Hi-di-ho and happy holidays, my 1940s loving friends,
I can hardly believe that the year is just about over and as I do every year, I'm sitting back taking stock of the past twelve months ... some fantastically productive, others miserably lazy, but all a blessing to be sure for my loved ones are near. And no reflection would be complete without thanking you, dear readers for sharing the journey, supporting my books, leaving reviews, and cheering me on in each re-enacting endeavor. Honestly, you keep me going - and it's because of you that I actually accomplished most of what I set out to in 2018. Sending you all a big virtual hug of thanks!
Although I did not work on my unfinished WWII novel, I'm ready to pick it up again in January and I have been working on the last book in the Time & Again (formerly Memories of Old series) scheduled for release in late January. I'm excited to announce the complete rebranding of the series with new covers and a BOOK TRAILER! Take a gander HERE. That and teaching myself to podcast, subsequently producing 15 episodes at Podcast from the Home Front were huge achievements while also finishing the last contemporary novel in The Conscience Series. Yuppers, I'm feeling satisfied enough. I wasn't prolific in 2018, but I did have three major author-related accomplishments! How about you? Did you "get done" what you hope to this year?
I'm ready for 2019 and looking forward to again planning for and traveling to Conneaut, Ohio for the D-Day re-enactment on Lake Erie for the 75th Anniversary of the invasion. God willing, Dad and I will begin working on a couple of new projects for the event. The first and more difficult to construct will be a home front "Honor Roll" to give honor to the WWII veterans that have attended the event over the last 19 years. During WWII, many towns across America erected honor rolls naming the boys who were serving from the community. We're hoping that its presence in the Allied Home Front section at the event will not only give a real Anytown USA feel, but also be a profound educational tool for the public. The second project will be a sign for my "boarding house apartment."
Well, I am just tickled that Christmas is here as this is my favorite holiday. So, as a little gift ... I'd like to leave you a Christmas/Holiday wish from my 1940s house to yours in the form of a video greeting card. And I'd like to share with you a short excerpt from Vintage Beginning, the last novelette in the Time & Again time-travel series. If you've been reading along in the series, the seasons have come full circle to the New Year, which brings new beginnings for Charlie & Jane, Lizzy & Will ... and for Doris. At 94, she's secretly preparing for a do-over by going back to the 1940s where her sweetheart awaits! Lucky her! In this snippet, following Jane and Charlie's Great Gatsby wedding, Lizzy and Will return to present-day Lucas Elks Lodge, the place where it all began for Lizzy on Valentine's Day 1943. Will is now the new owner of the abandoned assembly hall and he has big plans for its restoration. But the lodge has a few stories to tell.
Lizzy's gaze searched the room over Will's shoulder, taking in the mess. In a way, dancing in this place felt like déjà vu except for the careful navigation of their small dance space littered with broken ceiling tiles and debris. In her mind’s eye she imagined the details of the ballroom just as it had been when she traveled back to 1943: a kissing booth, Valentine red streamers and dangling hearts, the U.S.O banner above the stage. The only “connectivity” had come from the clasp of two hands together in dance and the gleeful conversations of service members and their adoring home front community. The Greatest Generation had no idea how addictively disconnected and estranged—under the guise of “social” media—their descendants would become. It was just as Doris had explained and it took a trip back in time for her to learn from the past and see the errors of her own ways. The important things weren’t over the internet. They were all around her: at home with her family, at the dance school with her students, and at Time & Again with Doris and her quirky customers. And here in Will’s arms.
“Would you go back again, Lizzy?”
“Under any situation?”
She lifted her head, locking her concerned gaze onto his searching expression. “No. Why?”
“Because now that you own the shop, you may have to.”
“No, I still won’t go. Are you concerned about that?”
“It’s just … sometimes, I wonder if you’d go back—and maybe not want to return, or that something might happen to make it impossible to return … back to me.”
“Sort of how I felt when you left for your last op. It’s the reason why I’ll never go back, but if I must, then you’re going with me.”
He smiled tenderly then stopped dancing, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her into him. His intoxicating kiss … the sweetest yet … spoke a million breathless words that narrowed down to just three: I Adore You.
When she opened her eyes, her mouth—tingling as it was—slacked. She blinked twice for surely the heated magic of his kiss had changed everything around them. Was it the kiss … or was it something else? Having experienced the rush twice before, she recognized the unmistakable pounding in her heart– like a dance troupe of Irish steppers kicking against her chest wall. Again, she placed her hand above her heart and struggled for words. “Um … Will … we're not … in Kansas anymore.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Don’t you see it?”
“That sexy, come-hither look in your eyes?”
“No … although I have no doubt that’s there, too.”
“Then it must be the quarter of a million dollars worth of repairs.”
She blinked again so sure that her eyes played tricks on her. “No. Do you see the tables?”
“What’s left of them.”
“You don’t see the people—the soldiers—sitting at them?”
“You’re kidding? You see ghosts?”
“I don’t think so but—”
“Shi* … we should have left here when I wanted to,” he interrupted reaching for her hand to leave.
Letting go of him, she turned around on the crowded dance floor, taking in the unbelievable scene surrounding them. The dreary, lifeless ballroom in which she and Will stood had come alive in a palette of festive color; joy-filled electricity imbued her spirit with the orchestra’s swing music and the stomp of feet burning the floor.
“It’s just as I remembered,” she dreamily stated. “There’s so much life in this room. I see streamers everywhere and a ‘Happy New Year - 1946’ banner hanging above the stage. There’s an orchestra and the room is packed with merrymakers wearing all sorts of funky party hats. Some guys are wearing uniforms, but not all. Can’t you hear Glenn Miller; don’t you feel the wood floor vibrating?”
“This is not funny, Lizzy.”
“I’m not joking. Look at me; I’m not wearing 1920s-styled clothing. I’m wearing a 1940s rose-colored gown and you’re wearing a tuxedo.” Her hand reached up to her hair, touching the flower adornment above her ear. “We’re standing in the middle of a crowded dance floor.”
“I think we should go.” Turning on his heel, he had no intention of considering what she was saying and headed for the door.
“Wait! It's Doris!" ....
Well, my friends, I wish you all the joys of the season and a truly blessed New Year! Here's hoping that it is full of laughter and love ... and, of course, some excellent books. :) Unitl next time, KEEP 'EM FLYING