Whispering Hope

It’s wonderful to welcome back Peggy Blann Phifer, who is offering a free kindle version of her latest release, Whispering Hope, to a commenter. Don’t you love the heroine’s gloves and glamour on the cover? 

Thanks for having me on your blog, Gail. I’m pleased to be here. You asked me to share some thoughts about my writing, my book, the genre, and what it took to get it written. So, here goes …

Whispering Hope is what I call Historical Romantic Suspense. I’m not sure there actually is such a genre … officially … but it’s my story and I’m sticking with it. And yes, it’s all three.

Historical: Yes, the time is 1930, during Prohibition. The opening scenes are set in Chicago, but the rest of the story takes place in northwest Wisconsin, my old stomping grounds, in a fictitious town and county created entirely out of my imagination. It was fun to write, drawing on some old memories and locations I knew back in the day. But mostly challenging. It took a lot of research. I bought books, maps, a PBS video of the era produced by Ken Burns, and LOTS of “Googling.” I have at least a ream of paper I printed out during the writing time.

Romance: My lead female protagonist, Virginia “Ginny” Hopewell, Wisconsin country girl, visiting her cousin in Chicago, gets caught in a shooting at a local speakeasy. At the same time and place, was my male protag, Ransom “Rance” Blake, FBI agent for the Chicago Bureau of Prohibition. Their paths cross again after Ginny returns to Wisconsin and Rance is sent up there to apprehend the man responsible for the shooting and to discover how illegal liquor from Canada is getting into Wisconsin and down to Chicago.

Suspense: It’s all there. An elusive gangster. Illegal stills. Suspicious guests at the Whispering Hope Resort. Murder. And a kidnapping.

I hope this whets readers’ appetites!

Back Cover Copy:

1930 Chicago is no place for a Wisconsin country girl.

Virginia Hopewell visits her cousin in Chicago and gets caught up in a deadly gangster shooting at a speakeasy, barley escaping with her life. After learning of the tragic death of her father, brother, and sister-in-law, Ginny returns to Wisconsin and convinces her mother to reopen the resort her father had closed after losing everything in the stock market crash in 1929.

Ransom Blake, an agent with the Chicago Bureau of Prohibition, had been at the same speakeasy acting on a tip about the shooting. Rance is charged with finding the gangster responsible. He and his team are sent to Wisconsin where the man was reported being seen, and to investigate how illegal liquor from Canada is making its way to Chicago.

With the opening of Whispering Hope Resort, Rance registers as a guest and comes face to face with the lovely redhead he’d briefly encountered at the speakeasy during the shooting.

Bio:

Author Peggy Blann Phifer, a retired executive assistant after twenty-one years in the Electrical Wholesale Industry, lives in the ‘boonies’ of NW Wisconsin. A late bloomer, Peg didn’t start taking writing seriously until age fifty.

Her debut novel, To See the Sun, a contemporary romantic suspense, released in January 2012. A second novel, Somehow, Christmas Will Come, contemporary women’s fiction with a touch of romance and mystery, released in November 2014, revised and re-released in late 2015. A new work titled Whispering Hope, an historical romantic suspense, set during the years of Prohibition, released in early May 2018. Her work has also appeared in numerous anthologies over the past five years.

Peg is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not writing, Peg enjoys reading, blogging, and sharing her home with her daughter, son-in-law, and a Border Collie mix dog named Rocky.

Social media and buying links

Blog/website: http://whispersinpurple.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pegphifer

Twitter: www.twitter.com/pegphifer @pegphifer

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/pegphifer

Google+: http://plus.google.com/+AuthorPeggyBlannPhifer/posts

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/pbphifer

Email: pbphifer@centurylink.net

Purchase link for Whispering Hope: https://amzn.to/2KURU8x

 

CHASE – Young Adult Adventure

Today we feature a Y/A novel, CHASE, and author Glenn Haggerty shares below how you can receive a free copy. Thanks for visiting, Glenn. 

How did you get the idea for your latest release? 

