Wednesday, September 20, 2017

War Time Wednesday: Victory Cake

War Time Wednesday: Victory Cake

It was all about Victory during WWII. Victory gardens, Victory Youth Corps, and victory jobs. Advertisers were quick to use the phrase in their marketing materials in an effort to appeal to customers’ sense of patriotism. Many a recipe included “victory” in its title, and here’s just one version of a Victory Cake from The Modern Hostess Cook Book Patriotic Edition published in 1942. A housewife would have had to save her milk and sugar rations for this yummy dessert – it calls for a cup of sugar and a half pint of heavy cream.

1 2/3 cup cake flour, sifted
2 t baking powder
¾ t salt
½ pint heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
2 t grated orange rind
1 t grated lemon rind
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. White the cream until just stiff. Gradually add the sugar to the cream. Add the egg yokes one at a time while beating slowly. Fold in the dry ingredients a little at a time to the creamed mixture. Beat egg whites until stiff then fold into the creamed mixture. Add the grated rinds.

Grease and flour a 9 X 5 loaf pan and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. Frost or sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mystery Monday: A One Hit Wonder?

Mystery Monday: A One Hit Wonder?

Over the years, there have been bands and soloists who record a song that shoots them to the top of the charts. Millions of copies are sold (or downloaded nowadays), but subsequent recordings of new material barely make a showing. The singers faded into obscurity. Here are just a few: “Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Riders, “Take on Me” by A-ha, “Macarena” by Los Del Rio, and “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell.

There are authors who suffer the same fate, sometimes by fate, other times by choice. Alan Clutton-Brock is was born in 1904 in Weybridge, Surrey, England. In 1955, he inherited Chastlelton House, which turned out to be a financial burden. An artist, art critic, and professor at Cambridge, Clutton-Brock didn’t have the income to maintain the building. In an article in the Independent granddaughter Sarah Jewel tells how he was” more concerned about his painting or reading to keep the house tidy.”

Very involved in the art community, Clutton-Blake wrote a biography of William Blake in 1933 and later became trustee of the National Gallery. Widowed in 1936 after his wife died in a car accident, he married Barbara Foy Mitchell the following year. Reports indicate he was friends with T. S. Eliot and George Orwell. Is that why he wrote and published his one and only novel, a mystery, Murder at Liberty Hall?

Set in a co-educational school (considered VERY progressive) shortly before the war began in the 1939, the book was hailed as a “gleefully cerebral thriller” by New York Times critic Kay Irvin. Popular with readers in the UK and the US, the book sold well. The sleuth, scientist James Hardwicke, is an amateur and is at the school to investigate a case of pyromania among the students. Within a short time of his arrival, a murder occurs and it is up to Hardwicke to find the culprit.

Full of dry humor and political commentary, Murder at Liberty Hall isn’t fast paced like today’s thrillers, but it will keep you turning pages.

Do you have a favorite one-hit-wonder author?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Author Amber Schamel

Talkshow Thursday: Author Amber Schamel

Today I am sitting down with my good friend and fellow writer, Amber Schamel. I'm excited to be part of getting the word out about her latest release, Solve by Christmas. It's Amber's first crack at writing a mystery, and it's a good one! Draw up a chair and meet Amber!

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. You recently published your first mystery, Solve By Christmas. What made you decide to write in that genre? What was your inspiration for the plot?

Amber: I needed a story idea that would be of shorter length. I had already determined that I wanted to make it a Christmas story. As I was thinking about that, I wondered about plots with a deadline of Christmas. By Christmas...that was intriguing. As I made a mental list of different story lines one came to mind about a detective who had to solve a case by Christmas. I liked that idea, because I’ve always had a fascination with detectives and mysteries. Then the though popped into my head, what if the case the detective had to solve wasn’t a “case” as he thought? And there’s where it began.

LM: Do you anticipate more adventures for Detective Hollock?

Amber: I don’t know yet. We’ll see how this first book is received. Since it’s my first mystery I am TOTALLY nervous. LOL. But I have been thinking about a story line involving Jasper and the boys from the orphanage.

LM: You have published several books. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Amber: Creating with the Creator. There is no feeling like crafting and writing a story where God whispers into your ear. So many times I have not been able to solve a story issue until He drops a thought in there that fits perfectly. And I’m sitting there thinking, “Where did that come from?” Jasper’s story idea was kinda that way.

LM: Which of your characters, if any, are inspired by real people (including yourself!)?

