Guest Post by Alison McMahan + Giveaway: The Saffron Crocus

Today on the blog please help me welcome author Alison McMahan! Alison is currently on Blog Tour with HF Virtual Book Tours for her Historical YA novel, The Saffron Crocus, and today I am so excited to bring you an awesome post from Alison and a chance for you to win a copy of the book!

Historical Research:Investigation Leads to Inspiration by Alison McMahan


A question that comes up often when I appear at author events is "why historical?" My 'cute' answer is that I don't have to make anything up — not what the characters were wearing or what they ate. It's all there to be looked up.

Of course that answer is simplistic. Most historical authors, myself included, work hard to weave together a story that's composed of true historical events/settings/figures, accurately described, mixed in with fictional characters living out their own dramas.

For The Saffron Crocus (www.TheSaffronCrocus.com), my young adult historical mystery, I knew I wanted the story to be set in Venice, a city I'd visited a few times. After some research, I picked the year 1643. Why 1643? Because I wanted my heroine, Isabella, to be fifteen and to have lost her parents in the Black Plague of 1633, when she was five. And since Isabella wants to sing, first in Claudio Monteverdi's choir and then in operas, I had to choose a time when Monteverdi was still choir director at San Marco's Basilica and his first operas were being performed.

One of the great pleasures of writing historical is stumbling on discoveries that change everything in your novel. I was reading travel articles about Venice and stumbled on this gem:

Venice is no ordinary city, and neither is its cemetery. Until the early 19th century, Venetians usually buried their dead under paving stones within the central city -- not a salutary practice, particularly in times of pestilence. So the Austrian occupation decreed in 1837 that San Michele would be the only possible burial ground for most Venetians. (A Jewish cemetery dating from the 14th century is on the Lido.) (Susan Allen Toth, New York Times, 1993: Venice's Isle Of The Dead) http://www.nytimes.com/1993/05/16/travel/venice-s-isle-of-the-dead.html

Venice buried their dead under paving stones! This changed all my memories of wandering around Venice and taking in the sights. When I walked across a campo, was I walking over Venice's dead?

Just as fascinating was that Venetian Jews had a cemetery centuries before Christian Venetians did. These two facts together inspired in the crafting of one of the main twists in the story.

Even though The Saffron Crocus is a mystery, it's not all about death. Isabella is fifteen. In 1643 that made her an adult. She had to decide how she was going to earn her living and who she was going to marry. But she's still young enough to be trying new things and getting into trouble.

I wanted to write a scene a modern teenager would identify with. Today's teenagers sneak off with a six pack of beer. But in 1643 the drug of choice was coffee. Called cavee, it was much stronger than what Americans drink today, and definitely had a mind-altering effect. So I built a scene of teenagers hanging out and getting to know each other around the 'forbidden substance' of cavee.

More than anything, The Saffron Crocus is about music. As I did my research, I was pained and saddened to discover that many scores to operas have been lost. One of the greatest losses is L'Arianna, by Claudio Monteverdi. All that remains is the music for one aria, the "Lamento d'Arianna" (Arianna's Lament), which is still performed today. You can find many versions on youtube. This discovery influenced me to write the scene that for me was one of the most powerful scenes in the book.

Historical research can be difficult and time consuming, but sometimes even a small discovery can have a huge impact on a story.

About The Saffron Crocus

02_The Saffron Crocus 

Publication Date: December 13, 2014 | Black Opal Books | eBook; 306p

Genre: Young Adult/Historical Mystery/Romance

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Winner of the 2014 Rosemary Award for Best Historical for Young Adults.

Venice, 1643. Isabella, fifteen, longs to sing in Monteverdi’s Choir, but only boys (and castrati) can do that. Her singing teacher, Margherita, introduces her to a new wonder: opera! Then Isabella finds Margherita murdered. Now people keep trying to kill Margherita’s handsome rogue of a son, Rafaele.

Was Margherita killed so someone could steal her saffron business? Or was it a disgruntled lover, as Margherita—unbeknownst to Isabella—was one of Venice’s wealthiest courtesans?

Or will Isabella and Rafaele find the answer deep in Margherita's past, buried in the Jewish Ghetto?

Isabella has to solve the mystery of the Saffron Crocus before Rafaele hangs for a murder he didn’t commit, though she fears the truth will drive her and the man she loves irrevocably apart.

Excerpt

Who knew a singing career would be this much trouble?

“Rafaele!” She flew into the garret. “Piero, it was so wonderful, wait until I tell you!”

The stool next to the bed was knocked over. The tray with the genepy bottle was on the floor, one of the cups broken. The fat candle that had been burning next to Rafaele’s bed had been flung to the other side of the room.. Canvases were strewn all over the floor, some of them slashed, and many of Master Strozzi’s jars of paint elements were broken.

Did Piero and Rafaele have a fight? She quickly suppressed the thought. Who would get into a fight with a man who was already injured?

Something else must have happened.

She walked across the garret. “Piero? Rafaele, are you here?”

