Friday, October 28, 2022

Fiction Friday: Gone with the Draft

Fiction Friday: Gone with the Draft

I love to haunt old bookstores because of the unexpected treasures I find. One book I’ve had for several years is Park Kendall’s Gone with the Draft: Love Letters of a Trainee. Published in 1941 by Grosset & Dunlap, the book is a fictionalized account of one man’s experience in an army training camp. Rather than written in a prose format, the book is comprised of letters from Joe to “my dear Annie” and “my moast prescious jewell (sic) and interspersed with illustrations by Irving Politzer, a successful artist who was the son of Hungarian immigrants living in New York City.

Very little biographical information is available for Mr. Politzer, and I couldn’t find any photos of him. I was able to discover that he served in World War I, and his draft card indicates he was an apprentice for Allendorff Studio (which is perhaps where he got his start as an artist). His father passed away in 1919, so Politzer lived with and supported his mother until her death in the mid-1940s. He married a dress shop owner named Tesse Sharpe in 1946, and they remained married until his death in 1971.

I couldn’t unearth any information about the author, and the book’s dust jacket is missing the back, so
if there was any biographical data on the fly leaf, it’s long gone. At some point, he also published a second book Still in the Draft published by M.S. Mill Co. in 1942. Perhaps, the writer is just a “regular Joe” who eventually came home from the war, married his Annie, finished his education through the GI bill, got a job, and lived happily ever after. I’d like to think so.

The Veteran’s Administration claimed the book is “a worthy successor to Dere Mable.” {Written by Edward Streeter and published in 1919.} The Honolulu Advertiser crows: “The book is all laughs but underneath is a loyalty and love of County.” “Very amusing. The diction of army slang is well worth the price of the book,” touts the Dallas Times Herald.

And speaking of army slang, here are a few phrases from the book:
  • Angel: Anyone who buys a drink
  • Barrow Jockey: someone who pushes a wheelbarrow
  • Cinched the bread: took the last pieced and didn’t refill the dish
  • City Cow: canned milk
  • Horizontal Pleasure: Sleep
  • Sand and Specks: Salt and Pepper
  • Toot: Money

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?

Purchase Link:

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Aubrey Taylor

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Aubrey Taylor

LM: Welcome! Congratulations on your upcoming release The Prodigal Sons, Gott Mit Uns, Book 2. I can't wait to read it. The premise of your book is fascinating – there don’t seem to be many WWII novels written from the German viewpoint. What was your inspiration for the story? How many books can we expect in the series?

Aubrey: Thank you, Linda! In March 2021, I was contemplating how I was going to reconcile my growing appreciation for our family’s German heritage with our upcoming homeschool study of the world wars. While these are not YA books, that’s where the inspiration began. It was almost as if God tapped me on the shoulder and gave me the concept for my first novel, Sani: The German Medic. I hadn’t written creatively in decades. Was I willing to take a step of faith?

In the process of writing that first book, there were characters whose lives ended during the war, yet I just wasn’t ready to let go of them. I had also fallen in love with the Schmidt family. As I prayed more about the whole concept, I knew that I was going to create a family saga. The Prodigal Sons (TPS) goes back to 1923, with a prologue set in 1915, and really sets the stage to allow the reader to better understand the Schmidt boys.

As far as books in the series, I’m hoping for at least 4, but I actually have concepts for Schmidts and close family friends all the way into the future. We’ll see what develops.

LM: What research did you do for the story, and is there a particularly intriguing tidbit you knew had to be included?

Aubrey: To truly understand the experience of the German people, you have to go back centuries.
Pixabay/Alexander Naumann
What a fascinating and sometimes tragic history they have. I began with a book called Germany: Memories of a Nation, and I continue to explore the more distant past when I have time, although most of my research for TPS centered specifically on the Weimar Republic and the origins of the Third Reich. I’ve read parts or all of memoirs written by former soldiers of the Wehrmacht, members of the Hitler Youth, and the SS, as well as The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and various other in-depth histories. I do a lot of internet research, listen to podcasts and, most blessedly, talk to dear people I know who lived through the tragic past or who have researched it in-depth themselves. Also, my husband and I spent three wonderful weeks in Germany this past summer!

LM: In addition to writing, you homeschool and are involved in ministry. How do you balance your responsibilities?

Aubrey: I actually don’t homeschool anymore, though I did for six years. I loved every minute of it, but the Lord knows how much I can balance, and when He made it clear that He was calling me to be an author, he impressed on my heart that it was time for us to place our children in school. He’d whispered to my heart years ago that my oldest would attend school in sixth grade. That’s exactly when all this happened!

That said, there is not a dull moment. I do lead worship at church a few times a month, I’m involved in a German choir, and have also been learning a lot of German and popular songs to join my choir director for some of her other gigs (she’s an incredible singer and accordion player!)… I have to start each day bringing my priorities before God, and place special emphasis on the things I know He’s brought into my life. Sometimes it means saying ‘no’ to other things!

LM: Tell us about your road to publication.

Aubrey: Like many authors, I wrestled with the idea that I had to be formally published before deciding to go with KDP. What it came down to for me was feeling that it was more important to find ways to share the things God had placed in my heart, rather than wait in the hopes of gaining broader publication which may never come. I would rather do a little networking and legwork (which has actually been fun) and trust God to get the book where it needs to go. I’ve been amazed at how far it has gone. There are so many opportunities for authors online, such as your blog!

