Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Spotlight on Tom Durwood, author of The Pact (The Illustrated Colonials, Book One)


Six international teens join the American Revolution.

Coming of age and making history. 

They went into 1776 looking for a fight. Little did they know how much it would cost them…

Six rich kids from around the globe join the Bostonian cause, finding love and treachery along the path to liberty.

A new perspective on one of history’s most fascinating moments.

An amply illustrated edition of a young-adult historical fiction novel.


 Buy Links:

 This novel is available on #KindleUnlimited

 Universal Link

¸.•*´¨) ¸.*¨) ( ¸.•´

 Tom Durwood

 Fun Facts
(Stuff you may or may not already know!)

 I taught English at Valley Forge Military College for eight years and really enjoyed it. I tried to surprise the cadets every day with unexpected in-class assignments on a wide range of critical-thinking challenges, from Frank Lloyd Wright to a case study on the Lego company to the Battle of the Aleutians.  If I could engage their interest, they would write for hours.


I write at a painfully slow pace. Stories from what is now the collection “Ulysses S. Grant in China” were written and revised over the course of twenty years. The mission is always to ground the big vision in characters who earn the readers’ loyalty in small ways.  



A single word set me on a quest.  

I wrote my master’s thesis on Teddy Roosevelt’s biggest mistake: his 1906 dismissal of 167 members of the all-black 25th Infantry Regiment. When I asked Professor John David Smith of the University of North Carolina to explain that series of events, the answer came back in one word: “Empire.” 

He was right (!!) Ever since, the processes of empire have become a fascination for me. I designed and taught a course on “Empire and Literature” at Valley Forge and have now posted over fifty features in my online journal, “Empire Studies.”  

I once edited my own imprint of children’s books, Calico Books with Contemporary Press of Chicago. The Calico line included works by Scott Gustafson, Winslow Pels, Russ Shorto, and Gary Gianni.


In college, I published three editions of an undergraduate arts journal. References from these self-important features still crop up the in footnotes of certain obscure scholarly works.

¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨) ( ¸.•´

Tom Durwood

Tom Durwood is a teacher, writer, and editor with an interest in history. Tom most recently taught English Composition and Empire and Literature at Valley Forge Military College, where he won the Teacher of the Year Award five times. Tom has taught Public Speaking and Basic Communications as a guest lecturer for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group at the Dam’s Neck Annex of the Naval War College.

Toms ebook Empire and Literature matches global works of film and fiction to specific quadrants of empire, finding surprising parallels. Literature, film, art, and architecture are viewed against the rise and fall of empire. In a foreword to Empire and Literature, postcolonial scholar Dipesh Chakrabarty of the University of Chicago calls it “imaginative and innovative.” Prof. Chakrabarty writes that “Durwood has given us a thought-provoking introduction to the humanities.” His subsequent book “Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism” has been well-reviewed. “My favorite nonfiction book of the year” writes The Literary Apothecary (Goodreads).

Early reader response to Tom’s historical fiction adventures have been promising. “A true pleasure … the richness of the layers of Tom’s novel is compelling,” writes Fatima Sharrafedine in her foreword to “The Illustrated Boatman’s Daughter.” The Midwest Book Review calls that same adventure “uniformly gripping and educational … pairing action and adventure with social issues.” Adds Prairie Review, “A deeply intriguing, ambitious historical fiction series.”

Tom briefly ran his own children’s book imprint, Calico Books (Contemporary Books, Chicago). Tom’s newspaper column “Shelter” appeared in the North County Times for seven years. Tom earned a Masters in English Literature in San Diego, where he also served as Executive Director of San Diego Habitat for Humanity.

 Connect with Tom 

 Website   Webpage   Twitter   Facebook   Linked-In   Instagram   Pinterest

Amazon Author Page   Goodreads

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Spotlight on Barbara Greig, author of Discovery


Discovery: An epic tale of love, loss, and courage.When Elizabeth Gharsias headstrong nephew, Gabriel, joins Samuel Champlains 1608 expedition to establish a settlement at Quebec, he soon becomes embroiled in a complicated tribal conflict. As months turn into years, Gabriel appears lost to his family.

