Friday, December 4, 2020

If These Walls Could Talk ...or Pay

 While plotting my current series novel I toyed with the idea of having the heroine find money hidden in the walls of the family estate. I did a search on google and was surprised to learn that many times people make these kinds of discoveries. Not only money but other things. One of the most unique was bottles of booze. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Do you have the funds to buy an old house of your own, check out the Facebook Page "For the Love of Old Houses and gems like this one what are on the market are there for you to drool over. 
https://www.facebook.com/ForTheLoveOfOldHouses/photos/pcb.3048019615464071/3048013195464713/

People have hidden away their treasures for years, but especially during the Great Depression, when the practice took on greater proportions because people no longer trusted banks. Nowadays, as Depression-era homes are coming on the market, people are snapping them up to restore them into modern-day homes. And the new owners are finding money and valuables stashed away behind plaster walls, under floorboards, and even behind fake heating vents.

Outside the old home a variety of hiding places, including a hole in the ground, exist. One website I found told of how a dog dug up hidden cans of coins worth ... wait for it ... over several million dollars! If there are old trees on the property, digging around the base of the tree might reveal old coins dropped there even centuries ago. I can't promise a million dollars worth, but you never know!

It's not just money that is sometimes hidden away. One Canadian homeowner found old movie posters in pristine condition under the floorboards. One of the posters netted almost $78,000 at auction.

It's strongly suggested that if you can get your hands on a metal detector, you can run it around the bases of trees and other places people may have congregated in the yard of an old home and find quite a number of coins dropped decades ago and worth a lot today.

Have you ever found "hidden treasure" behind a wall or other places in an old house?

Below is a video showing all the possible hiding places in an old Victorian home. After watching this, I wish I had the money to buy an old home and see what might be lurking behind its walls or under its floorboards



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Pam loves researching history from in and around her home area in Wisconsin and turning what she finds into stories. Her Newport of the West series currently includes three volumes and she is working on her fourth, Rose Harbor, which is slated to release in May2021. 




She makes her home in northern Illinois with her two rescue cats (named Jack and Meggie) after her character from her book Surprised by Love in Lake Geneva. She loves reading and crocheting and is very involved in her church as a Bible study leader.


Do you have someone on your Christmas list who loves Historical fiction. A gift of one or all three volumes in the Newport of the West series would be welcome. 


Get Them in either print or Kindle versions at Amazon.



Thursday, December 3, 2020

MAIL-ORDER REFUGE GIVE AWAY!


Cindy Regnier
Author Spotlight


    Did you know writers love readers? It’s true. Without our readers, we writers would be without an audience for the fruits of our labors. I’ll let you in on a secret, though. Most of us writers would write even if no one ever read our stuff. We can’t not write (pardon my shameless use of the double negative.)
    I love to read but writing is a whole different passion that comes from an entirely different place within me. At the risk of another possible use of the dreaded double negative, let me tell you that I can’t remember not writing. 
    It started with my two-page story in second grade about Joe and his dog then moved on to writing plays for friends to act out in 3rd grade. (They were mostly based on sit-coms of that era and were incredibly dorky, but we thought it was so cool when the teacher let us perform them before the class.)
    By junior high I was writing my first full length romance. I will show my age here by admitting to computers not existing back then so my lovely little novel was written by long-hand on notebook paper. I remember counting it as an accomplishment when I would run a pen out of ink and have to ask my dad to bring home another from the free ones given out at his work. This novel had one thing in common with my third-grade sit-com plays. It was also incredibly dorky. I actually finished it at some point proudly labeling my final page as #443. It was destroyed soon after because my high-school-self found it very immature to have written a “romance” about 14-year-olds that ended with them “going together.” Ah, the good old days.
     So as not to bore you with my entire life’s writing journey, let me take a giant step into the future and tell you that I wrote my first “real” novel, a historical romance, when my children got old enough to actually free up some of my time in the evenings. Many of my friends have read it along with 6 other historical romances that soon followed. Sadly (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) my friends with their kind comments and joyful exuberance over my writing are likely the only ones who will ever read these first stories of mine. Let’s just say they’re not going to be picked up by an eager publisher any time soon.
     My first published book (and so far my only one!) is Mail-Order Refuge which released in 2019. 
Buy it here:


https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946016896/
 
It is a historical romance (no surprise there) and set in the Kansas Flint Hills which has turned out to be my trademark setting. I have heard so many kind comments about this book and requests for another that I have plans for a sequel I will get started on soon.
    I do have another series of historical fiction that my agent is working hard to sell, thus relieving me of the unenviable status of one-and-done. I do hope you’ll have the opportunity to read this series based on the real-life romances of my great-grandparents someday. Until then, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Mail-Order Refuge and let me know what you think. Even if you’ve already read it, it makes a great Christmas gift for friends and family. 
Bonus!  If you email me your mailing address, I’ll send you a signed bookmark to slip inside the front cover of your gift. ksucindy@excite.com
    And, (drum roll, please) I’m giving away a paperback copy to two lucky winners right here on HHH today. If you win one, I’ll mail it to you in time for Christmas. Just leave a comment or send me an email at the above address telling me why you’d like to win this book and I’ll put your name in the cowboy hat. I’ll draw the lucky winners on Dec 7 and put the winner's names in the comments. Be sure and leave your email address so I can contact you if you win. Good luck!

