Monday, January 29, 2024

Movie Monday: Ladies Courageous

Movie Monday: Ladies Courageous

When I’m researching an era, I immerse myself in the media that would have been available to my characters at the time. For my Old West books, I read novels, newspapers, magazines, and catalogs that were published before or during the year my stories are set. For my WWII books, I can expand my media to include movies and radio programs.

During my research for Love at First Flight, I stumbled on a 1944 war movie called Ladies Courageous, a fictionalized account of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferry Squadron (that would later be merged with the Women’s Flying Training Detachment to create the Women Air Service Pilots program. According to several sources, the film is based on Virginia Spencer Cowles’s 1941 novel Looking for Trouble. However, the WAFS didn’t go into operation until 1942. Other sources indicate the film is an á-clef story (a name describing a real person behind the façade of fiction) of Jacqueline Cochran and Nancy Harkness Love, the women behind the two organizations.

Born in Brattleboro, Vermont in 1910l, Virginia’s journalism career began as a gossip columnist for
Public Domain
Boston and New York newspapers. She expanded into fashion and society, but when the Spanish Civil War began to bubble up, she packed her bags and headed for Spain in 1937, determined to make it as a war correspondent.

Different from most reporters covering the Civil War such as Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gelhorn, Virginia wrote articles from both sides for the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times, and Hearst newspapers, including an interview with Pepe Quintanilla, the chief executioner of Madrid. She eventually left Spain and traversed Europe, moving between Russia, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Finland, and France. After the fall of France, she went to England where she landed on the first day of The Blitz, allowing her to report the entire Battle of Britain. She later covered the North African Campaign, then Italy and France in 1944 and 1945.

Ladies Courageous
stars Loretta Young, Geraldine Fitzgerald, and Diana Barrymore (yes, those Barrymores) and tells the story of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferry Squadron. The plot seems more “Hollywood” than war propaganda with impetuous female characters, dashing male pilots, and intrigue. Toward the end of the movie, a general notifies the women about the merge that will create the WASPs, an event that didn’t occur until July, 1943. The dialogue is good, and the plot moved along at a good pace. It was interesting to watch the film thinking about people in the 1940s for whom commercial air travel would have been a luxury, let alone the opportunity to take flying lessons. Might be similar to us thinking about going to the moon.


Love at First Flight

Can two people emerge from the clouds of past hurt to find a silver lining of love?

Evelyn Reid would rather fly than do anything else, so when war engulfs the U.S., she joins the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. One of the program’s top pilots, she is tapped for pursuit plane training...the dream of a lifetime until she discovers the instructor is her ex-fiancé, Jasper MacPherson.

Collecting enough points to rotate stateside, fighter pilot Jasper MacPherson is assigned to teach the WAFS how to fly the army way. Bad enough to be training women, but things take a turn for the worse when his former fiancée shows up as one of his students.

Purchase Link:

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Denise Weimer!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Denise Weimer!

I'm pleased to be hosting fellow Heroes, Heroines, and History blogger, Denise Weimer. I love her books, and you will too. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, draw up a chair, and get to know this interesting author!

What sort of research did you do for your story?

Oh, this story was so much fun to research. I love to research and write in the winter. For A Cherished Betrothal, after heavy online and book research, I set out on a road trip by myself, about five hours from my home in Georgia to South Carolina. I visited the national Ninety Six battlefield and drove to the remote site of the Long Canes Massacre (see below)—which included miles and miles of a narrow, one-lane dirt road with deep gullies on both sides. And a single-lane, 1930s wooden bridge over a flooded creek! I truly felt as though I’d gone back in time. My family was rather horrified when they learned about my adventures. LOL

Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym? Why or why not?

Yes, I have considered using a pseudonym or my maiden name since Weimer (“Why-muhr”) can be difficult to know how to pronounce. I get called all kinds of crazy things, especially here in the South, where my husband’s family name from Pennsylvania is not as common. But just to simplify matters, I’ve stuck with it.

If your book is part of a series: Did you set out to write a series? Why did you decide to write a series?

A Cherished Betrothal is book three of the Scouts of the Georgia Frontier, which will ultimately
include five novels. The series came about with a happy turn of circumstance. Originally, book one, A Counterfeit Betrothal, was a stand-alone. When I asked Misty Beller at Wild Heart Books if she would be interested, she shared that she only published series, so could I develop a series concept? In that novel, the hero is a scout out of Fort Daniel in middle Georgia during the War of 1812. After some pondering, I came up with the concept of a series where all the heroes are scouts or rangers defending Georgia’s boundaries in Federal or Colonial times.

After I learned about Fort Charlotte on the Savannah River, A Cherished Betrothal ended up sneaking across the line into South Carolina. The action in the Ninety Six District was so compelling in the beginning days of the American Revolution and so closely related to defending the border. The hero is a former Georgia Ranger impatient for action against the Loyalists and the Cherokees who joins the South Carolina Horse Regiment at the outbreak of hostilities.

Because of the immersive setting, from Fort Charlotte to the town of Ninety Six, the haunting backstory of the Indian attack the main characters survived, and the unique bond that experience formed between the hero and heroine, A Cherished Betrothal is my personal favorite in the Scouts series.

What was your inspiration for the story? How do you come up with storylines? 

The potential backstory for this novel was what caught my interest. I try to find some unique incident in history and/or a little-known setting as the seed idea for my writing. I love the concept of bringing back to life that which has vanished.

