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Interview: Sophie Perinot, author of Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois

Unshelfish extends a warm welcome to Sophie Perinot. Thank you for joining Unshelfish Sophie.

About Sophie Perinot03_Sophie Perinot

SOPHIE PERINOT is the author of The Sister Queens and one of six contributing authors of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii. A former attorney, Perinot is now a full-time writer. She lives in Great Falls, Virginia with her three children, three cats, one dog and one husband.

An active member of the Historical Novel Society, Sophie has attended all of the groupís North American Conferences and served as a panelist multiple times. Find her among the literary twitterati as @Lit_gal or on Facebook.

To begin, can you tell us about yourself and your novel, MEDICI’S DAUGHTER: A NOVEL OF MARGUERITE DE VALOIS?

I’ve found lately that my personal tag-line has become: history nut, historical novelist, yet in many ways a modern woman–go figure.

I like to think of myself as a bit of a renaissance woman, and not just because I write novels set in the past. I am a wife of more than a quarter-of-a-century, a mom of three, a former attorney, and I have a glass studio in my home for making handmade beads. I am not afraid to try new things, but at the same time I seldom give up on old ones. I believe there is more romance in the word “duty” than in many other words. All my life I’ve been surrounded by books. In fact, my first paying job was shelving non-fiction books at my local library. So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when I started writing books, but I sort of was.

My latest novel Médicis Daughter comes from a place deep in my own childhood. I’ve had a sweet spot for the Valois ever since I read Alexandre Dumas’ Marguerite de Valois (more popularly known as Reine Margot). I am a huge Dumas geek (if he’s written it, I’ve read it) but this novel in particular made a special connection. The more times that I re-read it, the more convinced I became that Marguerite de Valois deserved a fuller depiction and a more historically based (Dumas was quite open about playing fast and loose with history) exploration. Médicis Daughter is the direct result of that conviction. It offers readers the coming-of-age story of the youngest Valois princess, Margot, as she struggles to find her own distinct place in her dysfunctional family, in the intrigue-riven court of her brother, King Charles IX, and in the household of her powerful mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis.

Which book was the hardest (or easiest) for you to write?

Each book has its hard spots and its “oh-my-gosh-this-is-writing-itself” spots. In truth, however, the easiest first draft I’ve ever completed is the one I just handed over to my agent for critique. Can’t share more about it, but I will say it consumed me utterly and drove me relentlessly until I had it all down on paper.

If you could meet any of your characters, who would it be?

That would have to be Margot. I’ve spent years trying to understand her, intuit her and channel her. I’d like to think I’ve gotten to the core of who she is, but I’d love a chance to weigh my image of her and the voice I’ve created for her against the living, breathing reality. Also, I think we would get along. She has an unflinching toughness in her that can make her unlikeable to some people, but which draws me. I have toughness in me that responds to it.

Do you he a favorite character among the ones you’ve invented?

There aren’t too many wholly fictional characters in Médicis Daughter. I didn’t need them because the court is so full of fascinating players. In fact it was hard to cut out people, which I had to do or readers’ heads would explode. I have a 30+ page list of the domestic officers of Catherine de Médicis household alone (which includes 7 pages of her ladies of various sorts). The royals were constantly surrounded by people. I do have a fondness for Fleurie de de Saussauy with her dimples and her saucy tongue.

What question do you wish someone would ask you about your book, but nobody has?

Who do you prefer, Henri Duc de Guise, or Henri Roi de Navarre?

This one is not close.

I know the Duc de Guise is the darling of the Catholic court and its ladies—that more women than Margot are swooning over him. And there is no denying he is handsome, bold and, in his own manner, principled. But he is not my guy.

No, despite his awkwardness and his inability to dress himself without something being out of place somewhere, I adore Henri de Bourbon, Prince (and eventually King) of Navarre. There is a genuine pragmatism and goodness in him that draws me like a magnet. He is constantly underestimated (though not by Margot—even if she has no desire to marry him), yet he shrugs that off as he does so much else, using a projected nonchalance as his shield at the Valois court. I am not surprised at all that Henri goes go on to become Henri le Grand, the man who granted religious tolerance to the Huguenots, brought discipline and regularity to the finances of his kingdom, increased the prosperity of his subjects, and became one of the most beloved kings in French History.

02_Medici's Daughter_CoverAbout Médicis Daughter

Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margotís intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de MÈdicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.

Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot’s heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother’s schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot’s wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.

MÈdicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND

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Publication Date: December 1, 2015 Thomas Dunne Books

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Review: Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois by Sophie Perinot

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About Médicis Daughter

Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margotís intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de MÈdicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.

Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot’s heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother’s schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot’s wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.

MÈdicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND

My Review

A well penned glimpse into the machinations of court life through Margot’s point of view.

Margot is a pawn, used for power and political gain in the court of her brother. You understand her predicament along with emotions as she blossoms from adolescence to marriage.

Meticulously researched granting readers access to the life and times of the 16th century. Minute descriptions vividly depict the backstage and public schemes of court, first person narration adds to the level of intimacy presented.

Highly recommend this well researched, written and vivid display of Margot along with the times the 16th century, not excluding her peers.

About Sophie Perinot03_Sophie Perinot

SOPHIE PERINOT is the author of The Sister Queens and one of six contributing authors of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii. A former attorney, Perinot is now a full-time writer. She lives in Great Falls, Virginia with her three children, three cats, one dog and one husband.

An active member of the Historical Novel Society, Sophie has attended all of the groupís North American Conferences and served as a panelist multiple times. Find her among the literary twitterati as @Lit_gal or on Facebook.

Be sure to click on the HFVBT banner to check out the entire tour schedule.

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Publication Date: December 1, 2015 Thomas Dunne Books

Review & Giveaway: The Dolan Girls by S. R. Mallery

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About The Dolan Girls

The Dolan Girls by S. R. Mallery has it all. Set in Nebraska during the 1800s, whorehouse madams, ladies of the night, a schoolmarm, a Pinkerton detective, a Shakespeare-quoting old coot, brutal outlaws, and a horse-wrangler fill out the cast of characters. Add to the mix are colorful descriptions of an 1856 land rush, Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show, Annie Oakley, bank/train robberies, small town local politics, and of course, romance. Two, in fact!

My Review

The Dolan girls will pull at your heart, especially Cora. No surprise the many challenges women faced during the 1800’s Wild West, however their strength and resilience pulled them through these rough and rugged times. Mallery provides solid characters, crude outlaws, and notable figures such as Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill along with historical references as they roll across the pages like tumbleweed. A compelling read with strong themes. Perfect amount of romance with a wonderful ending. Entertaining, with Mallery’s warm writing style you will find yourself immersed in cast, time and place.

About S. R. Malleryimage

S. R. Mallery has worn many hats in her life. Starting out as a classical/pop singer/composer, she moved onto the professional world of production art and calligraphy, followed by a long career as an award winning quilt artist/teacher and an ESL/Reading instructor. Her short stories have been published in descent 2008, Snowy Egret, Transcendent Visions, The Storyteller and Down In the Dirt. Unexpected Gifts is her debut novel. Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads, a collection, is due out late 2013.

Connect with S.R. Mallery:  WebsiteFacebook Twitter Goodreads

Giveaway

Enter to win one of five Amazon gift copies of The Dolan Girls. US residents only. Ends 12/30/15.
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Publication Date: December 3, 2015 by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Review, Excerpt, Interview & Giveaway: A Year of Ravens: A Novel of Boudica’s Rebellion by Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, S.J.A. Turney, and Russell Whitfield

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About A Year of Ravens: A Novel of Boudica’s Rebellion

 Britannia: land of mist and magic clinging to the western edge of the Roman Empire. A red-haired queen named Boudica led her people in a desperate rebellion against the might of Rome, an epic struggle destined to consume heroes and cowards, young and old, Roman and Celt . . . and these are their stories.

A calculating queen sees the sparks of revolt in a king’s death.

A neglected slave girl seizes her own courage as Boudica calls for war.

An idealistic tribune finds manhood in a brutal baptism of blood and slaughter.

A conflicted warrior hovers between loyalty to tribe and loyalty to Rome.

A death-haunted Druid challenges the gods themselves to ensure victory for his people.

An old champion struggles for everlasting glory in the final battle against the legions.

A fiery princess fights to salvage the pieces of her mother’s dream as the ravens circle.

A novel in seven parts, overlapping stories of warriors and peacemakers, queens and slaves, Romans and Celts who cross paths during Boudica’s epic rebellion. But who will survive to see the dawn of a new Britannia, and who will fall to feed the ravens?

My Review

I’m not surprised this anthology is anything less than excellent. The seven authors featured are all outstanding writers,  their collective talent unfolds in this exceptional collection.

