[#BlogTour] Sparks: Welcome to the Madhouse by Dan Cummings @dancummings85 @SagesBlogTours 



Sparks: Welcome to the MadhouseBy Dan Cummings

Genre: Supernatural/Action & Adventure

Book Blurb

Dave Reynolds has grown jaded with his life, locked in a dead end janitorial job at the Ravenswood Institute for Mental Health, he quietly yearns for some excitement to stir up his mundane existence.  

That is until he learns that far below the hospital’s grounds lies the Madhouse, the regional headquarters of the Frontline Unified Battalion of Arcane Resistance (FUBAR), a clandestine government agency tasked with combating supernatural evil. If that wasn’t enough of a surprise, he also learns that he is a Spark, an individual with latent gifts, carrying the residual energy of a nigh extinct race of universal protectors.  
Drafted into service, he is accidentally afflicted with a curse, casting the sensible, rational aspects of his personality into a subconscious prison, unleashing a clownish psychotic who is as deadly as he is irritating.  
A wild card personified, Dave must now lead Whiskey Team, a motley crew of fellow Sparks and freaks including a punk rock witch, a werewolf, a medium and his ghostly best friend, and a female Japanese ninja, against the Alliance of Nyx, an ancient demonic organisation with designs on global conquest.  
Now, if Dave’s reckless antics don’t get his team killed, they may just stand a chance in this war.
Purchase Links:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Goodreads

 

 About the Author

 Dan Cummings is a self-published author from Liverpool, England. He is also a lowly nerd with a short attention span and shorter fuse (depending on poor sleep), but when he is able to stop ranting with his own internal monologue and focus for a few minutes he enjoys putting the noise in his head on to paper. A lifetime fan of monsters, comic books, sarcasm and casual violence, it is inevitable that these constituents regularly crop up in his books. Heartbreaker is his first foray into horror, whilst Sparks: Welcome to the Madhouse, is the first instalment of an on-going supernatural, action/adventure series.

Author Link: Twitter

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[#BlogTour] Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage @Anna_Belfrage @HFVBT @abelfragauthor #HistoricalFiction #Medieval #UndertheApproachingDarkBlogTour

Hello bookworms!  Today is my stop on the Under the Approaching Dark blog tour.

Under the Approaching Dark
by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: April 28, 2017
Matador
eBook & Paperback; 424 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

Adam de Guirande has cause to believe the turbulent times are behind him: Hugh Despenser is dead and Edward II is forced to abdicate in favour of his young son. It is time to look forward, to a bright new world in which the young king, guided by his council, heals his kingdom and restores its greatness. But the turmoil is far from over.

After years of strife, England in the early months of 1327 is a country in need of stability, and many turn with hope towards the new young king, Edward III. But Edward is too young to rule, so instead it is his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who do the actual governing, much to the dislike of barons such as Henry of Lancaster.

In the north, the Scots take advantage of the weakened state of the realm and raid with impunity. Closer to court, it is Mortimer’s increasing powers that cause concerns – both among his enemies, but also for men like Adam, who loves Mortimer dearly, but loves the young king just as much.

When it is announced that Edward II has died in September of 1327, what has so far been a grumble grows into voluble protests against Mortimer. Yet again, the spectre of rebellion haunts the land, and things are further complicated by the reappearance of one of Adam’s personal enemies. Soon enough, he and his beloved wife Kit are fighting for their survival – even more so when Adam is given a task that puts them both in the gravest of dangers.

“The writing is impeccable. The story has everything. Under the Approaching Dark is just perfect in every sense” – Sharon Bennett Connolly, History The Interesting Bits

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo

About the Author

Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 1
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, May 2
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, May 3
Review at A Book Drunkard

Thursday, May 4
Review at A Holland Reads

Friday, May 5
Spotlight at The Reading Queen

Monday, May 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, May 9
Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, May 10
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Thursday, May 11
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, May 12
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 15
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Tuesday, May 16
Review at Back Porchervations
Guest Post at Ms. Stuart Requests the Pleasure of Your Company

Wednesday, May 17
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, May 18
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, May 19
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Monday, May 22
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, May 23
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at The Muse in the Fog Book Reviews

Wednesday, May 24
Excerpt at Jo’s Book Blog
Spotlight at The Paperback Princess

Thursday, May 25
Review at Broken Teepee

Friday, May 26
Spotlight at Laura’s Interests

Sunday, May 28
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Books and Benches

Monday, May 29
Guest Post at Yelena Casale’s Blog

Tuesday, May 30
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Giveaway

To win a copy of Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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[#BlogTour] The Berghof Betrayal by Michael McMenamin & Patrick McMenamin @HFVBT #HistoricalFiction 

The Berghof Betrayal (A Winston Churchill 1930s Thriller) by Michael McMenamin & Patrick McMenamin

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: First Edition Design Publishing

Publication Date: May 19, 2016

Description

The Berghof Betrayal, a Winston Churchill 1930s Thriller was inspired by an actual diary entry of German diplomat and publisher Count Harry Kessler in early 1933, shortly after Hitler took power:

“Weiland Herzfelde has absolutely reliable information that the Nazis plan a fake attempt on Hitler’s life which is to be the signal for a general massacre. The sources of his information are the SA in Dortmund and a tapped telephone conversation between Hitler and Röhm.”

