The Sky Above Us

A special welcome to award-winning World War II author Sarah Sundin. Here’s her latest novel, and Sarah is offering a giveaway of one signed copy of The Sky Above Us to one fortunate commenter between now and Feb. 18.  Thanks so much, Sarah.  

Tell us about your new release, please.

Burdened by his past, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe as the Allies struggle for control of the air before D-day. Violet Lindstrom wants to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment and refreshments for the men of the 357th in the Aeroclub. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her programs for local children. Adler finds his defenses crumbling. But D-day draws near. And secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Why did you choose to write about these aspects of World War II?

With each novel and each series I like to focus on different aspects of the war to keep things fresh. A few years ago, I thought it would be interesting to write a series about D-day, with three brothers fighting from the sea, in the air, and on the ground. My first series focused on bomber pilots, and a lot of readers told me I should write about a fighter pilot. What if I had a fighter pilot flying over the beaches of Normandy on D-day? That’s how Lt. Adler Paxton came to be.

For the heroine, I decided to have Violet Lindstrom work for the American Red Cross. The ARC ran Aeroclubs at the US airfields in Britain, arranging refreshment and entertainment for the airmen. That sounded like a fun and adventurous way for a woman to serve her country.

What unique aspects about your research can you share with us?

Although this was my eleventh World War II novel, each story presents new research challenges. Adler’s story was surprisingly easy to research. I’d already tracked down a lot of information on the US Eighth Air Force while writing my Wings of Glory series.

And fighter pilots love to tell stories. I found countless memoirs, oral histories, home movies, and photos. These were valuable to help me understand the mindset of fighter pilots, how it felt to fly a P-51 Mustang in combat, and what everyday life was like on the air bases in England.

Violet’s story with the American Red Cross presented a greater challenge. In general, stories from personnel in any support capacity are scarcer. I found a treasure trove of primary documents about the Red Cross on Fold3.com (a division of Ancestry.com). These provided many of the big picture details I needed about ARC services overseas. On the personal side, I perused the Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project on the University of North Carolina, Greensboro website. They’ve collected oral histories, photos, and documents from women veterans, including dozens of Red Cross workers. These helped me piece together the colorful bits about what life was like for these brave and resourceful women.

Bio:

Sarah Sundin is a bestselling author of historical novels, including The Sky Above Us and The Sea Before Us. Her novels When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years,” and Through Waters Deep was a finalist for the 2016 Carol Awardand won the INSPY Award.A mother of three, Sarah lives in California and teaches Sunday school. She also enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups.Please visit her at http://www.sarahsundin.com.

Sarah has also shared this trailer for The Sky Above Us: you may view it here: 

 

Mothers In Waiting—Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms

Usually we welcome fiction authors, but non-fiction authors Crystal and Meghann Bowman offer so much to many women in this new publication. I can attest to the beauty of these heartfelt stories and the hope they offer. The authors have agreed  give away one copy of this book, published by Harvest House, so please leave a comment.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 percent of women in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. That’s about 6.1 million women whose bodies work a little differently when it comes to having a baby. When infertility rules a woman’s life, the downward spiral begins.

Everyday experiences become painful reminders. She stays home from church on Mother’s Day, and she cringes when she receives another baby shower invitation. It also takes a toll on her marriage as making loves turns into making babies.

This is how my daughter-in-law Meghann felt for more than 5 long years. Besides wondering what was wrong with her body–and why she couldn’t do the one thing that a woman’s body is supposed to do—she felt alone. Surrounded by pregnant friends and happy baby announcements, she struggled with feelings of inferiority and sadness.

After several exhausting years, Meghann finally became pregnant and is currently the mother of two healthy little ones. Her desire is to offer hope and encouragement to other women who are walking that lonely path. She wanted to write a book and came to me for help.

Since her story is only one woman’s story, I had an idea: what if we collected stories from 30 women so we could have a wide variety of stories? Meghann said “Yes!” and the project began.

