Today, I’m welcoming Thomas Tibor and his new book, Fortunate Son to the blog #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

I’m delighted to share an excerpt from Thomas Tabor’s new book, Fortune Son.

…An hour later, Adam watched with amusement as Reed drenched himself with Brut cologne, rubbed most of it off, and tried on different outfits.

First, he tried the hippie route—faded jeans, one of Adam’s worn-out flannel shirts left untucked. Nah, too affected.Next, the country-club look—light-blue button-down oxford, chinos, and Bass Weejuns. Too square. Finally, he settled into his comfort zone—polo shirt, jeans, and white Adidas.

“You’ve never spent this long getting ready for a date.”

“Yeah, well. This is different. She’s different.” Late the night before, Jordan had called and asked him to pick her up at six.

Driving to her house, he recalled the fantasy that had kept him aroused the night before.

He rolls up to Jordan’s house.

Dressed in skimpy cutoff jean shorts and a low-cut T-shirt, she greets him with a deep kiss.

As the Mustang rumbles along country roads, she tosses her windblown hair, laughs at Reed’s witty jokes, and praises his well-rehearsed left-wing propaganda.

And when they arrive at a lover’s lane deep in the woods, they waste no time.

Naked, she straddles him as they make passionate love in the front seat.

Reed waited on her doorstep in the glow of the sinking sun. Despite his fears about Annabel’s state of mind, perpetual anxiety about his father’s possible fate, and trepidation about talking to his mother on Easter Sunday, life was looking up in his small corner of the universe.

That is, until Olivia opened the door, blew her nose into a handkerchief, and glared at him as if he were a Bible salesman.

“Oh, it’s you.” She retreated, replaced by Jordan, who was looking sexy in tight jeans and the raised-fist feminist T-shirt.

“Hi, do you mind if Olivia tags along? She’s been psyched to see this flick.”

Reed managed a polite smile. “Yeah, no problem.” But it was a problem. Three’s a crowd. What was she thinking? He wanted to hold hands at the movie, share milkshakes afterward, drive somewhere and make out—your basic, grade A, All-American Date.

Olivia reappeared in her usual baggy overalls and work boots. “Let’s split. I want a good seat.”

Like air slowly hissing from a punctured balloon, his hopes for the evening dissipated on the way to the theater. Jordan sat in the passenger seat. Olivia sprawled lengthwise in back, the soles of her boots rubbing dirt on the immaculate vinyl.

Reed glanced back a few times before saying anything. “Sorry, but do you mind keeping your shoes off the seat?”

Rolling her eyes, Olivia reluctantly moved her long legs.

Jordan turned on the radio news.

“Yesterday,” the announcer was saying, “President Nixon announced further troop withdrawals from Vietnam over the next year, contingent on progress at the Paris peace talks.”

“What a load of bullshit,” Olivia said.

“Why is it bullshit?”

“Simple. Because the peace talks are bogus, a cover for Tricky Dicky to keep the war going.”

Reed scoffed. Everything Nixon did was bogus or outright evil to Olivia. “Why the hell would he do that?”

She leaned forward, head between the front seats, frizzy hair brushing his shoulders. “How naive can you be? Because it’s an imperialist war. We claim to defend democracy but undermine it instead. Do you realize the U.S. has supported the French colonialists in Vietnam since World War II? Do you realize Ho Chi Minh would have won eighty percent of the vote had elections been held in ’56? And do you realize just who prevented those elections from taking place? Wedid.”

“So let me get this straight . . . according to you, we’re the bad guys, and the North Vietnamese are the good guys?”

“That’s exactly right. Vietnam’s been fighting for its independence for decades, first against the French and now us. Ho Chi Minh is like, you know, their George Washington.”

“You have got to be shitting me!”

Jordan switched off the radio. “Enough already. It all sounds like a broken record. By the way, I think you missed the turn a few blocks back.”

The movie was Midnight Cowboy, starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight. Reed sat next to Jordan, Olivia on her right. The acting was good but the story was tedious, so he only feigned interest. Mostly he focused on Jordan’s thigh—an inch from his own—and mentally rehearsed draping an arm around her shoulder. Just when he finally worked up the nerve to lift his arm, he glanced over at Jordan—who was holding hands with Olivia.

He lowered his arm, slid down in his seat, and prayed for the “date” to end.

Afterward, though, Jordan wanted to drive into the countryside, and he glumly agreed. She inserted a Jefferson Airplane tape, Olivia lit a joint the size of a small cigar, and the car soon morphed into a cocoon of psychedelic music and pot smoke.

Olivia thrust the joint toward him. “Want some?”

“Fuck no,” he said, venom in his voice.

“Figures.”

Jordan smiled knowingly—must be enjoying his misery. He punched the radio on and twisted the dialed until a newscaster’s voice materialized from the crackle of static:

“In related news, the League of Families expressed satisfaction with the president’s call for North Vietnam to provide more information on the whereabouts and condition of American prisoners of war . . .”

