Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Book Spotlight and Excerpt: The Castilian Pomegranate (The Castilian Saga, Book 2) by Anna Belfrage

 


An enraged and grieving queen commands them to retrieve her exquisite jewel and abandon their foundling brat overseas—or never return.

Robert FitzStephan and his wife, Noor, have been temporarily exiled. Officially, they are to travel to the courts of Aragon and Castile as emissaries of Queen Eleanor of England. Unofficially, the queen demands two things: that they abandon Lionel, their foster son, in foreign lands and that they bring back a precious jewel the Castilian Pomegranate.

Noor would rather chop off a foot than leave Lionel in a foreign land—especially as hes been entrusted to her by his dead father, the last true Prince of Wales. And as to the jewel, stealing it would mean immediate execution. . .

Spain in 1285 is a complicated place. France has launched a crusade against Aragon and soon enough Robert is embroiled in the conflict, standing side by side with their Aragonese hosts.

Once in Castile, it is the fearsome Moors that must be fought, with Robert facing weeks separated from his young wife, a wife who is enthralled by the Castilian court—and a particular Castilian gallant.

Jealousy, betrayal, and a thirst for revenge plunge Noor and Robert into life-threatening danger.

Will they emerge unscathed or will savage but beautiful Castile leave them permanently scarred and damaged? 

Trigger Warnings:

Sexual content, violence

 

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 Excerpt

In which the proud French are obliged to crawl at the feet of King Pedro of Aragon

Two days later, a company of men came riding towards Pedro’s camp, a white banner flying aloft.

“If it isn’t my favourite nephew himself,” Pedro muttered, his eyes narrowing as he studied the Frenchmen. “As always, dressed to his teeth.”

Philippe was indeed a sight for sore eyes, looking as if he’d recently emerged from a bathhouse, not a war camp. In green and blue silk, a mantle in a darker blue hue edged with ermine, and his long hair loose and adorned with a thin gold circlet, he came striding towards the royal tent at such speed the fabric of his garments billowed around him.

Uncle,” he began, walking towards Pedro with his arms outstretched, but he was rudely interrupted by the man-at-arms who stepped right into his path.

“Do not come here and claim ties of kinship,” Pedro warned, nodding at the man-at-arms to allow Philippe to approach. “I am not your uncle. I am the righteously incensed king come face-to-face with a would-be invader.”

To his credit, Philippe did not argue. Instead, he bowed deeply. “I am here as a representative of King Philippe, third of that name.” As he rose, he surveyed the men present, his gaze snagging on Robert. “You!” he exclaimed.

In response, Robert offered him a formal bow.

“Ah yes,” King Pedro said. “You have already met Robert FitzStephan, emissary and trusted captain of King Edward of England.”

Philippe blanched. “Emissary?” His tongue darted out to lick his lips.

Indeed,” Pedro said drily. “I fear he will not be much impressed by how the French have treated him.”

“I . . . well . . . he didn’t—”

“I did,” Robert interrupted. “I made it quite clear I was here on behalf of my king.”

Pedro tut-tutted. “Really, Philippe, to lay hands on a man travelling with safe-conducts and abuse him so. Foolish, I say. Very foolish.” He sat down in one of the ornate armchairs and tucked a cushion behind his back.

The handsome lad flushed. “I am here to talk of other matters,” he said stiffly.

“Ah yes, your unconditional surrender,” Pedro said.

Surrender?” Philippe straightened up and glared at his uncle. They were remarkably alike, these two men, with reddish-golden hair, light eyes, and cheekbones so defined it gave them both an eerie likeness to a bird of prey. “I come to negotiate a retreat.”

Pedro’s brows rose, but he held his tongue.

Philippe shifted under his weighty stare. “We will leave your lands immediately.”

“I think not.” Pedro gestured for one of his pages to serve him some more wine.

“They’re all ailing!” Philippe exclaimed. “My father, my brother—”

“The little usurper?” Pedro asked. “Well, well. It seems God smites some down immediately, hey?”

