#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Excerpt : Songbird #Songbird – Gail Meath @GailMeathAuthor

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

Today I’m on the ‘Songbird’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Award-winning author Gail Meath writes historical romance novels that will whisk you away to another time and place in history where you will meet fascinating characters, both fictional and real, who will capture your heart and soul. Meath loves writing about little or unknown people, places and events in history, rather than relying on the typical stories and settings.

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Synopsis :

It’s all fun and games, until someone gets killed.
Meet Jax Diamond, a sharp, sophisticated, skilled, no-nonsense private detective. Or is he? Glued to his side is his canine partner, Ace, a fierce and unrelenting German Shepherd whose mere presence terrorizes criminals into submission. Well, maybe not.
But the two of them are a whole lot smarter than they look. And they have their hands full when a playwright’s death is declared natural causes, and his new manuscript worth a million bucks is missing.
Laura Graystone, a beautiful rising Broadway star, is dragged into the heart of their investigation, and she’s none too happy about it. Especially when danger first strikes, and she needs to rely on her own ingenuity to save their hides.
Join Jax, Laura and Ace on a fun yet deadly ride during the Roaring Twenties that takes twists and turns, and a race against time to find the real murderer before he/she/they stop them permanently.

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Excerpt :

Jax and Laura drove in silence to his apartment. Inside, he left her and Ace on the couch while he went into his bedroom and set her bag down. Then, he grabbed two bottles of beer from the icebox. When he entered the living room, Ace had laid his head in Laura’s lap, and she was petting him. He handed her the bottle and sat on the other side of her.
“Who would have ransacked my apartment, Jax?” she asked softly.
“Let’s not talk about it now. You’re safe here.”
Laura suddenly leaned forward, firmly set the bottle of beer down on the table, and stood up, startling both Jax and Ace. “There’s something you aren’t telling me, isn’t there? You’re always making some wisecrack to lighten the mood, especially in a precarious situation. You haven’t done that once tonight. So, I know you’re keeping something from me. Like when you didn’t tell me that we were being followed at the amusement park. But I’m directly involved now, Jax, so I need you to tell me.”
He watched her. “You’re right. I didn’t realize how well you’re getting to know me. Last week, I was more honest and open with you about the case than I was with Murph. But things are different now. I care about you, Laura, and I guess because of that, and the fact that you are directly involved, I’ve lost my sense of humor.”
“Well, it’s too out of character for you, Detective Diamond. As corny as they are, I prefer hearing your wisecracks when things get tense. And don’t let a few of my tears throw you off. I’m stronger than you think.”
“Oh, I know you are, Miss Graystone. And I will tell you everything that happened today but in the morning. There isn’t anything that either of us can do about it right now since it’s nearly one o’clock. I’ll make us a nice breakfast tomorrow, and we’ll have a long talk to figure out what we do next. I promise.”
She smiled at him. “Thank you. Now, who gets the bed?”
“You do, of course. I have extra blankets and pillows in the cupboard. Ace and I will be just fine and dandy sleeping out here on this small, hard sofa.”
She stood up and headed for the bedroom. “Good night, Jax.”
Ace leaped down and followed her. He glanced back at Jax for a second, then slipped inside the room just before Laura closed the door.
“Find friend you are, Ace,” Jax grumbled.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #Excerpt : Songbird (The Tudor Court, Book I) #Songbird – Karen Heenan @karen_heenan #HistoricalFiction #Tudor

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

Songbird Tour Banner

Today I’m on the ‘Songbird’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Karen HeenanKaren Heenan was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. She fell in love with books and stories before she could read, and has wanted to write for nearly as long. After far too many years in a cubicle, she set herself free to follow her dreams—which include gardening, sewing, traveling and, of course, lots of writing.
She lives in Lansdowne, PA, not far from Philadelphia, with two cats and a very patient husband, and is always hard at work on her next book.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: Songbird
Series: The Tudor Court, Book I
Author: Karen Heenan
Narrator: Jennifer Summerfield
Publication Date: November 3, 2019
Publisher: Authors4Authors Publishing Cooperative
Page Length: 300 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

SongbirdShe has the voice of an angel…
But one false note could send her back to her old life of poverty.
After her father sells her to Henry VIII, ten-year-old Bess builds a new life as a royal minstrel, and earns the nickname “the king’s songbird.”
She comes of age in the dangerous Tudor court, where the stakes are always high, and where politics, heartbreak, and disease threaten everyone from the king to the lowliest musician.
Her world has only one constant: Tom, her first and dearest friend. But when Bess intrigues with Anne Boleyn and strains against the restrictions of life at court, will she discover that the biggest risk of all is listening to her own stubborn heart?

