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How to Have the Right Perspective

This blog post first appeared September, 2017.

Since I enjoy researching and writing about the WWII American home front and polio, I’m delighted to introduce you to my friend, Starr. I met Starr through a Post Polio group and I was so inspired by her love for life and her beautiful heart. As I got to know her, it became apparent that a beautiful heart is all about having the right perspective. Starr, thanks for letting me interview you and for sharing your life with us.

1940s wheelchair
1940s wheelchair

My character, Laurie, contracts polio in 1943, a time when America was engulfed in the throes of a world war, but also, fighting a home front war, the war against this crippling disease. What is your polio story?

Starr — Where should I begin. I have thought about it for a long time. I became sick at age 6 months old. I was born to teenage parents, Mom was 16 and Dad 15. They did what all parents do and I was vaccinated on schedule. It was my third dose, which was the live virus which I contracted polio. I have had good times, bad times, sad and happy. But looking back I would not change a thing. It is what made the person I am. It got me to where I am today. I love my life and I feel very blessed.

I know hospitals are not fun, but you’ve talked about some fascinating stories between you and a boy you met while in the hospital. What is your favorite memory?

Starr — This is an easy memory for me. Christmas Eve, the hospital was empty just a few of us there. They would take us to the auditorium and show Laurel and Hardy’s March of the Wooden Soldiers. We had popcorn and laughed a lot. My husband and I were friends back then. We both were in and out of the hospital and it seemed it was always at the same time.

I’m sure being in and out of the hospital was a love-hate relationship, especially because your best friend became your husband. 🙂

How did you spend your summers after polio?

The Eye of the Mustang
Sister, the Paint Mustang

Starr — Well, I discovered early on that I was different. I didn’t go outside that often, most were spent indoors either at home or the hospital. But I found ways to enjoy the change of seasons. I watched the colors change, and saw life from a window. In my teens, my parents bought a horse, they thought it would be good therapy. And it was, because the horse became my legs. I was able to go where ever I wanted. I know this sounds strange but I would go to a grave yard with a pad of paper and draw nature. And talk to the graves as if they were old friends.

My character has a horse, too, and has to learn how to ride again. Riding is wonderful therapy for anyone.

How did you meet your husband?

Starr — We met when we were six. Both in the hospital for two different reasons. We were on mats in physical therapy waiting our turn. He and another boy were behind me laughing. They took turns pulling on my pig tails. I cried and they [nurses] had to take me back to my room. Yes, and I married him. But there were many stories between then and our marriage.

That’s funny and cute. I’m sure he’s glad you decided to marry him too.

What is your hobby?

Starr — I have many. I paint, draw, write poems, write short stories, crochet, cook, compose music and play many instruments. I sang and gardened prior to PPS.

Just so our readers understand what PPS is, PPS is called Post-Polio Syndrome.

I enjoy poetry and the hope it gives. You wrote a poem called “Whispers of Heaven.” I think our readers will love this section you wrote:

A life unvarnished, rattled with pain

And back to this life I did reclaim.

The time has since has passed seeming far away

But still I am here and will remain,

thinking of time and that I must stay

For all we are now, and all we’re to be

We must follow the path that leads to thee

I know not where nor do I the time

What life I now have alone it is mine

But knowing what waits beyond is not pretend

For each of us holds to love when it’s our life’s end.

From my research, I’ve learned that Post Polio is a syndrome where the challenges of polio come back after a 20-40 year span. What is your approach to PPS?

Starr — I deal with it day by day. I try to enjoy every day, and am very thankful that I am here. Because I know life can be gone in an instant.

Through your life experience, how have you become a better person?

Starr — I am more sensitive to other people’s feelings and am very patient.

Being patient truly is a gift. What are some things that make you happy?

Starr — Well right now it is being a grandmother. I have wanted to be one for such a long time.

Who was instrumental in shaping you into the wonderful person you are today?

1940s ApronStarr — I would have to say my Mom, because she pushed me. She was hard on me, but did it to make me stronger. And also all the staff at the children’s hospital I spent most of my life in.