In this case, I learned of an attack by Cherokee Indians on settlers in disputed territory in the South Carolina backcountry that occurred in 1760. Massacres on both sides might have been common in the Wild West, but they were not in Georgia and South Carolina. Fast-forward fifteen years, and the American Revolution is breaking out. This part of South Carolina became the cradle for rebellion in the South. And both the Loyalists and the Patriots were courting the Cherokees as allies. What would happen if the hero and heroine had lost family members in that attack during their childhoods but survived, only to be thrown into a volatile situation again so many years later? So much potential for angst, intrigue, action, romance, and especially, God to do His healing work!

What draws you to the time period about which you write? And why do you write in a particular genre?

Although I’m a genre-hopping author, and I enjoy the break provided by penning contemporary stories (especially seasonal ones), my heart is with historicals. I’ve written tales set from the mid-1700s through the early 1900s, mainly concentrating between the Revolution and the Civil War. I favor Eastern frontier romances because the challenges the early settlers faced offer such natural action and adventure. I’m amazed at how they made their way in an unsettled wilderness.

How does/did your job prepare you for being a novelist?

Pixabay/Brian Fakhoury
One of my two main jobs is being a novelist. The other one is being an editor, both independently and now, for Wild Heart Books. Naturally, the two work very well together. But I also have a rich background in vintage dance and living history that I draw upon for both pursuits. I’ve worked for and volunteered for local counties and historical organizations doing historical programming. I’m amazed at how it all dovetails and thankful to get to do what I love.

What writers or books have influenced you?

When I first started writing as a teen, I was a huge Civil War buff, so I’d say Gone With the Wind and the Eugenia Price novels. My first series, The Georgia Gold Series, which I just re-released on Amazon after my contract expired from my original publisher, reflects that Southern literary fiction style. Since then, I’ve been influenced by many writers, editors, and my agent. My writing now tends more to the currently preferred style for romances in deep point of view.

I have a busy year of book releases!
• April - The Curator’s Secret, a contemporary romantic suspense set on Jekyll Island.
• May - When Hope Sank, the third book in Barbour’s A Day to Remember Series about the sinking of the Sultana.
• June - book four of the Scouts of the Georgia Frontier, A Conflicted Betrothal, set in Savannah during the Stamp Act protests.
• July - A Summer at the Niagara of the South, a novella of Wild Heart Books’ Romance at the Gilded Age Resorts.
• October – book five of the Scouts of the Georgia Frontier, A Calculated Betrothal, set in South Georgia during the Revolution.

A Cherished Betrothal – Book Three


Alexander Morris bears the childhood scars of the Long Canes massacre that killed his brother and father. His dark past forces him into the lonely life of Georgia Ranger, and eventually, to join the bordering South Carolina Rangers that revolt against the Crown. When he’s posted to the fort erected to defend the community once decimated by the massacre, duty demands he court the loyalty of his sworn enemies, the fierce Cherokee warriors.

Elspeth Lawrence never forgot the boy who sacrificed himself for her at Long Canes—any more than she forgot the younger sister taken captive. She’s learned to not only forgive but help minister to the Cherokees at her father’s mission. Alex Morris’s arrival at nearby Fort Charlotte stirs Elsie’s memories and her emotions. He doesn’t even remember her…or the long-ago attack. But the bitterness that simmers just beneath his stoic exterior—as well as her courtship by a local landowner—challenge their undeniable bond.

When Alex uncovers a long-held secret and a plot to sabotage patriot talks with the Cherokees, he must choose between his desire for revenge and his love for the girl he saved long ago.

Denise Weimer writes historical and contemporary romance from her home in North Georgia and also serves as a freelance editor and the Acquisitions & Editorial Liaison for Wild Heart Books. A wife and mother of two daughters, she always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.

Connect with Denise here:
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Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Wartime Wednesday: Aviation Terms

Wartime Wednesday: Aviation Terms

Public Domain
Accuracy is important for any story, whether contemporary or historical, but I’d hazard a guess that readers of historical fiction “know their stuff” and have little use for a book with errors. I learned this early on when I was freelancing for NHToDo magazine.

While working on an article about some historical place (interestingly, I can’t remember where, but I remember the mistake), I had put a couple of “placeholder” sentences in the first paragraph including one about Abner Doubleday inventing baseball. I’d meant to fact-check the sentences, but in the rush to make the deadline failed to do so.

I got the year incorrect. NHToDo was a travel and lifestyle magazine; to me a casual periodical, yet several letters were written to the editor calling me out on the error. That incident happened over fifteen years ago, but the lesson stuck with me. Hence, some of the tedious research I conduct for my stories.

At the time I was writing Love at First Flight, I knew a retired Air Force pilot who has since passed
away. He was a wealth of knowledge and information, most of which had to be gathered over the telephone because of Covid restrictions (I was researching the story just as the pandemic began.) It’s one thing to know industry terms, it’s something else to use them correctly. Here are just a few*:

Absolute Altitude – The vertical distance between the aircraft and ground level.

Absolute Ceiling – The highest altitude an aircraft can fly at maximum throttle while maintaining level height and constant airspeed.

AGL – (Above Ground Level) – The vertical distance measured between the aircraft and a specific land mass. Not to be confused with Absolute Altitude.

Air Speed Indicator (ASI) – A flight instrument that indicates airspeed an aircraft through an air mass in miles per hour, knots, or both.

Apron – The paved area at an airport where aircraft park, fuel, load, and unload.

Bleed Air – Hot compressed air produced during the compressor stage of aircraft engine operation.

– This is the more common name for the FAA Practical Test. Pilots must pass a checkride for each certification or rating.

Contrail – A streak of condensed water vapor in the air due to the heat produced by aircraft engines at high altitudes.

Drag – A parallel and opposing force to an aircraft’s motion through the air.

Feathering – The act of adjusting variable pitch propellers so that the blades are in line with airflow and don’t create air resistance.

How many are you familiar with?

