Thursday, November 30, 2023

Book Spotlight: The Fortune Teller of Kathmandu by Ann Bennett


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A sweeping wartime tale of secrets and love, mystery and redemption, moving from the snow-capped Himalayas to the steamy heat of battle in the Burmese jungle.

Perfect for fans of Dinah Jeffries, Victoria Hislop and Rosie Thomas.

Hampshire, UK, 2015. When Chloe Harper’s beloved grandmother, Lena dies, a stranger hands her Lena’s wartime diary. Chloe sets out to uncover deep family secrets that Lena guarded to her grave.

Darjeeling, India, 1943, Lena Chatterjee leaves the confines of a strict boarding school to work as assistant to Lieutenant George Harper, an officer in the British Indian Army. She accompanies him to Nepal and deep into the Himalayas to recruit Gurkhas for the failing Burma Campaign. There, she discovers that Lieutenant Harper has a secret, which she vows never to reveal.

In Kathmandu, the prophesy of a mysterious fortune teller sets Lena on a dangerous course. She joins the Women’s Auxiliary Service Burma (the Wasbies), risking her life to follow the man she loves to the front line. What happens there changes the course of her life.

On her quest to uncover her grandmother’s hidden past, Chloe herself encounters mystery and romance. Helped by young Nepalese tour guide, Kiran Rai, she finds history repeating itself when she is swept up in events that spiral out of control...

"A great read" Advance Reader.

" Thank you so much for allowing me to read the advance copy. I could barely put it down!" Advance Reader,

"What a wonderful book... I loved it. The dual time lines were delineated to perfection... the settings were perfectly rendered.." Advance Reader.


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Ann Bennett is a British author of historical fiction. She was born in Pury End, a small village in Northamptonshire, UK and now lives in Surrey. Her first book, Bamboo Heart: A Daughter's Quest, was inspired by researching her father’s experience as a prisoner of war on the Thai-Burma Railway. Bamboo Island: The Planter's Wife, A Daughter's Promise and Bamboo Road:The Homecoming, The Tea Panter's Club and The Amulet are also about the war in South East Asia, which together with The Fortune Teller of Kathmandu make up the Echoes of Empire Collection.

Ann is also author of The Runaway Sisters, bestselling The Orphan House, The Forgotten Children and The Child Without a Home, published by Bookouture.

The Lake Pavilion, The Lake Palace, both set in British India in the 1930s and WW2, and The Lake Pagoda and The Lake Villa, set in French Indochina during WW2, make up The Oriental Lake Collection.

Ann is married with three grown up sons and a granddaughter and works as a lawyer. For more details please visit

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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Book Spotlight: The Redemption of Mattie Silks by Kimberly Burns


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In 1892, running one of the West’s fanciest brothels is a rough game. In a town filled with brazen criminals, corrupt police, zealous politicians, and morality committees, Madam Mattie Silks makes her fortune catering to Colorado’s gold and silver millionaires.

Notorious crime boss “Soapy” Smith is at the top of the Denver underworld. There are no rules for Smith’s gang. They solve problems with bribes and bullets. When Mattie’s husband stumbles into Soapy’s dealings, she struggles to protect him.

Gold is discovered in the Yukon and Mattie seizes the opportunity for adventure and profit. But Skagway, Alaska, is even more lawless than Denver. Mattie must use all her business sense and street smarts to safeguard those she cares about. Will it be enough? Or will Lady Justice again turn a blind eye?

Based on a true story, The Redemption of Mattie Silks is an action-packed tale of a woman succeeding in a man’s world even when the cards are stacked against her.

“The research on the era shines through, as do the grit and spirit of the characters. …A colorful and enthralling journey.”

~ K.T. Blakemore, award-winning author of The Good Time Girls series

“A nice, nuanced portrait of the complex underworld with fine and witty turns of phrase. A great Western romp!”

~ Randi Samuelson-Brown, award-winning author of The Bad Old Days series


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Kimberly Burns grew up in Colorado hearing stories about the colourful characters of the Old West. She has degrees from the University of Colorado and the University of Hartford. Kimberly is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Western Writers of America, and Women Writing the West. She lives with her husband and black Lab in Leesburg, Virginia.

