Mastodon The Writing Desk: April 2018

30 April 2018

Book Review: Tudor Fashion: Dress at Court, by Eleri Lynn

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

The captivating story of Tudor dress, its construction and symbolism, and the people who made and wore it The Tudor monarchs and their courtiers are some of the best-known figures in history. They continue, even today, to spark our curiosity and imagination. 

This magnificent book was a real find, as I bought it as part of my research on the details of Tudor dress and found it offers much more. A hardcover book measuring 23.5 x 2.5 x 29.2 cm, it has high quality illustrations throughout and is packed with useful information.

The Rainbow Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, from the collection
 of the Marquess of Salisbury. On display at Hatfield House.
(Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)
With whole chapters on the dress of courtiers, the Great Wardrobe and even grooming and laundry, there was much which was new to me. This book has definitely helped me appreciate the work of the armies of dressmakers who created,  maintained and and transported the extensive royal Tudor wardrobes from palace to palace. 

Eleri Lynn is a curator with special access to the royal collection, so as you would expect, there is plenty of evidence from rare garments and textiles, as well as original documents and portraits of the Tudors and their courtiers.

I particularly like the detailed glossary, from 'Aiglets' (decorative metal tags) through all the weird and wonderful names for Tudor clothing, which I'm sure I'll be referring to. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in what the Tudors wore.

Tony Riches
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About the Author

Eleri Lynn is a fashion historian, author and collections curator at Historic Royal palaces, with an interest in all aspects of historic fashion and how it relates to cultural and social history. She was a curator and researcher at the Victoria and Albert Museum and now has responsibility for the historic dress collections based at Hampton Court Palace. This unique collection of historic dress spans back to the 17th century.

28 April 2018

New Book Spotlight: Paris Mends Broken Hearts, by Kaya Quinsey

New on Amazon UK,  Amazon US

Paris – the City of Light… the City of Love. 
What could be more romantic? 

A love story about falling in love with yourself, three women find themselves unexpectedly in Paris where they eat croissants, drink wine, and fall madly in love with... themselves?

It is 1981 and Delphine has never left her small-town in Quebec, Canada. She calls a cozy cabin her home and knows that her sister the best possible roommate. When she falls for an international performer, Nicholas, her predictable life is turned around. 

Over the course of one summer, she falls head over heels in love for the first time. When Nicholas suddenly proposes, Delphine doesn’t think that life could get more perfect. He even asks her to be his assistant with him while he performs all around the world. Her dreams of stardom are finally coming true! 

After seeing Nicholas perform at a casino in Montreal, Delphine is blown away by the acrobatics and knife juggling he manages so easily. Of course, there is his beautiful assistant to contend with… but Delphine doesn’t believe that she is of concern. Nicholas surprises her with a honeymoon in Paris, where they stay at the Hotel de la Belle Paix. What could go wrong? 

For the first time in her life, Delphine ventures outside of her comfort zone. Amazed and intoxicated by Parisian life, Delphine is smitten. That is, of course, until their honeymoon takes a turn she would never have imagined…

Margot is Delphine's carefree older sister. She has love affairs, but no interest in love. A hard worker, Margot keeps the perfumery in their small Quebecois town alive. She plans on keeping it that way. On the night of her sister’s engagement party, Margot surprises even herself when she meets a man who just might be worth sticking with. 

As she falls for him, she quickly learns of his secret and must decide whether to continue seeing him. In the midst of making a decision, Margot finds herself caught up in a wayward journey to Paris where she rescues her sister from a honeymoon gone wrong. 

Jetlagged and still in shock, Margot and Delphine re-unite in the City of Lights. As Margot makes herself at home in Paris, she grapples with love, independence, and fidelity all within the stunning confines of bistros, patisseries, and of course the Hotel de la Belle Paix.

Flashback to 1949, Gwendoline finds herself fleeing Paris in desperate search for change. She is trying to escape the memories that haunt her in her French countryside chateau. Following the aftermath of WWII, she had become a widower and desperately missing her husband, Jean. 

Although her loyal and quirky staff do their best to keep her afloat, Gwendoline eventually takes charge and in a quick turn of events, finds herself at the Hotel de la Belle Paix. It is the hotel run by her brother and sister-in-law in the Latin Quarter in Paris. 

Over the summer, Gwendoline finds work at an animal sanctuary run by an eccentric aristocrat. With new friends, an elderly cat, and a glass of wine in hand, Gwendoline proves to herself and everyone else that there is life after lost love.
As this compelling trio takes over Paris, prepare to be surprised and whisked away to perfumeries, animal sanctuaries, and knife juggling acts. A modern day romance set in times gone by; Delphine, Margot, and Gwendoline learn that the key to life is love – and what better way to find love than in yourself. Entertaining? Of course! Joyful? Undoubtedly. Champagne? Bien sur! In their worlds, nothing is predictable, and everything is extraordinary. 