Meanwhile at home in France the death of her father, Luis, adds to Elizabeths anguish. Devastated by her loss, she struggles to make sense of his final words. Could her mothers journals, found hidden among Luiss possessions, provide the key to the mystery?

The arrival of Pedro Torres disrupts Elizabeths world even further. Rescued from starvation on the streets of Marseille by her brother, Pedro is a victim of the brutal expulsion of his people from Spain. Initially antagonistic, will Elizabeth come to appreciate Pedros qualities and to understand the complexity of her family?

Buy Links

 Available on Kindle Unlimited.

 Amazon UK   Amazon US   Amazon CA    Amazon AU   Waterstones    Kobo   Troubador

WH Smith   iBooks   Google Play   Book Depository

¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨) ( ¸.•´

Fun Facts 

 Barbara Greig 

(Stuff you may or may not already know!)

Please read on if you’d like to find out about the significance of the photo!

The first book I can remember reading is Grey Rabbit Finds A Shoe by Alison Uttley. There are two reasons for this. The first is where I was when I read it at the age of seven. I had accidently locked myself in the toilet and it was some time before I was rescued. Nobody had a ladder long enough to reach the upper storey until my mother ran to the coastguard station opposite our house. She slid Grey Rabbit Finds A Shoe under the door to keep me occupied while she was away. Luckily, the gap was just large enough. Eventually, the coastguard’s son gallantly climbed up the station’s ladder, struggled through the small window, and opened the door for me. I did not realise how this incident had become family lore until fairly recently. For my last big ‘0’ birthday I hosted a family party with strict instructions that there were to be no presents. To my surprise, one of my cousins arrived with a neatly wrapped package. It was my copy of Grey Rabbit Finds A Shoe. Apparently, I had passed it on to him as a child and he had kept it, giving me the second reason why I’ll always remember the book.

Fancy dress parties can create some serious planning and hiring unless you have something in your wardrobe. I have in my proud possession a Star Trek uniform as worn by Lieutenant Uhuru in the original series, bought from the Star Trek Experience gift shop in the Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas. Some years ago we went as a family and found the simulation so realistic that we were all very relieved when Captain Janeway rescued us from the Borg. Having lunch served by two handsome Klingons made my teenage daughter’s day.

When I went to Vermont to research for Discovery I fell in love. He is warm and cuddly and the colour of honey. Yes, he is an Authentic Vermont Teddy Bear. I know I’m a grown woman but I couldn’t resist him. To help assuage my self-indulgence I bought a second bear for my goddaughter’s new baby. Two teddy bears really do bulk out your suitcase for the return flight!

I achieved late in life (in my fifties) a long-held ambition – I am a member of a dance group. This is remarkable to me as my ballet teacher told me, as a child, that I was more suited to the rugby field than the dance studio. I admit I did love to race around. Wanting a challenge, I went along to a Middle Eastern and Tribal Dance class where everyone was a total stranger. I nearly turned tail but I didn’t and it is one of the best things I have ever done. The exercise, the music, and the camaraderie are uplifting. We meet up with other dance groups, visit residential homes for the elderly, and generally have a joyous time. It is also a brilliant antidote to long stretches of sitting and writing.

While researching my next novel set in Shetland I visited the Family History Society. It was our first day in Lerwick and I was tired from the journey but my husband, Mike, persuaded me to go that afternoon. Reluctantly, I went rather than wait until after the weekend. What a good decision it proved to be! As I signed the visitor book, jotting down my family name, I noticed that two other people had been researching the same name that day. One was from New Zealand and the other from the south of England, both unknown to me. We made contact that evening – they were my fourth cousins. What a coincidence! It made me believe in them! Both of them were leaving for home the following day. One of my cousins has been a great help with my research.

I’ll finish with a photo entitled ‘Windswept research in Shetland’ which beautifully captures the atmosphere.

¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)  ( ¸.•´

Barbara Greig

Barbara Greig was born in Sunderland and lived in Roker until her family moved to Teesdale. An avid reader, she also discovered the joy of history at an early age. A last-minute change of heart, in the sixth form, caused her to alter her university application form. Instead of English, Barbara read Modern and Ancient History at Sheffield University. It was a decision she never regretted. 

