I think one of my favorite memories is the one that concerns outlaws and how my husband’s great, great, great grandmother dealt with them. To find out more about this actual encounter, you’ll have to read To Claim Her Heart. I hope your heart will be as touched by these stories as mine was when my mother-in-law shared them. Enjoy!

Blog Stops

Here are Jodie's remaining Tour stops:

June 25: Vicky Sluiter
June 27: Splashes of Joy
June 29: Pause for Tales
July 2: Big Reader Site

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jodie is giving away a grand prize of a Kindle Fire!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cf88/to-claim-her-heart-celebration-tour

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back, June Foster!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back, June Foster!


Linda: Welcome back! It’s a pleasure to be able to visit with you again. You recently turned in your RV life to put down roots in a home? How has that worked out for you?

June: My husband had eye surgery so it became a necessity to settle down. We love our small town of Cullman, Alabama as we have a new home and doctors are nearby. My husband's family lives here as well. But, I'll be honest, I really miss our daughters and grandchildren who live in Seattle and El Paso, Texas. Since my husband's eye problem is resolving, we can travel again. So I'm sure we'll be going to see our kids. Just not in an RV.

Linda: Congratulation on your most recent publication, A Home for Fritz. What was your inspiration for the story?

June: Last summer, when we were still in the RV, we spent the summer in Shell, Wyoming at the base of the Big Horn Mountains. At the RV park where we worked and stayed, the owners had a precious dog named Fritz. A golden doodle, to be exact. About that time, my editor asked for stories in which the couple met because of a dog. So my tail, I mean tale, was born.

LM: Research is a necessary part to writing any book. What sort of “wow” or “aha” moment have you had when researching one of your books?

June: A Home For Fritz takes place at a dude ranch in Wyoming. Near Shell, an exclusive guest ranch, the Hideaway, is the destination for many wealthy visitors. The owner was gracious enough to take me on a tour of the grounds and the facility. I interviewed the wranglers as well as local ranchers. With each new fact I learned, I indeed experienced that "wow" moment.

LM: What writers influence you the most?

June: I love Julie Lessman's books. Her rich dialogue and the manner in which she "gets into the characters' heads" are stellar examples of good fictional writing. Fay Lamb, my freelance editor, influences me to improve my grammar and sentence structure. Joy Massengurge, one of my critique partners, guides my writing to get deeper into a character's head.

LM: Here are some quickies:

Favorite Color: green
Favorite Author: Frank Perretti
Favorite Food: Mexican

LM: What advice can you give to not-yet-published writers?

June: Ask: do you feel God called you to write for His glory? If yes, keep doing everything you can to get your stories out there. Improve your craft, go to conferences, get in a good critique group, get tough skin when rejections come, and pray hard. And at times, you may want to consider self-publishing.

LM: Can you tell us what writing projects are on your plate right now?

June: I'm finishing a Thanksgiving story due this fall. Then I've got a contract to write a romance where a crazy adventure takes the couple through the chapters.

Linda: Where can folks connect with you?

June: Check out my website: http://www.junefoster.com

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wartime Wednesday: Life in a WWII Kitchen

Wartime Wednesday: Life in a WWII Kitchen

Research turns up the most interesting information, and my favorite tidbits are those that include real-life incidents and insights. Saturday, I volunteered at the Wright Museum of WWII as I usually do, and when I got home my husband Wes was busy preparing treats for church on his six burner Viking gas stove. We upgraded the kitchen when we purchased the Bed and Breakfast we operated for twelve years, so it's not your everyday appliance.

A trained chef, Wes works magic in the kitchen (or on a campfire!). Watching him work got me thinking about what it was like to cook
in a WWII kitchen.

Look closely at the photo of the Wright Museum exhibit. What strikes you most about what's in the picture? For me, it's the size of everything. Granted our stove is larger than a standard household fixture, but even today's family stoves are much larger than the one in the exhibit. Can you imagine trying to bake a turkey or pot roast in that teeny-weeny oven?  Check out the size of the fridge. Again, our refrigerator is a good size because of running the business, but nowadays even apartment fridges would be larger than the one shown here. And with the compressor on top, storage space is lost.

