The Moral Compass by K.A. Servian - Interview & Giveaway

Hello lovely readers & Happy Monday! I am so happy to be kicking off K.A. Servian's Blog Tour for THE MORAL COMPASS! Kathy was nice enough to answer a few questions for us, so I hope you enjoy our interview and don't forget to enter our giveaway for a chance to win one of Kathy's previous novels.

Interview with K.A. Servian


Hello Kathy and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Moral Compass!

To begin, tell us a little about yourself and The Moral Compass.

Hi, Amy. Thank you for having me.

I’m one of those people who is always up to their elbows in some type of creative activity. I trained in fashion in the 1990s and was a pattern maker and designer for many years; I then turned to jewelry and made a range of sterling silver and bronze jewelry, which was sold in 70 stores around NZ. I can’t sit still, I’m always making something - Cake decorating, sewing historical costumes, photography, drawing, embroidery, screen printing etc... You name it, I’m doing it - and teaching it (teaching adults is my other passion.)

I came back to creative writing (after a long break) about three years ago. Since 2015, I’ve written and published three novels and completed an advanced diploma in applied writing as well as several on-line writing courses.

The Moral Compass is my third novel, my first historical, and the first in a series set in nineteenth century New Zealand. It is the story of a young English woman thrust into an unfamiliar place where she is forced to draw on all her resources to survive in difficult circumstances. She grows and learns from her mistakes, but eventually must live with the consequences of a questionable decision.

What inspired you to write The Moral Compass?

As an immigrant myself, I’m fascinated by stories of people who have carved out lives for themselves in a new country. To give up everything you know and move yourself and your family across the world in search of a better life is a very brave thing to do.

What was the hardest scene to write?

Probably the sex scene (there’s only one). It’s very difficult to write a scene that conveys the emotion of the moment for the characters without slipping into clichés.

What was your favorite scene to write?

There is a scene where the two main characters, Florence and Jack, are sitting together by the fire. She is telling him about her favorite book, Pride and Prejudice. Jack thinks that Lizzy falls for Mr. Darcy because he is wealthy and worries that Florence shares the sentiment. It’s a very quiet scene, but I like how much is implied, but left unsaid in it.

What would you like readers to take away from reading The Moral Compass?

The underlying theme of The Moral Compass is that people are equal and important no matter who they are and where they come from. I hope that readers will take this message away and apply it in their daily lives.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I enjoyed creative writing as a child and throughout my teenage years, but put my energies into other creative activities as an adult. I came back to writing about three years ago.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

Self-doubt and fear of rejection are huge issues for writers (and anyone who is creative). It is very difficult to put your heart and soul into a piece of work (be it a book, a garment, a painting or anything else) and have it dismissed off-hand by someone. But that is the risk we take when we release our work out into the world. We have to learn to accept criticism and not let it discourage us.

Who are your writing inspirations?

I am particularly inspired by early female novelists such as Jane Austen, the Brontës, Elizabeth Gaskill and George Eilliot. They were trailblazers who were determined to express themselves creatively despite the restrictions of the society within which they lived.

What was the first historical novel you read?

I read a three-book series by a New Zealand author, Yvonne Kalman, called Greenstone Land when I was in my early teens. I remember it being a revelation to me that these books were about life in colonial New Zealand. They were (and still are) a wonderful read, but are now, unfortunately, out of print.

What is the last historical novel you read?

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskill. We also listened to Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie on audible during our long drive south over the Christmas break. I must admit that I have a taste for mysteries and whodunnits now.

If there was a soundtrack for your novel, what songs might we find on it?

Tricky, as it is a historical. It would have to be composers from the period mixed in with folk songs and traditional Māori music.

What are three things people may not know about you?

Fact one: I regret not paying more attention to what my dad was telling me about photography when I was a child. He’s an amazing photographer (life-long career as a commercial photographer and winner of international awards etc..). I only took it up recently as a hobby and realize that I have a lot to learn.

Fact two: I’m a perfectionist and I’m never happy with anything I create.

Fact three: Hmm…may have to get back to you on that one.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love reading real-life accounts, diaries and letters from the past. They bring history alive. By writing historical, I have an excuse to do lots of research, which is fun for me.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

The nineteenth and early twentieth century appeal to me the most.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Whatever craft I can get my hands on. Photography is my favorite pastime at the moment, I love to get out and about and photograph the beautiful country I’m lucky enough to live in. I’m also sewing a set of historical costumes spanning the nineteenth and early twentieth century. I’ve completed 1855 (as seen on the cover of The Moral Compass), 1875 (to be seen on the cover of the sequel, A Pivotal Right), and 1895 - just for fun at this stage, but there is a chance that they’ll be a third book in the series. Plus I have the fabric and pattern complete for a regency gown (1815) and then I want to do a Titanic era dress (around 1915ish). I make the hats and other accessories as well, so the whole process for each costume takes a long time.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’m half-way through the sequel to The Moral Compass and I’ve just outlined a contemporary murder mystery.


