Monday, September 30, 2019

Mystery Monday: The Pinkerton Agency and its Early Years

Mystery Monday: 
The Pinkerton Agency and Its Early Years

I’ve always been intrigued by the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Founded in 1850, by Scotsman Allan Pinkerton, only eight years after he emigrated to the United States, the agency still exists as a subsidiary of the Swedish company Securitas AB. Leaving school at the age of ten after his father died, Pinkerton was primarily self-taught and by all reports a voracious reader. He was a cooper by trade, and his job is the reason he became a detective (albeit by accident).

While in the woods looking for trees appropriate for use as barrel staves, he came upon a gang of counterfeiters. As the story goes, he watched their movements for a long time then snuck away to inform the local sheriff who arrested the men. As a result Pinkerton was appointed the first police detective in Chicago. The following year he partnered with Edward Rucker to open the North-Western Policy Agency, later becoming Pinkerton & Co.

During the first two years of the Civil War, Pinkerton was head of the Union Intelligence Service. Part of his duties were to guard President Lincoln, and it was said that on one particular trip, Pinkerton thwarted an assassination attempt. He went undercover for the remainder of the war, often working in the deep south to determine Confederate plans. This counterintelligence work is comparable to the work done by today’s US Army Counterintelligence Special Agents in which Pinkerton’s agency is considered an early predecessor. After the war, the agency continued to track down train robbers, outlaws, and gangs as well as work heavily against the labor movement.

The agency’s logo of a large unblinking eye with the tagline “we never sleep,” gave rise to the nickname private eye for detectives. Pinkerton is also noted for hiring the first female detective, Kate Warne, a widow who convinced the Scotsman that she could “worm out secrets in many places to which it was impossible for male detectives to gain access.” Pinkerton would later declare her one of his best investigators.

At the time of his death in 1884, Pinkerton was working on a system to centralize all criminal identification records (such as mug shots, case histories, suspects’ distinguishing marks and scars, newspaper clipping, raps sheets, known associates and areas of expertise.

Stop by next Monday to learn more.



______________________________

With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.

Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.

Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?

Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.

Purchase Link: Buy Love's Allegiance

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Valerie Massey Goree

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Valerie Massey Goree

I am so excited to introduce you to Valerie Massey Goree. She is one of my critique partners, so I know how wonderful her books are. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and read on to learn more about her and her latest release Day of Reckoning.

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on the release of your latest book Day of Reckoning. Where did you get the inspiration for the story?

VALERIE: Day of Reckoning is a stand-alone sequel to Weep in the Night. Both stories feature agents who work for the International Retrieval Organization. Lela was introduced in Weep, and I knew when I met her that she needed her own story. One aspect I love about writing fiction is creating my story world. The IRO—a top-notch detective agency of sorts—has unlimited resources, and therefore my agents have everything they need to accomplish their tasks. The inspiration for Lela’s story was inspired by my daughter-in-law who is a strong and accomplished Hispanic woman.

LM: You relocated in the midst of writing this book. How did the move impact the project?

VALERIE: The 2,500 mile move did interrupt my writing, both before and after. I envy authors who can sit down and write for ten minutes, and then tackle a chore. I need a block of time to concentrate. Needless to say, I had to take off a couple of months. When our office was set up and I’d unpacked etc., I had to reread what I’d written to get back into the plot, but found I was able to pick up and complete the story. Good thing I wasn’t on a deadline!

LM: Research is an important part of the writing process. What are some of the ways you have researched your books? For Day of Reckoning did you discover a particularly intriguing bit of information you knew you had to include?

VALERIE: I use online sources, my own experiences, but I also rely on chatting to real people if possible. For instance, in my first novel, a crime was committed in a small Texas town. I visited the Country Sheriffs’ office, explained my situation, and asked to speak to a deputy. He answered all my questions, and thanked me for using proper procedure, and not ‘making up stuff.’ For Day of Reckoning I needed to know what might cause severe scars on Lela’s abdomen. Without revealing any spoilers, I read about several products then conducted a couple of experiments on the back porch. You’ll have to read the story to find out more.

LM:  What is your favorite part of the writing process: research, writing, or revising?

VALERIE: I love revising. By then the hardest part is done. The major plot is set, characters are developed, and my critiques partners have provided input.