Chase was initially just a picture in my mind. At the time, my concern for the problem of drugs in middle and high school had been simmering. Then a scene appeared where a lowlife drug-dealer meets with one of his runners. I let my imagination roam. The incident turned into a scene, which expanded into a full-length novel. I tried to put myself into the mindset of these characters and interestingly, ended up cutting that scene and reworking it into a different setting and another short story. But by then the bull was out of the pen, as it were, and the story had to be written!

What is your favorite aspect of one of the characters, and why? 

Contradictions. Tyler embodies the contradictions of many 13-year-old boys. Wanting to be included, wanting to be the hero, but still bound by insecurity and fear. Naïve and self-deprecating, he is also stubborn and tenacious. He struggles to figure out another complex facet of friendship even as he struggles to figure out where girls fit, if they fit, into his life. In the end, he learns to apply faith, and God does some extraordinary things through him.

Do you pattern your characters after any boys you’ve met? 

My characters are composites of people I’ve met or read about, so, yes to some extent. On the other hand, I believe my characters are more imagined than reflective of myself or characters that I’ve met.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to write stories for young people?

Honestly, writing for students is tough right now because it is so difficult to connect with the readers, and access to public schools, where most of the market resides, is problematic. Reaching parent groups, homeschool and Christian school gatekeepers is important, but connecting directly with the students is most important of all. Begin early to cultivate your relationships with people in your target market. If you can write an entertaining book and get it directly to the students, they will respond positively.

Glenn writes inspiring adventures with an edge. No matter how dark the day, finding hope to pursue the prize is the core of all his novels and studies. He is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), a graduate of Vision Loss Resources and Bethel Seminary, the father of six and grandfather of seven. Glenn likes tandem biking, kayaking, and daydreaming and lives in Minneapolis with his wife.

Back cover copy for Chase, Intense Book 3

            “There they are.” Chase’s voice rolled up the slope. Even hollering his voice sounded flat and lifeless like someone had drilled a hole in his body, and his soul had leaked out.

 Drugs infiltrate Tyler Higgins’ middle school turning ordinary kids into brain dead druggies. When his friend is infected, Tyler decides to cut the small town drug flow by ratting out the dealer before it’s too late.

Shadowing drug runners is risky business. A bowhunter has already disappeared, and Tyler’s true adversary remains veiled. After his first spying mission misfires, Audrey, his classmate, volunteers to help, but Tyler can’t imagine where this mission will lead. Everything goes sideways, but he doggedly follows the twisting trails, risking his friendships and his own neck. In the end, he isn’t sure who he can trust or if he can rescue anyone—including himself.

Buying Links

Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B0792JP7Z2

Barnes & Noble Nook, iBooks, Kobo and others https://books2read.com/u/3yZOW6

You can visit me at www.glennhaggerty.com, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GlennHaggertyAuthor, and on Twitter, @grhaggertyjr

PS You can pick up a FREE copy of book 1 of this series here http://www.glennhaggerty.com/my-books/escape

Keep Calm and Carry On

That’s a mouthful at times. I have a friend who’s facing surgery with extensive recuperation, plus two dreadful diseases in her close family.

Keep calm, you say?

With another friend, we have an ongoing discussion about how people make it through suffering, sorrow, illness, and loss. Sometimes I think it’s a combination of this “carry on” attitude plus faith, of course, and a good dose of everyday concerns that keep us going.

 

On our recent trip, Lance ordered bangers and mash, also known as sausages and mash, a traditional British and Irish dish combining sausages and mashed potatoes. The flavored sausages may be pork, lamb, or beef (often specifically Cumberland sausage. The dish is sometimes served with onion gravy, fried onions, or peas.

This dish, even when cooked at home, may be thought of as an example of pub grub, quick and easy to make in large quantities. I’ve read accounts of wartime children being sent to pick up the family’s order of this dish at a local restaurant, since both of their parents were working.

During World War II, I wonder if, in addition to seeking divine comfort, the necessary constant task of providing food for their families helped everyone make it through. Here in the states, women survived dire Depression-era poverty and went on to endure the wait for their loved ones to return from the second world war.

Maybe it’s no wonder that generation taught us to eat everything on our plates and placed high value on a good, solid meal followed by a lush dessert.