The Moral Compass (Shaking the Tree, Book 1) by K.A. Servian

Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Sweetpea Publishing
Paperback & eBook; 285 Pages

Genre: Fiction/Historical/Romance/Victorian


Florence lives like a Princess attending dinner parties and balls away from the gritty reality, filth and poverty of Victorian London.

However, her world comes crashing around her when her father suffers a spectacular fall from grace. She must abandon her life of luxury, leave behind the man she loves and sail to the far side of the world where compromise and suffering beyond anything she can imagine await her.

When she is offered the opportunity to regain some of what she has lost, she takes it, but soon discovers that not everything is as it seems. The choice she has made has a high price attached and she must live with the heart-breaking consequences of her decision.

This novel is part one in the 'Shaking the Tree' series.

Amazon (eBook) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes and Noble

About the Author

As a life-long creative, Kathy gained qualifications in fashion design, applied design to fabric and jewellery making and enjoyed a twenty-year-plus career in the fashion and applied arts industries as a pattern maker, designer and owner of her own clothing and jewellery labels.

She then discovered a love of teaching and began passing on the skills accumulated over the years—design, pattern-making, sewing, Art Clay Silver, screen-printing and machine embroidery to name a few.

Creative writing started as a self-dare to see if she had the chops to write a manuscript. Writing quickly became an obsession and Kathy’s first novel, Peak Hill, which was developed from the original manuscript, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016.

Kathy now squeezes full-time study for an advanced diploma in creative writing in around working on her novels, knocking out the occasional short story, teaching part-time and being a wife and mother.

For more information please visit K.A. Servian's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Sign up for K.A. Servian's newsletter to receive news and updates.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 22
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, January 23
Review at What Cathy Read Next
Feature at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, January 24
Guest Post at The Maiden's Court

Thursday, January 25
Review at Linda's Book Obsession

Friday, January 26
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, January 29
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, January 31
Review at Broken Teepee

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away an eBook of Throwing Light by K.A. Servian! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents 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.

The Moral Compass


The Terror by Dan Simmons is coming to TV!

Fans of Dan Simmons' THE TERROR will be excited to see that the book has been made into a television series on AMC starting March 26th! I haven't read the book yet, but I have it on my shelf and will be reading it before the series starts. The trailer is amazing (and terrifying), I cannot wait to see it!


Via AMC Press Release....

AMC GREENLIGHTS SCRIPTED ANTHOLOGY DRAMA SERIES, “THE TERROR”

NEW YORK, NY, March 2, 2016 – AMC today announced that it has greenlit a new anthology drama series called “The Terror,” an adaption of the bestselling novel by Dan Simmons. Scott Free, Emjag Productions and Entertainment 360 are producing the series in association with AMC Studios.

Written by David Kajganich (“True Story,” “A Bigger Splash”), who will also serve as co-showrunner with Soo Hugh (“The Whispers,” “The Killing”), the series is set in 1847, when a Royal Naval expedition crew searching for the Northwest Passage is attacked by a mysterious predator that stalks the ships and their crew in a suspenseful and desperate game of survival.

Executive producers are Ridley Scott (“The Good Wife,” “The Man In The High Castle”) and David W. Zucker (“The Good Wife,” “The Man In The High Castle”) of Scott Free, Alexandra Milchan (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) and Scott Lambert (“Paranoia”), both of whom are principals at Emjag Productions, and Guymon Casady (“Game of Thrones,” “Steve Jobs”) of Entertainment 360, the content arm of Management 360. AMC has ordered 10 one-hour episodes with an expected premiere date in 2017.

“We’ve been focused on developing this incredible story for television with these great partners for a couple of years, and we think it provides rich dramatic material but also an opportunity to explore the anthology format, which is something we’re extremely interested in and offers some unique possibilities,” said Joel Stillerman, president of original programming and development for AMC and SundanceTV. “Originality is still something that gets our attention every day, and the very unique mixing of historical non-fiction with a gripping and imaginative science fiction overlay in Dan’s novel is something that we hadn’t seen before. That, combined with an exceptional team behind the project made this something we really wanted to bring to air on AMC.”

“Dan’s novel is that rare combination of fascinating actual history, ground-breaking genre storytelling, and the complex character work of literature,” Kajganich said. “The chance to launch a series that will incorporate all of these elements going forward, and with a team of this caliber, is extraordinary.”

“As a long-time fan of Dan Simmons, the opportunity to join this project is a dream come true,” Hugh said. “We look forward to bringing this story to life for the passionate AMC audience.”

Pick up a copy of The Terror before the show starts!

An Argument of Blood Blog Tour & Giveaaway


An Argument of Blood by J.A. Ironside & Matthew Willis

Publication Date: June 19, 2017
Penmore Press
Paperback & eBook; 369 Pages

Series: Oath and Crown, Book 1
Genre: Fiction/Historical/War


William, the nineteen-year-old duke of Normandy, is enjoying the full fruits of his station. Life is a succession of hunts, feasts, and revels, with little attention paid to the welfare of his vassals. Tired of the young duke’s dissolute behaviour and ashamed of his illegitimate birth, a group of traitorous barons force their way into his castle. While William survives their assassination attempt, his days of leisure are over. He’ll need help from the king of France to secure his dukedom from the rebels.

On the other side of the English Channel lives ten-year-old Ælfgifa, the malformed and unwanted youngest sister to the Anglo-Saxon Jarl, Harold Godwinson. Ælfgifa discovers powerful rivalries in the heart of the state when her sister Ealdgyth is given in a political marriage to King Edward, and she finds herself caught up in intrigues and political manoeuvring as powerful men vie for influence. Her path will collide with William’s, and both must fight to shape the future.

An Argument of Blood is the first of two sweeping historical novels on the life and battles of William the Conqueror.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble | Chapters

About the Authors

J.A. Ironside (Jules) grew up in rural Dorset, surrounded by books - which pretty much set he up for life as a complete bibliophile. She loves speculative fiction of all stripes, especially fantasy and science fiction, although when it comes to the written word, she's not choosy and will read almost anything. Actually it would be fair to say she starts to go a bit peculiar if she doesn’t get through at least three books a week. She writes across various genres, both adult and YA fiction, and it’s a rare story if there isn’t a fantastical or speculative element in there somewhere.

Jules has had several short stories published in magazines and anthologies, as well as recorded for literature podcasts. Books 1 and 2 of her popular Unveiled series are currently available with the 3rd and 4th books due for release Autumn/ Winter 2017.

She also co-authored the sweeping epic historical Oath and Crown Duology with Matthew Willis, released June 2017 from Penmore Press.

Jules now lives on the edge of the Cotswold way with her boyfriend creature and a small black and white cat, both of whom share a god-complex.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Matthew Willis is an author of historical fiction, SF, fantasy and non-fiction. In June 2017 An Argument of Blood, the first of two historical novels about the Norman Conquest co-written with J.A. Ironside, was published. In 2015 his story Energy was shortlisted for the Bridport short story award.

Matthew studied Literature and History of Science at the University of Kent, where he wrote an MA thesis on Joseph Conrad and sailed for the University in national competitions. He subsequently worked as a journalist for Autosport and F1 Racing magazines, before switching to a career with the National Health Service.

His first non-fiction book, a history of the Blackburn Skua WW2 naval dive bomber, was published in 2007. He now has four non fiction books published with a fifth, a biography of test pilot Duncan Menzies, due later in 2017. He currently lives in Southampton and writes both fiction and non-fiction for a living.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 15
Review at Jaffa Reads Too

Tuesday, January 16
Feature at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, January 17
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Friday, January 19
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Monday, January 22
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, January 23
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, January 26
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Monday, January 29
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, January 30
Feature at What Cathy Read Next

Wednesday, January 31
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, February 1
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Friday, February 2
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Impressions In Ink

Monday, February 5
Review at Back Porchervations

Tuesday, February 6
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Wednesday, February 7
Review at The Writing Desk
Review at Donna's Book Blog

Giveaway

During the Book Blast we will be giving away a signed copy of An Argument of Blood! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 7th. 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.

Argument of Blood


Jennifer Laam's The Lost Season of Love and Snow Blog Tour & Giveaway


The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam

Publication Date: January 2, 2018
St. Martin's Press
eBook & Paperback; 352 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin.

Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.

What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Powell's

Praise

"An evocative story of love and power, Jennifer Laam draws the reader deep into the heart of a resilient woman’s struggle to hold her own in Imperial Russian society. Natalya Pushkina, a woman once adored, ridiculed, and since forgotten, is brought to life in this vibrant, skillfully woven tale." - Serena Burdick, author of Girl in the Afternoon

"A captivating tale in which Natalya Pushkin is vividly imagined. The dramatic complexities of her personality, and of Imperial Russian society, are cleverly portrayed in this sensitive and skillfully written novel. Sure to enchant those who are already fans of Jennifer Laam, and fans of historical fiction." - Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home

"The Lost Season of Love and Snow deftly weaves historical facts with rich, deep emotion, taking us inside the unforgettable love story between young beauty Natalya Goncharova and famed poet Alexander Pushkin. Jennifer Laam delivers a compelling portrait of a woman unfairly condemned not just for her own desires, but for the adoration of powerful men she could neither reject nor control. Laam makes love itself both the hero and the villain of this powerful story, delicately exploring its joys, delights and tensions as well as its tragic consequences." - Greer Macallister, USA Today bestselling author of The Magician's Lie and Girl in Disguise

About the Author

Jennifer Laam is the author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, The Tsarina’s Legacy, and the forthcoming The Lost Season of Love and Snow, all from St. Martin’s Griffin. She is represented by Erin Harris at Folio Literary Management. Jennifer has lived in Los Angeles and the suburbs of Detroit, and currently resides in California’s Central Valley. When she is not busy writing or reading, Jennifer spends her time obsessing over cosplay, trying new vegetarian recipes, line dancing, and spoiling cats. She works for her alma mater, University of the Pacific.

For more information, please visit Jennifer Laam's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 8
Review at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, January 9
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, January 10
Review at Creating Herstory

Thursday, January 11
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, January 12
Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, January 15
Review at The Maiden's Court

Tuesday, January 16
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, January 17
Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, January 18
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.
Review at Just One More Chapter

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 2 paperback copies of The Lost Season of Love and Snow! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US 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.

Lost Season of Love and Snow


Rebecca Rosenberg's The Secret Life of Mrs. London Book Blast

Hello, everyone, and Happy New Year! I am so excited to be kicking off the Book Blast for Rebecca Rosenberg's Rebecca Rosenberg's The Secret Life of Mrs. London!

Rebecca Rosenberg's The Secret Life of Mrs. London will be released on January 30th from Lake Union Publishing and is available for pre-order. I am reading it now and loving every page! The writing is fantastic - clever and witty - and Houdini, London, and Charmian are intriguing personalities. Highly recommend!


The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg

Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Lake Union Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 348 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.

As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.

Available for Pre-Order on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound

Praise for The Secret Life of Mrs. London

“The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a heart-wrenching portrait of a marriage between two people who utterly depend on one another, but ultimately aren’t enough for each other. With skillful precision of language, Rosenberg weaves a narrative that defines the complexities of love, passion, and art. This is a perceptive, deeply moving novel by a great new talent about a couple who has gone unnoticed in historical fiction until now. Anyone who has ever loved another person will want to read this book.” —Victoria Kelly, author of Mrs. Houdini: A Novel

“One of Houdini’s best kept secrets was his affair with Charmian London in 1918. Now Rebecca Rosenberg tells the story using an elegant blend of fact and fiction, creating a Houdini book like no other. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a true peek behind the curtain and a page-turner.” —John Cox, Wild about Harry

About the Author

A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.

Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children's Home.

For more information, please visit Rebecca's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads. Visit the Facebook page for The Secret Life of Mrs. London.

Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, January 2
Passages to the Past

Friday, January 5
Creating Herstory (Fierce Femme Friday)

Monday, January 8
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, January 9
The Lit Bitch
Just One More Chapter
History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, January 11
Suzy Approved Book Reviews

Friday, January 12
Bibliotica

Monday, January 15
Donna's Book Blog

Tuesday, January 16
A Literary Vacation

Friday, January 19
I Heart Reading

Monday, January 22
Cup of Sensibility

Tuesday, January 23
The Maiden's Court

Thursday, January 25
Pursuing Stacie

Monday, January 29
What Cathy Read Next



2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: January Reviews


HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!!

Welcome to the January link page for the 2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. This is the page where you will enter the links to your reviews during the month of January 2018.

Reading Challenge Instructions...

  • Add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please, do not add your blog link, but the correct address that will guide us directly to your review). A direct link to your Goodreads review is also acceptable
  • Any sub-genre of historical fiction is accepted (Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Young Adult, etc.)
  • Don't forget to look some of the other links that are present. You never know when you will discover new blogs or books!

There's still time to sign up for the 2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge! Sign Up Here.


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A.E. Wasserman's Langsford Series Book Blast & Giveaway

Happy Monday, everyone! Today I am super excited to be kicking off A.E. Wasserman's Book Blast for her Langsford Series of Historical novels set in the late 1800s. You can read all about the books below and enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


1884 No Boundaries: A Story of Espionage, and International Intrigue by A.E. Wasserman


Publication Date: April 29, 2015
Archway Publishing
Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook; 382 Pages

Series: Langford Series, Book #1
Genre: Historical Fiction


Love, murder, sex, and terrorism swirl within a collapsed world economy.

No, it's not today.

It's London, 1884.

Recently married Langsford, born of wealth and privilege, is bound by the restrictions of Victorian society. Dynamite has been invented, but the term "homosexuality" has not and men can be arrested for either.

Langsford accompanies his visiting friend, HEINRICH, eighteen, who innocently flirts with young ANNA at London's Leadenhall Market.

What should be the end of the story becomes the beginning, for Heinrich falls in love with her, never part of the plan. Instead it becomes the catalyst for everything that follows when he flees Germany to return to her. Events unfold that expose terrorists, espionage and international intrigue.

Langsford walks a fine line as he crosses boundaries he never imagined, rubbing elbows with spies, killers and would-be assassins to save his friend, stop an assassination, and prevent a war.

“Wasserman’s writing is atmospherically rich. Very strongly recommended.” – Historical Novel Society, London, critical review of 1884 No Boundaries

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

1886 Ties That Bind: A Story of Politics, Graft, and Greed by A.E. Wasserman


Publication Date: November 3, 2016
Archway Publishing
Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook; 320 Pages

Series: Langford Series, Book #2
Genre: Historical Fiction


It is 1886 as Englishman Lord Langsford travels by train to San Francisco. Newly widowed, Langsford is desperate to escape his grief, demons, and life in England. As Langsford completes the last leg of his transcontinental journey, his life unexpectedly changes once again when he crosses paths with Miss Sally Baxter, a beautiful rancher who packs a pistol in her purse.

Sally has made it her mission to find the men who robbed a train and killed her brother. Unfortunately, no one—not even the owners of the Southern Pacific Railroad—seem to care. Unable to resist her pleas, Langsford offers to help Sally and soon becomes entangled in a web of politics, corruption, and greed. As murder, threats, and attacks ensue that endanger both Sally and Langsford, influential men in both California and Washington, D.C. jockey for positions of power. Langsford, who finds himself oddly attracted to Sally, now must sort through criminals and politicians alike to discover the truth behind her brother’s death and prevent his own murder.

"The author has woven a complex net of intrigue and background to the murder that makes the entire book so much more than just a mystery. As the title appropriately states, this deals with issues of politics, corruption and greed in a very accomplished way. One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommended." - Christoph Fischer, UK Reviewer Discovering Diamonds

Amazon | Barnes and Noble


1885: Crossings by A.E. Wasserman

Publication Date: October 5, 2017
Archway Publishing
Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook; 142 Pages

Series: Langford Series, Book #3
Genre: Historical Fiction


Anna’s hand holding the letter trembled as her vision rocked, going in and out of focus. She felt as though she was falling backward and at the same time rolling forward, expecting to land face first on the floor. She put her hand on the table to brace herself. She no longer heard the song birds in the buckeye tree outside the window, or the hoof beats on the cobblestones passing the front door, or any sound at all.

The world around her ceased to exist—only the paper with Henry’s written words: his own account of what happened during the past year.

The entire time, she’d known he wasn’t telling her everything—but this—she could never have imagined any of it. The hard fact was, Henry will never escape the truth.

“1885 Crossings gives us another opportunity to return to the world of Henry, Anna, and Langsford. A.E. Wasserman’s writing is beautifully done—tense and uncomfortable. The ending gave me a chill.” -Chuck Sambuchino, Bestselling Author

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author

The daughter of a newspaperman, A.E. Wasserman grew up in a household filled with books and stories. At age 14, she wrote her first novella and never stopped writing.

She is the author of a new mystery/thrillers series, the first of which takes place in London: 1884 No Boundaries, A Story of Espionage and International Intrigue. The second in the Langsford Series, 1886 Ties That Bind, A Story of Politics, Graft and Greed, has just been released.

Her work, critically acclaimed as “richly atmospheric,” is being noticed by readers and critics alike, and has garnered international attention, not only in the U.S., but Europe and the U.K. as well. She recently received top honors from Writer’s Digest for her work.

After graduating from The Ohio State University, she lived in London, then San Francisco. Currently she resides in Southern California with her family and her muse, a Border Collie named Topper.

For more information, please Visit the author’s web site at www.aewasserman.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Giveaway

During the Book Blast we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 12th. 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.

Langsford Series Blast


Guest Post by Elizabeth Jane Corbett, author of The Tides Between (with giveaway)

Happy Friday, everyone! Today on the blog I am so excited to be hosting a guest post from Elizabeth Jane Corbett, author of The Tides Between!



