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No Woman's Land by Ellie Midwood
Publication Date: May 31, 2019
eBook; 368 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


“It was very dangerous for him, and he knew it. But his love for me was stronger than fear.” - Ilse Stein

This novel is based on the inspiring and moving love story of Ilse Stein, a German Jew, and Willy Schultz, a Luftwaffe Captain in the Minsk ghetto, who risked his life to save the one he loved the most.

When the last of the Jews’ rights are stripped in 1941, Ilse’s family is deported to a Minsk ghetto. Confined to a Sonderghetto and unable to speak the locals’ language, Ilse struggles to support the surviving members of her family. Befriended by a local underground member Rivka, Ilse partakes in small acts of resistance and sabotage to help her fellow Jews escape to the partisans.

A few months later, after losing almost his entire brigade of workers to one of the bloodiest massacres conducted by the SS, a local administrative officer Willy Schultz summons the survivors to form a new brigade. Ilse’s good looks immediately catch his eye, and he makes her a leader of the new unit and later, an office worker. Soon, an unlikely romance blossoms amid death and gore, moving a Nazi officer to go to great risks to protect not only Ilse but as many others as possible and allowing a Jewish girl to open her heart to the former enemy. Knowing that the ghetto would soon be liquidated, Willy Schultz swears to save Ilse, even if the cost would be his own life.

“We live together, or we die together,” - an ultimate oath of love in the most harrowing setting.

Dark, haunting, but full of hope, “No Woman’s Land” is a testament to the love that is stronger than fear and death itself.
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo
Review⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

"We live together, or we die together"

Oh, my heart! No Woman's Land was another stellar historical from Ellie Midwood, who is fast becoming my go-to for WWII and Holocaust novels. This lady brings the past to life like no other - the good, the bad, and everything in between!

What endeared me most to this novel is that it's based on a true story of a Luftwaffe Officer that fell in love with a German Jew amidst the violence and terror at a Minsk ghetto. How one can find love in such a horrifying place it's hard to fathom, but I think this quote from Ilse explains it perfectly:

"It can be my corpse that a black SS boot shoves into a new pit tomorrow and I want to die a woman who's known love at least for a few stolen moments."

Midwood is a wonder with words - I am so in love with her writing. You can feel the love between Ilse and Willy explode off the pages and as a reader you root for them to make it. I cried quite a few times while reading this, so have tissues at the ready! And her descriptions of life in the ghetto and the daily struggle to survive was real and visceral.

"...yet, he courted me instead as though it was not wartime, as though I didn't owe my very life to him, as though it wasn't me, who was the helpless side in all of this twisted equation."

No Woman's Land was a beautiful, chilling, terrifying, and hopeful. I loved every second I spent with this book and cannot wait for more from Ellie Midwood!

About the Author
Ellie Midwood is a best-selling, award-winning historical fiction writer. She's a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, a neat freak, an adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew and a doggie mama.

Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

Readers' Favorite - winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) - "The Girl from Berlin: Standartenfuhrer's Wife"

Readers' Favorite - winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) - "The Austrian" (honorable mention)

New Apple - 2016 Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing - "The Austrian" (official selection)

For more information on Ellie and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule Friday, July 19
Review at Passages to the Past

Saturday, July 20
Review at Amy's Booket List

Monday, July 22
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, July 23
Feature at Words and Peace
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Wednesday, July 24
Review at Impressions In Ink

Thursday, July 25
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Friday, July 26
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Saturday, July 27
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, July 29
Review at Red Headed Book Lady

Tuesday, July 30
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, July 31
Feature at Broken Teepee
Review at Lost_in_a_book_reviewer

GiveawayDuring the Blog Tour, we are giving away one paperback copy of No Woman's Land! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

No Woman's Land


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Eleos by D.R. Bell
Publication Date: October 23, 2018
eBook & Paperback; 460 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


The discovery of a valise of old letters written to his Armenian grandfather from an Auschwitz survivor starts Avi Arutiyan on an odyssey to uncover the mystery surrounding his grandfather’s unsolved death. From the killing fields of Anatolia to the trial of Adolf Eichmann, Avi’s quest opens a door into intersecting paths and dark secrets of three families, stretching back to 1915.

​How do these things happen time and again: the Holocaust was preceded by the Armenian Genocide, and followed by the killing fields of Cambodia, Rwanda, and Bosnia. Who were the people behind them? Eleos is a story of saviors and murderers, of bystanders and of those that don't fall into an easy-to-classify category. Hopefully the book can serve as a reminder to protect our own humanity, because ultimately the battlefield is inside all of us.

"Bell masterfully combines his mystery story with an unflinching look at the 20th century's bleakest tragedies. A beautiful . . . challengingly complex tale of the ramifications of history." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Eleos offers no easy answers, no pat approaches. Perhaps this is the novel's greatest challenge to its readers, as well as its finest attribute. D. R. Bell crafts a set of circumstances that involve the protagonist in a sifting of blame, historical examination, and family attitudes, drawing in readers with a scenario that at first seems relatively black and white; then immersing them in decisions and outcomes that are satisfyingly complex. ... Holocausts can happen again, but as long as stories such as Eleos capture the progression of events with an eye to explaining how logic and action led to disaster, future generations at least have a road map to avoid the pitfalls that lead in these directions." -- Diane Donovan, Donovan's Literary Services; Editor, California Bookwatch

Available on Amazon
Review⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Let me just start this review off by confessing that there is no way it will do justice to the incredible book that is ELEOS by D.R. Bell. I will try to convey my feelings as best as possible and try not to overly-gush.

In no way was I prepared for how hard this book would hit me. I've read hundreds of WWII and Holocaust books and ELEOS is the one that truly opened my eyes to the horrors and the injustices that occurred during, and then continued after the camps were liberated and throughout the Nazi trials. I learned so much from this book. My husband sure got an earful too as I would read out loud multiple passages or facts from the book. I like to highlight in my eReader as I read - whether it be interesting facts or beautiful quotes, and I swear almost every page there is something highlighted or noted.

It's strange to say that a book about such awful atrocities can be beautiful but it's the writing the makes it so. Bell has an amazing talent for storytelling. When I read Historical Fiction I feel like we honor them by bearing witness to their story and their lives, and what happened to them, and ELEOS did that masterfully. I cannot imagine the amount of research that went into the writing of this book. Bell was able to convey all of that but without making it heavy-handed and presenting it in a fascinating way.

This is a book that once you read it you will never forget it. I could not love Bell's writing more and look forward to more historicals from him. Highly, highly recommended.