Something else I noticed after studying the exhibit is the amount of metal used. In an "aha" moment (even after all the reading and researching I've done about the era), I realize why it was necessary to perform scrap drives. It seems that what wasn't made of wood was constructed of metal (steel, aluminum, and iron). From the skillet on the wall and pots on the stove to the containers of spices on the shelves and food items such as crackers and tea to the right of the stove, nearly everything was made of metal.

Other items of interest are the lack of a built-in pantry - those are a modern invention taking the place of pie-safes and shelving units such as the one shown on the left. Are you familiar with Fiestaware? I was fortunate to inherit several pieces when my grandfather passed away. Introduced in 1936, with a hiatus from 1973 to 1985, Fiestaware is glazed ceramic dinnerware that featured thirty-seven different pieces, with as many as sixty-seven pieces during its heyday. During WWII, the line was reduced and by the end of the war, with the more unusual serving items being discontinued. Initially produced in five colors: red, blue, green, yellow, and ivory. Turquoise was added in 1938.

What is not included in the photo because the items would have been stored elsewhere, are the jars of canned goods a housewife would have put by from her Victory Garden. Notice something else that's missing? There's no automatic dishwasher. Everything would have been washed by hand.

I imagine that days were long for a 1940s housewife. Most of the chores were done by hand: laundry - that included a wringer washer, hanging clothes to dry, then ironing them (note the ironing board and mangle to the right), dusting, sweeping (not everyone could afford a vacuum cleaner), mopping, and dishes (washing and drying). I'll try to remember that the next time I complain about having to empty my automatic dishwasher! How about you?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Mystery Monday: The Many Names of Dolores Hitchens

Mystery Monday: The Many Names of Dolores Hitchens

I guess it's pride, but as an author, I find it gratifying to see my name on a book cover. It's fascinating to me when writers choose to publish their work under a pseudonym. There are as many reasons as there are nom de plumes, and most readers have no idea why an author makes that choice. Mystery writer Dolores Hitchens wrote under four different names, perhaps more.

Her most successful series featuring spinster Rachel Murdock and her cat Samantha included twelve books released between 1939 and 1956. Considered cozies today, the books are well-written and include lots of twists and turns that keep the reader guessing. Rather than be a cliched little old lady, Rachel is sharp-witted and willing to take risks despite being 70+ years old.

A series she co-authored five "railroad mysteries" with her husband Bert who was a railroad detective, individuals responsible for the protection of railroad property, facilities, and personnel, and sometimes patrolling the public rail transit system.

Most of the more than two dozen other mysteries she penned tend to be traditional detective stories. Sleep with Slander has been called "the best traditional male private eye novel written by a woman." (A bit of a left handed compliment if you ask me!). Fool's Gold was made into a movie called Bande a Part by French director Jean-Luc Godard. It was released in North America as Band of Outsiders and met with good success.

Fourteen are standalone with two series featuring Lt. Stephen Mayhew and Professor Pennyfeather. In her later years, Hitchens wrote two "hard-boiled" detective stories in the flavor of Raymond Chandler that feature Jim Sader.

Born in Texas on Christmas Day in 1907, Dolores worked as a nurse and then a teacher before starting her writing career. An intensely private person, not much is known about her. She passed away in 1973.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Kimberly Rose Johnson

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Kimberly Rose Johnson

I love a good mystery, and I know you do too, so I'm thrilled to welcome Kimberly Rose Johnson to my blog today to talk about her latest release, The Sleuth's Miscalculation. Grab a cuppa and join us!


Linda:  Thanks for stopping by my blog, and congratulations on your latest release The Sleuth’s Miscalculation. What was your inspiration for this particular story?

Kimberly: Hi, Linda. Thanks for having me on your blog! Nancy Drew books inspired this story, which is the first in a series. My heroine, Nancy Daley, is the town librarian and the sleuth. She will be a point of view character in every book.

LM:  What a great idea. I loved reading Nancy Drew as a child. How do you decide where to set a story?

Kimberly: I like to use fictional towns so I have complete creative license over the story world. Lately, I’ve been setting my books in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, which is where I live.

