Today I’m happy to welcome author Davalynn Spencer as she shares some fun facts behind her stories.
I’ve always loved romances (see what I did there).
Seriously, if given my choice of what to read, it will have a strong romantic thread or, better yet, be a flat-out romance. It’s the happy-ending thing, the fulfillment of a desire. Redemption. Acceptance. Second chance. The biblical book of Revelation. You get where I’m going.
The world we live in is full of bad news, so I like to read and write good news. That doesn’t mean I preach or want to. It simply means we need more good news.
Literarely speaking, historical bride stories intrigue me. They are full of possibilities ranging from disaster to delight. It’s my personal goal to wrangle delight out of each one I create. Enter, my Front Range Brides series.
Book 1, An Improper Proposal, is a mail-order bride story. Book 2 is a let-me-try-this-again story. Book 3 is … well, I’m working on that. The gal’s hero finally returns, but the stuffing’s been beat out of him, he’s broke and bruised, and she has to leave to go take care of someone else. To be continued in 2020.
However, my recent release in the Thanksgiving Books & Blessings collection is Mail-order Misfire, and it also serves as the prequel for my Front Range Brides series. In Mail-order Misfire, I combine a bit of disaster with the delight promised in a good romance novel.
One day I asked myself, “What would happen if the child of a widowed father wrote for a mail-order bride but didn’t tell dear old Dad?”
What could go wrong?
You’ll have to read the book to find out.
However, there’s one thing I’d like to mention, something that actually happened here in Colorado after I wrote about it in Mail-order Misfire.
Last spring, on March 13, to be exact, people in Colorado and neighboring states experienced what television weather-watchers called a “bomb cyclone”- a big snowstorm with barometric issues. One of the state’s major arteries, I-25, was shut down with 1,100 stranded vehicles in Colorado Springs alone. Facebook images of snow-bound animals outside in draws and inside barns were astounding.
In Mail-order Misfire, a snowstorm strands people and livestock for several days. Folks must help one another dig out. Writing the incident and then seeing it happen was a unique experience.
But responses to the disasters were also similar: people helping people. Ranchers helping neighboring ranchers dig out their animals before those animals froze standing up. Emergency personnel rescuing stranded drivers from their undrivable cars on ribbons of ice formerly known as streets and highways.
In my story, the storm hits just prior to Thanksgiving. In reality, it hit in the spring, but I’ll bet there was just as much thanksgiving going on last March as there is in any given November.
The heroine in my story, Etta Collier, does her own share of helping and takes a big chance on a little family. But as romance novels go, well … I can’t tell you.
- When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was in the sixth grade, our teacher gave us a short-story assignment. Mine was a sci-fi romance. I know—scary for a twelve-year-old. However, the teacher liked it and chose it for a skit that was part of an evening’s activities at our science camp that year. You’d think I’d end up as a science-fiction author, but a certain brown-eyed cowboy named Mike caught my attention when I was seventeen, and well, I chose a different path.
- What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
As you might have guessed from my previous answer, I married a cowboy. A rodeo cowboy who just happened to be a professional bullfighter and clown. We—including a menagerie and two children—traveled across the country in various rodeo rigs following the circuit. One summer in Estes Park, Colorado, at the weekly night rodeo, a bull rider hung up to his bull and Mike ran in to save him. In the process, he freed the bull rider’s hand, but the bull hit Mike in the chest, broke several ribs, knocked him down, and ran over him, taking off his right ear with a hoof.
The plastic surgeon who reattached Mike’s ear told him he was not to return to the arena for one week. Period. However, we had a contract for three more performances that week—the last week of our run in Colorado before we headed west for California. Our contract included three comedy acts to be performed between events during each rodeo performance. Therefore, I dressed in Mike’s clothes, makeup, and wig, strapped our one-year-old in his stroller, and took him up to the announcer’s booth where he’d be watched over while I went on with the show, as they say. You’d be surprised how hard it is to be funny.
I did not fight bulls during the bull riding because my mama didn’t raise no fool. Another bullfighter covered that.
- How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Keeping our sanity is hard but doable. For me, it’s all about spending time with the Lord. I prefer early mornings before sunrise when there’s less noise and distraction. Meeting with Him, listening for His voice in my heart, reading His words, and pouring out my soul to Him all help me remember the Big Picture is more “real” than my little picture. His is the Big Romance. The one I referenced in the biblical book of Revelation. God’s got this. And His story has a great happily ever after.
Readers, enter the giveaway for an ebook copy of “Mail-Order Misfire” by answering the following question:
What do you think of the old adage, “Out of the mouths of babes” regarding things that children say?
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Book 2 in the Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Collection—and prequel for the Front Range Brides series—Mail-Order Misfire exposes the heart of a widowed lawman when he meets the bride his nine-year-old daughter wrote for without telling him.
Preacher Bern Stidham is a peacemaker—when he’s not carrying one on his hip. His little girl, Gracie, wants a helper for her preacher/sheriff papa and a mama for herself, so she writes their former pastor in Missouri asking for a mail-order bride.
Recently widowed dressmaker Etta Collier is a half-step ahead of the banker who carries a lustful eye for her as well as the note on her home. When her pastor receives a letter from little Gracie Stidham, he sees a solution for everyone’s problem and encourages Etta to answer Gracie’s request.
Running from one man’s lecherous pursuit into the home of another she knows nothing about, Etta Collier risks everything to ease a little girl’s loneliness and perhaps find a second chance at love.
Wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, Davalynn Spencer can’t stop #lovingthecowboy. She writes award-winning Western romance with rugged heroes, teaches writing workshops, and plays the keyboard on her church worship team – when she’s not wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Connect with her at www.davalynnspencer.com and get a free book when you sign up for her quarterly newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/xa81D
Amazon Author: https://amazon.com/author/davalynnspencer
Lockton, Colorado – 1879
Gracie slid a thin sheet of paper from the top drawer of her papa’s desk and held her breath, listening for his steps on the porch. It would take him only a little while to finish chores, but she had already memorized what she wanted to say.
Perching on the edge of his desk chair, she unstopped the ink well, and dipped his pen, taking pains not to drip on the leather-cornered blotter. Carefully she penned her plea.
What did the hymn say? The one they’d sung yesterday at church—“Blest be the tie that binds … each other’s burdens bear.” That was it.
Since Mama died, Papa didn’t have anyone to help bear his burden other than Gracie herself, and if she understood the words to the song as she believed she did, then God wanted her papa to have a helper.
She signed his name and addressed an envelope to the pastor in Independence who had married her parents. Then she ran to her room and hid the letter beneath her pillow. When Papa went to work tomorrow and she went to school, she’d stop by the mercantile and slip the letter into the storekeeper’s mail pouch.
Peeking through her lacy curtains, she let loose a whisper. “Oh Lord, I pray this ain’t lying I’m about to do, but my papa needs a tie that binds his heart up. It’s been hurting for such a long time.”
She smoothed her pillow and quilt, then took all her nine years of knowledge to the kitchen and made biscuits for supper, confident that the Lord heard her prayer. She’d been taught to believe such things since before she could remember. Why, just yesterday the preacher’s words had stirred through her heart, telling her to have faith, to trust God. And she believed those words.
Especially since the preacher was her papa.
Today we welcome Dr. Craig von Buseck as he discusses Biblical prophesies and his book, I am Cryus.
As Moses is preparing to leave the stage, he stands before the Children of Israel and makes this remarkable declaration found in Deuteronomy 30:1-3
“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you….”
In writing my book, “I Am Cyurs” about the re-gathering and rebirth of the Children of Israel into a modern nation, it struck me that this declaration of Moses in Deuteronomy 30 is a prophecy. Moses is not saying God will gather you from the nation – singular – where you were scattered, which would be past tense, Egypt. It is a conditional prophecy connected to the blessings and the curses of Deuteronomy 28. In Deut. 28:58, 63-64, God declares:
“If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book… you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it. And the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other…”
So God is revealing through Moses that the people will fail in keeping the law and they will be cast out of the land and scattered to the nations of the world.
This revelation and corresponding promise of God to the children of Israel makes what we have seen in the ingathering of the Jews to the Promised Land since the 1880s even that more remarkable. It is a clear marker of the End Times and the soon return of Jesus to earth.
I believe Satan saw God moving in the modern Jewish people beginning in the 1880s, and he tried to stop God’s plan – first through the nations trying to keep the Jews from returning to their ancient homeland, and then through the Holocaust.
But this act of attempted annihilation sparked sympathy amongst the nations of the world, leading to their approval of the rebirth of the nation of Israel during the November, 1947 vote for partition in the United Nations. And this rebirthed nation of Israel is an even more profound sign of Christ’s soon return.
In coming to a decision on whether or not to recognize Israel, President Truman considered biblical prophecy, among many other factors. His chief counsel, Clark Clifford, wrote: “he was a student and believer in the Bible since his youth. From his reading of the Old Testament he felt the Jews derived a legitimate historical right to Palestine, and he sometimes cited such biblical lines as Deuteronomy 1:8: ‘Behold, I have given up the land before you; go in and take possession of the land which the Lord hath sworn unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’”
God is a covenant keeping God. Just as He has kept His promise to natural Israel, so He keeps His promise to spiritual Israel. He promised to be with us, and He is. He promised to return, and He shall!
Learn more about President Harry Truman’s decision to recognize the modern nation of Israel in “I Am Cyrus: Harry S. Truman and the Rebirth of Israel” at iamcyrusbook.com.
• What is your current work in progress?
I am currently working on a biography of the last two years in the life of Ulysses S. Grant. This man who as Lieutenant-General of the Army devised and executed the strategy that won the Civil War and saved the Union lived a truly amazing life. He was twice President of the United States. But most people don’t know the dramatic story of his final years. After leaving the White House, he had no retirement pension (presidents did not receive a pension until Harry Truman). So Grant went into business with his son in a Wall Street investment firm called Grant & Ward. The problem was that the “Ward” of Grant & Ward was embezzling funds from the firm in a giant ‘ponzi scheme.’ Overnight the firm collapsed and Grant found himself penniless and terribly embarrassed. Only a few months later, doctors diagnosed him with incurable throat cancer. Now he was dying with no money. He had to find a way to provide for his family before he passed away, and the clock was ticking. The book tells the harrowing story of how Grant spent the final year of his life, as he is in grueling pain, writing his memoirs to restore his family’s fortune and his reputation. Grant finished the book three days before he died. Mark Twain published the Personal Memoirs of US Grant, which became the second best-selling book of the Nineteenth Century – and is now considered a classic of American literature.
• What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
My most difficult writing obstacle is time. In order to find more time to write, while also working a full-time job, I have greatly simplified my life and cut out most television viewing. Because I do my best writing early in the morning, I have shifted my waking and sleeping hours so that I get to bed around 9 and wake up between 5 and 6. This gives me a solid two hours of writing time in the morning when I am most productive. Then I try to spend the bulk of my day on Saturday writing as well.
• What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love to travel and visit interesting places. I love historical sites, museums, libraries, and battlefields. I also enjoy hiking, boating, fishing, and interesting lectures. I love listening to audio books. My favorite past time is spending time hanging out with my kids, talking or watching movies.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Craig von Buseck is a published author and Editor of Content for Inspiration.org. He is a contributing writer for CBN.com, ChristianPost.com, MTL Magazine, and Charisma Magazine. He holds a Doctor of Ministry and an MA in Religious Journalism from Regent University. He is the author of multiple books. He has extensive speaking experience and travels often to conferences, professional events, churches, and writer training meetings.
FIRST PAGE OF “I am Cyrus”:
“I had faith in Israel before it was established, I have faith in it now.”
President Harry S. Truman, May 14, 1948
“Next year in Jerusalem …”
May 1948—Tel Aviv, Eretz Israel
Five Arab armies stood poised on the borders as a wiry, white-haired man rose in the Tel Aviv Museum and proclaimed a new nation for the Jewish
people in Eretz Israel after nearly 2,000 years of exile. The date was 5 Iyar 5708, or May 14, 1948. The grizzled leader of the World Zionist Organization,
David Ben-Gurion, declared that this nation would be known as the State of Israel.
