Friday, November 2, 2012

“Book Review Friday”


It’s November. It’s cold. It’s time to curl up on the sofa with another good book.

Today’s book recommendation is another beautifully written story set during World War II time period. When I began this book I could not put it down. I fell in love with the characters and the sweet story that protruded from its pages.

Author, Cara Putman tells the beautiful tale of two individuals on two life journeys whose paths cross in her first book in the Cornhusker Dreams series, Canteen Dreams…


In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, Audrey Stone wants to help in the war effort. But what's a young schoolteacher from Nebraska to do? When her community starts a canteen at the train station, Audrey finds her place. She spends nearly every spare moment there, offering food and kindness to the soldiers passing through. Despite her busyness, Audrey does allow some time to get to know a handsome rancher. Willard Johnson worries about his brother who joined the navy to get off the ranch and see the world. When Willard's worst fear is confirmed, he feels he must avenge by enlisting himself. But will his budding relationship with Audrey weather the storms of war? Or will one of the many soldiers at the canteen steal her away from him?

Show Le
I’m sure you will find this story warm and cozy, and your heart will ache for these two characters. If you love Audrey and Willard’s story, you will want to purchase the next two books in the series, Sandhill Dreams and Captive Dreams. Or you can buy all three! Look for “Cornhusker Dreams”.

Cara has written 15 books with plans of releasing more! She not only writes historicals, but Suspense, Romantic Suspense and more. Check out her website to learn about this amazing author at and leave a comment on her blog!

Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

“Are you well acquainted with your characters?”

Proverbs 17:17a “A friend loveth at all times,…”


For the past four months I have re-written, re-thought, and edited my novel; making it just right for my submission to editors.

As I re-read my novel for the umpteenth time I realized I know my characters better now than I did when I first wrote them. It made me wonder if I really knew who they were to begin with and if I had molded them into their correct personalities.

That is the subject and context of today’s blog post. How well do you know your characters? Are you merely acquainted with them? Do you know their names? Ages? Dwelling place? Their facial features?

You most likely will answer yes to all these questions, but are you intimately familiar with those two people who you’ve spent days, weeks, or even months with?

Do you know their full names? Do you know what the heroine’s favorite color is? Her favorite song? What scares her?

Does your hero like his eggs sunny side up or scrambled? What is he vulnerable to?

Do you see where I am going?

I decided to draw up a checklist of my character’s likes and dislikes; their moods, favorite people and places, favorite foods, smells, their good and bad qualities.

In the end, when you know who the character is it becomes much easier to write about their life and build a story around it. Take the time to ‘get to know’ your hero and heroine and take pride in who they are.


Did You Know?

During the 1940’s the Cape Cod was America’s home of choice.

Friday, October 19, 2012

"Book Review Friday"
1 Corinthians 13:4 "Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up." 

Sarah Sundin's debut novel, A Distant Melody, is a must read!! I cannot stress it enough. Both men and women will be drawn into this beautifully written story page after page.

Here is the blurb from the back cover:

Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval--even marry a man she doesn't love.

Lt. Walter Novak--fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women--takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas.

Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

A Distant Melody is the first book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.

I urge you to pick up this book and curl up on the couch with this historical. I read it in two days...I could not put it down. A book well worth the purchase!
Check out Sarah Sundin's website and view all four of her novels, inlcuding her newest release- "With Every Letter"- plus her upcoming novel in 2013!

If you can, stop by her blog and say "Hello"!

Have you read it? Do you plan to read it? Let me know!!

Did You Know?

  In 1945 the digital computer, ENIAC, was completed. It stood a towering 2 stories and weighed 30 ton!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

“A Look Back In Time – Part 2”

Psalms 89:1 “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known they faithfulness to all generations.”

Card Games

Maybe one of the quieter pastimes was a simple game of cards. To this day I remember my grandparents having their weekly “game night”. I hear many stories from older generations about their card games and evening out with friends or family. It was a time they all looked forward to enjoyed very much.

On ‘game night’ two couples or even a group assembled together to play their favorite card game. These games included: Rummy, Canasta, Bridge, Rook, Old Maid, Spades, Crazy Eights and so forth.

I was able to attend one of these card-playing nights with my grandparents at one particular time. When we arrived a card table with four chairs was set up with a deck of cards lying in the center. After exchanging greetings with one another, the men poking fun back and forth and ladies exchanging pleasantries, it was time to get down to business. Each person was served a glass of Iced Tea, Coke, or water (with a coaster under the glass mind you) and the cards were dealt. They were obviously well seasoned card players by the speed in which they dealt the hand. As the game of Rook began I had never seen such quick change of hands and laying down of cards; all the while laughing and joking as the game intensified.

Looking back I can see how relaxing those nights must have been. No t.v., no children running around screaming, no dinner party to prepare, just fun friends and a time to relax.