LM: Lots of research goes into each story to ensure accuracy. What is an “aha” or “wow” moment you had while conducting research for one of your books?

Kimberly: Believe it or not, part of my research was reading Nancy Drew books. I was more of a Hardy Boys girl growing up, but I’ve really enjoyed the Nancy Drew books as an adult. I don’t do a lot of research in advance of writing. So when something comes up in the story that I need to know I either stop writing and research it, or leave a note for myself to come back after I’ve visited such and such.

LM:  You’re a prolific writer. Have you ever experienced writer’s block, and if so, what did you do to push through it?

Kimberly: Unfortunately, yes. How I deal with it really depends on the situation. Sometimes it’s a matter of creative fatigue, and I need a break. I give myself permission to take a short nap, or read some fiction, which usually gets my creative juices flowing again.

When I write myself into a corner and I don’t know how to get out of it, I have been known to cut thousands of words to get back on track. I’m a pantster, which means I don’t plot ahead very much. I start with a story idea and generally know where I want the story to go, and how I want it to end, but everything in between is a mystery to me until I’m actually writing. Most of the time being a panster works well for me, but not always.

LM: Who are some of your writing “heroes?” 


Kimberly: This could be dangerous because I know I’ll forget someone, but I’ll give it a whirl. I admire Margaret Daley, Dee Henderson, JoAnn Durgin and more. It’s really tough to name names.

LM: Here are some quickies:

Kimberly:
Favorite childhood book: Can I get there by Candlelight? By Jean Slaughter Doty. This is a story about a girl and her horse. They travel into the past when she steps through an iron gate in the woods. I still have this on my bookshelf. Telling you about it makes me want to read it again. J

Favorite season: Fall

Favorite place to vacation: Disney World

LM: What is your next project?

Kimberly:  I am going back and forth between my romantic mystery series and a contemporary romance series. The next book I need to write is for my Brides of Seattle series title TBD. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Kimberly: http://www.kimberlyrjohnson.com is my website and all my links are there. I would love for readers to follow me on BookBub and/or Amazon.

Thanks again for hosting me!

Book Blurb: Librarian Nancy Daley loves a good mystery and enjoys moonlighting as a consultant for the sheriff's department. When license plates go missing in Tilton County, she's on the case. This time things are different - she's been partnered with the new deputy, and he's not interested in her help. To make matters worse, she's angered the wrong person and now she's being threatened.

Sheriff Deputy Carter Malone expects Tipton County to be a sleepy small-town, but he's miscalculated. He'd come to town for a fresh start with his nephew-one without the issues big cities deal with. Had he made a mistake? To complicate matters, he told he must consult with the sheriff's daughter who is not in law enforcement. When the minor case they are working on morphs into something more, things quickly go from harmless to scary.

Can they solve the mystery before it's too late, and more importantly, what will they do about their growing attraction?


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Traveling Tuesday: Ohio Does its Bit


Traveling Tuesday: Ohio Does its Bit



I recently read Tamera Lynn Kraft’s Red Sky Over America, a novel about Oberlin College, and the role it played during the Civil War. The book’s Afterward included lots of information about the college and Ohio’s stance on slavery. Fascinated, I got to wondering about how Ohio contributed to WWII, another war that heavily impacted the U.S.

The war hit Ohio immediately when it took dozens of its citizens during the attack at Pearl Harbor. Three Ohioans were posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroism during the incident, including Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Machinst’s First Mate First Class Robert R, Scott, and Seaman First Class James Richard Ward. About twelve percent of the state’s population served in the armed forces during the war. Of that number approximately 23,000 lost their lives, making the ultimate sacrifice.

Like many other states, Ohio’s manufacturing plants were converted from civilian to defense industry production. (Click for photos of a Tire Plant Conversion). One of those businesses was Willys-Overland Motor Company, now famous for its Jeeps.

In 1940, the government asked over 130 automobile companies to submit designs for a lightweight vehicle that could travel over numerous types of terrain. The challenge included a deadline of just forty-nine days. Willys-Overland was the second of two companies that succeed in making a submission. The government initially chose Bantam as the winner, but Bantam’s facilities were too small and unable to meet the demand. Given Bantam’s design, Willy-Overland made modifications that included a larger engine. These changes enabled them to win the contract. As a result, they produced almost half of the 700,000 jeeps manufactured during the war.

