Monday, January 26, 2015

Night Witches and their story

"The Nazis called them 'Night Witches' because the whooshing noise their plywood and canvas airplanes made reminded the Germans of the sound of a witch’s broomstick. The Russian women who piloted those planes, onetime crop dusters, took it as a compliment. In 30,000 missions over four years, they dumped 23,000 tons of bombs on the German invaders, ultimately helping to chase them back to Berlin. Any German pilot who downed a “witch” was awarded an Iron Cross.
 
These young heroines, all volunteers and most in their teens and early 20s, became legends of World War II but are now largely forgotten. Flying only in the dark, they had no parachutes, guns, radios or radar, only maps and compasses. If hit by tracer bullets, their planes would burn like sheets of paper."

So begins a NY Times tribute to one of the most famous "Night Witches," Nadezhda Popova, who flew 852 missions during the war, including 18 in a single night. She passed away in 2013 at the age of 91. To read about Popova's incredible life story and learn more about these largely forgotten heroines of WWII, visit http://nyti.ms/JbnOMC

While there aren't any books available for young readers about these courageous women, there are several books for older readers about the role of Russian women combat pilots during WWII including "Flying for Her Country: The American and Soviet Women Military Pilots of World War II" (http://amzn.to/1mTMad9), "Night Witches: The Amazing Story Of Russia's Women Pilots in World War II" (http://amzn.to/15qK7JD), "Wings, Women, and War: Soviet Airwomen in World War II Combat" (http://amzn.to/1fyPOs8), "A Dance with Death: Soviet Airwomen in World War II" (http://amzn.to/1jJb79N), "Red Sky, Black Death: A Soviet Woman Pilot's Memoir of the Eastern Front" (http://amzn.to/NhxvM4).

For more true stories of courageous women heroes of WWII, check out the inspiring book for ages 13 and up "Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue" at http://www.amightygirl.com/women-heroes-of-world-war-ii

For an excellent book for ages 8 to 12 about the WASPs, the American women flyers of WWII, check out "Yankee Doodle Gals: Women Pilots of World War II" at http://www.amightygirl.com/yankee-doodle-gals

For two highly recommended recent novels, both for ages 13 and up, about women resistance fighters of WWII, check out "Code Name Verity" (http://www.amightygirl.com/code-name-verity) and "Rose Under Fire" (http://www.amightygirl.com/rose-under-fire).

For stories for all ages about girls and women living through the WWII period, visit our "WWII / Holocaust" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/history-biography/history-world?cat=186

And, to introduce your kids to more famous female flyers like Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, and Harriet Quimby, visit A Mighty Girl's "Planes" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/general-interest/transportation?cat=129With permission, I am sharing a post I recently stumbled upon at A Mighty Girl. I know military romance readers, who are always looking for strong female heroines, will enjoy hearing about these inspiring ladies and their place in history. There are also some great links to other sites where you can do more research.

"The Nazis called them 'Night Witches' because the whooshing noise their plywood and canvas airplanes made reminded the Germans of the sound of a witch’s broomstick. The Russian women who piloted those planes, onetime crop dusters, took it as a compliment. In 30,000 missions over four years, they dumped 23,000 tons of bombs on the German invaders, ultimately helping to chase them back to Berlin. Any German pilot who downed a “witch” was awarded an Iron Cross.
These young heroines, all volunteers and most in their teens and early 20s, became legends of World War II but are now largely forgotten. Flying only in the dark, they had no parachutes, guns, radios or radar, only maps and compasses. If hit by tracer bullets, their planes would burn like sheets of paper."
So begins a NY Times tribute to one of the most famous "Night Witches," Nadezhda Popova, who flew 852 missions during the war, including 18 in a single night. She passed away in 2013 at the age of 91. To read about Popova's incredible life story and learn more about these largely forgotten heroines of WWII, visit http://nyti.ms/JbnOMC
While there aren't any books available for young readers about these courageous women, there are several books for older readers about the role of Russian women combat pilots during WWII including "Flying for Her Country: The American and Soviet Women Military Pilots of World War II" (http://amzn.to/1mTMad9), "Night Witches: The Amazing Story Of Russia's Women Pilots in World War II" (http://amzn.to/15qK7JD), "Wings, Women, and War: Soviet Airwomen in World War II Combat" (http://amzn.to/1fyPOs8), "A Dance with Death: Soviet Airwomen in World War II" (http://amzn.to/1jJb79N), "Red Sky, Black Death: A Soviet Woman Pilot's Memoir of the Eastern Front" (http://amzn.to/NhxvM4).
For more true stories of courageous women heroes of WWII, check out the inspiring book for ages 13 and up "Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue" athttp://www.amightygirl.com/women-heroes-of-world-war-ii
For an excellent book for ages 8 to 12 about the WASPs, the American women flyers of WWII, check out "Yankee Doodle Gals: Women Pilots of World War II" at http://www.amightygirl.com/yankee-doodle-gals
For two highly recommended recent novels, both for ages 13 and up, about women resistance fighters of WWII, check out "Code Name Verity" (http://www.amightygirl.com/code-name-verity) and "Rose Under Fire" (http://www.amightygirl.com/rose-under-fire).
For stories for all ages about girls and women living through the WWII period, visit our "WWII / Holocaust" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/…/history-biograp…/history-world…
And, to introduce your kids to more famous female flyers like Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, and Harriet Quimby, visit A Mighty Girl's "Planes" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/…/general-intere…/transportation…


