Thursday, March 26, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Wendy Wilson Spooner

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Wendy Wilson Spooner!

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on the release of your debut novel Once Upon an Irish Summer. What was your inspiration for the story?

Wendy: I still catch my breath when I think of the trip to Ireland I took with my parents and husband a few years ago. It was while exploring the original estate connected to my Irish ancestors that the seed sprouted to write about Allen Hamilton, the oldest son of my 3rd great grandfather.

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

Wendy: I started out as a pantster. Now I write with a loose outline I learned called “Story Beats” designed by Ara Grigorian and Janis Thomas, creators of the Novel Intensive Writer’s Workshop in Southern California. I’ve written seven chapters in two days with this method, which I highly recommend.

LM: In addition to your fiction, you’ve also written lots of nonfiction. What do you do differently for the two genres? The same?

Wendy: Nonfiction is totally different for me because I’ve never written anything lengthy of that genre. But I write from my heart for nonfiction, even when I’m writing a professional article for the field of Genetic Genealogy, my other day job, which requires a lot of citations and a more cerebral approach..

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? (e.g., listen to music? Go to a certain place in your home?)

Wendy: I grab my favorite snacks, water, comfy clothes, and a blanket and whatever else I need to hunker down for hours.

LM: Research is an important part of writing, especially historic fiction (and you’re a professional researcher!). Did you discover any “aha” sort of tidbit(s) that you knew you want to include in Once Upon an Irish Summer?

Wendy: Oh my, yes. SO many tidbits. When researching a historical figure that left behind fifteen boxes of papers and letters, as well as a legacy left in who his descendants became, I had quite a job in honoring the main historical character and his family--in sticking to actual history and filling in the many blanks. That’s why Once Upon an Irish Summer took three years to write!

LM: Here are some quickies:

Favorite childhood book: The Magic Summer by Noel Streatfield. Funny that it takes place in Ireland in the Summer! Hmm, was I influenced much?
Favorite food: Ice cream. Does that count as a food?? I think it DOES.
Favorite vacation place: Disneyland

LM: What is your next project?

Wendy: The next book in the series! This story is a continuation of the present-day main characters, and in the historical timeline, it goes back in time to the little sister who was left behind in Ireland when her favorite brother set off for America.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Professional Genetic Genealogy Site

About Once Upon an Irish Summer:

Two teenagers, two centuries, one city.

1817 Ireland: Allen Hamilton crosses the Atlantic alone to find a way to save his family from imminent financial and social ruin before it's too late. Instead, he is met with prejudice, sickness, and starvation.

2018 Fort Wayne, Indiana: A gift young artist struggles with debilitating grief after a sudden death in her family. When she unearths Allen Hamilton's noble rise from rags to riches in Antebellum America, their shared connection inspires her own healing and renewed inspiration.

Based on a 200-year-old letter collection, Once Upon an Irish Summer brings to life and weaves together this true story of romance, mystery, and hope.

Pre-Order Link:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Wartime Wednesday: Censorship During WWII

Wartime Wednesday: Censorship During WWII

The Office of Censorship was a wartime agency set up during the weeks following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941 with Executive Order 8985. Chartered with the mission to protect sensitive war information, the organization walked a fine line to maintain constitutional freedoms. Executive News Editor at the Associated Press, Byron Price was appointed under the condition he would report directly to President Roosevelt. A Censorship Policy Board was created to advise the director on policy coordination and the integration of censorship activities.

Issued by the Office of War Information on January 15, 1942, the “Code of Wartime Practices for the American Press” gave strict instructions on the handling of news. Surprisingly, the manual was quite short: only seven pages for broadcasters and five for the print press, and explained in simple terms the subjects that contained information considered valuable to the enemy, which therefore shouldn’t be published or broadcast in the U.S. without authorization by a qualified government source. Sensitive topics included factory production figures, troop movements, damage to American forces, and weather reports.

During Director Price’s tenure, the responsibility for censorship was entirely on the journalists, depending heavily on patriotism and voluntary cooperation. At one point, there was discussion about merging his office with the Office of War Information, but he was able to prevent the action, believing that a merger would prevent the public from receiving truthful information.