Barbara worked for twenty years in sixth form colleges, teaching History and Classical Civilisation. Eventually, although enjoying a role in management, she found there was less time for teaching and historical study. A change of focus was required. With her children having flown the nest, she was able to pursue her love of writing and story-telling. She has a passion for hiking and dancing, the perfect antidotes to long hours of historical research and writing, as well as for travel, and wherever possible, she walks in the footsteps of her characters. 

Discovery is Barbaras second novel. Her debut novel Secret Lives was published in 2016 (Sacristy Press).

 Connect with Barbara 

 Twitter   Facebook   Amazon Author Page   Goodreads


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Spotlight on A.B. Michaels, author of The Madness of Mrs. Whittaker (The Golden City, Book Six)

While exploring the remote possibility of contacting her dead husband through a spirit medium, a young widow is pronounced insane and committed to an asylum against her will. As she struggles to escape the nightmare shes been thrust into, she is stripped of everything she holds dear, including her identity and her reason to live. The fight to reclaim what is rightfully hers will test every aspect of her being, up to and including her sanity. Is she up to the task, or has her grip on reality already slipped away?

Book Six of The Golden City series, The Madness of Mrs. Whittaker explores two major forces of early twentieth-century America: the religious movement called Spiritualism and treatment of the mentally ill. Like all of A.B. Michaelsnovels, it is a stand-alone read.


Series Buy Links (In order):

 The Art of Love   The Depth of Beauty   The Promise 

The Price of Compassion   Josephine's Daughter

The Madness of Mrs. Whittaker

Universal Link

 ¸.•*´¨) ¸.*¨) ( ¸.•´

 A.B. Michaels

 Fun Facts 
(Stuff you may or may not already know!)

Any of my friends and family can tell you I’m pretty neurotic about not liking to fly or go on bridges or be in elevators or be in tight places.  But I have visited a few places that, now I think back and say, “What were you thinking??”  Once, while working in public relations for Hilton Hotels Corporation, I rode in an open-air construction elevator to the top of the torch of the Statue of Liberty.  It was being renovated and Hilton was one of the sponsors, so our department produced a short documentary about it. Even typing this makes me nervous!  The other unbelievable adventure was spending eight hours in a cave, as part of a caving class I took. We literally had to walk in a line and follow the leader from one end of the cave to the other.  If I had freaked out, there would have been nowhere to go.  Again, I am sweating just remembering it.  These are the kinds of activities it’s much better to have done than to do!


I love traveling more than I fear flying, so I have been all over the world, including Europe, central and south America, China, Tibet, Russia, and of course the United States. What’s left on my bucket list?  The problem is, it’s too long: I’d love to return to most places I’ve been. The world is a fascinating place.


I married relatively late (thirty-five) and found I couldn’t have children biologically.  So, my husband and I opted for open adoption which entailed working up a “resume” and advertising to prospective birth mothers.  The young woman who chose us to adopt her baby said she picked us, not because of our sterling credentials, but because we had our picture taken with our adorable wiener dogs! Our older son (we have two) now lives and works in Denver—-and yes, he is a dog lover.


I’m not particularly athletic, but I happen to be a pretty good bocce player and have won several medals in our summer bocce league.


I adore quilting.  There’s always something new to learn, plus I enjoy creating something that lasts and gives comfort to others—kind of like writing! It’s also wonderful to be part of a group of like-minded women; they are my kind of peeps!


  ¸.•*´¨) ¸.*¨ ( ¸.•´

A native of California, A.B. Michaels holds master's degrees in history (UCLA) and broadcasting (San Francisco State University). After working for many years as a promotional writer and editor, she turned to writing fiction, which is the hardest thing she's ever done besides raise two boys. She lives with her husband and two spoiled dogs in Boise, Idaho, where she is often distracted by playing darts and bocce and trying to hit a golf ball more than fifty yards. Reading, quilt-making, and travel figure into the mix as well, leading her to hope that sometime soon, someone invents a 25+ hour day.

