Monday, December 15, 2014

Author Spotlight: Jay W. Curry and "Nixon and Dovey"

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Publication Date: November 14, 2014 
Smashwords eBook: 369p
ISBN: 978-1-3117280-3-6
 Genre: Historical Fiction
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Please join Jay W. Curry on his Blog Tour with HF Virtual Book Tours for Nixon and Dovey: The Legend Returns.

Before he met Dovey, it was just a heated feud. Now, in the backdrop of southern antebellum slavery, it’s a deadly game of passion, murder, and revenge. Facts: In 1818 Nixon Curry became entangled in one of the most sensationalized murder/love stories in early American history. As a result, Nixon Curry became arguably the most notorious and widely publicized criminal in America’s first half century. His fame derived not from the brutality or number of his crimes but from the determination of the Charlotte aristocracy to hang him. His remarkable talents, undying love for Dovey Caldwell, and the outright audacity of his exploits made him an early American legend. Story: Set in the antebellum south of North Carolina, Nixon Curry, a talented son of poor Scot-Irish immigrants, accepts a job at a racing stable. Soon, his riding skills rival those of his mentor, Ben Wilson. The fierce rivalry becomes confrontational when Ben frames Nixon’s childhood, slave friend, Cyrus, for the Caldwell plantation fire. When both Nixon and Ben win invitations to the 1816 Race of Champions, the stage is set for an explosive faceoff. During prerace festivities, the dashing, young Nixon meets the beautiful Dovey Caldwell, daughter of the state’s wealthiest and most influential senator. Finding Nixon unworthy of Dovey’s affection, Senator Caldwell betroths his daughter to Nixon’s nemesis, Ben. The announcement sets in motion a clash of cultures, talents, and passions leading to murder, mayhem, and revenge. How far will Nixon go to have his love? What price is he willing to pay and what will be the consequences?


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About the Author

02_Jay Curry Author Photo

Jay W Curry is a former Big-4 consulting partner, business coach, and award-winning author. When he is not coaching, fly-fishing or writing he facilitates a Vistage CEO roundtable in Houston. Jay has co-authored three internationally successful books and has won honors for both his short fiction and non-fiction work. When the heat of Texas summer arrives, Jay and his wife, Nancy, head to their Colorado home (http:/CurryBarn.com) or visit their three children and seven grandchildren. Nixon and Dovey is the first of a three-book passion to bring the 200-year-old story of Jay’s relative, Nixon Curry, back to light. For more information, please visit Jay W. Curry's website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Nixon and Dovey Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 1 Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary Friday, December 5 Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More Monday, December 8 Guest Post at What Is That Book About Tuesday, December 9 Review at Deal Sharing Aunt Monday, December 15 Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes Tuesday, December 16 Review at Flashlight Commentary Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book Wednesday, December 17 Interview at Flashlight Commentary Thursday, December 18 Spotlight at Boom Baby Reviews Tuesday, December 23 Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews Friday, December 26 Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection Saturday, December 27 Spotlight at Layered Pages Monday, December 29 Review at Forever Ashley Tuesday, December 30 Review at Book Nerd Wednesday, December 31 Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Author Spotlight: Sherryl Caulfield's "Seldom Come By"

Please join Sherryl Caulfield as she tours the blogosphere for Seldom Come By, the first book in her Iceberg Trilogy, from November 24-December 13, and enter to win an eBook or Autographed copy!

03_Seldom Come By (Iceberg Trilogy Book One) Cover
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
Cedar Pocket Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 490

Series: Iceberg Trilogy
Genre: Historical Fiction

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READ AN EXCERPT.

Two years after the sinking of the Titanic, fifteen year-old Rebecca Crowe’s fascination with icebergs leads her to save a shipwrecked survivor, Samuel Dalton, the nineteen-year old son of a Toronto medical family.

Love sparks in the crystal cave of an iceberg but is thwarted by an unreasonable father and the Great War that drags Samuel and his brother, Matthew, to the Western Front as medical officers. Knowing Rebecca is home and safe in Newfoundland brings Samuel great comfort. But as the war moves towards its final harrowing days, they both discover that tragedy and terror can strike anywhere, setting their love on an unforeseen path.

