Showing posts with label Book Excerpts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Excerpts. Show all posts

11 August 2021

[Blog Tour] 'Down Salem Way' (The Loving Husband Series) By Meredith Allard #HistoricalFiction

by
[Blog Tour] 'Down Salem Way' (The Loving Husband Series) By Meredith Allard #HistoricalFiction
'Down Salem Way' - Blog Tour Banner

The Book:

Down Salem Way
(The Loving Husband Series)
By Meredith Allard
  • Publication Date: June 2019
  • Publisher: Copperfield Press
  • Page Length: 352 Pages
  • Genre: Historical Fiction

The Blurb:

How would you deal with the madness of the Salem witch hunts?

In 1690, James Wentworth arrives in Salem in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his father, John, hoping to continue the success of John’s mercantile business. While in Salem, James falls in love with Elizabeth Jones, a farmer’s daughter. Though they are virtually strangers when they marry, the love between James and Elizabeth grows quickly into a passion that will transcend time.

But something evil lurks down Salem way. Soon many in Salem, town and village, are accused of practicing witchcraft and sending their shapes to harm others. Despite the madness surrounding them, James and Elizabeth are determined to continue the peaceful, loving life they have created together. Will their love for one another carry them through the most difficult challenge of all?
[Blog Tour] 'Down Salem Way' (The Loving Husband Series) By Meredith Allard #HistoricalFiction
The Loving Husband Trilogy - Banner
[Blog Tour] 'Down Salem Way' (The Loving Husband Series) By Meredith Allard #HistoricalFiction
 'Down Salem Way' - Cover

'Down Salem Way' - Excerpt:

“Are you a Witch?” he asked.

I laughed. I was ready for the joke. Dear God, please, I begged in the silence of my mind, this has to be a joke. But I knew. No matter no matter. This was no joke. The man had come to take Lizzie away.

“Did you sign a pact with the Devil in your own blood? How long have you been a Witch?” The constable’s eyes blazed with haughty fire.

“I am no Witch, sir,” Lizzie said. I was proud of her. Her voice was strong, her back was straight, and she held the man’s eyes.

“I can assure you,” I said, “my wife is no Witch. What proof have you for such groundless accusations against my wife?”

“We know she’s a Witch because witnesses have spoken against her.” He turned to Lizzie. “Why don’t you confess?”

“I am no Witch, sir,” Lizzie said again. She backed into me, hoping, I’m certain, that I could protect her. Dear God, why could I not get her away sooner? Just one day sooner? I have been wanting to take Lizzie to England for as long as we have been married, but we are here and not there and now my wife is in Hell. I am in a different kind of Hell but tis Hell all the same.

Whatever turmoil I felt, as though my innards quivered and I would heave everything I had ever eaten, I had to hold myself together. When the pock-faced man showed us the arrest warrant where Lizzie was named, she sobbed. I put my arm round her waist. I would be her rock. I would keep her strong.

“I have a warrant for your arrest, Goody Wentworth, and you must come with me.”

“Mistress Wentworth,” I said in my most haughty tone, but what did such distinctions matter then? I tried to stop him from taking Lizzie but the man knew what he was about. He had done this many times before. When Father arrived I ran to him, shaking him, needing his help as I hadn’t since I was a boy. And then I remembered. Father is an affluent member of Society, a Selectman of the Church. Surely, he could do something.

“Father, please,” I begged, “we have to help Lizzie.”

Father watched the constable bind Lizzie in chains. Lizzie looked fluid, as though she melted away. She tried to pat the bump where our babe waits, but the irons were too heavy. I ran to her, and as she reached for me she tripped and I caught her in my arms. The constable jerked her away. My life, he took her away.

Father did what he could. “What business have you with Mistress Wentworth?” he yelled.

“I have a warrant for her,” the pock-faced man said.

Father grabbed the paper and read it. He shook his head. There was nothing he could do. I raged at the pock-faced man. I promised Lizzie I would never leave her ever and twas up to me to put an end to this.

“You dare take an innocent woman away on false charges?” I yelled. “Ask her to recite the Lord’s Prayer! Ask her to recite the Ten Commandments! You think Witches cannot speak them because the Devil won’t allow it. Test her! If you knew the Commandments yourself you would know the ninth—thou shalt not bear false witness!”

The constable grinned. “If you know the Bible so well then you also know 1 Peter 5:8.” He waited for my response, but my mind was blank. Father knew.

“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

“And from Exodus?” asked the constable.
Father slumped forward. “Thou shalt not suffer a Witch to live.” “My wife is no Witch,” I said. “She is an innocent woman. Please. Let her go and we shall leave here and never return.”

[Blog Tour] 'Down Salem Way' (The Loving Husband Series) By Meredith Allard #HistoricalFiction
Meredith Allard

Author Bio:

Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Trilogy. Her sweet Victorian romance, When It Rained at Hembry Castle, was named a best historical novel by IndieReader. Her nonfiction book, Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction, was named a #1 New Release in Authorship and Creativity Self-Help by Amazon. When she isn’t writing she’s teaching writing, and she has taught writing to students ages five to 75. She loves books, cats, and coffee, though not always in that order. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Visit Meredith online at www.meredithallard.com.

Connect with Meredith Allard:

Down Salem Way - Tour Schedule Banner

6 August 2021

[Blog Tour] 'Kingfisher' (The Kingfisher Series, Book One) By D. K. Marley #HistoricalFiction #TimeTravel

by

]Blog Tour] 'Kingfisher' (The Kingfisher Series, Book One) By D. K. Marley #HistoricalFiction #TimeTravel
Kingfisher - Blog Tour Banner

The Book:

Kingfisher
(The Kingfisher Series, Book One)
By D. K. Marley

  • Publication Date: June 28, 2021
  • Publisher: The White Rabbit Publishing (HFC Press)
  • Page Length: 530 Pages
  • Genre: Historical Time Travel

The Blurb:

The past, future, and Excalibur lie in her hands.

Wales, 1914. Vala Penrys and her four sisters find solace in their spinster life by story-telling, escaping the chaos of war by dreaming of the romantic days of Camelot. When the war hits close to home, Vala finds love with Taliesin Wren, a mysterious young Welsh Lieutenant, who shows her another world within the tangled roots of a Rowan tree, known to the Druids as ‘the portal’.

