Friday, April 18, 2014

Interview with an Author: D. Grant Fitter and "City of Promises"

Hello dear readers! Today I'm spotlighting D. Grant Fitter's novel of intrigue set in 1940s Mexico City, "City of Promises."

Is there an economic value of one’s soul? “By divine good fortune I live in the most glamorous era of a famously enticing city. By obscene misfortune I’m shut out by its ruling elite.” Daring ways to make it big are on offer in Mexico City in the 1940s, but best watch your back! If Arturo Fuentes barters virtue to maneuver in on the action, will the consequence of his choices be too much to bear?

The rebirth of one of the world’s most colorful cities forms the rich backdrop for this historically discerning tale of treachery, intrigue and political corruption.

CW: Welcome to the blog. You used to be a journalist, so what inspired you to turn from that to novel writing?
DGF: Transitioning from features writer to novelist is not a big change really. Nice part about it is, a novel gives the writer more space and fewer restrictions to say want he must say. For years I knew there were a few novels in me just waiting for the “right time” to make a complete commitment to them. At any rate you are asking what inspired me. Well, in my latter years a journalist, I also instructed an adult education course in creative writing for a few years at a local school board. In each semester there was always someone who surfaced as a pleasant surprise and a brilliant inspiration to everyone in the class. And sometimes one of those amazing someones would thank me for being their motivation. Me? Here I was sitting on my research, formulating ideas, getting ready and getting ready. Inspiration has this habit of sneaking up on you.

CW: What about Mexico inspires you?
DGF: I am inspired by the smiles of the people, music everywhere, amazing food and carefree fiesta, and despite the vast majority’s struggle to attain a meagre living, the Mexican capacity to celebrate the little joys of life. I know that when I function in Spanish I am a different person but can not tell you why that is. I neglected to mention the chaos of Mexico in that list. I know of one Mexican who likes to say that chaos defies description. I feel the inspiration everywhere and can’t pinpoint it, can not describe it adequately in this short answer for you.
I wrote a novel instead.

CW: Why did you decide to set your novel in the 1940s?
DGF: It is a combination of where and when, really. Mexico City has an exciting history stretching over 700 years. Numerous authors have found the ancient history a source of great interest for their writing and so there is a generous amount of stories told of these times. By the early 1500s, more populated and highly developed than say London or Paris, it was one of the world’s great cities and in the twenty first century it is once again. So there is a million stories of boom and bust, adventure and hardship to be told. It is an interesting where but the when is for me, even more-so.

The re-birth of the metropolis as we know it today, put down its roots in the first half of the twentieth century and while the rest of the world was caught up in the second great war, the city burst forth to flourish both culturally and economically.
That’s the time period I find so interesting because so much of what happened in the decade of the 40s defines that city, that nation, as it thrives today. The Mexican’s ongoing attachment with the 1940s is something more powerful than nostalgia. In many traditions, in much of the popular music and popular dance and in the defining social protocol, the 1940s lives on. I had to understand why.
I don’t know of another novelist’s effort to re-live the magic of the 1940s.    

CW: What are you reading now?
DGF: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. And before you ask, yes I do have a definite preference for historical fiction. These stories take us back in time to places we cannot go and when done right, offer us a valuable, entertaining version of how things might have been.

CW: What authors inspire you?
DGF: It would appear the theme of today’s line of questioning might be inspiration Caroline, but when it comes to other authors I do not think that for me, inspiration is the word. Over time an accumulation of writers such as John Steinbeck, Upton Sinclair and John Updike subtlety influenced my perception. This may surprise you, but journalist Andy Rooney’s keen insight and gift of persuasive delivery has been an influencer of how we might look at things. Points of view? I probably am not consciously aware but journalist Paul Harvey’s unique ability to roll out a story must work on me and then too, because you asked about my switch from journalism to novelist, Ernest Hemmingway is on this list because he has shown us it can be done. Seriously though, Hemingway is a great teacher of the power of the unspoken word or more accurately, the power of the unwritten word. And I did say is and not was, because all of his unspoken words are still out there flying around awaiting discovery.

