Archive for the ‘writing exercises’ Category

LITERARY LOVERS’ MARCH MADNESS

March 20, 2017

I love March Madness, except for the fact that Mizzou didn’t make it this year. (We’ll get ’em next year!) So, look what someone else is doing–a Literary-Lovers’ March Madness. And LARA and I made it to the second round. LARGER-THAN-LIFE LARA contains just about everything I know about writing. And since everyone has been bullied and has bullied in some way, readers get the subtle anti-bullying theme. I don’t think I’ve asked anyone to vote for me since I ran for office at  Missouri Girls State…and loss. Round 2 ends Thursday. Here’s the link if you’re up for it: http://readthearc.com/literary-lovers-madness-round2/

BOOK RELEASE DAY!

March 7, 2017

with-love

It’s here! And as if that weren’t enough for me, it’s getting two starred reviews–Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist. I’ve waited so long for this. I thought about dozens of pictures I could post, along with witty, but poignant things to say. But here I am, speechless and grateful, hoping that you like my story.

Check out giveaways at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/38952.Dandi_Daley_Mackall  If you’re on GoodReads, will you add the book to your favorite lists and to your shelf as to-read? Thanks!

WHAT’S IN A LETTER?

March 6, 2017

These are only a few of the WW2 letters I inherited from my parents, Army doctor and Army nurse, newlyweds shipped to different countries for the duration of the war. They wrote each other 2-3 times a day and prayed for mail call and the (too often unreliable) delivery of their most precious, vital, real connection–their letters. It was all they had to help their marriage survive. They wrote on whatever was at hand–V-mail (infuriatingly short), bummed stationery, and even abandoned German paper, though only when necessary. One letter was written on a small, brown paper sack. They had worked out a clever code to foil the censors and to arrange rare rendezvous. (Took me a while, but I cracked their code.)

I fear we’re losing our letters to texts and emails. I admit that I rarely write letters, though I’m delighted whenever I receive one. Think of all the great historical and literary collections that wouldn’t exist if their writers had I phones. I can’t even imagine writing WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE without my trunkful of letters. Tomorrow is the official release date for the book!

I’ll be answering questions on Goodreads all week. Please join me there, okay?  Here’s the link: Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/38952.Dandi_Daley_Mackall

http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

 

WARTIME COOKIE JAR

February 25, 2017

cookie-jar

This Little Red Riding Hood cookie jar sat on top of our refrigerator for as long as I can remember–longer, in fact, before I was born. I loved it, but only because every now and then, it would fill with wonderful cookies. It was a landmark day when I was able to reach it and pull out my own cookie, instead of standing on a chair to get one. But the old jar became much more than a cookie holder when I read one of Dad’s war/love letters to Mom: “Darling, you’ll never believe what the guys got us for our wedding gift.”

You guessed it. Dad’s war buddies bought Little Red Riding Hood. The gift meant so much to Dad that he carried it on his lap when he took the train to meet his bride-to-be on their wedding day. And they took it on their honeymoon. The cookie jar, minus cookies, has moved from the top of our fridge to the top of our war cabinet. Wouldn’t it be great if we all asked for the stories that go with family heirlooms? And we can pass along those stories to the next generation…and the next…and the next….

http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

 

LARTZ, the Army Artist

February 18, 2017

Through letters and stories, I came to admire the doctor/soldier named Lartz. I believe he was Frank’s best war buddy, his quiet and uncompromising friend, even in the midst of some pretty crazy colleagues. These two sketches hung in my dad’s den as long as I can remember. I don’t think I ever asked where they came from because they were permanent fixtures, like wallpaper. I learned more about the pictures from the letters left in their Army trunk. In one letter, written shortly after arriving in England, Frank mentioned that Lartz was working on a charcoal drawing of Helen, working from a photograph. In a later letter, Frank complains (in good humor) that Lartz made him sit for over an hour to do a charcoal drawing of Soldier Frank.

Does anybody else have old photos or pictures around, things you wish you knew more about? People you suspect are in your ancestry, but you don’t know who they could be? I think we should all write dates and info on the back of every photo we take.

Lt. Frank R. Daley, M.D.

February 14, 2017

My dad is the other main character in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. This St. Louis medical student didn’t want to be a hero. There were enough of those in the family. His dad, Dr. Pete, had served in WWI and now spent every waking moment training medics for the Army. Frank’s sister, Dotty, had joined the Army a couple of years before Pearl Harbor and was still in the Philippines as a nurse. His brother, Jack, in the Army in special service, had to be a spy. Even his mother volunteered for the Red Cross, along with daughter Mary, who was married to Charles House, a career Army man.