“It’s just like this lying government to keep calling them ‘prisoners of war,’” Jordan said.

“Hold on a minute,” Reed demanded. “What the hell else would they be?”

She took a deep hit from the joint, held the smoke, and exhaled slowly. “Think about it,” she said in a professorial tone. “This is an undeclared war. Never authorized by Congress. In fact, a lot of people think the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave Johnson the green light for this disaster, was based on fraud. Basically, Johnson and McNamara bamboozled the American people.”

“I’ve heard that bullshit theory,” Reed said. “Forget it. Those commie gunboats definitely attacked us. We didn’t do anything to provoke them.” Jordan shook her head mechanically. “Either way, what’s your point?”

“Simple. The North Vietnamese don’t feel bound by the Geneva Convention because they view this as an illegal war. So why should they release information about prisoners?”

Reed yelled, “Because they’re supposed to! Because it’s the goddamn moral thing to do!”

The Mustang barreled down the road.

From the back seat, Olivia scoffed. “Morality? Give me a break!”

Jordan continued calmly. “From their point of view, our soldiers aren’t official POWs.”

Reed’s foot pressed harder on the accelerator pedal. “That’s a lot of crap, and you know it!”

The lights of a one-stoplight town grew brighter. Jordan eyed the speedometer, which had edged above eighty. “Hey. You wanna slow down some?”

Olivia piped in. “Either way, if we’d stop bombing the North, they’d let those POWs go.”

“We stopped for two years, and nothing happened,” Reed countered.

“Is that what Rot-cee teaches you? Bomb Third World countries into the Stone Age?”

“How would you know what the fuck they teach me?”

A police siren wailed, growing louder until red flashers loomed in Reed’s rearview.

“The sad fact is the POWs have become pawns in the peace talks,” Jordan said.

“More like war criminals,” Olivia added.

Reed smashed his fist on the dashboard. “He’s not a goddamn war criminal!”

“Who’s not a war criminal?” Jordan and Olivia yelled at the same time.

Now the police car’s siren and flashers crowded the Mustang’s bumper.

“Shit! Son of a bitch!” Reed slammed on the brakes and veered onto the narrow shoulder, gravel flying.

“Fucking pigs,” Olivia muttered.

Reed ripped the joint from her hand and tossed it out the window. Leaning across Jordan, he yanked open the glove compartment and grabbed the registration. “Both of you—don’t move! Just shut the hell up!”

Unnerved by his rage, Jordan regarded him with a mix of curiosity and concern.

He jumped out, hoping to intercept the cop before he got near the car. What kind of a major dumbass shithead would drive into redneck country in a pot-infused car? Most of the people around here worked at the nearby state prison and hated hippies, drugs, and anything reeking of the counterculture.

Reed’s head swirled with panicked visions. Handcuffs clicking on his wrists. Judge’s gavel banging down—Guilty of Possession. Jail door slamming shut. Dismissal from ROTC. Eternal shame.

The cop was a baby-faced good old boy, standing over six feet with a sizable belly protruding above his gun belt. 

Standing behind the car, Reed handed over his registration and license. Fidgeting, right hand opening and closing, he read a billboard outside a church across the street: Let the Power of Love Replace the Love of Power.

The cop studied both documents and took in Reed’s neat appearance and his pristine car. He wore a tiny gold lapel pin in the shape of a pig, an attempt at irony by the Florida State Police.

“Son, do you have any notion how fast you were goin’?”

Reed launched into a detailed justification, punctuated by a stream of obsequious Yes, sirs, No, sirs, and I’m sorry, sirs. Yes, of course he’d been speeding and was “very, very sorry, sir.” He’d already slowed down when the speed limit changed, “in only two blocks, from sixty-five to thirty-five. Isn’t slowing down that fast actually kind of dangerous, sir?”

The cop muttered several “uh-huhs” as he checked the license plate and glanced inside. Jordan’s and Olivia’s demure smiles beamed back at him.

“Pretty decent bullshit, son. I’ve heard worse.” Then he wrote Reed a speeding ticket and warned him to be careful. “Some folks aren’t too happy with you college kids and all this protesting goin’ on. If you ask me, it’s goddamn un-American.”

“Yes, sir. I understand, sir. Thank you very much, sir.”

Reed pocketed the ticket and made a cautious U-turn. He vowed to remain silent on the way back and stay well below the speed limit, though he couldn’t wait to get home.

Unfortunately, Olivia still felt the need to spew more left-wing sewage. Only Reed’s Leave It to Beaver clean-cut looks, along with his groveling and ass-kissing, had kept “that redneck Neanderthal from locking us up.” Fascists cops like him were “tools of the capitalist power structure, which is all about keeping women barefoot and pregnant, not to mention oppressing the poor and Blacks.”

If only he had his boxing gloves, he could jam his fist down her throat.

Jordan, who’d been glancing at him curiously, interrupted. “Before, you said, ‘He’s not a war criminal.’ Who’s not a war criminal?”

He didn’t want to answer, but what was the point of keeping it a secret? The night had gone to hell long ago.