CW: A big thanks to you for joining me today!

"City of Promises" is available now at any of the links below:

About the Author

D. Grant Fitter is a citizen of North America. Born in Ontario, Canada and educated in Colorado, USA, he is convinced he was Mexican in his previous life. How else to explain such a strong attraction to Mexico and all things Mexican, including his wife.
His business career includes long stints of work in Mexico before yielding to a pesky urge to pursue freelance journalism for seventeen years. Meanwhile, Fitter’s Mexican roots continued to call. City of Promises is the product of his curiosity to understand why the culture of our close neighbors is so distant from our own.
He lives in Toronto and whenever possible, in a sunny hillside casita in the colonial town of Taxco, Guerrero.

Author Links

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Author Spotlight: Sandi Denkers and "Waiting In Deep"

Hello folks! Today I'm spotlighting "local to me" author, Sandi Denkers and her Southern Historical novel "Waiting In Deep." It is a finalist in Foreword Review's 2013 Book of the Year Award and was longlisted for the Southern Independent Bookseller's Association Book of the Year Award.

Publisher: America Star Books
Date: June 27, 2013

In 1943, Lottie Johnson’s husband and young daughter were tragically killed. Her troubled, estranged cousin, Edgar Dewberry, is the only person who knows exactly what happened and is still trying to forget. In 1972, he returns to Mt. Brayden, South Carolina at the same time the town council wants to buy Lottie’s land for their expansion. In her anger she makes a deal with God: if he will show her, in a practical way, how to love the people she hates, she’ll do it. His answer is in the two acre garden surrounding her. Following his instructions, her life is altered with such magnitude, even the town she once hated, reaps the benefits of her obedience.

Through years of journaling, her endearing relationship with 10-year-old Rebecca, and exasperating relationship with Dovie, her hilarious neighbor, Lottie exchanges her grave clothes for more than she is capable of imagining. Waiting in Deep drops you in the center of southern culture during the 1970s; four unforgettable lives keep you there long after the last page is read.
Waiting in Deep weaves complexity with simplicity, heartache with humor, producing a remarkable story you won’t forget. Waiting in Deep’s vivid imagery and beautifully developed characters and setting, will leave you wanting more. It’s more than a story.
Amazon (Kindle ebook and paperback)
Barnes and Noble (Nook ebook and paperback)
Sandi Denkers is a graphic artist who loves to create beautiful things.
She lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina with her family. Waiting in Deep is her first novel.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Author Spotlight: "The Winter Siege" by DW Bradbridge

Today's Author Spotlight shines on D.W. Bradbridge and his novel of the English Civil War "The Winter Siege."

Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Electric Reads
Paperback; 488p
ISBN-10: 14927957121643. The armies of King Charles I and Parliament clash in the streets and fields of England, threatening to tear the country apart, as winter closes in around the parliamentary stronghold of Nantwich. The royalists have pillaged the town before, and now, they are returning. But even with weeks to prepare before the Civil War is once more at its gates, that doesn’t mean the people of Nantwich are safe.
While the garrison of soldiers commanded by Colonel George Booth stand guard, the town’s residents wait, eyeing the outside world with unease, unaware that they face a deadly threat from within. Townspeople are being murdered – the red sashes of the royalists left on the bodies marking them as traitors to the parliamentary cause.
When the first dead man is found, his skull caved in with a rock, fingers start being pointed, and old hatreds rise to the surface. It falls to Constable Daniel Cheswis to contain the bloodshed, deputising his friend, Alexander Clowes, to help him in his investigations, carried out with the eyes of both armies on his back. And they are not the only ones watching him.
He is surrounded by enemies, and between preparing for the imminent battle, watching over his family, being reunited with his long-lost sweetheart, and trying, somehow, to stay in business, he barely has time to solve a murder.
With few clues and the constant distraction of war, can Cheswis protect the people of Nantwich? And which among them need protecting? Whether they are old friends or troubled family, in these treacherous times, everyone’s a traitor, in war, law, or love.
When the Winter Siege is through, who will be among the bodies?