Great Britain, Canada, and the U.S. signed an agreement providing for the complete exchange of information among all concerned parties and created a central clearinghouse of information within the headquarters of the Office of Censorship. In early 1942, Army and Navy personnel engaged in censorship responsibilities were transferred to the Office of Censorship where they monitored the more than 350,000 overseas cables/telegrams and 35,000 international telephone calls. Offices in LA, NYC, and Rochester, NY reviewed films.

The official closure of the Office didn’t come until November 1945, but the day after the Japanese surrender on August 14, 1945, Director Price is said to have hung a sign on his office door that read Out Of Business.


A secret mission. A fake bride. A run for their lives.

According to the OSS training manual, the life expectancy of a radio operator in Nazi-occupied France is six weeks. Partnered with Gerard Lucas, one of the agency's top spies, newly-minted agent Emily Strealer plans to beat those odds. Then their cover is blown and all bets are off. The border to neutral Switzerland is three hundred miles away-a long way to run with SS soldiers on their heels.

Will Emily and Gerard survive the journey and get home?

And what about their hearts? Nothing in the manual prepared them for falling in love.

Pre-order Link:

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back Eric Landfried

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back Eric Landfried

Linda:  Welcome back. It’s such a pleasure to have you. When we last spoke, you were working on the sequel to Solitary Man. Can you tell us a little bit about the story line and have you come up with a title yet?

Eric: Unfortunately, I don’t have a title yet. I’ve never been good at titling my work despite all the imagination I pour into the stories. The title Solitary Man came to me one day when I heard Johnny Cash’s version of Neil Diamond’s song. I thought it fit Doyle, but not necessarily the story. During the publishing process, I wanted to change it, but my editor Daphne convinced me to keep it by pointing out other elements of “solitary men” in the story. I’d like to title the sequel with the same theme so it will probably be something like _____ Man. I just have to find the right adjective!
The story line picks up with Doyle seeking answers to the cryptic statements made by Morris the one-armed man, but his journey becomes more than he bargained for as he comes to faith in Christ through the things Jonathan taught him as well as the guidance of a family of Appalachian hillbillies. 

As circumstances make him continue his travels, he discovers a dystopian society that rose to power after the war where the only legal religion is led by a fraudulent, hypocritical televangelist named Gideon Grey. He meets Gabe, a Christian running an illegal church/shelter to help the poor and give them the Gospel and he also runs into a resistance, led by the charismatic Damien, that battles against the government. This leaves Doyle with the choice of what kind of man he wants to be as grapples with the mission and purpose of his newfound faith versus his desire to help overthrow an oppressive government. There’s plenty more going on, and all the questions my readers have will be answered, but anything more might have me dropping spoilers!

LM: How much of yourself do you write into your main characters?

Eric: My wife says she sees me in both Doyle and Jonathan, so I guess I do that at least a little bit. When I’m writing a Christian character, I typically infuse them with my worldview unless the story calls for them to hold some different views I would disagree with (i.e. Jonathan’s pacifism). I think in the future I’ll probably be more conscious of that because I don’t want all my Christian characters to be carbon copies of me. That would get really boring after a while.

LM: What is your main character’s “kryptonite?”

Eric: In Solitary Man, Doyle was a hard man, full of pride and lacking in compassion. His experiences there have softened him to the point where he gladly receives the Gospel, and now in the sequel, he struggles with the changes in heart and attitude that come with being a new believer. He wants to follow Christ and love his neighbor, but he’s tempted to help the resistance fighters battle their government oppressors. As a new believer, figuring out what God would want from him and being willing to obey that regardless of what he’s feeling is one of his greatest struggles.

LM: Solitary Man adds a Christian element to a post-apocalyptic story. How closely did you weave biblical end times prophecies or did you strictly use your imagination?

Eric: I didn’t write it with any eschatology in mind. That was a deliberate choice I made since there are different views on the end times and I wanted to make the book as universally appealing as possible. So all the Christians in the world I created are still looking forward to that day when Christ returns in glory and makes all things new. The very end of the sequel will leave things open for a possible third book, but I haven’t thought that far yet. Since I haven’t yet ruled out anything as a potential plot, it’s possible the end times could play a part in that one.

LM: What was your favorite book or author when you were growing up?

(Photo: Thorsten Frenzel/Pixabay)
Eric: I had a series of illustrated, abridged classics that I loved to read growing up. My favorite of the authors was Mark Twain, but I also loved reading Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis 
Stevenson, Herman Melville, and others. Thanks to my Prime account, there are tons of classics free for Kindle, so lately I’ve been revisiting many of them through the unabridged versions. I’m currently reading Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver's Travels.

