Excerpt & Giveaway: The Saxon Spears by James Calbraith


The Saxon Spears by James Calbraith

Publication Date: December 11, 2019
Flying Squid
Paperback & eBook; 481 Pages

Series: The Song of Ash, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction


The old world is burning down
A hero will rise from its ASH.

Thirty years have passed since Britannia voted to throw off the Roman yoke. Now, the old world crumbles.

Pirates roam the seas, bandits threaten the highways, and barbarian refugees land at Britannia's shores, uninvited. The rich profit from the chaos, while the poor suffer. A new Dark Age is approaching - but all is not lost.

Ash is a Seaborn, a Saxon child found on the beach with nothing but a precious stone at his neck and a memory of a distant war from which his people have fled. Raised on the estate of a Briton nobleman, trained in warfare and ancient knowledge, he soon becomes embroiled in the machinations and intrigues at the court of Wortigern, the Dux of Londinium, a struggle that is about to determine the future of all Britannia.

A child of Saxon blood, an heir to Roman family, his is a destiny like no other: to join the two races and forge a new world from the ruins of the old.

The Saxon Spears is the first volume of the Song of Ash saga, perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell's "The Last Kingdom" series, Simon Scarrow and Conn Iggulden.

AMAZON.COM | AMAZON.UK

Praise

"Fast paced and full of energy." --Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of the Shadows of the Apt

"James Calbraith's writing is reminiscent of a classic, epic fantasy -immersive, and detailed to the letter. The real-world cultures he draws from are incredibly well-researched and truthful, and yet well-balanced with the fantasy elements he sprinkles in between. An intriguing and impressive series." --Ben Galley, author of the Emaneska Series

"This manuscript is full of highly crafted detail that will make readers shiver at times with fear and delight. (...) a familiar yet highly original fantasy that is a worthwhile read."--Publisher's Weekly

"Calbraith weaves a story that is wholly original while following the traditional fantasy tropes." - eFiction Steampunk

"The detail and intricacy of the writing is impressive. With inclusion of races and histories, it almost reminds me of Tolkien - in Asia." - YA Book Bridges review

Excerpt

We’re playing “A Battle on the Saxon Shore”; and it’s true, I always get selected to the team of the vicious fair-haired sea pirates, invading a fortress manned by Roman soldiers. Gleva himself sports an unruly, straw-coloured mane, a mark of some Saxon blood mixed with Briton in his veins. But the other five have brown or black hair and dark eyes, so the argument doesn’t hold. Nevertheless, Gleva is the tallest and strongest of us all — though not the oldest — and his word is final. The captain of the Romans gives up and waves with resignation at the lonely boy.

“Fine. Master Fastid, if you please.”

The boy raises his head and shuffles over, trying his best to look eager. His full name is Fastidius, but nobody bothers to pronounce all of it. Only the nobles living in the domus have the time to use names that long. I feel pity both for him and for the captain of his team. Fastidius doesn’t care for victory, he’s only here because he likes to spend time with the other children whenever he can — and it doesn’t happen too often.

Fastidius is the closest I have to a brother. He is Master Pascent’s only child — the only child he and his wife would ever have. The difficulty of his birth had rendered Lady Adelheid barren. He is weak of health and frail of frame, shorter and lighter even than Eadgith, the bladesmith’s daughter, the only girl we allow in our games. But his intellect towers over any of us. He spends most of his days studying under Father Paulinus.

They say he himself might one day become a priest. I respect him for it: he can already read entire books, while I barely know enough letters to decipher the sign above the villa’s entrance: ARIMINVM. But intellect alone is of no use in battle — at least not one as chaotic as the one about to erupt at the game field.

Gleva hands me my weapon — an aspen stick about a foot long — and the shield, goat hide stitched to a round wicker frame. One side of the stick had its bark removed, to show where the blade would be on a real Saxon sword.

Our opponents are armed with longer sticks, stripped of bark on both sides, and massive oval shields, unwieldy but strong, reinforced with lime wood boards. The shields make even Fastidius — I see he’s discussing something with his captain, agitatedly — look suitably impressive, but then, they represent the valiant Legions of the Empire, the finest fighting force in the world… or so we’ve been taught to believe.

The wall of their “fortress” is marked with sacks of sand. We, the Saxons, are only allowed to charge through one of the three openings in the “wall”, since the pirates in the stories never used siege weapons. There’s no place for tactics here — strength of arms will be enough to resolve the conflict, and there’s a lot more of it on our side of the field. Apart from me and Gleva there’s Fat Banna and Big Sulio, who work in the domus kitchen; Map, the master carpenter’s oldest; Waerla, the pig shepherd, and Vatto, the gardener’s hand. Each of us is larger and stronger than any of the “Romans” facing us across the rectangle of dried grass.

We all sense this isn’t as it should be. We know the history of this conflict, from the stories told by our elders: the Legions successfully defended the coast for centuries, until one day, for reasons none of us, except perhaps Fastidius, understands, the Roman soldiers left. But as long as they manned the forts, the pirates never stood a chance of penetrating inland. And yet in our pretend battles, we, the “Saxons”, win almost every time. There’s something ominous about it all, but I have no time to ponder. Gleva orders us forward.

I let out a wild yell, raise the aspen sword over my head and charge across the field.

About the Author

James Calbraith is a Poland-born British writer, foodie and traveller.

Growing up in communist Poland on a diet of powdered milk, Lord of the Rings and soviet science-fiction, he had his first story published at the ripe age of eight. After years of bouncing around Polish universities, he moved to London in 2007 and started writing in English. His debut historical fantasy novel, "The Shadow of Black Wings", has reached ABNA semi-finals. It was published in July 2012 and hit the Historical Fantasy and Alternate History bestseller lists on Amazon US & UK.

Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 24
Review at Donna's Book Blog

Tuesday, February 25
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, February 26
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Thursday, February 27
Review at Broken Teepee

Friday, February 28
Review at Books and Zebras

Saturday, February 29
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Monday, March 2
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Tuesday, March 3
Review at Jessica Belmont

Wednesday, March 4
Review at Historical Graffiti

Thursday, March 5
Excerpt at Carole Rae's Random Ramblings

Friday, March 6
Review at YA, It's Lit

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of The Saxon Spears! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on March 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Saxon Spears


Review & Giveaway: Fair Weather Enemies by Sawyer North


Fair Weather Enemies by Sawyer North

Publication Date: February 10, 2020
Entangled Publishing/Scandalous
Paperback & eBook; 270 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance


The Hancocks and Ashfords have had a long-standing feud between their families long before Miss Jane Hancock couldn't stand the sight of gentleman farmer Adam Ashford. But after both families fall on hard times and an unscrupulous creditor forces Jane and Adam to sign a devil's bargain, they'll finally understand the true meaning of keeping your enemies close at hand.

The terms of this bargain? Locate a lost treasure shrouded in deception and mystery.

The catch? Only one can claim it to win...the loser is left to ruin.

As Jane and Adam embark on a trek throughout England they plan to hate their adversary, no matter how attractive, generous, and kind they are.

Sometimes, plans change...

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo


Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I am a huge fan of enemies turned lovers stories so I knew I had to read this book from Sawyer North! It's his debut Historical Romance and this is the first time I've read a romance novel written by a man and I thought he did a phenomenal job!

My favorite thing about the enemies turned lovers scenario is the tension between the two parties and Sawyer nailed it with Jane and Adam!

Jane and Adam's families have been at war with each other for decades. When a solicitor shows up to collect money owed on both of their properties they know they cannot pay it. With their properties on the line and the threat that Jane could go to a debtor's prison, they decide to join together and find the missing money needed to pay their debts. I liked that there was a bit of a mystery to the book, in addition to the romance.

For those that prefer their romances clean, this one is perfect for you.

Kudos to Sawyer on his first Historical Romance! I loved it and can't wait for more!

About the Author

After self-publishing science fiction novels over a period of years, I made the truly odd move into historical romance. Although romance is a strong thread in nearly all my works, I came to straight-up, nothing-but-romance only after turning fifty. Since then, I am plagued by the question, “What took me so long?” My awakening began rather innocuously when I casually watched the 2015 version of Poldark. Before I knew, I was falling headlong into the abyss of historical romance and read fifteen such novels over a three-month span. However, no number could sufficiently scratch my itch for more, so I did what any writer would do and began constructing stories of my own. In April of 2019, I received my first contract with Entangled Publishing.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 10
Review at Historical Romance Lover

Tuesday, February 11
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Wednesday, February 12
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Saturday, February 15
Review at Historical Graffiti

Sunday, February 16
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, February 18
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, February 19
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Saturday, February 22
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch

Monday, February 24
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 25
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 25th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Fair Weather Enemies


Review & Giveaway: A Rational Attachment by Lauren Gilbert


A Rational Attachment by Lauren Gilbert

Publication Date: December 26, 2019
AuthorHouse
Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook

Genre: Historical Fiction


The daughter of a wealthy business man in York, Anne Emmons knows her father wants her to marry well. Anne, however, has always dreamed of marrying for love. Set in the Regency period, Anne’s introduction to London Society is made difficult by her personal ambitions as well as her family’s lack of aristocratic connections. In time, Anne finds her way aided by family and friends and the surprising support of one of the Ton’s leading figures. Will she succeed in finding the love she desires, or will she settle for a marriage transaction?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I am a sucker for Regency romances so I was very excited to pick up Lauren Gilbert's A Rational Attachment! And it did not disappoint!

Anne Emmons is a girl after my own heart. She's sweet and quiet and not thrilled at the prospect at being married off to a stranger. Her parents are wealthy but with no powerful connections so she joins her friend, Fanny, as they "come out" in society. But Anne would rather be home with a book or at a museum than at a fancy ball. She eschews the conventions against women and tries to stay true to herself and her beliefs during a time when women had little rights. I could read about women like that every day!

The descriptions of the Regency period, the fashion, and the wonderful characters make A Rational Attachment a fantastic read. It's the perfect book to snuggle in bed with and lose yourself in another time and place. I absolutely loved it and can't wait to read more from Lauren Gilbert.

About the Author

An avid reader, Lauren Gilbert has always dreamed of writing books, and has written all her life. She enjoys non-fiction (especially history) and fiction alike. Favorite authors include James Thomas Flexner, Alison Weir, Diana Gabaldon, Sharon Kay Penman, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and, of course, Jane Austen. Lauren is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, and has delivered presentations for chapter meetings, as well as a break-out session at the 2011 JASNA Annual General Meeting. Now semi-retired after a career spanning almost 30 years, HEYERWOOD: A Novel is her first published novel. Another novel, A RATIONAL ATTACHMENT, has just been released and a non-fiction work is in process. Lauren is a contributor to the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, and has several articles in CASTLES, CUSTOMS, AND KINGS True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors volumes 1 and 2. Lauren Gilbert lives in Florida with her husband.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 17
Review at Books and Zebras
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 18
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, February 19
Review at YA, It's Lit

Thursday, February 20
Feature at I'm Into Books
Interview at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, February 21
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Monday, February 24
Review at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away one eBook and one paperback copy of A Rational Attachment! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 24th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

A Rational Attachment


Interview & Giveaway: Fair Weather Enemies by Sawyer North

Hello, dear readers! Today on the blog I am happy to share my interview with Sawyer North! He is currently on blog tour for his debut Historical Romance, Fair Weather Enemies! I hope you enjoy getting to know Sawyer and don't forget to enter the giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card.



Hello Sawyer and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to discuss Fair Weather Enemies!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I am an avid lifelong reader of science fiction, fantasy, and general literature, but have always preferred stories with a romantic subplot. Despite that preference, I can’t recall having read a strictly romance novel until three and a half years ago. Then I fell down the rabbit hole of historical romance and can’t get enough of it. Between 2010 and 2016, I self-published several science fiction novels. Three years ago, I felt compelled to write historical romance despite my better judgement, and produced four manuscripts before one sold. As a writer, I am a plotter to the point where I need to be careful not to over-plot. I love a good twist, and always have at least one for the reader near the end. I also enjoy writing banter, so expect plenty of that.

What inspired you to write Fair Weather Enemies?

Enemies-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes. I also love puzzles and road trips. All that came together in Fair Weather Enemies. Before developing the outline, I spent considerable time inventing a road trip and writing the rhyming letters that drive the hunt.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Writing banter is the most fun. Early in the trip, Jane and Adam spar verbally while riding in a wagon carrying swine. This is the first scene where their banter shifts from purely adversarial to something respectful – and interested.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

The scene where Jane and Adam unpack the events of the day they met as children was difficult – the emotion, the pain, the epiphany, the healing. Pulling the characters through that scene was a chore.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Since I was 14 years old when a teacher planted the notion within me. However, it took me 25 years to act on that impulse.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I have a job outside the home, so writing is my second job. As such, I write during evenings and on weekends. When I have an outline ready to go, I promise myself to write at least 1000 words per day. Some days, writing is a joy; others a chore. Nevertheless, 1000 words per day!

Do you have any advice for aspiring Historical Romance writers?

My advice for Historical Romance writers is to do your homework. Readers of Historical Romance are astute. Although they will accept a wild plot, clear historical errors will turn them off. First, though, read a lot of what you want to write to understand the bar you must clear. Find a community of Historical Romance writers if you can.

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

Male romance writers are rare, so I don’t have a model to follow. Thankfully, I have a group of female romance writers who have been very kind and considerate mentors for me.

Who are your writing inspirations?

I’m so new to the genre that I’m still catching up. My first inspirations were Sarah M. Eden and Tessa Dare. Sarah Eden writes well-rounded character buried in interesting plots. Tessa Dare is the queen of wit and banter. I attempt to emulate them both.

What are three things people may not know about you?

Where to begin. My day job is VP of Engineering at a tech company that makes wireless chips and software. I married my college sweetheart and we just celebrated 33 years together. My daughter and I run Spartan races together – it’s our father-daughter thing, and I have to work hard to keep up with her.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I am drawn to historical romance because I love watching characters who are subject to often repressive rules overcome those limitations to find love. Beyond that, I just love history. We humans are the sum of our history, and exploring history helps me understand who we are, for better and for worse.

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

I alternate between Regency/Victorian romance (1800 – 1890) and far-future science fiction.

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

Since writing is my second job, I like writing when I’m not writing. That said, I live in Austin, which is a very cool town with an incredible array of things to see, eat, and hear. Just this week, we attended a Yola concert at an outdoor venue under a full moon while eating bacon-wrapped hot dogs.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I just signed a three-book deal with Entangled Publishing. The first manuscript is effectively finished, and is a Pygmalion story loaded with banter. The second and third are still in development. I have another manuscript out to a potential agent, about a blind lighthouse keeper who pulls a baron from the sea.

They sound amazing! Congratulations on the new book deal, and thank you for spending time with us today!


Fair Weather Enemies by Sawyer North

Publication Date: February 10, 2020
Entangled Publishing/Scandalous
Paperback & eBook; 270 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance


The Hancocks and Ashfords have had a long-standing feud between their families long before Miss Jane Hancock couldn't stand the sight of gentleman farmer Adam Ashford. But after both families fall on hard times and an unscrupulous creditor forces Jane and Adam to sign a devil's bargain, they'll finally understand the true meaning of keeping your enemies close at hand.

The terms of this bargain? Locate a lost treasure shrouded in deception and mystery.

The catch? Only one can claim it to win...the loser is left to ruin.

As Jane and Adam embark on a trek throughout England they plan to hate their adversary, no matter how attractive, generous, and kind they are.

Sometimes, plans change...

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

About the Author

After self-publishing science fiction novels over a period of years, I made the truly odd move into historical romance. Although romance is a strong thread in nearly all my works, I came to straight-up, nothing-but-romance only after turning fifty. Since then, I am plagued by the question, “What took me so long?” My awakening began rather innocuously when I casually watched the 2015 version of Poldark. Before I knew, I was falling headlong into the abyss of historical romance and read fifteen such novels over a three-month span. However, no number could sufficiently scratch my itch for more, so I did what any writer would do and began constructing stories of my own. In April of 2019, I received my first contract with Entangled Publishing.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 10
Review at Historical Romance Lover

Tuesday, February 11
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Wednesday, February 12
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Saturday, February 15
Review at Historical Graffiti

Sunday, February 16
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, February 18
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, February 19
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Saturday, February 22
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch

Monday, February 24
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 25
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 25th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Fair Weather Enemies


Paperback Release Day! The Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr

The Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr

Paperback Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Atria Books
Hardcover & eBook; 336 Pages

Genre: Historical/Gothic/Mystery


The Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr is now out in paperback! In it, a post-mortem photographer unearths the dark secrets of a famed poet’s marriage in this “sensual, twisting gothic tale…in the tradition of A.S. Byatt’s Possession, Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale, and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights” (BookPage). Blurring the line between the past and the present, truth and fiction, and ultimately, life and death, The Lost History of Dreams is “a surrealist, haunting tale of suspense where every prediction turns out to be merely a step toward a bigger reveal” (Booklist).

When famed Byronesque poet Hugh de Bonne is found dead in his bath one morning in 1850, final arrangements are left to his estranged cousin, historian turned postmortem photographer Robert Highstead. De Bonne’s will instructs that he should be buried in a stained glass chapel set on the Shropshire moors, built to house the remains of his beloved wife and muse, Ada. It has since been locked to all outsiders—especially the cultlike fans of de Bonne’s final book, The Lost History of Dreams. Only Ada’s grief-stricken niece, Isabelle, holds the key, but she refuses to open the chapel unless Robert agrees to her bargain: Before he can lay Hugh to rest, Robert must record the real story behind her aunt’s ill-fated marriage to the poet over the course of five nights—a story that is both love story and ghost story.

Learn more here.

Giveaway

In addition, Kris is offering two giveaways, one for book clubs and a second for readers:

1. The Midwinter’s Night Read Sweepstakes includes six paperbacks and a $75 Trader Joe’s gift card for your book club ($177 value). Enter here.

