Article for German Publication

Article for German Publication

German Life is a bi-monthly magazine dedicated to solid reporting on cultural and historical events as well as the publishing of travel information. Accepted manuscripts are printed nine months to two years after acceptance.

In my letter to the publisher today, I said, the enclosed article was nucleus of information I’d use when I talk about Germany and the novel during book presentations.

“Lebesnborn is my WWII historical novel about the secret Nazi Lebensborn program (unknown to the German public but not to their military). The novel is scheduled to be published by Eloquent books early this summer of 2010.

“My professional background includes a decade of public relations with the American Red Cross in Iowa and Montana so my background is acknowledged in several references to the superior expertise the Germans had in public relations. I have also worked for newspapers as reporter and editor and my freelance articles have appeared in many major magazines such as the Des Moines Register and Cedar Rapids Gazette/”

New Blogger Begins

My publisher has sent instructions for how-to-blog. So, I’m going to blog and have the help of Sherry Bloxam, a gal. She lives in nearby Northport and once was a hippy living in the Seattle Love Family Israel commune and while there learned her computer skills at Microsoft.

The site to blog recommended by the publisher cost $24.95 per month, so she used at no charge. These blogs will be linked through my Facebook page.

Through the Costco Magazine, I discovered It’s a fun and more personnel way to blog.

The final edit is over. It was exhausting and tedious. No matter how well anything is written, there always is a bit here and there to be improved. In the last edit, “eve” was pointed out to be missed spelled and should have been eave. Who would have known that the word “gray” is preferred over grey?

I’ve e-mailed manuscripts to several persons who may provide a review of the novel. My son, Tony, who lives on the East Coast, wanted to read the novel. He opened the first book and tried yesterday to phone to say how much he likes the novel. “It reminds me of reading Grisham. When I pick up a book and it doesn’t hold my interest in the first page or two, I don’t continue reading.”
“How far did you read?”
“Just the first chapter,” he said.
“You’re just arriving at the good stuff.”
He said, “Don’t tell me. I don’t want to spoil the surprise.”

Heaven Help the World

Blogging is as much fun for me as investing, hosting a dinner party, writing a love scene, sitting beside a campfire watching the clouds roll by, concocting a new recipe or kayaking with the girls.

The outpouring of thoughts flows naturally. I feel sad for those who find writing to be a chore or difficult. Some have told me that it’s inconceivable for them to find it easy. An AAUW friend who asked for help to write press releases says, “You don’t know, how I agonize over every word.”

Will the world be filled with an overload of information and topple over? I’ve watched my husband’s writing bloom doing it every day. He was an expert at engineering reports, but when he saw me having so much fun writing fiction he thought he’d give it try and write a few pages about the last Indian Wars in the Pacific Northwest.
Ten years later, he has more than six-hundred pages. He spends mornings writing and in the afternoon, he’s off to work in the woods.

Another Direction

Every day brings new insights for how-to showcase the book. During a chat with a man at the Chicago Visitors Bureau, I asked if there were a military museum in Chicago. He gave me the phone number for the Midwest Military Museum. During our conversation, I told him about Lebensborn. “I’m writing the title down now. It sounds interesting,” he said. 

The synopsis of Lebensborn: A French girl is caught in the web of the SS plan to create a Master Race. Intrigue in the heart of Germany is WWII. (Or, should I have said, Intrigue at an SS party house next to a Lebensborn home in the heart of Germany in WWII?)

R. James Bender, in San Jose, who sells military collectibles, says he is too swamped by work to answer questions for an article about military collectibles. “I work sixteen hours a day and seven days a week.” Later, I am to discover than anyone like Mr. Bender in this profession must have the same passion, dedication and ability to work on their collections.

Note to San Rafael Community

Coming soon to your area!

Hello San Rafael Community:

Jo Ann Bender. That’s me. I’ll be coming in your area this fall to talk about my new novel, Lebensborn, non-political, and discuss this secret Nazi program. If any meetup club has an interest in learning more or hosting me, please have them contact: Jo Ann Bender, 3651 Deep Lake Boundary Rd., Colville, Wa. 99114,
Or, you can read my blog:

Lebensborn Celebrities

Lebensborn Celebrities

Two Scandinavian celebrities are Lebensborn children. Abba star Anni-Lrid Lyngstad is the child of a Norwegian mother and German sergeant. She was shunned and persecuted during her childhood and found her father three decades later, saying, “I can’t really connect to him and love him the way I would have if he’d been around when I was growing up.” Her mother died before she was two and her grandmother immigrated to Sweden to raise her.
Marta Kristen was born to a Finnish mother and German soldier who was killed towards the end of WW II. A couple from the U.S. adopted her and changed her name from Bridget to Marta. She has a long list of movie appearances like Wagon Train and Lost in Space. Off screen, she tried to find her roots. In l969 she was found her real mother in Finland and has met her older sister. She continues to look for other family members, a brother in Austria and a sister in Finland.
While researching history in Germany for Lebensborn, I met a man in a suburb north of Frankfurt . He is the child of a Polish man brought like many others from Poland to work the agriculture fields in that area during WWII.
He said, “When the war was over and the German soldiers were coming home, the parish priest told mothers of the thousand babies born of the Poles to kill us. My mother put me in the kitchen stove but my grandmother pulled me out. There were only two of us children at school and we were shunned and bullied. It was a terrible childhood.”


