Life and WW II Research…

Don’t we love it when things flow harmoniously? These moments remind us to be grateful, but our situations can also get complicated. Then, nothing seems right.

This week, our relative faced cancer surgery, which went well. But a few hours later, his blood pressure dropped due to internal bleeding. Things worsened, and two surgeries later, he was on the mend, but you can imagine those tense hours.

Recently the son of a real-life WWII heroine, Dorothy Woebbeking, sent me this photo of the gun turret where his mother fell asleep in the Invasion of Sicily in 1943. She and the other nurses were sent in on the first wave, a huge error by their commander. During incoming fire, a gunner rudely awakened our heroine and sent her below.

What a terrifying period that must have been! Those of you who have read UNTIL THEN

know what happened next, so I won’t spoil it for others, but the war overflowed with situations like this. Dorothy’s son also sent this note printed on the back of the photo.

Even those who’ve never experienced war know that nurses shouldn’t go into battle ahead of the infantry. This frightening circumstance must have caused terror in the heart of every person aboard that LST. ( Read how all of this turned out in UNTIL THEN.)

But in the midst of all the chaos life throws at us, we still discover synchronicity. The other day, I met a man whose accent intrigued me. We chatted, and it turns out he was a child if France during World War II, with vivid memories of that period. We arranged to meet yesterday, and I learned that Jean Jacques still recalls the Allied forces moving north through the French Alps in 1943-44.

His father had sent his family from Marseilles, a center of Nazi and Resistance activity, to a little mountain town for safety. Jean Jacques recalls pleasant childhood times there, but also the American and Canadian troops passing through the Alps.

What’s interesting is that the Eleventh Evacuation Hospital, which included our heroine Dorothy, followed the troops through these mountains to set up their triage and surgery. Wow–it’s entirely possible that Jean Jacques witnessed the truck carrying Dorothy and her thirty-nine-nurse comrades!

Today I’m meeting again with this child of the war, now in his eighties. This time, I get to see some of his photos. And who knows what may result?

Who would have thought that in the tiny mountain town of Pine, Arizona, someone like this would cross my path? But that’s the joy of research–our sources lie all around us!

Renovating

You may notice a few changes to my website…not HUGE things, but a tweak here, and a tweak there. The Gallery page, for example, now boasts some great World War II photos. Just a picture is all it takes to set my mind wandering…wondering. How did that generation, ordinary folks like us, tackle their era’s challenges?

Sometimes thoughtfully…often without time to think. We don’t hear a lot about them praying, although can you imagine how mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers lifted up their loved ones on the battlefront each day?

Having a family member “over there” changed everything. I would think a person’s perspective would alter greatly–suddenly your flesh and blood was risking life and limb for the cause.

Recently I learned that the truck driver for Dorothy and the other nurses with the Eleventh Evacuation Hospital went to the effort of heating their food on his truck’s engine. Can’t help thinking that when she wrote her parents about his concern, their faces lit up. Somebody was watching out for their daughter.

Maybe he thought it was a small thing–one little act he could do to brighten the nurses’ days. Makes me think of my dad, who drove a jeep in North Africa, too.

So, this “renovation” might seem small, but maybe it’ll make a difference in someone’s appreciation of this incredible era. That’s what I’m all about!

Thrifty Research Treasures

It’s downright amazing what you can find at the thrift store. Yesterday I had so much fun claiming these booklets about cooking from World War II.

Full of tasty recipes and helpful suggestions for wartime women “stuck” with the rigors of rationing, these leaflets must have found a welcome in many an American kitchen.

Then, digging deeper, viola! Now this next gem really struck my fancy…

If you were researching how America’s eating habits changed during World War Ii, wouldn’t you be happy too? (:

So that’s how it goes these days….research, research, research. So many fun facts to discover–I never tire of learning something new about this era in our nation’s history.

In the meantime, the final, final, FINAL edit of In Times Like These has been returned to my publisher and any moment now, a purchase link will appear. Truly.

