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Ann Kathleen Otto


Blog posts : "ann otto author"

The Underground War: Fort Hackenberg

One of the more interesting stops on World War 2’s Western Front is the Hackenberg in Veckring, France. Hidden under wooded hilltops of the Moselle River Valley, it was part of the Maginot Line in Lorraine. After the Great War (World War 1), France worried about a future war against Germany, and wan…

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Sacrifices on the Western Front

The next stop on our World War 2 tour takes us through the Voges mountains to Lorraine’s American Cemetery in St. Avold, one of many French, German and American cemeteries on the tour. It also provides excellent historical context to this period of the war. Linden trees line the avenue leading up to…

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Back Roads to Ulm and the Black Forest

Traffic on the German autobahn is challenging today, so to get to the next stops on our World War 2 tour,  the driver chooses to take country roads, which turns out badly for him, but good for us. It’s especially helpful for me to see the type of terrain that soldiers traversed in World War 1, which…

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Salzburg and the Eagle's Nest

A main attraction for David on our World War 2 memorial tour was a visit to Adolph Hitler’s tea house atop the rocky summit of the Kehlstein peak near Berchtesgaden in the German Bavarian Alps. His father visited the bunker at the base of the mountains and possibly Hitler’s hideaway as well.

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Dachau and Munich

The next stops on our memorial tour are contrasts in setting—one for solemn reflection, the other for hedonist celebrations. Welcome to Dachau and Munich.


We enter the gate that reads Arbeit Macht Frei (“Work Sets You Free”), which appeared on entrances to Auschwitz and other concentr…

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The Road to Nuremberg

Our Memorial Tour starts in Frankfurt. It’s the fifth largest city in Germany and has Europe’s busiest airport. You hear a lot about German efficiency. That isn’t our experience.

German Efficiency

Two large flights arrive at the same time, and we are in the under-staffed and uncontrolled…

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Two Wars in Perspective

“My travels taught me that there was no area of Europe free from the memories and monument of the First World War.”  Martin Gilbert, The First World War: A Complete History

I echo Gilbert’s comment. We saw these memorials in our travels, too. You can find  small monuments to military lea…

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When Miss Katherine Stinson Flew

While reading materials for an earlier blog on Frank Terrill I noticed female pioneer aviator who came after Harriet Quimby, Katherine Stinson.

The Flying Schoolgirl

Katherine was born in a small town in rural Alabama in 1891. When she became the fourth woman in the United States to obtain her…

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Depression and Loss

"Purl saw a light in the parlor and entered. Anna was sitting on the sofa, motionless. Only a flicker from the oil lamp lighted the room. I can't go to the reunion today," she said. He looked down at her and placed his hands in his pockets, helpless that she should be so sad. So little had changed s…

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Literary Day at the Museum

I returned to the Hollywood Heritage Museum this month. My family has been to Los Angeles many times, and we always visit Hollywood. This time, we stayed in the heart of it.

Sixteen other authors and I were invited to the Fifth Annual book signing event at the Museum. Yours in a Hurry was the onl…

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The Best Years of Their Lives

It's time to start book two. I'm reading about soldiers returning after WWI for a story on Appalachia. For a recent Wall Street Journal Book Section article Harvard professor and author Jane Kamensky was asked to suggest works that best reflect the impact of wartime. I decided to read a few. I re-re…

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Family Treasures

If we're lucky, we inherit a special item from an ancestor. As an only child, I'm fortunate to have many, like the chair I recently received   that connects me to the characters in Yours in a Hurry. I also asked friends what heirlooms they cherish.

One Chair Survives

Readers know that the …

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Grandfather Purl

         Anna turned to Purl. "What do you think Father and Mother would think of our plans?"

         "I doubt they would understand why we're leaving the land. I'd hope they wouldn't be disappointed about that. They would surely be disappointed in me."

          Anna didn't re…

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Vintage Lindbergh at Rhinebeck

A Spirited Gala

What a great event! The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in tiny Red Hook, New York near the Hyde Park area served as a resource for the 1908-1912 aeroplanes mentioned in Yours in a Hurry. They have many famous models, and most still fly. When we saw that this year's gala would celebrate t…

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Postcards and Letters Guide Stories

Some writers are blessed with old journals and boxes of letters to guide their story.  For Yours in a Hurry I had only a few, but they gave me insight to two main characters.

Locating a Character in a Point in Time

How did I know that Addison traveled a lot? According to the census he was an …

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Weeping Women's Springs

It's important to read books in the genre we're attempting to write. I've mentioned the Historical Novel Society and their great Facebook page before. That's where I found Tamara Eaton and her new book, Weeping Women's Springs, about a strange town and how five women are affected by war. It's beauti…

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Musical Moments

Can you remember what song was playing the first time you knew that guy was the one, or the one that they  played at your wedding? Music creates an atmosphere for us to remember special moments and gives us a common language transcending our native tongue. Popular songs were especially helpful in cr…

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Tuchman Still the Best

There's a lot of World War I fever going around during the 100th anniversary of the Great War. Many books on the topic have been written in the last few years and I've read some for a future project. I agree with others that the best book on the events leading up to the war and the period until the …

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The Magnificient Moisants

The Magnificent Moisants is the title of Doris L. Rich's book about another pioneering aviation family which was in many ways more diverse and interesting than the Wrights. Alfred, John and Matilde Moisant were three children of French-Canadian immigrants who settled in Illinois before moving to Cal…

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Fight of the Century

I remember being at my paternal grandfather's house on Friday nights. He sat in his favorite chair with a brew and Planters Peanuts. He was faithful to Planters and collected memorabilia of Mr. Peanut with the monocle and top hat. Grandpa's eyes were glued to the black and white 17 inch television s…

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