“My father,” Philippe began but had to stop when his voice broke. He took a couple of deep breaths. “The king of France hovers at death’s door,” he said. “A compassionate king would give him safe passage to his own lands, away from here.”

“I did not invite him,” Pedro said. “And I cannot help but wonder if he would have offered me the same consideration had our roles been reversed.” He lifted his goblet, took his time sipping at his wine. Philippe remained on his feet—after all, King Pedro had not invited him to sit—and it clearly irked him to stand like a penitent before his uncle, light eyes shooting daggers as the king of Aragon focused on his beverage rather than on him. “What do you think?” Pedro asked, directing himself to Robert.

“Me, my lord?”

“Yes. What would your lord and king do in a situation such as this?”

“Ah.” Robert thought about that. “Well, he would not let an invading army leave without teaching them a lesson.”

“No, I thought as much.” Pedro took another sip, his green eyes never leaving his nephew. “I will grant a safe conduct for your father, your brother, and yourself. After all, we are family—of sorts. But your men . . .” He shook his head. “They stay.”

Philippe blinked. Blinked again. “What is it you are saying? That we abandon our men?”

“Well, you can always choose to stay here with them,” Pedro said. “But if you wish to leave, you do so without them.”

“But . . .” Philippe licked his lips. “It would dishonour us to do so.”

“Dishonour?” Pedro’s voice rose. “I would say you dishonoured yourself the moment you set out to steal my kingdom!” He shrugged. “Besides, as I hear it, they go to meet their maker anyway. I will but hasten their journey.” From Philippe came something that sounded like a croak. Pedro nodded, no more. “Oh yes, either they die of the bloody flux or by our swords, but they will die.” He leaned forward. “And let us not forget who is to blame for all those dead men: you, the French. The innocents in Roussillon, my brave people of Girona and now your soldiers. They die in pain; they die in squalor. A sign of God’s displeasure, would you not agree?”

God?” Philippe’s beautiful mouth twisted. “God has nothing to do with this venture. This is a power-hungry pope whispering seductively in the ear of a king.”

“More fool him to listen,” Pedro said.

“Please,” Philippe said, and to Robert’s surprise, the proud prince knelt before his uncle. “Please let us leave. All of us.”

No.” Pedro stood, towering over his nephew. “I will give your father, your brother, yourself, and a selected group of followers—three score at most—permission to leave. But only if you swear a holy oath that France will never again raise arms against Aragon.”

Philippe had tears in his eyes. “Three score? But that—”

Pedro waved him silent. “That is my only offer. Take it, or prepare to die with your ailing men.”

The French prince bowed his head, studying his hands intently. “I take it,” he finally said. “May God forgive me, but I take it.” He lifted his head, and his eyes blazed. “Never again will a French king be led by his nose by a pope. Never.”

“Sounds wise,” Pedro said. “It is my experience the pope has more interest in expanding his power than he has in caring for the souls of his huge flock.”

Philippe made as if to rise, but Pedro set a hand to his shoulder. “Your oath.”

 

Anna Belfrage

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time-traveling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England. 

Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients.

The Castilian Pomegranate is the second in her “Castilian” series, a stand-alone sequel to her September 2020 release, His Castilian Hawk. Set against the complications of Edward I’s invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrity—and love. In The Castilian Pomegranate, we travel with the protagonists to the complex political world of medieval Spain, a world of intrigue and back-stabbing.

Her most recent release prior to The Castilian Pomegranate is The Whirlpools of Time in which she returns to the world of time travel. Join Duncan and the somewhat reluctant time-traveller Erin on their adventures through the Scottish Highlands just as the first Jacobite rebellion is about to explode!

All of Anna’s books have been awarded the IndieBRAG Medallion, she has several Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choices, and one of her books won the HNS Indie Award in 2015. She is also the proud recipient of various Reader’s Favorite medals as well as having won various Gold, Silver, and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Spotlight on Helen Hollick, author of A Mystery of Murder (Jan Christopher Mysteries, Episode 2)

 

‘Had I known what was to happen soon after we arrived at Mr and Mrs Walker’s lovely old West Country house, my apprehension about spending Christmas in Devon would have dwindled to nothing.’