Rafaele was not in the bed. The sheets and blankets she had piled on top of him were strewn everywher. Blood-stained sheets spilled over the edge of the pallet. There was a pile of clothes on the floor.

She walked around to get a closer look.

Not clothes. It was Piero. Face down, one arm stretched out before him, as if in supplication.

A puddle of blood under him.

Dead.

Praise for The Saffron Crocus

"I adored this beautifully written, passionate book. The Saffron Crocus is a glittering, thrilling opera of a novel that plucked my heartstrings and kept me reading at fever pitch. Brava, Alison McMahan! Encore!" -Nancy Holder, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Wicked Saga

Buy the eBook

Black Opal Books
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

About the Author

03_Alison McMahan AuthorAlison McMahan chased footage for her documentaries through jungles in Honduras and Cambodia, favelas in Brazil and racetracks in the U.S. She brings the same sense of adventure to her award-winning books of historical mystery and romantic adventure for teens and adults. Her latest publication is The Saffron Crocus, a historical mystery for young. Murder, Mystery & Music in 17th Century Venice.

She loves hearing from readers!

Author Links

Webpage for The Saffron Crocus
AlisonMcMahanAuthor.com
AlisonMcMahan.com
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Pinterest
Google+
Instagram
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The Saffron Crocus Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, April 13
Book Blast at Genre Queen

Thursday, April 16
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Friday, April 17
Interview at Mythical Books

Monday, April 20
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, April 21
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Wednesday, April 22
Guest Post at History From a Woman's Perspective

Tuesday, April 28
Book Blast at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, April 29
Guest Post & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, May 5
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, May 6
Review at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, May 7
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, May 8
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Saturday, May 9
Book Blast at Romantic Historical Lovers

Tuesday, May 12
Review at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, May 13
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Thursday, May 14
Review at Book Babe
Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Monday, May 25
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Wednesday, May 27
Book Blast at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, May 28
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Monday, June 1
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, June 2
Guest Post at The Maiden's Court

Friday, June 5
Spotlight & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Giveaway

To enter to win a print copy of The Saffron Crocus please leave a comment below with your email address.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 3rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US 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 have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Victorian Revenge and Its Lunacy: Guest Post by Robert Morrison {Inspector of the Dead Blog Tour} + Giveaway!



Today on the blog I am pleased to bring you a fascinating guest post on Thomas DeQuincey by author Robert Morrison as part of David Morrell's Inspector of the Dead Blog Tour! I also have a chance for one of you to win a copy of David's latest novel.

Robert Morrison is the author of a forthcoming edition of Thomas De Quincey, which will be released this year in Oxford University Press’s new 21st-Century Oxford Authors series: http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/category/academic/series/literature/21coa.do.

Victorian Revenge and Its Lunacy

David Morrell has done it again. Two years ago, in Murder as a Fine Art, he produced a gripping tale of terror and despair set in 1854 London, and featuring the infamous English opium addict and essayist Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859), initially as a suspect in the gruesome murders, and then as a police consultant intimately involved in tracking down the killer.

At the heart of Murder is Morrell’s reimagining of De Quincey’s two most famous works. The first, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821), is De Quincey’s seminal account of both the pains and the pleasures of opium, a drug which he consumed in vast quantities in a potent tincture called “laudanum,” and which is now much better known in the form of one of its chief derivatives: heroin.

The second, a three-part series On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts (1827, 1839, 1854), is De Quincey’s wide-ranging exploration of the Ratcliffe Highway murders of December 1811, when seven people in two separate incidents were brutally murdered in London’s notorious East End. In Murder, the assassin is obsessed with De Quincey and his opium addiction, as well as with the Ratcliffe Highway killings, which he delights in re-enacting step by blood-soaked step.

Morrell’s newest novel, Inspector of the Dead, picks up where Murder finishes off, once again bringing De Quincey as opium habituĂ© and true crime connoisseur vividly into view, and extending even further the range of references to his life and his writings. Most notably, “revenge, and the lunacy of revenge,” as De Quincey once memorably phrased it, drive both Morrell’s assassin in Inspector and the anti-heroes in two of De Quincey’s finest works of terror fiction.

In The Household Wreck (1838), De Quincey produces a disturbing tale of injustice, deceit, and incarceration, and concludes with a scene of mob violence in which the blackmailer is beaten to death, and the narrator’s thirst for vengeance is satiated. Morrell draws deeply on this tale in Inspector, reworking some of its central features to shape his account of the misfortunes that befall the killer’s family, as well as the implacable rage that subsequently governs his actions.

Even more centrally, in The Avenger (1838), De Quincey explores the unnerving consequences of vigilantism and persecution in a tale in which a war hero returns unrecognized to the town where his innocent mother was publicly flogged to death, and begins to assassinate those responsible for the atrocity.

Morrell comes back to this tale on several occasions in Inspector, including when the violence initiated by his killer careens so far out of control that he – like De Quincey’s killer – becomes his own enemy. De Quincey in The Avenger creates an assassin who sees his acts of retribution as confirmation, not of the dead-end futility of violence, but of the divinity of his bloody mission. His “avenger” is at once a saviour and a suicide, a protector and a destroyer. In Inspector, Morrell’s “revenger” – as he is called throughout the novel – makes equally compelling claims on our sympathies.

De Quincey’s finest writings include his drug-addled Confessions, his lurid accounts of murder as a fine art, and his terror tales of execution and revenge. It is to these works that Morrell turns in Inspector, creating a dynamic interplay in which De Quincey feeds Morrell, Morrell intensifies and reinterprets De Quincey, and the writings of both authors are transformed in the process. Morrell has not only opened up new perspectives on the range and relevance of De Quincey, but his ongoing fascination with him has produced a second tour-de-force, in which mid-Victorian London is once again the backdrop for a superb tale of detection, reprisal, and addiction.

More on Robert Morrison

Author of The English Opium-Eater: A Biography of Thomas De Quincey (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2009), which was a finalist for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography, 2010. Co-general editor of The Selected Works of Leigh Hunt, and editor of Hunt’s essays, 1822–38 (Pickering and Chatto, 2003). Editor of three volumes of the Works of Thomas De Quincey, and co-editor of a fourth (Pickering and Chatto, 2000–03). Editor of Thomas De Quincey, On Murder (Oxford, 2006), Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Sourcebook (Routledge, 2005), and “Richard Woodhouse’s Cause Book: The Opium-Eater, the Magazine Wars, and the London Literary Scene in 1821,” Harvard Library Bulletin (1998). Co-editor, with Chris Baldick, of The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre (Oxford, 1997), and Tales of Terror from Blackwood’s Magazine (Oxford, 1995). Author of “William Blackwood and the Dynamics of Success,” Print Culture and the Blackwood Tradition, 1805–1930 (Toronto, 2006) and “The Romantic Essayists,” Literature of the Romantic Period: A Bibliographical Guide, ed. Michael O’Neill (Oxford, 1998). Articles in Essays in Criticism, Romanticism, The Wordsworth Circle, and Victorian Periodicals Review.

Awards

Frank Knox Award for Excellence in Teaching (2014)
University of Lethbridge Distinguished Alumnus of the Year (2013)
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Teaching Award (2008)
Frank Knox Award for Excellence in Teaching (2008)
W. J. Barnes Award for Excellence in Teaching(2006)
Frank Knox Award for Excellence in Teaching (2006)


About Inspector of the Dead

02_Inspector of the Dead Cover 

Publication Date: March 24, 2015 | Mulholland Books | Hardcover; 342p | ISBN: 9780316323932

Genre: Historical Mystery

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David Morrell’s MURDER AS A FINE ART was a publishing event. Acclaimed by critics, it made readers feel that they were actually on the fogbound streets of Victorian London. Now the harrowing journey continues in INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD.

Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his Confessions of an Opium-Eater,confronts London's harrowing streets to thwart the assassination of Queen Victoria.
The year is 1855. The Crimean War is raging. The incompetence of British commanders causes the fall of the English government. The Empire teeters.

Amid this crisis comes opium-eater Thomas De Quincey, one of the most notorious and brilliant personalities of Victorian England. Along with his irrepressible daughter, Emily, and their Scotland Yard companions, Ryan and Becker, De Quincey finds himself confronted by an adversary who threatens the heart of the nation.

This killer targets members of the upper echelons of British society, leaving with each corpse the name of someone who previously attempted to kill Queen Victoria. The evidence indicates that the ultimate victim will be Victoria herself. As De Quincey and Emily race to protect the queen, they uncover long-buried secrets and the heartbreaking past of a man whose lust for revenge has destroyed his soul.

Brilliantly merging historical fact with fiction, Inspector of the Dead is based on actual attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria.

Praise for Inspector of the Dead

“Riveting! I literally thought I was in 1855 London. With this mesmerizing series, David Morrell doesn’t just delve into the world of Victorian England—he delves into the heart of evil, pitting one man’s opium-skewed brilliance against a society where appearances are everything, and the most vicious killers lurk closer than anyone thinks.” —Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Crash & Burn and The Perfect Husband


What the Victorian Experts Say:

“Even better than Murder as a Fine Art. A truly atmospheric and dynamic thriller. I was fascinated by how Morrell seamlessly blended elements from Thomas De Quincey’s life and work. The solution is a complete surprise.” —Grevel Lindop, The Opium-Eater: A Life of Thomas De Quincey

“The scope is remarkable. Florence Nightingale, the Crimean War, regicide, the railways, opium, the violence and despair of the London rookeries, medical and scientific innovations, arsenic in the food and clothing—all this makes the Victorian world vivid. The way Morrell depicts Thomas De Quincey places him in front of us, living and breathing. But his daughter Emily is in many ways the real star of the book.” —Robert Morrison, The English Opium-Eater: A Biography of Thomas De Quincey

“I absolutely raced through it and couldn’t bear to put it down. I particularly liked how the very horrible crimes are contrasted with the developing, fascinating relationship between Thomas De Quincey and his daughter, Emily, who come across as extremely real. It was altogether a pleasure.” —Judith Flanders, The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Reveled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
iBooks
IndieBound
Kobo

03_David Morell ©_Jennifer_EsperanzaAbout the Author

David Morrell is an Edgar, Nero, Anthony, and Macavity nominee as well as a recipient of the prestigious career-achievement Thriller Master away from the International Thriller Writers. His numerous New York Times bestsellers include the classic espionage novel. The Brotherhood of the Rose, the basis for the only television mini-series to be broadcast after a Super Bowl. A former literature professor at the University of Iowa, Morrell has a PhD from Pennsylvania State University. His latest novel is INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD, a sequel to his highly acclaimed Victorian mystery/thriller, Murder as a Fine Art, which Publishers Weekly called ”one of the top ten mystery/thrillers of 2013.”

