#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : From The Deep – Kateri Stanley @sal_writes @BurtonMayers

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

From The Deep

Today I’m on the ‘From The Deep’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

From The Deep Kateri Stanley author picKateri Stanley is a pseudonym for the multi-genre fiction writer. Since being a child, Kateri has been inspired by the wondrous mediums of books, music, TV and film. After working in the healthcare industry for eight years and studying for an Arts and Humanities degree, she made the decision to move cities in the West Midlands and live with her ever-suffering partner and their felines. Her debut novel Forgive Me was published by indie press house, DarkStroke Books in 2021 and it reached #1 in the US Horror Fiction charts on Amazon. She is currently working on her third novel, Bittersweet Injuries and would love to pursue a full-time career in writing.

Social Media Links:
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Twitter
Facebook
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Synopsis :

From The Deep Kateri Stanley author picJulian Finch, widower and fisherman, awakes to learn that the bodies of two colleagues have washed up on the beach of Drake Cove. The close-knit community is under fierce public scrutiny due to a long-standing tradition called “The Culling”, the annual slaughter of pilot whales for consumption. An act which divides the nation.
The suspects are the extreme animal rights group, the Fighters Against Animal Cruelty (FAAC) who go wherever the politics is trending. They’ve been harassing the small fishing town for many years, smashing up their boats and sending vicious hate mail.
Tensions mount after a viral video, uploaded by the FAAC of Julian killing a pregnant whale, causes uproar online and in real life. In the aftermath, Julian becomes the victim of hate crime. In order to avoid further life-threatening attacks, Julian and his daughter take refuge in the home of Frank Blothio: ex-fisherman turned writer and political activist who does not have the best history with the animal rights movement, or Drake Cove as a whole.
As Julian integrates into the Blothio way of life, he discovers heinous secrets and disturbing truths lurking beneath the skin of his hometown that will change his life forever.

Purchase Links:
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Book Depository
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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! 🙂
Thanks for having me!

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’m Kateri. A dark fiction writer from the Midlands in the UK. I write under a pen name, not my real name. It still feels weird to type Kateri when it isn’t my actual name. I’ve been writing since I was young and I loved the idea of becoming a storyteller. My Mom says that if I don’t write, I’ll end up in a mental hospital (dark joke) and she’s right. It’s linked to my state of mind and I think it is for many of us creatives. Musicians, acting, singers, artists, film making and so much more.
I became an author last year (2021) when my first novel Forgive Me, a sci-fi horror was published by indie house, DarkStroke Books. I’d been working on the story for years and during the pandemic, I managed to grab some time to polish it off. Originally, I was querying the story with literary agents. I received rejections or no responses and then I turned to independent publishers. I found DS, thought the books they published were suitable for this story and I submitted it to them. A week later or so, I signed a contract! Since then, my debut novel has become a no.1 bestseller on Amazon!
My second novel, From the Deep – a dark mystical thriller was published by Burton Mayers Books (another indie press house) on 3rd May 2022. About a local fisherman who is dealing with the shock of the deaths of his colleagues. His hometown is under public scrutiny due to a fishing practice which splits the nation. The Culling is loosely based on the real-life practice of the Grindarap (from the Faroe Islands) where pilot whales are slaughtered for food consumption. There’s a killer among the town, but who is it?

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up? 
Hannibal by Thomas Harris, Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman –I consumed all of these books as a teenager and I’ve reread several times as an adult.
I also love reading non-fiction, On Writing by Stephen King, it’s part memoir, part writing advice and I can read over and over again. If you’re a dark fiction writer like myself or a King fan in general, I highly recommend you check it out. He’s very funny, and very honest.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
/

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
If it was out of my second novel, From the Deep – it would have to be Frank Blothio, the former fisherman and animal rights activist. He has his head screwed on properly, I adore the way he debates. He’d have a lot to say and to tell me. He uses his brain in order to educate others, not his fists compared to the Fighters Against Animal Cruelty who use violence and intimidation to get their point across. Not many people from Drake Cove like him because he publicly criticizes their culture and the use of The Culling. A practice where the locals (Drake Covians) slaughter whales for food.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Music. I have something playing in my ears whether it’s a Spotify playlist or a YouTube video playing. It helps me to concentrate. I don’t like silence.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
/

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
/

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Write, see what happens. Dive in. You won’t know unless you explore. As the late and great Anne Rice said. ‘Go where the pain is. Go where the pleasure is.’ And I agree with her.
Don’t be pulled in by those ‘how to write’ videos on YouTube. It’s one person’s opinion and there are so many on there, and they all say different things that clash with each other. Find your own voice.

What are your future plans as an author?
I’m currently working on the first draft of my (hopefully) third novel. It is a supernatural drama with religious, historical and romantic elements. There are cameos from famous (and infamous) people from world history. There’s been a lot of research for this one. Psychology, counselling, incel culture (not very nice), and The Divine Comedy…

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
This is the opening of From the Deep which sets the tone of the novel and gives you a taste of what it is like to live in Drake Cove.