 Social Media Links

 Website   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   Book Bub   Amazon Author Page   Goodreads

Monday, June 14, 2021

Book Spotlight and Excerpt: Guardians at the Wall By Tim Walker


Archaeology student Noah scrapes the soil near Hadrians Wall, once a barrier that divided Roman Britannia from wild Caledonian tribes, in the hope of uncovering an ancient artefact around which he can build a project-defining story.

He makes an intriguing find, but hasn't anticipated the distraction of becoming the object of desire in a developing love triangle in the isolated academic community at Vindolanda. Hes living his best life, but must learn to prioritise in a race against time to solve an astounding 2,000-year-old riddle, and an artefact theft, as he comes to realise his future career prospects depend on it.

In the same place, almost 2,000 years earlier, Centurion Gaius Atticianus, hungover and unaware of the bloody conflicts that will soon challenge him, is rattled by the hoot of an owl, a bad omen.

These are the protagonists whose lives will brush together in the alternating strands of this dual timeline historical novel, one commencing his journey and trying to get noticed, the other trying to stay intact as he approaches retirement.

How will the breathless battles fought by a Roman officer influence the fortunes of a twenty-first century archaeology mud rat? Can naive Noah, distracted by the attentions of two very different women, navigate his way to a winning presentation?

 Find out in Tim Walker's thrilling historical dual timeline novel, Guardians at the Wall.


 Buy Links

 Kindle   Paperback

Available on Kindle Unlimited

 ¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨) ( ¸.•´



[archaeology student, Noah, visits the Head of Archaeology for her opinion on his find]


I skirted around the two-storey sandstone building and ducked through a doorway into a well-lit reception area and stood before Mavis, the marketing assistant.


“Hi Mavis, is Maggie in?” I chirped, picking up the latest issue of Archaeology Magazine. Professor Maggie Wilde was pictured on the cover, standing on the battlements of the reconstructed section of wall, gazing northwards towards the unconquered barbarians. She was already a celebrity archaeologist and would have made the perfect foil for Harrison Ford’s movie character, Indiana Jones, with her wild, windswept strawberry blonde hair framing a striking face with cute freckles across her nose, and twinkling pale blue eyes. Her glossy lips suggested she knew the value of a warm smile or pout in a room full of men. ‘It’s like fancying your mum’s friend’, Dave had once remarked.


“She’s on a conference call to the States. Wait if you like, she’ll be finished soon,” Mavis replied, in a cultured Edinburgh accent. Posh Scottish.


“She’s the pin-up girl of British archaeology,” I quipped, flashing the magazine cover.


“I don’t know what she uses to keep her skin so flawless,” Mavis sighed.


“Perhaps she discovered an ancient potion?” I offered, flicking through the pages to the article. I had been hovering around when the photographer had taken her photos that day – maybe I was in the background of one of the pictures? I sat and read. ‘Hadrian’s Wall Gives Up Its Secrets’, the headline declared. The Vindolanda reading tablets were described as ‘the find of the century.’ My broad idea for my dissertation was for it to be based on translations from some of the tablets – those that related to the lives and living conditions of the soldiers garrisoned at Vindolanda and other forts in the early years of Hadrian’s Wall. I had been cropped out of the photos.


“They couldn’t have been more excited if they’d discovered Moses’s tablets,” I quipped.


“You can go in now,” Mavis said, her voice dragging me away from the article. I had read half of it, and resolved to return to it when I came out.


Professor Maggie Wilde’s room was bigger than the reception area, with two walls given over to floor-to-ceiling bookshelves – one with books and the other with boxes of academic reports and maps. No doubt Mavis had labelled and sorted them, as Maggie gave the air of being disorganised. She was an anomaly – a successful career academic who reputedly hated being tied down to boring tasks, like report-writing, collating documents, copying, and filing; a creative free-thinker who was skilled at persuading others to unburden her of boring or repetitive tasks. She held two positions – Head of Archaeology at the Trust, and part-time Archaeology Professor at Newcastle University.


