Guest Post by Judith Starkston, author of Hand of Fire

Please welcome to the blog today Judith Starkston, author of Hand of Fire. Judith is here to share a fascinating guest post & excerpt from her novel as part of her Virtual Book Tour!


The Care and Feeding of the Gods

We contemporary citizens of the world do not understand how much daily service the gods demand of us. Perhaps this explains the dismal state of things. But seriously, the divine welfare was given far more attention in the ancient world, particularly the Late Bronze Age world of Anatolia (now modern Turkey) where my novel Hand of Fire is set against the backdrop of the Trojan War.

First, for convenience sake, let me explain that much of what I’ll describe comes from the Hittites, one of the largest empires of the Late Bronze Age. This empire and its people held sway in central Anatolia just east of Troy, which was located on the coast of what is now Turkey. The Hittites and the Trojans turn out to be cultural cousins with similar religious traditions, among many other commonalities. We know a great deal about the Hittites because they left behind huge clay tablet libraries, but a Trojan library didn’t happen to survive so we have to get by with what we know about Hittites and apply it. Fortunately, it’s a fair application.

Hittite goddess and child 15th to 13th century BC © PHGCOM Wikimedia Commons
 Just what did a city in those days have to do to appease the gods and ensure their protection of the people? (Apparently the Trojans didn’t follow the instructions very well because we all know things didn’t go well for them.) Many of us will picture sacrificing animals, burning them up on altars, pouring libations—and these are all part of the picture.

But the Hittites and other Near Eastern peoples also had an intimate and quite literal program for pleasing their gods. They viewed the gold and silver statues they formed of their gods and goddesses as if these statues were living beings. Priests and priestesses daily bathed and dressed the statues. They wove beautiful clothing. Precious jewelry bedecked the statues. Meals were laid out at the appropriate times of day.

It does appear that at least in some cases those meals were later eaten by the temple staff. It would be hard to notice that the food didn’t disappear. I’ve always marveled at how dead serious this process was. In some ways this care seems like a parent’s care of a child. To me it does not inspire a sense of awe and dread.

Yet the Hittite prayer formulas often open with the beseecher stressing his relationship to the gods as that of a slave to a master, even when it was the king or queen who delivered the prayer. To the Hittites, this need for daily intimate care indicated the power of the gods.

Any transgression that displeased the gods could result in ill health for the individual, or on a societal level, crop failure or plague. Transgressions could be as small as negligently allowing a dog to wander into the god’s sanctuary. We also hear in Hittite prayers from men and women who, in trying to win the gods’ approval, remind the divinity that they never kept bread away from another or denied them drink, so apparently greed and a lack of charity was also a transgression—just as serious as the dog’s, by the way. The gods didn’t seem to have a sliding scale. If you ticked them off in any way, woe to you and quite likely everyone around you.

In the case of the Hittites, intimacy did not breed contempt. Quite the reverse. But this relationship is hard for a modern writer such as me to portray. In the excerpt below, my main character, Briseis, comes to the temple to perform the daily care.

The stakes are very high for Briseis. She has taken over the job of priestess of Kamrusepa from her deceased mother, but one of the temple priestesses challenges her ability to communicate with the goddess. And their city of Lyrnessos very much needs Kamrusepa on their side at that moment because the Greeks have landed with a large army and a half-immortal warrior named Achilles. So far none of the tales about Achilles that have come to Lyrnessos from across the Aegean include anyone defeating the mighty fighter. If this small town on the far side of Ida, an ally of Troy, has a chance, it will come from divine protection. Briseis’s devoted rites have to work. With all this tension sitting on her shoulders, Briseis walks into the sacred space of her goddess.

Excerpt from Chapter Five, Hand of Fire:

Briseis entered the sanctuary with its soaring midnight blue columns trimmed in red, took a deep breath, and slipped behind a gold-plated door into the goddess’s inner sanctum. Kamrusepa rested on a throne covered in tin, a precious metal brought by traders from a land far away. She had heard her father negotiating for it many times. Milos used tin in his workshop, mixing it with native copper to make bronze. The throne stood on a base of red stone carved as twin stags. The goddess wore a blue woolen robe with a tall, cylindrical hat decorated with lapis lazuli rosettes. A gold necklace set with precious stones hung from her neck. Briseis peered into her lapis eyes, but their deep blue wore a distant expression.