This fake assassination attempt will allow the Nazis to declare martial law and liquidate their political opponents. Unknown to Hitler, however, his enemies within the Nazi party—the Black Front—are conspiring with renegade elements of his own SS to turn the fake assassination attempt into a real one.
Churchill learns of the fake plot and persuades Mattie McGary, William Randolph Hearst’s top photojournalist and Churchill’s adventure-seeking Scottish god-daughter, to investigate. McGary meets up in Germany with her fiancé, American lawyer and former MID agent Bourke Cockran, Jr., who is trying to acquire the rights to Rear Area Pig, a book exposing Hitler’s less-than-heroic wartime service. Mattie and Cockran attempt to stay one step ahead of the SS loyal to Hitler who will stop at nothing to keep Cockran from acquiring the book and Mattie from learning the truth about the fake plot.
Michael and Patrick are the co-authors of the award-winning 1930s era “Winston Churchill Thriller” series. The first three books in the series—The DeValera Deception ,The Parsifal Pursuit and The Gemini Agenda—all were named Grand Prize Winners for Fiction by the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and Book of the Year for Thriller/Suspense and Historical Fiction by ForeWord Reviews. 
** Excerpt **

THE VIEW WALKING DOWN the access road away from Hitler’s mountain home was even more spectacular than it had been driving up. With the sun high and the air crystal clear, Mattie could see their destination of the village square in Berchtesgaden several miles below while above and around them towered the snow-covered mountain peaks of the Obersalzburg. She took several photos of the scenery in all directions. Hitler had reclaimed his Alsatian Blondi who walked obediently without a leash several yards in front of Hitler. She was once again struck by the lack of security. Anyone could be waiting in ambush in one of the nearby chalets or around the next bend in the road and his two SS guards, who were a good fifty yards behind them to afford their Führer his privacy, would have been useless.

Mattie was curious as to whether he had taken any precautions for his safety. “Herr Hitler, I am surprised at the absence of security here now that you are Chancellor.”

​“I’m a fatalist, Fraulein McGary. Anyone with a rifle, telescopic sights and good aim in one of the chalets up here, “ Hitler replied, pointing to the widely scattered houses on the hill sides around them, “could pick me off as I walk. Or they could wait for me in the village square where I frequently walk as we are today. Still, I am not entirely defenseless. Let me show you. Do they have snow in England? Did you make snowballs as a young girl?” he asked with a smile.

​“I’m a Scot, not English,” Mattie replied, “and I assure you we have plenty of snow in the Highlands. I had two older brothers and, in self-defense if nothing else, I made plenty of snowballs in my youth.”

​“And you threw them as well?”

​“A snowball has no other purpose, Herr Hitler. I pack a mean snowball and I have both a good arm and a good aim. Would you like to see?” she asked with a grin.

​“Actually, yes I would. Make your best snowball and then throw it in front of us as far and as high as you can.”

​Mattie reached down and began to pack a snowball wondering how in bloody hell she was going to work this into her story. When she finished, she held the snowball out for Hitler’s inspection.

​“Excellent! Now, throw!”

​Mattie reached back and threw the snowball high in the air in front of them. Then, she watched in amazement as Hitler swiftly produced a Luger automatic pistol from the pocket of his great coat, extended his right arm straight out and fired. The snowball exploded in a spray of white.

​“Oh! My goodness!” Mattie exclaimed. “That was an incredible shot!”

​Hitler’s eyes narrowed. “What do you mean ‘incredible’? You think that was luck? That I can’t do it again?” he asked, the Luger now held barrel down at his side.

​“Oh, no. Of course not. I was simply admiring your marksmanship,” she replied.

​“My SS guards tell me I’m as good as, if not better than, their best marksmen. But go ahead, make another snowball.”

​“Really, Herr Hitler, I’m persuaded. It’s not necessary.”

​“Make another snowball.”

​Mattie did; she threw it; Hitler fired; and the snowball again burst apart in mid-air. He was obviously a crack shot, she thought, and needed no introduction to the new triangle stance which had improved her accuracy after Robbie Rankin had taught it to her.

​“I am a fatalist as I told you. Still, I believe in my destiny to lead the German peoples back to greatness,” he said as he slipped the Luger into his pocket and smiled. “But it never hurts to give Destiny a helping hand every now and then.”

​After that, they walked along in silence. As the snowball exhibition demonstrated, the Nazi leader was in a good mood and showed no signs of displeasure at their interview or some of her tough questions. And he shouldn’t, she thought, because except for his chilling counter-threat against the Jews, he had fielded her questions fairly well, questions she was sure he did not regularly receive from the German press. Moments later, she heard the sound of a motorcar and watched as Hitler’s Mercedes with its black top and windows up passed them.

They were in sight of the village square when Hitler spoke for the first time since ordering the second snowball. “I noticed as we talked in the tea house, Fraulein, that you have acquired an engagement ring since last we met in Munich. Allow me to offer my congratulations. Who is the fortunate young man?”

​“Thank you. His name is Bourke Cockran. I introduced him to you at the Hotel Continental last June.” Mattie said. You know, she thought, that time when you were supposed to meet my godfather Winston and you stood him up.

​“Ah, yes. I do remember. You two were with Kurt von Sturm and his most attractive blonde companion.”

​“Ingrid Johannson. She now owns a major publishing company in New York.”