“Ah, Noah, come in. Just move those over there and sit,” she said, pointing to a couch piled high with maps and printouts. I moved the items and sat, twiddling my thumbs, watching the crown of her ginger head, waiting until she looked up. I had literally bumped into her at the student placement reception a few days earlier, and she had welcomed me with a firm handshake. I had blurted that I’d seen her Hadrian’s Wall documentary on television, feeling like a needy fan as soon as I’d said it. She had smiled and asked me what I hoped to achieve during my placement and listened intently, planting her stylish heels as if she had nowhere else to go, a strange thing in a room where people were mingling in groups. I was grateful for her full attention and pleased when she invited me to call on her expertise any time.


“If it’s a bad time I can come back?” I offered.


“There never seems to be a good time, so now will do,” she said, removing her reading glasses and fixing me with a warm and welcoming smile. “I’ve just had a two-hour conference call with members of the US Archaeological Society, so I could do with a distraction.” She leaned forward and picked up the marble figure Mike had brought to her hours earlier. He must have thoroughly cleaned and polished it before presenting it to her.


“I just wanted to hear what your thoughts are on that little lady,” I said. “Do you think she’s a female deity?”


She turned it over in her slender fingers and her shoulders twitched. “Ooh, I felt a slight shock, like static on a jumper,” she said, placing it gently on her blotter. “Yes, most likely female, judging by the full-length robe. The slight tummy bump suggests she might be pregnant, so perhaps a fertility symbol. I’ll send it to the curator at the Hancock Museum for her opinion. She’ll give me a better idea of where it fits into the Brigantes’ belief system. Some of their gods were twinned with Roman deities as the polytheistic Romans were keen to encourage local worship in their temples. Once we know roughly how old it is, we can look for other carvings or figures from that period and make a guess as to which deity it is. I agree with Mike; it could be a goddess whom the household would supplicate for good fortune, fertility, or protection from evil spirits. Come and sit in the chair.”





[At the same location in the year 180 CE, Roman centurion, Gaius Atticianus returns home after a fractious meeting to be confronted by his wife, Aria]


He entered his courtyard in a state of shock to be met by Aria, legs apart in her combative stance, holding the Brigantia effigy in one hand, a look of anger in her eyes.


“What do you mean by sending Paulinus to give me this carving of the local goddess, Brigantia? You know full well that we have a shrine to the water goddess of my people, Sulis, who is twinned with your goddess Minerva, and is the deity who watches over this house and our family! Have you forgotten the time our prayers and the healing waters of Sulis restored our little Brutus when he had the sweating fever?”


“Sulis be praised. But my love, it was a gift from the wife of my scout whom we saved from despoilment and murder,” Gaius replied in his well-practised conciliatory tone. She had resurrected the unhappy memory of his fears that his little son would succumb to the same fever that had robbed him of his first family.


“Then you have kept your promise and delivered it to me. But it cannot remain here, or our own goddess will desert us. You shall not see it again and do not ask me about it.” Gaius knew not to argue further when her temper was raised. She looked both magnificent and terrifying when her red mane was raised and her crystal eyes turned icy with rage. But like the storms of Britannia, it would soon blow out and she would be his sweet Aria again.


“You are wise, as always, my love,” he whispered, now more eager than ever to soak his weary bones and clear his troubled mind. He would withhold his bad news from her and mull it over. Gaius skirted around her and went to the kitchen to seek out Longinus to make preparations for his bath. He would be up at dawn to prepare once again for battle with the Caledonii, or to lead a guard to Coria with their wives, cohort valuables, and the report blaming him for the attack. But that was tomorrow. Tonight, he would eat with his family and sleep in the arms of his beloved Aria.



Tim Walker

Tim Walker is an independent author living near Windsor in the UK. He grew up in Liverpool where he began his working life as a trainee reporter on a local newspaper. After studying for a degree in Communication studies he moved to London where he worked in the newspaper publishing industry for ten years before relocating to Zambia where, following a period of voluntary work with VSO, he set up his own marketing and publishing business. He returned to the UK in 2009.

His creative writing journey began in earnest in 2013, as a therapeutic activity whilst recovering from cancer treatment. He began writing an historical fiction series, A Light in the Dark Ages, in 2014, inspired by a visit to the part-excavated site of a former Roman town. The series connects the end of Roman Britain to elements of the Arthurian legend and is inspired by historical source material, presenting an imagined history of Britain in the fifth and early sixth centuries.