On the green nephrite altar, Briseis placed an ivory box of linen drying cloths and the golden basin for washing, then turned back to the goddess, bracing herself for the undressing. At the sound of the inner sanctum’s door opening, she looked with relief as another priestess entered, bearing a pitcher of perfumed water for the sacred bath. She didn’t know this woman’s name, but she recognized her. The priestess had a lame foot, turned under in a way that must be painful, but Briseis had noticed how swift to volunteer for tasks this woman had been each time she’d seen her. A priestess like this devoted her life to serving the goddess. Briseis bowed her head in respectful greeting. The woman returned only the merest dip. Her lips formed a stern line. She held her thin, off-kilter body with stiff formality.

Briseis sighed and returned to her duties while the priestess stood to one side watching. The rose perfume filled her nose in a pleasant way as she poured water into the basin. She hoped the goddess enjoyed it. She dampened a linen cloth, caught by the iciness of the water, which came from a grotto underneath the goddess’s courtyard. Her fingers ached from the cold as she wiped each part of the goddess’s form as the rite required.

Briseis finished the bath, hoping Kamrusepa did not notice her trembling hands. The goddess’s lips were pursed in a small, secret smile. What was she thinking? She dried the statue quickly, wanting desperately to be rid of the cold. Instead of dressing her in the same gown, Briseis searched through one of the chests at the side of the room and found the garment she herself had woven for Kamrusepa as an offering upon her initiation into the goddess’s service six years earlier. She saw a look of annoyance on the priestess’s face when Briseis brought it to the altar. Perhaps Kamrusepa had been wearing the priestess’s own offering and now Briseis was putting it aside, but whether the woman liked the change of costume or not didn’t matter. What mattered was Briseis’s connection to the goddess. She hoped the goddess would give her a sign of approval.

The robe for the goddess had taken her the whole of a winter to make—the first fine thing she had made by herself. She had loved to weave from an early age, standing at the loom creating tapestries with her mother. The rich colors, fine wool and linen threads she’d spun, her increasing skill and her mother’s praise, had combined to form the one inside activity she adored. The loom she shared with her mother stood in the upstairs women’s hall. Its tall upper beams were braced against the ceiling and its feet rested on the floor two strides out from the wall. Stone weights suspended just above the ground held the warp threads in place, and the tapestry grew under her fingers, gradually being wound around the upper beam.

For Kamrusepa’s gown, her father gave her sun disks hammered out of gold to sew on once she’d completed the weaving. She sewed all the disks he gave her onto five of the ten pleats and then asked for more to cover the rest. At the time she did not realize how extravagant her request was, but her father did not complain, instructing Milos to make more. Each sun looked as though it rose from a deep blue sea. She was glad her robe glistened with so many suns, the wool a soft caress to the skin. Briseis prayed skill and splendor would suffice to show the depth of her devotion.

She bowed to the goddess, her service complete. The priestess scowled and Briseis fell back a step.

About the Book


Publication Date: September 10, 2014
Fireship Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mythology



The Trojan War threatens Troy’s allies and the Greek supply raids spread. A young healing priestess, designated as future queen, must defend her city against both divine anger and invading Greeks. She finds strength in visions of a handsome warrior god. Will that be enough when the half-immortal Achilles attacks? Hand of Fire, a tale of resilience and hope, blends history and legend in the untold story of Achilles’s famous captive, Briseis.

Advance Praise

“But what is the difference between a good historical novel and a brilliant one?
I suggest you read Judith Starkston’s Hand of Fire and you’ll discover the answer." Helen Hollick, Historical Novels Review Editor and author of Forever Queen

"In Hand of Fire, Starkston's careful research brings ancient Greece and Troy to life with passion and grace. This haunting and insightful novel makes you ache for a mortal woman, Briseis, in love with a half-god, Achilles, as she fights to make her own destiny in a world of capricious gods and warriors. I devoured this page-turning escape from the modern world!" -- Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath

“In her portrayal of Briseis, Judith Starkston has cast a bright light on one of the Iliad's most intriguing sub-plots. With her fast-paced story, three-dimensional characters, and fascinating cultural details, Starkston has given historical fiction fans a tale to remember.” –Priscilla Royal, author of Covenant with Hell

Buy Links

Amazon
Amazon UK
Nook
Itunes

About the Author

Judith Starkston writes historical fiction and mysteries set in Troy and the Hittite Empire. Ms. Starkston is a classicist (B.A. University of California, Santa Cruz, M.A. Cornell University) who taught high school English, Latin and humanities. She and her husband have two grown children and live in Arizona with their golden retriever Socrates. Hand of Fire is her debut novel.

