26 April 2018

New for pre-order: Women in Medieval England, by Lynda Telford

Available for pre-order from Amazon UK and Amazon US

This fascinating book explores the status of women in medieval England, both before and after the Norman Conquest.

The author starts by contrasting the differences in status between Anglo/Danish or Saxon women with those who fell under the burden of the feudal system imposed by the Normans. She covers such subjects as marriage and childbirth, the rights and responsibilities of wives, separation and divorce, safety and security and the challenges of widowhood. She also examines such issues as virginity and chastity and the pressures placed on women by religious groups.

At a time when women's rights were minimal, the author charts their struggles against the sexual politics of the era, its inequalities and its hypocrisies. She also examines the problems of the woman alone, from forced marriage to prostitution. The lives of ordinary women are the centre of attention, painting a fascinating picture of their courage and resilience against the background of their times.

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About the Author

Lynda Telford writes historical articles and is currently Events and Projects Officer for the Yorkshire Branch of the Richard III society. She has had two books published and she is a keen amateur archaeologist. 

New Book Launch: Virgin to Victoria, by Trisha Hughes

New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Vikings to Virgin – The Hazards of being King’ brought us stories, myths and legends from the Vikings, the Normans, the Plantagenets, the Lancasters, the Yorks and the Tudors.

'Virgin to Victoria'-The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen follows on in time through Elizabeth's amazing life, the confusion of the Stuart dynasty, the devastation of a Civil War led by Oliver Cromwell and the turbulent and discordant Hanover dynasty with their 
intricate family squabbles.

After the death of her sister, 'Bloody Mary’, England had high hopes for Elizabeth when she ascended the throne. The 25-year-old was the third queen to rule in her own right and despite England’s anxiety, she attended her first council exuding an air of quiet confidence, even though she was inheriting a bankrupt nation torn apart by religious discord.

Despite her amazing legacy and despite what her father Henry VIII had desired above all else, Elizabeth failed England in one vital point. She never married and did not leave an heir to the Tudor dynasty. By making that one fateful decision, she left the path open for the arrogant Stuarts in Scotland to take over. And life would never be the same.

But for a dynasty to flourish, it needs heirs. If nothing else, Henry VIII had been correct in that one vital issue and in this, the Tudors failed. But they weren’t the only ones. Whether by bad health or bad luck, the Stuart dynasty came to an end and the dysfunctional Hanover dynasty stepped forward only to dwindle out as well.

The last of her line was an eighteen-year-old girl by the name of Victoria.  She did not ask to be Queen. It was thrust upon her by the accident of birth and then by a succession of accidents that removed all others who stood between her and the throne. She assumed it reluctantly and, at first, incompetently. Could an innocent 18-year-old be relied upon to leave the job of running the country to the professionals? Could she continue the Hanover dynasty when all others had failed?

There were some monarchs who ruled for years and there were some who ruled for only a few months. There were also some who should never have ruled at all.  Yet this group shares one thing in common. In their own lifetimes, they were the most powerful and brutal individuals in the land. This book is the stories that span hundreds of years, full of lust, betrayal, heroism, murder, cruelty and mysteries.

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About the Author

Australian born Trisha Hughes began writing 18 years ago with her best-selling memoir ‘Daughters of Nazareth’. Trisha’s passion is history and she loves bringing it alive in a way that is easy to read and enjoy. Her hope is to inspire young readers and the young at heart to understand and enjoy stories and legends from the past. While living in Hong Kong, she writes for a local magazine and is involved with young writers. Find out more at Trisha’s website: www.trishahughesauthor.com and www.vikingstovirgin.com.  You can contact Trisha on her Facebook page, Trisha Hughes Author and on Twitter @TrishaHughes_

25 April 2018

Tudor Spotlight: The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

So, you’ve watched The Tudors and you’ve read Wolf Hall, but do you know the real story of Catherine, Anne, Jane, Anne, Katheryn and Katherine? (Best name for an all-woman post-medieval law firm everrrrr.)

Love affairs, court scandal, executions—just your average Tuesday in the Tudor court. Penned by a lifelong “Henry Head,” The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII combines Jillianne Hamilton’s sassy, fun and snarky storytelling with one of history’s most alluring eras.

