Guest Author: Hallee Bridgeman – Bringing WWII to Life!

My love of the WWII era started in my early teens when I watched Casablanca for the first time. I became obsessed with magazines and newspaper articles from the 1940’s, with the fashion, with the lifestyles. Even now I enjoy looking look through old books and pictures and see how kitchens were set up and how homes were run.HAB_2014a

I’ve been writing for about 15 years now. My interests lay in suspense and romance, so writing romantic suspense just became a no-brainer for me. I can sit down at the keyboard and just let my imagination run. I enjoy coming up with scenarios and intricate plots that twist and turn and keep readers completely breathless from one chapter to the next.

When I started writing, I started researching writing a series set in Europe in World War II. So, while I was busy writing my contemporary romantic suspense titles, I spent any down time I had researching the 1930’s-1950’s Europe and America. When I finally reached a point in my work schedule to start writing my book, I sat down at my keyboard and expected to have the words just flow through me like they always have only to find out – they wouldn’t.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have a plot: espionage, female heroines, inspired by real women. I had the plot. What I didn’t have was the knowledge. I had no idea how much I didn’t know until I realized I didn’t know it. I couldn’t even begin because as much as I could picture my character in my head, I couldn’t be certain that what I had her wearing was something that she would actually wear. All of those years of research, looking into espionage tactics and military warfare had done nothing to prepare me to write about the most important thing in any novel: the characters.

What kind of school would she have gone to? What kind of shoes would he wear? What would she eat for dinner on a Friday night? How would they go from their apartment to that play?

As much as I had spent most of my life in love with that era, the little day-to-day things that help characters come to life in a story completely escaped me. I had to go back into research with a fresh eye for what was important and what details I needed to learn. Loving the era like I do, that research was fun and easy for me.

When I finally sat down again to write the series, with all of the proper research under my belt, it came much quicker and easier.

Tomorrow, the final episode in my Virtues and Valor series releases. Every book in the 7-part series was inspired by a different heroine in WWII history; every woman on the covers did something remarkable in the war. It has been an amazing journey to research and to dig into their stories.

7FlightOfFaith_800Flight of Faith: HELEN MULBERRY, the youngest child and only daughter of a wealthy Texas oil tycoon, has always had her every wish granted immediately. When the Germans march into France, no one denies her request to fly her plane to England and help free up a male pilot for combat. Her father’s influence opens doors, and 19 year old Helen joins the Virtues team.

Now under the code-name FAITH, she flies between Britain and France, transporting passengers, supplies, or performing reconnaissance. The Nazis guard their skies with vigor, and Helen learns to fly in combat, land in a field with no lights, and evade the anti-aircraft fire. She masterfully takes on each mission, despite the perceptions and chauvinistic attitudes of many of the male pilots.

Shot down over France during the mission to rescue the agent code named TEMPERANCE from the clutches of the Gestapo, Helen must make her way through enemy territory with no language skills and somehow come through with a means to get her team back to Britain. Can she save them, or will they all find that they have no way out?

Virtues and Valor Series:
In 1941 Great Britain a special war department assembles an experimental and exclusively female cohort of combat operatives. Four willing spies, a wireless radio operator, an ingenious code breaker, and a fearless pilot are each hand-picked, recruited, and trained to initiate a daring mission in Occupied France. As plans are laid to engineer the largest prison break of Allied POWs in history, the Nazis capture the Virtues’ radio operator. It will take the cohesive teamwork of the rest of the women to save her life before Berlin breaks her and brings the force of the Third Reich to bear.

Some find love, some find vengeance, and some discover the kind of strength that lives in the human heart when all they can do is rely on each other and their shared belief. Courage, faith, and valor intersect but, in the end, one pays the ultimate price.

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Hallee online:             Website        Twitter        Facebook        Google+     Amazon

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Historical Romance for the Modern Reader

The ideal modern romance (what every girl wants) entails attraction, dozens of dates, “hanging out” until you really know them, becoming their “best friend”, etc…etc… Often the process of making sure someone is the “right one”, or your “soul-mate”, takes years.

Sometime readers shake their heads that a romance can “happen” and the happy couple are ready to bind themselves together for the rest of their lives after only a few months…or weeks…or days! It’s as unbelievable as the heroine off  Disney’s “Enchanted” being sure of her “prince charming” and “true love” after only one day…or a brief meeting.

enchanted-amy-adams-and-james-marsden-foreground-patrick-dempsey-and-rachel-covey-background

But what can I say? Expectations where different “back then”.