One night she falls through, and suddenly she is Vivyane, Lady of the Lake – the Kingfisher – in a divided Britain clamoring for a High King. What begins as an innocent pastime becomes the ultimate quest for peace in two worlds full of secrets, and Vala finds herself torn between the love of her life and the salvation of not only her family but of Britain, itself.

"It is, at the heart of it, a love story – the love between a man and a woman, between a woman and her country, and between the characters and their fates – but its appeal goes far beyond romance. It is a tale of fate, of power, and, ultimately, of sacrifice for a greater good." - Riana Everly, author of Teaching Eliza and Death of a Clergyman

Buy Links:

]Blog Tour] 'Kingfisher' (The Kingfisher Series, Book One) By D. K. Marley #HistoricalFiction #TimeTravel
Kingfisher - Book Cover

'Kingfisher' - Excerpt:

Excerpt from Chapter 2 “The Rowan Tree”

Five pairs of eyes gazed up at my face when I approached, all in various states of inebriation—glazed, half-closed, wide-eyed, curious, and another with a look I dared not label from the leer on his lips. I raised my chin and steeled my courage, holding out the two pennies.

“Is there a fortune-teller here?” They looked askance at one another, murmuring and gesturing. One of them, a thin wiry man with a snaggled grin, slurred out an answer.

“Dw I dymm yn dallt.”

He did not understand. I smiled, my mind searching the Welsh tongue still tucked beneath my English facade. Father insisted on his girls speaking English on an everyday basis, especially when visiting London or attending the Season in search of husbands, as he concluded the high-born aristocrats of London society never stooped to learn the language of the least populated section of Great Britain. He was right, for even Edward, the Prince of Wales, knew only a smattering of the tongue. Even our house staff he hired from Dorset and Warwick instead of any locals to ensure we maintained the speech. In truth, his insistence on all things English piqued my curiosity on more than one occasion. I dared never ask, though.

“Dach chi’n siarad Saesnag?” I answered back, hoping at least one of them spoke English.

Each of them, in turn, shook their head. I held up the coins again, this time asking for the fortune-teller in their language.

“Ble mae’r rhifwr ffortiwn?”

The same wiry man stood up, brushed the dust from his trousers, and motioned for me to follow him. He approached one of the wagons and tapped his swarthy knuckles against the frame.

“Kezia,” he belted out. “Mae gennych fusnes ac arian.”

The woman, upon hearing that she had business and money, peeked out through the small square side window. She looked as ancient as the Black Mountains, grey hair, furrowed brow, and eyes full of fog.

She opened the door, her twig-like fingers beckoning for the coins and curling over them once obtained.

“Come in,” she said, her voice unmatching her appearance—wispy and soothing, yet rich like fine boxed Belgian chocolate.

I glanced back to the carriage and waved to Isla who stared out the window, biting her fingernails, while Harri stood near the campfire with the other men, accepting an offer of a cup of something to warm his gut. Blowing Isla a kiss, I mounted the steps and entered the cramped quarters.

The woman cackled softly and pointed towards a chair across from a round table in the centre of the room. I sat, taking in the surroundings. A fire burned in a iron-belly stove at one end of the room, the scented heat inundating the ambience with oakwood and anise. Snatches of herbs dangled from a hemp rope along the ceiling and rich burgundy scarves embroidered with botanical scenes lined the walls, as well as decorating my chair and the cushions behind my back. The air exuded mystery.

The woman, Kezia, blended into the atmosphere as naturally as a butterfly on a flower, even in her worn, aged state. She poured out two cups of tea and sat across from me, smiling a quite uncomfortable yet knowing grin.

“Ye sister not want to come?” Her question billowed out and her dark midnight eyes narrowed.

“My sister? No, she did not . . . how did you know?”

She chuckled and took a sip of her tea, tapping one finger to the side of her head. “I am knowing many things.” Leaning forwards, she stared deep into my face. “Like this . . . I know who ye are, my lady of waters.”

A sudden flush of nausea flooded my stomach and I touched my hand to my neck, my pulse racing beneath my fingertips.

“Lady of waters, what do you mean?”

She leaned back, draping her arms over the thick brocade upholstered arm chair she sat on. “Is this not why ye came . . . to hear ye ffortiwn?”

The nausea morphed into fear and I made a move to stand, but she stilled me with her words.

“I remember ye mam-gu, ye nain,” she said. “Illya was her name, was it not?”

“Wha . . . what?” I sputtered, easing back down. “How?”

“Ooh, ‘tis fifty years now, I think, when she died. I knew her before the Major, before India . . . that journey kill’d her, ye know.”

I huffed through my nose, an sardonic sneer as I pushed my teacup away and crossed my arms. “No, I wouldn’t know.”

She replied with a wink and a chuckle. “No, I suspect ye wouldn’t living with secrets now, would ye?”

“Secrets?”

She snickered and struck a white-tipped matchstick, lighting a thick beeswax candle in the centre of the table. The flickering flame danced in her pupils and she held the smouldering stick in between her thumb and forefinger; the smoke wafting in two slender entangling streams.

“White phosphorous . . .” she said, “very deadly, if eaten. One pack of matchsticks can kill a person.”

I arched my eyebrow, uncertain if I ought to sip any more of the tea. She blew away the smoke with a blast of breath, finishing off with a wave of her hand and crooked a smile.

“Useful information, is it not?” She added.

“I suppose, if you need to know such a thing.”

She nodded in agreement and pointed to my teacup. “Go on, finish the tea and with the last few drops, swirl the leaves and hand me the cup.”

With much trepidation, I finished the strong brew, deciding if she indeed poisoned me, at least Harri and Isla were close enough to ensure a rescue.

Handing her the cup, I waited for a moment as she turned the cup clockwise from the handle, her slight hum pausing once, twice, and a third time, with a ‘hmm’ or ‘ahh’.

She set the cup down and pointed to a long line close to the rim, formed by the residue of the leaves.

“Ye will take a long journey . . . far away from here. And here . . . near the bottom . . . the ‘T’. Do ye see it?”