A radio station broadcast the ceremony and the news streaked like a meteor to the four corners of the globe within minutes. Instantly, Jews around the world reconnected with the ancient home from which their ancestors had been expelled by the Roman Empire in 70 CE. After that national catastrophe, the Jews were scattered to the ends of the earth. From that time forward, at the end of every Passover Seder, Jews collectively uttered their longing with the famous declaration, “Next year in Jerusalem.”
With Ben-Gurion’s Declaration of Independence, this ancient hope would not merely be a longing of the heart, but a concrete possibility
for every Jew with the passion for the Promised Land and the drive to get there.
The Jews could not forget Jerusalem or the land promised by God to their patriarchs. They had been the majority in this Promised Land from the time of Joshua around 1,400 BCE1 until the Babylonian exile in 597 BCE2—and then again after the return from Babylon until the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.
September 2019 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Reunited in the Rockies by Mindy Obenhaus — For widow Kayla Bradshaw, restoring a historic Colorado hotel means a better life for her and her soon-to-arrive baby. But she needs construction help from Jude Stephens, the love she lost through a misunderstanding. Working with Kayla, the police officer finds himself forgiving her—and longing to rebuild her shattered confidence. But can they trust each other enough to forge a future together? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
A Man to Trust by Carrie Turansky — After years spent helping manage her family’s Christian bookstore, it’s time for Adrie Chandler to give her own dream of playing her flute with a symphony orchestra a chance. But can she really trust the beloved shop to new manager Ross Peterson? The man is too handsome, too charming….and too much a reminder of another dream Adrie had to let go of – marriage. Yet Ross surprises her by knowing a thing or two about making sacrifices. Suddenly, Adrie is questioning what she really wants. And whether the dreams she once thought unlikely are within reach after all. (Contemporary Romance from Flowing Stream Books)
Fall Flip by Denise Weimer — The tragic death of Shelby Dodson’s husband–her partner in a successful Home Network house flipping business–stole love, status, and career. Now a bungalow redesign thrusts Shelby into the company of a new contractor. Scott Matthews remembers high-and-mighty Shelby from high school, and her prissy, contemporary style goes against his down-to-earth grain. When the house reveals a mystery, will its dark secrets–and their own mistakes–cost them a second chance at love? (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
Listening to Love by Beth Wiseman — Lucas is Amish. Natalie’s Englisch. They are best friends—and friends only. Despite what the gossips say. Besides, they couldn’t be together even if they wanted to be. Lucas would never leave the Amish faith, and Natalie is pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine. But when a terrifying accident happens, Natalie and Lucas are forced to confront their true feelings and decide if they can stay true to themselves and each other. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)
General Contemporary: The Christmas Portrait by Phyllis Clark Nichols — A family facing their first holiday season without Mama finds a way to celebrate Christmas. (General Contemporary from Gilead Publishing)
Historical: Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson — 1942. As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape. Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own life?and powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried. (Historical from Tyndale Publishing)
Treasured Christmas Brides by Amanda Cabot, Rebecca Germany, Cathy Marie Hake, Colleen L. Reece, MaryLu Tyndall, and Michelle Ule — Six historical Christmas romances prove life’s most priceless gifts come not in the form of polished gold or silver—but from the vast riches of a loving heart. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
Thankful for the Cowboy by Mary Connealy — Hero Tom MacKinnon rides up driving a wagon with a second wagon trailing him. He and his sister want to be hired to build windmills. They’ll ask for very little money and, in exchange heroine, Lauren Drummond, newly widowed mother of four nearly grown sons, will help them learn to survive in the Sandhills of Nebraska. What to grow, what to hunt, how to build a sod house.
Tom’s windmills will save her ranch. Lauren needs three windmills on this drought year or her growing herd of cattle is going to die of thirst. She agrees to teach him the ways of the Sandhills, and to give him fifteen head of cattle. She’s not ready to think of another man. But Tom changes her mind. His little sister and one of her sons find love together before Tom and Lauren do. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
The Return of the King’s Ranger by Angela K. Couch — The war is over…for everyone but him. The war for American freedom is over, and the British have gone back to England. Not knowing what has become of his family since he was forced into the Continental Army nine years earlier, Myles Cunningham wants to go home as well. He returns to the Mohawk Valley with the understanding that he is believed to have been shot for deserting—fiction that might be made real if anyone recognizes him as the son of a Tory and a King’s Ranger. Everything is wonderful in the growing community along the Mohawk River, except Nora Reid is still alone. With her brother happily settled and both her younger sisters starting families of their own, Nora feels the weight of her twenty-four years. A long walk leads her to the overgrown rubble of the Cunningham homestead where a bearded stranger begins to awaken feelings she’d lost hope of ever experiencing. With secrets abounding—including whether Myles even cares for her—Nora must determine what she is ready to give up and how far she will go to secure his affections. She begins to break through his defenses, but Myles can’t risk staying. Not if he loves her. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])
Christmas Next Door by Susan Page Davis and Vickie McDonough — Visit an Old West Texas town where a mysterious benefactor leaves gifts each Christmas, but also where four pairs of neighbors battle over hearsay, secrets, and mysteries. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
Under Moonlit Skies by Cynthia Roemer — Esther meets Stewart, her brother-in-law’s ranch hand, when helping her sister recover from childbirth. Any interest she may have in the cowboy is hopeless, since she must return home to Cincinnati and the man her overbearing mother intends her to wed. till reeling from a hurtful relationship, Stew is reluctant to open his heart to Esther. But when he faces a life-threatening injury with Esther tending him, their bond deepens. Heartbroken when she leaves, he sets out after her and inadvertently stumbles across an illegal slave-trade operation, the knowledge of which puts him, as well as Esther and her family, in jeopardy. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)
Mail-Order Misfire by Davalynn Spencer — Preacher Bern Stidham is a peacemaker—when he’s not carrying one on his hip. His little girl wants a helper for her widowed father and a mama for herself, so she writes for a mail-order bride. Without telling him. Recently widowed dressmaker Etta Collier is a half-step ahead of the banker who carries a lustful eye for her as well as the note on her home. When her pastor encourages her to answer an unusual letter from a little girl, hope opens an unexpected door. Running from one man’s lecherous pursuit into the home of another she knows nothing about, Etta may have to risk everything to ease a little girl’s loneliness and find a second chance at love. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
The Witness Tree by Denise Weimer — Past betrayal has turned John Kliest’s passion to his work as a builder and surveyor in the Moravian town of Salem, North Carolina. Now, to satisfy the elders’ edict and fulfill his mission in Cherokee Territory, he needs a bride. But the one woman qualified to record the Cherokee language longs for a future with his younger brother. Clarissa Vogler’s dream of a life with Daniel Kliest is shattered when she is chosen by lot to marry his older brother and venture into the uncharted frontier. Can she learn to love this stoic man who is now her husband? Her survival hinges on being able to trust him—but they both harbor secrets. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
Don’t Give Up On Me by Jodi Artzberger — When Cragge Automotive Group’s heiress, Amanda Cragge is left for dead, the only man she’s ever loved finds her. As the threats continue, will she accept help from the man who left her eight years ago without explanation? When Ryker Scott returns to Otter Bay, he is brought face to face with his past. He thought he could handle coming back but he might have been wrong. As a trained Army Ranger, he’s going to have to use his skills if he wants to keep the only woman he’s ever loved alive.