Although the television set had been introduced, most Americans did not have the advantage of owning one during WW2.

The 1940’s era was a time where people gathered their information on news and entertainment through newspaper or radio. Most evenings were spent in the living room listening to the radio broadcasts, news reports, music and radio shows while reading the newspaper, knitting, sewing, reading magazines, or puzzles.


Did You Know?

The ‘Slinky’ was invented in 1945 by a ship inspector.

Monday, October 15, 2012

“A Look Back In Time – Part 1”

Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 Welcome back! Today I plan to continue my series on lifestyle of the 1940’s. I hope you are enjoying reading my posts so far about this topic and I plan to continue in such fashion for a few more days.

Today we will be looking into Pastimes of the 1940’s



In our area one of the more popular hangouts was the bowling alley, or bowling lane. Kids, couples, and adults had their ‘bowling night’, it seemed, and even formed leagues in the area.



Maybe one of the more popular outings for anyone to attend was the picture shows (as they called them) or movies as we call them today.

Movies such as: Walt Disney’s Pinocchio and Fantasia was released together in 1940, Yankee Doodle Dandy in 1942, my favorite-Holiday Inn staring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire also in 1942, The Bells of St. Mary’s in 1945, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Miracle on 34th Street in 1947. Some of my other favorites from the 1940’s include, Abbot and Costello’s Buck Privates, Meet Frankenstein, and the infamous ‘Who’s on First” skit. The movie Arsenic and Old Lace also made its debut in 1944.

For an average of $0.25 an individual could purchase one movie ticket in 1940.

Often, during World War II, the theatres would roll reels of footage from combat areas before the cartoon and movie began. Sometimes the footage and images of war were not well accepted by the public.



Did You Know?

By the end of the war 5,000 televisions sets were in U.S. homes. It had a screen size of just 5 inches, and of course, was in black and white.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Thoughts From My Front Porch
Psalm 75:1 "Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare."
It's at the freezing temperature right now as I sit and stare out my window. It's dawn, just before the sun rises and I can already see the light chimney smoke settling in the valley below me. It's the first "freezing" morning we've had this fall.
The house is quiet, the fireplace is cranked up, and the cat has made me his resting his spot for the morning.
Wouldn't a cup of steaming coffee or hot chocolate sound good right now?
How many moments like this one have you been able to enjoy? Sometimes sitting in the stillness and quiet is the motivation and strength you need to get you through the day. It's a natural stress reliever. Take the time to enjoy the liitle things around you-it will effect you in a big way.
As the weekend begins, try to start you day with no worries and a smile. Relax a bit before jumping into your daily tasks. Grab a good book and take an hour to read. You will be glad you did!
Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

“The Perfect Date”

Proverbs 17:22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

What is the perfect date? Think carefully on this.

Dinner and a movie? Flowers and candy? A walk through the park? How about a night of bowling or miniature golf and dancing to the tunes of Glenn Miller or Tommy Dorsey.

Sound old fashioned?  

Maybe it is, but these were the ideal dates 70 years ago.

When we sit down and watch our favorite movies or read our favorite romance, we get an idea in our minds of what the perfect date should be and how he/she should act. Probably the most romantic of times was the period between 1940 and 1950.

Not everything was perfect back in the 1940’s but there were certain things a man or woman did and certain things they didn’t do. Take a look…


A woman always wore a dress. Unless she became part of the work force to help in the war effort or was bound by a job that required slacks, she had feminine appeal. Her hair was usually pinned back or swept up in a do.

She carried herself in a light manner, giving a nod to a passerby on the street, greeting others with a hello and smile. Whether that stranger deserved it or not, politeness won over.

 A hat was usually placed atop the head and worn to church. Gloves fitted her hands when going out.

She was meek, kind, gentle, and ready to support her man who was going off to war.


Role of the man? He wore his best suit for the occasion. He also wore a hat, or fedora, when going out. His shoes were shined and flowers would likely accompany his presence-maybe not the large bouquet of roses we see today, but maybe a small bouquet of wild flowers or stems cut from his mother’s garden.



He opened and held doors for his date (or any woman for that fact). If he and his comrades sat in the parlor and a woman entered, they all rose to their feet.

He offered his arm in warmth and appreciation, or to be close to his gal, which would have also made his date feel safe and secure. And ‘goodnight’ ended with a simple “Good-bye”, handshake, peck on the cheek, or even a kiss.

Sound like the perfect ending?

Not all dates ended this well or even went that well. In truth they may have been like most dates of today, only proper etiquette was taken seriously and respect between the couple was highly regarded.  


Dating did not seem to be the term used back in the day. The term I hear used mostly for that generation would be ‘courting’.

Courting sometimes involved 3 people-the couple of interest and their chaperone. A chaperone who could have been ‘that pesky little brother’!