Prologue

Ian Copton decides to head out on his boat, Serenity. After the fallout from today’s demonstration, his job had been cut short due to a potential danger. The authorities never said anything about the amount of rubbish protestors left behind. It was a sure way to drive anyone holidaying in Drake Cove to demand their money back. But this is the world nowadays. Emotions are more important than rationality and steel hard facts.
“A load of bullshit,” he whispers, dangling the rod over the edge.
Ian waits for several minutes until he senses a pull before reeling in the line. Pierced by the sharp hook, the fish flaps helplessly. He clasps his hand around its head, rips the hook free and drops it into the bucket by his foot. Ian repeats this several times until Serenity shakes, violently.
Ian reluctantly resumes his fishing, hurling the line back into the water, muttering swear words under his breath. If it wasn’t for his choice of career, people wouldn’t be able to eat fish at all unless they fetched it from the sea themselves. The consumers didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn, heave a heavy net and come home stinking of fish guts.
There’s a sudden pull on the fishing line. Ian frowns, trying to yank the rod, twisting the coil, but he can’t shift it. He must’ve hooked a pretty big one. He uses his full weight to pull the line in but it doesn’t budge. Then Serenity shakes again. The line goes slack.
Fuming, Ian peers over the side with his flashlight and sees something. His blood runs cold as his brain explodes with hectic possibilities. Before he can process some sort of strategy, it springs out from the water, seizing his fishing rod, dragging him overboard.
The ice-cold water munches at his limbs and he kicks out at the figure, his palm tightening around the handle of the rod. He hears an angry squeal when the rod splits in two. Then a pain erupts in his chest.
Ian breathes out, water races into his lungs like a tidal wave, suffocating him. He remembers seaweed circling his head and a pair of large, piercing eyes glaring back before the darkness finally engulfs him.
~
Herb Clarke kicks several coffee cups across the sand, mumbling about the mess. Alone time with his thoughts and the fresh sea air always got his creative juices flowing. His current worry is marketing his book shop whilst coordinating everything else. He hadn’t grown up in the social media age until his niece showed him the mechanics. Now, he’s all over it, taking pretty decorative pictures, hoping the attractive graphics would inspire any literature loving customers to empty their pockets. His niece mentioned something, a popular social media platform the younger generation lapped up like milkshakes. But he’d read enough scathing stories to know it wasn’t for him. How would it generate sufficient interest to sell books? What could he do to stand out?
Herb continues with his walk until he sees a murky frame lying on the sand. He squints, trying to get a closer look, thinking it’s a heap of black bin liners. Then he notices…the outline of an arm, and leg.
“Oh my God,” he utters, jogging over when he realises it’s the body of a man. It’s someone he knows too.
“Ian?” Herb asks.
The man’s clothes have darkened from the water. His golden hair has whitened and it clings to his grey skin. Herb touches his shoulder, turning the man to find a metallic spike lodged in his chest. Ian’s eyes bulge out of his head. The fishing line is lashed around his neck, penetrating his skin. The hook is embedded in his face, right down to the bone. The repulsive smell of dead flesh hits Herb’s stomach.
The police station’s only a half an hour walk away, ten if he drives but he can’t leave the body. Herb’s shaky fingers jab at his phone screen, missing the correct numbers now and then as he makes the call. When someone answers on the other end, Herb has to carefully piece his words together like a puzzle.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Kateri Stanley.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#BlogTour #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 @Shanannigans81 / #PromoPost : Her Dark Reflection #HerDarkReflection – Hailey Jade @midnighttidepub #DarkFantasy

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Tour Banner

Today I’m on the ‘Her Dark Reflection’ blogtour, organized by R&R Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Author photoHailey Jade has tried to quit writing, but alas, the characters who live in her head will not stop yammering. She’s hoping that building them ink-and-paper homes will make them pipe down long enough for her to get some sleep. She likes creating fantasy worlds populated by complicated, morally-grey characters who try to resist their attraction to other complicated, morally-grey characters, but who inevitably fall in love, because everyone needs a Happily Ever After.
Hailey has completed a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Teaching at Flinders University, and spends her daylight hours trying to convince reluctant teenagers to love books. She lives in regional South Australia with her partner, bouncy baby boy, and feline overlord.

Website | Amazon | Instagram | GoodReads | Newsletter

Synopsis :

Title: Her Dark Reflection (The Dark Reflection #1)
Publication Date: June 15, 2022
Genre: Dark Fantasy / Dark Romance / Fairytale Retelling
Publisher: Midnight Tide Publishing

Afbeelding1“They called me the Whore Queen. Some even called me the Evil Queen.
But they could call me whatever they wanted. I was still queen.”
Rhiandra Tiercelin hungers for power and her charm has always been her sharpest weapon in hunting it. So when a brutal attack leaves her physically scarred, desperation drives her to make a deal with Draven, a magic-wielding stranger who is inexplicably compelling and definitely dangerous. She knows she can’t trust him, but he when he offers to make her a queen, the temptation is too enticing to resist.
Armed with a glamoured face and an enchanted apple, Rhiandra is determined to scheme her way into a crown, even if it means risking the deadly punishment for unsanctioned magic use. But Draven is playing a bigger game, and she is just one piece on the board.
Can she keep her wits about her long enough to uncover his secrets, or will he lure her down a path she will come to regret?
Her Dark Reflection is the first book in a new dark romantic fantasy series perfect for fans of Raven Kennedy, Jennifer Armentrout and Sarah A. Parker. If you like cunning, ambitious heroines, morally ambiguous men and romance that toes the line between love and hate, then you’ll love Hailey Jade’s dark reimagining of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

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Giveaway :

Win a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card! (International)

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #EscapeTheOBriensTour #LoveBooksTours @Lovebookstours / #Review : Escape (The O’Brians, Book One) – Jude McLean @readjudemclean

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog 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. –

41TL9m9T38L

About the Author :

jude escape bookI was a wife and writer at home when the Coronavirus hit. My husband was suddenly working from home, and I couldn’t get a minute’s peace while I wrote. I was going crazy and contemplated homicide. So I took a job as a contact tracer. The work took me away from Darcie and Connor, but at least it kept me out of prison. The job led me to write Have You Got A Kitchen Table? The Musings and Melancholy of a COVID-19 Contact Tracer. If you need a laugh pick up the audiobook!
Darcie’s story, Escape, was always playing on a constant loop in my head. Every day all day. I could hear her fear and Connor’s worry. And my personal favorite is Nan’s sarcasm. I can’t wait to finish her book, United. But Sondra, a loveable firecracker, and Simon, a lady killer who loves to not be in love, have impatiently waited their turn. Break Free is coming soon!
I am of Irish descent and hold a deep-rooted affinity to Ireland. So it was only natural that it be the setting of my first trilogy. Ireland has tattooed itself on my soul. It’s my second home. I can’t be there as much as I would like. This way, I can be there as often as I wish and bring my readers along for the ride.
I write the stories that come to me as best I can so others hear the characters, feel their emotions, and see their lives the way I do. In short, I let it rip and love every moment of it! I hope you do too.

Website

Synopsis :

jude escape bookEscape to breathtaking Ireland in a story of passion, mystery, and suspense.
She dreams of breaking free.
Desperate to start over, Darcie Hartwell is drawn to Ireland, unwittingly compelled by the mystical power of fate and the ghost of an ancestor. She’s not looking for adventure, love, or friendship. She only yearns for a peaceful life, free from the memories that plague her nightmares.
He dreams of her.
Connor O’Brian is a hard-working Irishman who wants nothing to do with women or romance—burnt once, twice shy. Except for the one he sees in his dreams. For years, he has dreamt of only her. Nameless, voiceless, he doesn’t know if she’s real. But he knows that if he ever finds her, he will stop at nothing to keep her.
But fate has its own plans.
Falling into the waiting arms of the handsome Irishman was never Darcie’s intention, but in that one moment, everything changed. Now, Darcie must decide if she is willing to confront the past that haunts her and face who she is to fight for the love she never knew awaited her.

