2015 HistFic Release: Evergreen Falls by Kimberly Freeman

I absolutely loved Kimberly Freeman's last book, Ember Island, so I'm very excited for her upcoming release, Evergreen Falls, and even more so now that I see the gorgeous cover!


Publication Date: August 4, 2015 | Touchstone | eBook; Hardcover | 448p

Genre: Historical Fiction

From internationally bestselling author Kimberley Freeman comes a captivating new novel about a scandalous attraction, a long-forgotten secret, and a place where two women’s lives are changed forever.

It’s 1926 and Violet Armstrong is a waitress at the grand Evergreen Spa Hotel, where Australia’s glitterati are spending a winter vacation. Among the guests who remain are Sam and Flora Honeychurch-Blacks, a wealthy brother and sister ensconced in the hotel for an extended stay. Violet and Sam have an attraction that is as passionate as it is forbidden as the hotel closes down for the winter season. When a snowstorm moves in, trapping them all, no one could have imagined what would unfold. The group must let their secrets be buried by the snow, but all snow melts, exposing the truth beneath…

Eighty-eight years later, Lauren Beck takes a job at a caf√© in the Blue Mountains, built as the first stage of the Evergreen Spa Hotel’s return to grandeur. There she meets Tomas, the Danish architect overseeing the project. As their budding relationship grows, Lauren discovers a series of passionate love letters dating back to 1926 that allude to a whirlwind affair—and a tragic secret. Lauren begins to unravel this long-forgotten mystery, but will discovering the truth finally make her brave enough to take a risk that could change her entire life?

Inspired by elements of her grandmother’s life, Kimberley Freeman has created a complex tale of mystery, heartbreak, and love that will keep you guessing with every twist until the very last page.

2015 HistFic Release: The Enchantress of Paris by Marci Jefferson

Check out what I just spotted on Amazon! I am seriously loving the cover and cannot wait for the release! Ugh, August seems forever away. Why do they tease us so?
 

Publication Date: August 4, 2015 | Thomas Dunne Books | Hardcover; 336p
ISBN-10: 1250057094

Genre: Historical Fiction

The alignment of the stars at Marie Mancini’s birth warned that although she would be gifted at divination, she was destined to disgrace her family. Nonetheless, Cardinal Mazarin brings his niece to the opulent French court, where the forbidden occult arts thrive in secret. In France, Marie discovers that her powerful uncle rules, using Marie’s sister Olympia to hold the Sun King, Louis XIV, in thrall.

Desperate to avoid her mother's dying wish that she spend her life in a convent, Marie burns her grimoire, trading Italian superstitions for polite sophistication. As her star rises, King Louis becomes enchanted by Marie’s charm. Sensing a chance to grab even greater power, Cardinal Mazarin pits the sisters against each other, showering Marie with diamonds and silks in exchange for bending King Louis to his will.

Disgusted by Mazarin’s ruthlessness, Marie rebels. She sacrifices everything, but exposing Mazarin’s darkest secret threatens to tear France apart. When even King Louis’ love fails to protect Marie, she must summon her powers of divination.

Fraught with conspiracy and passion, Enchantress of Paris is a captivating historical novel about a woman whose love was more powerful than magic.

Interview & Giveaway: Noah's Wife by T.K. Thorne

Today on the blog I am hosting T.K. Thorne's Blog Tour for Noah's Wife, and I am sharing a fascinating interview that T.K. did with the Fixed Baroque blog in August. I also have a giveaway for an autographed copy of Noah's Wife & magnetic bookmark!

Fixed Baroque's Interview with T.K. Thorne
August 19, 2014

Author T.K. Thorne

Fixed Baroque: What inspired you to write from the perspective of Na'amah, Noah's wife?

T.K. Thorne: I was completely blindsided by the idea. At a gathering of the Birmingham Arts Journal, a (wonderful) local poet, Irene Latham, explained that her inspiration to write a poem had come from her pastor’s observation that Noah’s wife was unnamed and received only a mention in one line of the Bible. As Irene related that fact, I sat there a bit stunned. It was as if a great blank slate appeared before me, and I had the opportunity to fill it. So I started by researching the flood and the culture of the time period.

