Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Affordable gifts for book lovers on your Holiday shopping list!

Scratching your head, wondering what to get your favorite bookworm this holiday season? Well, a book, of course. Not sure of the genre? No problem. From historical fiction to contemporary short stories and science fiction, author Mary Ann Bernal’s books fit the bill. Whether holding a print edition or digital reader or wearing headphones, there is a story that’s perfect for your device. Something for everyone with a click of the mouse. Affordable gifts for people who love to read.

Purchase Links
          Amazon US   Amazon UK   Smashwords   Barnes and Noble   iTunes   Audible
Science Fiction/Fantasy

Planetary Wars: Rise of an Empire 
An innocent romance tainted by deception. A universe enslaved by a tyrant. A crisis of conscience to admit the truth. A choice to be made, but which path to follow?

Historical Fiction

The Briton and the Dane
Alfred the Great has successfully defeated the Danish King Guthrum, but warriors from the Viking homeland threaten to undermine the fragile peace. Wounded in a skirmish, a feared Northman is given succor by a young Saxon woman as King Alfred’s soldiers prepare to defend the kingdom from a new Viking threat. Yet deception and treachery festers in the soul of men who would swear their fealty while plotting to usurp the rightful ruler of the kingdom. One woman would be the catalyst for discovering the truth, but who would prevent the ultimate betrayal?

The Briton and the Dane: Birthright
It has been two years since King Guthrum was defeated by King Alfred of Wessex, but there is one man who would wear the Danish King’s crown. Two former adversaries would unite to quench the latest threat, as the Viking King’s illegitimate son raises an army to usurp his father’s throne. Would the son defeat the father in the battle for sovereignty or would the unlawful son suffer the ultimate betrayal when loyalties are proven in the heat of battle?

The Briton and the Dane: Legacy
Four years have passed since King Alfred thwarted the Viking conquest of Wessex, but the feared Northman continues to batter Britannia’s shores. During this time of unrest, a visionary King institutes a cultural renaissance not seen since the days of Charlemagne. But hatred festers, and the need for vengeance overshadows allegiance as a plot to depose of the rightful ruler is discovered. Would this latest threat be repelled or would the truth destroy the dynastic heritage?

The Briton and the Dane: The Complete Trilogy
Three novels in one collection .  
Intrigue, treachery, betrayal in ninth-century Britain.

The Briton and the Dane: Concordia
In Anglo-Saxon Britain, amidst the Viking threat, a woman comes of age. Captured by Saracen pirates and taken to Muslim Hispania, enslavement or death is her fate. Fearing for her life,
she plans her escape, but will she succeed?

The Briton and the Dane: Timeline
Obsessed with a haunting portrait of a Saxon nobleman, an archeologist searches for the truth. Alone in the castle ruins during a fierce storm, Gwyneth is swept into eleventh century England. Amidst the political unrest, she is enmeshed in the intrigue as foreign contenders vie for the throne. Will she be caught up in a conspiracy for which there is no escape?

Contemporary Short Stories
Crime, Fantasy,  Historical, Horror, Mystery, Occult,  
Romance, Spies & Espionage, Thriller & Suspense

Scribbler Tales Presents: Escape from Berlin
Featuring Betrayal, Deadly Secrets, Murder in the First, The Ritual

Escape from Berlin 
Mark Dresdner’s cover is blown.  Fleeing East Germany, he finds the border crossing closed.  With the enemy closing in, his fate is sealed, or is it?

Aelia shares a confidence with her husband, putting her life at risk.  Her trust is misplaced, and she faces execution in the arena. Will Gallus have a change of heart before it’s too late?

Deadly Secrets
Lysandra finds a new life in America by marrying an unsuspecting college professor, unless her past catches up with her at the altar.

Murder in the First
Bethel takes matters into her own hands, seeking vengeance on the man who ruined her life.  But something goes seriously wrong and the predator becomes the prey.

The Ritual
Pagan worshippers embrace All Hallows’ Eve, initiating new members with a blood covenant.  Fearing for her soul, Devona runs away, but will she survive the raging tempest?

Scribbler Tales Presents
Volumes One - Five

Scribbler Tales Volume One

Desperate Measures: What happens when Audrey learns of Paul’s duplicity? Cloning experiments have gone awry.

 Forbidden Lore: Arianna and Ethan are locked inside a haunted cemetery. Will they survive the night?

Forever Lost: Rina and Adrian are star-crossed lovers. Will love prevail?

Sail with Me:  Aaron reflects upon his childhood. Confessions of a military brat.

The Hourglass:  A covenant with the Devil. How far will Flair go to keep Brice alive?

 Scribbler Tales Volume Two

Broken Promises: Madeline’s love for Nathan clouds her judgment as the Wall Street titan denies any wrongdoing.

