Author · Christian Author · Christmas · Historical Romance

The Great Surprise of New Romance Fiction

It wasn’t until I was writing romance that I realized what an amazing and thorough escape this genre could be. For many people, it’s almost a daily medication. I’ll be honest, I always thought of the romance novel as having the typical plot: boy meets girl, boy wants girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. But what a surprise I had coming—and I thought I was the first!

While I cannot help adding large tablespoons full of humor to my mix, other authors like Esther Erman (Just One) include unique and touching, historical dimensions. Others, like Alethea Williams (Joy That Long Endures) use international roots and historical perspective as well to add color and intrigue. Then there’s Penelope Marzec’s hilarious Daddy Wanted, which adds an element of adventure and what I call “goodness” to the protagonist’s character.

man kneeling in front of woman
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For me, and maybe it’s because I’m lazy after a day of writing, I prefer to listen to my stories as opposed to reading them. When I looked into stories that were read aloud, I was surprised to see how many other writers had chosen to read their own books! What fun! I did it because I’ve always been a performer. (Next time out, I hope to make a better show of it, as at times during my reading, it sounds like I’m on Quaaludes.)(Which I’m not!)

But the market is filled with refreshingly new designs in the romance field, and because of our awesome shopping opportunities, you can now scan the titles for your interests within the field that you might enjoy, including Christmas Romance, Historical Romance, Religious Romance, Comedy Romance, and a whole barrel of other specialty styles.
I hope you find something good—books are the best!

The Author:

Cece Whittaker lives and writes in Southern New Jersey. Her recent novels, The Call to Serve (Christmas story), and Love in the Victory Garden, are humor and romance-filled stories set in 1943-44. She draws on her happy childhood and multi-generational memories to create her romance novels, presented honestly and through a Christian heart.

Christmas · Historical Romance

What did Santa Bring . . . in 1943?

Keeping it Real

As I work on my novels, I try to get my hands-on information that’s pertinent, fun, but above all, accurate. The Internet is great, generally. Google and Bing.com and other resources have directed me to some wonderful, boots-on-the-ground type sites when it comes to locations, dates, battle names, etc. But finding information about Stateside war times is not so easy.

In this little article, I wanted to share what my characters might have expected to find under the tree on Christmas 1943. Common sense led me to the conclusion that children would not see metal cars or trains, and certainly no classic Erector Sets or new bicycles. Not that it would fit under the average tree, but neither Mother nor Dad would be expecting, or receiving in any case, any type of automobile, unless it was Grandfather’s Model A, dusted off from the garage. Even then, it might be looked upon eagerly by locals as an excellent donation toward the municipal metal collection.

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What I Found Out

But what did they find under their tree? At length it came to me that one of my beloved Facebook Groups, America In the 1940s, might be able to help out. Aside from many genuine witnesses in that group, there were also researchers and relatives who were willing to share the precise first-hand knowledge I was seeking. I decided to make it easier to respond by setting up a poll in which I suggested: baked goods, toys, crafted or purchased, housewares like blankets or rugs, clothing, coins or cash, or other. If a responder checked “other,” I asked if they would mind making notes in a response, which some kindly did. I had guessed that baked goods would be the most likely gift, and that was actually the case!

Baked Goods 64%
Other-see below 14%
Toy-crafted or purchased 10%
Housewares, blankets   6%
Clothing   6%
Coins/ Cash   0%

What did I miss?

One fellow was particularly helpful, and included recollection of: cartons of cigarettes, which were often decorated for the holiday, including a “Flat Fifty,” a tin of 50 cigarettes. Another was whiskey, also decorated for Christmas and gifted in “fifth”s. A woman remember socks, and hair ribbons, in all different and pretty colors. Another described edible gifts that were elegant and pretty as well as tasty. They may have been the precursors to the classic Hershey Kisses Christmas Tree and the stars carved out of cheese.

Capturing some of the World War II period in my stories has been a wonderful experience because the research in general has been so plentiful. Discovering what Santa might bring was even more fun because it allowed me to connect with some folks who were there—what better resource could one have!