For the sake of ease, lets look at one era. Regency. Turning to our expert in the field, Jane Austen herself, what do we see? (Not counting Persuasion 😉 ) In Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte’s example probably rings pretty true. She knew almost nothing of Mr Collins, but he could provide a good life for her and seemed the logical choice. After only a few public meetings and a short interlude, she agreed to be his wife.Pride-and-Prejudice-1995-pride-and-prejudice-1995-6196003-207-208

But that wasn’t very romantic and she didn’t actually love him, so lets look at Jane instead.

Jane was truly in love with Mr. Bingley. But then, what wasn’t to love? And she’d had ample time to judge his character. Several social gatherings, and then all those days she was sick in his house (OK, that worked out better for Elisabeth than Jane). Unfortunately Bingley was compelled to leave for London and Jane didn’t see him much before he finally proposed. But that didn’t matter. She knew him to be a good man who would treat her kindly, provide well for her, and she was attracted to him.pnp-2

But let’s dig deeper here. What about Elisabeth. By far the pickiest of the sisters, so a good thing she had plenty of social gatherings to analyse Mr Darcy, a nice stay with the Bingleys to engage in the rigors of proper conversation (only she still didn’t like him), several meetings at his aunt’s (where it all fell apart), and then restoration during her short stay near Pemberley. It helped that he was wealthy and everyone (except Wickham) said such wonderful things about him. How could she not fall deeply and madly in love with him? The question remains, how much time did they really have with each other before they were decided? PnP 1

The purpose of this examination is not to induce you to change your expectations when seeking the one you plan to spend the rest of your life with (please make sure you love them, respect them, and are their best friend), but to point out that when reading a historical romance, while we will strive to make their falling in love fulfilling and realistic…they might rush into marriage a year or two quicker then you would have.

Though, I suppose there are still great parallels between the mail-order bride…and your internet sweetheart 😉

 

 

The Fight Traditional Marriage is a Fight for the Rights of Children

Here’s a tidbit of history for everyone. Marriage used to be a union exclusively between a man and a woman…and with good reason. scan_pic0743

Nowadays everyone so busy worrying about their own rights and privileges that they forget, or perhaps they never realize, marriage is not about having rights, it’s about giving them up. Thomas Sowell, one of America’s brilliant minds put it this way:

“In the absence of the institution of marriage, the individuals could arrange their relationship whatever way they wanted to, making it temporary or permanent, and sharing their worldly belongings in whatever way they chose.

Marriage means that the government steps in, limiting or even prescribing various aspects of their relations with each other — and still more, their relationship with whatever children may result from their union.

In other words, marriage imposes legal restrictions, taking away rights that individuals might otherwise have. Yet “gay marriage” advocates depict marriage as an expansion of rights to which they are entitled.” (Here is the rest of the article)

He puts “gay marriage” in quotes because, he argues, there is no such thing as “gay marriage.” The term in itself is meaningless.

The key: It is not an expansion of rights. It is a commitment before society that you will take care of any offspring produced by the union. Hence the importance of traditional values in marriage — where it isn’t ripped apart by selfishness, nullifying the stability and other benefits of being raised by a mother and father.

Ryan Anderson, in an address to the Indiana House Judiciary Committee stated this: “Marriage is the institution that different cultures and societies across time and place developed to maximize the likelihood that that man would commit to that woman and then the two of them would take responsibility to raise that child.”

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He also stated that: “The state’s interest in marriage is not that it cares about my love life, or your love life, or anyone’s love life just for the sake of romance,” Anderson explained. “The state’s interest in marriage is ensuring that those kids have fathers who are involved in their lives.”

Click here to hear more of his amazing argument!

Last year 5 major religions banded together and wrote an amicus brief to the United States Court of Appeals for The Tenth Circuit which concluded with the following:

“Marriage, understood as the union of one man and one woman, remains a vital and foundational institution of civil society.  The government’s interests in continuing to encourage and support marriage are not merely legitimate but compelling.  No other institution joins together two persons with the natural ability to create children for the purpose of maximizing the welfare of such children.  No other institution strives to ensure that children have the opportunity of  feeling a sense of security and being raised in a stable household by the mother and father who conceived them.  Undermining the husband-wife marital institution by redefining it to include same-sex couples will, in the long term, harm vital child-welfare interests that only the husband- wife definition can secure.  The result will be more mothers and fathers concluding that the highest end of marriage is not the welfare of their children but the advancement of their own life choices.  We know, from personal experience over numerous decades of ministering to families and children, that more focus on satisfying adult needs will not benefit vulnerable children.  The societal ills caused by the deterioration of husband-wife marriage will only be aggravated if the State cannot reserve to marriage its historic and socially vital meaning.  DATED this 10th day of February, 2014” (Read more here)

I personally don’t care about other people’s love lives (except my husband’s), but I do care about society as a whole and the welfare of children. Evidence is clear that a stable home with both a mother and a father is generally the best atmosphere for a child to be raised. Marriage has never been about rights and freedoms (at least not for the adults), it is legally all about restricting those rights and freedoms. Keep your freedoms and let society keep marriage the way it was intended — to protect the children.