Before I began actually writing, I had no idea about the character of Noah’s wife, but I read that the traditional Jewish name for her was Na’amah. This is probably based on the fact that a woman with this name is given a brief paragraph in the same Genesis chapter as the flood story, relating only her lineage from Adam, but no reason what her relationship to the story might have been. Looking up the name, I found it meant “beautiful or pleasant.” That seemed like a starting point, so I typed, “My name, Na’amah, means beautiful or pleasant.” Na’amah hastily added, “I am not always pleasant, but I am beautiful,” and she proceeded to tell her story. It never felt as though I had much choice about it from there and sometimes I laughed aloud or blinked in surprise at what she said or did. Fellow novelists will understand this; others might think I need treatment.

FB: In terms of her mentions in ancient texts, how much do we know about Na'amah? What, if any, facts about her influenced the way you wrote her character in Noah's Wife?

TK: Noah’s wife is barely mentioned in the Biblical tale. Basically, she goes into the ark and then leaves with her family. Although all three of her sons are named, she is unnamed. In both Jewish and Islamic traditions, she was an unbeliever or doubter, and she was true to that in my book, but not in a negative way. It was simply her nature to question everything. In that, I will admit, she reflected my own tendencies. My favorite word since I could talk has always been, “Why?”

FB: Throughout the novel, Na'amah is both mocked and praised for her mind. Though some call it a "wounded mind," for every disservice she suffers as a result, it affords her a unique ability. What inspired you to write Na'amah as having Asperger's Syndrome?

TK: I had no intention of giving Na’amah any kind of mental syndrome before I started writing, but I did want a character who was able to question what everyone around her accepted and believed. At first, I played with writing in the third person point-of-view (She said so and so), but I struggled with getting it to flow. On an impulse, I tried the first person point-of-view (I said so and so) and Na’amah immediately came alive. By the end of the first chapter, I realized that she was special in more ways than I had intended and displayed the symptoms of Aspergers (a high-functioning form of autism). Although I had not planned that and had no idea if it was a good idea or not, in the end, I decided to let my character be true to who she was and not try to force her into the box of my preconceived ideas. There’s much more about Aspergers and my decision at my blog post “Why Noah’s Wife Has Aspergers.”

FB: Because of Na'amah's keen senses, she could feel impending disaster long before other people. Considering this, why was it important for her to embrace her title as Priestess to have the vision of disaster laid out before her?

TK: Not only was Na’amah an Asperger savant, she also had synesthesia, a type of “crossed wiring” in the brain where people may “see” sounds or “hear” colors. Although everyone on the autistic spectrum is unique, a hypersensitivity in one of the senses is not that uncommon. I played with this idea, extending Na’amah’s hypersensitivity to sound to include the infrasound—low frequency vibrations normally below the human audible range. Infrasound has been known to cause symptoms of nausea, discomfort, and wavering in the peripheral vision. It is theorized that infrasound is produced prior to earthquakes, and that this might be the explanation as to why some animals seem to predict major quakes.

Na’amah’s nature made her uncomfortable with anything strange or different from what she was accustomed to. Her journey across the Land of Mothers was forced on her, as was the role of priestess, which she rejected. But a time came when she realized that rejection had a price that she was not willing to pay, and she forced herself to accept her responsibility. This was part of her real journey—the same one we all face—to become her potential.

FB: Noah's Wife is a feminist retelling of the classic Noah's Ark story. What were some of the challenges of writing a feminist story that is set in a time when the concept of feminism did not yet exist?

TK: Noah’s Wife is a feminist retelling in the sense that the story is told from a woman’s perspective and delves into the mother-goddess culture that existed before the Judeo-Christian patriarchy that is part of our current cultural inheritance. For thousands of years before the Hebrews, the area of the Levant (the Middle East) practiced goddess worship. (The old name for Turkey is actually “The Land of Mothers.”) Women’s status, especially for those in the priesthood, was significantly higher than in the culture that replaced it. We know this from Mesopotamian records and from archeological substantiation. In fact, there is strong evidence that even the early Hebrews’ worship included the sacred female. (I recommend When God was a Woman by Merlin Stone and The Hebrew Goddess by Raphael Patai for further reading.)

My story took place in 5500 BCE before the written word. I chose that date because geologists believe that is the approximate time that a cataclysmic event caused the collapse of a natural land barrier between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (which was a fresh water lake up until that time) resulting in a great flood that affected a large portion of the Middle East. So my challenge was to fill out a world and culture from what clues we have in the historical and archeological records. My imagination came into play as well, of course, and I did take literary license. One area in which I did so was to foreshadow the coming historical conflict between the female and male divine.

FB: Without spoiling too much of the story... The novel deals with some heavier issues. What were the biggest challenges of writing these difficult scenes?

TK: It is a common directive to writers to “write what you know,” and I agree with that in the sense that it is difficult to deeply portray a totally unfamiliar perspective. That said, “what you know” can be expanded by research and by opening yourself to the experience of others. A good writer is, at heart, an observer with a developed capacity for empathy, as well as imagination. I often draw on my years as a police officer where I encountered a wide range of people in intense situations. The human experience transcends time. Cultures differ, but our emotional responses are based on hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, and “civilization” is but a thin veil over that.

FB: The novel acknowledges the conflict between matriarchal and patriarchal religions that would have been present during the time. Though Na'amah, her family, and her friends favored the Goddess, Noah credits the rainbow to God in the end. Why is this?

TK: Throughout the book, Noah has a strong belief in the gods—Father god and Mother goddess—as creators and beings who interact with his physical world. In many ancient cultures, the earth, sea, and the animals belonged to the realm of the goddess, and the heavens and sky to the god(s), hence a rainbow in the sky would be a sign from Father god.

One thing to keep in mind is that the idea of “goodness” being ascribed to the divine is a relatively recent thing. Even as late as the Hebrew Bible, God is portrayed as jealous and vengeful, as well as good and generous (albeit to “his” people). In Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology and other cultures throughout the world, the gods possessed the full range of human emotions and drama. Thus, they believed praise and sacrifice were important to keep the gods happy, to make sure they knew humans weren’t trying to usurp their prerogatives, to appeal to their desire for worship, or to appease their anger, etc., and that practice of sacrifice existed in Judaism until roughly 70 AD. (Modern practice of Judaism and Christianity still, in general, include the element of praise as essential to worship.)

FB: I'm not religious and, finding that religiosity was not a prerequisite to enjoying the book, I thoroughly loved reading Noah's Wife. What would you say to those who would look at the book and think they wouldn't enjoy it because they aren't religious?

TK: It is my hope that both religious and nonreligious people will find the story engaging. It is a novel, and that is its intent, but many people along a wide spectrum of religious beliefs have found it an interesting alternative perspective of a historical or mythical story that is an important part of our inherited culture.

I don’t consider myself “religious” either, but spiritual growth, for me, is about finding meaning in our lives and is not necessarily hooked to religion or even a theist belief. Perhaps discovering the “divine” is as simple as acting with compassion and responsibility toward our fellow humans and our world. Compassion and responsibility are attributes we can learn and develop; life is a journey, and in that journey we can find strengths and power within us that we never dreamed existed.

FB: Your next book will be Angels at the Gate: The story of Lot's Wife. What can you tell us about the story plot-wise? Will Angels at the Gate appeal to the same readers that Noah's Wife appeals to or will it attract a different audience? When will Angels at the Gate be released? 


TK: Angels at the Gate will be released March 5, 2015, and I absolutely believe it will appeal to fans of Noah’s Wife! It is also a story of an unnamed woman in the Bible, but we jump forward a few thousand years to the time of Abraham (I was fortunate to be able to spend time in Israel to research it). There is adventure, love, and plenty of twists and turns, as well as a strong female character with her own perspective. Again, I “discovered” who she was in the book’s first paragraph:

If the path of obedience is the path of wisdom, it is one not well worn by my feet. I am Yildeth, daughter of the caravan, daughter of the wind, and daughter of the famed merchant, Zakiti. That I am his daughter, not his son, is a secret between my father and myself. This is a fine arrangement, as I prefer the freedoms of being a boy.

For more information on T.K. Thorne, check out her author website and like her author fan page for the latest updates.

02_NOAH'S WIFE FRONT COVER Final with sticker 

Publication Date: April 17, 2011 | Blackburn Fork Publishing 
Formats: AudioBook, Ebook, Paperback | Pages: 352p


Genre: Historical Fiction

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A ForeWord Reviews BOOK OF THE YEAR for Historical Fiction.

Noah’s Wife transports readers to an ancient time and place, while delving into issues that affect our contemporary lives--family relationships, autism, religious freedom, kidnapping and cultural change. A biblical novel that is not “Christian Fiction,” T.K. Thorne’s version weaves myth, history, and archeological findings with her vivid imagination, wisdom and humor into an epic tale you will not forget. Told from the unique perspective of a young girl with what is now called Aspergers, this is the story of Noah’s completely unknown wife, Na’amah.

Na’amah wishes only to be a shepherdess on her beloved hills in ancient Turkey— a desire shattered by the hatred of her powerful brother and the love of two men.

Her savant abilities and penchant to speak truth forces her to walk a dangerous path in an age of change—a time of challenge to the goddess’ ancient ways, when cultures clash and the earth itself is unstable. When foreign raiders kidnap her, Na’amah’s journey to escape and return home becomes an attempt to save her people from the disaster only she knows is coming.

A few interesting tidbits:

• Scientists (including Robert Ballard, the explorer who found the sunken Titanic) discovered evidence that the Black Sea was once a fresh water lake that flooded in a cataclysmic event around 5500.

• The oldest known worshipped deity was female! The role of the feminine in the divine was entwined with early Judaism and keeps reappearing throughout history.

• One in every 88 persons has a form of autism. The choice to make Noah’s wife an Asperger savant stemmed from personal experience in the author’s life and gives the story a distinctive perspective.

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Praise for Noah's Wife

“. . . a terrific storyteller.” — Sena Jeter Naslund Bestselling novelist, Ahab's Wife, Four Spirits, etc.

“. . . an extraordinary work.” —Dianne Mooney, founder of Southern Living At Home

“. . . a novel of epic sweep, emotional power, and considerable beauty.” —Ron Gholson, The Blount Countian

“. . . awed at Thorne’s ability to work magic with words. Her mastery kept me awake many nights.” —Sherry Kughn, Anniston Star

“Noah's Wife is one of the best novels I have ever read— and I average about a book a week.” —Barry Marks, Alabama Poetry Book of the Year for Possible Crocodiles

“So compelling and readable. Brava! Excellent! I am basking in the glow of a fascinating, complex read.” —Jane Archer, Professor of English, Birmingham Southern College

“Well-researched, well-written, engaging book that is absolutely one of the best reads I have had in a long time.” —Gail Sheldon, Director Oneonta Public Library

“Masterfully created . It is a MUST READ! Thorne is exceptionally gifted in her sensitivity to life, love, and loss.” —L. Nolan-Ruiz, Editor InternationalBookCaf√©.com

“A novel of great enchantment, suspense and power . . . looks like a BESTSELLER to me.” —Malcom R. Campbell, Author, Sun Seeker and Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire

“. . .new depth to an old story in a beautiful novel of truth, love, and survival.” —Irene Latham, author & poet Leaving Gee's Bend and What Came Before

“. . . with an understanding of what makes us humans tick, Thorne looks at our origins in a brand new way. It’s more Clan of the Cave Bear than theological treatise—and that's a whole lot more fun!” —John Archibald, Birmingham News

“Not since Mists of Avalon or Ahab’s Wife have I enjoyed such a finely crafted woman’s point of view on an oft-told tale.” —Perle Champion, freelance writer and artist, Alabama Writer's Forum

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03_Author TK. ThorneAbout the Author

TK Thorne was the first Jewish woman to become a police officer in Birmingham, AL (USA). She retired as a captain and currently serves as executive director of the city’s business improvement district—both careers providing fodder for her writing. Her debut novel Noah’s Wife won ForeWord Reviews’ “Book of the Year” for historical fiction. The New York Post featured her book Last Chance for Justice: How Relentless Investigators Uncovered New Evidence Convicting the Birmingham Church Bombers on their “Books You Should Be Reading” list. A short film from her screenplay Six Blocks Wide was a semi-finalist at “A Film for Peace Festival” in Italy. She describes herself as a writer, humanist, dog-mom, horse-servant, and cat-slave.

Her next novel, Angels at the Gate, published by Cappuccino Books, will be released in March 2015. She blogs at www.TKs-tales.com and her web site is www.TKThorne.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. Sign Up for T.K. Thorne's newsletter.

Noah's Wife Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 15
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, December 16
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Wednesday, December 17
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, December 18
Review at Forever Ashley
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, December 19
Review at Based on a True Story

Giveaway

To enter to win an Autographed copy of Noah's Wife & magnetized bookmark, please complete the giveaway form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on December 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents of the 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 have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Noah's Wife


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Susanna Kearsley's Pre-Pub Excerpt Tour for A Desperate Fortune!

Today on the blog I am so excited to be hosting Susanna Kearsley's Pre-Pub Excerpt Tour with Sourcebooks for the upcoming release of A Desperate Fortune!

Each blog that is hosting an excperpt will have a code embeded. Those who read the excerpt, break the code and email it to publicity@sourcebooks.com will be entered to win prizes). Pretty cool, eh?! Keep reading to find the code in this excerpt! Good luck to all who enter!


ON-SALE: April 7, 2015
Sourcebooks Landmark
eBook, Paperback
ISBN13: 9781492602026
Pages: 528

Genre: Historical Fiction

For nearly three hundred years, the cryptic journal of Mary Dundas has lain unread. Now, amateur code breaker Sara Thomas has been sent to Paris to crack the cipher.

Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing—for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed.

As Mary’s gripping tale is revealed, Sara is faced with challenges that will require letting go of everything she thought she knew—about herself, about loyalty, and especially about love. Though divided by centuries, these two women will be united in a quest to discover the limits of trust and the coincidences of fate.

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Susanna Kearsley is known for her meticulous research and exotic settings from Russia to Italy to Cornwall, which not only entertain her readers but give her a great reason to travel. Her lush writing has been compared to Mary Stewart, Daphne du Maurier, and Diana Gabaldon. She hit the bestseller lists in the U.S. with The Firebird (a RITA winner) as well as, The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden (both RITA finalists and winners of RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards). Other honors include National Readers' Choice Awards, the prestigious Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize, and finaling for the UK's Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Her popular and critically acclaimed books are available in translation in more than 20 countries and as audiobooks. She lives in Canada, near the shores of Lake Ontario.

Excerpt from A Desperate Fortune

“Well, I couldn’t do it,” said Jacqui. She took out her hairbrush and sat on the edge of her bed, having dealt with the last button of her pajama top. “If either of my own ex-husbands bought the house next door to mine, I’d kill myself.”

“Denise seems not to mind.”

“I’m only saying.”

I was not about to try debating anything with Jacqui at this hour of the night, not after I’d had rather too much wine, and while I was myself still trying to make sense of what Claudine had told us over dinner about Luc Sabran and why he and Denise had this arrangement.

And my cousin wasn’t leaving any room for me to offer an opinion. “It’s not natural. You can’t be friends with someone you’ve divorced. Not really. I should know.”

I might have pointed out that neither of her exes was as gorgeous as Denise’s, but I only said, “I wonder why they got divorced.”

My cousin told me, “Men like that are rarely faithful.”

“Men like what?”

“You know. You saw him. He was…”

“Beautiful.”

The look she sent me was the one she always used when she was trying to instruct me. “Darling, that man was too masculine,” she said, “to be called beautiful.”

“What would you call him, then?”

“Hot.” Jacqui smiled. “But believe me, he knows it, and men like that aren’t worth your time or your trouble.”

[WIN a chance to attend a LIVE online event with Susanna Kearsley! To enter, go to: http://books.sourcebooks.com/adesperatefortune/ and find the preview chapters posted there. Break the code: 8.24.9 and email the correct word to publicity@sourcebooks.com.]

I knew she was speaking from her own experience, and she was probably right. I’d had relative peace on that front since I’d left university, and I was in no way inclined to revisit the past or repeat my mistakes, but I privately doubted that I could have ever divorced any man who had eyes like that. Whether those doubts showed, I couldn’t be sure, but my cousin said, “Sara.”

“Yes?”

“Really, I’m serious. That’s not a rabbit hole you want to tumble down. Don’t get involved.”

“I don’t get involved. And anyway, I’m here to do a job. That is, I think I’m here to do a job.”

“Of course you are.” My cousin set her hairbrush down. “You’re never having second thoughts?”

“Not me. I’m fairly sure Claudine is, though.”

“Why would you say that?”

“You were there. I don’t think I impressed her much at dinner.”

“Nonsense. I thought you did really well at dinner.” Jacqui curled her feet beneath her on the bed and leaning back against her pillows said, “You kept up with the conversation and you didn’t monologue.”

Monologuing was a common habit among those of us with Asperger’s. We could, upon occasion, talk an endless stream without allowing anyone to get a word in edgewise, and not realize it.

“I only monologue when something interests me,” I pointed out. “We were talking about gardening for most of dinner, weren’t we? Not much fear that I would monologue on that.” I could kill plants at fifty paces just by looking at them. “I’d hoped we’d talk about the diary, or about the Jacobites, or something with a point to it. That’s why I’m here. I think she’s changed her mind. I think she—”

“Darling,” Jacqui cut me off, “you worry far too much. We’ve just arrived. I’m sure Claudine assumed you’d want to spend your first night getting settled in and rested up.”

If that had been the reason why Claudine had kept the conversation superficial, there had been no need. “I want to get to work.”

“You want to get some sleep,” my cousin countered with a yawn. And then, because she knew from long experience that I might otherwise stay there indefinitely keeping her from getting sleep, she reached to switch her bedside lamp off, letting the resulting darkness bring our conversation to a close. “Be patient.”

Blog Tour Spotlight & Giveaway: Heir to a Prophecy by Mercedes Rochelle {Historical Fiction}

Author Mercedes Rochelle is currently touring the blogosphere with HF Virtual book Tours for Heir to a Prophecy from December 8-30, and today I have the opportunity for one of you to win a paperback copy of this fabulous book!

02_Heir to a Prophecy Cover 

Publication Date: December 12, 2014 | Top Hat Books | Paperback; 418p | ISBN: 978-1-78279-754-8

Genre: Historical Fiction

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READ AN EXCERPT.

Shakespeare's Witches tell Banquo, "Thou Shalt 'Get Kings Though Thou Be None". Though Banquo is murdered, his son Fleance gets away. What happened to Fleance? What Kings? As Shakespeare's audience apparently knew, Banquo was the ancestor of the royal Stewart line. But the road to kingship had a most inauspicious beginning, and we follow Fleance into exile and death, bestowing the Witches' prophecy on his illegitimate son Walter. Born in Wales and raised in disgrace, Walter's efforts to understand Banquo's murder and honor his lineage take him on a long and treacherous journey through England and France before facing his destiny in Scotland.

Buy the Book

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Watch the Book Trailer



About the Author

03_Mercedes Rochelle AuthorBorn in St. Louis MO with a degree from University of Missouri, Mercedes Rochelle learned about living history as a re-enactor and has been enamored with historical fiction ever since. She lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they built themselves.

For more information please visit Mercedes Rochelle's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.

Heir to a Prophecy Blog Tour

Monday, December 8
Interview & Giveaway at Mina's Bookshelf

Wednesday, December 10
Guest Post at Boom Baby Reviews

Thursday, December 11
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, December 12
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Saturday, December 13
Spotlight at I'd So Rather Be Reading

Tuesday, December 16
Review at Book Nerd
Guest Post at Queen of All She Reads
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, December 17
Review at Back Porchervations
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, December 19
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Saturday, December 20
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, December 22
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, December 23
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Friday, December 26
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, December 30
Review at Unshelfish
Review at The True Book Addict

Giveaway

To enter to win a paperback of Heir to a Prophecy, please leave a comment below with your email address.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on December 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents of the 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 have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Blog Tour Kick Off + eBook Giveaway: The Towers of Tuscany by Carol M. Cram

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. It's back to business today on the blog and I am so excited to be kicking off Carol Cram's blog tour festivities for The Towers of Tuscany with a giveaway!

Just check out this gorgeous cover, I have some serious cover love!

01_The Towers of Tuscany Cover 

Publication Date: December 16, 2014
Lake Union Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 366

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Sofia is trained in secret as a painter in her father’s workshop during a time when women did not paint openly. She loves her work, but her restless spirit leads her to betray her extraordinary gifts to marry a man who comes to despise her for not producing a son.

After Sofia’s father is crushed by his own fresco during an attack motivated by a vendetta, Sofia realizes she must escape her loveless marriage. She flees to Siena, where, disguised as a boy, she paints again. When her work attracts the notice of a nobleman who discovers the woman under the dirty smock, Sofia is faced with a choice that nearly destroys her.

Meticulously researched settings and compelling characters are united with a strong heroine in this rich portrait of medieval Italy.

Praise for The Towers of Tuscany

“From the very first page, Carol M. Cram captivates with her writing, transporting you to the rolling hills and rich palette of 14th-century Tuscany. You care for the protagonist, Sofia, from the outset and become an ally throughout the perilous pursuit of her beloved art. The twists and turns of the plot, and the fast pace of the writing, make it a book that is very hard to put down. I cannot praise this novel highly enough. It is a story that lingers long after you have reluctantly reached the last page. I highly recommend this book as a must-read and wish this debut novelist great success with her career. She is definitely an author to watch and has earned a firm fan who will be buying her next book.” —Janis Pegrum Smith, Historical Novel Society

"The Towers of Tuscany is a delightful escape to the Siena we all love. Carol Cram has crafted a delicious story about a strong woman torn between her secret past, her love of painting, and the forbidden charms of her rich patron. Hard to resist and highly recommended!” —Anne Fortier, author of the New York Times bestseller Juliet and The Lost Sisterhood

"The Towers of Tuscany has all the elements of a wonderful historical novel—a talented, frustrated heroine; a treacherous, feckless husband; and a promise to a dying, much loved father who orders the heroine on a dangerous mission. Carol is a first rate storyteller. The research is well done. Every chapter displays a fine knowledge of painting technique of the 14th century, and customs and mores of the age. The details of dress, fabric, food, are flawless. The clever dialogue and fast pace make the novel zing along." —Roberta Rich, bestselling author of The Midwife of Venice and The Harem Midwife

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About the Author

02_Carol CramCarol M. Cram is the author of The Towers of Tuscany, an historical novel about a woman painter in fourteenth century Italy. In addition to writing fiction, Carol has enjoyed a great career as an educator, teaching at Capilano University in North Vancouver for over twenty years and authoring forty-plus bestselling textbooks on business communications and software applications for Cengage Learning. She holds an MA in Drama from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Carol is currently focusing as much of her attention as she can spare between walks in the woods on writing historical novels with an arts twist. She and her husband, painter Gregg Simpson, share a life on beautiful Bowen Island near Vancouver, Canada. Visit her at www.carolcram.com.

The Towers of Tuscany Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 15
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 16
Guest Post at The Book Binder's Daughter

Wednesday, December 17
Review at Unshelfish

Thursday, December 18
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Monday, December 22
Guest Post at Boom Baby Reviews

Saturday, December 27
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, December 29
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Sunday, January 4
Review at HF Obsession
Review at I'd So Rather Be Reading

Monday, January 5
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, January 6
Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews

Thursday, January 8
Interview at Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Friday, January 9
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Giveaway

To enter to win an eBook of The Towers of Tuscany, please leave a comment below with your email address.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on December 25th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents of the 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 have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Interview with Susanna Fraser + eBook Giveaway: A Christmas Reunion {Historical Romance}

Time to get into the holiday spirit! Please welcome to the blog today author Susanna Fraser! I had the pleasure of interviewing Susanna about her Christmas Historical Romance novella, A Christmas Reunion, and I'm happy to share that with you today, plus I have one eBook up for grabs!

Interview with Susanna Fraser03_Susanna Fraser

To begin, can you tell us about your Christmas Historical Romance Novella and what inspired you to write A Christmas Reunion?

A Christmas Reunion is a story of star-crossed lovers reunited at Christmas after a five-year separation...and less than two weeks before the heroine, Cat Trevilian, is scheduled to marry another man.

It was inspired by my love for the Regency Christmas anthologies Signet used to publish every year. I bought those almost every year, and I loved to read them on the flight home to spend Christmas with my family. While A Christmas Reunion is a bit sexier, my goal was to write that same kind of story to put readers in a holiday mood.

What is your favorite tradition at Christmas?

The music! Every year I participate in at least one singalong version of Handel’s Messiah--this year I’ve found three in the area, and barring snowstorms or vicious sore throats I plan to make all of them. I also look forward to my church’s Christmas Eve service, which is basically just carols with a few readings and communion.

What do you love most about Regency Romances and why did you choose to write in this genre?

The Regency fascinates me because it’s poised at a point in history that’s modern enough to be readily relatable, but far enough in the past to feel like a different world. You’re starting to see the political and cultural changes that gave us the world we’re living in now, and the Industrial Revolution has started, but it’s still a time when people--and news--still traveled no faster than a galloping horse on land and were at the mercy of the winds at sea. It’s also a time of great change and turmoil, which comes out in my books because my heroes tend to be soldiers fighting in the Napoleonic Wars.

And on a shallow note, the clothing for both genders was gorgeous.

What was the hardest scene to write?

The scene I rewrote the most often was the argument between Cat and her fiance Anthony the morning after he sees her kissing Gabe, the hero.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Cat and Gabe’s midnight conversation in the parlor.

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

In addition to the Regency/Napoleonic Era, I love ancient Greece and Rome. Lindsey Davis’s Marcus Didius Falco series is one of my all-time favorites.

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

I love to sing, especially anything with a good alto line. I enjoy cooking, and I watch a lot of football and baseball. (War Eagle, Go Seahawks, and Go Mariners!) And when I have time to watch TV, it’s Sleepy Hollow, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Legend of Korra, Chopped, and the occasional episode of House Hunters and similar programs.

Who are your writing inspirations?

For romance, authors like Patricia Gaffney, Loretta Chase, and Jo Beverley made me want to try my hand at the genre myself. For the Regency era more broadly, Patrick O’Brian and Bernard Cornwell. I also want to write fantasy someday, and some of the authors I view as role models there include Naomi Novik, Jacqueline Carey, and Lois McMaster Bujold.

What was the first historical novel you read?

My childhood library had this whole series of fictionalized biographies in the children’s section about the early lives of famous Americans. I have no idea which one I read first, but I remember loving one about Tecumseh.

