It was 1942, and the world was at war.
The December 1941 entry of the United States into what later became known as World War II made everything in America more intense if not always faster.
The frantic need for success in a nation unprepared for war often goaded the U.S. Congress to do what it previously would not.
On May 14, 1942, Congress approved the establishment of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp (WAAC). The following day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the bill into law. On May 16, Oveta Culp Hobby was sworn in as the first director of the WAAC.
Little did the people of Iowa know that Fort Des Moines, located on the south side of their capital city, would become the site of the first training center for the newfangled WAAC.
The whole nation was watching.
I. What is it?
When did it start?
Antecedents. The origin story of Women’s History Month, however, began far earlier in the labor protests carried out by women in the nation’s paid workforce.
The most common way people give up their power is thinking they don’t have any.”
Indie publishing won me over with the publication of my first novel, Women’s Company – The Minerva Girls. The model holds fast for me, and last month I published my third novel, Cloud County Harvest, the sequel to Cloud County Persuasion.
Indie publishing is often referred to as self-publishing because the author is in control of the publishing processes: editorial, design, production, distribution, marketing, promotion, and rights licensing. That means the indie author must build a network of individuals who work to professional standards.
But where do indie authors find these good people?
I. Editor: Robyn Conley.
For me, the search for an editor ended when I met Robyn Conley at an annual conference of the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. Her credits include not only hundreds of edited manuscripts for satisfied clients, but also a list of her published nonfiction.
Robyn has edited all three of my novels. I salute her with a big “Thank you!”
When she is not tackling a manuscript at her headquarters in Texas, Robyn shares her expertise as a guest speaker at writers’ conferences and workshops in Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas—and wherever else the work takes her.
You can learn more about Robyn by visiting her online home robynconley.com. If you like, she’ll give you a free ten-page critique of your manuscript. See her website for details.
“I’ve seen the difference Robyn can make. Her knowledge and insights are amazing.”
Veterans Day in the United States honors everyone who served in the U.S. military. Since Veterans Day is coming up on November 11, I'm reading Molly Guptill Manning’s nonfiction book, When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II.
Americans were hesitant—and sometimes outright opposed—to enter the war in Europe. After all, a mere eighteen years had passed from the armistice of the Great War in 1918 to the invasion of Poland in 1939.
Hitler’s military rampage across eastern and western Europe eliminated any doubts that Americans might have had regarding Nazi goals to obliterate not only armed forces, but also free thought, democracies, and the cultures in which they thrived. After France fell in June 1940, the U.S. Congress passed, in September 1940, the Selective Training and Service Act: the first peacetime draft in U.S. history. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Act into law on September 16. Barely fifteen months later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
In 1939, the U.S. armed forces consisted of outdated equipment, scant supplies, and approximately 334,000 volunteers. From 1941 to 1945, the armed forces grew rapidly from approximately 1.8 million to over 12 million men and women in uniform. Throughout the war, books played a critical role in building morale and winning the battle for ideas.
Current-day readers like you and me can enjoy the engrossing story of that role in Manning's 2014 book, When Books Went to War. You'll learn why and how Americans made fiction and nonfiction books accessible to the men and women of the U.S. armed forces.
It rained yesterday morning—a gentle shower that disappeared into the oh-so-dry earth where I live. Everyone is grateful.
In early October, Governor Laura Kelly approved updated drought declarations for Kansas counties—all 105 of them. Take your pick. Watch, warning, or emergency drought status, Kansas has it.
The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) also keeps an eye on drought. Perhaps you've seen some of their color-coded maps similar to the one pictured above for Kansas.
The NIDIS emphasizes that several drought indicators, for example,
Armed with facts, the NIDIS doesn’t mince words. Droughts fall into one of its four categories.
A good teacher is like a candle: it consumes itself to light the way for others."
Perhaps you, like me, have more than one favorite schoolteacher.
1. Mrs. Gossett. My first-grade teacher is a favorite because she taught me how to do one of my favorite activities: read.
She was a young and attractive lady with a flair for fashion that even the local newspaper wanted to showcase.
It happened on the day that Mrs. Gossett wore a trendy “balloon” outfit.
The long-sleeved dress had no fitted waist and “ballooned” loosely to the street-length hem where the fullness of the garment was gathered to a circumference barely wide enough for her to walk. That spring-green dress complemented her well-coifed hair, high heels, and bright lipstick.
All of us kids were impressed.
At the time, we didn't know about World Teachers' Day because it didn't exist. We'd have to wait until 1994 for a global celebration of teachers' contributions and the support they need to deploy their talents and help build the future.
Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another."
For in Oklahoma, all the experiences that went into the making of the nation have been speeded up. Here all the American traits have been intensified.
The author Michael Wallis described Angie Debo (1890-1988) as “the distinguished historian, teacher, author and editor, an inspiration to so many others, and an Oklahoma pioneer who deserves nothing less than sainthood.”
In 1940, And Still the Waters Run--probably the most important of Dr. Debo's many award-winning books--was published by Princeton University Press.
Was the library from your childhood as elaborate as the delightfully ornate Law Library in the Iowa State Capitol building? Did your library sport a playful gateway like the Children's Section of the Andover Public Library? Mine neither.
