Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Moment Forever Blog Tour ~ Guest Post with Cat Gardiner & Giveaway!

Hey, Everyone! I'm delighted to be part of A Moment Forever Blog Tour, and I'm super excited to have Cat Gardiner visiting with us here today! I'm really looking forward to reading this story for a couple of reasons. One, Cat is a terrific writer (I loved Denial of Conscience), and second, I enjoy WWII era stories! 

Cat Gardiner is also generously giving away a paperback copy of her book, A Moment Forever and a box of Italian Gardenia soaps! Giveaway details are at the bottom of the page! 

A Family’s History

     Thank you, Candy, for the invitation to visit So Little Time! I am excited to share my non-JAFF, WWII Romance, A Moment Forever (AMF), with you and your readers during my blog tour. There are many themes to AMF that resonate with me personally. This particular one brings the story’s detective plotline to life. We have two heroines, 50 years apart. Juliana Martel is our 24-year-old heroine in 1992. The total sum of her family―as she knows it―is her paternal grandfather and her estranged mother. That’s it. Her life is about to change.

     His granddaughter sat on the edge of his wasteful king-sized bed, picking up a throw pillow her grandmother had sewn. She held it close to her chest, breathing in its familiar scent as though remembering how much she was loved by the woman she affectionately called Mimi.     
      Yes, for herself she needed to seek out her grandmother’s family. Lord knows, he wasn’t getting any younger and soon Juliana would find herself alone. She needed cousins, aunts and uncles—she needed a family, and he and Lillian—G-d rest her soul—had denied her that by protecting the Martels from the Renner legacy. His treasure should never be alone. 
      “Grandpa, I wish I knew more about Mimi. Susan said she was with the Red Cross, but no one has ever said anything. I regret that Grandma never told me about her life before you, who she was, what her childhood and family were like. My evil mother has me thinking that Mimi was orphaned or, worse, a runaway. Someone with terrible secrets that she took to the grave.”
     She did run away in a sense and we vowed to never speak of her family, he thought brushing his finger down her pert nose and smiled wistfully before turning his back to her.

     Juliana’s grandmother wasn’t an orphan. In fact, she was one of five sisters in a family with deep Germanic roots, even Austrian nobility. So why the secrecy? Why never speak of it or run away from that history as her “Mimi” Lillian did? Because that family were affluent “Americans” by name and geographic location only, and their loyalties went way beyond Nazi collaborative efforts and the feared Fifth Column. Lillian’s father, eldest sister, and mother were members of the Nazi Party. Secrets, indeed. None of which an ancestral search into Census records or local library microfiche was going to shed light on.

     But Juliana was undeterred in her search, not just in uncovering her grandmother’s lineage (unknowing that history was connected to a stack of letters she discovered in her great-uncle’s home) to reveal the history of someone she would unwittingly come to know as her great-aunt, Mimi’s most-beloved sister.

     I remember my own delving into family history research in 1992, and it is from that experience that Juliana embarks: deciphering the Census Soundex, shuffling through microfiche indexes, and scrolling through microfilm in dark rooms of the National Archives and libraries. To me, the amateur genealogist, every revealed name and fact felt like the unearthing of Pompeii! My heart soared, my breath caught. “It’s you! I found you! Yes!” At the time, Ancestry.com was just a dream – its publishing arm not formed until the following year. Ellis Island’s own database of ship manifests wasn’t made publicly searchable until 2001. Twenty-four years ago, searching one’s lineage was tedious and time consuming and you hoped that someoneanyone kept an old family Bible with its family record filled in. I spent whole days lost in the New York Public Library, accessing―through a librarian―the records stored in the basement. Records selected using the Dewey Decimal System. Remember that?  Photographs revealed clues when examined carefully. The back of cabinet cards shed light on where the image was taken. As the daughter of a NYC Police Detective, I relished the hunt and the clue gathering.

     The facts were difficult to uncover when faced with contradictory family “histories” passed down for generations. Unintentionally, these “facts” had developed into fables, like a game of telephone, becoming more distorted with time. A relative discovered (in the Census) to be a bootblack, might have been touted as a shoe salesman for two generations! Big difference in both social and financial standing during the early 20th Century.

     Like Juliana, I, too, am from Germanic roots. My paternal great-grandfather arrived to NYC in 1885 as a cigar maker from Northern Germany. One Pompeii moment was the discovery of his Naturalization papers, his oath proudly signed in 1894. Sadly, in 1925, he was hit by a beer truck and died – yes, that, too was something I found in my research. My father often speculates that his aunts (not his proud German-American grandfather) were Nazi sympathizers, having made many trips to the Fatherland just prior to the war. One old aunt, boldly and persistently, asked Dad’s father for a tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, one of the busiest ship production yards during the war, where he was Chief of Police. Fifth Column aunts? Not likely, but, again, possible family tales to consider.  Unfortunately, in Juliana’s case, what she uncovers were not fables, but heinous acts carried out in the name of Nazism. Hers is an ancestral history that should not be forgotten but was understandably hidden from her—and it all comes out like a deluge. Secrets revealed, connections made – and a still-atoning family found.

     “What is it, Julie?”
      “I have a family,” she stated dreamily in reply to her great-aunt. “I’ve wanted this my whole life. I just can’t believe that this is my family. I wish Dad could be here to be a part of it.”
       “Oh, he is honey, and so is my sister.” Lizzy brushed the hair framing Juliana’s face. “We’re all so happy you’re here.”   
     “Me, too. I feel like I’ve finally found home.”
      “You have.”

     Today, our research endeavors are quick and easy with Ancestry.com even providing DNA testing to determine where your roots spread from. All one has to do is sit at their computer and they can access hundreds of resources―and long-lost relatives. The Church of Latter Day Saints, Ellis Island, Ancestry, Fold3, and a myriad of other databases may point you in the direction to the “real” history – not the fables. Why did they come? What and who did they come with? Where were they from? And how did their journey influence who you became? I laugh with absolute understanding at Ancestry.com’s commercial. This is the story of so many.  

     Is there a genealogist in you? As a historical-lover, would you like to uncover all those mysteries or do you believe in looking forward and not to the past as some of A Moment Forever’s other characters? Share with me below to be entered to win a Paperback of A Moment Forever with a lovely box of three Italian Gardenia soaps. Thank you so much! I can’t wait to hear your story. 

A Moment Forever (Liberty Victory Series #1) 
Published by Vanity & Pride Press in May 2016 
Kindle and Paperback; 600 pages 
ISBN: 9780997313000 


In the summer of 1992, a young writer is bequeathed the abandoned home of a great-uncle she never knew. The house has a romantic history and is unlike any home she has ever seen. Juliana Martel felt as though she stepped into a time capsule—a snapshot of 1942. The epic romance—and heartache—of the former occupant unfold through reading his wartime letters found in the attic, compelling her on a quest to construct the man. His life, as well as his sweetheart’s, during the Second World War were as mysterious as his disappearance in 1950. 

Carrying her own pain inflicted by the abandonment of her mother and unexpected death of her father, Juliana embarks on a journalist’s dream to find her great-uncle and the woman he once loved. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a man whose family is closely related to the secrets, she uncovers the carefully hidden events of her great-uncle’s and others’ lives – and will ultimately change her own with their discovery. This story of undying love, born amidst the darkest era in modern history, unfolded on the breathtaking Gold Coast of Long Island in 1942. A Jewish, Army Air Forces pilot and an enchanting society debutante—young lovers—deception—and a moment in time that lasted forever. 

A Moment Forever is an evocative journey that will resonate with you long after you close the book. Romance, heartache, and the power of love, atonement, and forgiveness transform lives long after the horrors and scars of the Second World War have ended.

Buy: Amazon
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks! 

About Cat Gardiner:

Born and bred in New York City, Cat Gardiner is a girl in love with the romance of an era once known as the Silent Generation, now referred to as the Greatest Generation. A member of the National League of American Pen Women,
Romance Writers of America, and Tampa Area Romance Authors, she and her husband adore exploring the 1940s Home Front experience as living historians, wishing for a time machine to transport them back seventy years.

She loves to pull out her vintage frocks and attend U.S.O dances, swing clubs, and re-enactment camps as part of her research, believing that everyone should have an understanding of The 1940s Experience™. Inspired by those everyday young adults who changed the fate of the world, she writes about them, taking the reader on a romantic journey. Cat’s WWII-era novels always begin in her beloved Big Apple and surround you with the sights and sounds of a generation.

She is also the author of four Jane Austen-inspired contemporary novels, however, her greatest love is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. A Moment Forever is her debut novel in that genre.

Connect with Cat Gardiner

* * * GIVEAWAY * * * 

It's giveaway time! Cat Gardiner is giving away a paperback copy of A Moment Forever with a lovely box of three Italian Gardenia soaps! To enter, please leave a comment below. Open to US only. 

Thank you, Cat!

  • One person will win a paperback of A Moment Forever and soap set.
  • To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment with your e-mail (putting parentheses around (at) and (dot)) or twitter name. 
  • Open only in the USA.
  • Winner will be picked randomly.
  • Last day to enter the giveaway is August 16, 2016, midnight Pacific Time.

Good luck!

Many thanks to Cat for stopping by today! I've always wanted to research my genealogy, but I always put it off for lack of time. Plus, I'm not sure how to start. I've thought about Ancestry.com, but wasn't sure if it would really work! Thanks Cat for encouraging me to give it a try! 

Also, many thanks to Serena Agusto-Cox @ Poetic Book Tours for organizing this book tour! For more stops on this tour click here.

How about you? 
As Cat asked, "Is there a genealogist in you?" 


  1. Poignant! I'm sitting here with goosebumps on my forearms from reading the excerpts. Of all your stories, Cat, this one impacted me the most. The power of our knowledge of the past and how it shapes our today and our future is incredible.

    My father's family is made up of generations of storytellers. Real whoppers have been passed down until we, none of us, knew the truth. From telling fellow first graders that my Dad killed Geronimo and wrestled alligators to "you have no cousins because they were all hung as horse thieves" became my legacy. The truth? They were itinerant dirt-farmers from the mid-west. Humble people too prone to alcohol addiction and multiple marriages. Nonetheless, they are mine. Though I rarely drink and have only been married once, daily I appreciate the gift of an imagination begging to put words into print.

    Cat, you stunned me with this story. I was angry, shocked, horrified, and fell in love. Well done!

    Great post, Candy.

    1. Hi Joy!! Thank you so much for stopping by with your sunshine and for your kind words about AMF. As you know, it is the most serious of all my work, and also the closest to my heart.
      Well now I know where you get your great storytelling gift. What a legacy you gave your dad. LOL You're hysterical! I once received a plaque from a distant cousin I discovered through my research. It read: "My family tree is full of nuts." Yup. It seems I'm not alone. LOL :P Hugs and kisses!

    2. My maiden name was Malone. All of us kids were called Maloney-Bologna because of our tall tales. Yep! It's genetic. Whoppers don't run in my family. Rather, they stroll through taking their time, getting to know everyone personally. I'm just saying!

    3. Lol! Too funny, Joy! You and Cat both are great storytellers! Thanks for sharing your horse thieves story! Lol! And I'm glad to hear what a great story 'A Moment Forever' is! :) Thanks!

  2. This post is an attention grabber for me. Haven't read the story yet, but wow! About ten years ago, I tackled family research heavily. I wanted to know our roots and I got the answers. Soooo different from the stories passed down. LOL! But yet much of it was true.

    Please do not enter me in the contest, Candy and Cat.

    1. I LOVE that you got the family history bug and found answers. Lord, I once had words with an uncle who insisted that his grandfather came through Ellis Island at a certain age. I showed him the manifest and his marriage certificate and he said they were both wrong. LOL Thank you for commenting! Hope you had a fabulous vaca with your family. :)

    2. Hey, Sophia Rose! I hope you enjoy reading AMF, but I have a feeling you will! :D
      That's cool that you've already researched your family history. That something I really want to do.

  3. What a great spin for a story! I have to get my hands on it! And gardenia was my mother's favorite fragrance... So I really hope I win!!

    1. Hi Tere! Gardenias are just lovely. So happy that you have a fond recollection of them. My mother has a tree beside her patio and once a year we are gifted with their fragrant blooms. Like you, I will remember them as her favorite. I think AMF is a story that you would enjoy immensely. Thank you so much for stopping by and good luck!

    2. Hi, tgruy! I like gardenia's, too! They smell amazing! I hope you get a chance to read AMF soon!

  4. Oh! Such a wonderful excerpt! This is a must read, a powerful story! Don't put this one off! Ducky and Pistol stay with you for a long time! Congratulations,Cat.
    Cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

    1. Aw Thank you, Becky! It really touches my heart to know just how much you enjoyed AMF. Ducky and Pistol are so special to me so that overjoys me! Good luck, hon!

    2. Hi, Becky! Thanks for letting us know how much you loved this story! Ducky and Pistol?? Oh, man, I'm going to have to read this! :)

  5. This is So cool, Cat. I have a Germanic background and am first generation born here in my mother's side and third generation on my father's. All peasants. Thank you for the generous give away, Cat and for hosting, Candy. skamper25 (at) gmail (dot) com


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