Featured

Today, I’m delighted to share a guest post from Edward Londergan about his new book, Unlike Any Other #blogtour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

Today, I’m welcoming Edward Londergan and his new novel, Unlike Any Other to the blog. Edward has written a fascinating post about the locations used in his novel, and how he researched them.

One of the most important aspects of research I undertook to write the book is identifying and understanding the physical locations where the story took place. One of the most important aspects of any historical fiction story is the location. Luckily for me, the three places where most of the story takes place are relatively close to my home. Knowing each of the locations well helps me make the reader be there and see it in their mind’s eye. It helps me craft the story better to make it more lifelike. I want the reader to be there. I firmly believe that if the writer can’t see it neither can the reader. 

The three main locations are all in Central Massachusetts—the small town of Hardwick, the City of Worcester, and the town of Brookfield. One of the great helps to me was the maps of Revolutionary War era Brookfield drawn by a local historian and cartographer. He put together a series of maps of Brookfield during Bathsheba’s time living there. He did quite a bit of research for the maps and I was lucky enough to learn of them from a mutual acquaintance. Unfortunately, he passed away before I began writing the book, so I could not ask the dozen questions I had for him. 

He took great care to get the location of each building of each farm, of the taverns and cemetery. Using his maps and my wonderful and sometimes intimidating imagination, I visualized the village and could walk through it from end to end as if I lived in that moment. 

Bathsheba grew up on her father’s estate in Hardwick. He was a wealthy man and owned large tracts of land. A large house sat on the top of a hill that could be seen for miles in every direction. To proclaim his undying allegiance to the British crown, he had a large boulder dragged to the middle of this field. A large hole two feet deep was drilled in it. A tall tree trunk was used as a flagpole from which flew a large Union Jack. Having such a flag on such a tall pole on top of a high hill rubbed many people in pre-Revolutionary War Massachusetts the wrong way. To be able to go to the estate site and gaze across the open fields, see the long stone walls he had built, stand on that boulder and look in the hole, and visualize the flag curling in the breeze made it all come alive for me. 

In Brookfield, I could drive and walk the roads where all the buildings once stood that Bathsheba would have known and perhaps visited. The roads of today follow, for the most part, the roads of that time. To go to the location of Bathsheba’s house, which is long since gone having been abandoned and falling down many years ago, and stand where the front steps remain, blocks of granite, a short distance from the well where her husband’s body was put after he was murdered. To walk up the dirt road and know that she once rode her horse on it, walked it as I did, or drove in their carriage along it makes it all real. The church they attended still stands. The town common is the same shape as it was then. Some of the houses surrounding it existed when Bathsheba lived there. She would have walked by these same places. 

In my stories, I want to put the reader there. If they realize they’re reading, I’ve failed as a writer. I want my readers to get lost in the story so that the pages seemingly turn themselves. I want the reader to be at the tavern, sit before at a table near the fire on a cold winter day, and see the mug of rum before them. 

Having grown up in Worcester, I’m familiar with the city. Knowing the locations of the jail, courthouse, meeting house, Bathsheba’s sister’s estate, and the burying ground all helped me imagine what it was like during those events. Interestingly, Bathsheba and her unborn child, killed when she was executed, were buried on her sister’s estate, which in 1905 was gifted to the City of Worcester and is now Green Hill Park. She and her baby lie somewhere within the park in an unmarked grave. 

Thank you so much for sharing your research with me. It sounds amazing. I do love a good map. Good luck with your new book.

Here’s the blurb:

The Story of An 18th Century Woman from A Prominent New England Family Who Went from A Life of Privilege to The Gallows

Bathsheba Spooner was the daughter of Timothy Ruggles, a general in the French and Indian War, president of the Stamp Act Congress, Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and a leading loyalist in Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War; the epitome of upper class.

Like her father, Bathsheba was smart, strong-willed, and a staunch British loyalist. Forced to marry a man she did not love, Bathsheba withstood her husband’s abuse for years until a young Continental soldier entered her life. But when this well-heeled mother of three small children discovered she was pregnant with the soldier’s child, her thoughts quickly turned to murder.

Based on a true story, the events that follow Bathsheba’s life, her decisions, and her ultimate demise will show readers that Bathsheba Spooner was, in fact, Unlike Any Other . . .

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Barnes and NobleWaterstonesKobo

Hudson BooksellersIndieboundBooks-A-Million

Meet the Author

Ed Londergan is the author of the award-winning books The Devils’ Elbow and The Long Journey Home. Having researched American history for many years, he is a frequent speaker with a focus on colonial Massachusetts. A graduate of Holy Cross, he lives in Warren, Massachusetts. 

Connect with the author

WebsiteTwitterFacebookLinkedIn

InstagramAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Follow the Unlike Any Other blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

Today, I’m delighted to host The Colour of Rubies by Toni Mount and share an extract from the new historical mystery

Extract

The Palace of Westminster


The Great Gate was impressive, its ancient stone ivy-clad, its turrets snow-capped and the Royal Standard flapping above in the fitful flurries of icy flakes. The guards in their bright liveries stamped their boots and blew on their hands, puffing out white clouds with every breath. Keeping watch in January was a duty none enjoyed. They recognised Jude and waved him through, ignoring Seb as a person of little consequence, unlikely to endanger King Edward in any way.

The Inner Gate into Green Yard was far less imposing but the solitary guard there demanded to know their business. Mayhap, he was in need of some activity or company to pass the time.

‘Who goes there?’ he demanded, barring the way with his halberd.

‘Walter, you bloody nincompoop, it’s me,’ Jude said. ‘You know me better than your own father – if you ever knew him at all.’

‘Bloody Foxley,’ the guard growled. ‘What brings you back on a Saturday afternoon? And who’s this?’ He nodded at Seb.

‘My brother. He’s a scribe like me and we’ve got work to do for Secretary Oliver – not that it’s any business of yours.’

‘Mind your mouth, Foxley. I can throw you in the lock-up anytime I like and you’ll freeze to death in there afore you can say your Paternoster. And why’s your brother here? He ain’t a King’s Clerk and if he’s half the bloody trouble you are, he’s not welcome.’

‘He has permission; a written warrant.’ Jude took a paper from his purse and offered it to the guard, fully aware that Walter was illiterate as a blind sheep. ‘You want to read it?’

The guard shook his head.

‘Just keep out of my sight, the pair of you. Any trouble and you’ll have my halberd shoved up your arse with a ribbon on it.’

Jude was sniggering as he led Seb to side door.

‘You upset him. Why did you taunt him so, not to mention the lies you told?’ Seb
asked, knocking a dark mess of slush and ashes off his boots against the stone step.

Jude didn’t bother, treading mucky footsteps along the passage within.

‘Forwhy Walter’s an ignorant pig. He knows I have the measure of him, the damned jackanapes, and lying is just the Westminster way – nobody tells the truth here. Besides, this clerkship job would be unutterably tedious if I didn’t have folk like him and Piers Creed to make mock of. Did I tell you about Creed the Farter?’

‘Aye, you did, more than once.’

‘This here is Secretary Oliver’s joyous house of entertainment,’ Jude announced, stopping at a closed door. ‘Scene of my life-wasting scribbling and associated tortures. Coldest place on earth, if I know anything, where we sit and feel our bollocks shrivel and fall off, if we’re not careful. You want to see inside, if it’s not locked? Creed is probably still working like an idiot.’

Jude tried the door, lifted the latch. It squealed open and, sure enough, there was Piers Creed, as Jude had half expected, bent over his desk, pen in hand. Despite the noise, the clerk didn’t look up.

‘Jesu’s sake, Piers, you farting, foolish fucker, can’t you think of anything better to do on our free afternoon? Go play bloody snowballs or something. Hey! Don’t ignore me. How can you sleep in here? It’s too damned cold.’

Jude kicked the clerk’s stool to rouse him from his nap. But Piers did not waken. He slid across his desk and toppled off the stool, the pen yet held fast in his fingers.

‘Wake up, you idiot.’

Jude grabbed his fellow before he should fall to the floor and hurt himself. He shook him but it did no good.

Seb lowered himself to the flagstones with care. He removed his gloves and touched the clerk’s cheek.

‘His skin be icy.’

‘So would any man’s be in this place. See? The brazier isn’t alight. Come on, Piers, rouse yourself, you idle…’

‘Shouting at him will have no effect, I fear.’ Seb put his fingers to the pulse pointunder the angle of the jaw. ”Tis a sorrowful thing, Jude, but your friend be dead. We must fetch a priest to him, straightway.’

Here’s the blurb:

Murder lurks at the heart of the royal court in the rabbit warren of the Palace of Westminster. The year is 1480. Treason is afoot amongst the squalid grandeur and opulent filth of this medieval world of contrasts. Even the Office of the King’s Secretary hides a dangerous secret.

Meeting with lords and lackeys, clerks, courtiers and the mighty King Edward himself, can Seb Foxley decipher the encoded messages and name the spy?

Will Seb be able to prevent the murder of the most important heir in England?

All will be revealed as we join Seb Foxley and his abrasive brother Jude in the latest intriguing adventure amid the sordid shadows of fifteenth-century London.

Praise for Toni Mount’s The Colour of Rubies

Tony Riches, author of The Tudor Trilogy “An evocative masterclass in storytelling.”  
Carol McGrath, author of the She-wolves trilogy “I was utterly transported – It’s superb”. “What a plot. What characters. Perfect pitch”.

“I loved the relationship between Seb and Jude”.

“The Colour of Rubies is a totally immersive experience as richly stitched as one of King Edward IV’s gorgeous tapestries. This cleverly plotted novel with its twists and turns will keep a reader page turning late into the night until the book’s final scenes. Sebastian and Jude are wonderfully realised personalities with similar emotions, concerns, fears and hopes we have have today. Their medieval London felt real and intriguing to me with unexpected dangers lurking in alleyways. I felt as if I was walking in Sebastian’s footsteps. With this thrilling novel Toni Mount has shown herself a master of medieval suspense. More please”.

Praise for Toni Mount’s Sebastian Foxley Medieval Murder Series

Tracy Borman, historian and broadcaster “An atmospheric and compelling thriller that takes the reader to the dark heart of medieval London.”

Matthew Lewis author of Richard III Loyalty Binds Me “Toni Mount continues to delight with the superbly crafted Seb Foxley mysteries. Impeccable research and sculpted characters combine with an engaging narrative to create another irresistible story. This series goes from strength to strength, and I’m already looking forward to the next instalment”

J.P. Reedman, author of the I, RICHARD PLANTAGENET series: “Sebastian Foxley is the Cadfael of the 15th century”.

“The Sebastian Foxley Medieval Mystery Series by Toni Mount is not only filled by dastardly murders and gripping intrigue but contains many well-researched historical facts from the Wars of the Roses era” 

Samantha Willcoxson, author & historian “Toni Mount is simply brilliant”.

“If you love CJ Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake (and I do) you will love Toni’s Sebastian Foxley”.

“From learning how a 15th century scrivener created illuminated manuscripts to venturing within the dank tunnels beneath the Tower of London, Toni is an artist who completely immerses the reader in another time and place and always leaves one eager for the next book.”

Stephanie Churchill, author of historical fiction and epic fantasy “Leave it to Seb to unravel another international spiderweb of intrigue, betrayal, murder, and deceit. Our flawed, loveable hero has done it again. And at the end of it all, his future is looking brighter than ever. I cannot wait to find out what happens to him next!”

Sharon Bennet Connoly, author and medieval historian “A beautifully crafted mystery that brings the dark, dangerous streets of medieval London to life. Toni Mount is a magician with words, weaving a captivating story in wonderful prose. The Colour of Evil is, to put it simply, a pleasure to read.” 

Rosalie Gilbert, medieval historian and author “The author’s knowledge of medieval history shines through the narrative in the small details which enhance the story woven into it. The details about the inside workings of medieval trade practices lent themselves perfectly for a background to murder and deceit”.

“Recommended for lovers of historic fiction.”

Joanne R Larner author of Richard Liveth Yet trilogy: “I always look forward to a new ‘Colour of…’ book. I can’t wait to see what escapades Seb Foxley and his brother, Jude, get up to next. They, and all the characters, are endearing and colourful. The books are always well written, conjuring 15th century London into the reader’s mind and the plots are excellent!’

Mel Starr bestselling author of the Hugh de Singleton chronicles: “If I believed in reincarnation I would be willing to think that Toni Mount lived a previous life in 15th century London.  The scents, the sights, the tastes of the late Middle Ages are superbly rendered.”

Connect with the author, http://www.twitter.com/tonihistorian

The Colour of Rubies is available now.

Featured

Happy release day to Elena Collins whose The Witches Tree is released today. Here’s my review.

Here’s the blurb:

A tale as old as time. A spirit that has never rested.

Present day

As a love affair comes to an end, and with it her dreams for her future, artist Selena needs a retreat. The picture-postcard Sloe Cottage in the Somerset village of Ashcombe promises to be the perfect place to forget her problems, and Selena settles into her new home as spring arrives. But it isn’t long before Selena hears the past whispering to her. Sloe Cottage is keeping secrets which refuse to stay hidden.

1682

Grace Cotter longs for nothing more than a husband and family of her own. Content enough with her work on the farm, looking after her father, and learning the secrets of her grandmother Bett’s healing hands, nevertheless Grace still hopes for love. But these are dangerous times for dreamers, and rumours and gossip can be deadly. One mis-move and Grace’s fate looks set…

Separated by three hundred years, two women are drawn together by a home bathed in blood and magic. Grace Cotter’s spirit needs to rest, and only Selena can help her now. 

Review:

The Witch’s Tree is my second dual timeline novel in a week. It’s not my preferred take on historical fiction, but hey, I’m on holiday, so why not.

The Witch’s Tree is a story linked by a single space – a house – and the author offers two timelines, one modern-day and one set in the late seventeenth century. It was the late seventeenth-century story that fascinated me the most, and the feeling of impending doom made the story a little difficult to read in places. The contrasting stories of the two women further enforced the sense that problems were brewing for Grace in the seventeenth century,. As you might expect, I wanted more of the seventeenth-century story, and less of the modern-day one. I did appreciate that the modern-day story didn’t give away any of the details of the seventeenth-century story and that some of the aspects were misunderstood by the modern cast. I think that little bit of realism really helped with the contemporary storyline.

A captivating read, I think readers will enjoy meeting Grace and Selena.

My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for my review copy.

(Not one to ever think that books should come with trigger warnings, I confess, there was one aspect of the book that I found a little upsetting, so I’ll say here that readers should be aware of the appearance in the narrative of a cleft lip. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but just to let readers know it is there.)

The Witches Tree is released today, 17th May 2022, and is available in ebook, paperback, hardback, large print and audio.

Connect with the author on twitter.

Featured

I’m delighted to spotlight The Mesilla by Mary Armstrong on the blog today #BlogTour

Here’s the blurb:

At 14 years old, Jesus ‘Chuy’ Perez Contreras Verazzi Messi is too small and frail to work the land on the family farm near the Rio Bravo in Mexico. The local padre’s tutoring reveals Jesus’s unending curiosity and fertile mind. Noted Las Cruces, New Mexico attorney, and politician Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain, agrees to take his nephew under his wing. Jesus ‘reads law’ with his uncle and shares adventures and adversity with the Fountain family and other historic Mesilla and Tularosa Valley citizens. His coming-of-age story will take you into the wild southwest, a brewing range war, a territory struggling toward statehood, courtroom dramas, and the adventures and adversities of a boy’s quest for manhood. 

*A fictional memoir by Jesus about the ten years leading to the notorious and unsolved Fountain murders.

Buy Links:

Universal Links for the series:

When the Doves Coo (A Prequel to The Two Valleys Saga): 

The Mesilla (The Two Valleys Saga, Book 1)

The San Augustin (The Two Valleys Saga, Book 2)

The Mesilla Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Barnes and NobleCOAS Books

Meet the Author

Mary lives in the heart of one of the ‘Two Valleys’ in Las Cruces New Mexico, with her husband Norman ‘Skip’ Bailey, Jr. and their Cavachon child-dog, Java. In 2017 she wrote the one-act play, “It is Blood,” which was selected for a performance by the Las Cruces Community Theatre. Whereas the Two Valleys series is a prequel to the notorious and unsolved murders of Albert J. Fountain and his eight-year-old son, “It is Blood,” is a sequel to those events. 

After winning an award for her debut historic fiction novel “The Mesilla,” Mary has decided to focus on that genre — at least for the foreseeable future. Her writing is fast-moving, thought-provoking and with just enough wordsmithing to satisfy your artistic hankerings. While her writing has literary merit, she strives to capture the moment — the time and the place — and help you live in that moment.

Before releasing her debut novel, Mary dabbled in creative writing, including a weekly column in the Las Cruces Sun News. Since retiring from a diverse career in various planning and design fields, she has devoted herself more fully to her writing, being a good spouse, serving her dog Java, and slipping away to the golf course when left unchained to the desk. 