What is your encouraging advice to others, and something that writers can infuse into their own characters’ lives?

Starr — Never be defeated, defeat the circumstance. Let go of pain, both emotional and physical. And the last is to forgive all those who have hurt you, and forgive yourself. It will lift such a weight off you. I have found that if you allow the sorrow to fill you with hate, you will never have the love you seek.

Thanks for sharing with us today, Starr! Your story is beautiful, inspiring, and a great reminder that we can have confidence no matter what we go through. We all have challenges in life, and I’m encouraged by your outlook on life.

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Author Interview: Cynthia Roemer + Under Prairie Skies Giveaway

 

 

I’m excited to welcome award-winning author Cynthia Roemer back to the blog and to introduce to you her second novel, Under Prairie Skies! If you loved Under This Same Sky, you’ll love this second novel! It’s a tugging story of love and humor that will have you turning pages.

(Don’t forget to leave a comment and enter the giveaway! But read the interview first!)

Thanks for joining us, Cynthia! What’s Under Prairie Skies about?

~ Beyond shattered dreams lies a realm of possibilities ~

Illinois prairie ~ 1855

Unsettled by the news that her estranged cousin and uncle are returning home after a year away, Charlotte Stanton goes to ready their cabin and finds a handsome stranger has taken up residence. Convinced he’s a squatter, she throws him off the property before learning his full identity. Little does she know, their paths are destined to cross again.

Quiet and ruggedly handsome, Chad Avery’s uncanny ability to see through Charlotte’s feisty exterior and expose her inner weaknesses both infuriates and intrigues her. When a tragic accident incites her family to move east, Charlotte stays behind in hopes of becoming better acquainted with the elusive cattleman. Yet Chad’s unwillingness to divulge his hidden past, along with his vow not to love again, threatens to keep them apart forever.

I love that your hero and heroine are so opposite, and that Charlotte’s ruthless and Chad’s kindhearted! Looking forward to this story!

What is Chad most afraid of?

Chad’s biggest fear is failure. Hurts from his past have left him unable to move forward and allow himself to love again.

I’m sure many of us can relate to Chad’s fear. Why does Charlotte dislike Chad?

Well, without giving up a spoiler, let’s just say they started out on the wrong foot. Wrong assumptions on Charlotte’s part left her vulnerable. She isn’t accustomed to someone standing up to her or exposing her flaws the way Chad does.

Ooh, so much conflict! I love it! One word that describes Chad? Why?

Determined. Chad is determined not to let anything stand in the way of his dream and what’s right and fair.

I can relate to that too! One word that describes Charlotte? Why?

Strong-willed. Charlotte has a will of iron that sometimes gets her into trouble. Not until Chad enters the picture does she learn how to use her strength of will for the good of others.

A perfect match, perhaps? Can’t wait to find out! What is the significance of the cows in this story?

The cattle represent Chad’s dream, one he shared with his wife. In a sense, they are his way of holding onto what he’s lost.

Oh, I feel so bad for him already. What do you expect readers to look forward to when reading this story?

The key verse is Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” It’s my prayer that in reading Under Prairie Skies, readers will get a sense of how the Lord uses people to spur each other on and encourage each other to become more like Christ.

Thanks for sharing your characters with us, Cynthia! Looking forward to this book! Where can readers purchase Under Prairie Skies?

Under Prairie Skies is available on

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Under-Prairie-Skies-Sky-Book-ebook/dp/B07BDKTNK4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522690946&sr=8-1&keywords=under+prairie+skies

About Cynthia Roemer

bio1Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational writer with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. She writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband and their two college-aged sons. Under Prairie Skies is Book Two in her Prairie Sky Series.

Contact Info:

Cynthia Roemer can be contacted at:

Website:  http://cynthiaroemer.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com@cynthiaroemer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCynthiaRoemer/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16785237.Cynthia_Roemer

Author Newsletter Sign-up: http://cynthiaroemer.com/

Your turn! Enter the Giveaway! Be sure to enter all the options for the most points for more chances to win a copy of Under Prairie Skies!