‘Goodness!’ People say to me after reading The Tides Between. ‘You must have done so much research!’

Well, of course, historical fiction writers do mountains of research. It’s part of the appeal – that elusive desire to re-create the past. To this end, we read histories, documents, diaries, and proceedings, we visit museums, galleries and libraries, draw diagrams, pore over maps and images. This is normal, par for the course. However, at my book launch, I was asked to discuss the on-the-ground research I’d done for The Tides Between which, some may say bordered on the obsessive. Me, I prefer the term, full immersion.

The Tides Between is an immigration novel as you’ve probably worked out from the blurb, with both English and Welsh characters. My research was only in its infancy the first time I travelled to the UK. So, my visit had a huge impact on the eventual narrative. In a sense, I experienced my novel in reverse as a migrant returning to her birthplace. As the airplane began its decent into Heathrow I pressed my face to the glass and watched rows and rows of little brown houses with card table lawns come into view. When the lane wheels hit the runway, I began to cry. Not silently, in loud, painful chest wrenching sobs. I thought: If I die now it doesn’t matter, I’m home.

I fell in love with Covent Garden, on that first return visit, and my protagonist’s father became a theatre musician. Her stepfather, a more prosaic man, who worked in the fruit and vegetable market. While in Wales, I visited a mining museum, called The Big Pit, and felt the claustrophobia of going underground. My Welsh storyteller became a miner’s son from Cwmafan with dark secrets. He and his wife dwelled in cottages not unlike the ones I saw at The Museum of Welsh Life.


Hardly obsessive, I hear you say. Just plain good sense. Well, yes, but I may have returned to the UK once or twice (cough) since then. See, we have made an agreement, my husband and I, (which I’m sure you will agree is quite equitable). He earns the Frequent Flyer points and I spend them. This has given me ample opportunity to walk in the footsteps of my characters. I’ve been on a Thames River tour and watched the original Victorian warehouses slide past me. Visited Deptford and walked the route from the emigrant depot to the Deptford watergate. I’ve done a Covent Garden theatre tour and imagined the backstage theatre world. Taken communion in St Paul’s Covent Garden, as my characters would have done. I’ve visited the museum of London’s Docks and learned details about wherries and red-sailed sailing barges. Spent an afternoon in the Victoria & Albert archives looking through nineteenth century theatre play bills. I’ve visited Llyn y Fan Fach, the site of one of my storyteller’s tales. I drove past the village of Tre Taliesin. This lead to a much-needed re-work of my storytellers first story. How did this immersion help the final outcome? It certainly made the characters real to me, their journeys no longer simply words on the page. I hope that comes through in the novel.


The other aspect of my research (which may definitely fall into the obsessive category) involved
learning to speak Welsh. I’d read How Green was my Valley and realised Welsh people spoke English differently. I thought a term of Welsh classes would give ‘give me a sense’ of this difference. I had no idea The language would be so ancient, or beautiful, or so endangered. One term of lessons became two, then three, until I realised I didn’t want to stop. I’d fallen under the spell of the Welsh language– its words and sentences, the little accents over its letters, were like a soul song to me. Welsh has words like Gwdihŵ, which means owl and sounds like Toowit toowoo, and pilipala which means butterfly and sounds like wings fluttering, and corgi which means dwarf dog, and drewgi (skunk) which literally means stink dog. Buwch goch gota’r haf (for ladybird) which means short red cow of the summer.

While living in Wales for seven months (yes, still married, very understanding husband), I did a course on the Mabinogion, in Welsh. I also heard a man, who I suspect really was a fairy, talk about Welsh fairy tales, in Welsh. I wouldn’t have been able to attend these workshops without the language. Or had many of the amazing conversations and experiences. How did learning the language help me write the book. Tangibly, I let my wide-eyed wonder infuse my characters reactions. Speaking Welsh is like stepping through the barrier on platform nine and three quarters. A whole hidden world exists in that other language. I have stepped into that world. I hope it has added authenticity to my novel.


The Tides Between by Elizabeth Jane Corbett

Publication Date: October 20, 2017
Odyssey Books
Paperback; 300 Pages

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Historical


She fancied herself part of a timeless chain without beginning or end, linked only by the silver strong words of its tellers.

In the year 1841, on the eve of her departure from London, Bridie's mother demands she forget her dead father and prepare for a sensible, adult life in Port Phillip. Desperate to save her childhood, fifteen-year-old Bridie is determined to smuggle a notebook filled with her father's fairytales to the far side of the world.