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About the Author

Kaya Quinsey, the author of ‘Paris Mends Broken Hearts’, is a born and raised Torontonian. She completed her undergraduate degree and master’s degree in psychology. Kaya’s passion for culture, travel, and psychology blend together for a reading style that is fun, full of surprises, and easy to read. A romantic at heart, Kaya’s writing offers a contemporary twist to traditional love stories. She hopes to inspire young women through her stories to fiercely chase their dreams. Find out more at Kaya’s website: You can contact Kaya on her Instagram page @kayaquinsey and on Twitter @kayaquinsey.

26 April 2018

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 Spotlight: 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: and  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 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 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

19 April 2018

Victory Girls (Lavender Road 6), by Helen Carey

Available 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 and find her on Facebook and Twitter @HelenCareyBooks. 

14 April 2018

Three great tips for fiction writers #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

There is so much advice for new writers it must be quite bewildering for anyone starting out on the long journey to successful publication.  For this month’s #AuthorToolboxBlogHop I’ve therefore had a think and here are my top tips:

Develop your own authentic voice

Finding your ‘voice’ as a writer is what can make your work stand out from the rest. Think of your favourite authors - and why you look forward to their next book. Best-selling author Jeff Goins says, ‘Once you’ve found your voice, make sure you continue to develop it. It’s a discipline, one that can’t be overlooked if you’re going to have the impact you desire and that your words deserve.’ Find out more at Jeff’s post 10 Steps to Finding Your Writing Voice.

Show don’t tell

Don’t groan – even after writing eight novels I find this advice useful when reviewing a first draft. ‘Telling’ has its place, as there are times when you need to tell the reader something and ‘showing’ is about using all the senses to make readers feel what your characters feel. Creative writing expert Emma Darwin says, ‘Understand their respective strengths, and use each to your story's best advantage. like everything in writing, it isn't even binary, but a spectrum, from the telliest tell, to the showiest show.’ Find our more at Emma’s useful post Showing And Telling: The Basics.

Never state what you can imply

I’ve put this in the header of my current work in progress as a reminder. Like showing and telling, there are times to be flexible but it’s always good to involve the reader more by making them do some of the work. Award winning author Peter Selgin says, ‘Telling readers what to think or feel is the job of a propagandist. A storyteller’s main purpose, on the other hand, is to create experiences for the reader, to involve us so deeply, so convincingly, so authentically in those experiences that we feel what characters feel..’ Find out more at his post In Storytelling: Never State What You Can Imply.

Happy writing!

Tony Riches

Do you have some great writing tips you would like to share?
Please feel free to comment

The #AuthorToolboxBlogHop is a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you learn! The rules and sign-up form are below the list of hop participants. All authors at all stages of their careers are welcome to join in.

13 April 2018

Healer: The Gift of Dreams (A Tales of Freya Short Story Book 5) by Sarah Dahl

New on Amazon UK

A collection of sensual short stories set in the Viking Age

In a world of crackling fires and rough landscapes, long winters and bloody raids, the immediacy of life and death ignites undeniable passions. Warriors and monks, healers and housewives -- all follow the call of their hearts and bodies to indulge in pleasures that may forever change their lives.

Viking farmer Magnus is plagued by a demon. Since his wife’s death, the dreaded Mara tortures his body and mind. Powerless, he sends for a healer, the unexpectedly young and beautiful Audr
"Sarah Dahl brings a crisp, contemporary voice to an ages-old world of battle, bloodshed and primal indulgences. Her refreshing style not only draws the reader back into ancient times; it brings the characters to us, allowing us to meet in the middle for a vibrant and accessible experience. From two ravaged warriors reaping the spoils of war to the sensuality of a medieval menage, Ms. Dahl has a way of making scars sexy and luring out the vulnerability in the invulnerable." 
J.D. Lexx, author of The Crimson Confessions
"With her unique writing style and in-depth knowledge of this bygone era, she brings the world of clashing swords, dashing warriors, and strong, independent shield maidens to life. Brutality turns into sensuality in an instant, leaving the reader satisfied, yet craving more. Her writing is addictive, and every story in this brand new and exciting series is sure to thrill and delight." 
Elaine Coetzee, author of Runo's Curse
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About the Author

Sarah Dahl lives on the edge of the rural German Eifel and writes historical fiction primarily set in the Viking age. She also works as an editor, translates, and coaches new writers. She is interested in the everyday life in bygone centuries, and the human stories that may have occurred behind the hard, historical facts. Find out more at her website and find her on Facebook and Twitter @sarahdahl13 

12 April 2018

New Book Review: Richard the Lionheart: The Crusader King of England, by W. B. Bartlett

New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Hollywood has a tradition of introducing King Richard I in the last few minutes of stories of Robin Hood, but how much do you know about the real man behind the myths which have grown over the years? I recall being taught at school about his wars of the crusades and remember thinking it can't have been good to be out of the country for quite so long.