But these libraries, like my town's public library, possessed books that led to adventures far more fantastical than any in my neighborhood. And the pleasant librarians encouraged me to borrow as many books as I wanted--at the rate of four books per check-out, of course.
On a road trip to the Rocky Mountains last summer, my husband and I visited the historic site of Boggsville, located near the confluence of the Arkansas and Purgatoire Rivers in what would become southeastern Colorado. There’s not much there now, but at the time of its founding in 1866, the hard-working people of Boggsville pioneered irrigation, large-scale farming and ranching in the Arkansas Valley.
My husband and I arrived at the remote site on a hot, dusty day in June. No one else was about as we drove into the small, graveled parking lot. When we walked up the path toward the two homes that have been restored, we could hear the sound of our footsteps in the peaceful quiet.
A pleasant young woman greeted us at the reception desk. “Would you like a tour guide or a self-guided tour? No one else is here, so I can give you a tour now if you like.”
We happily accepted her guideship.
She was a local girl, a student in her first year of college, I believe, and well-versed in the story of Boggsville. When we entered the dining room of a large house, I noticed a framed document on the wall. I drew closer to read the handwriting—original or copy?—before asking some small question about a certain word, a name perhaps?
Here's the front cover of my new novel, Cloud County Harvest, the sequel to Cloud County Persuasion.
It will be published in fall 2022, and I hope you'll enjoy reading it.
What is the story about?
Cloud County Harvest.
Valentine's Day is coming up on Monday, February 14.
Although popular among many people, gifts and cards are not required on Valentine's Day. Perhaps your Valentines, however, enjoy books, and you would like to give each of them a novel.
But which novel?
Here are six "good reads" perfect for your gift-giving list.
A Beautiful Blue Death.
Book 1 of 14 in the Charles Lenox Mysteries.
Charles Finch, 2017.
England. 1865. Gentleman Charles Lenox, a bachelor with comfortable means, enjoys his comfortable life in his comfortable home in London next door to his widowed friend, Lady Jane Grey.
Nice guy (or rather, gentleman) that he is, Lenox must help when Lady Jane asks him to investigate the unexpected death of her former maid, a likable young woman engaged to be married. Lady Jane thinks the maid might have died by poisoning or suicide.
I haven't had the pleasure of reading A Beautiful Blue Death, but my husband Richard recommends it because he blasted through all fourteen books of the Charles Lenox Mysteries during our on-going pandemic. He shared details with me about each novel, often when I was about to drop off to sleep.
The plot always woke me up.
(updated 2/4/2022, 11/9/2022)
You love to read, and you want to discuss books with other people who love to read. You’ve decided to start a book club. What’s the next step?
I started and conducted a book club that continued for over ten years. Currently, I’ve been participating in a book club for over two-and-a half years.
Try out these ten tips to make your book club great.
1. WHO TO INVITE?
Fellow book lovers!
They’ll need to be readers who have both the time to read and to discuss books.
Are you interested in creating a club that focuses on one genre of fiction (for example, mysteries) or several genres? Do you want to include nonfiction selections? You might find it easier to recruit members if the readers are open to a wider range of books.
2. HOW MANY PEOPLE DOES A BOOK CLUB NEED?
It takes only a few people. Four or five regular attendees at each meeting might be just the right number for a discussion in your group. Over time, the club can adjust that number to what works best for them.
Two of the biggest determinants of a club’s size are
As the founder, take the role of coordinator to keep the group together.
Independence Day in the U.S.A. is celebrated on July 4th each year in memory of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Sincerity and gratitude distinguish the national holiday.
Traditional festivities are exuberant and, although perhaps reduced in size, will be possible again this summer in many communities due to the prevalence of the vaccine against the virulent COVID-19 virus.
The ravages of the pandemic presented another painful example of how the absence of good health steals freedom from individuals, families, cities, and countries. Surely the pandemic spurred many people around the world to reflect deeply on what freedom means to them.
The men who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, summarized their beliefs in the second paragraph of that revered document.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...
National Flag Day, June 14, commemorates the day in 1777 when the Second Continental Congress adopted the national flag of the United States of America.
How did Flag Day begin?
If Americans can fly their flag every day of the year, why is a Flag Day necessary?
Americans can fly the flag every day of the year, but June 14 is a special day of observance.
Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 31, this year in the United States. The most important thing Americans do on Memorial Day is honor military service members who gave their lives serving in the nation's wars or who died as a result of their combat injuries.
Many novels, memoirs, histories, and films tell the story of the men and women--sometimes known and more often unknown to most people--honored on Memorial Day.
Among the many are two young Marines--Corporal Jonathan T. Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter--who gave their lives in the line of duty. Their actions on April 22, 2008, saved over 150 U.S. Marines and Iraqi Police. It all happened in Ramadi, Iraq, which at the time was one of the most dangerous towns on Earth.
I learned about their inspirational actions from the following speech and film. You can, too.
Lynne Schall is the author of three novels: Women's Company - The Minerva Girls (2016), Cloud County Persuasion (2018), and Cloud County Harvest (November 2022). She and her family live in Kansas, USA, where she is writing her fourth novel, Book 3 in the Cloud County trilogy.