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Excerpt :

Setup: June, 1520. Bess has been with the court for several years. She and her dearest friend, Tom, have been given permission to visit their families prior to the entire court traveling to France for a great summit between the French and English kings. It’s her first significant contact with them since she joined the court, and the day doesn’t begin well—they’ve moved and not told her. After they visit Tom’s mother, they look for Bess’s people.

We found my parents at last in a tall, narrow house in Aldgate, smaller even than the place they left behind, but with no outward signs of disrepair. It was, Da said proudly as we followed him up the stairs, only two streets from the inn where he worked.
He led us into a chamber that seemed small due to the number of things that were crammed into it. In the myriad of coffers, stools, and tables, I saw almost nothing I remembered. Despite the new furnishings, the rushes were sticky underfoot and did not smell clean.
My mother’s appearance was surprising: prosperity took years off her age. She no longer smelled of harsh soap, and her hands were smooth with balm. She was attentive to Tom, and I compared her to his mother and was pleased with Mum’s efforts.
Madlen also showed a great interest in Tom, and I smiled at her wasted coquetry. She was seventeen, and her looks, though similar to mine, were neater and more agreeable. Her black hair was restrained under a clean linen cap, and her figure was likewise restrained by stays so tight that her breasts plumped above her square neckline like risen dough. I saw her note with a frown that my dark skirts, though plain, were of better cloth.
My parents insisted we share a meal with them and, not wanting to admit we’d already eaten, we agreed. It was a way for them to show how their lot had improved, and I was surprised at the quality of the meal my mother brought forth: it was comparable to the plain, savory food at court when there were no banqueting leftovers.
Afterward, Tom and my father stayed around the table to talk, and we cleared up. My mother and I had nothing to say to each other, and Madlen ignored me, her dark eyes on Tom. I warmed with pride that she would think him worthy, for although he had grown tall and manly in the past year, as well as being the kindest boy alive, I could not judge him by his face after knowing him for so long.
My parents asked questions about the king and court, and we tried to satisfy their curiosity. Da gathered much gossip at the inn, and the breadth of his knowledge was surprising.
“Be it true that he has taken another mistress?” my mother asked with a scornful face. “Wasn’t Mistress Blount enough?”
This was very recent news indeed. “Mary Boleyn is her name.”
“A pretty woman,” Tom added, and I looked sharply at him. Mary Boleyn was small and blonde, with soft, complaisant gray eyes.
“We’ll be leaving any day now,” I said into the silence that followed his comment. “To meet with the King of France.”
Cardinal Wolsey’s efforts had not been in vain. He had managed to arrange a face-to-face meeting between King Henry and his French counterpart. Even before it was announced, I had known the Music would accompany him, for how could he hope to properly impress the French without us?
“We’ve heard about that,” Madlen said, looking envious. “I’d love to see France. Tell us about it, Tom.”
“The entire court is upside down with preparations,” he said and told her of some of our plans. “We were fortunate to get away today.”
He did not exaggerate. I was glad to escape the flurry of packing and the fitting of new garments. Even the most menial servants were to have fresh livery for the occasion.
Soon, it was time for my father to go to work. When he rose, I took Tom’s hand, and we followed. I felt no reluctance at leaving. It was good to see them and know their lives were better without me, as mine was better without them. Madlen would be married soon, my mother informed me, her eyes glittering—the son of Forsyth, the wool merchant, had asked for her hand. This was the culmination of my mother’s dreams, and it would not have been possible for my sister to be dowered if I had remained at home.
They embraced me in turn, my father most warmly, wishing me luck in France and in life, my mother with some distraction, for as we left, a boy arrived with a note to announce a visit from Madlen’s intended. My sister embraced me last, with little grace.
“You must come see me once I am married,” she said, smiling at Tom over my head. “We shall have a lovely home.”
“I’m certain you will,” he said and put his hand on my shoulder. “We must go, Bess.”
The expression on her face remained with me on the walk back to Westminster. It looked like envy, but what did I have that Madlen could want?

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : Songbird – Karen Heenan @karen_heena

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

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Today I’m on the ‘Songbird’ blogtour, organised 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 :

KS4EdbUAKaren Heenan was born and raised in Philadelphia. She fell in love with books and stories before she learned to read, and has wanted to write for nearly as long. After far too many years in a cubicle, she set herself free to follow her dreams – which include gardening, sewing, traveling and, of course, lots of writing.
She lives in Lansdowne, PA, not far from Philadelphia, with two cats and a very patient husband.