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Review :

I must admit that I’m not a romance novel kind of woman unless there’s some history or mystery attached to, so when the blurb of ‘Escape’ just promised that I was game.
The beginning started of really great and both main characters piqued my interest with the mysterious dreams they were both having.
Unfortunately, after a couple of chapters in I began to doubt some things and wondered if people around my age and with that background really would act like this.
It all kind of felt not very realistic, in my humble opinion, and yes, I know romance books are there to sweep you of your feet and ache for the main characters, but it kind of needs to be valid.
I also was eagerly awaiting the promised mystery and suspense and came up rather disappointed as to me it was too much thrown in to have some.
A bit like some of the secondary characters, of which some are getting their own book, who have not enough body and stage time to act the way they did.
I’m sorry I felt this way throughout the reading as I can see the (rough) diamond this story is as Jude McLean can write and has great ideas.
I had, for example, truly the feeling of being in beautiful Ireland by the way the author painted the scenery.
I definitely would hop on a plane to go and discover the land myself given the time and that says it all I guess.
A pity that I can’t be more positive about it than I do, because, as said, I really feel the author has great imagination and a wonderful writing style!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#Review : The Voice #TheVoice – John Reid @BurtDci #DCISteveBurt

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog 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. –

blog-review

About the Author :

okv0u3aeqdkt6u0c048u07shq6._SX450_John Reid is the creator of the DCI Steve Burt series of thriller and suspense crime fiction at its very best.
Retirement has given John the time to fulfil his passion for writing, creating the mystery series through his unique creative process. Each main character is fully developed at the beginning of the writing process, with the part they play in each journey evolving organically within the confines of the underlying plot line. This freedom and flexibility creates inventive and compelling story telling that keeps the reader intrigued throughout.
John was born in Scotland and, after serving in the Army, embarked on a career in industry. He has worked in several different sectors in senior roles and was latterly CEO of a large international data capture company. He retired for the first time in 1995 to take on a consultancy designed to help new businesses become established. In 2018 he finally retired from business life to become a full-time author. John lives in Scotland and Portugal with his wife, and they have two grown-up sons.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | TikTok | FacebookDCI Steve Burt IG

Synopsis :

51V+hkpb+vLThe world of warfare is changing, and a new weapons delivery system developed secretly in the UK is targeted by an international terrorist gang who set out to steal it on instructions from “The Voice”. “The Voice” is a mysterious mastermind who uses an electronic device to disguise his voice and keep his identity hidden.
DCI Steve Burt is asked by his old Army Commander to search for his son, a serving Army officer who is missing. This unofficial inquiry becomes part of an official investigation and takes the DCI into a world of international intrigue, terrorism, murder and corruption at the highest level of government and the Metropolitan Police. The evidence always leads back to “The Voice” but who is he? Unearthing a phantom is a difficult task even for DCI Burt.

Amazon

Review :

After ‘The Watchers’ I promised myself to read another DCI Steve Burt mystery as soon as possible, luckily for me I had ‘The Voice’ at my disposal.
Like the previous book I was immediately hooked, not only by the different storylines, but also by the characters and the author’s way of writing.
I’m not sure how he does it, but he can definitely weave an intricate tale without getting lost in the plot.
It was again a real page-turner for me as it was fast paced, intriguing and engaging.
I definitely enjoyed it from beginning until the end, just like the previous book, and I’m already wondering what’s next up for DCI Steve Burt and his team!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 @Shanannigans81 / #Review : The Watchers #TheWatchers – John Reid @BurtDci #DCISteveBurt

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog 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. –

Tour Banner

About the Author :

okv0u3aeqdkt6u0c048u07shq6._SX450_John Reid is the creator of the DCI Steve Burt series of thriller and suspense crime fiction at its very best.
Retirement has given John the time to fulfil his passion for writing, creating the mystery series through his unique creative process. Each main character is fully developed at the beginning of the writing process, with the part they play in each journey evolving organically within the confines of the underlying plot line. This freedom and flexibility creates inventive and compelling story telling that keeps the reader intrigued throughout.
John was born in Scotland and, after serving in the Army, embarked on a career in industry. He has worked in several different sectors in senior roles and was latterly CEO of a large international data capture company. He retired for the first time in 1995 to take on a consultancy designed to help new businesses become established. In 2018 he finally retired from business life to become a full-time author. John lives in Scotland and Portugal with his wife, and they have two grown-up sons.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | TikTok | FacebookDCI Steve Burt IG

Synopsis :

Title: The Watchers
Publication Date: January 27, 2022
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Crime Fiction / Police Procedural

CoverSometimes it isn’t just good police work that catches criminals. Sometimes you just have to watch them. This is the strategy DCI Steve Burt uses when presented with two different and equally baffling cases.
The DCI takes on a case unofficially as a favour to an ex-colleague that involves the disappearance of an official of the Bank of England and the theft of gold bullion from the bank. The other is a baffling case involving multiple murders at the country home of a peer of the realm.
Steve and his team must navigate a trail of misleading clues and blind alleys involving suspected terrorism, kidnapping, conspiracy and international intrigue, as they strive to solve both cases. His boss becomes increasingly annoyed with Steve’s unconventional approach to police work, but the DCI knows he has to put his career on the line in order to solve these two very different and difficult cases.

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Review :

‘The Watchers’ by John Reid is my first encounter with DCI Steve Burt and his team and although I’m always a bit apprehensive on diving into an already existing series I didn’t need to be worried.
I really never had the feeling of not being able to get the dynamics between the characters and loved them from the get-go really.
They’re all very likeable and I love how they interact with each other throughout the whole investigation(s).
Needless to say I flew through the pages not only because of them, but also because of the writing style of this author which is easy going and greatly paced.
Moreover, the plot of both cases was well executed and they both helt my interest equally, having enough twists and turns to keep me glued to the book until the end.
Definitely looking forward to picking up, not only the next book, but also the previous ones, in this very enjoyable police procedural series.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : The Sweetheart Locket – Jen Gilroy @JenGilroy1

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.

The Sweetheart Locket

Today I’m on the ‘The Sweetheart Locket’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Jen Gilroy Author Photo Spencer Studio Website Square 1080pxJen Gilroy writes sweet contemporary romance and dual timeline historical women’s fiction—warm, feel-good stories to bring readers’ hearts home.
A Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist and shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon award, Amazon named her third book, ‘Back Home at Firefly Lake,’ a ‘Best Book of the Month: Romance’ in December 2017.
A dual British-Canadian citizen, Jen lived in England for many years and earned a doctorate (with a focus on British cultural studies and social history) from University College London. Returning to where her Irish family roots run deep, she now lives with her husband, teenage daughter and floppy-eared rescue hound in small-town Eastern Ontario, Canada.
When not writing, she enjoys reading, ice cream, ballet and paddling her purple kayak.