About Cindy:
   Scribbling in notebooks has been a habit of Cindy Regnier since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Born and raised in Kansas, she writes stories of historical Kansas, especially the Flint Hills area where she spent much of her childhood. Cindy is married to her husband of 37 years, has two grown sons, a son residing in heaven, two beautiful daughters-in-law and a rambunctious grand-dog named Rhea.
   A graduate of Kansas State University with a dual major in Agriculture and Business, Cindy works for her local school district as clerk of the board of education and is active in her church and community. Her experiences with the Flint Hills setting, her natural love for history, farming and animals, along with her interest in genealogical research give her the background and passion to write heart-fluttering historical romance.

Find me at:

https://cindyregnier.com/

https://www.facebook.com/CindyRegnierauthor/

https://twitter.com/CindySRegnier

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19069509.Cindy_Regnier

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cindy-regnier

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The History of the Turquoise: December's Birthstone

 

Amber Schamel Christian Author
Blogger: Amber Schamel

Chacoan Turquoise from New Mexico
Public Domain

December is another one of those months that has several different birthstones, turquoise, tanzanite and zircon. While they are each beautiful stones in their own right, I've chosen turquoise as our study for this month. 

Turquoise has been a favorite gem for thousands of years, in fact, it might be the oldest of all the precious stones. No one can truly know. More than three thousand years ago, the Chinese and Egyptians were already cherishing this beauty and utilizing it for adornments and carvings. In fact, the iconic gold burial mask of the Egyptian Pharaoh, King Tut, is inlaid with turquoise. However this was not the only piece of turquoise found. Many rings, necklaces and other pieces of jewelry were discovered as well. Archeological evidence suggests that the Egyptians were using turquoise as early as the first dynasty, possibly earlier. 

The earliest known mines were in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, near the temple of their goddess Hathor. They called it "mefkat" which means "joy" or "delight". Quite an accurate depiction of their feelings for the stone.

 

Photo By Roland Unger
Creative Commons

The Egyptians used the stone so much, that they even invented a way to create an artificial imitation turquoise, which may make it the first stone in history to be imitated.

 Besides the Egyptians and the Chinese, many early civilizations also prized this stone. The Aztecs, Persians, and Mesopotamian, not to mention the native peoples of North America such as the ancient Pueblo tribe all left behind relics with the stone. These people believed the stone had the power to protect, grant good health, and even wealth. Perhaps the Russians held a similar belief, because back-swords from the 17th century were inlaid with turquoise.

Russian Back-Swords
Inlaid with turquoise
Public Domain


 

It is believed that turquoise made its way to Europe via the Silk Road, but didn't gain popularity there until after the 13th century and the decline of the Roman Catholic influence.

 The Apache Indians believed that turquoise was found at the end of a rainbow, and if attached to the bow or firearm made the warrior's aim more accurate. Still today, much of the Native American art and jewelry includes the stone. It has become an icon of western style.

All in all, turquoise is one of the most ancient and universally favored stones. Its beauty transcends time and culture, making it a favorite still today.  China is still the largest producer of turquoise in the world, while New Mexico is the largest producer in the United States. 

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Amber Schamel Christian Author

Two-time winner of the Christian Indie Award for historical fiction, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest".  

She lives in Colorado Springs near her favorite mountain and between enjoying life as a new mom, and spinning stories out of soap bubbles, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples.

Amber is a proud member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Visit her online at www.AmberSchamel.com/ and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Tale of Two Pilots - An Axis Pilot Who Rescued A B-17 Over the Skies of Germany, Conclusion

by Cindy K. Stewart


"The Guardian" by Nick Trudgian. Valor Studios.


Our story ended last month when American Captain Charlie Brown and his crew safely landed their fatally wounded B-17 "Ye Olde Pub" in England. German fighter pilot Franz Stigler had safely escorted them out of Germany, but he didn't expect the B-17 to make it home. If you missed the previous episodes of this astounding account of WWII enemies meeting over the skies of Germany, you can find them here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

After returning to England, Charlie and most of his original crew continued bombing Germany. They completed their twenty-eighth and final mission on April 11, 1944. Charlie returned stateside and became an instructor for the remainder of the war. Later he graduated from college and joined the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence officer. He retired early in order to work for the State Department during the Vietnam War. After retiring again, Charlie and his family moved to Florida. 

Franz Stigler continued to shoot down Allied planes on bombing runs over Germany. In late October 1944, a one-inch copper bullet from a B-17 pierced the windshield of Franz's 109, hit him in the forehead and bounced off. Franz managed to make it back to base, sporting a black hole of dried blood and a nasty dent in his head. The copper bullet was secure in the palm of his hand. 