Details:

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  • Open to entrants 18 and older, in the lower 48 U.S. states.
  • Not affiliated with any other organization, including Facebook.
  • Winner will be emailed no later than Monday, May 7, 2018, so please provide your contact information.

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What’s your favorite snack or drink when sitting down with a good book?

 

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Blog Tour Giveaway: First Love Forever Romance Collection

first-love-forever-blitz-april-2018

Welcome to the first-ever blog tour giveaway! I’m partnering with JustRead to share a fantastic romance collection with you! Enjoy!

First Love Forever Romance Collection

9 Historical Romances Where First Loves are Rekindled

by Susanne Dietze, Cynthia Hickey, Marcia Gruver, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Martha Rogers, Lorna Seilstad, Connie Stevens, Jennifer Uhlarik, Erica Vetsch

A first love is never easily forgotten…

and coming face to face with that person again can be awkward when the heartstrings are still holding on to the “what ifs.”

In settings from 1865 to 1910, nine couples are thrown back on the same path by life’s changes and challenges. A neighbor returns from law school. An heiress seeks a quick marriage. A soldier’s homecoming is painful. A family needs help. A prodigal son returns. A rogue aeronaut drops from the sky. A runaway bridegroom comes home. A letter for aid is sent. A doctor needs a nurse. Can love rekindle despite the separation of time and space?

First Things First by Susanne Dietze

1877 – South Texas: Texas rancher’s daughter Georgie Bridge mourned when her first love, Ward Harper, left town to study the law, but now he’s back—as opposing counsel in a case against her father.

A Most Reluctant Bride by Cynthia Hickey

1880 – Ozark foothill ranch: Maggie Spoonmore marries her father’s former foreman, Zach Colton in order to salvage her reputation, yet struggles to believe he married her for love and not her inheritance.

Weeping Willow by Marcia Gruver

May of 1861 – Port Royal, Virginia: In Civil War Virginia, tables are turned for Willow Bates when Julian Finney, her childhood crush and steadfast defender, returns from the war a broken man in need of rescue.

His Anchor by Carrie Fancett Pagels

1894 – Mackinac Island, Michigan: Robert Swaine, a ship captain, returns to Mackinac Island where his first love, Sadie Duvall struggles to support her siblings. Will she anchor him to the island he has vowed to leave behind?

After the Ball by Martha Rogers

1910 – Dallas, Texas: Chase Thornton, a wealthy oil man yearns for the life of a cowboy and his first love, Susannah King, but can she trust him to keep his word to leave the city and stay on the ranch?

Lighter Than Air by Lorna Seilstad

1900 – St. Louis, Missouri: After Titus Knott crashes his hot air balloon behind Ella Mason’s boarding school, he must convince his former sweetheart that his words are true and not full of hot air.

In Due Season by Connie Stevens

1901 – Whitley, Kansas: Leah Brown accepts her role of town spinster until Gareth Shepherd unexpectedly steps back into her life. Now she’s faced with a choice. Can she forgive the man who jilted her?

Heartfelt Echoes by Jennifer Uhlarik

1875—Virginia City, Nevada: A short, urgent letter mentioning his childhood love, Millie Gordon, forces deaf Travis McCaffrey to turn to his estranged birth father for help rescuing the woman he can’t forget.

Prescription for Love by Erica Vestch

1905 – New Orleans: Erstwhile fiancée Natalie Morrison is the last person Dr. Mackenzie wants as his new nurse, but when an epidemic hits, Phin finds she’s come back into his life at the perfect time.

first-love-forever-book-cover-april-2018

Read all about it on Just Read: https://justreadtours.wordpress.com/2018/04/02/first-love-forever-romance-collection-blitz-tour-giveaway/.

Enter the Giveaway!