Some World War II ladies we met at Bletchley Park

Talk about authentic…take a look at these women – oh, so stylish! The one with the white hat has a Veronica Lake “victory roll,” prevalent during World War II. This hair-do kept women’s hair out of the way in such a busy time, and helped them avoid accidents with machinery at their jobs, as well.

 

One of these ladies might work in a factory, like her American counterpart, Rosie the Riveter, or as a secretary to someone in Winston Churchill’s underground war rooms.

These are the types Addie and Kate would have encountered in Charles Tenney’s office, or on the streets of London.

 

A WILD Western Story

Welcome to Jodie Wolfe, whose new Smitten (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) release To Claim Her Heart, has made it to the top of my reading pile. Want to take a time-trip back to 1893 and experience romance in the Cherokee Strip Land Run? Then this is perfect for your summer reading, and if you’d like to qualify for a drawing for a free e-book, please leave a comment.  

Here’s the great cover, and I’ve asked Jodie some questions about her novel. 

Tell us why this story is dear to your heart. It’s the one my mother-in-law always wanted me to write. Sadly, she didn’t live to see the book in print, but when she was dying she knew I had written the story.

How did your favorite character take shape?

I wanted my hero and heroine to claim the same piece of land and planned to have the hero be a preacher who was at a loss after his fiancée died. I needed to come up with a feisty heroine who also had hurts from her past that would necessitate her particular affinity to a preacher.

Does she/he remind you of anybody?

Not anybody in particular. I often try to create quirky characters that prickle each other from the beginning because it’s something I enjoy reading. 🙂

Here’s the back cover blurb for To Claim Her Heart

 In 1893, on the eve of the great race for land, Benjamin David prays for God to guide him to his ‘Promised Land. Finding property and preaching to the lost are his only ways of honoring his deceased fiancée. He hasn’t counted on Elmer (Elsie) Smith claiming the same plot and refusing to leave. Not only is she a burr in his side, but she is full of the homesteading know-how he is sadly lacking.

Obtaining a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run is Elsie Smith’s only hope for survival, and not just any plot, she has a specific one in mind. The land’s not only a way to honor her pa and his life, but also to provide a livelihood for herself. She’s willing to put in whatever it takes to get that piece of property, and Elsie’s determined to keep it.

Her bitterness is what protects her, and she has no intentions of allowing that preacher to lay claim to her land . . . or her heart.

Please share a favorite quote from your book.

I love this quote from my hero, Benjamin.

“You can’t keep holding on to the bitterness, or it’ll eat you alive. Don’t allow Satan to win. He desires for you to be discouraged, defeated, and unforgiving, but God has better things in store for you, if you’ll allow Him to work in your life again.”

What do you want readers to come away with?

A sense of the hope we have in Christ. No matter what struggles we go through (or my characters go through), the Lord is always faithful and provides hope in ways we least expect it.

Where can readers connect with you?

Website: https://www.jodiewolfe.com

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA) and has been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She’s a contributor for Putting on the New and Stitches Thru Time blogs. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.

PHOTOS – Bletchley Park

Styles of the time…for some reason, the seams don’t show up on their hosiery.

 

But here’s the smuggler we met at Bletchley…isn’t he cool?

And behold some of his wares:

I wanted to buy everything…don’t you LOVE the look on his wife’s face?

Finding specific name brands was such a gift for my research…what a day, what an incredible day.

The United Kingdom – Favorites

First of all, a caveat: I’m one of those whose perfectionist tendencies used to keep me from producing much in the way of writing, so I’m plunging in regardless. There will probably be errors, and I apologize beforehand. An extremely tentative outline started going through my head in the shower this morning…let’s call it a list.

Although I have a strong inkling I won’t stick with it, I wrote the list for my own sake, so I can look back and remember where I thought I was going. (Kind of like life in general.)

Our grandson helped me with this by asking, “What was your favorite thing about England?”

Mind you, this was about an hour after we arrived home, and it was 2 a.m. UK time, so everything was a happy blur of memories. But I replied that Bletchley Park had to be right up there, vying for first place.

And then I told him about the nifty man dressed in a WWII suit standing next to his wife, with her perfectly elegant suit, WWII hairdo and hat. He crooked a finger at us when he saw me staring, and we walked over.

