Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wartime Wednesday: The Night Denmark Bested the Nazis

Wartime Wednesday: The Night Denmark Bested the Nazis


With the memories of WWI still fresh in their collective minds, the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway declared neutrality against Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, for Denmark and Norway, Hitler ignored their position and invaded both countries.

After its invasion and in April 1940, the Danish king and government didn’t flee. Instead, they attempted to arrange for lenient terms for the occupation. Because the Nazis wanted to highlight Denmark as a “model protectorate,” the democratically elected government remained in power. Life remained much the same for the Danes, and there was very little resistance.

However, there was a small number of citizens who pursued underground activities such as spying and sabotage. Reports also indicated that intelligence officers in the Danish army sent reports to London as early as a week after the occupation began. By October 1942 a clandestine newspaper, Land og Folk (“Land and People”) was in circulation, and by the end of the war was producing 120,000 copies per day.

For the first half of the war, the Germans often asked the Danish government about its Jews, and the leaders insisted there was “no Jewish question” in the country.

Georg F. Duckwitz
Then came August 1943. SS General Werner Best declared martial law and demanded the government institute capital punishment. They refused. The government also refused to resign preventing the Germans from taking over. Frustration grew, and the following month the Gestapo decided to take matters in their own hands and arrest the country’s Jewish population.

What (or rather who) the Nazis hadn’t counted on was German maritime attaché Georg F. Duckwitz. He leaked the information to Danish politicians about the anticipated arrest. The news spread within hours, and the population sprang into action. Citizens from all walks of life offered refuge in churches, attics, country homes, and residences. Medical staff hid more than one thousand Jews in Copenhagen hospitals.

Fishermen with boats of all shapes and sizes transported hundreds of passengers between Denmark and Sweden. Others escapes in rowboat, kayaks, and canoes. A group of refugees were smuggled into empty freight cars, then sealed in with forged or stolen seals to prevent further inspection. A few Jews hid in the woods and waited for the initial arrest activity to cease before making their way to neutral Sweden.

The response to the arrest announcement was “grassroots,” that is to say, not coordinated at a high level or with any sort of organization, but on the night of the raid, Germans only found 284 Jews of the nearly 8,000 living in Denmark. Statistically, this was the lowest Jewish casualty rate of the war.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back Johnnie Alexander

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back Johnnie Alexander


Linda:  Thanks for stopping by. Congratulations on your upcoming release, Match You Like Crazy which is part of the Resort to Romance series. What was your inspiration for that and how did the opportunity come along?

Johnnie: Authors Jill Kemerer and Jessica Patch came up with the premise for this delightful series. I didn’t hesitate a second when they asked me to join the group. All the titles needed to have the word match in them so that was my starting point. My mom, who died a few years ago, and her oldest grandson used to say to each other, “I miss you like crazy.” That was the inspiration for my title, Match You Like Crazy. The story idea flowed from there!

LM: You’ve done a lot of traveling. What has been your favorite trip thus far? And is there one special place you want to make sure you visit?

Johnnie: Two years ago, my sister and I landed in Barcelona, Spain with Eurail passes and a vague itinerary. For the next few days, we traveled by train from one European city to the next before flying to Lisbon where we stayed in a Home Away apartment for a week. We saw the ruins of a Roman coliseum in Nimes, ate lunch at sidewalk cafés in Milan and Madrid, bought chocolate in Switzerland, and just had a great time.

We’re hoping to go to Vancouver in a year or so. I’ve never seen the Pacific.

LM: You’ve written historical and contemporary fiction. Do you prefer one genre over the other?

Johnnie: I always feel a bit like a mom with a favorite child answering this question. I mostly write contemporaries—and I love writing them—but my heart is with historicals. The World War II era is my favorite.

LM: Do you have a set routine to prepare for writing (e.g. listening to music, etc.) and is there a time of day you are more productive?

Johnnie: Usually I spend the morning taking care of emails, social media engagement, and my to-do list. But after lunch it’s just me and whatever world I’m inhabiting at the time. (Currently that’s eastern Tennessee in 1944.)

Chris Pratt (vanityfair.com)
LM: If your story was going to be made into a movie, who would you like to see play the main characters?

Johnnie: The main characters are based on and named for my son and his lovely girlfriend—Nate and Bre. Could they be in the movie?!?! One of the supporting characters is a Chris Pratt lookalike.

LM: What is one thing you’d like to learn how to do?

Johnnie: I’d like to learn how to write a screenplay. And play an Irish whistle.