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

About the Author

D.W. Bradbridge was born in 1960 and grew up in Bolton. He has lived in Crewe, Cheshire since 2000, where he and his wife run a small magazine publishing business for the automotive industry.
“The inspiration for The Winter Siege came from a long-standing interest in genealogy and local history. My research led me to the realisation that the experience endured by the people of Nantwich during December and January 1643-44 was a story worth telling. I also realised that the closed, tension-filled environment of the month-long siege provided the ideal setting for a crime novel.
“History is a fascinating tool for the novelist. It consists only of what is remembered and written down, and contemporary accounts are often written by those who have their own stories to tell. But what about those stories which were forgotten and became lost in the mists of time?
“In writing The Winter Siege, my aim was to take the framework of real history and fill in the gaps with a story of what could, or might have happened. Is it history or fiction? It’s for the reader to decide.”
For more information please visit D.W. Bradbridge’s website. You can also find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, April 7Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, April 8Review at Must Read Faster
Wednesday, April 9Review at Staircase Wit
Friday, April 11Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Monday, April 14Review at Princess of Eboli
Wednesday, April 16Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes
Interview at Layered Pages
Thursday, April 17Interview at MK McClintock Blog
Review & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Friday, April 18Review at bookramblings
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and View

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Author Spotlight: Carol Cram's "The Towers of Tuscany"

Today's spotlight is on Carol Cram and her new novel "Towers of Tuscany." Called "a beautifully crafted masterpiece of historical fiction", "lush", and "page-turning" Cram's debut novel will appeal to readers who enjoy a strong female lead who, against great odds, dares to follow a dream. The Towers of Tuscany includes a Reader's Guide making it a perfect Book Club pick! .

  The Towers of Tuscany
Publication Date: January 23, 2014 New Arcadia Publishing

Formats: Paperback, Ebook Genre: Historical Fiction

Set amid the twisting streets and sunlit piazzas of medieval Italy, the Towers of Tuscany tells the story of a woman who dares to follow her own path in the all-male domain of the painter’s workshop. Sofia Barducci is born into a world where a woman is only as good as the man who cares for her, but she still claims the right to make her own mistakes. Her first mistake is convincing her father to let her marry Giorgio Carelli, a wealthy saffron merchant in San Gimignano, the Tuscan city of towers. Trained in secret by her father to create the beautifully-crafted panels and altarpieces acclaimed today as masterpieces of late medieval art, Sofia’s desire for freedom from her father’s workshop leads her to betray her passion and sink into a life of loveless drudgery with a husband who comes to despise her when she does not produce a son. In an attack motivated by vendetta, Sofia’s father is crushed by his own fresco, compelling Sofia to act or risk the death of her soul. The choice she makes takes her on a journey from misery to the heights of passion—both as a painter and as a woman. Sofia escapes to Siena where, disguised as a boy, she paints again. When her work attracts the notice of a nobleman who discovers the woman under the dirty smock, Sofia is faced with a choice that nearly destroys her. The Towers of Tuscany unites a strong heroine with meticulously researched settings and compelling characters drawn from the rich tapestry of medieval Italy during one of Europe's most turbulent centuries. The stylishly written plot is packed with enough twists and turns to keep readers up long past their bedtimes.
The Towers of Tuscany

Praise for The Towers of Tuscany

“The Towers of Tuscany is a delightful escape to the Siena we all love. Carol Cram has crafted a delicious story about a strong woman torn between her secret past, her love of painting and the forbidden charms of her rich patron. Hard to resist and highly recommended!” - Anne Fortier, Author of The Lost Sisterhood and the New York Times bestseller, Juliet “Carol Cram's lush descriptions and intriguing characters bring this dramatic tale of medieval Tuscany to life. If you love Italian art, a feisty heroine, and a page-turning plot, you will adore this novel.” – Deborah Swift, Author of A Divided Inheritance "The Towers of Tuscany has all the elements of a wonderful historical novel?a talented, frustrated heroine, a treacherous, feckless husband, and a promise to a dying, much loved father who orders the heroine on a dangerous mission. Carol is a first rate storyteller. The research is well done. Every chapter displays a fine knowledge of painting technique of the 14th century, and customs and mores of the age. The details of dress, fabric, food, are flawless. The clever dialogue and fast pace make the novel zing along." - Roberta Rich, Author of The Midwife of Venice and The Harem Midwife “Sofia will set your heart racing as she attempts to find what we all, in our own ways, strive to seek: love, resolution, and artistic freedom. The legacy of this story will leave you yearning for more.” – Cathleen With, award-winning author of Having Faith in the Polar Girls’ Prison

Buy the Book

Amazon (Ebook) Amazon (Paperback) Barnes & Noble Book Depository IndieBound

About the Author

Carol Cram

Carol M. Cram has enjoyed a great career as an educator, teaching at Capilano University in North Vancouver for over twenty years and authoring forty-plus bestselling textbooks on business communications and software applications. She holds an MA in Drama from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Carol is currently focusing as much of her attention as she can spare between walks in the woods on writing historical novels with an arts twist. She and her husband, painter Gregg Simpson, share a life on beautiful Bowen Island near Vancouver, Canada.

Author Links

Website Blog Goodreads Facebook Twitter

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, April 7 Literary Chanteuse Bibliophilia, Please Cheryl's Book Nook A Bibliotaph's Reviews Confessions of an Avid Reader Tuesday, April 8 Mari Reads Peeking Between the Pages History From a Woman's Perspective Wednesday, April 9 Reviews by Molly Susan Heim on Writing Oh, For the Hook of a Book Thursday, April 10 Passages to the Past Book Lovers Paradise To Read or Not to Read Curling Up With a Good Book Friday, April 11 Words and Peace The Mad Reviewer Historical Fiction Obsession Saturday, April 12 Book Nerd Layered Pages Princess of Eboli Kelsey's Book Corner Sunday, April 13 West Metro Mommy The True Book Addict Caroline Wilson Writes


To enter to win one of 3 copies of The Towers of Tuscany please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on April 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on April 14th and notified via email. Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Author Spotlight: H.H. Miller and "Inscription"

Today's Author Spotlight is on H.H, Miller and her new historical fantasy "Inscription."

Publication: January 9, 2014
H.H Miller
Paperback; 278p
ISBN-10: 0615944418

eBook; 700kb

The year is 1851 and the Grand Guard is ravaging Mainland. Arrests. Floggings. Swift executions. Twenty-year-old Caris McKay, the beautiful heiress of Oakside Manor, is sent to live with distant relations until the danger has passed. It's no refuge, however, as Lady Granville and her scheming son plot to get their hands on Caris's inheritance with treachery and deceit.

Soon, alarming news arrives that the ruthless Captain James Maldoro has seized Oakside and imprisoned Caris's beloved uncle. And now he's after her.

Caris escapes with the help of Tom Granville, the enigmatic silver-eyed heir of Thornbridge. But when a cryptic note about a hidden fortune launches them on a perilous journey across Mainland, Caris and Tom must rely on wits, courage, and their growing love for each other if they hope to survive.

Filled with adventure, intrigue, and romance, Inscription will transport you to a historically fictional world you'll never want to leave.


Buy the Book

Amazon (eBook)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble

About the Author

H.H. Miller Author

H. H. Miller is the author of the novel Inscription, a historically fictional romantic adventure. In real life, she's content director at Stoke Strategy, a brand strategy firm in Seattle, Washington, where she specializes in transforming what some might call "boring" technology jargon into compelling, readable, memorable stories. Her favorite escape is Manzanita, Oregon - a place of beautiful beaches, wild storms, chilly nights around the bonfire (even in July), and time to enjoy life with her husband and three children.

For more information please visit H.H. Miller's Facebook Page.

Other book blogs participating in this event...

Monday, March 31
A Bookish Affair
Closed the Cover
Mina's Bookshelf

Tuesday, April 1
Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, April 2
Book Nerd
CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, April 3
Flashlight Commentary

Friday, April 4
The Mad Reviewer
Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Saturday, April 5
Pages of Comfort

Sunday, April 6
So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, April 7
Confessions of an Avid Reader
History from a Woman's Perspective

Tuesday, April 8
The True Book Addict
Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, April 9
Broken Teepee

Thursday, April 10
SOS Aloha
Caroline Wilson Writes

Friday, April 11
Layered Pages

Saturday, April 12
Susan Heim on Writing
Curling Up With a Good Book

Sunday, April 13
Passages to the Past

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To enter to win one of 2 copies of Inscription please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on April 13th.. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on April 14th and notifiied via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 24, 2014

Interview with an Author: Peter Danish

Hello dear readers!

Today is Monday and therefore not very exciting, right? I disagree because today marks the first of a new series called "Interview with an Author." Very unique, I know.

To kick off this series, I'd like to introduce Peter Danish. His recently published novel "The Tenor" is a sweeping historical much in the same vein of "Captain Correlli's Mandolin" but instead focuses on opera. So here we go!

Me: What inspired you to write "The Tenor"?

Peter: THE TENOR is very loosely based on a true story that I originally learned from Arianna Stassinopoulos (now more famously known as Arianna Huffington, of Huffington Post fame) and her biography of Maria Callas.   But when I read a half dozen other accounts of her life, none of them mentioned him!  So I sought out an old family friend who was a personal friend of Callas (actually a friend of my ex-in-laws  - yes, I cared enough to reach out to my ex-in-laws!) He informed me that the story was indeed true, and not only had the soldier existed, but Maria had a school-girl crush on him!  And that the two of them often sang together!  The fact that they sang together struck me deeply.  I just knew he had to be a fellow opera singer, because only another opera singer would have recognized the subtleties, the nuances that separate the good from the great and the great from the once-in-a-lifetime voices.

Me: Did you have an interest in opera before conceiving the plot for "The Tenor"?

Peter: I’ve been an opera buff since grammar school, but I didn’t come to it from a classical music education.  I came to it from a couple of rock bands back in the 70s that did rock versions of classical pieces.  Emerson, Lake and Palmer did killer rock versions of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” and Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown,” and “Fanfare for the Common Man.”   They inspired me to look up the original versions – and I loved them!   My interest in opera started with a band called Renaissance and their incredible singer Annie Haslam.  Annie was a trained opera singer who went pop – possibly the first classical-crossover singer!   I heard her on a radio show one day singing an opera aria called:  “O mio babbino caro,” and I had to get a recording of it.   So I got my Dad to drive me to Sam Goody’s record store.  I knew NOTHING about opera or the aria, so I asked the salesman for help.   He directed us to the Puccini section where we lost our minds!   There were literally hundreds of albums that had “O mio babbino!”  So I asked my Dad for advice.  He said in his inimitable homespun way:  “I don’t know squat about opera, but I think when it comes to opera, when in doubt, go with the fattest chick you can find!”   So I did!  And Monserrat Caballe’s Puccini collection became my first Opera purchase.  It was magical! And the rest is history.

Me: What sources did you consult during your research? Did you travel any to conduct your research?

Peter: The research for The Tenor was done largely in Italy and Greece. In all, I took over a half dozen trips there to complete the research.  The book has three parts: part one takes place in Italy in the 1930s, in the breath-taking Appennine Mountains in the north.  The second part takes place in Athens in 1941, when the Italian Army was the occupational force left behind by the Germans after the Nazis had overrun Greece.  Part three takes place in New York City in 1965, amid Beatlemania, The World’s Fair, the Civil Rights Movement and most importantly to our story, the return of Maria Callas to the Metropolitan Opera after being banned for nearly a decade.   Italy and Greece are almost indescribably beautiful and the research was pure joy.  Italy of the 30s, where our protagonist grew up, is idyllic and the village where he was raised could be straight out of “The Sound of Music”.   Athens, 1941, is the diametric opposite.   There is rampant starvation, people begging in the streets, dead bodies piling up on the curb.  The juxtaposition of the stunningly beautiful Italian mountain village against the horror of WWII Athens is critical to the story.  Our protagonist, Pino, has led a charmed life in a magical place and suddenly finds his world turned upside down.  He’s no longer and artist, he’s a soldier.  The beautiful vistas have been replaced by starving children begging in the streets and the bodies of those who have starved to death littering the sidewalks.  Pino is completely ill-equipped for this new world, this new reality.    Meeting dozens of old folks who were there at the time, who had lived through the occupation was by far the most rewarding part of the research.  I often played dominoes and backgammon in the parks with them for hours on end, and listened to their stories.   They were priceless.  In fact they were so special that I have incorporated many of the stories and even the people into THE TENOR.  I have compressed several people into characters in the book.  I think you will be able to figure out who are the real characters without too much difficulty!

Me: What books or authors have influenced you?

Peter: I started reading very young and by the 3rd grade I had consumed most of Agatha Christie’s mysteries and all of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.  Shortly after, Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels became an obsession.  I still love a good detective story a good mystery, but in truth, even though there are now literally thousands of titles in that genre – and I’ve probably read several hundred of them – very very few stick with you.   I was talking to a group of writers at a conference a while back and Dean Koontz’ name came up.   He’s sold a gazillion books and made more money than God or the Rolling Stones, and I’ve probably read over a dozen of them.  But as we speak, I could not tell you what even one of them was about.   While I could tell you the plots of virtually every single Sherlock Holmes story ever written.  For me, discovering Russian literature was the turning point.  It happened in High School and the first novel was Anna Karennina.  After that, it was Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment.  Then I discovered Puskin and his verse novels.  Finally came War and Peace – easily my favorite book of all time.  I find myself quoting from it constantly, over thirty years after I first read it!

In the last ten years or so, I’ve found myself drawn to magical realism more than any other genre.  Partly because it is so infrequently successful.   In fact, I think you can probably name on one hand – maybe two hands - all the masterpieces of the genre – but those few, those happy few! Magical Realism is a style that is almost exclusively unique to the printed page and by extension to the mind’s eye of the reader.   That makes it very special.  The images that the mind conjures up while reading Mark Helprin’s “Winter’s Tale” or Gabriel Garcia Marquez “100 Years of Solitude” still give me goosebumps just thinking of them years and year later.  The first time that Athansor (Peter Lake’s horse) flies, I held my breath and almost forgot to start breathing again.  The swarm of yellow butterflies from 100 Years of Solitude still brings a smile to my lips and tears to the eyes.   The impossible and the implausible, the very laws of physics fall before the imagination and the craft of the author.  That is what make Magical Realism so wonderful.

Me: What are you reading now?
Peter: I’m reading a collection of Ray Bradbury short stories.  His literary skills aside, his storytelling abilities are extraordinary.  He can take on virtually any genre or subject matter and spin a gripping tale around it.  It’s an education for me.   I recently finished Dan Brown’s Inferno and thought it was the worst piece of crap I’ve read in a really long time.  I didn’t care for his last book either, but I thought I’d give it another chance.
I also LOVE reading collected letters of historical figures.  I’ve just finished the Leonard Bernstein Letters and it was incredible!

The almost absurd collection of famous people he counted among his close friends is staggering.  But the most enjoyable part of the book is hearing what really ‘normal’ people these giants of history, art, culture, politics really are!   In one week he wrote or received letters from Stephen Sondhiem, Boris Pasternak, Aaron Copland, Frank Sinatra, Marnie Nixon and Georg Solti – quoting the Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty Four!”   The collected correspondence of famous figures reflects a completely different time in history, a time of writing and of letters.   The digital revolution is of course a wonder of convenience, but what will future generations be left with?   The collected tweets of Dan Brown and AK Rawlings?

