#Recensie : Het verhaal van Vlaanderen 2 – Frodo De Decker, Harry De Paepe @SU_Uitgeverij @DeMensen @VRT

– The Magic of Wor(l)ds blog is een hobby, recensies en andere boekgerelateerde berichten worden gratis geplaatst.
Ik ben dankbaar voor het ontvangen van een gratis boekexemplaar van de auteur/de uitgeverij in ruil voor mijn eerlijke mening. –

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Vandaag ga ik ter promotie mijn recensie van ‘Het verhaal van Vlaanderen 2’ met jullie delen, maar eerst wat informatie over

De Auteurs :

Harry De Paepe, leraar geschiedenis, en Frodo De Decker, illustrator en striptekenaar.

Het Boek :

Ben Alderson Author pic(1)Dé graphic novel van de langverwachte tv-reeks!
Volg hoe ons geuzenvolkje door de jaren heen het juk van de bezetter afwerpt om te komen tot een moderne, onafhankelijke samenleving.
Aan de hand van grootse gebeurtenissen en (ogenschijnlijk) kleine anekdotes loodsen Harry De Paepe en Frodo De Decker je doorheen de geschiedenis van het grondgebied dat we vandaag Vlaanderen noemen. Dit tweede boek behandelt de periode van de Habsburgse tijd tot nu.

Standaard Uitgeverij

En dan is het nu eindelijk tijd voor mijn

blog-review

Het is nog even wachten op de nieuwe aflevering van ‘Het Verhaal van Vlaanderen’, maar gelukkig is ondertussen het 2de deel van de graphic novel uitgegeven.
Net zoals het 1ste deel is ook dit boek weer visueel genieten van de tekeningen van de hand van Frodo De Decker.
Een geweldige artiest in mijn ogen, die in samenwerking met Harry De Paepe, onze geschiedenis op gepaste manier in beeld brengt, zelfs al is het niet altijd even schoon!
Gelukkig was er ook opnieuw de nodige humor verweven in het verhaal en dat zorgt er mee voor dat deze strip de geschiedenis van ons landje (Ja, landje, want hier gaat het ook over België!) zeer toegankelijk weergeeft.
Een must-read dus voor jong en oud, die graag eens in het verleden wroet en nog beter er graag iets over (bij)leert.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#Review : Death Among the Diamonds (A Cressida Fawcett Mystery #1) – Fliss Chester @SocialWhirlGirl @bookouture

– The Magic of Wor(l)ds is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

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Today I’m delighted to promote ‘Death Among the Diamonds’, by sharing my review of this book, but first I have some information

About the Author :

SRsrP-Zx_400x400Fliss Chester was born in London and raised in the south east of England. She attended Guildford High School for Girls, and from there the University of York where she studied Art History. If her degree taught her anything, it was how to describe a picture, so with that skill set in mind she talked her way into a career in sub-editing and spent many happy years captioning pictures (and maybe doing just a little bit more) on homes and lifestyle magazines.
Her first three books follow the romantic liaisons of Jenna Jenkins and are perfect get-away reads, especially if you like your books full of fun, glamour and naughtiness. With Jenna you’re never far from a hilarious mishap or cheeky quip, and her adventures will take you from the Alps, to a gorgeous Bordeaux chateau and finally to the glitz and splendour of Monte Carlo.
In 2019 Fliss started writing The Fen Churche Mysteries. These period whodunnits follow amateur sleuth Fenella Churche as she solves crimes straight after the second world war. She’s a heroine with gumption and a knack for seeing the world – and crimes – through the eyes of a crossword puzzler… so if you can’t solve your two across, you might need to work on your four down…
Fliss lives in a 17th-century cottage in Surrey with her husband and their very demanding cat.

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About the Book :

51rmPictQmLEveryone in 1920s London knows the Honourable Cressida Fawcett: fiercely independent (though never apart from her little pug Ruby), lover of martinis and interior designer extraordinaire. She’s solved many crimes of fashion… so how about murder?
Cressida Fawcett is heading to the English countryside for a weekend of cocktails and partying at her friend’s glamorous mansion, the location of a recent diamond heist. But just hours after her arrival, Cressida is woken by an almighty scream. Rushing to the landing, she looks down into the great hall to find a trembling maid standing next to the body of Harry, the friendly young chandelier cleaner.
Everyone believes Harry’s death was an accident. But as Cressida examines the opulent hall and the beautiful grounds, she thinks something darker is afoot. Why clean a chandelier in the early hours of the morning? And who overheard Harry boasting about coming into unexpected wealth? A small piece of torn silk found near the body has Cressida looking at the guests’ elegant clothes with fresh eyes…
The short-tempered Detective insists that she keeps her curious nose out of the investigation, but it’s Cressida who realises the stolen diamonds were hidden in the sparkling chandelier. Convinced there is a connection between the theft and the murder, the case takes a sinister turn when a guest is killed in his sleep after a brandy-fuelled night of cards. With everyone unable to leave, can Cressida’s sharp eye for detail catch the killer before another life is taken?
An absolutely gripping and utterly charming 1920s murder mystery packed with wit, glamour and intrigue. The perfect whodunnit for fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and Downton Abbey!

