The fascinating world of 1930s Colonial India is the location of Liz Harris’s latest historical fiction novel. I’m delighted to welcome her to Author Chats, where we discuss naming characters, researching locations and yes, of course, everything you could ever want to know about life on a tea plantation. One lump or two?Author Chat
I’m delighted to welcome Philip Yorke to my blog today, as the author of the acclaimed English Civil War series, The Hacker Chronicles, and newly released Volume 2, Redemption. Philip and I share a common fascination about the impact the Civil War had on all levels of English society…and he portrays this with great flair in his fast-paced historical adventures. Join me as we chat about investigative journalism in the archives, saying goodbye to characters, and defining the real meaning of success.
Today I chat with Tammy Pasterick about her new release, Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash. Tammys’ written a heartfelt novel about the golden age of American industrialization and the emotional cost and contribution paid by the Eastern European immigrant community. We talk about the challenges of historical accuracy, looking for character’s names on the Social Security Admin’s website (great idea!) and the value of listening to beta readers.
During one of the darkest times in history, at the height of the German occupation of the Netherlands in 1943, members of the Dutch resistance began a mission to rescue Jewish children from the deportation center in Amsterdam. Heading the mission were Walter Süskind, a German Jew living in the Netherlands, Henriëtte Pimentel, a Sephardic Jew, and Johan van Hulst, principal of a Christian college. As Nazis rounded up Jewish families at gunpoint, the three discreetly moved children from the deportation center to the daycare across the street and over the backyard hedge to the college next door. From the college, the children were transported to live with Dutch families. Working against irate orders from Hitler to rid the Netherlands of all Jews and increasing Nazi hostilities on the Resistance, the trio worked tirelessly to overcome barriers. Ingenious plans were implemented to remove children’s names from the registry of captured Jews. To sneak them out of the college undetected past guards patrolling the deportation center. To meld them in with their new families to avoid detection. Based on actual events, Over the Hedge is the story of how against escalating Nazi brutality when millions of Jews were disposed of in camps, Walter Süskind, Henriëtte Pimentel, and Johan van Hulst worked heroically with the Dutch resistance to save Jewish children. But it is not just a story of their courageous endeavors. It is a story of the resilience of the human spirit. Of friendship and selfless love. The love that continues on in the hearts of over six hundred Dutch Jewish children.
This novel is available to read on #KindleUnlimited
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/me9eZr
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09BM8QVLF
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09BM8QVLF
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Over-Hedge-Paulette-Mahurin-ebook/dp/B09BM8QVLF/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B09BM8QVLF
Paulette Mahurin is an international bestselling literary fiction and historical fiction novelist. She lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science.
Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her second novel, His Name Was Ben, originally written as an award winning short story while she was in college and later expanded into a novel, rose to bestseller lists its second week out. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the bestseller lists for literary fiction and historical fiction on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K. and Amazon Australia. Her fifth book, The Day I Saw The Hummingbird, was released in 2017 to rave reviews. Her sixth book, A Different Kind of Angel, was released in the summer of 2018 also to rave reviews. Her last four books: Irma’s Endgame, The Old Gilt Clock, Where Irises Never Grow, and Over the Hedge all made it to bestselling lists on Amazon. Her new release, Over the Hedge, was #1 in Hot New Release Amazon U.K. its second day out.
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO
The very talented Amy Maroney pops in for a chat today, and shares all kinds of great stories behind her fabulous new historical fiction novel Island of Gold. Come and join us! Author Chat
I loved Annie’s newest Anglo Saxon novel, The Sins of the Father. Join us today as we chat about researching those dark and elusive times. ruthess editing (ouch, that must have hurt, Annie!) and why a Woolly Warrior watches over her when she writes.
I’m a huge fan of Amy Maroney’s “Miramonde” series, and was so excited to read the fabulous first novel in her new collection, Island of Gold. Already a best-seller, available on Amazon, read my review here, and enjoy an excerpt below!
Island of Gold
Cédric offered the falcon a strip of rabbit meat. Ignoring the tidbit, she retracted her neck low into her shoulders, plumped her feathers, and fixed him with a baleful glare.
“Still off your feed?” he asked softly. “What ails you, my girl?”
A low growl of thunder startled him. He glanced through the open door to the courtyard, where rain pummeled the cobblestones. The scent of rotting straw hung in the air. If only sunshine would break through the clouds and give the land a chance to dry out.
