Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Wartime Wednesday: First Photographs at Pearl Harbor

Wartime Wednesday: First Photographs at Pearl Harbor

I’m proud of my little museum here in Wolfeboro. David Wright, the founder, started collecting military vehicles from WWII until one day a friend of his supposedly said something to the effect of: “you’ve got to do something with them besides cluttering up the yard. You should start a museum.” 

So, in 1982, the E. Stanley Wright Museum Foundation was established. It would be another ten years before David and his wife, Carole, found the perfect location in Wolfeboro, NH. In the early days, it wasn’t much, but apparently, word got out about its potential and how special it was going to be because Army photographer Lee Embree who was the first photographer to snap pictures during the attack at Pearl Harbor showed up one day at the Wright museum and offered David his photos. 

Born in Iowa in 1915, Lee enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1936. Shortly thereafter, he was assigned
Courtesy of Wright
to the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron as an aerial photographer. By the time 1941 rolled around, he’d been promoted to staff sergeant. On the “day that will live in infamy, Lee had hitched a ride on one of twelve B-17 Flying Fortresses that was heading to Hawaii from California. He was headed to the Philippines along with a few other soldiers. 

The planes all held skeleton crews of five and carried bomb sights and machine guns but no ammunition. The 2,400-mile flight required all the gasoline the aircraft could carry. Because the B-17s were expected, the inbound Japanese planes that showed up on radar were assumed to be the Americans. 

As the pilots in the Flying Fortresses spotted the Hawaiian islands, they saw what they thought were burning sugar cane fields that bordered the air base. Not long after that, they noticed a group of fighter jets headed their way, and were glad to have escorts for the remaining miles to the field. To their dismay, the plans began to fire on them, and the bombers scattered. 

During the mayhem, Embree grabbed his camera and began snapping pictures, many of which ended up in Life, Time, and other important periodicals of the time. Copies are at the National Archives. In a 2001 interview, he was asked why he didn’t take more photos than he did. His response: “I can only answer that I was so flabbergasted at what I saw I forgot about the camera that was in my hand.” He went on to say, “They passed us so close on the left, I could see the pilots’ faces. They were grinning from ear to ear. We were just very lucky. The plane was hit several times, but we weren’t.” On the third circle over Pearl Harbor, Embree’s plane was out of fuel and forced to land (still in the midst of the attack).

Following the attack, Embree remained at the base as an aerial photographer until February 1942 when he was stationed in Fiji for nine months. He became a combat photographer with the Army Signal Corps and served in many places through the Pacific, including New Caledonia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Guadalcanal. After the war, he enlisted in the Air Force Reserves where he retired as a major in 1957 and continued to work in photography. An interesting aside is the fact that the camera shop where Lee took his film to be developed refused to return the negatives, instead sending them to Washington, DC at the orders of U.S. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox. According to Embree, “The next time I saw one of my photos, it was on the front cover of an Australian magazine.” He eventually got his negatives, returned to him years later in a brown envelope covered with Army postmarks from across the Pacific Ocean. 

He passed away at the age of 92 in 2008.


Estelle's Endeavor

Will a world at war destroy a second chance at love? 

Estelle Johnson promised to wait for Aubry DeLuca, but then she receives word of his debilitating injuries. Does she have the strength to stand by him in his hour of need? 

Aubry DeLuca storms the beaches at Normandy, then wakes up in the hospital, his eyes bandaged. Will he regain his sight? Will the only woman he’s ever loved welcome him home or is he destined to go through life blind and alone? 

Pre-order link:

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Traveling Tuesday: Walter Reed Hospital

Traveling Tuesday: Walter Reed Hospital

In my upcoming release, Estelle’s Endeavor, my male protagonist is sent to Walter Reed General Hospital for further care after he is injured during the invasion at Normandy during WWII. I drove past the hospital during my commute in the early days of my career but rarely gave it any thought. Living in the Washington, DC/suburban Maryland area, one tends to get used to the various government facilities and installations that dot the landscape. During my research for the story, I turned up many interesting facts, especially about the hospital’s namesake.

As far back as George Washington’s era, the army medical staff realized the need for a separate military hospital campus (or reservation as one source called it), but the dream would not become reality until after the Civil War. The Washington Arsenal, located on a peninsula where the Potomac Anacostia Rivers merge, was the site of a small hospital from 1898 to 1909. It is said that Dr. Walter Reed was assigned to the Arsenal as camp surgeon from 1881 to 1882.

Reed was brilliant by all reports. He finished his two-year program in one year and received his degree at seventeen years of age from the University of Virginia in 1869. He then moved to New York where he received his second degree from Bellevue Hospital Medical College and went on to work at several hospitals within the city.

After marrying, he decided that joining the army would give him a steady income and allow him to
travel. He was commissioned as a first lieutenant assistant surgeon, and for several years he and his wife moved around the country for his assignments. At one point, he was stationed at Fort McHenry, and he took the opportunity to attend classes at Johns Hopkins University.

Bacteriology, infectious diseases, and the concept of germs was in the forefront of the study in medicine during the 1880s and early 1890s, and Reed began research into the cause of typhoid and yellow fever. His studies were breakthroughs in many ways. Not only did he disprove the theory that the diseases were spread through the air, but he was also able to prove mosquitos as the carriers. Additionally, his study was the first time test subjects signed consent forms.

