#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #GuestPost : The Year We Lived #TheYearWeLived – Virginia Crow @DaysDyingGlory @StomperMcEwan @CrowvusLit #HistoricalFiction

– ‘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 ‘The Year We Lived’ 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 :

Virginia grew up in Orkney, using the breath-taking scenery to fuel her imagination and the writing fire within her. Her favourite genres to write are fantasy and historical fiction, sometimes mixing the two together such as her newly-published book “Caledon”. She enjoys swashbuckling stories such as the Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and is still waiting for a screen adaption that lives up to the book!
When she’s not writing, Virginia is usually to be found teaching music, and obtained her MLitt in “History of the Highlands and Islands” last year. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of music, especially as a tool of inspiration. She also helps out with the John O’Groats Book Festival which is celebrating its 3rd year this April.
She now lives in the far flung corner of Scotland, soaking in inspiration from the rugged cliffs and miles of sandy beaches. She loves cheese, music and films, but hates mushrooms.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: The Year We Lived
Author: Virginia Crow
Publication Date: 10th April 2021
Publisher: Crowvus
Page Length: approx. 118,000 words – approx. 350 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

It is 1074, 8 years after the fateful Battle of Hastings. Lord Henry De Bois is determined to find the secret community of Robert, an Anglo-Saxon thane. Despite his fervour, all his attempts are met with failure.
When he captures Robert’s young sister, Edith, events are set in motion, affecting everyone involved. Edith is forced into a terrible world of cruelty and deceit, but finds friendship there too.
Will Robert ever learn why Henry hates him so much? Will Edith’s new-found friendships be enough to save her from De Bois? And who is the mysterious stranger in the reedbed who can disappear at will?
A gripping historical fiction with an astonishing twist!

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Guest Post :

Effect of the Battle of Hastings – England as a Frontier

The word ‘frontier’ conjurers up various images. To me it speaks of the Midwest, or maybe Star Trek with its “final frontier”. But the final frontier in England, the last time England was a frontier landscape, was really in the post-Hastings period. When I was writing The Year We Lived, I wanted to really get to grips with the idea of England as frontier-land. In school we’re taught about the strategy of the Battle of Hastings, and the politics which led up to it, but we were never taught about the aftereffects on the landscape. Delving back into my own family tree research provided a pretty good example of this. William Peverel (my 30th Great-Grandfather) was awarded vast areas of land in the centre of England, far into the Norman frontier, and he is accredited with building castles throughout this area as a way to state and maintain his power – in true frontier fashion! A lot of the invaders in The Year We Lived owe much to what I know of Peverel and his legacy.
Of course, on every frontier there are the people who were there first. While Æthelstan is generally regarded as being the first King of England, it has to be acknowledged that the Anglo-Saxons had been working steadily towards this for several years, with varying degrees of engagement and success! But while these kingdoms had been drawn together, there had remained a certain amount of identity within this landscape. It was a logical decision to set the story in the Fens, as it is a place I am familiar with, and also a place which has undergone an enormous geographical change. Hiding an entire community within this landscape was not only easy but quite believable as Lincolnshire and Norfolk have been entirely changed by the draining of the Fens. This landscape is now barely recognisable and dozens of references to settlements from the Doomsday Book have been entirely lost, some only preserved by their name on that page.
The Doomsday Book in itself demonstrates how the Normans sought to temper and tame their new lands. By the time it was collated the fingers of the frontier men had become like claws which gripped their new titles and lands. I always feel the Doomsday Book was a little bit like the Norman equivalent to a flag in Eddie Izzard’s sketch (’Do You Have a Flag?’ from “Dress to Kill”), something along the lines of: “We’ve got our names in this book, so it’s definitely ours”.
All in all, history remembers the Normans very favourably. We’re almost encouraged to celebrate the end of those savage Saxons. And yet, most of us still engage as much with the Saxon legacy as we do the Norman one, just in our usual everyday life.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #Excerpt : The Colour of Evil (Sebastian Foxley Medieval Mystery Book 9) #TheColourOfEvil – Toni Mount @tonihistorian #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

– ‘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 ‘The Colour of Evil’ 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 :

Toni Mount earned her Master’s Degree by completing original research into a unique 15th-century medical manuscript. She is the author of several successful non-fiction books including the number one bestseller, Everyday Life in Medieval England, which reflects her detailed knowledge in the lives of ordinary people in the Middle Ages. Toni’s enthusiastic understanding of the period allows her to create accurate, atmospheric settings and realistic characters for her Sebastian Foxley medieval murder mysteries. Toni’s first career was as a scientist and this brings an extra dimension to her novels. It also led to her new biography of Sir Isaac Newton. She writes regularly for both The Richard III Society and The Tudor Society and is a major contributor of online courses to MedievalCourses.com. As well as writing, Toni teaches history to adults, coordinates a creative writing group and is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: The Colour of Evil
Series: The Sebastian Foxley Medieval Murder Mysteries
Author: Toni Mount
Publication Date: 25 March 2021
Publisher: Madeglobal.com
Page Length: 334 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery

Every Londoner has money worries. Talented artist and some-time sleuth, Seb Foxley, is no exception.
When fellow craftsmen with debts to pay are found dead in the most horrid circumstances, fears escalate. Only Seb can solve the puzzles that baffle the authorities.
Seb’s wayward elder brother, Jude, returns unannounced from Italy with a child-bride upon his arm. Shock turns to dismay when life becomes more complicated and troubles multiply.
From counterfeit coins to deadly darkness in London’s worst corners; mysterious thefts to attacks of murderous intent, Seb finds himself embroiled at every turn. With a royal commission to fulfil and heartache to resolve, can our hero win through against the odds?
Share Seb Foxley’s latest adventures in the filthy streets of medieval London, join in the Midsummer festivities and meet his fellow citizens, both the respectable and the villainous.