Do you have any more thoughts to add?


Did You Know?

It was improper for a woman to enter a bowling alley where a pool table was present.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

“A Look Back In Time – From My Front Porch”

Romans 15:1 “We that are strong out to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”


Sitting on the front porch (or stoop) with a cup of coffee and newspaper, listening to the song of the mocking bird (or robin) gives us a moment of tranquility and relaxation. It’s in these moments that I reflect on various issues that are on my mind. When I am researching for a novel or just finishing reading a good book, I find myself reflecting a little more on yesteryear’s way of life. It always leaves me wondering…what was life like back then?

I would like to take a few days and begin a series on 1940’s etiquette touching on various issues and lifestyles of the World War II era.



Formal settings

You’ve heard the expression “Dress in your Sunday best.” In pouring over pictures of my grandparents and their families from the 1920’s to the 1950’s one thing is clear. Women always wore dresses and men wore button down shirts where the top one or two buttons were never fastened. In most cases men wore dress slacks.

It was a common practice to ‘dress up’ for occasions such as dinner, a movie, a dance, even a walk in the park. Of course Sunday church service always required men to where a tie and overcoat and women to wear a Sunday bonnet and white gloves.


Time is of the essence

It was considered rude to show up late and early when invited to dinner or a party. If you came too early your host/hostess was not ready and created awkward situations. If you came too late (especially for a dinner party) you were the cause of holding up the works and dinner was served cold. Being punctual was of importance and appreciated!

In many cases the hostess of the party was usually greeted with flowers, pie, or some gift of appreciation for hosting the affair.



Are these practices of etiquette outdated? Maybe by today’s standards they are, but are they really bad ideas? I hope not. I encourage you to re-create some of these practices and see how it works for you.



Did You Know?

With the sale of silk discontinued during World War II, women drew lines up the backs of their legs with an eyeliner to give the illusion of stockings.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Book Review Friday”

Psalm 123:1 “Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.”


The weekend has come upon us once more and I have another great book for you to curl up on the sofa with…

A good read for both men and women alike, “Dawn of a Thousand Nights” by Tricia Goyer, is the most historically correct World War II novel I’ve ever read!

I chose this book for today’s review because of its compelling story of tragedy, love, honor and faith. It is the 2nd book in Tricia Goyer’s World War II Liberator’s Series.

The story follows two pilots from the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor, through the brutal Bataan Death March, and concludes with the end of the war in 1945.

If you like World War II fighter planes, gripping tales of Prisoners of War, edge-of-your-seat combat, and a classic love story, this book is for you!


Check out Tricia Goyer’s new book, “The Memory Jar”.



Did You Know?

Approximately 10,000 gallons of flamethrower fuel was used each day by the United States while executing the first stage in Iwo Jima.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Grumman Avenger”

Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."


Now that I have ‘briefed’ you on the role my WW2 veteran played while in the Navy, I will take you on board the plane he flew.


Introduced in 1942, the Grumman TBF Avenger was designed with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps in mind.

It was built with an extra-large bomb bay that could hold up to 2,000 lbs. of bombs—1 single 2,000 lb. bomb, or 4 – 500 lb. bombs.

The Avenger held a crew of three men: The pilot, turret gunner, and radioman (who also doubled as the belly gunner).

It was also armed with 2 - .30 caliber machine guns—1 in the nose and one that was hand fired by the radioman under the tail. The turret gunner was armed with a .50 caliber machine gun which was fired from a chair raised above the plane’s floor.

This particular plane was able to handle heavy damage and land with parts of its wings and body missing.

It was an asset to the Navy as they conducted raids over Iwo Jima, the Solomon Islands, the Philippine Islands, Guadalcanal, as well as several other areas of the Pacific Theatre.


Did You Know?

On September 16, 1940 the U.S. began its first peacetime draft.

Monday, October 1, 2012

“True American Heroes”


In my first interview with a World War II Navy veteran, I discovered a function of the military that is new to me.

While I have spent most of my time researching Army tactics, following certain Army companies and infantries, and, yes, even researching the Army Nurse Corps, I have yet to even begin looking into other branches of military.

When I first heard there was a man from our former church who served in World War II, my internal radar immediately went up! So what did I do? I got on the phone and started making calls. With much thanks to my mother and Aunt I was able to set up a place and time to meet up with this veteran. Little did I know what was in store for me. . .

It was my understanding this war veteran was a ball turret gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. However, upon my arrival I was informed my B-17 gunner was actually a Navy man—a turret gunner on a Grumman Avenger Torpedo plane. Immediately my mind started spinning. All my questions were based on the Army Air Corps, what was I supposed to do now? Proceed with the interview, of course!