Amazon

And now it’s finally time for my

blog-review

Next to reading hard-boiled thrillers I also like reading a good cosy mystery now and then, especially when they’re set in the 1900s.
I guess they remind me of my love for Agatha Christie, who’s definitely the queen of writing about sleuths helping out the police.
This all said however, let’s talk about ‘Death Among the Diamonds’ by Fliss Chester and how this book was right up my alley.
First of all, did you see the beautiful cover?
I found it just splendid as it very much sparkles like a real diamond!
And a gem the story was, from beginning to finish, as I enjoyed being in the company of the Honourable Cressida Fawcett and her pug Ruby.
Definitely main characters who wiggled their way into my heart in just a couple of pages, so needless to say that I’m really looking forward to many more adventures together with them.
A wonderful beginning of a brand new series for me and I’m in luck as I don’t need to wait for long to read book 2!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#CoverReveal #SecondSky @SecondSkyBooks : The Spirit Girls – Dawn Merriman @DMerrimanBooks

– The Magic of Wor(l)ds is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

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Today I’m delighted to be on the cover reveal for ‘The Spirit Girls’, organised by Second Sky, but first I’ll share some information

About the Author :

Dawn Merriman author imageDawn Merriman writes creepy small town murder mysteries, but nothing too graphic. (She likes to sleep at night.) She grew up on a small pig farm in Northeast Indiana and spent her teenage years sitting on her bedroom floor, scribbling stories into notebooks. Today, Dawn lives on another small farm with her husband and young adult children. You can often find her with muck boots on her feet and a story in her head. She enjoys animals, auctions, reading, snorkeling and writing small-town murder mystery novels.

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About the Book :

A heart-pounding mystery with a touch of romance, The Spirit Girls begins a new series of paranormal thrillers that are impossible to put down.
Rylan Flynn has always been able to see what others don’t—the restless spirits haunting Ashby, Indiana. She’s learned to live with her “gift,” but sometimes she longs to escape.
The woods have always been peaceful for Rylan. But on a visit to her aunt’s cabin, she catches sight of a spirit in the trees. The ghost of a young woman approaches, leading Rylan to her body.
With a flood of horror, Rylan realizes that the girl, Celeste Monroe, has been murdered. An outgoing newcomer to town, Celeste had no enemies. Who would want to see her dead?
When a coin carved with strange symbols is discovered in Celeste’s throat, it’s clear that a twisted, cold-blooded killer is at work.
Rylan’s abilities could be the only way to prevent further deaths. But Ashby’s handsome head detective, Ford Pierce, has made it very clear that he doesn’t want her help.
And any unexplained knowledge of the case could make Rylan the perfect suspect.
When another body is discovered and blood at the scene points to Rylan’s family, she is more determined than ever to uncover the truth. She must race against time to untangle a web of dark secrets… but can she find answers before the murderer claims another victim?

And now it’s finally time for the

blog-cover reveal

The-Spirit-Girls-Extract-Kindle

This great looking book will be available on the 9th of May 2023.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#CoverReveal #SecondSky @SecondSkyBooks : Hammer of Fate – G.N. Gudgion @GeoffreyGudgion

– The Magic of Wor(l)ds is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

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Today I’m delighted to be on the cover reveal for ‘Hammer of Fate’, organised by Second Sky, but first I’ll share some information

About the Author :

G.N. Gudgion author picG.N. Gudgion (‘Geoff’) grew up with his nose in a book, often one featuring knights in armour. A later search for stories where women didn’t have to be either beautiful damsels or witches led him to the fantasy genre and the works of Guy Gavriel Kay and Robin Hobb.
After Geoff gave up a business career to write, it was natural to gravitate to historical fantasy, to stories with complex, conflicted characters that a reader can bleed with, cry for, and perhaps fall in love with. They live in worlds where you can smell the sweat and the sewers, as well as the roses.
Geoff lives in a leafy corner of England, where he’s a keen amateur equestrian and a very bad pianist. He spends much of his time crafting words in a shed, fifty yards and five hundred years from his house.