“If you need anything, I most likely have it here.” He tapped his small black cardboard suitcase. His eyebrows and surreptitious stance shouted BLACK MARKET.

“Could we see what’s in there?”

He nodded and cleverly turned the case toward himself, clicked open the latches, and drew us closer. Then he allowed us a peek. Silk stockings, sweets and other rationed items, all in their original packaging.

Ah…I’ll treasure this memory! We’d just stepped into one of the buildings at Bletchley Park, the highly secretive location where brilliant “nerdy” types were sent to break enemy codes during the war. In numbered “huts”, nearly 10,000 workers wracked their brains to untangle the German enigma machine codes, as well as ones used by the Japanese. Their work made an unfathomable difference in the outcome of the war.

We spent hours reading about these dedicated men and women who endured long, sometimes very cold, damp weeks and months laboring over intercepted messages. One tour guide said their mission was so top-secret that many never spoke of it again.

Decades after World War II ended, he started leading tours. When his elderly father heard that, he told him, “You can’t go up there…that’s top secret.”

On one of this guide’s tours, an older couple were listening to him introduce the particular work that had occurred in a certain hut. To the guide’s astonishment, the visitor ventured, “I worked there during the war, in hut ten.”

His wife turned to him and said, “You did? So did I. I was stationed in hut six.”

Can you imagine? They’d never even told each other what they did during the war. 

Tidbits like these stay with me, along with the “God wink” that the day we arbitrarily chose to visit this amazing place happened to be “dress-up day.” We had no idea, but seeing women wearing hosiery with seams running down the backs of their legs and prim hats soon let us know.

In the green expanse outside the huts and museum, re-enactors displayed field hospitals, SOE agents at work, WWII women making corned beef hash attractive to their families, medic tents, ammunition dumps, the list goes on and on.

I promise I’ll share some photos of them and that natty little fellow with the black case as soon as I figure out how to find them in the thousands of images Lance shot during our stay. I’ll probably say it several more times, but having him catalogue everything this way was a great relief–so much to take in, so impossible to recall it all.

Needless to say, if you plan a trip to the UK, I’d suggest setting aside a full day for Bletchley Park.

Thank You For Going

Chautona Havig, a loving soul desiring to inspire the hearts of others, is today’s guest author. Service in the military is a large part of my family’s story, and I am grateful for her thoughtful words to all of those who have served in whatever capacity.

Thank You For Going

I’ll never forget the moment I read L.M. Montgomery’s glorious words in Rilla of Ingleside. I hadn’t been fond of the book, but those words (and a second reading a few months later) gave me a greater appreciation for it. The scene is the train station where many in Anne’s town are sending their boys off to WWI—to fight for Canada. For King and country. One snotty mother gives Anne Blythe a dig that would tear at the heart of any soldier’s mother. It goes like this:

“I don’t know how you can stand this, Mrs. Blythe. I couldn’t if it was my pore boy.” And mother—oh, mother could always be depended on! How her grey eyes flashed in her pale face. “It might have been worse, Mrs. Drew. I might have had to urge him to go.” Mrs. Drew did not understand but Rilla did. She flung up her head. Her brother did not have to be urged to go.

Memorial Day—the day we remember anyone who has fought and died for this country we call home. So amid the cookouts, the ball games, and the swimming pool parties, I just want to take a moment to do what this day is all about. Remember.

To every mother who gave birth to an American soldier, God bless you. May God give you peace when your child is so far away.

To every father who taught that soldier honor, sacrifice, and duty, thank you for your example. Those daily choices to do what’s right, to do without all the toys, to go to work… again. They were worth it—so worth it.

To every teacher, preacher, neighbor, mentor, recruiter, and drill sergeant who made a difference in that soldier’s life, I respect you for your influence. Investing in one person’s life often ripples through generations. Thank you.

To the wife or husband who kept the home fires burning, so to speak, thank you for YOUR service. Our servicemen and women could not do what they do without the confidence in knowing that all is well at home.

To the children who grow up knowing that their parent may miss holidays, important events, and milestones, we’re so sorry. We pray they return soon and safe—to you.