In 1902, Reed died from peritonitis after an emergency appendectomy, and his friend and fellow physician Lt. Colonel William Borden was the driving force to get Congressional support to create a true medical center. It took several years, but funds were finally appropriated in the amount of $192,000, and the new facility welcomed its first ten patients on May 1, 1902. Capacity at that time was eighty beds, and the facility has grown to 5,500 rooms on nearly thirty acres.

Since its inception, Walter Reed has served more than 150,000 active and retired personnel from all branches of the military. Some of its more famous patients include Major General William Donovan (founder of the OSS), John Foster Dulles (Secretary of State), General Dwight D. Eisenhower (President of the United States), Mamie Eisenhower (First Lady), General John Pershing (Commander, U.S. Expeditionary Forces WWI), and General Douglas MacArthur (US Army Chief of Staff).


Estelle's Endeavor 

Will a world at war destroy a second chance at love?

Estelle Johnson promised to wait for Aubry DeLuca, but then she receives word of his debilitating injuries. Does she have the strength to stand by him in his hour of need?

Aubry DeLuca storms the beaches at Normandy, then wakes up in the hospital, his eyes bandaged. Will he regain his sight? Will the only woman he’s ever loved welcome him home or is he destined to go through life blind and alone?

Pre-order link:

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Welcome Lynn Basham Tagawa

Welcome Lynn Basham Tagawa

LM: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your most upcoming release A Fallen Sparrow What was your inspiration for the story?

Lynne: The Great Awakening of the 1740s. I knew it had ripple effects, and so when I wrote the first book in the trilogy set during this period of great revival, I had my eye on the events of the Revolution. Our revolution was different from the bloodbath in France for a reason. Call me a nerd, but I love this stuff!

LM: I’m intrigued that you included so many real historical figures in the story. How did you go about researching the individuals, and do you worry about getting their personalities and dialogue correct?

Lynne: It all happened so organically. I wanted to place a character at the Boston Massacre. Well,
much of what we know about what happened is because Henry Knox was there. So I bought his biography, and what an interesting guy! I didn’t feel bad inventing dialogue for him. He just felt so accessible. Washington, on the other hand, only appears here and there, and I just gave him lines that are known from the historical record. I did fret a bit over my bad guy, a real-life person who went on to have lots of kids. (I couldn’t kill him LOL.) But he really did do something disturbing during the southern campaign, so I felt justified in making him nasty.

LM: What draws you to the time period of the 1700s?

Lynne: So much happened that is foundational to our country today!

LM: In addition to being an author, you are also an editor. How do you turn off your internal editor when writing?

Lynne: I really don’t. I do tell myself that with a word processing program I can always come back to it, but it’s hard. A constant struggle.

LM: You’ve written textbooks and curriculum. How is writing fiction different than nonfiction? The same? Do you find one easier than the other?

Lynne: The curriculum I just dashed off for the class. I didn’t know any rules, just that I wanted history that was fun. So I wrote it in narrative fashion, not knowing that narrative non-fiction is a thing. You see, I never wrote fiction when I was young. Research papers I could do. So really, the textbook was the breakthrough for me, asking the question, What would it have been like to be there? Later, the jump to true fiction was natural.

LM: You’ve accomplished quite a lot. What is one thing you wish you could do?

Lynne: Travel more! I’ve never seen the Shenandoah Valley, Boston, or Philadelphia except in pictures, or in using the Google Maps avatar.


LM: What is your next project?

Lynne: I’m working on a couple of novellas for the series. One is a fleshing out of the relationship of two secondary characters from The Heart of Courage. The other is an epistolary where one of my characters from A Fallen Sparrow goes to the Constitutional Convention.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?


About A Fallen Sparrow

It was all Samuel Adams’s fault.

Ruth Haynes uses the pen name Honorius when she writes for her father’s newspaper. Boston has changed beyond recognition, and her Loyalist views soon get her in trouble. With war looming, what will their family do?

Jonathan Russell hides a guilty secret. The Battle of Bunker’s Hill sweeps him and his Shenandoah Valley family into the war. The unthinkable happens, and he’s forced to deal with both his grief—and his guilt.

Lieutenant Robert Shirley is summoned by his godmother and introduced to the Earl of Dartmouth, who charges him to gather intelligence in Boston. He is horrified but must obey.

Gritty, realistic, and rich with scriptural truth, this story features Dr. Joseph Warren, Major John André, Henry Knox, and Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton.

Purchase Link:

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Traveling Tuesday: Baltimore During WWII

Traveling Tuesday: Baltimore During WWII

The history of Baltimore begins nearly three hundred years ago, its residents living through economic booms and busts, social and political upheaval, fire, and war, the last of which was a mixed blessing for the city.

A mere three decades prior to World War II Baltimore suffered a massive fire. At the corner of German (now Redwood) and Liberty Streets smoke rose from the basement of a dry goods store, then shortly before eleven o’clock in the morning, the building exploded. Burning debris landed on nearby structures, and the winds fanned the flames, pushing them even farther until the entire downtown area was ablaze. Thirty hours later, Baltimore firemen and those who had arrived from other cities along the East Coast put out the fire that had consumed 140 acres, destroyed 1,526 buildings, and burned out 2,500 companies. It would take the city ten years to fully rebuild.