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Author Interview: Sarah Sundin + The Sea Before Us Giveaway

The Sea Before Us

It’s an honor to have WWII author Sarah Sundin with us today. Her latest The Sea Before Us in the Sunrise at Normandy series released just a few days ago. Have you ordered your copy? You’ll want to after this delicious interview!

  • Stay tuned til the end for a Rafflecopter giveaway of the book and a package of goodies: Keep Calm and Carry On Traditional English biscuits in a sweet little tin and a Loose Lips Might Sink Ships pin.

The Sea Before Us

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France, determined to redeem himself with the brothers he has betrayed. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France—including those of her family’s summer home—in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans. As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

What drew you to write about three estranged brothers?

9-5 Telephone
Stereotypical tourist-in-a-London-phone-booth pic.

For the Sunrise at Normandy series, I wanted to explore D-day from the sea, the air, and the ground, seen through the eyes of three brothers. Most series are told chronologically, book two following book one, etc. But this series required all three stories to occur simultaneously, in parallel. If the brothers were in communication with each other, the first book would contain huge spoilers for the rest of the series. But if the brothers were estranged, they would be blinded to each other’s actions. Then I imagined a tragic sequence of events that thrust the Paxton brothers apart. This also lends the series an overarching theme of forgiveness and redemption that I love exploring.

In The Sea Before Us, Dorothy collects holiday snapshots. Why holiday snapshots?

This is a fun bit of historical trivia! In March 1942, the BBC put out a call for people to send in their favorite snapshots of the French coast for a contest. But they were secretly working with the Royal Navy! All those “holiday snaps” showed great details of the Normandy beaches that were used to create maps and diagrams for the D-day landings. In The Sea Before Us, Dorothy Fairfax is assigned to this project because of her own vacations in Vierville-sur-Mer, on what would become Omaha Beach. Since her family has been shattered by the war, she clings to her memories of their time in Normandy.

Why does Dorothy’s father depend on her?

9-5 Peter Pan Sarah
With the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens, which plays a role in the story.

Reginald Fairfax, Dorothy’s father, became one of the most interesting characters in The Sea Before Us to me. He’s grieving deeply—but poorly. He barely eats, rarely goes to work at the company he founded, and ignores his daughter. Dorothy is trying to help him as best she can, and she feels that without her, he would surely waste away and die. This challenging father-daughter relationship produced the most poignant scene in the novel.

Describe Wyatt in one word.

Steady.

Wyatt is a quiet man, dependable and loyal, determined to always do the right thing. The fact that he hurt one brother and betrayed the other has rocked him to the core, and he has dedicated himself to paying off his debt.

Other than the closeness of war, what are some elements pulling Wyatt and Dorothy together that readers can anticipate?

9-6 WWII Women S
At the Women of World War II monument in London, since Dorothy Fairfax serves in the Women’s Royal Naval Service.

Ironically, Dorothy’s father pulls them together. Mr. Fairfax is drawn in a fatherly way to Wyatt. Although Dorothy is trying NOT to get involved with Wyatt, she has to admit Wyatt cheers her father up. Also, Dorothy is alerted to possible embezzlement in her father’s company, and she enlists Wyatt—as an accountant—to investigate. And the more time they spend together…well, you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens!

Ooh! I can hardly wait to dive into my copy!! Thank you for joining us today, Sarah!

About SarahSundin Sarah Author Photo Tisha Martin Author Editor

Sarah Sundin is the author of ten historical novels, including The Sea Before Us. Her novels When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years,” and Through Waters Deep was a finalist for the 2016 Carol Award and won the INSPY Award. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California. Please visit her at www.sarahsundin.com.

Sarah’s Books

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sea-Before-Us-Sunrise-Normandy/dp/0800727975/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-sea-before-us-sarah-sundin/1126332868?ean=9780800727970

ChristianBook.com: https://www.christianbook.com/the-sea-before-us-1/sarah-sundin/9780800727970/pd/727970?product_redirect=1&Ntt=727970&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP

Rafflecopter Giveaway Details

  1. No purchase necessary to enter or win.
  2. Entrants are 18 and legally able to enter this giveaway.
  3. Giveaway will last two weeks from Friday, Feb. 9, to Thursday, Feb. 22.
  4. Winners must have a U.S. address.
  5. Winners will be announced via email and via social media, Friday, Feb. 23.

