Monday, November 19, 2018

History, books, and gifts



I'm pleased to welcome historical author Tom Williams to talk about his books. And soon, "'tis the season to be jolly", as they say, and if you're looking for a gift do consider books - a series of historical novels for your history buff - inexpensive and impressive - what more can you ask for? :-)

Christmas is coming and already the Sunday newspapers are full of supplements about the books that you could give as Christmas gifts.

As somebody published by a smaller press – Endeavour Media – I'm very aware that my books aren’t about to feature in The Sunday Times, but Jennifer Macaire has kindly offered me a showcase almost as good as that newspaper by letting me talk about my books on her blog.

cawnpore

There are six books altogether, three about the Napoleonic-era spy James Burke, and three rather more serious ones set in the mid-19th century at the high watermark of Empire. I'd love to talk about them all, but I've chosen just one – my favourite, Cawnpore.

Although Cawnpore is the second of my books to be narrated by the fictional John Williamson, everything I have written stands alone, so you can enjoy it even if you haven't read any of the others.

Cawnpore is a story about the Indian Mutiny (or First Indian War of Independence). When I wrote it, I thought everybody would understand that it was going to be a tragedy because when I was a child we were still taught about Cawnpore (now called Kanpur) at school. It was one of the most famous massacres of the British Empire – by which I mean a massacre in which local people were killing the British, rather than the other way about. It turns out that nowadays people are blissfully unaware of the implications of the title, so some of them seem to have been taken aback when, essentially, everybody dies. That may be a spoiler, but the way things work out in the book was never intended to be a surprise. The story is closely based on an actual historical event and “everybody dies” is what this historical event was all about.

What intrigued me about Cawnpore was that the horror seems to have arisen from the structural problems of colonialism. The British at Cawnpore were not generally bad people and the leaders of the Mutiny were not, by and large, the monsters that they were later represented as. The events that led to slaughter on a horrific scale, carried out across India by both Indians and Europeans, seem to have been the inevitable result of a clash of cultures. Certainly the British did exploit India economically, but Indian rulers had exploited their populations for centuries without rousing the people to revolt. When the British had first arrived in India, they had shown a lot of respect for native customs and culture, but, over time, muscular Christianity and the growing self-confidence of the British in their natural “right to rule” led to increasing contempt for the Indian way of life. Even what the British saw as positive steps, such as the banning of suttee (widow burning), were resented when they showed contempt for ancient customs.

I invented John Williamson because I needed a narrator for my first book, The White Rajah. The real White Rajah, James Brooke, had an interpreter called John Williamson so I stole the name and job and then invented a character who was close to James Brooke and could tell us his story. When I wanted to set a novel in the Indian Mutiny, Williamsonseemed the ideal person to tell this story. Although he was part of the machinery of Empire, he was himself an outsider. He was a  homosexual with working class origins and he was never going to be truly comfortable with the men who ruled India. In fact, his only true friend was an Indian, a prince in the court of Nana Sahib, the man who would eventually lead the Indians at the massacre of Cawnpore. Williamson therefore sees both sides of the conflict, sympathising with each in turn, desperate to stop the killing but, in the end, doomed to see the tragedy unfold without being able to prevent the atrocities of Indians and Europeans.



toim


It’s not a cheerful book. Most of the characters are real people and the events follow very closely on the historical facts, but the story really centres on Williamson. We see India and the events of the Mutiny through his eyes and I felt I grew to know him. It’s also an amazing story, for which I can take very little credit, because the story is the one history wrote for me. The Indian Mutiny was a war where the personalities of individual leaders made a huge difference to the outcome. People decided their loyalties based as much on their evaluation of the personal worth of the protagonists as on race or creed. It was a time of deeds of great military valour and courage and, on both sides, a time of appalling cruelty and mass killings. It was, indeed, a clash of civilisations. It ended the rule of the East India Company, which had run India as a private fiefdom, and initiated the period of Imperial rule and the Raj. It also, though no one could have known it at the time, started India on the road to eventual independence and the end of the princely states. It is one of the great stories of the 19th century and, with Cawnpore I’ve tried to capture something of that story.

I hope you read it. Let me know what you think.

Important bit

Cawnpore is available in paperback or as an e-book. The paperback is a ridiculously cheap £5.99, putting it at stocking-filler prices when it comes to Christmas gifts.
The paperback has a different (and rather lovely) cover in the US, where it is distributed by Simon & Schuster.