Find an excerpt, Q&A, book reviews, ancient recipes, historical background as well as on-going information about the historical fiction community on Starkston’s website www.JudithStarkston.com

Follow Judith Starkston on Facebook and Twitter

Giveaway: Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes

Please welcome Ned Hayes to the blog today! Ned is currently on tour with HF Virtual Book Tours for Sinful Folk through November 21, and today I have a chance for you to win a copy!

02_Sinful Folk 

Publication Date: January 22, 2014
Campanile Press
Formats: eBook, Hardcover, Audiobook

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery/Medieval

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A tragic loss. A desperate journey. A mother seeks the truth.

In December of 1377, four children were burned to death in a house fire. Villagers traveled hundreds of miles across England to demand justice for their children’s deaths.

Sinful Folk is the story of this terrible mid-winter journey as seen by Mear, a former nun who has lived for a decade disguised as a mute man, raising her son quietly in this isolated village. For years, she has concealed herself and all her history. But on this journey, she will find the strength to redeem the promise of her past. Mear begins her journey in terror and heartache, and ends in triumph and transcendence.

The remarkable new novel by Ned Hayes, illustrated by New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Nikki McClure, Sinful Folk illuminates the medieval era with profound insight and compassion.

Praise for Sinful Folk

In December of 1377, five children are burned in a suspicious house fire. Awash in paranoia and prejudice, the fathers suspect it is the work of Jews and set out to seek justice from the king, loading the charred bodies of their boys onto a cart. Unbeknownst to them, among them is a woman, Mear, who has been hiding out in the town for the past 10 years posing as a mute man. It is a treacherous journey, for their rations are spare and the weather is brutal. And always, they are haunted by the question, Why were their boys in Benedict the weaver’s house, and who would do this to them? Mear, ever resourceful, not only watches for clues to unravel the mystery but also provides invaluable aid in finding their way, for she has traveled this way before and is the only literate one among them. The reason for her false identity is slowly revealed as the villagers are chased by bandits and must overcome numerous obstacles, hunger and fear among them. Brilliantly conceived and beautifully executed, Hayes’ novel is woven through with a deep knowledge of medieval history, all conveyed in mesmerizing prose. At the center of the novel is Mear, a brave and heartbreaking character whose story of triumph over adversity is a joy to read. --Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist *Starred Review*

"A pilgrim tale worthy of Chaucer, evocative, compelling and peopled with unforgettable characters artfully delivered by a master storyteller." - Brenda Rickman Vantrease, bestselling author of The Illuminator and The Mercy Seller

"Brilliant, insightful, unflinching and wise. This spellbinding mystery will keep readers turning pages until the last sentence. Remarkable." - Ella March Chase, bestselling author of The Virgin Queen's Daughter and Three Maids for a Crown

"Suspenseful, page-turning mystery of a mother pursuing the truth... Every reader will come to love the brave and intrepid Mear, a most memorable character in a most memorable story." - Jim Heynen, award-winning author of The Fall of Alice K.

"Sinful Folk is a work of art. Miriam's story is a raw and brutal and passionate tale, but her story touches the reader because it's a timeless story - a wonderful portrayal of medieval life. Highly recommended." - Kathryn Le Veque, bestselling author of The Dark Lord and The Warrior Poet

"A suspenseful and mesmerizing tale full of rich and vital characters. Ned Hayes crafts a narrative that shows a devotion to craft in each word." - Renée Miller, editor of On Fiction and author of In the Bones

Buy the Book

Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (Hardcover)
Audible.com
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Barnes & Noble (Hardcover)
Books-a-Million
iBooks
IndieBound

Booknote Interview with Ned Hayes



03_Ned Hayes Credit Linda Marus 2012About the Author

Ned Hayes is the author of the Amazon best-selling historical novel SINFUL FOLK. He is also the author of Coeur d'Alene Waters, a noir mystery set in the Pacific Northwest. He is now at work on a new novel, Garden of Earthly Delights, also set in the Middle Ages.