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About the Book :

Discover a thrilling new series, with a rich world and action that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Hammer of Fate is inspired by Viking magic, medieval combat, and the fall of the Templar knights—perfect for fans of Mark Lawrence, Andrzej Sapkowski, and Robin Hobb.
“No surrender. No retreat.” With twenty enemy swords at their backs and a broken bridge ahead, the last knights of an outlaw order turn to fight. A young woman with wild, forbidden magic joins their final stand. And as blade meets blade, she starts to sing…
Adelais was raised in the far north, learning stories of the old gods and the skill of weaving runes into magic. Now, she is locked in a convent far from home, forced to kneel to a foreign god.
When inquisitors arrive with plans to torture an innocent man, Adelais cannot stand by. She aids an attack to free the prisoner and joins the raiders as they flee into the night.
Her new companions are the last of the Guardians—a powerful holy order hunted almost to extinction. They carry a secret treasure, precious and powerful enough to shape kingdoms. And their pursuers, desperate to possess it, will crush any who stand in their way.
Nowhere is safe—in city or chateau, on the road or in the wilds. And even disguised as a boy, Adelais draws attention wherever she goes. Is she angel or demon, heretic, priestess, or witch?
Adelais must summon all her courage and all her memories of the old gods’ magic as the noose tightens around her and a thunderous final reckoning approaches.

And now it’s finally time for the

blog-cover reveal

HammerofFate_Front

This great looking book will be available on the 1st of June 2023.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Review : Ragman – JG Faherty @JGFaherty

– The Magic of Wor(l)ds is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

Ragman Tour Poster

Today I’m delighted to be on the ‘Ragman’ blogtour, organised by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I’ll be sharing my review, but first I have some information

About the Author :

A life-long resident of New York’s haunted Hudson Valley, JG Faherty has been a finalist for both the Bram Stoker Award® (THE CURE, GHOSTS OF CORONADO BAY) and ITW Thriller Award (THE BURNING TIME), and he is the author of 8 novels, 11 novellas, and more than 75 short stories. He writes adult and YA horror, science fiction, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. He grew up enthralled with the horror movies and books of the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, and as a child his favorite playground was a 17th-century cemetery. Which explains a lot.

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About the Book :

JG Faherty Author PhotoIf you love a great horror tale with ancient mummies, a deluded priest and two oddball cops, then you’re in for a treat…
In 1882, a group of British soldiers plunder an Egyptian temple and kill the high priest. The priest vows revenge, and is finally revived in the present day.
He finds the great-grandson of the man who killed him, but they form an uneasy partnership to get back all the stolen artifacts and send all the descendants of the other soldiers to the Underworld.
Two police officers, former partners who had a falling out, must put aside their differences as they go from trying to solve gruesome, unexplained murders to risking their lives to stop the supernatural mummy the priest has called forth.

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Buy Link

And now it’s finally time for my

blog-review

I’ve always been very interested in everything (remotely) related to Ancient Egypt so when I saw the cover of ‘Ragman’ by J. G. Faherty I was immediately excited.
After reading the blurb I knew it would be right up my alley as it contained not only mummies, murder, mayhem, … but also a couple of police officers with a past.
Thrilled about all of this I started reading and became hooked from the very first pages as it made for an intriguing beginning that left me wanting for more.
Needless to say that I flew through the book as I enjoyed the Ancient Egyptian theme and I loved the characters who tried to solve the problem at hand and the ones from their own past.
However, I also must confess that this story wasn’t a perfect one for me as I would have liked some things to be more extensive or maybe told in other places to have a better connection as a whole.
Maybe this can be seen as a bit of nit-picking from me or a way to say I would have loved to spend more time with these characters as I very much believe the main quartet are worthy of many more adventures together!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#CoverReveal #SecondSky @SecondSkyBooks : The Fury of Kings – R.S. Moule @RS_Moule

– The Magic of Wor(l)ds is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

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Today I’m delighted to be on the cover reveal for ‘The Fury of Kings’, organised by Second Sky, but first I’ll share some information

About the Author :

Roger MouleRoger Stephen Moule who writes as R.S. Moule lives in South London with his wife Eloise and their cat Tinks. He has a passion for writing epic fantasy grounded by human flaws and desires, set in worlds inspired by a childhood divided between his home in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds and summers spent exploring the rugged coastline and deep glens of the Isle of Man. When not reading or writing, he can often be found playing guitar, watching football, or searching for his keys.