About the AuthorI didn't plan to become a writer. A few years ago, a friend's death prompted me to ask what would be the one thing I regret not doing. I've always been an avid reader but have not had the courage to write. And I made a New Year resolution to write a book. That's how The Great Game came about. I try to write about serious topics but wrap them into an action-filled story. While all my books are entirely fictional, each of them carries a Commentary how the fiction is rooted in facts and realities of current events.

The first three books - The Metronome, The Great Game, and The Outer Circle - form a trilogy, where the lives the seemingly unconnected characters intersect against the backdrop of a turbulent power game between United States, China, and Russia. Unfortunately, some of the events described there are now happening in real life.

Marshland is a detective story set in modern Los Angeles, focused on the impact that internet and social media can have on our lives and their potential for unscrupulous abuse by those in power.

The latest project, Eleos, is a historic fiction set primarily during the time of the Eichmann's trial. In a way, it's a personal investigation into how events like the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide become possible.
Website | Facebook | GoodreadsBlog Tour ScheduleMonday, July 15
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Just a Girl and Her Books

Wednesday, July 17
Guest Post at Gwendalyn_Books_

Thursday, July 18
Review at my.boys.mom

Friday, July 19
Review at Cennin's Book Review

Monday, July 22
Feature at Comet Readings

Tuesday, July 23
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, July 24
Review at RW Bookclub Goodreads

GiveawayDuring the Blog Tour, we are giving away one eBook and one paperback copy of ELEOS! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

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

Eleos


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Hello, dear readers! Today on the blog I am super excited to be hosting author Nancy Blanton who is currently on Blog Tour for The Earl in Black Armor. Nancy was gracious enough to answer some questions for me and we also have a chance for you to win a copy of the book!

I absolutely loved this book and you can check out my review here.


Hello Nancy and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Earl in Black Armor!

Thank you! It is truly my pleasure.

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

As a former journalist, I like to learn the history behind things. I’ve always loved reading historical fiction, so I suppose it is only natural that I’d be drawn to write it. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but didn’t have the confidence to try fiction until much later in life. My father was a huge influence on me. He was half Irish he took great pride in it, so I and my sisters sang the songs and acquired the same love for all things Irish. When I was 19 my father sent me on a summer study of Irish history in Dublin, and I think my fate was cemented.

What inspired you to write The Earl in Black Armor?

My first book, Sharavogue, began at the end of Cromwell’s march through Ireland in 1649. I followed that with a prequel about her father starting in 1634, but that left a gap of time between them that my sister insisted I must fill. I imagined that book would be a novella, but when I researched the period and discovered the story of Thomas Wentworth, the first Earl of Strafford, I realized it would be the most complex and exciting story I had yet written.

What research did you undertake when writing The Earl in Black Armor?

Well, the journalist likes to have three sources, right? I read and compared three biographies of Thomas Wentworth, plus a few nonfiction books about the time period, including military history and Wentworth’s financial assets. I also studied Lucy Hay, the Countess of Carlisle who was at one time Wentworth’s paramour, and did the same for some other characters such as John Pym and Lord Baltimore. This built on years of study I had also done on the 17th century in general. It is the magic of fiction when these strings of research come together to form a cohesive story.

What would you like readers to take away from reading The Earl in Black Armor?

There are so many potential takeaways. One, for me, is a then-and-now political parallel of the way a steadfast administrator and supporter can be used and then sacrificed when the balance of power shifts. Another is the idea of honor, something we may struggle to define, and may always strive for but perhaps fall short of, being the imperfect humans that we are.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Again, there are many, but two come to mind because the description was so delightful to me. In chapters 16 and 17 we visit Hampton Court where King Charles’s court has removed to escape the plague going on in London. My two conspirators working for Wentworth get to see the grandeur of the king’s audience chambers and the king himself for the first time. The second is in chapter 28, when Wentworth visits the beautiful and lush lands of Wicklow—a place the Irish had called Cosha—and a hunting lodge along the River Derry.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

That would be the scene of separation in chapter 64. It would be spoiler for me to describe it, but in historical fiction you know what is coming, it isn’t good, and there is a sense of dread. The writing is filled with both passion and sorrow, and it can be a struggle, but if I can express those feelings fully it is the power of the story and the relief to the author—though I still feel the heaviness when I look at it.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was about ten years old. My mother was an avid reader, and she took my sisters and me to the library frequently to pick out whatever we wanted. I read all sorts of things and started writing little stories about squirrels and such that my poor mother had to listen to. She liked historical romance and later would pass those books on to me. I liked epic books like Gone with the Wind, that really taught me something about a time in history.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I do best in quiet solitude, so I get up at 5 am and write for about two hours before my husband gets up. Later in the day there are many duties and distractions, but I weave in my research throughout the day as time permits, often tucking it away or making notes for what I will need and when. Like most writers, I know I have to do it every day, and especially for a complex story like The Earl, because it is too easy to get distracted and off track, and then I would have to refresh my memory on the research, and start again. One of the best bits of advice I received from another writer is, when you stop working on a manuscript, make a note to yourself about what you are thinking and what comes next so you can dive right in the next morning.

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

Confidence, confidence, confidence. Some are born with it, and God bless them. Many of us are self-doubting introverts, and in my experience there is no easy path out of it except to recognize it for what it is and keep going anyway. I attended writers workshops to learn everything I could, studied the techniques of authors I admired, and wrote every day. I was willing and open to editing and constructive criticism. It’s like body building; it makes you sore but firms you up. And there are a lot of books to help authors, like The Inner Critic Advantage, that bring a little humor into dealing with your negative inner voice so that you don’t take yourself too seriously.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Most of the time, it is discovery of something fascinating that I never knew. For example, I found a book about a man in the 17th century who abducted an heiress in Ireland as a way to elevate his station in life. There was no law against it at the time, and once the heiress had been held overnight she was considered “damaged,” so the families would negotiate for the best financial settlement and the couple would be married. This story inspired my second novel, The Prince of Glencurragh, and turned into quite an adventure.

What was the first historical novel you read?

It was a Victorian romance called “The Wishing Star,” though I can’t remember the author’s name and have not been able to find it again. Oddly enough, it was about a beautiful, confident woman who gives a young girl a “magic” gem—the wishing star that she can wish on to become everything she dreams of being.

What is the last historical novel you read?

The Pulitzer Prize winner, The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I love to go trout fishing with my husband.

When I’m stuck, I find ripping weeds out of the flower beds great therapy.

I take a piece of Cadbury Royal Dark chocolate with my vitamins in the morning.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love historical fiction because it allows me to learn about history in a way that is engaging and alive. Non-fiction history books are better than ever—I’m a huge fan of some of them—and I think if I had it to do over again I would be a historian, but I would still write historical fiction.

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

I’m all about the 17th century, a time of great, sweeping change. I used to read a lot about the Tudor period, but grew tired of the same stories retold.