I squinted and tilted my head, unsure, but agreed any ways. “Yes . . . I think.”

“This is for love . . . ye will look for this letter in your search for love. And the last, ye are a traveller as ye grandmother before ye.”

My heart leapt in my chest. “And where does it show that?”

She smiled and pushed the cup away, wrapping her warm hands over mine. “I need not the cup to see that.” Raising her hand, she pointed her forefinger and jabbed her rounded fingernail into my chest, right above my pounding heart. “Here . . . in ye soul and in ye eyes.”

The words lured me in with a strong pulling sensation, creeping into my core. “You said you remember her,” I said, hoping to draw more information from her about my past.

“Yes, she was like me.”

“A gipsy traveller, you mean . . . a Kale . . . from Caernarfon.”

She snickered. “Ooh, much more than just a Kale . . . for she knew the ways of travellers from long ago. She was a woman Bard with a voice like a nightingale—her favourite was Keats . . . do ye have a favourite?”

“Yes . . . I do. I adore Tennyson.”

“Ah,” she acknowledged, her eyes alighting with a long ago remembrance. “Of course, ye love Tennyson . . . the days of King Arthur. Romantics, both poets in search of escape, and dreamers of days long gone.” She narrowed her eyes. “Ah, I am seeing doubt in ye eyes. You have listened to rumours that we gipsy folk are ignorant . . . illiterate, even. Some are, no doubt, but ye nain was special, like a muse of fire to poets. She used to read poetry to me late into the night. One of her favourite lines was from Keats—‘O, for a life of sensations rather than of thoughts!’”

I grinned at the quote. “I know that line . . . my mother recites that quite often. But, what do you mean ‘of course, I love Tennyson’?”

She chuckled and lifted the teacup, tilting the rim for me to see inside. “What do ye see when ye look inside?”

I thought, for a moment, that her question answering my question was her attempt to evade, but as I stared into the cup, a clear picture formed in my thoughts. I shook my head and touched my fingers to my temple, just above my right eyebrow.

“The roots of a tree . . . like my ancestry reaching deep into the soul . . . searching for water . . .”
She cackled, reached across and touched my arm. From her fingertips, the goose flesh sped across my skin, all the way to the crown of my head. She narrowed her eyes and quoted another line. “Lo! I must tell a tale of chivalry, for large white plumes are dancing in mine eyes.”

Keat’s poetic words compulsed from my heart and throat. “Last night I lay in bed, there came before my eyes that wonted thread of shapes, and shadows, and remembrances . . .”

She continued. “You know the Enchanted Castle—it doth stand upon the rock on the border of a lake . . . ye know it well enough, where it doth seem a mossy place, a Merlin’s hall, a dream . . .”

And I added, without volition. “Here do they look alive to love and hate, to smiles and frowns; they seem a lifted mound above some giant, pulsing underground.”

She leaned towards me, her eyes narrowing. “And from them comes a silver flash of light, as from the westward of a summer’s night; or like a beauteous woman’s large blue eyes gone mad through olden songs and poesies . . . it is a flaw in happiness to see beyond our bourn—it forces us in summer skies to mourn, it spoils the singing of the nightingale . . .”

“I have a tale to tell,” I rhymed. “And yet, I cannot speak it.”

“And yet, your dreams speak the tale, do they not?”

I shook my head, scattering her question tingling the hairs on my arm, and rubbed my brow again.

“What . . . what just happened?” I asked.

She answered only with another low chuckle.

Even with much eye-lash blinking and lip-biting, confusion bubbled inside me, fearing what just passed between me and the gipsy. Looking over to the empty tea cup, I felt a sudden fear that more than tea, indeed, poured from her kettle and down my throat.

]Blog Tour] 'Kingfisher' (The Kingfisher Series, Book One) By D. K. Marley #HistoricalFiction #TimeTravel
D. K. Marley

Author Bio:

D. K. Marley is a Historical Fiction author specializing in Shakespearean adaptations, Tudor era historicals, Colonial American historicals, alternate historicals, and historical time-travel. At a very early age she knew she wanted to be a writer. Inspired by her grandmother, an English Literature teacher, she dove into writing during her teenage years, winning short story awards for two years in local competitions. After setting aside her writing to raise a family and run her graphic design business, White Rabbit Arts, returning to writing became therapy to her after suffering immense tragedy, and she published her first novel “Blood and Ink” in 2018, which went on to win the Bronze Medal for Best Historical Fiction from The Coffee Pot Book Club, and the Silver Medal from the Golden Squirrel Book Awards. Within three years, she has published four more novels (two Shakespearean adaptations, one Colonial American historical, and a historical time travel).

When she is not writing, she is the founder and administrator of The Historical Fiction Club on Facebook, and the CEO of The Historical Fiction Company, a website dedicated to supporting the best in historical fiction for authors and readers. And for fun, she is an avid reader of the genre, loves to draw, is a conceptual photography hobbyist, and is passionate about spending time with her granddaughter. She lives in Middle Georgia U.S.A. with her husband of 35 years, an English Lab named Max, and an adorable Westie named Daisy.

Connect with D. K. Marley:

Kingfisher - Blog Tour Schedule Banner

2 August 2021

[Blog Tour] 'Steampunk Cleopatra' By Thaddeus Thomas #HistoricalFantasy

by
'Steampunk Cleopatra' - Tour Banner

The Book:

Steampunk Cleopatra
By Thaddeus Thomas
  • Publication Date: 21st May 2021
  • Publisher: Independently Published
  • Page Length: 419 Pages
  • Genre: Historical Fantasy

The Blurb:

Amani, a companion of Cleopatra, seeks to rediscover Egypt's suppressed science and history. She is the beloved of her princess become queen, but that may not be enough to overcome the system they've inherited. If she fails, her country and Cleopatra, both, could fall. History meets fantasy, and together, they create something new. Experience an intelligent thriller about star-crossed lovers and an ancient science that might have been.

Buy Links:

'Steampunk Cleopatra' - Front Cover

'Steampunk Cleopatra' - Excerpt:

Amani had sailed for Rome in early spring, north to the straight of Messana, where the snotgreen sea wedged itself between Sicily and the tip of the Italian peninsula. There, Dio and Theodotus had stood with her, admiring the coasts on either side.