World War I, also known as The Great War, brought economic and social changes. Manufacturing
plants sprang up or expanded creating jobs and supporting the war effort. Anti-German sentiment brought name changes to streets and businesses (German Street became Redwood Street, and German-American Bank became American Bank). Unfortunately, twelve years after the war ended, the Depression would nearly devastate the city. Baltimore Trust Company closed its thirty-two-story skyscraper, and by 1933, the governor closed all the banks to prevent mass withdrawals. By 1934, almost 30,000 residents were unemployed. Federal resources such as the Civil Works Administration and the Works Progress Administration helped, but it took the second world war to bring Baltimore back to its former glory.

Two of the largest government contractors were the Glenn L. Martin plant that produced military aircraft such as the B-26 Marauder and the Bethlehem-Fairfield shipyard which built Liberty ships and had the honor of launching the first, the SS Patrick Henry. Camp Holabird is where the army tested the world-famous jeep and trained the soldiers who would keep those jeeps and other military vehicles operating. Coast Guard sailors trained at Fort McHenry and Curtis Bay. And thousands of men and women would go overseas to fight the enemy in every theatre of war.

Like everywhere else in the nation, residents planted victory gardens, but Baltimore went one step further when Henry P. Irr, president of Baltimore Federal Savings and Loan, sponsored a statewide competition and offered bonds as prizes. Constance Black, wife of Baltimore Sun executive Harry Black, tilled a section behind their mansion and put in boysenberries, currants, cabbage, chard, and fruit trees. Apparently, not to be outdone, her husband rode to work in a horse and carriage.

By all reports, Baltimore became a twenty-four-hour city. Manufacturers operated three shifts, and many support businesses extended their hours. Housing became a major issue as people flooded the city to work at the various plants. Many houses were cut up into small apartments, and some rowhouses were fitted with multiple beds, each bed shared among three men, one per eight-hour shift. Unfortunately, the city was not a welcoming place for people of color, and segregated housing was poor at best. According to one source, Baltimore refused federal money to build permanent public housing for African Americans, instead “opting for temporary trailers so they can be easily moved out after the war is over.”

Since the war, Baltimore has continued to experience the ebb and flow of success and failure, growth and stagnation, stability and unrest, but as shown in her history, the city and her people will prevail.


Estelle's Endeavor

Will a world at war destroy a second chance at love?

Estelle Johnson promised to wait for Aubry DeLuca, but then she receives word of his debilitating injuries. Does she have the strength to stand by him in his hour of need?

Aubry DeLuca storms the beaches at Normandy, then wakes up in the hospital, his eyes bandaged. Will he regain his sight? Will the only woman he’s ever loved welcome him home or is he destined to go through life blind and alone?

Pre-order link:

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back, Kathleen Bailey!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back, Kathleen Bailey!

Linda: Welcome back! Congratulations on your upcoming release Redemption’s Hope. I can’t wait to read it. Where did you find your inspiration for this installment in your Western Dreams series?

KATHLEEN: Linda, it is great to be here. Honestly, I didn’t have to be inspired for Jenny’s book. She had a powerful presence in the first two “Western Dreams” books. I couldn’t NOT write about her.

LM: I love hearing that. After years of writing nonfiction as a journalist, why and how did you end up writing historical fiction?

KATHLEEN: I’ve wanted to be a novelist since I was six years old. It just took me longer than most people. Journalism paid the bills – and taught me discipline and deadline-keeping.

LM: Research is an important part of the writing process. What sort of research did you do for Redemption’s Hope? Did you unearth anything that was totally unexpected?

KATHLEEN: “Redemption’s Hope” was tricky logistically, because I had to coordinate the two lovers and two distinct sets of villains, one after her and one after him, and I had to move them around the then-known world. I used a lot of charts and maps to make sure everyone was in the right place. My other two books were pretty static, even the Oregon Trail one – they moved a lot, but they were all going in the same direction. This was more of a saga/epic, and I had a lot of coordinating to do.

LM: Sounds intriguing! As mentioned, you’re also a journalist and have an upcoming nonfiction book
coming out about war monuments in New Hampshire. How do you juggle the two genres.?

KATHLEEN: It’s all writing. It’s all telling stories. I tend to spend more time on whichever project needs me at the moment, but it all balances out.

LM: What do you do to prepare for writing?

KATHLEEN: Earl Grey tea in a china cup, and deal with my social media and correspondence first, so I can concentrate.

LM: How do you come up with your characters (names, jobs, physical attributes, etc.)?

KATHLEEN: It’s almost a mystical process. My characters show up first and I riff on that. Plotting does not come as easy…

LM: What was your favorite childhood book?

KATHLEEN: Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy, Tacy and Tib series. Kind of like “Little House,” only in a small Minnesota town just after the turn of the century and before World War I. But the books have the “Little House” insight into the child’s mind. The “Betsy” character wanted to be a writer, and I related to that. I also loved Edward Eager’s “Magic” series, including “Half Magic” and “Knight’s Castle.” I graduated to “A Wrinkle in Time,” which was the Harry Potter of my generation.