Goodyear Aircraft Company located in Akron also participating in producing wartime materiel by manufacturing 104 airships for the military. The plant also manufactured the F4U Corsair for the Navy. From its humble beginnings of thirty-nine employees, Goodyear grew to over thirty-five thousand employees by 1942.

During the war, the US Army Air Force created numerous airfields in Ohio to train pilots and aircrews of fighter planes and bombers. After the war, some were converted to municipal airports, while others reverted to agricultural fields. Others remained as installations during the Cold War.

As with citizens all over the country, Ohioans collected scrap, grew victory gardens, and lived with rationing. They purchased war bonds, operated Red Cross and USO centers, and performed myriad Civil Defense duties. Their men went to war or worked in the defense industry, and their women joined the ranks of the employed, doing their bit to ensure the future of freedom.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Blog Tour: The Captured Bride

Blog Tour: The Captured Bride


About the Book

Title: The Captured Bride  
Author: Michelle Griep  
Release Date: June 1, 2018  
Genre: Historical Romance

A war-torn countryside is no place for a lady—but Mercy Lytton is a lady like none other. Raised amongst the Mohawks, she straddles two cultures, yet each are united in one cause . . . to defeat the French. Born with a rare gift of unusually keen eyesight, she is chosen as a scout to accompany a team of men on a dangerous mission. Yet it is not her life that is threatened. It is her heart. Condemned as a traitor, Elias Dubois faces the gallows. At the last minute, he’s offered his freedom if he consents to accompany a stolen shipment of French gold to a nearby fort—but he’s the one they stole it from in the first place. It turns out that the real thief is the beguiling woman, Mercy Lytton, for she steals his every waking thought. Can love survive divided loyalties in a backcountry wilderness?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

The Captured Bride is an exciting, fast-paced story that contains a wonderful mixture of mystery and romance. The two main characters, Mercy and Elias are complex, realistic, and I loved both of them. Mercy is strong-willed yet struggles with insecurities and guilt. Elias deals with feelings of failure and regret. As much as I love history, I don’t know more than the basics about the colonial days in America, so I greatly enjoyed the information the author weaves throughout the story. There is also an afterward that contains additional interesting historic facts. The author uses all the senses in her descriptions giving me the ability to smell the forests, horses, and campfires; hear the jingle of bridles, bird song, and raging rivers; and feel the rain on my face. The time period is rustic and rugged, and there are some violent scenes, but they are not gory or gratuitous. I was breathless by the end of the book and look forward to reading it again and again.

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

About the Author



Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Guest Post from Michelle

A Visit to Fort Niagara  

Whether you’re a history buff or don’t have a clue what the French and Indian War was about, there’s a destination in upstate New York that’s fun to visit for the whole family . . .

My husband and I made the trek to this living history site last summer. I had no idea what to expect, other than what was advertised as a “reenactment camp.” For those who don’t know, this is when volunteers who adore history come together to present a particular event, such as a battle. These people usually choose a real person from the era upon whom they fashion their modern day persona. They dress, speak, eat and live as that person might have. Here I am with some of my new friends.

Generally around the 4th of July, the 1759 Battle of Fort Niagara is recreated in a 3-day extravaganza of soldiers, muskets, canons and an entire market place to peruse selling period-related items. Some of the things that surprised me about stepping back into the mid-eighteenth century were:
  • How much smoke muskets kick out
  • Once the battle begins, it’s hard to see who is your enemy or ally
  • Canons are really loud
  • Everything wasn’t as black and white as it seems in pictures—gowns and uniforms were very colorful
What makes this event so spectacular is that they take the entire 20 day siege and condense it into 3 days. If you visit every day, you’ll see and experience exactly what happened. You’ll be there to see the British, Colonial regulars and Iroquois allies sneak out of the tree line to shoot at some French soldiers who were pigeon hunting just outside the fort. You’ll hear the war whoops and barrage of angry French epithets roaring on the air. You’ll even get a chance to taste some of their food as you wander around inside the French Encampment set up inside the fort walls. To experience a bit of the danger, sights and sounds of what Mercy and Elias lived through in The Captured Bride, Fort Niagara really is a fantastic place to visit.