“Have you read of the Roman siege of Syracuse, when it was still a Greek colony?” she asked.

Both men said they had not. Amani assumed they were lying, but if they offered lies in kindness, she would accept them.

“Archimedes held off their ships with a weapon that could set a ship ablaze from 300 cubits,” she said.

“Why don’t we have such machines now?” Dio asked.

“When the Romans finally took Syracuse, they killed Archimedes,” she said. “Many tried to guess how the weapon operated, but none of their designs ever worked.”

“How do you think it operated?” Theodotus asked.

Amani looked at him, and now, it was her turn to lie. “I don’t know.”

There was some truth in that. She felt certain they had added water to a heated metal cannon and the resulting steam fired a large ceramic projectile. On impact, the projectile released the mysterious Greek Fire, which consumed entire ships and even burned underwater. What Greek Fire was, no one knew.

In Messana, the breakwaters curled north, like a mother's arm, and they sought permission to harbor a few days. The city sent out supplies and an uneasy welcome. They would be better off to hurry along the last days of the journey and reach Ostia before the weather turned.

The skies showed no signs of ill-fortune. The leaders conferred with the captain and agreed to press on. They followed the coast and reached Ostia, a giant port at the mouth of the Tiber River. Tugboats guided them to the quay.

The city's ordered buildings shone clean and white. Amani almost felt safe as they awaited inspection. Two weeks had passed since they left Alexandria. Another day's journey by land would take them to Rome.

They spent that night in proper beds, free of the movement of the water and the sound of tortured wood.

Amani rose early, and she and Dio sat outside the city, staring off at the green hills and the roads. One would soon take them away to Rome.

“I need to ask something that may offend you,” she said.

Dio took a sip of wine and set down his chunk of bread. “At my age, I'm not easily offended.”

“I owe you. Don't think I've forgotten.”

“I won't.”

“You've eaten with Ptolemy,” she said.

“I have.”

“You've laughed with him and paid him homage, and now you travel to Rome as his accuser. I don't understand.”

“I haven't come to accuse him but to defend our people and our Pharaoh against his accusations. We are all here for one reason, to save our lives. Each of us has transitioned into the power structure under Berenice. Whether it’s her or her father who wears the crown, someone must care for Alexandria and run Egypt. The work continues without him, but he will see our care as treason.”

She wanted to argue against his reasoning, but could not. Instead, she nodded and ate her grapes, and they sat in silence as weightless clouds soared above the endless green. It was a wholly different beauty, and she wondered if she would ever see Egypt again.

Author Bio:

Thaddeus Thomas lives on the Mississippi River with his wife and three cats. Steampunk Cleopatra is his first novel, but he has a short story collection available at his website, ThaddeusThomas.com. There he also runs a book club where readers can receive indie book reviews and recommendation. His second book—Detective, 26 AD—releases July 9th and follows Doubting Thomas as he is conscripted to be an investigator for Pontius Pilate.

Connect with Thaddeus Thomas:

[Blog Tour] 'Steampunk Cleopatra' By Thaddeus Thomas #HistoricalFantasy
'Steampunk Cleopatra' - Tour Schedule Banner

30 July 2021

[Blog Tour] 'The Abdication' By Justin Newland #HistoricalFantasy #SuspenseThriller

by
[Blog Tour] 'The Abdication'  By Justin Newland #HistoricalFantasy #SuspenseThriller
The Abdication - Book Tour Poster

The Book:

The Abdication 
By Justin Newland
  • Publication Day : 28th July by Matador
  • Page Count : 328 pages
  • Genre: Suspense Thriller / Historical Fantasy 

The Blurb:

The town of Unity sits perched on the edge of a yawning ravine where, long ago, a charisma of angels provided spiritual succour to a fledgeling human race. Then mankind was granted the gift of free will and had to find its own way, albeit with the guidance of the angels. The people’s first conscious act was to make an exodus from Unity. They built a rope bridge across the ravine and founded the town of Topeth. For a time, the union between the people of Topeth and the angels of Unity was one of mutual benefit. After that early spring advance, there had been a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.

Following the promptings of an inner voice, Tula, a young woman from the city, trudges into Topeth. Her quest is to abide with the angels and thereby discover the right and proper exercise of free will. To do that, she has to cross the bridge – and overcome her vertigo. Topeth is in upheaval; the townsfolk blame the death of a child on dust from the nearby copper mines. The priests have convinced them that a horde of devils have thrown the angels out of Unity and now occupy the bridge, possessing anyone who trespasses on it. Then there’s the heinous Temple of Moloch!

The Abdication is the story of Tula’s endeavour to step upon the path of a destiny far greater than she could ever have imagined.
[Blog Tour] 'The Abdication'  By Justin Newland #HistoricalFantasy #SuspenseThriller
The Abdication - Book Cover

'The Abdication' - Excerpt:

The Welcome Boulder

Tula’s swollen ankle ached as she trudged up the mountain. It had moaned incessantly, ever since she had left her home in the city before embarking on this journey. Then again, it had always hurt. Perhaps since birth: she could never remember that far back. She had complained to her parents, who could not afford to get it seen by the doctor.

A gust of wind whipped up particles of sand which spiralled in the fractious air ahead of her. She squinted and pulled her keffiyeh up to cover her nose. At this altitude, the air was a thin gruel, offering paltry nourishment. Her gut was rumbling, but that was nothing new. She had walked uphill all afternoon from Seliga in the valley below and now she was gasping for breath. Her backpack seemed to weigh as much as that boulder up ahead. A vulture circled effortlessly in the azure blue sky. There was another one above the next valley, griffon vultures searching for prey; so long as they left her alone.

Wisps of straw-coloured grass sprouted beside the graves of an unkempt cemetery. The top of the surrounding low stone wall was speckled with reddish spots, like splashes of copper rain. A few of the gravestones had fallen over and kissed the parched earth. This was the summit of a mountain and even the grand old yew trees huddled in one side of the cemetery were bending to the east, bowing to the omnipotent goddess of the winds in her distant unseen shrine.