LM: Here are some quickies:
Favorite Season: Definitely fall. The temperature outside is perfect, and since I live in New England, the hills come alive with amazing color when the leaves begin to turn. The temperature is nice in the spring as well, but all the budding trees trigger my hay fever, so fall gets the Best Season award in my book.

Favorite Bible verse: I think I’ll have to slightly cheat here since my favorite verse is actually verses. Scripture as a whole is a wonderful, amazingly cohesive collection of wisdom and truth, and I love every word, but the one passage that constantly moves me is the glorious hope revealed in Romans 8, a chapter that begins with this profound statement: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. And it only gets better the further you read. There are so many incredible truths and promises declared here that we should be weeping with gratitude once we truly meditate on what they mean.

(Photo: egowkand on Pixabay)
Favorite place to visit: Ever since I was a toddler, my extended family on my dad’s side has been vacationing in Holden Beach, NC every summer. I have so many terrific memories from decades of vacations, that Holden Beach holds a really special place in my heart. Due to work and other things, I don’t get down there as much as I used to, but when I do, the smell of that salty ocean air triggers something in me. I think it’s because it means family to me.

LM: What is your next project?

Eric: I’m close to finishing the first draft of Solitary Man’s sequel. Once I do that, I’ll take a short break before I start editing and rewriting to maybe line up some other projects. Doyle’s story is hopeful, but there’s also a grimness to it that makes me want to work on something lighter, so I’m leaning toward an idea I have for a science fiction satire that will show off my sense of humor and love for absurd comedy like Monty Python. We’ll see what happens.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Eric: They can visit my website where I have signed copies of Solitary Man for sale. They can also find me on Facebook at Eric Landfried, Author and my Twitter handle is @e_landfried. I’m also on Instagram @ericlandfried, but I’m more active on FB and Twitter. Please connect! I’d love to hear from you!

About Solitary Man:
Ten years after a brutal war, cannibals and humans fight over the pieces of a hardscrabble existence.

Former Navy SEAL Doyle has been prowling the broken remnants of a devastated America for years. Alone in an armored bus loaded with weapons and supplies, he's grateful for his solitude. Being alone makes it easier to survive, as others can become a liability in the end of the world. But when a particularly brutal attack leaves Doyle in need of fuel and repair, he has no choice but to venture into the nearest settlement.

Jonathan has been pastoring a small church of Christians in that same settlement, but when he meets Doyle he sees an opportunity to expand his ministry. Cannibals have kept everyone from traveling, but Doyle's armored transport and weapons bring hope to his small band of followers. The two men strike up a mutually beneficial bargain, but neither of them realizes that this journey will change them in ways they could never have imagined.

As they search for other believers, they must battle cannibals, militant atheists, and a mysterious super soldier. Doyle's unbelief and Jonathan's faith will collide in this action-packed wasteland.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Traveling Tuesday: North Dakota Does Its Bit

Traveling Tuesday: North Dakota

Bordering Canada on the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south, and Montana to the west, North Dakota is approximately three-quarters the size of the United Kingdom. Considered part of the Great Plains, the state’s greatest resource is soil, with wheat grown in nearly every county. The state also has huge mineral deposits.

Primarily populated by Native Americans until the mid-1800s, North Dakota finally began to see white settlers by 1870. A mere twenty years later there were nearly 200,000 farmers and ranchers. By the time World War II began over 600,000 people called the state home.

In addition to sending her young men overseas to combat, North Dakota was the location of four major air bases: Fargo, Bismark, Minot, and Grand Forks, and several smaller facilities. Many of the air fields became municipal airports after the war, while others were torn down and returned to agriculture.

Fort Lincoln Internment Camp in Bismark housed over 4,000 Japanese, Italians, and Germans captured in US waters in April 1941. After the war started, the camp was turned over to the Department of Justice and expanded to make room for US civilians of Japanese and German descent who were arrested on suspicion of fifth column activity.

Perhaps the greatest contribution made by the state was education. Colleges and universities experienced huge drops in enrollment as young men enlisted and were drafted by the armed forces. As a way to help themselves and the war effort, the institutions picked up training programs that educated soldiers and sailors. Coursework included navigation, Morse code, and aerology. Pilot training programs included both ground and flight training, teaching them to land in many different conditions. During the winter months, the planes’ landing wheels were replaced with skis.