Ned Hayes is a candidate for an MFA from the Rainier Writer’s Workshop, and holds graduate degrees in English and Theology from Western Washington University and Seattle University.

Born in China, he grew up bi-lingually, speaking both Mandarin and English. He now lives in Olympia, Washington with his wife and two children.

For more information please visit www.sinfulfolk.com and www.nednotes.com. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Booklikes, YouTube, Google+, and Goodreads.

Sinful Folk Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 20
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, October 21
Review at Historical Novel Review

Wednesday, October 22
Spotlight at What is That Book About
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, October 23
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Guest Post at Books and Benches

Monday, October 27
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, October 28
Interview at Layered Pages

Wednesday, October 29
Review at Back Porchervations

Thursday, October 30
Interview at Back Porchervations

Friday, October 31
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Monday, November 3
Interview at Triclinium
Spotlight at Boom Baby Reviews

Tuesday, November 4
Spotlight at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, November 5
Review at Deal Sharing Aunt

Thursday, November 6
Review at bookramblings

Saturday, November 8
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, November 10
Review at Book Babe

Tuesday, November 11
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Friday, November 14
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, November 18
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Review & Giveaway at Beth's Book Reviews

Wednesday, November 19
Review at Books in the Burbs
Review at Bookworm Babblings

Thursday, November 20
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Friday, November 21
Review at Library Educated

Giveaway

To win a copy of Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes please complete the form below. Giveaway is open to US & UK residents only and ends on November 2.

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HFVBT Presents C.W. Gortner's The Tudor Vendetta Blog Tour & Giveaway

Please join C.W. Gortner as he tours the blogosphere for the release of the third book in his Spymaster Chronicles Series, The Tudor Vendetta, from October 20 - November 28, and enter to win a complete set of the trilogy!

The Tudor Vendetta 

Publication Date: October 21, 2014
St. Martin's Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Series: Spymaster Chronicles
Genre: Historical Mystery

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Winter, 1558: Elizabeth I has ascended the throne but the first days of her reign are already fraught with turmoil, the kingdom weakened by strife and her ability to rule uncertain.

Summoned from exile abroad at the new queen's behest, Brendan Prescott arrives in London to face his shattered past. He soon finds himself pitted in deadly rivalry with his life-long foe, Robert Dudley, but when a poison attempt overshadows the queen’s coronation, Elizabeth privately dispatches Brendan on a far more dangerous assignation: to find her favored lady-in-waiting, Lady Parry, who has vanished in Yorkshire.

Upon his arrival at the crumbling sea-side manor that may hold the key to Lady Parry's disappearance, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he becomes the quarry of an elusive stranger with a vendetta— one that could expose both his own buried identity and a long-hidden revelation that will bring about Elizabeth's doom.

From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the prisons of the Tower, Brendan must risk everything to unravel a vendetta that strikes at the very core of his world, including his loyalty to his queen.

The Tudor Vendetta is the third book in Gortner's Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy.

Praise for The Tudor Vendetta

“Fast paced and exciting, with a most engaging hero . . . So vivid, you feel are there!” - Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of the Outlander series

“C.W. Gortner has done it again! Full of breathtaking action, dark twists and unexpected revelations, this is an unputdownable read.” - Michelle Moran, bestselling author of Madame Tussaud

“Suspense, intrigue, betrayal and deadly rivalry: What more can you ask for? A swashbuckling, perilous adventure.” - M.J. Rose, bestselling author of The Reincarnationist

Buy the Book

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound

About the Author

03_CW GortnerC.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin's Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information please visit C.W. Gortner's website and blog. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube.