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

1mvYSj3QBess has the voice of an angel, or so Henry VIII declares when he buys her from her father as a member of the music, the Royal company of minstrels, best grows up with in the decadent Tudor Court navigating the ever-changing tide of royals and courtiers. Friends come and go as cracked voices, politics, heartbreak, and death loom over even the lowliest of musicians. Tom, her first and dearest friend is her only constant but as Bess becomes too comfortable at court, she may find that constancy has its limits.

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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! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve loved books since I was little. My earliest memories are being read to, and once I learned to read, there was no stopping me. Unlike ballet and some of my other aspirations, writing seemed like something anyone could be good at, if they just practiced enough.
I’ve written since grade school, just for myself. It stayed that way for a long time–it was a form of therapy when I started working at office jobs, and it wasn’t until 2015 that I actually decided that writing for myself wasn’t enough. I had completed Songbird by then, and actually got an agent, but it didn’t find a home and the agent and I parted ways. In 2018, I completely rewrote the book and tried one last time before going back to just writing for myself.
As you can see, it worked. I actually found my publisher because of a pitch contest on Twitter.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Historical fiction was and is my favorite. As a child, I didn’t think of it as a genre, I just liked books like Little House, Anne of Green Gables, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Books set in times other than my own, so I could see what it was like. (I always wanted to time travel). I would actually still read any of those books–the writing holds up for adults–but I also love Dorothy Dunnettt, Margaret George, Sharon Kay Penman, Edith Pargeter, and so many more.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Dorothy Dunnett for how to write historical fiction so immersive that you never question a word. Or her world. The depth of her world-building and character development is astonishing.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Brother Cadfael from Ellis Peters’ mystery series. I always enjoyed reading about him, he was widely traveled, knew a lot of interesting things about people, herbs, etc., and I think if you fed him enough tea and cake, he’d settle down to a lovely long gossip.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Coffee always helps! I try to be flexible about how/where I write, because I’ve done it on breaks at jobs, on my computer at home, dictated into my phone while walking around my town, and anywhere else you can think of.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Since I write historical fiction, I’m always on the lookout for odd facts or occurrences that lead to stories. Songbird came from a throwaway fact in a biography of Henry VIII that wouldn’t let me go.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m a little of each. I start with an idea, and generally I write the first 20% of my story just following that thread. Once I hit that stage, I can see if it’s going well, and then I try to figure out where it’s going. I don’t think of it as plotting, but I do generally know the ending of my story and try to work toward it in a relatively straight line. If my characters go sideways, I generally let them, because often they know better than me how it’s supposed to work.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Don’t give up. Your first draft (and your second, third…) will not look like the perfect story that’s in your head. That’s okay. Keep going, and you’ll get there in the end. You can’t fix a blank page. I’m not sure who said that first, but it’s true. Read a lot–in your genre and outside. Reading is what turned me into a writer.

What are your future plans as an author?
I’m working on another Tudor-era book right now. It’s a not-sequel, involving a secondary character from Songbird. I’d had no intention of writing another Tudor story, at least right away, but as I was working on something else, he spoke up to defend some of his actions in Songbird and it turns out he’s got a lot to say. He’s a lso my first male protagonist, so I’m finding it interesting to write his story.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Sure. This is from the beginning, and I’ll set it up by saying that the “sale” talked about in the first sentence was the “throwaway fact” referred to above, and was something that actually occurred, though to a different character. Henry VIII was such a music-lover that he did occasionally purchase children to sing in the royal choir, or to perform as minstrels.

Two days before my tenth birthday, my father sold me to the King of England.
When my mother shook me awake in the gray December dawn, I was told no more than that we were going on a journey. I wondered why my father would choose to travel in such bitter weather, and my questions only grew as we spent the day on one frozen road after another.
The sky was black when we finally arrived at Greenwich, and I was exhausted and near tears. We trudged past the gatehouse through deep drifts of snow. The thin soles of my sister’s boots might as well have been paper against the rutted track.
By the time we reached our destination, all I could see through swirling flakes was an endless expanse of brick rising to melt into darkness and more glass windows than I knew existed. A glow issued from the panes on the ground floor, and higher up, slivers of light escaped tight-closed shutters. The warmth of those windows made the outdoors, layered in shadows, seem barren indeed.
A gust of wind slammed into us, and I leaned against my father. It seemed days since Mum had dressed me in my heaviest kirtle and handed us bread and cheese for the journey. I was very hungry.

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

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!