It’s likely Addie and her friend Jane received one of these booklets and devoured the contents in their efforts to comply with wartime standards. yep!

ADDITION: The e-book links for IN TIMES LIKE THESE have arrived!! The hardcover/paperback will soon be added:

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084WV6HFY Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-times-like-these-gail-kittleson/1123758096?ean=2940163915934Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/in-times-like-these-16Apple iBooks – https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1499435033

Beginnings

How I Got Started in Writing Historical Romance

By Jodie Wolfe

My fascination with historical books began at an early age. I loved reading and watching the Little House on the Prairie series. It captured my attention and seemed like such fun to live during that time period. I was hooked. 

Of all my novels, I’ve only created one that was contemporary. That one has never seen a bookshelf, as it’s buried in my file cabinet. It’s a youth mystery I wrote when I was a young teenager. Back then I was reading a lot of Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew. 🙂

There’s something about the 19th Century that still draws me in. It looks like a simpler life even though they had to work hard to eke out a living. Perhaps it’s the thought of fewer distractions that makes it so appealing.

My newest novel is set in Kansas in 1875.

I loved delving into the topic of mail-order brides. Here’s what the back cover for Taming Julia says:

In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery’s sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation’s ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy. 

Jules Walker strides into Drew’s life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle–more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she’s not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is.

How about you? What genre is your favorite?

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

Purchase Links for Taming Julia:

Website:https://www.jodiewolfe.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/Jodie-Wolfe-553400191384913

Twitter:https://twitter.com/JodieAWolfe

Pinterest:https://www.pinterest.com/JodieAWolfe

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15220520.Jodie_Wolfe

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jodie-Wolfe/e/B01EAWOHXO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

In Times Like These

Here are some great photos from you-know-who. Lance was out early this morning with his camera, so I’m sharing some IOWA SPARKLES. It’s a winter wonderland, and fun to enjoy this artistry.

It’s about thirty degrees warmer here under the Mogollon Rim where I am today, but I can still appreciate the glitter of snow on every single needle.

This is kind of like the way we journey vicariously with our favorite fictional heroines. The first character of the WOMEN OF THE HEARTLAND series still seems very real to me–real enough to re-launch IN TIMES LIKE THESE…and here is the new cover.

It should be just a few days now until In Times Like These re-enters the world.

It’s been enlightening to go back through this book and get to know Addie in an even more meaningful way. She’s still the same make-do Greatest Generation young woman, but I’ve learned a few things since her first launch, and think you’ll enjoy her story even more.

Stay tuned for the big RELEASE!

Wings Like A Dove

If you need a good midwinter read, Camille Eide has one to offer. AND, she’s giving away a free e-book to one commenter here.

Here’s a taste of the story:

“Anna?” His voice was breathless with wonder. Thomas dipped his head closer and peered into her eyes, studying her carefully.

As clearly as if in a waking dream, she saw herself married to Thomas, saw herself loving him with all of her heart and soul. Which, of course, was impossible. Painfully so. Quickly, she dropped her gaze, blocking his scrutiny. Surely her eyes would give away both her foolish feelings and her dirtiness.

He reached up with his fingertips and gently tilted her chin upward, forcing her to look him in the eye. “Forgive me, but … I need to see if that was just my imagination.”

She swallowed hard. Look away, Anna …

And now, a little more about this novel.

Wings Like a Dove by Camille Eide

Have you ever felt as if you didn’t belong?

Growing up, Anna lived through many upheavals and displacements and has never truly felt at home anywhere, but at least she always had her family. Home was wherever she and her mother and siblings were. But since her family has come to America, she has found this new country not as welcoming as she had been made to believe. This feeling intensifies when, turned out of her home, she finds herself in a place where Jews are despised. But this time, Anna is far from family and friends. She is wired for community, thriving best when part of a larger whole, but now, alone in this strange, hostile environment, she faces not only danger without, but also heartbreaking loneliness within. 

