Giveaway: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth #HFVBT Blog Tour

Today kicks off Kate Forsyth's HFVBT Blog Tour for the US release of Bitter Greens and I have one gorgeous hardcover up for grabs!

02_Bitter Greens 

Publication Date: September 23, 2014 | Thomas Dunne Books | Hardcover; 496p | ISBN-10: 1250047536

Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Fairy-Tale Retellings

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The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love

French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens...

After Margherita’s father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.

Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.

Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.

Praise for Bitter Greens

“Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens is an enthralling concoction of history and magic, an absorbing, richly detailed, and heart-wrenching reimagining of a timeless fairytale.” —Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival

“See how three vividly drawn women cope with injustice, loneliness, fear, longing. See how they survive—or perpetrate—treachery. Surrender yourself to a master storyteller, to delicious detail and spunky heroines. Bitter Greens is a complex, dazzling achievement.” —Susan Vreeland, New York Times bestselling author of Clara and Mr. Tiffany and Girl in Hyacinth Blue

“A magical blend of myth and history, truth and legend, Bitter Greens is one of those rare books that keeps you reading long after the lights have gone out, that carries you effortlessly to another place and time, that makes you weep and laugh and wish you could flip forward to make sure it all ends happily ever after—but for the fact that if you did so, you might miss a line, and no line of this book should be missed.” —Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The Ashford Affair

“Kate Forsyth wields her pen with all the grace and finesse of a master swordsman. In Bitter Greens she conjures a lyrical fairytale that is by turns breathtaking, inspiring, poetic, and heartbreakingly lovely. Set like a jewel within the events of history, it is pure, peerless enchantment.”—New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn

“Bitter Greens is pure enchantment–gripping and lyrical. From the high convent walls where a 17th century noblewoman is exiled, to a hidden tower which imprisons an innocent girl with very long hair, to the bitter deeds of a beautiful witch who cannot grow old–Kate Forsyth weaves an engrossing, gorgeously written tale of three women in search of love and freedom. A truly original writer, Forsyth has crafted an often terrifying but ultimately redemptive dark fairy tale of the heart.”—Stephanie Cowell, American Book Award-winning author of Claude & Camille

“Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens is not only a magnificent achievement that would make any novelist jealous, it’s one of the most beautiful paeans to the magic of storytelling that I’ve ever read.”—C.W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

"Threads of history and folklore are richly intertwined to form this spellbinding story. Kate Forsyth has excelled herself with Bitter Greens. Compulsively unputtdownable."—Juliet Marillier, national bestselling author of Flame of Sevenwaters and Heart’s Blood

Buy the Book

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Kate Forsyth 1

About the Author

Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling & award-winning author of thirty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both adults and children. She was recently voted one of Australia's Favourite 20 Novelists, and has been called 'one of the finest writers of this generation. She is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers, and has told stories to both children and adults all over the world.

Her most recent book for adults is a historical novel called 'The Wild Girl', which tells the true, untold love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world's most famous fairy tales. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, 'The Wild Girl' is a story of love, war, heartbreak, and the redemptive power of storytelling, and was named the Most Memorable Love Story of 2013.

She is probably most famous for 'Bitter Greens', a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale interwoven with the dramatic life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer, Charlotte-Rose de la Force. 'Bitter Greens' has been called 'the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter', and has been nominated for a Norma K. Hemming Award, the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Fiction, and a Ditmar Award.

Her most recent book for children is 'Grumpy Grandpa', a charming picture book that shows people are not always what they seem.

Since 'The Witches of Eileanan' was named a Best First Novel of 1998 by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for numerous awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She's also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Chain of Charms series – beginning with 'The Gypsy Crown' - which tells of the adventures of two Romany children in the time of the English Civil War. Book 5 of the series, 'The Lightning Bolt', was also a CBCA Notable Book.

Kate's books have been published in 14 countries around the world, including the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. She is currently undertaking a doctorate in fairytale retellings at the University of Technology, having already completed a BA in Literature and a MA in Creative Writing.

Kate is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, 'A Mother's Offering to her Children'. She lives by the sea in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.