LM: What do you do to prepare for writing? (e.g., listen to music, set up in a certain place)

Aubrey: Most importantly, I try to spend time reading my Bible and in prayer before I write. That doesn’t always happen! When inspiration hits, I have to get it down, even if it means using the voice recorder on my phone. I carry my Schmidt family in my heart all the time. I used to play music while I was writing, but now that I know them so well, whenever I’m listening to music, even if I’m cooking, cleaning, or in the car, phrases will catch me and I can feel their hearts or their circumstances. I see them in my reading and in every period film I watch. In some ways, I live as much in their world as I do in my own. My 10-year-old thinks I’m weird, but I hope it makes the story better!

LM: What is one thing you wish you could do?

Aubrey: Someday, I would love to see some or all of the GMU books translated into German.

LM: What advice do you have for fledgling writers?

Aubrey: Just write, every day. If you’re working on a novel, just write. You can pull stuff out of the manuscript later (and don’t be afraid to – I have a separate folder on my computer entitled “Not Ready to Delete” where I put all the stuff I’ve pulled out!) Also, people need to read your story. Unless God has really made it clear to you that you need to seek formal publishing, indie publishing is an option and is not as hard as you think. Don’t worry about the size of your audience, or compare yourself with anyone else. Yes, there are a lot of books out there, but yours isn’t just white noise. If He’s given you something to say, He will make sure it is heard.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Aubrey: I have a website at It’s still very “homegrown,” but you can subscribe separately to both my newsletter and my blog, as well as access the first few chapters of Sani for free. When it releases, I hope to put an excerpt from TPS up there as well.

My social links are:


About The Prodigal Sons:

Weimar Germany, 1923. A father, a son, and a cousin.

Ernst was born too late to fight alongside his brothers in the Great War. An alcoholic and brawler, he finds his place in Germany’s postwar struggle by throwing in his lot with the burgeoning Nazi Party. Yet the failed Putsch attempt brings him home to stay for the first time in years.

Jakob is a young prodigy and church musician who wants nothing more than to spend time with his childhood sweetheart and live a quiet life of service to God. Yet this is not the world he was born into.

Friedrich is a German-American who remained in Germany after fighting with the Allies in the Great War. After healing from a life-threatening injury sustained in October 1918, he’s become a devoted husband and man of God who is loved and admired by all. Yet can there truly be forgiveness for the sins of a past that continues to haunt him?

Written as a prelude to Sani: The German Medic, this book stands on its own or can be read in sequence, bringing the reader deeper into the history of the fictional Schmidt family as they wrestle through the tumultuous Twentieth Century in Germany.

Pre-order Link:

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Wartime Wednesday: From Reporter to Spy

Wartime Wednesday: From Reporter to Spy

One of my favorite research books is Sisterhood of Spies written by Elizabeth “Betty” Peet McIntosh. She highlights the exploits and bravery of women who served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and I didn’t realize until I’d reached the end of the book that she also served.

Born in Washington, DC to parents who were both reporters, Betty was raised in Hawaii and learned to speak Japanese. After graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Washington in 1935, she worked as a correspondent with the Scripps Howard news service. Stationed in Hawaii, she was in Honolulu during the attack at Pearl Harbor. Shortly, thereafter she moved to Washington, DC where she covered Eleanor Roosevelt and governmental activities.

In 1943, knowing of Betty’s fluency in Japanese, she was recruited to join the OSS by a family friend

who asked her if she “wouldn’t like to do something more interesting than the work you’re doing.” Her response: Only if she could go overseas. The man assured her he could guarantee her wish, but the word spying didn’t enter the picture until after she signed on. Once her training was completed, she was sent to India, then also stationed in Burma and China. In all three locations, she was part of Operation Morale, where along with future chef Julia Child, she created “disinformation,” documents, and postcards aimed at undermining Japanese morale. She also developed propaganda leaflets.

One site told about an assignment during which she helped create a radio script for a popular Chinese fortune teller. Part of the script said, “something terrible is going to happen to Japan. We have checked the stars and there is something we can’t even mention because it is so dreadful and it is going to eradicate one whole area of Japan.” Later that day, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, an event McIntosh and her team had not known about prior to writing the script. Later, she would be involved in a mission to deliver “black Joe,” an explosive disguised as a lump of coal. Her responsibility was to pass the “coal” to an operative who smuggled it onboard a train ferrying Japanese soldiers.

Pixabay/DiGiFX Media
She remained with the organization when it became the CIA and met her husband, a “dashing young pilot” while in Asia. They married in 1962. She continued to work until her retirement in 1973, indicating that the atmosphere at the CIA was different than that in the OSS: “There was a little bit of bureaucracy, which had set in like rigor mortis above us, and some people were sort of…they didn’t have imaginations…they didn’t want to do things as we did in the OSS.”

She passed away in 2015 three months after her one-hundredth birthday.


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?

Purchase Link:

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Judith McNees!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Judith McNees!

Linda: Welcome! Congratulations on your recent release A Heart to Trust (A Tranquil Shores Romance, 2). What was your inspiration for the story? How many books can we expect in the series?

Judith: Thank you so much! Grace and Ty, the hero and heroine in this story, are very loosely based on my husband and me. The main Tranquil Shores Romance series has five books; however, I am also planning on a novella based on a side character from book 1 of the series that will go on my website as a gift to newsletter subscribers, and I’m currently writing a Christmas novella based on a side character from A Heart to Trust!

LM: You have traveled extensively. How has that informed your writing? Did you have a tough time deciding on where to set your story?