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About the Book :

In the shadow of Eryispek—a mountain said to have no summit—a dark power is stirring. Storms rage in the frozen heights. Unexplained disappearances shake the kingdom below. And old enemies are sharpening their swords…
Andrick the Barrelbreaker first led an army at sixteen.
His victories secured the throne of Erland for his brother and shattered the rebellious noble houses in the West. Decades later, a fragile peace still holds.
But when the king’s only son is murdered, Erland is plunged into crisis. The new heir will stop at nothing to secure his claim. The king, maddened by grief, stalks the halls and hidden passages of his keep, growing more unpredictable by the day.
As war and magical disaster loom, Andrick must decide between protecting his family and marching out to serve a brother he barely recognizes.
His children must also choose their destinies.
Training in the practice yard every day, Orsian dreams of fighting beside his father. Now, for the first time, he faces the brutal reality of battle.
And Pherri is haunted by very different dreams—of figures struggling up the mountain, of a voice more chilling than the wind, of blood on the snow. Only she can resist the darkness that waits on the slopes above…
Race through the pages of an epic new series and enter a world of intrigue, battles and destiny that will leave you breathless. The Erland Saga is a classic fantasy adventure, perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin, John Gwynne and Raymond E. Feist.

And now it’s finally time for the

blog-cover reveal

The-Fury-of-Kings-Kindle

This great looking book will be available on the 17th of May 2023.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

‘Second Sky’ imprint : social accounts and a Facebook Live at 2PM (GMT) @bookouture @SecondSkyBooks

– The Magic of Wor(l)ds is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

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Follow ‘Second Sky’ imprint on
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Follow Second Sky (books)

for all those Facebook followers there will also be
a Facebook Live at 2PM (GMT) between

Second Sky Books FB Live Event

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Bookouture launches ‘Second Sky’ imprint for science fiction and fantasy! @bookouture @SecondSkyBooks

– The Magic of Wor(l)ds is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

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PRESS RELEASE

Bookouture launches science fiction and fantasy imprint Second Sky and reveals first authors.
Bookouture is delighted to announce an impressive list of authors for the launch of Second Sky, its new science fiction and fantasy imprint.
The imprint, headed up by publisher Ruth Tross and consultant associate publisher Jack Renninson, will start publishing in March 2023.
Renninson said, “Second Sky is a home for thrilling science fiction and fantasy that genre readers will love. We are launching with a diverse list of new voices that represent the very best in modern SFF storytelling and we cannot wait to share them with the passionate, ever-growing community of fans around the world.”
Second Sky’s earliest titles will include epic fantasy adventures from UK-based debut author R.S. Moule and from G.N. Gudgion, previously published by Solaris and Unbound.
Renninson has also acquired new series by established self-published authors, including paranormal thrillers by Dawn Merriman, and fantasy romance by USA Today bestseller Kathryn Ann Kingsley and BookTok breakouts Nisha J. Tuli and Ben Alderson.
Additionally, Second Sky will release SFF titles from current Bookouture authors, including the relaunch of two trilogies by psychological thriller bestseller Shalini Boland.
Individual announcements about the books will be forthcoming on Bookouture’s social media profiles and blog throughout the week-long launch celebrations.
Ruth Tross said, “This is a hugely exciting way to diversify our publishing and reach new audiences. I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring Bookouture’s wealth of knowledge and skill into a whole new world of SFF digital publishing, and to share these fantastic books and authors with readers everywhere.”
For publicity enquiries, please contact Noelle Holten (noelle@bookouture.com).
For rights enquiries, please contact Richard King (richard@bookouture.com).

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : Beguiling her Enemy Warrior – Lucy Morris @LMorris_Author @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

– The Magic of Wor(l)ds is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

Beguiling her Enemy Warrior

Today I’m delighted to be on the ‘Beguiling her Enemy Warrior’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I’ll be sharing a guest post written by the author, but first I have some information

About the Author :

Beguiling Headshot_GoodReadsLucy 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.