When Rhys Bevan, a soft-voiced young storyteller and fellow traveller realises Bridie is hiding something, a magical friendship is born. But Rhys has his own secrets and the words written in Bridie’s notebook carry a dark double meaning.

As they inch towards their destination, Rhys's past returns to haunt him. Bridie grapples with the implications of her dad’s final message. The pair take refuge in fairytales, little expecting the trouble it will cause.

Odyssey Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

About the Author


When Elizabeth Jane Corbett isn’t writing, she works as a librarian, teaches Welsh at the Melbourne Celtic Club, writes reviews and articles for the Historical Novel Society and blogs at elizabethjanecorbett.com. In 2009, her short-story, Beyond the Blackout Curtain, won the Bristol Short Story Prize. Another, Silent Night, was short listed for the Allan Marshall Short Story Award. An early draft of her debut novel, The Tides Between, was shortlisted for a HarperCollins Varuna manuscript development award.

Elizabeth lives with her husband, Andrew, in a renovated timber cottage in Melbourne’s inner-north. She likes red shoes, dark chocolate, commuter cycling, and reading quirky, character driven novels set once-upon-a-time in lands far, far away.

For more information, please visit Elizabeth Jane Corbett's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 4
Review at Back Porchervations
Feature at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 5
Guest Post at Booklover Book Reviews

Wednesday, December 6
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, December 7
Review at Faery Tales Are Real

Friday, December 8
Review & Guest Post at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, December 11
Review at Creating Herstory

Tuesday, December 12
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Review at Singing Librarian Books

Wednesday, December 13
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, December 15
Review at Carole Rae's Random Ramblings
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Giveaway

During the Cover Reveal we will be giving away a signed copy of The Tides Between and Bookplate! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 15th. 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.

The Tides Between


Anna Belfrage's There is Always a Tomorrow Blog Tour & Giveaway


There is Always a Tomorrow by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: November 5, 2017
Timelight Press
eBook & Paperback; ISBN: 9781788039666

Series: Graham Saga, Book #9
Genre: Historical Fiction/Time-Slip


There is Always a Tomorrow is the ninth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

It is 1692 and the Colony of Maryland is still adapting to the consequences of Coode’s Rebellion some years previously. Religious tolerance in the colony is now a thing of the past, but safe in their home, Alex and Matthew Graham have no reason to suspect they will become embroiled in the ongoing religious conflicts—until one of their sons betrays their friend Carlos Muñoz to the authorities.

Matthew Graham does not leave his friends to rot—not even if they’re papist priests—so soon enough most of the Graham family is involved in a rescue attempt, desperate to save Carlos from a sentence that may well kill him.

Meanwhile, in London little Rachel is going through hell. In a matter of months she loses everything, even her surname, as apparently her father is not Master Cooke but one Jacob Graham. Not that her paternity matters when her entire life implodes.

Will Alex and Matthew be able to help their unknown grandchild? More importantly, will Rachel want their help?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound


About the Author

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

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

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

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 27
Review at A Holland Reads

Tuesday, November 28
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Wednesday, November 29
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Thursday, November 30
Feature at WS Momma Readers Nook
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, December 1
Review at Just One More Chapter

Sunday, December 3
Feature at T's Stuff

Monday, December 4
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, December 5
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, December 6
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, December 7
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Friday, December 8
Review at A Bookish Affair

Monday, December 11
Feature at View From the Birdhouse
Feature at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Tuesday, December 12
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Wednesday, December 13
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, December 14
Feature at Passages to the Past

Friday, December 15
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, December 18
Feature at A Book Geek

Tuesday, December 19
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, December 20
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, December 21
Review at Broken Teepee
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of There is Always a Tomorrow! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway 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.

There is Always a Tomorrow


2018 Release: The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis


Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Penguin Random House

Genre: Historical Fiction

In her latest captivating novel, nationally bestselling author Fiona Davis takes readers into the glamorous lost art school within Grand Central Terminal, where two very different women, fifty years apart, strive to make their mark on a world set against them.

For the nearly nine million people who live in New York City, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different.

For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future, which she is certain will shine as the brightly as the constellations on the main concourse ceiling. It is 1928, and twenty-five-year-old Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art. A talented illustrator, she has dreams of creating cover art for Vogue, but not even the prestige of the school can override the public’s disdain for a “woman artist.” Brash, fiery, confident, and single-minded–even while juggling the affections of two men, a wealthy would-be poet and a brilliant experimental painter–Clara is determined to achieve every creative success. But she and her bohemian friends have no idea that they’ll soon be blindsided by the looming Great Depression, an insatiable monster with the power to destroy the entire art scene. And even poverty and hunger will do little to prepare Clara for the greater tragedy yet to come.