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Excerpt :

The Hue-and-Cry

Of a sudden, there came a shout of ‘Stop thief!’ from farther along Bladder Street. That set off the hubbub of the hue-and-cry. Neighbours hastened onto the street, sounding horns, clattering spoons on pots and pans, adding to the din. It meant Adam and I were obliged to join the chase, pursuing the miscreant, whoever he might be. Adam sprinted ahead, fleet of foot, with Gawain running at full speed, thinking this a fine game. They turned up Noble Street, betwixt the precinct of St Martin-le-Grand and the Goldsmiths’ Hall, disappearing from my sight, along with the crowd of others who ran, hoping to apprehend the villain.
Never much of a runner myself, I soon lagged behind, keeping company with a breathless old man and a woman encumbered with a sleeping infant on her shoulder and armed with a hefty ladle. We would ne’er catch the most sluggardly criminal but the law demanded we make the effort, or else be fined for aiding and abetting the same. My hip was hindering my progress, slow as it was, and by the time we reached St Vedast’s Church at the lower end of Noble Street, I had to pause to ease my protesting bones. The old man stopped beside me to catch his breath; the woman too.
It was then that I glanced up the alleyway beside the church. A pile of rubbish half-blocked the narrow passage. All was filth and grime and stank of stale piss. Yet there was just light sufficient to see a flash of red: a good shoe, I realised, protruding from behind the unsavoury heap of detritus.
I pointed it out to the old man, then put my finger to my lips.
The old man nodded his understanding. He and I crept forth, into the alley. Like so many such passages around the city, this one seemed to end in a blank wall beyond the rubbish. There would be no escape for the vermilion-shod thief – if it was he. I stepped around a broken, handle-less bucket and then a collection of rusted metal odds and ends so as not to alert our quarry. When we drew within a yard or two, we both dashed forward, shouting ‘Hold! Hold, villain!’
A middle-aged fellow leaped from his place of concealment and attempted to push us aside. I shoved him in one direction and the old man tripped him. As the culprit staggered back along the alley, into Noble Street, the woman with the infant awaited him. Her skilful use of the ladle without rousing the child was remarkable. She brought it down upon his head, then whacked him across his middle. He went sprawling in the dirt. The clang of metal as he hit the ground revealed his ill-gotten gains, hidden ’neath his jerkin. A gilded candlestick rolled aside, its partner lay sorely dented – mayhap by the ladle blow – beside the fallen fellow. We had caught our thief.
We dragged him to his feet and shook him awake, marching him back to Bladder Street. I had the stolen candlesticks tucked under my arm. The rascal began complaining and attempted to pull free as his senses rallied but the woman threatened him with the ladle and he came quietly, resigned to his fate.
The householder he had robbed greeted us as heroes, the more so when I returned the candlesticks, though he sorrowed at the damage done. We said naught concerning the ladle as the possible cause of the dents.
‘Ale! Ale for all!’ the householder cried as those who had spent their strength in the hue-and-cry began to trickle back, to report that the thief had got clean away. Most seemed delighted that we had apprehended the culprit but a few were annoyed to have gone to so much effort for no purpose. Others – including Adam – were disappointed to have missed out on the moment of capture.
‘There was naught exciting about it, cousin,’ I assured him.
‘Did he put up much of a fight?’ someone else asked.
I was about to tell him ‘nay’ but the old man – Todd by name, as I learned – made answer for me.
‘I’ll say. The devil fought us like… like a devil. Kicking and flailing and yelling filthy words at me, young Seb here, oh, and Alice… her with the babe-in-arms. So we pummelled him and took him by force, didn’t we Seb? He was lashing out, all to no avail. We was too much for him, wasn’t we?’
The event grew in the telling, Todd elaborating and inventing new details to each new listener who asked. He and I became more heroic in our actions as the evening wore on; the woman, Alice, the true heroine with her ladle, became relegated to the role of a mere on-looker. By the time the City Bailiff, my friend Thaddeus Turner, arrived to take the thief into custody, Todd’s tale had become one of knights errant upon some holy quest. He told Thaddeus how we had wrestled the sword-wielding scoundrel of unsurpassed strength to the ground, despite his casting of evil charms upon us, taking many a cut and buffet in exchange – no matter that we bore not a solitary mark from our encounter.
I shook my head behind Todd’s back, such that Thaddeus should see me.
‘I shall make a true report on the morrow,’ I mouthed to him, not wishing to spoil Todd’s hour of glory.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #Excerpt : Ropewalk: Rebellion. Love. Survival. (The Ropewalk Series, Book 1) #Ropewalk – H. D. Coulter @coulter_hd #HistoricalFiction

– ‘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 ‘Ropewalk: Rebellion. Love. Survival.’ 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 :

Hayley was born and raised in the lake district and across Cumbria. From a young age, Hayley loved learning about history, visiting castles and discovering local stories from the past. Hayley and her partner lived in Ulverston for three years and spent her weekends walking along the Ropewalk and down by the old harbour. She became inspired by the spirit of the area and stories that had taken place along the historic streets.
As a teacher, Hayley had loved the art of storytelling by studying drama and theatre. The power of the written word, how it can transport the reader to another world or even another time in history. But it wasn’t until living in Ulverston did she discover a story worth telling. From that point, the characters became alive and she fell in love with the story.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: Ropewalk: Rebellion. Love. Survival.
Series: The Ropewalk series
Author: H. D. Coulter
Publication Date: 23rd November 2020
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 243 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

The North of England, 1831.
The working class are gathering. Rebellion is stirring, and the people are divided.
Beatrice Lightfoot, a young woman fighting her own personal rebellion, is looking for an opportunity to change her luck. When she gains the attention of the enigmatic Captain Hanley, he offers her a tantalising deal to attend the May Day dance. She accepts, unaware of the true price of her own free will.
Her subsequent entanglement with Joshua Mason, the son of a local merchant, draws all three into a destructive and dangerous relationship, which threatens to drag Beatrice, and all she knows into darkness.
Now, Beatrice must choose between rebellion, love and survival before all is lost, and the Northern uprising changes her world forever.

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This book is on promotion during the tour at 99p or $1.37 and signed copies of the paperbacks will be available on Hayley’s website.

You can now also PRE-ORDER Book 2 ‘Saving Grace: Deception. Obsession. Redemption.’ via

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Excerpt :