Deception: Vigilante vengeance. The criminal justice system fails when the guilty walk free.
Endgame: It was a dream government job until Sandy learns the truth. Covert operations shrouded in secrecy.

 Malice: Proving innocence. Andrew’s life falls apart when he is falsely accused of rape.
The Portrait: Demonic possession. All Geoffrey wants is a family, but Holliday and Olivia have other plans.
Scribbler Tales Volume Three

Hidden Lies: When classified schematics are stolen, evidence points to an inside job. Industrial secrets compromised.

Nightmare:  Phantom Legacy. Melanie wants to sell her ancestral home, but the specter of her dreams has other plans

Payback: A psychopathic killer is on the loose. Detective Newport must stop an assassin
targeting prosecuting attorneys.

The Night Stalker:  Deadly Obsession. Pamela must prove her suspicions before the police can protect her

Turning Point: Personal vendetta. Is a decorated firefighter an arsonist? A Fire Marshall wrestles with the truth.

Scribbler Tales Volume Four

Abducted:  Threatened with death. When Katrina Cooper is kidnapped, can the money be raised in time?

Cunning: Lethal folklore. Charlotte stumbles upon the truth behind Transylvanian vampires.

Enamored: Pursuing love. Aging Lady Margaret is besotted with a much younger man.

Reckless: Eluding capture. Peter’s latest victim survives, informing the authorities.

Safeguard: Self-defense or Murder? Sarah awakens covered in blood.

Scribbler Tales Volume Five

Bloodlust: Lilly considers a Satanic covenant on All Hallows’ Eve as she seeks immortality.

Illusion:  Felicity stumbles upon tomb robbers in the Valley of the Queens. Dream vacation has gone awry.

Manhunt: Perilous flight. Tami and Mick plan one final heist, but will it lead to their downfall?

Pandemic: Facing extinction. Dr. Lancaster must find a cure for a mutated virus strain.

Revenge:  Criminal behavior. Can Angela rid herself of her abusive husband? 

Thank you for visiting.
Happy Holidays

Monday, November 12, 2018

7 things you might not know about the history of Thanksgiving

History Extra

It is one of America’s most celebrated public holidays: a day of feasting, American Football and family. But how much do you know about the history of Thanksgiving? Here, we bring you some facts that might surprise you…

1) Tradition has it that the first Thanksgiving – a celebration of good harvest – took place in 1621, when English Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts shared a meal with their Native American neighbours. However, historian Michael Gannon told Florida Today that the first Thanksgiving celebration in North America actually took place in Florida half a century earlier.
On 8 September 1565, he says, following a religious service, Spaniards shared a communal meal with the local native tribe.
2) According to the US National Archives, on 28 September 1789 the first Federal Congress passed a resolution asking that the president of the United States recommend to the nation a day of thanksgiving. A few days later, George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday 26 November 1789 as a “Day of Publick Thanksgivin” – the first time Thanksgiving was celebrated under the new Constitution.
The dates of Thanksgiving celebrations varied as subsequent presidents came and went, and it wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Proclamation – in the midst of the Civil War – that Thanksgiving was regularly commemorated each year on the last Thursday of November.
3) The US National Archives says that in 1939, with the last Thursday in November falling on the last day of the month, Franklin D Roosevelt became concerned that the shortened Christmas shopping season might dampen economic recovery. He therefore issued a Presidential Proclamation moving Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday of November.
Some 32 states consequently issued similar proclamations, but 16 states refused to accept the change. As a result, for two years two days were celebrated as Thanksgiving.
To end the confusion, on 6 October 1941 Congress set a fixed date for the holiday: it passed a joint resolution declaring the last Thursday in November to be the legal Thanksgiving Day.
4) The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is televised nationally on NBC, has been marching since 1924. That year, the department store’s president, Herbert Strauss, organised a six-mile procession from Harlem to the Macy’s store in Herald Square. The parade featured animals – including elephants – from the Central Park Zoo, and was nearly three times as long as it is today: for the purposes of television filming, the route was later reduced to 2.5 miles.

25 November 1937: balloons float down Broadway in the 13th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Seven musical organisations, 21 floats and balloon units and 400 costumed marchers participated in this the event. (Photo by Walter Kelleher/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
5) While turkey is today the bird of choice for Thanksgiving dinners across the United States, this was not always the case: according to History.com, for the first ever Thanksgiving in 1621 the Indians killed five deer as a gift for the colonists, meaning venison would most likely have been the dish of the day.
6) Each Thanksgiving, the president of the United States ‘pardons’ a hand-selected turkey, sending it to a farm where it lives out the rest of its days. But, contrary to popular belief, President George HW Bush was not in 1989 the first president to grant such a pardon.
According to the White House, the tradition dates to Lincoln’s days, when his son Tad begged him to write a presidential pardon for the bird meant for the family’s Christmas table, arguing it had as much a right to live as anyone. Lincoln complied, and the turkey lived.

