March 2011

We’re Having a “Surprise” Party!

(and you may win the prize!)


Inspired by Kristina McMorris’ new novel, Letters From Home, today we are all talking about Surprises. In keeping with the theme of the novel, I would like to share my parent’s story…

They knew each other as kids.

He wanted to walk her home. She thought he was a wise-guy.

 Then came high school.

She agreed to go out on a double date thinking she would be “dating” the boy who asked her. Surprise! She Vintage Family Postcardswas paired up with the wise-guy!

 He went into the Navy.

They courted via mail and got married while he was on leave.

          ….She tells everyone it was the uniform. 


4 kids and 59 years later.

They work together, cook together, read together…

What’s the secret? She says that every day he makes her laugh.


I wrote today’s post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour for Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris ( This debut novel is the story of three young women during World War II and the misunderstandings they and the men in their lives have. Ask yourself: Can a soldier fall in love with a woman through letters? What happens if the woman writing the letters is not who she claims to be? Is it still love or just a lie?

Like many authors, Kristina has had a wild selection of “real jobs” everything from wedding planner to actress to publicist. She finally added novelist to the list after getting a peek at the letters her grandfather wrote to his sweetheart (a.k.a. Grandma Jean) while he was serving in the Navy during World War II. That got her wondering how much two people could truly know each other just from letter writing and became the nugget of her novel.

In honor of her grandparents, and all the other families kept apart by military service, Kristina is donating a portion of her book’s profits to United Through Reading, a nonprofit organization that video records deployed U.S. military personnel reading bedtime stories to their children. You can learn more about the program at

If you comment on today’s post on this blog or any of the others participating in Everybody’s Talking about Surprises, you’ll be entered to win a special surprise prize! It includes a personalized copy of Letters from Home, a Big Band CD, Victory Garden seeds, and more.  To read Kristina’s post about surprises and a list of other blogs participating in Everybody’s Talking about Surprises visit The Muffin.  

Leave a comment or share a surprise to enter your name in the contest. Random Winner from A Ponderance of Things will go on to the final drawing! 

♦♦ Congratulations to Kim Gritz for winning todays contest!

Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris
Women’s Fiction
Kensington Books
ISBN: 978-0-7582-4684-4

Once in awhile we come across a story that can take us on an emotional ride. A timeless story told with innocence. A story we can share with our parent’s and our teenagers; one that can bring us together with conversation and memories. Kristina McMorris has given us such a story in her new novel Letters from Home.

Against the backdrop of WWII, a story told through dated letters and entries follows the lives of three young women struggling with issues of friendship, love, honesty and choices.

Liz is engaged to an up and coming politician when she finds herself attracted to Morgan McClain, who is just heading off on tour of duty. The two begin a courtship through letters, but McClain believes he is writing to someone else!

Julia is torn between a once in a lifetime chance to follow her heart’s desire, and settling down into respectable married life with her fiancé who is due to return from war.

Betty, tired and frustrated with her place in society, enlists and finds herself at an Army hospital in the line of fire.

Each of these characters reaches a point where they can no longer be who they have been.

Behind this entertaining light read is a history we all share in some way. It is McMorris’ handling of this history which gives the story substance, successfully straddling that fine line between enabling us to experience the emotional realities of war without assaulting us. We feel the coldness in the battlefield trenches, we taste the sugar rations, but our attention is kept fully on the journey of the characters.

We get to know the characters as we would any other set of friends, a little at a time. We see their flaws and then, as we are allowed a glimpse into their history we come to understand them. The characters are true to their time, especially the three females who make up the core of the story as each one embodies an archetype of women in that era. We feel their struggles as they live through a time when the socially acceptable roles were in flux.

Deftly written and rich with detail this story stirs the senses. McMorris tells a tale which will linger in your mind long after closing the cover.


“Kristina McMorris lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. She has garnered more than twenty national literary awards since writing her first novel, Letters from Home. A graduate of Pepperdine University, she spent twelve years hosting weekly television shows, including an Emmy® Award-winning television show at age nine. Prior to her literary career, she was the owner of a wedding/event planning business and public relations director of an international conglomerate.

Find out more about Kristina by visiting her website:”

Read more of my reviews on Letters From Home at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The New Book Review, or join me at Goodreads.

You’re Invited to a Surprise Party!

Join me here on March 16th for Everbody’s Talking About Surprises, a mass blogging party to celebrate Kristina’s new novel. We’ll be giving away a prize!

My dad gave me this beautiful rooster for my birthday. If you have ever wondered why French homes always seem to have rooster décor it is because the rooster is supposed to bring prosperity. I have him facing my front door and open the blinds each day. After all, if prosperity is walking down the street I want it to see the rooster! Just what is so lucky about a rooster you ask? Well, the story is that “when morning came the cock crowed twice…and Christ died”. I love the rooster. I don’t quite “get” the story.

 What is our fascination with talismans anyway?

 I remember as a young child I had a lucky rabbit’s foot. I loved that little furry thing—until I realized that it really did used to be on a rabbit! It made me wonder “why is this lucky? It was on the rabbit and apparently didn’t bring him much luck!”

Take lucky coins for instance. Are they lucky because you found them or won them? That means someone else lost them. That means that Luck is fickle and that not all lucky talismans are lucky for all.

And then there are items which are definitely not lucky, like the Hope Diamond; downright deadly yet everyone wants it.

I think things are lucky to the extent that you want them to be—to the extent that you allow yourself to be. After all, the power to attract all things good and not so good lies within us.

 Now, if you’ll excuse me…I need to light a candle for my rooster.