POW Angels

stainless steel scissor
Photo by Wendy Scofield, via Unsplash.com

Nursing was not a career for a “nice,” unmarried girl in the 1930s.

After all, it was dirty, physical work, and required learning far too much information about the opposite sex.

However, it was one of few opportunities for a young woman who couldn’t afford college to continue her education.

In the Depression era United States, the 16 cents an hour a hospital paid wasn’t bad, either.

Georgia-born Frances Nash was one of the many young women who ignored social stigma and joined the Army Nurse Corps.

frances nashShe was given the “relative rank” of lieutenant, meaning that she didn’t undergo military training, and didn’t rank a salute or full pay. She didn’t even have an official uniform- just insignia to wear on the collar of her white civilian nurse’s dress.

However, she did have the opportunity to volunteer for service overseas.

In 1940, Nash volunteered for a two-year tour in the Philippines.

Stirrings of war on the horizon concerned her family and friends. Was now really a good time to go abroad?

Nash responded to the effect that, if war were coming, the Philippines would be where nurses were needed.

She wasn’t the only one who thought so. The United States’ preparations for war were slow and incomplete, but they had already begun increasing the medical staff of the six Philippine military hospitals, (five Army and one Navy) doubling the compliment of nursing staff.

On Monday, December 8th, 1941, (December 7th back in the United States) Nash and her fellow nurses awoke to the news of the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

Three hours later, the first Japanese planes struck the Philippines.

Within two weeks, Japanese forces landed. General MacArthur removed to Corregidor, and the evacuation of U.S. and Filippino forces to the Bataan peninsula began.

On Christmas Eve, Lt. Nash’s evacuation preparations were interrupted. Her commanding officer, Colonel J.W. Duckworth, called her in.

He told her that she would be expected to remain behind in Manilla until all of the staff and supplies were evacuated from the hospital.

“I was told…to prepare myself to be taken prisoner. Five years earlier, I would have laughed at the thought of ever receiving such an order.” (Monahan, Neidel-Greenlee 16)

She spent her Christmas Day working in surgery and burning documents. That night she was evacuated by boat, the waters lit by blazing buildings on the land and ships in the harbor.

Eventually, after some time spent in foxholes and fleeing through the jungle, Nash arrived to serve in Col. Duckworth’s Hopsital No.1 on the Bataan peninsula, the most forward of the hospitals. She and the other medical staff worked through the long, disheartening struggle to hold Bataan, struggling to save lives.

Not all of her patients were American or Filipino. At times, medics would bring wounded Japanese into the surgery. Many of them wore items they’d taken as spoils of war.

“Made you want to say something bad when you saw the laundry mark on the garment of someone’s name you knew. It meant the person was dead.” (Monahan, Neidel-Greenlee 16)

The Japanese had not signed the Geneva convention, which declared medical facilities off-limits as military targets. Nash’s hospital suffered for it. After an attack on 6 April, of 1,600 beds only 65 were left standing.

Three days later, the remaining defenders of Bataan surrendered. A month later, General Wainwright surrendered Corregidor.

Along with the thousands of U.S. and Filipino troops, sixty-six nurses, including Nash, were taken as prisoners of war.

For three years of captivity, Nash and the other nurses would continue to care for the wounded and the sick.

Nursing may not have been considered a “nice” profession in polite society, but as the monument on Corregidor which commemorates the service of Nash and her fellow nurses shows, in the eyes of some they were far more than nice- they were angelic.

The inscription reads:

“In honor of the valiant American military women who gave so much of themselves in the early days of World War II, they provided care and comfort to the gallant defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, they lived on a starvation diet, shared the bombing, strafing, sniping, sickness and disease while working endless hours of heartbreaking duty, these nurses always had a smile, a tender touch and a kind word for their patients, they truly earned the name:

THE ANGELS OF BATAAN AND CORREGIDOR
Dedicated on this 6th Day of May 2000″

 

Note: I encountered the story of Lt. Frances Nash in one of my research books, Evelyn M. Monohan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee’s And If I Perish. (Published by Alfred A. Knoff, Random House Inc, 2003.) All of my quotes and information are taken from the book’s prologue., except the monument inscription which I found here.

I’m looking forward to seeing what other tales the other 440 pages have to share.

What stories have you found about people who served faithfully and bravely in inglorious positions? Any to share or recommend?

Many thanks for visiting!