Nearly fifty years later, in 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay’s life. Full of grime and danger, from the smoke-blackened ceiling to the pickpockets and drug dealers who roam the floor, Grand Central is at the center of a fierce lawsuit: Is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved, or a cancer to be demolished? For Virginia, it is simply her last resort. Recently divorced, she has just accepted a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her college-age daughter, Ruby. But when Virginia stumbles upon an abandoned art school within the terminal and discovers a striking watercolor hidden under the dust, her eyes are opened to the elegance beneath the decay. She embarks on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece–an impassioned chase that draws Virginia not only into the battle to save Grand Central but deep into the mystery of Clara Darden, the famed 1920s illustrator who disappeared from history in 1931.

Available for Pre-Order on Amazon

2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge - Sign Up Open!


Hello everyone & welcome to the Sign Up Page for the 2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge!


I am thrilled to be hosting this challenge again at Passages to the Past! Sign Ups are open and ready for all that would like to join the challenge.

Here are the Reading Challenge details:

Each month, a new post dedicated to the HF Challenge will be created. To participate, you only have to follow the rules:
  • Everyone can participate! If you don't have a blog you can post a link to your review if it's posted on Goodreads, Facebook, or Amazon, or you can add your book title and thoughts in the comment section if you wish.
  • Add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please use the direct URL that will guide us directly to your review)
  • Any sub-genre of historical fiction is accepted (Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Young Adult, History/Non-Fiction, etc.)
During the following 12 months you can choose one of the different reading levels:

20th Century Reader - 2 books
Victorian Reader - 5 books
Renaissance Reader - 10 books
Medieval - 15 books
Ancient History - 25 books
Prehistoric - 50+ books

To join the challenge you only need to make a post about it, add your link in Mr. Linky below or just leave a link to your blog if you are not yet ready to post about it yet. If you don't have a blog you can just leave a comment for this post saying that you are joining, and link to your Facebook, Goodreads or other social media page where you will be sharing your reviews.

The challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st, 2018.

I look forward to having you join me in reading and enjoying the best in historical fiction over the 12 months.

Don't forget to grab the Reading Challenge Button to post on your blog. If you'd like a specific size, just let me know and I will send it over to you via email. Please share about the Reading Challenge to your fellow friends and readers using the hashtag below!

#2018HistFicReadingChallenge

If you have any questions or comments please leave a comment on this post or email Amy at passagestothepast@gmail.com.

What is your reading goal for 2018? What Reading Challenge level are you aiming for?


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2018 Release: The Romanov Empress by C.W. Gortner

Author C.W. Gortner just unveiled his cover for The Romanov Princess: A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna and it's a stunner! It releases on July 18th from Ballantine Books. I cannot wait to read this, it sounds amazing!


The Romanov Empress by C.W. Gortner


Publication Date: July 18, 2018
Ballantine Books

Hardcover & eBook

Genre: Historical Fiction

For readers of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir comes a dramatic novel of the beloved Empress Maria, the Danish girl who became the mother of the last Russian tsar.

Even from behind the throne, a woman can rule.

Narrated by the mother of Russia’s last tsar, this vivid, historically authentic novel brings to life the courageous story of Maria Feodorovna, one of Imperial Russia’s most compelling women who witnessed the splendor and tragic downfall of the Romanovs as she fought to save her dynasty in the final years of its long reign.

Barely nineteen, Minnie knows that her station in life as a Danish princess is to leave her family and enter into a royal marriage—as her older sister Alix has done, moving to England to wed Queen Victoria’s eldest son. The winds of fortune bring Minnie to Russia, where she marries the Romanov heir and becomes empress once he ascends the throne. When resistance to his reign strikes at the heart of her family and the tsar sets out to crush all who oppose him, Minnie—now called Maria—must tread a perilous path of compromise in a country she has come to love.

Her husband’s death leaves their son Nicholas as the inexperienced ruler of a deeply divided and crumbling empire. Determined to guide him to reforms that will bring Russia into the modern age, Maria faces implacable opposition from Nicholas’s strong-willed wife, Alexandra, whose fervor has lead her into a disturbing relationship with a mystic named Rasputin. As the unstoppable wave of revolution rises anew to engulf Russia, Maria will face her most dangerous challenge and her greatest heartache.

From the opulent palaces of St. Petersburg and the intrigue-laced salons of the aristocracy to the World War I battlefields and the bloodied countryside occupied by the Bolsheviks, C. W. Gortner sweeps us into the anarchic fall of an empire and the complex, bold heart of the woman who tried to save it.

Available for Pre-Order on Amazon
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