The Tudor Vendetta Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 20
Review at The Maiden's Court
Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf

Tuesday, October 21
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 22
Review at Back Porchervations
Review at Always With a Books

Thursday, October 23
Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews

Friday, October 24
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Interview at Back Porchervations

Monday, October 27
Review at JulzReads
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, October 28
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Wednesday, October 29
Review at Making My Mark
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Guest Post at Bookish

Thursday, October 30
Review & Guest Post at Drey's Library
Review & Interview at The Copperfield Review & From Meredith Allard
Interview at Writing the Renaissance

Friday, October 31
Review at Book by Book

Monday, November 3
Review at Mari Reads
Review & Gues Post at JM Ledwell Writes

Tuesday, November 4
Review at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, November 5
Review at One Book at a Time
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, November 6
Review at Booktalk & More

Friday, November 7
Review at Build a Bookshelf

Monday, November 10
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, November 11
Review at A Book Geek
Review at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, November 12
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, November 13
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, November 14
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at Paranormal Book Club

Monday, November 17
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at The Never-Ending Book

Tuesday, November 18
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Guest Post at What is That Book About

Wednesday, November 19
Review at Kate Forsyth's Blog

Thursday, November 20
Review & Interview at The Tudor Enthusiast

Friday, November 21
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks

Monday, November 24
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at The True Book Addict

Tuesday, November 25
Review at Historical Tapestry
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, November 28
Review at Books in the Burbs
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Giveaway

To win a complete set of CW Gortner's Spymaster Chronicles Trilogy (The Tudor Secret, The Tudor Conspiracy, and The Tudor Vendetta) please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on November 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on November 29th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Giveaway: The Secrets of Casanova by Greg Michaels

Please join Greg Michaels as he tours with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Secrets of Casanova, from October 13-24, and enter below to win a copy!

02_The Secrets of Casanova 

Publication Date: October 21, 2013 | Booktrope Editions | Formats: eBook Paperback; 334p

Genre: Historical Fiction


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2014 Nancy Pearl Award Winner for Fiction.

Loosely based on the life of Jacques Casanova, The Secrets of Casanova is a rich, lush novel of love, sex, family, ambition, intrigue, and adventure. Set in Paris of 1755, Casanova's luck is fading and his past is shoving up against his present with potentially disastrous consequences. What price must he pay to uncover a treasure of inestimable value? What hearts must he break along the way? Casanova's will and destiny collide again and again in this riveting historical fiction that brings to light a man of great passion and not a few secrets.

Praise for The Secrets of Casanova

“A Shakespearean actor with a flair for the dramatic and a superb ear for dialogue, Michaels's debut novel puts a brilliantly original spin on an historical figure whose very name is a cliché. This Casanova must wrestle not only with falling hopelessly and passionately in love, but embarking on a mysterious quest that is as much a spiritual awakening as a swashbuckling adventure. The Secrets of Casanova is so erotic and so sensitively written, I found it difficult to believe its author was a man.” -Robin Maxwell, national best-selling author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn

Buy the Book

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes

About the Author

03_Greg MichaelsAfter receiving his B.A. in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, a chance experience thrust Greg into a career as a professional actor and fight director. To date he's acted in over fifty theater productions, more than forty television shows, and choreographed dozens of swordfights for stage and screen. In THE SECRETS OF CASANOVA, Greg again proves his skill at telling a theatrical story. He lives with his wife, two sons, and Andy the hamster.

For more information please visit Greg Michaels's website. Like The Secrets of Casanova Facebook Page. Follow Greg Michaels on Twitter.

The Secrets of Casanova Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 13
Review at Bookish

Tuesday, October 14
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review at With Her Nose Stick in a Book
Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, October 15
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession

Thursday, October 16
Review & Interview at Carpe Librum
Spotlight at Historical Tapestry

Friday, October 17
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Monday, October 20
Review at A Book Geek
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 21
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, October 22
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review at Good Friends, Good Books and a Sleepy Conscience
Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf

Thursday, October 23
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Friday, October 24
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Giveaway

To win a paperback copy of The Secrets of Casanova please complete the form below. The giveaway is open to US residents and ends on October 30th.

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Historical Romance Giveaway: Highland Hunger by Eliza Knight

Today at Passages to the Past I am hosting Eliza Knight's Blog Tour for her historical romance novel, Highland Hunger (Parts 1-5) with a chance for one of you to win your own copy!

03_Highland Hunger Complete Set Cover 

Publication Date: September 18, 2014
Knight Media, LLC.
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 278

Genre: Historical Romance

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 ***ALL FIVE GAMES!!!***

An unclaimed land in the Scottish isles is ruled by the male and female victors in a series of war games every five years. Named Chief and Lady of the land, they rule the vast holding, and protect the people by divine right, until the next game begins.