Between the cemetery and the town lay a vibrant carpet of blue thorns; large cones of tiny blue flowers surrounded by a spiky, electric-blue collar.

Up ahead were the town walls, shimmering in the waves of heat rising from the scorched land. Finally, her journey’s end was in sight. On the side of the road just outside the town’s South Gate was the Welcome Boulder. It towered above her, which was not that difficult because in the city she was constantly mocked as the shortest amongst her peers. Most of the boulder was coated in that brownish-red dust. Towards the top of it was the immortal sign that declared the town’s identity:

Welcome to Topeth.
The First Free Town and
‘The Top’ Town of all.

Long before her arrival, her parents and teachers had fired her imagination with their stories about Topeth. As the sign proudly declared, it was once ‘The Top’ town, not only because it was perched precariously on the highest mountain in the range, but also because it was the living exemplar of humanity’s stumbling progress. Many years before, that epic story had featured Herman, the First Man. It told how he had ushered in a brilliant new freedom for mankind – hence the First Free Town. Yet, after that early spring advance, there was now a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.

Many people asked whether their forefathers had used that freedom wisely. Some answered with a resounding ‘Yes’, but Tula had doubts. That was why she was in Topeth; to find out for herself.

On either side of the entrance road was a row of tall, spiky cacti, standing like pale, bloated fish out of water.

To the west of the town was a large area of open ground. Huge scars pitted the land which was dotted with peaked mounds of reddened earth. A gnarled ghost haunted the land. Crouched amidst its shadow lands were rickety sheds and wooden shacks, all dowsed in the same brown-red dust. Even the town’s walls were tainted in the same hue. This was the infamous Topeth open cast copper mine.

In these dangerous times, many towns shut their gates well before sundown. Thankfully, the main gates to Topeth were still open.

An old man sat cross-legged with his back against one of the gate posts, whittling a long, rod-like piece of wood and chewing on a wedge of tobacco. What an obnoxious substance. Yellow pouting lips glared at her from within a grey, untended beard. On his head, he wore a scruffy, black and white chequered keffiyeh.

“Who’s there?” He completed the question by spitting prodigiously onto the earth.

“Me, I’m Tula. And you are?”

“Can’t you see I’m blind or are you as well?” The man was gruff. He faced her. Empty sockets peered into the void.

“No, I mean yes. I’m sorry, I didn’t notice. I’m exhausted. It’s been a long day.”

“Don’t recognise your voice. You new here?”

“Yes, sir. I’ve just arrived.”

“Got your pass?”

A blind man was asking her for a pass to travel. That she had not expected. She pulled out a wrinkled piece of paper from her knapsack and hesitated, not knowing what to do with it.

“Give it here,” he demanded. “I may be blind, but do you think I can’t see right through you?”

“No, sir. I’m sure you can. It’s just that…” She gave him the travel permit.

He held it to his cheek. He rubbed it first against his left cheek, then against his right, and nodded to himself, as if reading its contents with inner eyes. She gazed at him wide-eyed.

He handed it back to her. “Go on. All in order here.”

“What did you just do?”

“When I hold something against my cheeks, I get pictures in my mind.”

“I never knew that was even possible. What did you see?”

“I saw a fair-haired young woman with blue eyes, sparkling like rays of sunlight dancing on a flowing river. I saw a smile that warms the day, a pretty face. Your fringe and pale skin and freckles will drive the young men crazy.”

“That’s kind of you to say,” she said, failing to hide a blush. “May I ask you something?”

“Carry on. You’re good at asking questions.”

No one was going to intimidate her. No one. 

[Blog Tour] 'The Abdication'  By Justin Newland #HistoricalFantasy #SuspenseThriller
Justin Newland

About The Author:

Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers - that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day

He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

His Books:

  • The Genes of Isis is a tale of love, destruction and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. A re-telling of the Biblical story of the flood, it reveals the mystery of the genes of Isis – or genesis – of mankind.
  • The Old Dragon’s Head is a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times.
  • Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution.
  • His latest, The Abdication (July, 2021), is a suspense thriller, a journey of destiny, wisdom and self-discovery.

Connect with Justin Newland

26 July 2021

[Blog Tour] 'The Girl from Venice' By Siobhan Daiko #HistoricalFiction #WomensFiction

by
[Blog Tour] 'The Girl from Venice' By Siobhan Daiko #HistoricalFiction #WomensFiction
The Girl From Venice - Tour Banner

The Book:

The Girl from Venice 
By Siobhan Daiko
  • Publication Date: 29th June 2021
  • Publisher: ASOLANDO BOOKS
  • Page Length: 300 Pages
  • Genre: Romantic Historical/Women’s Fiction

The Blurb:

Lidia De Angelis has kept a low profile since Mussolini's racial laws wrenched her from her childhood sweetheart. But when the Germans occupy Venice in 1943, she must flee the city to save her life.

Lidia joins the partisans in the Venetian mountains, where she meets David, an English soldier fighting for the same cause. As she grows closer to him, harsh Nazi reprisals and Lidia’s own ardent anti-fascist activities threaten to tear them apart.

Decades later in London, while sorting through her grandmother’s belongings after her death, Charlotte discovers a Jewish prayer book, unopened letters written in Italian, and a fading photograph of a group of young people in front of the Doge’s Palace.

Intrigued by her grandmother’s refusal to talk about her life in Italy before and during the war, Charlotte travels to Venice in search of her roots. There, she learns not only the devastating truth about her grandmother’s past, but also some surprising truths about herself.

A heart-breaking page-turner, based on actual events in Italy during World War II
Trigger Warnings: Death, Miscarriage, PTSD, Rape

The Teaser:

[Blog Tour] 'The Girl from Venice' By Siobhan Daiko #HistoricalFiction #WomensFiction
The Girl From Venice - Teaser
'The Girl from Venice' - Front Cover 

'The Girl from Venice' - Excerpt:

Lidia was spending the rest of the night in the Pivettas’ attic, just like Giorgio had done over two months ago. She’d insisted on coming up here; she didn’t want to put Marta and her family at risk. Giudecca was a small community and not everyone was anti-Fascist. It would take only one person to tell the police they’d seen Lidia leave the palazzo with her friend, and they would easily work out where she’d gone.