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

Bitter Greens Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 15
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 16
Review at Kinx's Book Nook
Review & Giveaway at Bookish

Wednesday, September 17
Review & Giveaway at Literary, etc
Review & Giveaway at Book Drunkard

Thursday, September 18
Review & Giveaway at Build a Bookshelf
Review & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader

Friday, September 19
Review at The Maiden's Court
Review & Giveaway at Icey Books

Monday, September 22
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at A Dream Within a Dream
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, September 23
Review at Book Dilettante
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at SurLaLune

Wednesday, September 24
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes
Review, Interview, and Giveaway at Ink Gypsy
Review, Interview, and Giveaway at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, September 25
Review & Giveaway at No BS Book Reviews
Interview & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter

Friday, September 26
Review at The Gilmore Guide to Books
Review at Must Read Faster

Monday, September 29
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Review & Giveaway at Bookworm Blues

Tuesday, September 30
Review at The Life & Times of a Book Addict
Review & Excerpt at Books-n-Kisses
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, October 1
Review at One Book at a Time
Review at Book-alicious Mama
Review & Giveaway at Mina's Bookshelf
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, October 2
Interview at Layered Pages
Review & Giveaway at Oh Magic Hour

Friday, October 3
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Review & Giveaway at Gone Pecan

Sunday, October 5
Review at Carole's Ramblings

Monday, October 6
Review at Book Babe
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Interview, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Harlequin Junkie

Tuesday, October 7
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review & Giveaway at The Pretty Good Gatsby

Wednesday, October 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Review & Giveaway at My Friends Are Fiction

Thursday, October 9
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, October 10
Review at Mel's Shelves
Review & Giveaway at No More Grumpy Bookseller
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, October 13
Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews
Review & Giveaway at Layers of Thought

Tuesday, October 14
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Review & Giveaway at Beth's Book Reviews

Wednesday, October 15
Review at Crossroad Review
Review at My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews

Thursday, October 16
Review at Cheryl's Book Nook
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, October 17
Review at Mary Gramlich
Review at She Reads Novels

Monday, October 20
Interview & Giveaway at The Reading Frenzy


To win a hardcover of Bitter Greens please complete the form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 25th.

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eBook Giveaway: A Jane Austen Daydream by Scott D. Southard

Today is the last day of Scott D. Southard's Blog Tour for A Jane Austen Daydream and I have a chance for one lucky reader to win an eBook!

9780983671923 Austen Cover.indd

Publication Date: April 30, 2013 | Madison Street Publishing | Formats: eBook, Hardcover

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Women's Fiction

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All her heroines find love in the end—but is there love waiting for Jane?

Jane Austen spends her days writing and matchmaking in the small countryside village of Steventon, until a ball at Godmersham Park propels her into a new world where she yearns for a romance of her own. But whether her heart will settle on a young lawyer, a clever Reverend, a wealthy childhood friend, or a mysterious stranger is anyone's guess.

Written in the style of Jane herself, this novel ponders the question faced by many devoted readers over the years—did she ever find love? Weaving fact with fiction, it re-imagines her life, using her own stories to fill in the gaps left by history and showing that all of us—to a greater or lesser degree—are head over heels for Jane.

Praise for A Jane Austen Daydream

"For those of you who are exhausted by the innumerable retellings of Austen's novels, this is a style entirely new.... be rewarded by a quick paced novel unlike any you can ever have read, which injects new ideas and possibilities into the world of Jane Austen." -Laura Boyle, The Jane Austen Centre

"Mix one part biography and one part historical re-imagining...add witty characters and some surprises and you have A Jane Austen Daydream. This was a delightful read." -Amelia Rodriguez, Jane Austen Society of North America

"...Lovely, thought-provoking novel. Fans of Austen will adore this book." -Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List.

"Southard has taken the facts about the great author and woven them into a credible, touching, and also entertaining portrait of a life." -Historical Novel Society

“The good news is Scott Southard’s Jane is a delightful creature. She is clever and witty and determined to do the best she can for herself, even when things take a turn for the worst….her thoughts and comments had me smiling (and even laughing) on more than one occasion.”