Advertisements

I’ve Been Tagged!

Writers Tag banner made by Lorraine Ambers

I’ve been tagged in the “Writers Tag” game by fabulous blogger Ari Meghlen.

Hmmm. This Saturday morning is supposed to include some deep house and vehicle cleaning, but well, when you’re tagged, you’re tagged, right? Maybe the dirt will just disappear in the meantime…

My thanks to Ari. If you are looking for a site with excellent information for writers (and far more know-how on the technical sides of marketing and social media than I will ever have) you should check hers out!

This sort of tag includes less running than I remember- it’s more about answering questions and connecting with other writers.

SO. Here are my answers!

  • Name one novel that inspired you to write.

My first story long enough to be called a “novel,” drafted in spiral-bound notebooks when I was twelve, was very derivative of  one of my favorites- The Lord Of the Rings. 

  • What’s your favourite genre to write and read?

I love writing historical fiction. The research is fascinating (even if I get a little obsessive over details because I’m afraid of making mistakes!) and I like working within the framework of real times and places.

Reading-wise, I’ll read just about anything that will stay still long enough for me to make out the words. I can’t resist a well-crafted story, regardless of genre.

  • Do you prefer to write stand-alone or series?

I write stand alone. After everything I put my characters through, I figure they earn a rest!

  • Use 3 words to describe yourself

Dreamer, Organized, Chaos (The last two go together 😉 )

  • Reveal your WIP aesthetics or an image that represents your MC or setting.
    © IWM (NA 17567)
    © IWM (D 8793)

     

  • How long did your first MS take to draft?

I finished the first draft in six or seven months. The re-writes are stretching into years, but I’ve finally set a publication goal!

  • Who is your author idol?

Hmmm, this is tricky. I tend to look more at the stories than who’s writing them, so I don’t always recall author names, which is a pain when I make it into the library. If I’m browsing the stacks looking for a fun read, I’d grab an Agatha Christie off the shelf any day.

  • Share a writing memory that made you determined to carry on.

Admitting to friends and family that I was writing- seriously writing- was a huge step. While I was a little embarrassed and self-conscious, saying it aloud gave me a new level of accountability, which helps during the busy times!

  • Tell us something surprising or unique about yourself.

I’m teaching part-time this school year, and my students are shocked and appalled by the fact that I don’t have a smartphone and don’t really want one. There have been whispered classroom debates about whether my trusty “tries really hard” phone even has Siri. (It doesn’t.)

  • Share the hardest part about being a writer and how you overcame it.

Making time to write is an ongoing challenge. Some advice pages urge us to set everything else aside and write no matter what. This doesn’t really work when you have small children to care for!

I’ve had to find ways to tuck writing into my day-to-day life. It isn’t easy to find balance, and there are days I set my goals aside. God-willing, I’ll have years to write, but my little people won’t always beg me to come and play dinosaurs with them. It’s all about balance!

  • What’s your favourite social media and why? Share your link.

This blog is my favorite place to engage on the internet- thanks for visiting!

  • Share some uplifting wisdom in six words or less

“Take heart…wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)

 

WHEW! That’s it for me!

This Writers Tag was created by Lorraine Ambers and Ari Meghlen.  Click on the highlighted names to check out their blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment to tell them that you’ve played the fun Writers Tag so they can connect with you too.

Now, like any good game of tag, I’ve got to pass it along!

Today, I’ll tag the following writers:

Gail Johnson

E. Michael Helms

Jean Lee

“brewinsgirl”

Lydia Eberhardt

N.R. LaPoint

If you’d like to play, here are your instructions!

Post the Tag and Image on your blog (see above).

☆ Thank whoever nominated you and give a link back to their blog.

☆ Mention the creators of the tag and link back to their blogs. Then, answer the following.

  • Name one novel that inspired you to write.
  • What’s your favourite genre to write and read?
  • Do you prefer to write stand-alone or series?
  • Use 3 words to describe yourself
  • Reveal your WIP aesthetics or an image that represents your MC or setting.
  • How long did your first MS take to draft?
  • Who is your author idol?
  • Share a writing memory that made you determined to carry on.
  • Tell us something surprising or unique about yourself.
  • Share the hardest part about being a writer and how you overcame it.
  • What’s your favourite social media and why? Share your link.
  • Share some uplifting wisdom in six words or less

☆ Nominate 6+ deserving bloggers and notify your nominees by commenting on their
blogs. (You may copy the questions above to send on to your nominees.)