LM: Here are some quickies:

Johnnie:
Favorite Season: Spring
Favorite childhood book: The Secret Garden
Favorite Bible verse: “Truly the light is sweet and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun” (Ecclesiastes 11:7).


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

Johnnie: I’m writing a historical novella, “Blue Moon,” for Barbour’s Hometown Heroines Collection which will be released next year. My heroine is in a Women Officers of Public Safety unit (WOOPs) who goes undercover to find a saboteur at the atomic bomb research facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during World War II.

Annie’s Fiction has contracted me to write three novels for their Inn at Magnolia Harbor series. These are light-hearted stories set in a bed-and-breakfast near Charleston, South Carolina. The first of those is drafted and the other two are outlined.

And . . . I’m very excited to be part of the Mosaic Collection, an international group of award-winning, best-selling authors writing contemporary novels in a variety of genres—romance, mystery and suspense, women’s fiction—which will be releasing once a month beginning this August.
Linda: Where can folks connect with you?

Johnnie: I mostly hang out on Facebook so please join me on my Author Page or Profile. For exclusive content and the chance to win fun prizes, please subscribe to my newsletter at http://wwwJohnnie-Alexander.com.



Match You Like Crazy Book Blurb:
They have everything in common. So why aren't they a perfect match?

Bre Fisher wishes she'd said no when her grandmother gave her a trip to Matchmaking Week, especially when Nate Hunter takes the seat beside her on the puddle-jumper to Joy Island. He's the last person she expected to see.

Nate figures he might as well not go home if Bre is his match. The longstanding business rivalry between their families makes romance with a Fisher impossible.

Yet in addition to the same family expectations and obligations, Bre and Nate have the same interests-maybe even the same dream.

Will a week on Joy Island spark another feud? Or prove they're a crazy perfect match? 

Pre-order (release 04/30/19): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ND4N2Q5

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Tabitha Bouldin

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Tabitha Bouldin


Starting a story has always been my favorite. Whether I’m reading a book or writing one of my own, the beginning always brings joy. There’s something special in the creating of something new, to know that God has trusted you with this talent. I want to use what He has given me beyond the best of my ability. Writing is a joint effort between me and God. There’s no way I could do it on my own. I need Him to help me, to show me where the story needs to be. This is where my current book came from. 

When I published my first book, I had no idea there would be a part two, much less a part three. That’s where I am now, editing book three for an August release. Without God, I never would have made it past that first book. I’ve learned so much in the past year, from God and from my author friends. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but I’ve learned from each one, and Trial by Patience will be my best work yet.

About Tabitha: Tabitha grew up living in the country. She spent many summers riding horses and helping her family plant and grow their own food. As a result of this country life, she developed a love of animals, especially horses. This has led to a strong theme of horses in her books. Between the busy life of a stay-at-home mom and homeschool teacher of two children, she finished writing her first story. Five years later, Trial By Courage was published, followed by Trial by Faith. Trial by Patience will release in August 2019.


Book Blurb - Trial by Patience:
Danny Solomon owns and operates Break Away Acres, a horse stable that offers equine therapy to abused kids and teens. After suffering abuse of his own, Danny has made it his life’s mission to help others like himself. God gave him a gift: the ability to see the past through the eyes of those who have suffered.

Phoenix Nichols is his newest employee. At first glance, she seems to be more trouble than she’s worth. Her past continues to haunt her present, threatening not only her sanity but her life. When past and present collide, Danny is the only thing standing in the way. Can these two overcome their past and work together to build a future? Phoenix has never been able to trust anyone. In Danny, Phoenix recognizes the peace she has never been able to find.

Connect with Tabitha:

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Wartime Wednesday: Civilian Public Service


Wartime Wednesday: Civilian Public Service

“I was young and I wanted to show that I was not a coward,” said conscientious objector Neil Hartman. “So when they offered me this chance of being a guinea pig, it fit right in with my scheme of things of proving that I was willing to take risks on my own body, but I just did not want to kill someone else.”

Neil was just one of nearly 12,000 men who were part of the Civilian Public Service, a program started to handle the thousands of men who objected to the war on religious or philosophical grounds. These men were given the opportunity to perform work of “national importance,” and served around the country doing soil conservation, forestry, fire fighting, agriculture, and social and mental health services.

Another area in which approximately men volunteered was that of being “guinea pigs,” subjects in various medical experiments conducting at universities and hospitals. Some of the studies included:

Hepatitis: The men were inoculated with infected blood plasma and drank contaminated water. As a result of the study, a vaccine was devised to combat the disease, but lives were lost in the process.
Malaria: The subjects allowed themselves to be bitten by malarial mosquitoes and when the fever reached its peak, were given experimental treatments. The research documented the effects of the disease and the time required for complete recovery.