To everyone who says goodbye and watches loved ones leave as youths, knowing they’ll return as soldiers, sailors, airmen, or Marines, say goodbye with the knowledge that they’ll never be the same—and they’ll always be the same person you’ve always loved.

And to every soldier who has served, fought, died, or is serving, fighting, and might die, there are no adequate words, but thank you.

Thank you.

I think I’ll go read that amazing scene from Rilla of Ingleside again. Imagine the flash of Anne’s eyes, the buoying of her spirit as she says, “I might have had to urge him to go.”

To all who serve in our military. Thank you for going—even without our urging.

 


 

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.


Connect with Chautona: 
Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Pinterest  //  Instagram

Changed Plans and Reminders

A promise is a promise. I said I would send photos from England and a continuous report of what we are doing over here. However, the photo part has to wait because my husband is at a camera shop right now seeing if his camera damage from the trip over the Atlantic can be fixed or if he needs to buy a new camera.

In the meantime, he has been taking what we hope are wonderful shots of everything we have seen so far. So here goes from Portsmouth where the D-Day Museum completely captured our attention and where I put my pinky in the very cold waters of the English Channel.

The Salty breeze from the channel made me very thankful for the coat our daughter found for me last week. We stayed minutes from the channel in the Easley guest house where Steve and Clare provided great breakfasts and loads of information about Portsmouth now and during World War II.

One of the highlights for me was meeting a couple of women on vacation during breakfast the first day. One of them grew up in a big brick house across the street and told us that along the line of houses, where we now could see a more modern one, that meant the original one had been bombed out during the blitz.

As usual meeting these women was a highlight for me. We also explored a bombed-out local Garrison church built long before Jamestown was founded.

We went to the Mary Rose museum. The Mary Rose was Henry the VIII’s pride and joy, his best warship. But he watched her sink from Portsmouth Harbor. Centuries later, she was partially brought to the surface and is now reconstructed underneath a huge glass enclosure. So many artifacts retrieved from the Mary Rose and it’s amazing they were still recognizable.

Today I am taking a break from concrete and cement for my poor aching feet, but ice is helping. We wanted to be on a tour today, but as often happens in life, had to change our plans. The same thing happened with being able to check my emails so if any of you have written me and not received a reply now you know why.

Still, it’s a gorgeous day in Oxford England. Yesterday we saw punters rowing their flat-bottomed boats—which they call “punts”—on the river beside the colleges. We ate dinner where C.S. Lewis and his buddies met every week. It’s a pub called The Bear and it was flooded with Americans. I sure hope Lance’s photos have turned out OK. He can’t tell at this point, but hopefully will be able to send some soon. For now, a few from our phone will have to do.

 

In the meantime, I’m reading The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis out in a beautiful back yard of our hotel and being reminded that even when our plans go awry the beauty around us reminds us of what really matters. Signing off for now.

Recalculating

For over a week I’ve been telling myself I must start blogging again, after quite a traumatic time of grief in our little church. This word recalculating keeps coming to mind – you know, the voice on the GPS that tells you to re-define your direction?

During times like this, support and encouragement arrive to cheer our hearts. Lance’s photography hobby stalled for a while, but this morning he captured this little wren singing her heart out in one of our lilac bushes.

Realizing how tragedies affect pastors, a friend sent us flowers. I’m drying the gorgeous yellow roses upside down to hoard something of this bouquet’s beauty, to remind me of his kindness.

It’s probably no coincidence that my sign Love deeply, be happy, and share the joy got included in this photo, albeit upside down. It’s a good reminder that loving deeply, though this kind of loss causes great pain, is worth the effort.

If you’re acquainted with Addie and Kate and Domingo from my books, you know how this concept applies. I’ll leave the analyzing to you this time, and share another cheerful birdie pic…

Such gloomy days here lately, but we had to smile when Iowa’s state bird paid us a visit.

There, I’ve written a blog again – thanks for waiting. I want to let you know, too, that Lance and I will be leaving this week for our fortieth anniversary journey to England. Lots of research ahead…soooo many WWII museums and airfields and STORIES – Oh MY!

I plan to send updates, so stay tuned. I imagine we’ll  be recalculating often during this trip! And thanks again for taking valuable time to read what I write and passing on the news.