She sat on a lumpy mattress on the cold wooden floor and knuckled away a tear. What she’d witnessed tonight, the wilful destruction of hers and Papa’s personal property, had brought home the grim reality of her situation. Obviously, those air raid sirens had been a distraction. People’s eyes had been on the sky and the noise had prevented them from hearing what was going on. Would they have done anything, though? She doubted it; they would have been too afraid—

A knock rapped at the attic trapdoor, and Lidia almost jumped out of her skin. Then came two further knocks in quick succession followed, after a beat, by two more. Lidia’s knees buckled with relief. It was Marta, using a broom handle to tap their agreed signal—the same code she’d put in place for Giorgio.

Just to be sure, Lidia peered through a crack in the wood.

Marta’s dear face was staring up at her.

With trembling hands, Lidia lifted the trapdoor, fetched the ladder resting against the attic wall, and eased it down.

Marta climbed the rungs and pulled the ladder up after herself. She kissed Lidia on both cheeks and inquired how she was feeling.

‘Scared,’ Lidia breathed.

‘I think we got away with it,’ Marta said, hugging her. ‘If anyone ratted on us, the police would have been here by now. Oh, and I know where they’ve taken your papa—'

Lidia grabbed hold of her arm. ‘Where?’

‘The Collegio Mario Foscarini, that private school in the Cannaregio district. Angelo found out that he’s there with hundreds of other Jews rounded up by the police.’

O, Dio.’ Lidia’s chest tightened. ‘My poor dear papa. I must go and be with him.’

Marta stiffened. ‘You can’t mean that—’

Lidia held her in a firm gaze. ‘Where he goes, I go too. He would do the same for me.’

‘Are you crazy?’ Marta shook her head. ‘From what I’ve heard, your papa and the others will soon be transported to a labour camp.’

‘He will need me to help him.’ Lidia’s voice quivered. ‘I’ve always helped him.

‘Your papa won’t expect this of you. I’m sure he would tell you if he could.’

‘I must hand myself in.’ Lidia’s chin lifted. ‘I will go to the police first thing in the morning.’

‘Don’t do that,’ Marta pleaded. ‘Ti prego. I beg of you.’ She fell silent momentarily, then said, ‘If we can find a way for you to talk to your papa, and tell him what you are planning, would you agree to that?’

Lidia sighed. There was no point in going to see him; she’d made up her mind. She stared at Marta, and Marta stared back at her. Lidia caught the love and concern in her friend’s gaze. She owed it to her to go through the motions. ‘Alright. I’ll talk to him. But how do you propose I do that? I mean, there are probably guards.’

‘Some guards are more lenient than others.’ Marta gave a wry smile. ‘Try and get some sleep, bella.’ She hugged Lidia again. ‘Ti voglio bene.'

‘I love you too, beautiful,’ Lidia said. And she did. O Dio, she would miss Marta so much. So very much.

***

Lidia tossed and turned for the rest of the night. Papa’s eternal optimism would have him making the best of things, and he’d be helping anyone in need. But she couldn’t help worrying about him.

At breakfast time, Marta brought her some bread and milk, as well as a bowl of water, soap, a facecloth and a towel. ‘Giovanna came to find out how you are coping. She’ll be back later today with more information about what’s going on at that school.’

‘I’m serious about handing myself in,’ Lidia repeated.

Marta put her arm around her shoulders. ‘Be patient, bella.’

She nodded. ‘I’ll try.’

Throughout the morning, she waited and worried. Marta came up at lunchtime, and said, ‘It seems the police aren’t looking for you. Come down to the kitchen and eat with us. You can stay in my room tonight.’

‘How about we go now, just the two of us, to the Collegio?’ Lidia gave her a pleading look.

‘I think tomorrow would be more sensible. Better to wait until we know more about what’s happening there.’

Va bene.’ She would give it one more day. If she couldn’t find a way to speak with her papa, she’d hand herself in. It was only for Marta’s sake that she’d agreed to talk to Papa anyway.

Giovanna and Marisa dropped by before the night-time curfew. The four girls sat together in the Pivettas’ lounge.

‘The school has been transformed into a primitive detention centre,’ Giovanna said without preamble.

‘There aren’t any facilities,’ Marisa added. ‘Even the old and sick are sleeping on benches or on the floor.’

O Dio,’ Lidia muttered. ‘I hope they are being given food.’

Giovanna tapped the ash from her cigarette. ‘I’m afraid not. Some of the neighbours, hearing the children crying with hunger, have been passing bread, fruit and cheese through the windows.’

‘That’s terrible,’ Lidia choked back a sob.

‘It is.’ Marisa leant towards her. ‘But you can use the situation to your advantage. If you mingled with the people who are helping the detainees, you could ask about your father.’

Lidia wiped her eyes. She would do it. She had nothing to lose. If she was caught, she’d be imprisoned with Papa. And, if she wasn’t caught, she’d go directly to the police station anyway. ‘I will walk to the Collegio my own,’ she said, sending Marta a determined look. ‘It will be too dangerous for you to come with me.’

‘Absolutely not.’ Marta shook her head. ‘We’ll go in my babbo’s boat. The patrols won’t take any notice of us. It’s as if they consider women not worth worrying about; I’ve sailed right past them so often—’

‘But won’t we use a lot of fuel?’ Lidia asked. ‘The school is on the other side of Venice.’

‘We can cut across San Marco via the smaller canals. I know the route from visiting my nonna’s grave at San Michele cemetery.’

Lidia decided not to press the argument. When Marta got the bit between her teeth she never gave up. Lidia sat back in her seat and listened to her friends as they talked about the upcoming Christmas celebrations, and how miserable they would be with the Germans infesting the city like a plague. Lidia stared down at her hands. Hanukkah would start on December 22nd this year. Whatever happened, she knew she wouldn’t be lighting the menorah candles with Papa. And the realisation made her heart weep.
[Blog Tour] 'The Girl from Venice' By Siobhan Daiko #HistoricalFiction #WomensFiction
Siobhan Daiko

Author Bio:

Siobhan Daiko is an international bestselling historical romantic fiction author. A lover of all things Italian, she lives in the Veneto region of northern Italy with her husband, a Havanese puppy and two rescue cats. After a life of romance and adventure in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK, Siobhan now spends her time, when she isn't writing, enjoying the sweet life near Venice.