LM: Here are some quickies:

VALERIE: Favorite vacation spot: I grew up in South Africa. Our family always vacationed on the coast in the city of Durban. Golden sand, crashing waves, and as a kid, no responsibilities but to
enjoy myself. After I married, we vacationed in a variety of places, so no one area stands out as a favorite. We’ve been blessed by being able to travel to many countries on four continents.

Favorite childhood author: Enid Blyton, a multi-published author from England. Among many other books she wrote The Famous Five and The Secret Seven series, mystery stories for young readers.

Favorite food: Only one? I suppose my go-to choice will always be a good, juicy steak.

LM: What are you currently working on?

VALERIE: I’m revising the very first novel I wrote, way back when. See, I told you I like revising. It’s set in Australia and loosely based on my mother’s family. The original was a romance, but I’m including a suspense thread.

LM: What advice do you have for fledgling writers?

VALERIE: If you want to play tennis, you have to read how-to books, and watch professionals whack the ball, but until you step on a court with a racquet in hand and attempt to hit the little yellow target, you’ll never become a proficient player. The same can be said about writing. Sure, read the craft books, attend conferences and workshops, but you must write. And write. Write the story on your heart.   

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

VALERIE: I love to hear from my readers.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ValerieMasseyGoree/
Publisher: https://pelicanbookgroup.com
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Valerie-Massey-Goree/e/B004GI3UAY

About Day of Reckoning: International Retrieval Organization Agent Lela Ortiz is assigned the kidnapping case of businessman, Chuck Davenport. When her boss allows Jay Vashon, Chuck’s brother-in-law to assist, Lela accepts the help with reservations, especially when Jay prays at the most inopportune times.


Jay would do anything to help bring Chuck home, even work with feisty Agent Ortiz. As Jay and Lela decipher clues Chuck sends to his son with special needs, they are forced to work in close proximity.

Can Jay break through the barrier Lela has constructed around her heart? Will Lela be able to overcome her distrust of men and God?

And Chuck? Can the pair locate him before the ransom deadline?

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





Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Wartime Wednesday: Lumberjills of New Hampshire


Wartime Wednesday: Lumberjills of New Hampshire


The hurricane of 1938 was devastating. In September of that year, the storm was forecasted to turn out to sea, but instead moved directly north into New England. The storm surge that occurred ahead of the storm caused south facing bays such as Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island to experience overwhelming flooding and loss of life. In New Hampshire, Maine, and Nova Scotia high winds (with gusts above 180 mph) flattened entire forests. Electricity was out for days, homes were destroyed, and 2.6 million board feet of timber had been blown down—enough to frame more than 170,000 homes.

More logs ended up in Concord, NH’s Turkey Pond (12 million board feet) than anywhere else after the U.S. Forest Service harvested the tangled mess of trees and brought them to sawmills in the North East. The wood was processed, but by 1942 most of the lumbermen were gone overseas into combat and the mills couldn’t keep up with the work.

As with other industries, the women stepped up to fill the jobs vacated by the men, and Turkey Pond became the first sawmill to be operated by women. And by all accounts, including a November 19, 1942 U.S. Forest Service newsletter that reported, “the experiment being conducted in Concord was going along nicely.”

The publication went on to say, “It is most surprising and gratifying to see the way those gals take hold of the job. In addition to the jobs we anticipated women could handle, we have found them capable of rolling logs on the deck, running the edge, and for ‘show purposes’ even running the head saw. May it will be possible to actually man a mill 100 percent with women sometime in the future.”
Recruiters initially contacting local farming families to find people who were “rugged and reliable.” However, other women who worked as waitresses, seamstresses, and housekeepers left their jobs to earn the same $4.50 per day as the men (double their normal pay). The oldest woman at Turkey Pond was in her 50s and went by the nickname of “Gram.” The youngest was 18.

David Story remembers his mom coming home at the end of each day at the mill to cook a full meal for her family. Says David, “I know she was always really proud that she did that {work at the mill}. They always talked about that and how they always tried to beat the mean—because there was a man’s sawmill across the lake—and the big deal was to see if they could out-saw them, which they did, a lot.”

Logs were dumped into ponds throughout New England to protect them from insects and decay. In New Hampshire the federal government used 128 lakes and 110 fields to collect and store logs from the surrounding woodlands. Operating from 1939 through the end of 1943, an estimated 600 million board feet of timber was salvaged in New Hampshire—an amount equivalent to 60,000 tractor-trailer loads of lumber.