LM: I loved A Wrinkle in Time. What are you currently working on?

Pixabay/John French
KATHLEEN: I’m editing a novel about Lexington and Concord. But the West won’t leave me alone, so I’m researching another Western book.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

KATHLEEN: Facebook and LinkedIn, Kathleen D. Bailey; Twitter, @piechick1.


About Redemption's Hope:

Two orphaned children. Two different sets of villains. A man without a country and a woman with too much past. And a rambunctious young country where anything went, especially in the West. Seriously. What could go wrong?

Purchase Link:

Monday, August 15, 2022

Mystery Monday: Fergus Hume

Mystery Monday: Fergus Hume

Despite publishing over one hundred and thirty novels, Ferguson (or Fergusson) Wright Hume, writing as Fergus Hume, has long been forgotten. He was born in Powick, Worcestershire, England, but when he was three years old the family emigrated to Dunedin, New Zealand where his father founded the first private mental hospital. After graduation with a law degree from the University of Otago, he was admitted to the bar in 1885 and went to work as a barrister’s clerk in Melbourne.

In his off hours, he wrote plays, but couldn’t find anyone among the theaters to accept, let alone read his scripts. He was given the advice to write novels to grab the attention of theater managers. Knowing how popular French mystery author Emile Gaboriau was in Melbourne, Hume decided to pursue detective fiction. He purchased a set of Gaboriau’s novels to read and study after which he wrote The Mystery of a Hansom Cab.

Said Hume: “Having completed the book, I tried to get it published, but everyone to whom I offered it
refused to even look at the manuscript on the grounds that no Colonial (referring to his New Zealand upbringing) could write anything worth reading.” He self-published 5,000 copies of the book in 1886, which reportedly sold out in three weeks. However, he saw little of the profits because of having sold the British and American rights. (Guess it seemed like a good idea at the time!) Fortunately, he retained the dramatic rights, and the play version saw long Australian and London theater runs.

The plot seems simple: a man is found dead in a hansom cab and one of Melbourne’s leading citizens is accused of the crime. He claims to be innocent, yet refuses to provide an alibi. Then the author adds a determined lawyer and equally determined detective who unearth long-kept secrets, and the riddles and complexities begin. The book is the first of the Melbourne Trilogy, but the first story was the most popular. When asked what he thought about the book, Arthur Conan Doyle commented, “Hansom Cab was a slight tale, mostly sold by ‘puffing.’” Jealous, perhaps? His Study in Scarlet came out the following year.

In 1888, Hume returned to England where he lived for almost thirty years at Church Cottage in Thundersley, Essex. He never married and traveled extensively. Several reports say he was a “deeply religious” man and tended to avoid publicity. He was a prolific writer, but he never saw the same success that he’d had with his debut novel. Toward the end of his life, he often lectured at young people’s clubs and debating societies.

He died of a heart attack in July 1932 and left an estate valued at £201. Many of his works can be found in Project Gutenberg for no cost. Check one of them out!


Under Fire

Set in April 1942, Under Fire, the first book in the Ruth Brown Mystery Series, tells the story of Ruth Brown whose missing sister jane is declared dead. Convinced her sister is still alive, Ruth follows clues from her small New Hampshire town to war-torn London trying to find her. Discovering that Jane has been murdered results in a faith crisis for Ruth, and she decides she must find Jane’s killer. During her search for the culprit, she runs into smugglers, resistance fighters, and the IRA, all of whom want her dead for what she knows.

Purchase Link:

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Talkshow Thursday: Meet John Walker!

Talkshow Thursday: Meet John Walker!

LM: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your most recent release Heartless. What was your inspiration for the story? 

John: Heartless grew from an unsettling interaction with a patient. I can’t give identifying details. But I can tell you that I will never forget my sudden fear in that moment. Something I told him triggered an abrupt change in his demeanor. It reminded me of the story of King Nebuchadnezzar and the fiery furnace. When the three Hebrew servants openly defied him, his countenance changed toward them. That’s what I saw—an immediate change in attitude revealed in every part of his face, his movement, his posture, and his words. That moment inspired my villain.

LM: Sounds scary. You have a full career as a physician – quite different from the life of a writer. Tell us a bit about your journey to publication.

John: It’s been a long road. I started my first novel almost 20 years ago and self-published it when self-publishing was in its infancy and was really considered taboo. I’ve learned a lot the hard way and still have a lot to learn.

LM: What is your favorite aspect of writing?

John: I love diving into a character and letting the character surprise me with something I didn’t expect.

LM: What do you do to prepare for writing, and how do you juggle that with your day job?

John: Sometimes I think I do my best writing when I’m not writing. I will set the story aside and not even be thinking about it when something will trigger a thought that fits into the story. Finding time to write can be challenging. I have a lot of things on several plates, so I have to carve out time to write. I work best under pressure. Setting a deadline to have a manuscript ready for editing before a conference is a strong motivator for me. I lead a critique group. They keep me sharp and give me the motivation to have a sample ready for each meeting.