Starvation Experiment: Conducted at the University of Minnesota, this study is perhaps the most famous of the research done during WWII. Thirty-six men were placed on a controlled diet. Initially provided with normal caloric intake for three months, they were then given a diet of 1,800 calories – fewer calories than experienced by the civilian population in wartime Europe. The study then followed the men’s long recovery as they returned to a normal died. The war was over by the time the experiment concluded, and it was a key component in helping shape European reconstruction through the Marshall Plan.
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A prostitute, a spy, and the liberation of Paris.

Sold by her parents to settle a debt, Rolande Bisset is forced into prostitution. Years later, shunned by her family and most of society, it’s the only way she knows how to subsist. When the Germans overrun Paris, she decides she’s had enough of evil men controlling her life and uses her wiles to obtain information for the Allied forces. Branded a collaborator, her life hangs in the balance. Then an American spy stumbles onto her doorstep. Is redemption within her grasp?

Simon Harlow is one of an elite corps of American soldiers. Regularly chosen for dangerous covert missions, he is tasked with infiltrating Paris to ascertain the Axis’s defenses. Nearly caught by German forces moments after arriving, he owes his life to the beautiful prostitute who claims she’s been waiting for the Allies to arrive. Her lifestyle goes against everything he believes in, but will she steal his heart during his quest to liberate her city?

Inspired by the biblical story of Rahab, Love’s Rescue is a tale of faith and hope during one of history’s darkest periods.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2VtLRN8



Thursday, April 4, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Pat Jeanne Davis


Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Pat Jeanne Davis

Linda: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, When Valleys Bloom Again. You live in Philadelphia which is steep in colonial history. What made you decided to write a book set during WWII, and what was your inspiration for the story?

Pat: Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog.

Philadelphia in addition to being rich in colonial history was the site of a large and busy shipyard during World War II. The city is situated at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. The Naval Shipyard had its greatest period during WWII when it employed 40,000 people who built 53 ships and repaired 574. During this time, the yard built the famed battleships, USS New Jersey and its 45,000-ton sister ship, USS Wisconsin.

I was born in Philadelphia after the post-war period. I had family that had served in the European Theater. When war was declared by England in 1939, my father-in-law was conscripted into the British Eight Army and served his country until 1946. I’ve had a keen interest in this period of history and wanted to some day write a faith based novel with an Anglo-American connection. A portion of my novel is set in England as well as in the US.

I found an opening for When Valleys Bloom Again after reading a book on the life of Kathleen Kennedy, daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy, the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He and his family were living in London when Britain declared war. Kathleen Kennedy’s story intrigued me. She was forced by her father to return to the US for her safety. Kathleen had made many friends while living in London and was determined to return some day. She eventually did go back, served in the British Red Cross and married William Cavendish who was in line to become the next Duke of Devonshire. Sadly, he died in battle a few months after their marriage.

I based my protagonist, Abby Stapleton, loosely on Kathleen Kennedy’s situation at the outbreak of war in 1939. Abby is the American-born daughter of a British diplomat. Her father sends her back to the US to escape impending war. She too vows to return to London.

LM: The age old question for writers – are you a planner or a “pantster,” and what is your favorite part of the writing process?

Pat: I tend to be more of a planner. I enjoy the editing more than the actual writing.

 LM: Research is a large part of any book. How did you go about researching When Valleys Bloom Again and did you discover any extra special tidbits of information?

Pat: In the beginning, I took out books written about World War II from my local library. While in England doing research for When Valleys Bloom Again, I visited Chatsworth House, the home of the present Duke of Devonshire. I found the grave of Kathleen Kennedy in St. Peter’s Churchyard, not far from Chatsworth House. She too died tragically shortly after peace was declared. I learned from the guide at Chatsworth House that in 1963 President John Kennedy had visited his sister Kathleen’s grave site while on his way home from a trip to Ireland, only six months before his assassination. He and his sister had been very close throughout her life. Standing before Kathleen’s grave, I could only image the sorrow President Kennedy felt.

During my research trips to England, I visited an actual air raid shelter, airfields, war museums, and Churchill War Room in London. I also interviewed veterans of WWII in both the UK and US.

LM: What is one thing you wish you knew how to do?

Pat: As an introvert, I find it difficult to speak before an audience. I’d love to have the ability to speak with ease publicly. This would make author talks and signings less stressful.