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

I walk on the beach, relax with my husband and our Labrador retriever, watch documentaries and comedies, and do volunteer work for the Amelia Island Book Festival.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

It’s a secret, but it has a very strong female protagonist and takes place in Ireland during the Interregnum.

Ooohhhh...I'm intrigued and can't wait to hear more! I will definitely be reading that!


The Earl in Black Armor by Nancy Blanton
Publication Date: March 17, 2019
Ellys-Daughtrey Books
eBook, Paperback, Hardcover

Genre: Historical Fiction


Ireland, 1635.

When the clan leader sends Faolán Burke to Dublin to spy on Thomas Wentworth, the ruthless Lord Deputy of Ireland, the future of his centuries-old clan rests upon his shoulders. Wentworth is plotting to acquire clan lands of Connacht for an English Protestant plantation. To stop him, Faolán must discover misdeeds that could force King Charles to recall Wentworth to England.

Leaving his young daughter Elvy in the care of his best friend Aengus, Faolán works as a porter in Dublin Castle, and aligns with the alluring Denisa, Wentworth’s personal assistant. She, too, spies on Wentworth, but for very personal reasons.

While Faolán knows he should hate Wentworth, he admires his prosecution of pirates and corrupt nobles who prey on Irish merchants. Supremely arrogant and cruel to his enemies, Wentworth shows loyalty, warmth and compassion for family, friends and a few select others.

A common mission takes Faolán and Denisa from Dublin to London and Hampton Court; to York and Scotland; and to the highest levels of court intrigue and power. But secrets, fears, war and betrayal threaten their love—and even their lives. And as Wentworth’s power grows, so grow the deadly plans of his most treacherous and driven enemies.

"If you are looking for an adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then look no further! Get ready for court intrigue, roguish behavior, and of course, that little bit of romance... Well, then you have a book that is hard to put down." -- Rebecca Hill, Net Galley Reviewer

About the Author
Nancy Blanton writes award-winning novels based in 17th century Irish history. Her latest, The Earl in Black Armor, tells a relentless story of loyalty, honor and betrayal in the Stuart era prior to the great Irish Rebellion of 1641. The Prince of Glencurragh, her second novel, occurs in 1634 during the English Plantation of Ireland. Her first novel, Sharavogue, is set in Ireland and the West Indies during the time of Oliver Cromwell. In non-fiction, Brand Yourself Royally in 8 Simple Steps is also a medalist, providing a valuable personal branding guide for authors, artists, and business consultants. Her blog, My Lady’s Closet, focuses on writing, books, historical fiction, research and travel. Ms. Blanton is a member of the Historical Novel Society and is proud to be an occasional guest author on the award-winning UK blog, Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots. She has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, corporate communications leader and brand manager. Her books celebrate her love of history and her Irish and English heritage. She lives in Florida.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodreadsBlog Tour ScheduleMonday, July 1
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Tuesday, July 2
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, July 5
Review at Jathan & Heather

Saturday, July 6
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, July 8
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, July 9
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Wednesday, July 10
Review at The Writing Desk

Thursday, July 11
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Friday, July 12
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, July 17
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, July 19
Interview at Jathan & Heather

GiveawayDuring the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a signed hardcover copy of The Earl in Black Armor! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US & UK only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Earl in Black Armor


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Welcome back to the Revolution, Rebels (and Redcoats—not to be forgotten)!
This is tour number two for The Rebels and Redcoats Saga with the Historical Virtual Blog Tour, and I’m thoroughly excited to be back with you all. This time, I bring with me the third installment in my saga about the rogue British spy, Captain John Carlisle, and his beloved half-Oneida innkeeper, Dellis McKesson.

I have to take a step back and be a bit candid with you Rebels (author confession incoming). I wrote The Rebels and Redcoats Saga as a grief counseling tool, to help me cope (To learn more about that, you have to read the acknowledgements in the books!). Why I chose the Revolutionary War is, sadly, a bit ridiculous (another shameless author confession). I loved the clothing and the look of the Revolution: long hair, waistcoats, and tricorn hats (cocked hats if we’re being historically accurate for 1776). That being said, as I researched the time period, I discovered a hidden gem amongst the well-known stories of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and yes, even Alexander Hamilton, who has so recently found his much-deserved place in the limelight. What I’m referring to is the Oneida tribe. They were truly our first allies, and their support of our new nation and our cause led to our success at Saratoga, and then, eventually, our victory over England. But rarely do we hear their names or the cost of their sacrifice mentioned in the annals of history when the Revolution is discussed: the loss of their land, the dissolution of the Iroquois Confederacy, and the decimation of their numbers. My goal with this saga was to not only tell an adventure and a love story, but to shine a light on the Oneida using a bit of drama, as only fiction can provide, to provoke readers to ask the question: Did this really happen?

And yes, sadly, it did. Only recently, when I visit Revolutionary War museums, have I started to see the Oneida represented, but why are they not in our history books? Why is their story still hidden for only the truly curious historian to find? That question isn’t mine to answer. I’ve done my best to highlight their story, and my only hope is that I’ve done them justice in the Rebels and Redcoats Saga.

With that in mind, The Turncoat is really where we see the Oneida shine, specifically in the Battle of Oriskany. The Oneida and their brave chief, Han Yerry, and his wife, Two Kettles Together, fight alongside American Militias in one of the bloodiest and most unknown battles of the Revolutionary War. And without the natives, we couldn’t have held our ground or sent General St. Leger and his Redcoats back to Canada. This book is also where we see the repercussions of the Oneida joining with the Colonists and what it meant for their people. The Turncoat, and the whole Rebels and Redcoats Saga, is action packed with history, love, and adventure, but it’s also a human story about the cost of war and the spoils. History is told by the victors, yet rarely do we see it through the eyes of those who lived it and lost. Yes, our nation was born with this great experiment, and we should be grateful for that, but we should also look at the Revolution in its entirety and learn a few lessons that are so poignantly needed in the current political climate.

Coming next is my prequel to the Rebels and Redcoats Saga: Man of War. A mystery/adventure that explains all the hidden facts of the saga, in the backdrop of the royal navy Man of War and New York City in 1755. After that, we return to the Revolution with The Rebels, but I’m not going to spoil anything here. You’re just gonna have to wait. I promise lots more history, love, and adventure with all the characters you know and love from the earlier part of the saga.

I hope this snapshot into my mercurial writer’s brain whets your appetite for the Revolution. And I promise, in The Turncoat, Captain John Carlisle is at his handsomest, naughtiest, and bravest with his beloved Dellis McKesson at his side. If you adore history, drama, action, love, and a little steam in your fiction, I suggest you check out the Rebels and Redcoats Saga.
Come… Rock the Revolution with Me!