Will their past become their future or will their futures be destroyed forever?(Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)
Breaking Point by Marji Laine — Ever since her father’s death, Alynne Stone has had a series of strange “accidents.” Police Lieutenant Jason Danvers believes her father was murdered. He tries to connect the attempts on Alynne’s life, but things just don’t add up. Even in a small town, the mere rumor of treasure can change lives, end friendships…maybe even kill? Still dealing with the pain of his own wife’s death, he can’t allow an innocent woman’s life to be snuffed out on his watch. Especially one who shines as bright as Alynne. (Romantic Suspense, Write Integrity Press)
Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills — FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. (Romantic Suspense, Tyndale House)
The Gryphon Heist by James R. Hannibal — Talia Inger is a rookie CIA case officer assigned not to the Moscow desk as she had hoped but to the forgotten backwaters of Eastern Europe–a department only known as “Other.” When she is tasked with helping a young, charming Moldovan executive secure his designs for a revolutionary defense technology, she figures she’ll be back in DC within a few days. But that’s before she knows where the designs are stored–and who’s after them. With her shady civilian partner, Adam Tyler, Talia takes a deep dive into a world where only criminal minds and unlikely strategies will keep the Gryphon, a high-altitude data vault, hovering in the mesosphere. Even Tyler is more than he seems, and Talia begins to wonder: Is he helping her? Or using her access to CIA resources to pull off an epic heist for his own dark purposes? (Techno-thriller from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)
August 2019 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
The Butterfly Recluse by Therese Heckenkamp — Lila finds solace in her sheltered world by raising butterflies and surrounding herself with their gentle beauty. They’re all she needs—until a motorcycle-riding stranger roars up her driveway, invading her safe haven, throwing her life off-kilter, and forcing her to question everything. What exactly is he after, and what is he not telling her? In one intense night of desperation and revelation, Lila must confront her darkest fears—and hopefully discover that with faith and courage, shattered dreams can be restored, damaged hearts can love again, and broken wings can heal . . . maybe even fly. (Contemporary Romance from Ivory Tower Press)
A Glitter of Gold by Liz Johnson — Anne Norris moved to Savannah, Georgia, for a fresh start. Now her pirate-tour business is flagging and paying the rent requires more than wishful thinking. When she discovers evidence of a shipwreck off the coast of Tybee Island, she knows it could be just the boon she needs to stay afloat. She takes her findings to local museum director Carter Hale for confirmation, but things do not go as planned. Carter is fascinated with the wreck, the discovery of which could open the door to his dream job at a prestigious museum. But convincing Anne to help him fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle is no easy task. And working with Carter means that Anne will have to do the one thing she swore she’d never do again: trust a man. (Contemporary Romance from Revell-A Division of Baker Publishing Group)
Hometown Healing by Jennifer Slattery — She’s home again, but not for long… Unless this cowboy recaptures her heart Returning home with a baby in tow, Paige Cordell’s determined her stay is only temporary. But to earn enough money to leave, she needs a job—and her only option is working at her first love’s dinner theater. With attraction once again unfurling between her and Jed Gilbertson, can the man who once broke her heart convince her to stay for good? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Grace in Deep Waters by Christine Dillon — William Macdonald is at the pinnacle of his career. Pastor of a growing megachurch and host of a successful national radio programme. Clever and respected, he’s a man with everything, including a secret. His wife has left him and he can’t risk anyone finding out. Blanche Macdonald is struggling. Her once rock-solid marriage is showing cracks. She promised to love her husband for better or for worse, but does loving always mean staying? Blanche desires to put God first. Not William. Not her daughter. Not herself. When is a marriage over? When do you stand and fight? (Women’s Fiction, Independently Published)
When Mountains Sing by Stacy Monson — Mikayla Gordon loves nothing more than sleeping under the stars, reeling in the “big one,” and long hikes in the wilderness. A medical crisis reveals a 30-year-old secret that turns everything she’s known and believed upside down, unraveling her dreams and her identity. In search of answers, she follows a trail from Minnesota to Colorado and discovers more unwelcome secrets even as she falls in love with the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains, and a wilderness camp leader who shares the greatest secret of all. Knowing her life can never go back to what it was, she must make decisions that will impact far more than just her future. (Contemporary from His Image Publications)
All In by L. K. Simonds — Cami Taylor: a blackjack dealer, a bestselling author, and a fraud. Cami’s boyfriend, Joel, loves her in spite of her flaws. He wants to marry her, buy a house on Long Island, and raise a family–a life that’s a million miles from Cami’s idea of happiness. Her therapist suggests compromise and trust, but Cami bolts like a deer. She breaks off the relationship and launches on a new quest for happiness, not knowing that a nasty surprise waits around the corner. What follows is a fight to the death. Who will be the one left standing? (Contemporary from Morgan James Fiction)
Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano — A rag girl accepts an invitation to become the lady she’s always dreamed of being, but some dreams turn out to be nightmares. (Historical from Revel – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)
Lady and the Lawman by Crystal L. Barnes, Vickie McDonough, Annette OHare, and Kathleen Y’Barbo — Four historic stories of lawmen and the ladies who love them. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