The Author

Cece Whittaker is author of The Call to Serve (book 1 in the Serve Series), a heartwarming, romantic, and historically accurate novel of fictitious Joan, Annie, Bernice, and Helen in New Jersey, and their men overseas during World War II. Book 2, Love in the Victory Garden will be released in October. She can be reached via https://www.cecewhittakerstories.com.

 

Historical Romance

Sacrifice & Share: Home Attitudes during World War II

by Cece Whittaker

Not surprisingly, the World War II era is a favored setting for historical romance novels. One of the many reasons for this is the common phenomenon of personal sharing. At home in America, it was a special time in recorded history during which general goodwill and sacrifice was the way of life. Scaring up an extra plateful for someone’s visiting cousin or fellow worker was not embarrassing or something to put up with. It was an opportunity to serve, and as such, a powerful weapon against depression and confusion.

baby children cute dress
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“Share and Play Square”

Most of the drive behind taking the high road was dedicated to support, whether toward the men at the front, the men and women at home on base, or in factories, or even the children coming up in what would otherwise be an unacceptably tumultuous world. The country was ripe with helpful and inspirational slogans.  Terrence Witkowski in his work, “The American Consumer Home Front During World War II,” agrees. He feels that this element of World War II’s history telling has been largely “Produce and Conserve, Share and Play Square.” (Witkowski, 1998)

“Meatless Monday”

Something about the feeling of we’re-all-in-this-together provides comfort and closes out thoughts of who will get that paralyzing telegram next, and what will the papers say tomorrow? Limited meat resources created almost a celebration in offering up a meatless night of the week, usually Monday. For Catholics, this was a double, as Fridays without meat were already the rule. “Rationing meant sacrifices for all,” the author of World War II Rationing says. He further describes “Sugar Buying Cards,” which allotted specific measures of sugar which families were eligible to buy, based on the number of family members.   (World War II Rationing, n.d.) See more about the Meatless Monday at www.u-s-history.com.

Some historical romance novels celebrate the humanity and laughter, but also include sacrifice and the heartache of separation during this very emotional, yet kindness and sharing time. My series contributes in that direction. www.cecewhittakerstories.com.

Bibliography

Witkowski, T. H. (1998). The American Consumer Home Front During World War Ii. ACR North American Advances. Retrieved 7 27, 2018, from http://acrwebsite.org/search/view-conference-proceedings.aspx?id=8204

World War II Rationing. (n.d.). Retrieved 7 27, 2018, from U-s-history.com: http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1674.html

 

 

Author · Christian Author · Historical Romance

Return to Simple?

What are women readers seeking today?

Having worked through the myriad of spy and terrorist stories, all packaged in shiny, flashy covers featuring nearly exposed women and bare-chested males glittering in sweat, women and old and young may now be turning to a more wholesome entertainment in ladies’ fiction.

Capturing times gone by, without altering the actual circumstances, many newer writers are focusing on the positive side. The post-Babyboomer writer, sometimes referred to as the Babyboomer II, seems to want to concentrate on spreading hope and humor. These 53-60-year-olds graduated high school during very difficult times, having been confronted with the introductions of the first gasoline “crunch,” Jimmy Carter tax expansion, and Richard Nixon China trade. Work was not as freely available to this group as it was to their boomer predecessors.

Taking the high road

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1982, conditions of unemployment ranked highest since 1947, at 9.7% that year, followed by only a slight drop in 1983, at 9.6%. Without the rapid rise on the traditional job track, post-Boomers in large part turned to hope. Writing wholesome ladies’ fiction is one growing outlet. “I’ve been accused of being an optimist and a fantasizer,” says author of The Call to Serve, Cece Whittaker, “and if that’s true, I guess it’s a good thing. As a writer, that’s what keeps me going.”

It may be fantasy, but decorum and wholesome entertainment are not new, just not recent. According to http://www.thegreatestbooks.org, Don Quixote, In Search of Lost Time, and War and Peace all rank in the top 5 of the most popularly acclaimed books of all time, not to mention the wild frenzy for Pride & Prejudice.

What’s Ahead?

Not to say you can’t still find that blockbuster with dirty teeth, but the late 20-teens are seeing a rebirth of decorum and genuine inspiration. Not surprisingly, the movement is led by a refreshing return of wholesome entertaining ladies’ fiction.