This Writers Tag was created by Lorraine Ambers and Ari Meghlen.  Click on the highlighted names to check out their blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment to tell them that you’ve played the fun Writers Tag so they can connect with you too.

William F. McMurdie’s HEY, MAC! THIS IS SERIOUS BUISNESS! A GUY COULD GET KILLED!

If the unassuming cover of William F. McMurdie’s memoir didn’t catch  my eye as I browsed the stacks of the local discount bookstore, his title certainly did.

Here’s the Amazon link!

Hey, Mac (etc.) tells the tale of the author, back when he was eighteen year old “Bill” McMurdie. McMurdie received his “Order to Report for Induction into the United States Army” on 17 April, 1943.

A tall, thin, redheaded teenager with glasses, McMurdie didn’t have much interest in being a soldier. Of course, with the United States fully committed to the Allied cause in the Second World War, his interest level didn’t signify.

After his initial training, McMurdie was chosen for the ASTP (Army Specialized Training Program) and sent to school…until February of 1944, when the government decided that the program was taking up too much manpower. The U.S. needed men on the battlefield, not in the classroom.

The program was dissolved, and he and his classmates were put into the infantry.

In October, McMurdie shipped out in a convoy to England, then on to France. By winter, he was shivering on the line in the Ardennes Forrest. (If you’ve watched Band of Brothers you know what that means, don’t you?)

“I went to sleep a little after midnight. Then, all of a sudden I woke up to a wham, bang, boom, crash. It sounded worse than the worst thunderstorm I’d ever been in. It was 5:30 in the morning, and artillery and mortar shells were hitting the trees and ground in the forest all around us…”Lord help us, because it is too late to move now.” (McMurdie 75)

McMurdie and the rest of th 394th were caught in Hitler’s last major European offensive, later dubbed “The Battle of the Bulge.”

McMurdie’s book takes readers through those cold, miserable days in the forest, on breathless patrols through minefields and villages, and finally up to the Rhine River and beyond. (Side note: This section was of particular interest to me- the author was wounded and left the area of the Rhine just twelve days before my grandpa’s division took up positions there.)

His wartime experience didn’t end on VE day.

The United States instituted a system of points to determine which soldiers were sent home first. As McMurdie’s points were low, he served during the occupation of Germany, returning home in February of 1946.

As a first-hand account of a World War 2 infantryman, McMurdie’s book is excellent. He deftly weaves together historical detail and personal anecdotes.

Some are humorous, such as the evening he received a series of frantic calls from the man assigned to duty in a lonely outpost.

“Sarge, something is coming toward me. What do I do?” I looked out toward the enemy lines and could see absolutely nothing unusual and I told him so…There was absolutely nothing out there.

He pleaded with me to call the Lieutenant…Finally, the Lieutenant came back. He said, “All I see is the moon rising.”

“Oh,” we heard Bishop say, “The moon.” (McMurdie 102-103)

Others are heartbreaking.

“I looked to my right and saw bullet after bullet hitting Ison, and Sgt. Davies trying to pull him behind the tree. It was the most tragic sight I have ever seen. I felt so helpless, and could see that Sgt. Davies was doing all he could…for me, PFC Robert Ison still lies beside that tree in Germany, a husband and father who had indeed given his life so his children and the rest of us could live in freedom. And always the question, why him and not me?” (McMurdie 78)

I appreciated the fact that McMurdie did not attempt to gloss over his personal struggles, or the ugliness in the world around him as he shared his tale.

He told of times when he was frustrated, and inclined to grumble.

He shared stories of the discussions he an other soldiers had about the state of racial segregation in the military, and how impressed he was when he had a chance to see a patrol of Black troops in action- it was “some of the best soldiering I ever saw.” (McMurdie 132)

He also spoke of the struggles he faced as a Christian, reconciling the horrors he saw all around him and his constant physical danger with his faith.

“And this was something that I thought about quite a bit. Could I expect God to keep me alive, just because I believed that he had sent His Son as the promised Messiah and the Savior of the world? Thinking about the teachings of the Bible, I realized I could not necessarily expect to come out alive. But I did come to where I was confident that the Lord would care for me, and even if I did die, He would take me to be with Him in heaven…this gave me a certain sense of well-being I cannot really explain. Also, one prayer of mine was the same as many others, “Lord, just don’t let me get shot up so that I am a cripple for the rest of my life.” (McMurdie 101)

Maybe that last quote sums up McMurdie’s account of his war best.