Connect with Mary

WebsiteTwitter

FacebookLinkedInInstagram

BookBubAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Follow The Mesilla tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

Cragside – A 1930s murder mystery is on audiobook tour with Lovebookstours from 16th-24th May 2022

I’ll be uploading links on the days of the tour, and would like to thank all the hosts and Kelly Lacey for organising the tour.

Here’s the blurb:

From the author of The Erdington Mysteries, a classic 1930s murder mystery house party.

Lady Merryweather has had a shocking year. Apprehended for the murder of her husband the year before, and only recently released, she hopes a trip away from London will allow her to grieve. The isolated, but much loved, Cragside Estate in North Northumberland, home of her friends, Lord and Lady Bradbury, holds special memories for her.

But, no sooner has she arrived than the body of one of the guests is found on the estate, and suspicion immediately turns on her. Perhaps, there are no friendships to be found here, after all.

Released, due to a lack of evidence, Lady Ella returns to Cragside only to discover a second murder has taken place in her absence, and one she can’t possibly have committed.

Quickly realising that these new murders must be related to that of her beloved husband, Lady Merryweather sets out to solve the crime, once and for all. But there are many who don’t want her to succeed, and as the number of murder victims increases, the possibility that she might well be the next victim, can’t be ignored.

Journey to the 1930s Cragside Estate, to a period house-party where no one is truly safe, and the estate is just as deadly as the people.

You can purchase the audiobook via the following link.

And I’m adding the links for all the fab hosts below.

Featured

Today, I’m taking part in The Storm Girl by Kathleen McGurl blog tour

Today, I’m taking part in The Storm Girl by Kathleen McGurl blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources.

Here’s the blurb:

The gripping new historical novel from the USA Today bestselling author of The Girl from Bletchley Park and The Forgotten Secret.

A heartbreaking choice. A secret kept for centuries.

1784. When Esther Harris’s father hurts his back, she takes over his role helping smugglers hide contraband in the secret cellar in their pub. But when the free traders’ ships are trapped in the harbour, a battle between the smugglers and the revenue officers leads to murder and betrayal – and Esther is forced to choose between the love of her life and protecting her family…

Present day. Fresh from her divorce, Millie Galton moves into a former inn overlooking the harbour in Mudeford and plans to create her dream home. When a chance discovery behind an old fireplace reveals the house’s secret history as a haven for smugglers and the devastating story of its former residents, could the mystery of a disappearance from centuries ago finally be solved?

Sweeping historical fiction perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley, Kathryn Hughes and Tracy Rees.

My review

The Storm Girl is a dual timeline novel, and as a reader and writer of historical fiction, it was the historical storyline that captivated me far more than the modern-day tale of divorce and starting afresh.

Coming at this from a ‘newb’ point of view, I expected both storylines to have some connection, other than the most tenuous one, of them simply taking place in the same space although at different times. That wasn’t what happened, and I did encounter some problems, whereby the one storyline gave away events in the other – which was a little frustrating.

With all that said, I did enjoy this book. The historical storyline, while a little too wholesome for me, did capture my imagination and The Storm Girl is very much a competent and go-getting type of gal that a modern audience will thrill to discover.

Will I try a dual timeline novel again, that remains to be seen? I confess I would have been happy to have the story revolve only around the historical elements, and not worry about the modern-day setting at all, but I more than understand that a dual timeline narrative is extremely popular, and I’m sure fans of this genre will be captivated by this tale of a place in two different timelines, over two hundred years apart, and will, hopefully, consider learning more about their own local history as a result of reading the book.

A firm 4/5 from me – I did appreciate the historical notes at the back of the novel.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Storm-Girl-Sweeping-historical-fiction-ebook/dp/B09VYLVP58/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Storm-Girl-Sweeping-historical-fiction-ebook/dp/B09VYLVP58/

Meet the Author

Kathleen McGurl lives near the coast in Christchurch, England. She writes dual timeline novels in which a historical mystery is uncovered and resolved in the present day. She is married to an Irishman and has two adult sons. She enjoys travelling, especially in her motorhome around Europe but home is Mudeford, where this novel is set.

Connect with Kathleen 

https://kathleenmcgurl.com/

https://www.facebook.com/KathleenMcGurl

https://twitter.com/KathMcGurl

Follow the tour for The Storm Girl with Rachel’s Random Resources
Featured

Book Review and happy release day for – A Taste for Killing by Sarah Hawkswood – historical mystery

Here’s the blurb:

January, 1145. Godfrey Bowyer, the best but least likeable bow maker in Worcester, dies an agonising death by poisoning. Although similarly struck down after the same meal, his wife Blanche survives. The number of people who could have administered the poison should mean a very short investigation for the Sheriff’s men, Hugh Bradecote and Serjeant Catchpoll, but perhaps someone was pulling the strings, and that widens the net considerably. Could it be the cast-out younger brother or perhaps Orderic the Bailiff, whose wife may have had to endure Godfrey’s attentions? Could it even be the wife herself?

With Bradecote eager to return to his manor and worried about his wife’s impending confinement, and Underserjeant Walkelin trying to get his mother to accept his choice of bride, there are distractions aplenty, though Serjeant Catchpoll will not let them get in the way of solving this case.

This is the 10th title in this series, however it can be read alone!

Review

A Taste for Killing is my third Bradecote and Catchpoll Investigations book, and it is always fabulous to return to twelfth-century Worcester.

In A Taste for Killing, Bradecote, Catchpoll and Walkelin must uncover the true culprit when Godfrey Bowyer dies from poisoning. There are, as always, no end of possible suspects, and because this book takes place in Worcester, we meet all sorts of characters, from the burgesses to the maids, and even an old woman, on her death bed, and with a fabulous memory for things that happened many years ago.

The investigation is as tricky as always. Some information points one way, other information, another. I do love the way the author puts the solution together, with all the false leads and people guilty of something, if not the murder. The three main characters, while having their own, separate lives, don’t overburden the story with their storylines, and yet still add to it. All of the characters feel real, and as though they could have truly existed.

My biggest complaint would be that I didn’t want to murderer to be who it was, but still, a thoroughly enjoyable addition to the series. I’ll be reading the 7 books I’ve not yet gotten to when I have the time:)

My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my review copy.

Check out my previous reviews for the series; Blood Runs Thicker and Wolf at the Door.

A Taste for Killing is released today, 12th May 2022.

Featured

I’m delighted to be taking part in today’s blog blitz for The Write Balance by Bonni Goldberg, and there’s a fabulous competition to enter as well #BlogBlitz

Here’s the blurb:

The Write Balance: How to Embrace Percolation, Revision & Going Public

Bonni Goldberg’s The Write Balance introduces you to alternative perspectives and motivation for lasting creative fulfillment. This companion book to the beloved bestseller, Room toWrite is filled with encouragement, tools, examples and exercises.

Through years of teaching writing in workshops and in classrooms, Bonni has seen that the writers who are most passionate and grounded in their Writing Self embrace three aspects of the writing process: nurturing ideas, revising to best communicate those ideas, and completing the writing cycle by going public.

In this powerful guide, Bonni invites you to explore these creative stages which are essential to satisfying your Writing Self.

Use The Write Balance to:

  • Find Fulfillment as a Writer
  • Explore Creative Writing
  • Add to Your Writer’s Toolbox for Perspective
  • Overcome Writer’s Block
  • Teach Creative Writing
  • Inspire Your Writing Group
  • Give as Gifts to the Writers in Your Life

Purchase Link – https://books2read.com/u/3n2XQ9

Review

Believe it or not, The Write Balance, is the first book I’ve read on the process of writing. I’m just not that sort of person who thinks, ‘I want to do something, so I’ll read and research it first before I try.’ For writing, I just started writing, and have made all the mistakes along the way:)

As such, The Write Balance, was a great read. I recognised many of the scenarios mentioned in the book, and quickly came to understand that Bonni Goldberg’s intent for much of the book, was to teach the body to accept that writing, revision etc was going to take place and to be receptive to it – essentially, making the process physical as opposed to just mental. And I can really see how this would work. All writers make pacts with themselves about their expectations and targets. It’s how we go about meeting these expectations and reaching our targets which is often the hardest element. We need to train ourselves to accept the processes, and there will be many different ways of doing this, and the author makes some very valid suggestions.

I defy any writer to not find themselves in one, or many of the scenarios, and I do believe that writers will find answers throughout the book, and if not answers, then certainly a means of finding a solution.

A genuinely interesting read, that fellow writers and would be writers will find an invaluable resource, even if they only dip in and out of it, when looking for solutions, the knowledge that everyone suffers similar issues and when seeking a cheerleader who wants you to succeed.

Meet the author


Bonni Goldberg is the author of The Write Balance: How to Embrace Percolation, Revision & Going Public, the companion book to the best-seller Room to Write: Daily Invitations to a Writer’s Life. Bonni is an award-winning poet and writer. She is the creator of the 2 Minute Journals™ series. Both traditionally and indie published, her books include non-fiction for adults and fiction and non-fiction for young readers. Her essays and blog posts can be found in numerous print and online publications.

Bonni teaches creative writing at colleges and leads writing workshops internationally for all ages. She knows everyone is creative, and she supports people to discover and share their authentic, meaningful and imaginative experiences through words. Whether through her writings or through teaching, her methods and perspectives continue to empower thousands of adults, families, and children.


Bonni is also a Jewish educator. She speaks, writes, and leads workshops on Jewish topics such as Jewish identity, rituals and antisemitism at Jewish women’s events, JCCs, and conferences. 

Bonni Goldberg lives in Portland, Oregon with her partner in life, and some creative projects, artist Geo Kendall.

Connect with Bonnie

www.bonnigoldberg.com
www.facebook.com/bonnigoldbergbooks
www.twitter.com/bonnigoldberg
www.instagram.com/goldbergbonni

Giveaway to win one of these prizes 

30-minute coaching call (video or phone if US)

Q&A Zoom with their group (video)

Feedback on 3 double spaced pages of their work (via email)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7598c2160/?

Follow the one day blog blitz for The Write Balance with Rachel’s Random Resources
Featured

Today, I’m excited to share an excerpt from The Admiral’s Wife by M K Tod #blogtour

Today, I’m excited to share an excerpt from The Admiral’s Wife by M K Tod.

Excerpt

August 1912 – The next hour passed in a blur as Flannigan unrolled and rerolled various bolts of cloth. Her selections made and the account tallied, Isabel gathered her things. “It looks rather stormy,” she said.

“We’re sure to get a big blow today, Mrs. Taylor. You might want to get home as soon as you can.”

Outside the wind was stronger and the sky was thick and menacing. Waves churned the harbor. Sampans lining the shore pitched up and down. The air smelled of lightning. An explosion sounded, the blast echoing in her ears.

Suddenly, the mood of the Praya changed. Chinese workers hurried away; some abandoned the tools of their trade—rickshaws, brooms, wheelbarrows, long poles, rickety chairs and tables—while others pushed, pulled, or carried their belongings with them. Those who made their homes and living on the sampans swarmed the decks of their vessels grabbing this and that, hurrying nimbly along the gunnels, and scrambling up the ladders connecting them to long-fingered piers.

The wind grew stronger. Isabel’s hat blew off, rolling along the Praya like a runaway wheel. Without thinking, she chased after it. Hampered by the bulk of her purchases, she weaved this way and that. Every time she got close, the wind picked her hat up again. It’s gone, she finally admitted as the blue concoction sailed off over the water and rain pelted down—big, fat drops that smacked her skin. I should return to Murphy’s and wait out the storm.

She swiveled around. The Praya was deserted. Several sampans were precariously close to capsizing. The wind that had previously been at her back now buffeted her with such force, she could barely keep her balance. Isabel braced herself against the gale. Murphy’s seemed a long way away.

The wind howled like an animal in distress. The rain grew in intensity. “One step at a time,” she muttered aloud. Left foot, right foot. Left foot, right foot. She caught a glimpse of a man falling from a sampan into the water. Should she try to rescue him? Would her skirts weigh her down so that she would only drown trying? The sky closed in. Day felt like night.

Isabel continued to push forward. Without warning, someone grabbed her arm. She struggled to break free.

“I’m trying to help you, Mrs. Taylor,” Li Tao-Kai said, his voice gruff. “Don’t you realize this is a typhoon?”

A typhoon. She’d heard about typhoons—the Asian equivalent to hurricanes—and had even heard about the devastation caused by one that hit Hong Kong in 1906, but she had no idea what such an event would be like. “How was I supposed to know?” she said.

“The typhoon signal went off.” 

“Was that the explosion I heard?”

He jerked his head in a quick nod and she thought he might be a little exasperated with her, although it was difficult to tell. They were both shouting to be heard. Li Tao-Kai held her arm firmly and a few minutes later, pulled her inside the shop.

“I saw a man fall into the water,” she said, as soon as she caught her breath. “He needs help.”

“We can’t go out again,” he said. “It’s dangerous. If you don’t believe me, look out the window to see for yourself.”

With the sun totally obscured and only one narrow window in Murphy’s Fine Silks and Linens, the interior was dim. Isabel hadn’t noticed the men milling about the room when she and Mr. Li had entered, but now she saw that there were about fifteen of them, a mix of Chinese and European. Isabel nodded in their direction, then crossed over to look out the window. Debris skittered along the Praya: bits of wood, sheets of paper, a straw hat, a broom. A table had fallen over and now scraped along the asphalt. She looked for the place where she’d seen the man fall, but everything was so topsy-turvy she could find no trace of him. A crash sounded as something smashed against the building.

“Step away from the window, Mrs. Taylor,” George Flannigan said. “It’s not safe.”

Isabel was so startled that she obeyed without question and took a spot standing next to Li Tao-Kai. Since his role brought him into frequent contact with the British community, she’d seen him on a few occasions following the opera and at times there’d been a chance to talk. He was an interesting man who, to her surprise, didn’t treat her as many men did: an attractive woman worthy of a flirtatious glance or two but unworthy of weighty conversation. She was just musing about whether he spoke to all women in the same fashion, when a bamboo pole shattered the window, flinging glass across the room.

“Good heavens!” she exclaimed. Her eyes wide with shock.

“Are you all right?” Li Tao-Kai asked.

“I think so.” Isabel spoke slowly. Nothing in her life had prepared her for a storm so fierce it left the surroundings looking like a bundle of jackstraws.

“Careful, I see something on your clothes.” He reached over and plucked a shard of glass from the sleeve of her dress.

The howls of the storm were deafening—like a train charging through a tunnel. Beyond the wind was the thumping and banging of debris tumbling past the warehouse. Without thinking, Isabel crossed to the window once more and peered out. Pellets of rain whipped her face.

“We have to help,” she said. “I can see women on the dock trying to save their children. They can barely stand. Look at them,” she urged.

“It’s too dangerous outside,” George Flannigan said.

“But we can’t just think of ourselves. Surely there are enough of us here to help.”

“You don’t understand how deadly typhoons can be,” Mr. Li said. “I’ve seen men blown down the street and trees uprooted by the force of the wind.” He shook his head. “It’s dangerous outside.”

“But those people could die without our help. If we were to form a human chain, each person standing close to the next person in line, we could rescue them. Whoever heads the line will help these people off their boats and hand them over to the next person in line and so on. Surely we can at least try.”

“It could work, Mr. Li,” George Flannigan said. “The wind has eased a bit, so we may have a few minutes before it strengthens again. Now might be the perfect time.”

“All right. We can try. But Mrs. Taylor remains in the shop.”

“I’ll do no such thing,” Isabel declared.

Li Tao-Kai drew his lips into a tight grimace. “If you’re determined to help, perhaps you will agree to be at the end closest to the shop.”

Isabel debated the benefit of further argument. “All right,” she said.

One by one, they stepped outside. When it was her turn, the wind tore at her clothes and rain pummeled her face. From all around she heard the clang, clatter, and smash of items hurled by the wind.

Here’s the blurb:

The lives of two women living in Hong Kong more than a century apart are unexpectedly linked by forbidden love and financial scandal.

In 2016, Patricia Findlay leaves a high-powered career to move to Hong Kong, where she hopes to rekindle the bonds of family and embrace the city of her ancestors. Instead, she is overwhelmed by feelings of displacement and depression. To make matters worse, her father, CEO of the family bank, insists that Patricia’s duty is to produce an heir, even though she has suffered three miscarriages.

In 1912, when Isabel Taylor moves to Hong Kong with her husband, Henry, and their young daughter, she struggles to find her place in such a different world and to meet the demands of being the admiral’s wife. At a reception hosted by the governor of Hong Kong, she meets Li Tao-Kai, an influential member of the Chinese community and a man she met a decade earlier when he was a student at Cambridge.

As the story unfolds, each woman must consider where her loyalties lie and what she is prepared to risk for love.