Chapter 10

Bea clenched her fist tightly around the small weight of coins that remained from her hard-won guinea from Johnson’s and plunged her hand deep into her pocket. She had decided to buy some extra-fine silk thread to produce a piece of lace, especially for Mrs Mason. A small gesture to show her genuine feelings, without raising suspicion from anyone in her family. A simple buds-of-May design, inspired by her walk that morning. She couldn’t offer much, but she could offer that.
Market street was full of small children begging for coins, holding their grubby hands out for a single penny. She felt sorry for the little ones huddled in clothes that barely covered them and coughing so hard their chests shook. They looked like they hadn’t eaten in weeks, and certainly they probably couldn’t tell anyone when they had last taken a full meal. She had heard of men coming in wagons, scooping up the children that couldn’t run fast enough, and shipping them across to the New World to work as white slaves in the burgeoning towns and docks. Her heart ached for them, but what could she do?
She kept her head down, avoided eye contact and walked up Market Street towards Kings Street. Carriages were racing past on important business for the gentile clients nestled within. Bea winced as young boys and girls risked getting dragged under their wheels as they raced alongside, shouting pitifully, with the hopes of a penny or two flying out. She watched one child, about eight, with two tiny siblings, run as fast as his legs could carry him close up against a grand black coach. He leaped into the air and landed on the side, half of his body sticking through the window and his feet struggling to grip on to the tiny ledge, clinging on like a slender monkey. Within seconds, the swipe and thud of a silver-headed cane had sent the boy flying back through the air onto the road. The little body landed in a heap and lay still. Bea lifted her skirt and sprinted the last few yards towards him. Her anger spilled out as people continued to walk past. “Don’t move!” she told the boy as she knelt beside him.
He lay there dazed, trying his hardest to come around, to move on, hoping to grab another carriage. Months’ worth of dirt clung to his skin, and his clothes looked like they had been made for him years ago, inches too short for his growing limbs, and thin with constant wear. His brother and sister were exactly the same. They cowered over him, terrified to lose their only carer. Bea carefully checked him over for broken bones, or an injury to the head. His ribs were sticking out, like the arches of a viaduct, and he hadn’t eaten for a couple of days, judging by his desperation with the carriage.
“Can I be of assistance, Miss?” a man shouted as he ran over.
Without looking up.
“Please… Yes! I’m just checking him.” She redirected her attention back to the boy, speaking softly to him. “What’s your name?”
“David, Miss.”
“Does anything hurt David?”
“Me arm and me neck, Miss… I’ll be right.”
“Please, – let me just look at you first?” The boy nodded his head.
“Shall I fetch a Doctor Miss Lightfoot?”
Surprised to hear her name, for a moment Bea looked away from the boy and up at Joshua Mason. He was standing over them, dressed in a dark suit and top hat.
“Oh.”
“I will fetch my family doctor and I will be back as quick as I can, if you think he needs it?” He took his hat off and crouched down beside them, watching Bea as she carefully examined the child’s head.
The boy shuffled away from the new gentleman, fear evident on his face, as his siblings clutched at one another.
“None of them lot, no docs, they’ll send us back, we ain’t goin’ back!” He tried climbing to his feet.
“It’s alright, be calm, lovey. I don’t think yer need a doc.” Her accent became more like her Da’s in an unconscious attempt to soothe the boy. “You can move yer arm can’t you, just bruised that’s all and yer head took a knock. But ye’ll need to rest for a day or sa.” Bea reached into her pocket and felt for her pennies. “Here, take this. Buy yer selves some grub and stay hidden for a bit, alright?” She pressed them into his dirty fingers and smiled encouragingly.
Still terrified of the man, the child studied the woman; she looked more like him, spoke more like him, and she’d given him enough money to feed all three of them for over a week. Worried for their brother, the two younger children tugged him to his feet, as David clutched tightly on to the coins.
“Thank y’Miss…”
With a sibling under each arm, they quickly helped each other back towards Market Street and down one of the side alleys.
“Bea – Miss Lightfoot -”
Bea rose quickly to her feet and brushed off her knees.
“I must go. We’d better not act like we know each other had we – but thank you – you were the only one – the only one who would help.” She quickly smiled at him and turned to go.
“But Beatrice, I must speak with you…”
She shook her head.
“Goodbye Mr Mason, I shan’t keep you any longer.” He started to protest, but stopped when he saw the pain on her face.
“Goodbye Miss Lightfoot, I hope to see you again.”

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #QandAs : A Dangerous Life (DCI Jack Callum Mysteries Book 2) – Len Maynard @len_maynard #HistoricalFiction #Crime

– ‘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 ‘A Dangerous Life’ 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 :

Born in Enfield, North London in 1953, Len Maynard has written and published over forty books, the majority of them in collaboration with Michael Sims. Ghost story collections, the Department 18 series of supernatural thrillers, stand-alone horror novels, the Bahamas series of action-adventure thrillers, as well as a handful of stand-alone thrillers. As editors they were responsible for the Enigmatic Tales and Darkness Rising series of anthologies, as well as single anthologies in the horror and crime genres. The DCI Jack Callum Mysteries are his first to be written under his own name.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: A Dangerous Life
Series: The DCI Jack Callum Mysteries, Book 2
Author: Len Maynard
Publication Date: 28th July 2020
Publisher: Sharpe Books
Page Length: 287 Pages
Genre: Historical Crime Fiction

1959
A body of a man wearing theatrical make up is found hanging from a tree on Norton Common in Hertfordshire. He has been tortured and his throat has been cut.
DCI Jack Callum, a veteran policeman with his own rules for procedure, heads the investigation into this puzzling crime. The clues lead him close to the answer, but the solution remains elusive.
Why was the man killed?
What were the victim’s links to London’s gangland bosses?
When an unsolved murder is uncovered that appears to be connected to the case, Jack realises he must use his team to their full strength to separate the innocent from the guilty.
Jack also faces a challenge he never expected as he is accused of an improper relationship with a young Detective Constable on his team, Myra Banks.
In a breathless climax, Myra puts her own life on the line to deal with a figure from Jack’s past, who has now become a lethal threat in the present.

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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 actually wanted to be a footballer when I was a kid, but you need talent for that and I was sadly lacking in that department. Next I wanted to be a rock star. To be fair I was a pretty good bass player and made it as far as the semi-pro circuit. But then I got my girfriend at the time pregnant and travelling from gig to gig became untenable. So I sold my guitars and amplifiers and settled into a world of domestic strife.
I needed some kind of creative output and I had read horror stories from an early age – writers like Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson and the like. How hard could it be to write stories like them? Bloody difficult as it transpired. But after writing without much success, my writing partner and best friend, Mick Sims and I, wrote a collection of short ghost stories. And after six fruitless years the book was accepted by London hard back publisher William Kimber in 1978. Success, we thought. We’re on our way. And so we were, but slowly, and it was another twenty years before we saw our name in print again.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
The first real book I remember reading that made an impact was by was No Boats On Bannermere by Geoffrey Trease which I read at senior school, and then William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. But in my early teens I wasn’t reading books. DC and Marvel comics were all I read. It wasn’t until I left school and I was commuting to work that I discovered the Pan Books of Horror and the Alfred Hitchcock short story anthologies. And from them I never looked back. At the moment I’m reading The Furies, a post apocalyptic/disaster novel by Keith Roberts that I first read when I was eighteeen and have re-read countless times since. It’s not his most critically acclaimed book (quite the reverse in fact) but, for me, it’s like a comfort blanket, an old friend I can read again and again and find something fresh and exciting every time.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
This sounds incredibly arrogant, and I don’t mean for it to be so, but there are so few writers I truly admire and, of those that I do, none of them are writers I would ask for advice. I plough my own furrow for good or ill. The only other writer I listen to is my former partner Mick Sims who has been on a parallel journey with me for half a century and whose opinion I trust without question. Mind you it wasn’t always that way, but after fifty years, all the kinks in our relationship have more or less been ironed out.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Obviously Jack Callum. I would be interested to see if he is really the decent bloke who appears in the books. I’d like to think so, but then I’m a sceptic by nature. There again I might invite his wife Annie to tea. (I’m secretly in love with her!)

