Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Traveling Tuesday: Following the USO

Traveling Tuesday: Following the USO

Founded in 1941 and although congressionally chartered, the USO is not a government organization. Dependent on private funding, approximately thirty-three million dollars was raised by Thomas Dewey and Prescott Bush (today's equivalent=$433 million) between its founding and 1945. The organization's motto is "Until everyone comes home."

Known for its traveling camp shows and clubmobiles, the USO operated over 3,000 centers worldwide. Staffed by volunteer Senior and Junior hostesses, the centers provided recreational opportunities and dancing, a quiet place to write letters home, snacks and cigarettes (but no liquor), and even boxing rings. Not only did celebrities entertain the troops, but many volunteered as waitstaff or kitchen help.

Beginning in 1942, the mobile units toured every one of the forty-eight states during the war. The trucks carried generators, screens, and film projectors and many of the vehicles featured a public address system, turntable and records, sports gear, board games, and snacks. Most importantly the local USO would provide hostesses to dance with the young men.

Despite the danger, camp shows also operated in combat zones, and as a result thirty-seven performers lost their lives, including singer Tamara Drasin. According to historian Paul Holsinger the 702 traveling troupes conducted 293,738 performances during 208,178 separate visits entertaining more than 161 million service men and women. Mind-boggling numbers!

Today, the USO operates 160 centers worldwide and still depends on the generosity of others to provide funding.

The character in my current work-in-progress, Geneva Alexander, leaves home to join the Baltimore, MD USO. Where would you have been willing to serve?

Perhaps at one of these centers operating during WWII:

French Riviera USO

El Paso, Texas

USO in Elbow Beach, Bermuda

Temperature taking booth in Spain

USO in Hawaii

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Author Julie Arduini

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Author Julie Arduini

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. You recently published book three in your Surrendering Time series. Where did you get your inspiration, and did you set out to write a series, or did that idea come later?

Julie: Thanks for having me, Linda. The inspiration came in the early 1990’s when I first visited the real village of Speculator in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY. As I walked around, I kept thinking about characters and asking, “What if...?” Those first questions transformed from an outline, to a few lousy drafts, so sitting on a shelf while I married and had kids, and then in 2010, I became serious and started learning the craft. I never thought this would become a series, let alone publish at all. When I pitched to a small publisher, they asked and I had ideas for a series. I never thought I’d see it through. I am an indie author now, and I’m so glad it evolved the way it did.

LM: How do you come up with your characters? Are they based on any real people in your life?

Julie: Most of them are very loosely based. I watch people and situations and think though various plots. Often characters have a similarity to me or someone I know.

LM: You have published both fiction and non-fiction books. How is the writing process different for them?

Julie: That’s a great question. Both involve a great deal of thinking, but I find the non-fiction is more emotional. One of the books is an infertility book I co authored with five other authors who experienced infertility. I had to return to a very hard season in my life and recall it. That was quite draining. Fiction writing often puts me in a zone where I block out what’s around me and enter story world, and sometimes it’s difficult to enter the real world because I get so involved. However, it isn’t as emotional.

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

Julie: I make sure to read through my devotionals and pray, I really want to stay Christ centered and make sure the words I type are truly His. I tend to write in the bedroom as both my husband and our son work from home.

LM: If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Julie: I’d love to take our entire family on a Disney Cruise. We did one with just the four of us, but it would be fun to take the older children, their kids, my sister and nephew.

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

Julie: There are so many things! I was the original wedding crasher and it ended up being at my dentist’s wedding, and I was his patient that Monday and he asked me about it while I was trapped in the chair!

LM: LOL! What is your next project?

Julie: I am finishing up You’re Beautiful, a middle grade book in the Surrendering Stinkin’ Thinkin’ series. The idea and the plot/characterization comes from our teen daughter who has slight special needs and has experienced things she wants girls to recognize and give it to God. The first book is about a mentoring ministry where a teen girl and a college aged mentor both struggle separately with feeling ugly. I am so proud of her on this. This fall I return to contemporary romance with my 6 book series on Surrendering Opinions with Anchored. Readers can find the series prologue at the end of ENGAGED.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?


Monday, October 9, 2017

Mystery Monday: Margery Allingham

Mystery Monday: Margery Allingham

Known as one of the queens of crime, Margery Allingham wrote nearly fifty books in her career, most of which featured Albert Campion, the pseudonym for a prominent British aristocrat who becomes an "adventurer and a detective" in his mid 20s. Said to be a parody of Dorothy Sayer's Lord Wimsey, Campion starts out as a minor character in The Crime of Black Dudley published in 1929.

Both of her parents were writers, so it was only natural that Margery select that as her vocation. Her father was an editor and novelist, and her mother contributed stories to women's magazines. According to one source, she received her first fee when she was eight years old for a story she submitted to her aunt's magazine.