Will you ever look at a tree the same way again?

____________________________

With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.

Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.

Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?

Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2ZXb9JQ





Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Traveling Tuesday: Michigan During WWII


Traveling Tuesday: Michigan During WWII

Not surprising the great state of Michigan comes from the Ojibwe work “mishigamaa” meaning “large water” or “large lake.” The state consists of two peninsulas (the only state with this feature); the lower peninsula often described as being shaped like a mitten and the upper peninsula referred to as the U.P. The two land masses are separated by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The Mackinac Bridge connects the two peninsulas. With the longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision in the world, the states is bounded by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake Saint Clair. Because of this a person in the state is never more than six miles from a natural water source or more than eighty-five miles from a Great Lakes shoreline!

Citizens of Michigan played an integral part in the success of World War II. Ask most historians, and they will indicate that one of the main reasons the Allies won the war was because they outproduced the Axis powers. And the automotive industry primarily headquartered in Michigan was responsible for much of that production. Manufacturing nearly eleven percent of the U.S. military armaments during the war, Michigan ranked second behind New York among the forty-eight states.

Consider these numbers: Chrysler alone built 25,000 tanks in four years. GM produced the majority of the nearly 10,000 Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers produces. Pontiac built more 20-mm anti-aircraft cannons on license than the existing Swiss manufacture of the weapon. Oldsmobile put out forty-eight million rounds of artillery shell. Buick manufactured 1,000 aircraft engines per month, and Michigan factories produced four million engines during the war. This is to say nothing of the rifles, mess kits, gyro compasses gun feeds, map cases, and hundreds of other items needed for the nation’s citizen army.

In addition to manufacturing, Michigan also sent its young men and women into war. Out of its five million residents, more than 600,000 of them served in the armed forces, 30,000 of whom gave their life. Michigan’s National Guard units were activated and those in the 32nd division served in the southwest Pacific theater. Among the first American soldiers to meet the enemy, they went on to establish the longest combat record of any American division in the war. Overseas for forty months, the men fought continuously for over eighteen of those months. A Presidential Unit Citation for the entire division confirmed its record.

At home, Michigan houses 6,000 German and Italian POW soldiers. They were processed at Fort Custer near Battle Creek, then assigned to thirty-one smaller camps in mostly remote areas. Over Nazis and Fascists were removed from the general popular of prisoners, most of whom were homesick young men who were glad to be out of the war. Many of the prisoners worked in the agricultural industry picking fruit, harvesting sugar beets or felling trees. A group of Italians at Detroit’s Fort Wayne landscaped city parks and served on road crews. Multiple stories are told of the friendships developed between guards and prisoners, some of whom returned after the war to become U.S. citizens.
____________________________

With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.

Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.

Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?

Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2ZXb9JQ

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back Sheila Ingle

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back Sheila Ingle


Linda:  Welcome back to my blog. Thanks for joining me today. Your book Tales of a Cosmic Possum is a biography of your husband’s family. For those who haven’t visit before: why did you decide to write the book, and how did you come up with the title?

Sheila: When John and I were dating, he took me to visit some of his relatives in Union, SC. They were delightful and welcomed me to their family. As the years passed, he started telling me stories about his growing up in Ingle Holler. His grandfather and grandmother Ingle moved down from Tennessee to work in the cotton mills early in the 20th century. They left the Appalachia Mountains to make better lives for their family of eight, but they brought the mountain ways, folklore, and music with them.

My grandparents, on my mother’s side, were also from the mountains in North Carolina. I fell in love with books like Christy by Catherine Marshall and read it several times. The simple lifestyles of these people fascinated me. Their lives were hard, but their faith was stronger.

At family reunions, the women talked endlessly about those days of working in the mills and raising a family. As I listened to John’s retell similar stories through the years and went to many funerals of his parent’s generation, I realized that their narratives were being lost.

The mills closed. Some burned, and others were vandalized after the looms were shut down. Investors bought and refurbished in some cases, but, for the most part, weeds and weather suffocated the remnants.