2. The Uncover Your Lost History giveaway includes an autographed paperback of The Lost History of Dreams and a three card email tarot reading from Kris herself ($57 value); Kris is also the creator of the bestselling Goddess Tarot. Enter here.

Giveaways end 11:50pm EST on February 20th. US only. Good luck to all who enter!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound


Praise for The Lost History of Dreams

“Scheherazade-like … haunting… Waldherr writes that ‘love stories are ghost stories in disguise.’ This one, happily, succeeds as both.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“An unexpected delight that grows steadily more compelling as its pages fly by.” —Booklist

“A sensual, twisting gothic tale that embraces Victorian superstition much in the tradition of A.S. Byatt’s Possession, Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.”—BookPage

“Eerily atmospheric and gorgeously written, The Lost History of Dreams is a Gothic fairy-tale to savor.” – Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALICE NETWORK and THE HUNTRESS

“The Lost History of Dreams is a dark, shimmering gem of a novel, glittering with love lost, secrets kept, and long-buried truths revealed. Wonder, memory, death and passion haunt every page of Kris Waldherr’s powerhouse Gothic debut.” – Greer Macallister, bestselling author of THE MAGICIAN’S LIE and WOMAN 99

“Brooding, romantic, and thoughtful, The Lost History of Dreams is a rare bird in that it shines throughout with wit. I loved every page of it.” – Erika Swyler, bestselling author of THE BOOK OF SPECULATION and LIGHT FROM OTHER STARS

“With luminous prose, stunning poetry and a fascinating cast of characters, Waldherr weaves a wonderfully atmospheric tale. Not to be missed!” – Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME and THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER

“A riveting, addictive read. Sarah Waters fans will be entranced. – Mary Sharratt, author of ECSTASY and DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL

“A novel of haunting mystery and passion reminiscent of Wuthering Heights and Byatt’s Possession.” – Crystal King, author of FEAST OF SORROW and THE CHEF’S SECRET

“An atmospheric tale of lost love, family secrets, and an inquiry into how our own histories define us, I relished every poetic page.” – Heather Webb, international bestselling author of LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS and THE PHANTOM’S APPRENTICE

"With beautiful prose and poetry, Waldherr weaves a darkly seductive Gothic tale of love, art, death, and obsession. You’ll want to keep reading this one late into the night.” – Alyssa Palombo, author of THE SPELLBOOK OF KATRINA VAN TASSEL

“A sumptuous feast for all the senses.” – Clarissa Harwood, author of IMPOSSIBLE SAINTS and BEAR NO MALICE

About the Author

Kris Waldherr’s books for adults and children include The Lost History of Dreams, Bad Princess, Doomed Queens, and The Book of Goddesses. The Lost History of Dreams received a Kirkus starred review and was called "an unexpected delight" by Booklist. The New Yorker praised Doomed Queens as “utterly satisfying” and “deliciously perverse.” The Book of Goddesses was a One Spirit/Book-of-the-Month Club’s Top Ten Most Popular Book. Her picture book Persephone and the Pomegranate was lauded by the New York Times Book Review for its “quality of myth and magic.” Her fiction has won fellowships from the Virginia Center of the Creative Arts, and a works-in-progress reading grant from Poets & Writers.

As a visual artist, Waldherr is the creator of the Goddess Tarot, which has a quarter of a million copies in print. She has had illustrations published as greeting cards, book covers, and in calendars and magazines. Her art has been exhibited in many galleries and museums including the Ruskin Library, the Mazza Museum of International Art from Picture Books, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Kris Waldherr works and lives in Brooklyn in a Victorian-era house with her husband, their young daughter, and a very vocal Bengal cat.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub


Release Date Blast Hosts

100 Pages a Day
Books In Their Natural Habitat
CelticLady's Reviews
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Clarissa Reads it All
Donna's Book Blog
Historical Fiction with Spirit
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Passages to the Past
The Book Junkie Reads
The Lit Bitch
To Read, Or Not to Read

Book Blast & Giveaway: Roberta Kagan's Holocast Story Series


The Smallest Crack by Roberta Kagan

Publication Date: July 1, 2019
Paperback & eBook; 321 Pages

Series: The Holocaust Story Series, Book One
Genre: Historical Fiction


1933 Berlin, Germany

The son of a rebbe, Eli Kaetzel, and his beautiful but timid wife, Rebecca, find themselves in danger as Hitler rises to power. Eli knows that their only chance for survival may lie in the hands of Gretchen, a spirited Aryan girl. However, the forbidden and dangerous friendship between Eli and Gretchen has been a secret until now. Because, for Eli, if it is discovered that he has been keeping company with a woman other than his wife it will bring shame to him and his family. For Gretchen her friendship with a Jew is forbidden by law and could cost her, her life.

Available on Amazon



The Darkest Canyon by Roberta Kagan

Publication Date: October 5, 2019
Paperback & eBook; 341 Pages

Series: The Holocaust Story Series, Book One
Genre: Historical Fiction


Nazi Germany.

Gretchen Schmidt has a secret life. She is in love with a married Jewish man. She is hiding him while his wife is posing as an Aryan woman.

Her best friend Hilde, who unbeknownst to Gretchen is a sociopath, is working as a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp.

If Hilde discovers Gretchen’s secret will their friendship be strong enough to keep Gretchen safe? Or will Hilde fall under the spell of the Nazi’s and turn her in her best friend to the Gestapo?

The Darkest Canyon is terrifying ride along the edge of a canyon in the dark of night.

Available on Amazon



Millions of Pebbles by Roberta Kagan

Publication Date: December 27, 2019
Paperback & eBook; 320 Pages

Series: The Holocaust Story Series, Book One
Genre: Historical Fiction


Benjamin Rabinowitz’s life is shattered as he watches his wife, Lila, and his son, Moishe, leave to escape the Lodz ghetto. He is conflicted because he knows this is their best chance of survival, but he asks himself, will he ever see them again?

Ilsa Guhr has a troubled childhood, but as she comes of age, she learns that her beauty and sexuality give her the power to get what she wants. But she craves an even greater power. As the Nazis take control of Germany, she sees an opportunity to gain everything she’s ever desired.