Only when Samuel and Rebecca can fully come to terms with such devastating loss and their impossible choices can their love soar. With an emotional intensity reminiscent of The Bronze Horseman, Seldom Come By, named after an actual place in Newfoundland, is an unforgettable journey across waves and time and the full spectrum of human emotions.

Praise for Seldom Come By

“Seldom Come By is a haunting love story set against the windswept coast of Newfoundland. The story draws you in from the opening lines and takes you on a compelling journey across time and continents, through love, loss, heartache and healing. It is a beautiful and memorable story — a great accomplishment and a wonderful read.” – Julie Fison, Australia
“A wholly engaging read that wraps you up in another world. The story of how Samuel and Rebecca met and fell in love will always stay with me — and leaves me feeling as if I have already visited Newfoundland.” – Carolyn Wood, New Zealand

“If you love deep, epic, romantic stories this is one for you.” – Jeannie Zelos, United Kingdom

“Historical fiction is by far my favorite genre and this book captures the elements perfectly. An engaging, strong heroine, a dashing, honorable stranger, a brutal daily life existence in Newfoundland set during WWI. The story and characters are made more rich by the superb writing. I look forward to reading more from this author.” – Diane Tyson, USA

“This book was a real treat to read. By 30% in I was completely invested in the characters. The strength, passion and adversity that the couple have to endure are reminiscent of The Bronze Horseman, but beyond that, Rebecca and Samuel find their own way of handling things. I have already found myself recommending this book to others that have loved The Bronze Horseman. I do believe that if you enjoy an epic love story, this will make a fine reading suggestion.” – Karen Scott, Canada

Buy the Book

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Paperback

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About the Author

02_Sherryl Caulfield Author

Australian-born Sherryl Caulfield is a marketer, writer and traveller. After twenty years working for some of the world’s leading technology brands and a stint with Outward Bound, she longed to write about the human experience and the redemptive qualities of nature.

In 2006, haunted by an encounter with a woman she met in Canada, Sherryl started what has now become known as The Iceberg Trilogy. From her home in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand, she distilled the lives of three generations of women – Rebecca, Evangeline and Lindsay – over the course of a century. In the telling of their stories she crafted a series rich in landscapes – of sea, land and the human soul.

For more information please visit Sherryl Caulfield's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Seldom Come By Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 24
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Wednesday, November 26
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, November 27
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, November 28
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, December 1
Review at Shelly's Book Shelves
Spotlight at Boom Baby Reviews

Tuesday, December 2
Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews

Wednesday, December 3
Spotlight at Mina's Bookshelf

Thursday, December 4
Guest Post at The Eclectic Reader

Friday, December 5
Review at Feminist Reflections

Saturday, December 6
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Monday, December 8
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, December 9
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, December 10
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Friday, December 12
Review & Giveaway at Curiouser and Curiouser

Saturday, December 13
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

To enter to win an Autographed copy of Seldom Come By, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on December 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
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– Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Interview with an Author: Deborah Lincoln and "Agnes Canon's War"

Today I would like to welcome Deborah Lincoln to the blog. Her new novel "Agnes Canon's War" is set during one of my favorite time periods--the American Civil War. There is more information after the jump as well as an interview.

02_Agnes Canon's War
Publication Date: October 1, 2014 
Blank Slate Press 
Formats: eBook, Trade Paperback 
Pages: 300 
 Genre: Historical Fiction
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“I saw a woman hanged on my way to the Pittsburgh docks..” Agnes Canon is tired of being a spectator in life, an invisible daughter among seven sisters, meat for the marriage market. The rivers of her Pennsylvania countryside flow west, and she yearns to flow with them, explore new lands, know the independence that is the usual sphere of men. This is a story of a woman’s search for freedom, both social and intellectual, and her quest to understand what freedom means. She learns that freedom can be the scent and sound of unsettled prairies, the glimpse of a cougar, the call of a hawk. The struggle for freedom can test the chains of power, poverty, gender, or the legalized horror of slavery. And to her surprise, she discovers it can be found within a marriage, a relationship between a man and a woman who are equals in everything that matters. It’s also the story of Jabez Robinson, a man who has traveled across the continent and seen the beauty of the country and the ghastliness of war, as he watches his nation barrel toward disaster. Faced with deep-seated social institutions and hard-headed intransigence, he finds himself helpless to intervene. Jabez’s story is an indictment of war in any century or country, and an admission that common sense and reasoned negotiation continue to fail us. As Agnes and Jabez struggle to keep their community and their lives from crumbling about them, they must face the stark reality that whether it’s the freedom of an African from servitude, of the South from the North, or of a woman from the demands of social convention, the cost is measured in chaos and blood. This eloquent work of historical fiction chronicles the building of a marriage against the background of a civilization growing – and dying – in the prelude to civil war.

