Daily Archives: October 2, 2015

Book Tour – Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn

NBTM_TourBanner_Casablanca
Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn
by Linda Bennett Pennell

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GENRE: historical fiction with romantic elements

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BLURB:

Casablanca, 1943: a viper’s nest of double agents and spies where OSS Officer Kurt Heinz finds his skill in covert operations pushed to the limit. Allied success in North Africa and the fate of the First Allied Conference—perhaps the outcome of the war—hang on Kurt’s next mission. The nature of his work makes relationships impossible. Nonetheless, he is increasingly torn between duty and the beautiful girl who desperately needs his protection and help.

Sarah Barrett, U.S. Army R.N., is finished with wartime romance. Determined to protect her recently broken heart, she throws all of her time and energy into caring for her patients, but when she is given a coded message by a mysterious dying civilian, she is sucked into a vortex of danger and intrigue that threatens her very survival. The one person who can help Sarah is Kurt Heinz, a man with too many secrets to be trusted.
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Book Excerpt:

Kurt watched in dismay as the man in gray picked up his fedora and rose from the table next to the one recently vacated by the two women. This had to be his contact. The man had watched Kurt on the sly since he arrived at the restaurant. Moreover, the guy matched the description right down to the red pocket square in his suit breast pocket and the thin, pale scar running along his left jawline. Making a quick decision, Kurt pushed his chair back and tossed some cash on the table.

“It’s been interesting guys, but I’m calling it a night. Use this to cover my tab.”

“What’s the rush, Heinz? We haven’t even ordered dinner.”

“I guess my sins are catching up with me. It’s return to quarters and bed for me.”

“You headed back with us on the return flight tomorrow?”

“Nope, I’m here with the Old Man for the duration. You boys have a good trip.”

The street was nearly deserted when Kurt stepped out onto its glistening concrete surface. Misty rain created halos around the sparse street lamps and obscured most objects more than a few feet distant. Only the two women, Sarah and Agnes, stood under an umbrella waiting for a taxi. Kurt watched them from the restaurant’s portico. Focused on their conversation, they seemed oblivious to anyone behind them.

Glancing to his right, Kurt saw his man in gray scurrying toward the cross street. He stepped onto the sidewalk and crept along a good twenty paces behind. When his quarry slowed at the corner and looked back over his shoulder, Kurt stepped into the shadow of a doorway behind the taxi stand and waited. If this guy didn’t want to make contact, he wouldn’t appreciate being followed.

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AUTHOR BIO:

AuthorPhoto_CasablancaAppointmentAtDawn

I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother’s porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the American South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.

As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to her or himself, “Let’s pretend.”

I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl.

“History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.” Voltaire

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Books:

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel from Soul Mate Publishing
Confederado do Norte from Soul Mate Publishing
When War Came Home from real Cypress Press
Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn available 8/28/15 from the Wild Rose Press

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLindaBennettPennell
Website: http://www.lindapennell.com/
Twitter: @LindaPennell

Buy link for Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel: http://amzn.to/16qq3k5
Buy link for Confederado do Norte: http://amzn.com/B00LMN5OMI
Buy ink for When War Came Home: http://amzn.com/B010RXNZRO
Buy link for Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn: http://amzn.com/B0121Q6S88

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GIVEAWAY

Linda will be awarding $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Author Interview

Linda, thanks for being my guest today. Tell us about you.
I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother’s porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the American South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.

As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to her or himself, “Let’s pretend.”

I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl.

Favorite quote regarding my professional passion: “History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.” Voltaire

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My life is far too full to lollygag in bed all day! Staying in bed is not an option.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
My choice may seem somewhat unusual because the person I admire greatly is probably only known to musicians with an interest in the choral literature. I choose Morten Lauridsen, composer of some of the most beautiful sacred music it has ever been my privilege to sing. Here is the wonderful King’s College choir singing his O Magnum Mysterium

What’s the story behind your latest book?
I have always been interested in World War II history and wanted to write in that era. Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn was originally entitled Wings and was about a ninety-day-wonder, as Army Air Corps pilots in training were known, and an army nurse set in Hialeah, Florida. It might have been an okay story, but it just wasn’t working for me. When a fellow author, who was also a WWII pilot, mentioned a friend who had been stationed at Casablanca during the war, I did some research and decided the First Allied Conference provided much more fascinating possibilities for murder and mayhem.

Tell us your writing process
I am a plotter with pantser tendencies. I usually know the beginning, the end, and the major plot points and themes before I start. I also usually have my title before I begin as well. The rest just sort of reveals itself as I go.

Do you have any tips for authors who want to get the word out about their book?
I have two words: Social Media, often and early!

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was a senior in high school, I enjoyed my creative writing class very much. Once I got to college, however, I got caught up in writing research papers for my degree in history and later for my degrees and certifications in education. I ultimately retired from public school administration. It was the best gift I have ever given myself, but the sudden release from having a life lived by the school bell left me somewhat adrift and uncertain at first. If I wasn’t the school administrator, then who was I? Traveling full circle to the creative writing that I had so briefly loved in high school gave me the answer.

Tell us about your main character:
There are two, actually. Here is a little about each.

OSS officer Kurt Heinz is a second generation German-American from Boerne, Texas. He grew up on a dairy farm with extended family, including his paternal grandparents who insisted that only German be spoken in the home. As a result, Kurt speaks perfectly unaccented German. He also looks like a poster boy for Himmler’s SS and excels at the covert skills he learned during his OSS training. His very specialized skill set becomes critical to the Allied war effort in the weeks leading up to the First Allied Conference in 1943 at Casablanca. Meeting Sarah and falling for her was never on his agenda, but the situation she is in pulls them both into a vortex of danger and intrigue that could prove fatal.

Army nurse Sarah Barrett is from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. She grew up on a farm riding in the back of pick-up trucks and with only a passing acquaintance with the greater world outside her Appalachian Mountain home. When the US enters World War II, she decides to do her part for the war effort by joining the army after graduation from nursing school. Nothing in her training or life in Virginia prepared her for what she would experience as a wartime army nurse or for Kurt, a man with too many secrets to be trusted.

What are you working on next?
My work in progress is set in Miami and Havana. It features my history professor from Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel. This time she is chasing Meyer Lansky, a.k.a. the Mob’s accountant and a founding member of Murder Incorporated.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
My great love in life, aside from family, friends, and writing, is choral music. I sing 1st soprano with the Texas Master Chorale and my church choir.

Who are your favorite authors?
Oh, my. So many authors, so little space! Here are a few in no particular order, but covering most of my reading experience: Victoria Holt, Anne Perry, Daphne Du Maurier, Elizabeth George, Ellis Peters, PD James, Harper Lee, and Kathryn Stockett.

What do you like to do with your free time?
I sing and volunteer with my church and local arts organizations.

Any final thoughts?
Nothing more than to say thank you so much for hosting me!!

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Heartbound Book Blitz

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We’re happy to be hosting P.I. Alltaine and her HEARTBOUND Book Blitz today!

About the Book:

Heartbound

Title: Heartbound
Author: P.I. Alltraine
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Pages: 177
Genre: YA fantasy romance

Petyr has never found it necessary to consider the humans as anything more than distant, inferior beings–until now. They are the cause of the fatal disease that has plagued his realm, taking the lives of too many of his kind. As a future leader of a realm in peril, Petyr must find a way to resist and cure the affliction. He must enter the unfamiliar realm, appear to be an ordinary eighteen-year-old human, observe, and learn.

However, things don’t exactly go according to plan. Instead of embarking single-mindedly on his sober mission, Petyr meets an 18-year-old girl who does things to his emotions that he can’t quite fathom or control. Petyr is falling in love, and he almost forgets the gravity his choices have on his entire world. Despite the risk it poses to his life and hers, he wants to know her, and he wants her to know him–and his world.

For More Information

  • Heartbound is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

I defied my fate the moment I leapt out of my apartment’s third-story window. I landed on the pavement without a sound. In the same instant, my feet blended into the measured pace in which humans carried themselves.

Gazing up at the sky, I tried to find something to remind me of my home, of my duty. The future leader of a realm in peril cannot be overcome by irrational desires, I thought.

Thick smoke obscured the heavens so much even the brightest stars were dull and barely visible. A reminder I was trapped in this city, in this realm. Too far away from everything I knew, too restrained, too human.

Through the chaos in my mind, I captured the image of the girl with brown and dark-auburn tones in her hair, the shine that bounced from her loose curls, the depth in her hazel eyes, and even the awkward half-smile when she caught me looking at her. But the memory wasn’t enough. I needed to see her again.

I kept walking until I reached the riverbank in the heart of London. The water rippled with a disheveled mesh of gold and red, reflecting a large architectural structure. My gaze lingered on the clock tower adjacent to the building, gauging its height. A temptation to feel even a fraction of my true nature became a need in every fiber in my body. No longer able to rationalize, my muscles coiled, and I let go. Wind enveloped me with its familiar warmth as I sprang across the River Thames. I aimed to land on the lower portion of the tower, to indulge in the pleasure of my ascent. Though too fast for human eyes, each maneuver, each somersault, each back flip was slow enough for me to savor every moment of my liberation.

On a part of the roof concealed from the passersby below, I was closer to the heavens than I’d been since arriving in the city. Still, I didn’t belong here. Hundreds of lights sparkled below me, each representing a life I didn’t comprehend. Allowing myself to break free from my human façade had made me a liability to the others. For a few moments of freedom, I let myself forget the importance of my purpose here—the lives that depended on it.

Somehow, having the girl’s image in my mind brought calmness within me. One that felt permanent. One that extinguished the sense of entrapment, despite the thick layer of smoke that was still very visible to me. I held on to the calmness as I regained the confidence to face the others.

Watch the Book Trailer!

About the Author

P.I. Alltraine

P.I. Alltraine is an award winning poet and author. She has won several international poetry competitions, and her poems have been published in separate anthologies.

She teaches English Language and Literature in London. She earned her degree in BA English from Queen Mary University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Master’s in Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London.

Before moving to London, she lived in the Philippines where she was ensconced in the rich culture encrusted with dark myths and enchanted tales. She draws inspiration from these in her writing. Although she has lived indifferent places and experienced different cultures, she always enjoyed the constancy of writing in her life. Her favourite authors include John Milton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.

Her latest book is the YA fantasy romance, Heartbound.

For More Information

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