Fate will weave a web that will bring these two unlikely people into each other’s lives.

Available on Amazon


About the Author

I am a USA Today Best Selling Author of Historical Jewish Fiction mainly set during World War 2. My father was Romany and my mother was Jewish, When I was very young I learned about the Holocaust. I couldn't understand how something like this could happen. So, I began to research and learn more. I met with survivors. I even met with children and grandchildren of SS officers. But I still had no answers. I cannot say that I have all of the answers to all of my questions even now. But what I do know is that soon all of the survivors will be gone. Their message must be remembered, the sacrifices that they made must not be forgotten. And so I humbly and with the utmost humility, I try to tell their stories. It is painful, but I must convey the darkness and horror of the time, however, I also want the world to know and celebrate the unsung heroes. Because there were many ordinary people who acted in heroic ways. I realize that writing these books is a great responsibility. I pray every day that I am able to do this correctly. I am trying to reach out and touch many people, not with the message of the horrors but with the promise of hope. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for considering my work. It is an honor that I never take lightly.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, February 17
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 18
Words and Peace

Wednesday, February 19
Clarissa Reads it All

Thursday, February 20
Broken Teepee
Gwendalyn's Books

Friday, February 21
Reading is My Remedy

Saturday, February 22
Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Monday, February 24
YA, It's Lit

Tuesday, February 25
CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, February 26
Books, Dreams, Life

Thursday, February 27
Books In Their Natural Habitat

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 10 ebooks of The Smallest Crack! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Holocaust Story Series


Interview & Giveaway: A Rational Attachment by Lauren Gilbert

Happy Monday, everyone! Today on the blog I am very excited to kick off Lauren Gilbert's blog tour for A Rational Attachment! Lauren is here today to talk more about her book, her writing, and her future projects.

We also have a giveaway for one eBook and one paperback that come with special gifts! Hope you enjoy the interview!



Hello Lauren and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about A Rational Attachment!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I grew up in the Midwest in a family of readers. I can’t remember when I couldn’t read, so books were always very important in my life. English literature and historical novels set in England were favorites with my female relatives. My mother wrote poetry, and I wrote books for my dolls. Writing has always been an interest of mine.

What inspired you to write A Rational Attachment?

We think of earlier eras, particularly the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, as times when women had little control over their lives. The idea of two young women, with their individual backgrounds, tastes and talents, wanting to shape their lives to the extent they could within the confines of their time and society intrigued me.

What research did you undertake when writing A Rational Attachment?

Places as they were during the Regency; customs, including presentation at court, mourning for Queen Charlotte, etc.; daily life during the Regency in general; what people might have seen at the British Museum; new developments at the time. My research included cook books, fashion prints, Regency era guide books and maps, and biographical materials as well.

What would you like readers to take away from reading A Rational Attachment?

News and events have been so stressful of late; I hope that readers can set the present aside for while and be entertained. I also hope they can relate to my heroine as she pursues her own interests and hopes for her happy-ever-after.

What was your favorite scene to write?

The proposal scene.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

There were multiple scenes that were difficult.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I decided to pursue it seriously about 20 years ago. (I have a number of hidden manuscripts that will never see the light of day.)

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I try to write something every day, even if just jotting down notes as ideas occur to me. I also do research virtually every day as well. I am mostly a “pantser” with fiction, but do work with character and place lists, and will at some point make a general outline, just to keep things straight. For non-fiction, I find making a timeline extremely helpful.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer?

I have two: procrastination and imposter syndrome. Have you been able to overcome it? To cope with procrastination, I have been known to use a timer to keep myself on track, as it is so easy to vanish down a research rabbit hole or get distracted by social media. I also have a calendar hanging next to my computer where I can put milestones, as well as events and appointments. As for imposter syndrome, I study to improve constantly, try not to compare myself to other authors and cherish positive feedback when it comes my way.

Who are your writing inspirations?

In fiction, Victoria Holt/Jean Plaidy, Dorothy Eden, Mary Stewart, Margaret Campbell Barnes, Jane Austen, Diana Gabaldon, Barbara Pym, Georgette Heyer, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and many others. In non-fiction, David McCullough, Thomas Flexner, Amanda Vickery, Christopher Hibbert and several others are favorites; I also enjoy reading letters and diaries.

What was the first historical novel you read?

Either the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, or MARA, DAUGHTER OF THE NILE by Eloise Jarvis McGraw.

What is the last historical novel you read?

I just finished PERSUASION Behind the Scenes written by Maria Grace, Jack Caldwell, Kara Louise and several other authors. I’m well into WRITTEN IN THEIR STARS A Novel by Elizabeth St. John, which is the 3d volume of her Lydiard Chronicles.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I loved reading the Appendices to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I have never visited New York City, although it is on my bucket list. I like to cook, but will not deep fry anything.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

The Regency era has much in common with our own time: income inequality, loss of jobs due to technology advances, questions about the position of women, a desire for reform clashing with a strong conservative influence.

There is an undercurrent of fear of change.

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

My personal historical fiction reading varies from ancient Egypt to the World War II years.

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

I love to read, travel, watch movies, and work on crafts. I also enjoy thrifting.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I am heavily engaged in research for a non-fiction work, and I am adding to notes for two novels which I have planned.