Unwed and pregnant, adrift and alone, Anna finds not only solace and refuge among the rag tag family of orphans and their kind caretaker, but also champions. Thomas and the boys have taken a stand against the wave of bigotry in their community and refuse to be bullied. In their home, Anna may have found refuge and shelter against hate, but then again, she may have only landed in the eye of a storm. Finding out where she belongs in the world will have to wait. What she needs now is to protect herself, her unborn child, and this family she has grown to love… even though it means leaving her heart behind with these boys and the man who would do whatever it takes to raise them into men of faith, compassion, and honor. A man who longs for Anna in ways she is desperate to forget.

Anna faces hatred and danger, but her biggest fear is that she will never truly belong, never feel anchored again.

If you’ve moved a lot growing up or in life, what anchors you?

About the Book:

Can the invisible walls that separate people ever come down?

In 1933, Anna Leibowicz is convinced that the American dream that brought her Jewish family here from Poland is nothing but an illusion. Her father has vanished. Her dreams of college can’t make it past the sweat-shop door. And when she discovers to her shame and horror that she’s with child, her mother gives her little choice but to leave her family. Deciding her best course of action is to try to find her father, she strikes out . . . hoping against hope to somehow redeem them both.

When Anna stumbles upon a house full of orphan boys in rural Indiana who are in desperate need of a tutor, she agrees to postpone her journey. But she knows from the moment she meets their contemplative, deep-hearted caretaker, Thomas Chandler, that she doesn’t dare risk staying too long. She can’t afford to open her heart to them, to him. She can’t risk letting her secrets out.

All too soon, the townspeople realize she’s not like them and treat her with the same disdain they give the Sisters of Mercy — the nuns who help Thomas and the boys — and Samuel, the quiet colored boy Thomas has taken in. With the Klan presence in the town growing ever stronger and the danger to this family increasing the longer she stays, Anna is torn between fleeing to keep them safe . . . and staying to fight beside them.

About the Author:

Camille Eide is the award-winning author of inspirational fiction including The Memoir of Johnny Devine. She lives near the Oregon Cascades with her husband and is Mom, Grammy, and enjoys the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She also loves the liberating truth and wisdom of God’s word, and hopes that her stories will stir your heart, strengthen your faith, and encourage you on your journey.

Her other titles include:Savanna’s Gift(Christmas), Like There’s No Tomorrow, Like a Love Song, The Memoir of Johnny Devine, and The Healer(exclusive to newsletter subscribers).

Please visit her website at www.camilleeide.com

Beauty Then and Now

A short distance from our place, I heard hooves on the road. An elk peered at me from the intersection. I peered back, and then she proceeded on her way, followed by her offspring.

Obviously, this isn’t one of Lance’s photos, since he would have the animals show up better.

At any rate, there they were, doing what elk do around here. The thought of parades came naturally, since I’ve been reading through the memoir of a man who spent decades designing and creating incredibly complicated floats for the really big time venues. Think Rose Parade.

So I’ve been pondering the importance of beauty, one essential element in a hand-crafted float replete with tens of thousands of flowers, flower petals, leaves, seeds, and other harvested materials. Of course, many other elements integrate to leave a float’s lasting impression, but it’s tough to outrank beauty.

We all share the desire to express ourselves through creating something of beauty. We do this through song, painting, cooking, sculpture, dance, story and ritual, and parades, for starters. In these endeavors, we attempt to make make sense of the world and of our own lives.

Where would we be without beauty to appreciate, to comprehend, to embrace? Entering into beauty in its many forms enhances our journey here.

Writing seems to be my way of beauty-making, and I like integrate these ramblings with what’s occurring with my written work. So here we go.

My publisher just sent a first look at the book cover for my next release, about two young World War women who sought beauty in the rapid changes of that era. . . the world at war. One of them, on an Iowa farm, spends every spare minute facilitating beauty on what some might label a humble stage, her garden.