Trigger Warnings:
Brief sex scenes

Praise:

“Family secrets and personal ambitions, east and west, collide in this compelling, deeply moving novel.” — Weina Dai Randel, award-winning author of THE LAST ROSE OF SHANGHAI

“Irresistible and absorbing.” Janie Chang, bestselling author of THE LIBRARY OF LEGENDS

Buy Links:

Amazon (Universal Link)

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CA:  Amazon AU

Meet the author

M.K. (Mary) Tod’s interest in historical fiction began as a teenager immersed in the stories of Rosemary Sutcliff, Jean Plaidy, and Georgette Heyer. In 2004, her husband’s career took them to Hong Kong where, with no job and few prospects, Mary began what became Unravelled, her first novel. The Admirals Wife is her fifth novel.

Mary’s award-winning blog, www.awriterofhistory.com, focuses on reading and writing historical fiction. She’s an active member of the historical fiction community and has conducted five unique reader surveys on topics from readers’ habits and preferences to favorite historical fiction authors. Mary is happily married to her high-school sweetheart. They have two adult children and two delightful grandsons.

Connect with M K Tod

WebsiteBlogTwitter

FacebookLinkedInInstagram

BookBubAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Follow The Admiral’s Wife blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

It’s my turn on the new release tour for Cause of Death by Anne Legat blog tour #blogtour

Here’s the blurb:

All is not well in the village. The local meadows have been the pride of Bishops Well for hundreds of years, but now they are facing the sharp blades of developers. The landowner is a rich and reclusive author who is happy to see them destroyed, but the villagers – including Sam Dee and Maggie Kaye – are fighting back.

Until, that is, someone decides to silence one of their number permanently.

As Maggie and Sam soon discover, there is more than a quick buck to be made in the developers’ plans. There are age-old secrets and personal vendettas that could have deadly repercussions in Bishops Well today.

With Sam’s legal expertise and Maggie’s… well, Maggie-ness, they delve into the past, determined to unearth the truth. And, as sparks begin to fly, could there finally be something more between this sleuthing duo?

Here’s my review

Cause of Death is the third book in The Shires Mysteries, but the first one I’d read. I think this left me at a little bit of a disadvantage to begin with as Maggie has a quirk, that I didn’t know about, and it took me a while to work out what it was. Also, and this is a very personal complaint, so I apologise – this book has two points of view, but one is told first person, one third person and then there’a also an omnipresent narrator – I really struggle with books that don’t stick to one tense, and writing style.

That said, the story is intriguing, and I did want to know who the murderer was, so I continued reading, despite all my misgivings about tenses. Maggie is an intriguing character, but rather pushy and overbearing. Sam is a milder character, and more likely to apply reason to his conclusions. The story is quite twisty and there’s a touch of humour to it in places. The author has no qualms about making the resolutions quite complex and employing a large and diverse set of characters.

Overwhelmingly, this was an enjoyable and satisfying read, and I might just go back and read books 1 and 2:)

Purchase Links 

Cause of Death: The Shires Mysteries 3: A gripping and unputdownable English cosy mystery eBook : Legat, Anna: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Cause of Death: The Shires Mysteries 3 eBook by Anna Legat – 9781786159892 | Rakuten Kobo United Kingdom

Cause of Death by Anna Legat, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

Cause of Death: The Shires Mysteries 3 by Anna Legat | Waterstones

Cause of Death: The Shires Mysteries 3: A gripping and unputdownable English cosy mystery by Anna Legat | WHSmith

Meet the author

Anna Legat is a Wiltshire-based author, best known for her DI Gillian Marsh murder mystery series. Murder isn’t the only thing on her mind. She dabbles in a wide variety of genres, ranging from dark humorous comedy, through magic realism to dystopian. A globe-trotter and Jack-of-all-trades, Anna has been an attorney, legal adviser, a silver-service waitress, a school teacher and a librarian. She has lived in far-flung places all over the world where she delighted in people-watching and collecting precious life experiences for her stories. Anna writes, reads, lives and breathes books and can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction.

Connect with Anna

To find out more: https://annalegat.com/

Follow Anna on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LegatWriter

Join Anna on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AnnaLegatAuthor/

Follow the Cause of Death blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources
Featured

Welcome to today’s stop on the Strung by ⟅R̫o̮s̫k͚e̫ blog tour #BlogTour

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Strung to the blog. Please check out the excerpt from the new book.

TUNE-UP 

(aka Prologue, Scene II)

Captain Ibalis returns the ocean’s salt from his mouth and hikes the top of his chapped lip in satisfaction. For five months, they’ve been making sweeps along the edge of The Brine—the uncharted expanse of sea surrounding Iodesh’s pangea—half-heartedly carrying out their contract.

Some scat-brained Earl had approached Ibalis with a deal last Spring: capture a Faye and keep the crew quiet. Ibalis had laughed in his face. Only quill-snapper-sages and bad-rum-sailors[1] believe in the Faye. Besides, Fayetales say they’re shapeshifters who can move objects by looking at them. How’s anyone supposed to capture something like that?

But the Earl was set on bedding a Haywood, and the Lady in question was a Faye-nutter herself: “A gesture this grand would guarantee the marriage seal, and earn My Lady’s deepest appreciation. I flatter myself, it’s fool-proof!”

Fool’s errand, rather, though Ibalis wouldn’t have risked shattering the Earl’s delusion by saying so. Better to be free on the high seas than to have your ship and crew commandeered for the Kingswar, after all, and better still with a fool volunteering to fund your truancy. Ibalis had ordered his men to sign the Earl’s ridiculous writ of silence and they’d left within a week. Today, their contract came to an unexpected end.

After the midday sun erected too-tall columns under the hold’s grate, Ibalis had altered course for a resupply. That’s when the crow’s nest saw it: a brief sparkle on the horizon. The same sparkle reported in every sea encounter with the Faye. It’d taken the entire day to catch up to the slippery bastards, and now…

Uproarious cheers from his crew pulse outward from the deck, riding dusk-lit waves below.  Ibalis eyes the lone scow drifting towards him as the larger, stranger, blue vessel behind it gains an impressive burst of speed.

He’ll be rich. The Faye are real, and they’d willingly given up one of their own.

First thing he’ll do is threaten to talk. The Earl wants all the glory, but his writ of silence failed to include provisions for disembarking. Ibalis should be able to squeeze the dolt for enough to buy a title. Then maybe he’d call on the Haywood mare himself.

Cheers reach a fever pitch as the scow scrapes along the side of his ship. Shadows of empty lifeboat hooks slither down grimy wooden planks—crooked rust stretching for water. Ibalis’ sneer expands to a grin.

No, first he’ll find out just how many Fayetales are true.


[1] An Avon idiom of three parts. Respectively: adamant philosophizing from behind one’s desk, those who succumb to maritime superstition, and altogether,any lot particularly inclined to figment.

Here’s the blurb:

Few in the world of Iodesh believe the Faye are more than legend—until an unwanted suitor captures one as Lady Lysbeth Haywood’s bride price.

Presented with the Faye, Lysbeth is torn between her excitement to learn more about the legendary people, her dread at the possibility of a forced engagement, and her battle of attrition with Avon society.

It’s worth the struggle, for as layers of the Faye’s extraordinary mysteries are peeled away, their revelations—and Lysbeth’s own role in them—reach farther than she ever thought possible.

Trigger Warnings: 

Mild self-harm, off-screen abuse, and brief on-screen violence.

Buy Links:

Available on #KindleUnlimited.

Universal Link: http://getbook.at/Strung

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Meet the author

R̫o̮s̫k͚e̫ is Strung’s diegetic author and illustrator. Its real-world counterpart began building the world of Strung at age 12 to disassociate from budding bisexuality and physical disabilities—and eventually traded adversity’s escapism for inspiration.

Connect with the author

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagram

BookBubAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Follow the Strung tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

The Scribe by Elizabeth R Andersen is a BookBub deal for 99p on Amazon UK today

I’m giving a shout out to a fellow writer of historical fiction. Elizabeth R Andersen’s The Scribe is a BookBub deal today for just 99p on Amazon UK:) Check out her post from when I featured her on the blog a few months ago.

I love all the covers for this series.

Here’s the blurb:

All Henri of Maron wanted was to stay with his family on his country estate, surrounded by lemon groves and safety. But in 13th century Palestine, when noble-born boys are raised to fight for the Holy Land, young Henri will be sent to live and train among men who hate him for what he is: a French nobleman of an Arab mother. Robbed of his humanity and steeped in cruelty, his encounters with a slave soldier, a former pickpocket, and a kindly scribe will force Henri to confront his own beliefs and behaviors. Will Henri maintain the status quo in order to fit into a society that doesn’t want him, or will fate intervene first?

Here’s the buy link: Amazon UK

I’ve loved what I’ve read of this series (I am, as so often the case, working backwards through the series). Book 2 is available now, and Book 3 is released on 7th June 2022.

Enjoy.

Featured

Today, it’s my turn on the blog tour for Riding Pillion with George Clooney and other stories by Geraldine Ryan #BlogTour

Here’s the blurb:

Twelve moving short stories inspired by the everyday lives of women.

  • A single woman on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Italian lakes still dreams of adventure. Can she find it closer to home?
  • A grieving widow finds comfort in the company of a stray cat that bears striking similarities to her dead husband.
  • An estranged daughter confronts an unspeakable tragedy from her past as she attempts to reconcile with her long-lost family.

Geraldine Ryan is a prolific short-story writer whose work has appeared in Woman’s Weekly and Take a Break’s Fiction Feast magazines. The women in this, her first published anthology, may be at different stages of life but all of them are experiencing the ground shifting beneath their feet. Their tales of love, longing and redemption will touch your heart and bring a smile to your face.

Review

Riding Pillion with George Clooney and other short stories is an engaging collection of short stories of women, many of them bitter sweet, but all empowering. A particular favourite of mine was ‘After Harriet’ a story of grief, guilt and the need for forgiveness.

All of the stories are told with skill, ensuring the reading understands the characters they meet. Riding Pillion with George Clooney might well be the story that snags the attention of the reader, but all of the women we meet are endearing to the reader, highlighting struggled which many of us might understand only too well.

A delightful collection of short stories, that I highly recommend.

Purchase Links 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Riding-Pillion-George-Clooney-Stories-ebook/dp/B09WLRM8PP/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Riding-Pillion-George-Clooney-Stories-ebook/dp/B09WLRM8PP/

Meet the Author

Geraldine Ryan is a proud Northerner who has spent most of her life in Cambridge – the one with the punts. She holds a degree in Scandinavian Studies but these days the only use she puts it to is to identify which language is being spoken among the characters of whatever Scandi drama is currently showing on TV. She worked as a teacher of English and of English as a second or foreign language for many years, in combination with rearing her four children, all of whom are now grown up responsible citizens. Her first published story appeared in My Weekly in 1993. Since then her stories have appeared in Take-a-Break, Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly as well as in women’s magazines abroad. She has also written 2 young adult novels- ‘Model Behaviour’ (published by Scholastic) and ‘The Lies and Loves of Finn’ (Channel 4 Books.) This anthology of previously published short stories will be, she hopes, only the first of several.

 https://twitter.com/GeraldineRyan

Follow the Riding Pillion with George Clooney blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources
Featured

today, I’m delighted to welcome Lelita Baldock and her new book, Where the Gulls Fall Silent to the blog #blogtour #historicalfiction

Today, I’m really excited to share an excerpt from Lelita Baldock’s new book, Where the Gulls Fall Silent. I hope you enjoy.

Mackerel Pasties

Porth Gwynn, Cornish Coast 1852

The high noon sun beat down on the port, a gentle breeze swirled about the rippling currents of the bay, and the children ran.

The white sand of low tide puffed beneath their feet, their squeals of laughter pealing out across the water. Two mothers, skirts hitched to their thighs, arms wet with the sea they’d walked out to meet, looked up from their nets, sun-browned hands shielding their eyes to watch the children pass, then, heads shaking, bent back to their task. The men did not look up from the slimy silver flash of pilchard bodies that squirmed within their catch.

Back on the shore the children closed in. The leader, Rewan Lobb, a boy of about ten summers, dark of hair and eye, whirled a kerchief above his head in defiance and grinned, before leaning to his task and putting on speed. He loved to tease the little ones. Near the back of the pack Kerensa Williams, small and fair, loped, her uneven gait hindering her pace, but not her determination. Gerens, a smaller, lighter version of the boy with the kerchief, kept pace beside her, uninterested in defeating his older brother and claiming the kerchief, just happy to be part of the group. Suddenly, Derwa lunged, hand brushing along Rewan’s untucked shirt, almost catching him. Rewan spun, running backwards for a few steps, taunting. Then, without warning, he spun round, feinted left then darted right up the naturally rocky outcrop that lined the bay. Long legs cleared the rocks quickly, landing on the pebbled streets of Porth Gwynn. On the top he paused, jogging on the spot, watching his pursuers as their shorter legs navigated the rocky climb. Derwa cleared the gap first, Rewan let out a laugh of delight and shot ahead towards the cluster of stone cottages that hugged the bay’s edge. Just coming to the rocks Kerensa looked up, a heavy frown on her face. She watched Rewan gliding fast along the foreshore, his eyes checking over his shoulder periodically, focused only on those upon his heels. The rocks would slow her, the pebbles too. Sand was more forgiving to her uneven gait. 

Kerensa decided. 

She shot left, running as fast as her mismatched legs allowed, skirting the line of the rock barrier. Confused, Gerens paused, one foot already placed to climb. He watched. The shoreline before him curved in. He saw Rewan moving along the curve, saw Kerensa matching his direction, but from the inside of the curve. He understood. Slowly Kerensa came up closer to Rewan, then in line, then, amazingly started to slowly pull in front. Rewan did not look down to the beach, his eyes saw only Derwa, closely followed by Cardor and Treeve. Letting loose a whoop of delight, Gerens set off along the beach, following Kerensa’s path.

Kerensa’s breathing was ragged and her right foot ached abominably, but she would not stop. Ahead of Rewan now, the end of the bay was approaching, changing suddenly from flat sand to rocky cliff face. Rewan would veer inland, circling through the cottages and huts, back towards the centre of town. She had to intercept him before then. It was time to make her move. Taking a deep breath and bracing herself for the pain, Kerensa bolted right, leaping onto the rocks, hands and feet splayed to scramble up the incline. A sharp edge caught her hand, slicing the tender skin of her outer palm. She didn’t notice, didn’t stop, eyes fixed on the top of the climb, on the street, on her goal.

Scrabbling she cleared the rocks, pulling herself up to standing. Rewan’s head was turned, watching the other children, his loping stride bearing down on her fast. Kerensa braced herself, feet planted firmly, hands out ready to snatch the kerchief.

She didn’t see Kenver, running down from the fish sheds, but Gerens did. Eyes wide he tried to call out a warning, but it was too late. 

It all happened at once. Rewan looked forward and saw Kerensa standing in his path, shock loosened his mouth as he tried to slow his forward pace. Seeing his body twitch, anticipating his next move, Kerensa lunged to the side, arms reaching, just as Kenver hit the pebbled streets, the momentum of his downward run affording him no opportunity to change direction and then – bam!

All three children came together at once in a ball of limbs, bones, scrapes and cries of shock. 

The pebbled street came up to meet Kerensa’s cheek bone. She rolled with the impact, the wind knocked from her lungs, coming to a stop on her side, the weight of someone else’s legs sprawled across her waist. The legs moved and Kerensa sat up. Kenver, whose legs had landed on her, stood up, shaking with rage. 

“What the hell Rewan?” he shouted. “Look where you’re bloody going!”

Sat in the dirt of the street Kerensa brushed down the front of her cotton dress, checking for tears, her nimble fingers finding one just above her knee. She inspected it quickly, it would need a patch. Something to do before mother comes home…

Kenver looked over at her, “You all right there Kez?” he asked, offering her his hand to stand. Kerensa ignored him, pulling herself to her feet, wobbling slightly. He looked away, back to Rewan, laying on his side, face away from them. He hadn’t moved. 

The rest of the children arrived, circling around the trio, Gerens coming up the rocks behind Kerensa. Silently he stood by her side, eyes quickly scanning to check she was all right. A small graze on her cheek was slowly welling with blood. He knew better than to say anything, though.

Still Rewan hadn’t moved.

“Rewan?” Kenver called again, voice wary now, his initial fury replaced with a twinge of fear. Slowly the children stepped forward, inching towards their leader. Rewan, the oldest of their group by at least two summers, son of the town’s most successful fisherman, who would inherit the fine boat known as the Silver Sea, whose last summer of childhood was now waning… what if?

Kenver reached down, gripping Rewan’s shoulder, “Rewan, say something,” he pleaded, then rolled his friend’s body onto his back.

Rewan’s face was split wide in a huge grin of amusement, his body shaking with mirth. He was laughing, laughing uncontrollably. And he laughed, and laughed, and laughed and laughed.

Here’s the blurb:

A small fishing village, a shunned healer, her daughter, tradition, superstition and a world set to change.

Kerensa lives with her mother, the healer Meliora, on the edge of a small fishing community on the Cornish Coast.

The townsfolk, who work the fish runs of pilchard and mackerel that make their way up the Atlantic coast, call on her mother for help with their ailments, but never for her company.

Kerensa does not know why.