Social Media Links:
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About the Book :

Beguiling Headshot_GoodReadsKidnapped by the warrior
Tempted by the man…
Captured by the infamous Lord Rhys, a Welsh prince intent on revenge against her family, Viking healer, Helga, must keep her wits about her if she’s to be freed. Easier said than done when she desires him rather than fears him! Helga senses there’s good inside Rhys and feels compelled to reach his heart. First she must make him see there’s more to her than just his enemy…

Purchase Links:
Apple Books / Amazon
HarperCollins UK

And now it’s finally time for the

blog-guest post

Beguiling her enemy warrior is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, set in the Welsh Dark Ages. It’s the third book in my shield maiden sisters trilogy, and follows the story of Helga the youngest sister of three Viking warrior women. Helga is captured by her family’s enemy, and ends up falling in love with her captor!
I wanted an ‘Excalibur’ feel with this book, combining the Welsh dragon legends with that of Norse mythology. The red dragon is the symbol of Wales and it has a far-reaching significance to the history of Wales and the royal family.
Vortigern, a Celtic king was searching for a place to build his castle, and decided on the hillside of Dina Emrys. However, a young boy (thought to be Merlin) warned him that two dragons lay sleeping beneath in an underground lake. When digging the foundations to the castle, Vortigern awoke the two dragons, one of which was red and the other white. The two dragons fought and the red dragon won. This was a prophesy for the coming of Arthur, whose father’s name was ‘pendragon’ (dragon’s head), and became the symbol of Welsh royalty throughout the ages.
I created my own Welsh dragon tale in this book as a nod to the legend…I can’t resist a story within a story, and I really loved adding snippets of Welsh mythology throughout the book.

Extract:

‘What does it mean? Cadair y Ddraig?’
‘You pronounced that well,’ he said with a smile, ‘It means Dragon’s Chair. It is said that long ago a dragon clawed out that ledge so that it could have a pleasant place to lay in the sunshine and sleep. Then, one particularly cold winter forced it to crawl deep into the heart of the mountain for warmth and, in the darkness, it forgot to wake. Eventually, its fire dimmed and its scales turned to rock. Sometimes, on very hot days you can hear it…snoring.’
Helga giggled through a yawn. ‘What does it do on all of your cold and rainy days?’
‘It growls, but only very softly. You see…it does not realise it is asleep.’
‘How sad,’ Helga whispered, all merriment gone from her voice.
‘How so?’
‘To not even realise you are asleep…to never be truly living… I hope his dreams are sweet.’ Her words drifted away as she succumbed to sleep herself, but they had pierced him like a knife.
To never be truly living…
Why did those words cut so deep?”

Helga and Rhys were the perfect characters for this story, as they come from two very different worlds, and there is plenty of family drama to add to the conflict of their romance.
Helga has always felt like the weakest link when it comes to her fierce mother and sisters. She has always been more content to stay behind the battlelines, and use her healing talents to help her community rather then fight like her two older sisters and mother.
After, writing Brynhild and Valda’s romances, I was keen to write about another kind of heroine. A softer, gentler character, who is strong and fierce in a different way. Researching about medieval medicine and herb lore, really opened my eyes to the untold history of ‘wise women’. The pillars of the community who cared for the health and wellbeing of those around them.
Being a woman is a dangerous life (some would argue it still is), but in medieval times childbirth and pregnancy was the number one killer of women. So, not only was Helga’s vocation important, it was essential for her community, and a skill that would have been passed down for generations.
Interestingly, one of the first medical books was written by a nun called Hildegard von Bingen in the middle ages who advocated for abortions if it saved the mother’s life, or was done in the early months of pregnancy. It suggests a kinder, more open-minded society than we might have originally considered.
In Helga, I tried to honour the many wise women throughout history who have tirelessly worked to protect the people of their community, not with sword and shield, but with knowledge and compassion.
Rhys and Helga transform their assumptions about themselves and each other throughout the book and that’s my favourite kind of romance.

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @cathiedunn / #QandAs : Pilot Who Knows the Waters (The Lord Hani Mysteries #6) – N.L. Holmes @nlholmesbooks #HistoricalMystery #AncientEgypt

– The Magic of Wor(l)ds is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

Pilot Who Knows the Waters Tour Banner

Today I’m delighted to be on the ‘Pilot Who Knows the Waters’ blogtour, organised by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I’ll be sharing an interview between the author and me, but first I have some information

About the Author :

N L Holmes authorN.L. Holmes is the pen name of a professional archaeologist who received her doctorate from Bryn Mawr College. She has excavated in Greece and in Israel, and taught ancient history and humanities at the university level for many years. She has always had a passion for books, and in childhood, she and her cousin (also a writer today) used to write stories for fun. Today, she and her husband live in France with their chickens and cats, where she weaves, plays the violin, gardens, and dances.