Praise for Agnes Canon's War

"Impressively researched, it captures the brutality of the war in the West and the complicated, divided loyalties of the people who are caught up in it. Agnes Canon’s War will have readers anticipating the romance and dreading the battles in equal amounts." -Steve Wiegenstein, author of Slant of Light and This Old World 

"The characters are likeable, intelligent, humorous, spunky and passionate people whose zest for adventure is met and then some! Superb historical fiction this reviewer highly recommends." - Historical Novel Society 

"Agnes Canon’s War is brilliantly researched and written. Deborah Lincoln has successfully described the occurrences of the Civil War era in the border state of Missouri and the resultant emotions upon the inhabitants of the area. Many neighbors were bitterly opposed to one another, and severe heartache touched everyone. Lincoln’s writing places the reader in the midst of that turmoil. Her research is accurate and lends to a skillfully-designed background for Agnes Canon’s story. An example is her reference to Westport Landing. It is a little-known fact (even to most Missourians) that this original port on the Missouri River, located in the vicinity of today’s Grand and Main Streets, resulted in present-day Kansas City. This heartfelt book will likely impress even the most seasoned historians." -William R. Reynolds, Jr. author of Andrew Pickens: South Carolina Patriot in the Revolutionary War and The Cherokee Struggle to Maintain Identity in the 17th and 18th Centuries 

"Years ago in fiction workshop, this manuscript leaped out at me with the most memorable opening line I’d seen in forever: “I saw a woman hanged on my way to the Pittsburgh docks.” On revisiting this story several years after my first beta-read of the whole novel, I was struck by how many details and scenes I remember. Historical fiction is not for the lazy writer. The tremendous amount of research that skilled writers weave into the narrative are simply amazing. I’m afraid I’ll be guilty of plot spoilers if I mention some of my favorite scenes or the tragic events that really happened. I will say Jabez has a first wife, and Agnes befriends her to her dying day. That first wife has a fascination for what today would sound like New Age mysticism. Any reader who hates reading about war should keep going, because all sorts of intriguing historical issues and beliefs come to light in Agnes Canon’s world. The prose is polished, the story spellbinding, the authenticity both inspiring and heartbreaking. Five stars!" -Carol Kean Blog, Book Reviews, Cosmic Rants


Interview

CW: Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

DL: Like most writers, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I remember earning the Writing Badge as a Girl Scout (I was maybe ten?) by writing and illustrating a book about elves (and binding it in blue cloth). And a short story about – surprise – a Civil War incident based on my family’s visit to Gettysburg. I still have both those astonishing pieces of literature. Somewhere.

I lived in Ohio, in a little farm town in the western part of the state – the REALLY flat part – and grew up on Nancy Drew. I hoped my dad, who was an engineer, would retire and become a lawyer so I would have cases to solve, which I would then write about. But we were a very ordinary, very vanilla-pudding middle-class family who loved each other and never did anything that could be translated into a plot, so I turned to history to find my stories.  

CW: What kind of research did you conduct for this novel?

DL: First of all, lots. And lots and lots. I started it in the early nineties, before the Internet, with only a small city library available (I was living in Oregon by then – am still living in Oregon, on the coast, and the local library is even smaller). So the book languished until the web made all sorts of information available. Did you know you can learn in graphic detail how to amputate a man’s leg (without anesthetic) just by googling “Civil War Medicine”?  Of course you did; everyone knows you can find anything on the Internet. And some of it is even accurate.

I also travelled to the locations. The town of Oregon, Missouri (the Lick Creek of the novel) appears to be little changed from the time when Jabez and Agnes Robinson lived there. There’s a big new high school, and the courthouse is now a little one-story affair, but other than that the houses along the square and the brick stores appear to be at least a hundred and fifty years old. The cemetery is full of kernels of stories to feed a writer’s imagination.