The Farmer’s Daughter by Mary Davis, Kelly Eileen Hake, Tracie J. Peterson, Jill Stengl, and Susan May Warren — Enjoy five historical novels by some of Christian fiction’s bestselling authors. Meet daughters of prairie farms from Montana south to Kansas who find love in the midst of turbulent life changes. Marty’s nieces are kidnapped. Rosalind’s town is overrun by a railroad company. Amy’s jealousy comes between her and her twin. Beulah’s answer is needed to a marriage proposal. Lilly’s choice puts her at odd with her neighbors. Into each of their lives rides a man who may only make their situations worse. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
The Cowboys by Sandra Merville Hart, Cindy Ervin Huff, Jennifer Uhlarik, and Linda W. Yezak — Taming the West–one heart at a time. Healing Heart: A physically scarred cowboy finds solace with a ranch girl who is hiding from her past. Becoming Brave: A cattle drover wants to get his boss’s heard safely through Indian Territory…as soon he figures out why a bloodstained woman is holding a gun on him. Trails End: Waiting for his boss’s cattle to sell, a cowboy takes a kitchen job at a restaurant where the beautiful and prickly owner adds spice to his workday. Loving a Harvey Girl: To improve the local preacher’s opinion of career women, a Harvey Girl makes it her mission to redeem a wayward cowboy, but finds herself longing for a husband, hearth, and home. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
Lost in the Storm by Tamera Lynn Kraft — Lavena, a journalist during the Civil War, wants to become a war correspondent. She finally gets her chance, but there’s a catch. She has to get an interview from a war hero who has refused to tell his story to every other journalist, and she has to accomplish this impossible task in a month or she’ll lose her job. Captain Cage, the war hero, has a secret that will destroy his military career and reputation. Now, a new journalist wants him to reveal what he’s been hiding. He’d prefer to ignore her, but from the moment she came into camp, he can’t get her out of his mind. Leading up to the turbulent Battles for the city of Chattanooga, will Lavena and Cage find the courage to love and forgive, or will they be swept away by their past mistakes that don’t want to stay buried? (Historical Romance from Mt Zion Ridge Press)
Love’s Allegiance by Linda Shenton Matchett — Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)
The Brightest Hope by Naomi Musch — Five years after the Great War, Holly Allen is a well-adjusted war widow with a knack for running the family press. She’s over the days of waiting for a white knight to ride in and sweep her away from her cares. Besides, if Hugh Phelps is a knight, he’s certainly a black one—with his prison record, personal demons, and the ghosts of war that haunt him. When Holly hires Hugh, despite her reservations, it isn’t long before she sees the man he could really be, and as Hugh finds his niche at Allen’s Printing, he finds his lady boss equally appealing. Despite the attraction, however, Holly won’t let herself fall for a faithless man, and Hugh isn’t on gracious terms with God. Then, just when new beginnings seem possible, old heartaches from the war come calling. Now it might only be in letting go of everything dear that they both discover what real love is. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
Annabelle’s Joy by Betty Thomason Owens — She’s waited too long. When Tom proposed last year, Annabelle wasn’t ready to open her heart to another man. Pain still held a thin crust around it. Time has healed her heart, but with a new woman in town, one who clearly has her sights set on Tom, does it matter if Annabelle’s heart is ready to love again? Folks in town are keeping a close eye on their pharmacist, hoping to be the first to hear the good news. He’s been courting the widow Cross for nigh on two years now. Annabelle Cross better wake up and put her dancing shoes on. Mr. Tom is prime real estate. (Historical Romance from Write Integrity Press)
Hidden Secrets by Janet Sketchley — When an online vendetta against the Green Dory Inn escalates to physical threats, a cryptic message about a tunnel points to the property’s original owner, a notorious Prohibition-era sea captain rumoured to have left hidden wealth. (Mystery, Independently Published)
Murder at Rendsburg Resort by C. L. Wells — Trapped in a remote resort with a killer on the loose, the body count piling up, and no one else to save them, mystery writer Jill Pemberton must help find the killer before they claim their next victim. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)
Two Steps Forward by Luana Ehrlich — When CIA operative Titus Ray has an unexpected encounter with a Jihadi terrorist while he and Nikki are on their honeymoon in Morocco, he assumes it’s a coincidence, but when they travel to Israel for the second half of their honeymoon and encounter him again, he takes action, which takes him to Baghdad to prevent the assassination of a high-profile government official. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)
Edge of Truth by Kimberly Rose Johnson — The DEA sends two of its best agents, Kara Nelson and Jeff Clark, to Central Oregon, to shut down a major drug ring. Kara and Jeff usually work alone, but Operation Trail Ride throws them undercover together in a way neither of them expected. A notorious Miami drug lord wants Kara dead. Can these agents pull off the greatest acting job of their lives—and manage the sparks flying between them? Or will they die trying? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)
Redemption by Jacques R. Pye — Sterling Newman and Armena Sandal face death as they struggle to help the Alesandrans and the Kirilleans combat a force seeking the destruction of both worlds. (Speculative, Independently Published)
Today I’m happy to welcome author Rita Ownby Holcomb as she shares some history behind her stories.
Since before I was old enough to know the word “genealogist” I have wanted to be one. Always an avid reader and fascinated by history, I wanted to know how my family and ancestors might have fit into the various scenarios I read about.
A true southern girl is taught to be polite and not ask too many questions, but to my grandparent’s dismay, I was always asking the tough questions, “What was your Mama’s name?” and “Where did they come from?”
As an adult I met one of my father’s first (in the south that’s called “own”) cousins who had researched extensively and I knew immediately that I had met a kindred spirit.
Among the dozen notebooks of handwritten letters and notes were two newspaper clippings from 1903; the year my great-grandfather turned 88 years old.