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Remembering Lew Wallace and Ben-Hur: By Shirley Raye Redmond

February 2015 marks the 110th anniversary of the death of author Lew Wallace—a former Army general and Wallaceterritorial governor of New Mexico. In my inspirational novel, AMANDA’S BEAU, the school teacher hero Gil Gladney loans my heroine Wallace’s bestselling novel to read: BEN-HUR, A TALE OF THE CHRIST.

Many of you are probably familiar with the book or perhaps the classic movie starring Charlton Heston as the title character. Interestingly enough, when the novel was first released in Ben Hur1880, it was considered unusual for its time—too romantic, and historical fiction was not popular with readers. Wallace declared that after researching and writing the novel, he was convicted with an “absolute belief in God and in the divinity of Christ.” The novel was not expected to become a bestseller, but it did.

After reading and enjoying the book, my heroine Amanda returns in to Gil, saying, “It made me want to be a better person, a stronger Christian. Do you know what I mean?”

“Yes, I do,” Gil replies.

When Lew Wallace died at the age of 77 in 1905, his many books had earned him more royalty income than any other American novelist up to that time. Today, a marble statue of Wallace stands in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capital—representing his home state of Indiana. He is the only American novelist honored there.

 

Book Blurb:
The year is 1905. It is autumn in the village of Aztec in New Mexico territory. Amanda Dale is burdened with the responsibility of caring for her widowed sister—an invalid—and Ella’s two children—one a premature infant. But Amanda wants a husband and children of her own and despairsAmandasBeau that God does not care about her plight. Schoolteacher Gil Gladney is handsome, intelligent, and God-fearing. He is drawn to Amanda, but feels he cannot propose marriage until he is able to purchase the ranch he has been saving for.

When Gil and his pupils discover the relics of an ancient culture among the ruins outside the village, Gil contacts an old college friend. The possibility of an archeological excavation excites the community of cash-strapped farmers, eager to earn extra money working on the site. 

Gil is delighted when Nate Phillips comes to Aztec to take up the challenge. When a rabid skunk reels through the excavation site, threatening the lives of Amanda and her nephew Rex, Gil realizes that life is short and the possibility of true happiness can be fleeting. In the end, Amanda learns to trust God to provide the happily-ever-after ending she’s been praying for.

 

SRR #1

 

An award-winning children’s book author, Shirley Raye Redmond holds an M.A. in literature from the University of Illinois. She has been married to her husband Bill for forty years, and is active with Community Bible Study. They have two grown children and two adorable grandsons. Lewis & Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President (Random House) was a Children’s Book of the Month Club selection. Patriots in Petticoats: Heroines of the American Revolution, was named one of the best children’s books of 2005 by the Bank Street College of Education. Amanda’s Beau is her first inspirational romance.

Connect with Shirley Raye:
www.shirleyrayeredmond.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shirley-Raye-Redmond-Author/533496973399344

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/239947.Shirley_Raye_Redmond

ICICLE’s First Anthology! OUT OF THE STORM

This week I had fun being interviewed by India’s Crown in Christian Literature Excellence-ICICLE.  I invite you to slip

Now available from Amazon!

over to there and take a look. There are three ways to qualify for a free copy of

Out of the Storm!

ICICLE’s First Anthology! OUT OF THE STORM.

 

EXCERPT:

He jumped in, sending up a spray of mud and water as his boots sank into the shallow stream. Pistol ready, he pulled up one side of the waterlogged structure. There was a feminine gasp.

“Anything?” An officer called from the edge of the grove.

For a moment, Pavel couldn’t pull his gaze from the two pools of terror shadowed by long lashes. The girl, almost a woman, was undoubtedly the priest’s daughter. They had been told there was one, but though his duty was clear, how could he bring himself to do it?

Out of the Storm — Now Available!

Finally, that day I know we’ve all been waiting for! Alright. Maybe I’ve been closer to the edge of my seat than the rest of you, but to add to your excitement I am giving away a hard copy to someone. Leave a comment here and/or share on Facebook and it could be yours! I’ll even autograph it before I put it in the mail–I know, now you’re feeling the rush of adrenaline.