“This book takes the opportunity to dream her up the romance we are not sure she ever had… Watch out also for the many references to her novels, which are like a puzzle, challenging you to recognize where they are taken from.” -Dan Wiggs, publisher of The Jane Austen Travel Guide

“An excellent concept and a great achievement, a must read for Austen fans open for a playful read and those who wish Austen had written more. This is like a little welcome encore for us fans.” -Christoph Fischer, author

From Pride and Prejudice“A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM by Scott Southard, a fictionalized account of Jane’s life, is a book that should be placed on the shelf of every book-loving fan of Jane Austen because she’s absolutely “alive” on the pages of this book.” -Julie Valerie’s Book Blog

Buy the Book

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Book Depository

About the Author

02_Scott D. Southard
Photo Credit: Adam Emperor Southard

Scott D. Southard, the author of A Jane Austen Daydream, swears he is not obsessed with Jane Austen. He is also the author of the novels: My Problem with Doors, Megan, Permanent Spring Showers, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, and 3 Days in Rome. With his eclectic writing he has found his way into radio, being the creator of the radio comedy series The Dante Experience. The production was honored with the Golden Headset Award for Best MultiCast Audio and the Silver Ogle Award for Best Fantasy Audio Production. Scott received his Master’s in writing from the University of Southern California. Scott can be found on the internet via his writing blog “The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard” ( where he writes on far-ranging topics like writing, art, books, TV, writing, parenting, life, movies, and writing. He even shares original fiction on the site. Currently, Scott resides in Michigan with his very understanding wife, his two patient children, and a very opinionated dog named Bronte.

You can find Scott on Facebook and Twitter.

A Jane Austen Daydream Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 1
Review at Bookish

Tuesday, September 2
Spotlight at I'd So Rather Be Reading

Monday, September 8
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review at Diary of an Eccentric
Review & Giveaway at To Read or Not to Read

Wednesday, September 10
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Spotlight & Giveaway at What Is That Book About

Thursday, September 11
Excerpt & Giveaway at Romantic Historical Reviews

Friday, September 12
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past


To win an eBook (Kindle for US residents or PDF for international residents) of Scott D. Southard's A Jane Austen Daydream please complete the form below. Giveaway ends on September 22nd.

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Linda Covella's Yakimali's Gift Lauch Party, September 16 7-9pm EST

Ain't no party like a HistFic party cause a HistFic party don't stop!

HF Virtual Book Tours proudly presents Linda Covella's Yakimali's Gift Launch Party on September 16th, 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 HistFic fans for some bookish fun!

Where: Facebook Event (click to RSVP)
When: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 7:00-9:00pm EST

02_Yakimali's Gift 

Publication Date: July 29, 2014 | Astraea Press | eBook; 206p

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

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It’s 1775 in Mexico, New Spain, and 15-year-old Fernanda Marquina, half Pima Indian and half Spanish, can’t seem to live up to her mother’s expectations or fit into the limited female roles of her culture. While she tends her garden, matches wits with buyers and sellers at the weekly market, and avoids Mama’s lectures and the demands of Nicolas, the handsome soldier pursuing her, Fernanda grabs any opportunity to ride the horses she loves, racing across the desert, dreaming of adventure in faraway lands.

But when a tragic accident presents her with the adventure she longed for, it’s at a greater cost than she could have ever imagined. With her family, Fernanda joins Juan Bautista de Anza’s historic colonization expedition to California.

On the arduous four-month journey, Fernanda makes friends with Feliciana, the young widow Fernanda can entrust with her deepest thoughts; Gloria, who becomes the sister Fernanda always wished for; and Gloria’s handsome brother Miguel, gentle one moment, angry the next and, like Fernanda, a mestizo–half Indian and half Spanish. As Fernanda penetrates Miguel’s layers of hidden feelings, she’s torn between him and Nicolas, who has joined the journey in the ranks of Anza’s soldiers and whose plans include marrying Fernanda when they reach California.

But propelling Fernanda along the journey is her search for Mama’s Pima Indian past, a past Mama refused to talk about, a past with secrets that Fernanda is determined to learn. The truths she discovers will change the way she sees her ancestry, her family, and herself.

