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Category: 3. Charity’s Code

Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 1/14/19 – The Virtues and Valor Series

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat!

I really appreciate all of the questions that I get from my readers. Today I’m answering the question, answering the question, “I love love the Virtues and Valor Series! Do you plan to write more in that series?”

I hope you learn more about me through my response:

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Monday Morning Chat 2/12/18 – Writing the Virtues and Valor Series – and a GIVEAWAY!!

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat!

I really appreciate all of the questions that I get from my readers. Today I’m talking about the challenges I faced while writing the Virtues and Valor Series.

I hope you learn more about me as a writer through my response:

And, as promised in the video, you can enter to win this travel mug and the entire VIRTUES AND VALOR SERIES in ebook form! You have four ways to enter — and you can do them all!


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Monday Morning Chat: My Favorite Time Period

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat!

Today I’m answering the question:

You wrote a series set in World War II. Is that your favorite time period?

Love the question! I hope you learn more about me as a writer through my response:

 

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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
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The Amazing Stories That Inspired Charity’s Code, Book 3 of the Virtues and Valor Serialized Story

cover_9781939603470_front_640WHILE the story of the special team of operators I named The Virtues is entirely fictional, set in a fictional town, and comprised of fictional characters who form a fictional military division, every single one of my fictional heavenly heroines was inspired by a real World War II heroine and the story was inspired by real events.

Today, Charity’s Code IS FREE. Yes! FREE. You can get it in ebook form at this link.

Here are the amazing stories that inspired the writing of Charity’s Code, Part 3 of the Virtues and Valor Serialized Story.

charity

WHILE the story of the special team of operators I named The Virtues is entirely fictional, set in a fictional town, and comprised of fictional characters who form a fictional military division, every single one of these fictional heavenly heroines was inspired by a real World War II heroine and their story was inspired by real events.

While every effort has been made to remain true to actual history, two of the real events of significance that are fictionalized in the story of Charity are the Blitzkrieg, also sometimes referred to as the Battle of Britain, and the British Ministry of Health Evacuation Scheme, which was the program to relocate the children of England to the countryside for the duration.

blitz london

On the first of July in 1940, the freshly bloodied Luftwaffe capitalized on successful bombing raids against Poland and Holland, dropping the first bombs on England. The bombing would escalate into the Blitzkrieg, and between 7 September 1940 and 21 May 1941 there were almost daily (or nightly) major aerial raids on 16 British cities. The attacks resulted in more than 100 tonnes of high explosives being dropped on mostly civilian targets in England.

The Luftwaffe bombed Great Britain for 57 consecutive nights starting on 7 September 1940. Destroying or damaging more than one million London houses and killing more than 40,000 civilians. On the single night of 14 November 1940, Hitler sent 515 bombers against Britain in what was later called the Coventry raid. The destruction and the death toll was shocking.

Citizens had five minutes to get to shelters once the air raid sirens sounded. Many Londoners who had lost their homes to the relentless bombing simply moved into the underground subway tubes.

tube

Courageous Londoners hunkered down every night, dusted off every morning, and picked up the pieces every day. Neighbors and families banded together. Neighborhoods organized into clearing teams. Blackout wardens comforted the living and counted the dead.

blitz

When war with Nazi Germany became imminent in the late 1930s, Great Britain began a huge effort to evacuate its children to rural areas of the country. The Ministry of Health was charged by King George VI with organizing an evacuation of as many children as possible from the urban centers to safer locales. Some children were sent to the United States, Australia, or Canada. The goal was to move them away from potential bombing targets such as London and urban centers near military production sites.

The Ministry of Health devised the Child Evacuation Scheme which was largely managed by volunteers. Although evacuation was never made mandatory, many parents put their children on the next scheduled train and sent them to parts unknown in the care of the British State simply to save them from the ravages of war.

posters

After the first bombs fell, sending one’s children to safety was widely viewed as the responsible thing to do. Countless parents who sent their children away from the cities saved their children’s lives. At the end of the war, estimates suggest that more than 230,000 British children had been orphaned.

children

Every day hundreds of children wearing paper identification tags sewn to their clothing made their way, mostly by rail, to safe countryside locations. Some were fortunate enough to stay with relatives but most ended up staying with complete strangers in towns they had never before visited.

The worry and concern for their children served as a constant distraction and source of heartbreak to city dwellers who had lost nearly everything and often feared for their lives as the Nazi bombs continued to relentlessly fall overhead.

Sadly, many children were placed into group homes in the countryside or involuntarily evacuated to Australia when space got too tight to manage. Many of these children would never be reunited with their living parents at the conclusion of the war.