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I used to. Christ I had a ritual for every occasion. I used to write longhand, but only with a Bic Crystal Medium Point ball point and only on an A4 fine lined pad. As I’ve moved from pen and pad to typewriter and eventually to word processor, the rituals have become fewer and fewerd, until today where they are non-existant. I’ll write anywhere, any time…as long as it’s on a decent Mac or PC that has an up to date version of Microsoft Word, or else just forget it. I’d rather not bother.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I have been visiting unpleasantries since I first start writing. In primary school I wrote an illustrated verion of the Tinder Box, complete with decapitated villain – lots of red ink used. In secondry school I wrote a kidnap story complete with a assault on the young female victim which earned me a ‘See Me!’ at the bottom of the page. I like to think the teacher was going to congratulate me on by graphic prose…but I doubt it. I never ‘saw him’ and it was never mentioned again.
The point is, my stories have always veered towards the dark side of life. I suppose it’s just the way my mind works. If it’s any consolation, I have known a number of crime and horror writers over the years and, bar none, they have all been the sweetest natured of all the authors I’ve met.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m a panster. I come up with a premise and an opening and then let the story take me where it wants to go. The plot tends to ebb and flow as the story progresses, but then, when my sub-conscious has been working out the whys and wherefores, I will get an info-dump from it where the entire plot is revealed to me. That usually happens about halfway or two thirds of the way though. It’s happened to me so often now that I recognise that it’s just the way my storytelling mind works and I don’t have any need to doubt it. It will come through for me in the end. It hasn’t let me down so far…

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Do’s – Read, read, read and write, write, write. Writing is like a muscle – it gets stronger the more you use it. It doesn’t matter if you think you are writing total crap. Keep going. Suddenly it will all start to make sense and you’ll be flying.
Don’ts – Don’t listen to criticism unless you know and respect the person who’s doing the criticisizing. As a writer, or anyone who puts themselves out there in such a vulnerable position, remember that you can have twenty positive reviews of your piece and one negative review. But it will be the single negative one you’ll focus on and give yourself a hard time about. Just forget it, move on and grow a thicker skin. And never stop believing in yourself.

What are your futureplans as an author?
At the moment I’m working on the seventh DCI Jack Callum mystery called The Gilded Cage. I’m revving up my small publishing house to publish another local author of merit. I help run a local writers group, hosting zoom meetings and putting together a annual anthology for them which I publish under my LMP brand. Also I’ve had requests to write another of my Bahamas adventure thrillers, currently on book three, but there might be another in the works.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Jack has given a speech at a local girls school. He finishes and leaves the stage.

He trotted down the stairs and pulled up short when a voice spoke from out of the shadows. “Did you mean it?”
Someone was standing a few feet away from him, hidden by a fold in the curtain.
“Did I mean what?” he said, and a teenage girl stepped out from behind the folded brocade and stood in front of him.
“That the police were our friends and that we should come and talk to you, and you will help?”
Jack smiled indulgently. “We’ll always listen and help if we can…sorry I didn’t catch your name.”
“Gerry…Geraldine Turner.”
“Well, Geraldine, do you have a problem you wish to discuss?”
The girl looked tearful. She nodded, a lock of her curly blonde hair falling out from beneath her Alice band and dropping down over her face. “It’s my brother,” she said.
“Well, what is it you want to tell me about your brother?”
“He’s dead,” she said, biting at her lip pensively. “I killed him.”

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

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 #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #PromoPost : The Test of Gold (Hearts of Gold, Book 1) #TheTestOfGold – Renee Yancy @YancyRenee #HistoricalRomance

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

The Test Of Gold Tour Banner

Today I’m on the ‘The Test of Gold’ blog tour organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Renee YancyRenee Yancy is a history and archaeology nut who writes the kind of historical fiction she loves to read – stories filled with historical detail that immerse you in another place and time. When she isn’t writing historical fiction or traveling to see the places her characters have lived, she can be found in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband and two rescue mutts named Ellie and Charlie.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: The Test of Gold
Series: Hearts of Gold, Book 1
Author: Renee Yancy
Publication Date: 15 March 2021
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing
Page Length: 335 pages
Genre: Historical Romance

TheTestofGold coverRaised in the shadow of a mother who defied convention, but won’t allow her own daughter the right to make the same choices, heiress Evangeline Lindenmayer has been groomed since childhood to marry into the British aristocracy.
When Lindy challenges her mother’s long-laid plans by falling in love with a poor seminary student, the explosion is bigger than the Brooklyn Bridge fireworks on Independence Day.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #Excerpt : Widow’s Lace #WidowsLace – Lelita Baldock @BaldockLelita #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMystery

– ‘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 ‘Widow’s Lace’ 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 :

Lelita has a passion for stories, especially those with a dark undercurrent, or a twist to be revealed.
She hopes to tell interesting stories that people will find themselves drawn into. Stories that are for entertainment and escape, and hopefully a little thrill of the unexpected. She truly enjoys the experience of writing, exploring human traits and reactions as well as the darkness that can lurk unexpectedly inside anyone.
Born and raised in Adelaide, Australia, Lelita holds a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English and History from the University of Adelaide and a Bachelor of Education from The University of South Australia. During her twenties she worked as an English teacher in both Australia and the United Kingdom, working with the International Baccalaureate curriculum.
Now Lelita and her husband run a web development business, and she makes time for writing after hours and on weekends. It can mean long days and late nights, but she doesn’t mind, stories are her passion.
Lelita’s long term goal as a writer is to be able to publish her stories regularly and hopefully appeal to a wide range of readers.
Lelita currently resides in the United Kingdom with her husband Ryan and beloved rescue-cat, Jasmine.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: Widow’s Lace
Author: Lelita Baldock
Publication Date: 23 March 2020
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 242
Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery

A hundred year old mystery, the widow left behind, a fallen soldier, the abandoned fiancée, an unnamed body and the young student determined to find the truth.
In 1886 famous English poet Edward Barrington moves from Derbyshire, England to a farm on the Finniss River, in South Australia. Two years later he disappears.
25 years later Archie Hargraves abandons his fiancée Clara and travels from England to meet with Edward’s widow, Rosalind. He plans to write a biography and make a name for himself, independent from his wealthy father. Returning to England in 1914 he abandons his work to join the war in Europe. His journal of notes from Australia is never released.
Ellie Cannon, a young PhD candidate at Sydney University, is writing a thesis on one of Barrington’s last known poems, The Fall. It’s not going well. Struggling with her relationship with her mother and loss of her father, Ellie is on the brink of failure.
Then a body is found by the Finniss River, 130 years after Edward’s disappearance. Could it be the famous poet?
The discovery draws Ellie into the worlds of Edward, Archie and Clara, taking her across Australia and England in her search for the truth.
Covering life in remote South Australia, the social pressures of 1900s Britain and the historical role of women, Widow’s Lace is an historical fiction, mystery cross-over dealing with themes of obsession, fear, love, inner-secrets and regret. But also the hope that can come from despair.

