Friday, March 27, 2015

Author Spotlight: Sophie Schiller and "Race to Tibet"

Author Sophie Schiller

on Tour March 23 – April 1, 2015 with

Race to Tibet

Race to Tibet

Release date: January 26, 2015
Self-published at Tradewins Publishing
336 pages
ISBN: 978-0-692-25409-7
***

SYNOPSIS

An intrepid band of explorers headed by Gabriel Bonvalot, France’s greatest explorer, and his partner, Prince Henri d’OrlĂ©ans, attempt to be the first living Europeans to reach Lhasa. Before they leave Paris, Bonvalot meets Camille Dancourt, the beautiful, strong-willed wife of a French surveyor who disappeared in Tibet, who desperately wishes to join the expedition. When the caravan sets out they face freezing temperatures, violent winds, mountain sickness, hostile Tibetans, duplicitous Chinese Mandarins, and a beguiling Tibetan Buddhist princess with a deadly secret. When the explorers reach Tibet, they discover a land of mystery and intrigue, a land of danger that promises them only one thing: death. On the verge of collapse, Bonvalot realizes they must resort to deadly force if they ever wish to escape Tibet alive. (provided by the author)
***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Race to Tibet - Sophie Schiller
Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and grew up in the West Indies. Among other oddities her family tree contains a Nobel prize-winning physicist and a French pop singer. She loves stories that carry the reader back in time to exotic and far-flung locations. She was educated at American University, Washington, DC and lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently at work on a new historical thriller set in the Caribbean. Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter Buy the book: Amazon *** You can enter the giveaway here or on the book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.

Entry-Form

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] 5 winners Print/digital for US/Canada residents Digital for other countries  

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ OTHER REVIEWS, EXCERPT, AND INTERVIEW

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: "Gwendolen" by Diana Souhami

Hello Folks!

Today, I bring you my review of "Gwendolen". I read it for the Historical Novel Society back in November of 2014. I'm a big fan of Daniel Deronda so when I saw this novel on the review list, I eagerly snatched it up.

Gwendolen is a retelling of George Eliot’s classic Victorian novel Daniel Deronda and finally gives a clear voice to its ill-starred heroine. The novel is told in Gwendolen’s perspective, her story unfolds from the space of the many years since Deronda forsook her for another woman.

George Eliot’s portrayal of Gwendolen is of a juvenile egoist who ultimately redeems herself at the end of the novel. Gwendolen seeks to give a deeper understanding to the flighty, sharp, and wholly self-absorbed girl and does so with sympathy and clarity. Gwendolen’s redeeming quality is her own self-loathing; she knows she is a bad person who will be punished for her misdeeds. She resigned to this fate but eventually determined to become a better person for it. The only caveat in her portrayal is her rather quick assertion that she loves Daniel; it is clear that Gwendolen does not have a large capacity for love, and so the love-at-first-sight trope is difficult to digest. However, Gwendolen is a fascinating literary novel that attempts to breathe humanity into one of literature’s maligned heroines.
I definitely recommend this novel if you're a fan of 19th century literature or modern literary fiction.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Author Spotlight: Colin Falconer and "The School of Night"

02_The William Shakespeare Detective Agency-The School of Night_Cover
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Cool Gus Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 168
Series: The William Shakespeare Detective Agency
Genre: Historical Mystery

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"My name is William Shakespeare. No, not that Shakespeare; and no jests please, I’ve heard them all. I’m the other one, the ne’er do well cousin, the loafer, known to family and friends as the dunce, the one who could not recite Cicero or Horace, who could never be as good as his clever cuz, the one who has just come to Bishopsgate from Stratford with silly dreams in his head and a longing to make something more of himself than just a glover’s handyman.”

What he finds in London is Lady Elizabeth Talbot, who is willing to pass a few shillings to this blundering brawler if he will help her find her husband. Poor William does not realize the trail will lead to the truth behind the death of Shakespeare’s great rival, Christopher Marlowe - or to a lifelong love affair with a woman far above his station.

Each book tells the story of William’s adventures as England’s first gumshoe, set against turbulent Elizabethan politics; of his romantic pursuit of the impossible Elizabeth Talbot; while charting the career of his up and coming dramatist cousin, the bard of Stratford, but just Will to his family.

Buy the Book

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Amazon UK
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Book Depository
IndieBound

About the Author

Colin Falconer


Born in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.

He currently lives in Barcelona.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s website. You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

The School of Night Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 16
Interview & Giveaway at View From the Birdhouse

Tuesday, March 17
Excerpt at I Heart Reading
Spotlight at Genre Queen

Wednesday, March 18
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Thursday, March 19
Interview at Becky on Books
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Friday, March 20
Spotlight at To Read, or Not to Read

Monday, March 23
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, March 24
Review at It's a Mad, Mad World

Thursday, March 26
Review at Quirky Book Reviews

Friday, March 27
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks

Tuesday, March 31
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Author Spotlight: Kate Quinn and "The Lady of the Eternal City"

01_Lady of the Eternal City

Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Berkley Trade
Formats: eBook, Paperback
528 Pages

Series: Empress of Rome Series, Book Four
Genre: Historical Fiction

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National bestselling author Kate Quinn returns with the long-awaited fourth volume in the Empress of Rome series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome.

Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knife’s edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rome’s brilliant and sinister Emperor; and battered warrior Vix, who is her first love. But Sabina is guardian of a deadly secret: Vix’s beautiful son Antinous has become the Emperor’s latest obsession.

Empress and Emperor, father and son will spin in a deadly dance of passion, betrayal, conspiracy, and war. As tragedy sends Hadrian spiraling into madness, Vix and Sabina form a last desperate pact to save the Empire. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City...

Praise for Lady of the Eternal City

“Quinn specializes in bringing the splendor of Britannia and Rome to readers. The tangled lives of her three-dimensional characters represent the entanglements of the Empire. She cleverly pulls readers into the complex relationships, and even more complicated history, while bouncing back and forth between viewpoints. This is a feast for historical readers.” - Romantic Times Book Reviews

Buy the Book

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Books-a-Million
iTunes
IndieBound

Titles in The Empress of Rome Series

Book One: Mistress of Rome
Book Two: Daughters of Rome
Book Three: Empress of the Seven Hills
Book Four: Lady of the Eternal City

Praise for The Empress of Rome Series

“Gorgeously wrought.”— C. W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow

“Deeply passionate.”—Kate Furnivall, author of Shadows on the Nile

“[An] epic, sexy romp.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author

02_Kate Quinn Author


Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate has succumbed to the blogging bug, and keeps a blog filled with trivia, pet peeves, and interesting facts about historical fiction. She and her husband now live in Maryland with a small black dog named Caesar, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

For more information visit Kate Quinn's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Lady of the Eternal City Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 2
Spotlight at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, March 3
Spotlight at Historical Readings and Reviews

Wednesday, March 4
Review at Back Porchervations

Thursday, March 5
Review at The Maiden's Court

Friday, March 6
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, March 9
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Review at The Mad Reviewer

Wednesday, March 11
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, March 12
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Sunday, March 15
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, March 16
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, March 17
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Wednesday, March 18
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Monday, March 23
Review at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 26
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, March 27
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Genre Queen
Review at Let Them Read Books
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Author Spotlight: Jerome Charyn and "I am Abraham"

02_I Am Abraham
PB Publication Date: February 9, 2015
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Paperback; 480p
 Genre: Historical Fiction
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Narrated in Lincoln’s own voice, the tragicomic I Am Abraham promises to be the masterwork of Jerome Charyn’s remarkable career. Since publishing his first novel in 1964, Jerome Charyn has established himself as one of the most inventive and prolific literary chroniclers of the American landscape. Here in I Am Abraham, Charyn returns with an unforgettable portrait of Lincoln and the Civil War. Narrated boldly in the first person, I Am Abraham effortlessly mixes humor with Shakespearean-like tragedy, in the process creating an achingly human portrait of our sixteenth President. Tracing the historic arc of Lincoln's life from his picaresque days as a gangly young lawyer in Sangamon County, Illinois, through his improbable marriage to Kentucky belle Mary Todd, to his 1865 visit to war-shattered Richmond only days before his assassination, I Am Abraham hews closely to the familiar Lincoln saga. Charyn seamlessly braids historical figures such as Mrs. Keckley—the former slave, who became the First Lady's dressmaker and confidante—and the swaggering and almost treasonous General McClellan with a parade of fictional extras: wise-cracking knaves, conniving hangers-on, speculators, scheming Senators, and even patriotic whores. We encounter the renegade Rebel soldiers who flanked the District in tattered uniforms and cardboard shoes, living in a no-man's-land between North and South; as well as the Northern deserters, young men all, with sunken, hollowed faces, sitting in the punishing sun, waiting for their rendezvous with the firing squad; and the black recruits, whom Lincoln’s own generals wanted to discard, but who play a pivotal role in winning the Civil War. At the center of this grand pageant is always Lincoln himself, clad in a green shawl, pacing the White House halls in the darkest hours of America’s bloodiest war. Using biblically cadenced prose, cornpone nineteenth-century humor, and Lincoln’s own letters and speeches, Charyn concocts a profoundly moral but troubled commander in chief, whose relationship with his Ophelia-like wife and sons—Robert, Willie, and Tad—is explored with penetrating psychological insight and the utmost compassion. Seized by melancholy and imbued with an unfaltering sense of human worth, Charyn’s President Lincoln comes to vibrant, three-dimensional life in a haunting portrait we have rarely seen in historical fiction.

Praise for I Am Abraham: A Novel of Lincoln and the Civil War


“Thoughtful, observant and droll.” — Richard Brookhiser, New York Times Book Review “Not only the best novel about President Lincoln since Gore Vidal’s Lincoln in 1984, but it is also twice as good to read.” — Gabor Boritt, author of The Lincoln Enigma and recipient of the National Humanities Medal “Jerome Charyn [is] a fearless writer… Brave and brazen… The book is daringly imagined, written with exuberance, and with a remarkable command of historical detail. It gives us a human Lincoln besieged by vividly drawn enemies and allies… Placing Lincoln within the web ordinary and sometimes petty human relations is no small achievement.” — Andrew Delbanco, New York Review of Books “Audacious as ever, Jerome Charyn now casts his novelist’s gimlet eye on sad-souled Abraham Lincoln, a man of many parts, who controls events and people—wife, sons, a splintering nation—even though they often are, as they must be, beyond his compassion or power. Brooding, dreamlike, resonant, and studded with strutting characters, I Am Abraham is as wide and deep and morally sure as its wonderful subjects.” — Brenda Wineapple, author of Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compassion: 1848-1877 “If all historians—or any historian—could write with the magnetic charm and authoritative verve of Jerome Charyn, American readers would be fighting over the privilege of learning about their past. They can learn much from this book—an audacious, first-person novel that makes Lincoln the most irresistible figure of a compelling story singed with equal doses of comedy, tragedy, and moral grandeur. Here is something beyond history and approaching art.” — Harold Holzer, chairman, Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation “Jerome Charyn is one of the most important writers in American literature.” — Michael Chabon “Jerome Charyn is merely one of our finest writers with a polymorphous imagination and crack comic timing. Whatever milieu he chooses to inhabit, his characters sizzle with life, and his sentences are pure vernacular music, his voice unmistakable.” — Jonathan Lethem “Charyn, like Nabokov, is that most fiendish sort of writer—so seductive as to beg imitation, so singular as to make imitation impossible.” — Tom Bissell “One of our most intriguing fiction writers takes on the story of Honest Abe, narrating the tale in Lincoln’s voice and offering a revealing portrait of a man as flawed as he was great.” — Abbe Wright, O, The Oprah Magazine “Jerome Charyn, like Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg’s superb 2012 movie, manages a feat of ventriloquism to be admired… Most of all, Lincoln comes across as human and not some remote giant… With that, Jerome Charyn has given Lincoln a most appropriate present for what would have been his 205th birthday this month: rebirth not as a marble memorial but as a three-dimensional human who overcame much to save his nation.” — Erik Spanberg, Christian Science Monitor “Daring… Memorable… Charyn’s richly textured portrait captures the pragmatism, cunning, despair, and moral strength of a man who could have empathy for his bitterest foes, and who ‘had never outgrown the forest and a dirt floor.’” — The New Yorker

