Friday, January 31, 2020

Book Launch - The Heretic Wind by Judith Arnopp

Judith Arnopp

Judith’s novels concentrate on strong female characters from English history. Her trilogy of Margaret Beaufort, The Beaufort Chronicle, provided Margaret with a credible voice. She does much the same in this novel of Mary Tudor, Queen of England. Mary, due to the violent punishment she inflicted on heretics has come to be viewed as little short of a monster. In this novel, Mary isn’t white-washed; she is simply allowed to tell her own story. Judith says:

 ‘I always think it would be awful if, after my death, I was only remembered for the very worst thing I’ve ever done. Everyone is guilty of something, and people like Mary, and her father Henry VIII carried out horrible deeds. Unfortunately, those actions have come to define them. Burning anyone to death seems terrible to us but it was the standard punishment for heresy in the 16th century. It would be wrong to look upon Mary as some half-mad monster, glibly sending Protestants to their death. There was much more to her than cruelty. She was kind, generous and terribly well-meaning. She adored her people but her reign wasn’t as benign as she intended. My study of Mary Tudor revealed a sad, isolated and desperate woman whose intention was to be a good and loving Queen. The fact things turned out rather differently were mostly due to exterior forces. In The Heretic Wind, the mortally sick and embittered Mary looks back on her life and explains to some extent, the reasons why things happened as they did.

The Heretic Wind

Adored by her parents and pampered by the court, the infant Princess Mary’s life changes suddenly and drastically when her father’s eye is taken by the enigmatic Anne Boleyn.

Mary stands firm against her father’s determination to destroy both her mother’s reputation, and the Catholic church. It is a battle that will last throughout both her father’s and her brother’s reign, until, she is almost broken by persecution. When King Edward falls ill and dies Mary expects to be crowned queen.

But she has reckoned without John Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland, who before Mary can act, usurps her crown and places it on the head of her Protestant cousin, Lady Jane Grey.

Furious and determined not to be beaten, Mary musters a vast army at Framlingham Castle; a force so strong that support for Jane Grey crumbles in the face of it, and Mary is at last crowned Queen of England.

But her troubles are only just beginning. Rebellion and heresy take their toll both on Mary’s health, and on the English people. Suspecting she is fatally ill, and desperate to save her people from heresy, Mary steps up her campaign to compel her subjects to turn back to the Catholic faith.

All who resist will face punishment for heresy in the flames of the Smithfield fires.

Judith Arnopp is the author of twelve Historical Fiction novels:

The Heretic Wind; the life of Mary Tudor, Queen of England
Sisters of Arden
The Beaufort Chronicles: the life of Lady Margaret Beaufort (three-book series)
A Song of Sixpence: the story of Elizabeth of York
Intractable Heart: the story of Katheryn Parr
The Kiss of the Concubine: a story of Anne Boleyn
The Winchester Goose: at the court of Henry VIII
The Song of Heledd
The Forest Dwellers

To discover more kindly visit:  

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Scribbler Tales Volumes One - Five - multi-genre anthology by Mary Ann Bernal

Scribbler Tales
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? 

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Friday, January 24, 2020

Spotlight on author Bronwyn Elsmore

In tropical beach mode on a small island in Vanuatu a few months ago, 
with some other animal friends.

Some fun facts about author Bronwyn Elsmore

Born under the sign of Libra.

 While I have an amused view of such things, I am drawn to balance and harmony. And I like to think that while the Libran symbol is the balance/scales, the word is similar to that for book – libre/liber/libri. Together they seem to sum me up pretty well. 

For the past dozen years, I’ve kept a record of books I have read in the year.

[Long pause while I complete and review my list for 2019] For the past few years, the total has been between 70-80, with a high of 93.

As usual, they’re non-fiction and fiction in a variety of genres, with Literary Fiction being my first pick. I’m always looking for books that are ultimately uplifting, which doesn’t mean they can’t deal with negative subjects. 

As well as an author of a dozen books, and hundreds of shorter works, 
I am also a playwright.

Along with my reading record, there’s another of the stage-plays I’ve been to. The number of those is showing a decline, for several reasons – reluctance to find parking in the city, I don’t review plays as I used to, and for a similar reason to my views on books – so many are on depressing subjects. However, playwriting has given me much pleasure over the years, and there’s nothing like sitting in an audience seeing actors adding their skills to one’s words.

I’m located in the South Pacific, so when most of the globe’s population are enduring winter, I’m glorying in summer days.

Right now, I’m spending a lot of time caring for my annual crop of monarch butterflies.  I grow plants for the caterpillars, make sure they have enough to eat, keep predators at bay, and bring them inside to develop safely. It takes many hours of my time but it’s lovely to see them fly off. Each butterfly I let go with the words “have a happy life.”

Altogether I spend far too much time on them and each year tell myself next year I won’t do it. But here I am, back into it. So far this season I have liberated 63 butterflies, and there are plenty more to come!

Cats are another thing. I don’t go looking for them, they find me. 

At the moment, I have to accept I have three – not by choice but because they’ve all turned up having decided to live here rather than wherever they came from. Over past years others have come and gone at their will or when I’ve managed to find other homes for them. Then there’s the wild tomcat that turns up for food when he’s in the area.

 One of the present three, Teddybear, I have tried to give away to three different willing new owners. Give him a few days and he’s escaped and walked back. Teddybear has now returned here five times, so he’s made his will very clear – he’s staying!

Bronwyn with #1 cat, McCullum, named after the, then, captain of the New Zealand cricket team

You can find out more about author Bronwyn Elsmore here:

Book Council

You can purchase Bronwyn Elsmore's books here:

  Amazon link

Backwards Into the Future
Everyone knows you can’t go back. Everyone except Mary.  A plum tree has gone. A lemon tree thrives.  A mystery surrounding a boat with painted eyes remains. A novel with the feel of a memoir – I find the combination very appealing.”    

Amazon link
Every Five Minutes
Gina, if that is her real name, sets out for work. Deliberately, she misses the bus and walks into the city, then turns and walks back again. This is not a day for work. Today she will spend with a white dog and a remarkable man. “I hated the story to end. Read it and you'll see. It's a lovely, lovely book.”

Seventeen Seas
Stowaways in lifeboats? Germans claiming deckchairs? When passengers from many places cruise together, there must be fun. Fiction, non-fiction, humor – Seventeen Seas is all of these. For all who have taken a cruise, think they'd like to, or are certain they never would!

Amazon link

These Islands Here — Short Stories of the South Pacific
Literary fiction, stories of life in the South Pacific – pleasure, pain, calamity, comedy, fun, misfortune, loss, triumph. Most have been published previously, several have won short story competitions.