For more information visit David Morrell's website. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Inspector of the Dead Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, March 24
Review at Unabridged Chick
Excerpt at Boom Baby Reviews

Wednesday, March 25
Review at Back Porchervations
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Thursday, March 26
Review at JulzReads

Friday, March 27
Interview at JulzReads

Monday, March 30
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Spotlight at Tales of a Book Addict

Tuesday, March 31
Interview & Excerpt at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, April 1
Spotlight at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf

Thursday, April 2
Review at Build a Bookshelf
Review & Giveaway at Mina's Bookshelf

Friday, April 3
Review at Peppermint, Ph.D.

Monday, April 6
Review & Giveaway at To Read, or Not to Read
Excerpt & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, April 7
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, April 8
Interview at Back Porchervations
Spotlight & Giveaway at Words and Peace

Thursday, April 9
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews

Friday, April 10
Review at Layered Pages
Review, Excerpt & Giveaway at Drey's Library

Saturday, April 11
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, April 13
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, April 14
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, April 15
Review & Excerpt at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, April 16
Review at Editing Pen
Review at Luxury Reading
Review at The Maiden's Court

Friday, April 17
Guest Post & Giveaway at Editing Pen

Monday, April 20
Review & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, April 21
Review at A Book Geek
Review at Books and Benches

Wednesday, April 22
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Thursday, April 23
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, April 24
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Giveaway

To enter to win a print copy of Inspector of the Dead please leave a comment below with your email address.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 2nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US 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 have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Amalia Carosella's Helen of Sparta Blog Tour & Giveaway

Please join author Amalia Carosella as she tours the blogosphere with HF Virtual Book Tours for Helen of Sparta, from April 1-22, and enter to win a $40 Amazon Gift Card!

02_Helen of Sparta Cover 

Publication Date: April 1, 2015 | Lake Union Publishing | Formats: eBook, Paperback | ISBN-10: 1477821384

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war—a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers—violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war—thwart Helen’s plans and bar her path. Still, she refuses to bend to the will of the gods.

A new take on an ancient myth, Helen of Sparta is the story of one woman determined to decide her own fate.

Buy the Book

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

03_Amalia Carosella AuthorAbout the Author

Amalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). For more information, visit her blog at www.amaliacarosella.com. She also writes fantasy and paranormal romance as Amalia Dillin.

You can also connect with Amalia on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter here and here.

Helen of Sparta Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 1
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, April 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, April 3
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Saturday, April 4
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Monday, April 6
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, April 7
Spotlight at leeanna.com

Wednesday, April 8
Review at Historical Reads and Views

Thursday, April 9
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!

Friday, April 10
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, April 13
Interview at Book Babe
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession

Tuesday, April 14
Review at Forever Ashley

Wednesday, April 15
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, April 16
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, April 17
Review at Impressions in Ink

Monday, April 20
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at The Maiden's Court

Tuesday, April 21
Review at Broken Teepee
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, April 22
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Giveaway

To enter to win a $40 Amazon Gift Card, please complete the giveaway form below.

RULES

Giveaway starts on April 1st at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 22nd.
Giveaway is open to residents in the US only and you must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 23rd and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.

Helen of Sparta


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Immigrant Soldier Blog Tour Wrap-Up

Today concludes K. Lang-Slattery's Blog Tour for Immigrant Soldier: The Story of a Ritchie Boy. It was a great tour and in case you missed it I have a wrap-up for you!

Blog Tour Guest Posts

Character Guest Post: Molly Speaks on Love and War hosted at Books and Benches

K. Lang-Slattery talks about her next project at Just One More Chapter

Blog Tour Reviews

"Like Cara Langston's Battle Hymns and Trini Amador's Gracianna, Immigrant Soldier captures the individual experience of the WWII. Earnest, informative and heartfelt, the book evokes the spirit of a unit who refused to be victimized and honors their contribution to the war effort." - Flashlight Commentary (http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot.com/2015/04/immigrant-soldier-story-of-ritchie-boy.html)

"The author has researched and delved into an aspect of the war that has rarely been highlighted before and brings the world of US military interpreters and their importance to US military strategy to the reading public" - Dianne Ascroft (https://dianneascroft.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/immigrant-soldier-a-new-look-at-wwii)