Connect With Siobhan Daiko:

[Blog Tour] 'The Girl from Venice' By Siobhan Daiko #HistoricalFiction #WomensFiction
The Girl From Venice - Tour Schedule Banner

22 July 2021

[Blog Tour] 'The Steel Rose' (The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy, Book 2) by Nancy Northcott #HistoricalFantasy #TimeTravel

by
[Blog Tour] 'The Steel Rose' (The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy, Book 2) by Nancy Northcott #HistoricalFantasy #TimeTravel
The Steel Rose - Tour Banner

The Book:

The Steel Rose
(The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy, Book 2)
by Nancy Northcott

  • Publication Date: April 29, 2021
  • Publisher: Falstaff Books
  • Page Length: 370 Pages
  • Genre: Historical Fantasy/Romantic Fantasy

The Blurb:

The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy
A wizard’s misplaced trust
A king wrongly blamed for murder
A bloodline cursed until they clear the king’s name

Book 2: The Steel Rose
Amelia Mainwaring, a magically Gifted seer, is desperate to rescue the souls of her dead father and brother, who are trapped in a shadowy, wraith-filled land between life and death as the latest victims of their family curse. Lifting the curse requires clearing the name of King Richard III, who was wrongly accused of his nephews’ murder because of a mistake made by Amelia’s ancestor.

In London to seek help from a wizard scholar, Julian Winfield, Amelia has disturbing visions that warn of Napoleon Bonaparte’s escape from Elba and renewed war in Europe. A magical artifact fuels growing French support for Bonaparte. Can Amelia and Julian recover the artifact and deprive him of its power in time to avert the coming battles?

Their quest takes them from the crowded ballrooms of the London Season to the bloody field of Waterloo, demanding all of their courage, guile, and magical skill. Can they recover the artifact and stop Bonaparte? Or will all their hopes, along with Amanda’s father and brother, be doomed as a battle-weary Europe is once again engulfed in the flames of war?

The Steel Rose is the second book in the time-traveling, history-spanning fantasy series The Boar King’s Honor, from Nancy Northcott (Outcast Station, The Herald of Day).

Buy Links: 

This novel is available to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription.
[Blog Tour] 'The Steel Rose' (The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy, Book 2) by Nancy Northcott #HistoricalFantasy #TimeTravel
The Steel Rose - Front Cover

'The Steel Rose' -  Excerpt:

In this excerpt, Amelia and Julian’s Aunt Augusta search his library for clues about the Mainwaring curse and pull books from the shelves to donate to a charity sale. It introduces a possible avenue for lifting the family curse.

***

Despite hours of work, Amelia and Augusta had found nothing helpful about the Mainwaring curse. Now they were having tea before going back to the books Julian had left for them. Fighting frustration, Amelia savored the warm liquid going down her throat. At least she and Augusta had found several volumes of poetry and an old copy of Edward Gibbon’s multi-volume The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire for the charity box.

She glanced to the side, at the secret room that held the oldest books and those about magic. Usually concealed by a bookshelf, it stood exposed today. A touch of Augusta’s hand and a bit of magic had caused that shelf to slide behind the one on the left and revealed Julian’s sanctuary.

Having such a collection of books about magic to read whenever one wished would be divine.

Augusta took a bite of caraway biscuit. “You know, Julian can introduce you to a number of Gifted antiquaries and historians who might be able to help you. In the meantime, you’ll continue with your research here and sort a few books from time to time.”

“That sounds lovely. Thank you.”

“Are you ready to resume our hunt?”

Reading old-style type, with f for s, was fatiguing, but it was necessary. “Of course.”

The two women settled back into their chairs by the hearth. If they could find a clue—even something to trigger a vision or a scrying—that could lead them to proof Richard III hadn’t murdered his nephews, surely that would satisfy the curse.

Amelia had tried again to See or scry any link between king and the armor she’d Seen a few nights ago. Images of a sturdy figure wearing it on the battlefield and others of it packed into a chest had offered no clue. The figure bulged oddly in the upper torso, but that could’ve been an ill-fitting surcoat. The French emblem in the vision posed another puzzle. King Richard had been an enemy of France. Did the flag mean someone he’d fought held the answer she needed?

For now, best to attend to her research and not worry about this mystery.

Amelia picked up the next book on her stack. She and her hostess read in silence.

The delicate chiming of six by the mantel clock drew Amelia out of her book. “This is interesting,” she said. “Many more people than I realized defended King Richard’s honor, no matter how subtly and carefully they had to do it. It’s no wonder they waited until the Tudor dynasty ended.”

Augusta’s mouth turned up in a wry smile. “The more insecure a dynasty, the more likely they are to kill even a remote threat.” She fished a book from her stack. “You should read this one, Horace Walpole’s Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard the Third. Take it home with you if you like.”

“We’re having a quiet evening for once, so I would like to have it.” Amelia accepted the book. “I should go, though. Mama and Aunt Louisa will be wondering where I am.”

“I’ll have James send for the carriage and bring your maid from the kitchen.”

They left the library without closing the secret room. With the Gifted footman away, calling for the carriage, was that wise? Before Amelia could think of a tactful way to ask, Augusta laid her fingertips on the doorknob. Faint silver flared around them, and she smiled. “Just a little ward until I return. Anyone who tries that door will find it stuck. Or so they’ll think.”

They strolled down the corridor to the stairs.

Descending, Augusta sighed. “One cannot help pitying Richard III when he learned his admired elder brother was perhaps not so admirable. Or feeling for poor Lady Eleanor Butler. Years before he met his future queen, King Edward secretly wed her, only to disavow the marriage when it suited him. She thought she’d won the heart of the most charismatic nobleman of the age, that she was Edward IV’s wife and would be his queen.”

“It must’ve seemed too good to be true.”