Her best friend seeks her downed RAF pilot husband in the devastation of post-Blitz London. At the same time, she seeks beauty–in the people she mets, in the still-blooming laburnum trees of the city, and in her office work.

Through the only correspondence tool available at the time, Addie and Kate create another kind of beauty. Their letters back and forth across the Atlantic encourage, inspire, instruct and provide laughter in the midst of such a frightening period.

During the war’s first months, with bad news at every turn, how much could one letter from a friend or loved one mean? It’s difficult to overestimate!

We can count on letters being included on this new cover, which I’ll post as soon as it arrives in my e-mail. Meanwhile, I hope you’re finding beauty in your everyday world.

NO STOPPING US NOW

This wonderful blog is all about women flourishing, regardless of age, and I would like to multiply its readers by sharing it with you here.

My friend Rhoda Preston is reading No Stopping Us Now: The Adventures of Older Women in American Historyby Gail Collins, a decade-by-decade survey of the changing attitudes towards older women in the United States.

Here’s where you can access Rhoda’s post, and more enticing tidbits about some intriguing women in our nation’s history. One thing they were able to do: embrace the moment.

http://rhodapreston.com/home/books-i-m-reading-no-stopping-us-now

Take a minute to check out this post–you won’t regret it!

I’m embracing these moments here under Arizona’s Mogollon Rim, and sharing Lance’s latest flora and fauna photos. The people who live here think we’re pretty weird to come in winter–most people arrive in summer, to escape the heat of the Phoenix area.

But for us, it’s just gorgeous and the altitude helps me so much. I hope you enjoy this taste of the beauty that surrounds us.

The CUTEST baby elk!!!

GET a load of these INCREDIBLE neck muscles…gotta reach those leaves!

Our front yard just happens to be on their way.

Double Jeopardy

Welcome to Donna Schlacter! We’re featuring a Spotlight on Double Jeopardy, her historical novel that releases TODAY. She’s sharing a segment for you to enjoy, and offering an e-book contest as well. I hope this release makes a big splash, Donna!

January 7th, 2020 is release day for my first traditionally-published full-length historical. Set in 1880, Becky Campbell leaves her wealthy New York lifestyle in search of her father, only to learn he was murdered in the small town of Silver Valley, Colorado. Unable to return to her mother in humiliation and defeat, she determines to fulfill her father’s dream—to make the Double Jeopardy profitable. 

Zeke Graumann, a local rancher, is faced with a hard decision regarding his land and his dream. After several years of poor weather and low cattle prices, he will either have to take on a job to help pay his overhead expenses, or sell his land. He hires on with this Easterner for two reasons: he can’t turn his back on a damsel in distress. And he needs the money. 

Becky isn’t certain Zeke is all he claims to be, and after a series of accidents at her mine, wonders if he isn’t behind it, trying to get her to sell out so he can take over. 

Zeke finds many of Becky’s qualities admirable and fears he’s losing his heart to her charms, but also recognizes she was never cut out to be a rancher’s wife. 

Can Becky overcome her mistrust of Zeke, find her father’s killer, and turn her mine into a profitable venture—before her mother arrives in town, thinking she’s coming for her daughter’s wedding? And will Zeke be forced to give up his dream and lose his land in order to win Becky’s heart?

Leave a comment to enter a random drawing for an ebook copy of Double Jeopardy.

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

1880 Silver Valley, Colorado

Dead. Dead as her dreams and her hopes.

Dead as a doornail, as her mother would say.

Just thinking about the woman drove a steel rod through Becky Campbell’s slumping back. Perched on a chair in the sheriff’s office, she drew a deep breath, lifted her shoulders, and raised her chin a notch. She would not be like the woman who birthed her. Pretty and pampered. A silly socialite finding nothing better to do with her days than tea with the mayor’s spinster daughter or bridge with the banker’s wife.