Watch the Book Trailer

Praise for Yakimali's Gift

“Linda Covella brings the early settlement of California to life in this tale of adventure, drama, romance, and mystery…The novel is full of imagination and wisdom and speaks to the universal need of young people to rebel and to find the courage to invent their own lives.” - Dr. Virginia M. Bouvier, author of Women and the Conquest of California

“Yakimali’s Gift is written for the young, the old, and everyone in between. It’s about a young girl named Fernanda, and her adventure in 1775, when King Carlos III of Spain ordered Juan Bautista de Anza to lead an expedition of settlers from Mexico to California. This book is written with such detail I felt like I could reach out and touch the desert sand, or pet the beautiful horses:) The other characters in this book are just as wonderful as Fernanda. You can’t help but feel their pain or smile when there happy. Linda is an excellent writer, she grabs you from the beginning and takes you on an exciting adventure. This is a story you can read and then pass along to your daughter, that means a lot to me as my thirteen year-old usually can’t read the books I’m asked to review. I recommend this book to everyone!” ~Tanya Watt, reviewer/designer

Quarter-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award:

“The dialogue, character development, and historical details all serve the story and come together seamlessly...Although tagged as Young Adult...would also appeal to adult readers.”
~Amazon ABNA Judge

“Clear and imaginative writing…Excellent eye for descriptive detail. I am feeling a very strong sense of place as you describe the scenes...”
~Amazon ABNA Judge

Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble

About the Author

03_Linda CovellaLinda Covella’s varied job experience and education (associate degrees in art, business and mechanical drafting & design, a BS degree in Manufacturing Management) have led her down many paths and enriched her life experiences. But one thing she never strayed from is her love of writing.

A writer for over 30 years, her first official publication was a restaurant review column in a local newspaper, and as a freelance writer, she continued to publish numerous articles in a variety of publications. But when she published articles for children’s magazines (“Games and Toys in Ancient Rome” and “Traveling the Tokaido in 17th Century Japan,” in Learning Through History magazine, and “Barry’s Very Grown Up Day” in Zootles magazine), she realized she’d found her niche: writing for children. She wants to share with kids and teens her love of books: the worlds they open, the things they teach, the feelings they express.

Yakimali’s Gift, a historical novel for young adults published by Astraea Press, and middle grade paranormal The Castle Blues Quake published by Beau Coup Publishing are her first novels.

No matter what new paths she may travel down, she sees her writing as a lifelong joy and commitment.

She’s a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She blogs about writing on her website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Women’s lives in Ancient Israel by Stephanie Landsem + Giveaway of The Thief

Today on the blog I am proud to be hosting Stephanie Landsem who is currently on Blog Tour with Book Junkie Promotions for her latest Christian Historical Fiction release, The Thief!

Women’s lives in Ancient Israel

If you’re like me, you read historical fiction to be transported into another time and place—to live for a few hours in someone else’s world. In The Living water series, I write about the lives of women in first century Israel. My hope is to immerse my readers in the lives of my characters—women who lived 2,000 years ago in a land halfway around the world.

So what was it like to be a woman in first century Israel? Here are a few ways that their lives were different from our own.

  • The ultimate goal of every Jewish girl was to marry and have children, preferably plenty of sons.
  •  Jewish girls were betrothed early—usually by the time they were 13. They usually had little choice in whom they wed, unless their father was a particularly loving and considerate one. Marriage was for security and family, love was only an afterthought.
  • A Jewish father had all legal rights over his daughter from the moment she was born until she was wed. From then on, she was the responsibility and—in many practical ways—the property of her husband.
  • A woman’s day was spent gardening and cooking food for her family, spinning, weaving and sewing clothes, and caring for her home and children.
  • Jewish girls and women didn’t speak to men outside the confines of their own homes. No men—not even their fathers, brothers, or husbands!
  • Jewish women were obedient. They did what their fathers and husbands asked without question. To shame your family by disobedience was the ultimate sin.
  • In return for her hard work and obedience, a Jewish woman was cared for and protected by the men in her family.