After her brother's death Ceana is named laird. The only way for her clan to survive the ravages of the Highlands is to join in the war games. Bastard son of a powerful earl, Macrath is placed in the games by his vengeful stepmother. He must survive for the ultimate retribution.

Ceana can't afford to like the formidable, captivating, Highlander who seems to be following her, and yet she can't seem to walk away. Macrath wants nothing more than to protect the enchanting warrior lass, but doing so may get in the way of his need for revenge. What starts out as a race to survive turns into passion to endure together.

May the gods be forever in their favor...

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the Author

Eliza KnightE. Knight is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America and several RWA affiliate writing chapters: Hearts Through History, Celtic Hearts, Maryland Romance Writers and Washington Romance Writers. Growing up playing in castle ruins and traipsing the halls of Versailles when visiting her grandparents during the summer, instilled in a love of history and royals at an early age. Feeding her love of history, she created the popular historical blog, History Undressed (www.historyundressed.com). Under the pseudonym Eliza Knight, she is a bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author of historical and erotic romance.

For more information please visit E. Knight’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Highland Hunger Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 20
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 21
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, October 22
Interview at Romance Book Junkies

Thursday, October 23
Guest Post at Back Porchervations

Monday, October 27
Interview at Room with Books

Tuesday, October 28
Spotlight at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Wednesday, October 29
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Friday, October 31
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Saturday, November 1
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, November 3
Review at Historical Romance Lover

Tuesday, November 4
Review at Book Marks the Spot

Wednesday, November 5
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!
Guest Post at Boom Baby Reviews

Thursday, November 6
Guest Post at SOS Aloha

Friday, November 7
Review at Journey with Books
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

You are Invited to Eliza Knight's Highland Hunger Launch Party

HF Virtual Book Tours invites you to E. Knight's Prisoner of the Queen Launch Party on October 28th, from 7-9pm EST! There will be fabulous giveaways and prizes, guest authors, Q&A, trivia, & more! We hope you’ll join us & your fellow Historical Romance fans for some Highlander shenanigans!

Where: Facebook Event (click to RSVP)
When: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 – 7:00-9:00pm EST

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Giveaway

To win a copy of Highland Hunger (eBook or Paperback) please complete the form below. Giveaway is open internationally and ends on October 30th.

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Win a copy of The Paradise Tree by Elena Maria Vidal!

02_The Paradise Tree 

Publication Date: September 19, 2014 | CreateSpace | Paperback; 252p

Genre: Historical Fiction

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The year is 1887 in Leeds County, Ontario. The O’Connor clan is gathering to mourn the loss of its patriarch Daniel O’Connor, an Irish immigrant. The story of Daniel and his wife Brigit is one of great hardships, including illness, ill-starred romances, war and political upheavals, as well as undying love and persevering faith. As Daniel is laid to rest, his grandson Fergus receives a piercing insight into what his own calling in life will be.

Praise for The Paradise Tree

"Vidal (Madame Royale, 2010, etc.) successfully transforms family stories into a historical novel that chronicles the life of her great-great-great-grandfather, Daniel O’Connor, who established a homestead in Ontario in the 19th century. An imaginative, meticulously told history that will especially appeal to those with Irish roots." - Kirkus Reviews

"With this marvelous immigrant saga, Elena Maria Vidal reminds us why our forebears left the Old World for the New: for Faith, family, and freedom! Through three generations of an Irish clan in Canada, she invites us into their home for struggle and triumph, celebrations of joy and sorrow, music, feasting, and dancing. The Paradise Tree makes 'the past and present mingle and become one' for the reader’s great delight." --Stephanie A. Mann, author of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation

“Elena Maria Vidal’s latest book, The Paradise Tree, is the fictionalized true story of the author’s devoutly Catholic ancestors who immigrated to Canada from Ireland. It is filled with rich detailed history recounting the hardships and joys of the 19th century O’Connor Family. Beautifully written with great attention to historical, geographical and religious accuracy, this fascinating and moving family saga is a treasure that I highly recommend!” ~Ellen Gable Hrkach, award-winning author of In Name Only and four other novels

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About the Author

03_Elena Maria VidalElena Maria Vidal grew up in the countryside outside of Frederick, Maryland, "fair as the garden of the Lord" as the poet Whittier said of it. As a child she read so many books that her mother had to put restrictions on her hours of reading. During her teenage years, she spent a great deal of her free time writing stories and short novels.