Library Assistant Jan Christopher is to spend Christmas with her boyfriend, DS Laurie Walker, and his family, but when a murder is discovered, followed by a not very accidental accident, the traditional Christmas spirit is somewhat marred...

What happened to Laurie’s ex-girlfriend? Where is the vicar’s wife? Who took those old photographs? And will the farmer up the lane ever mend those broken fences?

Set in 1971, this is the second Jan Christopher Cosy Mystery. Join her (and an owl and a teddy bear) in Devon for a Christmas to remember.

Will the discovery of a murder spoil Christmas for Jan Christopher and her boyfriend DS Laurie Walker – or will it bring them closer together?

 


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 Helen Hollick

Fun Facts

(Stuff you may or may not already know!)

 I moved away with my family (and two horses, two cats, and a dog) from London in January 2013 (in a snowstorm!) We had won the UK Lottery Raffle on the opening night of the London 2012 Olympics, so we bought an 18th century North Devon farmhouse. Very much a life-changing win!


We have several ‘guests’ in our old house – by guests I mean ghosts! They are all very friendly and look after the house and us. We’ve a maid, a dairyman the Master, an 18th/19th century equivalent of the postman... a young boy. Oh, and my daughter’s seen a sabre-tooth tiger in our woods!

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Many of the anecdotes that are in the first Jan Christopher Mystery (A Mirror Murder) actually happened, taken from my years of working in a public library. Like the boy who asked for a book about Copper Knickers (no spoilers – you’ll have to read the book to find out what he really meant!)

South Chingford Library Photo © A Morton

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In A Mystery of Murder, my leading lady, Jan Christopher, wears a grey furry hat that looks more like a curled-up cat than a hat. I always wear hats. Apart from the fact that I like hats, I have to wear a hat with a brim because I am visually impaired and a brim helps keep too much light from my eyes. For book-related events, I wear my ‘Facebook’ hat (the one in my picture herewith!) I have, on three occasions now, been recognised because of this hat. It’s a sobering thought when your hat is more famous than you are.

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I was accepted for publication by William Heinemann (Random House UK) back in 1993, a week after my 40th birthday. They wanted Sharon K Penman, but she was contracted elsewhere. My agent back then, who represented us both, mentioned that I was Sharon’s protégé – I was signed up for my Arthurian Pendragon’s Banner trilogy.  Since then, I’ve moved to being an Indie author, it’s good to have personal control over your books.

 

 Helen Hollick

Helen Hollick and her family moved from northeast London in January 2013 after finding an eighteenth-century North Devon farmhouse through being a ‘victim’ on BBC TV’s popular Escape To The Country show. The thirteen-acre property was the first one she was shown – and it was love at first sight. She enjoys her new rural life and has a variety of animals on the farm, including Exmoor ponies and her daughter’s string of show jumpers.

First accepted for publication by William Heinemann in 1993 – a week after her fortieth birthday – Helen then became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she also writes a pirate-based nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages. Despite being impaired by the visual disorder of Glaucoma, she is also branching out into the quick read novella, 'Cosy Mystery' genre with the Jan Christopher Mysteries, set in the 1970s, with the first in the series, A Mirror Murder incorporating her, often hilarious, memories of working for thirteen years as a library assistant.

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She also runs Discovering Diamonds, a review blog for historical fiction, a news, and events blog for her village and the Community Shop, assists as ‘secretary for the day’ at her daughter’s regular showjumping shows – and occasionally gets time to write...

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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Book Spotlight and Excerpt: Christmas at Hembry Castle by Meredith Allard

 


You are cordially invited to Christmas at Hembry Castle.

 An unlikely earl struggles with his new place. A young couple’s love is tested. What is a meddling ghost to do?

In the tradition of A Christmas Carol, travel back to Victorian England and enjoy a lighthearted, festive holiday celebration.