Her debut novel The Mrs. Tabor won numerous awards including the Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award for Best New Novel, a gold medal for Best Regional Fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards, a National Indie Excellence Award, and a silver medal from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Awards.

Kimberly and her unruly heroines make for an entertaining book talk. She is available to discuss her novels with book groups in person or online. Email her at

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Monday, November 27, 2023

Book Spotlight and Snippet: The Bastard Prince of Versailles: A Novel Inspired by True Events by Will Bashor


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A historical novel inspired by real events, The Bastard Prince of Versailles, narrates the escapades of a misborn "prince" during the reign of Louis XIV in seventeenth-century France. Louis de Bourbon wasn't a real prince-even though his father was King Louis XIV.

The illegitimate son of the King and his mistress, Louise de La Vallière, young Louis has been kept far from the court's eyes until summoned to bid adieu to his mother. To atone for her adultery, she joins a convent, abandoning Louis to an uncertain future.

When Louis is humiliated by his father for his role in a secret gay society, he struggles to redeem himself through heroism and self-sacrifice in the king's army on the battlefield.

Praise for The Bastard Prince of Versailles:

“Will Bashor effortlessly weaves together the threads of fact and fiction, transporting us back to the opulence and intrigue of 17th century France. The author’s research and attention to detail are evident and well applied, never seeming like a dry history lesson but always a hook keeping you turning the pages.

Louis is brought to life with such authenticity that you can't help but empathize with his journey. As he navigates the treacherous waters of courtly politics and yearns for his father's approval, you'll feel a gripping connection to his struggles and triumphs. The rest of the characters are well-crafted as well, each contributing to the rich tapestry of the story.

If you are looking for a unique historical novel that will transport you to another time and leave a lasting impression, this book is an absolute must-read.”

--International Review of Books

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.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨) ( ¸.•´


Louis was escorted into the room by two young princes, who showed him where to take his place behind them. One held his fingers to his lips, reminding Louis not to make a sound.

After receiving the abbé’s blessing, the king rose to put on his socks and his morning robe. The valet removed his nightcap, and the barber combed his hair. He did not shave the king this morning because that only took place every other day. Now half-past eight, the grande levée began, and the king’s first valet of the wardrobe and his gentlemen-in-waiting entered the room.

As court protocol required, Count Louis stood behind his cousins, the Princes of the Blood, during the ceremony. His eyes were still sleepy, but they opened widely when the king proceeded to sit on his chaise percée for his bodily needs—in front of all to see. Louis held his hand over his mouth to keep from giggling aloud but when one of the king’s valets cast a foreboding frown at him, he straightened up.

From Columbus, Ohio, Will earned his Ph.D. from the American Graduate School of Paris. In his spare time, he reads memoirs and researches the lives of royals and their courtiers. He hopes to share his fascination with the Bourbon dynasty and its quirky inhabitants and, at the same time, weave the historical record with creative fiction. He has written articles for the Huffington Post, Age of Revolutions, BBC History Magazine, and Carine Roitfeld’s CR Fashion Book.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Book Spotlight: The Matchstick Boy by Rowena Kinread


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When his young brother, Josef, is killed by a rock avalanche, Jakob believes it is murder. He had seen someone on the mountain ridge, above the scree, before it began to roll. But who would want to kill a child, and why? Jakob suspects Ramun, the privileged son of the owner of a matchstick factory, but nobody takes him seriously and he is powerless to obtain justice.

Thirty years later, Jakob’s profoundly deaf daughter is raped by Ramun and becomes with child. Determined to gain justice for his daughter, Jakob unearths a myriad of well-kept secrets in the tight-lipped community, but is anyone willing to tell the truth?

Just as he thinks he has uncovered all the facts, he realises he has made a vital mistake all along. Nothing is really as it seems.

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Rowena Kinread grew up in Ripon, Yorkshire with her large family and a horde of pets. Keen on travelling, her first job was with Lufthansa in Germany.

She began writing in the nineties. Her special area of interest is history. After researching her ancestry and finding family roots in Ireland with the Dalriada clan, particularly this era. Her debut fiction novel titled “The Missionary” is a historical novel about the dramatic life of St. Patrick. It was published by Pegasus Publishers on April 29th, 2021 and has been highly appraised by The Scotsman, The Yorkshire Post and the Irish Times.