Curses and superstitions whisper around her as she grows into a competent young woman, fighting for her place amongst the people of Porth Gwynn.

But what has caused the rift between her and the town?

And can their traditional way of life survive in the face of changing winds?

Where the Gulls Fall Silent is an historical fiction that explores the lives of the fishermen and women who made their living from the rough Atlantic Ocean; the hardship they faced; the secrets that divided them; and the community spirit that pulled them through.

A story of love, loss, hope and second chances.

Trigger Warnings:

Adult themes, mentioned sexual assault

Buy Links:

Available on #KindleUnlimited

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Meet the author

Lelita Baldock is an author of historical fiction and crime fiction.

She has a passion for dark stories, with an unexpected twist.

It was during her years studying English Literature at University that Lelita discovered her love of all things reading and writing. But it would be another 15 years before she would take up the challenge and write her own novel.

Her debut novel, the historical fiction Widow’s Lace, is an Amazon best-seller.

Her follow up, The Unsound Sister, saw her take a different direction in her writing, trying her hand at crime fiction and has been warmly received globally.

Her third novel, Where the Gulls Fall Silent, a traditional historical fiction set in mid-1800s Cornwall, is out now.

Lelita also runs a blog and newsletter featuring fellow authors and other creatives.

Connect with Lelita

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

InstagramAmazon Author Page

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the Where the Gulls Fall Silent blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

The Girl and the Moon by Mark Lawrence #BookReview #Fantasy

Here’s the blurb:

The fate of the world hangs from the Moon

The green world overwhelms all of Yaz’s expectations. Everything seems different but some things remain the same: her old enemies are still bent on her destruction. 

The Corridor abounds with plenty and unsuspected danger. To stand a chance against the eyeless priest, Eular, and the god-like city-mind, Seus, Yaz will need to learn fast and make new friends.

The Convent of Sweet Mercy, like the Corridor itself, is packed with peril and opportunity. Yaz needs the nuns’ help – but first they want to execute her.

The fate of everyone squeezed between the Corridor’s vast walls, and ultimately the fate of those labouring to survive out on ice itself, hangs from the moon, and the battle to save the moon centres on the Ark of the Missing, buried beneath the emperor’s palace. Everyone wants Yaz to be the key that will open the Ark – the one the wise have sought for generations. But sometimes wanting isn’t enough.

THE GIRL AND THE MOON is the third and final volume in The Book of Ice trilogy.

Review

I’ve been reading Mark Lawrence’s books since the very beginning. I have a paperback copy of Prince of Thorns, which I noticed the other day actually says ‘map forthcoming’ on the map page:) (Check out my previous reviews here; The Girl and the Stars, The Girl and the Mountain (Book of the Ice 1 and 2). Red Sister, Grey Sister, Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor Trilogy). One Word Kill, Limited Wish)

Never once, in all the books I’ve read, has he finished a trilogy the way I wanted him to do so. He is infuriatingly consistent with this, and still, I hope, each and every time, to have the answers to all I want to know. And now, with the end of the Book of the Ice, I find myself not only without the ending I ‘thought’ I was going to get, but much, much worse, feeling as though I need to go back and read ALL the books again to unpick the ‘threads’ and perhaps find the answers I want for myself. Grrrr.

To me, this means Mark Lawrence remains at the top of his game, and while I might find it all very frustrating, that doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the books, and the universe(s)? he’s created.

A fine end to another great trilogy, and one I took my time with because, quite frankly, I didn’t want it to end, not in the end:)

My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my review copy.

Follow Mark here – and just to say, if you’re not yet sure, his Patreon is fab, and a great way to keep up to date with all he’s doing. And he’s not shy with his book giveaways either. Twitter.

Featured

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Ann Bennett and her new book, The Lake Pagoda to the blog #blogtour

I’m delighted to share an excerpt from Ann Bennett’s new book, The Lake Pagoda.

Excerpt

They moved on beyond the prayer hall to another square where the great red-brick pagoda soared above them, its eleven roofs jutting out from the walls at regular intervals, with the still, white Buddhas looking down impassively at them from each level. Arielle leaned back and stared up to the top of the pagoda where a marble lotus soared even higher into the sky. 

In front of the pagoda was an altar, where more incense burned and people had laid flowers, candles and fruit as offerings.

‘Come, let us meditate and pay our respects to the Buddha,’ said Ba Noi, laying her lotus flower on the altar, stepping back and sitting down on the stone floor, lotus style. Arielle followed suit, laying her incense, candles and flower on the altar, then sitting down beside her grandmother. It was hard to force her unaccustomed legs into the lotus position, even though she was several generations younger than Ba Noi who managed it with ease. 

Arielle closed her eyes and tried to settle her mind, allowing the chanting of the monks in the monastery, the discordant clang of the temple bells and the gentle voices of other worshippers to calm her down. They sat for ten or fifteen minutes and during that time, try as she might, Arielle couldn’t empty her mind of thoughts. It kept returning to Etienne again and again. What was he doing now? Where was he? Had she been wrong about him and wrong to trust his assurances about his business? What did the future hold for the two of them? At last she heard Ba Noi getting to her feet, so she gave up the struggle to meditate, but she vowed to return to the temple. It felt good being here, connecting with her mother’s faith, letting the calm of this spiritual place permeate her soul.

‘Come, I need to go home now,’ said Ba Noi. ‘I am tired and I need my bed.’

‘Me too,’ said Arielle, a feeling of trepidation creeping through her at the thought of the huge, empty house she must go back to, alone but for the reticent servants. 

They returned along the walkways to the yellow gateway where they put on their shoes and bowed their heads to the monk as they went through the gates. As they did so, a man stepped out from the shadows beyond the gate. He was dressed all in black and he came forward bowing his head respectfully to Ba Noi.

‘Good evening, phu nhan – madame,’ he said. Ba Noi stopped, a smile spreading across her face.

‘Good evening, Xan. Nice to see you here on this beautiful evening. I hope you are well. This is my granddaughter, Arielle. Madame Garnier, in fact.’

The man turned his attention to Arielle, and she felt his serious, dark eyes sweep down her body, scrutinising her from head to toe, like the beam from a searchlight. He held out his hand and she took it, feeling the warmth and strength of his as she shook it.

‘Good to make your acquaintance, Madame Garnier. I read about your wedding in the newspaper the other day. Your husband is … an important man,’ he trailed off but still he held her gaze. She looked away, the honesty in his look felt intrusive somehow.

‘He is just a businessman,’ she said, wondering how and why this man knew about Etienne or was interested in their marriage.

‘Of course. Well, phu nhan, Madame Garnier, very nice to see you. I must go and do my devotions now. But perhaps I will see you here again one evening soon?’

‘You will, of course,’ said Ba Noi, putting her hand on Arielle’s back to usher her to the gate. As they walked away, Arielle felt those black eyes boring into her back. 

‘Who’s that?’ she asked. ‘He’s a bit intense, isn’t he?’

‘Oh, I often see him here,’ said Ba Noi. ‘He is a very nice man. But he has every reason to be serious. He is a communist. Fighting the corner of exploited workers all over Indochina. He is very passionate and serious about his cause.’

Here’s the blurb:

Indochina 1945: Arielle, who is half-French, half-Vietnamese, is working as a secretary for the French colonial government when the Japanese storm Hanoi. Although her Asian blood spares her from imprisonment, she is forced to work for the occupiers. The Viet Minh threaten to reveal dark secrets from her past if she won’t pass them information from her new masters.

Drawn ever deeper into the rebels’ dangerous world, will Arielle ever escape the torment of her past? Or will she find love amidst the turmoil of war? 

A novel of love, loss, war, and survival against all odds. 

Trigger Warnings:

Violence

Buy Links:

Available on #KindleUnlimited.

Universal Link: http://mybook.to/lakepagoda

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Meet the author

Ann Bennett was born in Pury End, a small village in Northamptonshire, UK and now lives in Surrey. Her first book, A Daughter’s Quest, originally published as Bamboo Heart, was inspired by her father’s experience as a prisoner of war on the Thai-Burma Railway. The Planter’s Wife (originally Bamboo Island) a Daughter’s Promise and The Homecoming, (formerly Bamboo Road), The Tea Panter’s Club and The Amulet are also about the war in South East Asia, all six making up the Echoes of Empire Collection.

Ann is also author of The Runaway Sisters, The Orphan House, and The Child Without a Home, published by Bookouture.

The Lake Pavilion and The Lake Palace are both set in British India in the 1930s and 40s. Her latest book, The Lake Pagoda, set in French Indochina in the 30s and 40s, will be published in April 2022.

Ann is married with three grown up sons and a granddaughter and works as a lawyer. For more details please visit http://www.bambooheart.co.uk

Connect with Anne Bennett

Website:  TwitterFacebook

Book BubAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Follow The Lake Pagoda blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

Today, I’m delighted to host J R Tomlin and her new book, The Douglas Bastard #blogtour

Today, I’m delighted to share an excerpt from J R Tomlin’s new book, The Douglas Bastard.

I was amazed that the small horses could wend their way in the darkness with no trail to follow. An icy wind rattled the branches of the pines. Hooves thudded on the iron-hard, frozen earth. I shivered and pulled my cloak close, following closely behind John. Behind us, the hundred or so men-at-arms rode in silence, half of them with bows on their backs and quivers hanging from their belts. I strained to see the ground, watching for holes that might make my horse stumble. 

“Colban, go up on the ridge. Light a small fire when you spot them—just enough that I can see the smoke, mind you.” He ordered Wemyss to remain there to cut off anyone who escaped their ambush.

The cots at Hawick were no more than a couple of dark lumps as we rode past, still circling the road. We sloshed through a shallow, icy stream that would leave no sign of our passing and entered another dense patch of pine. Sir William dismounted. The rest of us followed his lead. 

The dirt road was only about five feet across. 

“John, keep half the men on this side of the road. I will take the other half on the other. Dinnae fire until I give my cry. No one.” He grasped my shoulder. “And you stay behind us. You have nae part in the fighting.”

David de la Hay took ten men farther along to block anyone who fled in that direction.

A couple of the men gathered the horses and led them along the stream while the others cut branches to use as a screen. I took out my dagger and hacked at some, dragging them near the road until they were a waist-high blind. I chuckled that so far my main job in the few fights we had been in had been carrying branches or stones. I knew that Sir William had a duty to protect me, but I was sure that I did not need protecting. I would make sure my cousin would soon see that.

I hunkered down next to Gamelin behind the piled branches, but the man pushed him back. 

I peeked over the top of his shoulder at the long, cold stretch of road, in deep shadows beneath the leaden clouds that hid the daybreak. The cold sank in through my clothes as we hunched on the icy ground, then flakes of snow began drifting through the trees.

Sir William paced behind them one more time, reminding them to wait for the command, then he joined Gamelin, squatting next to him. He loosened his sword in its sheath and checked his dirk. 

The snow settled in my hair, and I thrust my hands into my armpits, wondering how the archers would shoot with their fingers stiff from the cold. When I turned to whisper the question, I realized they were staring at where a flock of pigeons had burst from the trees at the turn of the road. The birds rose above the trees and flew in circles.

A thin wisp of smoke was rising from the ridge. I pointed, and Sir William patted my shoulder.

“Nock arrows,” Sir William said. “Make sure you have a good clean shot.” 

Here, I noticed, the horses could only go at most double file with barely room to turn. A good spot for an ambush, something to remember. I loosened my dagger in its sheath and got my hand slapped.

A whinny and the clank of a harness came from around the bend. A horse clattered into sight, a destrier, brown coat glistening. Sir William said in a low voice, “Wait—wait—” 

The guard rode at the head of the supply train at an amble, one hand relaxed on his thigh. His shield hung from his saddlebow. A long line of sumpters and more guards came behind.

The guard in the front had almost reached us. I swallowed hard, fought my rapid breathing. Sir William held up a hand, still waiting. Sweat ran down my forehead and ribs, making me shiver. Then another reached us, all the men strung out riding single file. The guard in the lead was halfway to where Sir William’s last man waited.

“Now! Fire!” 

They were all on their feet. The thwap of bowstrings filled the air, and the thud as the arrows landed. 

Sir William yelled, “A Douglas! A Douglas!” He plunged through the thin pile of branches, sword in his hand.

“A Douglas! A Douglas!” Shouts came from every direction.

A man-at-arms kicked his horse in a circle, trying to reverse. Instead, an arrow pierced its chest. It reared, screaming in pain. The rider crashed into the road. Before he could rise, Sir William thrust down through his neck. Riderless horses reared and plunged. A man-at-arms jerked his reins to head the way they had come and jammed spurs into its flanks. It plunged, hooves scoring deep and dirt flying. An arrow winged after him but missed. Another man beside him put a shaft through the Englishman’s chest.

Gamelin and the others were in the road, grabbing the halters of the sumpter horses before they bolted, while others joined Sir William in putting down anyone still alive. 

The few English still ahorse kicked their horses into a run. They jammed into men flying the other way. “A Douglas!” Sir William shouted again. “At them!”

Hand on the hilt of my dagger, I edged into the road. I knew if I disobeyed, I would surely get a belting, but my pulse hammered so hard in my ears it was like a drumbeat, calling me to war. I looked for something, anything I could do. Then a hard hand grabbed the back of my neck and jerked me back. 

“Out of the way, whelp,” Sir William snarled, shoving me toward the trees. 

All across the road, swords slashed as they went. An ax hit Gamelin’s shoulder, and he tumbled back, skidding in the piney detritus and leaving a track of blood. Sir William buried his blade in the man’s belly. The English shouted curses as they tried to flee. 

“Gamelin,” I shouted and shoved my way through the branches. I dropped to my knees next to my friend, who was cursing through gritted teeth. There was a tear in his chainmail, and blood was pouring out of a gash in his shoulder. I slashed a piece off my tunic and stuffed it onto the wound. 

“You need to learn to stay out of trouble, lad,” Gamelin muttered. His head lolled back. 

He was still bleeding, so he couldn’t be dead. I pressed down harder and looked around. 

In the road lay dead enemies. A few injured horses were being put out of their pain, but not many. Everyone from both sides of the road was gathering the halters of the sumpters.

“Strip the bodies,” Sir William shouted. His smile was a dour slash. “This should fill our larders for the winter.” Then he strode over to squat beside the injured man. “We will bandage him up. He might make it.” He turned a cold glare on me. “You, I shall deal with when we reach home.”

Here’s the blurb:

The Black Douglas is dead. With Scotland’s greatest knight no more, the throne is up for grabs as enemies try to devour the kingdom.

An orphaned youth returning from exile, Archibald, the Black Douglas’s bastard son, fights for a land being torn apart from within and without. If Archibald is to survive, he must learn to sleep with a claymore in his hand and one eye open because even his closest friend might betray him…

This is an adventure set in the bloody Second Scottish War of Independence when Scotland’s very survival is in question.

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Barnes and NobleKoboApple Books

Meet the author

J. R. Tomlin is the author of nineteen historical novels.

She has close ties with Scotland since her father was a native Scot, and she spent substantial time in Edinburgh while growing up. Her historical novels are set for the most part in Scotland. Her love of that nation is traced from the stories of Robert the Bruce and the Good Sir James her grandmother read to her when she was small, to hillwalking through the Cairngorms where the granite hills have a gorgeous red glow under the setting sun. Later, her writing was influenced by Alexander Dumas, Victor Hugo, Nigel Tranter, and Sir Walter Scott.

When JR isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, playing with her Westie, and killing monsters in computer games. In addition to spending time in Scotland, she has traveled in the US, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. She now lives in Oregon.

Connect with JR Tomlin

WebsiteTwitterBookBub

Amazon Author PageGoodreads

Follow The Douglas Bastard blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

Today, I’m delighted to feature Beheld by Christopher M Cevasco, a darkly twisted psychological thriller exploring the legend of Lady Godiva

Here’s the blurb:

A darkly twisted psychological thriller exploring the legend of Lady Godiva’s naked ride.

Having survived a grave illness to become one of 11th-century England’s wealthiest landowners, Godgyfu of Coventry (Lady Godiva) remains forever grateful to the town whose patron saint worked such miracles. She vows to rebuild Coventry’s abbey and better the lives of its townsfolk. But the wider kingdom is descending into political turmoil, and her husband, Earl Leofric, starts to break under the strain. Godgyfu finds her own plans unravelling the moment she meets Thomas, a Benedictine novice with perverse secret desires. Three lives become dangerously entangled in a shocking web of ambition, voyeuristic lust, and horrid obsession. Can Godgyfu escape the monk’s menacing wiles and Leofric’s betrayals to secure her future in a changing kingdom? Perhaps, but first she faces a dark test of wills leading her perilously closer to a legendary ride…

Trigger Warnings:

Sexual situations, psychological abuse, violence, brief references to suicide.

Buy Links:

Universal Link

Universal Amazon Link

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Barnes and Noble

Lethe Press

Meet the author

Christopher M. Cevasco was born in New Jersey and spent a memorable decade in Brooklyn, New York, but he feels most at home in medieval England, Normandy, Norway, and Greenland. A lifelong passion for history and fiction led him to earn degrees in Medieval Studies and English and later to embark upon a writing career that merges these two loves. 