 In addition to winning a copy of The Sea Before Us, you’ll also enter to win a tin of English biscuits (NOTE: cookies contain gluten) and a Loose Lips Sink Ships pin.

 

Click the link below to:

Enter the Giveaway!

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Ace Collins Author Interview + Giveaway

Ace Collins In Presidents Service 1 2 3 tisha martin editor

This week, I’m thrilled to introduce to you a fellow WWII author, Ace Collins. He’s a master storyteller. He’s recently released a new volume of In The President’s Service, a series about Helen Meeker, FBI aid to Franklin D. Roosevelt. If you like a thrilling adventure, wisecracks, and WWII, you’ll enjoy these cliffhanging books by Ace. Read through to the end because there’s a giveaway!

Why did you write historical WWII novels about the FBI serving FDR? Such a unique spin on WWII.

I was asked to continue the adventures of a character I introduced in The Yellow Packard. I’d really enjoyed creating Helen Meeker and given the chance to expand her character was a challenge I really wanted. She is interesting on so many different levels and she is also very complex. Thus a series would allow me to really explore all that and more. Plus, during the 1940s, one of the most interesting times in American history, we first began to see women entering worlds that had once been reserved for only men. So what an interesting period of time to have a female lead with courage, conviction, intelligence, and drive.

In the presidents series model Alison helen meeker AJ226sIncidentally, Ace uses model Alison J. as the inspiration for FBI agent Helen Meeker, the no-nonsense heroine of In the President’s Service series. She’s pictured here with a Screen Guide from July, 1942. Carole Landis is on the cover.

What you love best about your first three novels.

The first three created the foundation for the series, thus they gave me a chance to place our lead in the historical period and fully paint the times and the demands of those times. I think those books also pointed out that we don’t win in life all the time and thus my characters didn’t always win as well. Some even died. The loss the survivors experienced really hurt them and shook their confidence. That makes them much more real than those who just let everything roll off their backs and never question their actions. Finally, the books contain hard choices and complicated characters and these first three novels pointed [and] built on that and created a pattern readers could expect.

What was the hardest part during the process?

Making sure everything was as historically accurate as possible as I wound through the fictional adventures. That is where the research comes in. Normally novel series don’t have to concern themselves with facts; this one does. As World War II is so well documented I have to have things happening in the right order to the point of pinning down specific dates and times.

What did you learn from the writing, editing process?

Christmas Seals 1942An author should learn with each new project … the research demands it. In this case, reading old newspapers, magazines, watching newsreels, and listening to vintage radio broadcasts is giving me a new window to World War II. By using these sources I view reporting as it happened, not filtered by historians who have the advantage of knowing how things turned out. We often forget that in the early years of the war we didn’t know who was going to win.

What keeps you going?

I love to tell stories. That drives me. I love to do research. I have a quest to find out facts. This fuels all of that. Also, when you get to write a million words about characters, they become very real. I’m therefore driven to drag them out and play with them.

Who inspired you to write or helped you along the way?

The Cat's Eye Promo HeadshotRick Cox was an editor I had in my feature writing days who honed my work and taught me how to think like a writer. I had two English teachers in high school that pushed me to write and a college professor, Ann Miller, who told me I had the talent and imagination to be an author. On top of those, my Arkansas grandparents fueled my interest in storytelling because they were master front-porch storytellers.

Where did you find the most interesting pieces of information for your first three books?

Classic radio news programs and old copies of The New York Times were sources that really gave me some gems. I think including the music of the era, along with motion picture references and slang also created the right mood and those things came from books and movies.

What is inspiring to you?

To always continue to grow! I told someone when I was eighteen my biggest fear was stagnation. I didn’t want to get to a point and remain at one level and stay there. Writing is my avenue for avoiding that.