Blog Stops

June 11: Genesis 5020
June 11: Baker Kella
June 12: My Writer's Life
June 13: Among the Reads
June 13: Book by Book
June 14: Splashes of Joy
June 14: Artistic Nobody
June 15: Pause for Tales
June 15: Mary Hake
June 15: Big Reader Site
June 17: Novels Corner
June 18: Kathleen Denly
June 18: A Reader's Brain
June 18: Remembrancy
June 20: Mommynificent
June 22: Carpe Diem

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of The Captured Bride and a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Editor/Writer Tisha Martin


Talkshow Thursday: Meet Editor/Writer Tisha Martin

I'm sitting down today with writer and editor Tisha Martin. Grab your favorite beverage and join us!

LM: I read your delightful short story Puddle of Remorse. Where did you get your inspiration for the story?

Tisha: First off, it’s great to be here, Linda! Thanks for letting me join the blog today! So glad you read Puddle of Remorse because I enjoyed writing it. Great question! In college, I was sharing a meal with friends, and one of my friends told of her adopted deaf sister who got into heaps of trouble. I don’t remember what the little girl got in trouble for, but it inspired me to write the story. Plus, the Deaf culture is close to my heart because I have a deaf twin sister. (Even though she didn’t act like Bevy in my story, she was cantankerous. She chased me and my siblings with a garden snake one summer. . .)

Linda:  Ha! Siblings can be a challenge! You are both author and editor. How difficult is it to turn off your internal editor when you are writing?

Tisha: Haha, great question! Want to know the startling truth? I can’t. That’s why I do both! However, when I’m writing a scene and I know there’s issues to fix, I make a Comment in the page margin and I keep writing. It also helps that I think a lot about my topic before I write, so that I’m able to write more when I actually do sit down and write.

LM: What writers influence you the most?

Tisha: Ha! That’s a dangerous question . . . because you may get a huge list. If I had to choose, I’d have to say Sarah Sundin, Judith Pella, Cindy McCormick Martinusen, and Vian Smith, to name a small few. But really, following agent blogs, reading my authors’ manuscripts, and learning about editing have helped my writing tremendously. I love learning from others!

LM: Here are some quickies:

Favorite Color: Every shade of green (except grass and forest greens)
Favorite Place to vacation: Um…wow, I don’t know! I’d love to vacation on Mackinac Island, Prince Edward Island, or travel to all the national museums in the US.
Favorite Food: Mashed potatoes

LM: What are your passions outside of writing?

Tisha: I love to garden, sew, read, ride horses, and guest blogging. And edit (oh wait, that’s my day job! Seriously, though, it’s an equal passion!).

LM: What advice can you give to not-yet-published writers?

Tisha: I’m so happy you asked! Love encouraging not-yet-published writers! If I could share two pieces of advice: 1. Develop a teachable spirit because we don’t know everything, and agents, editors, and publishers are there not to condemn us or our writing but to help us and encourage us to be the best author we can be and to write the best book that God has given us. 2. Start building your platform now. It’s crucial to our writing career. Platform is a fancy way of saying “relationships.” Think of it as a conversation with someone in the grocery store or the library, only it’s on social media. People like to talk about food and books. 😉 (By the way, I offer beginning social media coaching for authors with little to no platform, and I would love to talk with you should you have any questions or concerns at all!)

LM: It appears on your website that you are working on three different books? How do you decide
which project to work on, is one closer to completion than the others?

Tisha: I’m laughing. It’s a juggling act. My WWII book is in edits and some rewrite, but the rest are in serious outline form, maybe a chapter or two completed. I’m a slow writer because I like to mull over my ideas long before I write them, but on my website, I wanted to show readers what ideas I have in the queue. Most writers are always churning ideas and planning outlines and doing prewriting so that when they finish writing one book, it’s easy to slip right into another. At least that’s my plan.

Linda: Where can folks connect with you?