His writing is honest and direct as he gives his views on the war, on the aftermath, and on the good and the bad in the people he came into contact with.

However, his story always comes back to the hope he held on to during the dark days.

 

Do you have any first-hand historical accounts that you’ve enjoyed reading/watching of late? I always like recommendations! 🙂

Many thanks for visiting!

 

 

 

A Little Creative Writing Exercise

teacher

By Monday I should have seventeen brand new stories to read! My creative writing students have been preparing their first “final draft” of the school year.

Our quick writing sprints at the beginning of our class time have been some of my favorite classroom moments this year. (That’s not just because it’s a full ten minutes or so of silence, though that is a nice fringe benefit.)

It’s a delight to see that spark of excitement light up their eyes as an idea captures their interest and they can’t wait to breathe life into it. I love it when time’s up and they make those disappointed “aw, already?” sounds.

It makes me wish we had a bit more concentrated writing time, but there are only so many hours in the school week, and I suppose that other classes are important too. (Math- bah!)

Since time is limited and since I want to give them as much time to write as possible, actual lessons in craft have to be concise and  well-thought out.

I’ve been playing around with an activity for next week’s class on “Show, Don’t Tell.”

The challenge that I intend to give them is to show how their character is feeling (emotion or physical sensation) in 10 words or fewer, without naming the feeling. Then, we’ll assess ourselves by letting others try to guess the feeling we’re trying to portray.

So.

Anyone wanna play?

daniel-maas-714303-unsplash
Photo courtesy of Daniel Maas, via unsplash.com

Below are a few examples I jotted down.

If you’d like to play along, comment to guess the feeling that I’m trying to show for each one. (They are numbered for your convenience.)

If you’d like to write your own “showing” of a feeling, in the comments, I’ll be happy to guess in return!

Here are mine:

  1. Fists clenched, his knuckles cracked as heat suffused his neck.
  2. She blew on her hands, stamping her feet and shivering.
  3.  Palms sweating, she pressed her hands to her knotted stomach.
  4. “Yes, dear,” he said, eyes fixed on the loaded table.

Your turn, 10 words or fewer- go!

Whether you care to play or not, many thanks for visiting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musical Interlude: “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”

Could anyone else use a bit of upbeat music today?

Between substitute teaching for middle-schoolers, hosting a birthday celebration or two, and working through a last run of major editing before sending my manuscript to my last (I hope- fingers crossed!) round of beta readers, I feel like I could use about three more days to this weekend before Monday comes, thank you!

As that doesn’t seem to be an option, caffeine and a good beat will have to do. Today’s selection is one of my favorite pieces from the ’40s: “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.”

The words and music of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” were composed by Don Raye and Hughie Price, but they weren’t the names that would make the song famous.

The talented Andrews Sisters brought the piece to life with their amazing harmonies in the 1941 Abbot and Costello film Buck Privates.

Not only was it a hit for their group, but it won the 1942 “Best Song” Oscar and became an iconic melody for the U.S. in the Second World War.

If you’d like more information, I found the following articles interesting.

http://www.americainwwii.com/articles/boogie-woogie-bounce/

https://www.allmusic.com/song/boogie-woogie-bugle-boy-mt0005569317

Many thanks for visiting, and best wishes on the fast-approaching Monday!

 

 

Miracle

We thought we’d lost him

As I stood before the room

Of shining morning faces

Who didn’t understand

Why Teacher’s went pale.

 

Driving to the clinic

I pulled over

When the sobs came too hard.

Dear God, please. Not this.

 

Waiting.

Barely breathing

Until a flicker of light-

A tiny heart’s flutter-

Shone in the dark.

 

Our miracle.

ultrasound

This time of year is flooded with memories of rejoicing and loss, and so I’m reposting this from last year.

Many thanks for visiting.

Exploding Rats Didn’t Fit

teacher
Photo by Michal Jarmoluk via Snapstock

“And remember, lecture is the least effective method of teaching.”

My class dutifully noted this point, then settled in to listen to our professor’s extensive lecture on the other methods we ought to use.

cat asique-alam-69936-unsplash
Photo courtesy of Asique Alam via Unsplash

The temptation to slip into lecture-mode is strong for experts on any subject.

