HFVBT Giveaway: Flesh by Khanh Ha

Author Khanh Ha begins his virtual tour today for FLESH and Passages to the Past is pleased to be hosting him with a feature & giveaway! Khanh will be on tour through April 18, so be sure to check the schedule of stops below to see where he will be featured!

FleshPublication Date: June 15, 2012
Black Heron Publishing
Hardcover; 368p
ISBN-10: 0930773888

The setting is Tonkin (northern Vietnam) at the turn of the 20th century. A boy, Tai, witnesses the beheading of his father, a notorious bandit, and sets out to recover his head and then to find the man who betrayed his father to the authorities. On this quest, Tai's entire world will shift. FLESH takes the reader into dark and delightful places in the human condition, places where allies are not always your friends, true love hurts, and your worst enemy may bring you the most comfort. In that emotionally harrowing world, Tai must learn to deal with new responsibilities in his life while at the same time acknowledging his bond, and his resemblance, to a man he barely knew--his father. Through this story of revenge is woven another story, one of love, but love purchased with the blood of murders Tai commits. A coming-of-age story, but also a love story, the sensuality of the author's writing style belies the sometimes brutal world he depicts.

Read an excerpt HERE.

Book Trailer

Praise for FLESH

"Vietnam-born Ha’s beautifully described [. . .] first novel, set in his native country at the turn of the 20th century, opens with an infamous yet respected bandit being beheaded in front of his wife and their two young sons. This beginning casts a pall over the tale as Tài, the eldest son, embarks on a far-reaching journey to retrieve his father’s skull, find a suitable burial site, and seek revenge on the man who betrayed his father’s trust. Through a series of twists and turns [. . .] Tài trades two years’ service to a wealthy entrepreneur for land on which to bury the father’s remains. During that time, Tài loses his heart to Xiaoli, an indentured servant working in an opium den, and will do anything—including holding off on vengeance and killing a French soldier—to protect her. In this dark, violent, and poetic saga, with disjointed cinematic vignettes that make it often read like a screenplay, characters are not who they seem. While this makes for a thrilling finale, what lingers [. . .] is Ha’s descriptive prose." - Publishers Weekly 

Author Photo About the Author

Khanh Ha’s debut novel is FLESH (June 2012, Black Heron Press). He graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. During his teen years he began writing short stories which won him several awards in the Vietnamese adolescent magazines. He is at work on a new novel. A short story, reshaped from this novel, was publised by Red Savina Review in its 2013 Spring inaugural edition. It was also nominated for the Winter Literary Award in the Tethered by Letters Journal but was withrawn because of conflict of interest. Another Ha’s short story was published in the 2013 February Outside in Literary & Travel Magazine (http://outsideinmagazine.com/)

For further information on FLESH, please visit the author's website and blog.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, March 25 
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past 

Tuesday, March 26 
Review at Raging Blbliomania 

Wednesday, March 27 
Interview at Tribute Books 

Thursday, March 28 
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair 

Friday, March 29 
Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie 

Monday, April 1 
Giveaway at A Writer's Life: Working with the Muse 

Tuesday, April 2 
Review & Giveaway at Cheryl's Book Nook 

Wednesday, April 3 
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary 

Thursday, April 4 
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews 

Friday, April 5 
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict 

Monday, April 8 
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! 

Tuesday, April 9 
Interview at Bibliophilic Book Blog 

Wednesday, April 10 
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader 
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Libraria

Thursday, April 11 
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! 

Friday, April 12 
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time 

Monday, April 15 
Review at bookramblings 

Tuesday, April 16 
Review & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader

Wednesday, April 17 
Review at I Read a Book Once 

Thursday, April 18 
Review at Book Nerds 


Passages to the Past has one hardcover of FLESH up for grabs!  To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

Giveaway is open US, CAN, AUS & England residents.  Giveaway ends on April 3rd.  Good luck!

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Giveaway: Like Chaff in the Wind by Anna Belfrage

Passages to the Past is pleased to be hosting a giveaway of Like Chaff in the Wind (Book Two, The Graham Saga) as part of Anna Belfrage's virtual book tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours! Anna's tour kicked off today and you can follow the schedule of stops below! 

Like Chaff in the Wind
Publication Date: March 1, 2013 
Paperback; 376p 

Matthew Graham committed the mistake of his life when he cut off his brother’s nose. In revenge, Luke Graham has Matthew abducted and transported to the Colony of Virginia, there to be sold as indentured labour – a death sentence more or less. 