Finally, it dawned on me that I had a walking-talking storyteller in my house, and his stories were part of our history. I started interviewing John, his brother, and his cousins. I was entertained and intrigued by his family and thought others might be, also. Choosing eight of the women as main characters, I wrote about their strengths to make something out of nothing, their favorite songs, jobs in the mills, and their love for their families.

Sharyn McCrumb is another favorite author of mine; she writes about Appalachia. In one of her books, she used the term. Then I found Jane Hicks’ poem “How We Became Cosmic Possums.” It describes a “first generation off the ridge or out of the holler.”  I realized I was married to a cosmic possum who had shared his tales with me for over 30 years. The title of the book was a totally accurate and personal description of the short stories.

LM: What is your favorite vignette from the book?

Sheila: Annie Mae Bobo was one of John’s aunts; she ran a boarding house during the Depression. She rented out four rooms with double occupancy and served three meals a day for $1 weekly. She took care of the bachelors who stayed there and worked in the cotton mills. Eggs, grits, bacon, and biscuits were served most mornings, and she packed a lunch for the men to take for lunch. Supper was another home cooked meal with more biscuits.

 One of her rules for living was “do right by the good Lord, hep yer own kin, hep others ye meet along the way.” And she lived this out by helping the many hobos that stopped by her house on the way to find work, making room for family when they visited, and being a strong support at her church, Green Street Methodist. I was fascinated by her stamina and her heart.

Researching about the hobos that crisscrossed our nation during this era opened my eyes to another part of our history. These men, women, and children begged for food, lodging, and work. Annie Mae always had a pot of Luzianne coffee on the back burner of her stove and something to eat to those who stopped at her house. The story goes that one morning she gave away her children’s breakfast to two hoboes and then had to cook more for her own.

When I met her the first time, she had long retired. She had baked a fresh coconut cake that morning and served it to us with coffee. Whether she knew company was coming to visit or not, she was always prepared.

About fifteen years before, John had lived with her for about a year after he was discharged from the Navy. She was a natural at “helping” others.

LM: In addition to Cosmic Possum you’ve written a series of fiction books about women during the Revolutionary War. How was the written/research process different for Cosmic Possum than the other books? The same?

Sheila: Researching the Revolutionary War in South Carolina was intense. Basically, I knew nothing, except from some historical fiction I had written. So I started from scratch. Besides reading, I th century. Reading biographies, poems, cook books, diaries, nonfiction, and fiction about the time helped give me a sense of the time. I also visited some of the battle sites we have here in SC and even spent eight weeks one summer working at the Cowpens National Battlefield.
attended reenactments and historical sites to get a sense of the time. I tried to immerse myself into the 17

Writing the Tales was quite different. I was more organized and intentional with what I was doing. I knew I wanted to describe one day in one woman’s life and decided to include one song/hymn that was special to her. Other than that, I depended on interviewing the family about what they remembered. I asked many questions, took notes, and asked more questions. I guess John is the storyteller for his generation; he seemed to remember more than the others. Since the family loved the Grand Ole Opry and listened to it on a weekly basis, I did research on it. Also, I had to learn about how the mill workers turned a bale of hay into cloth. We have a cotton museum in the lower part of the state that I visited to get a visual of this process.

Again, life in a cotton mill village was a part of our history that I knew little about, but I did know many of the people and had visited with them. The short stories cover life between 1904-1949. Since a lot was happening in our country during those years, it was easy to include facts about how life was then.

LM: What drew you to the Revolutionary War time period?

Sheila: I was and am a member of four lineage societies, and the first one I joined was the Daughters of the American Revolution. One of my Revolutionary War ancestors, Thomas Davis, fought and was taken captive in the SC Battle of Waxhaws. The Southern Campaign was fought mainly in SC with Francis Marion, Andrew Pickens, and Thomas Sumter leading the militia. The manor house of the Charles and Mary Moore house, built in 1760, is on the other side of town from us. It was a visit to this home called Walnut Grove that started this journey of writing about SC heroines. I have always loved history and enjoy walking where it happened. The protagonist of my first Revolutionary War book lived there. At age 55, all suddenly worked together to lead me toward that time in our history.

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

Sheila: Oh, Linda, that is funny. I am so not quirky! Probably too predictable and boring. I did throw a cooking pot at the wall one time, because I was angry at my mother for something she had said. It had water in it and is still a bit bent. It surprised both John and me that I literally “flew off the handle.” Laughter at my strange behavior was my response to what I did. (That took some resurrecting in my mind. I do know I have never thrown another pot, but I wonder what else I have forgotten!)