What is the last historical novel you read?

“Eight Tiny Flames” by Crista McHugh, a WWII Hannukah novella in an anthology called A Very Scandalous Holiday.

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

Christmas music, mostly older songs my hero and heroine might’ve sung, including…

I Saw Three Ships
Down in Yon Forest
The Holly and the Ivy
Boar’s Head Carol
The Cherry Tree Carol

Here We Come A-Wassailing (which probably dates to several decades after my story, but the wassail association is so strong, and my story actually has a wassailing scene, so…)

Can you tell us a little about your upcoming release, Freedom to Love?

It’s set in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of New Orleans, and it releases January 5, 2015--the same week as the 200th anniversary of the battle. The hero, Henry Farlow, is a British officer who awakens on the battlefield, wounded and dazed, and wanders off, quickly becoming lost. He’s rescued by a lovely young woman--Therese Bondurant, a free woman of color--who along with her younger sister saves his life. A few days later he returns the favor, but in such a fashion that the three of them are forced to flee cross-country to save him from a murder accusation.

About A Christmas Reunion


02_A Christmas Reunion 

Publication Date: November 24, 2014 | Carina Press | eBook; ASIN B00MTGFB9S

Genre: Historical Romance

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READ AN EXCERPT.

Lady Catherine Trevilian and Gabriel Shepherd met in the Earl of Edenwell’s household, he the earl’s bastard nephew adopted as an infant, and she the countess’s highborn niece taken in after being orphaned as a young lady. Though not a suitable match by society’s standards, they fell hopelessly in love – but everything ended when they were caught kissing under the mistletoe. To protect Cat from Gabe’s lowborn charms, the earl bought him an army commission and shipped him out of the country. Catherine eventually accepted an arranged engagement, but never stopped scouring casualty lists for Gabe’s name.

Five years later, Gabe is home on leave for Christmas. Catherine and Gabe quickly learn their feelings have not dimmed – and a forbidden kiss confirms they’ve deepened into passion. But with Cat due to be married in eight days and Gabe still far below her social station, it will take a Christmas miracle for the star-crossed lovers to find happiness...

Praise for Susanna Fraser's Books

“[Susanna Fraser is] a go-to writer for Regency romance that is actually set in the Regency rather than in that Never-Neverland mash-up that’s been dubbed ‘The Recency’ or ‘Almackistan.’” — Willaful at Karen Knows Best

“This is easily one of the best historical romances I’ve read.” — Romantic Historical Reviews on An Infamous Marriage

“…the romance in this story was very sweet. Sydney was immediately relatable and likeable, because she faced such a serious conflict and wanted to make an ethical decision that would preserve the lives of her loved ones.” — Dear Author on Christmas Past

About the Author

Susanna Fraser wrote her first novel in fourth grade. It starred a family of talking horses who ruled a magical land. In high school she started, but never finished, a succession of tales of girls who were just like her, only with long, naturally curly and often unusually colored hair, who, perhaps because of the hair, had much greater success with boys than she ever did.

Along the way she read her hometown library’s entire collection of Regency romance, fell in love with the works of Jane Austen, and discovered in Patrick O’Brian’s and Bernard Cornwell’s novels another side of the opening decades of the 19th century. When she started to write again as an adult, she knew exactly where she wanted to set her books. Her writing has come a long way from her youthful efforts, but she still gives her heroines great hair.

Susanna grew up in rural Alabama. After high school she left home for the University of Pennsylvania and has been a city girl ever since. She worked in England for a year after college, using her days off to explore history from ancient stone circles to Jane Austen’s Bath.

Susanna lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter. When not writing or reading, she goes to baseball games, sings alto in a local choir and watches cooking competition shows.

For more information please visit Susanna's website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

A Christmas Reunion Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 24
Review at Romantic Historical Reviews
Spotlight at Literary Chanteuse

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Laurie Here
Review at Let Them Read Books
Guest Post at Ramblings From This Chick

Thursday, November 27
Spotlight at The True Book Addict

Monday, December 1
Review at By the Book Reviews

Tuesday, December 2
Guest Post at SOS Aloha

Friday, December 5
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, December 9
Review at Historical Romance Lover

Wednesday, December 10
Review at Book Babe
Mistletoe Madness Guest Post at The Book Nympho

Friday, December 12
Review at The Christmas Spirit

Giveaway

To enter to win an eBook of A Christmas Reunion, please leave a comment below with your email address.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on December 24th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Giveaway is open to residents of the 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 have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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