Betty Gillies WAFS Pilot  Debuts in Two Weeks!

Book Launch Thursday, October 15! You’re Invited

Mary, my marketing manager ( and I invite you to join us for Betty’s Book Launch Party — on ZOOM — Thursday, October 15th at 11 a.m. Mountain Time; 10 a.m. Pacific Time; 1 p.m. Eastern Time; and Noon Central Time. More about this in next week’s blog/newsletter.

I plan to read a couple of excerpts from the book.

Much of this book is based on Betty’s WAFS/WASP World War II diaries, dated September 6, 1942 to December 21, 1944. Already a committed diary chronicler, Betty didn’t let her hectic wartime schedule and demands on her time and attention keep her from jotting down a few lines about the day she had just been through.

Her narratives of her more frustrating ferry flights may astonish you! You will learn that she was a night owl. But, you’ll also note that she was avowed early riser.

Betty Flew the Mighty P-47 Thunderbolt

Betty was 5 feet 1½ inches tall.  She flew the biggest pursuit (fighter) airplane the U.S. had in the war, the 14,500-pound, single-engine, single-seat P-47 Thunderbolt. Truth be told, she flew more than 100 of them, most of those in 1944. She was one helluva pilot.

Betty’s granddaughter, Glen, is joining us for the party. Those of you who knew Betty, and who know Glen, please come say “hi” to her. My grandkids and daughter-in-law here in Colorado Springs will join us as well.

My friend and fellow Ninety-Nines member, Jacque Boyd, will be with us. Jacque and I have known each other for close to 30 years. She urged me to join Women in Aviation and I urged her to join Women Writing the West, a worthy step for each of us. And she encouraged me to learn to fly when I told her of my lifelong dream to do so.

Here in Colorado Springs I belong to a writers group — we call ourselves We Band of Writers — and some of them will join us as well. We meet twice a month on Zoom to read our latest efforts aloud, then talk about them. That works really well because all but one of us no longer works outside the home. After all, we ARE writers! But Covid has made us more home bound than we used to be.

Betty’s Book Is a Reality In Spite of Covid

Covid made it necessary for me to publish my own book — for the first time. Welcome to “Flight to Destiny Press.” And of course, were it not for Covid, we’d be having a LIVE LAUNCH PARTY somewhere nice, serving refreshments, and I might even get to sign and sell some books!!!

Betty Gillies WAFS Pilot will be available for order on next week as a softcover edition, selling for $12.95. It is available for order now as an e-book, priced at $6.99. If someone wants an autographed copy, those will need to be ordered from me. We’ll post a link in next week’s blog on how to make that happen.

Since my subject played such an active role in World War II, I had my heart set on publishing this year. My target release date was August 14, to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ-Day, the day Japan surrendered. I wanted to do that because I’ll never forget that day.

I’ll Never Forget August 14, 1945 — VJ Day

I was 8-years old. My entire formal education had taken place in wartime. I started Kindergarten in January 1942. Every week at school, I took my dime to buy a special 10 cent stamp to fill my stamp book to buy a War Bond. From First Grade on, I took a quarter and bought a 25-cent stamp. War Bonds financed the war. They were sold at 75 percent of their face value. A $25 bond cost $18.75.

It matured over ten years. I remember when my father and I cashed some of them in to buy stock. I was 16.

I watched my mother juggle her ration books before going to the grocery store. We had paper drives at school. I sang “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!”  And I sang “Nothing Can Stop the Army Air Corps.” — I still have to think to say “Air Force,” much to my retired Air Force officer son’s chagrin.

On Friday August 14, 1945, we heard the news that the Japanese had surrendered and the war was over.

We Marched on 6th Avenue, the #6 Streetcar Line

It was a Friday, my mother was playing golf, and I was visiting at a friend’s house. She lived along the Sixth Avenue #6 streetcar line in East Denver. We grabbed pots, pans and spoons from her mother’s kitchen and went outside to march along the streetcar tracks. Other kids joined us.

We made a makeshift sign to carry using part of the front-page headline in the Rocky Mountain News. In huge type, it read: The War’s Over. As the streetcars, loaded with commuters going home from work, rattled by, we marched up and down Sixth Avenue and shouted to the riders. They cheered back. What an afternoon!

That’s why I wanted to launch Betty’s story THAT DAY, because she was such an integral part of that war and of helping assure victory. A couple of technical publishing realities kept me from making my deadline. Sobeit!!!

Join Me October 15th for Betty’s Book Launch

On October 15, 2020, I’m releasing to the reading public a book about a dedicated, determined woman who was, I repeat, one helluva pilot and a true patriot. That’s my World War II story. I hope, now, you’ll read hers: Betty Gillies WAFS Pilot: The Days and Flights of a World War II Squadron Leader.                                 

Thank you for reading my blog!

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