The last book in the series, Arthur, Rex Brittonum, was published in June 2020. This is a re-imagining of the story of King Arthur and follows on from 2019’s Arthur Dux Bellorum. Both titles are Coffee Pot Book Club recommended reads. The series starts with Abandoned (second edition, 2018); followed by Ambrosius: Last of the Romans (2017); and book three, Uther’s Destiny (2018). Series book covers are designed by Canadian graphic artist, Cathy Walker.

Tim has also written three books of short stories, Thames Valley Tales (2015), Postcards from London (2017) and Perverse (2020); a dystopian thriller, Devil Gate Dawn (2016); and three children’s books, co-authored with his daughter, Cathy – The Adventures of Charly Holmes (2017), Charly & the Superheroes (2018), and Charly in Space (2020).

 Connect with Tim

Website   Goodreads   Amazon Author Page   Facebook   Twitter   Instagram

Newsletter sign-up and free short story

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire by Mary Ann Bernal - hardcover edition now available

Caught up in a whirlwind romance, Anastasia Dennison, M.D., does not realize her husband is the terrifying dictator, Jayden Henry Shaw, who rules the galaxy with an iron fist while pretending to defend the vulnerable against the Imperial Forces of the Empire.

Denying the existence of widespread suffering, Anastasia ignores her principles as she embraces the spoils of war and takes her rightful place among the upper echelon of Terrenean society.

Will Anastasia continue to support her husband’s quest for complete domination of every world within the cosmos, or will she follow her conscience and fight the evil invading her home?

…Filled with strife, tested loyalties and subtle acts of defiance, Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire by Mary Ann Bernal has a lot to recommend it. In this majestic universe Bernal has created, there are two opposing sides — The Imperial Forces verses the Freedom Fighters. While the Imperial Force has the military advantage, the Freedom Fighters are determined not to be thwarted. This intense and violent struggle between the two sides is a theme that one often finds in Science Fiction novels which gives this book a sense of comforting familiarity. 

Bernal has given us a host of characters in this book, some I liked, some I loathed and others I had mixed feelings about. But, each character, whether it be the protagonist, the antagonist or the supporting characters, brought something rich to this tale.

Talking of characters... For a brilliant and capable woman, Doctor Anastasia Dennison is incredibly naive. She is an incurable romantic who lets love blind her to the truth. This is a time of desperate war, but Anastasia is very free with the information she gives to a man she had just met — a man she has never seen before — which left me slightly bemused. She is either very trusting or a complete and utter fool. At least her friend and colleague, Doctor Sophia Loft, had the sense to question this stranger's motives. But, even then, Anastasia brushes Sophia's concern aside. She refuses to pause and take a moment to consider if the story her beloved told her about himself is credible. Her inability to see Henry for who he really was baffled me because all the signs are there. Yes, Anastasia had never seen a photograph of the dictator of the universe, but still...! Anastasia is completely taken in by the story Jayden Henry Shaw has woven, and she is, for want of a better word, brainwashed. Bernal has not given us a strong and determined character in Anastasia, but instead, she has given us a woman who allows herself to be so blinkered that she no longer sees the suffering around her — her life is perfect, therefore what does it matter if other lives are being crushed? And for that reason, I found myself annoyed with her rather than sympathising with her plight. This, I think, is exactly what Bernal wants her readers to feel.

Jayden Henry Shaw is a compelling antagonist. He is incredibly ambitious and is not the sort of man who takes no for an answer. He is determined to not only rule the universe but to do so on his terms, and if anyone dares to oppose him, he quickly vanquishes them. He can be cruel and yet when it comes to Anastasia, we glimpse a different side to his character. Bernal has made Shaw real in the telling by giving him the ability to love, and despite all the lies, Shaw does love Anastasia. Shaw really closed the deal on this book for me. I thought his depiction was brilliant and demonstrated Bernal's ability at creating very flawed characters.

If you are looking for a gentle introduction into Science Fiction, then check out Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire by Mary Ann Bernal.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.