Her second novel “The Scots of Dalriada” centres around Fergus Mór, the founder father of Scotland and takes place in 5th century Ireland and Scotland. It is due to be published by Pegasus Publishers on January 26th, 2023.

The author lives with her husband in Bodman-Ludwigshafen, Lake Constance, Germany. They have three children and six grandchildren.

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Monday, November 20, 2023

Book Spotlight and Excerpt: The Middle Generation: A Novel of John Quincy Adams and the Monroe Doctrine by M. B. Zucker

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The classical era of American history began with the Revolution and ended with emancipation. Between these bookends lies the absorbing yet overshadowed epic of a new nation spearheading liberty’s cause in a world skeptical of freedom arriving at all, much less in slaver’s garb. M. B. Zucker takes readers back to that adolescent country in the care of an enigmatic guide, John Quincy Adams, heir to one president by blood and another, Washington, by ideology. Adams is the missing link between the founders and Abraham Lincoln, and is nigh unanimously regarded as America’s foremost Secretary of State. Through Adams’ eyes, readers will experience one of history’s greatest and most forgotten crises: his showdown with Europe over South American independence, the conflict which prefigured the Monroe Doctrine.

 With his signature dialogue and his close study of Adams’ 51 volume diary, M. B. Zucker’s The Middle Generation is a political thriller and character piece that surpasses his achievement in The Eisenhower Chronicles and ascends to the cinematic heights of the historical epics of David Lean and Steven Spielberg. It is an unforgettable portrait and a leap forward for one of our rising historical fiction novelists.


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 The title will be available in several Barnes and Noble stores in the DC / Northern Virginia area.

 .•*´¨) ¸.•*¨) ( ¸.•´

We exited the house. The wind had calmed but the air was colder, besting the sun’s efforts. I tracked Father as we walked the trail we’d used many times before. A flickering of memories. Some pleasant, others buried. The worst moment of my youth happened there—Father, with Mother’s blessing, pressured me into breaking my engagement with Mary Frazer, a young girl to whom I’d pinned all hopes of happiness.

Father was silent and I decided to prompt him. “I don’t seek counsel on policy.”

A moment. My words went unheard. Then, “Good. I don’t seek to give it. I am too old and have been out of action too long to be useful.”


“I’d rather discuss issues closer to home.”

“Go on.”

He sighed. “Your mother was my closest advisor. And my wisest. When I look at you and Louisa…” A moment. “Do you talk to her about your work?”


“You should.”

“Louisa has a limited understanding of politics and world events.”

“Teach her. Bring her up to speed. Though you’re wrong. She was a minister’s wife in Europe.

Befriended Emperor Alexander in St. Petersburg. Witnessed Napoleon’s conquests. My image of her was forever changed when she told me of how she crossed the continent with young Charles alone for six weeks and French soldiers intercepted them in a Russian carriage. Her improvisation saved your family.”

“That does not mean she knows how to manage France and Russia.”

“You’re making a mistake, Johnny.” He made eye contact. “I’m fond of Louisa. Marrying her was the most important event of your life.” Turning away. “No matter what office you may obtain.”

I turned backward, not wanting us to go out too far in case the wind resumed.

“How are the boys?” he asked.


“I asked how are the boys.”

“Oh. They’re fine.”

“How old are they now?”

“George is sixteen, John is fourteen, and Charles is ten.”

“How is George’s education progressing?”

I groaned. “I don’t know what to do with him. He’s stupid and weak.”

“What does Louisa think?”

“She’s soft with him. With all of them. Charles’ French is improving but the others are behind. A shame children are not clay to be made according to the fancy of every potter.”

“Remember that an education should include a knowledge of history in general and of England, France, Holland, and America in particular. Have them read whatever legal text you can, no matter the age. And the memoirs of great men.”

“I know, Father. I remember how you raised me. I model my approach to fatherhood on you.”

“Just don’t pressure them too much.”

“Is such a thing possible?”

“Yes. Look at your brothers.”

“But look at me.”

“What about you?”

“I didn’t turn out like Tom and Charles.”

“I suppose not.” He growled within each breath. I wanted to return home soon. “I wish you’d had more success as a lawyer. You could have been great but you are too disposed to despondency.”