Of the more than 60,000 North Dakotans who served, approximately 2,000 gave their lives.

Allison White should be thrilled about her upcoming wedding. The problem? She’s still in love with her fiancé, Chaz, who was declared dead after being shot down over Germany in 1944. Can she put the past behind her and settle down to married life with the kindhearted man who loves her?

It’s been two years since Charles “Chaz” Powell was shot down over enemy territory. The war is officially over, but not for him. He has amnesia as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, and the only clue to his identity is a love letter with no return address. Will he ever regain his memories and discover who he is, or will he have to forge a new life with no connections to the past?

Purchase Link:

Friday, March 13, 2020

Release Day! A Love Not Forgotten

Release Day! A Love Not Forgotten

A Love Not Forgotten was formerly published in CelebrateLit's Let Love Spring collection. If you've not read it, now is your chance to order this companion story to Love's Harvest. Here's a bit about the book:

Allison White should be thrilled about her upcoming wedding. The problem? She’s still in love with her fiancé, Chaz, who was declared dead after being shot down over Germany in 1944. Can she put the past behind her and settle down to married life with the kindhearted man who loves her?

It’s been two years since Charles “Chaz” Powell was shot down over enemy territory. The war is officially over, but not for him. He has amnesia as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, and the only clue to his identity is a love letter with no return address. Will he ever regain his memories and discover who he is, or will he have to forge a new life with no connections to the past?

Purchase Link:

Pick up your copy today!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Suzanne Bratcher

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Suzanne Bratcher

Linda:  Welcome thanks for joining me today. As a history lover, I’m intrigued that you write contemporary stories with historic roots. What was your inspiration for your most recent release The Silver Lode?

Suzanne: The story is set in Jerome, Arizona: billion-dollar copper camp. A real town, Jerome sprang up in the Mingus Mountains as a copper mining camp in 1876. By the 1920s it was the fifth largest city in Arizona with a population of 15,000. When Phelps-Dodge closed the last copper mine in 1953, it dwindled until it was a ghost town.

LM: How do you come up with your characters? Are they based on any real people in your life?

Suzanne: My characters come out of the setting I’m working with. In The Silver Lode the three main characters carry over from my first Jerome book, The Copper Box. The characters that create the plot in The Silver Lode are all fictional descendants of people who might have lived in Jerome in the 1940s.

LM: Research is an important part of writing. What sort of research did you do for The Silver Lode?

Jerome, AZ
(photo by Tom Kranz, Pixabay)
Suzanne: I visited Jerome dozens of time over the thirty years I lived in Flagstaff, Arizona. The Jerome State Historic Park drew me in numerous times with its informative exhibits and films. At the Jerome Historical Society I paged through old newspapers and letters. I relied on three books: Herbert V. Young’s The Ghosts of Cleopatra Hill and They Came to Jerome as well as a compilation of essays edited by Aliza Caillou, Experience Jerome and the Verde Valley: Legends and Legacies. Of course, the internet filled in gaps. Visits to mines in Colorado gave me the feel of being down inside a mine.

LM: You’ve written fiction and nonfiction. Do you approach the two genres differently? The same?

Suzanne: When I  write nonfiction, I begin with a problem and research as many solutions as I can unearth. Then I sift through them to identify the most practical ideas. When I write fiction, I begin with a place I love and have visited many times. Then I turn my imagination loose and visualize characters and conflicts that could occur only in that setting. With nonfiction I work from a structured outline. With fiction I sketch a 3-act plot and alternate between freewriting and scene structure.

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

Suzanne: I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand. I’d love to find a special town and spend a couple of months really getting to know the people and culture and maybe even invent a story!

LM: Quickies:

Favorite childhood book: Black Beauty
Drink of choice: Coffee, tea, or soft drink: Coffee
Would you rather walk, bicycle, or drive a car: Walk

LM: What is your next project?

Jerome, AZ
(photo Kate McGahan, Pixabay)
Suzanne: I’m working on the third book in the Jerome mysteries: The Gold Doubloons. A contemporary story following the same main characters, the roots of the plot are in the historical fact that Coronado came through the Verde Valley on his search for the Seven Cities of Gold and a local legend that the Spaniards left behind a cache of gold coins hidden on Cleopatra Hill.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Got to my website at Sign up there for my quarterly newsletter Storyteller and my blog Suzanne’s Scribbles. Find me on Facebook at Follow me on Amazon at

About The Silver Lode: 
Beneath the ghost town that clings to Cleopatra Hill, a maze of abandoned mine tunnels conceals a vein of silver ore mixed with pure gold. Seventy years ago the discovery of that silver lode caused a murder? Are more coming?

Historian Paul Russell is about to lose his job and the woman he loves, so he doesn't have time to search for the legendary silver lode. But when a student drops a seventy-year-old cold case on his desk, a murder connected to the silver lode, the mystery offers Paul the perfect opportunity to work with Marty Greenlaw and win her back.

As Paul and Marty search for the silver lode, suspicious deaths begin to happen. When Paul's son disappears, the stakes become personal. Will Paul and Marty solve the mystery of the silver lode in time to rescue Scott? Will they survive to grow into a future different from what any of them dreamed?

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Traveling Tuesday: The West Indies During WWII

Traveling Tuesday:  The West Indies During WWII

Photo: Wikipedia
The West Indies is a region of the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean that includes the island countries and surrounding waters of three major archipelagos: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, and the Lucayan Archipelago (Wikipedia). Countries include Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands, Antigua, Barbuda, Guadalupe, St. Kitts and Nevis, Virgin Islands, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, and many others.

Because of these islands’ location, they were the “forward edge” of the American defense strategy, a relationship formalized in the Panama Declaration of 1939. Held on September 23, the meeting entailed discussions about neutrality, economic concerns, and the maintenance of peace in the area. The Declaration banned belligerent submarines from entering their ports, demanded the cessation of subversive activities within their countries, and formed a maritime security zone which extended over 300 nautical miles on either side of the American continent.

More than half of the supplies sent to Europe and Africa from the US were shipped from ports in the Gulf of Mexico and passed through the Caribbean. German U-boats were active in the area during the first two years of the war with over 300 ships sunk. As a result, the US Caribbean Defense Command was formed, sending nearly 120,000 personnel to protect the islands and the Panama Canal.

Caribbean Regiment
(Photo: Imperial War Museum)
Haiti declared neutrality, but gave food and supplies to Allied forces. The country also hosted a detachment of the US Coast Guard. Five members of the Haitian Air Force volunteered and were integrated into the Tuskegee Airmen division of the US military. Over 10,000 men from the various Caribbean islands traveled to England to volunteer for the Armed Forces. Some managed to enlist in the British Navy, but as in the United States, Britain was not ready for an integrated military. In response, Britain created the Caribbean Regiment that was deployed to the Middle East and Italy. Another detachment of the regiment was trained at Fort Eustis, Virginia then sent to North Africa.


A Love Not Forgotten:
Allison White should be thrilled about her upcoming wedding. The problem? She’s still in love with her fiancé, Chaz, who was declared dead after being shot down over Germany in 1944. Can she put the past behind her and settle down to married life with the kindhearted man who loves her?

It’s been two years since Charles “Chaz” Powell was shot down over enemy territory. The war is officially over, but not for him. He has amnesia as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, and the only clue to his identity is a love letter with no return address. Will he ever regain his memories and discover who he is, or will he have to forge a new life with no connections to the past?

Pre-order Link:

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back, Barbara Britton!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back, Barbara Britton!

Linda:  Welcome back to my blog. I’m a huge fan of your work. Congratulations on Heavenly Lights: Noah’s Journey that released just last week. How did you decide to write about this particular biblical character?

Barbara: Thank you for having me back on the blog, Linda.

In Heavenly Lights, I follow the daughters of Zelophehad into the first chapters of the book of Joshua. I was going to leave the brave girls after they crossed the Jordan River and settled in Canaan, but they didn’t have their inheritance of land. I couldn’t leave them yet. Noah is front and center in this novel, but her four sisters are still around to support and encourage her.

LM: What is something you learned about Noah during your research that really stuck with you?

Barbara: As the daughters of Zelophehad travel into God’s promised land, they are confronted with the sin of Achan and its ramifications on the whole Israelite camp. Thirty-six men perished in the battle for Ai because Achan stole from God. Achan must not have thought much of God to believe God wouldn’t know that he had hidden gold, silver, and an ornate robe in his tent. I always thought the stoning of Achan and his family was a harsh punishment until I studied the Scripture. Achan caused the death of others and put the entire camp in peril. He thumbed his nose at God’s sovereignty after seeing God’s miracles. One interesting fact is that the Scripture mentions Achan’s children, but not a wife (Joshua 7:24-25). Perhaps his wife had died in the desert. If she had lived, maybe she would have told him to stop digging in her tent and seek forgiveness from God.