(*taken from


Love at First Flight

Can two people emerge from the clouds of past hurt to find a silver lining of love?

Evelyn Reid would rather fly than do anything else, so when war engulfs the U.S., she joins the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. One of the program’s top pilots, she is tapped for pursuit plane training...the dream of a lifetime until she discovers the instructor is her ex-fiancé, Jasper MacPherson.

Collecting enough points to rotate stateside, fighter pilot Jasper MacPherson is assigned to teach the WAFS how to fly the army way. Bad enough to be training women, but things take a turn for the worse when his former fiancée shows up as one of his students.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Fiction Friday: Research for Love at First Flight

Fiction Friday: Research for Love at First Flight

Pixabay/Steve Buissinne
Long before I was a professional writer, I was a research nerd. I did and still do love looking up information and chasing rabbit trails. Before the invention of smartphones, I carried a notepad in my purse on which I could jot down names, places, events…anything I stumbled on when we were out. What I love best (after texting with my siblings) is using my phone on the fly to research something.

My husband rolls his eyes, but in a laughing manner, because he’s the one who usually prompts me when we’re somewhere and here about something we’re not familiar with. He’ll often use sports writer Warner Wolf’s catchphrase, “Let’s go to the videotape.” (Which is now digital in all probability!)

Anyway, Love at First Flight was published in September 2020 which meant I was conducting my
Courtesy of 
Texas Tech Univ.
story research just as the pandemic surfaced. Definitely bad timing! As any student knows, primary sources are the best which include autobiographies or memoirs, letters or diaries, articles written by an individual who experienced the event, maps, and sound recordings, etc. As part of my research, I had planned to visit the National WASPS WWII Museum located in Sweetwater, Texas, but in March 2020 travel was heavily curtailed, so I was stuck researching from my desk.

Fortunately, there are quite a few autobiographies and memoirs written by former pilots of the Women Air Service Program, and I was able to get my hands on them. Another fantastic resource was a video I obtained from the Wright Museum of WWII called Women of Courage which featured interviews. I also found video clips of news interviews and documentaries that included interviews with these stalwart women.


Many years ago, a fellow writer managed to secure a ride in a B-25 (or was it a B-29?) while researching her book. I had hoped to do the same so I could experience the sights, sounds, smells, and rolling stomach (!) of my characters. Instead, I found a fabulous YouTube video that took me into the air in a Vultee BT-13 Valiant that was lovingly (and sometimes not so lovingly) referred to by trainees as The Vultee Vibrator.

Maybe someday I’ll be able to hitch a ride in a vintage plane, but meanwhile, you and I can enjoy this virtual flight:


Love at First Flight 

Can two people emerge from the clouds of past hurt to find a silver lining of love? 

Evelyn Reid would rather fly than do anything else, so when war engulfs the U.S., she joins the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. One of the program’s top pilots, she is tapped for pursuit plane training...the dream of a lifetime until she discovers the instructor is her ex-fiancé, Jasper MacPherson. 

Collecting enough points to rotate stateside, fighter pilot Jasper MacPherson is assigned to teach the WAFS how to fly the army way. Bad enough to be training women, but things take a turn for the worse when his former fiancée shows up as one of his students.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Paula Peckham!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Paula Peckham!

My most recent book came out 10-24-2023 and is titled Accepted. It’s the third book in my historical San Antonio series (although each can be read as a standalone). The idea came when I learned a fact about Texas history that I did NOT learn in school (although I think I should have). I appreciated learning this fact, which led to the idea that others may also, so the story was built around it.

I love doing the research for my books (both historical and contemporary). For Accepted, my husband and I made a road trip to San Antonio and visited several museums along the way. I spoke with many people, which is always fun because you learn things you didn’t expect. I also read several books about the time period. The author of one of them spoke at the University of Texas in Arlington (UTA), my alma mater, and I was lucky enough to attend. I spoke with her, Alice Baumgartner, for several minutes afterward, and she ended up writing an endorsement for the novel, which was really cool.

Accepted is book three in my series. Once I started writing the first book, Protected, I knew I would follow it up with a book about each of the characters introduced. There are eight other children, ranging in ages from fifteen to four, besides Abby (the main character in book one). Each could conceivably get their own story, although I only have ideas floating around for three more at this point. So the San Antonio series will probably stop at book six.

I fell in love with the kids from book one, and couldn’t bear to say goodbye to them just yet, so as
ideas cropped up for their continuing story, I tucked them away in a file. My readers have asked me to tell the stories of Yaideli (introduced in book one) and Mrs. Lancaster (first appears in book three) because they want to know how their stories end. Maybe those will be novellas. We’ll see.

As a fifth-generation Texan, the cowboy life and persona have always been a part of the landscape for me. The 1860s was an exciting time for Texas, and the cowboys played a huge role in helping to settle the frontier. It’s an easy setting to research and fun to write about.

I use a modified outline process to plot out the main turning points in my books. I learned the process from a video class produced by Michael Hague. It’s called The Hero’s Journey and is available on Best $20 I ever spent. It helps me stay focused on the main points in the story and avoid that sagging middle all authors dread. I don’t plan each detail before I start writing—those come as the story progresses—but I know where I’m headed.

My job prior to writing was teaching Geometry to 10th-graders. Teaching math didn’t help me in preparing me to be an author, but the nineteen years in the classroom has provided plenty of material for ideas!

Photo: Pixabay/Mabel Amber
I think the best thing a fledgling writer can do is find a critique group to join. They’ll help you hone your craft and will be an endless source of encouragement.

My next project is a contemporary romance. I’m pushing the pause button on the San Antonio series to write a story about a musician. It’s tentatively titled Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. I love music, and it’s been a blast doing the research and writing the characters of my band. If it turns out the way I envision, it’ll be funny, sweet, and poignant. We’ll see if I can pull it off.