Keep in touch

Cawnpore
I blog, mainly about history but other things too – like tango . Have a look at http://tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk/blog/
There’s a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTomWilliams/
I tweet as @TomCW99.
If you want to contact me directly, you can email me at tom@tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk

Finally

A huge ‘thank you’ to Jennifer Macaire for giving me space to talk about one of my books

Friday, November 16, 2018

Behind the Iron Cross by Nicole Cameron

BEHIND THE IRON CROSS by NICOLA CAMERON


Hello, and thanks so much for having me on today! While Behind the Iron Cross is my tenth
romance novel to be published, it was actually the first one I ever wrote. I started it in 2012,
picking at it in fits and starts while working on my other books, and finally finished it in 2018.
In hindsight this is a good thing because I needed some serious novel writing chops, far more than
I had in 2012, to pull this story off properly. The experience I’ve gained in the last six years is
what made this book possible, and I’m very happy that it’s now available to readers.

Also, it means that my editor will stop nagging me to finish it. (Love you, Theresa!)




In the hedonistic wonderland of Cabaret-era Berlin…
                                     …where money can buy you anything you desire…
                                     …and love comes with a pink rose and a practiced smile…

The year is 1923, the Great War is over, and Berlin has become the manic playground of Europe’s elite. Against a glittering background of nightclubs and hot jazz, a sensual American heiress, a wounded playboy, and a desperate German army officer forge a decadent pact of pleasure. But their nights of uninhibited passion soon lead to a forbidden emotional connection, one that will threaten their future … and their lives.

Excerpt available here.
  • Historical Romance, Erotic Romance, MMF
  • Word Count: 105,000
  • Heat Level 4
  • Published By: Belaurient Press

Where to Buy


Excerpt

Katherine Tracy took a deep drag of her cigarette, letting the smoke trickle out slowly
through her nostrils. It had been a long day of business meetings with a German manufacturing
company eager to repair its war-damaged finances by partnering with her Uncle William’s
company, Tracy Electric. She’d done her job as the company’s duly designated
representative, and now she wanted some entertainment.
Although she was starting to doubt they’d find it at the Cupid Club. “Darling, I’m bored,” she
said to the handsome man sitting at her side. “I thought we were going somewhere amusing.”
Sam Harrison gave her a lazy smile. “We’ve only been here for a few minutes, sweetheart.
Give the talent a chance to circulate.”
She glanced around the room, wondering if he was right. The club was dark and smoky, the
dim light hiding the cherub-heavy decor and prompting the customers to focus on the stage
where a redheaded singer in a long silver gown was crooning, “Just a Girl That Men Forget.”
The fact that the singer was a husky contralto and her Adam’s apple could be seen under
the diamanté choker she wore was part of the club’s louche charm, Kat assumed.
It was a reminder that Berlin was a world away from Bridgeport, Connecticut, in more ways
than one. The aftermath of the Great War had wreaked economic havoc on Europe, and a
conquered Germany was the hardest hit of the countries on the losing side. With the
abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II and an economy in ruins due to catastrophic war reparations,
Germany had struggled to put together its first democratically elected government, the
Weimar Republic, under the leadership of Friedrich Ebert.
By 1922, the new parliament had their hands full trying to rein in a galloping hyperinflation,
all while dealing with political and military uprisings throughout the country. Staid Prussian
social mores were abandoned as quaint holdovers of a bygone age, and the urban centers
of the country developed a more freewheeling mindset. Berlin in particular had given up any
attempts at censorship under the Republic. It was the cuckoo’s egg in the nest of the German
Reich, and musicians, artists, and writers flocked there, eager to enjoy this mad new freedom.
They weren’t alone; philosophers and scientists also rushed to study the fascinating social
experiment that was Berlin.
That was the bright aspect of the city. On its darker side, Berlin had become a hunting ground
for those with money and a taste for more sordid pleasures. Here, avid partiers could listen to
the hottest jazz, indulge in their drug of choice, and have any kind of sex they craved.
Especially if it was the kind of sex that was illegal at home. As Kat finished her champagne,
a handsome young waiter dressed in a brief drape of white fabric and nothing else appeared
at the table. Plucking the waiting bottle from its stand, he poured more of the sparkling wine
into her glass, leaning over to show off a muscled back and a firm, rounded ass. From the
corner of her eye, she noticed Sam’s admiration of the fit male flesh on display.
The waiter also noticed this and made sure to brush against Sam’s arm as he sashayed away
from the table. Amused, she saluted her fiancé with her glass. “He’s certainly pretty.”
Sam rolled his eyes. “And probably carrying every social disease known to mankind.
Besides, I know the type. He’d run screaming the moment you pulled out the ropes.”
“Not if I gagged him first.”





Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Storm in our Chests by Enrique Betancourt


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enrique Betancourt will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

After being separated abruptly, best friends Benj and Élan reunite after five years. They are not children anymore, and teenage and experience changed them.