Matthew arrives in Virginia in May of 1661, and any hope he had of finding someone willing to listen to his tale of unlawful abduction is quickly extinguished. If anything Matthew’s insistence that he is an innocent man leads to him being singled out for the heaviest tasks. 

Insufficient food, grueling days and the humid heat combine to wear Matthew down. With a sinking feeling he realises no one has ever survived the seven years of service – not on the plantation Suffolk Rose, not under the tender care of the overseer Dominic Jones. 

Fortunately for Matthew, he has a remarkable wife, a God’s gift who has no intention of letting her husband suffer and die, and so Alex Graham sets off on a perilous journey to bring her husband home. 

Alex is plagued by nightmares in which her Matthew is reduced to a wheezing wreck by his tormentors. She sits in the prow of the ship and prays for a miracle to carry her swiftly to his side, to let her hold him and heal him before it’s too late. God, however, has other things to do and what should have been a two month crossing becomes a yearlong adventure from one side of the Atlantic to the other. 

Will she find him in time? And if she does, will she be capable of paying the price required to buy him free? 

About the Author

Anna BelfrageI was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical - both non-fiction and fiction. 

I was always going to be a writer - or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred. 

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am - I have achieved my dream. 

 For more information, please visit Anna Belfrage's WEBSITE

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, March 18 
Review at Layered Pages 
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past 

Tuesday, March 19 
Review at Bippity Boppity Book 
Interview at Layered Pages 

Wednesday, March 20 
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! 
Guest Post at Bippity Boppity Book 

Thursday, March 21 
Guest Post & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! 

Friday, March 22 
Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie 

 Monday, March 25 
Review at Flashlight Commentary 
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden's Court 

Tuesday, March 26 
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary 
Giveaway at Cheryl's Book Nook 

Wednesday, March 27 
Review at The Worm Hole 
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time 

Thursday, March 28 
Review & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick 

Friday, March 29 
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection 

Monday, April 1 
Review at Raging Bibliomania 
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews 

Tuesday, April 2 
Review at Books, Belles and Beaux 

Wednesday, April 3 
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee 
Guest Post & Giveaway at Books, Belles and Beaux

Thursday, April 4 
Review & Interview at Sir Read-a-Lot

Friday, April 5 
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader


Passages to the Past has one paperback copy up for grabs.  To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway entry form below.

Giveaway is open internationally and ends on March 28th.  Good luck!
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Holly Bush Historical Romance eBook Giveaway

Today concludes the virtual book tour for Holly Bush's historical romance novels, Romancing Olive & Reconstructing Jackson, and Passages to the Past is honored to be hosting a giveaway! To see all of the previous stops, please see the schedule here

About Reconstructing Jackson

Reconstructing Jackson
Publication Date: November 1, 2011 

In 1891, spinster librarian, Olive Wilkins, is shocked to learn of her brother’s violent death at a saloon gaming table and her sister-in-law’s subsequent murder, traveling far from her staid life to rescue her niece and nephew, now orphans. She arrives to find the circumstances of her brother’s life deplorable and her long held beliefs of family and tradition, shaken. Accustomed to the sophistication of Philadelphia, Olive arrives in Spencer, Ohio, a rough and tumble world she is not familiar with, facing two traumatized children. Her niece and nephew, Mary and John, have been living with a neighboring farmer, widower Jacob Butler, the father of three young children of his own and a man still in pain from the recent loss of his wife. Real danger threatens Olive and Mary and John while Jacob and his own brood battle the day-to-day struggles for survival. Will Olive and Jacob find the strength to fight their battles alone or together? Will love conquer the bitterness of loss and broken dreams? 

About Romancing Olive

Romancing OlivePublication Date: September 25, 2012 

1867 . . . Southern lawyer and Civil War veteran, Reed Jackson, returns to his family’s plantation in a wheelchair. His father deems him unfit, and deeds the Jackson holdings, including his intended bride, to a younger brother. Angry and bitter, Reed moves west to Fenton, Missouri, home to a cousin with a successful business, intending to start over. Belle Richards, a dirt poor farm girl aching to learn how to read, cleans, cooks and holds together her family’s meager property. A violent brother and a drunken father plot to marry her off, and gain a new horse in the bargain. But Belle’s got other plans, and risks her life to reach them. Reed is captivated by Belle from their first meeting, but wheelchair bound, is unable to protect her from violence. Bleak times will challenge Reed and Belle's courage and dreams as they forge a new beginning from the ashes of war and ignorance. 