Franz was sent away to recuperate but later convinced his commander to send him to jet school. Franz learned how to fly the jet-powered Me 262 and, in March of 1945, joined General Adolf Galland's newly formed fighter unit, JV-44, dubbed "the Flying Sanatorium" or "the Squadron of Experts." Franz and other ace pilots made their last stand from a base just outside of Munich. He surrendered to the Americans shortly before the war ended, having achieved 487 combat flights. In 1953, Franz immigrated to Vancouver, Canada. 

 

Me 262A at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Public Domain.

Franz had a good life in Canada. After retiring, he flew a Me 108 in air shows, with Allied planes chasing him, which delighted the crowds. He came to the notice of the Boeing Company, and in 1985 they invited him to their 50th Anniversary party for the B-17 Flying Fortress. This led him to tell his German wife about "the one he had let get away." Still curious whether the B-17 he'd risked a court-martial for had ever made it home, he attended the party and much to his amazement was embraced by the former American B-17 pilots and crewman he met. He asked if any of them knew of a bomber that had been escorted to safety by a German fighter, but no one did.

After debriefing on that fateful day in 1943, Charlie and his crew were ordered not to tell anyone about their escort out of Germany, and the records were classified. Charlie wondered for over forty years if the German fighter pilot who'd spared him and his crew had survived the war. Most of them had been wiped out. Now, many years later Charlie began to think about his war experiences and had nightmares that "always ended with The Pub spinning to earth in a death dive from which he could not recover." He always woke up before he crashed. Charlie decided he needed closure, so he joined the 379th Bomb Association and attended a reunion for pilots. He shared the story "of the German pilot who had spared him and his crew." Nobody had heard the story until now, and Charlie's fellow pilots encouraged him to look for the German. He searched the archives in the U.S. and England and located his crew's after-action report but after four years was no closer to locating the pilot he sought.

General Galland
Public Domain
Several years after WWII, the Allies allowed West Germany to re-establish its air force as a deterrent to the Soviet Union. Several of the ace fighters Franz Stigler had served with became leaders in the new organization. These were the pilots who'd served their country with dignity and hadn't joined the Nazi Party. The Association of German Fighter Pilots published a newsletter called Jagerblatt. Charlie wrote the editor, asking that a short letter be published in the newsletter about the December 20 incident, but the editor was not interested in helping a former bomber pilot. Charlie wrote to Adolf Galland, Germany's most famous pilot and former president of the Association. Galland ordered the editor to publish Charlie's letter. Galland was Franz's former commander in JV-44.

A few months later, the Jagerblatt arrived in Franz Stiger's mailbox. He was so excited when he read Charlie's letter that he immediately wrote to him. Charlie was equally astounded when he received Franz's letter. He obtained Franz's phone number from directory assistance and called him. In the Jagerblatt letter, Charlie had left out information about The Pub's exact damage and the fact that they had flown out of Germany over the North Sea. Charlie began asking Franz a series of questions. Franz shared details about The Pub's damage that Charlie had not included in his Jaggerblatt letter, and when Franz said he thought they'd never make it across the sea after he let them go, Charlie couldn't hold back the tears.

Charlie wrote a thank you letter to Franz, but he still didn't know that the German was an ace or why Franz had allowed the B-17 to escape. The two met for the first time in Seattle in June of 1990. When they saw each other in the hotel lobby, they hugged and cried. The fact that they'd found each other was miraculous enough, but the fact that they were both living after forty-six years was incredible. The two spent a couple days together, sharing about their lives. Contrary to what Charlie had thought, Franz's guns had been full of ammunition when he'd encountered Charlie's plane. He learned that Franz had served in the "Squadron of Experts" and was one of Germany's great aces. After that meeting, Charlie never suffered another nightmare.

Ten years prior, Franz's former commander General Galland had visited Franz in Canada, and Franz took him hunting. They'd kept up with each other by phone ever since. After meeting with Charlie, he confessed to Galland about sparing the B-17. Galland's response was "'It would be you.'" The reunion soon made the headlines and hit the TV news stories. Later that year, Franz met Charlie at the 379th Bomb Group reunion in Massachusetts. Charlie introduced his old ball turret gunner, "Blackie" and his former radio operator Pechout to Franz, and they hugged and cried together. Blackie sobbed and thanked Franz for sparing his life because it had allowed "his children and grandchildren to experience life."



Watch a short documentary about this story on You Tube here.

******

Source:

A Higher Call by Adam Makos with Larry Alexander - Berkley Caliber, New York, 2012.

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Cindy Stewart, a high school social studies teacher, church pianist, and inspirational historical romance author, was a 2020 finalist for the Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award of Excellence, placed second in the 2019 North Texas Romance Writers Great Expectations contest, semi-finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis contest, and won ACFW’s First Impressions contest in the historical category. Cindy is passionate about revealing God’s handiwork in history. She resides in North Georgia with her college sweetheart and husband of thirty-nine years. Their married daughter, son-in-law, and four adorable grandchildren live only an hour away. Cindy’s currently writing a fiction series set in WWII Europe.