November 1985: President Ronald Reagan with a Thanksgiving turkey and farmer John Holden and his wife, who raised the bird. (Photo by Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
7) Each Thanksgiving, millions of Americans tune in to watch the Detroit Lions play American Football. This tradition dates to 1934, when the team took on the undefeated, defending World Champion Chicago Bears of George Halas. Despite losing the inaugural game, since then the Lions have played football every Thanksgiving except between 1939 and 1944.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Kicker (The Forgotten Front) by R. Grey Hoover, sheds light on our forgotten veterans of the China-Burma-India theater.

 As a tribute to the veterans of the China-Burma-Inda theater, author R. Grey Hoover is offering his novel, Kicker (The Forgotten Front), for free on Amazon on November 9, 10 and 11, 2018.

World War II is raging. A young father must choose between his family and duty to his country- a decision that could cost him everything.
Based on actual experiences of United States veterans and official military aviation history records from World War II, this is the thrilling story of a family’s journey into war. While his loved ones struggle with shortages and rationing at home, Sam endures relentless Japanese attacks against his unarmed aircraft over the treacherous mountains and torrid jungles of Asia. His job is to drop supplies to Merrill’s Marauders and over 750,000 allied soldiers fighting in the perilous jungles of Burma. If the enemy is not stopped, the American way of life will end.
If you like non-stop action with a touch of humor and romance and the chance to learn about the “forgotten front” of WWII, then this is the book for you. 
 Sam and Bobby Joe were totally exhausted when they crawled into their charpoys. The harrowing events of the day had taken its toll on them physically and mentally. In spite of the heat and noise of the jungle, Sam felt the blessed relief of sleep approaching soon after his head hit the pillow. However, as he drifted off, a feeling of unease came over him. It was a feeling that something was wrong, not here in India, but at home. He didn’t know if he felt uneasy because he still hadn’t received mail from home or because of some unknown reason, but the feeling stayed with him until he finally succumbed to his exhaustion and slipped into a deep sleep. 
Thankfully, his slumber was not disturbed by his recurring nightmare, and he slept soundly until the wee hours of the morning when he suddenly awoke not knowing what had disturbed him. A light rain was falling outside, and except for an occasional flash of distant lightning, the basha was in total darkness. He lay very still, listening to the sounds around him. He strained his hearing, but no sound came except for the steady breathing of the sleeping men around him. After several minutes, he relaxed, thinking his imagination was playing tricks on him. He was almost asleep again when he thought he detected a faint unfamiliar sound coming from somewhere in the basha. Once again, he listened intently, not sure he had heard anything; but then he heard the sound again—only this time it seemed closer, and he was sure it came from within the basha. He couldn’t quite place the sound, but it seemed like something soft brushing against an object. He listened closely, but all was silent. None of the other men in the basha stirred, and after an extended period of silence, he relaxed once again in anticipation of sleep. 
He was in that dreamy state just before slumber when he felt the presence of something or someone nearby. Once again, his senses came to full alert, and he made a conscious effort not to move. He listened carefully, bringing all his senses to bear. He could see or hear nothing, and yet he was sure something was there. He was startled when someone at the other end of the room moved, but then all was silent once again. He was lying on his back, so he slowly moved his head to the right and scanned the darkness. 
At first, he saw nothing, but then attention was drawn to a slight movement at the foot of his bed. He couldn’t make out what it was. It appeared to be an undistinguishable shadow against the darker background of the room. As he watched, the shadow moved, and he held his breath as it silently glided along the side of his bed. There was no sound as it moved, and it slowly drew nearer and stopped near the head of his bed. He could tell that it was something large, but due to the extreme darkness, he was unable to see what it was. His instincts told him this was something dangerous and evil, and the hairs on the nape of his neck stood erect. At that moment, a distant flash of lightning faintly illuminated the scene, and in that instant of light, Sam could see the large form of a tiger standing beside him.
 The animal’s head was enormous. Its eyes, momentarily reflecting light from the faraway lightning, gave the beast an evil, devil-like appearance. This was death incarnate staring directly at him.
Sam was frozen with fear, and his heart seemed to stop. His .45-caliber pistol hung on the wall not three feet away, and he cursed himself for not keeping it inside the mosquito netting with him. He knew the tiger could see that he was awake, and he feared any movement would cause it to attack. The animal stepped closer, and Sam could see its dim outline and smell its damp fur and the fetid odor of its breath. The tiger appeared to know its victim was helpless. The great beast took its time as it sniffed the mosquito netting as if testing its strength. Slowly it raised a huge paw and placed it against the puny impediment. The tiger’s claws caught in the netting, and with a mighty swipe, it ripped the flimsy material away from the bed.