Praise for Holly Bush

"A poignant read, ROMANCING OLIVE is an inspired, emotion-packed historical story that will touch your heart." - Romance Junkies "Put away your notions of romancing. Dust off your ideas of shocking and pick up a copy of ROMANCING OLIVE by Holly Bush, a family saga reminiscent of THE THORNBIRDS." - Susan Russo Anderson Author & Book Blogger ". . . Reconstructing Jackson . . . reminds me why I love novels by Holly Bush. Her ability to place you into a previous time period and enthrall you with a story so compelling that you can't put it down is incredible." - Author Deanna Lynn Sletten 

About the Author

Holly Bush1Holly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building traffic to capacity for a local farm tour, bringing guests from twenty-two states, booked two years out. Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and has done public speaking on the subject. Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in the U.S. West in the mid 1800’s. She frequently attends writing conferences, and has always been a member of a writer’s group. Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, has been an active member of her local library board and loves to spend time near the ocean. She is the proud mother of two daughters and the wife of a man more than a few years her junior. 



Passages to the Past has one eBook of Reconstructing Jackson and Romancing Olive up for grabs.  Winner has choice of book and eBook format.  To enter, please complete the giveaway form below.

Giveaway is open internationally and ends on March 22.  Good luck! 
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Guest Post by Helen Hollick + Giveaway of Ripples in the Sand

Passages to the Past is pleased to be hosting author Helen Hollick today as part of her virtual tour for her latest release, Ripples in the Sand!  You can see the full schedule of stops here.

Hello Amy – thank you so much for inviting me and my pirate, Jesamiah Acorne (Captain!) on to your blog. And an even greater thank you to your lovely readers for taking the time to join us here.

It is not easy living alongside invented characters. They do, somewhat, take over your life – the make-believe becomes the reality, and reality can take a bit of a back seat on too many occasions for too many hours of the week. Cook dinner? Go shopping? Do the laundry? Sorry, I’m too busy having wild adventures in a different world with my larger than life friends! To me, my fictional characters are real people – especially when one of those characters is Captain Jesamiah Acorne, a charismatic rogue of a handsome charmer. I know him intimately; his likes and dislikes, his quirks and foibles. What makes him laugh or cry; what pleases him, what makes him angry. I hear his voice – especially that deep, husky guffaw of his when something I do amuses him. I know exactly what he looks, smells and sounds like, and I am very aware of his continuous presence behind my right shoulder.

Is this imagination, or is there some sort of ethereal link to someone from the past – or to someone who exists in a parallel world, one which we call “imagination”?

There are two sides to having your very own pirate though, one good, one a tad annoying. It can be very unsettling when daily Life has to come to the fore – for instance, these last few weeks when I have been moving home from London to Devon. Moving is a stressful business, and my husband, daughter and her partner have worked hard at making the new house ‘home’ – but it can be most disconcerting to hear an (imagined or otherwise) voice in your ear grumbling: ‘When are you going to get on and write my next adventure?’

On the other hand, I have occasionally found myself in an uncomfortable or even frightening situation, when it can be most useful to feel that I have a 5’10, cutlass-wielding pirate standing guard behind me! That thought can boost a sagging confidence no end!

So how ‘real’ are the characters that authors write about? In historical fiction we portray the people of the past, those people who did indeed live real lives – the kings, queens, their consorts, friends and enemies. Or maybe we create made-up people who lived in turbulent and troubled times that actually occurred. We research what facts we can, gather as much information – from a variety of sources – and write a version of history that we feel is probably close to the truth. Others, be they readers or writers, academics or historians may disagree with our version of past events of course, but everyone has their own theories, and we argue like made between ourselves as to who is right or wrong. We will never know the truth, but does the truth really matter in a novel of fiction?

I guess it does when it comes to the detail – who is going to enjoy a novel about the Battle of Hastings, for instance, if the author sets this most famous of historical events in 1067 - the wrong date? Or, unless it is deliberately written as alternative fiction, a novel where Richard III survives and Henry Tudor dies? (Interesting that until now many have ridiculed Shakespeare for depicting Richard as a hunchback with a deformed shoulder – yet the recent discovery of his remains have shown that he had distinctive curvature of the spine. Shakespeare obviously knew something we didn’t!)

Some novels I read I just cannot get into. This has nothing to do with the plot, the style of writing or the accuracy of the detail, but is all to do with the believability of the characters, particularly the main protagonist.

