Friday, October 2, 2015

Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn (+$20 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn
Author: Linda Bennett Pennell 
Series: N/A
Pages: 250
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Format: Kindle
Genre: Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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Will seven days be enough time to save the Allied war effort and the girl he loves?

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.
~A Note from Linda~
I have always been interested in World War II. When I originally started work on what is now Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn, it was entitled Wings and was set in Hialeah, Florida. It was to feature a ninety-day-wonder, as WWII pilots-in-training were known, and an army nurse. It just wasn’t working for me. While in communication with a former WWII pilot, he mentioned a friend who had been stationed in Casablanca. That sparked my interest. A bit of research into the First Allied Conference, which took place in Casablanca at the Anfa Hotel, and my pilot evolved into an OSS officer from Texas who speaks perfectly unaccented German and looks like a poster boy for Himmler’s SS. The Army nurse remains but she has transferred from Florida to Morocco where she is deployed with the 8th Evacuation Hospital. They become two people thrown together by circumstances who must learn to trust each other in order to survive in the weeks leading up to the Casablanca Conference.

The details of the conference are particularly interesting. It was there that Roosevelt prevailed upon Churchill, Charles de Gualle, and Henri Giraud to formulate the policy of unconditional surrender by the Axis powers. Some German generals and government officials hoped to sue for peace as early as late 1942. They realized the unthinkable was happening. Germany was losing the war. Imagine how the peace might have looked without the policy of unconditional surrender. It is conceivable that Hitler might have survived the war. It is also possible he and his gang of thugs might have spent a few years as POW’s before being released, while leaving former Nazis in charge of the peace inside Germany. What an appalling scenario!

Of course, Hitler, in his megalomania, refused even the slightest suggestion of defeat. Spying and communications interception being what they were at the time, Hitler knew the conference was to take place and its approximate date, but a Nazi translator made a significant error. He saw the word Casablanca, Spanish for “white house”, and assumed the conference was to take place at the White House in Washington, D.C., not the city in Morocco. The error was eventually discovered, but not in time for the Germans to take action. Imagine how things might have turned out if the Nazis had figured out where the conference was taking place in time to attempt to disrupt it! That’s what I did in writing Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn.

~Try an 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. 
~Meet Linda!~ 
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
 Linda will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. What secret talents do you have?

    1. I sing soprano with the Texas Master Chorale. Thank you for dropping by.

  2. I wanted to see more of this story. It really sounds great.

  3. I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you.

  4. I enjoyed the excerpt, this sounds like a really good book, thanks for sharing!

  5. "... As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself...." I find that the older I get, the more I reinvent myself, whether through my poetry, scrapbooking, playing badminton, etc., as every part of life in which you contribute offers another part of your soul to be shared. Thank you for sharing your soul with your readers!

    1. Words of wisdom, Laney! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your own experience!!

  6. Thanks for sharing the excerpt, I enjoyed reading it :)

  7. I am looking forward to reading more about this book. Thank you.

    1. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it!