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Excerpt :

Part Four
Chapter 20

Beneath the currents of the sky I remain, passed by.

London, England 1913
‘Archie!’ Clara exclaimed, eyes wide with joy and surprise. It was mid-summer and the heat was stifling. Attempting to find some respite from their stuffy, overheated townhouse, Clara had persuaded her mother to take an afternoon walk. Leaving behind their brown brick abode, they’d followed the shimmering wall of white terraced houses that bordered Regent’s Park and entered the gardens. Vivid green leaves covered the trees, flowers in bright bloom bursting from bushes and shrubs, the park was glorious at this time of year, though the grass was perhaps a tad dry. A gentle breeze was blowing through the grounds, bringing with it much welcomed relief from the oppressive heat. She’d known that Archie would be on semester break from university, but had not had word from him as to when to expect a visit.
And yet, there he stood. Archie.
Naturally tall, he was hunched forward, a smile playing on lips pressed almost against his companion’s ear. Telling some silly joke no doubt.
Overjoyed at the unexpected encounter, Clara unlinked her arm from Ada’s and hurried towards him. A powerful urge to throw her arms about his neck gripped her, but thankfully she remembered herself in time.
It had been three years since her family had moved to the London townhouse and Archie had begun his studies at Cambridge. He had been a most attentive and punctual friend, writing to her regularly to regale her with his stories of new acquaintances, travel and his favourite authors. Each semester break he would pay her and her parents a visit, dining with them and sharing their company. Slowly but surely, despite the distance between them, Clara felt their connection grow and solidify. All those years ago, as her mother cooed to her of Archie’s budding love, Clara had felt doubts. But the intervening years were proving Ada right.
Coming to Archie’s side, she beamed up into his face. Expecting to see her own joy mirrored back in his smile, his hesitance surprised her. He nodded to her saying stiffly, ‘Miss Clara, Mrs Forsyth, what a pleasant surprise.’ His uncomfortable stance and tight voice gave away the lie.
He stepped to the side, opening a space between himself and his friend.
Clara forged ahead, refusing to be put off by the unexpected reservation in his greeting. ‘I did not know to expect you in London so soon. Was the summer poetry class cancelled? No matter, I’m so pleased to see you. When did you arrive? Where are you staying?’
‘Clara, dear,’ Ada said softly, coming up beside her daughter, ‘be calm my child, you haven’t given Archie a chance to answer your flurry of questions.’
Clara felt her cheeks redden. At seventeen years old she was desperate to prove her maturity and class, but struggled to reign in a natural enthusiasm that seemed bound to her blood. ‘Sorry mother, Archie. I am just very happy to see you. And meet your friend.’ She nodded respectfully to the tall blonde youth who had been sharing conversation with Archie just moments before. The man smiled uncertainly, eyes flicking from her, to Ada and back to Archie. A shy one, she decided.
‘Why, yes, do forgive me,’ Archie stuttered. ‘This is my friend from Cambridge, William Wright. We take Classics together.’ Clara beamed at William. He wasn’t one she had heard of. Archie often spoke of Phillip and Paul, and she had even met dear Harry. Their mothers were friends…
‘Pleased to meet you,’ Ada said, an edge in her tone caught Clara’s attention. Her mother had fixed William with a cold stare. What was wrong? Tension buzzed between her mother and Archie. Clara tried to move the conversation along. ’So you and Mr Wright travelled here together then? Sometime on holiday? What a wonderful idea. I should like to travel with friends someday.’
‘We haven’t been here long,’ Archie said hastily. ‘Only just arrived really. I was planning to write to you shortly.’
‘But of course you were,’ Ada cut in smoothly. ‘We have no doubt. Well, this has been a wonderful surprise but I fear we must be getting on. Come Clara, dear.’
Clara glanced up at her mother in consternation. There was no rush. They could take a walk together… but when Ada gave a direction… ‘Well,’ she fussed with her skirt, trying to compose herself, in turmoil from her mother’s cold behaviour, ‘it was lovely to see you Archie. And to meet you Mr Wright.’
‘Lovely to meet you also Miss Clara.’
‘And we will be seeing you soon…’
‘Of course dear,’ Ada called, already turning away. ‘I will have an invite sent to your hotel today, Mr Hargraves. Where was it you said you were staying?’
Archie looked sharply at Ada, arms stiffly by his side, ‘Brown’s Hotel, in Mayfair.’
‘Good day for now then,’ Ada said and, linking her arm to Clara’s, led her daughter slowly away down the sunny green-lined path.
Clara’s forehead felt tight, her cheeks flushed, and not from the sun. When they were a good distance away and out of ear shot, she hissed, ‘What was that mother? Why were you so dismissive?’
Ada strolled on in silence, not changing her gentle pace. Clara felt the tension charging through her body, urging her to pick up speed and get… somewhere. After a few moments Ada spoke softly, facing forward as if talking to herself, ‘Sometimes a man needs to be shown that you aren’t just there when it suits him. But that he must also make the effort.’
Clara glanced up at her mother, confused. But Ada did not look down at her daughter, only straight ahead, nodding politely to the other pairs of ladies walking arm in arm down the garden path. In their white lace gowns, dainty umbrellas or jauntily-worn summer hats shielding them from the sunlight, Clara was reminded of how elegant city ladies were, of what she longed to be. Remembering herself, she straightened her back and returned her focus to their stroll and the etiquette required from a grown woman. In her mind she ran through her mother’s words and actions, hoping desperately that with enough thought, she might come to understand. Yet again her mother had demonstrated the importance of poise. Archie always looked at her with such admiration. Clara wanted to be on the other end of that gaze.
Arriving home, Clara retreated to the library, picking up a little volume of poetry Archie had gifted to her last year. Out of the blue he had visited, bearing the small book. ‘I have found my path to greatness Clara,’ he had exclaimed. ‘The mystery of Edward James Barrington. He was a poet. I bought you a copy of his first works. I think, if you try, you will like them.’
‘Greatness? Why Archie, you are already ‘great’!’ she had protested. Archie had gifted her a strained smile and pressed the small volume of poems into her hand.
‘It’s like he wrote the words for me,’ he said. ‘Don’t you ever feel like no one understands you? Like you are hidden by shadow?’
Clara certainly did not.
She had heard the rumblings of the women calling themselves ’Suffragettes’. They’d even had a large rally in Hyde Park earlier that month. Clara remembered her mother’s dismissive tone when Harold had mentioned the disruption they were causing the city. ‘It’s never a good thing to stir up trouble,’ she’d declared, eyes daring Clara to disagree. But honestly, Clara had no understanding of what they were complaining about. Did Archie mean something like that, but for men? Unsure how to respond she only nodded, confusion furrowing her delicate brow.
‘Ah,’ Archie had sighed deeply, ‘he travelled to Australia. All that way away. And shaped himself a whole new life. Can you imagine? Your own life, of your choosing.’
‘I’m not sure I should like that at all,’ Clara replied.
Archie had smiled indulgently at her, as though she were still a child. Some emotion she could not place sat within his eyes. ‘Try the poems,’ he’d said and left.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BookBlast #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #PromoPost : The Fall of Kings (Legend of the Cid, Book 3) – Stuart Rudge @stu_rudge #HistoricalFiction

– ‘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 ‘The Fall of Kings’ book blast organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Stuart Rudge was born and raised in Middlesbrough, where he still lives. His love of history came from his father and uncle, both avid readers of history, and his love of table top war gaming and strategy video games. He studied Ancient History and Archaeology at Newcastle University, and has spent his fair share of time in muddy trenches, digging up treasure at Bamburgh Castle.
He was worked in the retail sector and volunteered in museums, before working in York Minster, which he considered the perfect office. His love of writing blossomed within the historic walls, and he knew there were stories within which had to be told. Despite a move in to the shipping and logistics sector (a far cry to what he hoped to ever do), his love of writing has only grown stronger.
Rise of a Champion is the first piece of work he has dared to share with the world. Before that came a novel about the Roman Republic and a Viking-themed fantasy series (which will likely never see the light of day, but served as good practise). He hopes to establish himself as a household name in the mound of Bernard Cornwell, Giles Kristian, Ben Kane and Matthew Harffy, amongst a host of his favourite writers.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: The Fall of Kings
Series: (Legend of the Cid, Book 3)
Author: Stuart Rudge
Publication Date: February 5th 2021
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 406 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Castile. 1071AD. Three kings. One crown.
After Sancho II of Castile dispatches his champion Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar to capture his brother, King Garcia of Galicia, he hopes it is a defining moment in his quest to reunite the lands of his father under one banner. But Alfonso VI of Leon is one step ahead, and has already added the lands of Galicia to his domain. When the only alternative is war, Sancho turns to Rodrigo to lead the armies of Castile, and he must use all his tactical acumen to defeat the Leonese in the field. Only one son of Fernando can claim victory and become the Emperor of Hispania.
Rodrigo and Antonio Perez, now a knight of the realm, find difficulty adjusting to the new regime. Dissent and unrest run rife throughout the kingdom, and the fear of a knife in the dark from enemies old and new hangs heavy upon the pair. But if it is allowed to fester, it threatens to undo all that has been achieved. Can Rodrigo and Antonio root out the enemies of the king, and prevent chaos reigning throughout the land?
The Fall of Kings in the breath taking third instalment of the Legend of the Cid.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #Excerpt : The Search (Across the Great Divide, Book II) #TheSearch – Michael L. Ross @MichaelLRoss7 #HistoricalFiction

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

Across the Great Divide

Today I’m on the ‘The Woodsman’s Rose’ 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 :

Michael RossBest-selling author Michael Ross is a lover of history and great stories. He’s a retired software engineer turned author, with three children and five grandchildren, living in Newton, Kansas with his wife of forty years. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, and still loves Texas. The main character of “Across the Great Divide”, William Dorsey Crump, is one of the founders of Lubbock and Shallowater, Texas. Michael knew Will’s granddaughter when he was a child. He has written a scholarly article on Will Crump for the Texas Historical Society, published in the Handbook of Texas Online, and has sold short stories in the past. This is his first novel and the first in the Across the Great Divide series, now an Amazon bestseller.
Michael attended Rice University as an undergraduate, and Portland State University for his graduate degree. He has degrees in computer science, software engineering, and German. In his spare time, Michael loves to go fishing, riding horses, and play with his grandchildren, who are currently all under six years old.
He sees many parallels between the time of the Civil War and our divided nation of today. Sanctuary cities, immigration, arguments around the holiday table, threats of secession – all are nothing new. Sometimes, to understand the present, you have to look at the past- and reach Across the Great Divide.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: The Search
Series: Across the Great Divide
Author: Michael L. Ross
Publication Date: December 15, 2020
Publisher: HistoricalNovelsRUS
Page Length: 217 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

The Search eBook CoverWhere do you go when home is no longer an option?
The guns of the Civil War have ceased firing, and the shots are but an echo… yet the war rages on, deep inside Will Crump’s soul. His “soldier’s heart” is searching for peace, and in that quest Will joins the westward movement, setting his path on a collision course with adventure, loss, and love.
The Westward Expansion floods the sacred, untouched lands with immigrants, bringing conflict to the Shoshone, Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho. Amidst the chaos Will finds safety in the shadow of the US Army, but the army brings battle-hardened troops into Red Cloud’s War, pulling Will into a tornado of conflict. Broken treaties and promises leave both sides searching for answers. Will’s search leads him to a battle for survival, and there he finds a love that could change him forever.
Dove, a young Shoshone woman, is a survivor of the Bear Creek Massacre. After being kidnapped and escaping from the Cheyenne, she joins Will’s search, seeking where she belongs. Dove longs for more than the restricted role placed on women in her tribe. If she can learn to trust a white man, he just might help her find home… and hope.
Together, Will and Dove must search for understanding, and reach Across the Great Divide.