Elena graduated in 1984 from Hood College in Frederick with a BA in Psychology, and in 1985 from the State University of New York at Albany with an MA in Modern European History. In 1986, she joined the Secular Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Elena taught at the Frederick Visitation Academy and worked as a private tutor as well as teaching children's etiquette classes. During a trip to Austria in 1995 she visited the tomb of Empress Maria Theresa in the Capuchin crypt in Vienna. Afterwords she decided to finish a novel about Marie-Antoinette she had started writing ten years before but had put aside. In 1997 her first historical novel TRIANON was published by St. Michaels Press. In 2000, the sequel MADAME ROYALE was published, as well as the second edition of TRIANON, by The Neumann Press. Both books quickly found an international following which continues to this day. In 2010, the third edition of TRIANON and the second edition of MADAME ROYALE were released.

In November 2009, THE NIGHT'S DARK SHADE: A NOVEL OF THE CATHARS was published by Mayapple Books. The new historical novel deals with the controversial Albigensian Crusade in thirteenth century France. Elena has been a contributor to Canticle Magazine, Touchstone Magazine, The National Observer, and The American Conservative. In April 2009 she was a speaker at the Eucharistic Convention in Auckland, New Zealand. In August 2010 Elena spoke at The Catholc Writers Conference in Valley Forge, PA. She is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and the Eastern Shore Writers Association. She currently lives in Maryland with her family.

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

Other Titles by Elena Maria Vidal

Trianon: A Novel of Royal France
Madame Royale: A Novel
The Night's Dark Shade: A Novel of the Cathars

The Paradise Tree Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, October 4
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Sunday, October 5
Guest Post at Susan Heim on Writing

Monday, October 6
Review at Savvy Verse & Wit
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, October 7
Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, October 8
Review at West Metro Mommy

Thursday, October 9
Review & Interview at Back Porchervations

Friday, October 10
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Saturday, October 11
Interview at Supremacy & Survival

Sunday, October 12
Spotlight at Queen of All She Reads

Monday, October 13
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Tuesday, October 14
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, October 15
Review at A Book Geek
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Thursday, October 16
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at She is Too Fond of Books

Friday, October 17
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog

Saturday, October 18
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, October 20
Review at Book Drunkard

Giveaway

To win a copy of The Paradise Tree please complete the form below. The giveaway is open internationally and ends on October 29.

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Guest Post & eBook Giveaway: The Battle of York by Regan Walker, author of The Red Wolf's Prize

Please welcome to the blog today author Regan Walker, who is here to tell us a bit about the Battle of York and her novel, The Red Wolf's Prize! I have one eBook up for grabs, so be sure to enter the giveaway below!

The Battle of York 1068 AD by Regan Walker

The Battle of York between William the Conqueror and the people of Northumbria is portrayed in my new medieval romance The Red Wolf’s Prize. I thought to tell you a bit more of what was behind the exciting action scene where the Red Wolf battles his enemy, Sir Hugue.

After the Norman Conquest in 1066, all was not quiet in England. There had been uprisings in the south, the Siege of Exeter being one where it took King William eighteen days to conquer the city. But there was also much unrest in the north. In the words of chronicler Orderic Vitalis, the north was “seething with discontent.”

Bayeux tapestry segment with Norman knights
William the Conqueror did many things differently than others who had preceded him. Other southern kings had been content to let the north be. It was what King Harold had done. Perhaps for that reason the English Earls Edwin and Morcar, who had dominated the middle and north of the country, believed it would always be so. After all, the north was different. York was a Viking city with Viking traditions. But it was not William the Conqueror’s way to leave such a threat at his back door. And York was prosperous. He wanted that, too.

In 1068, when Earls Edwin and Morcar realized William did not always mean what he said, and did not always deliver on his promises, they withdrew from court and returned to the north, intending to rebel. In Northumbria, they were supported by a large number of English and Welsh, including merchants, thegns, clergy, monks and the poor. Messages were sent to every part of the kingdom seeking to stir up resistance to the Norman’s rule.