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

Jen Gilroy Author Photo Spencer Studio Website Square 1080pxWhat if the key to your present lies in the past?
London, 1939
On the eve of the Second World War, Canadian Maggie Wyndham defies her family and stays in England to do her bit for the war effort. Torn between two countries, two men and living a life of lies working for the Special Operations Executive (SOE), Maggie’s RAF sweetheart locket is part of who she is…and who she isn’t.
San Francisco, 2019
Over twenty years after Maggie’s death, her daughter Millie and granddaughter Willow take a DNA test that’s supposed to be a bit of fun but instead yields unexpected results. Willow has always treasured her grandmother’s sweetheart locket, both family heirloom and a symbol of her grandparents’ love story. But now she doesn’t know what to believe. She embarks on a search for the truth, one she doesn’t know will reveal far more about herself…
A gripping and heart-breaking dual timeline novel about love, loss and buried secrets, The Sweetheart Locket is perfect for fans of Lorna Cook, Rachel Hore and Suzanne Kelman.

Purchase Links:
Universal Amazon Link
Hachette

Guest Post :

Past, present and writing women’s stories

Thanks to The Magic of Wor(l)ds blog for hosting me on the tour for my latest book, The Sweetheart Locket.
As both reader and writer, the fiction that appeals to me most focuses on women’s lives and relationships. In The Sweetheart Locket, from England and France in the Second World War to San Francisco 2019, I explore the lives, loves and losses of two different women connected through a British Royal Air Force (RAF) sweetheart locket.
During both World Wars, men serving in the armed forces gave ‘sweetheart jewelry’—brooches, lockets and bracelets—to women at home. In my story, a sweetheart locket crosses the two timelines and connects one woman, Maggie, with the granddaughter, Willow, she never met.
And in telling both women’s stories of love, loss and family secrets, The Sweetheart Locket is also about courage and hope, and everyday heroism and humanity.
In Second World War England and 2019, my main characters are at turning points in their lives.
In 1939, Maggie defies her Canadian family and stays in England to ‘do her bit’ for the war effort—a decision that has major repercussions for her own life as well as the lives of her daughter Millie and granddaughter Willow.
In 2019, Willow, a single mom to a grown daughter, is going to England for an extended work trip when a DNA test she took for fun yields unexpected results.
Are there secrets in Willow’s family history and could Maggie’s past be a clue to Willow’s present?
Maggie and Willow face numerous challenges, Maggie especially in Britain’s wartime Special Operations Executive (SOE) working as a secret agent in occupied France. Yet neither lose hope in a brighter future.
And whilst Maggie’s wartime life is one of action and adventure, in the contemporary story Willow, determined to discover what her gran did in the war, finds a different kind of courage to rebuild complicated family relationships and, in her forties, rediscover who she is and pursue dreams she’d once set aside.
While the characters I write about are fictional, an historical story like The Sweetheart Locket is shaped by real women’s lives and experiences.
As I write past and present in books with happy and uplifting endings guaranteed, I also hope that just as The Sweetheart Locket offers escape and distraction, it’s also an opportunity for readers to reflect on the lives of their own female family members and draw inspiration from their legacies.
Women’s history and women’s lives aren’t only about big sacrifices. Rather, in many cases the formal historical record overlooks women’s stories, bravery and sacrifices. That’s why in my historical stories particularly, I write about ordinary women caught up in often extraordinary circumstances.
If you choose to read The Sweetheart Locket, I hope you enjoy it. Our past shapes our present and our future because no matter what we face, either in the past or today:
‘Being brave [doesn’t] mean you [aren’t] afraid. You [do] what you [have] to despite the fear.’

Giveaway :

Win 2 x Kindle copies of The Sweetheart Locket (Open to UK / Canada)
*Terms and Conditions – UK & Canada 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.

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#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #GuestPost : Leningrad: The People’s War (Leningrad, Book 1) #Leningrad – Rachel R. Heil @HeilRachelR #HistoricalFiction #WorldWarII

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Leningrad The People's War Tour Banner

Today I’m on the ‘Ride with the Moonlight’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Rachel R. HeilRachel R. Heil is a historical fiction writer who always dreamed of being an author. After years of dreaming, she finally decided to turn this dream into a reality with her first novel, and series, Behind the Darkened Glass. Rachel is an avid history fan, primarily focused on twentieth century history and particularly World War Two-era events. In addition to her love for history, Rachel loves following the British Royal Family and traveling the world, which only opens the door to learning more about a country’s history. Rachel resides in Wisconsin.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: Leningrad: The People’s War
Series: (Leningrad, Book 1)
Author: Rachel R. Heil
Publication Date: February 5, 2021
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 326 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Rachel R. HeilLeningrad, 1941. As Europe crumbles under the German war machine, the people of the Soviet Union watch. There are whispers of war but not loud enough for the civilians of Len-ingrad to notice. Instead, they keep their heads down and try to avoid the ever-watching eyes of their own oppressive government.
University student Tatiana Ivankova tries to look ahead to the future after a family tragedy that characterizes life under the brutal regime. But, when the rumors that have been circulating the country become a terrifying reality, Tatiana realizes that the greatest fear may not be the enemy but what her fellow citizens are prepared to do to each other to survive.
As his men plow through the Russian countryside, Heinrich Nottebohm is told to follow orders and ask no questions, even if such commands go against his own principles. His superiors hold over him a past event that continues to destroy him with every day that passes. But, when given the opportunity to take an act of defiance, Heinrich will jump at the chance, ignoring what the end results could be.
Leningrad: The People’s War tells the harrowing beginning of a war that forever changed the landscape of a city, told through the eyes of both sides in a tale of courage, love, and sacrifice.

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Guest Post :

Leningrad is a fascinating city. Over the course of the twentieth century, the city went through three name changes, was the epicenter of the Russian Revolution, lost its designation as the capital of Russia, and was the sight of one of history’s worst sieges. Indeed, I was surprised to find very few fictional works set during this time period, in a city that had seen so much history in such a short amount of time.
While Leningrad: The People’s War is set in the first year of the war between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, events from the past also play a crucial role in the characters’ decisions and motivations. In addition to being the site of the October Revolution, Leningrad also had the unfortunate honor of being the place where the Great Purge began, a critical event that is touched on throughout Leningrad.
On December 1, 1934 Leningrad’s highly popular First Secretary Sergei Kirov was assassinated in his office. While Kirov’s assassin, Leonid Nikolayev, was quickly arrested, the event gave Joseph Stalin the opportunity to begin purging the country of “kulaks” and other enemies of the state, which included members of the old bourgeoisie, peasants, ethnic minorities, churchgoers, family members of earlier repression victims, and anyone with foreign connections or knowledge of a foreign language. Based on how swift and extensive the purge was, it has laid credence to the idea that Stalin arranged for the assassination of his friend so he had an excuse to implement his wave of violence. The Great Terror lasted until 1938 with approximately 40,000 people from Leningrad alone being executed for varying reasons.