Amber: Well, I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. And then Jasper would surely find me out, so let’s just keep that secret under wraps. ;)

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

Amber: I open my faithful laptop Qwerty, plug in my headphones and turn on a soundtrack playlist. These are about my only rituals since I have to write in a lot of places. In the car on road trips, in hotel rooms, on airplanes, in a ranch in the Ozarks, and in our home in Colorado.
I choose a different soundtrack playlist for each story that I write. For Solve by Christmas a majority of the playlist came from the Titanic soundtrack since the disaster took place in the same timeframe as Jasper’s story.

LM: You live in Colorado, a beautiful area of the U.S., but if money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Amber: Somewhere with LOTS of history and endless opportunities for museums and fellowship with local believers. And if I can see beautiful scenery along the way, I’m a happy gal.

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

Amber: You’re as bad as Jasper, probing for all these secrets! LOL. Let’s see. I once scared myself with my own shadow. I have done some TOTALLY stupid looking things to make my little sister laugh. Mostly strange expressions.

LM: What is your next project?

Amber: I have a Civil War novel that I’m working on editing and hope to pitch soon. But as far as what first draft I’m writing next...It’s a WWII love story. I don’t want to give it all away, but let’s just say it has to do with this question: What if your best friend died and you fell in love with their fiancĂ©, only to find out your best friend was still alive?
LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Amber: Everywhere! Well, almost. ;) Check out the links below and be sure to sign up for my newsletter (


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Blog Tour: Wheresoever They May Be

Blog Tour: Wheresoever They May Be

 Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book title: Wheresoever They May Be  
Author: Terri Wangard  
Release date: August 31, 2017
Genre: Historical – World War II

Lily Swanson longs to be a mother. Soon Frank should be home for good and they can furnish a nursery. Maybe even find a bigger house. Joe Gallagher grew up in a small house with plenty of siblings. He loves the solitude of flying, but the war has dragged on for so long. He’s ready to go home. Susan Talbot has a bad attitude. She’s estranged from her family and she doesn’t attract friends. But war can bring out the best in people and Susan’s surprised to realize she’s happy. They all do their part in striving for victory in World War II. Sometimes, though, the danger can be hard to identify.

My Thoughts

Wheresoever They May Be is a well-written, powerful, and sometimes gritty book about realities of life during WWII. The novel follows four people whose lives intersect off and on at home and abroad. Author Terri Wangard has obviously conducted extensive research about the era, the factory work, and the military. Although sometimes overwhelming, I loved learning about aspects of the time period I was unfamiliar with. Several things also intrigued me enough to conduct my own research to learn more. Her characters are so real I found myself emotionally responding to the rude and unlikeable people and rooting for the “good guys.” The chapters alternate between Points of View creating page-turning suspense. There were several incidents which made me laugh out loud, and others which made me gasp. I love all of Terri’s books, and this is another great read. I didn’t give Wheresoever They May Be five stars because of the violence, but that is personal taste and not a criticism. The novel is, after all, about wartime. Highly recommended.

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

About the Author

Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

Guest Post from Terri Wangard

After eight years of thinking, breathing, researching B-17s, I was ready to disembark and concentrate on something else. But what? I had a vague idea of three friends who joined the WAC, the WAVES, and the WASPs, but nothing crystalized. Except for the WAC. I didn’t want to completely turn away from flying, and I prefer topics that aren’t commonly known. How about a grasshopper pilot? My second character was on board. I had toyed with the idea of a family generational series. A World War II story paired with a World War I story. But no, too unwieldy. The WAC could have a sister, though, who stayed on the home front and did factory work. Oh, dear. I couldn’t completely stay away from B-17s. She’s building them. She also needs a husband. He’ll be in the navy, and not on an aircraft carrier. A destroyer! (This was in the works before Sarah Sundin signed a contract for her just-concluded series about destroyer men. I checked with her: She was writing about the Atlantic war; my guy’s in the Pacific. No problem.) I studied the list of Pacific destroyers and, oooh, the Spence. All kinds of possibilities there. So there I had it: a sailor, his Rosie-the-Riveter wife, her WAC sister, and a grasshopper pilot. They’re all doing their part to help win the war, but sometimes the enemy isn’t obvious.