​ “Yes, well, she and Kurt were a handsome couple, but I daresay you and Kurt would be an even more handsome couple. You know he’s the commander of Germany’s newest zeppelin?”

​What an odd thing to say, Mattie thought. Had Hitler seen her SS file also? “Yes, I know. Kurt’s a good friend. We had drinks a few days ago in Berlin.”

​“A fine young man. I cannot divulge the details, but he was most helpful to the Party and me at a critical time leading up to our breakthrough election in 1930. To me, he represents the Nordic ideal—tall, blond and physically fit. Just like my loyal SS.”

​Yeah, right, Mattie thought. And the “tall, blond and physically fit” snake serving as the number two man in your precious “loyal SS” is up to his neck in a plot to kill you.

​Hitler chuckled. “You’ve heard, of course, the joke about the perfect Aryan man?”

​Mattie thought she had, but she wasn’t sure and she wasn’t going to admit it in any event. When Mattie smiled and shook her head ‘no’, Hitler continued, “The perfect Aryan man is as tall as Goebbels, as physically trim as Goring and as blond as Himmler.”

​Hitler laughed at his own joke and Mattie joined in, but not for the same reason. She had heard the joke, but in the version she heard, it had been ‘as blond as Hitler’, not Himmler.

Purchase Links

B&N | Amazon


MICHAEL McMENAMIN is the author of the critically acclaimed Becoming Winston Churchill: The Untold Story of Young Winston and His American Mentor published in hardcover in the UK and US in 2007 by Greenwood World Publishing and in trade paperback in the US by Enigma Books in July 2009. The Churchill Book Club called it “Indispensable. The most important new book about Churchill, one you’ll come back to again and again for its extraordinary insights into Churchill’s genius”. Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s official biographer, said it was “Fascinating: a tour de force that brings life and light to one of the great early influences on Winston Churchill.”

Michael is also the co-author of the Watergate era expose Milking the Public: Political Scandals of the Dairy Lobby from LBJ to Jimmy Carter (Nelson Hall, 1980) which Robert Sherrill termed “an excellent job of reporting…thoroughly entertaining”. His work has also appeared in the anthologies Choice: The Best of Reason (2004) and Free Minds and Free Markets, Twenty-Five Years of Reason (1993).
Michael has been a Contributing Editor for 35 years on the leading libertarian magazine Reason, regularly ranked by the Chicago Tribune as one of the country’s best magazines. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of Finest Hour, the quarterly journal of the Churchill Centre and Museum in London where his column “Action This Day” chronicles Churchill’s life. Michael’s articles also have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Sacramento Bee, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Inquiry and The Nation magazines.
Michael is a former Army counterintelligence agent and Army JAG officer. He is a member of the Association for Intelligence Officers and the International Thriller Writers Association. He has traveled extensively in Europe, South America and Asia. He was Managing Partner for twelve years of the Cleveland law firm Walter & Haverfield and was twice the Chair of the Global Coordinating Committee of Lexwork International, an alliance of 39 law firms and 2,700 lawyers in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

PATRICK McMENAMIN is an award-winning journalist at The Huffington Post, formerly with Fox Business Network and ABC News 20/20. He has worked with John Stossel and Judge Andrew Napolitano producing a wide range of stories, including a report on the unintended consequences of foreign aid, filmed on location in Kenya.

Patrick is currently a Supervising Producer for HuffPost Live, a 12-hour online news network launched in August 2012.
Patrick is a Phi Beta Kappa cum laude graduate of the University of Rochester with departmental honors in both 20th century European history and film studies. Prior to ABC, he worked as a free lance film production assistant for camera crews. He has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.
Author Links

Website | Facebook | Amazon


[#BlogTour] Kate  Clifford Mystery Series by Candace Robb @CandaceMRobb @Pegasus_Books #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

Please join author Candace Robb as her Kate Clifford Mystery Series is featured around the blogosphere, from May 9-24.

The Service of the Dead
by Candace Robb

Paperback Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Pegasus Books
Paperback; 256 Pages

Series: Kate Clifford Mysteries, Book One
Genre: Historical/Mystery/Thriller

 

 

Expertly recreating the social and political upheavals of late medieval Europe, Candace Robb introduces a new series starring Kate Clifford, a woman forged on the warring northern marches of fourteenth century England.

Political unrest permeates York at the cusp of the fifteenth century, as warring factions take sides on who should be the rightful king–Richard II or his estranged, powerful cousin in exile, Henry Bolingbroke. Independent minded twenty-year-old Kate Clifford is struggling to dig out from beneath the debt left by her late husband. Determined to find a way to be secure in her own wealth and establish her independence in a male dominated society, Kate turns one of her properties near the minster into a guest house and sets up a business. In a dance of power, she also quietly rents the discreet bedchambers to the wealthy, powerful merchants of York for nights with their mistresses.