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Truth in Fiction : Military Truths in Romance Tales

People ask me where I get my ideas for stories. Often it's from the news, real life stories that read more like fiction than fiction does sometimes.

Just a few of the real life events that have inspired my fictional stories are:
I stumbled upon another interesting news item just this week, and I absolutely love it. It reminds me of the Ben Affleck movie ARGO, about a 'film crew' being used to rescue hostages. If you haven't seen it, go find it and watch it now.

This other story, THE CODE, is about an advertising executive being employed by the Columbian government to get a secret message to hostages being held, some for 14 years, in the jungle. Read the full story HERE. It's pretty amazing.

Will I use this in a story? Maybe. Maybe not. But next time you're reading, you might wonder, is any of this true? It could be!

Cat Johnson


For new release alerts sign up at www.catjohnson.net/news
Hot SEALs Series by Cat Johnson


Friday, January 9, 2015

Of BFFs who really have been around forever

I thought I'd tell you a little about the amazing woman who inspired Casey, the heroine in Call of Duty. While writing Call of Duty, I kept her in mind the entire time. She was going through some pretty crappy times and I hoped to cheer her up. She heroine was even named after her, but she chose the name Casey when the book was contracted.

Linda and I met in the 3rd grade. Our fathers were stationed at Barkesdale Air Force Base. It's a pretty big base, but we ended up living at opposite ends of the same street.  I like to remember that the friendship was immediate and strong. Honestly, I don't remember that part mainly because I don't really have many memories of a time before I met Linda at BAFB.

Linda and I were mostly inseparable for over 3 years. Running up and down the street was normal. We played in groups, we played together. I remember games of "red rover" and "red light, green light" and "Mother may I" in her front year. She had a tree that was great for base. I remember playing at gymnastics in the back yard. And of course, playing at the playground.

Linda was the one who told me about sex. She has an older sister, so we got bare bones details! I still remember sitting on the swings talking about how that couldn't be possible!

And I remember my 6th grade heart breaking when we got transferred to Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina. It didn't matter that she'd soon be moving to Carswell AFB in Texas.

This song still makes me think of her and cry.


Those were the days of counting the minutes in long distance phone calls. We made good use of our time!

Skip ahead to high school, when she flew up for my high school graduation. We hadn't seen each other in 6 years, not that anyone could tell.

After the children starting coming (my 1 and her 4), we visited when ever possible

Skip ahead to now. Linda raised 4 wonderful children mostly by herself until she remarried in 2011. Raised 4 amazing kids! She is my hero. I don't know if I've ever told her that. No matter what got thrown at her, she moved forward with an infectiously positive attitude.

These are her 4 kiddos, all adults.


The boys are Joe and Dalton. The girls are Allison and Emily.





And here is her retired Air Force father, the Colonel, with his army officer grandchildren, the Ranger and the pilot.

Through it all, for over 40 years, she's been there for me. No matter how long we go between phone calls.

My BFF.