 

Buy Links:

  Meredith Allard Website   Amazon UK   Amazon US   Amazon CA   Amazon AU

 Barnes and Noble   Kobo   iBooks

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 Excerpt

Finally, and not a moment too soon, he saw a checkerboard of properties that looked gray under the stormy nighttime sky. Then, with a bang! rain fell from what must have been upside down buckets in the sky. Soaked to his very bones, Frederick arrived at the door of Poppy Farm and knocked.

Mrs. Clayton’s open eyes and wide mouth betrayed her shock. “Your lordship? Whatever brings you here?”

“I came straight away, Mrs. Clayton. Have you heard from your husband? I had a suspicion he was up to no good, though I never could have guessed it was something as dreadful as this. Are you well? And what of your children?”

“But how did you know?”

“I received your note this evening.”

Mrs. Clayton’s open eyes closed in confusion.

“Did you not send for me?” Frederick asked.

“I haven’t sent for anyone, your lordship. I certainly never sent for you. I would never trouble you with such a thing.”

“With such a thing? When you’re so in need of assistance?”

Frederick pulled his overcoat closer in an attempt to keep the water away but it was too late. He could feel his blood shivering in his veins.

“Come in, your lordship. You’re soaked through.” Mrs. Clayton pulled a simple chair before the hearth. “Please, dry yourself. You’ll freeze to your death in this weather.” Frederick nodded his appreciation and sat before the high, hot fire. “Forgive the mess, your lordship.” Mrs. Clayton gestured at the home that looked perfectly tidy to Frederick’s eyes, but he nodded, wishing to make the woman at ease in his presence, which she clearly was not.  

“Would you like some tea, your lordship? It might help to warm the wet away.”

“Only if it’s no trouble, Mrs. Clayton.”

She was a small woman, Mrs. Clayton, plump and pretty in her simple gingham dress under a homespun woolen jumper. As she busied herself with the tea things, Frederick held his hands out to the fire. It was quiet, too quiet for a house with five young children.

“And the children are…?” Frederick asked.

“With my neighbors,” Mrs. Clayton said. “I asked them to take the children for a bit so I could pull myself together. I don’t want to fall to pieces in front of them. I can’t…” She exhaled loudly. “I don’t want the children to know. I won’t say anything bad about their father in front of them.”

“That’s very good of you, Mrs. Clayton. You and your children are our first priority right now.”

Mrs. Clayton pulled a coarse woolen sleeve to her eyes to wipe the streaks away. “It’s good of you to inquire after us, your lordship, but we’re not any of your concern, surely.”

“If you are not my concern, then whose concern might you be? You are my tenant. Your husband, when he was worthy of the title, farmed my land. As the Earl of Staton, I’m responsible for the well being of those who live here. It’s what my father believed, and his father believed, back to the time of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth who created the title for my forebear.”

Mrs. Clayton wept freely now. Her hands clasped the wood table before her as if it were the only thing holding her up.

“There there, Mrs. Clayton. All will be well. After we’re certain that you and your children are cared for, our next job is to find that scoundrel husband of yours and get him to divorce you.”

“Don’t call him a scoundrel, your lordship. He’s waylaid is all.”

“Waylaid? I would use another word, but as you wish. Now.” Frederick sipped his tea and studied the simply furnished room. “What do you need?”

“What I need, your lordship, is to return to my mother’s. I don’t want to live here any more. There are too many painful memories with my husband gone. This house is my nightmare now. It feels like a prison. I don’t mean to offend your lordship.”

“No offense taken, Mrs. Clayton. I understand you perfectly. I remember when Hembry Castle felt like a prison to me.” Frederick stopped himself. He had to focus on Mrs. Clayton. “Where does your mother live?”

“In Yorkshire, but with my husband gone…” She turned red, but Frederick nodded, encouraging her. “I haven’t any money, your lordship. Not even enough to buy bread to feed my children.”

“You needn’t worry about a thing, Mrs. Clayton. You’ll have plenty to eat and I’ll take care of the passage for you and your children whenever you’re ready. If you want to be with your mother in Yorkshire then in Yorkshire with your mother you shall be. When would you like to leave?”