It was a life very different from our lives today, isn’t it? But what happens to a young woman who doesn’t have a man to protect her? What if a girl is plain, disobedient, and can’t cook or sew—a girl who has no hope for marriage?

Nissa—one of my favorite characters in The Living Water Series—faces just those questions. In The Thief, Nissa has fallen outside of the strict confines of a typical woman’s life. She has no father to watch over her, no husband, and a blind brother who needs her. It is up to her to provide for herself and her brother in a society that gives women almost no choices.

What can a young woman in the teeming city of Jerusalem do to keep herself and her brother from starvation and perhaps even find happiness? Get to know Nissa and be transported into her world in The Thief. I hope you like her as much as I do!

02_The Thief 

Publication Date: February 25, 2014 | Publisher: Howard Books | Formats: eBook, Paperback

Series: The Living Water (Book Two)
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure. Desperate to escape the accursed Judean province, he accepts a wager. If he can catch the thieves harassing the marketplace before Passover, he’ll earn a transfer away from the troublemaking Jews.

Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Only with the help of Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, can she keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and a roof over their heads.
When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Longinus longs to learn more about the mysterious healer. Instead, his journey leads him to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.

Unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus, they wonder who this teacher is who heals others but does nothing to save himself. Is the mercy he offers in his teachings real, or just another false promise? Can Nissa and Longinus overcome their pasts to find a future free of their shackles?

Praise for The Thief

"Nissa’s tough demeanor as a cover for her fear and and Longinus’ desire to live a life of peace in his mother’s homeland of Gaul are achingly believable. Both characters are truly lost souls brought together by Jesus’ act of mercy. Their discover, through Him, that mercy is the true power that leads to peace is a reassurance Christian readers can appreciate." —Romantic Times, 4 1/2 stars
"To read The Thief is to be completely transported to another time and place. Landsem’s impeccably researched novel moves at breakneck speed toward a climax that doesn’t disappoint." —Rebecca Kanner, author of Sinners and the Sea (Rebecca Kanner, author of Sinners and the Sea)
"Powerful and moving, Landsem grabs hold of the soul and never lets go. As compelling a portrait of mercy as I have ever read. Don't miss this one!" —Siri Mitchell, author of The Messenger (Siri Mitchell, author of The Messenger)

“Filled with memorable characters, The Thief is a tale of hopelessness turned to hope, of high stakes made higher, and ultimate love. What happens when a character at the lowest rung of society crosses paths with the most well-known figure in history? The story of The Thief. I couldn't stop reading.” —Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling author of Iscariot (Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling author of Iscariot)

“WOW! LOVE IT!!! I started reading on my way home from a conference and was so engrossed in the book I almost missed the flight! The Thief stole my heart and lifted my spirit. Masterfully told, this story of a Roman centurion and a Jewish girl explores familiar New Testament passages but plumbs new spiritual depths. A powerful message of faith and hope intersecting at the foot of the cross.” —Mesu Andrews, author of In a Broken Vessel (Mesu Andrews, author of In a Broken Vessel)
“You know the feeling you get looking at a mountain sunset, listening to sacred music while James Earl Jones reads the Sermon on the Mount? The Thief captures that emotion in an unforgettable story of desperation and beauty.” —Regina Jennings, author of Caught in the Middle and Sixty Acres and a Bride (Regina Jennings, author of Caught in the Middle and Sixty Acres and a Bride)

“A compelling story and vivid characters immediately come off the page and into your heart as Stephanie Landsem brings ancient Jerusalem to life in her enthralling second novel, The Thief. As you run through the streets with the little thief, Mouse, or dip in the Pool of Siloam with the secretive Nissa, a masterful tale full of adventure, heartbreak, and hope unfolds. A must-read for anyone who loves a good book they simply can’t put down.” —Laura Sobiech, author of Fly a Little Higher (Laura Sobiech, author of Fly a Little Higher)

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About the Author

Stephanie-Landsem-106-199x300Stephanie writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s backpacked through Germany and Eastern Europe, studied in Salzburg, enjoyed gelato in Italy, rode a camel in Morocco, and floated in the salty Corinthian Sea. Her favorite cities are Rome, Berlin and Budapest. Her travels kindle her imagination, fuel her love of history and foreign culture, and introduce her to one-of-a-kind characters.
Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about her next adventure - whether it be in person or on the page.