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

Pat: To spend a month on the South Coast of England, living in a self catering cottage.

LM: Here are some quickies:

Favorite movie: There are so many, but high up on the list is North and South, the British TV drama based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s book.

Favorite childhood book: The Little House on the Prairie series.

LM: What is your next project?

Pat: Finishing a novel set in the Progressive Era, a time of social reform and the continued struggle for the right of women to vote. My heroine works in a settlement house helping immigrants adjust to life in their new country. Against the wishes of her father and her intended in marriage, she joins the suffrage movement and campaigns for the rights of women and children.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?


About the book: As war approaches in 1939 Abby Stapleton’s safety is under threat. Her father, a British diplomat, insists she go back to America until the danger passes. Abby vows to return to her home in London—but where is home? With her family facing mortal danger so far away and feeling herself isolated, she finds it hard to pray or read the Bible. Did she leave God behind in war-torn London too? Abby becomes friendly with Jim, a gardener on her uncle’s estate. 

Jim can’t get Abby out of his mind. Did she have a sweetheart in England? Was it foolish to think she’d consider him? He curses his poverty and the disgrace of his father’s desertion and drunkenness haunts him. Can he learn to believe in love for a lifetime and to hope for a happy marriage?

Abby couldn’t know the war would last a long time, nor that she would fall in love with Jim—soon to be drafted by the U.S. Army—or that she’d have to confront Henri, a rejected suitor, determined by his lies to ruin her reputation and destroy her faith in God’s providence. Will she discover the true meaning of home and find happiness with Jim?

Purchase Links:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MVV5TSN


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Traveling Tuesday: Connecticut Does its Bit


Traveling Tuesday: Connecticut Does its Bit


Source: Wikipedia
Despite being the third smallest state, Connecticut is geographically diverse, creating a variety of industry opportunities. With its location on the Long Island Sound as well as the Connecticut and Thames Rivers, the state also has a long maritime history. Originally settled by the Dutch, Connecticut became the fifth state of the union and is named for an Algonquin word meaning “long tidal river.”

Well-known for its housing of financial and insurance industry companies, Connecticut also hosts myriad companies who converted their production facilities to manufacture war materiel. The state produced approximately four percent of the country’s military armaments, putting it ninth on the list among the forty-eight states (remember, Alaska and Hawaii didn’t become states until 1959).

Colt manufactured firearms, Pratt & Whitney made aircraft engines, Chance Vought produced fighters planes, Hamilton Standard put out propellers and Electric Boat made submarines and PT boats. The E. Ingraham Company went from producing clocks and watches to anti-aircraft and artillery fuses. Textile companies stopped making wool dress coats in favor of producing pea coats for the military.

With the U.S. Coast Guard Academy located in New London, thousands of seamen were trained. In addition, there were several Naval, Army, and Army Air Force installations throughout the state.
Like other states, Connecticut saved its scrap, purchased war bonds, collected blood, and rolled bandages. Blackout curtains were installed, plane spotters volunteered, and air raid wardens walked their posts. Women joined the uniformed auxiliary services and went to work in the factories.

They also headed to the fields. The Women’s Land Army put about 20,000 Farmerettes to work during WWII. Mrs. Joseph Alsop reorganized the WLA in 1942 through of the University of Connecticut. Success was immediate. With only eight days notice, a group of 80 workers picked 50,000 quarts of strawberries. Vegetables were picked in Southington and apples in Litchfield.

A small state, but a big contribution. Have you ever visited Connecticut?

___________________________________________

A prostitute, a spy, and the liberation of Paris.

Sold by her parents to settle a debt, Rolande Bisset is forced into prostitution. Years later, shunned by her family and most of society, it’s the only way she knows how to subsist. When the Germans overrun Paris, she decides she’s had enough of evil men controlling her life and uses her wiles to obtain information for the Allied forces. Branded a collaborator, her life hangs in the balance. Then an American spy stumbles onto her doorstep. Is redemption within her grasp?

Simon Harlow is one of an elite corps of American soldiers. Regularly chosen for dangerous covert missions, he is tasked with infiltrating Paris to ascertain the Axis’s defenses. Nearly caught by German forces moments after arriving, he owes his life to the beautiful prostitute who claims she’s been waiting for the Allies to arrive. Her lifestyle goes against everything he believes in, but will she steal his heart during his quest to liberate her city?

Inspired by the biblical story of Rahab, Love’s Rescue is a tale of faith and hope during one of history’s darkest periods.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2WzDvDM