During World War II, the Germans remodeled a 400-year-old building called Colditz Castle (Schloss Colditz), a Renaissance castle located in the town of Colditz near Leipzig, Dresden, and Chemnitz in the state of Saxony in Germany. It overlooked the Mulde River and had 7-foot thick outside walls. The interior of the 6-story structure contained a maze of concealed staircases, hidden passageways, and hundreds of rooms.

colditz castle
Schloss Colditz aka Colditz Castle circa 1939

When they completed the work to turn the building into a prison, the Germans renamed it Oflag IV C (Sonderlager IV C) and claimed that escape would be impossible. It became the holding place for highly important prisoners and those that habitually tried to escape from other prisons.

Floor plan of Castle Colditz once converted to Oflag IV C.
Floor plan of Castle Colditz once converted to Oflag IV C.

On November 7, 1940, six British officers who had tried to escape from another prison camp arrived, including Rupert Barry. My towering and strong fictional character, Tom, is based on stalwart and faithful Rupert.

By Christmas, Colditz Castle held 200 prisoners – the maximum it could hold. By February 1941, another 200 French prisoners had arrived, doubling the maximum occupancy rate. By July, the Nazis held 500 POWs there.

Two of the British officers, Captain P. R. Reid and Captain Rupert Barry, worked together to create a code that Barry then wrote in a letter to his wife, Dodo, upon whom the fictional Dotty, code-named Charity, is based. The real life heroine, Dodo Barry, was a highly intelligent woman who could solve the complicated Times of London crossword puzzle in mere minutes. Captain Rupert Barry doted upon his beloved wife and, what’s more, he deeply appreciated and respected her keen mind. He felt more than confident in his wife’s abilities to crack the code they devised.

The address being written at an angle trailing up toward the stamp in the fictional story of Charity is a fiction based on numerous such factual occurrences throughout history. Soldiers during the American War Between the States would do this, hiding secret love messages beneath the postage stamps. Many spies used the same method during the First World War. During the Second World War, spies on all sides would hide microdots beneath postage stamps. The method of hiding keys and codes “under the rug” of a postage stamp became so popular, that a key to a cipher code was even hidden beneath a postage stamp in a famous Agatha Christie story.

In real life, upon receiving the letter, Dodo at first thought that conditions as a German POW had broken her dear husband’s mind. He wrote about relatives they didn’t have and referred to places they’d never visited. Then she realized that he’d written the letter in code and she spent the day deciphering the letter using nothing but her very own wits.

Decoded, it read:

Go to the War Office, ask them to send forged Swedish diplomatic papers for Reid, Howe, Allan, Lockwood, Elliott, Wardle, Milne, and self.

The next morning, Dodo went to the War Office. The officer at the desk would not let her into the building. While she stood in front of the clerk’s desk arguing with him, another officer walked by and she pleaded with him to help her. As if by providence, the officer happened to be assigned to military intelligence, a military branch with ties to MI-9.
The officer, whose name is lost to history, realized Dodo was onto something. He started working with her and had her write back to her husband and tell him, without code, that his elderly “Aunt Christine” was deeply saddened by her nephew’s capture and would write him shortly.

Under that guise, and using the same code the prisoners had created, and Dodo had deciphered, the War Office sent him a coded letter that said:

The War Office considered the use of Swedish diplomatic papers to be too dangerous.
Angry, disappointed, and frustrated with the news, instead of writing “Aunt Christine” back, Barry wrote Dodo back. Once she received his second encoded letter, she took it back to her contact at the War Office.

The deciphered message read:

We will consider the danger and not the War Office. Would you please expedite the request?

The War Office never sent the papers. However, these first “Dodo” letters had opened up a line of communication between the War Office, MI-9, and the POWs being held at Colditz Castle.

Of absolute primary importance, they needed to establish a better code.

The very tall Rupert Barry (second from the left) along with 5 former POWs pictured here outside Castle Colditz after the war.

The very tall Rupert Barry (second from the left) along with 5 former POWs pictured here outside Castle Colditz after the war.
The very tall Rupert Barry (second from the left) along with
5 former POWs pictured here outside Castle Colditz after
the war.

To anyone who spoke English, the simply encoded letters would have read as a little bit odd or disjointed. The Nazi censors often only had a rudimentary grasp of the English language, so they were able to slip by unnoticed. However, four letters in this rudimentary code was pushing their luck. Eventually, they felt the Nazis would catch on and have insight into their plans.