Sergey Kirov
Sergey Kirov

By June 1941, life in Leningrad had returned to what passed as normalcy under Stalin and I wanted to depict this new normalcy in the first few chapters of Leningrad. When one typically thinks of this year in history, especially in the context of World War Two, one has images of bombings and the unimaginable fear people were facing with the German war machine being undefeated. Yet, the Soviet people didn’t have this leading up to the invasion. The atmosphere and feelings that my characters feel are based on survivors’ testimony and from what I found, very few gave Nazi Germany much thought.
Shortly before the invasion of Poland, Hitler and Stalin had signed a nonaggression pact that many Soviet people believed would prevent Hitler from invading. We do know that Stalin believed one day Hitler would invade, but that it wouldn’t happen for some time. In fact, Stalin was so confident that he allowed his top advisor in Leningrad, Andrei Zhdanov, to leave on June 19th for a six-week holiday. Stalin’s confidence had infected the whole of the country, including the people of Leningrad, a feeling I wanted to recreate in Leningrad, making the characters’ hopes and plans for the future all the more stomach turning in light of what the reader knows will eventually happen.

A satirical drawing of the non-aggression pact signed by Hitler and Stalin in 1939
A satirical drawing of the non-aggression pact signed by Hitler and Stalin in 1939

Stalin and Leningraders’ false confidence was decimated on June 22, 1941, when the Germans invaded. Leningrad changed overnight, transforming into a frontline city, consumed by fear and suspicion. One of the astounding facts I learned during my research was that the Soviet authorities did very little to prepare its citizens for the Germans potentially reaching Leningrad. While I was aware that the Soviet Union was vastly unprepared, I had not known that the Soviet leadership had done the bare minimum to protect Leningraders.
A prime example of this was that the government did not evacuate women, children, and the elderly until the last minute, resulting in hundreds of deaths in the months to come. Any parent who did try to get their children out of the city were viewed as traitors and even when some pressed ahead, they ended up sending their children on trains whose destinations included cities that would eventually be taken by the Germans. Frantically, Soviet authorities would attempt to evacuate these children from those cities, but ultimately faced a deadly end that their parents had tried to avoid by sending them out of Leningrad. When the Soviets did realize the Germans would reach Leningrad and started allowing for individuals to be evacuated, the process was so unorganized that many people never reached their final destination, because they were either attacked by German planes or the train was re-routed and ended up getting stuck behind enemy lines.
The biggest aspect I wanted to capture when creating Leningrad in the book was the palpable fear everyone felt. The Soviet people were used to looking over their shoulder, viewing everyone as a possible informant that could turn them into the NKVD, the secret police. But, with the added stress of war and the unknown of the future, that fear nearly broke every Leningrader left in the city. There were constant rumors being shared among citizens, some which were complete falsities and others which did have a tinge of truth to them. The situation was made worse by the fact that Leningrad’s government shared very little with their people, and if anyone did step out of line and ask questions the Party didn’t want to answer, they were hastily silenced. It was not uncommon for civilians to be executed for sharing news of another city falling to the German Army or pocketing a leaflet that German planes dropped over Leningrad.

The fire of anti-aircraft guns in front of the St. Isaac’s Cathedral during the defense of Leningrad, 1941
The fire of anti-aircraft guns in front of the St. Isaac’s Cathedral during the defense of Leningrad, 1941

Amazingly, I still think the Soviet authorities and Leningraders believed the city would be spared, an idea that was shattered on September 8, 1941. That day was the day the German Army completely encircled the city and they released one of their worst air attacks on Leningrad. It’s an event that plays a very critical role in Leningrad as I believe that was the day that many Leningraders began to realize the unimaginable situation they were in and it was the moment that Leningrad forever changed.
I’m fascinated by cities as they hold so many stories that are just waiting to be told. Leningrad, or Saint Petersburg as it is named now, is one of those cities that had a unique role in history and I hope Leningrad: The People’s War gets readers more interested in the city’s history and how it played into the complicated story that was the war between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #HarlequinTradePublishingBlogTour @htp_books / #Excerpt : The German Wife #TheGermanWife – Kelly Rimmer @KelRimmerWrites @GraydonHouse @HarperCollins

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

640-HTP-Banner---HISTORICAL-FICTION-for-Google-Form

Today I’m on the ‘The German Wife’ blogtour, organized by Harlequin Trade Publishing Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

author photo_KellyRimmer_credit Bree Bain PhotographyKelly Rimmer is the worldwide, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Before I Let You Go, The Things We Cannot Say, and Truths I Never Told You. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages.

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Synopsis :

author photo_KellyRimmer_credit Bree Bain PhotographyThe enmity between two women from opposing sides of the war culminates in a shocking event as anti-German sentiment sweeps America, when the aristocratic wife of a German scientist must face the social isolation, hostility and violence leveled against her and her family when they’re forced to relocate to Alabama in the aftermath of WWII. For fans of Beatriz Wiliams, Pam Jenoff, and Kristin Harmel.
Berlin, 1934—Ilse Meyer is the aristocratic wife of a scientist whose post-WWI fortunes change for the better when her husband, Jurgen, is recruited for Hitler’s new rocket program. Although Ilse and Jurgen do not share the popular political views rising in Germany, Jurgen’s new job forces them to consider what they must sacrifice morally for their financial security. But too late they realize the Nazi’s plans to weaponize Jurgen’s technology as they begin to wage war against the rest of Europe.
Huntsville, Alabama, 1949—Jurgen is one of hundreds of Nazi scientists offered pardons and taken to the US to work for the CIA’s fledgling space program. Ilse, now the mother of four, misses Germany terribly and struggles to fit in among the other NASA wives, who look upon her with suspicion. In a moment of loneliness, she confesses to a neighbor, Rachel Carlson, about Jurgen’s membership in the SS and her resentment for being forced to live in a country that will always see her as the enemy. What she doesn’t know is that she has trusted the wrong neighbor.
When the scandalous news about the Meyer family’s affiliation with the Nazi party spreads, idle gossip turns to bitter rage, and the act of violence that results will tear apart a community and a family before the truth is finally revealed—but is it murder, revenge or justice?