The Thief is an evocative story of two people trapped in their circumstances and the life-changing power of forgiveness and love.

Author Links

The Thief Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 1
Review at Closed the Cover

Tuesday, September 2
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, September 4
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Spotlight at She is Too Fond of Books

Monday, September 8
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Review at Historical Novel Review & Great Historicals

Tuesday, September 9
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, September 10
Interview & Giveaway at The Overweight Bookshelf

Thursday, September 11
Review at What Are You Reading?
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Friday, September 12
Spotlight at Princess of Eboli


To win a copy of The Thief please complete the form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 19th.

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Guest Post & eBook Giveaway: Unexpected Gifts by S.R. Mallery

Please welcome to the blog today author S.R. Mallery! She is here today as part of her HF Virtual Book Tours Blog Tour with a guest post & eBook giveaway!

When Ancestors Come Back to Lend a Helping Hand

Ancestors, forefathers, predecessors, antecedents. These days they seem to be omnipresent on, Mormon websites, in Ellis Island public records. Yet as individuals, how much time do we take to investigate our own lineage, much less wonder if these cognates from our past have contributed to who we are today? And if indeed we have found out anything about them, can we honestly say their behaviors have helped us now? Not being privy to any of their journals or letters, the answer is probably no. But what if we did have access to their stories?

In my historical fiction/contemporary novel, UNEXPECTED GIFTS, I explore this very idea. My main protagonist, Sonia, a confused, neurotic, forever-choosing-the-wrong-man young psych student, is guided to her family’s trunk up in an attic, where memorabilia, diaries, and journals abound. As the book journeys back and forth from her modern life and that of her parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great great-grandparents, she not only discovers former American eras through their writings, she learns of her relatives’ human frailties and by doing so, develops better coping mechanisms for herself.

As with all historical fiction authors, my joy of scoping out these different time frames far outweighed the tremendous amount of time taken to write this work. Interestingly enough, in doing research for this book, one universal truism continuously stood out: Politics and people have basically not changed over the ages.

A few tidbits:

My 1969 chapters (taken from Sonia’s father’s and mother’s letters):

Documentary film footage about the Vietnam War showed the then Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, couching his words carefully and as we found out later, deceptively. General Westmoreland blustered on about the importance of the war as the American public watched napalm being dropped, villagers scattering, and body bag after body bag of U.S. soldiers hoisted onto transport planes to return home. Viewing these documentaries just after the U.S. had entered Iraq, with Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld reiterating the same sentiments as McNamara, struck me as particularly ironic.

Research on Timothy Leary was fascinating—his ‘turn on, tune in, drop out’ philosophy influenced thousands of youths, including his own children. Woodstock’s lineup of top musicians of the time was dazzling while reading Woodstock anecdotes turned up a sad side story that I couldn’t resist using. The same applied to the East Village of New York, where drug use ravaged youngsters, poverty crippled helpless immigrants, and anti-war protests were plotted and advertised in underground newspapers.

My 1950/early 1960’s chapters (taken from Sonia’s grandparents and other side characters)

Tupperware parties. Believe it or not, this was huge back then for Suburban America. Film footage of Ms. Brownie Wise, Mr. Tupperware’s crack salesperson, showed how “better living through chemistry” was tantamount to the Tao way of life. Actual court records from the House of Un-American hearings displayed a cold dismissal of innocent people from all walks of life, not just the entertainment industry. Adding to this mix, accounts of racial discrimination were ever-present not only in the Deep South, but also in nice, clean northern Suburbia where, when push came to shove, niceties fell by the wayside. Harlem lingo waxed poetic, Malcolm X followers soap-boxing on apple crates as a reaction to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in its infancy, and the 1964 Harlem race riots were both self-destructive and frightening. My characters mostly seeing the Beatles not hearing them at Carnegie hall was based on my own frustrating, if not eye-opening, experience.