A true heroine. My hero.

I'll love her always.

Happy reading,

Felicia








Friday, December 26, 2014

Red Fridays. Every Friday. Especially at the Holidays.

For my post for this month, I'm reprinting a blog message (sorry I do not have the name of the blogger to reference) I found on the internet. I thought it was beautifully written. Since so many of us are traveling during this time of year, either home, or on to loved ones, it was a good reminder of what Red Friday means to all of us who love our men and women who wear the uniform and do so much for us. As we get to enjoy our families and our freedoms, let's honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Least we can do.




A Story on the meaning of Red Friday
Last week, while traveling to Chicago on business, I noticed a Marine Sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two together. After we boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who’d been invited to sit in First Class (across from me), and inquired if he was heading home.
No, he responded. Heading out, I asked. No, I am escorting a soldier home. Going to pick him up? No. He is with me right now. He was killed in Iraq. I’m taking him home to his family. The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a punch to the gut. It was an honor for him. He told me that, although he didn’t know the soldier, he had delivered the news of his passing to the soldier’s family and felt as if he knew them after many conversations in so few days. I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said thank you. Thank you for doing what you do so my family can do what we do.
Upon landing in Chicago the pilot stopped short of the gate and made the following announcement over the intercom. “Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that we have had the honor of having Sergeant Steeley of the United States Marine Corps join us on this flight. He is escorting a fallen comrade back home to his family. I ask that you please remain in your seats when we open the forward door to allow Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his fellow soldier. We will then turn off the seat belt sign.” Without a sound, all went as requested. I noticed the sergeant saluting the casket as it was brought off the plane, and his action made me realize that I am proud to be an American.
So here’s a public Thank You to our military Men and Women for what you do so we can live the way we do.

Red FridaysVery soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason Americans who support our troops used to be called
Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason Americans who support our troops used to be called the “silent majority.” We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or overbearing. Many Americans, like you, me and our friends, simply want to recognize the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday - - and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that...every red-blooded American who support our men and women afar, will wear something red. By work of mouth, press, TV – Let’s make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers.
If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, coworkers, friends, and family, it will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once “silent” majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on.
The first thing a soldier say when asked “What can we do to make things better for you?” is, “We need your support and your prayers.” Let’s get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example and wear something red every Friday.

Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.


he “silent majority.” We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or overbearing. Many Americans, like you, me and our friends, simply want to recognize the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday - - and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that...every red-blooded American who support our men and women afar, will wear something red. By work of mouth, press, TV – Let’s make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers.
If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, coworkers, friends, and family, it will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once “silent” majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on.
The first thing a soldier say when asked “What can we do to make things better for you?” is, “We need your support and your prayers.” Let’s get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example and wear something red every Friday.

Friday, December 19, 2014

New Hot SEALs Series Release! SEALed at Midnight by Cat Johnson

A snowstorm brings together one hot SEAL and one lucky lady, and heats up Christmas Eve like never before in SEALed at Midnight!

Get it now in eBook and Paperback! 
The eBook is only 99 cents for release week


The Hot SEALs Series

Night with a SEAL - eBook, paperback, audio

Saved by a SEAL ~ eBook, paperback, audio

SEALed at Midnight ~eBook, paperback

Kissed by a SEAL ~coming March 2015

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Of Christmases Past

This is the story of a family left behind when their Airman deployed to Vietnam and a little girl who still believed in Santa Claus. A little girl not so very different from the military brats of this generation.

For family members who have a better memory of this than me, don't rain on my parade! I was little, memories are faulty.

We were stationed at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base when my dad received orders to deploy. It was my dad, my mom, me, and my infant brother. So my mom, my brother, and I left the warm sunny climes of South Carolina to go live with my maternal grandparents in West Virginia. I remember the day my dad left. Being in avionics maintenance, my father was stationed in Thailand during his time in South East Asia.

Skip ahead to the Christmas season. For the school Christmas pageant, my class did a dance to "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree." I still remember the darn thing and if you see me when that song comes on the radio, you'll see my spastic feet moving. But really, I'm just dancing the routine. And spastic is in the eye of the beholder.