"The author did a wonderful job bringing this world alive. I was drawn in from page one. I recommend it for those that like HF and/or biography-type books. This was a good one and I really think it should be turned into a TV special or a movie. Out of five stars, I stamp this with 4." - Carole Ramblings (http://www.caroleraesramblings.com/2015/04/book-review-immigrant-soldier-by-k-lang.html)

About Immigrant Soldier

02_Immigrant Soldier Cover 

Publication Date: February 9, 2015 | Pacific Bookworks | Formats: eBook & Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction


Immigrant Soldier, The Story of a Ritchie Boy, based on the true experiences of a refugee from Nazi Germany, combines a coming-of-age story with an immigrant tale and a World War II adventure. On a cold November morning in 1938, Herman watches in horror as his cousin is arrested. As a Jew, he realizes it is past time to flee Germany, a decision that catapults him from one adventure to another, his life changed forever by the gathering storm of world events. Gradually, Herman evolves from a frustrated teenager, looking for a place to belong, into a confident US Army intelligence officer who struggles with hate and forgiveness.

Advance Praise

“In this debut historical novel, a young German Jew flees his homeland before World War II and is later drafted into the US Army, serving closely under the legendary Gen. George S. Patton. Lang-Slattery effectively mines family history to create a solid work of historical fiction from her uncle’s real-life derring-do. . . . In the sunny glamour of the book’s California passages, she effectively evokes the young immigrant’s overflowing hope. . . . Overall, her uncle’s fictionalized adventures never fail to interest, whether he’s slipping behind the lines for Patton or simply attempting to romance the local girls. An often engaging tale of one man’s involvement in the world’s most horrific war.” - Kirkus Reviews

“A captivating book, extremely well written. Thanks to the army’s Camp Ritchie Military Intelligence Training Center for molding soldiers like Herman Lang and to the author for sharing his story with us.” - Ralph M. Hockley, Colonel, US Army (Ret); Career Army Intelligence Officer, 1952-1980; and a Ritchie Boy

“K. Lang-Slattery has uncovered small but significant details that not only add to the fascination of her novel but also bring material before the public never hitherto disclosed. Beyond that, her brief character sketches bring us, in miniature, samples of the “Greatest Generation.” And her style keeps the reader glued to the page!” - Guy Stern, Distinguished Professor Emeritus; Director, International Institute of the Righteous, and Ritchie Boy

“Written by Herman's niece, Immigrant Soldier, The Story of a Ritchie Boy, has an appealing personal touch. Interwoven through the story is a wealth of well-researched and often little-known information about World War II. Time reading this book is time well-spent, and anyone—from teens to adults, history buffs or not—will enjoy it.” - Marion Coste – Editor and award-winning children’s book author of Kolea.

Buy the Book

Amazon

About the Author

02_Kathryn Lang-Slattery_AuthorKathryn Lang-Slattery, a published author of fiction and nonfiction for youth, became fascinated with her uncle’s World War II stories and began taping his conversations in 1996. Soon she knew she had found a fascinating untold story of Jewish refugees who became silent heroes. More than a decade spent researching, interviewing Ritchie Boys, and turning the true story of her uncle into fiction became an odyssey of discovery that resulted in the novel, Immigrant Soldier, The Story of a Ritchie Boy.

For more information please visit at K. Lang-Slattery's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Immigrant Soldier Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 6
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, April 7
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at Unshelfish

Thursday, April 9
Review at Dianne Ascroft
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Friday, April 10
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Saturday, April 11
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Sunday, April 12
Review at Carole's Ramblings

Monday, April 13
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, April 14
Guest Post at Books and Benches

Wednesday, April 15
Spotlight, Excerpt, & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Thursday, April 16
Review at Bookramblings

Friday, April 17
Blog Tour Wrap-Up at Passages to the Past

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Giveaway: The Masque of a Murderer by Susanna Calkins

Today is the last day of Susanna Calkin's Blog Tour for The Masque of a Murderer and I have one more chance for you to win your own copy!

02_The Masque of a Murderer_Cover 

Publication Date: April 14, 2015 | Minotaur Books/St. Martins Press | Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 323

Series: Book Three, Lucy Campion Mysteries
Genre: Historical Mystery

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In Susanna Calkins’ next richly drawn mystery set in 17th century England, Lucy Campion, formerly a ladies’ maid in the local magistrate’s household, has now found gainful employment as a printer’s apprentice. On a freezing winter afternoon in 1667, she accompanies the magistrate’s daughter, Sarah, to the home of a severely injured Quaker man to record his dying words, a common practice of the time. The man, having been trampled by a horse and cart the night before, only has a few hours left to live. Lucy scribbles down the Quaker man’s last utterances, but she’s unprepared for what he reveals to her—that someone deliberately pushed him into the path of the horse, because of a secret he had recently uncovered.

Fearful that Sarah might be traveling in the company of a murderer, Lucy feels compelled to seek the truth, with the help of the magistrate's son, Adam, and the local constable. But delving into the dead man’s background might prove more dangerous than any of them had imagined.

In The Masque of a Murderer, Susanna Calkins has once again combined finely wrought characters, a richly detailed historical atmosphere, and a tightly-plotted mystery into a compelling read.

Lucy Campion Mystery Series Titles


Book One: A Murder at Rosamund's Gate
Macavity Award Finalist Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award (2014)
Barnes & Noble Bookseller's Selection ("Mystery Pick" and "Featured New Arrival")
Chicago Book Review - Best Books of 2013

Book Two: From the Charred Remains (Paperback release on March 17, 2015)
Short-listed for the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award (2015)

Book Three: The Masque of a Murderer (coming April 2015!)

Praise for the Lucy Campion Mystery Series

"...the high-quality writing augurs well for future outings." -Publisher's Weekly

"Calkins makes Lucy’s efforts to find the real killer entirely plausible, leading to a nail-biter climax with London in flames. This history-mystery delivers a strong heroine making her way through the social labyrinth of Restoration London." -Booklist

"Calkins' debut mystery places her unusual detective in a world rich in carefully researched historical detail." -Kirkus

"A historical mystery with originality and great attention to detail. Readers are transported to 17th century England, a time when social classes were just beginning to change. The characters are multi-dimensional--including the smart, adventurous Lucy Campion--and the mystery will keep readers turning the pages, and they'll eagerly await the next book in the series." RT Book Reviews (4 Stars)

"...an intricate tale of fraud and blackmail, leavened by a touch of romance. Calkins, who holds a doctorate in British history, puts her knowledge to sparkling use in this intriguing mystery, which combines a gripping plot with rich historical detail and one of the most admirable protagonists in the genre." -The Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Calkins is able to seamlessly weave this romance into the story without making it the main plot line, and keeping the mystery the main focus of the story....The puzzles, anagrams, and many secrets combine to make intertwining plot twists that keep the pages turning. FROM THE CHARRED REMAINS is an exciting, secret filled, historical mystery that will keep readers guessing until the very end." --Fresh Fiction (Reviewer's Pick)

“A good yarn and a fascinating look at life in England in a time when things began to change...social classes, positions, servants' rights...all because of plague and fire.” -Book Babe Blog

“For me, this book was more than a mystery. It was an eye-opening look at what London was like in the mid-1660s, including the plague and fire that ravaged London, class struggle, the plight of women, and the laws of the time. The author's engaging writing style made it easy to slip back into the past and experience these things with Lucy.” -Book of Secrets

“A Murder at Rosamund's Gate is Susanna Calkins' absorbing debut novel. Just a warning that time WILL easily slip away as you become engrossed in this historical fiction mystery.” -1776 Books: A Philadelphian's Literary Journey

Buy the Book

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Book Depository
iTunes

About the Author

03_Susanna Calkins_AuthorBorn and raised in Philadelphia, Susanna Calkins lives in Highland Park, Illinois with her husband and two sons, where she is an educator at Northwestern University. With a PhD in history, her historical mysteries feature Lucy Campion, a 17th century chambermaid-turned-printer’s apprentice. Her first novel, A Murder at Rosamund's Gate, was a finalist for the Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award (Macavity). The second in this series, From the Charred Remains, is currently a finalist for the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award. Her third, The Masque of a Murderer, will be released in April 2015.

For more information and to subscribe to Susanna Calkins' newsletter please visit her website. You can also follow her blog, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Masque of a Murderer Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 16
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, March 17
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, March 18
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, March 20
Spotlight at Historical Readings & Reviews

Monday, March 23
Review & Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, March 25
Review & Interview at The Emerald City Book Review

Tuesday, March 31
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Wednesday, April 1
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Thursday, April 2
Review at Just One More Chapter

Monday, April 6
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, April 7
Spotlight at The Genre Queen

Thursday, April 9
Review at The Lit Bitch
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Friday, April 10
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, April 13
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, April 14
Review at Book Babe

Thursday, April 16
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Friday, April 17
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

To enter to win a paperback copy of The Masque of a Murderer please leave a comment below with your email address.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada 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 have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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T.K. Thorne's Angels at the Gate Blog Tour & Giveaway!

Today is the last day of T.K. Thorne's Blog Tour for Angels at the Gate, and the last day to enter to win a copy for yourself! The blog tour reviewers loved Angels at the Gate, you can read their reviews below!

02_Angels at the Gate_Cover 

Publication Date: March 5, 2015 | Cappuccino Books | Formats: eBook, Hardcover | Pages: 368

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Based on historical, biblical, and archaeological research, visits to the Middle East, and a large measure of creativity, ANGELS AT THE GATE is the story of Adira, destined to become Lot’s wife. A daughter of Abram's tribe, Adira is an impetuous young girl whose mother died in childbirth. Secretly raised as a boy in her father’s caravan and schooled in languages and the art of negotiation, Adira rejects the looming changes of womanhood that threaten her nomadic life and independence.

But with the arrival of two mysterious strangers – Northmen rumored to be holy or possibly even “Angels” – Adira’s world unravels. Raiders invade the caravan, and she loses everything she values most – her father, her freedom, and even the “Angels.”