Then a familiar figure filled the doorway, jolting him out of his thoughts.
“Philippe?” he said in surprise. “You’re early—”
“It’s your father,” his sword master replied, breathing hard. “He’s wounded.”
Cédric dropped the pouch of meat and pushed past Philippe into the courtyard. He broke into a run when he glimpsed a guard and a servant carrying his father through the front doors of the main house.
Inside the great hall, he cleared the broad oak table near the hearth with one sweep of his arm. Pewter and crockery smashed against the tile floor. Quickly, the men settled his father on the table and removed his leather cuirass and chain-mail shirt. A deep wound gaped at his lower abdomen, leaking blood. His moans reverberated to the rafters.
Cédric yanked an embroidered flax runner off a nearby chest. It was one of the few reminders of his mother left in the house since her death on his twelfth name-day, nearly four years ago. With trembling hands, he wrapped it around his father’s waist. The mingled aromas of sweat and blood filled his nostrils.
“It was the écorcheurs,” said the guard, removing his helmet and running a hand through his matted hair. “They surprised us on the road back from the seminary.”
“They took my purse, my boots, my belt,” Papa managed to croak. “The ring off my finger. And ran me through with my own sword.”
“Those devils. I’ll kill them!” The words exploded from Cédric’s lips without warning. Philippe pressed a restraining hand on his shoulder. His heart thrummed crazily against his ribs all the same.
“Where is Yves?” Cédric demanded, tying the ends of the cloth together to bind his father’s wound. The faint outlines of pink silk roses embroidered by his mother vanished under a relentless tide of scarlet blood. His eyes burned with tears at the sight.
“Your brother went to check on the mill this morning,” Philippe said, accepting a cup of wine from a servant. “I’ve sent someone to fetch him. And the priest.”
Cédric propped up his father’s head and held the cup to his lips. He spluttered and coughed, then swallowed a bit of wine. A gust of wind swept through the doorway, the flames in the hearth dancing in response.
“These cursed rains,” Papa muttered. “There will be no harvest this year.”
Cédric stared at the fire, refusing to watch death tighten its grip on his father.
“And all the while, bandits circle like wolves.” Philippe’s voice was steady, but it held a trace of anger.
Papa sucked in a ragged breath. “My boy, look at me.”
Cédric dragged his gaze from the hearth with reluctance.
“Yves will take my place as viscount. Stéphane is safe at seminary; his path to priesthood is secure. And you—a third son, born with the least advantage.” He caught his breath, grimaced. “God forgive me, I’ve not prepared you, Cédric. You care more for falcons than swordplay. You’re not ready to enter service for a seigneur . . .”
Philippe leaned closer, covered Papa’s hand with his own. “I swear to you as a servant of the Knights Hospitaller that your son has the makings of a strong fighter. I’ll be sure his training is complete before he enters any lord’s household, my friend.”
Papa sought Cédric’s eyes again. “You can change your fate, but not if you spend your life bowing to the whims of other men, understand? One day you must make your own fortune.”
The worry and pain in his expression made Cédric’s heart twist.
“Vow it to me, son.”
“I vow it.” Cédric tried to swallow, but his throat felt dry as dust.
Papa’s face relaxed. His breath grew faint, his skin pale.
“You will make your own way in the world,” he whispered. “But first you’ll learn to live by your sword—and stay alive.”
Annie Whitehead’s brilliant new historical fiction novel The Sins of the Father releases today, and I am delighted to feature an excerpt. Annie’s writing is immersive, full of fascinating detail and completely unputdownable. Enjoy an excerpt and check out Annie’s release on Amazon US:
Ethelred, a small boy when his father fought his last major battle, has less investment in the feud between the Mercians and the Northumbrians than his elder siblings. Unsure of his place in the world, he sees his warrior brother wearing their father’s mantle and feels cold in that large shadow. Craving peace after the bloodshed he has witnessed during his brother’s recent battle campaign, he sojourns in Wales with his love, Arianwen, and finally plucks up the courage to ask her to accompany him home to Mercia:
Ethelred, Heaferth and Immin spent the evening with the other Mercian men, sitting round a brazier outside, cloaks up to keep off the light rain. Tempers were raised, and it would not have taken much for the Welsh to turn on their guests, so it was better for them to remain in the open. Ethelred was acutely aware that he had kept his men from their families too long while he recovered from his injuries, and the incident in the hall confirmed his decision that it was time to go home.