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Excerpt :

1
Sofie
Huntsville, Alabama 1950


“WAKE UP, GISELA,” I MURMURED, GENTLY SHAKING my daughter awake. “It’s time to see Papa.”
After the better part of a day on a stuffy, hot bus, I was so tired my eyes were burning, my skin gritty with dried sweat from head to toe. I had one sleeping child on my lap and the other leaning into me as she sprawled across the seat. After three long weeks of boats and trains and buses, my long journey from Berlin to Alabama was finally at an end.
My youngest daughter had always been smaller than her peers, her body round and soft, with a head of auburn hair like mine, and my husband’s bright blue eyes. Over the last few months, a sudden growth spurt transformed her. She was now taller than me. The childhood softness had stretched right out of her, leaving her rail thin and lanky.
Gisela stirred, then slowly pushed herself to a sitting position. Her eyes scanned along the aisle of the bus as if she were reorienting herself. Finally, cautiously, she turned to look out the window.
“Mama. It really doesn’t look like much…”
We were driving down a wide main street lined with small stores and restaurants. So far, Huntsville looked about as I’d expected it would—neat, tidy…segregated.
Minnie’s Salon. Whites Only.
Seamstress for Colored.
Ada’s Café. The Best Pancakes in Town. Whites ONLY!
When I decided to make the journey to join my husband in America, segregation was one of a million worries I consciously put off for later. Now, faced with the stark reality of it, I dreaded the discussions I’d be having with my children once we had enough rest for productive conversation. They needed to understand exactly why those signs sent ice through my veins.
“Papa did tell us that this is a small town, remember?” I said gently. “There are only fifteen thousand people in Huntsville and it will be very different from Berlin, but we can build a good life here. And most importantly, we’ll be together again.”
“Not all of us,” Gisela muttered.
“No, not all of us,” I conceded quietly. Loss was like a shadow to me. Every now and again, I’d get distracted and I’d forget it was there. Then I’d turn around and feel the shock of it all over again. It was the same for my children, especially for Gisela. Every year of her life had been impacted by the horrors of war, or by grief and change.
I couldn’t dwell on that—not now. I was about to see my husband for the first time in almost five years and I was every bit as anxious as I was excited. I had second-guessed my decision to join him in the United States a million or more times since I shepherded the children onto that first bus in Berlin, bound for the port in Hamburg where we boarded the cross-Atlantic steamship.
I looked down at my son. Felix woke when I shook his sister, but was still sitting on my lap, pale and silent. He had a head of sandy curls and his father’s curious mind. Until now, they’d never been on the same continent.
The first thing I noticed was that Jürgen looked different. It was almost summer and warm out, but he was wearing a light blue suit with a white shirt and a dark blue bow tie. Back home, he never wore a suit that color and he never would have opted for a bow tie. And instead of his customary silver-framed glasses, he was wearing a pair with thick black plastic frames. They were modern and suited him. Of course he had new glasses—five years had passed. Why was I so bothered by those frames?
I couldn’t blame him if he reinvented himself, but what if this new version of Jürgen didn’t love me, or was someone I couldn’t continue to love?
He took a step forward as we shuffled off the bus but didn’t even manage a second before Gisela ran to him and threw her arms around his neck.
“Treasure,” he said, voice thick with emotion. “You’ve grown up so much.”
There was a faint but noticeable American twang in his German words, which was as jarring as the new glasses.
Jürgen’s gaze settled on Felix, who was holding my hand with a grip so tight my fingers throbbed. I felt anxious for both children but I was scared for Felix. We’d moved halfway across the world to a country I feared would be wary of us at best, maybe even hostile toward us. For Gisela and me, a reunion with Jürgen was enough reason to take that risk. But Felix was nervous around strangers at the best of times, and he knew his father only through anecdotes and photographs.
“Felix,” Jürgen said, keeping one arm around Gisela as he started to walk toward us. I could see that he was trying to remain composed, but his eyes shone. “Son…”
Felix gave a whimper of alarm and hid behind my legs.
“Give him time,” I said quietly, reaching behind myself to touch Felix’s hair. “He’s tired and this is a lot to take in.”
“He looks just like—” Jürgen’s voice broke. I knew the struggle well. It hurt to name our grief, but it was important to do so anyway. Our son Georg should have been twenty years old, living out the best days of his life. Instead, he was another casualty of a war that the world would never make sense of. But I came to realize that Georg would always be a part of our family, and every time I found the strength to speak his name, he was brought to life, at least in my memories.
“I know,” I said. “Felix looks just like Georg.” It was fitting that I’d chosen Georg for Felix’s middle name, a nod to the brother he’d never know.
Jürgen raised his gaze to mine and I saw the depth of my grief reflected in his. No one would ever understand my loss like he did.
I realized that our years apart meant unfathomable changes in the world and in each of us, but my connection with Jürgen would never change. It already survived the impossible. At this thought, I rushed to close the distance between us.
Gisela was gently shuffled to the side and Jürgen’s arms were finally around me again. I thought I’d be dignified and cautious when we reunited, but the minute we touched, my eyes filled with tears as relief and joy washed over me in cascading waves.
I was on the wrong side of the world in a country I did not trust, but I was also back in Jürgen’s arms, and I was instantly at home.
“My God,” Jürgen whispered roughly, his body trembling against mine. “You are a sight for sore eyes, Sofie von Meyer Rhodes.”
“Promise me you’ll never let me go again.”
Jürgen was a scientist—endlessly literal, at least under nor¬mal circumstances. Once upon a time, he’d have pointed out all the reasons why such a promise could not be made in good faith—but now his arms contracted around me and he whispered into my hair, “It would kill me to do so, Sofie. If there’s one thing I want for the rest of my life, it’s to spend every day of it with you.”
“Many of our neighbors are Germans—most have just arrived in Huntsville in the last few weeks or months, so you will all be settling in together. There’s a party for us tomorrow at the base where I work, so you’ll meet most of them then,” Jürgen told me as he drove us through the town in his sleek black 1949 Ford. He glanced at the children in the rearview mirror, his expression one of wonder, as if he couldn’t believe his eyes. “You’ll like it here, I promise.”
We’d be living in a leafy, quiet suburb called Maple Hill, on a small block the Americans nicknamed “Sauerkraut Hill” because it was now home to a cluster of German families. I translated the street signs for the children and they chuckled at the unfamiliar style. Our new street, Beetle Avenue, amused Gisela the most.
“Is there an insect plague we should worry about?” she chuckled.
“I really hope so,” Felix whispered, so quietly I had to strain to hear him. “I like beetles.”
As Jürgen pulled the car into the driveway, I couldn’t help but compare the simple house to the palatial homes I’d grown up in. This was a single-story dwelling, with a small porch leading to the front door, one window on either side. The house was clad in horizontal paneling, its white paint peeling. There were garden beds in front of the house, but they were overgrown with weeds. There was no lawn to speak of, only patchy grass in places, and the concrete path from the road to the porch was cracked and uneven.
I felt Jürgen’s eyes on my face as I stared out through the windshield, taking it all in.
“It needs a little work,” he conceded, suddenly uncertain. “It’s been so busy since I moved here, I haven’t had time to make it nice for you the way I hoped.”
“It’s perfect,” I said. I could easily picture the house with a fresh coat of paint, gardens bursting to life, Gisela and Felix running around, happy and safe and free as they made friends with the neighborhood children.
Just then, a woman emerged from the house to the left of ours, wearing a dress not unlike mine, her long hair in a thick braid, just like mine.
“Welcome, neighbors!” she called in German, beaming.
“This is Claudia Schmidt,” Jürgen said quietly as he reached to open his car door. “She’s married to Klaus, a chemical engineer. Klaus has been at Fort Bliss with me for a few years, but Claudia arrived from Frankfurt a few days ago.”
Sudden, sickening anxiety washed over me.
“Did you know him—”
“No,” Jürgen interrupted me, reading my distress. “He worked in a plant at Frankfurt and our paths never crossed. We will talk later, I promise,” he said, dropping his voice as he nodded toward the children. I reluctantly nodded, as my heart continued to race.
There was so much Jürgen and I needed to discuss, including just how he came to be a free man in America. Phone calls from Europe to America were not available to the general public, so Jürgen and I planned the move via letters—a slow-motion, careful conversation that took almost two years to finalize. We assumed everything we wrote down would be read by a government official, so I hadn’t asked and he hadn’t offered an explanation about how this unlikely arrangement in America came to be.
I couldn’t get answers yet, not with the children in earshot, so it would have to be enough reassurance for me to know our neighbors were probably not privy to the worst aspects of our past.
Jürgen left the car and walked over to greet Claudia, and I climbed out my side. As I walked around the car to follow him, I noticed a man walking along the opposite side of the street, watching us. He was tall and broad, and dressed in a nondescript, light brown uniform that was at least a size or two too small. I offered him a wave, assuming him to be a German neighbor, but he scoffed and shook his head in disgust and looked away.
I’d been prepared for some hostility, but the man’s reaction stung more than I’d expected it to. I took a breath, calming myself. One unfriendly pedestrian was not going to ruin my first day in our new home—my first day reunited with Jürgen—so I forced a bright smile and rounded the car to meet Claudia.
“I’m Sofie.”
She nodded enthusiastically. “Since we arrived last week, you are all I’ve heard about from your husband! He has been so excited for you to come.”
“I sure have.” Jürgen grinned.
“Are you and the children coming to the party tomorrow?” Claudia asked.
“We are,” I said, and she beamed again. I liked her immediately. It was a relief to think I might have a friend to help me navigate our new life.
“Us too,” Claudia said, but then her face fell a little and she pressed her palms against her abdomen, as if soothing a tender stomach. “I am so nervous. I know two English words—hello and soda.”
“That’s a start,” I offered, laughing softly.
“I’ve only met a few of the other wives, but they’re all in the same boat. How on earth is this party going to work? Will we have to stay by our husbands’ sides so they can translate for us?”
“I speak English,” I told her. I was fluent as a child, taking lessons with British nannies, then honing my skills on business trips with my parents. Into my adulthood, I grew rusty from lack of speaking it, but the influx of American soldiers in Berlin after the war gave me endless opportunities for practice. Claudia’s expression lifted again and now she clapped her hands in front of her chest.
“You can help us learn.”
“Do you have children? I want Gisela and Felix to learn as quickly as they can. Perhaps we could do some lessons all together.”
“Three,” she told me. “They are inside watching television.”
“You have a television?” I said, eyebrows lifting.
“We have a television too,” Jürgen told us. “I bought it as a housewarming gift for you all.” Gisela gasped, and he laughed and extended his hand to her. I wasn’t surprised when she immediately tugged him toward the front door. She’d long dreamed of owning a television set, but such a luxury was out of reach for us in Berlin.
I waved goodbye to Claudia and followed my family, but I was distracted, thinking about the look of disgust in the eyes of that passing man.