Boudica’s rebellion is bloody and vicious lending merit to its historical facts matched with fiction. Queen Boudica is one fierce warrior heroine set to conquer the Romans sans romanticism. Stellar research shown as seven individual stories tightly knit together flawlessly. This collection is not for the faint of heart, the carnage and violence is all too real.

Each authors unique and distinct writing style as well as their keen interpretations through varying points of view join together wonderfully. Characters overlapping, new characters, characters reappearing whatever the scenario, it works quite well. Each story is distinguishable, however there is absolutely no awkwardness, truly beautiful, every contribution highlighting the next.

I suggest you read each story in order, otherwise much will be lost. I was absorbed in every tale, actually I was disappointed when they ended, elaboration could have continued. The prologue is halting all the way through to the magnificent ending. An anthology not to be missed, impressive undertaking. Rarely do I run across a collection where every story is amazing, usually one or two standout, only adding to the fact this should not be missing from your bookshelf.

Excerpt

KEENA

My name means brave.
However, I was anything but, and I knew it.
“You have everything to fear of this world, Daughters,” my mother said as we hunched by the river, miles from the battlefield, our lathered horses greedily drinking up the offered water. The waning light of the setting sun surrounded us, and the cold was bitter. Tall grasses stirred in the breeze, batting wearily at my shoulders while only the occasional glimmer of light broke the sullen darkness of the waters, rippling when Mother dipped her hands into the depths. She cupped her hands, pulling the icy liquid to wash the blood from her face.
I never thought victory was possible. All through the thirteen years since my birth, our people had struggled against Roman edicts. No swords. No way to protect ourselves but to rely on the Romans. Thank the gods our hunters were good with arrows and slingshots. And thank the gods as well for mother’s insight, that she continued with our tribe’s secret training and hoarding of weapons—had she not, we might have perished a year ago. No, I never thought victory possible. But I know our defeat for a certainty now.
Our people had been slaughtered. And Mother was injured, cut deep in a place I’d seen kill warriors slowly. A wound I’d tended on many in the last year, in the healing tents where I’d honed my skills.
“What have I to fear?” My sister, Sorcha, said, her voice haughty as it often was when she was scared. She tugged her lean-muscled shoulders back, oblivious to the muck that still marred her skin from battle, now covered in a crust of dirt and sweat from our frenzied ride away from the field. Lost now. Everything and everyone lost. The Iceni, all shadows of the past . . . except for us. “We will hide in the mists. Raise a new army. We will come back at the Romans harder than before. We will make them live in fear.”
Mother looked at Sorcha as if wanting to believe her, but when she turned to me, her expression was guarded. “Yes. Perhaps you’re right. We need to keep running.”
We had been running since the battle’s end yesterday, only stopping briefly to rest as night fell and continuing on as a blood-red dawn rose. Now another night was falling, and Sorcha had come up with a plan, a haphazard one. We would seek refuge and assistance in the north with Venutius, the estranged husband of Queen Cartimandua of the Brigantes. Since he didn’t support the Romans, he was the most likely ally we’d be able to find at a safe distance from the battlefield. At the very least, he could keep us hidden from Rome until mother was healed.
Mother attempted to mount her borrowed horse, refusing Sorcha’s help at first, though it was painfully obvious she needed the assistance.
“Mother,” I said softly, touching her shoulder.
A shuddering sigh of defeat escaped her. Not another word was exchanged, but she allowed both Sorcha and myself to lift her mighty body up onto the saddle. Sorcha mounted the prized mare of one of our warriors—that warrior was likely dead now. Andecarus was his name, and I heard Sorcha whisper it to the horse.
With a deep sigh, I climbed onto the saddle behind my mother. We had but two horses, and with the both of us sharing this one while Sorcha rode the other, it made the journey slower.
My muscles were sore. My head was heavy. My sister, strong and determined, sat tall before us. As the horse walked, every sway of my body jarred the aches in my bones. It was worse for my mother, who leaned over the withers of our mount. I gripped the reins around her middle when the leather slipped from her fingers. I had insisted on riding behind Mother; told her that as a brave fighter, I would take up the rear guard—but it wasn’t bravery. I was too afraid to be in the front with Sorcha. Too afraid that Sorcha would sense my fear that we had reached the end and call me a coward for thinking it.
Sorcha . . . My older sister was the most capable girl I’d ever met. Even before we’d both grown breasts, she was always the leader. Like Mother.

I’d hoped that I would become a warrior, too, since my father was one, and I looked like him. But I could barely cut a hunk of venison, let alone cut an enemy with a sword. My only skill seemed to be for the healing arts—at best, I’d make a budding priestess. Sorcha, now—she was a master with a blade.

