Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Author’s Inspiration ~ Raelle Logan #HistFic #Romance @GallegKris

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I welcome Historical Romance author, Raelle Logan, on to the blog. Raelle is going to tell us about her inspirations behind her latest book…
Raelle Logan

No memory of his assassin past, sentenced to death for a duel gone wicked, Lochlanaire Blackheart is  granted freedom, commanded by King William to hunt Siren Rain, the illegitimate daughter of ousted King James II.  Her existence threatens the British monarchy.  In capturing his prey, Lochlanaire must plunder the signet Siren dons.  That jewel is the talisman of King James II, which proves Siren’s ancestry.  Lochlanaire, however, is unaware that, at the moment he casts sail, Siren’s already been kidnapped by his pirate brother, Zore.  Lochlanaire must stalk Zore and battles this cutthroat, in a fateful twist, for the captive princess, spinning Siren into his web of treachery and lies.  Afterward, they’re shipwrecked in a gale, entwined in a union of inconvenience when Lochlanaire weds Siren under the witchery of gypsies and at pistol point.  After Lochlanaire enlightens Siren of her true father’s identity, to spare her own life, she seduces her captor, desperate to conceive his child.  She believes he cannot surrender her to die at King William’s hangman’s noose if their blood unites.  Lochlanaire, alas, is trailed at every footfall by a ghoul slaughtering the pirates aboard his ship.  That ghoul bears a dastardly secret.  Siren must unravel all the Blackheart brothers’ secluded evils, while conspiring to save Lochlanaire, for he threads together a travesty by which to sacrifice himself to the king who enslaves him, all while opposing the two seething brothers who seek his demise for the tragedies reaped in Lochlanaire’s shattered past.  If Lochlanaire fails to evade the death-curses shadowing his every step, Siren will lose the breath-wrenching privateer who is her assassin hunter, the possessor of her lusty soul, and her only love.

Author’s Inspiration
In truth, I’ve never thought of what inspires me.  I have always wanted to be a writer; it’s apparently the only thing I really enjoy doing.  When I first began to write my romances, it never occurred to me that I would publish my work.  I mainly just wanted to put my characters and their stories on paper just for myself and maybe family.  Then I began to think, hey, maybe other people might be interested in reading my stories.  BLACKHEART took about a month to write, as the character was screaming in my head to get onto paper.  I hope people enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed threading together the tale.
Links for Purchase
 About the author
  I’ve been writing stories since I was a very young child.  Back then, my writing interests were mainly in a Western genre, owing to my Dad being a HUGE Western movie fan.  My mother worked at a local library and one day she brought home several books she hoped would keep me occupied throughout the summer months while I was out of school.  Several of those books were written by author Victoria Holt.  Needless to say, I was hooked on romance.  After I threw out the Western manuscript I had written, I delved into the romance genre with hearty gusto, reading every book I could find.  In later years, after marrying a racecar driver, a neighbor tossed an old laptop over the fence in our backyard into my husband’s arms, as he wanted to help with my husband’s racing career.  I got curious about the computer, sat down one day and starting writing on the notepad, only to discover, to my absolute horror, that I couldn’t save my work.  I bought a new computer and have been writing since.  After writing my first manuscript, I realized I wanted to write a book about pirates that was more true to the reality of their real lives than is usually portrayed in books and film.  Having only the limited knowledge of what I had seen in paper and moves, I took a year off in order to do historical research, learning about pirates and their ships, weapons, clothing and, language. I even read the WEBSTER’S dictionary so I could use words for the time period I write about.  BLACKHEART is my first published manuscript.
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Monday, 20 March 2017

#bookreview ~ I Dared the Duke #Regency #Romance

I Dared the Duke:

A Wayward Wallflowers Novel
(The Wayward Wallflowers)


Anna Bennett

Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, is known throughout the ton for three things: the burn scars on his neck, his ornery disposition, and the trail of broken hearts behind him. None of which would concern Miss Elizabeth Lacey in the least—if she weren’t living under his roof. As his grandmother’s companion, Beth is all too concerned with the moody and compelling duke. Incensed by his plans to banish the sweet dowager duchess to the country, Beth refuses to do his bidding. If Alex wants her help, he’s going to have to take her dare…and grant her three wishes.
Alex adores his grandmother, which is precisely why she must leave. A string of unfortunate incidents has him worried for the safety of everyone around him—including the dowager’s loyal and lovely companion, Beth. But the notorious wallflower isn’t as meek as she appears, and as their battle of wills heats up, so does Alex’s desire. He’s dangerously close to falling in love with her…and revealing secrets he’d rather keep hidden. How can he convince her that his darkest days are behind him—and that, for the first time in forever, his heart is true?
I Dared the Duke continues Anna Bennett's Regency-era romance series, The Wayward Wallflowers.

What did I think of the book?

What a breathtakingly beautiful, Regency Romance story.

If done right, there is no better Romance than a Regency one, in my humble opinion, and boy, did Anna Bennett get it right.

I Dared the Duke grabbed me from the first page and did not let go of me until the last. I was hooked, forget the housework, I wasn't going anywhere. The protagonists were so well drawn and realistic I could envisage them walking down the street!

I adore Alex, the notorious rake who is perhaps not as notoriously as the gossiping ton would have you believe. His back story was simply heartbreaking, but it made him all the more believable.

 The heroine, Beth, was such a strong female lead for Alex, and she was a genuinely lovely person. The whole relationship just worked, and it sucked me right in. Totally believable and a joy to watch unfold as I lost myself in the pages of this remarkable story.

The plot was super-engaging and had a real fast paced feel to it. There were lots of things that hindered the couple's relationship — his reputation and the fact that someone was trying to kill him, certainly didn't help! But this drama drove the story forward. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Hats of to you Anna Bennett, you just got yourself a new fan.

I Highly Recommend.

*I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley, for review consideration*

Links for Purchase

About the author

Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided that books with balls, dukes, and gowns were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Other weaknesses include reality TV, cute shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots

Sunday, 19 March 2017

#NewRelease ~ Henry Book 3 of The Tudor Trilogy #HistFic #Tudors @tonyriches


Book 3 of The Tudor Trilogy

 Tony Riches

Bosworth 1485

After victory against King Richard III, Henry Tudor becomes King of England. Rebels and pretenders plot to seize his throne. The barons resent his plans to curb their power and he wonders who he can trust. He hopes to unite Lancaster and York through marriage to the beautiful Elizabeth of York.

With help from his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, he learns to keep a fragile peace. He chooses a Spanish Princess, Catherine of Aragon, as a wife for his son Prince Arthur. His daughters will marry the King of Scotland and the son of the Emperor of Rome. It seems his prayers are answered, then disaster strikes and Henry must ensure the future of the Tudors.

Links for Purchase

About the author

Tony Riches is a full time author of best-selling fiction and non-fiction books. He lives by the sea in Pembrokeshire, West Wales with his wife and enjoys sea and river kayaking in his spare time.

For more information about Tony’s other books please visit his popular blog, The Writing Desk and his Wordpress website and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

#bookreview ~ God’s Hammer #HistFic #Vikings @DarkAgeScribe

God’s Hammer

It is 935 A.D. and the North is in turmoil. The Norse king, Harald Fairhair, has died, leaving the High Seat of the realm to his murderous son, Erik Bloodaxe. To solidify his rule, Erik ruthlessly kills all claimants to his throne, save one: his teenage brother Hakon, who is being raised in the Christian courts of Engla-lond. Summoned by the enemies of Erik, young Hakon returns to the Viking North to face his brother and claim his birthright, only to learn that victory will demand sacrifices beyond his wildest nightmares.

 What did I make of the book?

Eric Schumacher has created the most evocative tale in his
 stunning novel — God's Hammer.

Set in 935 AD, God's Hammer tells the story of Hakon Haraldsson (Haakon the Good), from the moment he arrived at King Athelstan of England's Kingdom as a young boy, to the harrowing battle with his eldest brother, Eric Bloodaxe.

This book completely drew me in. The research that has gone into God's Hammer has to be commended, and it is incredibly rich in historical detail. It was as if I was looking through a window into the past as I read the pages of this remarkable story.