I knew the events he described about his life and family during and after the Civil War were meant to be shared, but the research, to verify and flesh out the brief stories, took time and led me in a different direction from where I started. The one thing that remained consistent was his faith in and dedication to God.
Taking several research trips to Tennessee, at different times of the year, gave me insight to the land and atmosphere where my ancestors were born, lived, fought and died. The battlefields were inspiring; the landscape was comforting but visiting the graves of those relatives who stayed and died was spiritual.
My goal became introducing the world to these common folks who became caught up in a conflict, not of their choosing, that effected not only their lives but the lives of their descendants.
I quickly began to realize that this wasn’t the story of one man’s struggle but the story of two families whose lives intertwined for more than a century.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
A family is like A Twist of Tobacco, layered, folded and twisted until each leaf becomes inseparable.
Eli’s three oldest sons were fighting in the Civil War. His wife died from complications after the birth of her eleventh child. When he was arrested by enemy troops his eleven-year-old daughter, Lizzie, was left alone to protect her five younger siblings.
Journey into the war-torn hills of Middle Tennessee, the blood bath that was Chickamauga and the hell hole of Rock Island Prison as Rita Holcomb weaves her fascinating family history into an intriguing family saga that spans 70 years.
Rita Ownby Holcomb is a fourth generation Texan who has always been fascinated by the question, “Where do we come from?” Her genealogy research led to the birth of the A Twist of Tobacco Trilogy. She is a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
For thirty years she served on or presided over various civic organizations including, but not limited to, the Sherman Community Players Board, Red River Historical Museum Board, Sherman Preservation League Board, Convention and Visitors Council, Hot Summer Nights Committee, Tri-County Senior Nutrition Board and Texoma Council of Governments. After serving as an elected Sherman, Texas City Council member she retired from civic service to become a buyer and seller of vintage clothing and accessories. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Women in 2000 and Who’s Who in America in 2003. Rita is now a full time author. Married since 1972, she and her husband Darrell, have one son, Stuart.
Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/ROHolcombAuthor/
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Rita-Ownby-Holcomb/e/B01BMRVENQ/
July 2019 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Hometown Hope by Laurel Blount — In the three years since her mother’s death, widower Hoyt Bradley’s daughter, Jess, hasn’t spoken—until she suddenly begs him to save her favorite bookstore from closing. Hoyt is desperate to hear his daughter’s voice again, but he and the bookstore’s pretty owner, Anna Delaney, share a less-than-friendly past. Working together is complicated enough…but can they avoid falling in love? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
A Heart Surrendered by Joy K. Massenburge — Since her teens, pastor’s daughter Sharonda Peterson devoted her life to church service and solitude after the one night she gave Carl Ray Everhart everything. Sobered by a near-death experience, prodigal Carl returns home from an acting and singing career to serve as the worship leader at Sheronda’s church, and she finds that it takes every ounce of her resolve to resist his pursuits … not to mention memories that threaten to overturn the delicate balance she’s created. Can she finally surrender the one thing she’s tried all these years to protect: her heart? (Contemporary Romance from Harambee Press [Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas])
Starting Anew by Melanie D. Snitker — He’s afraid to trust. She has a secret that could change everything between them. Will they let go of their fear, or allow it to rob them of their chance at happiness? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Underestimating Miss Cecilia by Carolyn Miller — Can shy, sweet Cecilia overcome her family’s prejudice to see a future with the recently returned prodigal son from next door? (Historical from Kregel Publications)
Benaiah: Might Man of God by PH Thompson — A novel of Biblical, historical fiction about Benaiah, one of King David’s mighty men, examining the premise: What happens when the king’s most obedient soldier is issued a wicked command? (Historical/Biblical from Word Alive Press)
Waltz with Destiny by Catherine Ulrich Brakefield — When the men and women of World War II marched off to war, they didn’t know what lay ahead. All they knew was that upon their young and inexperienced shoulders rested the plight of the free world. (Historical Romance from CrossRiver Media Group)
Thimbles and Threads by Mary Davis, Grace Hitchcock, Suzanne Norquist, and Liz Tolsma — Enjoy four historical romances that celebrate the arts of sewing and quilting. When Tilly, a schoolteacher; Alice, a bridal shop owner; Sarah, a seamstress; and Melissa, a rag doll designer, put needle and thread to fabric, will their talents lead to the surprising gift of love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
Refiner’s Fire by J.M. Hochstetler —
Will the promise their hearts cling to finally find joyful fulfillment, or will war’s refining fire separate them forever? (Historical Romance from Sheaf House Publishers)
Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson — To escape an arranged marriage, Cassie Kendrick enlists in the Union army as a man, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer. Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase past guilt, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships along the way, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding. Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])
The Express Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse — Jacqueline Rivers manages a Pony Express station in 1860 Utah territory after her father’s death. There are daily stresses placed on her in this unconventional role—and now a government official is asking her to sniff out counterfeiters. When Elijah Johnson passes through on the stage while on an exhausting quest to find his boss’s heir, he doesn’t want to leave the beguiling station manager. In fact, he may never leave when caught in the crossfire of the territory’s criminal activities. Can she remain strong when secrets of the past and present are finally unearthed? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
Legacy Rejected by Robin Patchen — She’s not giving up her home, no matter what threats come against her. Realtor Ginny Lamont’s family has abandoned her, leaving her with nothing but a warning that she’s in danger. But Ginny’s built a home in New Hampshire. After a childhood of nomadic living, she’s not running again, certainly not because of some nameless, baseless threat. Real estate developer Kade Powers is thrilled to go out with Nutfield’s beautiful new real estate agent. But the prowler they surprise after their first date offers a glimpse into Ginny’s past and the legacy of lies her parents left her with. She brings a mystery, one he’s determined to help her solve. With Kade’s help, Ginny searches for the truth of her parents’ criminal activity while her enemies close in. When mobsters show up in her quaint New England town, will she find a way to bring them down, or will she lose the home—and the man—she’s come to love? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)
Storm Rising by Ronie Kendig — Mentioned in the pages of the Old Testament but lost to history, the Book of the Wars has resurfaced, and its pages hold secrets–and dangers–never before seen on earth. Tasked with capturing the ancient text, former Navy SEAL Leif Metcalfe is once more given command of his own team. But their best efforts are ruined when a notorious Bulgarian operative known as Viorica snatches the volume right out from under them. Iskra “Viorica” Todorova is determined to use the book to secure the thing that matters most–freedom. But a series of strange storms erupts around the globe, and the coming dangers foretold in the text threaten crops, lives, and entire nations. Though both are haunted by secrets of their past and neither trusts the other, Leif and Iskra must form an uneasy alliance to thwart impending disaster. However, the truth hidden in centuries-old words could unleash a storm of their own destruction. (Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])
The Story Raider by Lindsay A. Franklin — Deceiving an empire is a treacherous game. Tanwen and the Corsyth weavers race to collect the strands of an ancient cure that might save Gryfelle. But Tanwen has a secret–Gryfelle isn’t the only one afflicted by the weaver’s curse. As Queen Braith struggles to assert her rule, a new arrival throws her tenuous claim to the Tirian throne into question. Braith’s heart is turned upside down, and she’s not sure she can trust anyone–least of all herself. The puppet master behind Gareth’s rise to power has designs on Tanwen and the story weavers, and will stop at nothing to reclaim the throne. A plot to incite the angry peasants of Tir takes shape, and those dearest to Tanwen will be caught in the crossfire. As the fight for Tir consumes the realm, no one can remain innocent. (Speculative from Enclave Publishing)
Today I’m happy to welcome author Rose Allen McCauley as she shares some of the history behind her latest story.