“My dad. He’s a Navy fighter pilot. MIA.”

“Wow,” Jordan said. “For how long?”

“Three years. We don’t know if he’s dead or alive.”

“I’m so sorry. I really am,” Jordan murmured…

Here’s the blurb:

A powerful, evocative novel that transports the reader to a tense period in America, Fortunate Son is set on a southern college campus during the turbulent spring of 1970. Reed Lawson, an ROTC cadet, struggles with the absence of his father, a Navy pilot who has been Missing in Action in Vietnam for three years.

While volunteering at a drug crisis center, Reed sets out to win the heart of a feminist co-worker who is grappling with a painful past, and to rescue a troubled teenage girl from self-destruction. In the process, he is forced to confront trauma’s tragic consequences and the fragile, tangled web of human connections.

Trigger warnings:

One aspect of this story dramatizes instances of self-harm and makes references to suicide.

Buy Links:

This book is available to read on #KindleUnlimited

Universal Buy Link:

https://books2read.com/u/boyrra

Amazon UK: Amazon US: Amazon CA: Amazon AU:

Barnes and Noble: Not available yet; will be available by October 1, 2022

Meet the Author

A veteran writer and video producer, Thomas Tibor has helped develop training courses focusing on mental health topics. In an earlier life, he worked as a counselor in the psychiatric ward of two big-city hospitals. He grew up in Florida and now lives in Northern Virginia. Fortunate Son is his first novel.

Connect with Thomas

WebsiteTwitter: LinkedIn:

Instagram: Amazon Author Page: Goodreads: 

Follow the Fortunate Son blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club

I’m welcoming Brushstrokes from the Past by Heidi Eljarbo to the blog #solihansenmysteries #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

How to enjoy research for a novel

by Heidi Eljarbo

Ask an avid reader of historical fiction if research is important, and the answer will be an unanimous, “Absolutely!”

Last year I taught a class about research at a writer’s conference in the USA. When preparing the presentation, I placed a survey on two Facebook groups. Yes, I did some research for my research class. I wanted to know how readers felt about research for historical novels.

I wrote, “I’d like to know your opinion. How important is historical research when you pick up a book? Do you enjoy learning new things about the time period of the novel you’re reading?”

Many readers answered that historical facts sparked their interest; they wanted to learn more; they followed up by doing their own research. A common answer was also that research is essential, and they especially don’t like inaccuracies, anachronism, or too many unnecessary descriptions.

Proper world-building will place the reader right in there with the characters. They need to know about the clothes, food, religion, politics, customs, and so much more. An author who chooses historical fiction as his or her genre should have a special interest in history. Because as you research, learn, and become acquainted with the time period you’ve chosen, the story will come alive. Writing historical fiction requires a passion for the craft, and weaving in interesting history without making it read like a textbook or making it obvious adds the attention-grabbing details.

My latest novel, Brushstrokes from the Past, is a historical art mystery. It’s a dual timeline with elements of three things I am particularly interested in: WWII resistance, the seventeenth century, and art history. The research has been fascinating and fun. I’ve studied about brave women during the last days of WWII, delved into the life and times of Amsterdam in the year 1641, and even discussed how to write an airplane scene with a fighter pilot.

Then there’s art. I have a passion for art history…always have…and finding information about master painters, techniques, hues and compositions, and the beautiful renditions they created, has been rewarding. 

The Soli Hansen Mysteries is a dual timeline series. Each book in the series can be read as a standalone, but they are more enjoyable when read in order as both stories progress. A common theme is the baroque artists who perfected the technique of chiaroscuro—the play of light and dark—in their paintings. We meet Caravaggio, Rubens, and Rembrandt van Rijn.

Brushstrokes from the Past is the fourth book in this series. Going deeper into Rembrandt’s personal life has been wonderful. I have moved beyond his work as a master painter and gotten to know him, not only as artistically gifted, but as a husband and father. His love and admiration for his wife Saskia made a deep impression on me. His sorrow for the children they lost was immense. These studies have made this Dutch Golden Age painter even more heroic in my eyes.

Brushstrokes from the Past takes place in 1641. Rembrandt is 32 years old, lives with his beloved Saskia in an expensive canal house, and he is widely celebrated as an extraordinary artist. He is working on an enormous painting we know as the The Night Watch where he implements the use of sunlight and shade (chiaroscuro).

Close to a hundred self-portraits—paintings, etchings, and drawing—made it easy to describe Rembrandt’s looks in book three and four. In Brushstrokes from the Past he is a close friend of fictional French musketeer Claude Beaulieu and his Jewish-Italian wife Annarosa Ruber.

How is Rembrandt’s portrait of his musketeer friend discovered in the spring of 1945? And who wants to get their hands on the precious artwork? You’ll have to read Brushstrokes from the Past to find out. Enjoy the adventure and journey!

Here’s the blurb:

A Historical Art Mystery

WWII and the mid-seventeenth century are entwined in this fourth dual timeline novel about Nazi art theft, bravery, friendship, and romance.