William had accepted a large sum of money from one Gospatric for the earldom of Northumbria that he had taken from Earl Morcar. Gospatric was not long in power, however, when he joined Earls Edwin and Morcar and Edgar Ætheling, the English contender to the throne, in rebellion against William. Edgar had come from Scotland, where he had sought refuge with King Malcolm III, and received the men of Northumbria at York.

Hearing of the rebellion in the north, William moved swiftly and, though he managed to build castles on the way, arrived with his army during the summer. A battle ensued at York, and hundreds were slain. The city was torched. In the face of William’s army, the rebellion collapsed. Edgar and Gospatric escaped to Scotland. But back in Northumbria, Morcar and his brother Edwin submitted to William and were pardoned, again joining the king at court. It seemed the king treated them with favor, but it would not be the last of their disdain for the new Norman king, nor their rebellion.

To the defeated thegns of the city of York, William offered safe-conduct if they agreed to swear fealty. He also promised they would retain their holdings. When the thegns came, however, William imprisoned them and distributed their land to his loyal followers, the Normans. It seems William was not a man of his word.
 
The castle at York William erected in 1068

As was typical of William’s actions following a victory, he built a castle in York so that his authority was clear for all to see, and left his knights to guard it. (A second castle would follow in 1069 with five hundred knights as a garrison.) The first castle at York was a wooden motte and bailey castle built between the Rivers Ouse and Foss.

About the Book


02_The Red Wolf's Prize

Publication Date: October 1, 2014
CreateSpace
Paperback; 245p
ISBN: 978-06-15978-14-7

Genre: Historical Romance

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HE WOULD NOT BE DENIED HIS PRIZE

Sir Renaud de Pierrepont, the Norman knight known as the Red Wolf for the beast he slayed with his bare hands, hoped to gain lands with his sword. A year after the Conquest, King William rewards his favored knight with Talisand, the lands of an English thegn slain at Hastings, and orders him to wed Lady Serena, the heiress that goes with them.

SHE WOULD LOVE HIM AGAINST HER WILL

Serena wants nothing to do with the fierce warrior to whom she has been unwillingly given, the knight who may have killed her father. When she learns the Red Wolf is coming to claim her, she dyes her flaxen hair brown and flees, disguised as a servant, determined to one day regain her lands. But her escape goes awry and she is brought back to live among her people, though not unnoticed by the new Norman lord.

Deprived of his promised bride, the Red Wolf turns his attention to the comely servant girl hoping to woo her to his bed. But the wench resists, claiming she hates all Normans.

As the passion between them rises, Serena wonders, can she deny the Norman her body? Or her heart?

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Praise for The Red Wolf's Prize

“Ms. Walker has the rare ability to make you forget you are reading a book…the characters become real, the modern world fades away and all that is left is the intrigue, drama and romance.” - Straight from the Library

“An engrossing love story grounded in meticulous research. Regan Walker makes the transition from Regency London to Anglo Norman England with consummate ease.” - Glynn Holloway, author of 1066 What Fates Impose

“Regan Walker has delivered an exciting tale and a passionate love story that brings to life England after the Conquest—medieval romance at its best!" - Virginia Henley New York Times Bestselling Author

“Regan Walker has once again written a story that grabs hold and doesn’t let go. There is intrigue, action and a beautifully developed romance." - Vickie Moore, The Reading Cafe

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About the Author

As a child Regan Walker loved to write stories, particularly about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits took priority. One of her professors encouraged her to pursue the profession of law, which she did. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool. Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, whom she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses. For more information please visit Regan Walker's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Red Wolf's Prize Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, October 1
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, October 3
Spotlight at Historical Tapestry

Monday, October 6
Review at Historical Romance Lover

Tuesday, October 7
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Wednesday, October 8
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Thursday, October 9
Spotlight at Book Reviews by Lanise Brown

Friday, October 10
Review at Unshelfish

Saturday, October 11
Spotlight & Excerpt at The Lusty Literate

Monday, October 13
Review at The Life & Times of a Book Addict

Tuesday, October 14
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Wednesday, October 15
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, October 16
Review at Book Marks the Spot

Saturday, October 18
Spotlight at Romantic Historical Reviews

Wednesday, October 22
Review at Princess of Eboli
Spotlight & Giveaway at bookworm2bookworm's Blog

Giveaway

To win an eBook of The Red Wolf's Prize please complete the form below. Giveaway ends on October 25th and is open internationally.

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