About the Author

R. Grey Hoover is an Air Force veteran with a family tradition of military service that dates back to the American revolution. He wrote his book “Kicker the Forgotten Front” to honor his father and the other veterans of World War II who fought in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre.  During the war, the European and Pacific theatres got most of the supplies and media attention leaving the CBI theatre with the leftovers. Even in today’s media coverage of World War II, the CBI theatre is never mentioned. The author’s book is an attempt to correct this gross oversight.

Follow the author on social media:

Thursday, October 18, 2018

10 things you didn’t know about the history (and mystery) of Halloween

History Extra

With the ‘trick or treat’-ing season upon us, Dr David Clarke of Sheffield Hallam University, an expert on British folklore, investigates the origins of this eerie autumn festival…

1) Most people believe 31 October is an ancient pagan festival associated with the supernatural. In fact, it has religious connotations – although there is disagreement among historians about when it begun. Some say Hallowtide was introduced as All Saints’ Day in the 7th century AD by Pope Boniface IV, while others maintain it was created in the 9th century AD by Christians to commemorate their martyrs and saints.
In medieval Britain, ‘Halloween’ was the eve of the Catholic festival All Saints or All-Hallows (from Old English ‘Holy Man’) on 1 November, and was followed by the feast of All Souls on 2 November.
2) The tradition of carving a face on a turnip or swede (and more recently pumpkin), and using these as lanterns seems to be a relatively modern tradition. On the last Thursday in October, children in the Somerset village of Hinton St George carry lanterns made of mangel-wurzles (a type of root vegetable). The light shines through a design etched on the skin. They are carried around the streets as the children chant: “It’s Punky Night tonight, It’s Punky Night tonight, Give us a candle, give us a light, It’s Punky Night tonight.”

c1867: Magazine illustration of a group of children putting an illuminated Jack-o-Lantern on a farm fence post on Halloween night. Engraving titled ‘The Pumpkin Effigy’. (Photo by American Stock/Getty Images)
 3) Much of the modern supernatural lore surrounding Halloween was invented as recently as the 19th century. Scots and Irish settlers brought the custom of Mischief Night visiting to North America, where it became known as ‘Trick or Treat’.  Until the revival of interest in Halloween during the 1970s, this American tradition was largely unknown in England. The importation of ‘Trick or Treat’ into parts of England during the 1980s was helped by scenes in American TV programmes and the 1982 film E.T.
4) There is no evidence the pagan Anglo-Saxons celebrated a festival on 1 November, but the Venerable Bede says the month was known as ‘Blod-monath’ (blood month), when surplus livestock were slaughtered and offered as sacrifices. The truth is there is no written evidence that 31 October was linked to the supernatural in England before the 19th century.
5) In pre-Christian Ireland, 1 November was known as ‘Samhain’ (summer’s end). This date marked the onset of winter in Gaelic-speaking areas of Britain. It was also the end of the pastoral farming year, when cattle were slaughtered and tribal gatherings such as the Irish Feis of Tara were held. In the 19th century the anthropologist Sir James Frazer popularised the idea of Samhain as an ancient Celtic festival of the dead, when pagan religious ceremonies were held.
6) The Catholic tradition of offering prayers to the dead, the ringing of church bells and lighting of candles and torches on 1 November provides the link with the spirit world. In medieval times, prayers were said for souls trapped in purgatory on 1 November. This was believed to be a sort of ‘halfway house’ on the road to Heaven, and it was thought their ghosts could return to earth to ask relatives for assistance in the journey.

This lithographic Halloween postcard was published c1910 in New York City. (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)
 7) Popular Halloween customs in England included ‘souling’, where groups of adults – and later children wearing costumes – visited big houses to sing and collect money and food. Souling was common in parts of Cheshire, Shropshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire on 1 and 2 November. In parts of northern England, special cakes were baked and left in churchyards as offerings to the dead. 
8) Until the 19th century, bonfires were lit on Halloween in parts of northern England and Derbyshire. Some folklorists believe the enduring popularity of Guy Fawkes bonfires on 5 November may be a memory of an older fire festival, but there is a lack of written evidence for these in England before the late 17th century.
9) Love divinations on Halloween spread to England from Scotland as a result of the popularity of Robert Burn’s poem Halloween in Victorian times. One love divination mentioned by Burns includes placing hazelnuts in the fire, naming one for yourself and the other for your partner. If they burned gently and then went out, this indicated a long and harmonious life together; if they coughed and spluttered or exploded, this was a sign of problems ahead. 