I thought it would be difficult to find 30 women to share their stories, but God brought them to me one after the other. It seemed no matter where I went, I met women who wanted to share their stories. Women of all ages, all ethnicities, and all walks of life offered their stories of infertility, surgeries, miscarriage, adoption, IVF failures and successes, as well as finding peace in being childless.

The result is a beautiful new book titled Mothers In Waiting–Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms.

 

Each story follows the same format: My Story; My Struggle, My Strength, and My Scripture. Each story is told through the voice of the contributor—honest, real, and heartfelt. There are no easy answers or simple solutions offered. But readers with aching hearts will find hope and encouragement from women who want to walk beside them, identify with their pain, and point them to God.

You can find this encouraging book here: https://www.harvesthousepublishers.com/books/mothers-in-waiting-9780736975360

 

 

 

Flights of Fancy

Welcome to Jen Turano, a Bethany House author who is releasing her thirteenth novel….Here’s a brief history of her writing.

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romanceby Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.

Jen is offering a giveaway of one paper copy to a fortunate commenter…now, I hope you enjoy getting to know her better.

Tell us about your new release, please. Are you one of those who details the plot before beginning to write, or how does the process work for you?

“Flights of Fancy” is the story of Miss Isadora Delafield, an American heiress in possession of an annoyingly determined mother – one who believes nothing but an aristocrat will do as a potential husband for her one and only daughter. When the dastardly Duke of Montrose sets his eye on Isadora, she decides she has no choice but to flee New York until her mother comes to her senses, which sets the scene for all sorts of unlikely incidents when Isadora, oddly enough, finds herself living on a farm, taking on the role of housekeeper to Mr. Ian MacKenzie, a self-made man with more than a few secrets of his own.

The idea for the story came about as most ideas do with two words…What if. In this case I wondered what if, instead of giving into her mother’s wishes, Consuelo Vanderbilt balked and ran away instead of marrying the Duke of Marlborough. Just like that, a series began to take shape and before I knew it, I’d done a proposal for the American Heiress series with Isadora’s story being the first of the trilogy. I do plan out my stories in a lot of detail – mostly because I’m required to turn in a proposal to my editors first. Having said that, though, none of my stories ever turn out the way I originally intend, mostly because my characters always have a mind of their own and they take me exactly where I need to be taken.

What unique aspects about your research can you share with us?

The most interesting research I uncovered with this story revolved around the orphanages in Pittsburgh in the 1880’s. I was intending on using an orphan train as backstory for the children readers will find in the book, but then I ran across this book – “Child Care in Black & White: Working Parents and the History of Orphanages” by Jessie B. Ramey. It was a fascinating read – detailed how many parents used orphanages much like parents use daycare today, and because of that book, I completely changed one of the plot points.

How did you begin writing …and how has this vocation affected you?

Odd as this will probably sound, I never had any aspirations to be a writer when I was younger. My family leans more toward the sciences, and because of that, I never considered writing as a serious choice to pursue as a career. Much to my father’s concern, I decided to major in Clothing & Textiles because I wanted to become a buyer, and even though that was not a career he thought was suitable for me (one of my brothers is a surgeon, the other two are engineers) he figured that since I’d at least be doing a bit of math, it wasn’t a completely horrible major to obtain. I worked in retail for years before my husband and I decided we’d probably need to get around to starting a family. And because I didn’t think I’d win any Mom of the Year awards if I’d continue traveling after I had my son, I gave up my career to become a stay-at-home mom. When my son was in third grade, we decided to try our hand at writing our own book after reading a horrible series about a bird, and that’s when I really began considering pursuing a career in writing. I knew nothing about the publishing industry and certainly needed to improve my writing craft because, even though I’d always done well in English and writing classes, well, I’ll merely say that I had quite a few issues, each and one pointed out in detail by agents who were kind enough to lend me their advice, even if that advice was incredibly painful at times. After about seven failures, I finally landed an agent, and then she very kindly went out and sold “A Change of Fortune” to Bethany House. I’ve been writing for them ever since.

Thanks so much. I’m glad you persevered, and so are your readers.