“It didn’t interest me.”

“You didn’t give it a chance. Spent your law school years playing cards and chasing girls. The profession requires time to earn appreciation.”

“It was a bad fit. My mind doesn’t work that way.”

“You determine how your mind works.” He looked back and then said to me, “Realize where you started in life, Johnny. History won’t give me my due. I won’t be credited for my role in the Revolution. The parts performed by General Washington, Mr. Jefferson, and Dr. Franklin will be exaggerated instead. But we are still one of America’s leading families. You came into life with advantages that will disgrace you if your success is mediocre.”

“I am the Secretary of State.”

“You must become President.”

He started toward home. I followed. “My position makes me heir apparent. The last three Presidents all held my office before ascending to the Executive Mansion.”

“That’s not a guarantee.”

“A guarantee is impossible.”

“It was for General Washington. You are not he, but it can still be done.”


“Find a way, Johnny. And you must win two terms, to make up for my loss to Jefferson. Restore the family legacy.”

I swelled with anxiety. This was the period where I’d succeed or fail to fulfill my destiny. I was again the eight-year-old Father took across the Atlantic during the War for Independence.

“You once told me that you studied politics and war so I may study mathematics and philosophy, and I had to study mathematics and philosophy so my children could study painting and music.”

Father chuckled. “There will always be a need for politics, son. If men were angels no government would be necessary. I am not advising you. I’m telling you. You must achieve the presidency. For your own worth and for mine. For our family’s. You must succeed.”

“Yes, Father.” My mind raced faster than I could follow. Crawford. Onís. Metternich. Only a few of the obstacles I faced. It was now an issue of life and death. Failure would destroy me and my family. A disgrace for generations. Through history. My name synonymous with shame.

Mother waited for us as we approached home. “Louisa is chatting with Tom and Nancy.”

“I was reminding Johnny of our expectations of him,” Father said.

“Yes! We shall have a two-term President in this family.”

Father chuckled, embracing the joke at his expense. My anxiety doubled.

“Remember to not look back or shrink from your duty, however arduous or dangerous the task assigned you,” Mother said. “And never forget virtue. It’s equally important. Purge any Old World values you absorbed from your soul. Your great intellect counts for little if virtue, honor, and integrity aren’t added to it. I’d much rather you found your grave in the ocean while returning from Europe than see you an immoral profligate or a graceless man.”

The highest goals that parents could have for their child. The heights of ambition and virtue. They wanted the impossible, yet I had no choice but to obey.

“The first and deepest of all my wishes,” I said, “is to give satisfaction to my parents.” 

M. B. Zucker has been interested in storytelling for as long as he can remember. He devoted himself to historical fiction at fifteen and earned his B.A. at Occidental College and his J.D. at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He lives in Virginia with his family. He is the author of three other novels. Among his honors is the Best Fictional Biography Award at the 2023 BookFest.

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Friday, November 17, 2023

Book Spotlight: London Tales by Tim Walker


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This collection of eleven tales offers dramatic pinpricks in the rich tapestry of London’s timeline, a city with two thousand years of history. They are glimpses of imagined lives at key moments, starting with a prologue in verse from the point of view of a native Briton tribeswoman absorbing the shock of Roman invasion. The first story is a tense historical adventure set in Roman Londinium in 60 CE from the perspective of terrified legionaries and townsfolk facing the vengeful Iceni queen, Boudica, whose army burnt the fledgling city to the ground.

 Further historical dramas take place in 1381 during the Peasant’s Revolt, the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the last ice fair on the frozen Thames in 1814. These are followed by a romance set during the Blitz in 1941, then the swinging Sixties and wide-flared seventies are remembered in the life story of fictional policeman, Brian Smith. Moving on, an East End family get a fright from copycat killings that are a throwback to the 1888 Jack the Ripper murders.

 There’s a series of contemporary stories that reference recent events, including the London terrorist bombings of 2005, a literary pub crawl and a daring prison break, building to the imagined death throes of London in a chilling, dystopian vision. These stories are loosely inspired by the author’s personal experiences and reflections on his time living and working in London in the 1980’s and 90’s. Adaptability, resilience, conformity and resolve are recurring themes.