Chris was the founding editor of the award-winning Paradox: The Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction from 2003 to 2009. His own short stories appear in such venues as Black Static, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Distant Echoes(Corazon Books, UK), and the Prime Books anthologies Shades of Blue and Gray: Ghosts of the Civil War and Zombies: Shambling Through the Ages

A long-time member of the Historical Novel Society, Chris currently serves on the society’s North American conference board as registration chair for the upcoming 2023 conference in San Antonio, Texas. 

Chris lives with his wife and their two children in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Connect with Chris

WebsiteTwitter

FacebookAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Check out the rest of the blog tour for Beheld with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

#TheLastKing is 2 years old today. Join me and the hosts of today’s blog tour in celebrating

If you’ve been with Coelwulf, Rudolf, Icel, Edmund and Pybba since the beginning, then you’re probably with me in trying to work out how 2 years have gone by since the release of the first book.

I thought it worthy of a huge celebration, and so The Last King is on blog tour for today only with a whole swathe of hosts from Rachel’s Random Resources. Check out their posts and blogs, and you really might enjoy those hosts that have an excerpt from the book. When I was choosing them, it reminded me of all the things that drew me these characters, and this book, and made me write it the way that I did. The exuberance is difficult to ignore. (And remember – there are Clean(er) versions of all the books available in ebook format without the more offensive word that rhymes with something that quacks).

I’m going to pop some links here to blog posts I’ve shared in the past.

Lady Cyneswith

Rudolf

Don’t forget to check out the short story collection, Coelwulf’s Company, and preorder book 7, The Last Seven.

Giveaway to Win a Hardback Copy of The Last King (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize. (These are Rachel’s Random Resources terms and conditions – as the author, I am responsible for sending the winner their book:))

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494491/?

I’ll be adding links as I find them throughout the day:)


http://www.nikipreston.com/
https://jessicabelmont.com/
https://ebookaddicts.net
www.davidsbookblurg.co.uk
https://www.instagram.com/chaptersofvicki
https://www.instagram.com/fantasybookcraz_mum
https://nickislifeofcrime.blogspot.co.uk
https://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com/
Bforbookreview.wordpress.com
https://www.thepursuitofbookiness.co.uk/
https://medium.com/@authorbeccamcculloch
https://www.booksblog.co.uk/
http://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com
http://www.chezmaximka.blogspot.com
https://ruinsandreading.blogspot.com/

Featured

Today, I’m delighted to feature A Ha’Penny Will Do by Alison Huntingford

Here’s the blurb:

Love, dreams and destitution.

Three members of one family are linked by their struggle to survive poverty and war at the turn of the century.  

Kate, a homesick, lonely Irish immigrant, dreams of being a writer.  After difficult times in Liverpool she comes to London looking for a better life.  Hoping to escape from a life of domestic service into marriage and motherhood, she meets charming rogue William Duffield.  Despite her worries about his uncertain temperament, she becomes involved with him. Will it be an escape or a prison?

Fred is a restless elder son, devoted to his mother yet locked in a tempestuous relationship with his father.  War intervenes and he secretly signs up to serve abroad.  Is his bad reputation deserved?  What will become of him?

Joe, too young to sign up for WW1, is left to endure the hardships of war on the home front and deal with his own guilt at not being able to serve.  He starts an innocent friendship with his sister-in-law which sustains him through hard times.  Will he survive the bombs, the riots, the rationing and find true love in the end?

These are their intertwined and interlocking stories recreated through the medium of diaries, letters and personal recollections, based on the author’s family history covering the period of 1879 – 1920. The truth is never plain and rarely simple.

This novel is a fresh and compelling look at life for the working-class poor in England at the end of the Victorian era.  Covering issues such as the struggle for home rule in Ireland, the hardships of domestic service, marital strife, the suffragettes and the horrors of World War 1 on the home front and abroad, this is a realistic and gripping tale which keeps the reader involved in their human plight all the way.

Buy Links:

Universal Amazon Link: https://books2read.com/u/bo8A81

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Barnes and NobleWaterstones

Meet the Author

Alison Huntingford has a degree in humanities with literature, and has always enjoyed reading, especially, the great writers of the 19th century. 

She is an only child of two only children and so has always felt a distinct lack of family. This has inspired her to research her family history and most of her writing is based on this. Her debut novel, The Glass Bulldog, was published in 2019, and was nominated for the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. This is her second full length novel, although, she has also written several short stories. 

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their pets, listening to music, going to the cinema, and gardening.  She lives in Devon, on the edge of Dartmoor.

Connect with Alison

WebsiteTwitter:   Facebook:   LinkedIn:  

InstagramAmazon Author PageGoodreads:  

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the A Ha’Penny Will Do blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

Cragside, again, in photos

It’s not very often that I actually get to visit the places I write about. Very little of Saxon England remains as it would have been. But for Cragside, I could visit as often as I liked, and I did. I’m going to share some images of the interior of the house with you. These were either taken during December 2021, so might be a bit Christmasy, or were taken in August 2021. (apologises to people I’ve accidentally snapped).

Cragside: A 1930s murder mystery is now available in ebook, hardback, paperback and audio.

Featured

Today, I’m welcoming The Professor’s Lady by Holly Bush to the blog

Today, I’m sharing an excerpt from The Professor’s Lady by Holly Bush.

Excerpt

The long ride through New Jersey toward Philadelphia was done quietly as Miss Thompson looked out the window, her hands folded in her lap, humming a tune he heard from her occasionally. He was soon engrossed in a medical article written by Joseph Lister on the subject of cleaning surgical instruments and the dramatic decrease of deaths after surgery. 

He lifted his head when that lovely young lady beside him pinched his hand enough to leave a bruise. “Ouch!”

“I have been trying to get your attention, Mr. Watson,” she said in a breathy voice, her eyes darting the length of the train car. “I think the man who was drunk in the hallway of the hotel just walked past us.”

“Are you certain?”

“Not completely, but I’m fairly sure. He is wearing a minister’s collar today.”

“We are not far from Philadelphia. We will depart the station as quickly as possible and hire a carriage to take you home.”

She looked at him then, her face wreathed in worry. “We will be no match for them, I’m afraid.”

“I intend to guard you, Miss Thompson. I will not let anyone harm you. I promise.”

She shuddered a breath and laid her head on his shoulder. “I’ve been imagining what would have happened if you hadn’t found me on the Maybelle.”

“Do not make yourself uneasy. And there is no use dreaming of tragic endings. We are closer to your family with every turn of the train’s wheels, and then you will be safe. In the interim, I will have to do as your protector. Mr. Clawson and I.”

“I feel so much better when you talk sensibly to me,” she whispered and clutched his arm. “You will come into the house with me? Explain what has happened?”

“Your family will be so glad to have you back in their arms, any anger will be short-lived. And I wouldn’t want to impose on a family reunion.”

She harrumphed. “Short-lived? You do not know my family.”

The train was on time, a near miracle in Albert’s estimation, when they rolled into the Philadelphia station. They had not been delayed by broken tracks or a herd of pigs or any other obstacle that so often made train travel less than timely. Miss Thompson was still leaning against his arm, although she was not sleeping, and had long ago slipped her hand into his. He’d spent much of the last hour looking at one of the marvels of the human body, the hand, and observing the differences between his and hers. Those twenty-seven individual bones, allowing humans to grip and fist and caress, were dainty and dwarfed by his. He rubbed his thumb over her knuckle as its tendons and muscles tightened, bending her finger against his with soft pressure. 

As the train slowed into the station, Clawson took his bag, as they had discussed, intending to go directly to the home Albert shared with his mother to deposit his belongings and check to see if his trunks had been delivered. He would have both hands and the gun in his pocket to protect Miss Thompson until he could hand her over to the safekeeping of her relatives. The train chugged to a stop and he stood, offering his hand to her to rise, guiding her to step in front of him. He kept his hand on her shoulder as they slowly walked down the aisle, waiting to depart the train onto the crowded platform. He bent down and looked out a window and saw Clawson, who nodded and turned into the crowd.

Albert took her hand as she stepped down and slipped his arm around her shoulders, keeping her tight against him as they moved toward the street, away from the house that served as the train station, now a tavern and inn. There were carriages for hire, and he quickly hailed one and gave the address to the driver. He glanced over his shoulder as he helped her climb in and saw two men heading their way that could have been the hotel drunk and the man behind the planter, one wearing the collar of the church. 

“Make haste, please,” he said to the driver. “There’ll be extra for you if you get us moving immediately.”

Albert was not quite in his seat when the carriage driver maneuvered out of the line of carriages and into the street, weaving in and out of slower vehicles, and causing him to drop hastily down next to Miss Thompson. He risked a glance back and saw no one following. 

“They were there, weren’t they?” she whispered, tightening her grip on his hand. 

“They were, but we are on our way now. Everything will be fine.”

“But you don’t know that.”

“Your family will keep you safe,” he said and squeezed her hand. 

She was silent for a long moment, staring out at the passing businesses, turning back to him with wide eyes and a trembling lip. 

“What is it, Miss Thompson?”

“I prefer you, Mr. Watson. I prefer you to keep me safe.”

He stared at her, willing himself not to gather her in his arms and kiss her. And then she turned away from him and pointed as the carriage slowed down. He stepped down quickly, helped her alight, and reached to pay the driver and ask him to wait to see him home as well. As he turned, a fist connected with his chin.

Here’s the blurb:

Meet the Thompsons of Locust Street, an unconventional family taking Philadelphia high society by storm…

1870 Kirsty Thompson is determined to begin her own business bringing beloved Scottish fabrics and yarns to Philadelphia but first she must meet the men and women who weave the plaids and spin the wool. How will she ever escape her protective older siblings and sail to Scotland?

Albert Watson is a medical doctor focusing on research, especially that of Joseph Lister and his sterilization techniques. He speaks at universities in America and in England while visiting his London relatives. As he prepares to sail for just such an engagement, Kirsty Thompson boards his ship to beg him to take her with him. What’s a gentleman to do? Albert cancels his trip across the ocean to escort Miss Thompson back to Philadelphia and finds there is danger afoot for her and her family.

Soon he comes to realize there is also danger for his heart, even for a man who rarely pulls his nose from a medical journal. He finds himself unable to put Miss Kirsty Thompson out of his thoughts, where they belonged, because certainly a beautiful, ambitious, and charming young woman could have no interest in him. Or could she?

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Barnes and NobleKoboApple Books

Meet the author

Holly Bush writes historical romance set in the U.S.in the late 1800’s, in Victorian England, and an occasional Women’s Fiction title. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Connect with Holly at www.hollybushbooks.com and on Twitter @hollybushbooks and on Facebook at Holly Bush

Connect with Holly

WebsiteTwitter:  Facebook

LinkedInInstagramPinterest

BookBubAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on The Professor’s Lady blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

Today, I’m delighted to welcome back to the blog Amy Maroney and her new novel, Sea of Shadows

Today, I’m excited to share an excerpt from Amy Maroney’s new novel, Sea of Shadows.

Summer, 1459

Rhodes Town

Signor Salviati kept Anica waiting in the high-ceilinged parlor for what seemed like an hour before he emerged from an adjoining chamber. 

He approached, his silk tunic rustling. “Signorina,” he said in a clipped voice, his expression cool. “I am eager to see your father’s work.”

Anica unwrapped the painting and presented it to him. It was exactly what he had asked for: a portrait of the Madonna and her child. The Virgin’s shimmering blue robe, made of lapis lazuli pigment, had cost a small fortune. The banker held the panel at arm’s length, pursing his lips. A long moment of silence passed. Anica’s left knee began to tremble.

Finally, he spoke. “Exquisite.” When he smiled, his graying teeth showed evidence of too many years’ enjoyment of red wine. “Signor Foscolo is indeed a talented man. He shows much discipline, working to this standard even while he mourns his son. Although it has been some time since your brother’s death, I suppose—”

“Six months today,” Anica said shortly.

Since Benedetto’s death, Anica had fought back her own sorrow and finished her father’s commissions one by one. She’d sourced the pigments, prepared the panels, and layered on the tempera paints herself. From the backgrounds to the most intricate details of a shining eye or a silken sleeve, she was responsible for it all. But Signor Salviati would never know that.

A young, clean-shaven man also clothed in silk entered the parlor and came to stand at Signor Salviati’s side. 

“Ah! Troilo, look at the painting.” The banker tilted the panel in the newcomer’s direction. “Lovely, isn’t it?” 

The young man gave the painting a cursory inspection. Then his deep-set brown eyes fixed on Anica. “Not as lovely as you, signorina.”

Signor Salviati lifted an eyebrow, his smile deepening. “Do you remember Troilo, my eldest son, signorina?” 

She eyed the young man, who was a stocky, fleshy-faced version of his father. The Salviati family attended Santa Maria, where she often worshipped with Papa. But if she’d ever interacted with Troilo as a child, she had no recollection of it. “Yes, of course I do,” she lied smoothly.

“We’ve both grown up since I was last in Rhodes,” Troilo said. “You speak Italian as beautifully as if you’d been born and raised in Venice instead of Rhodes Town.”  

“My father did not overlook my education,” she replied.

“He’s a true citizen of Venice, then?” The banker’s son narrowed his eyes. “Or a white Venetian?”

Anica stood taller. “He comes by his citizenship naturally—he did not buy it, I assure you.”

“You’re fortunate to possess some Latin blood, signorina,” he said with a thin smile. “Though some might mistake you for Greek.” He flapped a dismissive hand at her long cotton headpiece.

She felt the sting of shame, followed by a wave of anger. With effort, she kept her face impassive.

“Her mother is a Georgillas,” Signor Salviati put in. “One of the first families.”

When the Knights Hospitaller took ownership of Rhodes generations ago, a handful of Greeks had forged lucrative alliances with them. Mamá’s family was descended from one of those men.

“Indeed?” his son said in a slightly more respectful tone. 

Anica repressed an impatient sigh, eager to receive her payment and flee. Her gaze fell to the coin purse on Signor Salviati’s belt. “My father expects me back straightaway.” 

He gave a start, one hand going to his waist. “Oh, he did not tell you? We’ve made other arrangements for payment. I shall not be giving you any coin today.”

Anica studied the Florentine’s face with suspicion. Her father had said nothing of this, but in his current state Papa could not be counted on to communicate anything of importance. She thought of the ducats she’d spent on pigments and other supplies to create this painting, of the expenses her family had faced for Benedetto’s funeral. Words of protest rose up in her throat, but she gritted her teeth and pushed them back down again. 

Speak with Papa first, she counseled herself. Keep this encounter pleasant, for his sake.

So rather than protest, she gave a quick curtsy. “Thank you, signor.”

The younger Salviati put up a hand. “Wait.” He plucked the wooden panel from his father’s grasp. “I’ve spent the last five years in Florence, signorina. I saw dozens of portraits hanging in the finest homes there. Portraits of the men who’ve made their fortunes in wool and wine, done in a new style, with paints of oil.”

“Oil?” repeated Signor Salviati. 

His son nodded. “It’s a style that started in the north. Flanders, I believe.” He stepped closer to Anica. “Surely, you’ve heard of this?” 

Anica resisted the urge to edge away. There was a wide space between his two front teeth. His pink tongue protruded slightly through the gap, and his breath smelled of fish and garlic.

“No,” she said. “Artists use egg to thin the pigments. That is how it’s always been done.”

He shook his head. There was a hint of triumph in his expression. “Things are changing,” he told her. “Oils are the new fashion. Your father had better learn this new style, or he shall soon find himself out of work.”

Signor Salviati turned a sour expression on the panel that he had complimented a few moments before. 

“If that is the case, then we shall have portraits made in oil, too. One of me, one of you, and one of your mother.” The two men exchanged a satisfied look. Then the banker turned back to Anica. “Tell your father of my wish, Signorina Foscolo. He’ll welcome the commission, I have no doubt.”

Something in his tone sent a stab of worry into Anica’s chest. “I will tell him, signor.”

When a manservant let her out the front doors, she found the slave Maria standing still as a statue where she’d left her, face covered with a sheen of sweat.

They pressed against the wall as a donkey cart piled with fruit rolled by. Anica looked back at the banker’s home, her eyes aching from the glare of the sun against the white marble façade. 

She should have been glad for another commission from the man. But instead, she felt certain no good would come of it.

Check out Amy’s last visit to the blog here.

Here’s the blurb:

1459. A gifted woman artist. A ruthless Scottish privateer. And an audacious plan that throws them together—with dangerous consequences. 

No one on the Greek island of Rhodes suspects Anica is responsible for her Venetian father’s exquisite portraits, least of all her wealthy fiancé. But her father’s vision is failing, and with every passing day it’s more difficult to conceal the truth. 

When their secret is discovered by a powerful knight of the Order of St. John, Anica must act quickly to salvage her father’s honor and her own future. Desperate, she enlists the help of a fierce Scottish privateer named Drummond. Together, they craft a daring plan to restore her father’s sight. 