Tisha: Ooh! I’d love to connect with you and keep the conversation going! My main hub is my website, but please connect on social media, too, so we can help grow each other’s platform numbers and encourage each other!


Thanks for hosting me, Linda!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wartime Wednesday: “He who works with his arms”


Wartime Wednesday: “He who works with his arms”


One does not have to be a scholar to understand that WWII impacted American society on many levels. The massive number of women who entered the workforce is a topic often discussed as having major repercussions. But in the early days of the war, company vacancies could be filled by doubling up a man’s workload. For the women, it was more acceptable for them to volunteer than take a job, so grandmothers, mothers, and daughters doled out donuts for the Red Cross, danced with young men at the USO, acted as airplane spotters, air raid wardens, and messenger girls.

But as the war ground on, more and more men were called up or chose to enlist. The agricultural industry was hit particularly hard as more than six million men left the farms that fed not only Americans, but her troops and her allies. With crops rotting in the fields, the Federal government struggled to find an answer. Despite a rallying cry from journalists, celebrities, and even first lady Eleanor Roosevelt to use women to fill the vacancies, farmers and the Department of Agriculture sought any answer but that one. In fact, prisoners and prisoners of war were preferred over women! It took until 1943 to create the Women’s Land Army.

Enter the Bracero Agreement.

The word ‘bracero’ is a Spanish word that literally translated means ‘he who works with his arms.’ A  highly controversial program, the Bracero bill was signed on August 4, 1942 and operated as a joint program with the State Department, Department of Labor, and Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Months were required to hammer out the details that included how recruiting would be conducted, living conditions in the labor camps, salaries, and food. Laws were also implemented that dictated what the braceros could (perform manual labor) and couldn’t (drive tractors or machinery) do. The agreement also stated that the Mexican workers couldn’t be subjected to discrimination or be excluded from “whites only” areas.

“Guest workers,” as they were called, came from Mexico to work the farms on contracts lasting from six weeks to six months, after which the young men would return home. Despite being a “temporary” solution to solve the labor shortage during the war, the program remained in place until 1964. Ultimately, reports indicate that the braceros accounted for less than ten percent of the hired workforce between 1942 and 1947.





Sunday, June 3, 2018

Blog Tour: Red Sky Over America

Blog Tour: Red Sky Over America



About the Book



Title: Red Sky over America  
Author: Tamera Lynn Kraft  
Genre: Christian Historical Romance  
Release Date: February 11, 2018

In 1857, America, the daughter of a slave owner, is an abolitionist and a student at Oberlin College, a school known for its radical ideas. America goes home to Kentucky during school break to confront her father about freeing his slaves. America’s classmate, William, goes to Kentucky to preach abolition to churches that condone slavery. America and William find themselves in the center of the approaching storm sweeping the nation and may not make it home to Ohio or live through the struggle.
Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Set during the turbulent time of the Civil War, Red Sky Over America is a powerful story that explores how the war divided families, churches, and communities because of different beliefs about states’ rights and slavery. Playing off the expression “Red sky at night, sailors delight…” the title does an excellent job of capturing the effect the time period had on America the character and America the country. I struggled a bit to relate to the protagonist, America, because she waffled between sticking to her convictions about abolition and adhering to social customs and her father’s mindset, but she was very much a product of her time. Several points of view were used to tell the story, including one of the slaves, which I enjoyed and effectively immersed me into the era and personal situations of the characters. Colloquial dialogue was used, but not to the point of being distracting. Even though I am well-versed in the Civil War era, I was unfamiliar with the role played by Ohio and Oberlin College. The author wove lots of interesting information throughout the story without being textbookish or dry. I was disappointed that every slave owner in the book was portrayed as evil and/or unfeeling and somewhat clichĂ©. Because of the subject matter, there are periodic episodes of violence, and although difficult to read, are not gratuitous. This is the first in a series, and I look forward to the next book.

I received a copy of this book for free from CelebrateLit Publicity, and a favorable 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 39 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and two grandchildren. Tamera has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist and has written children’s church curriculum. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.