Benj used to be an isolated antisocial child, now he’s popular and outgoing, leaving for college in the following year.

Élan used to be chipper, now he’s sad and insecure after years of being tossed around the foster system and realizing he is gay, crushing on a boy he thinks is unattainable.

Their reunion proves to be a challenge as they are the polar opposites of how they knew each other, the journey to healing and proves to be tough. Bonding again may be the only thing that saves them. Through small moments and swift dramatic turns, Benj and Élan will have to prove they are more than friends - they are buddies, and the epitome of unconditional love.

Read an Excerpt:

BENJ

“Please! Don’t take my best friend away!”

I remember. Vividly.

It was a scream that tore my vocal cords to shreds as I ran as fast as I could, as far as my young thirteen year old legs could take me. I remember. Sometimes I still dream about it, most times it’s just a repressed memory, sometimes it’s burning in my mind so badly that I have to wake up or else I’d drown in my sleep. I know that I wouldn’t actually drown, but it feels like I would. Can someone actually drown in their sleep? I don’t want to test that theory. Sometimes I’m afraid my mind would decide that it’s had enough and return to that day, that moment. It’s hard to explain, but it’s an intense feeling of helplessness. Of uselessness.

“Please! Please! Don’t take my best friend away!” I hear a beating, the drumming of my heart that threatened to break my ribcage, as I hear myself with a younger prepubescent voice scream against the cold air, watching as they drive away. I try to run faster. I try to save him. I try to be Superman. But I’m not. I can’t reach the car, I can’t reach it as it enters the highway and I see him for the last time. His eyes, tear-filled eyes, against the back window of the car, looking at me. Waiting for me to save him. But I can’t save him.

I’m not Superman. He was.

He was my Superman.

About the Author:
I am the published writer of a novel called THE IMAGINARIUM OF THE INNOCENT by Austin Macauley Publishers, and also I have been awarded the Rosa Maria Porrúa Award for my Spanish-language novella SOBRE LAS CENIZAS. My books stand out for their literacy excellence that got me an award, and the dramatic and emotional way I handle my characters. I am Mexican who lived 6 years in the United States, I love to read, to write and music is such a powerful inspiring force for me.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7370307.Enrique_A_Betancourt
Twitter: https://twitter.com/enribetan

Purchase Links:

Barnes & Noble (Nook): https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1129696264…
Amazon (Kindle): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HMNTR63/
Apple Books / iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/…/the-storm-in-our-c…/id1438271505…
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ww/en/ebook/the-storm-in-our-chests

Enrique Betancourt will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Without Condition by Lynne Burke

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#Contemporary #Erotic #Romance #Suspense #Series #HEA #MayDecember



Without Condition
Sandy Ridge 3
Heat Level: 4
Release Date: November 14, 2018




*Be warned: Anal sex, spanking
Nothing but Kayla’s fingers and not-so-trusty vibrator have given her an orgasm in
almost a year, and the one man she’s hell-bent on breaking her losing streak hides
behind his badge.
Detective “Hottie Pants” Ford thwarts her every attempt at seduction, and even though
vandalisms, a trashed apartment, and physical assault keeps throwing them together,
he refuses to attempt a relationship ever again.

She sees past his façade into the man hiding his pain behind unbreakable rules and
inflexible conditions, but even after the fiery chemistry between them ignites, she
struggles to prove to him she is nothing like the woman who jaded him for life.

Heartbroken, Kayla decides on a vacation to help her peace of mind—and ends up
at Sandy Ridge. With danger hot on her heels, can the man she turns to first recognize
Kayla for who she is? Will he give her the chance she needs to let him know she wants
him without condition, before it’s too late? 

​PURCHASE LINKS:








Having read the first two books in the series, I was eager to find out what happens
with Kayla!
She and her two best friends opened an art studio- and in book one it was
vandalized. The culpret is still at large, and someone is still making trouble for
Kayla. Luckily, the cop on the job is Detective Ford, the man who has captured
Kayla's heart. But despite her attempts at seduction, Ford remains aloof.
What gives?
This is a scorching conclusion to a hot and steamy trilogy -
with a happy ever after ending, of course!
The chemistry between the characters is super hot - Ms Burke has written
another winner!


ABOUT LYNN BURKE:


Lynn Burke is a full time mother, voracious gardener, and scribbler of spicy
romance stories.
A country bumpkin turned Bay Stater, she enjoys her chowdah and
Dunkin Donuts when not trying to escape the reality of city life.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Musing about the Muses!