Kim Vogel Sawyer and I met at the first ACFW which was then ACRW many moons ago and bonded. For years we talked about writing a book together, then finally on a K-Love Cruise in 2016 which we and our husbands went on together, the germ of two stories were born. I will have to write about them next month as they are both non-historicals, but two of the ladies who write for Kim’s press ( Wings of Hope ) write historicals so those are the ones I will highlight this month. Hope you will check out these stories, and if you purchase this book at the links below you can have 3 other stories waiting for your next month that are contemporaries!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Sufficient Grace by Constance Shilling Stevens — An abandoned Cherokee burial ground keeps secrets and draws a picture of deep, enduring love for Nora, but land surveyor Donovan threatens the place that holds sweet memories for Nora’s grandfather. Will Donovan follow his boss’s orders or follow his heart?
A Shelter in a Weary Land by Julane Hiebert — A cave in the Missouri hillside was to be a shelter from pillaging Union soldiers for Charlotte and her unborn babe. But will she be safe when a wounded enemy seeks the same place of refuge?
Rose Allen McCauley has been writing since she retired from teaching school and joined American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). She is thrilled for this to be her third collection with Barbour and her seventh published work. She and her spouse just celebrated their golden anniversary with their three children and their spouses and now six grandchildren! She loves to hear from her readers.
Today I’m happy to welcome author Lisa Lieberman as she shares about her recent novel and its connection to her family history.
One of my writing teachers once said, in regard to plotting, “If you know everything that’s going to happen in advance, what’s the point of writing the story?” I’ve taken his advice to heart, playing fast and loose with outlines, giving the characters of my historical noir mystery series plenty of room to surprise me. Who knew that my lack of discipline would lead me to uncover a lost corner of my own family history?
Cara Walden was seventeen when she set off for London with her older brother Gray, a blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter, in All the Wrong Places, my series debut. By the time she got to the bottom of the unsolved mystery of her mother’s drowning in 1943, she’d seen Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, gone to Sicily on a film shoot, and attended Grace Kelly’s wedding to Prince Rainier III in Monaco (where she ran into Cary Grant), ending up at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.
The sequel, Burning Cold, is much darker. Cara and Gray venture into Budapest during the 1956 revolution in search of their half-brother Zoltán, the forgotten son of their father’s first marriage. They track him to Mád, a small town in the Tokaj wine region on Hungary’s eastern border—a place I chose simply because of the potential for wordplay. Then I learned the fate of Mád’s once-thriving Jewish community.
Some three hundred men, women, and children were locked in the town’s synagogue when the Germans occupied Hungary in 1944, deprived of food and water for three days, then herded into cattle cars with the help of the Arrow Cross (Hungarian militia). Most perished in Auschwitz.
I visited Mád during a research trip to Hungary in 2015. The desecrated synagogue was only restored in 2004, a lonely memorial to the town’s murdered Jews. As I stood in the sanctuary, I was overwhelmed by sadness.
I set a scene in the ruined sanctuary toward the end of Burning Cold. Cara’s new husband plays the Kol Nidre, a Jewish prayer of mourning, on his violin.
Persecution, exile, and suffering were all woven into the ancient elegy, which penetrated where words could not go, reminding me of every loss I’d ever experienced. When the last note had faded away, Jakub bowed his head over the instrument. He had given us the precious gift of peace, momentary but healing all the same.
My father’s family emigrated to America from this corner of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of the nineteenth century. How remarkable, that my characters’ wanderlust led me to my very own ancestors, allowing me to offer a small tribute to their memory.
Readers, Lisa has a question for you: Have any of you been surprised by what you’ve learned about your own family history?
ABOUT THE BOOK: Burning Cold
Budapest: 1956. Newlywed Cara Walden’s brother Zoltán has disappeared in the middle of the Hungarian revolution, harboring a deadly wartime secret. Will Cara or the Soviets find him first?
The noir film of Graham Greene’s The Third Man inspires Lisa Lieberman’s historical thriller. Burning Cold features a compelling female protagonist who comes to know her own strength in the course of her adventures.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Lieberman
Lisa Lieberman writes the Cara Walden series of historical mysteries based on old movies and featuring blacklisted Hollywood people in dangerous international locales. Her books hit the sweet spot between Casablanca and John Le Carré. Trained as a modern European historian, she has written extensively on the postwar era. She is Vice President of the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime and a member of Mystery Writers of America.
Here is the link to my website: http://deathlessprose.com
Here is the link to my Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/LisaLiebermanAuthor/
Today I’m happy to welcome author Susan Storer Clark as she shares about her recent story.
“My mother said she was a nun. That may have been a lie.”