LM: If Heavenly Lights was going to be made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?

Barbara: Oh, Jeremiah is easy. I would cast Nyle DiMarco as my silent shepherd. Nyle amazed me on Dancing With The Stars when he won the competition. Nyle is deaf like my character Jeremiah. I don’t know how Nyle kept time with the music. I enjoyed Madeline Carroll in the movie I Can Only Imagine and think she would handle the role of Noah well.

LM: How do you get your ideas about which characters from the Bible you’d like to write about?

Barbara: I heard about Jesus in the third grade, but I didn’t hear about the daughters of Zelophehad until a few years ago when a friend mentioned them in Bible Study. How had I missed them? Their account is mainly in the book of Numbers and they are mentioned briefly in the book of Joshua. I read the Scripture and decided to write their groundbreaking story.  I enjoy writing about Bible characters that readers haven’t heard much about. I love learning about these inspiring characters as I write my story.

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

Barbara: I would like to be a seamstress that could create dresses and pants. I am fairly tall, and I always have trouble finding pants and skirts that are long enough. I prefer my dresses on the longer side too.

LM: Here are some quickies:

Ideal vacation spot: Hawaii
Favorite childhood book: The Borrowers
Favorite food: Dark or mint chocolate

LM: What is your next project?

Barbara: I am currently working on another Biblical story, but I have a Historical releasing in June called “Until June.” My tag line for the story is: When a young seamstress agrees to take care of a WWI amputee in a remote Alaskan lodge, there’s enough friction to melt a glacier. If you liked “Me Before You” but disliked the ending, then “Until June” is for you.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Barbara: I have a website ( and I am active on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

You can find the daughters of Zelophehad in Numbers 26:33, 27:1-11, chapter 36, and in Joshua 17:3-6.

Book blurb:
Noah bat Zelophehad might have broken tradition by being able to inherit her father’s land, but her heart’s desire is to have the finest herds in all of Israel, something an orphaned and unmarried woman has never achieved.

Jeremiah ben Abishua cannot speak, nor hear. God has made his thoughts captive to his mind. But he can communicate with one shepherdess, a woman who sees his skill with animals and treats him like a man worthy of respect.

When their people disobey God and incur his wrath, Noah and Jeremiah must overcome tragedy in order to change perceptions in the tribes of Israel. Will their kinship desire to care for one another and the four-legged creatures God has placed in their care, be able to flourish in a land filled with enemies of the One True God?

God gave Noah bat Zelophehad four sisters, a way with four-legged creatures, and a strong spirit. She will need all three gifts to thrive in the Promised Land of God and find love with a special shepherd.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Shannon McNear