It's Christmas Eve at my grandparents and the tree is in the front window. I think there's snow on the ground. Like most kids, I didn't want to go to sleep, but knew I had to so Santa Claus could come. I have no idea how long I was asleep, but something woke me up. Wide awake. It was still dark out, so I didn't think it was Christmas morning. Plus, I could hear talking downstairs. Definitely not morning. Being the nosy person I still am, I went exploring.

I don't remember who all was downstairs, but I remember that my Aunt Jeannie (my mom's youngest sister) was missing. When I asked my mom where she was, my mom told me that she'd gone outside to check out Santa on the roof! Now we know what woke me up!

Of course I wanted to go check, but my mom tried to hustle me off to bed. But I KNOW I heard sleigh bells as I went up the stairs. Try going back to sleep after that bit of excitement!

Cut to Christmas morning and the celebratory gift giving. I only remember one gift I got that Christmas. It was wrapped under the tree and it said "From Daddy."

From Daddy??? All the way from Thailand? Inside that beautifully wrapped box was a yellow nightgown. It had a thicker bodice made of a looped material and a soft skirt. I wore that nightgown until I outgrew it and the loops stretched out. I wore that nightgown long after my father came home.

I kept that nightgown long after I outgrew it. It had a place of honor in my dresser drawer, surviving the purge that accompanied every move - from West Virginia to Louisiana, to North Carolina to Pennsylvania. I couldn't get rid of it. My father gave it to me.

Fast forward to high school. I was putting away clothes and my mother walked in my room. Probably to make sure I was actually putting them away and not just piling them around the room. She noticed the nightgown in my drawer.

"Why do you still have that?"

"Because Daddy gave it to me for Christmas when he was in Thailand."

"You do realize that he didn't actually send that to you from Thailand, don't you?'

"Ha! The next thing you'll be telling me is that Santa Claus isn't real."



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Can We Talk About Navy SEALs?


Think it's time to talk a bit. We've seen things in the news concerning reveals about Navy SEALs and their tactics, their mental capabilities and their planned missions. There is a lot of controversy about this, and I am not clear on which side of the fence I stand, except to say that I want our bravest and best-trained warriors protected, at all costs. There's a mystique to being a SEAL because much of what they do has to be kept secret. And we all know there is temptation not to keep those secrets.

So, as a writer, I walk a fine line between accuracy and storytelling, all the time worrying about protecting the fine men and women who put themselves in harm's way so we can write the crazy books we do, and go run around and do unmentionable things with our lives. Our SEALs signed on for this. They are our warriors and they want us to have a normal life.

There are details in my books I've written on purpose incorrectly. There are probably details in my books I've written incorrectly by accident. I don't think I've gotten wrong the community or the character of the men who serve as SEALs. The how of what they do might vary, but the why and the way they are I believe is as accurate as I can make it. I love the smack talk and the sense of humor these usually soft-spoken warriors have.

Now we have hundreds of writers thinking they can write Navy SEAL romances. I love reading the blurbs where SEALs perform jobs real SEALs would never do, or serve in capacities they would never serve under. Reviewers don't pick these up, and I think that's fine. The bottom line is that it's good all this misinformation is out there. I hope our enemies are reading all the Navy SEAL romances, because they'll get pretty confused when they do. If they read my SEAL stories they'll get a lot of sex education too. Some of our enemies I think might need a little of this.

And that would probably make a SEAL chuckle to himself. He'd never tell you that you are an idiot writer getting facts and figures wrong, well, maybe if you knew him well enough he would. Have I been an idiot? You bet. Proudly. Will I continue to be? Hey, the more newbie SEAL writers there are out there the better I look. LOL. Seriously. We're talking about FICTION. We aren't writing Tom Clancy or WEB Griffin or Dick Couch.

As one SEAL told me, "Just make it up. If you can imagine it, it probably happened."

And so I have.

You can watch my Chapter One Live read of SEAL's Promise here. Some adult content language some of my fans think is funny seeing me say.

SEAL's Promise Excerpt (TJ Talbot and his best friend are talking about dating and other unmentionable things - strong language here). Hear the buttery, romantic voice of my Warrior Storyteller, JD Hart, as he breathes life into my words. The audio book will be out any day now.

SEAL's Promise is available on Kindle, and iTunes, Nook and Kobo.


Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.