My 1930’s chapters (taken from Sonia’s great-grandparents and great-aunt)

Research on the Great Depression displayed floods, tornadoes, and gigantic dust clouds of biblical proportions whereas politics seemed to be business as usual. President Franklin Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor attempted to help the nation, yet big corporations reared their ugly heads and in the south, lynching laws were stronger than ever. The president’s “Fireside Chats” miraculously reached millions of people through radio, and further documentation steered me towards the High Steelers, those daring construction workers who stepped over the Empire State Building’s cross beams as if it were a light stroll through the park. Hobos hopped onto trains ignorant of their many hazards, while dance marathon contestants exhibited a demonic resiliency, proving how human beings could endure almost anything if they were desperate enough.

My 1912-1919 chapters (taken from Sonia’s great great-grandparents)

Henry Ford was a strange dichotomy. Situated in Detroit, the mecca for automobiles, he paid his workers higher than most auto makers of the time, offered English classes to the immigrant men while simultaneously sending a team of social workers to ‘visit’ the employees’ private, tenement apartments to check up on their cleanliness, deportment, and religious proclivities (he was fiercely anti-Semitic).

Across the city and indeed, around the nation, Suffrage groups were steadfastly upholding their struggle towards obtaining an official 19th Amendment: Women’s Right to Vote. Yet by 1916, two diverse, rifting factions had taken hold of this movement. On the one side was the philosophy of the more patient stalwarts Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, and Carrie Chapman Catt. On the other were the more recent, virulent Alice Stokes Paul and her ilk, determined to protest in front of the White House and suffer through jail and hunger strikes, in an all out war to force the government’s hand.

Something to think about: What if you came across several of your cognates’ diaries? How could they help you in your life?

02_Unexpected Gifts

Publication Date: April 16, 2013 | Mockingbird Lane Press | Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Can we learn from our ancestral past? Do our relatives’ behaviors help mold our own? In "Unexpected Gifts," that is precisely what happens to Sonia, a confused college student, heading for addictions and forever choosing the wrong man. Searching for answers, she begins to read her family’s diaries and journals from America’s past: the Vietnam War, Woodstock, and Timothy Leary era; Tupperware parties, McCarthyism, and Black Power; the Great Depression, dance marathons, and Eleanor Roosevelt; the immigrant experience and the Suffragists. Back and forth the book journeys, linking yesteryear with modern life until finally, by understanding her ancestors' hardships and faults, she gains enough clarity to make some right choices.

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Praise for Unexpected Gifts

“S.R. Mallery has caught the defining moments in the lives of one working class, upward striving family, as each one of them benefits from and contributes to the growth and setbacks of America itself…A rich and involving book, the author has written a gem. –Dorothy Salisbury Davis, A Gentle Murderer, Lullaby of Murder, The Pale Betrayer, etc.

“S.R. Mallery, with her strong sense of history and deft narrative skills, shows us one American family’s fascinating journey through flashpoints of American history, as a modern day young woman discovers the spirited narratives of her forbears, and is inspired to take charge of her own life…. an impressive, wonderfully thought out and well-told first novel.” –Carla Davidson, former Senior Editor at American Heritage Magazine

Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble

About the Author

03_S.R. MalleryS.R. Mallery has worn various hats in her life.

First, a classical/pop singer/composer, she moved on to the professional world of production art and calligraphy. Next came a long career as an award winning quilt artist/teacher and an ESL/Reading instructor. Her short stories have been published in descant 2008, Snowy Egret, Transcendent Visions, The Storyteller, and Down In the Dirt.

"Unexpected Gifts", her debut novel, is currently available on Amazon. "Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads", her collection of short stories, Jan. 2014, both books by Mockingbird Lane Press.

For more information please visit S.R. Mallery's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Unexpected Gifts Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 1
Review at Unshefish

Tuesday, September 2
Spotlight at Bookish

Wednesday, September 3
Review at Reading Room Book Reviews
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, September 4
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Friday, September 5
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, September 8
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 9
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, September 11
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, September 12
Review at A Book Geek
Spotlight at From the TBR Pile
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time


To win an eBook of Unexpected Gifts please complete the form below. Giveaway is open internationally and ends on September 18.