We (my patient husband and I) also spent time driving up the Missouri River (wish we could have steamboated up) from St. Joseph to Ft. Benton in northern Montana, the route that Agnes takes in the book. Then we drove down to Virginia City (in a March snowstorm) and visited Boot Hill there (read the book to find out why that’s important). We also explored the Gallatin Valley looking for the site of the Montana homestead. Came close, but there’s nothing there to identify it. Decided we really like Bozeman.

And my mother and I visited Uniontown, Pennsylvania, which also figures in the book. And I hope will be the setting of the sequel. (Watch for it!)

CW: Do you have a favorite character in the novel?

DL: Agnes, of course, has a big claim on me, mostly because I want to be like her. And I see a lot of my mother in her. (We are, after all, her spawn, or the sand in her hourglass, to use the somewhat inapt analogy I used in the book.) But of the other characters, I’m partial to Rose McDonald – there’s a beautiful tale somewhere there, but I’m not sure I’m the one to write it – and I loved little James and his black arrowhead.

CW: Who are your favorite authors (or books)?

DL: At the risk of being a cliché right now, I really enjoy Diana Gabaldon. I envy her productivity and what appears (on Facebook, at least) to be her unbounded joy in her work. I discovered M.M. Kaye’s historical novels years ago; there are two that are my particular favorites, one set in India during the sepoy mutiny and one in Zanzibar. I love Ivan Doig’s earlier works, and I’m re-acquainting myself with Paulette Jiles (Enemy Women). I also like a good cop story, particularly John Sandford’s Davenport and Flowers books (his dialog and character development are masterly). I could go on and on (Russell Banks’s Cloudsplitter, Geraldine Brooks, Martha Grimes). But I won’t. I will say, though, that I’m a book hoarder: I have a degree in Library Science, but never use the library. I want to own my books, have them at hand, pick them up and leaf through them whenever the mood strikes.

CW: Bonus Question: If you could time travel, what era would you go to?

DL: Start with maybe 1790, when the Enlightenment had provided all sorts of interesting thoughts to think and intelligent books to read, but being a romantic was okay, too.

Thanks Deborah for joining us here today. For more information on Agnes Canon's War or to purchase a copy, follow the links below.

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About the Author

03_Deborah Lincoln Author

Deborah Lincoln grew up in the small town of Celina, among the cornfields of western Ohio. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Michigan. She and her husband have three grown sons and live on the Oregon coast. Of her passion for historical fiction, she says: “I’m fascinated by the way events—wars and cataclysms and upheavals, of course, but the everyday changes that wash over everyday lives—bring a poignancy to a person’s efforts to survive and prosper. I hate the idea that brave and intelligent people have been forgotten, that the hardships they underwent have dropped below the surface like a stone in a lake, with not a ripple left behind to mark the spot.” Agnes Canon’s War is the story of her great great-grandparents, two remarkable people whose lives illustrate the joys and trials that marked America’s tumultuous nineteenth century. For more information on Deborah Lincoln please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Agnes Canon's War Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 8 Review at Forever Ashley Review at Back Porchervations Tuesday, December 9 Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes Wednesday, December 10 Review at Too Fond Friday, December 12 Review at Just One More Chapter Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf Monday, December 15 Review at Luxury Reading Wednesday, December 17 Review at Book Babe Guest Post at Let Them Read Books Thursday, December 18 Review at Griperang's Bookmarks Friday, December 19 Review at Boom Baby Reviews Interview at Layered Pages  photo 22ffdf59-5d94-46d0-9ac1-a7c7aee60a49.png

Friday, December 5, 2014

Author Spotlight: R.V. Doon and "The War Nurse"

01_War Nurse eBook Cover Large
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
BRY Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 382

Genre: Historical Fiction

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CHAPTER ONE EXCERPT.

This historical thriller begins on the eve of WWII in the Philippines. Katarina Stahl an American Red Cross nurse, is the happiest she?s ever been in her life. She?s making love and playing music with Jack Gallagher in an idyllic paradise. Their medical mission is over, the boat tickets to home are purchased, and all that remains is to fly a sick child to the hospital at Clark Air Field.

She never expected to witness bombs falling out of planes. In those terrifying first minutes, she frees a German doctor accused of spying and saves his life. She turns to nursing the injured, unaware she?s unleashed an obsession more dangerous to her and those she loves, than the war she?s trapped in.

Doctor von Wettin, the man she freed, finds Katarina pregnant and starving in a POW camp after the surrender. He begs her to nurse his bed-ridden wife. She knows other Americans will despise her, but wants her baby to live after surviving Bataan. Their uneasy alliance is destroyed when she discovers he exploited Red Cross diplomatic channels and contacts at the German embassy to wire money to her parents. His benevolent mask slips when he informs her that her brothers and parents are interned on Ellis Island.

When the Stahl family is swept up in the FBI?s dragnet, Josep Stahl believes it?s all a misunderstanding. He?s interrogated like a criminal at the city jail, a military camp, Ellis Island, and then the civilian internment camps in Texas. His anger and pride blind him. One by one in this painful family drama, his wife and sons join him behind barbed wire in. There they face ostracism, segregation, and, most frightening, repatriation.

Katarina begins an even more terrifying journey into depraved darkness as Manila descends into occupation and chaos. The doctor threatens everyone she loves: infant son, POW husband, and Filipino friends. She?ll do anything to protect them; she lies, steals, and smuggles. As the war turns against the Japanese, they withhold the doctor?s wife?s life-saving medications until he finds a hidden radio inside the civilian internment camp. If Katarina refuses to help him, her son pays the price.

Survival has corrupted Katarina; but she?s not about to become his camp rat. After years of hell, she?s earned her nickname, war nurse. Doctor von Wettin is about to find out what that means.

Buy the Book

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Barnes & Noble
IndieBound

About the Author

02_RV Doon Author

R.V. Doon is a bookie! Seriously, she?s an avid reader who also loves to write. She writes across genres, but confesses she?s partial to historical fiction and medical thrillers. She?s addicted to black coffee, milk chocolate, and raspberries. When she?s not reading or writing, she?s learning to sail. Doon reports after a career of implementing doctor?s orders, she?s having trouble being a deck hand and following the captain?s orders. Doon lives in Mobile, Alabama, a haunted and historical city, with her husband and two dogs.

For more information please visit R.V. Doon's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Subscribe to R.V. Doon's Newsletter for news & updates.

The War Nurse Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 24
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, November 25
Review at Unshelfish
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, November 26
Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Thursday, November 27
Spotlight at Book Babe

Friday, November 28
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Saturday, November 29
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Sunday, November 30
Review at Carole's Ramblings

Monday, December 1
Review at Luxury Reading

Tuesday, December 2
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Wednesday, December 3
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, December 4
Spotlight at Boom Baby Reviews
Review at Svetlana Reads and Views

Friday, December 5
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Interview with an Author: S.K. Rizzolo and "Die I Will Not"

Die I Will Not

Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Poisoned Pen Press
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback

Series: John Chase Mystery Series
Genre: Historical Mystery/Regency

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I'd like to welcome S.K. Rizzolo to the blog today. Before we get to it, check out a little more info on her new book "Die I Will Not".

Unhappy wife and young mother Penelope Wolfe fears scandal for her family and worse. A Tory newspaper editor has been stabbed while writing a reply to the latest round of letters penned by a firebrand calling himself Collatinus. Twenty years before, her father, the radical Eustace Sandford, wrote as Collatinus before he fled London just ahead of accusations of treason and murder. A mysterious beauty closely connected to Sandford and known only as N.D. had been brutally slain, her killer never punished. The seditious new Collatinus letters that attack the Prince Regent in the press also seek to avenge N.D.’s death and unmask her murderer. What did the journalist know that provoked his death?

Her artist husband Jeremy is no reliable ally, so Penelope turns anew to lawyer Edward Buckler and Bow Street Runner John Chase. As she battles public notoriety, Buckler and Chase put their careers at risk to stand behind her while pursuing various lines of inquiry aimed at N.D.’s murderer, a missing memoir, Royal scandal, and the dead editor’s missing wife. As they navigate the dark underbelly of Regency London among a cast driven by dirty politics and dark passions, as well as by decency and a desire for justice, past secrets and present criminals are exposed, upending Penelope’s life and the lives of others.


Interview


CW: Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you start writing? Have your life experiences shaped the way the write (or the subject matter)?