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Shannon McNear

Linda:  Thanks for stopping by. Congratulations on your recent release, The Rebel Bride which is part of the Daughters of the Mayflower series. What was your inspiration for the story and how did the opportunity come along to be part of the collection?
Shannon: Ohh…the story of how I came to be part of the collection is a little long and rather fantastical, but the short version is that a very dear friend and critique partner of mine—Michelle Griep, author of #3 in the series, The Captured Bride—recommended me to our editor Becky Germany, who then invited me to submit a proposal. That resulted in The Cumberland Bride, the title and essential concept of which was actually Becky’s. The Rebel Bride concept came a little later, and appealed because yes, I have a bit of a soft spot for the Confederacy. (Which I hope is apparent, especially after reading the story, is not the same as sympathy for slavery. . .at all.) Becky and I chatted back and forth about story ideas, and when she said she didn’t want a “plantation story,” well, then the ideas began to flow. I chose the Battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga because it’s a lesser-known aspect of the Civil War and yet so pivotal—and the setting worked for my story idea.
LM: Your books are set in early America. What draws you to that era?
Shannon: Can you believe, the social and political complexity that is not so unlike what we face today? If only people knew … ahem. 😊 Anyway, living near Charleston, South Carolina, gave me ready access to all sorts of colonial and Revolutionary history, again from a lesser-known angle. I’m not sure why that era draws me more than, say, Civil War or later, but I find Civil War particularly difficult, emotionally.
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?
Shannon: I used to be more productive in the evening, but that isn’t always so, anymore. I am so not a morning person, but there’s something about getting up before the kids (I have only mid-to-older teens at home now, and we homeschool, and you bet I let them sleep in if they don’t have work or whatever because, well, the house is blessedly quiet!) As far as routine—morning, I get up, make sure dogs/bunny/cats are fed (the teens and I switch off on those depending upon the day/schedule), grab my coffee, do some Bible reading and prayer to center myself if I didn’t the night before. Essential oils can work wonders if I’m feeling stressed and/or uninspired. Sometimes I do listen to music, other times not. I had a couple of particular playlists that helped a lot with this story and the one I wrote after—the deadlines were back to back and pretty tough to get through. It used to be that I could really only write to instrumental music but weirdly enough that has changed somewhat, too.
I really like having long blocks of time where I can alternate between laying down some good word count and taking a quick social media break, or to do laundry or straighten something in the house. Days when I have appointments or errands are terrible for writing momentum.
LM: If your story was going to be made into a movie, who would you like to see play the main characters?
Shannon:  I really don’t know! I chose random photos from Pinterest for my character models, and I can’t think of any current actors who fit how I picture either of them…got any suggestions?? LOL
LM: What is one thing you’d like to learn how to do?
Shannon:  Properly execute a palm-mute strum on my guitar. Isn’t that silly? I’m one of those cliché guitar-playing worship leaders, and … suffice it to say that between focus on different musical styles and lack of time to devote to every area of interest during my busiest years as a mom (we have only 3 teens at home now, out of a total 8 children), I never learned it. And at my age, picking up newer techniques is, well, harder! But I’m trying. And annoyed that it doesn’t come easily. 😊

LM: Here are some quickies:
Favorite Season:  Spring and fall, although summers in North Dakota are exquisitely beautiful!
Favorite author: C.S. Lewis
Favorite Bible verse:  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

LM: Can you tell us what writing projects are on your plate right now?
Shannon: I’m nearly done with a novella that’s part of a generational collection centering around a Nativity set. (By the time you post this interview, I’ll have turned it in, but—yeah.) The set is titled Love’s Pure Light and features Susanne Dietze, Janine Roche, and Deborah Raney. My story is The Wise Guy and the Star and is set in December 1919, right after WWI. After that, well, I’m praying about what’s next!
Linda: Where can folks connect with you?

About The Rebel Bride:

Can love form amidst tension of war?

During the clash between Union and Confederacy, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both Rebel and Yankee wounded who seek refuge at her family's farm. She is determined to remain unmoved by the Yankee cause--until she faces the silent struggle of Union soldier Joshua Wheeler, a recent amputee. The MacFarlane family fits no stereotype Joshua believed in; still he is desperate to regain his footing--as a soldier, as a man, as a Christian--in the aftermath of his debilitating injury. He will use his time behind enemy lines to gather useful intelligence for the Union--if the courageous Rebel woman will stay out of the line of danger.ut of the line of danger.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Traveling Tuesday: Weather Stations

Traveling Tuesday: Weather Stations

Most civilians don’t pay attention to the weather unless poor conditions may impact their plans such as outside chores, commuting, or vacations. However, throughout history, weather has made a difference during crucial moments. The scorching heat of summer and the frigid cold of winter during Napoleon’s Russian campaign destroyed his Grand Armee, and torrential rains on the battlefields at Waterloo contributed to his final defeat. When Kublai Khan tried to overtake Japan, his fleet was destroyed by a typhoon. You can bet that both those generals wished they’d had accurate forecasting abilities.

During World War II, every nation involved in the conflict (and perhaps many that were not) had apparently learned from history and paid close attention to the weather. Aircraft could be grounded by bad weather or targets obscured by fog or clouds. Sea convoys needed clear weather to delivery cargoes, and land offenses also depended on knowing what sort of weather was around the corner.

Modern devices such as satellites were unavailable in the 1940s, so meteorologists depended on barometers and other tools. Even with the “crudity” of their devices, weathermen could make fairly accurate predictions up to seventy-two hours in advance. In Europe, weather patterns form in the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, then drift west to east. Because of their lack of colonies in that area to use as reporting stations, Germany was at a disadvantage, but quickly set out to change their situation.