Judith: I’m a vacationer that skips buildings and relaxation to explore the wilderness, much to my husband’s chagrin. The primary way this informs my writing is through my descriptions of nature. Setting my series in Michigan was an easy choice for me. I adore vacationing in my home state and wanted to share its beauty with everyone.

LM: What research did you need to do for the story, and is there a particularly intriguing tidbit you knew had to be included?

Judith: I had to do a lot more research for this book than I did for book one. Most of it had to do with
Pixabay/Wolfgang Claussen
legal issues in Michigan. I also researched horses, Michigan centennial farms, a medical condition that would be a spoiler so I’ll stay tight-lipped about that, and car problems in a Honda with push button start. I was intrigued when I learned that most horses need special training to allow their rider to open a gate while mounted.

LM: Tell us about your road to publication.

Judith: Yikes. I honestly thought that finishing and publishing book two would be fast since I had a little under half of it written when book one came out in April. Once I published A Heart to Cherish, a lot of health and family issues came up. The nice thing about indie publishing is there are only self-imposed deadlines, so I gave myself a lot of grace, except when I chose a publication date of September 28 and put the book up for pre-sale. I was editing and proofreading all day long for about a month straight to hit that deadline.

LM: What do you do to prepare for writing?

Judith: A lot of praying!

LM: What is one thing you wish you could do?

Pixabay/Roland Mey
Judith: I’d love to cruise the United Kingdom…especially Ireland.

LM: What advice do you have for fledgling writers?

Judith: Don’t try to figure everything out. Just start! When I first decided to write, I was paralyzed trying to figure out how to publish. Once I let go of fear and put it in God’s hands, He provided every resource I needed right when I needed it.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Judith: You can connect with me on my 

A Heart to Trust:

Can two broken hearts learn to trust each other…and God?

Grace Morgan has a closely guarded secret. One that also makes her good at guarding her heart. After all, she has what she needs to be content. She won’t make the mistake of falling for another man at work…until the hunky new guy she’s trying not to notice moves in across the hall. Tyler Danby has a secret, too. Left by his wife, who takes away everything he cares about, he’s nursing his wounds and starting over. When he strikes up a friendship with his quirky neighbor, he wonders whether God might be giving him a second chance at love.

Secrets have a way of coming out. And broken trust is hard to restore.

Purchase Link:

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Wartime Wednesday: Parachutes and Wedding Dresses

Wartime Wednesday: Parachutes and Wedding Dresses

I’ve been married thirty-nine years this month, but I remember the search for my wedding gown as if it was yesterday. One Saturday morning shortly after I got engaged, my mom informed me that we were going to go “window shopping” for a wedding dress. Indicating that she and Dad weren’t sure what sort of costs were involved, they wanted me to do some reconnaissance. I’m not much of a shopper, but this was different. This was a once-in-a-lifetime garment that I’d wear, and I wanted it to be special. I didn’t think we were poor, but with my father as the only breadwinner, four children to raise, and having just finished putting me through college, I figured they didn’t have a whole lot of extra money.

Of we went, in one store after another. The blur of frothy white gowns became overwhelming. I began to worry that I’d never find anything. In one shop, I watched a daughter and her mother argue over the “perfect” dress. Apparently, Mama wanted the world to know they could afford to spend heavily on the gown. Every dress she selected was embellished with sequins and beads. The daughter wanted a simple Grecian gown. We left, and I’m not sure who won.

At our last stop, I donned a dress that brought tears to my eyes, but I hesitated to tell Mom, thinking
we were still only window shopping. She must have seen the look on my face because she said, “That’s the one, isn’t it?” I nodded, and she grinned as she pulled out her checkbook. “Surprise! If you really want it, I will buy it.” I was flabbergasted. The dress cost $210 – a huge amount in my eyes because we’d signed an apartment lease with a monthly rent of $484.

Since the beginning of time, women have wanted a special dress for their wedding, but times of war sometimes thwart the effort. During World War II, fabric was rationed and difficult to find in some cases. As a result, the trend began to make bridal gowns from parachute silk (or nylon). The standards for parachutes were stringent, so if any fault was found, the item became available as surplus and available for purchase.

Author Photo
Some women used the chutes that saved their fiancés’ lives, while others’ loved ones brought home parachutes they’d taken from enemy soldiers, German and Japanese primarily. One site told of a Bergen-Belsen survivor wearing a dress reportedly made from a German soldier’s parachute. Talk about a meaningful dress. Another site told of an American soldier who used his parachute to propose rather than a ring (hopefully, she received a ring later!)

The size of the parachutes enabled women to create dresses with voluminous skirts, puffed sleeves, long trains, and ruffles. Lots of the dresses were passed down through families, and in recent years many of the dresses have made their way into museums. The Wright Museum where I am a volunteer docent is fortunate to have one such dress. The gown is so small, we had to create a form on which to display it; modern dress forms are too large.


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?

Purchase Link:

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Traveling Tuesday: Norway During WWII

Traveling Tuesday: Norway During WWII

One of my favorite television shows (long off the air) is Foyle’s War, a British production that features a Detective Chief Inspector who is stationed in Hastings and is itching to do something for the war effort. He constantly asks to be transferred into one of the armed forces, but because he sheds the light on corruption, negligence, and poor performance by his superiors, his request is never granted. He meets soldier Paul Milner who is in the hospital because of losing a leg at the Battle of Trondheim.

Much has been written about Europe during the war, but the “outlying” countries are often overlooked. Located on the western and northernmost part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Norway is the northernmost of the Nordic countries. The nation is bordered by Sweden, Finland, and Russia, and its coastline is broken by huge fjords and thousands of islands. Norway’s history reaches back thousands of years with evidence of human occupation as early as 11,000 BC.