 London Tales evokes the city’s rich history and the qualities that were needed by Londoners at various times to survive and prosper – from the base and brutal, devious and inspired, to the refined and civilized.

 Available from Amazon in e-book, paperback, Kindle Unlimited and audiobook formats, London Tales is a companion volume to Thames Valley Tales.

 Book cover designed by Sean McClean, shows elements from stories.


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Tim Walker is an independent author living near Windsor in the UK. Although born in Hong Kong in the sixties, he grew up in Liverpool where he began his working life as a trainee reporter on a local newspaper. After attaining 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 former Roman town Calleva Atrebatum at Silchester in Hampshire. The series connects the end of Roman Britain to elements of the Arthurian legend and is inspired by historical source material, presenting an imagined historical fiction 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 two books of short stories, Thames Valley Tales (second edition 2023), London Tales (2023); a book of verse, 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).

Tim took early retirement on medical grounds and now divides his time between writing and helping out at a Berkshire-based charity, Men’s Matters.

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 Audiobook Narrator:

London Tales and Thames Valley Tales audiobooks were narrated and produced by actor, author and playwright Richard James who has been appearing on stage and screen for over thirty years. Most recently, he played a guest role in Miss Scarlet & The Duke for PBS and Alibi Films and was nominated for 'Best Supporting Performance' at the Off West End Awards for his roles in A Sherlock Carol at the Marylebone Theatre in 2022. The play will be reprised in winter 2023/4.

Richard is on Twitter as @RichardNJames


Thursday, November 16, 2023

OFFICIAL LAUNCH DAY PARTY - Historical Stories of Exile - a historical fiction anthology - Helen Hollick and friends


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Historical Stories of Exile

 Contributing Authors:

Cryssa Bazos, Anna Belfrage, Elizabeth Chadwick, Cathie Dunn, J G Harlond,

Helen Hollick, Loretta Livingstone, Amy Maroney Alison Morton, Charlene Newcomb, Elizabeth St.John, Marian L. Thorpe, Annie Whitehead.

With an introduction by Deborah Swift.


Exile: a risky defiance, a perilous journey, a family’s tragic choice – or an individual’s final gamble to live. Exile: voluntary or enforced, a falling-out between friends, a lost first love, a prejudiced betrayal – or the only way to survive persecution?

In this historical fiction anthology, thirteen authors (they are not superstitious!) have written exclusive short stories on the theme of exile. Some are based on true history, others are speculative fiction. All mine the depths of human emotions: fear, hope, love, and the fortitude to survive.

Join an inspiring Anglo-Saxon queen of Wales, a courageous Norwegian falconer, and a family fleeing back in time to escape the prospect of a ruthless future. Oppose the law with the legendary Doones of Exmoor, or defy the odds with two brave WWII exiles. Meet a Roman apprehensively planning exile to preserve the 'old ways', and a real Swedish prince forcibly expelled in heart-wrenching circumstances. Thrill to a story based on the legend of Robin Hood, sail with a queen of Cyprus determined to regain her rightful throne; escape religious persecution, discover the heart-rending truth behind the settlement of Massachusetts and experience the early years that would, eventually, lead to the founding of Normandy. Experience the stirring of first love, and as an exclusive treat special guest author, Elizabeth Chadwick, reveals a tale about the 12th-century’s heiress, Isabelle de Clare, and the Greatest Knight of all time – William Marshal.

With an introduction by multi-award-winning author Deborah Swift, enjoy these tales of exile across the ages. Some are hopeful, some sad, some romantic, some tragic, but all explore the indomitable spirit of resolute, unforgettable characters.

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 About the Authors


ALISON MORTON writes award-winning thrillers featuring tough but compassionate heroines. Her ten-book Roma Nova series is set in an imaginary European country where a remnant of the ancient Roman Empire has survived into the 21st century and is ruled by women who face conspiracy, revolution and heartache but use a sharp line in dialogue. Several of her novels have hit  #1 in Amazon US, UK, Canada and Australia. The latest, Julia Prima, plunges us back to AD 370 when the founders of Roma Nova met.

She blends her fascination for Ancient Rome with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history.

Alison now lives in Poitou in France, the home of Mélisende, the heroine of her two contemporary thrillers, Double Identity and Double Pursuit. Oh, and she’s writing the next Roma Nova story.


AMY MARONEY studied English Literature at Boston University and worked for many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon, U.S.A. with her family. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading. Amy is the author of The Miramonde Series, a bestselling historical mystery trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Amy’s award-winning historical adventure/romance series, Sea and Stone Chronicles, is set in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus.

An enthusiastic advocate for independent publishing, Amy is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and the Historical Novel Society.


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 three absorbing interests: history, romance and writing. Anna always writes about love and has authored the acclaimed time travelling 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 is presently hard at work with her other medieval series, The Castilian Saga ,which is set against the conquest of Wales. The third instalment, Her Castilian Heart, was published in 2022, and the fourth and final one will be out in 2024. She has recently released Times of Turmoil, a sequel to her time travel romance, The Whirlpools of Time.


ANNIE WHITEHEAD is an author, historian, and elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and has written four award-winning novels set in Anglo-Saxon England. She has contributed to fiction and nonfiction anthologies and written for various magazines, has twice been a prize winner in the Mail on Sunday Novel Writing Competition, and won First Prize in the 2012 New Writer Magazine's Prose and Poetry Competition. She was a finalist in the 2015 Tom Howard Prize for Nonfiction and was shortlisted for the Exeter Story Prize/Trisha Ashley Award 2021.

She was the winner of the inaugural Historical Writers’ Association/Dorothy Dunnett Prize 2017 and is now a judge for that same competition. She has also been a judge for the HNS (Historical Novel Society) Short Story Competition.


Her nonfiction books are Mercia: The Rise and Fall of a Kingdom (Amberley Books) and Women of Power in Anglo-Saxon England (Pen & Sword). She has contributed to a new history of English Monarchs, Kings and Queens: 1200 Years of English and British Monarchs (Hodder & Stoughton) and has signed a contract to write her third nonfiction book, to be published by Amberley books in 2024.


CATHIE DUNN writes historical fiction, mystery, and romance. The focus of her novels is on strong women through time. She has garnered awards and praise from reviewers and readers for her authentic description of the past. A keen Medievalist, she enjoys visiting castles and ruins, and reading about battles and political shenanigans of the times.

Cathie is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and the Alliance of Independent Authors. She also now runs The Coffee Pot Book Club, promoting historical fiction authors and their books.


CHARLENE NEWCOMB writes historical fiction and science fiction. Her award-winning Battle Scars trilogy is set in the 12th century during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. Her writing roots are in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (aka Legends) where she published 10 short stories in the Star Wars Adventure Journal. Scifi/space opera fans should check out Echoes of the Storm, her original novel published in 2020. She returned to medieval times with her novel Rogue in 2023.


CRYSSA BAZOS is an award-winning historical fiction author and a 17th-century enthusiast. Her debut novel, Traitor's Knot is the Medalist winner of the 2017 New Apple Award for Historical Fiction and 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. Rebel's Knot, the third instalment of the standalone series, Quest for the Three Kingdoms, is a B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree and 2021 Discovering Diamonds Book of the Year..


DEBORAH SWIFT is a delver into archives, drinks too much tea, and loves antiques and old buildings. Her sturdy, stone-built house used to be the village primary school, and from her window she has a view of a few 17th century cottages, and behind those, green fields dotted with grazing sheep.

Historical fiction was a natural choice for Deborah as a writer because she always enjoyed the research aspect of design – poking about in archives and museums, not to mention the attraction of boned bodices and the excuse to visit old and interesting buildings.

She used to work as a set and costume designer for theatre and TV, so enjoy the research aspect of creating historical fiction. She likes to write about extraordinary characters set against the background of real historical events. In her books Deborah likes to write about extraordinary characters set against the background of real historical events. Her first novel was The Lady's Slipper which was shortlisted for the Impress Prize, and her book  The Poison Keeper, about the Renaissance poisoner Giulia Tofana, won the BookViral Millennium Award. She has written eighteen novels to date including two series set in WWII – her latest, The Shadow Network is due for release in early 2024.

Deborah lives in North Lancashire on the edge of the Lake District,  and divide her time between teaching and writing.