April 1945. Art historian Soli Hansen and her friend Heddy arrive at an excavation site only to find Soli’s old archeology professor deeply engrossed in an extraordinary find in a marsh. The remains of a man have lain undisturbed for three centuries, but there’s more to this discovery…

As Soli tries to understand who the baroque man was and discovers what he carried in a sealed wooden tube, problems arise. A leak reveals the finds to the notorious Lieutenant Colonel Heinz Walter, and soon, both Nazi elite and the Gestapo are after the treasure.
When Heddy and the professor disappear along with the artwork, Soli and her resistance group must find them before it’s too late.

1641. In Amsterdam, French musketeer Claude Beaulieu has had his portrait done by his close friend and artist Rembrandt van Rijn. When a band of thieves steal the precious painting, Claude and his wife Annarosa Ruber pick up their swords and a few belongings and go after the culprits.

Set in Norway during the tumultuous last days of the second world war, as well as the peak of the glorious baroque art period, these two stories are a must for readers who love historical fiction with adventure, suspense, and true love that conquers all.

Perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley, Kathleen McGurl, Rhys Bowen, and Katherine Neville.

Buy Links:

Available on #KindleUnlimited 

Universal Link

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon 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: 

TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

InstagramInstagram author pagePinterest

Book BubAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Follow the Brushstrokes from the Past blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club

Today, I’m excited to share my review for Daggers at the Country Fair, the second book in Catherine Coles delightful 1940s cozy crime series

Here’s the blurb:

Winteringham Village 1947

As a thank you for her previous brilliant crime solving, amateur sleuth, Martha Miller is guest of honour at the Winteringham Country Fair. However, this time she is looking forward to simply judging dog shows and eating cream teas rather than apprehending a killer!

And Martha is just beginning to enjoy spending quality time with Vicar Luke Walker away from the prying eyes and gossips of her own village, when disaster strikes, and the local teenage femme fatale is found stabbed to death behind the tea tent by Martha’s trusted red setter Lizzie!

But who would want to kill such a young girl and why? Someone in the village has secrets to hide and it seems Martha and Luke have another case to solve!

Let the investigation commence!

Purchase Link

https://amzn.to/39FO4RF

My Review

Daggers at the Country Fair is a welcome return to the sleuthing duo of Martha and Luke. This time the characters aren’t at home but rather on a weekend away, when their skills are unexpectedly called into use once more.

What follows is an intriguing examination of the inhabitants of Winteringham when a body is found during the country fair. Martha and Luke work to unpick what happened to the deceased and to hunt down the killer, as a collection of likely murderers make themselves known

I do love a Catherine Coles cozy mystery, and Daggers at the Country Fair is a welcome addition to the Martha Miller series. I will definitely look out for book 3 in the series.

Catherine Coles writes bestselling cosy mysteries set in the English countryside. Her extremely popular Tommy & Evelyn Christie series is based in North Yorkshire in the 1920’s and Catherine herself lives in Hull with her family and two spoiled dogs.

Connect with Catherine 

Facebook 

Twitter 

Instagram

Newsletter Sign Up

Bookbub profile

Follow the Daggers at the Country Fair blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources

Happy release day to Donovan Cook and his new book, Chaos of the Gods #historicalfiction #Vikings

Here’s the blurb:

The gods want chaos. He wants no part of their game. Can one man defy the will of the gods?

Bruised and battered from a disastrous raid, Ulf and his companions are set to return to their home. But the gods have other ideas. A violent sea storm pushes them back onto the treacherous land of Francia. With their ship damaged, Ulf and his Norse brothers are left stranded.

While the sea nearly cost them their lives, the land on the North Frankish coast could prove more deadly. And with the ruthless Griml on their tail, they must stay alert to survive.

But another threat looms over them, one that ensures the gods will get their chaos.

This battle is far from over.

Chaos of the Gods

Check out the first book in the series here: Son of Anger

Connect with Donovan

WebsiteTwitter:   Facebook

BookBub Amazon Author Page

  Goodreads: 

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Lucy Morris and her new book, Tempted by Her Outcast Viking to the blog #blogtour #newrelease #HistoricalRomance #VikingRomance

Here’s the blurb:

Tempted by the Warrior

But she’ll never wed

Brynhild had once been close to Erik – until he’d betrayed her, and she’d hoped never to see him again. Now the fiercely independent shieldmaiden needs Erik’s skills to rescue her sister. Striking a truce with the tough, isolated loner they reach a mutually beneficial deal: in return, she’ll help him in his quest to find a wife – by teaching him how to please a woman in bed…!

Buy Links:

Harper Collins:

Universal Link

WH Smiths

Meet the author:

Lucy Morris has always been obsessed with myths and legends. Her books blend sweeping romance with vivid worldbuilding to whisk you away to another time and place filled with adventure. Expect passion, drama and vibrant characters. 