Interview

A Year of Ravens Interview with Unshelfish

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

RUTH: I joined a Creative Writing evening class to try and escape from real life.

STEPHANIE: I’ve been telling stories since I was a small child to keep other children entertained. I wrote my first full-length novel at 16. It will never be published, though!

ELIZA: My goodness, no! I remember being really little and always drawing stories of princesses, and then writing stories once I knew how. My 2nd grade teacher told my mother I would be a writer some day, and by 3rd grade my first story was published.

KATE: Don’t really know, except I’ve always been doing it. I finished my first book when I was 10 – 121 pages of pure, goddamned awful.

VICKY: I had a professor in college pull me aside and suggest it. It had never occurred to me before then!

SIMON: I wrote short stories many times as a teenager and in my early 20s. It seemed a natural progression to attempt a full length novel, though it took a few years to get to it.

RUSSELL: Absolutely. I’d always loved David Gemmell’s work, but then I read a book called “The Light Bearer” by Donna Gillsespie and it so inspired me to write that… I actually did it.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

RUTH: LJ Trafford and Annelise Freisenbruch both made great starts with “Palatine” and “Blood in the Tiber”. I’m also finding writers everyone else has known for ages – like Peter May and Matt Haig.

STEPHANIE: I’m not sure how new they are, but I’ve recently been reading Alison Pitaki, Renee Rosen, and Libbie Hawker!

ELIZA: I am really enjoying Anne O’Brien’s new book, The Forbidden Queen, and up next on my list to read is Sophie Perinot’s Medici’s Daughter (she was on our team for the last publication!)

KATE: Fiona Buckley for historical mysteries, CJ Sansom and Alison Morton for alternate history.

VICKY: Too many to list for me!

SIMON: Far too many to mention. Recently, two of these excellent co-authors particularly piqued my interest. They might not be ‘new authors’ but they were new to me.

RUSSELL: Like Simon, I read a lot so there are too many to list.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

RUTH: I’m an incurable tweaker, so I’d change lots. Then change it back the next day. The only way to stop me is to take the text away.

STEPHANIE: I would have given myself more than four days to write it!

ELIZA: There is one thing I REALLY wanted to happen, but that is a secret, because it’s a spoiler… So I’ll tell you after you read it *winks*

KATE: Change history so Boudica wins and my big battle gets a happier ending.

VICKY: I’m with Ruth–I can barely read my prior works without being overcome with a desire to tweak and change.

SIMON: To be honest, no. It went through plenty of edits, so it’s had any changes needed.

RUSSELL: I’d like to write faster – that’s the one thing I’d change about every book!

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

RUTH: Writing a story with no murder mystery in it felt like I’d wandered into a new territory with no map. I wondered about putting one in, but I thought it would look a bit irrelevant given the body count that would be coming up later.

STEPHANIE: The most challenging thing for my part in A YEAR OF RAVENS is that I had to use flashbacks to cover about thirty years of history in a single self-contained short story!

ELIZA: The biggest challenge was creating a story that could be seen as real given the little bit of resources I had to tell these two girls’ tales… and of course, the parts I did know, I hated, they made me sad and tearful and I resorted to drinking copious amounts of wine.

KATE: Since I had the final battle, I had to go round asking my fellow authors “How do you want your hero to die? Would evisceration be ok, or would you prefer beheading?”

VICKY: Trying to portray the beliefs of a lost faith (Druidism) without shying away from the brutality of the era.

SIMON: For a staunchly Rome-o-centric author, taking on the job of writing an Iceni warrior fighting the Romans was pretty challenging!

RUSSELL: I loved writing “The Tribune.” The most daunting part was working with these guys repeating the mantra “don’t be crap, don’t be crap, don’t be crap” over and over again. Not sure I succeeded in that, but it was pretty frightening when you’re writing with your heroes.

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t so?

RUTH: That the way we interpret archaeological evidence is “the truth”. I’ve now been around long enough to see truths come and go, and some of them turned out to be pretty short-lived.

STEPHANIE: People think historical fiction is just writing down “what happened” and “how people felt about it.” The truth is that you have to hammer the facts into the shape of a story.

ELIZA: Hmmm I think a lot of people believed that Boudica was Scottish because she was a “Celt”.

KATE: That people in ancient times apparently didn’t curse. Yes, the F word really did exist in ancient Rome. I can translate it into Latin, conjugate it for you, and point out the walls in Pompeii where it has been graffiti’d for posterity, if you would like.