Under the direction of her intelligence officer, Dodo wrote a letter to Rupert explaining that an International Red Cross package would arrive with further instructions. Along with some clothing, one package contained six handkerchiefs with different colored borders. Coded instructions in Dodo’s letter directed Barry to place the green bordered handkerchief in hot water and stir for several minutes. Soon, a more elaborate code appeared in hidden ink on the handkerchief. Barry memorized the code then destroyed the material. Over time, she shared the code with his fellow prisoners who also memorized it.
With well coded letters and hidden supplies contained in Red Cross packages, the MI-9 office (escape and evasion service) supplied the prisoners in Colditz with money, identification documents, radios, tools, train schedules, border crossing policies and routines, clothing, and even weapons.

Letter from Colditz sent home to Scotland by POW Captain Julius Morris Green. A dentist before the war, Green was captured fighting the Nazis at Dunkirk in 1940. Green sent more than 40 coded letters home once the letters sent to Dodo bore fruit.
Letter from Colditz sent home to Scotland by POW Captain
Julius Morris Green. A dentist before the war, Green was
captured fighting the Nazis at Dunkirk in 1940. Green sent
more than 40 coded letters home once the letters sent to
Dodo bore fruit.

The war effort was greatly aided by critical intelligence sent home from the prisoners. One such prisoner, a skilled dentist, was often called upon to treat German soldiers and officers as well as his fellow prisoners. He sent letters back home to Scotland and the ones that began “Dear Dad” often contained crucial information pertaining to troop movements inside Germany.

With the aid of the secreted supplies and intelligence MI-9 could provide via this now secure communication channel, 130 prisoners escaped from Colditz Castle – either successfully or unsuccessfully – over a 5 year period.

Of those 130 escaped prisoners, 32 of them escaped successfully. In all, 12 Frenchmen, 11 Britons, 7 Dutch, and 1 Polish prisoner of war made it all the way home, a feat that came to be known as a Home Run. This number of prisoners of war escaping and making it all the way back home is unequaled in modern warfare. Among these successful escapees was Captain P. R. Reid who had helped Rupert Barry pen that very first letter to his wife, Dodo.

Because of Dodo, also the name of a now extinct bird, the Colditz Castle escapees came to be known as the “Birdmen of Colditz” and their escapes and attempted escapes have been the subject of many books, films, and even a BBC television series. Very few photographs of Dodo or her husband survive today.

cover_9781939603470_front_640Selected for the cover of this book is the incredible Yolande Betbeze (ne Fox) who may be most well known for her association with baseball great Joe Dimaggio, her marriage to movie tycoon Matthew Fox until his death, her activism in the 1960s, and for taking the Miss America crown in 1950. While not exactly a British housewife with “island blood,” the publisher felt that this woman’s indomitable spirit strongly represented the fictional character of Charity.

Excerpt from her official Miss America bio: “Always courageous and sometimes controversial, Yolande has always been ahead of her time, tackling tough issues and making a stand before the issues at hand were fashionable.”

Born in 1929 to William and Ethel of Mobile, Alabama, Yolande was raised in a strict Catholic family with Basque origins and was educated in a convent school. In 1950 shortly after her twentieth birthday, Betbeze traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey, to compete in the Miss America pageant. Beyond her beauty and her operatic musical talent, Yolande handily took top honors for her scholarship, values, and leadership.

After winning the competition, she made no secret of her reluctance to don what she considered a very immodest swimsuit (tame by modern standards) and her refusal caused Catalina swimwear to withdraw their sponsorship from the pageant. To this day, the Miss America Organization claims that her actions were pivotal in directing the Miss America Pageant toward recognizing intellect, values, and leadership abilities, rather than focusing on beauty alone. From then on the Miss America pageant concentrated more on scholarship than beauty. Since there was no Miss America in 1950, Betbeze became the reigning Miss America in 1951.

After her year as Miss America, Yolande served as an ambassador to postwar Paris, France and was active in both the NAACP and CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) upon her return to the United States. She never lost her love for opera, even appearing with the Mobile Opera Guild (the Mobile Opera today), and helped found an off-Broadway theater.

Read about Dorothy Ewing, code-named CHARITY, who was inspired by the amazing Dodo Barry, in Charity’s Code, FREE November 3-7 at this link.

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Charity’s Code is #FREE!

cover_9781939603470_front_640CHARITY’S CODE, book 3 in the World War II Virtues and Valor series, is FREE today and tomorrow. Monday, A PARCEL FOR PRUDENCE will go free for 2 days, and so on, all the way through the rest of the books. If you’ve been waiting to read them, now’s your chance! Here’s the link to find the book on Amazon.