Lucy lives in Essex, UK, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She has a massively sweet tooth and loves Terry’s Chocolate Oranges and Irn-Bru. In her spare time she likes to explore castles with her family, or drink bubbly with her friends.

Connect with Lucy:

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagram

Book BubAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Follow the Tempted by Her Outcast Viking blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club

Today, I’m welcoming Paul Walker to the blog with an excerpt from A Turbulent Peace #blogtour #histfic

Today, I’m sharing an excerpt from Paul’s new book, A Turbulent Peace, set in 1919.

We arrived at the junction that led to Avenue Beaucour and paused. Two children were playing with hoops and sticks by a doorway twenty paces from us, but the remainder of the street was deserted. We strolled past staring children to the arched entrance in a plastered and whitewashed wall of about twenty feet in height. The door was old, formed of thick, dark wood panels ribbed with iron straps and a large keyhole that looked as though it had survived several centuries. Adam turned the iron handle. It was locked and we headed off to locate a parallel street to discover what was on the other side of the wall.

The only way to exit Avenue Beaucour was to retrace our steps. It was a short walk to Rue Daru, which ran in the same direction. We stopped at the location, approximating a direct line through to the ancient doorway.

‘A church.’

‘Not any old church,’ I replied. ‘It’s Russian Orthodox.’ A faded and paint-blistered wooden board displayed its name – Cathédrale Saint-Alexandre-Nevsky. Even without a sign, it was unmistakably Russian with its colourful domes, golden cross and the icon of a Christ figure above the central arch. ‘Ahhhh.’ An involuntary rush of air escaped my mouth. ‘The name. That’s it.’

‘What do you mean? Whose name?’

‘The name scrawled by Arthur on a piece of paper next to the Rue Gustave Courbet address. It was an abbreviation for church followed by Nevsky – not a misspelling of Chersky, as I thought. This church must be connected in some way to their murder.’

INSERT IMAGE EX08 Cath A Nevsky Paris.jpg

Adam pushed at a small iron gate, and we started down a stone path towards the church entrance. The main door was closed. Adam inclined his head, and I followed him around the side. There was little ageing to the stone, and the church was clearly a relatively recent construction. Its clean vertical lines lent a dominant air with spires reaching above the tops of the buildings on either side. Did the land it occupied stretch back to Avenue Beaucour? We rounded a corner and viewed the wall, about twenty feet high, marking the rear boundary. Surely, the same wall, but I couldn’t see the doorway. The middle part of the bottom half of the wall was blocked by a squat, dilapidated construction of darker stone detached from the body of the church, and sunk into the ground with only small, shuttered windows. Much older than the church itself, I guessed it was probably used for storage.

‘The doorway will be behind this old storehouse,’ I said, pulling Adam’s sleeve to follow me.

There it was. With only a ten-yard gap between the high wall and the building, it could only be seen close up. We retraced our steps to an open space and surveyed the scene. The old, sunken structure was the only one in the grounds with a roof apart from the church itself. Whatever was taken from the cart was likely to have been stored in there. We edged around the wall until we found the door, down a flight of stone steps. I was about to descend and check the lock on the door when Adam caught hold of my arm.

‘Someone is coming.’

Two men were making for us in a manner that suggested they were not pleased. One, wearing long black robes and a white headscarf, was short, slight and bespectacled. The other, at least twice his size and with wild, staring eyes, was brandishing a large cudgel as though impatient for its use. Adam flexed his shoulders and edged forward to meet them. The two men were shouting, threatening. It looked bad. How could we avoid a bloody encounter? Quickly, I pushed past Adam and performed an elaborate curtsey.

I said, ‘Bonjour messieurs, veuillez excuser nos mauvaises manières,’ offering my sweetest, most innocent smile. They stopped, unsure how to react to this unexpected show of contrition. I continued, ‘My boss here is an architect from America. He is most interested in the beauty of your Cathedral and wishes to incorporate some of its features into a commission he has in Texas. I realise we should have sought your permission before entering these grounds, but – he is American, doesn’t speak French and has rather rough manners. Our humble apologies for any offence we may have caused.’

The clergyman held out his arm to halt the progress of his burly companion. He adjusted his spectacles, then examined Adam and me in turn before replying.

‘You must leave this sacred precinct directly. Your intentions may be blameless, but this place is a target for thieves and delinquents.’ His partner grunted and pointed his weapon at Adam. ‘If you wish to study or sketch our church, you should put your request in writing. It will be considered in due course.’

I bowed my head and murmured thanks for his understanding. Reaching behind, I took Adam’s hand and led him away, hoping he was also adopting a submissive and meek attitude. When we had gone far enough to be out of earshot, I hissed ‘Don’t look behind,’ in English. He squeezed my hand and laughed.

‘I understand enough French to appreciate your genius as an actress. That was well done, Mary.’

Here’s the blurb:

January 1919.

Following the armistice, Mary Kiten, a volunteer nurse in northern France, is ready to return home to England when she receives a surprise telegram requesting that she report to Paris. The call comes from her Uncle Arthur, a security chief at the Peace Conference.