Hakon's portrayal is both realistic and believable. Schumacher has obviously researched the life of Hakon in great detail, and this certainly came through in the writing. Schumacher brought Hakon back to life. Well Done!

There are a lot of interesting characters that you meet in this book, and Schumacher has given them all the same attention as Hakon — they are all well-fleshed, and they just work. Everything fits, so well. This book was so refreshing and so realistic, it was an absolute joy to read.

I thought the story itself was gripping and very fast in the telling. It is not an effort to read this book at all. I made a mistake of not giving myself enough time to read it in one sitting because God's Hammer deserves that much attention. It is definitely a sit down and finish book.

I Highly Recommend.

Links for Purchase

About the author

I grew up in modern Los Angeles but I've had a lifelong love affair with Dark Age Europe. It is a love affair that began as a child, and has persisted through my almost forty years of studying, researching and writing about the subject.

While I've written a number of articles about technology and travel, God's Hammer is my first novel. The novel tells the true story of King Hakon Haraldsson's bitter fight against his ruthless brother Erik for the Norwegian throne.

I now live in Santa Barbara, a small beach town about 100 miles north of Los Angeles with his family, and split time between writing and managing my own communications agency, Neology.

 Useful Links
Publisher:  Creativia

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Author’s Inspiration ~ Vanda Vadas #HistFic @Vanda_Vadas

 Vanda Vadas


Can love for his beautiful, aristocratic captive rescue Miles from his lust for revenge?

A family tragedy steeped in deceit and betrayal saw Lady Eloise Blakely vow never to fall victim to a man's charms, let alone invite him into her bed. Until fate swept her aboard a pirate's ship and into its captain's embrace.

Yet when he reveals a dark secret, her lover becomes her enemy...

Ten years ago, Miles Zachary Fenton was framed for murder. For so long he has fought to clear his name and reclaim his dukedom. Now, when both appear to be just within reach, he is forced to abduct a meddling beauty, one who wreaks havoc with his emotions and complicates his plans.

Author’s  Inspirations
Mary Anne, it’s an absolute honour and a pleasure to be invited back to your blog site. Thank you!
It’s fair to say that I should credit Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson for sparking my interest and long-held fascination with pirates. You see, for my seventh birthday, my friend gifted me a book, A Child’s Garden of Verses. One of the sixty-five poems contained therein is titled, A Pirate’s Story. When I first read the poem my childhood imagination flew off the radar. I still have that treasured gift. 

Fast forward years (and years!) later . . . I received offers from three publishing houses to e-publish my debut book, THE PIRATE LORD. My publisher of choice? Penguin Random House Australia. A few months after the book was published I re-read A Child’s Garden of Verses and noted that (cue music for the Twilight Zone) it had been published by Penguin Books Australia!
So, what were some of the real-life inspirations behind the scenes in THE PIRATE LORD – a story of tragedy, murder, deceit, betrayal, revenge, and the inevitable blossoming of love?
I’ve been fortunate enough to visit many memorable places around the globe including Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, England. It was the inspiration behind my opening scene in Chapter One. Imagine if you will, a magnificent house and grounds with dramatic 16th century French architecture and grand rooms. The heroine, Lady Eloise Blakely, seeks a moment’s solitude outside, away from the celebrations of her birthday ball when she is confronted by a man who . . .
. . . stood at the foot of the terrace steps. Their eyes met. It was not so much his presence that disturbed her, but rather his attire, illuminated well enough by the sconces placed intermittently up the balustrade.
Knee-high boots, breeches and shirt melded into one stark splash of black. Ebony hair, neatly tied in a queue, fell past his collar. A wide, black satin mask concealed the upper portion of his features, leaving only the tip of his nose, mouth and jaw exposed. He glanced surreptitiously to his left, towards the gardens, then back at her, past her shoulder, and re-settled his gaze on her face.
Fans of Winston Graham’s novels (or the TV series) POLDARK, will recall Cornwall’s picturesque coastline. My travels have taken me to the edge of these granite cliffs where I filled my lungs with crisp, blustery air. I could taste and smell the salty brine as I looked out over the Atlantic Ocean and swept my gaze over the shoreline where waves crashed against jagged rocks. I marvelled at the seagulls, much larger than our Aussie breed! This experience, together with the colourful local history, inspired and enriched my scenes set on the Cornwall coast.  THE PIRATE LORD explains to his captive . . .
‘We stand at one of many isolated landing places well known to the smuggling brethren. My crew and I do not concern ourselves with the alcohol that lays weighted to the ocean beds. Nor do we disturb the contraband hidden deep inside these coastal caves.’

As you would expect, a book about pirates most likely includes scenes aboard a ship. When Batavia, a replica of the Dutch East Indiaman, was brought to the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to step on board and grasp a glimpse of what it might have been like for those above and below deck on a 17th century ship. Inspiration struck for a scene where the ship’s cook enlightens Lady Elouise about daily victuals.
‘But,’ he continued, ‘if we’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to rations, then you might just find one of these on your plate.’ He casually lifted the spoon from the broth, tapped it on the edge of the pot and pointed it at her feet.

Eloise looked down to see a large rat scurry beneath her skirts. She reacted in the manner of a madwoman, stomping on the floor and screaming as if Cook had taken the cleaver to her neck.

A cacophony of female shrieks and raucous male laughter filled the galley.

Another opportunity presented itself when my husband and I took a cruise around the Caribbean islands. I scribbled countless pages of notes and took photos and videos of the flora and fauna, of old sugar mills and plantation houses. Being there and taking it all in was the perfect way to see and sense my surrounds just as Eloise does . . .

Two large mountains jutted out from the ground at either end of the island. A valley stretched in between. Sand whiter than blanched almonds edged the shores. Her gaze swept the layers of colour, from the lush green vegetation and sun-bleached sands, to the vast blue-green of the ocean. She sniffed the warm air, a fragrant mixture of sweet florals, spice and earthy plant life.
On the island of Dominica, we walked through a lush green tropical rainforest to find a breathtaking hidden jewel with its beautiful waterfall, aptly named Emerald Pool. This was inspiration at its best and I knew I’d found the perfect location for a pivotal, intimate love scene in my book.

Links to Purchase

About the author
Before residing in Australia, Vanda’s birthplace and early childhood years were spent in Papua New Guinea. At the age of eleven, a holiday in England sparked an interest in the days of old. Castles, ruins, and discovering Jane Austen novels inspired a life-long interest in all things historical, a passion that later kick-started Vanda’s desire to write historical romance.

Vanda has studied and worked in the field of Education, teaching English Literacy and Numeracy to children and adults. She’s also worked as a recruitment consultant and as a PA.

Vanda and her husband live on the Gold Coast in Queensland where they enjoy walks along world-renowned beaches or a quiet getaway to the lush hills of the Hinterland.
Useful Links
Twitter: @Vanda_Vadas

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Video #bookreview ~ The Du Lac Chronicles #Arthurian #historicalfantasy @CrankyTBC

I just had to share this amazing review of The Du Lac Chronicles by Cranky The Book Curmudgeon  ~ it quite literally brought tears to my eyes! Check it out, it is awesome!!

Links for Purchase

Amazon US

Amazon UK 


Monday, 13 March 2017

#bookreview ~ The Complete King Arthur: Many Faces, One Hero #Arthurian

The Complete King Arthur:

Many Faces, One Hero

John Matthews & Caitlín Matthews

A comprehensive examination of the historical and mythological evidence for every major theory about King Arthur

• Explores the history of every Arthur candidate and the geographical arguments that have placed him in different locations

• Examines 1,800 years of evidence for Arthur’s life and the famous series of 12 battles fought against the Saxons in the 6th century

• Reconstructs the history of the 6th century in Britain, when the first references to Arthur and the core events of his reign appear

Few legends have had the enduring influence of those surrounding King Arthur. Many believe the stories are based on historical truth. For others Arthur represents the archetype of the brilliant monarch reigning over a fairy-tale kingdom, offering his knights the opportunity to prove their mettle in battle and find gnostic illumination through initiation into sacred mysteries like that of the Grail.

Presenting the culmination of more than 40 years’ research, John and Caitlín Matthews examine the historical and mythological evidence for every major theory about the existence of King Arthur. Drawing on modern techniques in archaeology and scholarship, they reconstruct the history of the 6th century in Britain, the period when the first unambiguous references to Arthur appear. They explore the history of every Arthur candidate, the geographical arguments that have placed him in different locations, and the evidence for his life and famous battles fought against the Saxons. Was the greatest British hero of all time not a king but a 2nd-century Roman officer active around Hadrian’s Wall in Cumbria? A 5th-century soldier who operated in areas as far apart as Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, or Brittany? Or an entirely mythical fiction that provided a figure of light during a dark period of British history?

Examining other literary figures from the 5th century such as Vortigern and Ambrosius, the authors also break down the plots of all the major Arthurian romances, including those by Chretien de Troyes, Sir Thomas Malory, and Robert de Boron, to reveal the historical events they are based on. Piecing together the many fragments that constitute the image of Arthur, both the man and the myth, the authors show how each face of Arthur has something to offer and how his modern popularity proves the enduring power of the hero-myth, truly earning Arthur the title he first received in the 15th century: The Once and Future King.

What did I think of the book?

The Complete King Arthur: Many Faces, One Hero, is a comprehensive look at the many different persona’s of King Arthur. I have read many books from notable scholars on the subject of Arthur, so I was looking forward to seeing what John Matthews and Caitlín Matthews had to say for themselves. I was hoping for something fresh and easy to read, I got that.

The authors do not claim to have found Arthur, this isn’t that type of book, although I got the impression the authors were leaning towards the Roman Centurion, Artorius Castus, as a probable candidate!

This book covers a vast period, from Roman occupation of Britain, to now, which is a long period of history to cover, but I have to commend John Matthews and Caitlín Matthews, for they did it remarkably well.
This book looks at how Arthur has changed through the ages and how he has been used, to some extent, for political purposes. It also shows us how Arthur ‘the man’ was turned into Arthur ‘the legend’ and how the ancient texts were possibly misinterpreted. So as with anything to do with Arthur you expect to look at the works of Gildas, Nennius, Bede, etc... which this book does, and John Matthews and Caitlín Matthews have come up with some really interesting thesis as they interpret what they think this writing is, and isn’t, telling us. The authors arguments are very compelling, and I have to admit I had this book in one hand, and the rest of my vast Arthurian collection spread out before me while I cross-referenced. And for the most part, I found myself agreeing with what John Matthews and Caitlín Matthews have so elegantly put forward as an argument. Their interpretation makes sense.

This book spends a long time looking at Nennius’s 12 famous battles and how these "battles" have been interpreted / miss-interpreted over time, and, more importantly, what they say about the political landscape that they are set in. I thought the authors were right to dedicate this amount of time to these battles and for those new to Arthurian Legend this would be enlightening.

The book takes us on a journey and show us how Arthur changed over time from a soldier to a king, and it pays particular attention to the great poets, who of course, were responsible for this change. There is a fascinating chapter on Geoffrey of Monmouth, who is the founding father of the somewhat fictitious Arthur that we would recognise today. The authors look in great detail at Monmouth’s life and where he got his facts from - that missing ancient manuscript raises its head again - and more importantly, they look at why Monmouth wrote it in the first place.

The authors show the two sides of Arthur — the Christian King, and the spoilt, arrogant, almost evil Arthur that he was sometimes portrayed as. The book looks at principle players in Arthurian Legend as well - Kay, Mordred, Bedivere, Gawain, and Lancelot, as well as Arthur's Queen, all get a mention and as with Arthur, the authors demonstrate where the 'historical' characters came from, and which ones have a rather fictitious beginning!

I thought this book was very well thought out, there are lots of amazing images,
a very useful timeline, maps, and everything is chronicled in order, so you really
do need to start at the beginning as there is a lot of references to earlier chapters. 
This is a book that is suitable for those who are just starting out on their
Arthurian journey, as well as those that are well on their way into their research.
This is a book that I am going to come back to again. It is a welcomed addition
to my shelf.

I Highly Recommend.

*I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley, for review consideration*

Links for Purchase