This includes writers.

Who doesn’t like to go on a bit when given the chance? If you’re like me, you do your research, your background work, your world-building, and quiver with excitement as your little paper universe finally takes shape. It is so tempting to stand before your audience and share, share all of it!

It is tempting to forget that perhaps they don’t care about all of the background details- the minutia of shoe styles or the history of farming techniques etc.

I love reading history. I love finding interesting tidbits to tuck into my writing. I don’t love how easy it is for these tidbits to pile up into blocks of text that choke the flow of the story. Researching my current project, set in 1939-1946, presented waaaay more information than I needed, but I wanted to use it ALL!

I was fascinated by ways the people on the Home Front adapted to restrictions and rationing. Of course I would have to write about wedding dresses made from old parachutes and knitting projects using pet fur…somehow!

Then there were the cloak and dagger stories. Spies! Code breakers! Exploding Rats! (Yes, I said EXPLODING RATS!)

Flail tanks! Oooh, I’d never heard of flail tanks!

flail tank

Of course, I realized that (as far as I could find out) flail tanks didn’t factor in to the areas I was writing about, for obvious reasons…

hitthedirt
Cartoon by Bill Mauldin

At that point I realized my danger, and asked the big question. Where does detailed world-building morph into eye-glazing lecture?

The answer is simple, even if the execution is not.

Information shared for world-building, whether historical or fantastical, must serve the story.

If it doesn’t serve the story, it needs to go.

As fun as it might be to have a character just happen to walk past a flail tank, and have them ask about it, and have someone else give a detailed description…well, that doesn’t sound fun at all, does it? It sounds forced and stilted.

Interesting background details that require long explanations and do nothing to forward the plot lose their interest value quickly.

I have read numerous books and articles which will contribute nothing to my current project, but I don’t count that as a loss. I learned from them, got a stronger sense of the era I was writing about, and maybe I’ll finally get someone into Norway in another book. Or into a tank. Or stopping baddies with exploding rodents!!!

rat
A pest, a pet, or a weapon? Image courtesy of Pixabay

Sometimes a bit of lecture is unavoidable.

My male lead ends up at Monte Cassino, a MAJOR battle site on the Italian front. The story in this section of book would make no sense without an idea of the landscape and the history.

My first attempt was dry. Rereading it, I could almost picture myself at the front of a classroom with a chalkboard and pointer.

I asked a few questions of myself, which helped improve the writing.

Rather than a big ‘ol block of text, could the information be woven into the story, or at least presented in shorter paragraphs and phrases?

Could the information be better conveyed by a conversation?

Could the reactions of the characters set the mood- for instance, rather than the old monastery on the mountain looking “threatening,” perhaps the characters could move or speak in a way that shows fear.

It all comes down to the ever popular bit of writing advice, “Show! Don’t Tell!”

NOW, like most advice, the above is subjective.

For instance, I had a couple of professors whose lectures I loved. One would tell us about his expeditions to Antarctica. Another would occasionally slip jokes into his lectures hidden under a perfect dead pan- only those of us who kept sharp knew how funny he was.

There are popular authors who give immense lectures in their books. I immediately think of one who writes military fiction and one who has warned us about the inadvisability of dinosaur theme-parks. Both have been successful and had movies made from their work.

How do we decide on the strongest way to tell our stories? One of the best pieces of teaching advice that I received was, “Do everything with a purpose.”

Whatever style of writing we employ, we should do so purposefully, to best convey our story and to share the joy of it with the readers who come along on the journey.

Writers, have you found any techniques to keep lecturing/ info-dumping tendencies in check?

I hope this repost of my blog from a year ago was helpful to you, as well as a good reminder to me! Many thanks for visiting!

World War 2 History and SPAM® (The Meat, Not the Mail)

Image courtesy of Pixabay
spam can

Growing up as a Minnesota girl, I visited many of the state’s unique sites.

I waded across the headwaters of the Mississippi, and travelled underground 3/4 mile into the Soudan iron mine. I saw the giant statue of Paul Bunyan in Brainerd, and visited sites from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s journeys. I’ve even waved to the Jolly Green Giant, keeping watch up on the hills above LeSueur.

But I’ve never yet made it to the site with arguably the most unique historical flavor–the Spam Museum in Austin, MN.

