By Carrie Lofty
I’m a historian and an author. Sometimes I get too worked up about the history stuff, especially about the World War II era—the setting for my latest historical romance, His Very Own Girl. So bear with me while I jabber history stuff, and then we can get to the kissing… Because Joe and Lulu do a lot of kissing (and more)!
Before television, the nightly news, and goofy local weather forecasters, people only had one source of news that featured moving pictures: the newsreel. Generally brief and themed to a particular topic, newsreels were documentary films that covered world events, topical and local concerns, and entertainment gossip.
Much like movie previews today, the newsreels preceded a feature film, or else were sandwiched between two features as part of the intermission. In the 1930s and 40s, newsreels were so essential that many large cities had dedicated newsreel movie houses, and even smaller movie houses had dedicated theaters that showed the latest newsreels on a continuous loop all day—the original 24-hours news channels!
Soldiers were provided regular briefings about the progress of the war throughout the world. Often, if at camp, those briefings were accompanied by newsreel footage in makeshift tents. Here, the hero of His Very Own Girl, a paratrooper medic named Joe Weber, reflects on what he’d seen:
A frosty rain sprinkled down from low-lying clouds. Across the field of rain-drenched scrub, the riflemen of Baker Company were completing a morning of target practice. Soon enough they’d be back in the woods for combat scenarios. Smitty still had money on their dropping into France. Joe still couldn’t care less.
No, that wasn’t true. After the newsreel footage they’d seen of vicious hand-to-hand combat on the Marshall Islands, he was glad to be anywhere other than the South Pacific. The medics there had to battle typhus and jungle rot and a host of other tropical diseases, ones Joe had only heard about. His shiver had little to do with the chilly English rain.
Although early newsreels were silent, the clips were fully narrated by WWII. Allied
governments employed the best writers of that generation to make the news more palatable and patriotic. For example, both Dylan Thomas and John Steinbeck wrote newsreel scripts. You can hear the rhetoric and dramatic music in this vintage reel describing the attack on Pearl Harbor:
Yay! You made it! Time for kissing. Here Lulu Davies, a British civilian pilot, and Joe are attending a picture show where newsreels were so common—but also common was live entertainment before and between features, including…shall we say…morale building!
“I want you to look to your left or your right. If you’re here with a grand girl, if you’re here with some brave boy, I want you to turn to that dear soul . . . and give them a big fat kiss for victory!”
Laughter and shouts were his reward. And then people throughout the theater began to do just as he’d asked. Couple by couple, men and women melted into each other’s arms. Some were tentative. Some were eager. Some looked as if they wouldn’t be sticking around for the feature.
Joe turned to Lulu. She was a tall girl, taller than he remembered. Her flushed-face excitement had not subsided. He took hold of her upper arms and pulled her close. He gave her every chance to back away or stiffen or shake her head.
Instead, their eyes met. The packed theater disappeared.
The jolt of that first touch of lip to lip snapped through him like the pulse of machine gun fire—sharp, quick, startling. The warmth of her mouth, firm and soft and giving, blew every thought from his mind. Their tongues touched, withdrew, and then pressed onward.
She tasted salty and sweet at once. Joe encircled her back, pulling her closer. Her hands wove into the hair along his nape, and her breasts pillowed against his chest.
When his body swiftly responded, eager for even more, he raised his head.
Lulu laughed. “Lipstick,” she said simply.
At least the war knew how to add a few sweet surprises to an otherwise harrowing time. Best way to get through!
Summer has been a blast! Available now from Pocket Books are three Christy Family romances. FLAWLESS kicked it off with a tale of an estranged couple’s search for love. The 99¢ tie-in novella, “A LITTLE MORE SCANDAL” follows two aspiring lovers to London. And the Scottish-set second novel, STARLIGHT, was an RT BookReviews 4½ Star Top Pick. “Richly nuanced characters and a superbly realized Victorian setting come together brilliantly.” ~ The Chicago Tribune
I’ve also launched a co-written pseudonym, Katie Porter, with my long-time friend and critique partner, Lorelie Brown. Our “Vegas Top Guns” series of contemporary erotic romances launched from Samhain with DOUBLE DOWN and INSIDE BET, both of which were RT BookReviews 4½ Star Top Picks: “This racy, raunchy, hella good read…will move Fifty Shades of Grey to the children’s section of the bookstore.”
Where to find me:
**I’d like to give away a digital copy of HIS VERY OWN GIRL in any format. Just answer: Because news sources have changed so much, I’m curious—where do you get your news? No need to name a TV station or newspaper, just the medium and why.**
Giveaway open internationally until 9-21-12 at 11:59pm EST
Thanks again to Ramblings of a Chaotic Mind for featuring His Very Own Girl!