Apples were also used for divination purposes: the skin was thrown over the shoulder, or the fruit floated in water or hung upon strings, to be seized by the teeth of the players.
31 October 1886: Irish Halloween celebrations, including the party game ‘bobbing for apples’. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
 10) The idea of Halloween as a festival of supernatural evil forces is an entirely modern invention. Urban legends about razor blades in apples and cyanide in sweets, hauntings by restless spirits and the use of 31 October as the date of evil or inauspicious events in horror films, reflect modern fears and terrors. 
Every year Halloween provokes controversy and divides opinions: most people see it as just as a bit of harmless fun, but modern witches say it marks an ancient pagan festival, while some evangelical Christians claim it is a celebration of dangerous occult forces. This explains why folklorist Steve Roud calls it “the most widely misunderstood and misrepresented day in the festival year”.
Dr David Clarke is a senior lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University. He holds a PhD in English cultural tradition and folklore, and a degree in archaeology, prehistory and medieval history.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Happy 243rd birthday, U.S. Navy

DC Military

In an effort to curb British sea control, the Continental Congress established the Continental Navy, which later became the United States Navy, on Oct. 13, 1775.

 When the Continental Navy was initially formed it consisted of only two armed vessels that were tasked with disrupting munition ships supplying the British Army in America. Over the past two and a half centuries, the Navy has grown to become the largest, most advanced and most lethal fighting force the world has ever known.

 In 1972, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Zumwalt designated Oct. 13 as the Navy’s official birthday, in order to “enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service.”

 The theme for the Navy’s 243rd birthday is “Forged by the Sea,” which represents the aspirational outcome of every Sailor’s journey in uniform. It conveys the notion that every Sailor is shaped and strengthened into a more capable version of themselves through Navy service. It also describes the Navy as a team that has been forged, tempered and toughened over 243 years of maritime dominance, while acknowledging the Navy’s unique and fundamental relationship with the sea.

Monday, October 1, 2018

About The Briton and the Dane: Concordia by Mary Ann Bernal

About the story:

Travel back in time to late Ninth Century Anglo-Saxon Britain where Alfred the Great governs with a benevolent hand while the Danish King rules peacefully within the boundaries of the Danelaw. Trade flourishes, and scholars from throughout the civilized world flock to Britannia’s shores to study at the King’s Court School at Winchester.

Meet Concordia, a beautiful noblewoman whose family is favored by the king. Vain, willful, and admired, but ambitious and cunning, Concordia is not willing to accept her fate. She is betrothed to the valiant warrior, Brantson, but sees herself as far too young to lay in the bedchamber of an older suitor. She wants to see the wonders of the world, embracing everything in it; preferably, but dangerously, at the side of Thayer, the exotic Saracen who charms King Alfred’s court and ignites her yearning passions.

Concordia manipulates her besotted husband into taking her to Rome, but her ship is captured by bloodthirsty pirates, and the seafarers protecting her are ruthlessly slain to a man. As she awaits her fate in the Moorish captain’s bed, by sheer chance, she discovers that salvation is at hand in the gilded court of a Saracen nobleman.

While awaiting rescue, Concordia finds herself at the center of intrigue, plots, blackmail, betrayal and the vain desires of two egotistical brothers, each willing to die for her favor. Using only feminine cunning, Concordia must defend her honor while plotting her escape as she awaits deliverance, somewhere inside steamy, unconquered Muslim Hispania.

About picking the topic:

My lifelong dream was to write a novel about Erik, the Viking, after having seen such Hollywood blockbusters as The Vikings, The Longships, and other period movies including King Arthur, and Knights of the Round Table. When it came time to put pen to paper, Alfred the Great’s reign was the perfect backdrop for my story.

About how The Briton and the Dane: Concordia differs from other books that cover the same or similar information;

The Briton and the Dane trilogy is an epic adventure, which includes several storylines with multiple characters. Concordia was three-years-old in the final novel of the original series.

In the offshoot story, Concordia has come of age in a turbulent era where women were expected to behave according to societal standards. Her story runs the emotional gamut of love and betrayal, and while her struggle may not be unique, her story is deeply personal and poignant.

The novel delves into Concordia's psyche where the reader witnesses her turmoil as she suffers the consequences of unwise decisions. Was Concordia's judgment clouded by emotion or was she a product of her environment?  Concordia picked up the gauntlet fearlessly, with an iron will to survive. If she were a man, would she have been judged differently? There were mitigating circumstances, after all.   Would you cut her some slack?  Whether you like her or not is irrelevant. Justice is rendered based upon facts, not emotion. What say the jury?

About what was liked most when writing this book:

I enjoyed shedding light on the reason why someone did what they did, right or wrong. It is easy to be judgmental without knowing the whole story. I understand Concordia, do you?

Mary Ann Bernal is a passionate supporter of the United States military, having been involved with letter writing campaigns and other military support programs since Operation Desert Storm.  She has appeared on The Morning Blend television show hosted by KMTV, the CBS television affiliate in Omaha, and was interviewed by the Omaha World-Herald for her volunteer work.