There’s only one problem—she never imagined falling in love with her accomplice.

Before their plan can unfold, a shocking scandal involving the knights puts Anica’s entire family at risk. Her only hope is to turn to Drummond once again, defying her parents, her betrothed, even the Grand Master of the Knights himself. But can she survive the consequences? 

With this captivating tale of passion, courage, and loyalty, Amy Maroney brings a lost, dazzling world to vivid life.

Sea of Shadows is Book 2 in a series of stand-alone historical novels packed with adventure and romance.

Buy Links:

This novel is available on #KindleUnlimited

Universal Link

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Meet the author

Amy Maroney studied English Literature at Boston University and worked for many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon, U.S.A. with her family. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading. Amy is the author of The Miramonde Series, an award-winning historical fiction trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Her new historical suspense/romance series, Sea and Stone Chronicles, is set in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus.

Connect with Amy:

WebsiteTwitter

FacebookInstagramPinterest

BookBub:  Amazon Author PageGoodreads

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the Sea of Shadows blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

It’s my turn on the new release blog tour for The Capsarius by Simon Turney #AriesFiction #BlogTour

Here’s the blurb:

Warrior and combat medic, Titus Cervianus, must lead a legion and quell the uprisings in Egypt in a new Roman adventure from Simon Turney.
Egypt. 25 BC.

Titus Cervianus and the Twenty Second Deiotariana have been sent to deal with uprisings and chaos in Egypt. Yet the Twenty Second is no ordinary legion. Founded as the private royal army of one of Rome’s most devoted allies, the king of Galatia, their ways are not the same as the other legions, a factor that sets them apart and causes friction with their fellow soldiers.

Cervianus is no ordinary soldier, either. A former surgeon from the city of Ancyra, he’s now a capsarius – a combat medic. Cervianus is a pragmatist, a scientist, and truly unpopular with his legion.

Marching into the unknown, Cervianus will find unexpected allies in a local cavalryman and a troublesome lunatic. Both will be of critical importance as the young medic marches into the searing sands of the south, finding forbidden temples, dark assassins, vicious crocodiles, and worst of all, the warrior queen of Kush…

Amazon Link:

Review

I really enjoyed The Capsarius. I’ve read some of Simon Turney’s Roman fiction in the past, but this book, without its focus on Roman Rome, is a little different, and very enjoyable.

I didn’t read this book quickly – rather I enjoyed it slowly, taking delight in reading a small amount each day over an extended period. It’s a story rich with detail, as our main character, The Capsarius, travels through a land he is clearly excited to visit, being so very strange to his birth lands, and yet one he understands is filled with danger. The heat, the lack of water, and the need to stay close to the great river Nile, bring into play some very dangerous enemies, the crocodiles of the delta.

The Capsarius is not your usual Roman warrior. He’s a skilled and widely read individual, keen to hold on to the ideals he has as a medic in the Roman army, even though he’s pitted against just about everyone in the legion, and his superiors really don’t seem to like him a great deal – not that it worries him. He’s a man of reason, and yet one who’s thrust into a strange land, with even stranger gods, and gods who seem to speak to him. The interplay between the reasoned man forced to question his beliefs because of the pervading Egyptian religion is skillfully drawn.

This is a slow burn, which rewards the reader with two really quite different battle scenes in the second half of the book when our Roman hero finally encounters his elusive enemy, and I’m already looking forward to book 2.

A wonderful read – with just the right amount of humour and peril – set in a wonderfully drawn land of intrigue and danger.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my review copy, and for inviting me onto the new release blog tour.

Meet the author

Simon Turney is from Yorkshire and, having spent much of his childhood visiting historic sites, fell in love with the Roman heritage of the region. His fascination with the ancient world snowballed from there with great interest in Rome, Egypt, Greece and Byzantium. His works include the Marius’ Mules and Praetorian series, the Tales of the Empire and The Damned Emperor series, and the Rise of Emperors books with Gordon Doherty.

Follow Simon
Twitter: @SJATurney
Instagram: @simonturney_aka_sjaturney

Website: http://simonturney.com/

Don’t forget to stop by the other reviewers on The Capsarius new release blog tour.

headofzeus.com@AriesFiction

Not convinced yet? Do check out my other reviews for Simon Turney’s Roman era books. Commodus, Sons of Rome, Masters of Rome, Emperors of Rome.

Featured

Today, I’m delighted to spotlight, The Fatal Oath by Michael L Lewis #BlogTour

Here’s the blurb:

1957. Blackleigh is an elite public school for boys in Yorkshire where prejudice and seething hatreds are never far below the surface. Violence erupts against any Junior who the Seniors deem unfit.

Jonathan Simon is 16, in his third year, and is self-conscious about being Jewish and having a birthmark on his cheek. He knows that: 1) The school code of conduct mandates no snitching, 2) The student Prefects, not the faculty, have absolute power to discipline and 3) Mr. Paul Wood, the temporary Headmaster, is weak and ineffectual.

Jonathan meets Bobby Stuart, an American transfer student, who is also worried about being accepted. Their friendship binds them together as they soon run afoul of three ruthless and ambitious Seniors in the House; Gabriel, Murray and Hausman – also known by their fanatic followers as ‘The Black Armbands’. 

As the pressure mounts, ambitions grow, friendships become closer and scheming increases. As for Jonathan, the year is only beginning…

Purchase Links

Book Gook Guild –  Bookshop.org –  Amazon – 

Waterstones –  Foyles –  WHSmith – 

Meet the author

Michael L. Lewis was born and raised in England. After preparatory school in London, he was educated at Stowe School, Buckingham. This is the third novel in the Oath series, taking readers on a journey through the lives of three dynamic schoolboys between the ages of 13 and 15, and the extraordinary triumphs and tragedies that they experience. Michael now lives in Los Angeles, California, has a law degree, and writes full-time. He was on the Board of Trustees for several schools and has been a member of the same book club for twenty-five years.

Michael says, “The books in the ‘Oath’ series are all inspired by my incredible experiences at a Boarding School in the North of England and on School Boards in Los Angeles. Each book in the series stands alone with totally separate main themes united by the exploration of prejudice, the unequal playing field in education, and the abuse of human rights. They will appeal to adults as well as young adults and are entirely set in an elite public school in Yorkshire.”

Social Media Links

https://twitter.com/BookGuild

https://www.facebook.com/thebookguild

https://www.instagram.com/Troubador_Publishing/

Check out the rest of The Fatal Oath tour with Rachel’s Random Resources
Featured

Happy release day to Cragside: A 1930s murder mystery

Today, I’m releasing the ebook, paperback and audiobook of Cragside into the wild. I loved writing this book, and I want to say that my narrator, Gill Mills, has done an amazing job of bringing the character of Lady Ella Merryweather to life. Thank you.

But, why Cragside?

Cragside is a National Trust property in North Northumberland. During Lockdown, it was one of the places that was allowed to remain open (the grounds were) for locals. What started as a single visit because it was just amazing to go somewhere that wasn’t home, or the walk down the road, became a regular weekly haunt. Every week, just about without fail, and no matter the weather, we walked around the estate, exploring places I’d never seen before. And what an absolute joy it was. Cragside, the house, is majestic, but it’s the estate and all of its wonderful nature that really called to me. It’s not unusual to see a deer on the vast estate, or to watch birds, ducks and even some fish, in their natural environment. And some of the ducks like to have a proper little scrap, which really echoes.

Autumnal view of the estate looking out towards Rothbury
The Basin Tank, Cragside
One of the many, many paths through the Estate and leading to the house

And the more I walked around the estate, the more I started to see possibilities for a new story. The basin tank, dark and brooding, seemed like a perfect place to find a body, and that was just the first of the thoughts I had about a potential new story. And, of course, I also made the decision to set the story in Autumn, because while the spring and summer are beautiful, I’m a huge fan of Autumn colours, and it’s not just because the estate tends to be quieter over the cooler months:)

My main character, Lady Ella Merryweather, developed along with my walks and I enjoyed crafting the story of a woman already suspected of murder trying to prove her innocence in the 1930s.

I hope you’ll enjoy my 1930s murder mystery inspired by my love of Cragside and Agatha Christie novels.

Cragside is available now.

Featured

Today, I’m delighted to welcome HS Burney and The Lake Templeton Murders to the blog

Today, I’m delighted to welcome HS Burney to the blog, with a post about the inspiration for her new novel, The Lake Templeton Murders.

The Lake Templeton Murders is set in a fictional town in Vancouver Island in British Columbia on the West Coast of Canada. An idyllic oasis of only five thousand people, Lake Templeton is an undeveloped gem craving to be a tourist paradise. It’s not as accessible as neighbouring towns and doesn’t have the same infrastructure, hotels, and tourist attractions. But it boasts a lot of ocean-facing vacation homes. There is also a small knot of locals. Lake Templeton is a great place to hide when you’re weary of city life. Or looking to hide away from your past.

Because of its pristine natural beauty, Lake Templeton is a place that is ripe for development. It’s the object of an ambitious revitalization project intended to turn it into a tourist mecca. The murder happens just as the town is hanging on the precipice of this change. Funds are being raised. The future looks bright. But for now, Lake Templeton is still a forgotten little beachy watering hole, that only has one private airline operating out of it, run by a mysterious lone owner-operator. 

In a town like Lake Templeton, a murder is a rarity. It creates ripples of shock. It endangers gossip. And questions. Lots of them. That’s one of the reasons why so many are keen to write off the suspicious death as an accident or a suicide. After all, who would want to hurt Sharon Reese? She was just an unassuming City Treasurer, living a mild life in a small town. 

Like with many seemingly banal small towns, at Lake Templeton, there is a lot simmering under the surface. The town contains a small Mayor’s office, but it’s rife with political intrigue. The mayor is an enigmatic young woman who seems misplaced in a town of this nature. Why would she choose to settle here instead of pursuing bigger political ambitions in Vancouver? 

When writing The Lake Templeton Murders, my setting was inspired by British Columbia, a place I am lucky to call home. Although I live in a big city, I’ve spent many enjoyable days tracking through the small coastal towns of British Columbia. Pristine waterfront, miles of ocean, sparkling blue skies, and a panorama of mountains – this is what makes British Columbia such an attractive place to live and visit.

When I’m driving through these small towns many of which boast a single grocery store, a modest town square, maybe a lone medical clinic or two, I often wonder – what type of people live here? What are their lives like? Why do they choose to live here? Lake Templeton is inspired by these real and imagined stories. 

Last summer, I had the pleasure of traveling to Madeira Park on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. We arrived there to find that restaurants followed no set opening and closing schedule. It depended on the whims of the owner – and the number of guests they had that day. The lone breakfast spot was run by a single owner-operator who fried our eggs herself. This is what I envisioned when I conceived of Lake Templeton.

Thank you so much for sharing on the blog. Good luck with the book:)

Here’s the blurb:

A body washes up on the shores of Lake Templeton, a small town on the coast of Vancouver Island. Sharon Reese, the victim, was a dedicated government employee. Everyone liked her, but no one knew much about her. Was she hiding something? Maybe a questionable past riddled with scandal. And did it lead to her plunge to death, in a drunken stupor, off the dock outside her secluded lakefront lodge?

Was it an accident? A suicide? Or cold-blooded murder? Private Investigator, Fati Rizvi, is determined to find out. 

Fati arrives in Lake Templeton to find secrets that run as deep as the City’s sewers. Everyone is hiding something and nothing is as it seems. A cult escapee. A corrupt politician. A struggling airline. A multi-million dollar public-private project to revitalize the Lake Templeton waterfront. How are they all connected? 

As Fati valiantly unravels the knots, another body is found on the shore. Is it the same killer? And can Fati stop them before they strike again?

Purchase Link

Amazon US   Amazon UK

Kobo

Meet the author

HS Burney writes fast-moving, action-packed mysteries set against the backdrop of majestic mountains and crystalline ocean in West Coast Canada. She loves creating characters that keep you on your toes. A corporate executive by day and a novelist by night, HS Burney received her Bachelors’ in Creative Writing from Lafayette College. A proud Canadian immigrant, she takes her readers into worlds populated by diverse characters with unique cultural backgrounds. When not writing, she is out hiking, waiting for the next story idea to strike, and pull her into a new world. 

Connect with HS Burney

https://hsburney.com/

https://www.facebook.com/HS-Burney-Author-113028981189771

https://www.instagram.com/hsburneyauthor/

https://twitter.com/hsburneyauthor

https://mailchi.mp/d6b48197e368/hsburneyemaillist

Giveaway to Win $10 Amazon Gift Card. (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494486/?

Don’t forget to follow The Lake Templeton Murders blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources
Featured

Today, I’m welcoming back Andrea Matthews to the blog, with her new book, Shake Loose the Border

I’m delighted to welcome back Andrea Matthews to the blog with a post about her new book, Shake Loose the Border. Find the previous blog posts here and here.

Excerpt

Maggie blinked as dawn broke that Saturday morning. She had survived the harrowing experience of the previous Thursday night and the tiring prenuptial feast of the night before and now looked forward to the start of a wonderful life with her new husband. He would always be there, guarding her, protecting her, but she had discovered an inner strength in herself as well. 

Today, however, was her wedding day, and Will’s sisters fussed around her like she was a fairy-tale princess. In fact, when they had finished, she was. Her long auburn hair fell down her back in gentle waves. Just as on the day of her handfast, braids had been plaited at her temples, woven with ribbons, and pulled back and tied at the nape of her neck. On her head was a floral crown of wildflowers, bound together with rosemary and ribbons of blue and green to represent both their families. They matched the swathbonds that encircled her waist and the bridal laces that hung from her satin sleeves. A number of ribbon garters were tied to her legs, and they too were the colors of choice. But the gown itself was of the deepest blue, decorated with small beads and delicate lace trim. The square neckline revealed only the slightest bit of her chemise so that her neck lay bare, except for the small string of ivory roses given to her by Will at their handfast, and her kirtle was of silver damask.  

Mary wore a dress of pale blue while Eleanor and little Peggy donned gowns of forest green, in keeping with Maggie’s colors. But Annie wore Betty’s wedding dress, which was the same beautiful shade of rose that colored Maggie’s nosegay and adorned her hair. The same soft shade that had filled her cheeks after Will first made love to her and would no doubt touch them anew when next they met. 

Annie smiled broadly as she tied the last ribbon to Maggie’s dress. “There! A more bonnie bride they’ve never seen in all of Tynedale, and to think ’tis to be wasted on that nae-account brother of mine.” 

“You don’t mean a word of that,” Maggie said with a grin, for it was no secret how close Annie and Will really were. 

“Ye’re right there. If ’twere no’ for our Will . . . ’Twas him what found me that morn, ye ken. I didna want him to touch me, I was that ashamed, but Will never gave up, talking to me, bringing me flowers, telling me how bonnie I looked, liar though he was. I never would have made it without him. When yer kin carried him off, nowt what happened to me seemed all that important anymore.” 

Maggie rested her hand on Annie’s. “Don’t ever let what Ian did to you make you think poorly of yourself. Turn it against him by letting it make you stronger.” 

“I am trying, though ’tis hard at times.” 

“You’re going to wear this dress someday soon, Annie.” 

“I hope so, though I’m no’ sure who ’twill be . . .” She looked around, making sure no one else was listening, though Maggie was fairly sure what she was about to say and equally certain it was common knowledge. “I do care a great deal for Dylan Hetherington, but I’m afeard I’m no’ alone there.” 

Maggie tried to conceal her smile, wondering if Dylan would ever confide his twentieth-century origins to the girl. “And have you spoken to him about it?” 

“A wee bit, and he says his heart belongs to none but me, yet he’s made nae promises either. I can hope, though, d’ye no’ think?” 

“I just don’t want you to be hurt if . . . Annie, I love Dylan dearly, and I do think he’s a good soul, one who can give a great deal of love. But he is still searching for something, and he is a bit of a . . .” 

“A rogue. Oh, I ken that right enough, but how’s a lass to win him if she’s afeard of rising to the fray? I’ll be all right, Maggie, for if he takes a liking to someone else, ’tis his loss, no’ mine.” 

Maggie smiled and hugged Annie warmly. The morning sun was just beginning to peek over the windowsill, and she could hear the sounds of preparation going on below. Biting her lip, she took a peek outside. Will was already there, and she listened intently to the sound of his voice. How she wanted to join him, but it wasn’t yet time, so she contented herself with gazing out across the dew-covered fells dreaming of the night to come.  

Here’s the blurb:

With Will and Maggie’s wedding just a week away, the last thing they need to stumble upon is Johnnie Hetherington’s dead body tied to a tree, especially one that’s so close to their cottage. Recognizing it as a sure sign that Johnnie has betrayed the family once too often, Sergeant Richie Carnaby gathers Will and his family together for questioning, though it seems obvious only a fool would kill a man on his own land. Then who did murder the rogue, and why?