Margery continued to write for The Strand Magazine while her writing was gaining popularity.  Different than many of the other authors of The Golden Age of Detective Fiction, she included elements of romance and other secondary plot lines in her books. She is said to have considered the mystery novel as a "box with four sides: a killing, a mystery, an enquiry, and a conclusion with an element of satisfaction in it."

Two of Margery's best novels were written during WWII. The first, Traitor's Purse involves amnesia, The Tiger in the Smoke features an ex-commando and a search for treasure. What's not to love about that?
secrets, and treason woven together to create an intriguing, page-turning story.

Her writing is descriptive and her dialogue tight, creating characters and settings with few words. Timeless reads, her books are worth a trip to the library to pick up one or two or...

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Chatting With Lisa Flickinger

Talkshow Thursday: Chatting With Lisa Flickinger

Lisa Flickinger is joining me today and discussing her new book. Grab a chair and get to know this fascinating author.

Linda: Thanks for joining me today. Your latest book, Fool’s Notion is a story of a woman on the Oregon/California Trail with a pack string of mules. What made you decide to write this story?

Lisa: When I was eight years old, my family went on vacation to California and visited Knott’s Berry Farm. I remember vividly a miniature display of covered wagons on the Oregon Trail. At that moment I fell in love with the idea of pioneering.

LM: How did you decide which time period to set Fool’s Notion in?

Lisa: I use Borax detergent for “keeping my whites white” and there is a picture of a mule team on the box. When I researched the Borax “rush” I discovered it began in 1882. I picked 1883 as the year for my heroine, Alda, to have a reason to cross the country with her mules.

LM: Fascinating! I love hearing about those kinds of serendipitous inspirations. What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

Lisa: I don’t do anything special to prepare, I generally only write at my desk, in my office. Sounds of any kind disturb my creative process ;)

LM: Writers are often people who grew up as voracious readers. Who was your favorite author when you were a child?
Lisa: I’m definitely a voracious reader and I’m pretty sure I read through all the chapter books for kids in our local library. My aunt started me on Nancy Drew mysteries, by author Carolyn Keene, from there I moved onto the Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Belden …

LM: Yep - those were some of my favorites too! So, you live in a gorgeous area of the world, one many people would visit on holiday. If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Lisa: I have traveled to quite a few beautiful places in the world like Thailand, Philippines, Italy, and Switzerland, but my current wish list is to visit Ireland and Scotland. I would love to take a car tour and stay at B&B’s so we could stop and take in any sight we wished to.

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

Lisa:  Hmmm, quirky. Perhaps think I could write a novel. Seriously though, I once washed the feet of street people in the Philippines on a downtown boulevard with a mission team. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.   

LM: What is your next project?

Lisa: I’m writing a story of a young woman with a secret child in the late 1800’s who’s living in a rough and tumble logging town along the Rockies. She meets a new pastor with his own secrets and the two of them attempt to form a relationship under difficult circumstances.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

LM: Thanks so much for stopping by!

Lisa: Thanks for the interview.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Celebrate Lit Blog Tour: Deadly Proof

Celebrate Lit Blog Tour: Deadly Proof

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book title: Deadly Proof  
Author: Rachel Dylan  
Release date: September 5, 2017  
Genre: Legal Romantic Suspense

Tapped as lead counsel in a corporate cover-up lawsuit against Mason Pharmaceutical, Kate Sullivan knows this case could make her career. What really drives her, though, is getting justice for the victims whose lives were ruined by the company’s dangerous new drug. But when a whistleblower turns up dead, it paints a target on the back of everyone involved.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James steps in to handle security for Kate. He’s still haunted by mistakes in his past and is determined never to let something like that happen again. But it soon appears someone is willing to do anything–even commit murder–to keep the case from going to trial.

As danger closes in, Landon can’t help but admire Kate’s courage and resolve–but will her determination not to back down become too great of a risk?

My Thoughts

Part legal thriller, part mystery, Deadly Proof uses a court case against a pharmaceutical company to explore important issues such as integrity, fairness, and faith in times of trouble. The characters are well-developed, and I appreciate that Ms. Dylan uses one of them to shed light on depression, an illness suffered by nearly 20% of adults. I enjoyed trying to figure out who the mole was and was surprised by the plot twist near the end. There were times the pace got weighed down by legal jargon and process, but it’s necessary in order to understand why the attorneys and investigators do what they do (or don’t). Fans of John Grisham and Robert Whitlow should enjoy this book. Deadly Proof is the first book in a series, and I hope to see many of this story’s characters in the next book.

I received this book for free from CelebrateLit Publicity, and I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Rachel Dylan was a litigator in one of the nation’s most elite law firms for over eight years and now works as an attorney at one of the Big Three automobile manufacturers. She is the author of four Love Inspired Suspense novels and lives in Michigan with her husband. She is active on social media, and you can visit her website at www.racheldylan.com.

Q & A with Rachel Dylan

  1. The Atlanta Justice series is centered around strong, female lawyers who take on high-stakes cases. What made you want to write their stories?I’d have to say it’s personal! Having been an attorney for eleven years now, I love being able to pour parts of myself into the books. My everyday life as a lawyer isn’t that exciting and is definitely not as dangerous! But I’m able to draw on what I’ve lived through to bring life and authenticity to these characters.
  1. What type of research did you do for Deadly Proof?One of the great things about writing books related to my career is that I know lawyers who practice all different types of law. Deadly Proof focuses on Kate Sullivan, who is a plaintiff’s attorney taking on a big pharmaceutical company. I don’t do this specific type of plaintiff’s work, but I know lawyers who do, and I was able to talk with them. Also, I was able to relate to my characters on the defense side because I’ve done that work for years. It was really fun to write the perspectives of characters on both sides of the case.
  1. Is there a reason you chose Atlanta for this series?Yes! I’m from Georgia and lived in Atlanta, practicing law at a large law firm, for eight years. I wanted to pick a setting I was intimately familiar with to give readers an authentic Atlanta experience—sweet tea and all.
  1. Where do you think Kate’s passion for her work comes from?Kate truly believes that her life’s work is to help those who have been wronged. I believe a lot of her passion stems from her strong faith that has developed over the years. She’s not a lawyer to make big bucks but to change people’s lives for the better.
  1. What is the next book in the Atlanta Justice series about?Book two is about Kate’s friend Sophie Dawson, who we meet in Deadly Proof. Sophie is an Atlanta prosecutor. This story is exciting because it involves a completely different type of legal case than Deadly Proof. But I promise things get just as dangerous!

Remaining Blog Stops

October 2: Karen Sue Hadley
October 4: Mary Hake
October 5: Ashley's Bookshelf
October 6: Pause for Tales
October 7: Just Jo 'Anne
October 8: Neverending Stories
October 8: Rockin my Mom Jeans
October 8: Cafinated Reads


To celebrate the tour, Bethany House is giving away four Suspense Novels and a $25 Starbucks Gift Card!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04912/

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Sit down with Catherine Castle

Talkshow Thursday: Sit down with Catherine Castle

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. You recently published a new book that is a romantic comedy. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Catherine: A Groom for Mama is a romantic comedy with a touch of drama. The premise of the book is based on a radio play my husband and I wrote in 2003 as a contest entry for a local radio station that was looking for radio plays. The play finaled in the contest, but didn’t win. We set it aside, considering it an exercise in playwriting.
Later, I asked my husband if I could use the premise to write a romantic comedy. He agreed. I tweaked the title and the character, the main character was originally a male, and added a bunch more stuff because the play was only 20 minutes long, and A Groom for Mama was born. Here’s the book blurb.

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.
The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.
A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

LM: You write books, poetry, and plays. Which of those is your favorite?

Catherine: That’s a hard choice, Linda. Each one has its own rewards. Poetry was my first writing love. I’ve done that since I was a teen. With books, there’s a great satisfaction in coming up with a story line and getting to the place where you write those all-important word: THE END. And nothing beats the thrill of seeing your words acted out on the stage. It’s impossible to say which is THE FAVORITE, because I love doing them all.

LM: You have co-authored books with your husband. How do you share the writing process?

Catherine: We plot heavily and talk a book or play to death. He’s more the idea guy who can braid multiple story lines together. I’m the first draft writer who follows what we’ve laid out, but not always to the letter. He edits each day’s work. Sometimes the characters do things I don’t expect, and I have to go to hubby and say, ‘Oops. This didn’t go where we thought.” If he doesn’t like the direction the characters took me, then we hash it out and I start over. When the first draft is done, we retreat to his office and begin the editing process, making sure all the plot lines mesh, there are no holes, and all the other fun editing stuff writers have to do when the first draft is done.

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

Catherine: Other than thinking about a project constantly when I’m working on it, I don’t do any
ritualistic prep. I have a dedicated, very messy office where I write. Sometimes we’ll do a lake retreat and write.
LM: If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Catherine:  My own waterfront house in a seaside village, or maybe on Lake Michigan, with caretakers to mow the lawns keep the beautiful gardens and clean the house. I think I’d snowbird there. A house on the water is so relaxing.

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

Catherine: I don’t have much quirkiness or dare devil in me. I did ride a rollercoaster backward once.

LM: Yikes! That was brave of you. So, what is your next project?

Catherine: I’m working on a Christmas story and plotting a new book with my husband.

LM: Sounds intriguing. I can’t wait to hear more about them. Where can folks find you on the web?

Catherine: I’m on several social media sites, but my most active one is my blog. I also post on Stitches Thru Time and the SMP authors blog site, listed below:

StitchesThruTime Blog: http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/

Want to read A Groom for Mama? Visit http://www.amzn.com/B074SZSGB1 to pick up your copy.