Jack Ford presents the new Lincoln novel by Jerome Charyn




Buy the Paperback

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About the Author


03_Jerome Charyn_Author Photo

Jerome Charyn is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him "one of the most important writers in American literature." New York Newsday hailed Charyn as "a contemporary American Balzac,"and the Los Angeles Times described him as "absolutely unique among American writers." Since the 1964 release of Charyn's first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture. Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009. In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn's book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, "The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong." Charyn lives in Paris and New York City. For more information please visit Jerome Charyn's website. You can also find him on Twitter and Goodreads.


I Am Abraham Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, February 9 Review at Flashlight Commentary Tuesday, February 10 Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary Wednesday, February 11 Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past Thursday, February 12 Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book Friday, February 13 Spotlight at What Is That Book About Monday, February 16 Review & Excerpt at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus Tuesday, February 17 Interview & Giveaway at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews Wednesday, February 18 Review at Back Porchervations Thursday, February 19 Spotlight at A Literary Vacation Friday, February 20 Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books Saturday, February 21 Spotlight at Historical Readings & Reviews Monday, February 23 Interview & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Tuesday, February 24 Audio Book Review & Interview at Just One More Chapter Wednesday, February 25 Review at Bookish Thursday, February 26 Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection Monday, March 2 Review at Forever Ashley Tuesday, March 3 Interview at Books and Benches Wednesday, March 4 Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes Thursday, March 5 Review & Reader's Guide at She is Too Fond of Books Friday, March 6 Review at Impressions in Ink  photo 914148de-11fd-452e-8d73-f31093b70254.jpg

Friday, February 27, 2015

Interview with an Author: Sam Thomas and "The Witch Hunter's Tale

Today I have Sam Thomas, author of the Midwife Mysteries on the blog. The third in the series "The Witch Hunter's Tale" is out now. Welcome Sam and let's get to it.


CW: How did you become interested in 17th century England?

ST: I more or less stumbled into it. As an undergraduate I was fascinated by cheap literature that was churned out during the 17th century, sort of an early modern National Enquirer. They were bloody as heck, and really fascinating, so I wrote about them for my thesis. 

Added to that, is the massive changes that England went through - civil war, the execution of King Charles, the establishment of a republic, witch hunts, the rise of radical political and religious groups...really, what's not to like? 

CW: Bridget, your midwife-turned-detective protagonist, was a real life historical personage. How did you stumble upon her?

ST: Pure chance. I was reading wills from the city of York (long story!), and just found hers in with all the others from June, 1683. I had read enough wills to know that hers was something pretty unusual, so I started trying to find out everything I could about her, which turned out to be quite a lot! (Readers who would like to learn more about the historical Bridget can visit my webpage:http://samthomasbooks.com/historical-bridget-hodgson/historical-bridget.html

CW: How many books will be in the Midwife Mysteries?

ST: Well, four at least! The Midwife and the Assassin will be out in January of next year. It's a bit early to think about a fifth in the series as I'm about 3/4 of the way through a stand-alone set in New England, but we'll see what happens this summer! 

CW: You have a PhD in history. Do you feel that has made you a better writer or do you fight against the urge to include too much historical detail in your novels?



ST: Both, actually! By the time I started writing fiction, I'd already written a history book and six articles...so nearly two books worth of material. It's not the same kind of writing, but if you spend enough time wrestling with the English language you're bound to learn something. 

The problem of including too much detail is a tough one, and a constant struggle. If there is a fact that you spent six hours trying to nail down (what did the judges in the Old Bailey wear?) are you really going to cut that out? The answer ought to be "Yes, if it doesn't make the book any better" but...you spent six hours!