Blog Stops

Here are the rest of Terri's Tour Stops:
September 11:  Daysong Reflections
September 11: Pursuing Stacie
September 12: God's Little Bookworm
September 13: Blossoms and Blessings
September 13: Mary Hake


To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away:
Grand Prize of $25 Amazon Gift Card 1st Place prize of the Wheresoever They May Be – eBook
and 2nd Place prize of the Wheresoever They May Be – eBook!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Blog Tour: Will Not See

Blog Tour: Will Not See

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book title: Will Not See  
Author: Chautona Havig   
Release date: August 29, 2017  
Genre: Christian Fiction / contemporary / suspense (light)

When Vikki Jeffries wakes up in a Rockland hotel with no idea of who she is and why she can’t remember… well, anything, the Rockland medical community begins to take a closer look at what may have happened to cause a second case of inexplicable amnesia. But for Vikki, this is more than a medical anomaly–it’s her life. What is she doing in Rockland, thousands of miles away from her home in Apache Junction, Arizona? Who is she? Why is no one looking for her? Or are they? Will Not See: Not everything is as it seems.

My Thoughts

Will Not See is a suspenseful mystery based on a fascinating premise – what if someone suffers amnesia, but the only people from her past to look for her are those who want her dead. The book starts off with a bang; I was drawn in from the very first sentence. I enjoyed following the clues to solve Vikki’s case, and the period scenes from the villain’s point of view ratcheted up the suspense. I liked and could relate to Vikki, Ella, and Brandon, but would have liked to see more of Ella’s husband David. He seemed to be a great guy with some substance, but he only shows up periodically. The book is heavy on dialogue, and as someone who likes to visualize the setting and characters, I would have liked more description. Vikki’s case is solved, but the book is not tied up in a neat, little bow, which I would have preferred. Will Not See was an enjoyable read.

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

About the Author

Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie and Past Forward Series, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert. With dozens of books to her name, Chautona spends most of her time writing, but when she takes the rare break, she can be found reading, sewing, paper crafting, or sleeping and dreaming of finishing the dozens of books swirling in her overly-active imagination at any given moment

Guest Post from Chautona Havig

The circle of death swirls on the screen and it shifts. The bank balance appears, and with it, my heart sinks. It’s been a tough few months, financially. The bottom line proves it. My reaction? Inhale. Exhale. “Okay, now we know the worst. We can do something about it.” My husband, on the other hand, suffers a definite blow. Kevin might not sleep that night. Instead, he’ll mull over what we could have done differently, how we can make changes, if he’s a failure at this thing called life. He’ll pray—for hours. They say ignorance is bliss. And sometimes, that’s true. It’s also a personality thing, I think. I tend to be a “let me have your worst” kind of gal. But when the negative arrives, I also tend to want to shield Kevin from it all. I don’t know how he can worry so much. He can’t fathom how I can turn it off. But sometimes those personality things go deeper—into what can be serious faults. It has been said, “There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.” Or, in the words of Jeremiah, “Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear.”

What does this have to do with not seeing?

As I work on the Sight Unseen series, one recurring theme happens, of course. Memory loss—the removal of all insight into one’s past. You can hear who you were, be informed of what you did and why others think you did it, but you can’t know your own self the way you once did. It’s a fresh slate, and it can be a good thing in some respects. Those around you can now see the difference between habits and personality traits—true dislikes and those conditioned by life. What might have been a fear once could be gone if the cause of that fear is blotted out. But even for these fictional characters, truth doesn’t change. In None So Blind, Ella takes her memory loss and uses it as an opportunity to reinvent herself, if you will. And you know what? If you asked her family about it, they’d tell you that it fits her personality. That take-charge, gotta get ’er done attitude Dani may have used in different ways, but both “manifestations” of the woman had those qualities. Sure, Ella’s was tempered by recent experience, but not much.

Vikki Jeffries, is almost the antithesis of Ella in that respect.

The past is in the past. It scares her. Is it because she doesn’t know it? Because she’s frightened by the unknown? We don’t know. But what we do know is anything associated with that past, even the few very personal items she finds, she rejects. It’s as if ignorance of them will protect her from them. Where Ella runs to face her problems, Vikki runs from them. But despite those differences, I find it interesting that both women did the same thing, basically—just at different times. Before her “episode,” Ella chose to blind herself to her faults. She knew them. Lived with them daily, but couldn’t face or address them. So, she “refused to see.” Vikki—we don’t know. But I think the story shows that she couldn’t blind herself to truth before her episode. As much as she might have ached to, she just couldn’t. Now that the opportunity is here, however, she grasps it and if she insists on squeezing her eyes shut indefinitely, it may cost her everything—her life. Her soul.