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About the Book :

N L Holmes authorHani must secretly obtain a Hittite bridegroom for Queen Meryet-amen, but Ay and the faction behind Prince Tut-ankh-aten are opposed–to the point of violence. Does the death of an artisan have anything to do with Ay’s determination to see his grandson on the throne? Then, another death brings Egypt to the brink of war… Hani’s diplomatic skills will be pushed to the limit in this final book in The Lord Hani Mysteries.

Amazon UK
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B&N
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Kobo
Ibooks

Universal Link

And now it’s finally time for the

blog-q&a

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’m an archaeologist and professor of ancient history, who couldn’t wait to retire from teaching so I’d have time to turn the cool stories I found in the past into fiction. I grew up in a book-loving family and it wasn’t odd to consider novelizing as a career, although I had gone down many other paths in the course of my life: artist, antiques dealer, interior decorator, administrative assistant of an educational foundation, and cloistered nun. Believe it or not, all of these were useful in some way when it came time to creating historical fiction. I now live in France with my husband, two cats, and two hens, and we have a grown son.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a reader one could describe as voracious, I read/have read every kind of book, but as a kid I loved historical adventures like Treasure Island and The Three Musketeers and Swiss Family Robinson and Ivanhoe. I read anything that took place at sea (even though I grew up 600 miles from the nearest coast), and also loved science fiction. One of my favorite things was Rostand’s play Cyrano de Bergerac, which I read eight times! As an adult, I still devour 19th-century novels of the Realist-Naturalist stamp, English or French, and also modern literary fiction like Strout, Robinson, or quirky Neal Stephenson. I’ve gotten on fantasy jags, too, and maybe the best book I’ve read in years is Pirotte’s Les Reines—lyrical and thought-provoking. I also like mysteries now, when they’re as well done as Tana French or Louise Penny.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I think, strangely, that that might be Ursula LeGuin or Emmanuelle Pirotte, both writers of fantasy. They have managed to mix genre fiction with such beautiful, poetic writing and deep thought-provoking reflection that it takes away from genre fiction the stigma of lightness. Why can’t it be literary too? I still ponder Left Hand of Darkness years after I read it.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I’d like to meet my own Lord Hani over a teapot, although I don’t know what he’d make of tea. He’d like the cakes, at least! He’s just a nice guy and thoughtful. I’d like to hear his take on what was happening in his country during his lifetime and get his reflections on our own times, which share a lot of factors. I think it would be refreshing to meet a government functionary who followed his conscience even at a cost to his advancement. And he has first hand recollections of figures like Akhenaten, Amenhotep III, and Tutankhamen. There are so many questions he could answer for historians and archeologists.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really. At the moment, I write in an armchair in front of the fire, usually with a cat in my lap. I like to play classical music in the background.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
No danger for my friends! Most of my characters are real historical people, so I begin with what w know about their lives and actions, then I try to imagine what sort of people they must have been. Certainly bits of physical or psychological traits I’ve met show up, but all mixed together—there are no whole personages I know anywhere, and that includes me. Bits and pieces only. Even my cats get in the mix.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Definitely a pantser! I tried advance plotting on the first novel and thought I’d die. I came away convinced I had no imagination, because I couldn’t sit in front of a blank page and work out a whole novel in my head. Corny as it sounds, I let the characters take me where they want to go: their choices determine what happens next, just as they do in real life. I see clues, connections, and opportunities as events unroll and don’t know the denouement until the reader does! Then I go back and nudge things or plant red herrings afterwards.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
The best advice I can give is get a professional editor or several—someone to critique your plot, find holes, see to consistency and pacing and what have you. Then a line editor to comb the language for smoothness and clarity. It’s good practice for taking criticism—perhaps the author’s main job—and also it will teach you how to write. If you take these experts’ advice, you’ll find your writing gets better and better more quickly than if you did a degree in creative Writing with no specific feedback. Don’t push back! It will only improve your work.

What are your future plans as an author?
I’m starting on a second Egyptian series, a spin-off of The Lord Hani Mysteries, which features his daughter Neferet. She’s a spunky, somewhat counter-cultural heroine who is a physician in the capital city of Waset. She’s been a reader favorite as a child and teenager; now she’s old enough to carry her own novels, with dad Hani’s presence at the side.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Plots proliferate. Murders multiply. Can Hani save the Two Lands from a terrible war… or is he the next target?

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up the book and read it?!
Thanks once again, N.L. Holmes, for this lovely interview!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds