“The most heartfelt stories I’ve ever read.”

Recently, my husband woke me at 2 a.m.

“Hey, I forgot to tell you something,” he said.

“Whaa??” I mumbled.

War Bonds has two new reviews on Amazon and they’re both five stars!”

“That’s great, but why did you have to tell me at 2 a.m.?”

“Because I just remembered,” he said.

While I may bemoan the middle of the night announcement, I am thrilled with the reviews below. Reviews on Amazon or Goodreads are a fabulous way to not only make an author’s day, but also to bolster awareness of their books.
Thank you so much to all who’ve taken the time to rate or review War Bonds!

on April 3, 2018
Loved this book. I loved seeing the photos of when these couples were young and then 60 to 70 years later, makes for such touching memories. Makes you respect and cherish what you have.Yes the greatest generation without a doubt was the foundation of what we have today. These love stories made me stop and think about how society is today, which pales in comparison. I really don’t believe this generation from the 1940’s Era will ever be replicated. Thank you for sharing these love stories.
on March 4, 2018
This is group very touching short stories of people who met and married in the WWII era. It is a great book for the children and grand children of the people to get an idea of what their grand parents went through and sacrifices that made in the early years. Most of this is never spoken of so no one knows of their lives.
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Visiting my three year-old at the bookstore

Every author will tell you it’s a nail-biting moment.

Your book has been out for some time and you pop in a bookstore for a visit. Just to see how its doing– maybe sign a few copies.

There’s always the fear that you’ll find the book you labored over with blood, sweat and tears languishing in the clearance bin. Or worse. You won’t find it at all.

That’s what happened to me last week. Kind of.

I’m getting ready to pitch my second book, so stopped by my local Barnes and Noble to scan the shelves for similar titles. Of course, I checked on my firstborn.

But War Bonds was nowhere to be found!

The book launched February 22, 2015 and is still generating sales, but still it’s three years-old.

Gathering my courage I approached a bookseller and offered to sign any copies– if they had any.

“What’s the title?” he asked.

I told him.

“Oh, War Bonds! We always have copies on hand. Let me check.”

Nervously, I watched him click the keys of his computer.

“Wow! We sold out again. That’s a happy problem to have.”

I took a breath.

“Are you going to…?”

“Yep,” he interrupted. “We’ve already ordered more.”

I said thank you and left with my purchases. Amazed, thrilled and blessed that readers are still finding the love stories of the Greatest Generation worth reading. And worth purchasing.

Thank you dear readers. And Happy 3rd birthday War Bonds!”

10929058_10203559455213962_6120318413619356176_n[1]War Bonds at Barnes and Noble Northtown

 

When a reader writes…

This writer is thrilled.

A reader from Edgewood, Washington, took the time to send me this note and it made my day!

Hello Cindy,
This may be super random and I hope not weird.
I randomly picked up your War Bond book from my local library and I just have to tell you, this book is stunning! The couples in here inspire me to be a better wife and mom.
Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to gathering these important stories before they were lost forever.
Sincerely,
Elizabeth

Hooray for public libraries and for readers who are kind enough to share their thoughts with authors.

War Bonds featured in Nostalgia Magazine

This month’s issue of Nostalgia Magazine features an excerpt from “War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation.

Pick up a copy today!

Chpt 20 Jack and Fran Rogers, 1946 - Copy

Excerpted from War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation, published by Casemate. Find Cindy’s excellent book online at casematepublishers.com or locally at Auntie’s Bookstore in downtown Spokane.

Above, Jack and Fran Rogers, 1946. Photo courtesy of the Rogers Family Archives.

When Jack Rogers walked into a friend’s home, she was the first thing he saw. She wore a blue dress with big spools of thread printed on the fabric and she sat on the floor next to the fireplace. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her.

Fran Rogers also remembers her first sight of Jack. “He was beautiful,” she said with a sigh. “He had a golden tan from the South Pacific and his hair was bleached almost white from the sun.”

More than six decades after that first glimpse of each other, the couple still smiles at the memory. They went to the local skating rink that night. Fran had been trying to learn but Jack’s skating skills were polished. “He was a beautiful skater,” she recalled. “And I was not. I was still hanging on to the walls.”

Yet Jack didn’t want to skate with anyone else. “I just skated backwards, if I recall,” he said.

A month later he proposed and two months later, they married. “It was a long engagement of three months,” said Jack, grinning. “I was convinced from the first day that she had it all. She just fit what I was looking for.” Read more here.