Feeling confident it wasn’t any of the Fosters, Richie allows Will and Maggie’s wedding to proceed, but the couple has barely exchanged vows when the Armstrongs attack in force. Geordie is determined to rescue his niece from the clutches of Will Foster, whether she wants to go or not. And if he happens to make her a widow in the process, so be it. Will senses the danger and implores Dylan to get Maggie away to safety, no matter where — or when — that may be.

Though Maggie protests, Will assures her he will follow as soon as he is able. Yet how can that be possible when Dylan whisks her back to the twentieth century? Sharing her fears about Will, and unable to forget his own love, Annie, Dylan attempts to return to the past one last time despite his growing concerns over the disintegrating amulet stone. But will he make it in time to rescue Will, or will the villainous Ian Rutherford, who has already killed in cold blood once, win the ultimate battle and see Will and Maggie separated forever?

Trigger Warnings:

Sex and violence

Buy Links:

Available on #KindleUnlimited.

Universal Amazon Link

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Meet the Author

Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science, and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. She is the author of the Thunder on the Moor series set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Border, and the Cross of Ciaran series, where a fifteen hundred year old Celt finds himself in the twentieth century. Andrea is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Long Island Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.

Connect with Andrea

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagram

BookBubAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Follow the tour for Shake Loose the Border with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

I’m excited to share an excerpt from Heidi Eljarbo’s new book, The Secrets of Rosenli Manor #BlogTour #HistoricalMystery

I’m excited to share an excerpt from Heidi Eljarbo’s new historical mystery. Enjoy.

The pendulum on the grandfather clock next to the grand piano swung rhythmically back and forth, back and forth. The hour hand was approaching two. She should leave. The lawyer had asked her to stop by his office before she left town, and the train ride home would take three quarters of an hour.

What was she to do? Lilly leaned back into the soft pillows. Was it all true? Had she inherited a fortune, and could she picture herself living here? What about Father? She’d moved into her own place a while back, but would he insist on living at Rosenli with her? His daily pessimistic outbursts and derogatory comments had taken their toll on her, but what would her father say if she moved away? Who would calm him when his temper steered his mood? Maybe more than anything, was she capable of taking care of Aunt Agatha’s estate?

She stopped by the casket one last time then grabbed her handbag and walked into the hallway. 

The butler stood by the wardrobe as she came out. It was as if he expected her.

“Mr. Bing, I need a word with you.”

“You may call me John, miss. Now that we’ll be seeing more of each other, you should know we go by first names in this house. Agatha insisted on it.”

“Very well. Then I would like you to call me Lilly.” She showed him the photograph. “Please tell me about this man. Who is he?”

John smiled. “Oh, so you found the picture. Good. Agatha placed it there for you to find. She had much to tell you, and now it’s up to you to discover what. Find her story, and you’ll understand who that man is.”

Lilly widened her eyes. “That sounds intriguing, but I must warn you; I’m usually not very patient. At least show me where to look?”

“You’ll understand. Just follow your heart.”

“My heart?”

John handed her a miniature box tied with a red silk ribbon. “She wanted you to have this.”

Lilly gingerly unfastened the ribbon and opened the lid. Inside was a small silver amulet. She picked it up. Half a heart. She lifted her gaze to John, but he said nothing. The old man stood there with a stoic but friendly look on his face.

“What does this mean, John? How can I follow my heart if I only have half of it?”

The butler smiled but didn’t answer her question. He didn’t even ask her if she planned to move in. Lilly narrowed her brow, confused at such limited information. She’d grown used to working with numbers, patterns, and orderly schedules. How did one learn something new by merely listening to their heart? She pulled her shoulders back. “I will try, John, but I hope for some help along the way. I truly want to understand who Agatha was. Even if it might seem late now that she has passed, I’d like to become acquainted with her.”

John touched her shoulder. “That’s the spirit.”

Here’s the blurb:

Betrayal and trust go hand in hand in the first book of Heidi Eljarbo’s new turn-of-the-century series.

It’s 1898, and Lilly has spent most of her life motherless and living with a father who never looks for a silver lining. When her great-aunt Agatha passes, Lilly’s existence takes a drastic turn. She packs her few belongings and moves into the old lady’s magnificent estate, Rosenli Manor.

In the days that follow, Lilly tries to understand who Agatha really was, and hidden secrets slowly rise to the surface. Her great-aunt’s glamorous legacy is not quite what Lilly had imagined. She must trust in newly forged friendships, and to her surprise, she discovers what it means to truly fall in love. But not everyone is happy about the new mistress of Rosenli.

Intrigue, mystery, and a touch of romance in the Norwegian countryside fill the pages of Secrets of Rosenli Manor.

Buy Links:

Amazon UK:   Amazon US:  Amazon CA:   Amazon AU

Meet the author

Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don’t want to go near.

Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.

After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.

Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.

Heidi’s favorites are family, God’s beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.

Sign up for her newsletter at https://www.heidieljarbo.com/newsletter

Connect with Heidi

Website:  TwitterFacebook

LinkedInInstagramPinterest

BookBubAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Follow the Secrets of Rosenli Manor Blog Tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

Today, I’m showcasing Son of Anger by Donovan Cook on the blog #blogtour #Vikings

Here’s the blurb

Ulf is like a storm, slowly building up its power, he grows more dangerous with each passing moment. And like all storms, he will eventually break. When he does, he will destroy everything in his path.

Ulf is one of a long line of famous Norse warriors. His ancestor Tyr was no ordinary man, but the Norse God of War. Ulf, however, knows nothing about being a warrior.

Everything changes when a stranger arrives on Ulf’s small farm in Vikenfjord. The only family he’s ever known are slaughtered and the one reminder of his father is stolen — Ulf’s father’s sword, Ormstunga. Ulf’s destiny is decided.

Are the gods punishing him? All Ulf knows is that he has to avenge his family. He sets off on an adventure that will take him across oceans, into the eye of danger, on a quest to reclaim his family’s honour.

The gods are roused. One warrior can answer to them.The Son of Anger.

Buy Links:

Available on #KindleUnlimited.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Barnes and Noble

Meet the author

Even as a young child, Donovan loved reading stories about Vikings and other medieval warriors fighting to defend their homeland or raiding in distant lands. He would often be found running around outside with nothing other than a wooden sword and his imagination. 

Now older, he spends his time writing about them. His novels come from his fascination with the Viking world and Norse Mythology and he hopes that you will enjoy exploring this world as much as he did writing about it.

Born in South Africa but raised in England, Donovan currently works as an English tutor and when he is not teaching or writing, he can be found reading, watching rugby, or working on DIY projects. Being born in South Africa, he is a massive Springboks fan and never misses a match.

Connect with Donovan

Website:  TwitterFacebook

BookBub:  Amazon Author PageGoodreads: 

Follow the Son of Anger blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

Today, I’m delighted to feature The Feathered Nest by Ellen Read #historicalfiction #blogtour

Here’s the blurb:

Murder comes to Norfolk Island, but is the killer after Alexandra Archer’s Tahitian black pearl or a lost illustration of the rare Green Parrot?

The Thorntons, along with a small team of people, mount an expedition to Norfolk Island, a small island in the South Pacific, to study the Green Parrot and set up research programmes to help protect it and other endangered birds.

As a birthday surprise, Alexandra’s father tells her she is to be the official photographer for the expedition. Her father gives her a black pearl brooch that Alexandra’s great-grandfather had bought off a merchant in Hong Kong in the 1850s. The pearls are Tahitian black pearls.

Before they depart Melbourne, they learn that Norfolk Island has had its first murder. It sends ripples of unease through Alexandra. She hoped she could escape murder on this small island paradise.

Alexandra is astonished to learn that the main inhabitants of Norfolk Island are descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives. Once on the island, she wonders if this is why her Tahitian black pearl brooch causes such interest.

A chain of events is set in motion, commencing with a threat on the life of one of their expedition members, followed by intrigue surrounding bird smuggling and a lost illustration of the Green Parrot. Then two of their team are murdered.

 Alexandra is determined to find the answers and nearly loses her life in the process.

Buy Links: 

Available on #KindleUnlimited

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/4XDMyv

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Meet the Author

Ellen Read is the author of The Dragon SleepsThe Inca’s Curse and The Amber Trap—historical murder mystery romance novels.

Ellen was born in Queensland, Australia. 

She loves to read fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She particularly loves history and stories of ancient myths and legends. Authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie, and Victoria Holt, the latter of whom wrote gothic mystery/romances, have influenced her own work.

Other interests include photography, painting, music and musical theatre, and dance. Ellen was a ballroom dancing teacher for many years and has also worked in Performing Arts administration. 

Connect with Ellen

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

LinkedInInstagramPinterest

BookBubAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on The Feathered Nest blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

It’s my turn on the blog tour for Murder on Oxford Lane by Tony Bassett #BlogTour #Mystery

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Tony Bassett, author of Murder on Oxford Lane, to the blog with a post about the inspiration for his book.

Much of the inspiration for my books comes from the wide variety of experiences I’ve had as a journalist.

I worked for local newspapers for six years and then spent 37 years in Fleet Street, mainly working for the Sunday People newspaper.

I’ve seen so many different aspects of life. I was once smuggled into judge’s chambers at the Old Bailey to test their security. I pursued Margaret Thatcher round Epsom during a by-election. I was present in hospital when Diana Dors’ husband Alan Lake announced to the world she had died. 

I got Mandy Smith’s sister in Highgate to reveal to me details of Mandy’s plans to wed Rolling Stone Bill Wyman. I’ve been to armed sieges, celebrity weddings,  and was in a magistrates’ court in West London when a Welshman took to the dock in a dazzling dragon costume.  I’ve watched a group of students at Middlesex University being hypnotised by a dog and taken a fugitive gangster back to jail. So you could say I’ve seen a bit of life.

I have been able to use some of this knowledge to help with my writing.

I’ll give an example. In Chapter 22 of Murder On Oxford Lane, the wife of the missing property tycoon is reluctant to attend a press conference and walks out halfway through. This is based partly on a real-life experience I had one Saturday while working for the Sunday People. 

I was despatched to a police press conference about a murdered man.  His widow was reluctant to attend and walked out during the briefing.  Afterwards the chief inspector spoke to me and another journalist, explaining: ‘You don’t realise how terrifying it can be for someone in this situation, being faced with a group of journalists in public like this.’  A short time after the press conference, the widow was charged in connection with her husband’s murder.  

Another example comes earlier in the book. In Chapter 19, when Sunita Roy is trying to trace Harry Bowers’ cleaner, Tessa. A female neighbour reveals Tessa has moved house. Sunita questions the neighbour thoroughly. Eventually the neighbour recalls that Tessa’s removal van was purple. As a result, Sunita is able to locate the removal firm and collect the new address from them. This was an initiative that a photographer and I once used to track down someone’s address.

A third example of how I have occasionally used journalistic experiences to add colour to the book comes towards the end of the novel when detectives examine suspects’ clothing. I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who has not read the book. Suffice to say the idea for this came to me years ago while I was covering an assault case at Cardiff Crown Court. 

Of course, these kind of memories and past experiences are useful, but I also have to do some extensive research for my books as well. Much of this can be done online. For instance, I found a vast treasure store of articles on the internet about the effects of long-term immersion in water on drowning victims. 

Information about personal injuries, hospital recovery times, martial arts moves, church procedures, police interviews and so on are all available at the click of a mouse.

But there are also occasions when it’s necessary to make phone calls.  For instance, to speak to police about how particular incidents are dealt with. To speak to farming organisations about farming methods. Or to speak to fire brigade staff about the minutiae of how a particular fire might be tackled. Occasionally, authors also have to make visits to organisations or places to add to their supply of information. 

I know fiction writing is based on imagination. But, like non-fiction writers, novelists still need to ensure their work is firmly grounded in reality. The author needs to be able to walk in the shoes of his or her characters. And the plot needs to be credible.

LINK TO MURDER ON OXFORD LANE (Book1)

LINK TO THE CROSSBOW STALKER (Book2)

Thank you so much for sharing. Good luck with your new book.

Here’s the blurb:

The peace of a Midlands village is upset when local businessman Harry Bowers doesn’t return from choir practice. More concerned than the man’s own wife, it would seem, investigating officer Detective Sergeant Sunita Roy becomes convinced he has met a sinister end.
There is no trace of the man – just a litany of evidence of an ailing marriage and a nose-diving business venture.
In charge of her first serious case, DS Roy will struggle to win the respect of her colleagues – in particular, her Brummie boss, DCI Gavin Roscoe. All that whilst fighting off the attentions of an increasingly desperate suitor.

Who had it in for the chorister? And is Roy tough enough to break down the defences and prejudices of Middle England?  MURDER ON OXFORD LANE is the first book in a series of crime fiction titles by Tony Bassett.  

Purchase Link 

Amazon UK Amazon US

Meet the author

Tony Bassett, a former Fleet Street journalist, has written a gripping series of crime novels set in the Midlands.

The first book in the series is called Murder on Oxford Lane. Published by The Book Folks, it concerns the disappearance of a property tycoon from a sleepy Warwickshire village.

Middle-aged DCI Gavin Roscoe and his relatively inexperienced sergeant, DS Sunita Roy, are confronted by suspicious deaths as they struggle to uncover what has happened to the businessman.

The second book in this Midlands crime series, The Crossbow Stalker, will be released shortly.

Tony decided to set this string of novels in Warwickshire and Worcestershire after spending many happy years working as a newspaper reporter in Worcester.

He first developed a love of writing at the age of nine when he and a friend produced a magazine called the Globe at their junior school in Sevenoaks, Kent. 

At Hull University, Tony was named student journalist of the year in 1971 in a competition run by Time-Life magazine and went onto become a national newspaper journalist, mainly working for the Sunday People in both its newsroom and investigations department.

His very first book to be published, the crime novel Smile Of The Stowaway, was released in December 2018. It concerns a Kent couple who harbour a stowaway and then battle to clear his name when he is charged with murder.

Then, in March 2020, the spy novel The Lazarus Charter, was released. It involves foreign agents operating in the UK. The book has kindly been endorsed by Marina Litvinenko, widow of the murdered Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, and by Stan and Caroline Sturgess, parents of the innocent mother-of-three poisoned with novichok in Salisbury in 2018.

Tony, who has written at least four other novels which are as yet unpublished, has five grown-up children. He is a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists. He lives in South-East London with his partner Lin.

Connect with Tony

www.tonybassettauthor.com

www.twitter.com/tonybassett1

www.facebook.com/tony.bassett.92505

www.instagram.com/tonyba1

Follow the rest of the tour with Rachel’s Random Resources
Featured

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Alex Pearl and his book The Chair Man to the blog to celebrate its book birthday#BlogTour #Mystery

Here’s the blurb:

Michael Hollinghurst is a successful corporate lawyer living a comfortable, suburban life in leafy North West London. But on 7 July 2005, his life is transformed when he steps on a London underground train targeted by Islamist suicide bombers. While most passengers in his carriage are killed, Michael survives the explosion but is confined to a wheelchair as a result.

Coming to terms with his predicament and controlling his own feelings of guilt as a survivor conspire to push him in a direction that is out of character and a tad reckless. In a quest to seek retribution, he resorts to embracing the internet and posing as a radical Islamist in order to snare potential perpetrators.

Much to his surprise, his shambolic scheme yields results and is brought to the attention of both GCHQ and a terrorist cell. But before long, dark forces begin to gather and close in on him. There is seemingly no way out for Michael Hollinghurst. He has become, quite literally, a sitting target.

Purchase Links 

Amazon UK Amazon US

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

Apple

Meet the Author

Alex’s first novel ‘Sleeping with the Blackbirds’, a darkly humorous urban fantasy, written for children and young adults, was initially published by PenPress in 2011. It has since become a Kindle bestseller in the US. In 2014, his fictionalised account of the first British serviceman to be executed for cowardice during the First World War was published by Mardibooks in its anthology, ‘The Clock Struck War’. A selection of his blog posts is also available in paperback under the title ‘Random Ramblings of a Short-sighted Blogger.’ In 2019, his psychological thriller, ‘The Chair Man’ that is set in London in 2005 following the terrorist attack on its public transport system, was published as an ebook by Fizgig Press. The paperback followed in 2020. 

Alex lives in NW London with his wife and terribly spoilt feline. 

He is quite possibly the only human being on this planet to have been inadvertently locked in a record shop on Christmas Eve. 

You can visit his website at http://booksbyalexpearl.weebly.com

Connect with Alex

 https://linktr.ee/AlexPearl

Featured

Today, I’m pleased to showcase Gary Kruse’s new mystery, Badlands #BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources

Here’s the blurb:

Surf. Sand. Smugglers. Murder.

Willow has run as far as she can.

From her home.

From the friends she betrayed.

From the family who betrayed her.

From her own name.

But a cry for help will bring her back.

Back to face her family.

Back to face the sins of her past.

Back to face the darkness at the heart of Cornwall.

In the search for her sister, Willow will face deception and betrayal, before she’ll find love – and herself. But will she uncover how close the enemy is, or will she become another victim of the Badlands?