Focusing on the lives of the wives, and less about the dudes around them, The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII gives the six unfortunate queens the biography they almost certainly wouldn’t have asked for.
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About the Author

Jillianne Hamilton lives in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island with her husband and is the author of three novels and one non-fiction book. Her debut novel, MOLLY MIRANDA: THIEF FOR HIRE, was published in 2015 and nominated for the 2016 Prince Edward Island Book Award. Jill's first non-fiction book, THE LAZY HISTORIAN'S GUIDE TO THE WIVES OF HENRY VIII, was published in the spring of 2018. She blogs about history at LazyHistorian.com. Jill studied Journalism and Interactive Multimedia in college and her writing has been published in The Truro Daily News, The Sackville Tribune-Post and Macleans OnCampus. You can find Jill on Facebook and Twitter @JillianneWrites

23 April 2018

Book Spotlight ~ A Jane Austen Daydream by Scott D. Southard

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US


Now with a new foreword and an updated cover showcasing Jane's own handwriting, this re-imagining of Jane's life continues to charm and delight readers of literary fiction worldwide.

All her heroines find love in the end–but is there love waiting for Jane? Jane Austen spends her days writing and matchmaking in the small countryside village of Steventon, until a ball at Godmersham Park propels her into a new world where she yearns for a romance of her own. But whether her heart will settle on a young lawyer, a clever Reverend, a wealthy childhood friend, or a mysterious stranger is anyone’s guess. Written in the style of Jane herself, this novel ponders the question faced by many devoted readers over the years–did she ever find love? Weaving fact with fiction, it re-imagines her life, using her own stories to fill in the gaps left by history and showing that all of us–to a greater or lesser degree–are head over heels for Jane.

Why I wrote a Jane Austen re-telling.

Jane Austen, frankly, didn’t get a fair shake. She died young, her name was not on her books during her lifetime, she never found love (that we know of), and she was probably considered a burden on her family as she got older. 

I always like to imagine Jane as someone outside of her time, not wanting to live within the norms and rules for women simply seeking a good match. Jane was the original rebel.

When I discovered Jane Austen’s books, it was a revelation. Her voice, strength of convictions in a constrained time awed me. Then when I read about her life, well, something had to be done. I called this book a daydream because in many ways it is. 

It is not a normal historical fiction, it could almost be considered experimental literary fiction because of some of the twists I put in it (which I won’t discuss here, more fun to discover them for yourself). This is my daydream for Jane. It is her, living in one of her tales (a new one, with new surprises). And maybe there, Jane might find love, happiness, success, and a fairer shake. 

Scott D. Southard

"For those of you who are exhausted by the innumerable retellings of Austen's novels, this is a style entirely new.... be rewarded by a quick paced novel unlike any you can ever have read, which injects new ideas and possibilities into the world of Jane Austen." Laura Boyle, The Jane Austen Centre
"Mix one-part biography and one-part historical re-imagining...add witty characters and some surprises and you have A Jane Austen Daydream. This was a delightful read."  Amelia Rodriguez, Jane Austen Society of North America 

"...Lovely, thought-provoking novel. Fans of Austen will adore this book." 
Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List.

"Southard has taken the facts about the great author and woven them into a credible, touching, and also entertaining portrait of a life." 
Historical Novel Society

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About the Author 

Scott D. Southard, the author of A Jane Austen Daydream, swears he is not obsessed with Jane Austen. He is also the author of the novels: My Problem with Doors, Megan, Permanent Spring Showers, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, and 3 Days in Rome. With his eclectic writing he has found his way into radio, being the creator of the radio comedy series The Dante Experience. The production was honored with the Golden Headset Award for Best MultiCast Audio and the Silver Ogle Award for Best Fantasy Audio Production. Scott received his Master's in writing from the University of Southern California. Scott can be found on the internet via his writing blog "The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard where he writes on far-ranging topics like writing, art, books, TV, writing, parenting, life, movies, and writing. He even shares original fiction on the site. Currently, Scott resides in Michigan with his very understanding wife, his two patient children, and a very opinionated dog named Bronte.  Find out more at Scott's blog sdsouthard.com and follow him on Twitter @SDSouthard

21 April 2018

Guest Post: Inspiration behind the writing of the novel The Italian Couple, By J.R. Rogers

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

An atmospheric historical thriller of subterfuge and illicit love with a menacing plot set in Mussolini's Asmara, Italian Eritrea.

I am a novelist who always has places in mind first—even before a story is formed. Typically, in between novels, my mind begins to wander about where to set the next one. So it was that I remembered—this was a year and half ago—reading an article in the newspaper.

It must have been in the New York Times, about Asmara in Eritrea seeking designation as a World Heritage site by Unesco because of its trove of Art Deco buildings erected in the 1930s when the town was one of Mussolini’s Italian East African colonies. I’ve lived in Africa, and visited a few cities there, and so my curiosity was piqued at once though I was never able to visit Asmara.