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Excerpt :

Fear settled on Will like an unwelcome blanket in the summer heat. The thought of entering Fort Leavenworth and being among Union soldiers made him sweat. It brought back the prison guards, the war, and the memories he was fleeing. After crossing the river into Kansas, the real journey west would begin, but he wouldn’t think of that yet. He just wanted to find a real bed for the night, a meal cooked by someone else, and good oats for Dusty. Tomorrow he would think about the journey beyond civilization, out on the Oregon Trail. He wasn’t planning on going all the way to Oregon—just to the mountains, to lose himself in their quiet solitude. Will wanted to escape the reminders of the war, to find peace.
Today the demon that stalked him was the memory of how he had failed his men at Buffington Island. Years of prison, starving, freezing, and many friends dying of smallpox and exposure. He shook his head and forced his concentration on the blue sky.
The brick-and-stone buildings of the town and the fort seemed out of place on the vast prairie, as though somehow they had been dropped like the toy blocks of a giant, discarded play things that would be left to ruin. He needed supplies and information, or he would have avoided the fort altogether. Will hadn’t been sleeping well—the dreams were back. He felt exhausted and drained. His body hadn’t recovered from being a prisoner of war at Camp Douglas. Riding tired him more than he would have thought after all the miles he’d traveled during the war.
All the prison memories—crowded together, freezing, starving, holding the hands of the dying. So many lost to the ravages of war and disease . . . How could he ever forget and pretend life was normal?

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #GuestPost : The Woodsman’s Rose (Donovan Family Saga, Book 2) – Gifford MacShane @AuthorGMacShane #HistoricalFiction #Western

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

The Woodsman's Rose Tour Banner

Today I’m on the ‘The Woodsman’s Rose’ 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 :

Gifford MacShane is the author of historical fiction that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.
Her novels feature a family of Irish immigrants who settle in the Arizona Territory in the late 1800s. With an accessible literary style, MacShane draws out her characters’ hidden flaws and strengths as they grapple with both physical and emotional conflicts.
Singing almost before she could talk, MacShane has always loved folk music, whether it be Irish, Appalachian, spirituals, or the songs of the cowboys. Her love of the Old West goes back to childhood, when her father introduced her to the works of Zane Grey. Later she became interested in the Irish diaspora, having realized her ancestors must have lived through An Gorta Mor, the Great Irish Potato Famine of the mid-1800s. Writing allows her to combine her three great interests into a series of family stories, each including romance, traditional song lyrics, and a dash of Celtic mysticism. Having grown up in a large & often boisterous Irish-American family, she is intimately acquainted with the workings of such a clan and uses those experiences to good purpose (though no names will be named!)
MacShane is a member of the Historical Novel Society, and is an #OwnVoices writer. A self-professed grammar nerd who still loves diagramming sentences, Giff currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Richard, the Pied Piper of stray cats.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: The Woodsman’s Rose
Series: (Donovan Family Saga, Book 2)
Author: Gifford MacShane
Publication Date: January 25th 2021
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 329 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction / Western Romance

TWR Cover FINAL.jpg1880s Arizona
Daniel Donovan wants nothing more than to get married, unless it’s to restore his friendship with his closest friend, Alec Twelve Trees.
Alec is raging about his mother’s murderer, whose identity Daniel knows but will not reveal, as the killer is dead and the family he left behind would be compromised if the knowledge became public. But Alec cannot recognize any needs but his own, and the rift between the friends grows wider every day.
Daniel’s fiancée, Annie, is a delicate girl, her health frail and her future uncertain. Prone to vicious headaches that at times rock her to her knees, she’s accepted Daniel’s ring but is hesitant to name their wedding date, worried that marriage and possible pregnancy will exacerbate her physical problems.
Annie inherited the gift of insight from her Welsh mother and digs into the past, searching for a way to help Alec and Daniel mend their relationship. But when she discovers the secret behind the murder, it’s more horrifying than she could have imagined.
It may take more than Annie’s small strength and inherited skills to bring the friends together again. And that’s before a new enemy shows his face.

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Guest Post :

CHILDHOOD AND HISTORY CONSPIRED TO CREATE THE WOODSMAN’S ROSE

Quite a few factors came together to inspire me to write The Woodsman’s Rose (Book 2 of the Donovan Family Saga). You might call it serendipity. To talk about the inspiration for this book, I first have to talk about what inspired the series as a whole.
There are three things that compelled me to tell the stories of this Irish immigrant family in the Old West:
• When I was a kid, cowboys rode the airwaves, and I really, really wanted to grow up to be a cowboy. Not a cowgirl—they wore silly skirts and sat sideways on horses. I even had a cowboy name—it included “Junior”, as that was the only way I knew to designate myself as a boy. When was asked in school (I think I was 8) who the greatest hero in history was, I answered “Roy Rogers”. I burst into tears when the teacher told me he wasn’t a “real hero”.
Later, my father introduced me to his extensive collection of Zane Grey novels, one I’ve kept & reread to this day. The cowboy story really came alive for me. Knowing that Grey lived among these men and wrote from his experiences, made me all that much more enamored of them. They were real people in real times—not just myths or actors telling stories from a time past. Most of the heroes of his books lived by a code of honor that never bent. I think that appealed to me so much because I knew the men I looked up to (my father, grandfather and uncle) lived by the same code. And they subsequently became the heroes in my books.

Zane Grey
Origin: Public Domain.

• At about the same time, station wagons ruled the roads. There were no DVDs playing on the two-hour trips to see my grandparents, so we had to make our own fun. My father encouraged singing as it was the least physical activity—with 7 siblings crammed together, “Punch Bug” could soon become a free-for-all!
He taught us songs that were easy to remember and as a result, I’m addicted to traditional folk music: Irish, American, Appalachian, cowboy songs, and African-American spirituals. I’m often singing or humming… anywhere, really, or any time… but if you were to ask me what the song is, I might not know. I might not even have realized I was singing. Life without music would be just too hard to bear; consequently there are many snippets of traditional music contained in my works.
• And now my family history steps in to create the juncture of these two childhood traditions. My father’s family, as well as my mother’s (much longer ago), were Irish immigrants. Family legend has it that his Uncle Sean was chased out of Ireland by the Black & Tans, escaping by the skin of his teeth. I think the injustice of that hit me first: a man fighting for freedom from the overlords who invaded his country hundreds of years ago just shouldn’t have been hounded out of the only home he’d known.
Then I saw an article about a memorial sculpture being installed in County Cork that celebrated the aid the Choctaw Tribe in America gave to the Irish during the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1851, called in Ireland An Gorta Mor (The Great Hunger). My mother has a smidgen of native blood, so the article caught my eye.