LM: Here are some quickies:
Sheila:
Mountains or Ocean for a vacation: I have never gotten over the love of the ocean. Daddy and Mother took us to Litchfield for a week every year, and the beach is still my go-to place for a deep breath.
Sweet or Salty for a snack: Love trail mix, because it has both.
Coffee or tea as your “go-to” drink: Coffee, please.
Summer, Spring, Winter or Fall as your favorite season: Spring and its flowers make me smile

LM: What is your next project?

Sheila: I have started writing a book about a Huguenot woman who emigrated to Carolina in 1685. From a blog post I wrote on her last year, I ended up being asked to speak about her at two events. Then I saw the original letter, written in French, that she wrote her brother in Germany in 1698 in a SC museum, and she captured me. Once again, I am pursuing a new century that includes the Three Musketeers, the Sun King, a voyage across the Atlantic in a small ship, and the very beginning of my birthplace, Charleston, SC.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Sheila: 
Twitter: @sheilaingle1
Facebook: Sheila Ingle, Author

Thank you, Linda, for asking me to put on my thinking cap for a while this afternoon. ­čśŐ


About Tales of a Cosmic Possum:
Sheila Ingle's husband John was brought up in Ingle Holler in Union, South Carolina with eight other Ingle families. They worked together in the mills, shared their gardens, attended church, and enjoyed the playing and singing of the songs from the Grand Old Opry, When five of the brothers went off to war, those who couldn't fight took care o their families. The Ingles stuck together, just like they were taught in the Appalachian Hills of Erwin, Tennessee.

Love of God, love of family, and love of country were modeled in each home. In face, one year Make Ingle put his sons and grandsons together to build Hillside Baptist Church. Adults kept up with the newspapers and the radios; world happenings were important. Any type of sickness brought a barrage of soup and cornbread, because children sill had to eat.

On those twenty acres, the children played in the creek, cowboys and Indians, and hide-and-seek. They build their own wagons and sleds to race down the hill on the dry, hickory leaves. All the boys learned to shoot a .22 caliber, and John's mother Lois could light a match with her shots.

Living in Ingle Holler was home, where each one was accepted.

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Wartime Wednesday: Baked Mac├ędoine


Wartime Wednesday: Baked Mac├ędoine


With rationing and the scarcity of meat during WWII, home cooks had to get creative to provide filling and nutritious meals. Vegetables were generally plentiful, but finding proteins could be challenging. As a result, eggs, cheese, and legumes (beans) were often substituted for chicken and beef.

A mac├ędoine is a fancy term for vegetables (such as carrots and turnips) diced small or cut small (such as green beans) and mixed with peas. The vegetables are typically cooked separately in salted water, then drained before being combined at the end in a mayonnaise dressing.

This recipe from Better Meals in Wartime puts a twist on the concoction by baking it in cheese. Easy, quick, and delicious.

1 ½ C boiled rice
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
2 C canned or fresh stewed tomatoes
1 C cooked corn
3 T margarine (remember butter was tough to find!)
1 T chopped onion
2 T flour
1 T chopped parsley
½ C grated cheese
2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1 t Worcestershire sauce

Melt margarine, add onion and cook three minutes. Add flour and mix well. Add tomatoes and stir until mixture thickens slightly. Add corn, rice, egg, and seasonings .Place in greased baking dish, sprinkle cheese on top and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Peas, lima beans, and/or carrots may be substituted for corn or any combination of cooked vegetables.

____________________________

With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.


Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.

Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?

Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2PX1qPc

Monday, September 9, 2019

Mystery Monday: Who Betrayed Anne Frank?


Mystery Monday: Who Betrayed Anne Frank?


The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is perhaps one of the most well-known and widely-read books in the world. Only thirteen years old when she was forced into hiding with her family in July 1942. A little more than two years later, the family was discovered and captured by the Gestapo. Tragically, only Anne’s father Otto survived the camps.

How the police learned of the Jews concealed behind the bookcase has been a mystery, and over the years dozens of theories have been put forward, but none have been proven conclusive.