VICKY: People are often shocked to discover there was no abolition movement in the ancient world. Slavery was so common, no one questioned the morality of it. No one! Early Christian’s also had slaves. The concept of slavery as a moral/ethical issue didn’t arise until the 15th/16th centuries.

SIMON: Julius Caesar wasn’t an emperor. There is no such thing as ‘A colosseum’, only ‘THE colosseum’. The Roman empire wasn’t exactly the same for its entire existence and changed immeasurably over two thousand years. How long have you got? Heh heh heh.

RUSSELL: Most gladiator fights weren’t death matches and many gladiators were not slaves.

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

RUTH: I wanted to show how the rebellion – no, actually, what really I wanted more than anything was not to let all the other writers down.

STEPHANIE: My goal was to introduce many of the characters in the other stories in the book and create enough of an opening hook that readers would keep reading beyond my story; I must have achieved it because everyone keeps telling me how great the other stories are. (And they’re right!)

ELIZA: My goal was to tell the story of two girls whose only truth given to us is of their brutal rapes. They are more than the vile men who abused them. They are people, and they had names and feelings, and loves and losses.

KATE: Normally I make my readers laugh. This time around I wanted to make them cry–not just cry, but weep big wrenching sobs. I’m told I succeeded, so their misery is my success!

VICKY: Not to let down my fellow writers, for sure; but also to show the mental gymnastics that individuals go through (on both sides) to rationalize horrendous violence.

SIMON: My goal was to try and produce a balanced aspect to the conflict, coming down on neither side particularly. Hopefully I achieved it?

RUSSELL: Not to be crap. And to try show a “great man” when he was a “young knobhead.”

Which of your characters is your favorite and why?

RUTH: I was very fond of Ria but let’s be honest, Si’s Andecarus was a real star.

STEPHANIE: In spite of the fact that it was Cartimandua, the ancient queen of the Britons, who insisted on telling this story, I have a real soft spot for Decianus, the Roman procurator who was, in our book, exactly the wrong man for the job.

ELIZA: I can’t pick. I loved them both. I will say, Sorcha was my fav throughout the story, whereas Keena was a bit of a whiny brat in some parts…

KATE: Si’s Andecarus was undoubtedly the nicest guy in the whole book, which is why we all ended up borrowing him. My hero was a jerk. I loved him, but he was a jerk.

VICKY: I had a soft spot for poor Felix.

SIMON: Has to be Decianus for me. He’s such an interesting fellow to write and a shame I had so little space to give him.

RUSSELL: Valeria … she was ace.

If you could meet any of your own characters, who would it be?

RUTH: Any of them except Verico, especially in a dark alley.

STEPHANIE: In this book? It would definitely be Cartimandua because I think she’s the character least likely to kill me. The rest of them are extremely dangerous people.

ELIZA: SORCHA! And I’d beg her not to kick my arse.

KATE: Boudica herself! So I could tell her “Really, this frontal assault thing . . . you’ll want to reconsider that for the last fight . . .”

VICKY: The High Priest of all the Druids!

SIMON: Again it would have to be Decianus. He’s the only truly peaceful person in the book, I think, and despite what I write, I’m a bit of a hippy really…

RUSSELL: Paulinus. I would love to know what made him tick. He became so real to me when I was writing my bit of the book.

What question would you most like to have someone ask you?

RUTH: All of the ones below, but also, “Can I turn out all the book-cases and furniture and junk in your work-room to make sure that spider is really gone?”

STEPHANIE: Would you like to discuss your book with our book club via Skype?

ELIZA: Can we make your book into a movie? If you’re asking, the answer is YES, PLEASE!

KATE: Give me your buy links so I can buy copies of your books for all my relatives this Christmas.

VICKY: Can I steal everyone’s answers on this? Because it would be, “All the above (and below).”

SIMON: Would you sign a copy?

RUSSELL: Hi, is that Russ? This is Peter Jackson and I wanted to ask if you and your co-authors would be interested in turning “A Year of Ravens” into a movie trilogy?

A Year of Ravens Authors

Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, S.J.A. Turney, and Russell Whitfield

Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, S.J.A. Turney, & Russell Whitfield

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a Celtic inspired set of silver tone metal and red Swarovski crystal beads, including a necklace, bracelet, and earrings inspired by the setting of A Year of Ravens! Please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US and UK.
– 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.