Thursday, June 10, 2021

Spotlight on Sarah Kennedy, author of Queen of Blood (The Cross and the Crown, Book 4)


Queen of Blood, Book Four of the Cross and the Crown series, continues the story of Catherine Havens, a former nun in Tudor England. It is now 1553, and Mary Tudor has just been crowned queen of England. Still a Roman Catholic, Mary seeks to return England to its former religion, and Catherine hopes that the country will be at peace under the daughter of Henry VIII. But rebellion is brewing around Thomas Wyatt, the son of a Tudor courtier, and when Catherine’s estranged son suddenly returns from Wittenberg amid circulating rumours about overthrowing the new monarch, Catherine finds herself having to choose between the queen she has always loved and the son who seems determined to join the Protestants who seek to usurp her throne.


 Buy Links

 Universal Link   Amazon UK   Amazon US   Amazon CA   Amazon AU

 ¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨) ( ¸.•´

 Fun Facts 

Sarah Kennedy 

(Stuff you may or may not already know!)

I talk to owls. I love nature, and I spend a lot of time out of doors. I particularly enjoy listening to and identifying local birds, especially the owls who call to each other at dusk. Many screech owls live near my house, and from my deck, I can hear their conversations. Screech owls don’t actually “screech” at all. They whinny. So, of course, I practiced imitating them. One evening, I was clearing out brush near the edge of the little woods that surrounds my house, and there, on a nearby branch, sat a screech owl. They are tiny, and I almost didn’t see it, but there it was, staring at me. I whinnied at it, and it put its head on one side, as though trying to determine what such a big and ugly owl was doing speaking to it, but finally it came to me. It was almost within hand’s reach! But I didn’t touch it, for fear of scaring it. We sat and spoke to each other for a minute or two, and then it flew away, probably to spread the word that a giant owl was in the neighborhood. It was a truly magical moment, one that I hope at some time to repeat.

I used to be a pianist, and I thought, when I was a young woman, that I would devote my life and my career to playing the piano. I studied quite seriously, but I found, once I began college, that my daily practice times were being interrupted constantly by my own thoughts—about words. Images, metaphors, and sentences kept me from focusing on the notes, and I finally gave up my music for English studies and became a poet. Now I write fiction, but even decades later I still almost hear my own sentences as melodies, though not ones that I would sing for anyone else! Music and language still intersect in my imagination, and I suppose they always will.

I once weeded a thirty-acre field of corn, by myself, by hand. I did this in small daily increments with a hand-held hoe. I was very young and full of ideas about physical work and spiritual improvement. It certainly was good exercise, and I did a lot of thinking while I worked, but I don’t ever want to do that again! The field was nice and clean, for a while, but I believe I was quite foolish when I was young.

I’m left-handed, from a generation of lefties. I am the youngest of a family of six, and four of us are left-handed. Happily, our parents did not try to force us to be right-handed, and my mother made sure that we had left-handed scissors every fall for school projects (though she had fits trying to teach any of us to sew). Neither of our parents was left-handed, nor were our grandparents. None of our children, or grandchildren so far, is left-handed. For some reason, it seems to have hit my generation in our family and no other.

I love the semicolon. Why? I suppose I just love punctuation! Many writers ridicule, revile, insult, ignore, and abuse the semicolon, but it’s one of my favorites. It’s like a wink to the reader; it says, “there’s more coming up.” It keeps things together, yet it holds them gently apart. My students might sigh and roll their eyes, but I tell them that they need to know how to use one correctly. The semicolon is rather shy; it’s not aggressive, like the exclamation point, or unsure of itself, like the question mark. It’s not demanding, like the slammed-down fist of the period. The semicolon knows its place; it holds others in theirs.

 ¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)  ( ¸.•´

Sarah Kennedy

Sarah Kennedy is the author of the Tudor historical series, The Cross and the Crown, including The Altarpiece, City of Ladies, The King’s Sisters, and Queen of Blood. She has also published a stand-alone contemporary novel, Self-Portrait, with Ghost, as well as seven books of poems.  A professor of English at Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia, Sarah Kennedy holds a PhD in Renaissance Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing.  She has received grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. 

Connect with Sarah

 Website   Twitter    Facebook    Amazon Author Page   Goodreads