LM: What sort of research did you do for Heartless, and was there any particular piece of information you were compelled to include in the story?

John: Research adds depth and texture and helps me write a story that feels authentic. If I’m uncertain
about a detail, I research it. I use Google Maps to see the street view. Sometimes, I will visit a location to derive ideas. When I’m at a restaurant, I’ll make a note of an interesting person, something on the menu or on the wall, a fragrance, the way the server takes my order, anything that’s unexpected or unique. Then I’ll use those memories in a story. For Heartless, I researched the locales in Southern Indiana and Indianapolis. I researched a specific chair, home décor, and styles of homes. And many other rabbit trails, many of which didn’t even find their way into the book but may inspire other stories or characters.

LM: You’ve accomplished quite a lot. What is one thing you wish you could do?

John: I would really love to write an epic fantasy that reflects the depth and mystery of life’s journey. I want it to be a heroic tale with the power and breadth of The Lord of the Rings, but I want it to be something fresh. I’m waiting for the right idea.

LM: What is a piece of advice you have for fledgling writers?

John: I thought I was a good writer when I first started. I wanted to be original and not copy anyone else’s work, so I followed the temptation to figure it out on my own. That is a big mistake. Every new writer needs to be a dry, compressed sponge tossed into the ocean of writing wisdom. There is so much to learn and good writing is not good enough. There are too many good books and readers want great writing, so a new writer, especially, needs to write great books. That might mean scrapping a book or two or rewriting a book. That’s what I ultimately did with my first novel. I rewrote it, set it before my beta readers, and rewrote it again. I encourage writers to learn all they can about their craft. Most importantly, know your readers and write for them. Authors write for readers, not themselves. A writer may find satisfaction in writing, but an author finds satisfaction in writing that connects with readers.

LM: What is your next project?

John: My most successful book has been Moonlight Awakens, a story about a young woman who is abducted and trafficked. The main character Emma needs more than one story, so I’m writing a sequel and building the stories of some of the characters around her.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

John: is the easiest place to start. From there, you can link to my books, social media, and my inspirational blog (


About Heartless:

At only seventeen, Emma is used, abused, and discarded. She runs a thousand miles away from shame and judgment and falls into the arms of a stranger. One careless mistake, and she plummets into the hellish world of sex-trafficking. Her pimp takes everything from her, starting with her name. Deep in that darkness, Emma must find herself and find a way out. Her story is a tantalizing suspense that awakens hope.

Purchase Link:

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Wartime Wednesday: Secret Agent Stephanie Czech Radar

Wartime Wednesday: Stephanie Czech Radar

Pixabay/F. Muhammad
How well do you know your neighbors? I can honestly answer: Not too well. We moved into our current house three years ago, and our “across the street” neighbors stopped to introduce themselves, and we’ve spoken several times since then, but usually about incidentals. We met the next-door neighbor when our tree fell, and have never even seen the neighbor on our right. Turns out we’re not alone in that.

Imagine the shock when Alexandria, Virginia resident, Michael Golden discovered that his neighbor Stephanie Czech Radar was a former agent with the Office of Strategic Services during WWII. An unassuming lady, she never once talked about her work with the organization. The child of Polish immigrants, she grew up to graduate from Cornell University with a degree in Chemistry. She worked in the cafeteria, and her parents sold their wedding rings to afford tuition.

She remained fluent in Polish, so joined the Women’s Army Corps as a translator. Near the end of the
Courtesy Cornell Univ.

war, the OSS recruited her to take advantage of her fluency. Her accent, appearance, and mannerisms were just what they needed. Sent to Europe in 1945, Captain Czech arrived at the U.S. embassy in Berlin wearing civilian clothes and delivered the report she’d been carrying. She made her way to Poland where she claimed to be a clerk for the embassy in Warsaw and searching for distant relatives in her spare time.

In reality, she was one of only two members of the OSS stationed in the country, working for the counterintelligence section known as X2 (a department so secretive some who served in the group didn’t even know the name). She wandered the countryside spying on Soviet troop movements and gathering information on their intelligence services. She blended in easily but lived under constant fear of being arrested by the Soviets who were rounding up people right and left. Later she would say, “They gave me a gun, but I never carried a gun. What the heck was I gonna do with a dumb gun?”

She also told of her last mission…approaching the checkpoint, she saw the Soviet security agents acutely aware of the documents hidden under her clothes. If she was caught, she'd be sent to the gulag, perhaps worse. If she ran, they’d chase her. If she kept the papers, they’d find them. She took out the papers and calmly handed them to the man next to her, someone she was confident wouldn’t alert suspicion. “Take these,” she mumbled as she gave him the name of the recipient.

As feared, she was detained, but the Soviets found no evidence, so had to release her. She walked free, hopeful that the secret papers were on their way to their destination.

Courtesy Cornell Univ.
Because of her work, she was nominated for the Legion of Merit twice, but the request was denied each time. No one seems to know why. It wouldn’t be until nearly seventy years later when friends and family campaigned to have her recognized that she would be awarded this prestigious medal. She passed away in 2016 at 100 years of age and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Learn more about Stephanie who won the Virginia award for her service:


Spies & Sweethearts

She wants to do her part. He’s just trying to stay out of the stockade. Will two agents deep behind enemy lines find capture…or love?

