Thursday, June 22, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet June Foster

Talkshow Thursday: Meet June Foster

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Your latest book is part of collection published by Forget Me Not Romances. How did that come about?

Author June Foster
June:  Cynthia Hickey, the owner and innovative editor, is putting together a collection which features contemporary and historical fiction set in every state of the US. Since I had a story brewing in my head set in an old silver mining ghost town, I chose Idaho which is famous for its silver mining.

LM: That sounds fascinating! You have published lots of books. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

June: Probably when the story and the characters begin to form in my mind. I love getting to know them better, understanding their goals, their fears, their spiritual standing. Then I begin to imagine in what difficult situations I can place them and how they grow in the Lord.

LM: Your novels feature locations all over the U.S. When you write, how do you go about choosing which location to use, and do you have a favorite?

June: Since my husband and I travel full time in our RV, it's not hard to come up with locations. When visiting an area, my author's brain goes to work imagining a story that takes place there. Sometimes, the editor's requests for a particular story will determine the location. For example, Cynthia wanted stories set in small towns. Since we lived in a small town in Alabama before we started traveling, I chose to set my story in a fictional town near Huntsville. I don't have a favorite but love each location where my characters live.

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

June: I seem to have a one track mind so listening to music is a distraction. I've found that morning is the best time for me to write, so after my quiet time with the Lord, I grab a caramel latte and sit down to write at my laptop perched on my tiny kitchen table.

LM: You’ve done a lot of traveling by RV. If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

June: Ooo, a challenging question. It would probably be a getaway from the RV. Though I would love to visit Jerusalem and Israel, my second favorite would be a fabulous two week trip to the island of Kauai.

LM: What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

June I'm almost ashamed to admit this. But before I became a Christian, I was waiting for my husband at the officer's club where he worked while in the Army. I sat alone at a table with a glass of wine and one of the officer's asked if he could sit down. Why I said yes, I'll never know. But in the course of conversation, I fabricated a huge story. I told him I had been widowed recently and was trying to get my life together again. I never saw the guy again and looking back, I can see how the Lord has refined me like gold since those days without Him. But in retrospect, I can use some of these old experiences to better understand my unsaved characters who find the Lord by the end of the story.

LM: What is your next project?

June: I am just about finished with the small town story I mentioned above then I'll write a sequel where two secondary characters from the book will be the hero and heroine of the new story. After that, I'm writing a story which will take place at a Wyoming dude ranch. Most exciting is we are spending the summer in Shell, Wyoming, where I can do research.


LM: Lots on your plate! It has been such a pleasure getting to know you. Where can folks find you on the web?

June:

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Blog Tour: The Secret Slipper

Blog Tour: The Secret Slipper

ext-align: center;”> Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

 

Book title: The Secret Slipper  
Author: Amanda Tero  
Release date: May 25, 2017  
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Being a cripple is only the beginning of Lia’s troubles. It seems as if Bioti’s goal in life is to make Lia as miserable as possible. If Lia’s purpose is to be a slave, then why did God make her a cripple? How can He make something beautiful out of her deformity? Raoul never questioned the death of his daughter until someone reports her whereabouts. If Ellia is still alive, how has she survived these ten years with her deformity? When Raoul doesn’t know who to trust, can he trust God to keep Ellia safe when evidence reveals Bioti’s dangerous character? As time brings more hindrances, will Raoul find Ellia, or will she forever be lost to the father she doesn’t even know is searching for her?

My Thoughts:

The Secret Slipper is a wonderful retelling of the Cinderella story. I love that the prince in this case was the father, and even though I'm quite familiar with the popular fairy tale, I found myself rooting for him as I wondered if he would ever find his daughter. I liked the flavor of the setting-kind of medieval, but not as primitive. The villain is so evil, it was a pleasure to dislike her, and I found myself getting angry as I read the injustices she meted out to Lia. There was a character near the end of the story who only purpose seemed to be to present the message of salvation to Lia. The woman seemed to have her own story, and I was disappointed the author didn't follow through with it. Perhaps a sequel? This is the first of Amanda Tero's books I've read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I plan to read the first in her Tale of Faith series, Befriending the Beast. Anyone who loves fairy tales or stories set in medieval times would enjoy this book. The main character, Lia, is thirteen, so teens may also like The Secret Slipper.