Why did the black SS uniforms disappear?
What was the Lebensborn program? Why couldn’t an SS officer receive a promotion if they had no children?
WWII collectibles. Are they still popular?
Why was the Nazi public relations programs the most successful the world has ever witnessed?
Most Americans have little knowledge of the European geography and history of WWII. What limited history of WWII they do have comes from what source?

Following Leads

It was the first sunny day in a series of dreary weeks so I caught a ride with Bud to Chelan in his Comanche airplane to consult with a client. 

They dropped me off at the small, sunny Chelan library of many windows (this pristine lake city has 3,500 residents). I snatched up their current Writer’s Market and jotted down publications with interest in collectibles for possible article submissions.
 I put on my marketing hat to find a way to let people learn of the Lebensborn program and novel.

The second edition of my story cookbook is almost sold out. The sales ladies at Big R, a rural western ranch supply house, learned that I’m considering a third edition and are eager for the third to arrive.
The store manager asked me to show the cookbook to one of their store buyers who liked it enough to give me a vendor number. Jerrod, the store manager, told him, “People come in asking for it.” Of course, it has a spotlighted position near the checkout counters. The books are on display in a rustic wooden holder Bud crafted in his cluttered barn.

Testing Ideas


Testing Ideas

It will be several months before the book is published this summer.  The old saying: It is easy to write a book. It’s more difficult to read a book for the tendency to fall asleep. The hardest thing is to sell a book, so I must write articles linking to Lebensborn.
My good fortune today is finding Kathelina at the German Corner. She must have assumed I am a publisher, as I am but not for Lebensborn, and gave good advice.

List the book at, a book seller who specializes in historical German books. Kathelina also recommended checking the German Corner list for other book sellers interested in German subjects.

Will the topic I’ve spent ten years writing and researching be of interest? To whom?

Additionally, she referred me to a Cincinnati University professor whose interest is German-American history. “He has lots of contacts,” she said.
Primarily she said that German American Clubs in the U.S. would not be a good source for sending information about the book because she has found them groups of people “who do not want to do anything,” but instead to query German newspapers and magazines, especially German Life.

Edit Review Proves Stressful

Edit Review Proves Stressful

I dragged myself down to the kitchen from the office after working five hours through the review of the first book. A big bowl of chocolate chip-zucchini cookies that I’d left in the kitchen unbaked in my hurry to begin, sat there forlorn. They went into the oven; I made some hot chocolate and poured in a lot of Snoops to recuperate.

The next day my husband, Bud, and I drove three hours south to Spokane to have ourselves a red-hot pre-planned Valentine celebration. This soul-refreshing cultural events began as we checked into the boutique Lusco Hotel downtown, and then visited the MAC Museum, enjoyed a cowboy dinner grill before taking in the IMAX Avatar movie. Second day in town, I found a new way to make blackened potatoes at Madelines, a little French café, found wide-legged casual women’s pants at Nordstroms, had dinner at Moxies, and took in the mystery musical, Curtains.

 Topping off the grand date with Bud was breakfast enroute home at the Chewelah Casino. Best of all was playing a hand or two of their new three-in-one table game that features high card, blackjack and poker. No, I wasn’t lucky. But, there’s always next time.

 Note to the Editor The day after our return, I completed the edit of the second volume in Lebensborn. This morning, I wrote the following note to my editor: After many years of dedicated work and research, I thought there would be no more work left to be done. Now, upon seeing and working with the fine tuning your edit has produced, it reminds me again that many persons have been similarly by my side to help me tell this WWII story. Thank you for your time and efforts to improve the spelling where needed, especially to change insure to ensure. The difference when using Directoress/Directress was insightful. I liked your suggestion to change the word crept. Perhaps my changing it to “moved stealthily” improves the meaning even more. Plotting was enhanced through your suggestions. You told me, “Don’t disappoint your reader—take the love scene at scene at the beach to conclusion, add paragraphs to strengthen the scene at the Lebensborn Home when the car arrives for Antoinette, and, of course, the best add of all, your great idea to show a bit of magic at Himmler’s castle. The addition of the magic act along with Peter’s words as the eagles fly, is proof for the SS men that they, too, have same majesty as eagles and reaffirms their faith in the SS. It was magic for me, too, as it brought tears to my eyes as I wrote it.