“As soon as possible, my lord.”

“Tomorrow is Christmas day. How about in three days? Will that give you enough time to prepare yourself and the children?”

“If it can be managed, your lordship, us leaving so soon.”

“Very well then. In three days you’ll be on the train to Yorkshire if that is your wish.” Frederick thought of Clayton’s apple face and sighed. “I am sorry it’s ending this way, Mrs. Clayton. My greatest wish for you is for things to become easier as soon as possible. I believe they will, with time and healing. And even if you don’t want to call him a scoundrel, what he did to you, abandoning you and your children as he has, well, I know it doesn’t feel like it now, but in time I hope you’ll see that you’re better off without him.”


 Meredith Allard

Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Trilogy. Her sweet Victorian romance, When It Rained at Hembry Castle, was named a best historical novel by IndieReader. Her latest book, Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction, was named a #1 new release in Authorship and Creativity Self-Help on Amazon. When she isn’t writing she’s teaching writing, and she has taught writing to students ages five to 75. She loves books, cats, and coffee, though not always in that order. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit Meredith online at www.meredithallard.com.

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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Spotlight on Kinley Bryan, author of Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury

 

Based on actual events...

It's 1913 and Great Lakes galley cook Sunny Colvin has her hands full feeding a freighter crew seven days a week, nine months a year. She also has a dream—to open a restaurant back home—but knows she'd never convince her husband, the steward, to leave the seafaring life he loves.

In Sunny’s Lake Huron hometown, her sister Agnes Inby mourns her husband, a U.S. Life-Saving Serviceman who died in an accident she believes she could have prevented. Burdened with regret and longing for more than her job at the dry goods store, she looks for comfort in a secret infatuation.

Two hundred miles away in Cleveland, youngest sister Cordelia Blythe has pinned her hopes for adventure on her marriage to a lake freighter captain. Finding herself alone and restless in her new town, she joins him on the season’s last trip up the lakes.

On November 8, 1913, a deadly storm descends on the Great Lakes, bringing hurricane-force winds, whiteout blizzard conditions, and mountainous thirty-five-foot waves that last for days. Amidst the chaos, the women are offered a glimpse of the clarity they seek, if only they dare to perceive it.


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Kinley Bryan

Fun Facts

(Stuff you may or may not already know!)

 

My ancestors were captains on the Great Lakes

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I was inspired to write Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury by stories of my great-grandfather Walter Stalker, a captain on the Great Lakes in the early 1900s. He was at the helm of the four-masted schooner Golden Age, a position previously held by his uncle when the 1913 storm hit. My great-grandmother Annabel served as a cook and at least one of their children was also aboard. They sheltered for days in an island cove until the storm ended. I’m in awe of their bravery and that of all sailors who faced the fury. While I decided to write a story about fictional sisters instead of my great-grandparents and steel freighters instead of schooners, it was family history that led me to the Great Lakes Storm of 1913.

 


Wave breaking on the shore of Lake Michigan by Lincoln Park on November 10, 1913. 
Source: Chicago Daily News, Inc., Public domain, Wikimedia Commons

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Speaking of hurricane-force winds…

I grew up in Ohio, where hurricanes were something we only heard about on TV. My kids are having a very different experience. Five years ago, we moved to the Atlantic Coast, and since then we’ve had to evacuate three times due to a hurricane threat. One hurricane hit our town, but we were lucky that our home sustained minimal damage (ironically a couple of our storm shutters blew down the street). My husband and I approach hurricane season with apprehension, but our children look forward to the possibility of a “hurrication”! They get to miss school, stay in a hotel, and eat in restaurants. We have fun exploring whatever town we find ourselves in.

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The first time I wrote a fan letter

When I was in third grade, my teacher, Mrs. Hertle, suggested I write a letter to the author of The Boxcar Children, a children’s book series I loved. I don’t remember what I wrote to Gertrude Chandler Warner, but I did so enthusiastically and eagerly awaited a reply. Weeks after Mrs. Hertle mailed my letter, she called me to her desk. She held up the envelope containing the letter I’d written. Frowning, she pointed to a word stamped on it in bright red, all caps. I remember feeling like I’d done something wrong, like the envelope was admonishing me. When I asked what the word meant, Mrs. Hertle said gently, “It means she died.” And that was how I learned the word “deceased”!