 

Connect further with Jen at these sites:

www.jenturano.com

https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/

JenTurano@JenTurano

Earth to Gail…

Two nights ago, Lance took some photos of the moon just before it became a “blood moon.” This was about 9 p.m. Arizona time, and we could just see a rosy haze rising due to refracted light. 

 

He didn’t think they’d turn out, but…well, I’ll let you be the judge.

He’s been snapping dozens of elk, deer, javelina, and bird pics too…but this total eclipse only happens once in a… quite a few years.

I’ve neglected blogging for the past few weeks, and could explain that I’ve been head over heels into my next WWII story featuring the POW camp in Algona, Iowa. But that would sound like an excuse, so I’m just starting in again…hopefully you’re all in a compassionate frame of mind.

The good news is that I am approaching…not there yet, but CLOSE to completing this final (I HOPE!!) edit of a manuscript that has given me some surprises and frustrations along the way. Aren’t things supposed to become easier with practice???

And just for good measure, here are a couple more pics from our day trip to Sedona.

I love the way the background and foreground integrate. Reminds me of how the main characters and secondary characters in a novel complement each other.

Each of their personal stories shares a common premise. It stands to reason that during war, that premise may become even more complicated than normal.

Picture a small midwestern town chosen to host hundreds of Nazi prisoners…many of them from Hitler’s elite SS, taken captive in North Africa. What would it be like to guard them…to provide milk, eggs, and other essentials to feed them, knowing that chances are slim Allied prisoners were being treated according to the Geneva Convention? 

Doesn’t this sound a little complicated?  Stay tuned – ALL FOR THE CAUSE is on its way!

A New Year

From the beautiful Ponderosa Pine forest under the Mogollon Rim, some photos for you to enjoy, thanks to my husband. May 2019 be a succession of days in which you see beauty all around you.

For today, a glorious shot of this deer outside our door, our woodpile, and a red-named sapsucker getting the most he can out of our mountain oak tree.

Here’s to the MOST out of life for us all in 2019!

Not Just Any Man

Welcome to New Mexico author Loretta Miles Tollefson. As you relax after the holiday, here’s your chance to learn about Old New Mexico, a gorgeous ares of the Southwest United States. I can tell this author is all about research because of the many questions she asks.

AND here is a chance to win a print copy of Loretta’s novel by responding to one of her questions at the end of her post

Sometimes, the character in one novel becomes the impetus for an entirely different book. In 2017, Sunstone Press published The Pain and The Sorrow, my novel about an 1860s Hispanic teenager married to a serial killer. In that book, a middle-aged multiracial woman named Alma Kinkaid comes to my protagonist’s assistance after the girl reports her husband’s nefarious activities.

Even before The Pain and the Sorrow was published, I began thinking about Alma’s heritage. I envisioned this Black/Native American/Anglo woman as living in New Mexico all of her life. This would mean she was born there in the 1820s. But how did that happen?

The most rational explanation was that her father was a black mountain man who married a New Mexico girl of mixed heritage. So then the question became how a black man from Missouri, where many of the American mountain men came from, and a young woman in New Mexico might have met and fallen in love. What kind of issues might have stood in their way? What events were occurring in New Mexico at the time? How would those events have affected my protagonists? Historical fiction is made fro questions like these. The result was Not Just Any Man.

 

Not Just Any Man addresses some of my favorite themes. There’s the love story, of course. But there’s also the search for a way to achieve one’s heart’s desire without compromising one’s integrity. In addition, the novel explores the issue of being accepted for one’s character rather than one’s external appearance or possessions. We all want these things. They’re universal needs that transcend location and time.

Not Just Any Man and The Pain and The Sorrow are just the first of many stories of Old New Mexico that I hope to tell. I’d love to hear from you about the kinds of novels you wish someone would write about 1800’s New Mexico and the American West. What kinds of characters and situations intrigue you? What themes do you wish historical fiction would address more often? Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Not Just Any Man or The Pain And The Sorrow, the novel that inspired it.