During World War II, Norway declared itself neutral in 1939, but the country’s strategic importance to
both sides of the conflict brought it to the forefront of hostilities. Iron ore from Sweden, upon which Germany depended, was exported through the Norwegian port of Narvik. This route was especially crucial because most of the Baltic Sea froze over during the winter. Controlling Norway would also be a strategic asset in the Battle of the Atlantic.

As one site put it: “On the night of April 8, 1940, the people of Trondheim went to bed as citizens of a peaceful city in an independent land. When they awoke next morning, the heavy cruiser “Hipper” and four destroyers were anchored in the harbor and seventeen hundred German troops occupied the city.” The resulting German control of the ports and airfields was a constant threat to Allied supply routes.

Life in occupied Norway was difficult and lasted through the duration of the war, until VE days was announced in May, 1945. A pro-war German government named “Den nasjonale regiering (The National Government) rule Norway as King Haakon VII and his cabinet escaped to London where they formed a government-in-exile. Civil rule was assumed by the Reichskommissariat Norwegen (Reich Commissariat of Norway), which acted in collaboration with the pro-German puppet government.

Pixabay/Michelle Raponi
Norway lost all its major trading partners, with Germany becoming the main, possibly only, trading partner. Even though production capacity remained intact, the authorities confiscated a high percentage of the output, leaving Norway with only 43% of its production available to the population. A scarcity of commodities prompted most Norwegians to grow their own crops and keep livestock. Cities parceled out plots in parks to grow potatoes, cabbage, and other vegetables suitable to the climate. Fishing and hunting became more widespread.

There was not a large population of Jews in Norway; most reports indicate a number just over two thousand, but almost immediately arrests and executions began resulting in the death of at least 765 people, (35%). Fortunately, some were able to flee the country, mostly to Sweden, but a few managed to get to Britain.

Resistance to the occupation consisted of a home front group (Hiemmefronten) and an external group
(Utefronten). Organized and armed, the overarching movement was known as Milorg and is said to have around 40,000 members. The Hiemmefronten performed sabotage, raids, clandestine operations, and gathered intelligence. One of the most successful actions was the Norwegian Heavy Water Sabotage that decimated the German nuclear energy project. The organization played a large part in the transfer of power after the end of the war.


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?

Purchase Link:

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Shannon McNear

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Shannon McNear!

LM: Welcome! Congratulations on your recent release Mary: Daughters of the Lost Colony, Book 2. What was your inspiration for the story? How many books can we expect in the series?

Shannon: The works of Lori Benton and how she handles Native culture and characters have long been an inspiration to me, overall. For Mary specifically, while I was researching Elinor I ran across something called the Legend of the Coharie, which states that George Howe, the boy whose father (of the same name) was brutally killed the first week they were on Roanoke Island, had married a daughter of Manteo, and that their descendants could be traced to later Native people. That provided the first seed of this story, which is book two of three.

LM: Most of your stories are set in the 18th and 19th centuries. What made you decide to visit the 16th century?

Shannon: My editor, believe it or not! She approached me with the series concept, and once I dipped my toes into the research, my imagination took off from there.

LM: What research did you need to do for the story, and is there a particularly intriguing tidbit you knew had to be included?

Shannon: Much of the research for Elinor extended naturally into Mary, but overall I read (and re-
Brigitte Werner
read) as many of the primary sources as I could, then several analyses of the Lost Colony as well as the general history of the Elizabethan era and Native culture and language. It was near the end of writing Elinor that I first realized the extent of how casual Native customs were surrounding relationships between men and women—and that this would have greatly impacted the English settlers trying to live alongside them. Especially fascinating to me were the coming-of-age rituals, and the why and how of various gender roles. (Sorry, I know that’s more than just a tidbit!)

LM: Tell us about your road to publication.

Shannon: It was long. :-) I started throwing words on a page when I was in third grade, journaled and wrote longer stories up through junior high school and started my first novel at age 15. I revised that one probably 20 times in as many years—entered a few contests, and submitted to several publishers, both before and after the break I took from writing fiction when my older kids were all young. About 20 years ago I felt the Lord nudging me to pick it up again, and He sent me a pair of older and wiser authors who encouraged me to attend a writer’s conference. It would still be another 10 years before He opened the door for my first contract, and by that time I had 7 novels written, in various states of polish. None of those are yet in print. :-)

LM: What do you do to prepare for writing?

Shannon: First, try desperately to clear the area (and my head) of anything that could distract me. Ideally, a cup of coffee to hand and a comfortable spot to tuck in with my laptop. Most pressing emails and/or phone calls taken care of. Our two German shepherds let out and back in again. :-) It can also be helpful to skim back over what I’ve written previously, or over my research, to get my focus back into the story.

LM: What is one thing you wish you could do?

Pixabay/R Smith
Shannon: If possible, visit the British Museum in London, and view the artwork of John White (governor of the Roanoke Colony and professional artist for the earlier voyages) in person. Second, to that, go live on the Outer Banks for an extended period of time and just, you know, be a beach bum who writes.

LM: What advice do you have for fledgling writers?

Shannon: Read a LOT, both in and out of your preferred genre. Don’t be afraid to study the writing craft (as I was in my early years), or to be part of a critique group! And write, of course, a LOT! Don’t be afraid to experiment with your writing technique, but also learn to recognize the uniqueness of your own voice. Lastly, be patient with the journey!

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?