About Accepted
Against the backdrop of the Civil War, spirited Quenby Martin despises the monotony and restrictions imposed on women. Then San Antonio’s most respectable widow befriends her. Unbeknownst to Quenby, her genteel companion harbors a life-risking secret.

Soon after, Quenby meets Jonathan Campbell, a Texan farmer struggling to make ends meet, and eagerly offers her help. Despite Jonathan’s reservations about trusting his future livelihood to the pretty young know-it-all, he accepts. As their relationship develops, Quenby’s confidence and knowledge lures Jonathan in.

Quen draws the attention of a bounty hunter, whose charms cannot hide his evil intentions. Danger puts Quen’s wavering belief in God to the test. With the hunter on her heels, she embarks on an important mission that inadvertently involves Jonathan in a web of kidnapping and murder. His efforts to keep her safe expose his growing feelings.

Will Quenby have enough courage to face the perils of standing up for what she believes in? And at what cost?

Purchase Link:

A fifth-generation Texan, Paula Peckham graduated from the University of Texas in Arlington and taught math at Burleson High School for 19 years. She and her husband, John, divide their time between their home in Burleson and their casita in Rio Bravo, Mexico. They built their home in the colonia where they’ve served with their church, Pathway, for the past ten years. Paula leads a team of volunteers from Pathway on two trips each year, one at spring break, and one at Thanksgiving.

Her debut novel, Protected, was an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist in 2020. Book two in the series, A Father’s Gift, placed third in the 2023 Selah Award contest. Book three, Accepted, came out in October 2023. Several articles have appeared in The Journal and The Guide magazines. She has contributions in the 2021 releases Christmas Love Through the Ages and Texas Heirloom Ornament.

For more about Paula and her books, follow her at

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Iris Lim!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Iris Lim!

What was your inspiration for the story?

This particular story is special to me because it is inspired by my own love story with my husband. I’ve had to make a few adjustments for the time period and to employ some creative license, obviously, but the heart of the story remains the same. I also managed to schedule it to debut on the 12th anniversary of our first date, so that was extra special!

Tell us about your road to publication.

My journey is a little unique because it actually started in fanfiction! I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I never thought it could actually become my reality, so I just maintained a hobby writing and posting Pride and Prejudice fan variations online. Little did I know that about eight years ago, a small press would pick up three of my stories and publish them on Amazon. But that wasn’t the end of the story, because the small press, despite initial success, suddenly closed down a year later! I was very discouraged, but my husband encouraged me to try self-publishing via Amazon instead.

I took that step by faith and submission and was able to build a bit of a following in the Jane Austen Fan Fiction world. Then, three years ago, with my husband’s incessant support (one can sort of sense a theme here), I ventured into writing original Regency fiction, and I have just fallen in love with both the writing and the publishing aspects of it all since then.

How are your characters like you? Different?

Since this book is based on a true story, I obviously had to base Melodia largely on a younger version of myself. I don’t know if I have been objective enough, but I do think the incessant talking, the clumsiness, and the dreaming and growing up she had to do were the most personal parts of the character for me.

What draws you to the time period about which you write?

It always goes back to Jane Austen. I discovered her books serendipitously as a fourteen-year-old, and
she is still the only author whose entire catalog I have read, some of them twice or thrice over. I also relate to the things and people she would have encountered as a minister’s daughter, so I find it delightful to get to bring a version of Regency England to life through my stories.

What is your process for writing? (do you outline, have a special place or time of day you write, etc.) What is your favorite part of the process?

I have a hopeless Type A personality, so that translates to my writing as well. I always have an outline for my stories, which I need to produce in one sitting, and I try to draft or edit a scene or two every day. I stress out in real life when there’s no concrete plan for dinner, so I definitely need a plot to keep me anchored when it comes to my books!

As for my favorite part, I would probably have to say it’s when I find the perfect cover. I know it doesn’t have to do with the actual writing, but it is sort of a reward for me to put a nice outfit on my book baby and to see it come to form!

How does/did your job prepare you for being a novelist?

I have worked in the education sector my whole adult life, and I was a high school English teacher for the first third of it. The chance to read and teach about books for a living really sharpened my sensitivity to what makes evocative writing, but it also gave me imposter syndrome and sometimes made me feel that I should never publish because I’ll never be the next William Shakespeare or Harper Lee anyway (or, you know, Jane Austen).

I don’t think any classrooms will be studying my books anytime soon, but I do think that the love for literature that I always work so hard to pass onto my students is an essential part of who I am as a reader and a writer.

How do you celebrate when you finish a manuscript?

I don’t. I stress about the next story instead. I really need to learn to chill. Haha.

What is your advice to fledgling writers?

Pixabay/Yerson Retamal
I am a strong believer that a writer is a reader first. And the best way to improve your craft is to never stop reading and never stop learning.

I would also encourage them to step out of their shell and connect with other readers and writers. Writing might seem like a solitary occupation at first glance, but it really doesn’t have to be. To have a sustainable career as a writer, one needs the support of loved ones as well as other people within the same field.

What books are on your nightstand right now?

My Kindle Paperwhite is on my nightstand, so I guess that counts as a few hundred books. But I just finished reading Rosanne E. Lortz’s The Vicar and the Village Scandal last night, and it was wonderful!

What is your next project?

Book 4 of my Beniton Hall series, Mr. Avington’s Game of Hearts, is debuting in April, so I need to get that final proof done as soon as I can. This book is lighthearted and all about the London Season. And because Alfred has been so hard-headed and selfish before, I look forward to humbling him and watching him turn into a lovesick fool when the right woman comes along. It’s the best kind of retribution!