Philippians 4:8, “…whatever is true.”

They say ignorance is bliss. Well, “they” also say, “Truth hurts.” And sometimes it does. But so do the consequences of that ignorance. I guess the next time the bank balance dips low, I won’t be handling the fallout alone. Then again, one can always pray that it doesn’t dip low! I think we’ll start there.

Blog Stops

Here are the remaining stops in Chautona's tour:

September 8: Pause for Tales
September 9: Blossoms and Blessings
September 10: A Baker's Perspective
September 10: Pursuing Stacie
September 11: His Grace is Sufficient
September 11: Reader's Cozy Corner


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize of the None So Blind Paperback, the Will Not See Paperback, a Journaling Bible (Choice of KJV or NLT), Prismacolor Pencils, and a Christian Hymns Album!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Blog Tour: The Duke's Dilemma

Blog Tour: The Duke's Dilemma


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book title: The Duke’s Dilemma  
Author: Elaine Manders  
Release date: May 27, 2017  
Genre: Historical Romance, subgenre: Regency  

Should he wed the perfect match—or the one he loves? Edward Dalton, the new Duke of Langsdale, must soon take a wife to ensure the hereditary line. A young war widow seems the perfect choice. She is charming, well respected with impeccable character, and her connections to the Ton’s most important people is an asset he can’t ignore. But Edward is intrigued by another widow. The mysterious, hauntingly beautiful Lady Wayte. Cassandra Wayte could not be a more unsuitable match. She isn’t received by polite society, and her notorious dealings with London’s underclass is the talk of nobility from White’s patrons to the most fashionable hostesses. It’s even whispered she murdered her elderly husband. But Edward sees a different side of the tragic lady, and he determines to discover the secrets tormenting her. As he peels away the layers of her resistance, he discovers a malevolent adversary stalking Lady Wayte and exposes a level of depravity that shocks even his war-hardened sensibilities. Can he win her trust and her heart? And at what cost to the dukedom? As Cassandra’s relentless search for her husband’s murderer exposes both her and Edward to unseen dangers, all they can rely on is their love for each other and their faith in God.

My Thoughts

The Duke’s Dilemma is the second book in the Wolf Deceiver’s series, but was easily read as a stand-alone. I connected with Cassandra and Edward immediately and found myself rooting for them as they navigated the curve balls like tossed at them. I was saddened when Cassandra was ostracized and subjected to unfounded gossip, and I felt her grief at the memories about the loss of her husband. I enjoyed following the investigation to discover the identity of the murderer. (I didn’t figure it out, but once the killer was revealed, I realized the clues had been laid out all along.) I liked learning about an era through colloquialisms and descriptions and shudder to think what it must have been like to have go through each day wearing the amount of clothing required by society. I was touched by the messages about faith, forgiveness, and mercy that were woven into the story through the use of dialogue. Because of the fast pace I was able to finish the book in two long sittings, and I was disappointed when it was over. I know I will read The Duke’s Dilemma again. And again. Elaine Manders is a skilled author whose characters will stay with me. Now to go back and read book one…

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

About the Author


Elaine Manders writes wholesome Christian romance and suspense about the bold, capable women of history and the strong, dependable men who love them. She prefers stories that twist and turn and surprise, told by characters of faith. She lives in Central Georgia with a happy bichon-poodle mix. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, crafts, and spending time with her friends, daughter, and grandchildren.

Guest post from Elaine Manders

Historical romance became my favorite genre back in the seventies and eighties, and one of my favorite settings was Regency England. A Regency can be a romance in the Jane Austin mode or historical romance set during the Regency period. There is a difference, and The Duke’s Dilemma falls into this latter category. Yes, there is some of usual drawing room intrigue in an Austen novel, but The Duke’s Dilemma contains a serious spiritual theme. The plot fitted perfectly into my new series, The Wolf Deceivers. I wrote the original manuscript nearly twenty years ago as a light, secular romance, but when I revised it to Christian romance, I was delighted to find the inspirational thread deepened the characters. Instead of merely fighting for her reputation while trying to wrest the duke from another woman, Cassandra, the heroine, must fight for her survival. Instead of being another handsome, sardonic nobleman, Edward, the hero, uses his intelligence and grace to protect Cassandra and win her love. Even the secondary characters captivated me. Little Sarah’s match-making antics suited the Regency theme and provided some levity during the darker moments of the plot. Lady Ashford, Cassandra’s foil, developed a tenacity I had to admire in spite of all her shortcomings. And Sir Harcrumb became a villain I loved to hate. Though the characters changed a great deal in the retelling, the plot remained basically the same. The only thing I added was a surprise twist at the end—something that has inadvertently become a part of my brand. Every story is a learning experience for me, and I’m always grateful for how much I learn from my research and from the Holy Spirit. I’ve become more aware of those who deceive, and how vulnerable people, especially young people, are to Satan’s tactics. Also, I’ve unexpectedly come away with a better understanding of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Although this is a new label, we all know it has affected people throughout history. Yes, The Duke’s Dilemma has taught me much, and I hated to say good-bye to these characters. I love stories that move me during the writing and only ask two things of my books. That they bring enjoyment to my readers and glory to my Lord and Savior, Jesus. I hope this one does both.