I received this book for free from Celebrate Lit, and a positive review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author


A homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

Guest post from Amanda Tero

Do you ever have plans that come up from almost nowhere? That is kind of how “The Secret Slipper” started. I had written a fun novella, “Befriending the Beast.” It was a stand-alone. Just for fun. My relief project during a longer project. Well, no sooner had “Befriending the Beast” released when a friend asked me, “Hey, have you considered a father/daughter Cinderella story?” That night I stayed up until after midnight, mulling over ideas and coming up with the title. Lord Kiralyn, who appeared in “Befriending the Beast” as Belle’s uncle now had a story—involving a daughter that I didn’t know existed, but whose existence created a whirlwind of adventure, heartache, and excitement. And now that I have two books in the series, my brain is already pulling at ideas for a book three. But that’s another story for another day.

Blog Stops


Amanda has two more stops on her tour.

June 19: Henry Happens

June 19: Bookworm Mama

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Amanda is giving away a grand prize of paperback copies of Amanda’s three novellas: Journey to Love, Befriending the Beast, and The Secret Slipper.Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b994

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wartime Wednesday: The Atlantic Wall

Wartime Wednesday: The Atlantic Wall


What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “The Atlantic Wall?” I imagined some sort of brick or concrete block structure similar to the Berlin Wall or Hadrian’s Wall. Perhaps even the Great Wall of China. Nope. That’s not it.

Turns out, the Atlantic Wall was an extensive system of fortifications and defenses created by the German Army along the coast of continental Europe and Scandinavia. Early in the war, Hitler anticipated an invasion by the Allies and set about to prevent their success. (The beaches of Normandy were part of this 1,670 mile “wall.”)

Nearly one million French were forced to build this collection of machine gun posts, emplacements, military installations, radar stations, mines, fortresses, and bunkers. It is reported that 1.2 million tons of steel (enough to make 20,000 tanks) and 17 cubic meters of concrete (the equivalent of 1,100 Yankee Stadiums) were used during the project. It cost 3.7 million Reichsmarks, equal to $306 billion in today’s money.

The Wall continues to create controversy in France. Some saw the Atlantic Wall as a sign of collaboration during the War. Many French construction companies got very rich out of building the Wall. Because these same companies were needed to help with reconstruction after the war, nothing was said, but others saw the abandoned defenses as a reminder of the occupation and couldn’t wait to tear them down. It wasn’t until decades later that the public began to preserve sections of the Wall, and these fortifications draw thousands of tourists.

Although never completed, bunkers still exist in Ostend, Channel Islands, Den Haag, Scandinavia, and other locations.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Mystery Monday: Who was Peter Drax?

Mystery Monday: Who was Peter Drax?

There were many famous people who lost their lives during WWII: Carole Lombard, Glenn Miller, Leslie Howard, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Someone perhaps less well-known who was killed in action was author Eric Elrington Addis. Writing under the pseudonym Peter Drax, Addis published six crime novels during the Golden Age of detective fiction.

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1899, Eric was the son of a retired Indian civil servant and the daughter of an officer in the British Indian Army. He attended Edinburgh University and then entered the Royal Navy. After serving with distinction, he retired in 1929 and became a barrister focusing on admiralty law and divorce. (A barrister is a lawyer who specializes in courtroom litigation.) At the outbreak of WWII, he was called back in to service and was assigned to HMS Warspite. Unfortunately he was killed in action during an air raid on the British Navy base at Alexandria, Egypt.

Despite his short career as a novelist, Eric is considered an important author during the Golden Age. As one reviewer put it, “Rather than the artificial and outsize master sleuths and super crooks found in so many classic mysteries from the Gold Age, Drax’s novels concern police who are not endowed with supernatural powers and crooks who are also human.” Two of his books, Death by Two Hands and Tune to a Corpse were published in the United States, and received excellent reviews. When he died he left an unfinished manuscript Sing a Song of Murder, and his wife, author Hazel Iris Wilson completed the book, it was published in 1944.


Eric was a voracious reader of thrilled, and felt most were “lamentably unlikely affairs,” and set out to write mysteries that were “credible.” Critics and readers agree that he met his goal, creating seven gripping stories, not for the faint of heart. (An interesting aside, I searched for quite a while and never found a photograph of Eric.)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Carly Turnquist

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Carly Turnquist

Today we’ve managed to corral Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, as she shares the story behind the story for her latest adventure, Hidden Assets. She is being interviewed by her creator, Leeann Betts.