One suspect is a man name Tonny Ahlers, a business associate of Otto’s and a member of the Dutch Nazi Party, reportedly highly anti-Semitic. According to the man’s son, Tonny found a letter from Otto Frank outlining his doubts over a German victory. Holding the correspondence over Otto’s head, he blackmailed Anne’s father until he refused to pay.

After the war, Otto indicated that a warehouse employee named Willem van Maaren was the guilty party, who was later subjected to multiple investigations related to betrayal. Another suspected warehouse employee was Lena Hartog-van Bladeren. Nelly Voskuijl, sister to one of the Frank’s helpers has also been brought forward as a possible suspect. A known collaborator who had relationships with many German soldiers, Nelly is thought to have been aware of her family’s involvement in hiding Jews.

A large percentage of historians feel the family’s discovery was purely accidental. That the group of police who found the fugitives weren’t normally responsible for finding hidden Jews, but rather investigating cases involving money. It is supposed that the police were checking reports of illegal employment and fake food ration cards, and stumbled upon the Franks.

A book published in 2018 has brought the latest theory forward, that of a Jewish woman who was executed after the war for collaboration with the Nazis. The author, Gerard Kremer, is the son of a member of the Dutch resistance of the same name. He claims that his father overheard Ans van Dijk speaking in Nazi offices about the location of where the Franks were located. That same week the Franks were arrested, however van Dijk was away in the Hague.

To date, none of the individuals identified have ever proven as the real culprit.

__________________________________

With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.


Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.

Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?

Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2PX1qPc

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: A Guest Post by Gail Kittleson


 The Greatest Gifts

When you feel you can never lift your head again, what means the most? When you’re so anxious your heartbeat sounds in your ears or when your pain seems unbearable, where do you turn?

Educator and author Parker Palmer shares his experience from the darkest days of clinical depression when a friend simply massaged his feet. Few or no words were spoken. That presence meant the world, and he said, "...somehow he found the one place in my body where I could feel a sense of connection with another person, relieving my awful sense of isolation while bearing silent witness to my condition. ... He was present—simply and fully present.... We have something better [than fixing another person]: our gift of self in the form of personal presence and attention, the kind that invites the other's soul to show up."
 

This gift of presence cannot be surpassed, and giving this gift provides satisfaction like no other. We know we’ve truly been there for someone and become better for it. We have seen into another’s heart . . . into their soul.

The besieged doctors and nurses moving with field and evacuation hospitals through World War II offered this gift. Often, they performed life-giving procedures that saved lives. In many other instances, they could only administer pain-killing drugs to ease a soldier’s agony.

But in both cases, they gave the precious gift of presence. It’s impossible to imagine what this meant to the wounded or those breathing their last. For family waiting back home, knowing their loved one sacrificed his life was a bitter pill: to think that someone stayed with him, touched him, heard his final words—what earthly value can we attach to this gift?

That’s the thing—it’s not an earthly value. These very spiritual actions made all the difference in the world…this world and the next. Dedicated nurses and docs supplied this gift, along with citizens all over the world tasked with keeping their communities safe throughout the war.

Police forces, emergency crews, volunteer workers, the clergy—they gave beyond their powers, over and over and over. I stand in awe of their sacrifices. As Until Then came together, entering into their worlds produced tears.

How did these ordinary people make it through the sheer misery of war? What part did faith play? How much did they doubt along the way? And what lasting consequences accompanied them the rest of their lives? Finally, how can we best honor them?

So many unanswered questions—but exploring them gives meaning to the gifts they gave.
Someone recently asked me why I write what I write, and it’s all about using the gifts I have to highlight their steadfast service. It’s about increasing awareness and appreciation. It’s about what really matters in the long run.

About Gail Kittleson: Since the World War II bug bit Gail, she’s never been quite the same. Her husband shares her delight in visiting historical sites. They also enjoy their grandchildren and gardening. Gail’s goal is to increase appreciation for veterans’ tremendous sacrifices and honor those who gave so much for the cause of freedom. 

About Until Then: 
March 3, 1943
Bethnal Green, London's East End

Shortly after a quarter past eight, a siren split the air. Marian Williams lifted her sleeping daughter from her bed and darted down stairs Her mother and father-in-law, off on air warden duty, had left the front door unlocked.

She hugged her youngest child close. The blackout made the going difficult, by her husband's instructions echoed in her brain: "Whatever you do, get down inside the station fast as you can."

She hoped for a spot near the canteen, with access to milk. Uneven light shone over the paved steps. Then she tripped. Her kneed hit the concrete, then something bashed her left side. Someone cried out. Another blow scraped her arm on the landing floor. Where was her baby? She attempted to get up, but an even heavier weight slammed her face down. A crushing burden descended, then all went black.

Riding in the backs of Army trucks across North Africa, throughout the Sicily campaign, up the boot of Italy, and northward through France into Germany, Dorothy Woebbeking served as a surgical nurse with the 11th Evacuation Hospital.

During World War II, US Army nurses worked and slept in tents through horrific weather, endured enemy fire, and even the disdain of their own superior officers who believed women had no place in war. But Dorothy and her comrades persevered, and their skills and upbeat attitude made a huge difference in the lives of thousands of wounded soldiers.

Dorothy and Marian's stories converge on a simple, hand-stitched handkerchief.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2ZJhe7I

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Wartime Wednesday: Barrage Balloons


Wartime Wednesday: Barrage Balloons


Simply put, a barrage balloon is a bag filled with lighter-than-air gas attached to a steel cable anchored to the ground. A winch is used to raise or lower the balloon in an effort to deny low-level airspace to enemy aircraft in three ways:

  • Forced aircraft to higher altitudes, decreasing surprise and bombing accuracy
  • Enhancing ground-based air defenses and the ability of fighters to acquire targets
  • Presenting a mental and material hazard to pilots


Barrage balloons were used extensively in England (especially London) during WWII. By the middle of 1940, there were over 1,400 balloons, a third of them over the capital. Would you be surprised to discover that these balloons were also used in the United States?

During the summer of 1941, British officers warned Americans that Nazi planes could fly at 20,000 feet and reach the US mainland within twelve hours. In response, the Navy created two Barrage Balloon squadrons, both of which were trained at Camp Tyson in Paris, Tennessee. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US implemented an extensive balloon defense in areas such as San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Seattle on the west coast and Norfolk, Pensacola, and New York City on the east coast. Vital facilities in the Great Lakes were also shielded.

Severe storms in August and October 1942 caused some of the balloons to break loose, trailing cables that short circuited power lines. Some rouge balloons escaped capture for extended periods such as the Fort Drum balloon that evaded officials for more than a week. Following the incidents, new procedures were put into place which included stowing the balloons during winter months, regular deployment exercises, and a standby team to deploy balloons in case of attack.

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With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.

Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.

Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?

Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.

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

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Traveling Tuesday: Tennessee’s Wartime Service


Traveling Tuesday: Tennessee’s Wartime Service


Tennessee is a beautiful state, long and narrow, and referred to in three segments: East, Middle, and West. Eight states border the state which features six physiographic regions: the Blue Ridge, the Appalachian Ridge and Valley, the Cumberland Plateau, the Highland Rim, the Nashville Basin, and the Gulf Coastal Plain. In addition, Tennessee is home to over 10,000 documented caves, the most in the United States.

It is this varied geography that allowed Tennessee to serve in various ways during WWII. Over 300,000 men from the state served in the armed forces (six of whom received the highest award for valor, the Congressional Medal of Honor).

Interestingly, Governor Prentice Cooper visited Europe in 1937 and became convinced that if hostilities broke out, the US would ultimate be involved. As a result, he came home and developed the infrastructure for military bases, training, and war-related industries. In 1940, Tennessee established the Advisory Committee on Preparedness, the first defense organization in the country.

More than 280,000 residents worked in war manufacturing around the state. Oak Ridge grew out of the Manhattan Project and produced vital components of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. There were several prisoner of war camps that housed approximately 68,000 Germans, Austrians, and Italians.

Because of its highly rural nature and terrain similar to that of Western Europe, Middle Tennessee was chosen as the location of the first of a series of military maneuvers that featured the combined forces of tanks and infantry. In these maneuvers, General George Patton refined his tactics for the use of tanks as “red” and “blue” armies faced each other in complex and realistic training exercises. It is estimated that over 850,000 men and women participated. Based at Cumberland University in Lebanon, the “Tennessee Maneuvers” officially took place “somewhere in Tennessee.”

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Love’s Allegiance: With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.

Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.

Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?

Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.

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