Opened in 2001, the SPAM® Museum celebrates the history of those iconic blue cans of meat. Love it or hate it, Spam does have some interesting history.

The year was 1937, during the later half of the Great Depression. The Hormel meat company of Austin, MN, spearheaded by the founder’s son, Jay, looked for ways to expand their fresh-meat business into canned goods.

After trial and error, he successfully produced a moist canned meat made from pork shoulder. The company VP’s brother, Ken Daigneau, won the honor of christening the new product, and thus “Spam” was born.

The timing couldn’t have been better.

Hostilities of the of the Second World War opened in 1939, and FDR signed the Lend-Lease Act in 1941, by which the U.S. agreed to aid Allied countries while remaining officially neutral. Supplying the countries and troops embroiled in the conflict became a challenge.

What better product to send abroad to aid Great Britain, the USSR, and later to feed U.S. troops than easily-shipped canned meats like SPAM®? According to the official SPAM® website, over 100 million pounds were shipped to the troops alone.

Of course, even for fans of SPAM®, there’s always the possibility of too much of a good thing. According to one source, jokes such as “Spam is a ham that didn’t pass its physical” were common.

Still, the canned meat helped feed millions. Not bad for an underutilized cut of pork, salt, potato starch, sugar and water.

SPAM® doesn’t seem to be going anywhere today. Featuring 15 flavors including “Hot and Spicy,” “Teriyaki” and “SPAM® with Portuguese Sausage Seasoning,” it is sold in forty-four countries around the world. In 2012, as SPAM® celebrated its 75th anniversary, the company produced its eight millionth can.

Maybe we’ll make it to Austin next time we’re in the Midwest. For the time being, since I can’t think of Spam without singing Monty Python’s  Spam song, here it is for your listening pleasure!

My Spamariffic sources for this post are as follows:

https://www.spam.com/

https://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/spam-food2.htm

https://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/war-won-spam-things/

So, are you a SPAM® fan? I haven’t had it for a while, though a friend from Hawaii made a wonderful rice dish with it a few years back. How do you like your SPAM®?

Many thanks for visiting!

 

The Doolittle Raid of April 18, 1942

Japan’s devastating surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor and other Allied strongholds on December 7th, 1941, had far-reaching consequences.

Shocked and angered, the United States officially entered the Second World War. On the home front, people of Japanese descent living in the U.S. faced suspicion and in some cases internment. Abroad, the U.S. Navy, damaged, but not destroyed, sought a chance to strike back. Specifically, some wanted to plan a strike on Tokyo itself.

The new commander in the Pacific, WWI veteran Admiral Chester Nimitz, knew that this would be no mean feat.

Admiral Nimitz. As he currently has an aircraft carrier as his namesake, he must have done pretty well…

His ships were severely outnumbered. In order to get bombers close enough to strike Tokyo, he would have to send an aircraft carrier and escort ships within 300 miles of the target.

At that range, he risked both the planes and ships. How could he risk it?

The answer came in the form of Lt. Cmd James “Jimmy” Doolittle.

Unlike an aircraft carrier’s regular complement of planes, B-25 bombers had a range of 1,200 miles. If pilots could be trained to take off from a carrier’s short runway, these extra miles would make the scheme far less risky to the ships.

The drawback was that the B-25s were to heavy to land on the carriers afterwards.

Doolittle planned on continuing on past Tokyo and landing in China, finding friendly forces there, and eventually making it home.

Nimitz agreed to the plan. Sixteen B-25s with their 80 crewmen boarded the USS Hornet and set out, escorted by the USS Enterprise and her fighters.

The plan succeeded – in part.

The bombers achieved complete surprise, unloaded their payloads, and flew on.

One crew did not make it to China, landing near Vladivostok instead. There they were detained as authorities of the USSR (perhaps overcome with the need to show “hospitality” to their new allies,?) detained them for over a year until they escaped.

Eight were captured by the Japanese and imprisoned. Three were executed. One died as a POW.

However, Doolittle and the majority of the others found shelter with the sympathetic Chinese as planned.

See the source image

The Japanese authorities downplayed the importance of the “do-nothing” raid. However, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is quoted as saying, “Even though there wasn’t much damage, it is a disgrace that the skies of the Imperial capital should have been defiled without a single enemy plane being shot down.” (Buell pg. 101)

As the Japanese planned their next bold stroke, it seems that this “disgrace” pushed them forward.