How can the reader believe in a character if the writer does not? If that character is only one dimensional, if he or she does unbelievable things, or changes their given characteristics halfway through the novel? Having said that, many a hero, or heroine is placed in unbelievable situations. My Jesamiah has survived trauma that most adults possibly would not – and look at movie characters such as James Bond. How many unbelievable times has he survived the prospect of death (while everyone around him cops it)? That sort of occurrence is acceptable in fiction though. We know no real person would be able to endure such outrageous difficulties – but that is the fun of stories; it is not what the plot is about but how the hero gets through it all.

It might only be my opinion, but for what it is worth, I think that it is an author’s duty to think of the people they write about as real people – even if, in consequence, others who live outside the realm of imagination think that most of us writers are completely potty!

My life has been enriched by meeting Jesamiah Acorne – and my King Arthur, Emma of Normandy and Harold Godwineson. I would not trade their presence in my life for anything – not even my rather shaky sanity! *laugh*

Publication Date: January 15, 2013
Silverwood Books
Paperback; 310p
ISBN-10: 1781320772

Approaching England's North Devon Coast Captain Jesamiah Acorne is worried. A Royal Navy frigate is trailing in his wake and Sea Witch has a hidden cache of brandy and indigo aboard. His instinct is to hoist full sail and flee, but he cannot attract attention, for his wife, Tiola, is ill and getting worse. She says the sea is affecting her, but Jesamiah has never seen seasickness like this before - is it something worse; something to do with her being a white witch perhaps? Like an approaching storm, his worries get deeper, darker and more sinister. Tiola's brother, Ben, is in gaol, arrested for smuggling. At a loss of how to help him, opportunity comes in the unexpected form of Sir Ailie Doone - the last of the notorious Doone family of Exmoor. He offers Jesamiah a highly secret but lucrative commission to go to Spain and bring back to England a man who will lead a Jacobite rebellion. It seems an ideal solution, but first Jesamiah must break young Ben out of gaol. Once escaped from the threat of the gallows, the boy can sail with Jesamiah on the Sea Witch leaving Tiola ashore to recover in peace. Except, being captured and interrogated by the Spanish and meeting with an old friend, the beautiful English spy Francesca, is not part of Jesamiah's plan. Once again he is in danger of losing his fidelity, his freedom and maybe even his life. Tiola meanwhile, has her own fears to face. Why is the ethereal spirit of the sea, Tethys, so determined to have Jesamiah for her own? To save him, Tiola must find a way to recall her previous lives and discover why events of the past have influenced the hatreds of the present. Like ripples in the sand blending together when disturbed, she must influence the fragile ripples of time... 

About the Author

Helen Hollick lives in London with her husband and adult daughter. In between researching the background information for her historical novels, and her pirate series about Jesamiah Acorne, she spends most of her time helping with her daughter's horses as chief groom and general run-around. She has a university diploma in early medieval history - and a passion for pirates.  


Passages to the Past has one copy of Ripples in the Sand up for grabs.  To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter form below.

Giveaway is open internationally and ends on March 19.  Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Post by Victoria Lamb + Int'l Giveaway of His Dark Lady

Please help me welcome author Victoria Lamb to Passages to the Past today! Victoria is currently on tour for the UK release of her novel, His Dark Lady, and I am honored to have her here with a guest post and giveaway! 

Take it away, Victoria... 

His Dark Lady follows the course of the infamous Babington plot against Elizabeth I, when Catholic plotters sought to put Mary Queen of Scots on the English throne. Mary Stuart was being held under guard by her cousin Elizabeth when the plot came to light. Elizabeth's most dangerous political prisoner, Mary was a beacon of hope to disenfranchised Catholics at home and in exile. For they knew that if they could depose the Protestant Elizabeth, they could swiftly return England to Catholicism under the devout Mary.

Luckily for Elizabeth, the English plotters, led by Anthony Babington, appear to have been remarkably naive and inept, despite their use of complex codes and ciphers. Their band of conspirators was eventually infiltrated by a handful of spies in the pay of Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth's notorious spymaster. The main purpose of their infiltration was to incriminate Mary Stuart in Babington's conspiracy. But the Scots Queen was a cautious and intelligent woman, and their goal of entrapment turned out to be far harder than anyone had expected. So much so, in fact, that it almost failed.

This is the tense, conspiratorial background against which my new Lucy Morgan novel, His Dark Lady, is played out. My heroine Lucy is tangled up in dangerous secrets too, from the clandestine wedding of Robert Dudley, the Queen's favourite, to the Queen's hated cousin Lettice, to Lucy's own forbidden involvement with a young player, William Shakespeare, fresh from the country.

Lucy Morgan, introduced in The Queen's Secret as a black court singer, the orphan of noble African captives, is gradually settling into her new role as lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth I, though she has not yet lost the stigma of her more humble beginnings. When Shakespeare encounters Lucy during a performance at the Cross Keys Inn in London, he wonders eagerly how to impress this dusky court beauty. But once the two begin to fall in love, recklessly and against all advice, Shakespeare has to deal with the inevitable cracks in his marriage to Anne Hathaway, waiting for him back in Warwickshire.

Meanwhile Lucy's guardian, the secret agent Goodluck, is facing betrayal from within Walsingham's spy network. Working undercover to expose the Babington plotters, the slightest misstep could get him killed and jeopardise England's safety. But as his friends begin to die, Goodluck knows he must discover the identity of the traitor, or he will be next.

So a rich narrative mix for His Dark Lady, with both Elizabeth I and Shakespeare as narrative characters, during one of the most serious crises of Elizabeth's reign.

UK Publication Date: February 28, 2013
Bantam Press
Hardcover; 432p
ISBN-10: 0593068009

London, 1583.

When young, aspiring playwright William Shakespeare encounters Lucy Morgan, one of Queen Elizabeth I's ladies-in-waiting, the two fall passionately in love. He declares Lucy the inspiration for his work, but what secret is Will hiding from his muse?

Meanwhile, Lucy has her own secret - and one that could destroy her world if exposed. No longer the chaste maid so valued by the Virgin Queen, she also bore witness to the clandestine wedding of Lettice Knollys and Robert Dudley, a match forbidden by the monarch.

England is in peril. Queen Elizabeth's health is deteriorating, her throne under siege from Catholic plotters and threats of war with Spain. Faced with deciding the fate of her long-term prisoner, Mary, Queen of Scots, she needs a trusted circle of advisors around her now more than ever. But who can she turn to when those closest to her have proved disloyal?

And how secure is Lucy's position at court, now that she has learned the dangerous art of keeping secrets?

About the Author

Victoria Lamb grew up in the peaceful Isle of Man, benefiting from a vast library of books and a family of writers from which to take inspiration. She now lives with her own family in a three-hundred year old farmhouse on the fringes of Cornwall's Bodmin Moor, where she walks most days and writes in a study overlooking fields of moorland ponies.

She has a serious addiction to Twitter, and invites other such addicts to chat with her there about books and nonsense.  You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.


Passages to the Past has one copy of His Dark Lady up for grabs!  To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

Giveaway is open internationally and ends on March 14th.  Good luck!

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Feature & Giveaway: Lady of Ashes by Christine Trent


Author Christine Trent is currently on tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for Lady of Ashes and Passages to the Past is so honored to be a stop on the tour!  Christine will be on tour through March 22, please see the schedule of stops here.

Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Kensington Publishing 
Paperback; 384p 
ISBN-10: 0758265913

In 1861 London, Violet Morgan is struggling to establish a good reputation for the undertaking business that her husband has largely abandoned. She provides comfort for the grieving, advises them on funeral fashion and etiquette, and arranges funerals. Unbeknownst to his wife, Graham, who has nursed a hatred of America since his grandfather soldiered for Great Britain in the War of 1812, becomes involved in a scheme to sell arms to the South. Meanwhile, Violet receives the commission of a lifetime: undertaking the funeral for a friend of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. But her position remains precarious, especially when Graham disappears and she begins investigating a series of deaths among the poor. And the closer she gets to the truth, the greater the danger for them both... 
About the Author

Christine writes historical fiction from her two-story home library. She lives with her wonderful bookshelf-building husband, four precocious cats, a large doll collection, and nearly 4,000 fully cataloged books. She and her husband are active travelers and journey regularly to England to conduct book research at historic sites. It was Christine's interest in dolls and history that led to the idea for her first book, The Queen's Dollmaker. Her other books include A Royal Likeness and By the King's Design. Lady of Ashes is the first book in Christine's new historical mystery series, it will be followed by Stolen Remains in 2014 and Sacred Remains in 2015.  

Connect with Christine Trent: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK


Passages to the Past has one copy of Lady of Ashes up for grabs.  To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

Giveaway is open Internationally.  Ends on March 12th. 
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