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2015 Release: The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman

Publication Date: April 14, 2015 | Riverhead | Hardcover; 480p

The Crimson Petal and the White meets Fight Club: A page-turning novel set in the world of female pugilists and their patrons in late eighteenth-century England.

Moving from a filthy brothel to a fine manor house, from the world of street fighters to the world of champions, The Fair Fight is a vivid, propulsive historical novel announcing the arrival of a dynamic new talent.

Born in a brothel, Ruth doesn’t expect much for herself beyond abuse. While her sister’s beauty affords a certain degree of comfort, Ruth’s harsh looks set her on a path of drudgery. That is until she meets pugilist patron George Dryer and discovers her true calling—fighting bare knuckles in the prize rings of Bristol.

Manor-born Charlotte has a different cross to bear. Scarred by smallpox, stifled by her social and romantic options, and trapped in twisted power games with her wastrel brother, she is desperate for an escape.

After a disastrous, life-changing fight sidelines Ruth, the two women meet, and it alters the perspectives of both of them. When Charlotte presents Ruth with an extraordinary proposition, Ruth pushes dainty Charlotte to enter the ring herself and learn the power of her own strength.

A gripping, page-turning story about people struggling to transcend the circumstances into which they were born and fighting for their own places in society, The Fair Fight is a raucous, intoxicating tale of courage, reinvention, and fighting one’s way to the top.

HFVBT Blog Tour Giveaway: The Duel for Consuelo by Claudia H. Long

02_The Duel for Consuelo

Publication Date: June 2, 2014 |  Booktrope Editions | Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Castillo Family, Book Two

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History, love, and faith combine in a gripping novel set in early 1700’s Mexico. In this second passionate and thrilling story of the Castillo family, the daughter of a secret Jew is caught between love and the burdens of a despised and threatened religion. The Enlightenment is making slow in-roads, but Consuelo’s world is still under the dark cloud of the Inquisition. Forced to choose between protecting her ailing mother and the love of dashing Juan Carlos Castillo, Consuelo’s personal dilemma reflects the conflicts of history as they unfold in 1711 Mexico.

A rich, romantic story illuminating the timeless complexities of family, faith, and love.

Praise for Novels of Claudia H. Long

The Duel for Consuelo: “A fascinating, terrifying window into early 18th–century Mexico and the final throes of the Inquisition. Courage and daring fill every page. The conclusion of The Duel for Consuelo is as heart rending as it is pulse pounding.” -David Perlstein, author of Slick! and The Boy Walker

Josefina’s Sin: "Superb debut. A moving tale of women seeking to balance competing passions of the heart, body, and mind in the lavish setting of a seventeenth-century Mexican court." -Publishers Weekly

The Harlot’s Pen: “I was in awe of Claudia's skill with threading such a compelling and captivating story through such a troubled time. She is beyond talented. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this inspiring book. You won't regret it!” -Kristen @ Pretty Little Pages

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

About the Author

03_Claudia H. LongClaudia Long is a highly caffeinated, terminally optimistic married lady living in Northern California. She writes about early 1700’s Mexico and modern day and roaring 20's California. Claudia practices law as a mediator for employment disputes and business collapses, has two formerly rambunctious–now grown kids, and owns four dogs and a cat. Her first mainstream novel was Josefina's Sin, published by Simon & Schuster in 2011. Her second one, The Harlot’s Pen, was published with Devine Destinies in February 2014. Claudia grew up in Mexico City and New York, and she now lives in California.

For more information please visit Claudia H. Long’s website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Other Titles by Claudia H. Long

Josefina’s Sin
The Harlot’s Pen

The Duel for Consuelo Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 25
Review at Book Drunkard
Interview at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, August 26
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, August 27
Review at Library Educated

Thursday, August 28
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Friday, August 29
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Monday, September 1
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, September 2
Review & Giveaway at Beth's Book Blog

Wednesday, September 3
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Thursday, September 4
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, September 5
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past


To win a copy of The Duel for Consuelo, eBook or print, please complete the form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 16th.

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