Leeann:          Well, Carly, nice of you to drop in.

Carly: Not like I had any choice. I didn’t want you to write me out of my own series.     

LAB:   Hard to do that. But that’s a threat for another day. Carly, your readers love that you don’t take yourself seriously. Why is that?

CT:     Why do they love me, or why don’t I take my seriously?

LAB:   Why don’t you take yourself seriously?

CT:     My husband Mike says I’m a full-time job. I think he’s right, and that seems unfair. So I try to laugh at myself more than I cry, because I think maybe that will make his job easier. Also, although when I’m faced with a decision, I feel like I make the right decision, but when I look back, I can see I should have thought it through a little better. Which means I can laugh at myself later on. Not as much as Mike laughs at me, but some.

LAB:   You’re a forensic accountant. What exactly do you do?

CT:     Besides create work for Mike? (laughs) A forensic accountant is an accountant who has been specially trained to look for things people try to hide. For example, the IRS hires tons of us to ferret out taxable income people try to disguise as something else. Divorce attorneys hire us to help their clients find money and assets that the opposing party has hidden. Estate attorneys also use our services. Because we use standardized accounting principles, our work can be checked and tested, which gives us credibility in court. Forensic really just means “forum” or the ability to testify credibly in court. It doesn’t have anything to do with dead bodies. Although, I have been known to stumble over one or two bodies in the past.

LAB:   Which is what makes you an accidental sleuth, right?

CT:     That’s a term used by some, and I guess I like it better than amateur sleuth, because when it comes to me, I’m no amateur. Not like that railway copper I get mixed up with in this book. Now he–

LAB:   Not here to talk about him. So your friend asks you to help her find some missing property, right?

CT:     Right. She’s getting a divorce, and I know how that feels. And she thinks her husband has taken some of their joint marital property and hidden it so he won’t have to share it with her in the divorce settlement. Plus we haven’t seen each other in years. We were friends in college, and have kept in touch ever since.

LAB:   Apparently there’s a backseat driver story she’s going to share with Mike?

CT:     Apparently so. I was a little bit wild in college, not to mention a wee bit controlling. Don’t ask Mike, though. He’d say I haven’t changed a bit.

LAB:   And then there’s something going on with Mike’s client, right? Didn’t that happen in the last book, too?

CT:     Yes. In Broke, Busted, and Disgusted, Mike’s client ends up murdered, and Mike is suspected, except he is missing. Which caused me no end of grief, let me tell you. He hasn’t had the nerve to complain lately that I’m a full time job, after that little escapade. In Hidden Assets, his client is trying to pull the wool over his eyes. Mike is writing a new computer program for this client, and Mike discovers some bad practices and crooked dealings happening behind the scenes of the program, in a ghost module, so to speak.

LAB:   So why did you take the train to Wyoming?

CT:     Because of the episode on the plane to New Mexico, Mike thought it would be safer to take the train. Days of boring nothingness. At least, that’s what he hoped. And he was right, until the night we were due to get off.

LAB:   Without giving away the ending, does the story end well?

CT:     As you know, I have a strong sense of justice. Of course the story ends well. Not for everybody, of course. But the good guys win and the bad guys—not in the gender sense, because I don’t want to give it away, as you said—get theirs. Justice is satisfied, and I’m off home again to quiet Bear Cove, Maine.

LAB:   But Bear Cove, Maine, isn’t always peaceful, is it?

CT:     True. It probably has a higher per capita murder rate than New York City, but it keeps things interesting.

LAB:   So what’s up for you next?

CT:     Well, a good friend wants to thank me for solving the murder and saving her life, so she’s sending us on an Alaskan cruise. Think about it, seven days of sailing, whale watching, and eating. What could go wrong?


LAB:   Yes, Carly, what could go wrong, indeed?