But the brutal murder of a mysterious guest and the disappearance of his companion for the evening threatens all that Kate has built. Before others in town hear word of a looming scandal, she must call upon all of her hard-won survival skills to save herself from ruin.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Praise for The Service of the Dead

“Robb’s deft hand creates a realistic political and commercial climate as King Richard II’s reign draws to a close in 1399. Comparable to Sara Poole’s Poisoner mysteries and Ariana Franklin’s Adelia Aguilar series, with its strong political setting and multiple plot strands.” (Booklist)

“A historical novel that deftly captures politics and interactions between different social interests in late medieval England…against the backdrop of social pressures and military actions, Kate’s character and world shine and draw readers into her choices and challenges.” (California Bookwatch)

“Kate Clifford is a wonderful creation, hard-nosed in some respects, compassionate and caring on the other. I look forward to the next installment of this delightful series!” (Historical Novels Review)

“The novel resonates with its compelling portrayal of an England on the brink of crisis.” (Publishers Weekly)

“The Service of the Dead is a tasty brew of political intrigue, larceny, and murder set within the walls of medieval York. Candace Robb’s latest historical mystery is steeped in the atmosphere of the late fourteenth century, and in Kate Clifford she’s given us a no-nonsense heroine and sleuth who is not only smart, but fierce when those she cares about are threatened. You’re going to love her.” (Patricia Bracewell, author of the Emma of Normandy Trilogy)

“The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb is a strikingly well-crafted novel that is a compelling page-turner from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for community library historical fiction collections.” (Midwest Book Review)

A Twisted Vengeance
by Candace Robb

Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Pegasus Books
Hardcover; 400 Pages

Series: Kate Clifford Mysteries, Book Two
Genre: Historical/Mystery/Thriller

 

 

As the fourteenth century comes to a close, York seethes on the brink of civil war?and young widow Kate Clifford, struggling to keep her businesses afloat, realizes that her mother is harboring a dangerous secret…

1399. York is preparing for civil war, teeming with knights and their armed retainers summoned for the city’s defense. Henry of Lancaster is rumored to have landed on the northeast coast of England, not so far from York, intent on reclaiming his inheritance?an inheritance which his cousin, King Richard, has declared forfeit.

With the city unsettled and rife with rumors, Eleanor Clifford’s abrupt return to York upon the mysterious death of her husband in Strasbourg is met with suspicion in the city. Her daughter Kate is determined to keep her distance, but it will not be easy?Eleanor has settled next door with the intention of establishing a house of beguines, or poor sisters. When one of the beguines is set upon in the night by an intruder, Kate knows that for the sake of her own reputation and the safety of her young wards she must investigate.

From the first, Eleanor is clearly frightened yet maintains a stubborn silence. The brutal murder of one of Eleanor’s servants leads Kate to suspect that her mother’s troubles have followed her from Strasbourg. Is she secretly involved in the political upheaval? When one of her wards is frightened by a too-curious stranger, Kate is desperate to draw her mother out of her silence before tragedy strikes her own household.

“Lovers of Shakespeare’s Richard II will find Robb’s intricate sequel to 2016’s The Service of the Dead a particular treat, as it charts the course of Richard’s downfall and his cousin Henry of Bolingbroke’s rise through the fears and uncertainties of the residents of the city of York in July 1399. These anxieties are worsened by a series of strange deaths connected to the extended family of Kate Clifford, a fierce young widow struggling to cope with not only her own household of jostling servants and the recently arrived illegitimate children of her late husband but also the return of her quarrelsome mother, Eleanor, from Strasbourg with religious women in tow. The character of Clifford is compelling and finely drawn, and for those readers who are patient enough to manage an unusually large number of secondary characters, the answers to a series of mysteries, starting with the reason for an intruder’s attack on a beguine (or poor sister) in the middle of the night, are highly satisfying.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

Candace Robb did her graduate work in medieval literature and history, and has continued to study the period while working first as an editor of scientific publications and now for some years as a freelance writer. Candace has published 13 crime novels set in 14th century England, Wales, and Scotland. The Owen Archer series is based in York and currently extends over 10 novels beginning with THE APOTHECARY ROSE; the most recent is A VIGIL OF SPIES. The Margaret Kerr trilogy explores the early days of Scotland’s struggle again England’s King Edward I, and includes A TRUST BETRAYED, THE FIRE IN THE FLINT, and A CRUEL COURTSHIP.

Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published historical novels about two fascinating women she encountered while researching the Owen Archer mysteries, Alice Perrers (THE KING’S MISTRESS) and Joan of Kent (A TRIPLE KNOT).

Candace was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she and her husband love for its combination of natural beauty and culture. Candace enjoys walking, hiking, and gardening, and practices yoga and vipassana meditation. She travels frequently to Great Britain.

For more information, please visit Candace Robb’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, May 9
Passages to the Past

Wednesday, May 10
The Reading Queen

Thursday, May 11
Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings
The Paperback Princess

Friday, May 12
Jo’s Book Blog

Saturday, May 13
The Never Ending Book

Monday, May 15
A Book Geek

Tuesday, May 16
So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, May 17
Book Nerd

Friday, May 19
Books, Dreams, Life

Saturday, May 20
Buried Under Books

Monday, May 22
The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, May 23
The Lit Bitch
A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, May 24
T’s Stuff

[#BlogTour] The Summer House Party by Caro Fraser @HoZ_Books #HistoricalFiction

Hey everyone! Hope you’re all having a good week.  Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Summer House Party by Caro Fraser.


Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication Date: April 6, 2017

Excerpt: 

Meg was much in Dan’s thoughts as he dressed for dinner. A very pretty thing, though still something of a schoolgirl. Her determined efforts to beat him at tennis gave her a certain garçonne appeal, and he found himself wondering if she’d look as good in a cocktail dress as she did in tennis shorts.