 

Source: Dorothy Lake Gregory, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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I was a competitive gymnast as a kid

I started gymnastics lessons when I was three, won my first blue ribbon at five, and at nine I competed in the state finals in Ohio, winning gold for uneven bars and silver for all-around. After that season I progressed to the next level, which meant the moves were now more complex and quite a lot scarier. I said to my parents and coaches, thanks but no thanks. While I loved gymnastics, that love was no match for my instincts for self-preservation. And so I retired at age ten.

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I can bake a good scone

It’s a skill I picked up in 2020 when I couldn’t go to a coffee shop to write. Instead, I would bake chocolate chip scones (or blueberry, or raspberry white chocolate), play the background noises of a coffee shop (on mynoise.net), pour a cup of coffee, and write!

 


Source: Kinley Bryan

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Kinley Bryan

Kinley Bryan is an Ohio native who counts numerous Great Lakes captains among her ancestors. Her great-grandfather Walter Stalker was captain of the four-masted schooner Golden Age, the largest sailing vessel in the world when it launched in 1883. Kinley’s love for the inland seas swelled during the years she spent in an old cottage on Lake Erie. She now lives with her husband and children on the Atlantic Coast, where she prefers not to lose sight of the shore. Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury is her first novel.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Spotlight on Andrea Matthews, author of Ride with the Moonlight (Thunder on the Moor, Book 2)

After rescuing sixteenth-century Border reiver Will Foster from certain death at her family’s hands, time traveler Maggie Armstrong finally admits her love for the handsome Englishman, though she can’t rid herself of the sinking suspicion that her Scottish kin are not about to let them live in peace. What she doesn’t expect is the danger that lurks on Will’s own side of the Border. When news of their plans to marry reaches the warden, he charges Will with March treason for trysting with a Scot. Will and Maggie attempt to escape by fleeing to the hills, but when Will is declared an outlaw and allowed to be killed on sight, they can no longer evade the authorities. Will is sentenced to hang, while Maggie is to be sent back to her family. Heartbroken, she has no choice but to return to Scotland, where her uncle continues to make plans for her to wed Ian Rutherford, the wicked Scotsman who she now realizes murdered her father in cold blood. With Will facing the gallows in England, and herself practically under house arrest in Scotland, she continues to resist her uncle’s plans, but her efforts are thwarted at every turn. Will’s family, however, is not about to stand by and watch their youngest lad executed simply because he’s lost his heart to a Scottish lass. A daring plan is set into motion, but will it be in time to save Will’s life and reunite the lovers? Or will Ian’s lies prompt Maggie’s family to ensure the bond between them is forever destroyed?

Trigger Warnings

Violence, sexual content.


 Buy Links:

 This novel is available on #KindleUnlimited

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 Andrea Matthews

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

I used to be a docent at a living history museum. I can cook a roast turkey over an open hearth, make a pie in a beehive oven, and learned to quilt by hand. It took me an hour to get dressed in the morning, but only about ten minutes to shed it when I got home.

 


I was also a Civil War reenactor and once took part in large reenactments at Bull Run and Antietam. I have to say, when the boys spent the night in camp, my friend and I opted for a room in the local hotel.

 


I was on my college fencing team for four years, and once went La Belle with an Olympic champion. She got the last touch, which ultimately is the only one that counts. I remember it well, though I’m sure I didn’t leave her with much of an impression.

 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I try to collect a few items that are prominently represented in my books. I have a burgonet and a basket-hilted sword from the Thunder on the Moor. I keep them on my mantle, where I can look at them for inspiration if I need to.