Fun Fact: The photos of the Christmas stamps and postcard are from 1942, the year that the first volume of In The President’s Service takes place.

Ace’s encouragement to youChristmasCapitol

My bestselling book of all time was rejected more than two dozen times over a decade before I found an editor who thought it had merit. So my best advice is … if you feel you have a good idea don’t give up. Keep pushing until you find someone who shares that vision.

In the President’s Series

In the presidents service ace collins tisha martin author editor historical fiction world war two

In 2017, new episodes from In The President’s Service continue to be released by Elk Lake Publishing. The most recent is The Cat’s Eye with another novel, The Red Suit Case, set to hit the market at Christmas. Others in this series include A Date With Death, The Dark Pool, Blood Brother, Fatal Addiction, The Devil’s Eyes, The Dead Can Talk, Bottled Madness, Shadows In The Moonlight, Evilution, Uneasy Alliance, The 13th Floor, and The White Rose.

About Ace

Citing his Arkansas heritage, Christy Award winner Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. In that capacity, Collins has authored more than eighty books for 25 different publishers that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children’s works as well as books on history, culture and faith. Collins’ hobbies include sports, restoring classic cars, Wurlitzer jukeboxes and running. He is married to, Dr. Kathy Collins, the Chair of the Department of Education at Ouachita Baptist University. The couple lives in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and has two grown sons.

Purchase from Amazon :: A Reader’s Christmas Gift

Episodes 1-3 In The President’s: https://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Service-Episodes-1-3/dp/194663851X/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1510155512&sr=8-7&keywords=ace+collins+books

Episode 13 In The President’s Service: https://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Service-Episodes-1-3/dp/194663851X/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1510155512&sr=8-7&keywords=ace+collins+books

Here’s the Giveaway Details:

  • One winner will receive the first volume of In The President’s Service
  • Click the Rafflecopter Link to be eligible to enter the giveaway
  • Comment on my blog, answering the fun question
  • Share with your friends on your favorite social media links.
    Here’s the shortlink: https://wp.me/p4JWHP-Wu
  • Giveaway ends Thursday, November 30, 2017
  • Winner will be contacted via email and announced Friday, December 8
  • Best of luck to you!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bde8b9364/?

Thank you for reading and for entering and for sharing this blog post with your friends on social media.

For December’s blog giveaway, we’ll explore Christmas during WWII with a special FBI Christmas-filled giveaway with suspense, humor, and intrigue:

The Red Suit Case follows three FBI agents as they seek to discern the real meaning of Christmas through the eyes of a small boy who fears  Santa Claus has become a casualty of war.

 

 

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Vintage Power: Women Workers

 

WWII women working together during hard times while the men were away. Don’t you just love the community spirit? Could you imagine hauling such a large chunk of ice? My soul!

As  Jerome K. Jerome says, “I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”

 

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Novel Research: Caring for Polio Patients

Tall and Proud book
The book that inspired it all.

I’ve enjoyed exploring YouTube for research information for my #WWII #HistoricalFiction novel in progress. Laurie Adams is a feisty sixteen-year-old who has her life planned. She’s going to retrain retired cavalry horses with her new stepmother. But sometimes life has different plans, and what we want isn’t necessarily what we need. Laurie’s blindsided when she contract polio.

Now she must fight for her health in hopes of reaching her dream.

Enjoy this video of a nurse caring for a polio patient. Laurie’s condition isn’t this severe, but it does put life into perspective when you see what some patients so bravely endured and conquered.

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Perspective: Polio Interview with Starr Tillman

Since I enjoy researching and writing about the WWII American home front and polio, I’m delighted to introduce you to my friend, Starr. I met Starr through the Post Polio Facebook page and I was so inspired by her love for life and her beautiful heart. As I got to know her, it became apparent that a beautiful heart is all about having the right perspective. Starr, thanks for letting me interview you and for sharing your life with us.