The carefree and dashing Frank Daley just wanted to finish med school, move to a hospital close to the ocean and tennis courts, and hang up his shingle. Even after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, everyone seemed confident that the war would be over in a matter of weeks, certainly before his deferment ran out. Instead, as soon as he graduated, he was sent straight to boot camp. There, he met a number of colorful Army buddies, some who journey with him through the novel.

Oh–and he also met a spirited Army nurse named Helen.

See more on my new website: http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

 

Aunt Dot, Army Nurse

February 3, 2017

Happy February! I’ve decided I’d like to introduce you to some of the characters that populate WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. This is 1st Lt. Dorothea Daley Engel, my Aunt Dot, the same one who sent her younger brother the cartoon. When the Japanese overran and bombed the Philippines, Dotty and a few other nurses cared for their patients in the jungles. That’s where she fell in love with “Boots,” a soldier she’d met before, but only gotten to know when he had malaria. As she wrote to her brother: What kind of world is this when the one you love contracting malaria is good news?” Her heroism earned her the Medal of Honor, which was presented to her by President Roosevelt and pinned on her by Eleanor. She never talked about it and didn’t even tell her family about the ceremony until it was too late for them to attend . . . except for my Uncle Jack, the spy. He’s next on my agenda of characters.

http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/100384.Most_Anticipated_Christian_Fiction_2017 Please add WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE to the list! Thanks again!

 

In the Army Now!

February 1, 2017

cartoon

In case you can’t read the punchline, it says: “It isn’t necessary to hang up your medical diploma, Lieutenant.” This is a cartoon sent to my dad, who had only recently gotten his medical degree and joined the Army. His sister, Dorothea Daley Engel sent it, and I’ve included several letters to and from my Aunt Dot in the novel, WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. She was Army nurse stationed in the Philippines when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Immediately after, the bombs landed on her outpost. Surviving nurses had to carry the wounded into the jungle.

But I’ll fill you in on these “characters” through the month of February, so please stay tuned! And don’t forget to check my new website. http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

And it would be wonderful if you hopped on over to GoodReads. If you haven’t been there and you like to read, you’ll love it. If you have been to GoodReads, you’ll already know what I’m going to ask: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30974604-with-love-wherever-you-are?ac=1&from_search=true  That’s the link. If you know a shortcut, please clue me in. Anyway, if you could put With Love Wherever You Are on your shelf and add it to your favorite lists: Anticipated Releases, Literary Fiction 2017, Most Anticipated Christian Fiction 2017, that would be great-Thanks!

WAR MEMORABILIA

January 30, 2017

I continued to delve into the treasures of the trunk. Besides the myriad of letters, I unearthed a note sent to Mom from Dad. I could have picked it out as his from a hundred notes. “Happy Birthday, darling, to the best wife I have.” Dry wit from a man who would remain happily married for over fifty years.

There were postcards and war rations and a few things I won’t post for fear of having the items misunderstood: a propaganda pamphlet in appalling English, with Goebbles; Nazi stationery neither of my parents could bring themselves to write on.

I recognized one postcard from Dad’s longtime buddy, Bob Balfour, who served with Admiral Halsey. The card was sent from the U.S.S. Missouri, postmarked Sept. 6, 1945, just after Japan surrendered. Aboard (besides Balfour), were high ranking admirals and generals from China, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France, the Netherlands, and, of course, Japan. General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur, stood before an array of microphones and declared before the world the hope of mankind that a better world would arise out of the blood and carnage of the past–“… a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance, and justice.”

http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

WWII MEDALS

January 26, 2017

wartime-medals-cropped

My parents had never mentioned their medals or what they did in World War II to merit medals. Yet when I delved into the trunk, I unearthed small blue boxes of medals, suggesting stories I hadn’t heard . . . yet.

I could guess what some of the medals represented. The black, red, and white medal that said “Germany” at the top had to be Dad’s. I knew he had joined a battlefield unit that pushed into Germany. I knew, as an Army doctor, he had set up a battalion aid unit in Germany toward the end of the fighting. But what about the medal with bars that read: Marksman, Carbine, Rifle, Submachine? Or the one with soldiers on front and a very large bird on the back? Was that my mother’s? I loved the medal that read: Freedom from Fear and Want, Freedom of Speech and Religion. And a Purple Heart. That one surprised me, though I had a good idea where it came from.

I knew I would never know the whole story of each medal, not until I’d read every letter in that Army trunk.