The “Monk Woman”—Historical Fact
A young pregnant woman named Maria Monk arrived in New York City in 1836. She soon created a national sensation by saying she was a nun, and that a priest was the father of her child. And she wrote a book about it. The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk described a nightmare world of sexual corruption in a convent in Montreal. She went on the lecture circuit in a nun’s habit, with her baby girl in her arms. Her story was discredited, and she disappeared from public view.
Who Was Her Daughter?
This novel is a fictional account of the life that baby girl. Vera is a resourceful and intelligent heroine who makes her way through the squalor of 1840s Manhattan, the bucolic countryside of Flatbush, and the riots and fires of 1850s Baltimore, and the excitement and corruption of Civil War Washington.
Bringing History Alive
The turbulent world of American cities before the Civil War fascinates me. It’s not the sanitized (and dull!) story we learned in school. Political disputes were often settled with fists and clubs. Prostitution was legal, and one of the few economic choices most women had. Gangs with names like the Plug Uglies and the Dead Rabbits ruled the streets in New York and Baltimore. Washington City was a half-built capital rising from the mud.
I loved meeting the cast of characters who walked through my mind and into the book. I hope you will, too.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
“My mother said she was a nun. That may have been a lie.”
So begins the eye-opening and entertaining tale of Vera St. John’s chaotic upbringing amid the turbulence of nineteenth-century urban America. Sometimes rollicking and sometimes terrifying, Vera’s story features a fascinating array of characters—from the troubled woman who bore her, to the charming Irishman she marries, to the African-American freedman struggling to rescue his wife from slavery, to the beautiful high-priced prostitute she befriends, to the washerwoman who stands by her in a quixotic quest.
From the squalid streets of 1840s New York to the devastation of post-Civil War Memphis, Vera threads her way through the powerful conflicts of American history to find where she belongs. Along the way, she discovers the nature of power and the true meaning of freedom.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Storer Clark:
Susan Storer Clark is a former broadcast journalist who wrote and reported for the Voice of America and for WRC-TV in Washington, DC. She holds degrees in history from Rhodes College and King’s College London. She blogs about history, historical fiction, and writing at www.historymuse.us, and is working on her second novel. Susan has written reviews and other articles for the Washington Independent Review of Books since its inception. She and her husband Rich live in the Seattle area, where they have renovated an old farmhouse, and where she plays bass guitar with the band Learning to Fly.
Today I’m happy to welcome author Gail Kittleson as she shares about her latest novel. Read through to the end to find out how to enter the giveaway for an ebook copy.
We honored World War II vets, living and dead, on June 6, the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day. It’s unbearable to think what would have happened if the United States had not joined the Allies… if D-Day had never occurred. Seeing ninety-plus year-olds with tears in their eyes and a tremor in their voices as they recalled their fallen buddies touched us all.
In light of all this, my latest novel, UNTIL THEN, honors one of the many support teams that cared for the wounded and dying. The Eleventh Evacuation Hospital followed the troops across North Africa, through Sicily, up the boot of Italy, northward through France and into Germany. Surgeons and nurses gave their all to save the lives of GIs.
Until Then focuses in on one American nurse, Dorothy Woebbeking from Waterloo, Iowa—that is her Army photo on the cover. She stands for thousands like her who sacrificed four or five years of their lives for the war effort, came home forever changed, yet still devoted to their work and their country.
A regular All-American girl, Dorothy longed to be of service. And she longed for romance and fun. Her attitude of taking life as it came and making the very most of every opportunity impressed me from the first. I love her willingness to take risks, her joie de vivre, and her ability to learn from her mistakes.
At the same time Dorothy served, people in London had been suffering under the Luftwaffe’s bombing for years. In 1943, an additional terrible civilian tragedy added insult to injury. This accident on the stairs of a tube station in a poor London borough gripped me when I learned of it. In addition to losing nearly 175 loved ones, these citizens were ordered to keep the tragedy secret, lest Hitler’s spies think they’d gained the upper hand.
Interweaving these two stories challenged me—that’s an understatement. But one thing about war: it divides nations and separates people from each other, but also has power to draw folks together in unique ways. I hope Dorothy’s story and the saga of a policeman tasked with enforcing the rule of silence in his neighborhood touch readers and increase understanding of the incredible challenges this era faced.
READERS, leave a comment to be entered in her giveaway for an ebook copy.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Until Then
March 3, 1943
Bethnal Green, London’s East End
Shortly after a quarter past eight, a siren split the air. Marian Williams lifted her sleeping daughter from her bed and darted down the stairs. Her mother and father-in-law, off on air warden duty, had left the front door unlocked.
She hugged her youngest child close. The blackout made the going difficult, but her husband’s instructions echoed in her brain: “Whatever you do, get down inside the station fast as you can.”
She hoped for a spot near the canteen, with access to milk. Uneven light shone over the paved steps. Then she tripped. Her knee hit the concrete, then something bashed her left side. Someone cried out. Another blow scraped her arm on the landing floor. Where was her baby? She attempted to get up, but an even heavier weight slammed her face down. A crushing burden descended, then all went black.
Riding in the backs of Army trucks across North Africa, throughout the Sicily campaign, up the boot of Italy, and northward through France into Germany, Dorothy Woebbeking served as a surgical nurse with the 11th Evacuation Hospital.
During World War II, US Army nurses worked and slept in tents through horrific weather, endured enemy fire, and even the disdain of their own superior officers, who believed women had no place in war. But Dorothy and her comrades persevered, and their skills and upbeat attitude made a huge difference in the lives of thousands of wounded soldiers.
Dorothy and Marian’s stories converge on a simple, hand stitched handkerchief.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gail Kittleson
Gail writes from northern Iowa, where she and her husband of forty-one years enjoy grandchildren, gardening, traveling and historical research. After instructing college writing and English as a Second Language, Gail wrote a memoir. Then the World War II bug big her . . . relentlessly! Seven novels later, she’s still hopelessly addicted to this riveting era. Her women’s fiction honors Greatest Generation characters who made a difference despite great odds.
Gail’s second love, teaching, has her facilitating workshops and retreats, where she cheers others in their creative efforts.