 


My ancestors came to America at different stages. On my father’s side, I have ancestors that came over in 1636 with the Winthrop fleet, while my mother’s ancestors included Potato Famine Irish. I love researching my genealogy and learning little stories about those who came before me. Sometimes they even spur my imagination to come up with another story. I got the idea for the Thunder on the Moor series while researching my husband.s genealogy. The idea of the Border Reivers intrigued me, so of course, I had to use Foster as my hero’s last name. 



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Andrea Matthews

Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian, and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. She is the author of the Thunder on the Moor series set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Border, and the Cross of Ciaran series, where a fifteen hundred-year-old Celt finds himself in the twentieth century. Andrea is a member of the Romance Writers of America.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Spotlight on Cryssa Bazos, author of Rebel’s Knot (Quest for Three Kingdoms)

 


Ireland 1652: In the desperate, final days of the English invasion of Ireland . . .

A fey young woman, Áine Callaghan, is the sole survivor of an attack by English marauders. When Irish soldier Niall O'Coneill discovers his own kin slaughtered in the same massacre, he vows to hunt down the men responsible. He takes Áine under his protection and together they reach the safety of an encampment held by the Irish forces in Tipperary. 

Hardly a safe haven, the camp is rife with danger and intrigue. Áine is a stranger with the old stories stirring on her tongue and rumours follow her everywhere. The English cut off support to the brigade, and a traitor undermines the Irish cause, turning Niall from hunter to hunted.

When someone from Áine's past arrives, her secrets boil to the surface—and she must slay her demons once and for all.

As the web of violence and treachery grows, Áine and Niall find solace in each other's arms—but can their love survive long-buried secrets and the darkness of vengeance?

Trigger Warnings:

Violence, references to sexual/physical abuse.


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 Cryssa Bazos

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

 

I published my first written piece in high school. The drama department decided to produce a play using material written by the student body. I poured out my sixteen-year-old angst onto the pages of yellow foolscap, and by the time I reached the bottom of the tissue box, my opus was complete. After submitting it, I forgot about the whole thing (as well as my unrequited crush) until opening night. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that they had turned my tragedy into a comedy sketch! I've never laughed so hard.

When I was in university, I worked three summers for CN Rail. Odd and sundry duties, as assigned, were digging trenches for fibre optic cable (it was a long time ago), painting silver boxes at the crossroads, and installing railway switches. I still ride by one of those switches (still working fine, thank you!).


 Hardhat and work boots by Cryssa Bazos

I have become a cat owner for the first time and have come to the conclusion that I've been a cat person all this time. They are endlessly fascinating. Meet my writing assistant Sofia. She enjoys pens, paper and walking over keyboards. One time, with a few paw strokes over the keyboard, she came up with an impressive mathematical formula.

 

Sofia by Cryssa Bazos

Sofia's mathematical genius by Cryssa Bazos

 My first "art" was painting and drawing. In fact, I didn't do too bad and even sold a few pieces. There was one time I went into the city to buy supplies and on my way back to the transit station found a man sleeping on a bench. Out came my freshly purchased supplies. As I sketched the man, I attracted the interest of a passerby who offered to buy it from me on the spot. That paid for my supplies that day.

I have a complete collection of Lord of the Rings action figurines in the original packaging. It started when my oldest son (when he was about seven) received Boromir + Uruk Hai action figures for Christmas. I'm not entirely sure that he actually played with them because I monopolized them. The detailing was unbelievable! I started haunting toy stores to find more, and over a couple of years, I found them all. My kids never understood why I wouldn’t unwrap them. An author friend suggested I was pulling a Gollum with them. She wasn't too far off.

 

            LOTR montage, picture by Cryssa Bazos

Cryssa Bazos 

Cryssa Bazos is an award-winning historical fiction author and a seventeenth-century enthusiast. Her debut novel, Traitor's Knot is the Medalist winner of the 2017 New Apple Award for Historical Fiction, a finalist for the 2018 EPIC eBook Awards for Historical Romance. Her second novel, Severed Knot, is a B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree and a finalist for the 2019 Chaucer Award. A forthcoming third book in the standalone series, Rebel's Knot, was published in November 2021.

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