No, she’d much rather be like her father. Adventuresome. Charismatic. Always on the lookout for the next big thing.

Now her breath came in a shudder, and down went her shoulders again. She tied her fingers into knots before looking up at the grizzled lawman across the desk from her. “There’s no chance there’s been a mistake in identification, is there?”

He slid open the top drawer of his desk and pulled out a pocket watch, a lapel pin, and a fountain pen, which he pushed across the desk to her. “He was pretty well-known around here. I’m really sorry, miss.”

Becky picked up the timepiece and flicked open the cover. Inside was a photograph of her family, taken about ten years earlier when she was a mere child of eight and Father stayed around long enough to sit still for the portrait. Her mother, petite and somber, and she, all ringlets and ribbons. She rubbed a finger across the engraving. To R. Love M. Always.

Yes, this was his.

And the lapel pin, a tiny silver basket designed to hold a sprig of baby’s breath or a miniature rosebud—a wedding gift from her mother twenty years before.

She looked up at the sheriff, tears blurring her vision. “And his ring?”

The lawman shook his head. “No ring. Not on his body or in his shack.”

“But he always wore it. Never took it off.”

He shrugged. “Maybe he lost it. Or sold it.”

“I doubt he’d do either. My mother gave it to him when I was born.” 

She peered at him. Had he stolen her father’s ring? 

Or maybe Sheriff Freemont was correct. Maybe something as important as her birth hadn’t meant much to her father. Maybe she didn’t either. Was that why he left?

Because surely his absences couldn’t be explained by any rift between her parents.

Although, what Matilda Applewhite saw in Robert Campbell—Robbie to his friends and family—Becky had never understood. Her mother, who ran in the same circles as the Rockefellers and the Astors, with presidents and admirals—yet much to the consternation of her family, chose a ne’er-do-well like Becky’s father.

Becky set the two items side by side on the scarred wooden desk, next to the fountain pen. The same one he’d used to write his letters to her. Signing them, Give your mother all my love too. Your devoted father. She needed no more information. No more proof.

Dead.

Not what she hoped for when she left New York a month prior, against her mother’s wishes, with little else to direct her steps than a ticket to Silver Valley and her father’s last letter. Written a year before, but as full of life, promises, hopes, and wishes as ever.

She collected the only three material evidences of her father’s existence and dropped them into her reticule then stood. “Thank you for your time, Sheriff. I appreciate my father’s death must be a difficult business for you.”

He stood and dipped his head. “Yes, miss.”

“Do you know how he died?”

He cleared his throat, not meeting her gaze. “Still investigatin’, miss. Lots of things to look into.”

She bit back a groan. Unlike in the city, where manpower and resources seemed limitless, out here, there was just the sheriff and sometimes a deputy. “Thank you again. Please keep me updated.” She turned to leave. “Where is he buried?”

“Over by the church. Just ask the preacher. He can show you.”

Not like she was in any rush to see her father’s final resting place. She stepped outside and scanned the street. Surely the man who was more gypsy than family man would hate to think of his physical body buried beneath the dust of any one place.

A morose sense of humor invaded her. At least it was a way to get him to stay in one place longer than it took to eat a meal.

Sheriff Fremont joined her on the front step. “You’ll likely be returning home now, I ’spect.”

She looked up past his dimpled chin, his bushy mustache, his aquiline nose, into eyes as dark as coal. “No, sir. I have no plans to return.”

“What will you do?”

“Do?” 

She blinked several times as she pondered the question, which was a very good one indeed. She’d not thought beyond the ache building in her bosom for the father she’d never see again. At least when he went off on yet another adventure, she had the unspoken promise of his return at some point, in the distant future. And always a letter. Or a postcard. Never many words on either, but confirmation he was alive and she was still important to him. 

At least, important enough to sit a few minutes and pen a few words.

She stared at the dusty mining town. More tents than wooden structures. More mules than horses. More assay offices than churches.