Greenland, Jan Mayen Island (a Norwegian island about 600 miles north of Norway), and the Svelbard Archipelago (a Norwegian island halfway between Norway and the North Pole) were three prime weather-reporting locations, but all part of neutral nations. The good news for the Germans was that Greenland’s and Jan Mayen’s stations transmitted their weather data in plain international code.

An interesting twist occurred to Hitler after he invaded Denmark and Norway in early 1940. When their home countries became occupied, the island colonies had to fend for themselves and chose resistance, cooperating with the British and Americans. Weather information from these stations was now only provided to the Allies.

As a result, Germany sent U-boats to the area to act as weather-reporting stations. However, the General in charge felt that gathering meteorological data came behind sinking enemy ships, so information was sporadic, and by January 1941, the submarine’s full time weather duties ended. The Luftwaffe then became responsible for weather reconnaissance, but was also more intent on battle. Eventually, a program to use weather “fishing” trawlers was thought to be a better solution.

However, that plan ended in disaster because the British were able to intercept the transmissions to such an extent that any element of surprise was lost, but more importantly captured many of the trawlers, each of which was carrying an Enigma Code machine. The Germans realized land-based stations were the best way to go and managed to set up facilities in remote areas of Greenland and several of the tiny islands scattered throughout the Arctic sea.


In the year since arriving in London, journalist Ruth Brown has put a face on the war for her readers at home in the U.S. Thus far, juggling her career and her relationship with Detective Inspector Trevor Gelson hasn't proven too challenging. The war gets personal for Ruth when her friend Amelia is murdered, and Trevor is assigned to the case.

Life gets even more unsettling when clues indicate her best friend, Varis, is passing secrets to the enemy. Convinced Varis is innocent, Ruth must find the real traitor as the clock ticks down toward Operation Husky-the Allied invasion of Sicily. Circumstantial evidence leads Trevor to suspect her of having a part in Amelia's death, and Ruth must choose between her heart and her duty.

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Friday, February 14, 2020

Forensic Friday: The Hard-Boiled School of Detective Fiction

Forensic Friday: 
The Hard-Boiled School of Detective Fiction

With the release of Under Cover, this week, I'm taking a look at the various styles of crime fiction. On Monday, I talked about The Golden Age of Detective FictionAnother genre that arose around the same time, but remained popular well into the 1950s is the Hard-Boiled School of Detective Fiction, published in “pulp magazines,” so called because of the cheap wood pulp paper that was used. These inexpensive magazines were successors to the penny dreadfuls (early 19th century) and dime novels (late 19th century/early 20th century).

The typical protagonist in these novels are private investigators who witnessed the violence of organized crime during Prohibition and its aftermath, as well as corruption in the legal system that was nearly as deadly. The result was a
cynical, antihero in the likes of Sam Spade, Lew Archer, Mike Hammer, and Philip Marlowe. Author Carroll John Daly is credited with creating the style that Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler perfected.

Tough, single-minded, and loners, the PIs in these stores have a code of honor and justice that may not be strictly legal, but it is moral. They may be threatened or beaten, but they refuse to give up a case or betray a client. They are fast talking smart-alecks who use lots of slang, and show little respect for police officers. His attire of choice is a trench coat, fedora, and spectator shoes. And he won’t be caught without his pistol.

The story is nearly always told in first person, and the formula includes a client who’s in trouble, frequently a “dame” who doesn’t give the PI the whole story. She can’t get help from the police, so he takes the case. After digging around, interviewing lots of people, he’s typically been betrayed at least once and more murder have occurred.

Numerous hard-boiled detective stories were made into movies: The Thin Man series, Philo Vance series, The Maltese Falcon, etc. What is your favorite?

In the year since arriving in London, journalist Ruth Brown has put a face on the war for her readers at home in the U.S. Thus far, juggling her career and her relationship with Detective Inspector Trevor Gelson hasn't proven too challenging. The war gets personal for Ruth when her friend Amelia is murdered, and Trevor is assigned to the case.

Life gets even more unsettling when clues indicate her best friend, Varis, is passing secrets to the enemy. Convinced Varis is innocent, Ruth must find the real traitor as the clock ticks down toward Operation Husky-the Allied invasion of Sicily. Circumstantial evidence leads Trevor to suspect her of having a part in Amelia's death, and Ruth must choose between her heart and her duty.

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