Within minutes of arriving at the Majestic Hotel in Paris, Mary hears a commotion in the street outside. A man has been shot and killed. She is horrified to earn that the victim is her uncle. The police report the attack as a chance robbery by a known thief, who is tracked down and killed resisting arrest.

Mary is not convinced. Circumstances and the gunshot wound do not indicate theft as a motive. A scribbled address on Arthur’s notepad leads to her discovery of another body, a Russian Bolshevik. She suspects her uncle, and the Russian, were murdered by the same hand.

To investigate further, Mary takes a position working for the British Treasury, headed by J M Keynes.

But Mary soon finds herself in the backstreets of Paris and the criminal underworld.

What she discovers will threaten the foundations of the congress. 

Buy Links:

This book is available to read on #KindleUnlimited

Universal Link: mybook.to/ATurbulentPeace

Amazon UK: https://amz.run/5nFO

Amazon US: https://amz.run/5nFM

Amazon CA: https://amz.run/5nFS

Amazon AU: https://amz.run/5nFT

Meet the author

Paul lives in a village 30 miles north of London where he is a full-time writer of fiction and part-time director of an education trust. His writing in a posh garden shed is regularly disrupted by children, a growing number of grandchildren and several dogs.

Paul writes historical fiction. The William Constable series of historical thrillers is based around real characters and events in the late sixteenth century. The first two books in the series – “State of Treason” and “A Necessary Killing”, were published in 2019. The third book, titled “The Queen’s Devil”, was published in the summer of 2020.

Travel forward a few hundred years from Tudor England to January 1919 in Paris and the setting for Paul’s latest book, “A Turbulent Peace”. The focus of the World is on the Peace Conference after WW1 armistice. Add a dash of Spanish Flu, the fallout from the Russian Revolution, and you have a background primed for intrigue as nations strive for territory, power and money. 

Connect with Paul

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

LinkedInAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Don’t forget to follow the blog tour for A Turbulent Peace with the Coffee Pot Book Club

I’m delighted to welcome Nicola Matthews to the blog with a post about her new book, Kitty Canham #blogtour

Woman, Then and Now 

Nicola Matthews is the author of the historical fiction Kitty Canham. The real life of her protagonist, who lived in the same part of Essex 300 years earlier, inspired her to write. 

There is a theme in Kitty’s life that echoes a theme that has run through my own life. A theme that is not so often written about, because it is not exciting or enlivening. It is the theme of inevitability. Kitty says that life, ‘is like an inevitable river flowing with or without her consent.’ For too many women in Kitty’s era, as in my own, fighting the flow of the current that was the inequality that women faced, proved too strong. We become worn by its pull and allowed ourselves to drift in its inevitable flow. Kitty often finds herself in such a place. She struggles to make her way amid the conventions that restrain her, but when she expresses her anger, it only seems to confirm her weakness as a woman. Kitty was born into a society where women were expected to present themselves well, in order to receive a good proposal for marriage. That was the sole purpose of so many women in Kitty’s time. 

In the eighteenth century women could not inherit easily and were certainly not expected to enjoy the hard graft of a farming life, which Kitty relished. She finds herself in the happy position of becoming the inheritor of her father’s farm, until a boy appears, born to her father out of wedlock but now welcomed into the home by her mother. The boy dispossesses her. 

I was born in the late 50’s. It was post war Britain when women’s brief foray into the world of work during the world wars, had come to an end. So many of my friend’s mothers spent their time keeping home for their working spouses. The atmosphere often seemed drab and devoid of conversation. Although my own upbringing was rather more bohemian, and certainly a lot of fun, a woman was still there for the gaze and service of their husband. My father was a well-known actor. My mother was the perfect hostess and a star in my father’s firmament. She fitted it well. I remember watching films in Home Economics, where we were told, by a smiling woman in a 50’s dress and pinny, how to keep house and cook! That was to be our lot, whether it fitted us well or not. Too many women were forced into positions to which they were wholly unsuited. 

My character, Kitty, had no interest in presenting herself appropriately for a good marriage. But she too often finds herself caught in the current that was the society of the day. With few options and when all else is closed to her, she agrees to marry Alexander, a rector in the local parish. He is a good man, but still a man of his time, unable and unused to expressing himself to a woman. When she comes home from helping old Jacob with the lambing at the farm, dressed in breeches with blood on her hands, Alexander is angry. He tells her in no uncertain terms that she is an embarrassment and will have to change. Kitty bows to inevitability once more, though she finds her passionate and restless nature will not allow her to settle as she hoped. Eventually she finds a course of happiness, but one that comes at great cost both physically and emotionally. As we know, things have improved for women immeasurably since Kitty’s time. However, we are not there yet. 

Thankfully, for my generation, the 60’s/70’s brought change. Though the male gaze had not changed. It was the era of the Carry On movies when a wolf whistle was seen as a compliment. Both my sisters were older than I and were actresses through the sixties. My sister Debbie, ten years my senior, became known as a ‘blond bombshell’ – an image which she was never fully able to break away from and which led her into difficulties as she grew older. Although I was younger than my sisters, the shadow of the expectations I grew up with, lived on in my own soul. 