Two men tumbled onto the boardwalk opposite her, rolled down the two steps to the street level, and lay prone in the dirt littered with horse apples. The barkeep, a barrel-chested man, his formerly white apron now stained beyond redemption and a dingy cloth slung over his arm, burst through the swinging doors. “And don’t come back here. We don’t need the likes of you in here bothering our customers.” 

The man turned on his heel and disappeared back into the saloon. Within ten seconds, the tinny notes of a piano filtered to her ears.

The two in the street lay still.

Had he killed them?

A pack of boys ran from a nearby alley, grabbed a hat from one the men’s heads, and raced down the street, jabbering and hollering like their britches were on fire. Three mongrels loped after them, tongues lolling and tails held high.

She turned back to the sheriff. “Is there a decent boarding house in town?”

One eye squinted as he peered at her for a long moment before nodding slowly. “So, you’re going to stay?”

“I have no reason to return.” 

She glanced at the two men in the street. One climbed to his feet, swaying unsteadily, while the other puked into the dust without even lifting his head. The acrid odor wafted across to her, and she wrinkled her nose, breathing through her mouth. Until the smell coated her tongue. Then she snapped her mouth shut. 

Maybe this wasn’t the town for her … 

No. She would never give her mother opportunity to say I told you so. 

“Well, we got us a hotel above the saloon over yonder, and just about every drinking establishment in town rents out rooms, but I wouldn’t recommend those places. Mrs. Hicks over at number fourteen Front Street rents out a few rooms in her house. Tell her I sent you.”

“Thank you, Sheriff.” She took a couple of steps, her drawstring bag banging against her thigh. “I’ll also need directions to my father’s claim so I can get that transferred into my name. As his next of kin.”

“You’ll need to check with the Land and Assay Office, two doors up from the mercantile. But I don’t know what kind of a title he bought. Some can be transferred, but most who come out here can’t think past their next pay lode, so they don’t spend the money to buy that kind.”

She tipped her head. “You mean I might need to buy my own father’s property?”

He shrugged. “Not that I know much, but that’s what I’ve heard. I wish you luck, miss. You’ll need it if you plan to stay here.” He tipped his hat to her before closing his door.

Becky drew in a breath of the warm May afternoon then released it in a sigh. First the cost of the train ticket, then her meals and occasional hotel rooms along the way. And now this. Was there no end to the ways her dwindling cache of gold coins could disappear like snow in July?

First things first—a proper place to stay tonight. She picked up her carpetbag waiting on the bench outside the sheriff’s office and walked in the direction the lawman had indicated toward the home of Mrs. Hicks. Her heels beat a rhythm like a drum corps in a parade. She nodded to women and couples she passed but averted her eyes from the solitary men.

And there were many. Of all sizes and shapes, ages, and deportment. Several ogled her from the chairs they occupied outside the six—no, seven—saloons she passed, and that was only on her side of the street. A lone barber lounged in one of his three chairs, not a customer in sight, testifying to the fact that the men hereabouts were more interested in cards, booze, and loose women than in personal hygiene. 

A fact she confirmed when one lout stood his ground and refused to let her pass. Cheap perfume, rotgut whiskey, and sweat mingled to create an odor that made her eyes water. 

Another man stepped up behind the drunk. “Micky, are you troubling this young lady?”

Micky swayed in place, twisting the brim of his hat in gnarled fingers. “She one of your flock?”

“Doesn’t matter. Apologize and move on.” 

The drunk tipped his hat to her in apology and stepped back against the building, allowing her to continue. The preacher, his collar white against the severe black suit, nodded, and she acknowledged his courtesy with a tiny smile. “Thank you. Reverend?”

The clergyman dipped his head. “Obermeyer, Pastor Obermeyer.”

She held out her hand. “I’m Becky Campbell.”