Here’s the blurb:

The exciting Virtues and Valor serialized story continues with book 3!

DORTHY EWING never met a crossword puzzle that she couldn’t solve with shocking speed. As a loving wife and mother of three children, she had an idyllic life with her home and her puzzles – until she had to see her husband off to war. Then the bombing of the Blitz began.

Now her husband Tom is a POW in Occupied France, her children have been sent to the hopeful safety of her parents’ home in York, and she is working at Bletchley Park as an assistant to cryptanalysts. After cracking the code on an encrypted letter from her husband, she is recruited into a special team called The Virtues.

She works on the home-front, receiving and sending messages to her team in France and coordinating a secret mission with her husband via coded letters. She intercepts the transmission from TEMPERANCE alerting to her blown cover. The clock is ticking in a race to save Temperance’s life. Information has to be sent to and received from the team on the ground. Can Charity help save her, or will the constraints of time and the efficiency of the Third Reich work against them?

CHARITY’S CODE is part three of seven serialized novellas entitled the Virtues and Valor series.

Seven valorous women — different nationalities, ethnicities, and social backgrounds — come together as a team called the Virtues.

In 1941 Great Britain a special war department assembles an experimental and exclusively female cohort of combat operatives. Four willing spies, a wireless radio operator, an ingenious code breaker, and a fearless pilot are each hand-picked, recruited, and trained to initiate a daring mission in Occupied France. As plans are laid to engineer the largest prison break of Allied POWs in history, the Nazis capture the Virtues’ radio operator. It will take the cohesive teamwork of the rest of the women to save her life before Berlin breaks her and brings the force of the Third Reich to bear.

Some find love, some find vengeance, and some discover the kind of strength that lives in the human heart when all they can do is rely on each other and their shared belief. Courage, faith, and valor intersect but, in the end, one pays the ultimate price.

Introducing the Virtues and Valor series by Hallee Bridgeman. Seven serialized novellas, each inspired by real people and actual events, reveal the incredible story of amazing heroines facing the ultimate test of bravery.
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You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
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Christian Fiction Friday: May 22nd

Welcome to this week’s edition of Christian Fiction Friday brought to you by me and my lovely and talented co-host, Alana Terry! This is a chance for Christian authors to post short snippets from their works in progress! Easy and fun!

Today, I’m giving you a snippet of my book Grace’s Ground War, part 5 of The Virtues and Valor
series as a tribute to those who have served. I pray you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

GraceThey heard the boisterous sounds of the party flood the night again as the couple went back into the room. Matthew came out from under the balcony and grinned, holding the invitation up for her to see. They walked around the side of the building toward the front door. Once at the door, they handed the envelope to the bored soldier who stood guard. He barely glanced at the invitation before allowing them to enter.

She tightened her arm through Matthew’s and laughed up at him as they passed the girl at the coat check counter. They entered the ballroom and immediately walked to the dance floor where Matthew swung her into his arms and they began dancing a waltz.

It disgusted Ruth to slip into the party, but she did it anyway. She’d suggested blowing this building up along with the bridge, but her team had talked her out of it. Grudgingly, she knew they were right. Too many innocent civilians attended the party – civilians like the teenaged coat check girl. To blow it would be wrong when the mission could be accomplished with just the bridge.

Just a few steps into the waltz, Ruth counted down to “zero” in her head. The wave of the explosion from the charges beneath the bridge ripped through the room. Even though she was expecting it, the noise and force of the blast still startled her. The windows blew out and threw glass and debris into the room as people started screaming and running in circles.

Knowing they needed to be seen by as many people as possible, Ruth put a hand to her chest. “What was that?” she yelled, allowing the sting of tears to come to her eyes.

Matthew put his arms around her shoulder. “No worries, darling. I’m sure they will figure it out. Come this way. Be careful now.”

She started walking and shifting through the debris, trying to step carefully. Despite her caution, she felt something sharp go through her foot and she gasped and rose up onto her toes.

Now it’s your turn! Just link your Christian Fiction Friday! Here are the rules:

1. Christian Fiction Friday is a blog hop where authors post short (400-ish words or less) snippets from their current works in progress (not published pieces).

2. Keep it PG-13 or lower. No swearing, no sex scenes. If you have a particularly violent scene or deal with a heavy or controversial subject matter, please include a disclaimer at the beginning of your post.




Suggestions:

1. Visit at least some of the other Christian Fiction Friday authors each week and comment on their blogs.

2. Don’t offer critiques unless the author specifically asks for it in his or her post.

3. Please include this blurb at the end of your weekly post:

Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current Works in Progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman.

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