I keep a separate file on my computer where I keel "interesting stuff for the next book." Sometimes it even gets in!

CW: Any tips for aspiring authors?



ST: Write, write, write. Read, read, read. 

Read outside your chosen genre. My writing could not be more different than Cormac McCarthy's, but Blood Meridian is as beautiful as it is bloody. (Not at all for the faint of heart, but man can he write. Here's a passage from All the Pretty Horses. His protagonist and best friend have ridden out into the night, leaving home for who knows what? 

“They heard somewhere in that tenantless night a bell that tolled and ceased where no bell was and they rode out on the round dais of the earth which alone was dark and no light to it and which carried their figures and bore them up into the swarming stars so that they rode not under but among them and they rode at once jaunty and circumspect, like thieves newly loosed in that dark electric, like young thieves in a glowing orchard, loosely jacketed against the cold and ten thousand worlds for the choosing.”

CW: Bonus question time. If you could meet any historical personage, who would it be?

ST: Bridget Hodgson, of course!

Thanks Sam for stopping in and best of luck with your newest release. Scroll on down for more details!

About The Witch Hunter's Tale

Publication date: January 6, 2015
St. Martin’s Press
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 320
Series: Book Three, The Midwife Mysteries Series
Genre: Historical Mystery

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Sam Thomas takes readers back to Puritan England with midwife Bridget Hodgson, hailed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “one of the most fascinating detectives in contemporary mystery fiction.”
Winter has come to the city of York, and with it the threat of witchcraft. As women and children sicken and die, midwife Bridget Hodgson is pulled against her will into a full-scale witch-hunt that threatens to devour all in its path, guilty and innocent alike.
Bridget—accompanied once again by her deputy Martha Hawkins and her nephew Will Hodgson—finds herself playing a lethal game of cat and mouse against the most dangerous men in York, as well as her sworn enemy Rebecca Hooke. As the trials begin, and the noose begins to tighten around her neck, Bridget must answer the question: How far will she go to protect the people she loves?


Praise for the Midwife Mysteries Series


“Sam Thomas has created one of the most fascinating detectives in contemporary mystery fiction—a crime-solving, wealthy, widowed midwife in embattled 17th-century York, England. . . . Bridget is as fascinating, fun and fierce as ever.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer on "The Harlot’s Tale”

"Besides making his heroine a plausible sleuth, Thomas conveys the challenges of midwifery without clumsy exposition.” —Publishers Weekly (starred) on The Harlot’s Tale

“As pleasurable as his mystery is, the true thrill here is Thomas’s lively portrait of 1644 York and his unique heroine.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer on The Midwife’s Tale

“A briskly plotted historical mystery starring a pair of brave, tenacious, intelligent women who take no prisoners and make no apologies.” —Lyndsay Faye, author of Gods of Gotham

“Thomas is a historian by profession and it shows in the wealth of detail with which he recreates the city of York amid the turmoil of the English civil war.” —Rhys Bowen, author of the bestselling Royal Spyness series

“A heart-stopping page-turner coupled with a gritty and realistic portrayal of two strong and contrasting woman characters vividly depicted against the backdrop of the besieged city of York.” —Cora Harrison, author of I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend

“The gripping story, fascinating characters, and intriguing era make Thomas’s debut mystery a reader’s delight.” —Priscilla Royal, author of The Killing Season

“Thomas’s fiction debut is packed with fascinating information about a midwife’s skills and life during the English civil war. The ingenious, fast-paced mystery is a bonus.” —Kirkus Reviews on The Midwife’s Tale

“Everything rings true in historian Thomas’s superb first mystery. . . Authentic details of life in 17th-century York complement the whodunit’s intelligently concealed clues.” —Publishers Weekly (starred) on The Midwife’s Tale


About the Author


sam-thomas.jpg
Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer
Sam Thomas is an assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Newberry Library, and the British Academy. He has published articles on topics ranging from early modern Britain to colonial Africa. Thomas lives in Alabama with his wife and two children.

For more information please visit Sam Thomas’s website. You can also find him on Facebook,Twitter, and Goodreads.