He blinked a couple of times then his brow raised. “Oh, you’re—”

“Yes. Robbie Campbell’s daughter.” She glanced over her shoulder. “The sheriff told me you could show me where my father is buried.”

He held her hand and sandwiched it between his own. “Please accept my condolences on your loss, Miss Campbell.”

“Thank you.” That now too-familiar ache swelled in her bosom. Would it never ease? “If I may call on you another time? I’m off to find lodging.”

He tipped his head to one side. “Oh, you’re staying?”

Why did everybody think that because her father was dead, she would leave?

Or was this wishful thinking on their part?

If so, why?

She nodded. “I am.”

He shook himself like a hound dog awakening from a nap. Had he stretched and yawned, she would not have been surprised. “Good. Good.” He pointed down the street. “The church is there. The parsonage is the tiny house behind. I’m in my study most days. Come any time.” He tipped his hat. “Perhaps I’ll see you in church tomorrow?”

“We shall see. Thank you for rescuing me from that horrible man.”

His shoulders slumped. “So many have too much time and money on their hands.” He quirked his chin toward the others walking along the street. “Many work all week then come into town and spend it on a Saturday, only to go back and repeat the same cycle next week.”

Sounded like a hopeless cycle. But what could she do about it? Nothing. If she wanted to make it on her own here, she had her work cut out to stay out of the poorhouse. She surely wouldn’t ask her rich-as-Midas mother for assistance. Maybe once she got on her feet … “Thank you again. Good day.”

She gripped her carpetbag and continued on her way, pleased that at least two men in this town—the sheriff and the parson—were raised by genteel women. She should count herself lucky she’d met both today. Having even one on her side might come in handy at some point. And having two—well, that was just downright serendipitous. 

Three blocks through the business section, then a right for two blocks, and she soon found the house she sought. Narrow but well-kept flower gardens lined both sides of the walkway. She unlatched the gate, headed for the door, and knocked. Her gloved hands sweating, she longed for a cool drink of lemonade or sweet tea. As she raised her hand to knock again, the door swung open and a tall, thin woman of indeterminate age peered down at her.

Becky tossed her a smile and introduced herself. “The sheriff said you might have a room for rent?”

“How long?”

“I’m not certain. I plan to stay until I settle my father’s estate, at least. Possibly longer.”

The stern look on the woman’s face eased. “Sorry for your troubles. Four dollars a week including meals.” She peered past Becky. “And I only take respectable women. No children. No men. My name is Joan Hicks.”

While the amount seemed high, Becky had little choice. “My name is Becky Campbell.”

“Oh, you’d be—”

Becky sighed. Either her father was famous, or infamous. The former, she hoped. “Yes. His daughter. And yes, I’m staying in town until I get his claim sorted out.”

The wrinkles around the landlady’s eyes deepened, and her mouth lifted in a smile. “Actually, my next question was if you want dinner tonight?”

“I would. Thank you. What time?”

“Dinner’s at five. Perhaps you’d like to see your room and freshen up.”

She was going to like this obviously kindly, no-nonsense woman. So unlike her own mother. “Thank you.”

The interior of the house was dark but cool, and Becky followed Mrs. Hicks up two flights of stairs to one of three doors that opened off the top landing. The landlady stood aside and held out her hand, palm up. “Payment due in advance. Pot roast for dinner.”

Becky dug the four coins from her reticule and handed them over. “Thank you.”

“No keys for any of the rooms. I got the right to inspect the room with an hour’s notice. No cooking or smoking in the rooms. Privy is out the back door.”

Becky swallowed back a lump of disappointment. She’d expected indoor plumbing, just as she enjoyed in New York, but the modern conveniences hadn’t made their way this far west. 

Or at least, not to this house in Silver Valley.

She entered what would be her home for at least the next week, longer if she could figure out how to make her remaining money stretch further. She set her bag on a dressing table, and then she closed the door. When she sank onto the bed, the springs creaked beneath her weight. She sighed.