About Mary:

Sparks fly between Mushaniq, free-spirited daughter of Manteo, and Georgie Howe, whose father was brutally murdered by undiscovered native warriors before they’d been on Roanoac Island a full week. As Georgie struggles to make sense of his life and to accept that not all they call “savage” are guilty of his father’s death, Mushaniq grapples with her own questions about who Manteo has become. As tentative friendship becomes more, forged in the fire of calamity and attack upon their community, both must decide whether the One True God is indeed who He claims to be and whether He is worthy of their trust.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Wartime Wednesday: Ack Ack Girls

Wartime Wednesday: Ack-Ack Girls

Despite all my research into World War II England, I somehow missed the “Ack-Ack Girls.” Members of the Auxiliary Territorial Services (ATS), one of the many Auxiliary Services that women ages 20-30 were required to join. Interestingly, British engineer Caroline Haslett was the first to propose that women be used in gun crews. Churchill enthusiastically approved the suggestion, and his youngest daughter, Mary Soames, was one of the first volunteers to serve at a gun site (located in London’s Hyde Park). The nickname came from the distinctive sounds made by the guns.

The crews were mixed-gender squads, with one woman acting as a spotter
(using binoculars to find enemy planes), two women were range-finders (using a large piece of equipment to calculate the distance a shell would have to travel to hit the target), and predictors (working out the length of the fuse necessary to make sure the shell exploded at the right height). Once trained, the entire process only took a few seconds. Because of a royal proclamation forbidding women to fire the weapons, men handled that task – the thought being “life-givers” shouldn’t be expected to be “life takers.” Given the rank of gunner, the women were attached to the Royal Artillery.

Women were subjected to the same intensive training and were selected through a rigorous testing
program that included fitness, hearing, eyesight, nerves, and mathematical abilities. By the time the program was up and running in full, the blitz was over, however, the Luftwaffe continued to drop bombs across Britain for the duration of the war, so the crews were stationed around the nation.

Courtesy of Imperial
War Museum
One reference I found quoted an officer who said, “The girls cannot be beaten in action and in my opinion, they are definitely better than the men on the instruments they are manning. Beyond a little natural excitement which only shows itself in rather humourous (sic) and quaint remarks, they are quite as steady if not steadier than the men. They are amazingly keen at going into action, and although they are not supposed to learn to use the rifle, they are as keen as anything to do so.” Apparently, it’s safe to assume some of the women operated the gun.

Conditions were dangerous and many crews lost their lives (nearly 400 Ack Ack girls were killed in just three months during the early days of the program.) There is a memorial to the women of the Ack Ack Command in the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.


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?

Purchase Link:

Friday, October 7, 2022

Fiction Friday: October's New Releases!

October 2022 New Releases

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

Amish Romance:

The Story of Love by Beth Wiseman -- With little left to tie her to her home state of Texas and yearning for a slower life, Yvonne Wilson jumps at the chance to shake things up with a move to Montgomery, Indiana. A dream job awaits her—managing an Amish bookstore for her good friends Jake and Eva. Besides the slow-paced setting and the comfort of beloved books, Yvonne hopes the change will help distract her from the emptiness she feels after the death of her fiancé. No longer a part of the Amish community but still a resident of Montgomery, Abraham Byler finds himself in over his head with his job as a police officer combined with a new but fast-moving relationship with the wealthy and aggressive New York native Brianna Stone. When Abraham realizes that his old crush Yvonne is back in town, he’s not just in over his head—he suddenly finds himself head over heels for Yvonne—and in hot water with Brianna. (Amish Romance from HarperCollins Christian Published/Thomas Nelson and Zondervan)

Contemporary Romance:

Christmas at Whispering Creek by Barbara Britton -- All Samantha Williams wants to do is to use her teaching degree to instruct a classroom of second graders. But, after a breast cancer diagnosis at the age of twenty-three, and failed reconstruction surgery, Sam finds herself without a job and temporarily living with her parents. This isn't the life Sam expected. When a family friend dies and leaves Sam a house and land in Whispering Creek, Tennessee, Sam must decide if leaving Wisconsin for Southern living is in her lesson plans. Nashville native, Cole Donoven, left his family' s electrical business to write country music. When Cole' s song-writing partner and girlfriend dumps him for a country music star, Cole abandons Nashville to hole up in Whispering Creek and compose one more song. The last thing Cole expects to find in the sleepy small town is a deceased friend, estate squabbles, and a Northern beauty. Will the chaos in Whispering Creek help create a bestselling song for Cole and possibly help him find a life-long collaborator? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing/Pelican)

Destination Christmas by Cathe Swanson, et. al. -- This Christmas, pack your bags for a holiday away from home. Join the Christmas Lights Collection authors as we travel to Colorado, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and New Cheltenham for warm and wonderful stories of love and Christmas cheer. Destination Christmas offers a stress-free travel experience without traffic, delayed flights, or forgotten toothpaste. Instead, you’ll enjoy wonderful destinations, delightful new friends, and a heartwarming experience! (Contemporary Romance from Havilah Press)

Lost in Winter’s Wonderland by Sandra Ardoin -- Sometimes getting lost takes you right where you belong. Seeking a peaceful week before the annual Callahan Christmas migration, Kelsey Callahan retreats to her mountain cabin in Tennessee. When a snowstorm dumps a lost love on her doorstep, Kelsey must choose between trusting in Justin’s appeal for a second chance at romance or giving in to fear and losing him forever. A humiliating mistake steered Justin Strong away from the woman his teenaged-self had planned to marry and onto the path of business success. Years later, after being rescued by her, those old feelings reawaken, and he questions his past decision. But with the lure of a long-sought client, Justin is torn between redeeming his youthful blunder and proving he’s a man Kelsey can rely on. How much will each of them sacrifice to build a future together? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