Loretta Miles Tollefson grew up in the American West in a log cabin built by her grandfather. She lives in New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo mountains, where she researches the region’s history and imagines what it would have been like to actually experience it.
Readers can contact her at lorettamilestollefson@gmail.com or via the contact page at lorettamilestollefson.com.
The Amazon link for Not Just Any Man is https://www.amazon.com/dp/0998349852.

Christmas thoughts 2019

Frosty days…frostier nights. Ice waiting right outside your door. The days get shorter, the nights get longer. That’s Iowa in winter.

But last week, in the midst of my research/writing about the HORRID winter of 1944 and commiserating about the plight of Allied soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge and my nurse heroine trying to save their lives,  a little elf came to our house to decorate…

 

Inside and outside. Wherever needed…pretty much everywhere!

She brought so much energy and joy along, winter seems brighter already. And then we started baking…

Christmas Eve arrived, and the. photos multiplied.

How did our grandson get so tall, compared with last year at this time?

And our Greatest Generation GREAT Grandma still made her famous German potato salad and rice pudding for us all last night.

As Charlie Brown says, it doesn’t matter what’s under the tree, what matters is WHO is around the tree.

A blessed Christmas to all of you.

Historical Biblical Fiction Mystery Thriller?

I’d like to welcome Kelly Fitzgerald Fowler today. Her unfamiliar/unique genre poses questions in my mind, which may have something to do with age, but we’re still here to learn and grow, right? One of my questions is, WHY would someone want to read this?

So come along with me and attempt to grasp the gist of this genre. Please feel free to ask Kelly questions, and she’s giving away one free audiobook and one free e-book. We’re trying something new this time: if you can find a way to use the word THRILLER in your comment, you will qualify for her giveaways. (:  enjoy!

Over My Dead Body: A Supernatural Novel– Historical Biblical Fiction Mystery Thriller!

Have you ever heard of an Historical Biblical Fiction Mystery Thriller? If not, get ready to dive into this new genre as I break down why Over My Dead Body is more than just a novel.

Historical fiction is a made-up story set in the past, borrowing characteristics of that period. Take Margaret Mitchel’ls Gone with the Wind, for example; a real war but fake characters. When you think of a biblical thriller, think of the thrilling life David must have led as he escaped the grip of King Saul, who was determined to end the young king’s reign before it could even begin.

Think in terms of The Robe or This Present Darkness. Now, try to imagine these two breath-taking genres working together to create a gripping tale that is too good to be true!

Over My Dead Body spans from the creation of the universe through ancient biblical times to the present with lead character, Joel Cohen, attempting to solve an old family mystery as angels and demons fight for and against his mission. The story weaves the influence of the past with events of the present in a heightened sense of suspense, excitement, surprise, and anticipation you would find in a thriller.

With more details to discover, Over My Dead Body explores the life of the High Priest Annas (Ananias) and his Jewish Dynasty, 70 AD Jewish Historian Josephus in his report about ancient Jerusalem and Rome, and gentile saviors (think Schindler’s List) from World War II with Joel’s Bubbe (meaning Jewish Grandmother) Rachel recording a detailed account of her escape from the Nazis.

As I mentioned above not only human eyes see what lies in the past or the present.  Narration from an angel named Harper and a demon named Marq walk you through many of the historical events from spiritual realms revealing even more mysteries.

Since this novel was developed from my own personal Bible study, I decided to put together a study guide to accompany the book for anyone who is interested in diving deeper into the major concepts in the novel. Concepts such as gentiles grafted with the New Covenant, the Throne room of heaven, and the angels mentioned in Ezekiel.

The study guide will be released initially via e-book in February 2019 for a Bible study I will personally lead at Seacoast Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC, in March. There are also discussion questions at the back of the novel for book clubs that would like to dig deeper into scripture and biblical discussions of the concepts in the story.

So, as Gail asked, why would you want to read this? Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The full abundance Jesus is speaking of does not start when you make it to heaven. It starts when you meet Jesus. A biblical thriller is our story of our own personal walk with our savior. It’s a thrill to be on assignment for the Kingdom of God and I promise Joel’s mysterious assignment will take you to places you would never imagine.