A Rational Attachment by Lauren Gilbert

Publication Date: December 26, 2019
AuthorHouse
Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook

Genre: Historical Fiction


The daughter of a wealthy business man in York, Anne Emmons knows her father wants her to marry well. Anne, however, has always dreamed of marrying for love. Set in the Regency period, Anne’s introduction to London Society is made difficult by her personal ambitions as well as her family’s lack of aristocratic connections. In time, Anne finds her way aided by family and friends and the surprising support of one of the Ton’s leading figures. Will she succeed in finding the love she desires, or will she settle for a marriage transaction?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

An avid reader, Lauren Gilbert has always dreamed of writing books, and has written all her life. She enjoys non-fiction (especially history) and fiction alike. Favorite authors include James Thomas Flexner, Alison Weir, Diana Gabaldon, Sharon Kay Penman, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and, of course, Jane Austen. Lauren is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, and has delivered presentations for chapter meetings, as well as a break-out session at the 2011 JASNA Annual General Meeting. Now semi-retired after a career spanning almost 30 years, HEYERWOOD: A Novel is her first published novel. Another novel, A RATIONAL ATTACHMENT, has just been released and a non-fiction work is in process. Lauren is a contributor to the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, and has several articles in CASTLES, CUSTOMS, AND KINGS True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors volumes 1 and 2. Lauren Gilbert lives in Florida with her husband.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 17
Review at Books and Zebras
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 18
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, February 19
Review at YA, It's Lit

Thursday, February 20
Feature at I'm Into Books
Interview at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, February 21
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Monday, February 24
Review at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away one eBook and one paperback copy of A Rational Attachment! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 24th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

A Rational Attachment


Review & Giveaway: The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews


The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews

Publication Date: February 11, 2020
Perfectly Proper Press

Series: Parish Orphans of Devon, Book Four
Genre: Historical Romance


A winter reunion for the orphans brings romance for Neville Cross in Book 4 of Mimi Matthews' USA Today bestselling Parish Orphans of Devon series.

She Needed to be Seen...

As a lady's companion, Clara Hartwright never receives much attention from anyone. And that's precisely how she likes it. With a stormy past, and an unconventional plan for her future, it's far safer to remain invisible. But when her new employer is invited to a month-long holiday at a remote coastal abbey, Clara discovers that she may not be as invisible as she'd hoped. At least, not as far as one gentleman is concerned.

He Wanted to be Heard...

Neville Cross has always been more comfortable with animals than people. An accident in his youth has left him with a brain injury that affects his speech. Forming the words to speak to his childhood friends is difficult enough. Finding the right things to say to a lovely young lady's companion seems downright impossible. But Miss Hartwright is no ordinary companion. In fact, there may not be anything ordinary about her at all.

During a bleak Devon winter, two sensitive souls forge an unexpected friendship. But when Clara needs him most, will Neville find the courage to face his fears? Or is saying goodbye to her the most heroic thing he can do?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for the Parish Orphans of Devon series

"For this impressive Victorian romance, Matthews crafts a tale that sparkles with chemistry and impresses with strong character development... an excellent series launch that will appeal to fans of Loretta Chase and Stephanie Laurens." -Publishers Weekly (The Matrimonial Advertisement)

"Matthews has a knack for creating slow-building chemistry and an intriguing plot with a social history twist." -Library Journal (The Matrimonial Advertisement)

"As always, Matthews' attention to historical accuracy is impeccable." -Kirkus Reviews (A Modest Independence)

"Mimi Matthews is an exceptional story-teller." -Passages to the Past (The Matrimonial Advertisement)

"Matthews is a bright, shining star in historical romance..." -Austenprose (A Modest Independence)

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Reading the last book in a series you love is always bittersweet. On one hand, I am so sad to leave the world that Mimi Matthews created but I am grateful to have had the chance to experience it, and I know I will never forget them.

I have loved every book in the Parish Orphans of Devon but this one is extra special to me because Neville finally gets his day in the sun.

The clan is all together at Greyfriar's Abbey for Christmas. Tom, Alex, and Justin are all there with their wives and are preparing the holiday festivities. After an injury as a youth Neville has a speech impediment and feels more comfortable among the animals in the stables than he does around people.

Clara, a lady's maid to one of the guests, joins them for the month-long celebration, along with her adorable but very old pup, Bertie. She would rather be away at school but women at that time weren't allowed to attend, so she tries to educate herself via her brother's school lessens that he sends to her. It's not ideal but it's all that is available to her.

Neville and Clara both feel invisible to the world and find a kindred spirit in each other. I don't think I've come across two people in a fictional book that have ever deserved love more! I adored both of them and rooted for them the entire book!

I will never stop shouting about this series. It's absolute perfection and I thank Mimi for the many hours of entertainment she provided to me. They are the perfect books to escape life and remind us that there is love and hope and good things in this world.

Highly, highly recommended.

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews (A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty, The Matrimonial Advertisement) writes both historical non-fiction and traditional historical romances set in Victorian England. Her articles on nineteenth century history have been published on various academic and history sites, including the Victorian Web and the Journal of Victorian Culture, and are also syndicated weekly at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes an Andalusian dressage horse, two Shelties, and two Siamese cats.

For more information, please visit Mimi Matthews’ website and blog. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterBookBubPinterestGoogle+, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, February 11
Review at Bookish Rantings
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, February 12
Review at Rose is Reading
Review at Amy's Booket List
Review & Interview at The Green Mockingbird

Thursday, February 13
Review at Heidi Reads
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at Lost in a Book Reviewer

Friday, February 14
Review at Bookish Bellee
Review at Historical Graffiti
Review at Library of Clean Reads
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Saturday, February 15
Feature at YA, It's Lit
Review at Gwendalyn's Books
Interview at Donna's Book Blog

Sunday, February 16
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, February 17
Review at Robin Loves Reading

Tuesday, February 18
Review at The Lit Bitch

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a signed copy of The Winter Companion! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Winter Companion


Interview with James Kahn + Giveaway of Matamoros


Happy Sunday all! I am very excited to be sharing my interview with James Kahn with you today. James is the author of Matamoros and he is currently on blog tour with HF Virtual Book Tours. We hope you enjoy the interview & don't forget to enter our giveaway below for a copy of Matamoros!

Hello James and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk Matamoros!

Hi, thanks for inviting me!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I’m an Emergency Room doctor, and I’ve been writing since I was 9 – I used to read sci-fi/fantasy comic books and rewrite the endings in my little spiral school notebook. I write compulsively; I can’t not write. I wrote for years when nobody cared or looked. Got my first short story published in Playboy Magazine right after I finished college in 1971. Went on to write a trilogy of sci-fi novels, starting with World Enough and Time, and from there authored a series of big novelizations, including Return of the Jedi. For the long story of what led to that job, check out my ET video memoir on my Youtube Channel, at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCg9S1MtJoxWxuQa6SAEGaLw. Eventually that took me to television screenwriting, where I eventually ended up as a writer-producer on Melrose Place and Star Trek: Voyager.