 

The Bomber Pilot’s Secret

Conaways low res

Constance (Connie) and Wilson (Bill) Conaway on right

The first time I interviewed Bill and Connie Conaway, Bill didn’t talk much about serving overseas as a B-17 pilot during WWll, but his eyes lit up when he talked about the planes.

He recalled every aircraft he flew and who trained him on it.

But on a subsequent interview he told stories of harrowing missions over Germany, of how he nearly froze when a piece of shrapnel pierced his flight suit as he soared miles above the ground.

And then he told the story that has haunted him for 70 years.

His radio operator, Lynn, a good friend, was killed on a mission.

“The night before we left, we all had dinner together, and his wife and little baby came– that was the last time she saw him.”

He sighed, shaking his head.

“The airplane floor was covered with his blood,” he said, rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand. “I tried to get in touch with his wife for many, many years. I wanted to tell Lynn’s daughter about her dad.”

He was never able to find her when he returned to the States.

Bill Conaway died January 11.

His widow, Connie who served in the WAVES called to tell me the news. He died just days before their 71st anniversary.

She’s never forgotten how fortunate they’ve been. Many B-17 pilots never returned.  She said, “I’ve told him many times, ‘I’m lucky to have you, honey.'”

And I’m lucky that I was able to include their story in War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation. 

But mostly I’m grateful that this gruff pilot, turned school teacher, turned artist, trusted me with his secret.

During an interview he leaned forward in his chair, glanced at Connie and said, “I’ll tell you a secret; I love her more today than I ever have.”

CONAWAY LOVE

The Face that Graced the Book Cover

She never thought her face would be on a book cover.

That a snapshot taken on her honeymoon would become the face of War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation. After all, the marriage and the honeymoon might never have happened if Mary Grayhek hadn’t said to heck with vanity, tied a scarf over her hair set in pin curls, and agreed to a blind date.

But at the insistence of her friend, in 1946, Mary agreed to a double date with a handsome Marine. The date with Roy Grayhek changed her life.  Six weeks later, they wed in the Naval Chapel in Bremerton, WA.

The photo snapped of Roy and Mary standing on a piece of driftwood in the Puget Sound, became the cover of book filled with stories of people who married during, or shortly after World War Two.

 

War Bonds

The Grayheks enjoyed 68 years of wedded bliss before Roy’s death in 2014.
Sadly, he passed away before the book’s release. But Mary was able to enjoy  seeing their faces on the cover. Even more importantly, she got to see the book in the hands of her great-granddaughter Grace, and her soldier husband, Ryan, shortly before he was deployed.

17343003_10212372518894610_2039309731450254785_n[1]

Mary Grayhek died December 20, surrounded by her family.Grayhek wedding low res

I’m quite confident that Roy was the first one to greet her, and that he hasn’t taken his arm from around her shoulders. And that they picked up their story right where they left off– with happily ever after.

 

 

Every Time We Say Goodbye

72.

That’s how many individuals made the final cut of War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation.

24.

That’s how many people died before the book went to print.

19.

That’s how many goodbyes I’ve had to say since War Bonds 2015 publication.

In the past month, Barbara Anderson and Dale Eastburg passed away.

Barbara’s loss hit me especially hard. The Anderson’s story is featured in chapter 28 “Keeping Time.” They  met in 1945 when Louis came into her father’s jewelry store to get his watch repaired. When War Bonds was published, he still wore the watch and it still kept time.

The Love Lesson Barbara shared at the end of the chapter resonates.

“You can’t take back bad words. We’ve never said one thing we’ve had to take back.”

.facebook_1510783440734

This photo was taken 11/16/16, the last time I saw Barbara. She wanted more signed copies of the book to send to a family that was grieving the loss of a wife/mom/grandma.

She always thought of others. When I left she insisted I on giving me a water glass from Air Force One. Her late grandson had served as pilot for President Obama.

She also always asked if I needed to use the restroom before I left!

Her spirit and generosity are simply irreplaceable and I worry how Louie will do without his bride.

Dale and Eva Eastburg had been married for 75 years when he died earlier this month. When last I spoke with them, they were still going to the gym regularly!

009

The title of their chapter seems especially poignant today. It’s titled “Hard to Say Goodbye.”

And it is. It really is.

Death Diminishes War Bonds Roster

Sometimes I run out of words. A dire problem for a writer, but gut-wrenching loss will do that to you.

Within the span of a few weeks, two precious people featured  in War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation have passed away.