1940s wheelchair
1940s wheelchair

My character, Laurie, contracts polio in 1943, a time when America was engulfed in the throes of a world war, but also, fighting a home front war, the war against the crippling disease. What is your polio story?

Starr — Where should I begin. I have thought about it for a long time. I became sick at age 6 months old. I was born to teenage parents, Mom was 16 and Dad 15. They did what all parents do and I was vaccinated on schedule. It was my third dose, which was the live virus which I contracted polio. I have had good times, bad time, sad and happy. But looking back I would not change a thing. It is what made the person I am. It got me to where I am today. I love my life and I feel very blessed.

I know hospitals are not fun, but you’ve talked about some fascinating stories between you and a boy you met while in the hospital. What is your favorite memory?

Starr — This is an easy memory for me. Christmas Eve, the hospital was empty just a few of us there. They would take us to the auditorium and show Laurel and Hardy’s March of the Wooden Soldiers. We had popcorn and laughed a lot. My husband and I were friends back then. We both were in and out of the hospital and it seemed it was always at the same time.

I’m sure being in and out of the hospital was a love-hate relationship, especially because your best friend became your husband. 🙂

How did you spend your summers after polio?

The Eye of the Mustang
Sister, the Paint Mustang

Starr — Well, I discovered early on that I was different. I didn’t go outside that often, most were spent indoors either at home or the hospital. But I found ways to enjoy the change of seasons. I watched the colors change, and saw life from a window. In my teens, my parents bought a horse, they thought it would be good therapy. And it was, because the horse became my legs. I was able to go where ever I wanted. I know this sounds strange but I would go to a grave yard with a pad of paper and draw nature. And talk to the graves as if they were old friends.

My character had a horse, too, and had to learn how to ride again. Riding is wonderful therapy for anyone.

How did you meet your husband?

Starr — We met when we were six. Both in the hospital for two different reasons. We were on mats in physical therapy waiting our turn. He and another boy were behind me laughing. They took turns pulling on my pig tails. I cried and they [nurses] had to take me back to my room. Yes, and I married him. But there were many stories between then and our marriage.

That’s funny and cute. I’m sure he’s glad you decided to marry him, too.

What is your hobby?

Starr — I have many. I paint, draw, write poems, write short stories, crochet, cook, compose music and play many instruments. I sang and gardened prior to PPS.

I enjoy poetry and the hope it gives. You wrote a poem about “Whispers of Heaven.” I liked this section you wrote:

A life unvarnished rattled with pain

And back to this life I did reclaim

The time has since has passed seeming far away

But still I am here and will remain

thinking of time and that I must stay

For all we are now, and all we’re to be

We must follow the path that leads to thee

I know not where nor do I the time

What life I now have alone it is mine

But knowing what waits beyond is not pretend

For each of us holds to love when it’s our life’s end.

From my research, I’ve learned that Post Polio is a syndrome where the challenges of polio come back after a 20-40 year span. What is your approach to PPS?

Starr — I deal with it day by day. I try to enjoy every day, and am very thankful that I am here. Because I know life can be gone in an instant.

Through your life experience, how have you become a better person?

Starr — I am more sensitive to other people feelings, and am very patient.

People/things that make you happy?

Starr — Well right now it is being a grandmother. I have wanted to be one for such a long time.

Who was instrumental in shaping you into the wonderful person you are today?

1940s ApronStarr — I would have to say my Mom, because she pushed me. She was hard on me, but did it to make me stronger. And also all the staff at the children’s hospital I spent most of my life in.

Encouraging advice to others, and something that I can infuse into my own character’s life?

Starr — Never be defeated, defeat the circumstance. Let go of pain, both emotional and physical. And last is to forgive all those who have hurt you, and forgive yourself. It will lift such a weight off you. I have found that if you allow the sorrow to fill you with hate, you will never have the love you seek.

Thanks for sharing with us today, Starr! Your story is beautiful, inspiring, and a great reminder that we can have confidence no matter what we go through. We all have challenges in life, and I’m encouraged by your outlook on life.