Excerpted from The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer, Copyright © 2022 by Lantana Management Pty, Ltd. Published by Graydon House Books.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : The Lost Laird From Her Past – Jeanine Englert @JeanineWrites @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

The Lost Laird From Her Past

Today I’m on the ‘The Lost Laird From Her Past’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a VIVIAN® and Golden Heart® Finalist as well as a Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery. Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers. 

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Synopsis :

The Lost Laird From Her PastA second chance…
With her first love!
Lady Brenna Stewart is grateful to be saved from her burning carriage—only her rescuer is Laird Garrick MacLean, the man she once loved and lost! He seems determined to protect her from the unknown enemy pursuing her across the Scottish Highlands. But, bitterly hurt by his past betrayal, she needs answers. Why did he abandon her? And how can she keep her heart safe now, when the connection between them is as strong as ever…

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Guest Post :

Thank you, Magic of Wor(l)ds, for hosting me today for a guest post on your blog! I’m so excited to be here to celebrate the release of my latest Harlequin Historical / Mills & Boon book, The Lost Laird from Her Past, which is book two in the Falling for a Stewart series.
As a writer, I’m often asked about what advice I would give to a younger version of myself. After having published my fourth book and written several others that have not been published, I’ve compiled five things I wish I could tell my younger self about being a published author:
1) Don’t compare yourself with others. The old saying that comparison is the thief of joy is absolutely true. Even though this is a quite impossible task at times. The less you compare yourself to others, the happier you will be. Celebrate your own writing journey as it will not be like anyone else’s, and it shouldn’t be!
2) The quality of your stories matter more than anything else. Marketing, social media, the next contract, etc. are never as important as your writing. Make time to write, revise, and edit your best book possible every time. Not every story will be equally amazing for a variety of factors, some that will be in your control and some that won’t, but do everything you can to make each book the best it can be!
3) Not everyone will love your book babies. And that is okay. Let me repeat. It is okay to get a 1-star rating. Your world will not end. You’ll mope for a while and feel sick to your stomach for a while, but you will recover. I am a big believer in Becca Syme’s theory that getting a 1-star rating means that you are getting more widely read, which is a good thing, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
4) Set goals about what is important in your writing career every month and every year. Make time to set goals each month and each year about your writing career. It can be easy to get derailed in your writing career because of life, your day job, and your family. Take time to assess how things are going and change your goals as you need to. Writing should be fun and something that fills your cup, not the other way around. If it is draining you, stop and figure out why, so you can course correct with what’s important to you as a writer.
5) Listen to but don’t take all the advice given to you. People are well intentioned and often offer up a great deal of unsolicited advice. Listen to that advice, but also listen to your gut: only take the advice that is right for you. And be wary of people that offer extreme suggestions. Over the years, I have received much solicited and unsolicited advice. I would say half of it was helpful. If I’d taken the other half to heart, I might have never published my first book, ruined my career, or started to try to write and publish books I didn’t believe in.
Most importantly, write your own story, and embrace the gift of the story that has been given to you. I’m a big believer of this Hank Williams, Jr. quote: “People don’t write music. It’s given to them.” I believe the same is true of the stories given to each of us. Cherish them as well as your gift as a writer.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today! It has been amazing spending some time with you. Please feel free to drop a comment or ask questions if you like. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about my writing process or my books.
Please also feel free to follow me @JeanineWrites on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram or you can drop me a note on my website at www.jeaninewrites.com.
Wishing you all health, happiness, and a wealth of words and stories for this year!