First my beloved Marine, Myrt Powers, died. The story of her marriage to sailor, Walt Powers, is featured in chapter 30– and is unusual because both she and her husband served in World War ll. This couple were also featured on the television show Northwest Profiles and shared their story at a local veterans support group, following the book’s publication.

I last saw Myrt in March 2016 when my husband and I ran into her waiting in line for coffee in Hawaii! She and her husband wintered on Oahu for many years.

Feisty, upbeat and absolutely adorable, Myrt is everything I want to be when I grow up. My heart aches for Walt and for all of us who knew and loved her. Though she was tiny, her absence leaves a huge hole.

14090_890795544292407_8952799764996575077_n[1]Cindy Hval with Myrt and Walt Powers, 2015.

And then last week, Jack Rogers died. A lifelong, prolific artist, Rogers taught all four of my sons during his tenure as art teacher at Northwest Christian School.

The story of his courtship and enduring marriage to his wife, Fran, is featured in chapter 20 of War Bonds.

He was still painting up until the last week of his life as he decorated wooden tailgates for Personal Energy Transporters for the PET Project.

In November, I was privileged to cover one of his last art shows.

“I was given a gift and I want to share it,” he said.

And here’s where words fail.

How can I possibly convey the depth of my admiration and love for these people? How do I sum up the gratitude I feel for having been a small part of their lives and for being entrusted to share their stories with the world?

I can’t.

But I can say I will miss them and treasure the memories of the hours spent with Myrt Powers and Jack Rogers.

I hope that I’ve given readers of War Bonds a snapshot of how they made the post World War ll world, a place of hope.

Rest in peace, beloveds, for you have surely earned it.

 

20160720_142938

Jack and Fran Rogers, with Cindy Hval, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

What makes an author’s heart sing?

Reader reviews and newspaper views!

5.0 out of 5 stars…    I tried this book as I am a fan of Cindy’s column in the local newspaper and I am so glad I did

on April 13, 2017
I used to read regularly as a teenager but as a 50 something, not so much. However, I tried this book as I am a fan of Cindy’s column in the local newspaper and I am so glad I did. It was perfect for bedtime reading, each story was long enough to learn something about the couple and their situation, yet short enough to keep my interest in the book. It was astonishing how so many couples married so quickly yet the marriage lasted for so long and I found that my favorite stories were where they were both still alive.
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on April 13, 2017
There are a few books that I hang on to because I know I’ll be reading it again and again. War Bonds is just such a book. The stories are moving and inspirational and touch you with a hope that each of us will also experience that kind of everlasting love. Thank you to the couples who shared their stories and thank you Cindy Hval for a wonderfully written book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars… thought the book was done very well and I enjoyed the stories

  on April 13, 2017
I thought the book was done very well and I enjoyed the stories. My parents were of that generation and their’s was a great love story. Thank you Cindy for writing this book.
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In other news in a recent Spokesman Review story about which books are most frequently checked out at local libraries, Rachel Alexander reported “In Coeur d’Alene, Cindy Hval’s “War Bonds,” which tells love stories from the Greatest Generation, holds the No. 2 spot in 2015, with 20 checkouts.”
News  and reviews like these makes an author’s heart sing.

Latest Amazon Reviews

Hooray! Only one review away from the magical 50 reviews on Amazon.

If you’ve read War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation  and haven’t yet posted an Amazon review, would you consider becoming reviewer #50? It’s painless and simple. Thanks so much to all who’ve already taken the time to share your thoughts!

Compelling Stories from the Greatest Generation

on January 4, 2017
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I am not much of a reader. I found the stories compelling and the writers compassion for her subjects comes through in her thoughtful style of writing. Love, we sure need more of it these days and this books delivers that for sure.
 5out of 5 starsthe beautiful couple on the cover of War Bonds

on March 27, 2017
There’s a reason they are called the “Greatest Generation”. Couples from this generation endured unimaginable hardships and heartache, yet they remained strong and persevered. I’m so grateful to Cindy for capturing these legacy stories in her book so that future generations can look back at this generation for guidance and inspiration, and read some of the stories that earned them their name, the “Greatest Generation”. On a personal note, I am the proud granddaughter of Roy and Mary Grayhek, the beautiful couple on the cover of War Bonds, and their story is featured in the book, too. My grandparents were so honored to have their story shared, and this book has made its way into four generations of our family, and we look forward to sharing it with many generations to come. Thank you, Cindy, you have given us a precious gift.
on April 8, 2017
I first read a story by Cindy Hval in one of the “Chicken Soup…” series. It drew me to this book. I loved this book and all the wonderful stories. I love history. I love true love. ❤
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