I’ve always enjoyed reading historical fiction, but Matamoros is my first foray into actually writing it. All my previous novels have involved writing about situations I was personally familiar with – medical thrillers, for example – or stuff I just made up out of my imagination, like the sci-fi/fantasy books. Matamoros is the first novel I had to research deeply, and for a long time, and it was really fun unearthing events and people I never knew about before. Took me back to researching papers back in college, but there was also an aspect of detective work to it, like solving cold cases, tracking down documentary clues to learn the secrets of people long dead.

What inspired you to write Matamoros?

The short answer is an old friend, Gene Ringgold, back in Hollywood in the 70’s, used to tell me personal stories of his great-great-great-great grandfather, Sam, who was an officer killed in the Mexican-American War – and Sam’s family, who moved to Brownsville just before and during the Civil War. I became Gene’s doctor, and before he died, he asked me to one day make a movie about his family’s history. So I’ve had Matamoros percolating in me for over 40 years. I wrote a long blog post about this memoir of Gene’s inspiration, which you can read at https://blog.thatjameskahn.com/major-sam-ringgolds-flying-artillery/.

What research did you undertake when writing Matamoros?

Initially, I just looked for or happened upon old books in libraries or used bookstores. Histories or biographies mostly, sometimes magazine articles; occasionally novels, though none of the Civil War novels I found were concerned with the war West of the Mississippi, let alone the Rio Grande. I read randomly, over decades. When I started getting serious about writing it, I targeted more specific books, set in South Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. Then, when the internet came along that became much easier. I got overviews from Wikipedia, and those led to references to specific texts, for deeper dives. Eventually, I went down to Brownsville, Texas, where I was able to get access to the Special Collections archives at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and the Brownsville Historical Association. So I got to look at original journals, diaries, self-published autobiographies, letters, and microfiche of the English-language newspaper of the day in Matamoros, The Daily Ranchero, to get the detailed news.

What would you like readers to take away from reading Matamoros?

The sense of the setting is what initially attracted me – the “free zone” aspects of a city in the middle of a chaotic war. It reminded me of the movie Casablanca, a hive of spies, smugglers, danger and intrigue – or of the novel/movie The Third Man, by Graham Greene, about Vienna in the days after World War II. And as in Casablanca, the notion of a stormy romance in the midst of all that – pitting love against destruction – feels like a classic driving force in the novel, as in life.

What was your favorite scene to write?

There’s a section in the middle of the book in which Allie is masterminding an elaborate con game – a long con. And there’s a scene when Clay realizes what she’s doing, and confronts her. I loved that scene. Because I loved the con, I loved the way Clay figured it out, and I loved the confrontation – because you don’t know either how the con will turn out, or how their personal confrontation will affect their relationship.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

The last one. I had 3 or 4 different ways I wanted to end the book – very different ways – and I wrote them all. Then I kept changing them around until I finally landed on the one I liked best – though there are still some aspects of the alternate endings I miss.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Age 9, as I mentioned. I used to read Tales from the Crypt, and Amazing Stories comic books, and I’d rewrite them in prose, as short stories, in my spiral notebook, changing the plot twists and endings as they came to me.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

When I’m in the midst of a big project, I tend to become a little single-minded, if not obsessed. I’ll start writing around 9 in the morning, forget lunch and write until 2 or 4 in the afternoon, unless my wife – artist Jill Littlewood – sometimes insists I take a break; or if she’s feeling generous, brings me a sandwich. Fortunately, as an artist, she understands the process of plunging maniacally into a project, so she generally doesn’t hold it against me. Then I may finish a particular segment I’m working on, or hit a stumbling block, and do no writing for 2 or 3 days, while I recharge my batteries, or work through the plot problem in my mind. I try to keep going to the gym, but not always successfully. Matamoros took me a little over a year of that process to complete a first draft. That first draft was 780 pages, and kind of unwieldy. It took me four or five more drafts to whittle it down to 450 pages. I generally do 5-10 rewrites on a book before it’s ready, some major, some minor. That’s for fiction. For a screenplay I’ll typically do 15-20 rewrites.

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

My day job. I’ve been working in an Urgent Care Center for the last 10 years, and while it’s not as stressful as the ER gigs I used to do, it can still be physically draining, and take away from energy I’d sometimes rather be applying to a writing project. On the other hand, I enjoy both the intellectual challenge and the ability to help people with this particular skill I have – doctoring, I mean – and just having to go into work on a fixed schedule can be a good organizing principle, which allows me to focus fully on writing during my time off.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Robert Louis Stevenson, Graham Greene, John Le Carre, Eric Ambler, Larry McMurtry, Vladimir Nabokov, Agatha Christie, Elmore Leonard, Shelby Foote.

What was the first historical novel you read?

When I was around 10 or 12 I used to love to read the Signature series of novels – don’t know who wrote them, who published them, or if they even exist anymore. But they were of Hardy Boys length and font, about Early American heroic figures, and I devoured them. The first one I remember was about Daniel Boone. But I also remember books about the Revolutionary War naval commander, Mad Anthony Wayne, and another one about the young Abe Lincoln. These books were very formative for me.

What is the last historical novel you read?

I actually just finished rereading a beloved one by Lionel Davidson, titled The Rose of Tibet. Last time I read it before this was 50 years ago, and I just stumbled on it looking for something else in my bookshelves, and decided to read it again. It’s about a young British art teacher trying to find his missing brother in Tibet in 1951, and while he’s there, the Chinese invade the country. It’s got adventure, intrigue, history, passionate love, sacrifice – everything I seek in a novel, and try to write myself. This is one of those books I wish I’d written.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I’m a singer-songwriter. I despise coconut. Some distant ancestor of mine must have been Mongolian, which I was told I have a genetic marker for – namely, the backs of my upper incisors are concave both left to right and up to down.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love the mixing of reality with fantasy. Of dropping my own fictional characters in the midst of historical events and players. I guess it’s my way of imagining what it would have been like for me to live through those events, and cross paths with key figures in history. It speaks to the “what if” question that drives most of my work, whether it’s sci-fi, thriller, or historical.