Caught between her oath to her father to return to her tribe and the “proper life for a woman” and tormented by an impossible love, she abandons all she has known in a dangerous quest to seek revenge and find her kidnapped “Angel.” With only her beloved dog, Nami, at her side, Adira must use the skills she learned in the caravan to survive the perils of the desert, Sodom, and her own heart.

ANGELS AT THE GATE is a story of adventure and the power of love, exploring themes about choice – the importance of asking the right questions and walking the fine edge between duty and personal freedom.

Based on a simple mention in the Bible, T.K. Thorne has developed a complex and full-bodied character in the wife of Lot, a woman both ancient and modern, who will touch readers’ hearts, and live in their memories for years to come. As Dianne Mooney, founder of Southern Living At Home says, “For all those whose curiosity is piqued by how it might have been in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, this is a must read!”

Praise for Angels at the Gate

"ANGELS AT THE GATE is nothing short of a masterwork–superbly and eloquently written, solidly researched and a high-speed page-turner. Readers will be swept up in a story they can't put down." –Elsa D. Ruther, editor,The Nifty Pickle

“A masterpiece of historical research, interweaving history and theology in a re-visioning of an ancient story from a woman’s perspective. Thorne is a dazzlingly gifted writer.” –Sue Walker, Poet Laureate of Alabama, 2003-2012

“Thorne unspools an ancient adventure with crackling undertones of our contemporary lives. Lean, polished action sequences render a young woman’s life with both intensity and nuanced truth.” –Dale Short, public radio commentator and author of A Shinning, Shinning Path

Buy Angels at the Gate

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

03_Author TK. ThorneAbout the Author

T.K. Thorne’s childhood passion for storytelling deepened when she became a police officer in Birmingham, Alabama. “It was a crash course in life and what motivated and mattered to people.” When she retired as a captain, she took on Birmingham’s business improvement district as the executive director. Both careers provide fodder for her writing, which has garnered several awards, including “Book of the Year for Historical Fiction” (ForeWord Reviews) for her debut novel Noah’s Wife. Her first non-fiction book, Last Chance for Justice, was featured on the New York Post’s “Books You Should Be Reading” list. She loves traveling, especially to research her novels, and speaking about her books and life lessons. She writes at her mountaintop home, often with two dogs by her side and a cat on her lap.

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.

Blog Tour Reviews

"With the environs featured, the wonderful characterization along with adventure and action creates a memorable read. Thorne brilliantly incorporates the biblical story with clever fiction without detracting from religion, portrayed in a respectful manner." - Unshelfish (http://unshelfish.org/2015/03/26/angels-at-the-gate-by-t-k-thorne-w-giveaway/)

"It doesn't get any better than this...I LOVED this book. This is an incredibly well written book and I strongly encourage everyone who likes a good tale to read this book. Even if you are not a fan of biblical literature, you will enjoy this book, it's a tale well told." - Book Lovers Paradise (http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com/2015/04/angels-at-gate.html)

"This was a fascinating read. I really enjoyed reading about Adira, or as we come to know her "Lot's wife." I highly enjoyed this story and found it to be rich in history and a very well crafted read." - Book Nerd (http://booknerdloleotodo.blogspot.com/2015/04/angels-at-gate-by-tk-thorne.html)

"This was my first reading of a novel by T.K Thorne and I’m going to safely say that this is not my last."- With Her Nose Stuck in a Book (https://quirkyladybookworm.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/angels-at-the-gate-a-review)

"I have a fascination for Biblical fiction and what Ms. Thorne does so very well is tell the story behind the story. Ms. Thorne performs a magical alchemy with her characters and the ability to transport her reader back to Biblical times. I can’t wait to see who Ms. Thorne will bring to life next." - Broken Teepee (http://brokenteepee.com/2015/03/angels-at-the-gate-by-t-k-thorne-blog-tour-book-review-and-giveaway-angelsatthegateblogtour.html/)

Angels at the Gate Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 23
Review at Genre Queen
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, March 25
Review at Quirky Book Reviews
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 26
Review at Room With Books
Review at Unshelfish

Friday, March 27
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Review at Broken Teepee

Saturday, March 28
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, March 31
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, April 2
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Monday, April 6
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Thursday, April 9
Spotlight at I'd So Rather Be Reading

Monday, April 13
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, April 15
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, April 16
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks

Friday, April 17
Blog Tour Wrap Up at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

To enter to win a Hardcover copy of Angels at the Gate please complete the giveaway form below. Five copies are up for grabs!

* Giveaway is open to US residents only.
* Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on April 17th.
* You must be 18 or older to enter.
* 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.
* Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 18th and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
* Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.

Angels at the Gate


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Book Blast & Giveaway: MK McClintock's British Agent Historical Mystery Series

Please follow M.K. McClintock's Book Blast for her British Agent Series, from April 13-17, and enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Book One: Alaina Claiborne

01_Alaina Claiborne 

Publication Date: January 8, 2013 | Trappers Peak Publishing | ISBN: 978-0615742502

Series: British Agent Novels, Book One
Genre: Historical Romantic Mystery

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?How far would you go to avenge your family and save the one you love?