About Once Upon a Time in Millsbury

He’s just come home to Millsbury. She is eager to outgrow it. But love just might have other plans.

Lord Garrett Laurence, viscount and future earl, returns home to Millsbury jaded, world-weary, and decidedly unmarried. There are plenty of young ladies around, but no one catches his eye—no one, perhaps, except his younger sisters’ sweet, vivacious bosom friend.

Raised all her life in one small town, Melodia Reese dreams of life beyond Millsbury every single day. When an unexpected chance to visit London comes along, she warms to the thrill and the dangers of Town. Yet she wonders if her heart ever did leave Millsbury at all.

A heartfelt story of two neighbors discovering all they’ve ever wanted hidden in plain sight all along. A tale of family, dreams, discovery, forgiveness, and love.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Traveling Tuesday: Sweetwater, Texas

Traveling Tuesday: Sweetwater, Texas

Located forty miles west of Abilene, Texas and almost “smack-dab” in the center of the state, Sweetwater, Texas became a hub in aviation only eight years after the industry began. According to a paper I found on the University of North Texas website, by the 1920s, the tiny town was regularly visited by many famous aviators. In 1928, seeing potential, local businessmen raised money to construct a municipal airport. Funds came quickly, and the airport was finished and dedicated in August 1929.

In 1940, the town was notified that Sweetwater was being considered for use in the government’s expansion of defense efforts. Receiving nearly $200,000, the town purchased additional acreage and improved the facilities. The first trainees were fifty Canadian cadets headed for England’s RAF. In 1942, over 800 Americans arrived for training and graduated the following year.

Jacqueline Cochran, a world-renowned pilot, had been working for months to create a women’s
National WWII Museum
program similar to that of Britain’s Air Transport Auxiliary. She initially tried to use Hughes Air Field in Houston, but for many reasons was unable to develop a school that met her requirements. Finding Sweetwater, she quickly made arrangements, and by February 1943 Avenger Field was an all-female installation except for a few male instructors and other officers.

Slightly more than eleven square miles, Sweetwater is considered semi-arid, which is to say it’s a dry area, but not as dry as the desert. Average annual rainfall is thirty-five to forty days. Winter average temperatures are in the 60s, and summers are scorching with June, July, and August typically seeing temperatures in the mid- to high-nineties! I would imagine that many of the women who arrived had never experienced this kind of weather.

Thanks to the railroad and airfield, Sweetwater’s population exploded from just over 4,000 in the 1920 census to almost eleven thousand by the 1930 census. The women who arrived came from all walks of life. Some would be disappointed at the “small” size of the town, while others would be overwhelmed by its stretch of land and five-figure population. Of the 25,000 women who applied for flight training, 1,830 were accepted, 1,075 of whom earned their wings, which meant 756 women trudged to the train station and boarded a train for home, leaving the dusty town behind.


Love at First Flight

Can two people emerge from the clouds of past hurt to find a silver lining of love?

Evelyn Reid would rather fly than do anything else, so when war engulfs the U.S., she joins the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. One of the program’s top pilots, she is tapped for pursuit plane training...the dream of a lifetime until she discovers the instructor is her ex-fiancé, Jasper MacPherson.

Collecting enough points to rotate stateside, fighter pilot Jasper MacPherson is assigned to teach the WAFS how to fly the army way. Bad enough to be training women, but things take a turn for the worse when his former fiancée shows up as one of his students.

Purchase Link:

Friday, January 5, 2024

Fiction Friday: New Releases in Christian Fiction

January 2024 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website
Contemporary Romance:
The Love Penalty by Carolyn Miller -- With her fondness for tattoos and spider jewelry Sylvie Miles is used to being pre-judged and misunderstood. She has friends and connections but she still feels alone, and works several jobs while daydreaming about finding a guy who sees further than skin deep and won’t shy away from her battered heart. So when a hot pro hockey player with a smile as vast as his skills takes a shine to her what’s a poor girl to do but fall in love? Ryan Guillemette sure wasn’t looking for romance in a bookstore in his hometown but quickly becomes intrigued by the sassy Goth-like assistant with a snarky way with words. When an accidental kiss proves dangerously addictive, she soon becomes embedded in his heart. But even as the romance heats up he’s torn as she’s not following God. Can these two opposites make a match or should he call a permanent time out? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) Yellow Roses by Suzie Waltner -- Mia Mason has always strived to meet others’ expectations. Her adoptive family, her fans, even her friends in the band. She works hard at pleasing everyone because she’s never felt like she truly belongs. After connecting with a cousin through a DNA website, she plans a covert road trip, hoping to find her biological mother and the answers she desires. During a music awards ceremony, Levi Sinclair receives two messages that ruin his night. One is a breakup text from his girlfriend of six weeks. The other is from the father who abandoned his family seventeen years ago and wants to reconnect. Then Levi discovers Mia’s secret mission and insists on going along to keep her safe. As the two friends pass the miles and see the sights, Levi’s true feelings for Mia rise to the surface. And her journey to the past might open the door to their future. Family issues and a shared career are just two of the hurdles they’ll have to jump if they want a shot at love. Could the end of the road lead these friends to a new beginning? (Contemporary Romance from Anaiah Press) Their Inseparable Bond by Jill Weatherholt -- Training service dogs is single dad Jake Beckett’s calling. He’s determined to train rambunctious puppy Callie to help his ailing friend Myrna live independently with her growing blindness. Myrna’s granddaughter, Olivia Hart, isn’t easily convinced, but Jake, his twins and Callie are an incredibly persuasive team. If Olivia agrees to give Callie a chance, will working with Jake risk her lifelong dreams? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
General Contemporary:
Chokecherry Valley Love by Jean Rezab -- Ashley Richmond’s goal to become a psychologist becomes derailed by sudden doubts. She questions what direction her new career track should take. In her personal life, her brothers have become strangers, but she’s ready to try to forgive past mistakes and reconnect. While trying to decide on her career and figure out her sibling relationships, life takes another turn when she meets Jason. Their mutual attraction is complicated by his family obligations and her uncertainty over the future. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)
Historical Romance:
The Legacy of the Rocking K Ranch by Mary Connealy, D.J. Gudger, Becca Whitham, Kimberley Woodhouse -- Six Decades of History Unfurls on a Wyoming Ranch Journey to untamed Wyoming where four generations of women experience love, loss, grace, adoption, struggles with the law, relationships with natives, and through it all, family bonds. (Historical Romance Novella Collection from Barbour Publishing) A Summer on Bellevue Avenue by Lorri Dudley -- Wealthy heiress Amanda Mae Klein is set to marry the man she loves. Wesley Jansen-the only person she trusts to help ease her anxiety among the social climbers of high society. Until the daughter of a union boss falls down a flight of stairs at Wesley's office in the middle of the night...and the woman claims Wesley pushed her. Seeking solace from the growing scandal. Amanda flees to the mansion-dotted seaside of Newport. Wesley follows to disprove the rumors and win back the trust of Amanda and her father. But soon, Amanda finds not only her social status but her life at risk. As dire events pit the two against each other, will their love find a way to survive? (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books) Polly (Apron Series) by Naomi Musch -- The Great War has ended, but Polly Holloway’s heart is shattered when her fiancé finally returns home—with a French war bride. Now her future feels desolate, until she fastens onto the idea of using her skills and a special cookbook to turn her grandfather’s Victorian house into a fashionable ladies’ tearoom. Yet, how will she endure the patronage of the woman who stole her sweetheart? Moreover, the suave tavern owner down the block is interfering in her business, personal and otherwise. Heaven only knows what goes on behind his doors. Ross Dalton can no longer sell liquor in his establishment. With prohibition in force, it’s a mixed blessing. Ross met God on the battlefield, and he wants to start fresh, but he must earn a living. Converting his bar into a coffee house offers a partial solution. Still, bootleggers are pressing him to pedal their moonshine, and the girl up the street is convinced his place is a front for a speakeasy. She’s awfully cute when she turns up her pert little nose at his friendly overtures. How can he convince her he isn’t going to tarnish the neighborhood or ruin her business? And will she believe he’s a changed man when the bootleggers double down? (Historical Romance, Independently Published) When the Waters Came by Candice Sue Patterson -- Pastor Montgomery Childs has tended his flock in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, for two years. While his pews are full every Sunday, he most desires to see a reckoning between God and the kings of industry who recreate on Lake Conemaugh. Like Noah, Monty prays against the evil surrounding him, but he never expects God to send a flood. It takes five days for the Red Cross to respond to the Johnstown flood disaster, but when it does, Annamae Worthington is ready to help. Apprenticing under Clara Barton has prepared her for the job, but nothing can prepare her for the death and destruction that awaits. As if the survivors haven’t suffered enough, typhoid fever ravages the town, resurfacing suppressed emotions regarding her father’s death. Narrowly surviving the flood and the horrifying things he’s witnessed, Monty’s faith is floundering. Then a Red Cross nurse puts him to work helping with the typhoid fever victims arriving at the hospital tents every hour. Monty and Annamae work together distributing disinfectants and supplies, housing orphans, and serving those left behind. Slowly, his faith resurfaces. A kinship forms between them neither can ignore. But when an investigation into the collapsed dam points to the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, secrets emerge that may tear them apart. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing) Redemption for the Cowboy by Z Peabody -- Remington Haylord is a preacher’s son. Instead of running with his biker buddies down in Texas, Remington ran with the horses. He feels a preacher’s life is not for him. Now, after a few years in the corporate arena, he’s found a peaceful life at the Sawyer Ranch. While standing at the head of a church, officiating his best-friend’s wedding, Remington looks down the aisle and in a vision of pastel-yellow, is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Phoebe Washington has never been to Montana, and if it wasn’t for her best friend’s wedding, she wouldn’t be there now. Despite any first impressions, Phoebe has a change of heart about staying on in Montana when she sees the big, handsome cowboy standing next to her best friend’s soon-to-be husband. He’s quiet, withdrawn, and yes, he’s grumpy. Yet on the rare occasions when he does smile, his face lights up like the big Montana sky. But to Phoebe’s chagrin, he avoids her whenever she gets within a few feet of him. How can she make Remington see that here, with him, is where he wants her to be—and where she needs to be? (Western Romance, Independently Published) A Cherished Betrothal by Denise Weimer -- Alexander Morris bears the childhood scars of the Long Canes massacre that killed his brother and father. Forced by his dark past into the lonely life of Georgia Ranger, Alexander joins the bordering South Carolina Rangers in their revolt against the Crown. When he's posted to the fort erected to defend the community once decimated by the massacre, duty demands he court the loyalty of his sworn enemies, the fierce Cherokee warriors. Elspeth Lawrence never forgot the boy who sacrificed himself for her at Long Canes-any more than she forgot the younger sister taken captive. She's learned not only to forgive, but also to help minister to the Cherokees at her father's mission. When Alex Morris arrives at nearby Fort Charlotte, Elspeth finds her memories-and her emotions-stirred. When Alex uncovers a long-held secret and a plot to sabotage patriot talks with the Cherokees, he must choose between his desire for revenge and his love for the girl he rescued long ago. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books) Independence Trail by Betty Woods -- To escape an arranged marriage, Heidi Schultz runs to the ranch owned by her sister, Lily, and brother-in-law, Toby. No one will ever run or ruin her life again. Jethro Bannister likes his life as foreman for Toby Grimes. Memories of the way his Georgia family turned on him don't plague him while living on a secluded Texas ranch. Until Heidi interrupts his carefully arranged, placid world of quiet. The too talkative woman could worry the horns off an entire herd of longhorns. Plus, her family problems remind him too much of what he left behind. Despite their misgivings, Heidi and Jethro form a tenuous friendship based on their common wish to be left alone. Confiding in one another deepens their friendship more than either intends. Will Heidi and Jethro's past wounds bond them together in an unexpected love or push them apart? (Historical Romance from Scrivenings Press)
Romantic Suspense:
Offshore Ambush by Sherri Wilson Johnson -- Gretchen Overton's world is shattered when someone murders her brother on a remote offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico. As medicolegal death investigator for Baldwin County, Alabama, she vows to uncover the truth and bring the killer to justice. But little does she know, her path to finding answers requires the help of Everett Forrester, the rig's Drilling Foreman and her ex-boyfriend. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)
Romantic Suspense:
Rescuing You by Robin Patchen -- CIA agent Michael Wright's world crumbles when his girlfriend, Leila, is snatched off the street and later seen in the grasp of a terrorist he’s been tracking, Michael blames himself. Keeping his identity secret from her clearly didn’t protect her. Now he must defy the Agency and fly to Iraq to rescue her. Leila Amato escaped Iraq a decade earlier, only returning in her worst nightmares. But those nightmares have come true when she finds herself captive and all alone, or so she thought until she sees her identical twin sister. Michael tracks Leila to a desert compound, but his rescue mission goes awry when he discovers her sister needs to escape as well. His detailed strategy can only ensure one woman’s safety. Now they’re on the run, trying to get out of the country before their enemies track them down. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP]) Smoking Flax by Jennifer Hallmark -- Who Is He--Really? Almost nineteen-year-old Reed Anderson wants to belong in a world where he hasn’t always fit. Three days after graduation, he decides to ride a bus back to Louisiana and deal with the events of his thirteenth summer once and for all. Back then, he’d stood up to his abusive Pa, protecting Momma and his sister, taking control of his life. But who was the faded image of the child he saw that day? Aunt Lula predicted his life would shift and change. Something about space-time-continuum and the fourth dimension? He tucks her words into his heart. If he survives the shift, this could be his chance to start over. But the ghost child haunts his dreams. Even though six years have passed, does he want to confront the lies he’s always believed? (Romantic Suspense from Elk Lake Publishing) The Samaritan’s Patient by Chevron Ross -- Teenager Paige Abernathy awakens after a severe beating to find that she suffers from amnesia, and that everyone seems to hate her. She has only flashes of memory until the night a grieving parent attacks her in her hospital room. Paige then remembers her role as creator of an online group where members talk about ways to commit suicide. After recovering from the beating, Paige embarks on a journey of penance to atone for a disaster born of good intentions. Her odyssey launches her on a mission of mercy and into new danger. (Romantic Suspense, AIA Publishing)   Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month: Welcome to Bellechester by Margaret A. Blenkush - As Dr. Mary Elizabeth Senty and DCI William Donnelly adjust to life in Bellechester, they find themselves used as bait to catch jewel thieves. (General Historical) Sundancer’s Star by Elsie Davis - "Sundancer's Star" is a tale of resilience, love, and the transformative power of second chances. (Contemporary Romance) Kate by the Book by Susan Page Davis - Charlie's attracted to children’s librarian, Kate, but his job and his family situation make him keep his feelings in check. But a mystery keeps taking him back to the library, where Kate may be in danger. (Contemporary Romance) A Daddy for Christmas by MaryAnn Diorio PhD, MFA - Young widow Julie Melitto's ten-year-old daughter Laney needs a daddy. When Nick Carbone unexpectedly throws a monkey wrench into Julie's well-ordered life, she must choose between following her head or following her heart. (Contemporary Romance) Letters of Understanding by Christopher J. Mooney - Inspired by a true story, this is the sole surviving record of the paths of three generations involved in the growth of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, Russia's KGB, and the Franciscan's Ordo Fratum Minorum, and the deadly consequences of their decisions. (General Historical) The King’s Ransom by Patti Jo Moore - Kindergarten teacher Tina Ransom never imagined that her dream vacation to Italy would include an emergency landing on a small tropical island that would change her life forever. (Contemporary Romance) The Cyrenian, Crossroads and a Cross by Donovan Peterkin - Two men, on two separate roads, betrayed and pursued by the same enemies, destined to carry one Cross. (Biblical) No Romancing the Passengers by Lee Wimmer - God uses DR, even as he runs from faith and family, accomplishing great things, and a great life, with great love that he often overlooks—as he battles a demon, a dark secret from his youth. (Romantic Suspense)