To Believe in You by Emily Conrad -- Can she trust her heart to a man who can’t trust himself? Since his dismissal from the rock band Awestruck, former bassist and addict Matt Visser has been transformed by faith and a year of sobriety. If he can repay his parents for one last major debt from his years of irresponsible living, he can move into the future with a clear conscience. Now if only his latest stunt hadn’t gotten him fired from the family business. After Lina Abbey’s fiancé gambled away their wedding savings, she surrendered her hopes of a family of her own—what man could she trust enough to marry—and moved for a fresh start in Wisconsin. She busies herself with her jobs managing Awestruck’s social media and directing Key of Hope, a non-profit funded by the band to teach music lessons to kids from low-income families. She would never hire a man with Matt’s track record as a bass guitar instructor, but Awestruck’s manager, Tim, forces her hand. In need of a job and eager to clear his debts, Matt begins work. Unable to resist a challenge, he soon adds the goal of winning the trust of his beautiful but cautious coworker. Lina is impressed that Matt resists Tim’s ongoing efforts to reconnect him with Awestruck, but when a new truth about Matt’s past reveals a wrong he can never right, he and Lina both need something more trustworthy than Matt to believe in. Otherwise, history will repeat itself in all the worst ways (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:

A Hope and a Prayer by Julie Lessman -- She’s in love with her best friend. He’s in love with her cousin. But when the war reveals a gift so rare, will they be saved by a hope and prayer? As Head Nurse at 2d Hospital in Nancy, France, Lieutenant Hope Dennehy is known for her healing touch, especially when it comes to mending the wounds and spirit of her best friend, Lieutenant Bren O’Neill. When Hope’s cousin breaks Bren’s heart, Hope is always there, helping to heal him with a friendship so anointed and deep, it threatens to break her heart too. Flying high as a daredevil aeromedical evac pilot in the European Theatre, “Lieutenant Love” O’Neill crashes and burns when the woman he loves falls for another. Depending on the support and prayers of Nurse Hope Dennehy to save him, Bren re-evaluates his free-wheeling lifestyle when he witnesses the heinous atrocities of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Suddenly nothing in life is as important as taking care of those he loves … or is it? Battling demons from his past, Bren learns that only one thing can truly save him from himself. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Freedom’s Flight by Penny Zeller -- When she discovers the handsome Reverend Matthias Sorenson assisting runaway slaves, can Annalise VanHouten convince him to allow her to help? Or will mistrust prove fatal for all involved? (Historical Romance from Maplebrook Publishing)

The Lady’s Mission by Mary Davis -- Will Cordelia abandon her calling, for love? Cordelia Armstrong wants nothing more than to escape the social norms for her station in society that require her to look pretty and do as she is told. However, unless she can skillfully maneuver her father into giving up control of her trust fund, she might have to concede defeat—as well as her freedom—and marry. To ward off potential suitors, she puts on a giggly persona. Every time Lamar Kesner finds a fascinating lady, her heart belongs to another. He doesn’t merely want a beautiful wife. He wants an intriguing partner with intelligence and wit. Is he asking too much of any woman? When a vapid socialite is offered up as a prospective bride, he contemplates flying off in his hot air balloon instead. Is Lamar the one to finally break the determination of Cordelia’s parents to marry her off? Or will this charming bachelor fly away with her heart? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

The Lost Melody by Joanna Davidson Politano -- When concert pianist Vivienne Mourdant's father dies, he leaves to her the care of an adult ward she knew nothing about. The woman is supposedly a patient at Hurstwell Asylum. The woman's portrait is shockingly familiar to Vivienne, so when the asylum claims she was never a patient there, Vivienne is compelled to discover what happened to the figure she remembers from childhood dreams. The longer she lingers in the deep shadows and forgotten towers at Hurstwell, the fuzzier the line between sanity and madness becomes. She hears music no one else does, receives strange missives with rose petals between the pages, and untangles far more than is safe for her to know. But can she uncover the truth about the mysterious woman she seeks? And is there anyone at Hurstwell she can trust with her suspicions?. (Historical Romance, from Revell/Baker Publishing)


A Nanny for the Rancher’s Twins by Heidi Main -- Returning to small-town Texas was her fresh start. She never expected a ready-made family. What could be better than running a rustic wedding venue? Event planner Laney Taylor has it all laid out…except for the serious renovations her inherited property needs. Rancher Ethan McCaw will help—but only if she’ll nanny his toddler twins. Laney’s all about planning weddings for others and shielding her own heart, but Ethan, Zoe and Tori might be just the ones to change her mind. (Romance from Love Inspired/Harlequin)

Keeping Christmas, Vol. 2 by Tabitha Bouldin, et. al. -- The King's Promise: In a world of airships and kings, a prince makes a promise that tears him away from his love. An ordinary baker's daughter finds herself caught in the middle of a game where the winner earns the queen's crown. They both want what they can't have as they struggle toward a seemingly impossible happily ever after. Plus, five other stories! (Romance from Celebrate Lit Publishing)