Author bio: 

Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released five titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at www.LeeannBetts.com or follow Leeann on www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com

Find her on Facebook or Twitter. Her books are available on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wartime Wednesday: Albert Staehle

Wartime Wednesday: Albert Staehle

Although photography had been commercially available since 1839, it was an expensive process. Therefore, newspapers, magazines, billboards, and posters were produced using illustrations rather than pictures well in to the 1930s and 1940s. Some of the more famous illustrators include Charles Dana Gibson, Norman Rockwell, and Beatrix Potter. Artists who were well-known at the time, but have fallen into obscurity are J.C. Leyendecker, Sarah Stilwell Weber, Edmund Franklin Ward, and Alfred Staehle.

Born in Munich, Bavaria in 1899, Alfred Staehle came to America with his parents in 1914. His father and maternal grandfather were both artists, so Alfred came by his talent naturally. In an effort to improve his skills, he attended The Wicker School in Detroit and the Arts Student League in New York. He found early success after entering a poster contest for Borden milk and was soon providing advertising and cover art for magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, American Weekly, Jack & Jill, and Good Housekeeping. He also created posters, and one of the most prized posters of the 1939 World’s Fair is his.

A large portion of his work featured animals, and he was considered by many to be an animal expert. Often using live animals as models, it is said that Staehle surrounded himself with creatures while working in his studio. He also painted from pictures, and he eventually married one of the photographers he hired to photograph his models. Staehle was also successful with his billboard work, and in 1938 he was awarded the Kerwin H. Fulton medal for Achievement of Art in Outdoor Advertising.

But he became a household name with the February 19, 1944 issue of The Saturday Evening Post when he drew a cover that featured a Cocker Spaniel named Butch chewing up ration coupons. The magazine seemed to sellout overnight, and letters poured into the Post’s offices defending the puppy. A few readers also sent replacement coupons. Butch was incredibly popular, and he was featured in twenty-five Post covers and thirty American Weekly covers, often getting into trouble for chewing something, “borrowing” an item that didn’t belong to him, or getting into some sort of predicament. Staehle purchased his very own “Butch” in June 1944.

Butch was so popular, Hagen-Renaker Potteries of California created figurines of him, Atlas Toys produced a stuffed version of him, and Saalfield produced a coloring book and jigsaw puzzles. Butch also made personal appearances to help raise money for worthy causes, and after the war he appeared on a Navy re-enlistment poster resulting in his being sworn in as the official Navy mascot.

Not bad for a small, mischievous puppy.



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Traveling Tuesday: Canterbury

Traveling Tuesday: Canterbury

What do you think of when you hear the name Canterbury? Perhaps Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales comes to mind. How about St. Augustine or Archbishop Thomas Becket who was murdered at the cathedral, or even Joseph Conrad who is buried in one of the city’s cemeteries. Suffice it to say that Canterbury has a lot of history associated with it, and as with most of England, incidents occurred during WWII.

By May, 1941 the eight month Blitz of London had finally ceased. Having realized the British were not going to cower, no matter how many bombs were dropped on them, the Germans switched their focus to invading the Soviet Union, with periodic “hit and run” raids on England’s coastal towns. The night raids the British were conducting were determined to have been mostly ineffective, so those came to halt as the Allies reconsidered their strategies.

Canterbury was one of the coastal towns that suffered from bombing attacks. Located on the River  Stour, it is about sixty miles southeast of London and has been inhabited since prehistoric times.
As a result of the destruction of the German towns of Lubeck and Rostock, Hitler was furious and ordered retaliatory attacks. The targets were selected to have the greatest possible effect on civilians. 

According to Goebbels, Hitler “intended to repeat these raids night after night until the English are sick and tired of terror attacks” and that “cultural centers, health resorts, and civilian centers must be attacked…there is no other way of bring the English to their senses.” The raids were referred to the Baedeker raids because of a comment made by the German propagandist Baron Gustav Braun von Stumm who said, “We shall go out and bomb every building in Britain marked with three stars in the Baedeker Guide (a popular travel guide at the time).”

Just after midnight on June 1, 1942, the Germans dropped over 10,000 incendiary bombs. This kind of fire bomb caused more damage than explosive bombs because of the intense blazes that start when the land. In short order, the city was a conflagration, and over 700 homes and nearly 300 other buildings, including the bus depot, three churches and two schools, were destroyed. Reports indicate that 115 people perished. Canterbury was hit again on June 6 and 7 resulting in another forty-five deaths.

Raids of this type continued well into 1944 when the Germans once again turned their sights to London.