A pang of—of what? Homesickness? Missing her father? Wishing things were different?—caught her off guard, spreading through her like a flooding river, threatening to wash away all hope. So much for her dreams of prospecting with her father in the mountains of Colorado. Of catching up on all the years they’d missed.

Rather, that she had missed.

She doubted her father had lacked any adventures or excitement.

His life had been so different from her own. 

She dumped the contents of her drawstring bag onto the bed and sorted through them. Sixty-three dollars which, along with the hundred or so in her carpetbag, should tide her over for a while. If she didn’t have to buy her father’s claim. If she didn’t have to pay top dollar for every single thing she needed.

Because if there was one thing still alive in her, it was the desire to understand her father. To understand what drove him to leave the comforts of home and travel to this remote place. Was it the lure of silver? Was he simply tired of his refined life? Of his wife?

Of her?

Available at Amazon.com and fine booksellers in your area.

About Donna:

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, and Christian Authors Network; facilitates a critique group; and teaches writing classes online and in person. Donna also ghostwrites, edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com

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What Can Be Online University: https://what-can-be-online-institute.teachable.com/

Celebrating 2019 . . . on to 2020

New Year’s Eve, and the Amaryllis blossomed days ago. It’s looking a little worn out.

What a year it’s been! Sharing  All For the Cause with the folks at Camp Algona in April warmed my heart. What a great job they’ve done with the museum there. If you have a chance, you won’t regret paying them a visit in 2020.

The Until Then book launch at the Romeoville, IL public library allowed me to meet the rest of my heroine Dorothy’s family—I had no idea how much they’d wanted Dorothy’s incredible story published. I had met her son and daughter, but now I know everyone!

The second printing revised the SPECIAL THANKS page, so for those who bought books at that launch, it now reads: 

    A heartfelt thank-you to Sandra and Mark Worst, Dorothy’s daughter and son, who introduced me to their amazing mother and supplied me with more information than I could possibly use.

    Thank you to the faithful readers who spent countless hours ferreting out errors—you know who you are. Thank you, thank you.

    I’m also so very grateful to WordCrafts Press and to those who follow my work and encourage me with their reviews.

I’m delighted that Cindy and her husband are creating an audiobook—can’t wait to hear Dorothy in action!

What a legacy she left: a true World War II heroine with fortitude, tenacity, faith, and the capacity to find JOY in the midst her vocation, even in dire times. Thank you for sharing your intriguing mother/grandmother with me! 

As I mentioned, those who carefully pre-read manuscripts make an author’s life so much easier. Thank you Leslie, Irene, Nancy, Holly, Jean, Jill, Sonia, and J.D. . . . I’m pretty sure I’ve left someone out, which is why I don’t list names in the books. Please know that your kindness means so much. An author simply cannot rely solely on her own “editing eye.” 

Thanks also to the many library directors who allow me to share with their patrons. I love spreading the word about WWII heroes and heroines, many of them ordinary folks who sacrificed for the cause and made a quiet, but significant difference

There’s no way to thank these members of the Greatest Generation enough, but we can still do our best. Historical fiction provides one way to learn about and appreciate their careful attention to duty—and this is why the stories keep coming.

Most of all, I’m grateful for readers who encourage me all year long. Your reviews and personal notes help make the labor of writing worthwhile.

I’ll close with a quote from K.M. Weiland, an author I’ve met online. 

 “I don’t think there has been a moment in my entire life when I have not known in my heart that telling a story was vital, but the older I get, the more I consciously believe that telling a story—and telling it well—is one of the most tremendous contributions any human can make to the world.” 

How encouraging! Reading has been dear to me from childhood on, and I’ve always wanted to make a difference. It’s such a joy to be able to contribute.

And it’s time to regroup so this plant can blossom again. (:

Dorothy, Rupert, Twila and Stan, characters all, take their places in my Women of the Heartland stories:

http://amazon.com/author/gailkittleson