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Rosanne Lortz Spears

Talkshow Thursday: 
Welcome Rosanne Lortz Spears

Thanks so much to Linda for hosting me today! My name is Rosanne E. Lortz, and I write Regency Romance. Like most Regency authors, two of my biggest influences are Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer—both very different writers, but both instrumental in setting the expectations for the genre. By combining Austen’s incisive characterization and moral principles and Heyer’s witty banter and hilarious situations, the genre of Regency Romance can be both humorous and heartfelt.

I’ve always been drawn to the Regency Era, mostly because the manners of the time create interesting scenarios for the characters to navigate as they find their own happily ever afters but also because of the fascinating research I get to do while creating a historically accurate romance. My most recent series, The Allen Abbey Romances (published individually on Kindle or altogether in one paperback called The Heart of the Abbey), provided me with dozens of fun facts about the time. Did you know that…

  • Many old manor houses had secret passageways called “priest holes” that were created during periods of Catholic persecution? (The perfect place to hide a lost inheritance…)
  • Prosthetic hands began to be developed after the Napoleonic Wars to aid soldiers who were missing limbs? (A new lease on life for a soldier who lost his hand at Waterloo!)
  • Curates were hired by vicars and rectors to fulfill their duties for them and barely made enough money to live off of and certainly not enough to marry; vicars received a stipend from whoever bestowed the “living” on them and were considered part of the gentry; rectors were entitled to receive all the tithes from the parish and sometimes held several livings at once.

These are just some of the fun details I’ve been able to lace into my stories. I do hope you will check out the Allen Abbey Romances, clean and wholesome Regency Romance with humor and heart. Thanks again to Linda for hosting me, and have a wonderful New Year!

Series Description:

The Gentleman in the Ash Tree

When Eloise Blackburn finds a strange gentleman perched in the leafy branches of an ash tree, she has strong suspicions he is not who he says he is. After all, the neighboring Allen family has never mentioned a cousin named Crispin from the West Indies. And what's this he's saying about a missing inheritance and a secret passageway in Allen Abbey? Despite Eloise's misgivings, her family finds Crispin Allen's story entirely plausible, and she is soon thrust into an adventure with a cheeky stranger who seems intent on winning more from her than just her help in his quest.

The Lady in the Moneylender's Parlour

After losing a hand at Waterloo and selling out of the military, Captain William Allen has little to live for. But when he encounters the clever and exquisite Margaret Blackburn, the necessity of extricating her from a moneylender's clutches gives him a new purpose in life. If Margaret is to remain in London long enough to realise her goal of becoming a published author, William must convince Margaret's mother that he is a suitor in earnest. But navigating the shoals of an interfering aunt, a jealous rival, and their own growing affections for each other proves more difficult than either one of them expects.

The Vicar and the Village Scandal

Following the demise of the old rector, newly reformed Thomas Allen receives a position as vicar near
Allen Abbey, his boyhood home. But memories of Thomas’ wild youth cause both the gentry and the country folk to doubt his sanctity and sincerity. Only Mary Bates, the daughter of the Abbey’s steward, seems willing to believe that the leopard has truly changed his spots. When the appearance of a mysterious child threatens to completely blacken Thomas’ chequered reputation, he must decide whether doing the honourable thing is worth losing both his living and his chance at love.

All three books available in paperback collection as The Heart of the Abbey.

Rosanne E. Lortz (“Rose”) is a writer, editor, teacher, history-lover, and mom to four boys. She loves to read, sing, draw, compose, write, and create. Education is one of her passions, particularly a classical, liberal arts education. She has taught English composition and grammar, Latin, history, music, and various other subjects for fifteen years at both the elementary and secondary level and is currently an administrator at a classical Christian school.

Rose writes historical novels full of adventure, mystery, and romance. Her Pevensey Mysteries transpose stories from the Middle Ages into Regency Era romance/murder mysteries. Her newest series is the Allen Abbey Romances, three linked novellas set in Regency England.

Rose served on the board of the Historical Novel Society North America for four years and works to promote interest in historical novels. She enjoys reading and reviewing historical fiction, historical romance, historical mysteries, high fantasy, and some young adult and middle grade books.


Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Wartime Wednesday: WASPs, but Not the Kind You Think

Wartime Wednesday: 
WASPs, but Not the Kind You Think

National Archives

By 1942, in just about every industry in the U.S., men were in short supply. They were either working in defense jobs or serving in one of the Armed Forces. In late September of that year, two civilian organizations formed that tried to fill the void in the aviation field. The Women’s Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) were employed to fly military aircraft under the direction of the U.S. Army Air Force. Members of these organizations were Federal civil service employees, not military personnel.
The following year, the WFTD and WAFS were merged to form a
Photo: National Air and
Space Museum
paramilitary organization called Women’s Air Service Pilots (WASP). By the end of 1944, when the WASP program was disbanded nearly 1,100 women had ferried planes, towed targets, transported equipment and non-flying personnel, and flight-tested aircraft. Thirty-eight of these pilots lost their lives (11 in training, 27 on active duty), but because they were not part of the military it was the family’s responsibility to pay to ship the victim home. Often members of the girl’s unit would collect money on behalf of the family. During their two years of service, the WASPs flew sixty million miles and delivered 12,650 aircraft of seventy-eight different types.
Author Photo
Early on, the WASPs decided they needed a mascot. They turned to Walt Disney and asked permission to use Roald Dahl’s (of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame) illustration from his first children’s book, The Gremlins. The book had been written as a promotional piece for a full-length Disney movie that was ultimately never produced. “Fifinella” was a female gremlin who wore yellow slacks and cap, red blouse, and high-top boots, black gloves, and blue goggles. She also sported a pair of wings. Patches were custom-made, and colors varied.

Fifinella showed up everywhere: WASPs jackets, their monthly newsletter, and in many variations on the nose of many a bomber. Dahl went on to draw other gremlins for Warner Bros. that were used in several WWII cartoons, some of which featured Bugs Bunny.

Have you ever seen Fifinella?

Love At First Flight

Can two people emerge from the clouds of past hurt to find a silver lining of love?

Evelyn Reid would rather fly than do anything else, so when war engulfs the U.S., she joins the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. One of the program’s top pilots, she is tapped for pursuit plane training...the dream of a lifetime until she discovers the instructor is her ex-fiancé, Jasper MacPherson.

Collecting enough points to rotate stateside, fighter pilot Jasper MacPherson is assigned to teach the WAFS how to fly the army way. Bad enough to be training women, but things take a turn for the worse when his former fiancée shows up as one of his students.