Richard the Lionheart: The Crusader King of England is therefore a useful reappraisal of what King Richard really achieved, and provides an intriguing insight into his life, and how his actions were shaped by the times he lived in. 

I found surprising parallels with the modern world, as he battles Islamic enemies, and had the nickname 'Richard Oc e No' (Richard yes and no, much like our modern leaders.) The author visited Syria for his research on the great crusader castles, and notes how well the different communities have coexisted, yet as I write this, Syria is on the brink of an international war.

W. B. Bartlett's experience shows in his lively and readable style, and he uses engaging montages to bring the story to life.  I'd never thought about it but Richard's untimely death meant he never had the chance to show us what sort of king he might have been. I'm sure he'd have done a better job than his successor, King John.

This isn't the story of an English king, it's about the life of an Angevin noble who became King of England. A great book which I am happy to recommend.

Tony Riches

Disclosure: A review copy of this book was kindly provided by Amberley Publishing

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About the Author

W. B. Bartlett has worked across the globe in almost twenty countries and has spent time in over fifty. He is the author of many history books for Amberley including titles on the Titanic, Medieval History and Dam Busters. He lives in Bournemouth.

11 April 2018

Historical Fiction Blog Tour: Port of No Return, by Michelle Safitch

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US  

Contessa and Ettore Saforo awake to a normal day in war-stricken, occupied Italy. By the end of the day, their house is in ruins and they must seek shelter and protection wherever they can. But the turbulent politics of 1944 refuses to let them be.

As Tito and his Yugoslav Army threaten their German-held town of Fiume, Ettore finds himself running for his life, knowing that neither side is forgiving of those who have assisted the enemy. His wife and children must also flee the meagre life their town can offer, searching for a better life as displaced persons.

Ettore and Contessa’s battle to find each other, and the struggle of their family and friends to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a devastating war, provide a rich and varied account of Italian migration to Australia after World War II.

What can you do when you have nowhere left to call home? Port of No Return considers this question and more in a novel that is full of action, pain and laughter — a journey you will want to see through to the very end.

Port of No Return is the first novel in a series of two.

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About the Author

Michelle Saftich is a first time author who resides in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband and two children. She holds a Bachelor of Business Communications Degree, majoring in journalism, from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). For the past twenty years, she has worked in communications, including print journalism, sub-editing, communications management and media relations. In 1999, she was named National Winner for Best News Story in the ASNA (Australian Suburban Newspaper Awards). Born and raised in Brisbane, she spent ten years living in Sydney; and two years in Osaka, Japan, where she taught English. Find out more at Michelle's website and find her on Twitter @MichelleSaftich

10 April 2018

Where Destiny Commands: 1939 - 1945 A Time Of Love & War, by Leila Sen

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Based on true events and discovered memoirs, Where Destiny Commands is a love story set against the flaming backdrop of WWII....

It is 1940. Invoking the protection of the warrior goddess Kali, destroyer of evil, mother goddess of redemption, time and change, a young Indian doctor prepares to join the IMS in the British Indian Army. The war takes him from his home town of Calcutta (Kolkata) in India to the Middle East where global history is in the making, and the dispute over religious beliefs and the rights to homeland will change and divide the peoples of this world for decades to come. 

With his Battalion, The Prince of Wales's Own 2/4 Gurkha Rifles, he advances through the ancient cities of Iraq, Syria and Persia (Iran) to Cairo, and the erupting deserts of North Africa. Serendipity plays its hand in Cairo, a tumultuous city of political intrigue and espionage seething with Allied forces from all around the world. 

There he meets a young woman who has fled the Armenian genocide in Turkey to find safe haven in Egypt. His capture, on a fateful day in June 1942, by Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps in the chaotic Battle of the Cauldron, cannot deter their destiny. Despite separation and the global turmoil surrounding them, the story of their love transcends the tragedies of war, the boundaries of far flung countries, and the barriers of time and fate.

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About the Author

Leila Sen was born in Calcutta, India, at the end of WWII. They were the final days of the British Raj as India embarked on her fight for independence. An award winning poet, and an author of children’s literature, this is her first novel. Inspired by her parents, she undertook the writing of their story as a labour of love, and has dedicated this book to them. Leila lives in San Francisco with her husband, Ronjon, without whose help this book would not have been possible. For many years they enjoyed this beautiful city with a number of family members mentioned in this book. Now, they continue to live in the home they shared with her parents, and still share with their remaining family of rescued pets. Follow Leila on Twitter @_LeilaSen

8 April 2018

Historical Fiction Spotlight: The Prophetic Queen: The Tumultuous Life of Matilde of Ringelheim, by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer

Available on Amazon UK, Amazon US and Amazon CA

To dream of death is a curse.