Print, e-book, and audiobook formats

Amazon US     Amazon UK    Audible     Barnes and Noble    iTunes    Smashwords

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Briton and the Dane: Legacy - audiobook now available

The Briton and the Dane: Legacy 
Narrated by traveling bard, Sebastian Lockwood 
Author of the acclaimed The Trickster's Tongue 

 Available for purchase

Whispered by the wise and the learned. Talked of in hushed tones round luminous firesides. Engraved by awestruck scribes in the scriptoria of the Chronicles. Against all the odds, great King Alfred defeated a vastly superior Danish army outside Chippenham.

This victory, the sages prophesied, would guarantee peace throughout the land. Or so they thought.

Two years later, Rigr the Bastard, vengeful and seeking to claim his birthright, was defeated in the wilds of East Anglia. His blood smeared berserker warriors vanquished; no quarter asked for - no quarter given.

Now, a further two years later, the Vikings return. Noble Prince Sven instigates a seaborne invasion, fuelled partly by blind rage when he discovers that his brother, Prince Erik, has sworn fealty to the Anglo-Saxon king.

His own brother: A traitor and a fool.

Erik’s love, Lady Gwyneth, attempts to stop the invasion before it starts by uniting the two estranged brothers, but her scheming only succeeds in making matters worse. Indeed, her interference guarantees the death of thousands of warriors in the freezing, tumultuous North Sea.

So when the horns of Sven’s monumental fleet of warships are heard off the fogbound coast of Britannia, King Alfred – outnumbered, outshipped and weary of the fray - must rouse his jaded Saxon warriors and lead them to sea, to repel his most formidable enemy yet.

For a host motivated by the spilled blood of the fallen, the spirit of black vengeance, and the delights of a warrior’s reward in Valhalla, is the most fearsome opponent of all.

Alfred. Sven. Erik. Gwyneth. Amidst the ferrous reverberation of a battle royale - one or all must die, and the fate of a nation hangs in the balance, one final time.

Friday, August 31, 2018

New Release - Elephant Answers by M.C. Arvanitis

My Review
An adorable picture book for preschool children, and adults, too. Learn the answers to some of the usual questions, such as do elephants have fun while working at the circus?  See if your child can guess the answers to the inquisitive questions before the Little Elephant tells all.  Beautifully illustrated.

Print and eBook editions available at Amazon US and Amazon UK

About the Author
M. C. Arvanitis resides in Fremont, Nebraska. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education, is a graduate of The Institute of Children’s Literature, and taught preschool for many years. Now retired from teaching, she currently manages her blog, Ms. Marge’s Cyber Preschool. Marge has also written numerous mid grade fables, YA stories, and picture books for beginning readers.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Planetary Wars: Rise of an Empire Book Giveaway

Enter to win a signed copy of Planetary Wars: Rise of an Empire
Format: Print book
Availability: 1
Countries: U.S.; Canada

What People Are Saying:

Planetary Wars: Rise of An Empire: I just finish this book. Mary Ann Bernal is one of my favorite authors. Her books are exciting and the endings are surprising! Very well written. I loved it.
Margaret A. ~ Freemont, NE

Planetary Wars: Rise of an Empire: What a page-turner! What I like, that you don't see often in science fiction books, is that the author really fleshed out the characters and made them human-like. I love a small planet standing up to the empire and I'm intrigued by the side story of the internment of the people with the gene mutation. Nothing is all black and white.
Suzanne P. ~ New York City

Planetary Wars: Rise of an Empire: The title and the striking cover image caught my eye and intrigued I read the blurb. That did it for me, I was hooked, being a lover of sci-fi, it was a no-brainer I just had to have this book. And the story was everything I hoped it to be. I felt Anastasia's pain and confusion, innocently falling instantly in love with the man of her dreams. And who could blame her? Jayden, after all, is not only charismatic but handsome with it. But is he really who he says he is? Will Anastasia come to a rude awakening when it is too late? I can definitely recommend this book.
Elisabeth M. ~ U.K.

Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire by Mary Ann Bernal is a suspenseful ride into the unknown. A place none of us have ever been to or would be able to experience in our lifetime. That is what makes this fantasy so irresistible. The story reads true to life but is more exciting and powerfully exhilarating. It is a dark tale of lies and destruction. The drama continues throughout and I got caught up in a web of deceit. There is an old fashion quality to this tale. If you are a Star Trek fan you, I imagine, will appreciate the non-stop misadventures into unchartered territory. The author writes a compelling story that pulled me in right away and made me feel as if the characters were real, though of course, from another planet. Such a nice escape!? The whirlwind romance contributed to Anastasia's inner turmoil. She usually had a good grip on her emotions, but with Jayden, she was no longer disciplined. Every rational thought was discarded while her heart ruled. The romantic exchange makes this more than just a fantasy. So much more. The heart wants what the heart wants. And at all costs, so it seems.
R.B. ~ California

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Briton and the Dane: Timeline - character interview

Interview with Dr. Gwyneth Franger

 Commentator (C): Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Dr. Franger.
Gwyneth (G): Please call me Gwyneth, and I appreciate this opportunity for my fans to know the “real me”.