The Turncoat by T.J. London
Publication Date: May 23, 2019
eBook & Paperback

Series: The Rebels and Redcoats Saga, Book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction


Spy. Redcoat. Traitor.

After Captain John Carlisle’s dance with death, he’s retreated to the serenity of the Oneida village with his beloved Dellis McKesson, trying to hide from the inevitable truth: war is coming. But when duty calls, and John’s expertise is needed to negotiate a treaty between the Six Nations of the Iroquois and the Crown, he’ll once again be faced with a decision: his King or his conscience.

Many truths that have yet to be revealed, and a deal with the Devil made in desperation, threatens to ruin Dellis and John’s hard-won love. As ghosts of the past resurface, and bitter family rivalry exposes betrayal from those closest to her, Dellis is dragged down a devastating path to the truth of her parents’ murders.

Now, the die is cast as war comes to the Mohawk River Valley in the Summer of 1777. St. Leger and his native allies siege Fort Stanwix. They're also plotting a secret attack that will force the Rebels and the Oneida to face off against the Crown and their allies, further dividing John’s loyalties, leaving him on the precipice of another decision: Rebel or Redcoat?

Available in eBook and PaperbackAbout the AuthorT.J. London is a rebel, liberal, lover, fighter, diehard punk, and pharmacist-turned-author who loves history. As an author her goal is to fill in the gaps, writing stories about missing history, those little places that are so interesting yet sadly forgotten. Her favorite time periods to write in are first and foremost the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the French and Indian War, the Russian Revolution and the Victorian Era. Her passions are traveling, writing, reading, barre, and sharing a glass of wine with her friends, while she collects experiences in this drama called life. She is a native of Metropolitan Detroit (but secretly dreams of being a Londoner) and resides there with her husband Fred and her beloved cat and writing partner Mickey.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodreadsBlog Tour ScheduleMonday, July 8
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, July 9
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, July 10
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 11
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Friday, July 12
Excerpt at Words and Peace

Saturday, July 13
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Monday, July 15
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Gwendalyn_Books_

Wednesday, July 17
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Review & Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Thursday, July 18
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Friday, July 19
Review at Broken Teepee
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

GiveawayDuring the Blog Tour, we are giving away some fabulous prizes! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

1. A Signed copy of each of my Revolutionary books
2. A bag with my Revolutionary Author Logo
3. A Sterling Silver Tricorn hat charm, so you’re always in style
4. My favorite T-Shirt to wear when I write my Revolutionary tales, that says: The original New England Patriots, from 1630 in Boston
5. A stuffed founding father doll by Little Thinkers to inspire the Rebel in you
6. And a Founding Father book of quotes. Seditious banter from our brash Rebels!

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Turncoat


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The Turncoat by T.J. London
Publication Date: May 23, 2019
eBook & Paperback

Series: The Rebels and Redcoats Saga, Book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction


Spy. Redcoat. Traitor.

After Captain John Carlisle’s dance with death, he’s retreated to the serenity of the Oneida village with his beloved Dellis McKesson, trying to hide from the inevitable truth: war is coming. But when duty calls, and John’s expertise is needed to negotiate a treaty between the Six Nations of the Iroquois and the Crown, he’ll once again be faced with a decision: his King or his conscience.

Many truths that have yet to be revealed, and a deal with the Devil made in desperation, threatens to ruin Dellis and John’s hard-won love. As ghosts of the past resurface, and bitter family rivalry exposes betrayal from those closest to her, Dellis is dragged down a devastating path to the truth of her parents’ murders.

Now, the die is cast as war comes to the Mohawk River Valley in the Summer of 1777. St. Leger and his native allies siege Fort Stanwix. They're also plotting a secret attack that will force the Rebels and the Oneida to face off against the Crown and their allies, further dividing John’s loyalties, leaving him on the precipice of another decision: Rebel or Redcoat?

Review⭐⭐⭐⭐

Passion ✔
Danger ✔
Adventure ✔
Battles ✔
Revenge ✔
Family drama ✔
Missing Heiress ✔

The Turncoat has it all! Ahhh....how good it was to be back with John and Dellis! It's like being with old friends. Friends that bring all the drama :)

When we meet up with John and Dellis again they are preparing for their wedding and all seems to be looking up for the pair until the past catches up with them, threatening their happiness and future. John is called to help negotiate a treaty with the Six Nations and the British, and is torn between his duty to his country and his love with Dellis, and his new Oneida family. Meanwhile Dellis is dealing with issues of her own at home. Her love for John does not go over well with people in her Village and her home and business could be taken away. Add in some family drama...and I'm not talking normal family drama...I'm talking murderous brothers...and you've got one hell of a read!

What I love most about TJ London's books is how mixes the historical with the personal stories of her characters. In London's books her characters deal with some serious issues like pregnancy and the aftermath of sexual assault. It brings more authenticity to the books I think and having suffered multiple miscarriages myself I can relate to Dellis.

The Redcoats and Rebels series are perfect examples of Historical Fiction done right! London is a true lover of history and it shines through in her books, and if you ever get the pleasure to chat with her. She's one of the most enthusiastic historical writers I've ever met!

The Turncoat ends by setting the stage for the next book, which promises to be just as rockin' and I am there for it! You should definitely check out this series, it's amazing!
Available in eBook and PaperbackAbout the AuthorT.J. London is a rebel, liberal, lover, fighter, diehard punk, and pharmacist-turned-author who loves history. As an author her goal is to fill in the gaps, writing stories about missing history, those little places that are so interesting yet sadly forgotten. Her favorite time periods to write in are first and foremost the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the French and Indian War, the Russian Revolution and the Victorian Era. Her passions are traveling, writing, reading, barre, and sharing a glass of wine with her friends, while she collects experiences in this drama called life. She is a native of Metropolitan Detroit (but secretly dreams of being a Londoner) and resides there with her husband Fred and her beloved cat and writing partner Mickey.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodreadsBlog Tour ScheduleMonday, July 8
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, July 9
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, July 10
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 11
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Friday, July 12
Excerpt at Words and Peace

Saturday, July 13
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Monday, July 15
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Gwendalyn_Books_

Wednesday, July 17
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Review & Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Thursday, July 18
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Friday, July 19
Review at Broken Teepee
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

GiveawayDuring the Blog Tour, we are giving away some fabulous prizes! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

1. A Signed copy of each of my Revolutionary books
2. A bag with my Revolutionary Author Logo
3. A Sterling Silver Tricorn hat charm, so you’re always in style
4. My favorite T-Shirt to wear when I write my Revolutionary tales, that says: The original New England Patriots, from 1630 in Boston
5. A stuffed founding father doll by Little Thinkers to inspire the Rebel in you
6. And a Founding Father book of quotes. Seditious banter from our brash Rebels!