He went downstairs and through the drawing room to the terrace, where he found Sonia sitting with Meg and Gerald Cunliffe. Sonia procured a whisky and soda for Dan and introduced him to the great poet. Cunliffe was a little deaf – Sonia murmured to Dan that he was awaiting the arrival of a new hearing-aid in the post – so Dan’s initial attempts at conversation proved somewhat awkward. He persevered nonetheless and, having disposed of the subject of travel from London and Cunliffe’s liking for the countryside thereabouts, ventured some vaguely topical remarks on the subject of modern poetry, in deference to the great man’s standing. Cunliffe cupped his ear and asked him to speak up, and Dan repeated in a roar his enquiry as to whether the great poet had read and liked the works of the new young poet, Dylan Thomas.
‘Thomas? Detestable! Rhymeless, pretentious meanderings!’
Meg caught Dan’s eye and gave him a wink, and Dan returned it with a smile. She looked quite delightful in her evening dress of rose silk.
‘Edith Sitwell thinks him a perfect genius,’ remarked Sonia. ‘She’s quite taken him under her wing. He’s very poor, of course, so she tells me she has been writing to any number of people trying to find work for him.’ She glanced towards the French windows. ‘Oh, Madeleine, there you are.’
Seeing Madeleine close to for the first time, Dan was struck by how lovely she was, with clear-cut, delicate features, pale, almost translucent skin, and blue eyes so dark as to be almost violet. She made her entrance hesitantly, darting shy glances at everyone. Dan guessed she could be no more than sixteen. Bustling in behind her came Gerald’s wife, Elizabeth, a portly creature clad in bottle-green velvet. Sonia rose to usher her on to the terrace with tender concern.
‘How are you, Elizabeth? Did you manage a little sleep?’
‘I’m afraid not. The flies were buzzing at the window so, and with the state my nerves are in, it was all I could do to close my eyes for ten minutes. No, no – just plain soda water for me, thank you.’

Sonia had looked in on her guest twice in the past hour, and had found her on both occasions slumbering peacefully, and snoring lightly. When Elizabeth was settled in her chair with her soda water, Sonia introduced her and Madeleine to Dan, and half an hour or so drifted by in idle conversation, which Sonia deftly steered into mundane waters, knowing Gerald Cunliffe’s tendency to irascibility on matters of the day, politics in particular.

Madeleine sat with a glass of untasted sherry in her hand, glancing from face to face, not daring to venture any remark, but with some strange kind of ardour shimmering within her. With her fair hair pinned up and in her pale blue evening dress, she looked curiously like a sophisticated child, excited to be among adults.
The shadows began to lengthen across the lawn, and Dan was just wondering whether he could help himself to another whisky and soda when Henry Haddon made his appearance. The hitherto languid atmosphere coalesced into attentiveness and expectation. Haddon was in his late fifties, tall and broad- shouldered, and strikingly handsome. He wore his thick, silver hair long over his collar, and his contrastingly dark brows gave him a somewhat menacing aspect, even when he smiled. He was an impressive, charismatic figure, conscious of his own powers of attraction to men and women alike. When he was in good spirits, his ebullience and enthusiasm could light a room; when in a rage, his cold fury could freeze and terrify those around him. Tonight, however, his temper was tranquil and mildly playful, and he greeted the company with smiles and a couple of dry remarks. Drinks were refreshed, and after a few more minutes of conversation on the terrace, dinner was announced.
Madeleine was seated on Dan’s right, Elizabeth Cunliffe on his left. Elizabeth immediately began a testy little discourse with Sonia on the vagaries of servants, so Dan, searching for a topic on which to converse with Madeleine, remembered Meg’s remarks earlier about how Madeleine always had her head in a book, and asked her what she was reading at the moment. Her eyes brightened, and she responded with an enthusiasm which was like dawn breaking over a still pool. They talked on and off about books and poetry for the entire meal, with occasional interruptions when etiquette demanded that Dan should turn to his left to converse with Elizabeth Cunliffe, which involved listening to her diatribe on the inadequacies of Harley Street specialists. During these intervals Dan was aware that Haddon, who was seated at the head of the table on Madeleine’s left, paid not the slightest attention to the girl, preferring to continue with Cunliffe an apparently mutually agreeable grumble on the subject of the new King. Dan wondered if Haddon thought it infra dig that the nanny should be part of the company; even so, his behaviour to the girl seemed rude.
Madeleine was scarcely conscious of being slighted. Since her arrival at Woodbourne House she had become deeply infatuated with Henry Haddon; he seemed to her the epitome of manhood, a romantic and thrilling figure, but the idea of being made to converse with him terrified her. What could she possibly have to say that would interest him? She was happy to be seated near him, to be able to observe him at close quarters, to listen to his deep, confident voice, watch his expressive hands, and steal occasional glances at his face.
Purchase Links:

Ebook-Amazon
Hardback-Amazon
Book Description:

In the gloriously hot summer of 1936, a group of people meet at a country house party. Within three years, the country will be engulfed in war, but for now time stands still as they sip champagne on the lawn, engaging in casual flirtations and carefree conversation. Then a shocking death puts an end to their revelry, changing everything in an instant. 

For all of them, that summer house party will be a turning point. The mistakes made during that fateful weekend will change their lives forever.