I started with the basics, then on to his life in the Navy. As the interview progressed I knew what questions needed to be asked. After learning of this man’s rank and position, I began asking questions about his missions. He completed 15 missions in raids over Iwo Jima, Philippine Islands and the Solomon Islands. He survived all missions without injury except one close brush with disaster. I further learned he served on the U.S.S. Hornet and has been back to visit the ship on display in Alameda, California.

I was privileged to have seen the scrapbook he kept of his days in the Navy. The pages were decorated with newspaper articles, Navy records, photographs of the plane and crew with which he served, and logs. I was also privileged to view the various medals this veteran had been decorated with.

The memories I will take from this interview are priceless. No matter if my novels are published or unpublished I will never forget the stories, memorabilia, the kindness or generosity that was displayed to me.

In conclusion, these words from this World War II veteran will always be replayed in my mind:

 “I wouldn’t trade my days in the Navy for anything, not for [a] million.”

…and I wouldn’t trade my time with him or his wife for a million either.
Did You Know?

Kate Smith and Irving Berlin donated all proceeds from the song "God Bless America" to Boy Scouts of America. To this day the Boy Scouts receive royalties.

Tomorrow's post: The Grumman Avenger Torpedo plane

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

“Building Your Storyline”

Part 3 – Building Your Characters


Romeo & Juliet. Bert & Ernie. Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs. What do all these characters have in common? They were all the product of someone’s thoughtful imagination.

When reading a good book, (a really good book) it is easy to fall in love with the hero and heroine. I find myself pulling for them as they encounter life’s lessons and cry with them as the world around them falls apart. And of course, the story would not be written right if not for the happy ending that brings two different people together.

Building characters people will love and can relate to is a job in itself. You are molding two (or more) fictional lives and creating personalities set apart from each other.

How do you create such characters? First, establish a time period. Once you know what year your story is taking place it is easier to begin shaping lives. I write historicals set in the World War II era, thus every character I bring to life must have a name, personality, dress, and likes of the 1940’s.

Choosing a name:

This is my favorite part. I love the name choosing process. A name can reflect personality, whether sweet and tender or gruff and grungy. Since my novels are of a 1940’s element, I print out baby names of the 20’s. (This can be searched from any web site or in any baby name book on the shelves) My characters would have been born in the 20’s so it is important I find names suitable for the time period.

Choosing an appearance:

Before even choosing a name, most writers already know what their characters are going to look like. It’s almost instinctive. Sometimes their appearance will also reflect a personality type. Or to keep the reader interested, the appearance does not at all match the disposition of the character. Using a differing guise for each fictional individual adds depth and keeps the reader turning pages.

The personality type:

There are a few different ways to ‘get to know’ the people you will be spending a lot of time with. Be sure to learn as much about your characters as you can.

Being a member of American Christian Fiction Writers has helped me learn the many methods of developing characters.  Some writers actually use a personality test on their characters. Other writers document and mimic a person whom he/she admires. My favorite method, however, comes from a woman whom I have come to respect. She is writer, Valerie Comer.

In her blog from April 13, 2012, Valerie invites writers to ‘interview’ their characters. Questions anywhere from careers and dwelling place to deep personal issues that a character may be dealing with. I found her piece on character interviews very helpful and have adopted it for my writing.

I invite you to visit Valerie Comer’s blog at:

be sure to check out her books as well!

Above all, have fun in your writing. Do not let it stress you out or allow you to become frustrated. Take your time and enjoy the process. God Bless!



Did You Know?

Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” debuted on radio November 11, 1939, Armistice  Day, with the infallible Kate Smith belting out the patriotic tune.

Monday, September 24, 2012

“Building Your Story”

Part 2 – Are you a SOTP writer?

Right now I’m sure you asking the question, “What is an SOTP?”

The first time I heard this term I can honestly say I was lost. The best way to explain this is to paint a picture:

Maybe it’s a beautiful setting that inspires you. Or maybe a character you find intriguing. If it’s not one of these two things, then it is most likely an incredible story/plot just waiting to burst at the seams…and you’re in control of where it is headed!

Without referring to an outline, you just start typing. Anything that pops into your mind comes to life on the pages in front of you. Before you know it, a story has been created.

Now to answer the question: If this is you, you may be a Seat Of The Pants writer. Or SOTP. Whether you are a SOTP or a writer who requires an outline, neither method is wrong. Every writer is different. Every writer has one thing that works for him/her. To see where you fit in, try both. Explore different blogs, and websites…and keep writing.

The mind of a writer is an exceptional entity. Everything our eyes and ears take in are locked away in our fictional imaginations; unlocking itself at that moment when our dreams become a reality. When our dreams are put to paper, we don’t just tell the tale, we live them. God Bless!



Did You Know?

Irving Berlin’s patriotic hit, “God Bless America” was originally written in 1918? The piece would not be heard for another 21 years!