He was up not long after dawn, noting how long the sun was taking these days to get up into the morning sky. The weather remained calm, holding the woodsmoke hanging in the stillness and, even if it turned, they would make good progress this day and be well on the way before they got caught in any changes.
He loitered near Arianwen’s bower, not wishing to knock in case she was still abed, but as the daylight lifted the dark completely and shortened his shadow, there was still no noise suggesting movement within. He strolled over to the hall, but aside from a few of the Teulu nursing sore heads and picking at chunks of bread, it was empty.
There was no sign of her in the weaving sheds, nor, as far as he could see, was she on the outer edge of the woodland, and those who were watching over the pigs fattening on the acorns had not seen her. She liked to go into the woods and gather mushrooms and hazelnuts, and the morning was crisp and fresh, the ground hard underfoot. She would be tempted, if nothing else, by the chance to kick through the fallen bounty under the trees.
The season had turned sharply during the last week and the woodland floor was covered with red, gold, and brown leaves which emitted a loamy smell as he trod through them, disturbing the residue of moisture trapped there. He blew on his hands and rubbed them, then set off deeper into the woods to find her. If she had not already gathered her belongings together, she would be in a rush to be ready to leave with him and the men.
He got as far as their secret place without catching her up. Lifting up the branch that served as its doorway, he could see at a glance that she was not there, and had not been since they’d last lain there together. Straightening, he let the branch swing down, sidestepped back down to the path and looked around. Where was she?
Ethelred retraced his steps, going more slowly and looking first to one side of the path and then the other, but he heard only the occasional squeak of a shrew and the rustle of other small animals running away from the vibration of his footsteps. Emerging from the treeline, he looked up to see Dyfrig walking towards him.
The two men had hardly exchanged words in the whole time that Ethelred had been Llywarch’s guest. Ethelred wasn’t about to change that now, not on the day he was leaving anyway, but the Welshman clearly had other ideas. He opened his mouth but Ethelred decided to cut him off. “Keep any words you might have. I am on my way to seek out Llywarch, thank him and to take my leave. You will be glad to know that we are leaving this morning.”
He made to walk on, but Dyfrig put a hand on his arm. “A shame you cannot say farewell to Arianwen.”
Ethelred shook off his grip, and made a point of brushing his sleeve as if dirt had been left there. “I have no need to do so. She is coming with me.”
“You think so?”
“Lady Heledd is much stronger now.”
Dyfrig lifted his hand, inspecting that jewelled ring. “Indeed. There is to be a wedding.”
“I am glad. Bleddyn will be a fine husband for her, and I hope that in time they will be blessed with healthy bairns. Arianwen and I will come back for the wedding if we are able.”
Dyfrig lowered his hand, resting it on his belt buckle. “You know, surely, that we four grew up together? What on God’s good green earth makes you think that I speak of Heledd and Bleddyn?”
Ethelred opened his mouth to dismiss the insinuation, then closed it again. She had not answered his question, had not actually said that she wanted to go back to Mercia with him. And what of all those moments when he’d felt there was something she wasn’t telling him, about Dyfrig and his place in her life? Had Ethelred’s heart been like a harp for her, to pull on its strings only when she needed entertainment?
He stood for a moment to steady his breathing and then nodded at Dyfrig. “I wish you well. And now I must find Lord Llywarch and thank him. Let us always hope that we and the Welsh remain friends and never have to meet on the battlefield.” It was a miserable and impotent threat, but it was the best he could manage. He was in too much of a hurry to get back, say his farewells, and be on the road and some miles away before his heart shattered.
I love YA quest books, and today I’m delighted to welcome YA writer Craig Hipkins to chat about his “Clement” series. Join us as we talk about everything from cryptozoology (and why Craig would like to be a kraken) to the challenges of writing a coming-of-age romance scene.
What more can I say, than this is SUCH an entertaining read by master HistFic storyteller Anna Belfrage. So if there is ONE LAST summer read you should indulge in, grab The Whirlpools of Time now, head to the pool and dive in. To your kindle, that is. And, join us for an Author Chat here, as Anna shares stories about writing through a pandemic, choosing character’s names…and why a blue alien just isn’t going to cut it for her next medieval romance.
Author Chat | The Whirlpools of Time