Guest posts from Tamera Lynn Kraft

100 Steps to Freedom

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Before the Civil War, Ohio had the largest Underground Railroad of any state in the Union. It is believed that every county in Ohio had a route. Many slaves would escape over the Ohio River and through Ohio on their way to Canada. This was a dangerous undertaking because, even though Ohio was a free state, the Fugitive Slave Law made it so anyone helping escaped slaves could be fined and jailed.

One small town, Ripley, Ohio, is believed to have helped more slaves escape than any town in Ohio. Ripley is located on the banks of the Ohio River across from Mason County, Kentucky.

One man who helped slaves escape was a freed black man named John Parker. Parker was educated by his master in Virginia and eventually bought his freedom. He traveled to Ohio and opened a foundry on Front Street facing the Ohio River. He was the first black man to earn a patent for one of the inventions he used in his foundry. At night, he would search the Ohio River looking for escaped slaves and helping them find their way to an Underground Railroad Station.

Rev. John Rankin, a Presbyterian minister, owned a house on top of a hill in Ripley. He built one hundred steps to the house that could be seen on the other side of the river. At night, he would light a lantern and hang it from the porch to signal slaves that it was safe to cross. It is estimated that over 2,000 slaves escaped through the Rankin House. None of them were ever recaptured. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote her famous novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, about the escape of the slave, Eliza, after hearing the story from Rev. Rankin.

Rev. John Rankin’s house is in my novel, Red Sky Over America. John Parker also is introduced as a minor character. The story takes place on the Ohio River in Kentucky across from Ripley where all these exciting events happened.

Oberlin College: A School Ahead of Its Time

My current novel series, Ladies of Oberlin, is about 3 women roommates who graduated from one of the most amazing colleges in American history, Oberlin College. Book 1, Red Sky Over America focuses on America, a woman attending Oberlin who is an abolitionist studying to become a missionary. The problem is her father is a slave owner. Here’s a little bit about this amazing college. 

Oberlin College, founded in 1833 in Northern Ohio, was a college ahead of its time in many ways. In 1835, it became the first college in the United States to regularly admit African Americans. It’s also the oldest co-educational college in the US. In 1837, it admitted four women, three of whom graduated and earned a college degree. Mary Jane Patterson, another Obeberlin graduate, became the first African American woman in 1862 to earn a Bachelor of Arts college degree.

One of Oberlin’s founders once bragged that “Oberlin is peculiar in that which is good”. Oberlin was peculiar in many ways in advancing the causes of the time. Charles Finney, the second president of the college, helped it earn its controversial reputation. He was the fiery evangelist of the Second Great Awakening, a Christian revivalist movement in the early and mid 1800s.

Oberlin College was the hotbed of abolitionist activity and a stop for the Underground Railroad before the Civil War. It was once called “the town that started the Civil War” because of its participation in the Oberlin Wellington Rescue in 1858. Slave catchers came to Oberlin to capture an escaped slave and return him to Kentucky. Most of the town came to the slave’s aid and rescued him. For their trouble, over twenty were arrested and put on trial for violating the Fugitive Slave Act. During the raid on Harper’s Ferry by John Brown, three men from Oberlin participated.

Oberlin College was also well known for the women who graduated from the college and participated in the suffrage and prohibition movements. Lucy Stone, considered a pioneer for the women’s movement, graduated from Oberlin College in 1847.

Oberlin was also very well known in the missionary movement of the late 1800s. Between 1860 and 1900, 90% of missionaries sent overseas by the American Missionary Society were graduates of Oberlin College. Between 1899 and 1901, thirteen missionaries from Oberlin were martyred during the Boxer Rebellion of China. An arch in Tappan Square at the center of Oberlin pays honor to their sacrifices.

Blog Stops


Here are Tamera's Remaining Blog Stops:

June 3: Ansel Book Blog
June 4: Artistic Nobody
June 4: Big Reader Site
June 9: Pause for Tales

Giveaway

















To celebrate her tour, Tamera is giving away a themed basket with autographed books of Resurrection of Hope, Alice’s Notions, Red Sky Over America, a copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (the book is mentioned in the novel) and a copy of Then Sings My Soul (stories about the hymns), plus a $10 Amazon Card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cebb/red-sky-over-america-celebration-tour-giveaway