“As it proved to be.” In a voice as dry as earth in a drought, the older woman added, “She never married again, likely because she believed she would be committing bigamy. Julian says that in those days, a betrothal followed by a bedding made a marriage, with or without the ceremony. According to that book in your hand, a bishop married her to the king, albeit secretly. Of course she believed they were wed.”

“If Edward IV did that to her and later secretly married Elizabeth Woodville, his queen, how many others did he treat the same way between them?”

“We’ll never know. After King Edward died, the bishop told Richard of Gloucester, as King Richard was then, and showed his proofs to Parliament. Proofs that have gone missing. If Edward’s marriage to Eleanor was valid, as Julian and I believe, then his later marriage to his queen was bigamous. That made their children, including the two boys who’re still known as the Princes in the Tower, illegitimate and thus ineligible to inherit the crown.”

Amelia’s heart kicked. “If they had no right to the throne, King Richard had no reason to kill them. That would point to his innocence, perhaps even clear his name.”

Why had Buckingham seen them as a threat? Did he fear the nobility would prefer the sons of Edward IV, illegitimate or not, to him? King Richard would not have shared that fear. He’d acceded to the throne after being asked to do so by the nobility, and he’d subsequently received oaths of allegiance from the higher clergy, the lords, and officials of the City of London. His nephews posed no threat to him.

“If we could find that proof,” Augusta replied.
[Blog Tour] 'The Steel Rose' (The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy, Book 2) by Nancy Northcott #HistoricalFantasy #TimeTravel
Nancy Northcott

Author Bio:

Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, science fiction, fantasy, history, and romance. She combines the emotion and high stakes, and sometimes the magic, she loves in the books she writes.

She has written freelance articles and taught at the college level. Her most popular course was on science fiction, fantasy, and society. She has also given presentations on the Wars of the Roses and Richard III to university classes studying Shakespeare’s play about Richard III. Reviewers have described her books as melding fantasy, romance, and suspense. Library Journal gave her debut novel, Renegade, a starred review, calling it “genre fiction at its best.”

In addition to the historical fantasy Boar King’s Honor trilogy, Nancy writes the Light Mage Wars paranormal romances, the Arachnid Files romantic suspense novellas, and the Lethal Webs romantic spy adventures. With Jeanne Adams, she cowrites the Outcast Station science fiction mysteries.

Married since 1987, Nancy and her husband have one son, a bossy dog, and a house full of books.

Connect with Nancy Northcott:

[Blog Tour] 'The Steel Rose' (The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy, Book 2) by Nancy Northcott #HistoricalFantasy #TimeTravel
The Steel Rose - Tour Schedule

19 July 2021

[Blog Tour] 'Earth 101 – Time to Run' By Emae Church #SciFi #Fantasy

by
[Blog Tour] 'Earth 101 – Time to Run'  By Emae Church #SciFi #Fantasy
Earth 101 - Book Tour Poster

The Book:

'Earth 101 – Time to Run'
By Emae Church
  • Publication Day : 20th July 2021 by Korudaz Ink
  • Page Count : 480 pages
  • Genre : YA, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

The Blurb:

A missing girl. A world of secrecy. A quest to expose the truth.

Jayne knows they're gone, but no one else will acknowledge what's happening.

One by one, they're systematically erased from existence. No explanations. No missing person's reports. No search parties.

Something sinister is afoot. Jayne can feel it in her bones. But uncovering the truth will prove difficult, especially when she discovers who and what is behind the devious plot.

As she searches for answers, she grapples with the lingering effects of a head injury, an unexpected forbidden romance, and a strange new reality that changes everything.

Will she uncover the truth, or will she be the next innocent victim?

[Blog Tour] 'Earth 101 – Time to Run'  By Emae Church #SciFi #Fantasy
Earth 101 - Book Cover

'Earth 101' - Excerpt:

“You can’t force me to do anything!” The last word tapers off, shaky and weak.

I recognise the voice. It’s Laura from school. I crane my neck and squint over the top of the nearby scattered boulders. But where is she? And who is she talking to?

Are they here because of me? Laura knows my running route – she’s been vocal of my attempts to scramble up this hill – but this can’t be a follow-on to what happened in school today? What will they think if they see me hiding?

The urge to stand up tugs at me. To carry on down the slope and mind my own business. But what if Laura sees me? How could I pop out of nowhere and continue along my way, pretending I don’t notice her? I don’t need even more hushed conversations and lowered eyes in the corridors of Hill Derry tomorrow.

I’m also not in the mood for another run-in with her.

I wipe away a lone, wind-induced tear on my cheek. The howl of the wind is picking up and carrying away Laura’s words.

All I hear is the despair in her voice. “Why are you doing this?”

The fear. “Please, wait. Let’s go back–”

Who is she with? I’ve seen her hanging with a lanky fella with white hair after school, but… should I go after her?

Do I want to find myself in another argument and fight?

The feet and voices grow faint and are replaced by the whistle of the wind. Billowing clouds chase across the dark sky. Peering down from my hiding place, an urgency compels me to follow Laura, as a gust of wind echoes with her voice.

Wait a minute, was that a shout? A scream? I’m on my toes as I move forward quickly but warily.

I search the street around me, but I’m alone. There’s nobody to ask for assistance. Even if there were, would I bother asking? Probably not.

There, another shout. I should leave them to it, but a worrying curiosity sweeps me along, following Laura’s voice. I can’t make out what she is saying, but it’s an angry, albeit shrill tone. I know Laura, and that is a scared voice. She’s hiding fear behind a veil of angry words.

I stop at the corner to an alleyway. They’ll see me should I turn the corner, and all the anger will become aimed at me. A bus charges past and almost erases the shouting, but between the sounds of heavy wheels and metal, I catch a snippet of Laura’s words.

“Why don’t you just jump in your stupid sh… and …-off to another galaxy!”

Whoever she is with has not uttered a raised word. All I hear is a male mumble of sorts. He’s obviously trying to calm her. But then an unwitting cough escapes me. I grasp my mouth, but then it happens
  • Earth 101 is the debut novel from Emae Church, an emerging author, based in the South-West of England, who enjoys the adventure of life with two lovely children, when not saving the world

Connect with Emae Church:

You Might Also Like