Origin: Free pic by Paul Bates via Pixabay

This beautiful sculpture was created by Alex Pentek at the Sculpture Factory in Cork, and represents the Choctaw Indians with nine unique feathers, shaped in a bowl that represents a bowl full of food.
As I continued to read, I realized that my father’s family—coming from County Clare as they did in the early 1900s—had to have lived through that famine. I did some research and learned it was a totally avoidable disaster that cut Ireland’s population by more than a quarter, while food was being exported to England at astronomical rates.
I felt compelled to tell the stories of the survivors—the ones who somehow held body and soul together and found a way to prosper.
Writing this series has allowed me to create family stories with romance, traditional song lyrics, and a dash of Celtic mysticism. I’ve also been greatly influenced by my maternal grandfather. He was stricken with emphysema in his 40s, spent the last 20 years of his life confined to bed, but seldom complained and never stopped reading.
For this particular book, The Woodsman’s Rose, I have to admit I initially had no plans to go beyond the original manuscript and create a family saga. But the further I wrote into Whispers In The Canyon, the more I realized that the fourth Donovan son, Daniel (known as The Woodsman), was developing into someone quite special—another one of those heroes Zane Grey would have written about: a man with a special place in the family dynamic; with a code of honor that withstood almost every adversity; and with a deep and abiding love for a woman he never thought could be his. Because of all that, I believed Daniel deserved his own book, if only to see if he could find happiness with Annie. And since I’m not a plotter by nature, I had to write the book to find out.

Origin: Created by the author via BookBrush, covered by subscription fees

Of the myriad characters in my works, Annie Griffiths is the one closest to myself. She suffers a debilitating illness and needs to learn to modify her activities and make the most of every day; she’s optimistic and has empathy for everyone, sometimes at a cost to herself. Unlike me, she also has the gift of insight, inherited from her Welsh mother.
As for the more esoteric elements like style, I’ve been influenced by such diverse works as Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel and J. D. Robb’s “In Death” series; for setting & atmosphere, my greatest influences are William Faulkner and Donna Tartt; for characterization, Zane Grey and the late Dick Francis.
Like the last two authors named, I endeavor to write characters that are so well-drawn that I feel I could meet them on the street in town. I’ve been told by a couple of readers that they want to live next door to my Donovan family. To me, that’s the highest praise ever.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #QandAs : Restitution #Restitution – Janet Lee Berg @janetleeberg1 #HistoricalFiction

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

Blog Tour Banner Restitution copy

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

About the Author :

Janet Lee Berg copy 2Janet Lee Berg is a native New Yorker with a residence in Charleston, SC. She is also author of several other works of fiction and children’s books and has had her work featured in the local, regional, and national press. A journalist in the Hamptons, Janet Lee Berg has interviewed numerous celebrities and pursued an MFA in Creative Writing, under the direction of published professors including Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: Restitution
Series: Sequel to “Rembrandt’s Shadow”
Author: Janet Lee Berg
Publication Date: 30th September 2020
Publisher: Koehler
Page Length: 262 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Copy of Copy of JPG COVER FOR Restitution copy 2Sylvie Rosenberg was once the aristocratic daughter of a prominent Dutch art dealer, until the Nazi invasion of Holland changed everything. Forced to part with his astonishing collection of masterpieces, her father managed to trade a Rembrandt for the lives of twenty-five family members, including Sylvie.
Many years later, in America, Sylvie is on a path of self-destruction, still equating love with all the “things” that were taken away from her. Pocketing small items at first, eventually her hopelessness leads to a monumental betrayal, dismantling the lives of her son, Michael, a writer and Vietnam vet still struggling with the consequences of war, and his schoolteacher wife, Angela, as they struggle to fill their own void after failed attempts to conceive a child.
Desperate to win back their love, Sylvie returns to her homeland to face old ghosts and the Dutch judicial system, seeking restitution of her family’s masterpieces. But the battle proves far more difficult than she imagined …

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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 was painfully shy as a child and I needed to express myself, so I would make up stories where I was this adventurous character.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I liked Nancy Drew, but being an animal lover, the books that most influenced me as a young child were Old Yeller and Black Beauty. As a young teen, I was mesmerized by The Diary of Anne Frank. As an adult, I love reading WWII Historical Fiction, which I think is the most romantic era of all time.

Janet and Joey cropped

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Aside from ALL the Holocaust-related authors I have followed, I would love to pick the brain of Jodi Picoult. I find it fascinating that one person can produce so many good books in a lifetime!

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 would need to have tea with Sylvie (the main character), although I already had a fictional cup of tea with her in my first novel. She is designed after my mother-in-law, who escaped the Holocaust, but being she came from the silent generation, I could never get her to open up about her dark past and secrets.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I like to write in the quiet of morning, mostly on a yellow legal pad. I wrote most of my first book cocooned in the car at my two favorite spots: sitting at a dock, overlooking the bay, with the sun shining in on me to keep me warm during the cold winter months in New York. And believe it or not, next to a horse farm, as I love looking at horses and feeling their spirituality.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I think my characters are a combination of a few people. I like to show their flaws, along with their tenderness. I also like to show they have a sense of humor. And yes, some people should worry, as I tend to kill off a few of them!

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I dupe myself into thinking I am a plotter, although in my own real life, I am pretty impromptu. I did plan out a beginning and an end, but very loosely, and that changed over the period of writing. I actually laid out index cards on the floor with the main thoughts of the story, and then I would rearrange their order. The middle part was the most challenging part.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
If you absolutely love writing, then write your heart out. But, just know the rejections come fast and furious. It is only the lucky 2% that get picked up by one of the Top five or six BIG publishers. Mostly, they go for famous people or scandals. They hire young interns who go through a tall slush pile, and may never read more than your first paragraph, after you worked on the book for years. For example, some may not know much about the Holocaust or even care.
It is a painful process, but if you are driven, you will find your way, and hopefully, your book baby will be placed in the right hands. The start of every chapter should hook the reader!
After you write, you need to rewrite and rewrite until you know it is ready. Then, it is important to read it aloud on a tape recorder and listen to how it sounds. You will be surprised how much you learn that way!

What are your future plans as an author?
I doubt I will ever write another adult book, as it took a lot out of me! But, I am in the middle of co-authoring a children’s picture book right now and we are working with an illustrator.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Restitution, page 49

“On October 20, 1942, we were escorted to the train depot … to the unknown. We waited on the cement platform for three and a half hours. It was windy and cold. My brother and sisters wore dead faces. My mother nearly passed out, and a stranger helped her to her feet. Then, there was that final moment of truth—the big trade.”
Sylvie went off again into her own world. A Rembrandt passing hands, unbeknownst to the late, great artist, himself – Rembrandt van Rijn—who saved innocent lives with the stroke of a brush.

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

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!