SKR: As a child, I was always that quiet kid with her nose in a book, and I think I decided then that I would like to become a writer.  In college I majored in English and ended up as a high school English teacher of British literature.  So, yes, I think my life experiences have shaped my writing career.  I’m a huge Anglophile and British history enthusiast from way back—I think I’ve seen almost every Masterpiece Theatre production!
CW: “Die I Will Not” is set during England’s Regency period which has always been a popular time period. What drew you to this period? Was it deliberate or did your characters dictate it?

SKR: My mother introduced me to the work of Georgette Heyer, who might be said to have invented the modern Regency novel.  That was really the beginning for me, though my novels are very different.  My mystery series follows the exploits of a Bow Street Runner (a detective), an unconventional lady, and a melancholic lawyer.  My characters do not belong to the Polite World.  They do not ordinarily attend balls or visit London for the Season, and they face financial struggles as well as professional and romantic challenges.  I have enjoyed exploring Regency era criminal law, policing, radical politics, celebrity culture, and early feminism.

Hopefully, the characters spring from the period.  John Chase, my Bow Street Runner, is a man over forty, graying, with an untidy queue and an independent spirit that doesn’t sit well with his superiors.  He’s a bit gruff but has a much kinder heart than he himself realizes.  Penelope Wolfe has made an imprudent marriage, which has forced her to the fringes of Society.  Her father is a radical philosopher.  Her husband is a spendthrift artist.  Her true love Edward Buckler, my third protagonist, has the spirit of chivalry in his heart but isn’t the typical dashing romantic hero.  I try to imagine the lives of people who might actually have existed. 

CW:  How do you write? Do you create everything before hand or do you wing it?

SKR: I’m incapable of winging it.  It takes me a long time to figure out all the character motivations, clues, and twists and turns in the plot.  Usually, I write pages and pages of notes, and even then I’m still shifting the puzzle pieces around until the very end.  Plotting can be incredibly difficult in that I’m sometimes too creative.  I put my characters in a situation—and then I can’t figure out how to get them out of it when suddenly the logic doesn’t add up.   In the middle of writing an exciting scene, I say to myself, WAIT, why did John Chase look here?  I realize that I thought I knew the inner workings of the scene in question, but I really don’t.  There are also the times when I fall in love with a particular setting or plot twist, and I just have to put it in, never mind that this whim causes me days of head shaking and muttering to myself.  Muttering—sometimes even in public.

CW: Do you have any favorite books or authors?

SKR: I tend to read a lot of English mysteries by, for example, P.D. James, Josephine Tey, and Deborah Crombie.  As far as historical mysteries, I am a big fan of Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael novels and Stephanie Barron’s series with Jane Austen as the sleuth.  I’m also fond of reading 700-page “doorstop” Victorian novels by writers such as Anthony Trollope, Wilkie Collins, and Elizabeth Gaskell: the longer the better!

CW: Random question: If you could have a drink with any historical personage, who would it be?

SKR: Shakespeare.  I’ve always wanted to ask him why he left his wife, Anne Hathaway, “his second best bed” in his will.  Was this a sentimental gesture, a mark of tenderness, because they had shared this second-best bed?  Was this merely a custom of the time—or a rather cold dismissal?  Since Shakespeare’s marriage has long been the subject of much debate (he and Anne often lived apart while he was busy doing theater in London), it would be nice to finally know the answer to this question!  By the way, I am firmly in the camp of those who believe that Shakespeare wrote his own plays.  Maybe that’s why I’d like to learn more about Shakespeare, the human being, since his artistic genius cannot be questioned.

Thanks so much to S.K. Rizzolo for stopping in today. Make sure to pick up a copy of "Die I Will Not" at one of the venues listed below. And don't forget the other books in the John Chase Mystery Series:

Book One: The Rose in the Wheel
Book Two: Blood for Blood
Book Three: Die I Will Not


Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository


About the Author

SK RizzoloS.K. Rizzolo is a longtime Anglophile and history enthusiast. Set in Regency England, The Rose in the Wheel and Blood for Blood are the first two novels in her series about a Bow Street Runner, an unconventional lady, and a melancholic barrister. An English teacher, Rizzolo has earned an M.A. in literature and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

For more information please visit S.K. Rizzolo's website. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.