Intrigued, I went on the Internet and looked at the many photographs and read more about Asmara’s Italian colonial heritage. But besides the truly amazing architecture, almost all of the buildings are still intact and in many cases being preserved, also were details about something referred to as the teleferica, the engineering marvel that was the Italian-built Asmara-Massawa cableway opened in 1937. It linked Italian Eritrea to the sea. Food, supplies, and war materiel were moved from the colony’s Red Sea seaport in Massawa to Asmara 7,600 feet above sea level and 44 miles (72 Kms) away.

At the time it was the longest cableway in the world. Unfortunately it no longer stands. The British army dismantled it during their occupation of the former Italian colony after World War Two, and sold off the parts as war reparations.

So I resolved to set my next novel of historical fiction in Asmara. I now had the place in mind, the time period, the teleferica that I selected as the major plot point and had also read about the Circuito Asmara, a car race run through the streets of Asmara that debuted in 1938. The race, along with a driver character I created nicknamed Soldi—money, because he almost always won, would become my second plot point.

I set about to imagine a cast of characters and set them in motion with a story that gradually coalesced as I began to write over a period of a year. Unlike some authors, I don’t craft a story in any detail beforehand. Instead I use major plot points to anchor it in my mind. I prefer to see where the story goes, an organic approach to writing, as long as it respects the boundaries I have set. But I did decide a few details ahead of time: because Eritrea at the time was Italian Eritrea my protagonist had to be Italian, so I created a Colonel Francesco Ferrazza, a disciplined and inflexible Royal Italian Army officer and paired him with a British wife, Emilia.

Thus Francesco and Emilia became the Italian couple. She had to be British because early on I decided that her father would be the leading British intelligence officer at the embassy in Rome. My novels always feature an element of espionage and intrigue and I had something in mind though it was not a fully formed idea when I began.

Now it remained only to find a reason why the Ferrazzas were to find themselves in Asmara in the first place. I wanted there to be some historical accuracy to this. When I uncovered the existence of Italy’s Fascist Military Information Service (MIS), responsible for intelligence and security activities and for the integrity of the Italian State and of the Italian Empire from 1900 to 1946, I promptly enrolled Colonel Ferrazza and dispatched him to Asmara.

J.R. Rogers
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About the Author

J.R. Rogers is a literary historical thriller novelist of foreign intrigue and espionage. He has written seven novels in this genre. He is also a prolific short story writer a number of which have been published in various literary publications and/or online sites. An avid reader he holds a university degree in French literature and studied short story writing. He has lived in Europe and West Africa and now lives in southern California. For more information visit https://authorjrrogers.com/theitaliancouple/

19 April 2018

Book Launch: Victory Girls (Lavender Road 6), by Helen Carey

New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

VICTORY GIRLS is the sixth poignant saga in Helen Carey's much-loved Lavender Road series, set in south London during the Second World War. Not to be missed by readers of Katie Flynn, Annie Murray and Lilian Harry. Praise for the Lavender Road novels: 'Funny, poignant, emotional and unputdownable' London Evening Standard

August 1944. Allied troops are fighting their way across Europe. But rocket attacks on London are a chilling reminder that the war is far from over.

Helen knows all too well how dangerous it is in war-torn France. But it's a long-time since she heard from her French fiancé, Andre, and nothing is going to stop her going back to track him down, before he is lost to her forever.

Her friend Molly is finding it hard to stop thinking about the lovely Canadian pilot she met while nursing overseas, and the future she might have had, if only she had been good enough for him. Now Molly is back in London, determined to discover the truth about the mother who gave her up for adoption when she was four years old.

Victory may be just round the corner, but the fighting is far from over for the women of Lavender Road.

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About the Author  

Helen Carey is best known as the author of the popular wartime Lavender Road series. The previous novel in the series, London Calling, was shortlisted for the RoNA Award for best Historical Romance. Helen also writes travel articles and short stories, and from time to time she teaches Creative Writing at various universities, specialising in story structure. She is also a fellow of the Royal Literary Fund. Before being published herself, she worked for a literary agency and as a reader for several publishers. Having spent quite a lot of time in different parts of the world, Helen now lives mostly in Pembrokeshire in West Wales where she and her husband run their small coastal farm as a conservation project.  For more information about her and her books please visit her website www.helencareybooks.co.uk and find her on Facebook and Twitter @HelenCareyBooks.