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Hello, dear readers! Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Eleri Grace, who is here to reveal the cover her of upcoming WWII novel, Carry a Crusading Spirit, the second book in the Clubmobile Girls series, and tell you a little about the series. I love that this series focuses on how women served as Red Cross Girls during the war (something I haven’t read about yet), and that this cover beautifully portrays the time and place and the strength of those who served. I hope you all are as intrigued as I am by this story. Please give Eleri a warm welcome!

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Thanks Anna for allowing me the opportunity to introduce your readers to my Clubmobile Girls series today. I will publish the second novel in the series, CARRY A CRUSADING SPIRIT, next month and am delighted to share a first look at the gorgeous cover created by Rafa Andres of Cover Kitchen. His illustrations evoke the vintage feel of WWII poster art and vividly depict the lush tropical landscape of the Pacific Theater. He completely captured the intrepid spirit of my heroine, Hadley Claverie, a New Orleans reporter who, after being denied war correspondent credentials, lands a coveted position serving overseas with the American Red Cross.

As your readers may not be familiar with the service of the Red Cross Girls during WWII (they also served in the Korean and Vietnam wars), I thought I would shine a brief spotlight on these amazing women before sharing an excerpt from my upcoming novel.

During WWII, the American Red Cross operated 2,000 overseas clubs and hundreds of Clubmobiles, staffed by 39,000 paid staffers and over 7.5 million volunteers. The paid staffers, women known as “Red Cross Girls,” were ages 25-35, had a college degree and some professional career experience, and possessed certain personal attributes valued by the Red Cross recruiters, namely charm, wit, ingenuity, self-assurance, independence, an adventuresome spirit, and stamina. These positions were highly competitive (only 1 applicant out of 6 was successful).

The Clubmobiles were vehicles driven directly to soldiers in the field – a converted bus was typical in England, while the Red Cross and the military retrofitted a 2.5 ton Jimmy truck for use in continental Europe after D-Day, as well as in certain locations in the Pacific. Jeepmobiles were used in most of the Pacific islands and throughout the China-Burma-India theater. Red Cross Girls served troop trains, naval ships in the harbors, and even ran trainmobiles in Burma and Iran (a round-trip might take several weeks). Red Cross Girls took doughnuts, coffee, charm, and cheer to men serving directly in the field, hence their service took them closer to the front lines than the combat nurses or any of the women who served in the Women’s Army Corps.

If you are interested in learning more about these extraordinary women and their service, I have a series of vlogs on my website devoted to recruitment, training, uniforms, and more.

My first Clubmobile Girls novel, COURAGE TO BE COUNTED, follows Red Cross Girl Vivian Lambert and B-17 bomber pilot Jack Nielsen from a bomber base in southeast England across war-torn France and into the heart of Nazi Germany, while this newest book will introduce readers to Hadley Claverie and Skip Masterson, who serve in the Pacific Theater.

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About Carry a Crusading Spirit

In love, as in war, truth can be the greatest casualty.

When her New Orleans editor refuses to grant war correspondent credentials to a woman reporter, Hadley Claverie finds another route to the front lines: overseas duty with the Red Cross. She wants nothing more than to carve out a career as a respected journalist, but a sexy pilot set on playing by the rules undermines her determination to expose truths about the war, no matter the cost.

Struggling to overcome emotional trauma linked to Pearl Harbor, once-freewheeling B-25 bomber pilot Skip Masterson longs to prove he is worthy to carry on his brother’s legacy. Duty compels him to avenge the horrors his brother and friends suffered aboard the U.S.S. Arizona, but all Skip really wants is peace on a quiet porch back home. His heart has other plans, in the form of an intrepidly curious Red Cross girl who threatens his resolve to fly straight and subvert his hell-raising past.

As Allied forces wrest control of the Pacific, one island at a time, and the military taps skilled pilots for a highly-classified and unprecedented bombing mission from which Skip may not return, Hadley’s journalistic fire places her squarely in an ethical drop zone where truth harms, secrets protect, and love just might be the most harmful weapon of all.

From the sunny beaches of Australia to the lush and oppressive jungles of New Guinea, Carry a Crusading Spirit is a sexy and thrilling continuation of Clubmobile Girls, a series that champions the trailblazing role of women in World War II.

Buy on Amazon 

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Excerpt from Carry a Crusading Spirt

This excerpt takes place near an officer leave resort at Surfer’s Paradise on Australia’s Gold Coast. Hadley and Skip have taken a bike ride to a nearby beach and are enjoying a picnic dinner.

“Real news gives readers the bigger picture, the truth about what’s happening in the world. How and why we’re waging the war.”