"I WAS BORN with the ability to prophesize the future. The destinies I dream about are impossible to alter, despite my many attempts to do so...nightly visions forewarn me of good fortune, but also of despair, discord, and death--always death."

Matilde of Ringelheim, a paragon of virtue and achievement, a legendary woman of passion, beloved 10th-century queen, and saint of the Germanic states, was one of the most influential and charitable women in European medieval history. Her story of love, family discord, betrayal, prophetic dreams, and political intrigue is an epic account of her history.

As the virtuous daughter of a noble family educated in an abbey, young Matilde faces a promising future, but she keeps a secret. Through her dreams, she can predict the future. When Duke Heinrich of Thuringia arrives unannounced at the abbey and wishes to marry Matilde, her childhood is over. At fourteen, she weds the young, enigmatic duke. She must leave everything behind and learn to navigate the intricacies and intrigues of her new life as a duchess, and later as queen.

Beset by great political intrigues, a ravaged people, fraught relationships, and yet inspired to a greater calling, Matilde sees what her future could hold if she could seize the moment—if her husband will believe in and act upon her prophetic dreams.

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About the Author

Mirella Patzer was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and grew up in Calgary, a city famous for the Calgary Stampede, oil companies, and the wild west. She attended the University of Calgary where she specialized in leadership and human resources. She has worked as an Italian-English bilingual secretary, police radio operator, and administrative manager. She writes sweeping historical novels set in exciting periods of history. From the medieval eras to the early 18th century, her novels feature intriguing characters and fascinating heroines. Her favourite setting is Italy, for that's where the root of her passion lies, the roots of her strong Italian heritage, but she has also written about early Canada and medieval Germany. Mirella lives in Cochrane, Alberta, with her husband and family. Find out more at her website and find her on Twitter @HistoryandWomen

5 April 2018

Book Launch Spotlight: Lady Mary, by Lucy Worsley

New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

By turns thrilling, dramatic and touching, this is the story of Henry the Eighth and Catherine of Aragon's divorce as you've never heard it before - from the eyes of their daughter, Princess Mary.

More than anything Mary just wants her family to stay together; for her mother and her father - and for her - to all be in the same place at once. But when her father announces that his marriage to her mother was void and by turns that Mary doesn't really count as his child, she realises things will never be as she hoped.

Things only get worse when her father marries again. Separated from her mother and forced to work as a servant for her new sister, Mary must dig deep to find the strength to stand up against those who wish to bring her down. Despite what anyone says, she will always be a princess. She has the blood of a princess and she is ready to fight for what is rightfully hers.

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About the Author 

Lucy Worsley is Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the charity which looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, and other historic places. Her first paid employment after studying history at Oxford was at a minor stately home called Milton Manor, near Abingdon, where she fed the llamas. After that she became an Inspector of Ancient Monuments at English Heritage, doing historical research at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire: this led to her first book, 'Cavalier', about a dissolute Royalist duke. Her work as a curator at Kensington Palace led to 'Courtiers', which was followed by 'If Walls Could Talk', 'A Very British Murder', and her first historical novel for young readers, 'Eliza Rose', which is set at the Tudor court. For mre information visit Lucy's website and find her on Twitter @Lucy_Worsley,  

2 April 2018

New Historical Fiction Spotlight: The Cut of the Clothes: A Story of Prinny and Beau Brummell

New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

The true story of the Prince Regent (later King George IV) and the dictator of men's fashion, Beau Brummell. 

If clothes make the man — what is left when he undresses? Beau Brummell is the king of fashionable society, a fact which torments the eldest son of Mad King George, who would do anything to be the master of the mode. 

With the help of his secret Catholic wife and Dick the Dandy-Killer, the rakish Prince has everything required to ruin his rival fashionisto. Will His Royal Highness survive the obsession, or will he be destroyed by his own yearning to outdo the Beau? 

This honest tale of the Georgian/Regency era reveals the charm and cattiness of the two “first gentlemen” of one of history’s best-dressed moments. From Brummell’s ditzy quips of “Brummelliana” to the Prince’s overdramatic lamentations, the reader is sure to be swept up in a sparkling and humorous world of fashion, passion and jealousy.

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About the Author

Erato is an American autodidact who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The name Erato belonged to one of the nine muses of Greek mythology: that who ruled love stories. The author's own given name being that of a different muse, the name Erato was chosen as the nomme de plume that seemed especially fit for writing historical stories with a romantic theme, though she also writes historical novels without strong romantic elements. Her works are normally highly researched, subversive, and can tend toward humorous even when telling of tragedy. You can find more about Erato's writing on Facebook and Goodreads.