Follow Lebensborn through Production

Momentum Lost & Gained Again


   The driving power, push and energy taking Lebensborn to the next step is stolen by our ten-day trip to Chicago.  An interview for a military collectibles article was put on hold.  Weeks later the necessary information and the writing of the article is again side-tracked by the arrival of spring and outdoor projects.

    A delay has been announced by the publisher.  “Please understand,” says Georgie, “Currently we have been forced to place a hold on new productions for two to three weeks. Please be assured that this is a temporary situation and one that we do implement from time to time so there is nothing to be concerned about.  Your manuscript will go into text block production in two to three weeks at which time I will contact you with the print Manager who will be handling the layout of your book.  If you feel that three weeks has passed and you have not heard from me, please do not hesitate to e-mail me.”

    Georgie finally sends details.

    Ellen Green, press department, and Kira Robbins, art department, send e-mails: “We want to get started on your cover and marketing materials.  Please fill in the attached form.  It is our pleasure to work with you on cover design, including back cover text, and to promote your book when it is ready.”

    E-mailing their form was a nightmare.  Kim wrote, “Looks like everything after the genre question is coming through blank.”  “Okay Kim,” I write back, “What last bit did the computer swallow?”

    They both forward another form, a word attachment.  I breathed a sigh of relief when a fully-completed document went through.  “Got it,” says Kim.  “Thanks for your patience and diligence.” 

     The genres I’ve chosen to list Lebensborn are: fiction/historical, fiction/war & military, and drama/European and Continental.  Another suggested third: fiction/action & adventure if the drama idea isn’t appropriate.

     The large and small synopses of the book were written, along with a lengthy listing of the main characters, fifty or so.

     The writing questions:  motivation for the book, themes of messages, setting.  The questions that concerned writing were fun.  They wanted to know why and when I write, my day job. When did I realize I wanted to be a writer?  They asked about my writing schedule, obstacles to writing, influence of life experience, writer’s block, and inspiration. 

    Where did I grow up?  “In Iowa,” I said, “where the tall corn really does grow and where some natives do get restless and move west.”  To answer where I live now, I said, “I make my home at the base of a mountain in Eastern Washington State five miles from Trail, British Columbia, where my husband and I have created a rustic bed and breakfast called the Lazy Bee.”

     I’ll hear more from the art and press departments.  The really big step is the print-block phase.  No one ever said writing would be an easy career.  Every job has challenges!

My main obstacle: “Living the mountain lifestyle, while at the same time keeping the ranch supplied, cleaned, planted and landscape in pristine condition for possible B&B guests.  I think I’ll find a little cabin by a river and do like Marjorie Kinnen Rallings.  She found a cook/housekeeper and sat on the porch and wrote.

Once the novel is accepted for publication, it progresses through several departments of the publisher. The first department edits the manuscript.

Due to the December holidays and a skeleton staff, I learned that this would not take place until the end of January. That month came and went with no edit in sight. I’d queried the edit department a few times through client/care but no response. So, I did what any anxious writer might do, I contacted Tania in administration and five minutes after I heard back from her, “I’ll see what’s happening,” I received the manuscript for review. Along with the edited manuscript there was copy edit instructions and samples from the Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, as edit authorities.

Long ago I used proofreader’s marks as a medical book editor and at seven newspapers. I wonder if there are new marks. Work to do. I was very excited. How will my editor like the manuscript? Writers are so sensitive to how others view their work. I took one peak at the second book edits. I think I’m going to enjoy this.

In the edit I noticed, she had changed “the girl crept,” to “the girl stepped.” However, to convey the true meaning, I knew I would soon change that to “the girl moved stealthily.” To me, even such a little change means the ms. will be enhanced.

In her edit of the first book, she said in one of her comments, “Underlining is usually a distraction in the regular exposition of a novel. When special examples seem necessary, it will be rendered with italics throughout. Indeed, the clarity and quality of your prose makes this kind of emphasis largely unnecessary.”

Even though the manuscript had been professional edited before, her subtle word suggestions are excellent: sadness and pain ‘shown’ to ‘shone’, stood behind the desk ‘poised like a’ is now ‘stood ‘poised’ behind the desk like, ‘insure’ corrected to ‘ensure’ and ‘to look at his eyes’ better than ‘looking at his eyes.’

Best of all were her suggestions for a love scene. She thought it should be taken to completion so as not to disappoint a reader (it’s the beach scene in the first book if you’re interested). and fleshing out of a magician SS officer’s work during the scene at Himmler’s castle for his officers. Her idea made the chapter sizzle when I wrote a new a paragraph. It’s good. You’ll see. It’s in the first book toward the end.