So there you have it folks. I'd like to thank Peter for swinging by the blog and spending time with us all. For more information on Peter and his debut novel "The Tenor", visit his website. "The Tenor" is available at Amazon.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Author Spotlight: Nancy Bilyeau's "The Chalice"

The new novel The Chalice, by Nancy Bilyeau, sends readers on a page-turning historical quest. Set in Henry VIII's England, the story is driven by plot twists, deceptions, spiritual searching and romantic tension. Readers fall in love with protagonist Joanna Stafford, a Catholic novice forced to leave her priory and find her answers. "She is strong and determined and very likable," says one blogger. "Exhilarating," says Good Housekeeping, and "The novel is riveting and provides fascinating insight into into the lives of displaced nuns and priests, with fully realized characters," says RT Book Reviews. Launching in paperback on March 18 and available in ebook too.

The Chalice
The Chalice
by Nancy Bilyeau

Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Touchstone Publishing
Paperback; 496p
ISBN-10: 1476708665

Series: Joanna Stafford, Book Two
Genre: Historical Mystery


Between the crown and the cross stands one woman...

IN 1538, ENGLAND is in the midst of bloody power struggles that threaten to tear the country apart. Aristocrat-turned-novice Joanna Stafford knows what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment when she is caught up in an international plot targeting the king. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers.

Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII, as well as the future of Christendom, are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lies at the center of these deadly prophecies...


Praise for The Chalice

"A brilliant and gripping page-turner…A fascinating blend of politics, religion, mysticism and personal turmoil. Well-researched and filled with sumptuous detail, it follows Joanna’s early life from Bilyeau’s d├ębut novel, The Crown, but this book easily stands on its own. Bilyeau fills in the blanks from her earlier work while leaving the reader both wanting to read the first book and eagerly awaiting the next. This is a must-read for lovers of historical fiction." – Free Lance-Star

"English history buffs and mystery fans alike will revel in Nancy Bilyeau's richly detailed sequel to The Crown." – Parade

"The novel is riveting, and provides fascinating insight into the lives of displaced nuns and priests during the tumultuous Tudor period. Bilyeau creates fully realized characters, with complex actions and emotions, driving the machinations of these historic personages." – RT Book Reviews, (Top Pick)

"The human and political battles of Henry VIII's reformation are brought to exhilarating life in The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau." – Good Housekeeping UK, April 2014

"Bilyeau sends her plucky former novice back into the intrigue-laden court of Henry VIII." – Entertainment Weekly

"Bilyeau continues from her first novel the subtle, complex development of Joanna’s character and combines that with a fast-paced, unexpected plot to hold the reader’s interest on every page . . . history and supernatural mysticism combine in this compelling thriller." – Historical Novel Society

"Joanna Stafford is a young novice caught up in power struggles familiar to readers of Hilary Mantel and C.J. Sansom, but with elements of magic that echo the historical thrillers of Kate Mosse." – S.J. Parris, author of 'Heresy,' 'Prophecy' and 'Sacrilege'

"[A] layered book of historical suspense." – Kirkus Reviews

"The Chalice is an engrossing mix of the complicated politics of the Reformation with the magical elements of the Dominican order, and Joanna--fiery, passionate, determined to honor what she thinks God wants her to do--is a fascinating character. Fans of historical mysteries, Tudor politics and supernatural fiction will all be pleased by the broad scope, quick-moving plot and historical integrity of Bilyeau's second novel." – Shelf Awareness

Watch the Book Trailer



Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble
Simon & Schuster

About the Author
Nancy Bilyeau

Nancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies Home Journal. She is currently the executive editor of DuJour magazine. Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her screenplay "Zenobia" placed with the American Zoetrope competition, and "Loving Marys" reached the finalist stage of Scriptapalooza. A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013.

Some earlier milestones: In 1661, Nancy's ancestor, Pierre Billiou, emigrated from France to what was then New Amsterdam when he and his family sailed on the St. Jean de Baptiste to escape persecution for their Protestant beliefs. Pierre built the first stone house on Staten Island and is considered the borough's founder. His little white house is on the national register of historic homes and is still standing to this day.

Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children.


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Nancy Bilyeau Gives an Inside Peek Behind THE CHALICE