Author Bio:

I am a 63 year-old writer and retired lawyer living in London. I was educated at Glasgow High School For Girls, and the Buchan School in the Isle Of Man. After attending Watford School of Art I worked for a number of years as an advertising copywriter, before switching careers to study law at King’s College, University of London. I was called to the Bar of Middle Temple in 1980, and it was as a barrister that I gained the insights and inspiration for my first novel, The Pupil, and the subsequent books in the Caper Court series, which chronicle the lives and loves of the barristers and clerks of a mythical set of chambers in the Temple, London. I have four children and am married to a lawyer. My father was the novelist George MacDonald Fraser.

http://www.caro-fraser.co.uk/

[#BlogTour] Snap to Grid by D.K. Reed #YALit #SciFi @SagesBlogTours

Snap to Grid By DK Reed

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Red identifies with legendary warrioress, Red Sonja, as a coping mechanism for the difficulties of teen life with ADHD. But even her inner warrioress is a little nervous about moving into Uncle Alistair’s old mansion after seeing an eerily beautiful “Viking ghost” in an upstairs window shortly after his disappearance. And, she soon notices a crow acting strangely and feels like she is being watched. 

 Uncle Alistair’s graduate student, Erik, trapped in a ghost-like state by means of one of the stones, can only watch her. Unable to be seen or heard, he’s now more like an essence or spirit. Though Red has never been popular, her heroic goodness lends to the beauty of her essence and Erik is quickly smitten. He uses the limited tools available to try and reach her, including his crow friend, Moon. But, will he get to her before the cult? Can she solve the mystery and save him?


About the Author

 Reed grew up on a farm in the misty Clinch River valley of the Smoky Mountains. She now lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters (when they aren’t away at college), two dogs and two cats and loves to hike near the Potomac River. 

Reed loves the natural world both as a hiker and scientist and this figures heavily in her books. She loves exploring the “what ifs” of science and tries to make the science fiction in her novels plausible and logical. She has a doctorate in biology and has taught students from middle school to college. She is an award-winning technical writer/editor and has co-authored/edited dozens of ecological risk assessments and other scientific books and articles. While she views her work as an applied scientist as problem-solving fun, what she really loves is to explore imaginary worlds and share her intriguing stories. 

A few years ago, a serious illness caused her to look at her life afresh. She decided to focus her time and attention more on spiritual growth and joyful living. This led her to return to an earlier love, fiction writing—having fun with science. She spent the next few years honing her fiction writing skills and transitioning into her new career as a sci-fi-fantasy/supernatural romance writer.

“Life is better if you do what you love and share your joy with others.”

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[#BlogTour] The Married Girls: Q&A with Diney Costeloe @DineyCost @HoZ_Books #HistoricalFiction

Hey everyone! I hope you’re all having a great week.  Today is my turn to host the blog tour for The Married Girls, and I am excited to have a Q&A session with Diney Costeloe.  Welcome Diney!


Please tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m a wife, mother and grandmother and am kept busy being all three. I’m a member of a golf club and I enjoy playing when I get the time. My husband and I still travel, and I can always take my work with me; all I need is my computer.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve written stories and poems all my life. Being a write is not something you decide to be, you just start to write and don’t stop.

Where did your inspiration to write The Married Girls come from?

It’s the sequel to my book The Girl With No Name and when I’d finished writing that I wanted to find out what happened next.

Who is your favourite character in the book? And why?

Probably Atticus Finch, a man of courage and integrity and a sympathetic father. There are others that would run him a close second.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

What is your writing pet peeve?

The use of ‘like’ instead of ‘as if’. Fine in dialogue, but very annoying in narrative.

Is there a genre you want to try but haven’t yet?

Yes, I enjoy reading detective stories. Obviously some are better than others, but I’d like to have a crack at one someday. The trouble is you have to have such technical knowledge these days, it would be hard to start from scratch.

What is your favourite genre to read?

I don’t have a favourite as such. I read all sorts of things, mostly fiction, but what I choose depends on the sort of mood I’m in. Usually it’ll be a historical novel, a detective story or a complete one off. I belong to an on-line book club and recommendations I get from other members are always worth following up.

Who is your favourite author?

I have several, but if I had to name one I’d probably go for Jane Austen.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

I have a study where I can go and write uninterrupted, but very often if I’m on my own I write at the kitchen table…no good if the grandchildren are around!

Finally, what are you working on next?

That would be telling! I have got a work in progress, but I never divulge what in case I change my mind.

Well, thank you for taking the time to sit and chat with us!  The Martied Girls will be available May  4, 2017.

 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication Date: February 17, 2017

Description:

The gripping new novel from the bestselling author of The Sisters of St Croix and The Girl With No Name.

The war is over, but trouble is brewing…
Wynsdown, 1949. In the small Somerset village of Wynsdown, Charlotte Shepherd is happily married to farmer Billy. She arrived from Germany on the Kindertransport as a child during the war and now feels settled in her adopted home.
Meanwhile, the squire’s fighter pilot son, Felix, has returned to the village with a fiancée in tow. Daphne is beautiful, charming… and harbouring secrets. After meeting during the war, Felix knows some of Daphne’s past, but she has worked hard to conceal that which could unravel her carefully built life.
For Charlotte, too, a dangerous past is coming back in the shape of fellow refugee, bad boy Harry Black. Forever bound by their childhoods, Charlotte will always care for him, but Harry’s return disrupts the village quiet and it’s not long before gossip spreads.
The war may have ended, but for these girls, trouble is only just beginning.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Book Bub | Kobo 

 

[#BlogTour] The Fisherman’s Bride by Catherine Magia #HistoricalFiction #BiblicalFiction

The Fisherman’s Bride
by Catherine Magia

Publication Date: November 2, 2016
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC, CreateSpace
Kindle & Paperback; 240 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Biblical Fiction/Christian Literature

READ AN EXCERPT.