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Turncoat


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The Earl in Black Armor by Nancy Blanton
Publication Date: March 17, 2019
Ellys-Daughtrey Books
eBook, Paperback, Hardcover

Genre: Historical Fiction


Ireland, 1635.

When the clan leader sends Faolán Burke to Dublin to spy on Thomas Wentworth, the ruthless Lord Deputy of Ireland, the future of his centuries-old clan rests upon his shoulders. Wentworth is plotting to acquire clan lands of Connacht for an English Protestant plantation. To stop him, Faolán must discover misdeeds that could force King Charles to recall Wentworth to England.

Leaving his young daughter Elvy in the care of his best friend Aengus, Faolán works as a porter in Dublin Castle, and aligns with the alluring Denisa, Wentworth’s personal assistant. She, too, spies on Wentworth, but for very personal reasons.

While Faolán knows he should hate Wentworth, he admires his prosecution of pirates and corrupt nobles who prey on Irish merchants. Supremely arrogant and cruel to his enemies, Wentworth shows loyalty, warmth and compassion for family, friends and a few select others.

A common mission takes Faolán and Denisa from Dublin to London and Hampton Court; to York and Scotland; and to the highest levels of court intrigue and power. But secrets, fears, war and betrayal threaten their love—and even their lives. And as Wentworth’s power grows, so grow the deadly plans of his most treacherous and driven enemies.

"If you are looking for an adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then look no further! Get ready for court intrigue, roguish behavior, and of course, that little bit of romance... Well, then you have a book that is hard to put down." -- Rebecca Hill, Net Galley Reviewer

Review⭐⭐⭐⭐

It was another late night for me last night to stay up and finish this excellent historical. I sure love my sleep but nothing beats a good book!

The Earl in Black Armor is set in Ireland in the 1630s and tells the story of Faolán Burk, who is newly widowed and father to a young daughter. He is sent on a mission to infiltrate the court of Lord Deputy Wentworth, find out his plans and to bring back information that will help his people. Faolán is torn between his duty and need for money, and his love for his daughter. Faolán is soon teamed up with Denisa, an assistant to Wentworth who may not be who she at first seems to be. What a great pair they were!

Rich in history with two main characters that you will love and root for, The Earl in Black Armor is an exceptional look at the politics of the time. I was captivated by Faolán and Denisa's story and highly recommend The Earl in Black Armor! If you're looking for a unique read about a dark time in Ireland's history, look no further!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound
Excerpt

Excerpt from
The Earl in Black Armor
by Nancy Blanton

In this novel, the story is woven around the life of Thomas Wentworth, the first Earl of Strafford,
in the 1630s. Here, he arrives at a hunting lodge in Ireland’s County Wicklow, just granted to him by King Charles I of England. The viewpoint is from Irishman Faolán Burke, Wentworth’s porter.

Cosha

The daintiliest and plentifullyest watered country I ever saw.”
~ Thomas Wentworth about Wicklow

The O’Byrnes had called it Cosha—a word to sound like a heart’s whisper, softly spoken on exhale. The very name conjured the vision of a beautiful woman, an adventuress with long, flowing hair and curving hips; a temptress with magical powers leading you to secret valleys of splendor. The vista opened to a great expanse without obstruction, the clouds falling behind them and the sky intensifying to brilliant sapphire, the hills becoming low and verdant, the valley beyond them bristling with purple winter heather and evergreen. That it was also called Byrne’s Country meant it had long been owned by the O’Byrne clan, a family descended from a king of Leinster and remembered for its legendary leader Feagh MacHugh, the chief rebel of Leinster during Queen Elizabeth’s reign.
The hunting lodge was visible in the distance and yet indistinct, as if it were captured by an artist’s paintbrush rather than solidly formed of wood and brick. Wentworth had changed the place name to Fairwood. Fairwood. Leave it to the English to take something lyrically Irish, and change it to something so stately and dull. Behind the lodge, a garden could be seen even from afar, as wide as the house with a walking lane projecting outward from the center, and at the end of it, the land sloping down to a silver stream, the River Derry, spotted through dense copses where the hunting game would abound.
Why Wentworth had lusted for such a place was never in question. What man in his position might not have moved mountains in order to own it? If you could present the king with a huge tract of land that produced income and wood for his ships and promised him a well-stocked and maintained hunting ground should he choose to visit, what little to ask of him for the gift of the small estates on the periphery that were of no use or value to him? Knowing in all likelihood the king never would visit, never would see the property, and never would want it the way Wentworth did.
What stirred within Faolán’s breast was not the lust for land or power as much as it was for all he had dreamt of and all he had lost at Skebreen. Here it was in shining glory before him: pacifying and yet exhilarating, challenging and yet sustaining. If only he could scrape it all up from the firmament of Wicklow and set it down where his own home lay untended and unloved back in County Cork.

About the Author
Nancy Blanton writes award-winning novels based in 17th century Irish history. Her latest, The Earl in Black Armor, tells a relentless story of loyalty, honor and betrayal in the Stuart era prior to the great Irish Rebellion of 1641. The Prince of Glencurragh, her second novel, occurs in 1634 during the English Plantation of Ireland. Her first novel, Sharavogue, is set in Ireland and the West Indies during the time of Oliver Cromwell. In non-fiction, Brand Yourself Royally in 8 Simple Steps is also a medalist, providing a valuable personal branding guide for authors, artists, and business consultants. Her blog, My Lady’s Closet, focuses on writing, books, historical fiction, research and travel. Ms. Blanton is a member of the Historical Novel Society and is proud to be an occasional guest author on the award-winning UK blog, Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots. She has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, corporate communications leader and brand manager. Her books celebrate her love of history and her Irish and English heritage. She lives in Florida.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodreadsBlog Tour ScheduleMonday, July 1
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Tuesday, July 2
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, July 5
Review at Jathan & Heather

Saturday, July 6
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, July 8
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, July 9
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Wednesday, July 10
Review at The Writing Desk

Thursday, July 11
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Friday, July 12
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, July 17
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, July 19
Interview at Jathan & Heather

GiveawayDuring the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a signed hardcover copy of The Earl in Black Armor! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US & UK only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Earl in Black Armor


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Hello Cassandra and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Portrait!

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

I like all kinds of fiction, but I think I gravitated toward historical fiction because I grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, and I’m from an Asian background. Hawaii is a very diverse place, and I grew up speaking two languages. I like all kinds of interesting settings, in many different cultures and time periods. I studied international economics in college and then medieval Japanese history in graduate school, and I eventually joined the State Department and worked overseas in the Middle East until I had kids. Right now I’m living in a ramshackle old farmhouse that dates back to the 1780s! After homeschooling four children, I finally have enough time and energy to focus on my fiction.