Kitty’s life story was very different to my own, and my struggles were far less keen, but in writing Kitty Canham I found myself expressing, through her, my own anger against the restraints that I felt in my younger years, restraints so often in my own mind, rather than in those around me. In giving Kitty a feisty nature, I found I was able to give expression to my anger, not for myself so much, but for those women, the world over, who’s fight for equality has barely begun.  

Nicola Matthews is the author of Kitty Canham (Hall House Press, £8.99, eBook: £2.99), available now from Amazon: https://amzn.to/3lCKLxj

Nicola Matthews was inspired by the ragged North Essex coastline, where she lives with her husband, to write Kitty Canham’s story. She was an undiagnosed dyslexic until her mid-forties and has worked as a sculptor and in the theatre, writing and producing community productions. She is also the author of Anxt and Other Poems, a poetry anthology. It was the unexpected gift of lockdown that gave Nicola the time and inclination to finally write her debut novel, Kitty Canham. Find out more: www.nicolamwrites.com/novel

@NicolaMatthewsAuthor

@nicola_author

Today, I’m delighted to be hosting Essex Dogs by Dan Jones on the blog #blogtour #newrelease #TheHundredYearsWar

Here’s the blurb:

July 1346. The Hundred Years’ War has begun, and King Edward and his lords are on the march through France. But this war belongs to the men on the ground.

Swept up in the bloody chaos, a tight-knit company from Essex must stay alive long enough to see their home again. With sword, axe and longbow, the Essex Dogs will fight, from the landing beaches of Normandy to the bloodsoaked field of Crécy.

There’s Pismire, small enough to infiltrate enemy camps. Scotsman, strong enough to tear down a wall. Millstone, a stonemason who’ll do anything to protect his men. Father, a priest turned devilish by the horrors of war. Romford, a talented young archer on the run from his past. And Loveday FitzTalbot, their battle-scarred captain, who just wants to get his boys home safe.

Some men fight for glory. Others fight for coin. The Essex Dogs? They fight for each other.

My Review

Essex Dogs by Dan Jones, despite its girth, coming in at nearly 7500 lines on my Kindle and 450 pages in hardback, is a really easy-going read. It has a light writing style, and therefore, it’s not an onerous read for anyone worried that it might just be that little bit longer than they’re used to. (I never used to consider the length of a book, but now I do, when there are so many books to read and so little time).

The opening scene, the landing on the beach for the invasion of France, is very well told, and draws you into the world that the Essex Dogs live within. The action then slightly backs off, as we learn more about the men behind the invasion and the details of what’s planned. And there are many little details that slowly draw the reader into the scenario the Dogs face, as just one of many bands of warriors, commissioned for their 40 days of service, to fight on behalf of a lord, who’s in turn beholden to the king or the prince of Wales.

While the Hundred Years War is not ‘my’ time period, I’m not a stranger to it. If you’ve read other books set in the period, as I have, then this feels very close to those books. In no time at all, I was remembering some of the historical details, and I felt right at home with the ‘Dogs.’

This, as the blurb says, is the story of the Essex Dogs, and not the king and lords. The prince, Northampton and Warwick are the most notable members of the nobility to get a decent-sized portion of the story but only in relation to the way the Essex Dogs’ lives mingle, merge and separate with them. You can almost smell the dust and heat, the stink of the rivers, and not for the first time when I read books like this, I’m left considering why the English king was so determined to claim a province that was so hostile to him.

The story, not without tragedy, slowly builds to an intriguing finale, on the field of Crecy, where we follow the efforts of young Romford as he attempts to stay alive.

There is blood and gore in this book, but not tonnes of the stuff. There is some pretty strong language, but not tonnes of it (if you’ve read my The Last King series, it will feel a little tame). My overwhelming feeling on finishing it is that the games kings play affected the men who fought for them more than them, and I more than imagine that this is what Dan Jones is hoping to make us feel. And so, an engaging and well-told tale, not without moments of tragedy and comedy, and one certainly worthy of picking up and devouring.

About the author

Dan Jones is the Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author of ten non-fiction books, including The Templars, The Colour of Time and Powers and Thrones. He is a renowned writer, broadcaster and journalist, and has for many years wanted to write authentic but action-packed historical fiction. His debut novel, Essex Dogs, is the first in a planned trilogy following the fortunes of ten ordinary soldiers in the early years of the Hundred Years’ War. He lives near London with his family.

Purchase link

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3cNE9LN

Follow Dan

Twitter: @dgjones

Instagram: @d_a_n_jones
TikTok: d_a_n_jones

Follow Aries

Twitter: @AriesFiction

Facebook: Aries Fiction

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

Today, I’m welcoming Under The Cloud to the blog, which is now available #blogtour #Thriller

Here’s the blurb:

They call themselves The Settlement Bureau. A faceless, soulless organization coercing Americans with threats to expose their improprieties and vulnerabilities. Inhumanely persistent, they’ve secretly driven hundreds of victims into bankruptcy, despair – and several even to suicide.