 

 

She has no name. She is not even a footnote. Her tale is hidden behind the well-told fable of her husband, the man who would become Simon Peter, the first Apostle.

Cast off by her family after shunning a wealthy suitor to marry a humble fisherman, her life is fraught with hardship. She endures her husband’s growing restlessness, fish shortages from the Sea of Galilee, and the oppression of an all-powerful Roman Empire over her people. Then her life is forever changed when her dying mother is saved by a miracle performed by a young carpenter—a man who speaks with understanding and acts with compassion. A man who can inspire the extraordinary.

Simon Peter lives on in history as the undaunted martyr of the carpenter. This is the untold story of his young bride. Her journey traverses villages and deserts, love and tradition, and a brewing revolution, to an awakening of faith that challenges everything she has ever known.

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Praise

“Catherine Magia has penned a moving Christian story that transcends religious boundaries–a novel that occupies the rare space between the historical and the Biblical realms. At once speculative and interpretive, Magia’s vigorous first-person narrative of St. Peter’s wife makes a compelling case for the life, motivation and spirituality of a minor, nameless Biblical character. An ambitious and impressive debut.” -Andrew X. Pham, author of Catfish and Mandala and The Eaves of Heaven: A Life in Three Wars

“Right from the start, the evocative and compelling tone of The Fishman’s Bride casts its line and draws in readers with a deftness that borders on enchantment. Perhaps this is because Catherine Magia uses an uncommon perspective and outsider’s view of events. And, by ‘outsider,’ this means observations that come from beyond Jesus’ inner circle, yet are closely connected by love and association. Also included in the saga are stories of fortunes made and lost, faith thwarted and regained, fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and the impact of social and political change upon entire communities. Catherine Magia’s attention to embracing the extent of daily living in Biblical times, from different methods of preserving fish to different attitudes encountered during their travels, brings the story to life.

Readers of Christian literature and Biblical retellings will find this story a powerfully written, compelling account of the impact of Jesus on all layers of society, narrated from the eyes of an outsider to his central group of believers who uses the ordinary life experiences of an unnamed wife to chronicle an extraordinary journey of love, faith, and miracles.” -D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review.

About the Author

Catherine Magia was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to New Jersey as a teenager. Although her formal education was in the hard sciences, Catherine has always maintained a passion for the written word, publishing her poetry in several literary journals including the Michigan Quarterly Review.

She discovered the voice of Simon Peter’s wife on a soul-searching journey, a trek through the biblical lands of Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. She spent seven years researching and writing her debut novel, traveling as far as Ephesus, Turkey.

She is working on her second book – the conclusion to The Fisherman’s Bride.

By day, she works as an associate director of marketing research in the development of new cancer medications. She is currently based in Boston.

For more information please visit Catherine Magia’s website and blog.

[#BlogTour] Excerpt: Accidental Damage by Alice May

Hey guys! How is everyone’s week going?  Today is my stop on the blog tour for Accidental Damage.


Chapter 3: Cob

Definition: an ancient construction material used for building since prehistoric times. Traditionally, English cob consists of clay-based subsoil mixed with sand, straw and water and trampled by oxen.

Two and a half years previously….

When you buy old properties you can expect them to be a teeny bit troublesome.

Our house was no exception. Young and naïve as we might have been when we bought it, we weren’t completely daft. We could see that work was required yet we could also see that the rather random conglomeration of structures that encompassed the sweet old cottage, presented us with the opportunity to build an idyllic life in the countryside for our growing band of marauding Barbarians.

There were plenty of bedrooms upstairs and a huge garden for prowling around, surrounded by fields and streams to explore. Loads of fresh air so the asthmatics would thrive, plus it was miles away from the hustle and bustle of main roads and big cities.

In effect, by living here, we could be said to be protecting both the Barbarians and society, at the same time. 

The house consisted of a motley selection of extensions of indeterminate age around a central cob cottage. The original structure had been present on the site for at least 350 years, but had been altered to a sufficiently unrecognisable degree that the local planners were not skipping round it trying to put it on one of their lists of historical significance.

 This was a good thing as it meant that we would be able to get planning permission to make some alterations. Nevertheless we still had National Park (NP), Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and River Corridor designations to contend with so no changes were going to be particularly straight forward. (We wouldn’t want straight forward would we, that would make life far too boring wouldn’t it?)

Over the next ten years we slowly spruced up bits of the cottage as our finances allowed, but the original section remained much as we had found it. Lovely thick, solid walls, warm in winter and cool in summer. There was a charmingly rickety staircase that would never pass building regulations these days and a huge open fireplace with old foot and hand holds leading up the inside of the vast chimney stack. (No we never sent any of the Barbarians up it, even though it was very tempting to save on the chimney sweep bills!) The whole thing was topped off with a very pretty thatched roof.