1942: Emily Strealer is tired of being told what she can’t do. Wanting to prove herself to her older sisters and do her part for the war effort, the high school French teacher joins the OSS and trains to become a covert operative. And when she completed her training, she finds herself parachuting into occupied France with her instructor to send radio signals to the Resistance.

Major Gerard Lucas has always been a rogue. Transferring to the so-called “Office of Dirty Tricks” to escape a court-martial, he poses as a husband to one of his trainees on a dangerous secret mission. But when their cover is blown after only three weeks, he has to flee with the young schoolteacher to avoid Nazi arrest.

Running for their lives, Emily clings to her mentor’s military experience during the harrowing three-hundred-mile trek to neutral Switzerland. And while Gerard can’t bear the thought of his partner falling into German hands, their forged papers might not be enough to get them over the border.

Can the fugitive pair receive God’s grace to elude the SS and discover the future He intended?

Purchase Link:

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Traveling Tuesday: Colorado

 Traveling Tuesday: Colorado

“Denver is a beautiful city of some 75,000 inhabitants, built mostly of stone and brick. It contains the usual amount of fine buildings. One, in particular, we are lead (sic) to observe, and that Tabor’s Opera House, the largest in the world, excepting one in Paris, France. This building cost $850,000. The County Court House occupies an entire block, with buildings and ground. There are two large smelting works here.” 
(Sue A. Sanders, California as I Saw It: First Person Narratives of California’s Early Years, 1849-1900)

The Tabor Opera House was constructed in just one hundred days in 1879 by mining magnate Horace Tabor. Located in Leadville, Colorado the man and his wife brought culture and arts to one of the rowdiest silver boomtowns.

Colorado came about as the result of three events: the purchase of the eastern part in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase, the western portion in 1848 through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and the purchase of a Texas claim in 1850. Settlers trickled in, but the Native Americans were the largest population, mostly made up of Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute peoples.

Then gold was discovered in 1858, and life changed. Reporter Horace Greeley announced the find in
the New York Tribune, and prospectors surged into the territory at the rate of 5,000 per week. The Natives were pushed further and further west, and as it became apparent there were millions of dollars to be had, companies arrived to make their fortune. On February 28, 1861, the Territory of Colorado was organized. Fifteen years later, it was admitted to the union as the State of Colorado.

The silver rush started in 1879, and once again miners poured into the area to find their fortune. Railroad lines began to crisscross the state bringing in even more travelers and settlers. Other minerals were discovered such as molybdenum and zinc which would later be used to help the WWII war effort. A picture taken in the late 1940s by Farm Security Administration photographer Russell Lee shows that the mountain streams continued to run yellow because of the tailings from the gold mills.

At over 100,000 square miles, Colorado is larger than England and Belgium as well as many other European countries. The terrain is mixed encompassing most of the Southern Rocky Mountains, the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau, and the western edge of the Great Plains.


Gold Rush Bride Caroline (ON SALE!)

She thinks he’s high-handed and out for her gold. He thinks she’s difficult and money-hungry. Will they discover that love is the true treasure?

Scarred in a childhood accident, Caroline Vogel has yet to find a man willing to marry her, so she heads to the Pike’s Peak goldfields to pan enough ore to become a woman of means. When she and the handsome assistant trail boss hit it off, she begins to hope her future may not be spent alone. Then she catches wind of dark secrets from the man’s past, and she’s not sure what or who to believe.

Orphaned as a teenager, Oliver Llewellyn stole to survive, then used his skills for the army during the war. Nowadays, he applies his knowledge to catch dangerous thieves for the Pinkerton Agency, so guarding a young woman during a wagon train journey should be easy. But he didn’t count on the fact she’d angered a man bent on revenge. He also didn’t count on losing his heart.

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Friday, August 5, 2022

Fiction Friday: New Releases

August 2022 New Releases More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website


The Wanderer Scorned by Natasha Woodcraft -- The Wanderer is a man shrouded in legend. Moving from place to place in the land of Nod, he is known primarily for the curse that hangs over his life. When that curse is invoked during the celebration of a murderous rampage, The Wanderer is summoned to tell his story. Few know the truth of the tale encompassing life, death, love, hate, faith and doubt, for it has been obscured by centuries of rumour. Now, it will be told by the one who lived it—the man who became The Wanderer. (Action/Adventure, Independently Published)

Contemporary Romance:

The Cowgirl’s Redemption by Mindy Obenhaus -- She came home to make things right. Will she be given a second chance? Gloriana Prescott has returned to her Texas hometown to make amends—even if the townsfolk she left behind aren’t ready to forgive. But when her mother’s ranch manager, Justin Broussard, is tasked with saving the struggling rodeo so his teen daughter can compete, Gloriana sees a chance to prove she’s really changed. But can she prove to Justin, and the town, that she’s trustworthy? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired/Harlequin)

Historical Romance:

Escape from Amsterdam by Lauralee Bliss -- Helen Smit believed she was called by God to become a teacher. Little does she know that her care for kids will take a drastic turn for survival when the Germans occupy Amsterdam and Jewish children and parents begin to be deported. Now all she can think of is helping children escape before it’s too late. Erik Misman’s newfound love for Helen is tested when he joins a plot to help move Jewish children to a safe place in the countryside. If danger can foster a closer bond with Helen and save the lives of the little ones, he will do it all. But a German patrol that stumbles upon the farm where they are hiding with three children and a soldier who takes an unexpected interest in Helen, could well destroy their plans for safety and love. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Finding of Miss Fairfield by Grace Hitchcock -- When an engagement of convenience becomes anything but convenient . . .Forced into a betrothal with a widower twice her age, Charleston socialite, Sophia Fairfield is desperate for an escape. But, while her fiancé is away on business, he assigns his handsome stepson, Carver, the task of looking after his bride-to-be. Much to her dismay, Sophia finds herself falling in love with the wrong gentleman—a man society would never allow her to marry, given Sophia was supposed to be his new stepmother. The only way to save Carver from scandal and financial ruin is to run away, leaving him and all else behind to become a Harvey Girl waitress at the Castañeda Hotel in New Mexico. Carver Ashton has had his life planned out for him since birth, but when he encounters Sophia Fairfield, he glimpses a new life—apart from his overbearing stepfather’s business. But, when the woman he loves disappears before he can express his devotion, Carver abandons all to find her. However, his stepfather has other intentions for Sophia and will stop at nothing until she is his bride . . . even if it is against her will. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Sugar Baron’s Governess by Elva Cobb Martin -- Banished from Charleston for his misdeeds years earlier, Joshua Becket built a new life on both sides of the law in Jamaica. As sugar plantation owner and member of the governing British Assembly, he’s known and respected on the island. But he guards a secret identity. As swashbuckling Captain Jay, he leads daredevil privateering exploits on his ship, the Eagle, when the mood suits him. Currently, he needs a governess for his young daughter whose mother has passed. Widowed gentlewoman Abigail Welch accepted the governess position, leaving behind her disintegrated life in Charleston. This new start in Jamaica might finally help her find healing for her broken heart after losing her husband in the Revolution and their infant son to yellow fever. Joshua’s precocious, undisciplined daughter is the drawing card that brings him and Abigail together like clashing cymbals of disagreement...and fiery attraction. Can love and the miracle power of God give them a new beginning and a happily ever after? (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

Literary Historical:

By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser -- Two courageous young women, tied together by blood and shared passion, will risk everything to save what they love most. For as long as she can remember, Allie Massey, a gifted physical therapist, has dreamed of making her grandparents’ ten-acre estate into a trauma recovery center using equine therapy—a dream her grandmother, Nana Dale, embraced wholeheartedly. But when her grandmother’s will is read, Allie is shocked to learn the property has been sold to a developer. Decades earlier, after losing her prized filly to the Great Depression, headstrong Dale Butler sets out to bring her horse home again. In the years that follow, she finds friendship and love in a congenial new riding partner, until tragedy strikes in the midst of World War II. As Allie searches her grandmother’s estate for a way to keep her dream alive, she uncovers bits and pieces of Nana Dale’s past with her champion filly, a young man named Tommy, and one fateful night in 1943 during the Battle of the Atlantic. (Literary Historical from Bethany House/Baker Publishing)

Land that I Love by Gail Kittleson -- Set in the German Hill Country of Texas during World War II, this is more than a love story. It is about the racism and bigotry that still exist in our world. As these characters struggle with the problems of everyday life, they teach us that we survive hard times by being good neighbors despite our differences and that hatred can be conquered by love, understanding and forgiveness. (Literary Historical from WordCrafts Press)


Tracking the Truth by Sharee Stover -- Temporarily working in the cold case division was supposed to mean less danger for state trooper Trey Jackson and his injured K-9 partner, Magnum—until they thwart an abduction. Now he must protect profiler Justine Stark, even as she blames him for her friend’s death ten years ago. Can he right past wrongs by finally solving the murder…and making sure Justine lives to find closure? (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Love Inspired/Harlequin)

Winter Deceptions: A Collection of Christian Suspense Novels by Dan Walsh, et. al -- MURDER ON FLIGHT 91 by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry: When a passenger collapses on an international flight, is it a medical emergency, or attempted murder? ◆◆◆ TWAS THE NIGHT by Dan Walsh: After experiencing an unspeakable tragedy, a young mother relocates from Brooklyn to a small mountain town in North Carolina. Will this be the fresh start she’s hoping for or the beginning of an even greater upheaval to her fragile world? ◆◆◆ ONE WONDERS by Luana Ehrlich: Silas McKay's worst fears are realized when his investigation takes an unexpected turn. ◆◆◆ THE VOW by D.L. Wood: Kate’s husband left her a year ago, ending their marriage without warning. But when things turn sinister, will she be able to uncover what’s really going on before the danger closes in? ◆◆◆ ZERO TRUST by Jan Thompson: When Mira hires a former soldier to help her assassinate her mother’s killer, she doesn’t expect to target her own father. ◆◆◆ TRIGGERS by Terry Toler: Will Trigger, the loveable German Shepherd with military skills, be able to save a woman running from an abusive husband and a war hero with PTSD? ◆◆◆ AGAINST THE DARKNESS by H.L. Wegley: When Meiling Chen flees to America with vengeful Chinese agents in pursuit, can she find an American medical researcher she can trust? ◆◆◆ TOO LATE by Liz Bradford: Can Chloe Jacobs, a search and rescue K9 handler, overcome her past trauma before it's too late for her and her partner, Josh Schneider, or will her fears cause a fatal mistake? ◆◆◆ STEALTH GENESIS by Vikki Kestell: East of Dr. Daniel Bickel’s Albuquerque laboratory lies the old Manzano Weapons Storage Facility, a mountain with dangerous secrets that have all but been forgotten . . . or have they? (Thriller/Suspense/Romance, Independently Published)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
A Feeling of Home by <844href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Susan Anne Mason, Within Isabelle's heart and their siblings' relationship, her future looks very different than anything she could have imagined. (Historical Romance)