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

Most recently the years before, during, and after World War II, which feels like an era of great trial and upheaval, obviously – and one that taxes the moral as well as physical courage of the people caught in those times.

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

I like to make music. I write and sing songs, and play the guitar. I’ve put out a number of Americana CDs, the most recent one being the companion CD to the Matamoros novel – which you can listen to on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/thatjameskahn/sets/matamoros or buy at https://jameskahn.hearnow.com/ .

And since I’m also a filmmaker, I did a music video of one of the Matamoros song cycle – So Long, The River – which you can see on my Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCg9S1MtJoxWxuQa6SAEGaLw
– and read my blog post about at https://blog.thatjameskahn.com/so-long-the-river/

Each song on the CD is about one of the characters in the novel – sometimes the song tells the backstory of that character, sometimes what happens to the character after the novel is over, sometimes telling pieces of the narrative arc of the book from that character’s point of view, mixing the novel’s plot with the character’s dreams, wishes, and self-images. Songs are just another kind of storytelling to me; but the poetry and music of them connect more directly to my heart, or soul.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

Fulfilling the promise I made to Gene Ringgold 40 years ago – turning the Matamoros novel into a movie, or limited mini-series; and turning the CD into the soundtrack. You can learn about progress on this, and other developments related to Matamoros, at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MatamorosTheBookAndMusic/

Thanks again for letting me ramble on. Hope you enjoy both the book and the music. Here are all the links I can think of.

• Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCg9S1MtJoxWxuQa6SAEGaLw
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MatamorosTheBookAndMusic/
• Instagram: http://instagram/MatamorosTheBookAndMusic
• Twitter: http://twitter.com/thatjameskahn
• Website: https://www.thatjameskahn.com
• Blog: https://blog.thatjameskahn.com

Thank you, James!


Matamoros by James Kahn

Publication Date: December 20, 2019
Pen Wild Press
Paperback & eBook; 442 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Western


In the U.S. Civil War, by 1862 the Union had blockaded all Confederate ports. Just across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, Matamoros was the only harbor where the South could ship its cotton to Europe, and smuggle in arms for the rebellion. So it was a haven for Yankee and Rebel spies and diplomats, gunrunners and cotton smugglers, runaway slaves, bandits, Texas Rangers, and rogues of every stripe.

But Matamoros was also full of French Foreign Legionnaires - because that same year, Napoleon III had invaded Mexico, to install Archduke Maximilian of Austria as Emperor.

Set against the backdrop of two wars, this is the story of Clay - an expatriate Southern gentleman running a gambling hall - and Allie, his ex-con artist partner, bringing her cotton train to market - in a star-crossed affair that may or may not survive their conflicted allegiances amidst the tides of battle.

Praise for Matamoros

"A historical novel offers an in-depth view of the machinations surrounding the Civil War battle for Texas. Kahn’s descriptive prose delivers powerful images...Strong leads star in a passionate war tale filled with political intrigue, violence, and scoundrels." - Kirkus Reviews

"The author does a wonderful job of capturing the different elements of the setting, exploring the historical and social aspects. The prose is beautiful and highly descriptive, and readers will enjoy the social commentaries that punctuate the narrative. This is an awesome read, fast-paced and filled with action. The author paints exciting images of a town flourishing in times of war and makes readers feel as though they were part of it." - Readers Favorite, 5 stars

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for Matamoros CD

"The music paints a powerful but poignant portrait of these disparate renegades, outlaws, and outcasts, each intent on their own survival. The sumptuous paintings included with the CD add a bonus element as well, and given the complete packaging — story, music and art — it confirms the fact that concept and creativity far outweigh the amorphous nature of digital downloads. More than that, Matamoros is an album for the ages, both heartbreaking and affecting in equal measure." - Lee Zimmerman, The Daily Ripple

"Few songwriters have the determination to tell full-length stories through their songs. Greats, like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, are a couple of notables in this limited group coming immediately to mind. Therefore, James Kahn has placed himself in a uniquely special group with this song collection. These songs are so good, in fact, they make you want to read Kahn’s novel to learn even more, which makes this album a storytelling gem." - Dan MacIntosh, The Daily Ripple

"Kahn excels in the diverse composition of story-songs that capture not only the emotional and historical intricacies of their lyrical subject matter but also the natural sonic accompaniment for their travails. The lyrics are intelligence, the performances are skillful, and Kahn works within the limits of his voice to communicate with the heart and mind of the listener. Matamoros subverts the American addiction to instant gratification, and pop culture’s resistance to complexity and nuance, and while doing so, gives his listeners songs that they can sing." - David Masciotra, The Daily Ripple

About the Author

James Kahn is an ER doctor, novelist, TV writer-producer, and singer-songwriter. In addition to many original novels (including the sci-fi trilogy World Enough and Time, Time’s Dark Laughter, and Timefall) he authored the novelizations of Return of the Jedi, Poltergeist, The Goonies and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

His television credits span the genres, from St. Elsewhere, to William Shatner’s TekWar, to Xena: Warrior Princess. He was a Supervising Producer on Star Trek: Voyager, Co-Executive Producer on Melrose Place, Emmy-nominated for his work on All My Children, medical advisor on Spielberg’s ET: The Extraterrestrial; and produced the feature film The Bet, which won Best Feature at the LA Femme Film Festival, 2013.

He’s previously released four Americana music CDs, including Waterline, The 12th Elf, Man Walks Into A Bar, and The Meaning of Life. Matamoros is the first simultaneous novel and CD release, and his first foray into deeply researched historical fiction.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | YouTube

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 10
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Tuesday, February 11
Review at YA, It's Lit

Wednesday, February 12
Review at Historical Graffiti
Excerpt at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, February 14
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Sunday, February 16
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 18
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, February 20
Review & Guest Post at Tales from the Book Dragon

Friday, February 21
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Sunday, February 23
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Matamoros! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 23rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Matamoros


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