We had been assured by the detailed structural survey that it was all completely sound and thus no concerns were raised. The general consensus from all consulted was that it had stood for 350 years already it would stand for 350 more.

So you can understand my total incomprehension as I stood on the driveway one July day and watched as two massive jagged cracks tore their way up the walls of my home from ground level right up to pretty thatched roof and a section of cob started to move very slowly away from the rest of the house.

“How peculiar!” I remember thinking, as my Friendly Local Builder and his mate, who had fortuitously popped by at that exact moment to pick up some previously forgotten equipment, frantically swung into action.

An amazing co-incidence it is true, but there they were, builders, just when I needed them the most. How often does that happen? Perhaps someone was smiling on me from on high that day, despite all evidence to the contrary. 

Experienced in construction work as these builders were, they were able to size up what was going on in lightening quick time. So while I was staring in incomprehension, my companions were hastily trying to erect some props that they happened to have in the back of their truck, in order to prevent the wall collapsing completely.

Standing rooted to the spot I could not believe my eyes. This couldn’t possibly be happening!

Yet it clearly was. That second 350 years was rather demonstrably off the cards now. In fact the house looked as though it had got rather tired and had a little sit down. I didn’t really blame it. I was feeling rather faint myself.

 My mobile warbled and I answered it on automatic pilot.

“You alright?” chirped my blissfully unaware Beloved Husband.

 “We have a slight problem,” I croaked out.



[#BlogTour] No Greater Agony by Todd Allen #Horror #Thriller


No Greater Agony By Todd Allen

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Jack Bishop always dreamed of becoming a writer.

That ambition finally became reality with his critically acclaimed debut novel, but following up on that success has proved difficult. For over a year, he has failed to produce a new work and his publisher is losing patience.

In a last-ditch effort to save his floundering career, Jack is sent to the renowned writer’s retreat, Wabasso Lake, with orders to finish his manuscript in record time.

Jack’s first impression of Wabasso is that of an idyllic place to work, but despite being surrounded by awe inspiring nature and the lovely Kate, a fellow author, he continues to be plagued by self doubt.

 It is with the discovery of a hidden manuscript that Jack begins to scratch the surface of the retreat’s sinister purpose. As visions of fictional characters inundate Jack’s waking life, he is driven to the brink of madness.

A diabolical intelligence has stirred. Wabasso wants something from Jack, but is he willing to pay that price to achieve his greatest desire?

 About the Author


Todd Allen lives on the East Coast of Canada. A lifelong fan of all things horror, Allen threw his hat into the literary ring in 2015 with his first novel, Sacra Obscurum. Allen is proud to follow up his debut with the 2017 release of the psychological thriller, No Greater Agony. Influenced by genre greats, M.R. James and H.P. Lovecraft, and raised on Stephen King and Peter Straub, Allen aims to deliver his own brand of creeping, cerebral horror.

 Facebook | Website |  Amazon | Publisher | Goodreads

 No Greater Agony Excerpt

The trail branched off to Jack’s left. Cabin Five—Frasier’s cabin—was down there, tucked secretly amid the trees. A low hanging branch swayed as though someone had just pushed it aside while running past. That served enough intrigue for Jack, and seconds later, he pushed it aside as well.

Cabin Five came into view a few yards down the trail. It reminded Jack of his own cabin, only more given to shadow from its taller, more oppressive neighboring trees. No one appeared to be home. Jack could see nothing in the windows, but the reflection of the sun dappled day.

He leapt up the porch steps and knocked on the door. It sounded oddly hollow.

“Frasier, you in there?” Jack called.

He prayed his neighbor would come to the door, towel around his neck, perspiration dotting his brow, fresh from a morning jog. Perhaps a pair of headphones would explain why he hadn’t heard Jack’s greeting on the trail. He knocked again.

The door creaked open a few inches under the weight of his knuckles.

A spoiled fruit stench escaped the cabin. Jack recoiled and waved a hand in front of his nose. He called for Frasier through the opening and as he did, caught sight of the blood inside. His jaw went slack. He pushed the door open wide.

All the furniture had been cleared to one side of the cabin—the desk overturned, the bookcase as well, the cot tossed atop it. The furniture seemed to be moved to make room for a solitary wooden chair in the center of the floor. A pool of congealing blood spread around it. Jack covered his mouth and nearly doubled over as the trash can smell of rot assaulted him again. It left a sour film on his tongue.

Despite the flash of nausea, he stepped inside, careful not to set foot in the gore. The buzzing of black flies overpowered him once he was out of the summer breeze. Dozens of flies circled the chair, landing for split seconds at a time before lifting off again. Jack wondered how he hadn’t heard their dizzying drone outside. He felt the promise of vomit bubbling up from his core, but he forced himself to look more closely at the chair. Certainly, he would need to describe this scene to the authorities at some point.

Scraps of rope hung loosely from the chair. Some lay in the blood around its legs. More clung to one of the wooden arms. A ruin of splintered wood was all that remained of the other arm. Jack bent to inspect it. The arm had been shorn in two, the likely result of a heavy blow.

Fresh panic flooded his chest. The image of Jonathan Dunn flashed through Jack’s mind. He pictured him in this very cabin. He saw him swinging an ax downward—blade cleaving flesh and bone and busting through the arm of the chair. Jack staggered backward, too weak to stand. He slammed into the wall behind him and slid to the floor.