Grace on the Mountain Trail by Misty M. Beller, This epic journey is her last hope to find her lost brother—the only family she has left. (Historical Romance)

Matters of the Heart by Heidi Gray McGill, Will stubbornness keep them from discovering God’s best? (Historical Romance)

More than Grit by Gretchen Carlson, When do secrets become lies? When is grit not enough? (Young Adult)

Redemption’s Hope by Kathleen D. Bailey, A man without a country and a woman with too much past. (Western Romance)

The Help of a Cowboy by Elsie Davis , Once a cowboy...always a cowboy. But when life delivers Chad a chance to hang up his boots and spurs, he's all in. (Contemporary Romance)

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Welcome Back, June Foster!

Welcome Back, June Foster!

LM: Welcome back! It’s been a while since you joined me, and you’ve published quite a few books in the meantime. Congratulations on your recent release A Home in Cranberry Cove. What was your inspiration for the story?

June: Hi Linda, I'm so glad to return to your blog. A Home in Cranberry Cove is book 4 in the series. Micah Collins and Madison Mitchell were minor characters in book 3, Christian in Cranberry Cove. I simply had to allow them to tell their story. Afterall, Micah lived with a secret from his previous life, and Madison wanted to share her sudden and regrettable divorce—and how she came to know the Savior.

LM: A Home in Cranberry Cove is book four in the series. Did you set out to write a series, and can readers expect to see more stories? How did you come up with the location?

June: I didn't originally set out to write a series, but the characters continued to ask if they could share their stories. There will be a book 5 in this series, but because of publishing concerns, it won't be available until the end of 2023. The location of the series is the real-life coastal town of Ilwaco, Washington. On the front cover of the first book, The Inn at Cranberry Cove, there's a picture of the actual inn where the stories are set. My husband and I have stayed there several times, and I determined to write a story that took place in the fictional Inn at Cranberry Cove.

LM: What is your favorite aspect of writing?

June: My favorite part of writing is that I can manipulate the plot. In other words, I can orchestrate a
Pixabay/Roger Mosley
happy ending. If a character is struggling with their spirituality, I can allow them to decide to accept Jesus into their lives—but in a realistic manner. My prayer is that readers will do the same after their read about a character's decision.

LM: What do you do to prepare for writing?

June: I am not a pantster but a plotter so I have to plan out the story ahead of time. I generally write a scene-by-scene synopsis of the entire book before I begin. I like to do a GMC on each main character. That is their Goals, Motivation, and Conflict. What do they want and what motivates them? Conflict is what stands in the way of the character achieving their goals. I learn a lot about the characters like this. I also like to print off a picture of what I envision that character might look like. Sometimes I draw a sketch of the town where they live. I keep all the information in a notebook.

LM: You and your husband have RV’ed around the country. How does that inform your writing, and did you have a specific adventure that sparked a story idea?

Pixabay/Siggy Nowak
June: Definitely. The Cranberry Cove series is one example. We lived in Washington state and then when we bought the RV, we traveled in the Pacific Northwest for a while as well. We took many trips to southwestern Washington where the story takes as well as down the Oregon coast.

LM: You’ve accomplished quite a lot. What is one thing you wish you could do?

June: Believe it or not, I've always wanted to be able to speak Spanish. I took two years of Spanish in high school and heard the language spoken when I lived in the southwestern part of the US, but I've never mastered the language. I suppose being busy with a career, raising a family, and now writing is an excuse, but this is one thing I wanted to do but didn't.

LM: What is your next project?

June: I'm working on book 5 right now, however after that, I may take a break from writing—or not. I'll see how the Lord leads.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

About A Home in Cranberry Cove

Madison Mitchell will never trust a man again. The love of her life broke her heart and married a French chef. Now she throws herself into her work at The Inn at Cranberry Cove. When she accidentally tangles with the manager of a nearby fishing supply store, she suspects the handsome guy is hiding something. 

Micah Collins flees Sacramento seeking solace in the seaside village in Washington state. But he discovers an enemy has followed him to Cranberry Cove. He must endure frightful threats at the same time keeping his previous life secret. When Madison finds herself in danger, Micah blames himself. Madison and Micah are haunted by someone from Micah's past, but is the culprit the real enemy or should they look elsewhere? Will they find a future together?

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