I hope you look forward to an adventure through this new and exciting genre and learn something new along the way. If so, Over My Dead Body: A Supernatural Novelis available in paperback, hardcopy, e-book and audiobook on Amazon here https://amzn.to/2SIG8Bh. You can also learn more at my website: https://kellyfitzgeraldfowler.com/

 

The Writer’s Roadmap

Today I’m welcoming Leigh Shulman, who mentors writers and lives in beautiful Argentina, as she introduces her helpful new book for writers: The Writer’s Roadmap: Paving the Way To Your Ideal Writing Life.
                           Thank you for sharing with us, Leigh!


Back Cover Copy:

Have you always dreamed of making a living from writing? Or even just a way to fit writing into your everyday life? But you’ve stopped before you’ve even started because fear and doubt get in the way…

 

“What if I’m not good enough? What if nobody wants to read what I have to say? I’m overwhelmed with ideas and lack of time and don’t know how or where to start.”

 

Your writing dream can seem impossibly hard to reach.

 

These are all blocks that writing teacher and author, Leigh Shulman, has helped hundreds of students overcome, to go on to achieve their writing goals. Now in The Writer’s Roadmap, she shares her twenty years of experience of helping others to write and publish their way to their ideal writing lives.

 

Through a combination of practical steps and mindset work, Leigh will take you through the creative process and shows you achieving your writing aspirations is not only possible but joyful (and profitable!). From hands-on writing exercises and real-life case studies from her students to stories from her own personal journey to her dream writing life, The Writer’s Roadmap is the essential guide that shows you not only where your writing life could take you, but how to get there.

 

So if you want to avoid the number one reason why most people never write or learn how to deal with rejection or believe that you can earn money from your writing, then The Writer’s Roadmap will signpost the way to take that big scary writing dream and break it down into manageable steps.

 

Writing is a journey, but you’ll never reach your destination if you don’t take that first step. If you’re ready to stop dreaming and start writing then adventure awaits…


Leigh Shulman is a degreed writing mentor with twenty years teaching experience under her belt. She’s taught at universities and writing programs worldwide and founded The Workshop, her online writing community and Creative Revolution book writing retreats in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, New York Times and The Huffington Post among others.

She currently lives in Argentina with her family where she writes and wonders if she’s the only person on earth who doesn’t like dulce de leche.

Leigh’s contacts…

 

website: leighshulman.com

Twitter: theleighshulman
facebook author page: http://facebook.com/leighshulman

RELEASE DAY…SENDING MY BABY OUT…

A fellow writer recently sent me this photo of his newborn calf, a Saler-Hereford.

SO cute! Look at all that curly hair, and a face any mother could love!

How does this tie in with today being RELEASE DAY for Kiss Me Once Again? Very clearly.

Sending a story into the world after such a long process of drafting, writing, editing, re-editing, re-re-editing (you get the picture) shares several parallels with birthing an infant.

But when that infant grows up, they’re out of your hands…well, actually quite a while before that point.

So off you go, Kiss Me Once Again, my first World War II novella…out into the cold, but hopefully not cruel world. It’s been joy-laced hard work to bring you to this moment. May you touch hearts and faithfully reveal the incredible era of World War II.

My publisher tells me this novella debuted at #56 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases chart in the World War II Historical Fiction category.

Reviews

Kiss Me Once Again is a sweet novella that will make you feel like you are in the WWII era. I loved how Gail crafted Glenora, I could really feel her tough exterior filled with grease and less-than feminine features, but she also captured “Glen’s” tender interior. Hank is everything you want to read in a 1940’s hero. Affected by war, yet lacking confidence due to everything he’s been through. It’s a novella, so it’s a quick read. I definitely recommend!  

 “Kiss Me Once Again is a heartwarming story of love, sacrifice, dreams deferred, faith and family. I always appreciate the historical research that underlies author Kittleson’s stories. 

Purchase Kiss Me Once Again HERE for Amazon

Purchase Kiss Me Once Again HERE for Barnes and Noble