 

Fire in a Storm by Angela K Couch

USSR 1934

“He was secret police and he knew his purpose. Religion was the enemy and God, the deception. Then a glimpse of gold and silver, and the woman who wore it, threatened everything he trusted.”

Instead of rambling on anymore, I’ll let you go to Amazon and read it for yourself. It’s really easy to find the story you want as it’s conveniently located at the end of the book. Nothing like ending an anthology with a “bang” … but now I’m giving away too much information. 😉

Also, for fun, you can check out my Pinterest board for “Fire in a Storm”, to get a feel for time, place and characters. There is even some music to set you in the mood.

What Marriage Used to Mean

scan_pic0743I have seen a growing trend among the people around me, and throughout the world, to question whether or not marriage is worth it anymore, since most of the benefits of being legally and lawfully joined in matrimony can be made available to any couple. Isn’t it just a piece of paper?

Others fight for that piece of paper and legal designation, and by so doing seek to change the fundamental precepts that marriage was founded on — aka “redefining marriage”.

With my “old fashioned” view on marriage, I find it hard to understand, or condone either of these.

This is what marriage used to mean … and what it still means to me:100_0121

First we will look at government’s stake in, and society’s purpose for marriage through most of human history.

As Thomas Sowell, one of America’s brilliant minds put it: “In the absence of the institution of marriage, the individuals could arrange their relationship whatever way they wanted to, making it temporary or permanent, and sharing their worldly belongings in whatever way they chose. Marriage means that the government steps in, limiting or even prescribing various aspects of their relations with each other — and still more, their relationship with whatever children may result from their union. In other words, marriage imposes legal restrictions, taking away rights that individuals might otherwise have.”

With this understanding it makes sense why some couples like the “just a piece of paper” argument. I mean, who wants the Government to have any say in their personal relationships? Though, on the other side of the coin, Sowell continues: ” ‘gay marriage’ advocates depict marriage as an expansion of rights to which they are entitled.” Which isn’t the case. (Read more here!)

The main focus of society’s past interest in marriage was because of the children that usually result from the union of a man and a woman. It happens.  Deal with it.  But society needed to make sure that those children were taken care of. Ryan Anderson, in an address to the Indiana House Judiciary Committee stated this: “Marriage is the institution that IMG_1109different cultures and societies across time and place developed to maximize the likelihood that that man would commit to that woman and then the two of them would take responsibility to raise that child.”

He stated further: “The state’s interest in marriage is not that it cares about my love life, or your love life, or anyone’s love life just for the sake of romance. The state’s interest in marriage is ensuring that those kids have fathers who are involved in their lives.”

 

Completely logical and good, but for most people, especially Christians, marriage means much more.

  • Abstinence before. Old fashioned, right? I don’t think so. And with all the STDs and emotional pain going around, I’m surprised more people don’t agree that waiting until the wedding night is the best policy. How nice would it be to share yourself with the love of your life and not wonder if they are comparing you to someone else? To not worry about extra procedures for your newborn baby because of common STDs you might carry. This is a shout out to teens. No, you don’t have to go there. Yes, the wait is worth it!

 

  • Complete fidelity after: In the “good old days” infidelity was sometimes the only excuse for divorce.  Taking it a step further, Christ said, ” That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (KJV Matt. 5:28). In marriage we owe our spouse fidelity not only in the physical sense, but mentally and emotionally as well. No pornography, which encompasses anything that turns you on besides your spouse–so watch those steamy romance novels and movies.

 

  • Your spouse’s help meet: Marriage is about supporting your spouse no matter what life sends your way. Remember the traditional wedding vows? “To love and honor, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, till death do us part.” The more I hear modern “vows”, the more I think they are a cop-out. A couple decides they want to write their own vows and more often then not, they end up being a declaration of love … not devotion. That sort of declaration belongs at the proposal. A marriage is about standing at that person’s side and helping them, supporting them, encouraging them, pushing them in a wheelchair, spoon-feeding them after a horrific car accident, and so much more!

 

  • Becoming one: With your spouse you should be able to share something physically (goes without saying), mentally and emotionally at a deeper level than with anyone else. For the most part this isn’t something you are going to experience in the first year of marriage, but when you look at a happy couple interact who has been together for over 60 years through good times and bad, you start to get a glimpse of what is possible when you work toward that mutual goal. When you have faced the worst and best of life at each-others side. When you can read their emotions, understand their fears, strive for the same dreams … fulfill each-other.

I am so grateful to the ones who taught me and my husband by word and deed what a real marriage was and should be!

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