Their attempt to spread their influence and control in the Pacific would shortly bring them into a direct clash with U.S. forces in the Coral Sea.

Following is a video of an interview from 2012, featuring 5 of the men who participated in the Doolittle Raid. The site won’t allow you to play it off of my page, but if you’d care to click on the link to go to youtube, it is well worth the 4 minutes to watch.

Many thanks for visiting!

 

While I studied a number of history sources for this article, this is an excellent site for more information: https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Museum-Exhibits/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/196211/doolittle-raid/

I also referenced the following:

Hyslop, Stephen G. and Neil Kagan. Eyewitness to World War II. Washington, D.C. National Geographic.

Buell, Hal (editor). World War II Album: The Complete Chronicle. New York. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2002. Print.

 

5 Reasons Why I THINK Self-Publishing Might Be For Me

printing press unsplash Marco Djallo
Image courtesy of Marco Djallo, via Unsplash.com

I’ve got to make a decision.

Any of you who’ve read through the ramblings on my Publishing Progress tab know that I sent in several queries to literary agents in the last year.

No, I haven’t had any takers. I also haven’t sent any new queries out for several months.

I’ve been standing at  fork in the road, debating.

Behind the massive “Do Not Enter Without An Agent” sign on the gate, the traditional publishing path beckons with a wide, clearly marked route. Along the way, I see experts, waiting to give advice. I see numerous markets just waiting for me to explore. Look! Down there, is that some money to finance the journey? And, of course, I’d get the nifty “Chosen By A Professional Publisher” t-shirt. From this side of the gate, it looks like a good option.

It’s difficult to see very far down the self-publishing path. It’s not gated like the other, but it twists and turns, and I can see it branching off into side paths just ahead. I’m told that some of these have wonderful professionals to work with. Of course, those are mostly toll roads…

While both paths have their pros and cons, the longer I stand and stare, the more I feel pulled by the winding, intriguing path of self-publishing.

Choosing MY Priorities

I decided I wanted to be a teacher when I was 7. I still love it. As exciting as the idea of publishing a book is, perhaps I’m a bit greedy- I want to do both. And as my kids grow my working hours likely will too.

Word is that not all publishers/agents/editors are sympathetic to the fact that writers have outside lives. (Not that I can really blame them- after all, I imagine that they’re just trying to make ends meet like the rest of us.)

I’m not afraid of hard work, but I like to be able to set my own priorities and time lines, especially as I juggle teaching, parenting, and everything else.

Creative Control

I suppose we all love our own stories, sometimes blindly. Constructive criticism from great beta readers, careful editing, and fresh eyes to spot plot holes are essential to a well-polished story.

However, even working without a publisher, I’ve already found people willing to help me in these area. I get the benefit of choosing who I work with, and the final word on what stays and goes in the story.

Choosing the Cover

Does anyone else worry about winding up with the wrong book cover? The one that just doesn’t fit their story?

For instance, there are many very well-done covers with a pretty woman or chesty man (often with a button or three undone) gazing. Just what they’re gazing at varies- it might be at each other, at the horizon, or at the reader. (Those last are the ones I cover with another book before I go to sleep.) Again, some of these covers are lovely. I just don’t see my characters as the “gazing” type.

In any case, even if I change my mind, if I self-publish, I have the final word!

Setting My Own Pace

Looking at where things stand right now, I’d like to try to release my book on June 4th. (It’s the day during the Second World War that Rome fell to the Allies, and that figures into the book. I like my history connections. 🙂 )

Will it happen?

I hope so, but in the end, if I self-publish and it doesn’t, I’m the only one affected. If we end up with another house or family emergency, if someone I work with misses a deadline, if one of a thousand things that can go wrong does, I can adapt without having to inconvenience or work around anyone else.

It’s Not Necessarily Forever

So, what if I try self-publishing and hate it? Or what if I like it, but want to revisit traditional publishing?

I can always revisit traditional publishing with future books. From what I’ve read on querying, having previously published can actually help get an agent’s attention. (Of course, some of that depends on how well the book does. )

In any case, my feet are pointed down that winding path, ready to take those first steps….

 

What do you think? Especially those of you who’ve published and automatically know MUCH more about this than I do-  have you any thoughts on paths to publication, pros and cons of different routes? I’d love to hear them!

Many thanks for visiting!