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Interview: Author Pitch Toolkit with Katie Morford Phillips

Cover Sheet

I’m excited to introduce Katie (Morford) Phillips, the creator of this amazing and easy-to-use author pitch toolkit. As a writer who’s agonized over knowing how to pitch to an agent or editor and what to put together, it’s a relief to know that this reusable toolkit is available. Before we get started, though, Katie…

Tell us a bit about yourself!

Um, where to start. I’m a slow writer, a fast fiction editor, and a voracious reader who grew up re-imagining the endings of books I didn’t like. My first published novel was a co-authored romantic suspense novel, Kenan, but I typically trend toward soft speculative fiction. I have a space opera fantasy in revisions and I am currently working on a YA historical urban fantasy (think Harry Potter meets X-men in WWII-era northern England). I married a ballet/swing dancer and love travel, strawberries, and Cadbury Royal Dark Chocolate.

Sounds like you have life moving in beautiful circles. Your YA historical sounds intriguing!

What is the Author Pitch Toolkit?

The Author Pitch Toolkit is full of tips to impress agents and editors, real-life examples, and reusable templates for your querying/pitching journey.

Tell your story with clarity and confidence!

Wow, I wish this toolkit available to me when I had first pitched, or even when I had created my first book proposal! I’m so glad it’s available now!

What drew you to the crazy wonderful world of gifting authors with your awesome pitch toolkit?

As first an author, then a publisher and fiction editor, I’ve had the unique opportunity to see the book industry (especially the querying/pitching process) from both sides of the table. When so many of my fiction editing clients expressed to me how lost and overwhelmed they felt trying to navigate the pitching process, I knew I had the experience and expertise to guide them to telling their story with clarity and confidence. As one of my multi-published clients said, “This is the toolkit I wish I’d had when I was first starting out!”

This is super exciting! I can’t wait for Authors to get started using the toolkit!

What’s your favorite tool and why?

I absolutely love the query letter, synopsis, and one-sheet templates. So many amazing stories are sitting on a shelf because their author is too overwhelmed to try pitching or hasn’t been equipped to communicate their story in an intriguing way. Many writers struggle to condense an entire novel into a synopsis or blurb. The templates are designed to be super simple, plug-and-play resources. They guide authors step-by-step through the process and eliminate overwhelm so they can reach their goals.

For me, I’ve always struggled putting my story into a synopsis or even a blurb. Now that I’ve had the chance to look through this amazing toolkit, I’m confident that using it will 100% chase away all those intimidating feelings about the whole pitching/proposal process.

What do you want authors to come away with after purchasing their Author Pitch Toolkit?

I really want authors to walk away with tremendous clarity as to their story and its strongest selling points, and therefore great confidence in their story. I want to take authors from overwhelm to enthusiasm, and guide them through sharing their passion with an industry desperate for fresh stories and voices.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Katie, and for introducing your very affordable Author Pitch Toolkit!

Authors, you don’t have to wallow in self-doubt and insecurity over pitching in front of agents and editors. An affordable $30 lifetime investment for today’s author. 

Purchase the Author Pitch Toolkit today!

About Katie:

She sKatie Morford Phillips Author Pitch Toolkittarted writing with a friend in high school and eventually branched out on her own and completed 11+ novels and novels (which will never see the light), although she does have one romantic suspense novel published. After three years in journalism and three years living overseas doing communications for a non-profit, she returned to her native Kansas to launch her own fiction editing career. Helping authors is her passion. She’s also co-founder of Crosshair Press, an indie publishing house specializing in adventure stories.

How can Authors connect with you?

 

Website: www.storyforhisglory.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/create.explore.illuminate

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/create.explore.illuminate/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthKarisWaters

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/AuthKarisWaters/pins/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/silverferncreativeservices/

Crosshair Press: www.crosshairpress.com

Amazon (Kenan, a romantic suspense novel): https://www.amazon.com/Kenan-Katiller-Book-Karis-Waters-ebook/dp/B00Y32P47A