 C: Let’s start with where do you live?
 G: London, but the year is 2066. It is an exciting city, rich in history, but also progressive, blending the old with the new. One challenge, however, is the recruitment of talented men and women to study the past, not only in the classroom but on archeological sites. There is nothing more exciting than discovering ancient artifacts buried in rubble after spending hours, days or even years, removing centuries of dirt and debris.

C: You appear passionate about history. Did you always feel that way?
G: Since I was old enough to hold a shovel. I would spend hours in the park, “excavating” possible sites. It didn’t bother me that I never discovered a relic, I was learning my craft. One day I struck an object; you can imagine my excitement when I unearthed pieces of Roman pottery. Of course, I didn’t learn until much later that my parents were behind my first find.

 C: What is your favorite archeological site?
 G: Excavating the ruins of the Wareham citadel. Thankfully, the fortress had been reinforced with stone, since the wooden structures suffered the effects of not only time but of natural disasters, such as fire. The Keep, which is the tower, still stands as it once did during the reign of Alfred the Great. The view is breathtaking, and I never tire of summer evenings watching the waves crashing gently upon the rocks below.

 C: Has your belief in God helped or hindered your investigations?
 G: I definitely believe in Divine Intervention. There is no other way to explain how I was transported, unscathed, back in time to the eleventh century. My life definitely changed from the experience, and without this Divine Intervention, I would not have returned to my timeline, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

 C: What was it like living in the eleventh century?
 G: It was quite a challenge, and I was very concerned about doing something that would change the course of history. I had seen the old Star Trek shows and was very aware of the dangers of interfering. I found having to take a submissive female role disconcerting, but I threw myself into the role of my character. What helped was having studied drama one summer at Stratford-upon-Avon with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

 C: Who provided for you during that time?
 G: Lord Erik of Wareham, my husband. Again, this is where Divine Intervention comes into play. The night I arrived in Wareham, Erik was waiting for me in the chapel; yes, we were married that evening. He had been expecting me, which I found unnerving. However, he didn’t know at that point that I was from the future. I need to interject that I have had an obsession with him since I stumbled upon a rare painting at a Renaissance Fair. The portrait is still on the wall in my office.

C: Fascinating. When did you take Erik into your confidence? And were other people privy to your true identity?
 G: It was disturbing, initially. However, Erik’s belief and trust in God was strong; everything he could not understand was attributed to Divine Intervention. Remember, religion played an important role in everyday life. While Erik accepted I was from the future, he never pressed me for information about how events turned out. There were a select few who were taken into our confidence, but as far as everyone else was concerned, I was Lord Erik’s wife who was not from these parts.

 C: Would you change anything if you were able to revisit the eleventh century?
 G: The thought is tempting; how different would the world be if William the Conqueror had been defeated at the Battle of Hastings? Oh, my gosh, we could discuss what ifs for hours on end and still be unhappy with the results. I am grateful for having the opportunity to live during a time that people can only read about in history books, and I count my blessings every day that I have been so blessed.

C: Thank you, Gwyneth, for your candor. We look forward to reading about your adventures in The Briton and the Dane: Timeline.


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Learn more about Mary Ann Bernal and Whispering Legends Press

Sunday, July 1, 2018


Author Mary Ann Bernal is participating in the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale (July 1 - July 31). All her novels and short story collections are available at either a reduced price or are free. Why not stop by her profile page and have a look? Click here to find all of Mary Ann Bernal's works.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots: Author Inspiration ~ Mary Ann Bernal

Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots: Author Inspiration ~ Mary Ann Bernal #amwriting #H...:

Author Inspiration 

I have always been fascinated by how people perceive events or actions differently. Where I see a wounded soldier running a marathon with a prosthetic leg as a hero, someone else might see only a disabled person participating in a race meant for physically fit individuals.

Throughout history, perception has played a key role when assessing motivation but was the assessment correct, and if so, did the character in question agree with the end result or did the character believe something else? As the saying goes, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

One of my favorite strong women of the middle ages is Eleanor of Aquitaine. Hollywood’s portrayal as seen in The Lion in Winter, which is an entertaining period piece and not historically accurate, showcases an intelligent woman adept at palace intrigue, who wishes to see her son, Richard, on the throne after Henry’s demise. It would seem the end-game for Eleanor’s scheming is to obtain her freedom, knowing Richard would have her released from confinement. But we must not forget Henry’s request for an annulment so he might marry his mistress. Eleanor comes across as manipulative and cunning and well-versed in deception. But is that how Eleanor sees herself?