– Jeanine

Giveaway :

While Away the Hours in Scotland Giveaway! (Open to UK / US)
Whether it’s too cold, too hot, or too rainy where you are, you can while away the hours with the first two books in the Falling for a Stewart Series: Eloping with the Laird and The Lost Laird from Her Past! Your prize also includes two Scottish blessing bracelets, one for you and one for a friend, and some lovely book swag! Happy reading!

*Terms and Conditions – UK & US 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.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #Excerpt : A Defiant Maiden’s Knight – Melissa Oliver @melissaoauthor @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

A Defiant Maidens Knight

Today I’m on the ‘A Defiant Maiden’s Knight’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

2wOPzYMAMelissa Oliver is from south-west London where she writes historical romance novels. She lives with her lovely husband and daughters, who share her passion for decrepit, old castles, palaces and all things historical.
Melissa is the WINNER of The Romantic Novelist Association’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers 2020 for her debut, The Rebel Heiress and the Knight.
When she’s not writing she loves to travel for inspiration, paint, and visit museums & art galleries.

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Synopsis :

A Defiant Maidens KnightA tense, dramatic medieval love story.
A knight’s protection…
That she doesn’t want…or need?
Joan Lovent may be losing her sight but she refuses to lose her independence too. So when Sir Warin de Talmont tells her it’s too perilous to be out alone in the city, she doesn’t pay him any heed. But with threats surrounding them, she begins to value his protection and helps with his dangerous work in return. If only the powerful connection between them wasn’t so impossible to ignore!

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Excerpt :

Warin de Talmont and his friend, Nicholas d’Amberly encounter Joan Lovent once again on the streets after she had agreed that she would no longer come to that part of London alone.

‘Sir Warin de Talmont?’ The woman had the temerity to grimace at him. ‘It seems that once again you have somehow found yourself in this part of London that you have a great dislike for.’
He smiled. Joan Lovent certainly had a spark of humour laced with her obvious irritation in finding him here again. ‘Ah, but I only dislike it when I happen upon you here, Mistress Joan.’
‘You put me to the blush, sir, by singling me out with these attentions. Truly—you honour me.’
‘I very much doubt it,’ he said wryly. ‘May I introduce my friend, Sir Nicholas d’Amberly?’
‘Of course. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir.’
She turned her head around, but something in the manner in which she spoke must have raised D’Amberly’s curiosity in her. The man’s brows shot up as he darted a quick quizzical glance in Warin’s direction before returning his attentions to the woman. Ah, d’Amberly had not been aware of Joan Lovent’s impaired eyesight and he had forgotten to inform him. After all, for Warin it was neither an important nor a pertinent fact about her. The woman was vexing with or without her diminishing sight.
‘Enchanted, Mistress Joan.’ D’Amberly caught the woman’s dainty hand and lowered his head over it. ‘I have heard so much about you.’
‘Have you indeed, sir? I am surprised.’
‘I do not see why. For once my friend has not been excessive in any way when describing your lovely appearance.’
Her lips curved into a real smile—one that she had never bestowed on him. ‘I thank you but I’m sure Sir Warin has grossly exaggerated.’
Nicholas d’Amberly flashed his devastating smile. One that had usually amused Warin at the absurdity at the impact it had on women—but not this time. This time it irritated him in a wholly unexpected manner.
‘I assure you that he has not.’
‘Thank you, sir, but I think it might be prudent to release my hand from yours as it might raise a few suspicions about your attentions to just an unassuming page.’
D’Amberly let go of her hand and tilted his head. ‘You see, mistress, how your beauty and graciousness, even dressed as you are, make me forget myself. In truth, I have quite forgotten where I am.’
This time Joan Lovent actually giggled, making Warin grind his teeth together. And not because he had never managed to make her laugh. Not that he cared about such trifles—the woman was nothing to him. Even so, it was irksome that she was actually enjoying this discourse with Nicholas d’Amberly. But then most women did.
‘Then allow me enlighten you, sir, for I would hate for you to get lost.’ She grinned. ‘You are on the corner of Honey Street in a part of London considered so terrible, so very bad, that our friend here has resorted to following me in attempt to intimidate me into never returning back here again.’
‘That is very poor form.’ D’Amberly shook his head. ‘However, I can vouchsafe that he does mean well.’
‘I do.’ Warin was beginning to get more and more aggravated with the mild flirtation between his friend and this woman. ‘And by and by, there was never an intimidation, rather an agreement that was made, Mistress Joan. An agreement, I might add, which you have soundly broken with this little outing.’
She had the good grace to blush before tilting her head up defiantly. ‘I’m afraid to say that when I thought about it at length I came to the conclusion that my prior vow to the souls of All Hallows must prevail.’
Warin’s face was like thunder. ‘Is that so, mistress?’
‘I’m afraid it is. But you will be heartened to know that my visit here is not entirely unsanctioned, since I informed my sister by marriage of it. Indeed, Brida acquiesced to my little outing here.’
Warin’s patience was becoming raggedly thin.
He moved a little to shield the woman from a moving cart, before responding.
‘You might believe that these jaunts might meet Mistress Brida’s approval, but be assured that they would not meet her husband’s—your brother’s.’
Warin noticed a muscle flick in her jaw. ‘Then it is good thing that Thomas is none the wiser, sir, and can only hope that it would remain so. I bid you a good day. Sir Nicholas, it was a pleasure to make your acquaintance,’ she muttered, turning to leave.
‘Wait one moment, if you please.’ Warin reached out and caught her wrist, preventing her from moving away. ‘As I have maintained before, this is not some jest, Joan. Nor is it a game.’
‘Have I said that it was?’ she whispered, looking up, hurt filling those pretty blue eyes of hers.
He needed to make the woman understand the situation far better. He needed her to cease being so bloody obstinate.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds