1.) What is the strangest talent you have?
Hmmm…not sure how to answer this. I’m a pretty average person and my true talents are very normal. I’m not sure this can be called a talent because it is something over which I have absolutely no control, but here goes. I suppose the most unusual thing about me is that I have a touch of what the British call “being fey” – the type that allows me to occasionally see a little farther down the road of life, not the crazy kind. There have been a few times when I have known about an event as it is happening without being told about it. I have known it with absolute certainty. The knowledge pops into my mind as full-blown, detailed information, not an emerging idea. I would not call it having ES. I’m not sure that exists. What I do know is that the women in my mother’s family, including my grandmother, aunts, and cousins, all have times of precognition about people to whom we have strong emotional attachments. On several occasions, I have known about bad things that are happening to people whom I love without being told about the events. These people were many miles away and the events were most unexpected. When I called them, the thing that I had, for lack of a better word, “envisioned” turned out to be reality. I have no idea how to explain it and I have no control over this “talent.” It is also something that I do not usually talk about for obvious reasons.
2.) What is the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?
When I was a kid, I loved Red Skelton’s character Freddy the Freeloader. Boy does that reveal my age group!! I found a great hobo mask that looked very much like the character and dressed as a hobo for several Halloweens. The downside was that the mask was made of rubber and October 31 can still be very warm in southern Georgia where I grew up.
3.) Are the titles of your books important?
Yes, they are. When I choose a title, I try to reveal something important about the story in the few words of the title. It may be the setting or an important fact about the main character.
3.) If you’re struggling with a scene or difficult character, what methods help you through it?
My paternal grandmother had some very wise advice about what to do when struggling with a creative project. She said that when you become frustrated with the project, put it down and leave it alone for a little while. Do something completely different. When you return to your project, nine times out of ten, the problem’s solution will reveal itself. I find that this works well. I think it has something to do with the subconscious workings of the mind.
4.) Do you prefer dog, cats or none of the above?
Both, along with horses, have lived at our house. We love most things with four legs.
5.) Who’s your favourite author? Why?
I do not have one favourite. I do have a long list of authors whom I admire and whose work I enjoy. Here are a few: PD James, Ellis Peters, Daphne Du Maurier, Harper Lee, and Kathryn Stockett.
6.) Do you have a pet peeve?
Actually, I have two.
1) It irritates me when someone is critical of other people’s grammar errors while ignoring and/or being ignorant of their own errors. I have friends who consider themselves grammar experts and are quick to point out errors. These “experts”, however, consistently use the subjective form of the first person pronoun where they should be using the objective form. For example, they will say something like this: “Bobby gave a gift to my husband and I.” Now think about it. Would you say, “Bobby gave a gift to I?” Of course not. “I” is the object of the preposition to; therefore, “me” is the correct form of the pronoun. The rule about saying “you and I” applies when those pronouns are the subjects of the sentence. And yes, it disturbs me that diagraming sentences and teaching parts of speech have fallen by the wayside. Come to think about it, I find this type of behaviour irritating in most areas of life. Give other people a break when they need it. You may need the same favour from them sometime.
2) It is like fingernails scraping the chalkboard when someone sings below the pitch, especially when they should know better.
7.) Do you remember your dreams when you wake up in the morning?
Sometimes. It depends on how vivid they were during sleep.
Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn
by Linda Bennett Pennell
GENRE: historical fiction with romantic elements
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.
“I’m Heinz. What do you want?”
“Oh. It’s you.”
“From the restaurant on New Year’s Eve.”
Kurt was silent for a moment, then it came back to him. “I remember. Sarah, right? You’re the girl who refused to dance with me.”
A red flush crawled from her throat onto the apples of her cheeks. “Yes. I’m sorry if I was rude.”
“I’ve been cut dead before. I got over it.”
The girl’s eyes glittered. “I’m sure you did. Are you going to keep me standing here on the doorstep for everyone to see?”
“Why? I’m not expecting company. Would it be a problem?”
“It certainly might if the people who tore my apartment apart followed me here.”
Kurt looked into her eyes with complete attention for the first time since opening the door. Whatever had happened to this girl, she looked terrified and angry. Not a particularly good combination for the covert activities he and Phelps were up to.
Kurt made a quick decision. He stepped back and pulled the door wide while raising his voice.
“You better come inside and tell me why you think what happened to your apartment has anything to do with me.”
When they stepped into the living area, Phelps had disappeared. Kurt gestured toward the sofa and the girl sat down.
Propping himself on the sofa’s arm, he looked down into her frightened eyes.
“Now tell me how I can help you, Miss, uh…” “Barrett, Sarah. US Army. RN.”
“Well, Nurse Barrett, what can I do for you?”
The girl stuck her hand in her coat pocket and whipped out a scrap of paper that she waved in his face.
“By telling me what’s on this paper and why it’s so important that somebody took a knife to my furniture.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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
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
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
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Linda will be awarding $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.