Another Hollywood favorite is Camelot where the fair Guinevere betrays Arthur for Lancelot. Initially, whilst singing The Simple Joys of Maidenhood, she doesn’t think twice about causing a war, which comes to fruition at the end of the movie. Was there any thought given as to what warfare actually means? Was life worthless in her mind? But Guinevere recognizes she must remove temptation from Arthur’s court by having Lancelot sent away, reflected in the song If Ever I Would Leave You. Guinevere appears to be conflicted, but does she perceive herself as a victim because of an arranged marriage?

And then there is Troy. Helen is miserable in an alleged loveless marriage and runs off with Paris but Menelaus convinces his brother, Agamemnon, to help him get her back. Does history perceive Helen differently than she perceived herself? Possibly, more likely, probably. After all, Helen was the reason Troy fell. Did she regret her decision that led to the deaths of Hector, Achilles, and Paris? Was she reunited with Menelaus? Or did she relish the carnage?

Perception, as love, is in the eye of the beholder.

These epic blockbusters were paramount in my decision to write a novel wherein perception plays a major role when condemning or acclaiming the lead character.

It was an easy decision to choose an existing persona from The Briton and the Dane trilogy. Concordia was a child when the trilogy ends. Fast forward a few years and we have a nineteen-year-old young lady of privilege competing in a world where women and children were considered chattel.

Concordia is willful, used to getting her own way, and might be considered spoiled. Educated alongside her brother at the king’s court school, Concordia’s intelligence surpasses many of the men she comes in contact with. She absorbs knowledge like a sponge, is quick-witted, charming and very feminine, playing the game as befits societal expectations.

Outwardly, Concordia may have been adept at deception and intrigue, but at what cost? Was she a hardened conspirator whose sole purpose was to survive in a violent world or was she longing for a love that seemed to elude her grasp? Just as Scarlett O’Hara pined for Ashley Wilkes while married to Rhett Butler, Concordia appears to have made the same mistake.

Some of my readers saw beneath the facade, while others thought Concordia was a pampered, selfish brat. You be the judge.

The Briton and the Dane: Concordia 

Travel back in time to late Ninth Century Anglo-Saxon Britain where Alfred the Great rules with a benevolent hand while the Danish King rules peacefully within the boundaries of the Danelaw. Trade flourishes, and scholars from throughout the civilized world flock to Britannia’s shores to study at the King’s Court School at Winchester.

Enter Concordia, a beautiful noblewoman whose family is favored by the king. Vain, willful, and admired, but ambitious and cunning, Concordia is not willing to accept her fate. She is betrothed to the valiant warrior, Brantson, but sees herself as far too young to lay in the bedchamber of an older suitor. She wants to see the wonders of the world, embracing everything in it; preferably, but dangerously, at the side of Thayer, the exotic Saracen who charms King Alfred’s court and ignites her yearning passions.

Concordia manipulates her besotted husband into taking her to Rome, but her ship is captured by bloodthirsty pirates, and the seafarers protecting her are ruthlessly slain to a man. As she awaits her fate in the Moorish captain’s bed, by sheer chance, she discovers that salvation is at hand in the gilded court of a Saracen nobleman.

While awaiting rescue, Concordia finds herself at the center of intrigue, plots, blackmail, betrayal and the vain desires of two egotistical brothers, each willing to die for her favor. Using only feminine cunning, Concordia must defend her honor while plotting her escape as she awaits deliverance, somewhere inside steamy, unconquered Muslim Hispania.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Discovering reader preferences, habits and attitudes – Announcing the 2018 Reader Survey

by M.K. Tod, Heather Burch, and Patricia Sands

Readers and writers – a symbiotic relationship. Ideas spark writers to create stories and build worlds and characters for readers’ consumption. Readers add imagination and thought to interpret those stories, deriving meaning and enjoyment in the process. A story is incomplete without both reader and writer.

What then do readers want? What constitutes a compelling story? How do men and women differ in their preferences? Where do readers find recommendations? How do readers share their book experiences?

ANNOUNCING A 2018 READER SURVEY designed to solicit input on these topics and others.

Please click here to take the survey and share the link  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/68HL6F2  
with friends and family via email or your favorite social media. Robust participation across age groups, genders, and countries will make this year’s survey – the 4th – even more significant.

Those who take the survey will be able to sign up to receive a summary report when it becomes available.

M.K. (Mary) Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, Time and Regret was published by Lake Union. Fellow authors Patricia Sands and Heather Burch helped design and plan the survey. Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her blog A Writer of History.