A Year of Ravens GLEAM ENTRY-FORM

Be sure to click on the HFVBT banner to check out the entire tour schedule.

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Publication Date: November 13, 2015 Knight Media LLC

Book Blast & Giveaway: The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris

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Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Kensington Books
Trade Paperback, 340 pages

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From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes an ambitious and heartrending story of immigrants, deception, and second chances.

On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter—one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island—has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell—and believe—in order to survive.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | POWELL’S | INDIEBOUND

About Kristina McMorris03_Kristina McMorris

Kristina McMorris is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and the recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, as well as a nomination for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, RWAís RITAÆ Award, and a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. Inspired by true personal and historical accounts, her works of fiction have been published by Kensington Books, Penguin Random House, and HarperCollins. The Edge of Lost is her fourth novel, following the widely praised Letters from Home, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, and The Pieces We Keep, in addition to her novellas in the anthologies A Winter Wonderland and Grand Central.

Prior to her writing career, Kristina hosted weekly TV shows since age nine, including an EmmyÆ Award-winning program, and has been named one of Portland’s “40 Under 40” by The Business Journal. She lives with her husband and two sons in Oregon, where she is working on her next novel. For more, visit www.KristinaMcMorris.com. You can also follow Kristina on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Giveaway

To win a signed copy of The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway starts at 12:01am EST on December 14th and ends at 11:59pm EST on December 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US and Canada ONLY.
– 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.

GLEAM ENTRY-FORM to The Edge of Lost Book Blast Giveaway

Be sure to click on the HFVBT banner to check out the entire tour schedule.

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Spotlight & Giveaway: The Ice Queen: Book Two of Odd Tangle-Hair’s Saga By Bruce Macbain

Publication Date: November 30, 2015
Blank Slate Press
eBook & Paperback; 285 Pages

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The second volume of Odd Tangle-Hair’s Saga takes up Odd’s adventures as a skald (court poet) in the land of the Rus. Here he is drawn into a dangerous love affair with the passionate and cunning Princess Ingigerd of Novgorod, and is forced to break with his sworn lord, Harald the Ruthless. Along the way, Odd devises a stratagem to defeat the wild Pechenegs, nomadic warriors of the Russian steppe, and goes off on a doomed mission to explore the distant reaches of the Black Sea. The novel concludes with Odd sailing into the harbor of Constantinople, bent on a secret mission, which will almost certainly cost him his life.

Eager, curious, quick-witted—and sometimes wrong-headed—Odd Tangle-Hair recounts his story with candor, insight, and always an ironic sense of humor.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | INDIEBOUND

About Bruce Macbain03_Bruce Macbain

From boyhood, Bruce Macbain spent his days in reading history and historical fiction. The Greeks and Romans have held a special fascination for him, and this led to earning a masterís degree in Classical Studies and a doctorate in Ancient History. Along the way, he also taught English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Borneo. Later, he taught courses in Greek and Roman civilization at Boston University, and published a few dense monographs, read by very few. In recent years he has turned to writing fiction, a much more congenial pursuit, beginning with two historical mysteries set in ancient Rome (Roman Games and The Bull Slayer). Now, he has turned his attention to his other favorite folk, the Vikings. Odin’s Child , the first novel of Odd Tangle-Hairís Saga, was published in May, 2015 and is now followed the sequel, The Ice Queen. A concluding volume will follow next year.

Bruce spends his spare time in the kitchen, cooking spicy food.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOOGLE+ | GOODREADS

Giveaway

Enter to win one signed paperback of The Ice Queen, open to US and Canada residents only. Ends 12/24/15
ENTRY-FORM

Be sure to click on the HFVBT banner to check out the entire tour schedule.

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Spotlight & Giveaway: The Last Wife of Attila the Hun by Joan Schweighardt

02_The Last Wife of Attila the HunPublication Date: October 13, 2015
Booktrope Editions
Paperback; eBook; 272 Pages

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Two threads are flawlessly woven together in this sweeping historical novel. In one, Gudrun, a Burgundian noblewoman, dares to enter the City of Attila to give its ruler what she hopes is a cursed sword; the second reveals the unimaginable events that have driven her to this mission.

Based in part on the true history of the times and in part on the same Nordic legends that inspired Wagnerís Ring Cycle and other great works of art, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun offers readers a thrilling story of love, betrayal, passion and revenge, all set against an ancient backdrop itself gushing with intrigue. Lovers of history and fantasy alike will find realism and legend at work in Joan Schweighardtís latest offering.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | ITUNES

 About Joan Schweighardt03_Joan Schweighardt

Joan Schweighardt is the author of five novels. A former independent publisher, she makes her living editing, writing and ghostwriting for private and corporate clients.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

Giveaway

To win a Paperback copy of The Last Wife of Attila the Hun please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway starts at 12:01am EST on December 14th and ends at 11:59pm EST on December 21st. 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.