Uncharted Christmas by Keely Brooke Keith -- As Dr. Lydia Bradshaw makes her rounds in the village of Good Springs this Christmas season, each family she visits seems to be blessed in ways she is not. All the homes are beautifully decorated for the holiday, and every woman is expecting another baby. Every woman but her, that is. While the haze from the volcanic ash cloud outside the Land looms on the horizon, calls for the doctor force Lydia to work around the clock. Torn between fighting for the home life she craves and the career that defines her, Lydia needs a Christmas miracle. Meanwhile, at Falls Creek…Philip Roberts spends his lonely nights in the parsonage next to the humble chapel. Pastoring the church across from the Land’s only inn means encouraging many a road-worn traveler to carry on, whatever their journey might be. Philip also watches the ever-changing rotation of guests for the one person he prays will stay at Falls Creek forever. Only he doesn’t know her name. (Romance, Independently Published)

General Contemporary:

Where the Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner -- When confident and handsome Eric Larson is sent to a rural Montana town to work in the local branch of his uncle's financial company, he's determined to exceed everyone's expectations, earn a promotion, and be back in Seattle by the end of summer. Yet nothing could prepare him for the lessons this small town has in store. At forty-six years old, eccentric and outspoken Eunice Parker has come to accept her terminal illness and has given herself one final goal: seek forgiveness from everyone on her bucket list before her time runs out. But it will take more courage than she can muster on her own. After an accident pushes Eric and Eunice together, the unlikely pair is forced to spend more time with each other than either would like, which challenges their deepest prejudices and beliefs. As summer draws to a close, neither Eric nor Eunice is where they thought they would be, but they both wrestle with the same important question: What matters most when the end is near? (General Contemporary from Bethany House/Baker)

General Historical:

Mary by Shannon McNear -- Worlds Collide Along the Shores of the Outer Banks. Immerse yourself in the "what if" questions related to the Lost Colony of Roanoke. What if an English boy and a native girl met in the wilderness? The push-and-pull between two very different worlds begins as one seeks simple friendship and the other struggles to trust. And can it--dare they--allow it to be more? Sparks fly between Mushaniq, free-spirited daughter of Manteo, and Georgie Howe, whose father was brutally murdered by undiscovered native warriors before they'd been on Roanoac Island a full week. As Georgie struggles to make sense of his life and to accept that not all they call "savage" are guilty of his father's death, Mushaniq grapples with her own questions about who Manteo has become. As tentative friendship becomes more, forged in the fire of calamity and attack upon their community, both must decide whether the One True God is indeed who He claims to be and whether He is worthy of their trust. (General Historical from Barbour Publishing)

Mystery - Cozy:

Dog Days of Summer by Kathleen Y’Barbo -- Mishaps Abound as Second Chance Ranch Struggles to Get Its Start. Trina Potter, Nashville country music star, buys a ranch near her hometown in Brenham, Texas, to help her niece open a rescue facility for dogs. Her presence in town stirs up some old high school rivalries—and romance. Finding property to buy is a challenge, convincing her mother to move there with her is daunting, and navigating a string of strange accidents is perplexing. Then there's the handsome man from her past who just might convince her not to go back to Nashville. Sometimes Trina feels like she’s purchased her own three ring circus instead of a beautiful piece of land. But her first priority will be figuring out who wants Second Chance Ranch shut down before they even have the grand opening. (Mystery - Cozy, from Barbour Publishing)

The Plot Thickens by Susan Page Davis -- Jillian only wants to redecorate one room at the Novel Inn—but first she has to deal with murder. Murder strikes Skirmish Cove during the coastal town’s winter carnival. Jillian Tunney, part owner of the nearby Novel Inn, discovers the body of a clerk at her favorite bookstore. With her sister Kate and brother, Officer Rick Gage, she tries to find out who killed him. Meanwhile, Jillian is immersed in redecorating one of the themed rooms, but Kate is annoyed when a mysterious guest at the inn doesn’t want to leave his room. The innkeepers find they have way too many secrets to solve.. (Mystery - Cozy from Scrivenings Press)

Speculative Fiction/Fantasy:

Dream of Kings by Sharon Hinck -- The Future Never Sleeps. In the glacial nation of Norgard, Jolan the Dream Teller serves every seeker, whether peasant or high lord. Though she loves using her gift, she struggles to navigate the corrupt and dangerous court and the jealousies of the Guildagard. When an old man’s nightmare imparts a dire warning, Jolan realizes her entire nation is in danger. But before she can sound the alarm, she is betrayed by the guilds and sold into slavery in a rival kingdom far to the south. As a slave in a foreign land, at first Jolan can’t see beyond her singular focus: return home to warn Norgard of the coming calamity. After facing new dangers, making new friends, and forgiving old wrongs, she must fulfill the purposes the Provider has set before her. Only then can she face a decision that could cost her the man she loves, her calling, and her freedom—all to save a people who abandoned her. (Speculative Fiction/Fantasy from Enclave Publishing)


Circle of Vengeance by Ramona Richards -- Twenty-five years ago, a body was discovered in the Turney family barn--and folks around town were all too ready to believe that killing blood ran through all the Turney's veins. Every member of the family came under suspicion, their reputations crumbled to pieces, and with no convictions, no one could be cleared. Daughter Jill, now a Chicago lawyer, is ready for this case to be solved and for her broken family to be repaired at last. Who better to find the answers than cold-case P.I. Star Cavanaugh? But as Star begins to dig into generations-old secrets, the killer resurfaces to make sure none of those skeletons leave the closet--no matter what the cost. As the danger mounts, Star again joins forces with police chief, Mike Luinetti, and begins to uncover truths that the whole town has kept hidden. But becoming the target of the determined killer isn't the way Star wants to find the answers. It's a race to solve the case before it becomes a matter of her life or death. (Thriller/Suspence/Crime from Kregel Publications)