ELIZABETH CHADWICK New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Chadwick lives in a cottage in the Vale of Belvoir in Nottinghamshire with her husband and their four terriers, Pip, Jack, Billy and Little Ted. Her first novel, The Wild Hunt, won a Betty Trask Award and To Defy a King won the RNA’s 2011 Historical Novel Prize. She was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Award in 1998 for The Champion, in 2001 for Lords of the White Castle, in 2002 for The Winter Mantle and in 2003 for The Falcons of Montabard. Her sixteenth novel, The Scarlet Lion, was nominated by Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novel Society, as one of the top ten historical novels of the last decade. She often lectures at conferences and historical venues, has been consulted for television documentaries and is a member of the Royal Historical Society.


ELIZABETH ST.JOHN’s critically acclaimed historical fiction novels tell the stories of her ancestors: extraordinary women whose intriguing kinship with England's kings and queens brings an intimately unique perspective to Medieval, Tudor, and Stuart times.

Inspired by family archives and residences from Lydiard Park to the Tower of London, Elizabeth spends much of her time exploring ancestral portraits, diaries, and lost gardens. And encountering the occasional ghost. But that’s another story.

Living between California, England, and the past, Elizabeth is the International Ambassador for The Friends of Lydiard Park, an English charity dedicated to conserving and enhancing this beautiful centuries-old country house and park. As a curator for The Lydiard Archives, she is constantly looking for an undiscovered treasure to inspire her next novel.

Elizabeth's books include her trilogy, The Lydiard Chronicles, set in 17th Century England during the Civil War, and her medieval novel, The Godmother's Secret, which explores the mystery of the missing Princes in the Tower of London.


HELEN HOLLICK and her husband and adult daughter moved from north-east 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, dogs, cats, hens, ducks and geese 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), 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, where you can read more about Jesamiah Acorne, son of Charles St Croix – and the Doones.

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 a news and events blog and a Facebook page for her village, and supports her daughter’s passion for horses and showjumping – and occasionally gets time to write...


J.G. HARLOND Secret agents, skulduggery, and crime that crosses continents.

British author of historical crime fiction, J.G. (Jane) Harlond writes award-winning, page-turning novels set in the mid-17th and mid-20th centuries. Each story weaves fictional characters into real events. She describes her WWII Bob Robbins Home Front Mysteries as ‘cosy crime with a sinister twist’. Prior to becoming a full-time author, Jane taught English and World Literature in international colleges. She also wrote school text books for many years using her married name. 

Jane is married to a retired Spanish naval officer and they have a large, grown-up family living in various parts of Europe and the USA. After travelling widely (she has lived in or visited most of the places that feature in her novels) they are now settled near Málaga in Spain.

J.G. Harlond is a member of the British Crime Writers Association and the Dorothy Dunnett Society.


LORETTA LIVINGSTONE had no intention of writing anything but short stories or poetry, and especially not historical fiction. She stated it quite clearly on social media, only to suddenly find herself writing ... historical fiction. Her debut novel, Out Of Time, set in the mythical Sparnstow Abbey, was shortlisted for the Historical Novel Society Indie Award in 2016, which stunned and elated her in equal measures.

It was supposed to be a one-off. It wasn't. She went on to write two more stand-alone novels in the series; A Promise to Keep and Blossom on the Thorn. She had plans for more but has had ME for many years, and ill health has temporarily reined in her gallop. However, she intends to write again soon...

Her other books include short story collections and poetry, and can be found on Amazon.

Loretta is on Facebook:

MARIAN L. THORPE Taught to read at the age of three, words have been central to Marian’s life for as long as she can remember. A novelist, poet, and essayist, Marian has several degrees, none of which are related to writing. After two careers as a research scientist and an educator, she retired from salaried work and returned to writing things that weren’t research papers or reports.

Marian’s first published work was poetry, in small journals; her first novel was released in 2015. Her award-winning Empire’s Legacy series is historical fiction of another world, based to some extent on northern Europe after the decline of Rome.

In addition to her novels, Marian has read poetry, short stories, and nonfiction work at writers’ festivals and other juried venues.

Her other two passions in life are birding and landscape history, both of which are reflected in her books. Birding has taken her and her husband to all seven continents, but these days she's mostly content to move between Canada and the UK.