Thursday, October 18, 2018

Guest Post, Freebie & Giveaway: Swell Time for a Swing Dance by Cindy Vincent


December 31, 1941. Young Houston socialite Tracy Truworth, Apprentice P.I., can’t imagine a better way to send off the old year and ring in the new than by dancing through the night with her fella, Pete Stalwart. But a swell evening soon takes a terrible turn when a fellow dancer with moves like Fred Astaire ends up dead on the dance floor. And before the hands on the clock can point to midnight, a finger is pointed at Pete, accusing him of murdering the young man.

Then after Pete is hauled away in handcuffs, the night goes from bad to worse . . . and Tracy’s sweet grandmother is accused of stealing an ancient artifact from the museum. Now Tracy must team up with her boss and mentor, Sammy Falcone, in order to find the stolen statuette, unmask the real murderer, and restore the reputations of those she loves the most.

Yet as America becomes embroiled in another world war, the risks and sacrifices intensify—even on the homefront. And Tracy soon finds her own home invaded by a near parade of questionable characters, while unsavory suspects lurk in the shadows, and a ruthless reporter makes her life miserable. With time ticking against her, Tracy must be willing to swing past the setbacks and hop through the hazards if she hopes to solve a mystery that involves a lot of dancing . . . and a lot more danger.

Guest Post

Why I Love the 1940s
Cindy Vincent

People often tease me that I don't belong in this day and age, and that I seem to be a throwback to the 1940s.  And in all fairness, they may have a point.  Not only do I have a vintage clothing collection with lots of fabulous dresses and gowns from the forties, but I also collect the hats and gloves and jewelry that would have accessorized those dresses, too.  Plus, I write mysteries set during WWII.  Add all this up and it sounds like I have an obsession.  But let me tell you why this era fascinates me so.  Here are my top five reasons:


Tom Brokaw dubbed this group “The Greatest Generation.”  And with good reason.  The WWII generation grew up during the Great Depression and had been raised with little or nothing.  They knew a type of poverty that most of us could barely imagine. Through my research, I heard stories of people who literally had holes in the bottom of their only pair of shoes, and people who only ate one meal a day, since that was all they could afford.  Yet instead of thinking about what they didn’t have, many of this generation grew up happy and full of optimism.  As a general rule, they tried to look on the “Sunny Side,” using humor to deal with their troubles.  They found ways to entertain themselves on a shoestring—they attended movies and dances and sang songs in groups.  Generally speaking, people looked out for each other, and being selfish was considered immature and unacceptable. They came of age just as the world was exploding into war.  And then this generation, the ones who’d been raised with next to nothing, were willing to give their very lives to stop the horrors of the Nazis and Imperial Japan as they tried to invade the world.


Wow, is there anything else that’ll get your toes tapping and your fingers snapping like Big Band music and swing music?  It’s upbeat and happy, and yes, it’s great to dance to.  But the music went farther than simply something a person listened to on the radio or from a live band at a dance.  During that time, lots of people knew how to play the piano or another instrument, and they would happily do so on the spur-of-the-moment.  Just to entertain others.  They did it on buses or trains or just about anywhere in public.  Remember, they didn’t have TV, Internet, or cell phones back then.  And people also sang along, since most people knew the songs and the words, and singing with a group of strangers in public was somewhat common, depending, of course, on where you lived.  Can you just imagine being on a train trip and having the whole group break out in song?  But people also whistled, and not in a way just to get someone’s attention.  Instead, someone might whistle an entire song as they walked along.  In fact, “whistling in the dark” was considered a way to deal with a scary situation.  When was the last time you heard someone whistle a full song?


Back then, dancing went hand-in-hand with socializing, and going out to dances was very popular.  While plenty of people swing danced, others did the Foxtrot, or the Waltz, or just generally swayed back and forth with their partner.  If you attended a dance in those days, people often danced with different partners, as it was considered polite to dance with someone who asked.  (Unless that person was drunk or just generally being obnoxious.)  Everyone was expected to have good manners and good hygiene.  And, it wasn’t uncommon for people to “dance the night away,” meaning, people might dance to nearly every song the band played.  Sound like fun?

This brings me to another reason why I have such an appreciation for this generation.  Even with all the turmoil of the era, and all the horrors that were happening in the world, this generation didn’t hold back from having fun.  They put a smile on their faces, danced when they could, and sang when they could, too.  And since singing and dancing are known to be great stress relievers, my guess is that these activities really helped them keep up their morale.  Of course, we know that good morale is so important and played a role in winning the war. 


Shortly after WWII started, Life Magazine ran an article titled “Six Ways to Raid the U.S.,” and it did, in fact, show different scenarios on how Germany and Japan might try to invade and take over the United States.  So people feared for our country and our freedom.  After all, we’d already seen the horrors of a Nazi and Japanese takeover of Europe and much of Asia.  And, we’d already seen the horrors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  As a result, nearly everyone wanted to pitch in and do their part to help the war effort.  From the frontlines to the homefront.  Soon our military became comprised of mostly “citizen soldiers,” people who left all walks of life—including those in good-paying professions—to go off and fight. 

On the homefront, people endured government rationing with little complaint, since they knew their sacrifice helped those serving in the military.  Citizens who stayed stateside signed up to be air raid wardens, plane spotters, and more.  Nearly everyone grew a Victory Garden, so they could supply their own food, rather than take food supplies needed for soldiers.  Hollywood even released movies to encourage people to do their part, and to boost morale.  All in all, our country stepped up to answer the call, like never before. 


When it came to fighting WWII, it took the help of everyone to win it.  And I do mean everyone!  So strangely enough, the war proved to be a great melting pot for our nation, since we needed the contribution of the talents and abilities of all.  Because of that, we saw the rise of the Tuskegee Airmen (the first African-American fighter pilots), the Navaho Code Talkers, the WASPs (Women Air Service Pilots), and more.  Women entered the work force—many for the very first time—since the roles once filled by men were now vacant.  It was essential that women step in and take their place, especially as the war industry worked overtime to supply the military with airplanes, tanks, and more. And while that melting pot certainly wasn’t perfect, it was a very good start.

And all that, folks, is why I have such a fascination with the 1940s.  I hope all this information encourages you to take a closer look at the era, too!

Free E-book

Beginning Tuesday, October 16th, Swell Time For a Swing Dance will be FREE until the end of the blog tour!


Time to get “in the mood” with a fun 1940s-themed giveaway! Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter for a chance to win a pewter ornament from The National WWII Museum, a Glenn Miller CD, and paperback copies of the first two books in the Tracy Truworth series: Bad Day for a Bombshell and Swell Time for a Swing Dance. Due to shipping costs and varying international laws, this giveaway is open to US residents (age 18 or older) only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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