GLEAM ENTRY for The Last Wife of Attila the Hun

Be sure to click on the HFVBT banner to check out the entire tour schedule.

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Review & Giveaway: In the Shadow of the Storm (The King’s Greatest Enemy, Book One) by Anna Belfrage

02_In the Shadow of the Storm

 

About In the Shadow of the Storm

Adam de Guirande owes his lord, Sir Roger Mortimer, much more than loyalty. He owes Sir Roger for his life and all his worldly good, he owes him for his beautiful wife – even if Kit is not quite the woman Sir Roger thinks she is. So when Sir Roger rises in rebellion against the king, Adam has no choice but to ride with him – no matter what the ultimate cost may be.

England in 1321 is a confusing place. Edward II has been forced by his barons to exile his favourite, Hugh Despenser. The barons, led by the powerful Thomas of Lancaster, Roger Mortimer and Humphrey de Bohun, have reasons to believe they have finally tamed the king. But Edward is not about to take things lying down, and fate is a fickle mistress, favouring first one, then the other.

Adam fears his lord has over-reached, but at present Adam has other matters to concern him, first and foremost his new wife, Katherine de Monmouth. His bride comes surrounded by rumours concerning her and the baron, and he hates it when his brother snickers and whispers of used goods.

Kit de Courcy has the misfortune of being a perfect double of Katherine de Monmouth – which is why she finds herself coerced into wedding a man under a false name. What will Adam do when he finds out he has been duped?

Domestic matters become irrelevant when the king sets out to punish his rebellious barons. The Welsh Marches explode into war, and soon Sir Roger and his men are fighting for their very lives. When hope splutters and dies, when death seems inevitable, it falls to Kit to save her man – if she can.

In the Shadow of the Storm is the first in Anna Belfrage’s new series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his baron, his king, and his wife.

Series Graphic

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

My Review

I couldn’t put this book down, highly unlikely you will either. Anna Belfrage grabs your attention and runs with it.

The setting felt very authentic through rich descriptions of clothing, laws, flora, no doubt thoroughly researched. The hot and cold relationship between Kit and Adam is a controlled burn eventually leveling to a simmer. The usual elements creating a riveting read all present and accounted for – politics, loyalty, power, passion, violence along with your share of mountebanks.

As fond as I was of Kit and Adam, I loathed Hugh le Despenser. He is a vile sadist, and I bristled every time he appeared. Can’t recall detesting anyone as much as this poor excuse for a human being. The violence this creature inflicts is beyond cruel, the man is twisted, with Belfrage’s candid descriptions your stomach will turn.

Belfrage’s writing is wonderful, her ability to transport the reader to the setting along with her fully developed and motley characters create an enthralling reading journey. I enjoyed the action, adventure and romance. Kit is my ideal female protagonist cum heroine, as the story unfolds so does Kit’s many stellar qualities, her strength never wavers.

About Anna Belfrage03_Annna_Belfrage 2015

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours.

When Anna fell in love with her future husband, she got Scotland as an extra, not because her husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century – and were related to the Stuarts. For a history buff like Anna, these little details made Future Husband all the more desirable, and sparked a permanent interest in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of the acclaimed The Graham Saga, began to take shape.

Set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, the series tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters.

Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The King’s Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling.

The first installment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, will be published in the autumn of 2015.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com ñ unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel.

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 2 eBooks and 1 paperback! To enter, see the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 22nd. 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.

In the Shadow of the Storm GLEAM ENTRY-FORM

Be sure to click on the HFVBT banner to check out the entire tour schedule.

04_In the Shadow of the Storm_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Publication Date: November 1, 2015 Silverwood Books

Review & Giveaway: Outback Promise by Maggie Bolitho

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About Outback Promise

Sometimes before you can find yourself, you must lose yourself in the desert.

Can Ros and Grady move on from the past, or will their pain drive them apart? Six years ago, the Balfours lost their son Cadel to a hit-and-run driver.

A few months ago, Ros discovered Grady’s affair. With their marriage fast disintegrating, they decide to take a three-month camping trip into the heart of Australia to try and mend deep wounds and rekindle the fire that once fused them close.

This trip will decide the fate of their relationship: do they have enough strength and enough love left to accept what life has put them both through?

But trust and forgiveness don’t come easily, and Ros and Grady have to navigate not only the wilderness of the Outback and the challenges of other travellers, but also the chasm of grief and bitterness they have sunk into over the last six years. Their only hope for survival lies in facing the secrets they have both tried to keep buried.

My Review

Incredible heartfelt story. Bolitho’s writing is absolutely lovely. Her words capture Rosalyn’s profound grief of her child, the demise of her marriage along with flashbacks of her abusive mother. Using the forgiving and punishing elements of the brutal Australian Outback serves as the perfect setting. Bolitho delves into Rosalyn’s pain, fear, denial, regrets and the acknowledgment of this and more makes this story painfully beautiful. I rooted for this couple from the start, suffering severe starts and stutters added to the depth and compelling nature of this couple.

Bolitho masterfully penned an emotional read, you are invested from the start, you feel the pain, the depth of sorrow. Have your tissue box handy and prepare yourself for an emotional rollercoaster ride, quite a compelling journey. Outstanding piece of work from Maggie Bolitho, looking forward to more from this gifted authoress.

About Maggie BolithoIMG_2126+sm+&+cropped

A free range child, I grew up on an island in Canada’s Pacific Northwest. I spent my formative years flying under the radar, building alternative universes, and longing to be somewhere far, far away.

Shortly after my 17th birthday I set out to see the world, or at least large parts of Canada. I lived in four of Canada’s major cities before eventually moving to Australia where I married the love of my life.

While living Down Under, I explored the Outback and started writing fiction. Some of my adult short stories have been included in different anthologies in Australia, the US, and Canada. My poetry has been published in Quills Canadian Poetry magazine.

In 2007 my husband and I returned to Canada. We settled in a leafy suburb on the island where I grew up. We divide our time between Victoria and Salt Spring Island where we enjoy forest hikes and walks along rocky beaches. We no longer wish to be anywhere else, except when memories of Australia’s golden shores and beautiful bushland rise in our hearts.

November 2015 my adult novel, Outback Promise, will be released by HarperCollins Australia.

In 2014 my debut novel, Lockdown, was released by Great Plains Teen Fiction.

Connect with Maggie:  Website | FacebookTwitter  | Goodreads

Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a digital copy (EPUB only) copy of Outback Promise. Open Internationally. Ends 12/15/15
ENTRY-FORM

Published November 1st 2015 by HarperCollins Australia

Just in the Nick of Time $250 Christmas Cash Giveaway

Just in the Nick of Time

An Awesome Group of Authors & Bloggers have joined with me to bring you 1 fabulous prize!!

The winner will be selected on December 23rd making it just in the nick of time to help with last minute Christmas shopping!

We’re giving away $250 in Paypal Cash! Or alternately you can choose a $250 Amazon.com eGift Code!

Ho Ho Ho this is my LAST sponsored giveaway for 2015
GOOD LUCK to ALL entering!!
Please take the time to visit the generous sponsors listed.
Happy Holidays!!!

Sponsor List – Thanks to these awesome bloggers & authors for sponsoring this giveaway!!

Sponsor List
I Am A Reader
Taking Time for Mommy
The Discerning Reader
Raven Haired Girl
Unshelfish
Literary Winner
Nicole Tone
Here We Go Again…Ready?
Simple Wyrdings
Coupons and Freebies Mom
Author Devon Ashley
Julie Antonovich Reece
Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke
Nikki Jefford
Heather Gray, Author
Simply Sherryl
The HomeSchool Village
Jennifer Bardsley
Author Ednah Walters
The Page Unbound
Confessions of a Frugal Mind
Once Upon a Twilight
Krysten Lindsay Hager author
Books R Us
Author Cindy C Bennett
Lori’s Reading Corner
Laurie Treacy, Author
Heather @ Townsend House
Author Erin Richards
Lise McClendon, Author
D’Ann Burrow
Heather Boyd, author
Cynthia Luhrs Author
Echo Ridge Books
Rachelle J. Christensen
Dorine White
Lucy McConnell
Taylor Hart
Patricia B. Tighe
Author Jeanette Lewis
Heather Justesen
Babs Book Bistro
Glistering Bs Blog
A Leisure Moment: A Casual Conversation about our Love for Literature
JL Weil

Giveaway Details
$250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon.com eGift Card
Ends 12/22/15
ENTRY-FORM

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or who can redeem an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.