In nineteenth-century England, Alaina Claiborne had a loving family, a cherished friend, and devoted servants. She spent her days riding across the grassy hills of the English countryside, joyful and at peace.

Then tragedy strikes and her world is forever changed. Searching for those responsible is her only focus . . . until she meets Tristan.

?Tristan Sheffield, a man of many talents, searches out those who don’t want to be found. His past is filled with secrets and deeds he would rather leave deeply buried. However, when his life unexpectedly entwines with Alaina's, he soon discovers they share more than a mutual desire to catch a murderer.

On their hunt for a man driven by greed, Tristan and Alaina find that love is the greatest weapon against evil, and they'll stop at nothing to survive.

Praise for Alaina Claiborne

"This one is a winner. It broke my heart several times, the poignant moments she describes are so real." -Deborah from The Bookish Dame Reviews

"Ms. McClintock succeeds in masterfully weaving both genres meticulously together until mystery lovers are sold on romance and romance lovers love the mystery!" -InD'Tale Magazine

"With a strong female lead and a nice mix of both action and romance, this novel tops my list." -Judge, Writer's Digest 21st Annual Self-Published Book Awards

Official Book Trailer



Buy Alaina Claborne


Book Two: Blackwood Crossing

2_Blackwood Crossing 

Publication Date: June 2, 2014 | Trappers Peak Publishing | ISBN: 978-0991330607

Series: British Agent Novels, Book Two
Genre: Historical Romantic Mystery

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If you had to make a choice, would it be loyalty or love?

Torn between loyalty to her family and refusal to marry a laird she despises, Rhona Davidson accepts a dangerous proposal from a man she knows only as Blackwood.

Leaving behind a life of leisure, Charles Blackwood bravely serves his country with honor and the skill of a trained British agent. When his newest case returns him to the wild Highlands of Scotland, he is faced with a choice between killing a man and saving the only woman he has ever loved.

Charles and Rhona join their lives, only to discover that their choices will result in bloodshed, unless they can uncover a truth long buried, deep in the Highland soil.

Praise for Blackwood Crossing

"Historical Romance readers will be delighted with the author's style and veritable plot line in this clean romance. "Blackwood Crossing" is a wonderful book for the reader to begin their lifelong Historical Romance adventure or continue their HR journey! Bravo Ms. McClintock!" -InD'Tale Magazine, 4 1/2 stars and a Crowned Heart

"MK McClintock has spun an enchanting tale deeply entrenched in the lands of Scotland and England that will leave you riveted to your chair until you turn the last page." -Donna McBroom-Theriot, mylifeonstoryatatime.com

“This is a wonderful book with suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat and surprises to keep me guessing . . . a feisty heroine and a strong, gentle hero . . . My poetic soul is fed by the beautiful descriptions of nature.” -Verna Mitchell, poet and author of Somewhere Beyond the Blue

Official Book Trailer



Buy Blackwood Crossing


Book Three: Clayton's Honor

3_Clayton's Honor 

Publication Date: April 29, 2015 | Trappers Peak Publishing | ISBN: 978-0991330652

Series: British Agent Novels, Book Three
Genre: Historical Romantic Mystery

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How far would you go to avenge your family and save the one you love?

In nineteenth-century England, Alaina Claiborne had a loving family, a cherished friend, and devoted servants. She spent her days riding across the grassy hills of the English countryside, joyful and at peace.

Then tragedy strikes and her world is forever changed. Searching for those responsible is her only focus . . . until she meets Tristan.

Tristan Sheffield, a man of many talents, searches out those who don’t want to be found. His past is filled with secrets and deeds he would rather leave deeply buried. However, when his life unexpectedly entwines with Alaina's, he soon discovers they share more than a mutual desire to catch a murderer.

On their hunt for a man driven by greed, Tristan and Alaina find that love is the greatest weapon against evil, and they'll stop at nothing to survive.

Pre-Order Clayton's Honor


About the Author

4_MK McClintock AuthorMK McClintock spins tales of romance, mystery, and adventure inspired by the heather-covered hills of Scotland and the majestic mountains of home. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on adventure, she lives and writes in Montana.

-2014 RONE Award-Nominee for "Alaina Claiborne"
-2014 Crowned Heart for Excellence from InD'Tale Magazine for "Blackwood Crossing" and "The Montana Gallagher Collection"
-2015 Crowned Heart Heart for Excellent from InD'Tale Magazine for "A Home for Christmas"

Learn more about MK by visiting her website or blog at Books and Benches. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Sign up for M.K. McClintock's Newsletter.

British Agent Novels Book Blast Schedule

Monday, April 13
Mina's Bookshelf
Let Them Read Books
CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, April 14
Mythical Books

Wednesday, April 15
Passages to the Past

Thursday, April 16
The Lit Bitch

Friday, April 17
Unshelfish
A Literary Vacation
Dreams Come True Through Reading

Giveaway

To enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card please complete the giveaway form below.

RULES

Giveaway starts on April 13th at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 17th.
Giveaway is open to residents in the US only and you must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.

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