Concrete Evidence by DiAnn Mills -- On the family’s Brazos River Ranch in Texas, Avery Elliott helps run her grandfather’s commercial construction business. Raised by Senator Elliott, Avery has never doubted her grandfather is the man of integrity and faith she’s always believed him to be . . . until the day she finds him standing with a gun over the body of a dead man. To make matters worse, Avery’s just discovered a billing discrepancy for materials supposedly purchased for construction of the Lago de Cobre Dam. Desperate for answers, Avery contacts FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins for help. As Marc works to identify the dead man Avery saw, threats toward Avery create a fresh sense of urgency to pinpoint why someone wants to silence her. With a hurricane approaching the Texas coast and the structural integrity of the Lago de Cobre Dam called into question, time is running out to get to the bottom of a sinister plot that could be endangering the lives of not only Avery and her loved ones but the entire community. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Tyndale House)

Defending Honor by Kelly Underwood -- Laila Rabbinowitz is all business. Tough and stoic, she was the perfect Mossad agent...until a terrible betrayal led to her worst nightmare. Being a bodyguard with the Elite Guardians allows her to keep her heart safe-she'll never let anyone close enough to betray her again. And she's certainly not going to trust anyone who doesn't earn it. Billionaire and former playboy Preston Whittaker walked away from his famous family after a terrible event, but then his father and brother are killed in a suspicious boating accident. Since he's next in line to helm the family business, now someone wants him dead. Preston needs someone by his side 24/7, and the only solution is a fake marriage. In order to keep him safe, Laila will have to convince everyone that she and Preston are in love. She's used to putting her life on the line for a client. But what will this case cost her heart? (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Sunrise Publishing)

Explosive Christmas Showdown by Darlene L. Turner -- A bomber brings terror to Christmas as the presents go tick…tick…boom. With criminal investigative analyst Olive Wells at the center of a bomber’s dangerous game, she’ll do anything to catch the culprit—even work with her ex-fiancé and his K-9 detector dog. But with the Christmas rampage drawing ever closer, Zac Turner’s convinced the attacks are personal. Can they piece together their ties to the bomber…before another gift explodes? (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Love Inspired/Harlequin)

Wreathed in Disgrace by Robin Patchen -- When she discovers the handsome Reverend Matthias Sorenson assisting runaway slaves, can Annalise VanHouten convince him to allow her to help? Or will mistrust prove fatal for all involved? (Thriller/Suspense/Romance, Independently Published)

Western Romance:

A Model of Devotion by Mary Conneally -- She's finally claimed her independence . . . how far will she go to keep it? A brilliant engineer, Jilly Stiles has been educated since childhood to help run her father's lumber dynasty. With the company safe from her stepfather after the marriages of her two sisters, Jilly can now focus on her dream of building a mountaintop railroad--and never marry. Nick Ryder came into Jilly's life when he saved her mother from her no-good stepfather, and he's prepared to protect Jilly from anything that threatens to harm her--as long as he keeps his heart from getting involved. But when a cruel and powerful man goes to dangerous lengths to make Jilly his own, she must make a decision between her safety and her hard-won independence. (Western Romance from Bethany House)

Women’s Fiction:

The Choices She Made by Felicia Ferguson -- In 1997, seventeen-year-old Madeline Williams is torn between continuing her family ranching legacy and accepting her Army-bound boyfriend's marriage proposal. But when an assault by John David Billings, the son of a wealthy rancher, leaves her pregnant, Madeline sacrifices both options, choosing to leave town and raise the child alone. It's been several years, and when she returns to her hometown to meet with her father, rumors circulate about John David's trial--for assaulting other women. Madeline struggles with the secret she's kept from her daughter--and everyone but her father--all of these years. If she testifies, John David could be put away for good. It doesn't help that he's hired a killer lawyer, and it would take a testimony like hers just to put him behind bars. But if she unveils her past, that could have some dangerous repercussions for her daughter.She has trusted God throughout her entire life, but can she trust him to carry her through this trial? (Women’s Fiction from End Game Press)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
A Heart to Trust by Judith McNees, Can two broken hearts learn to trust each other…and God? (Contemporary Romance)

Bella’s Beautiful Miracle by Kimberly Novak, Adventure awaits as Bella the caterpillar discovers hidden treasures in secret places! (Children’s)

Her One in a Million by Rachelle Paige Campbell, With the odds stacked against them, can they both achieve the financial and personal success they crave?. (Contemporary Romance)

The Bride of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep, As Kit digs into the mystery of what happened, she unwittingly tumbles into her own history and endangers her future happiness with Jackson. (Historical Romance)

The Brightest Star by Patti Jo Moore, When she volunteered to head up the children's Christmas program at her church, Macy Crawford never expected to become so attached to a shy, orphaned girl in the program. (Contemporary Romance)

The Dark Atonement by Sarah Hamaker, As their lives intersect, the pair find themselves in a race to discover the whereabouts of her grandfather—and whoever wants to silence him—before the past catches up with the present. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance)

The Scarlet Cord by Carlene Havel, Rahab is forced to make an immediate decision, knowing the wrong choice will cost her life. (Biblical)

Turfmen and the ProdigalJohn Malcolm Cunningham, Jr., Will Gideon and Sam reconcile in time to save Joe and Johnny Boy? Will Ned and Becky escape to freedom, or will they continue to suffer the Sturgises’ cruelties? (General Historical)