What inspired you to write The Portrait?

I’ve always been a little bit obsessed with the Regency period. It’s strange, because I grew up very far away from England and didn’t get a chance to visit until I married my husband, who went to Oxford. But I read a ton of Georgette Heyer novels as a teenager, and have always loved Jane Austen. What always struck me, however, was how there is always an undercurrent of scary reality in all of those books. The humor in Jane Austen’s books has to be tempered with genuine worry about the fate of a single woman at the time, and fears related to illness and childbirth. Even Georgette Heyer’s tall-dark-and-handsome “rakes” scare me a little. Some of them behave really badly! And some of the women make such incredibly dumb, risky decisions. I wanted to write a book where the Regency period felt a bit more “real” than a fun comedy-of-manners, while still honoring the happily-ever-after that I always crave when I read a Regency historical.

What research did you undertake when writing The Portrait?

The Portrait is about a woman whose family loses its earldom because she was born a girl; there are no male heirs and the title reverts to the Crown when her father dies. However, she learns that her late mother was actually a countess in her own right, which means that she inherited the title through a patent that permitted the passing down of the title to both sons and daughters. Catherine is therefore a countess in her own right, and if she were to marry and have a child, she could pass this title down and continue her mother’s legacy. This is an unusual, but not unknown, set of circumstances in the British peerage. On the one hand, I could have gone down a crazy rabbit hole of mimicking the exact situations where this has happened, but I also tried to keep in mind that my novel is fiction, not history. It needs to be possible, but it doesn’t have to be fact. I tried to keep this balance in order to not bore my readers with details that don’t really matter for these characters, but to otherwise stay faithful to what we generally know about British history.

What would you like readers to take away from reading The Portrait?

I would like readers to step out of the twenty-first century for just a few hours, and contemplate an age where you didn’t have the freedom to say and do whatever you wanted at the drop of a hat. We are surrounded with so much “talking” via social media right now. It seems as if we could and should just speak up when we’re unhappy, that we should expect immediate results all the time. I know that if a vendor doesn’t offer me two-day shipping, I feel dissatisfied. I’ve now been trained to expect a rapid response no matter what I’m trying to do. But my book is a slow, patient read. I’m hoping that this is a good thing, that readers can decompress from our hectic world a little bit by considering a time where everything moved more slowly, and where social structures prevented people from blurting out in the moment everything they thought and felt.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I started writing fiction when I was seven. I remember writing out stories on a yellow legal pad and hiding them in a dresser drawer with my Barbies. My first one was about a prince and a princess during the French Revolution. I also remember that my mother and sister got hold of the legal pad somehow and were laughing hysterically because my characters were listening to the radio. It’s funny now, but at the time I was mortified! Eventually, I somehow got hold of my father’s old manual Royal typewriter and started writing, stream-of-consciousness-style. I would just type, type, type for hours on weekend afternoons. I had to learn how to change the ribbons on those things because I used up so much ink! In those days I dreamed of owning an IBM Selectric like the ones I used at school! What’s strange is not that I am writing novels now—what’s strange is that I went for so many years NOT writing novels! But I suppose we all need things to write about, and I’ve done and seen a lot of interesting things by working, traveling, and having a family.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I’m terrible first thing in the morning. I need my coffee! So I take at least an hour to have my coffee, read, meditate, and think about my day. I then try to work on my current work-in-progress for several hours. I save afternoons for email and admin chores. I still have two children at home, and because they are homeschooled, they are free to interrupt me at any time. And in the afternoons, we are at the gym, where my kids are competitive swimmers and where I am forced to actually do something healthy for a change! If not for my kids I think I would never break a sweat, at least not voluntarily.

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

My greatest challenge as a writer has been sharing. For many years I told myself that I didn’t want to publish anything, that I just wanted to research and write. I don’t like being under a spotlight. But all of my kids are athletes, and after years of talking them through the hard weeks of training and the scary adrenaline of competition, I began to see my own writing in a similar light. If I never share my work, it’s kind of like going to practice forever, and never competing. I had to admit that if I didn’t share my work, I was basically spending a lot of time writing a diary. So I almost felt as if I had to share, in order to be an honest example for my children, and to feel as if I had completed the journey. So yes, I would say that by publishing The Portrait, I’ve at least begun to overcome my aversion to sharing! I still have a long way to go because it’s still nerve-wracking. But as I’ve told my kids, if it doesn’t feel a little bit hard, you’re probably not stretching yourself.

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

We are serious foodies and huge music nerds! We are always looking for the next amazing meal at a down-home diner or unusual ethnic eatery. I am a classically trained pianist and clarinetist, and we also go to rock concerts every several months. My kids have kept my musical taste young!

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I am publishing a contemporary romance set in New England called Coming Home to Greenleigh in the fall, which is about a young woman trying to figure out if she has the courage to ditch her run-down family home in order to seek her fortune elsewhere. There’s a love interest, a love triangle, and a happily-ever-after, but as with The Portrait, this is a slow-burn, quiet romantic novel with a strong “sense of place.” I happen to know a lot about run-down family homes, also! I’m also working on another Regency historical, which I’ve got outlined but haven’t quite finished a first draft on. I’ve shared about a third of my first draft with my mailing list, and the response has been good! If you’d like to give it a read (even though it’s a first draft!) just sign up for my list and I’ll send it out to you!

Those sound great, Cassandra! I can't wait to hear more! Thank you for stopping by today! Have a great rest of your tour.


The Portrait by Cassandra Austen
Publication Date: December 31, 2018
Apollo Grannus Books
eBook & Paperback; 340 Pages

Genre: Historical/Romance/Suspense


Lady Catherine, banished to the countryside as a useless girl with a lame leg, got her revenge by playing a dangerous game. And now it will ruin her.

When the old earl dies, his only child feels no sorrow. The earldom will now revert to the crown and Lady Catherine will continue to live life exactly as she pleases. But when she learns that she is the heir to a secret family title, everything changes. Marriage had once seemed unnecessary and out of the question; now it is the only thing she wants. The two men in her life both need her influence and wealth. Whom shall she choose? The kind but secretive Captain Avebury? Or the notorious Sir Lyle, the handsome smuggler? Both men deal very differently with honor. And when Catherine's secret self-destructs, which man can be trusted to save her?

The Portrait is about a strong woman, foolish decisions, trust, and the definition of honor. Fans of Jane Austen's independent women will recognize in Catherine a voice which will not be silenced.
Amazon | Barnes and NobleAbout the AuthorCassandra Austen writes historical and contemporary fiction set in both old and New England. She is the author of The Portrait, a historical romance that takes place during the Regency period in England, and Coming Home to Greenleigh, a contemporary New England romance. She lives and works in her 1700s farmhouse in northern New England, but you are welcome to visit her at her virtual home: cassandraausten.com. You can also find Cassandra on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour ScheduleMonday, July 1
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, July 2
Feature at A Holland Reads

Wednesday, July 3
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, July 4
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, July 5
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Monday, July 8
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, July 9
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, July 10
Review at McCombs on Main

Thursday, July 11
Feature at What Is That Book About
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, July 12
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Monday, July 15
Review at My Vices and Weaknesses

GiveawayDuring the Blog Tour, we are giving away two copies of The Portrait! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Portrait


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Hello, dear readers and Happy 4th of July to our US peeps! Today I am super excited to be hosting an interview with Dianne Freeman, who is now on blog tour with HFVBT for A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder! I hope you enjoy the interview and be sure to enter our giveaway for a paperback copy of the book.


Hello Dianne and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder!

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

I was always the kid with her nose in a book and I fell in love with history early on. Not necessarily the history of events, dates, and places, but personal histories, biographies, even novels written long ago, the type of historical writing that could pull a reader in and make you feel as if you had a sense of what it was like to live during a particular time. I ended up with a career in accounting, so I became the accountant with her nose in a book.

Somewhere around my 30’s I started writing stories of my own. They were never meant for anyone else to read, it was just my hobby, and as it turned out, good practice.

What inspired you to write A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder?

Gossip and Murder is the second book in the Countess of Harleigh series which was inspired by the Transatlantic marriage phenomenon that took place during the last quarter of the 19th century. By some accounts, there were upwards of 300 marriages between newly minted American heiresses and out of pocket European aristocrats. As many as half that number were British lords.

Since they were basically trading wealth for a title, this didn’t strike me as a very good basis for a marriage. Edith Wharton used this as a theme for several books and they usually ended in misery. I decided to take this premise ten years down the line with the “bride” as the protagonist and see if she could make a better life for herself.

What was your favorite scene to write?

It’s not one specific scene, but I love writing the opening scene for each book. They’re very challenging and I rewrite them several times, but I enjoy dropping hints about what’s to come, setting the tone for the whole book, and enticing the reader to join me in this story.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

That would have been in the first book. Frances’ sister, Lily falls off the bridge over the Serpentine. It happens in an instant and I needed the reader to feel that, yet I still had to describe how it happened. It’s less than one percent of the story, yet I revised it at least ten times.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Back in my 30’s when I first gave it a try. I loved it and even if I was only writing for myself, I was hooked.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I write four to maybe five days a week and I like to start off with a walk. Something about being in motion is great for plotting the next scene I’ll be writing. By the time I sit down to write, I have it all plotted in my head and I just need to get in on the screen. After four hours I start succumbing to distractions, but I try to push it for another hour. I can definitely focus much longer when I’m editing than when I’m drafting, but four to five hours is the norm.

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

Getting through the first draft is the hardest part for me. When I come to a scene I know is going to be trouble—I may not have all the research material I need to write it properly, or I may not have decided exactly what details to include—I used to just struggle through it, or stop and do the research. Either way, my forward movement has been diverted and it’s hard to get it back. Now, I’ll just write whatever part of the scene I can, or even skip over it, leaving myself a note and knowing I can write it later.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Agatha Christie for her masterful plots. In every story she leads me astray and I willingly follow, all the while wondering, how did she fool me again? Also, Jane Austen because she wrote first for her own amusement.

What was the first historical novel you read?

This may not qualify as a historical novel since it was contemporary at the time it was written, but Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It was the book that made me fall in love with history.

What is the last historical novel you read?

I feel like I’m cheating again because you can’t read this book yet. One of the best things about being a writer is that you sometimes get to read another writer’s manuscript well before publication. I just finished Spitfire which is a debut novel by M.L. Huie. It’s a suspense/thriller/mystery set in post WWII London and Paris. It will be out in January of 2020 and you’ll want to watch for it!

What are three things people may not know about you?

1) I love American Ninja Warriors. 2) I’m a terrible cook but 3) I make an awesome pavlova.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love that I get to totally immerse myself in another era. I jump willingly into those research rabbit holes even though I probably won’t use more than a quarter of what I dig up. On the mystery end, I love plotting the crimes.

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

It’s a very broad period ranging from mid-Victorian through the 1930s, although I do love a Regency romance too.

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

Reading would be my favorite thing, but I also enjoy gardening, golfing and hiking.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’m working on the first draft of book four in the Countess of Harleigh series, currently titled A Lady’s Guide to Scandal and Murder, and I don’t think there’s anything I can say about it that won’t be a spoiler for books two and three, so I’ll have to leave it there.

Sounds exciting! Thank you so much for spending time with us today!


A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Kensington Publishing
Hardcover, eBook, AudioBook

Genre: Historical Mystery


How far will some go to safeguard a secret? In the latest novel in Dianne Freeman’s witty and delightful historical mystery series, the adventurous Countess Harleigh finds out...

Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. On August twelfth each year, otherwise known as the Glorious Twelfth, most members of the upper class retire to their country estates for grouse-shooting season. Frances has little interest in hunting—for birds or a second husband—and is expecting to spend a quiet few months in London with her almost-engaged sister, Lily, until the throng returns.

Instead, she’s immersed in a shocking mystery when a friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered. Frances had hoped Mary might make a suitable bride for her cousin, Charles, but their courtship recently fizzled out. Unfortunately, this puts Charles in the spotlight—along with dozens of others. It seems Mary had countless notes hidden in her home, detailing the private indiscretions of society’s elite. Frances can hardly believe that the genteel and genial Mary was a blackmailer, yet why else would she horde such juicy tidbits?

Aided by her gallant friend and neighbor, George Hazelton, Frances begins assisting the police in this highly sensitive case, learning more about her peers than she ever wished to know. Too many suspects may be worse than none at all—but even more worrying is that the number of victims is increasing too. And unless Frances takes care, she’ll soon find herself among them...
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBoundAdvance praise for A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder“Readers will enjoy playing amateur sleuth as they learn what really might be going on behind closed doors in 1899’s best British homes.” —Heather Redmond, author of A Tale of Two Murders

“The full cast of talkative aristocrats, the lighthearted tone, and the fast pace will keep readers actively engaged. This would make a wonderful introduction to cozy mysteries for fans of Regency or Victorian romance, and it will also hit the mark for followers of Elizabeth Peters and Deanna Raybourn.” —Booklist

“A charming period mystery with enough sexual tension and credible suspects to keep the reader guessing.” –Kirkus

Praise for A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder“Fans of Georgette Heyer will appreciate the hints of romance, while aficionados of Deanna Raybourn or D.M. Quincy will delight in the banter-filled dialog and period details.”—Library Journal, Starred Review