Purchase Link – http://mybook.to/badlandsdarkstroke

Meet the author

Gary Kruse is a multi-genre writer of flash fiction, short stories and novels. He lives with his family in Hornchurch on the Essex/London border.

He began writing as a teenager after seeing the Craft in the cinema and wondering what would happen if the coven of witches from the Craft came face to face with the Lost Boys (the vampires, not Peter Pan’s crew!).

His work has appeared online and in print anthologies and his short story “Mirror Mirror” was shortlisted in the WriteHive 2021 Horror competition, and subsequently featured in the “Duplicitous” anthology.

His short story “Hope in the Dark” won first place in the November 2021 edition of the Writers’ Forum Short Story competition.

His debut novel “Badlands” is published through Darkstroke on 21st January 2022.

Connect with the author

www.twitter.com/@KruseGowerWrite

www.instagram.com/@gowerkrusewrites

www.facebook.com/gary.kruse.1029

Website

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the Badlands blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources
Featured

Today, I’m welcoming The Virgin of the Wind Rose: A Conspiracy Thriller, by Glen Craney to the blog

Here’s the blurb:

A Templar cryptogram has confounded scholars for centuries.

Is it a ticking cipher bomb just hours away from detonating a global war?

Rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane was never much good at puzzles. But now, assigned to investigate a ritual murder of an American in Ethiopia, she and a shady stolen-art hunter must solve the world’s oldest palindrome—the infamous SATOR Square—to thwart a religious conspiracy that reaches back to the Age of Discovery and an arcane monastic order of Portuguese sea explorers.

Separated by half a millennium, two espionage plots dovetail in this breakneck thriller, driven by history’s most elusive mystery….

… the shocking secret that Christopher Columbus took to the grave.

Praise:

“If you love Steve Berry, Dan Brown or Umberto Eco, you may have a new author favorite in Glen Craney.” — BESTTHRILLERS.COM

“An exciting journey across time, with more twists and turns than a strawberry Twizzler.” — QUARTERDECK MAGAZINE

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon US:  Amazon CAAmazon AU

Barnes and NobleWaterstonesKoboApple Books: 

Google Play

Meet the Author

A graduate of Indiana University School of Law and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Glen Craney practiced trial law before joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to write about national politics and the Iran-contra trial for Congressional Quarterly magazine. In 1996, the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting. His debut historical novel, The Fire and the Light, was named Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards. He is a three-time Finalist/Honorable Mention winner of Foreword MagazineBook-of-the-Year, a Chaucer Award winner, and a Military Writers Society of America Gold Medalist. His books have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, the Scotland of Robert Bruce, Portugal during the Age of Discovery, the trenches of France during World War I, the battlefields of the American Civil War, and the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. He has served as president of the Southern California Chapter of the Historical Novel Society.

Connect with Glen

WebsiteTwitter

FacebookLinkedInPinterest

BookBubAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on The Virgin of the Wind Rose blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club
Featured

It’s my turn on the Poison at the Village Show by Catherine Coles New Release Blog Tour

I’ve been reading Catherine Coles previous series for a while now. I do love a Golden Age mystery novel, so I was really pleased to see she was becoming a fellow Boldwood Books author, and that there was going to be a new series as well.

Here’s the blurb:

With the war finally over the residents of Westleham village are trying to reclaim a sense of normality and the upcoming village show is proving to be a popular event!

Newcomer, Martha Miller, has high hopes for the village show. Since her husband Stan left for work one day and never returned, some of the villagers have treated Martha with suspicion – why would a good man like Stan simply up and leave? Was it something Martha did?

All Martha knows is that she’s hoping that she can win people over and hopefully they’ll but her delicious homemade plum gin, too and she’ll be able to make ends meet.

But as glasses of Martha’s gin are passed around, disaster strikes. Alice Warren, Chairwoman of the village show slumps to the ground after taking a sip. It’s clear she’s been poisoned!

Martha is shocked, but not surprised, when fingers of suspicion once again point her way. Determined to prove her innocence, Martha sets about trying to find the real culprit. But who would kill Alice and why?

Ably helped by the new vicar, Luke Walker, Martha quickly tries to get to the bottom of this mystery. But with the villagers closing ranks it quickly becomes apparent that the only person with a motive is Martha herself….

Will Luke and Martha discover who is behind the poisoning before it’s too late?

Here’s my review

Poison at the Village Show is a charming mystery set in a small village in the years after the Second World War, featuring Martha Miller, her sister Ruby, and the new vicar, Luke Walker.

I’ve already read all of Catherine Coles Tommy and Evelyn books set in the aftermath of World War I and love the depictions and the characters of Tommy and Evelyn. Fans of those books will not be disappointed with Martha, Luke and Ruby. They are all excellent creations and make for an engaging read.

The story really gathers pace as it continues, and the ending is both satisfying, and I confess, slightly unexpected for me. It’s always good not to guess who the real perpetrator was.

I really look forward to reading more of this series and returning to the charming village of Westleham with its cast of eclectic busy-bodies in the years after the war when a sweet cup of tea is the solution to everything.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my review copy.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3freNRj  

Meet the author

The daughter of a military father, Catherine was born in Germany and lived most of the first 14 years of her life abroad. She spent her school years devouring everything her school library had to offer! Catherine writes cosy mysteries that take place in the English countryside. Her extremely popular Tommy & Evelyn Christie mysteries are set in 1920s North Yorkshire. Catherine lives in northeast England with her two spoiled dogs who have no idea they are not human!

Facebook 

Twitter  

Instagram  

Newsletter Sign Up: 

Bookbub profile

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the Poison at the Village Show Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources

Featured

Pagan Warrior is an International BookBub deal 99p/99c AU, CA, US /65INR

The historical setting of the Gods and Kings trilogy

It’s often assumed that we know very little about the men and women of seventh century Britain, and that’s not wrong, however, what is known makes for a compelling narrative.

The seventh century in Britain is more often than not, lauded as the Golden Age of Northumbria, the northernmost Saxon kingdom of England. Many will have heard of the magnificent fortress on Northumberland’s coast, Bamburgh, or as some will know it Bebbanburg (even though must of what stands to this day is a late nineteenth century addition). Many may have heard of the names Edwin, Oswald Whiteblade, and his brother, Oswiu. Many may know of their Celtic Christianity, of Bishop Aidan from Iona beginning his monastery on Lindisfarne and the explosion in art which seems to come to natural fruition with the works of Bede in the later eighth century. But there is much, much more than that.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle tells us of a series of great battles fought on the island of Britain during the seventh century, most, if not all of them, great victories for Northumbria’s royal family, or if not victories, then terrible tragedies. Edwin, the uncle of Oswald Whiteblade, slew his nephew’s father, and Oswald was forced to flee into exile, where he was introduced to Celtic Christianity. And yet, this was only a mirror of Edwin’s own life, when he too had been forced to flee into exile when Oswald’s father claimed the kingdom of Northumbria. And all of this is fascinating, but what of the other kingdoms, and their leaders?

And here, we encounter, Penda of Mercia, a pagan king, at a time when the Saxon kingdoms were slowly becoming converted to Christianity, either from the north and Iona (Bishop Aidan), or from Rome, with Bishop Paulinus. These two religions were to set up their own conflict for supremacy but for the three battles I’ve written about, it’s Penda and his paganism that creates the conflict.

Penda and his brother, Eowa, were to claim Mercia as there’s to rule. They seem to have originated from a royal family with their power base in the kingdom of the Hwicce, a part of Mercia centred around Gloucester and they were not happy with events in Northumbria.

Not once, not twice, but three times, Penda took on the might of Northumbria, in battles taking place at Hædfeld, Maserfeld and Winwæd, spanning a twenty year period.

It’s these three battles I offer a retelling of in the Gods and Kings series, and not just because there are these two kingdoms at loggerheads, Mercia and Northumbria, but because these battles brought into play every kingdom within Britain at the time; from Dal Riata and the kingdom of the Picts to the North, to that of the West Saxons and Dumnonia to the south and south-west. These battles were monumental. Great swathes of warriors facing one another with everything to play for, much to lose and even more to gain.

Who could resist battlegrounds such as these?

Pagan Warrior

Pagan King

Warrior King

The Gods and Kings trilogy are now available from all good ebook and print book sellers. Follow the links above. Pagan Warrior is available as part of the BookBub deal on Apple, Amazon Kindle, Kobo and Nook in select marketplaces-UK, Australia, Canada, India and the US.

(For anyone who is confused, these books were previously released under the titles of the battles, Hædfeld, Maserfeld and Winwæd. Pagan Warrior and Pagan King have been comprehensively reedited, and Warrior King is currently experiencing the same treatment.)

Featured

Book Review – The Bear of Byzantium by S J A Turney – historical fiction

Here’s the blurb:

The wolves of Odin sail to the centre of the world: Constantinople.

AD 1041. After successfully avenging the death of his father, Halfdan and the crew of the Sea Wolf seek adventure in strange new lands, far from their Scandinavian home.

They join the fleet of Harald Hardrada, the legendary Viking commander, sailing back to Constantinople from the battlefields of Georgia. There they join the Varangians, the personal bodyguard of the Byzantine Emperors populated almost exclusively by Viking warriors. But Constantinople has changed during Hardrada’s long absence.

The Emperor, Michael IV, is ailing visibly, and powerful factions in his court are setting their plans in motion ahead of his inevitable demise. While courtiers scheme, elements even within the Varangian Guard are picking sides.

Gunnhild, the seer among the Sea Wolf crew, has struck out on her own in the big city. Unable to join the all-male Guard alongside her friends, she establishes herself in a small side-street near the port as a healer and soothsayer, offering cures to the sick and glimpses of the future to the desperate, or the conspiratorial. But in all her visions she sees a wolf, a boar and a golden bear fighting together to support the Byzantine throne. The Norns aren’t finished with them yet…

The epic second instalment in the Wolves of Odin series, taking us to the heart of power in Constantinople and the desperate machinations of the Byzantine emperors. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell, Giles Kristian and Angus Donald.

Review

The Bear of Byzantium is a fabulous book.

From the opening chapter, which focuses on Harald Hardrada, I knew this was my kind of book – if not just because of the occasional – and it is occasional for anyone who doesn’t appreciate it quite as much as me – use of a little bit of fruity language.

What follows is a journey through Constantinople at a particularly perilous time for emperors and impresses.

The two characters of Gunnhild and Halfdan, who are the main POV throughout the story, are intriguing and have very eventful stories, and the ending is exciting. I thoroughly enjoyed the way the author brought the city of Constantinople to life – something he’s extremely good at in his Roman-era books as well – as well as the customs, regulations, and also, all the paperwork (it’s much more exciting than it sounds:))

A firm favourite for me now and I look forward to continuing the story of Gunnhild and Halfdan – and I will assume Harald Hardrada at some point in the next few books in the series.

My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my review copy. The Bear of Byzantium is available now from Amazon and all good booksellers. Just a note that while this might be book 2, I haven’t read book 1, although I have it to read. If you want to jump right in, as I did, it won’t be a struggle to engage with the characters.

I have reviewed a fare few of S J A/Simon Turney’s Roman books. Here you’ll find the reviews for Son of Rome, Masters of Rome, Emperors of Rome and Commodus.

Connect with the author

Website Twitter

Featured

Today, I’m welcoming Lady Ludmilla’s Accidental Letter by Sofi Laporte to the blog

Today, I’m sharing an excerpt from Lady Ludmilla’s Accidental Letter. I do hope you enjoy reading.

Excerpt from Lady Ludmilla’s Accidental Letter by Sofi Laporte:

In the middle of the London season, Lady Ludmilla gets herself entangled in a hopeless muddle: she has fallen in love with her best friend, and that cannot be. Determined to discover the truth behind the man she loves, Lady Ludmilla does what she does best: she sits down and writes a letter…

Dear Addy, my dear friend,

Oh, how I miss talking to you. For our letters have always been conversations, haven’t they?

For the first time, I wish you were here so we could really talk.

I am so confused.

I miss you terribly. 

I feel that there is no person on earth who understands me as much as you do.

Yet, I feel this confusing longing for someone who you may know very well.

It is St Addington. 

He is a terrible rake. And a terrible flirt. And I should cut him out of my mind immediately. Yet, I can’t stop thinking about him. And here I am, in the middle of the night, writing this letter like a love-sick schoolgirl.

Oh, Addy, I fear the worst has happened.

I fear I have fallen in love with him.

But he is to marry someone else.

What to do?

What to do?

I wish you were here to advise your distraught friend,

Lu

Lady Ludmilla’s Accidental Letter is a mistaken identity, enemies-to-lovers Regency rom-com with some surprising twists and lots of laugh-out moments.

Here’s the blurb:

A resolute spinster. An irresistible rake. One accidental letter… Can love triumph over this hopeless muddle in the middle of the London season?

Lady Ludmilla is mortified. Though the spinster extraordinaire knows it is foolish, she has fallen head-over-heels for the amiable man with whom she’s been secretly corresponding, and that cannot be. When she sets out to uncover his identity, her world shatters. For her best friend Addy turns out to be none other but London’s worst rogue—the man who has ruined her engagement to someone else ten years earlier.

Lord St.Addington is perturbed. The wicked Viscount is developing a marked tendre for a spinster, and that cannot be. She might be mistaking him for someone he is not, or, what is worse, know precisely who he is. As London’s worst hellrake, he has a role to maintain, a charade to play. A depraved heart like his surely can’t be falling in love…least of all with a plain, outspoken spinster.

Determined to discover the truth behind the man she loves, Lu does what she does best: she sits down and writes a letter…

If you crave a humorous romp with witty banter and surprising twists, you will love Sofi Laporte’s charming masquerade.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK Amazon US

Meet the Author

Sofi was born in Vienna, grew up in Seoul, studied Comparative Literature in Maryland, U.S.A., and lived in Quito with her Ecuadorian husband. When not writing, she likes to scramble about the countryside exploring medieval castle ruins. She currently lives with her husband, 3 trilingual children, a sassy cat and a cheeky dog in Austria.

Sofi writes sweetly simmering Regency Romance with mischievous, witty banter and heart-throbbing happily-ever-after.

Connect with Sofi


Visit Sofi’s website at www.sofilaporte.com 

Facebook Instagram

Bookbub: Twitter

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on Lady Ludmilla’s Accidental Letter blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources
Featured

Cover Reveal -Cragside: A 1930s murder mystery

I’m very excited to reveal the cover for my next foray into twentieth-century crime.

Cragside: A 1930s murder mystery is another of my Lockdown projects, inspired by my weekly walk around Cragside, a nineteenth-century country estate in North Northumberland.

But enough of that.

Here’s the wonderful cover, designed by Shaun at Flintlock Covers. And isn’t it amazing.

Here’s the blurb

Lady Merryweather has had a shocking year. Apprehended for the murder of her husband the year before, and only recently released, she hopes a trip away from London will allow her to grieve. The isolated, but much loved, Cragside Estate in North Northumberland, home of her friends, Lord and Lady Bradbury, holds special memories for her.

But, no sooner has she arrived than the body of one of the guests is found on the estate, and suspicion immediately turns on her. Perhaps, there are no friendships to be found here, after all.

Released, due to a lack of evidence, Lady Ella returns to Cragside only to discover a second murder has taken place in her absence, and one she can’t possibly have committed.

Quickly realising that these new murders must be related to that of her beloved husband, Lady Merryweather sets out to solve the crime, once and for all. But there are many who don’t want her to succeed, and as the number of murder victims increases, the possibility that she might well be the next victim, can’t be ignored.

Journey to the 1930s Cragside Estate, to a period house-party where no one is truly safe, and the estate is just as deadly as the people.

Cragside will be released on 14th April 2022 in ebook, paperback, and, also audio – I’m really excited about the narrator. I will share more details nearer the time.

PREORDER NOW

Featured

Today, I’m really excited to take part in the cover reveal for SuSTYLEability by Lexi Rees

SuSTYLEability (noun)
The art of making small changes to the way we dress in order to make big changes in the world.

If you love fashion and want to live more sustainably, this activity book will help you create a wardrobe which reflects your personal style AND is mindful of the impact the fashion industry has on the environment and human welfare.

•              Learn the shocking facts about fashion
•              Make better choices when shopping
•              Develop your own unique style
•              Have fun with friends and family
•              Discover unique ways to upstyle and upcycle your wardrobe

•              Give old clothes a second life with creative crafts

Pre-order Link – https://lexirees.co.uk/all-activity-books/

Out Summer 2022! 

Meet the Author

Lexi Rees was born in Scotland but now lives down south where she’s slave to carrot obsessed gelding, a frisky mare, a dog who’s convinced he’s not been fed in a month, and a house of hungry boys.

She writes action-packed adventures and fun activity books for children. She’s passionate about reducing her footprint on the planet and becoming more self-sufficient.

She has an active programme of school visits and other events, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools, and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities.

Connect with Lexi

Website

TwitterFacebook

PinterestInstagram