Hadley longed to send dispatches with more substance. Dispatches containing the truth, the unvarnished truth about what was really happening, were now more important than ever. Skip was right that fluffy “woman’s angle” features served a purpose. But she had bigger goals, ambitions she could further more effectively under the exigencies of war. Making a name for herself now could give her a solid start after the war, whether in New Orleans or New York.

Skip wadded up his empty potato chip packet and tossed it into the basket. “You could be the woman’s version of Ernie Pyle, Hadley. People like him and his columns.”

“He’s with the troops in North Africa.” Hadley read the popular journalist’s column every week in Stars and Stripes. “Not stuck in a leave resort town.”

“Doesn’t matter where he is. It’s his perspective that resonates with folks. You could capture how the war affects us all by talking to soldiers on leave. Nurses, doctors, Seabees, engineers. They all take leave here, right?”

“Sure, but that’s not . . .” Hadley let her words trail away. Individual portraits seemed too narrow and unimportant right now. Each individual contributed to the war effort, but what would readers gain from reading stories focused on one individual?

A faint smile played over Skip’s mouth. “Didn’t you read Pyle’s columns back when you were a girl? When he traveled the country, writing about the common man — and gals too?”

Hadley bit her lip. Ernie Pyle had built a name for himself before the war. Because he was now the most admired war correspondent in America, he could afford to focus on the little guy and leave the big picture to others. Most importantly, he was a man — not a woman struggling to make inroads in a man’s world. Even if all Hadley ever wrote were features aimed at women on the home front, they would carry more substance from the battlegrounds in New Guinea rather than the vacation beaches of Australia.

“The real war is in New Guinea,” she finally said.

Skip drew his eyebrows together and set down his bottle. “That it is.”

“Red Cross Girl Hadley isn’t supposed to ask questions.” She rolled the beads of her bracelet. “Or remind you of what you’ve been through, what you’re headed back to do.”

“But reporter Hadley wants to ask.” Skip rubbed his jawline and picked up his beer, then set it down again. He had rolled up his sleeves, exposing his lean, tanned forearms.

She laid a gentle hand on his arm. The caramel brown hair was soft beneath her fingertips and touching him sent a crackling charge cascading across her shoulders. She swallowed. “Only what you’re comfortable sharing.”

“What do you want to know?”

“Anything. Everything.”

“I figured.” Skip laughed. “You’ve got an insatiable curiosity, and it’s enough to drive a man crazy. But right now . . . right now, doll, you’re making me crazy in a different way.”

He scooted closer to her and took her hand.

Hadley’s stomach flipped in time to the waves breaking against the shore. He interlocked his strong fingers with hers and circled his thumb over the surface of her polished thumbnail.

“Might be hard to keep your nails this pretty in New Guinea.”

“We Red Cross Girls are the enterprising sort. You might be surprised.” Her low, rich voice was redolent like a sultry saxophone blues number.

Skip met her eyes. His lush lips quirked up with the wolfish confidence of a consummate hell-raiser, a man with a wild side and a grin that melted hearts, stole hearts, broke hearts.

He tipped his mouth closer to hers and chuckled. “You always surprise me, Miss Scarlett.”

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About Eleri

Eleri Grace writes historical romance novels featuring trailblazing Red Cross Girl heroines and flyboy heroes.

Before penning her first romance novel, Eleri honed her writing skills as a corporate lawyer, a historical researcher, and an avid writer and reader of fan fiction.

Like many authors, Eleri is a voracious bookworm, happiest in bookstores and libraries. The TV mini-series “Roots” kindled a life-long enthusiasm for genealogy. Eleri is a scrapbooker, eschewing newer and perhaps more efficient digital media in favor of traditional paper (some might say she is a paper addict). A long walk at sunrise is the perfect start to Eleri’s day. She loves to travel and has been fortunate to experience time in many wonderful locations in the US and abroad.

She majored in history at Texas Tech University and is thrilled to have found another career path that allows her to immerse herself in World War II studies. Eleri hopes her novels will reflect her passion for the 1940s era and that her readers will come away with an appreciation for the many couples who were swept up in war-time courtships forged in a time of larger-than-life uncertainties.

Eleri lives in Houston, Texas with her teenage son, her college daughter, and two feuding cats. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, and Daughters of the American Revolution.  

Connect with Eleri: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page 

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Giveaway

Eleri is generously giving away one e-book copy of the ARC version of Carry a Crusading Spirit as part of this cover reveal. You can enter through this Rafflecopter link. This giveaway is open internationally through April 30, 2020. Good luck!

Thank you, Eleri, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your upcoming release!

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