“Fans of witty, lighthearted Victorian mysteries will be enthralled.”- Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“This lighthearted debut tale of mystery, love, and a delightful sleuth will leave you wanting more—which is presumably just what Freeman has in mind.”– Kirkus Reviews

“A delightful tale of shenanigans among the British aristocracy. Lady Frances feels very real—not too smart and spunky but no shrinking violet either.” —Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author

About the AuthorDianne Freeman is a life-long book lover who left the world of corporate finance to pursue her passion for writing. After co-authoring the non-fiction book, Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66, she realized her true love was fiction, historical mystery in particular. She also realized she didn’t like winter very much so now she and her husband pursue the endless summer by splitting their time between Michigan and Arizona. She's been nominated for an Agatha and the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award, and won the 2019 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodreadsBlog Tour ScheduleTuesday, June 25
Review at Book Frolic
Review at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, June 26
Review at Macsbooks
Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read

Thursday, June 27
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, June 28
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Saturday, June 29
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Sunday, June 30
Review at Oh, The Books She Will Read

Monday, July 1
Review at Mama's Reading Corner

Tuesday, July 2
Interview at Maiden of the Pages

Wednesday, July 3
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Thursday, July 4
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, July 5
Review at A Darn Good Read
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Saturday, July 6
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves A Story

GiveawayDuring the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a paperback copy of A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder and a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

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

Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder


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Severed Knot by Cryssa Bazos
Publication Date: June 7, 2019
W.M. Jackson Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance


Barbados 1652. In the aftermath of the English Civil War, the vanquished are uprooted and scattered to the ends of the earth.

When marauding English soldiers descend on Mairead O’Coneill’s family farm, she is sold into indentured servitude. After surviving a harrowing voyage, the young Irish woman is auctioned off to a Barbados sugar plantation where she is thrust into a hostile world of deprivation and heartbreak. Though stripped of her freedom, Mairead refuses to surrender her dignity.

Scottish prisoner of war Iain Johnstone has descended into hell. Under a blazing sun thousands of miles from home, he endures forced indentured labour in the unforgiving cane fields. As Iain plots his escape to save his men, his loyalties are tested by his yearning for Mairead and his desire to protect her.

With their future stolen, Mairead and Iain discover passion and freedom in each other’s arms. Until one fateful night, a dramatic chain of events turns them into fugitives.

Together they fight to survive; together they are determined to escape.

Review
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

OMG, this book! I was up until almost 2am reading this and it was totally the loss of sleep. I did not and could not put it down! It will definitely be in my top 3 reads of 2019!

Severed Knot is one of the most unique and original historicals that I've ever read. Set in Barbados, which is a new setting for me, just after the English Civil War, it tells the story of Iain and Mairead. They meet on a ship bound for Barbados, both as indentured servants, and fall in love amidst the most horrid of conditions. It was really heartbreaking to read and I had to stop several times to get my emotions in check. That's how good Bazos' writing is. I know I don't think will never forget Iain and Mairead and their story.

With exquisite writing, Bazos masterfully crafted a harrowing tale of love and fighting for what you want. Prepare to be swept away and completely engrossed in this incredible historical!

I cannot wait for more from Cryssa Bazos but while I impatiently await her next novel, I shall pick up her previous one, Traitor's Knot, and be a happy reader! Highly recommended!

Available on AmazonAbout the Author
Cryssa Bazos is a historical fiction writer and 17th Century enthusiast, with a particular interest in the English Civil War (ECW). She blogs about English history and storytelling at her blog, the 17th Century Enthusiast, and is an editor of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog site.

Cryssa’s debut novel, Traitor’s Knot, a romantic tale of adventure set during the English Civil War. Traitor’s Knot is the first in a series of adventures spanning from the ECW to the Restoration and is now available from Endeavour Press. The second book in the series, Severed Knot, will be released in June 2019.

For more information visit Cryssa’s website. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour ScheduleThursday, June 20
Review at Gwendalyn Books

Monday, June 24
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, June 25
Feature at Comet Readings

Friday, June 28
Review at Cennin's Book Review

Monday, July 1
Review at Just a Girl and Her Books

Tuesday, July 2
Excerpt at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, July 3
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, July 5
Guest Post & Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read

Monday, July 8
Review at Just One More Chapter
Guest Post at Historical Fiction with Spirit

GiveawayDuring the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Severed Knot by Cryssa Bazos! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US and Canada only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Severed Knot


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Milady by Laura L. Sullivan
Publication Date: July 20, 2019
Berkley
Paperback & eBook

Genre: Historical Fiction

From the glittering ballrooms of 17th Century England to the dangerous intrigues of the French court, Laura L. Sullivan brings an unlikely heroine to the page, turning on its head everything we’ve been told about The Three Musketeers and their ultimate rival.

I’ve gone by many names, though you most likely know me as Milady de Winter: Villainess. Seductress. A secondary player in someone else’s tale.

It’s finally time I tell my own story. The truth isn’t tidy or convenient, but it’s certainly more interesting.

Before you cast judgment, let me start at the beginning, and you shall learn how an innocent girl from the countryside became the most feared woman in all of Europe.

Because we all know history was written by men, and they so often get things wrong.

Review⭐⭐⭐⭐


"In the tide of great affairs, it is not the many who make the crucial choices, but the individual. Mobs do not decide the fate of the world, or even armies. It is always one man - or woman - often unknown to history, working in secret, dedicated to a greater good, who shifts the tides."

How amazing is that sentence? I swear I could have highlighted about 3/4 of this book, it is filled with so many great lines!

I've got one word for this book and for Milady....badass!

I was immediately charmed by the writing style and de Winter's voice. The opening scene...whooo...what a doozy that was! Going into this novel I didn't know much at all about Milady de Winter, and the only thing I've watched about the Three Musketeers was from that movie The Man in the Iron Mask (don't judge, I was a 90s kid...haha), so I jumped at the chance to read this one.

If you want to know how a naive and innocent young woman becomes the most feared assassin in France who spies for the infamous Cardinal Richelieu, you have to pick this book up!

Scheming, spying, court machinations, betrayal, love, and adventure are all masterfully combined in this exciting read! I would seriously love to see this adapted as a movie. I think Milady is the heroine we all need right now :)

"My name - my title, rather, for no one knows who I truly am, and even in Paris I have many guises - is whispered in the dark and furtively as some speak of the devil, as if to breathe my name would conjure me up in the flesh. And oh, what flesh! My beauty is part of my legend. Deadly beauty."

I absolutely loved Milady and am anxiously awaiting the next release from Laura L. Sullivan!

GiveawayThanks to the fine folks over at Berkley I have one paperback copy of MILADY up for grabs! To enter, please leave a comment below and include an email address or alternate way to contact you if you win.
Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on July 9th. Good luck!

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