But when this organization tries to blackmail IT expert Terry Reynolds, they make a serious mistake. Terry is down on his luck. He is penniless, divorced and in a dead-end job. Yet, the abuse of his personal information stirs Terry out of his lethargy and he fights back. He embarks on a digital game of cat-and-mouse with the cold, calculating minds behind The Settlement Bureau – and in doing so, uncovers a sprawling criminal conspiracy.

Under The Cloud is a chillingly plausible new thriller by B.R. Erlank. With a plot ripped straight from the headlines, readers warn this book delivers a “roller coaster ride right up to the final pages.”

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3nH9JNa

Meet the Author

Boris Erlank grew up in Southern Africa and Namibia. He has lived and worked in places as diverse as Luanda, Cape Town, Singapore and San Francisco. Boris recently gave up his job as Global Privacy Manager with a Fortune 100 company to focus on writing full-time.

He has an extensive background in IT, data privacy and cybersecurity, and has drawn on that experience to craft his latest novel, “Under the Cloud”.

Boris lives with his family and two dogs in the foothills of Mount Diablo, east of San Francisco. In his spare time, he likes to cycle, hike, sing in a choir, and listen to audiobooks.

Connect with Boris 

https://brerlank.wordpress.com

Facebook

Linked In

Giveaway to Win a £20 Amazon Gift Card (Open UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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/33c69494522/?

Follow the Under the Cloud blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources

Today, I’m delighted to spotlight The Muse of Freedom by Jules Larimore #blogtour #historicalfiction #TheCoffeePotBookClub

Here’s the blurb:

First in the series from The Cévenoles Sagas is THE MUSE OF FREEDOM.

Brilliantly told, a story that will stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page . . . fresh and compelling, as relevant now as it was then.

~ Janet Wertman, award-winning author of The Seymour Saga trilogy

A French Huguenot apothecary’s legacy of secrets, a mystic healer’s inspiration, a fateful decision.

In the mysterious Cévennes mountains of Languedoc, France, 1695, Jehan BonDurant, a young nobleman forcibly held in a Dominican prieuré as a child, comes of age only to inherit a near-derelict estate and his Huguenot family’s dangerous legacy of secrets. While he cherishes his newfound freedom apprenticing as an apothecary, his outrage mounts over religious persecutions led by King Louis XIV’s Intendant Basville, who is sent to enforce the King’s will for “One King, One Law, One Faith”. 

The ensuing divisions among families and friends and the gradual revelation of his own circumstances lead Jehan to question his spiritual choices. A journey deep into the heart of the Cévennes in search of guidance, unfolds in a way he least expects when he enters the enchanting Gorges du Tarn. There he discovers his muse, Amelia Auvrey, a free-spirited, mystic holy woman who reveals ancient healing practices and spiritual mysteries.

Together they quest for peace and spiritual freedom by aiding the persecuted until the Intendant’s spy reports their activities and the King’s dragoons are sent out after them. To retain their freedom, they must choose to live in hiding in a remote wilderness, join a festering uprising against the persecutions, or flee their cherished homeland with thousands of other refugees in search of hope.

Inspired by the true story of Jean Pierre Bondurant dit Cougoussac, distilled and blended with Cévenole magic lore, this is an inspiring coming of age story and family saga of courage, tenacity, and the power of love in a country rife with divisions under the control of an authoritarian king obsessed with power. 

Fans of Poldark, Magic Lessons, The Lost Apothecary, and The Huguenot Chronicles will find thematic elements from those stories melded into this thrilling and obscure slice of French history.

Buy Links: 

Universal Link:  https://books2read.com/u/b5jMXp

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Meet the author

Jules Larimore writes emotive, literary-leaning historical fiction to inspire positive change for the oppressed and refugees, and to encourage an intimate relationship with the natural environment.

Influenced by a background in freelance travel writing, Jules uses captivating historical settings as characters. Then distills and blends them with a dose of magic, myth, and romance to bring to life hopeful human stories. A previous career in marketing offered an outlet for creative writing used to romance brands with mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.

With a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University, Jules has studied medieval history, ancient Greek culture, anthropology, folklore, narrative composition, and architectural design, and has trained under writing geniuses Libbie Hawker/Olivia Hawker and Roz Morris. While investigating the ancestor who inspired The Muse of Freedom, Jules researched late 17th century Languedoc customs, politics, and spiritual traditions specific to the little known Cévennes mountains of south-central France, culminating in a rich repository to feed future novels about the Cévenol people and culture.

Jules lives primarily in Ojai, California, with time spent around the U.S. and in various countries in Europe gathering more treasures in a continued search for authenticity.

Connect with Jules:

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

InstagramPinterestBook Bub

Amazon Author PageGoodreadsYouTube:

Don’t forget to follow The Muse of Freedom blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club