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Elinor Florence (Company name) Elinor Florence

Gift Card Giveaway

My blog is ten years old, and in honour of the occasion I’m hosting a $100 gift card giveaway! One lucky subscriber will receive $100 (in Canadian dollars or the equivalent in your country) to spend at any independent bookstore. New subscribers must sign up before midnight November 11, 2023 to qualify.

Gift card allows $100 at any indie bookstore, Elinor Florence

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I’ll use an automated computer program to select the winner, and email him or her on November 12, 2023.

If I don’t get a response within three days (please check your email), I will choose another winner.

The winner can tell me which independent bookstore they choose, and I’ll arrange a $100 credit at the till.

I want to support independent bookstores, because they are fighting off both Amazon and the big chains, and I shared ten of my favorites here: Top Ten Bookstores. But you can choose any one you wish, as I know there are dozens of others out there.

I will announce the winner in my November blog.

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In the past ten years, so much has happened. My dear mother passed away. I published three books (and there’s another one in the works). I appeared at 176 events, including 46 book clubs. My daughters have produced five grandchildren!

I decided it was high time to update my author photo, since my ten-year-old photo wasn’t accurately portraying the woman I am today.

So here is the older but wiser me, and you will see new photos popping up on my social media accounts and this website.

Author Elinor Florence, Letters From Windermere

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For the first five years, I wrote a blog called Wartime Wednesdays. Many of my stories featured interviews with wartime veterans. I started by writing once a week, but realized after the first year that was too exhausting, both for me and my readers, so I cut back to once per month.

If you want to see the very beginning, the first blog post I wrote in October 2013 was titled: Growing Up With Air Force Ghosts.

The most popular blog post I have EVER posted is Top Ten Wartime Tunes, which has been viewed thousands of times! (I listened to those wonderful tunes again while writing this).

Five years ago, having exhausted my repertoire of wartime stories, I switched to this format, titled Letters From Windermere.

(You may have noticed that I sometimes refer to it as a newsletter although it’s called a blog, short for web log, on my website. I’ve never liked that word. In my view, this monthly story delivered by email constitutes a newsletter, and the content lives here on my website. But to keep it simple, I will refer to it as a blog from now on.)

I have written 160 stories so far, all of which are available here for you to read. That means there are 300,000 pages of text sitting on this website (the equivalent of three full-length books), plus hundreds of photographs. I indexed them on the right side of this page, so readers can find what interests them.

You may also simply scroll back through all the posts one by one, and click on anything that looks appealing, by clicking here: View All.

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It was difficult to choose, but here are the five wartime stories that I am MOST proud of writing. All of them are original, meaning nobody had ever told these stories before. Click on the title to read.

1. Heroic Family Hid Jews From Nazis

It was astonishing to find Casey Scheffer living in my own town, a man whose family has been honored by the Israel government for risking their lives in wartime to save a Jewish couple from the death camps.

Casey and Tony Scheffer of Invermere seated on couch


2. The Last Canadian Dambuster

Fred Sutherland was kind enough to tell me about the crazy, almost suicidal Dambusters bombing raid over Germany that was so risky and yet so successful that it lives on in history.

Fred Sutherland, the last Canadian dambuster, seated at his home


3. The Bombing of Berlin

On the other side of the conflict, my own mother-in-law Gerda Drews still lives in Berlin, and she recalled what it was like to live through the incessant bombing of her city in wartime, and the horrible aftermath.

Gerda Drews, Berlin, Germany, 1946


4. Willa Walker Led the Way

This astonishing woman overcame the death of her baby and the imprisonment of her husband to become the leader of the Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division.

Willa Walker in RCAF uniform, photo by Karsh


5. The Fighting Ballendines

Our indigenous veterans have never been given the recognition they deserve, so it was my pleasure to shine a light on these EIGHT brothers from Battleford, Saskatchewan who served their country in wartime.

Ben Ballendine of Battleford, Saskatchewan, indigenous veteran

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I always think the best stories are the ones about my own family. Maybe I am biased.

1. The Shadow of the Berlin Wall:

My husband was twelve years old when the wall went up at the end of his street. Thankfully, his family ended up on the Western side of the wall — otherwise I would never have met him in Canada and married him in 1993.

Wedding photo of happy couple, author Elinor Florence and Heinz Drews, 1993


2. My Mother Chose Her Own Death:

My courageous mother was one of the first to choose a medically assisted death (MAID) in 2017.

June Light Florence, as a young Canadian girl during wartime


3. Back to the Farm:

A piece of my heart will always belong to the Saskatchewan farm where I grew up.

back to the farm, old Saskatchewan farmhouse

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I will continue to write Letters From Windermere as long as there is enough interest, and they generally fall into one of the following categories.

1. My Books and My Writing:

If you are interested, I can easily share more about my writing progress and my observations on the world of publishing. For example: Behind the Book Covers.

2. My Travels:

We’re still trying to squeeze in one or two international trips each year. For Example: Bonny Scotland. (In November, we’re heading to New York City, and I would love to record my observations about that visit.)

3. My Home Life:

I’m very attached to my little town, and my home overlooking Lake Windermere. I’m usually involved in some project, either at home or as a community volunteer. For Example: Honor Our Veterans Banner Program.

4. My Love of History:

Aside from my interest in the Second World War, I’m passionate about pioneer history and that’s why I wrote my novel Wildwood. I also love thrifting and collecting vintage items. For Example: Log Cabin Fever.

5. My Reading Recommendations:

This is an easy one since I read so much, but I’m aware that not everyone shares my literary tastes! For example: Ten Laugh Out Loud Books.

Would you like to see more or fewer newsletters on these topics? Would you like to suggest some others? Or are you happy to read whatever I come up with? Please answer, either in the comments or in an email.

If you feel comfortable sharing any additional information (remember I know nothing about you except your email address, unless we are already acquainted), please let me know your age, gender, and where you live.

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Help Me Boost My Readership

All writers need an audience, and I would appreciate it if you would forward this email to your friends. You can also help me out by sharing my post on Facebook or Instagram.

ON FACEBOOK: Visit my Elinor Florence-Author page on Facebook, and Like my page. Scroll to my Gift Card image (seen above) and hit the Share button.

ON INSTAGRAM: Visit my profile (I’m the one and only elinorflorence) and Follow me. Scroll to the Gift Card image and click the little paper airplane symbol underneath, then click Add to Story.

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Friends, I want to extend a very heartfelt thank you to those wonderful subscribers who have been with me since 2013! And to everyone else, thanks for your support along the way. Here’s to another ten years!

With deepest appreciation, Elinor


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