Die I Will Not Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 17
Review at Back Porchervations

Tuesday, November 18
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, November 19
Interview at Back Porchervations
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, November 20
Interview with Curling Up With a Good Book

Friday, November 21
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, November 24
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, November 25
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Buried Under Books
Review at Book Babe (The Rose in the Wheel)
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Friday, November 28
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Monday, December 1
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Tuesday, December 2
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, December 3
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Thursday, December 4
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Friday, December 5
Review at The True Book Addict

Monday, December 8
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, December 9
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Spotlight at Book Babe

Wednesday, December 10
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks

Thursday, December 11
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, December 12
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Interview with an Author: Elaine Cougler and "The Loyalist's Luck"

02_The Loyalist's Luck
Publication Date: October 2014
Peache House Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Series: The Loyalist Trilogy
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Today on the blog we have Elaine Couglar, who is touring the blogosphere to celebrate the release of her novel "The Loyalist's Luck". Here's a synopsis:

When the Revolutionary War turns in favor of the Americans, John and Lucy flee across the Niagara River with almost nothing. They begin again in Butlersburg, a badly supplied British outpost surrounded by endless trees and rivers, and the mighty roar of the giant falls nearby. He is off on a secret mission for Colonel Butler and she is left behind with her young son and pregnant once again. In the camp full of distrust, hunger, and poverty, word has seeped out that John has gone over to the American side and only two people will associate with Lucy—her friend, Nellie, who delights in telling her all the current gossip, and Sergeant Crawford, who refuses to set the record straight and clear John’s name. To make matters worse, the sergeant has made improper advances toward Lucy.

With vivid scenes of heartbreak and betrayal, heroism and shattered hopes, Elaine Cougler takes us into the hearts and homes of Loyalists still fighting for their beliefs, and draws poignant scenes of families split by political borders. The Loyalist’s Luck shows us the courage of ordinary people who, in perilous times, become extraordinary.

CW: Thanks for joining us, Elaine. First off, tell us how you discovered your love for writing?

EC: Words in all their forms and languages have held me in thrall for my whole life. I’ve loved to read them, write them, and savor them from the first time I sneaked my mother’s books off her shelf and hid myself away to read. My school lessons about spelling and stories, printing and then writing words, and finally mastering my own stories were the jewels of my childhood. Not until grade twelve, though, did I realize I might actually have an affinity for writing stories of my own. My personal essay placed second in our high school literary contest. I was hooked.

CW: “The Loyalist’s Luck” is set during the American Revolution and features British sympathizers. Tell us why you were drawn to the Loyalist point of view.

EC: We are all products of our personal history and mine is Loyalist. My father’s family originated in England and my direct ancestor crossed the water around the time of the American Revolution. He sided with the British. I've always known I was of Loyalist descent so that finding out more about what might have happened to my own people intrigued me. I was interested to go back in time to when relations between Americans and Canadians were not so friendly. Finally, much has been written about this time period from the American point of view. I wanted to explore the other side. Having researched the dissenting points of view I’m now doubly glad that our two countries peacefully share the longest undefended border in the world.

CW: How did you conduct your research? Any favorite sources?

EC: I’d have to say the most exciting book I found was Elizabeth Simcoe’s diary about the five years she was in Canada (1792-1796) with her famous husband, Governor John Graves Simcoe. She talked about dipping baskets in Lake Ontario and pulling them out full of fish, and of salmon in the lakes and rivers where I now live. I was shocked to realize how modern life has depleted these resources.

As for other research my computer is so convenient that I use it for a lot of my queries and searching sessions. Libraries and museums near my settings are amazingly well stocked with great books and maps. Sometimes, though, my husband and I just get in the car and take a road trip, especially out of tourist season so that I can have lots of uninterrupted time to walk the dirt tracks around forts, smell the baking bread in an army kitchen, and monopolize the time of the knowledgeable people working in these places.

CW: Do you have any favorite books or authors?

EC: Oh, my gosh, does a musket have a barrel? I love a book that keeps me turning the pages, involves me so deeply in its characters that I feel their joy and sadness in my own heart. I love a great plot that keeps moving and I particularly like chapter endings that just will not allow me to quit reading. Many, many authors do that. I remember reading Herman Wouk’s War and Remembrance books and just having to stop because his characters and the catastrophic events in their lives were affecting my own life. I just couldn’t stop thinking about them. I stopped reading to save myself from mourning the whole Second World War! A couple of years ago I picked them up and reread them, this time finishing.

So many authors have pleased me, affected me, and, yes, even changed me that I hesitate to start naming them lest I forget one. I have done posts on them on my writing blog, On Becoming a Wordsmith, but I like to look forward rather than back to the next great read I’ll find.

CW: Finally, I always like to ask, if you could go back in time, which era would you pick?

EG: Reading and writing about earlier times is so much fun for me that I’ve spent much of my life doing just that. By learning about people and places in our history I can better understand and empathize with situations in my own time. So, yes, I love studying past times and even imagining what life was like then for my own books. Do I want to go back? No. I like my creature comforts, my solid walls, my rights, and even my obligations in this time. Without a doubt our times could be better and I hope one day will be, but go back in time? That’s only for the likes of Claire who steps through the rocks into warring Scotland and finds the lovely and inimitable Jamie. Don’t you just love the Outlander series? 

CW: Thanks again for joining us, Elaine! For more information on "The Loyalist's Luck" including additional tour stops, scroll on down.

About the Author

Elaine Cougler

A lifelong reader and high school teacher, Elaine found her passion for writing once her family was grown. She loves to read history for the stories of real people reacting to their world. Bringing to life the tales of Loyalists in the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 is very natural as Elaine’s personal roots are in those struggles, out of which arose both Canada and the United States.

For more information please visit Elaine Cougler's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.

The Loyalist's Luck Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 10
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, November 11
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Wednesday, November 12
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Thursday, November 13
Guest Post & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, November 14
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, November 17
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, November 20
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Friday, November 21
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, November 24
Guest Post at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, November 25
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, November 26
Guest Post at So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, November 28
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: "Girl on the Golden Coin" by Marci Jefferson

Hello all!

This review is horribly late. I've been so caught up in reading other novels and posting author spotlights (and interviews and reviews...) that I forgot to post my review of Marci Jefferson's "Girl on the Golden Coin", which in retrospect, is one of my favorite books this year.

"The Girl on the Golden Coin" is an excellent look at the life of Frances Stuart, the woman who would become the model for "Britannia" on England's coinage. I've always been enamored of her and even at one time thought of penning a novel about her myself. But since I do not like to trod over turned up ground, I moved on to other projects.


The novel opens when Frances is but a girl and a exile living in France. The English Civil War is raging and the Stuart family has been fractured by the fighting. Charles, the Prince of Wales, is a vagabond, moving from court to court throughout Europe, while his mother, Queen Henrietta Maria is living in France with her daughter Henriette. Frances' mother is attached to the Queen's household, so Frances grows up as a boon companion to the young princess. 

Some years later, Henriette is married off to Louis XIV's younger brother while still pining for the king. Frances unwittingly wins the King's heart, but loyal to her friend, refuses to become his mistress. And so begins her journey. In retribution for turning him down, Louis sends Frances back to England to serve in the court of the newly restored King Charles II. She is to become the King's mistress and use her influence to sway him in favor of France. Then begins the conflict. Frances is ill suited to political and court intrigues but is forced to play the game in an attempt to save her family's honor and to keep a past scandal secret. She handily charms the king and his court, becoming known as La Belle Stuart. But she is constantly conflicted by her loyalty to Queen Catherine and her growing feelings (and passion) for King Charles.

Ms. Jefferson's writing style is very engaging, atmospheric without sacrificing the pace of the novel. Some reviewers complain that the novel is too light. It is fiction, not a doctoral thesis on Restoration England. Jefferson accurately captures the many court personalities including King Charles and his Queen Catherine, his established mistress Barbara, Lady Castlemaine, and his brother the Duke of York. Frances' conflicted feelings for Charles seem to be sexual in nature at first, but she grows to love him, and is a better character for it. She never seeks to excel her own person throughout the novel and constantly makes sacrifices (including her own morality) for her family. If anything, Frances is probably a little too good, but she never comes off as an annoying martyr. 


My only quibble is that Frances' mother was not fully fleshed out, and their interactions suffer as a result. It's obvious the woman was very withdrawn but it would have been nice to know what was going on in her head (even if it were only through dialogue) especially since her secret is Frances' main motivation for acting as she does. But over all, the novel is nicely paced and engrossing with an interesting author's note to cap it all off. "Girl on the Golden Coin" is a recommended read. And I'm looking forward to Marci's next novel which is entitled "The Enchantress of Paris" and takes place in the Louis XIV's court. It's due out next August.