Blog Stops

I am honored to be the last stop on Elaine's Tour!


To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away:
Grand prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card 1st place: paperback copies of Books 1 and 2 of the Wolf Deceivers series, The Chieftain’s Choice and The Duke’s Dilemma!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Debut Author Rachel L Miller

Talkshow Thursday: Debut Author Rachel L. Miller

Linda:  I'm pleased to welcome debut novelist, Rachel L. Miller to today's Talkshow Thursday. She feels very strongly that God has led her to a simpler lifestyle, thus her deep kinship with the Plain People. She enjoys spending time with her family and doing fun, simple things like swimming, making sun tea, sitting outside watching the sunrise, or listening to rain fall on the tin roof. 

Rachel, thanks for joining me today. Your debut novel, A Mother for Leah sounds intriguing. Where did you get the inspiration for the plot?

Rachel: Well, first you need to know that A Mother for Leah was written spontaneously-in answer to a challenge from my mother. As far as inspiration, it was mostly a combination of my own dependence on God's will, combined with the curiosity of what would happen when someone in the Amish community chose not to remarry immediately.

LM: The journey to publication can sometimes be long and frustrating. As a debut novelist, what advice can you give to not-yet-published authors?

Rachel: Do not give up. Pray a lot. Trust that God has a plan and that He will get you where you need to be in His time, which is more perfect than anything we can imagine!

LM: Your novel is set in “Windy Gap.” Is that a real location or did you make it up, and if so is there a location you based it on?

Rachel: "Windy Gap" is a made up community. In fact, so far all the locations for my series are made up. Creating my own locations and communities made it easier for me to take full creative license. Also, I knew that was the name of my town from the very beginning and since there was no town that I could find in New York that matches it , I made one up. For those who enjoy knowing geographical locations, Windy Gap is roughly twenty miles north of Allegheny State Park in Cattaraugus County, NY.

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

Rachel: I must have coffee, music, and no distractions. Once I am in my story world, if I get pulled away, often it proves impossible for me to immerse myself again. This is why I tend to get up very early to write.

LM: Writing about a different culture must take a significant amount of research to ensure accuracy. Do you have an unusual or favorite research story to share?

Rachel: Unusual, yes. On one of our most recent research trips, I stood outside in twenty degree weather, with cars rushing past me on a highway bridge because I was determined to get a particular shot of an older bridge that was tucked back in the woods off the main road.

LM: What new skill would you like to master at some point (e.g., a foreign language, etc.)?

Rachel: Since moving in our new house, my daughter and I have been learning archery. She doesn't have much distance yet, but her accuracy far outstrips mine.

LM: Tell me about A Mother for Leah.

Rachel:  Here is the book blurb: 

Will Leah Fisher find love because of a buggy accident?

Could love soften Leah's heart so that she is able to see her answered prayers in Naomi Yoder or will she drive a wedge between her father and the only woman he has shown an interest in since Elisabeth Fisher's death?

Leah Fisher lost her mother ten years ago. She is rapidly approaching womanhood, and the lack is becoming more difficult every day. Will she be able to recognize love when it is right in front of her? Could love be the key to Leah opening her heart, making room for the woman her father intends to marry...or will she stubbornly cling to the memory of her own mother? Will Leah be able to let go of her own ideas and realize that God truly does know best for her or will she allow love to slip through her fingers, destroying Samuel Fisher and Naomi Yoder's happiness at the same time?

LM: What is your next project?

Rachel: Currently I am working on book 2 of the Windy Gap Wishes series.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?


LM: Thank you so much for visiting! Best wishes on the success of your novel.