Musing about muses (for the Time for Alexander series)

It’s winter, the equinox has passed, and now the days are getting longer. I sacrificed a bar of chocolate upon the altar of Persephone to welcome the rebirth of a new year. Actually, I’ve been knee-deep in edits, on the phone with my incredible editor every day, debating on where to put commas (actually there is no debate, she says “put one there” and I put); finding typos (if she says “put” and I putt, I expect my readers will be confused); untangling complicated sentences (no one wants to spend five minutes figuring out who is saying what about what); and generally smoothing out the books in the series. Let us sacrifice another bar of chocolate to the nine muses, who help us in our artistic creations. In ancient days, the muses were invoked by the artist to help him. For example:

Homer in The Iliad begins many of his stanzas by invoking the muses to help him tell the tale: “Tell me now, Muses who have homes on Olympus...”

The first lines of The Iliad invokes the muses: “Sing, O goddess, the destructive wrath of Achilles, son of Peleus, which brought countless woes upon the Greeks, and hurled many valiant souls of heroes down to Hades…”

And in The Odyssey, “Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending, the wanderer, harried for years on end, after he plundered the stronghold on the proud height of Troy.”

We say we’ve “lost our muse” when we can’t create, we muse, are amused, bemused, and we go to museums. Museum is from Greek mouseion “place of study, library”, originally “a seat or shrine of the Muses,” from Mousa “Muse”.

Here are the nine muses, and the art they represent:

Thalia (“The Cheerful One”) was the Muse of Comedy;
Urania (“The Heavenly One”) was the Muse of Astronomy, and you can often see her holding a globe;
Melpomene (“She Who Sings”) was the Muse of Tragedy;
Polyhymnia (“She of the Many Hymns”) was the Muse of Hymns and sacred poetry;
Erato (“The Lovely One”) was the Muse of Lyric Poetry;
Calliope (“The One with a Beautiful Voice”) was the Muse of Epic Poetry; Hesiod claims that she was the foremost among the nine, since “she attends on worshipful princes”;
Clio (“The Celebrator,”) was the Muse of History;
Euterpe (“She Who Pleases”), was the Muse of Flute-playing;
Terpsichore (“The One Delighting in the Dance”), was the Muse of Choral Lyric and Dancing.

A word to remember the names of the Muses uses the first letters from their names: TUM PECCET, which Latin students everywhere know means 'He (who) sins (makes a mistake), will sin (make a mistake)', but as a pun can mean, 'If you get it wrong, you'll make a mistake', meaning that if you can remember TUM PECCET, you can't forget the names of the muses!

The Muses may have had Mnemosyne, the goddess of Memory, as their mother-however, their mission was to make people forget their sorrows and cares. Even now, when we're feeling blue, art and music can lift our spirits. Let's sacrifice another bar of chocolate to the muses!


Excerpt:

Alexander loved when I sang. He adored rock and roll songs, soft ballads, and opera arias. The music they played in Alexander’s time was heavy on percussion, strings, woodwinds, and brass. Choruses were popular, and the music would give me shivers. It could be amazing, especially when the trumpets sounded. I loved the sweet music of the harps and flutes, and there were reed instruments like oboes, included at every banquet. However, music was also commonplace with the soldiers singing as they marched or worked. People sang as they went about their everyday business. And children were taught with songs, as I found out when Callisthenes came for my first lesson.
We had stopped for the night on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The wind was making the tent lean in a way that frightened me, but Alexander assured me there was no danger. I expected to be blown away any second, but the tent held. Callisthenes came by after dinner. I was lying on the bed, and Alexander was at his table going over the day’s journal with Ptolemy Lagos and Nearchus. Plexis was being treated by Usse – his collarbone still hurt – and I was playing a game of checkers with Axiom.
I was winning, for once, so I was cross when Alexander ordered Axiom to fold up the game, and told me to go sit in the corner with Callisthenes for my first lesson. I made a face, but obeyed. Besides, I was curious. What would I learn?
Callisthenes took a small harp out of his robes and proceeded to sing a very cute song about nine women called ‘muses’, who lived on an island somewhere and did all sorts of artistic things. Their names were lovely in themselves, and the song had three verses, with a chorus that went like this:

We are the muses, standing in line,
Nine sisters, nine inspirations divine,
We sing, dance, tell stories and give you stimulation
For all your artistic inspiration.”

Well, it loses something in the translation. However, it was the first little song a child learned. It told him about the nine subjects he would study: epic poetry; history; lyric poetry and hymns; music; tragedy; mime; dance; comedy; and astronomy. Those would be my lessons, and since each subject belonged to a muse, that’s where we started.
I went around humming about Clio and Calliope, Urania and the other sisters until my next lesson.



Universal to buy link: getbook.at/TheRoadToAlexander



Thursday, November 8, 2018

Willow Bloom and the Dream Keepers by E.V. Farrell


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.
Take note! The book is going to be on sale during the week of the tour for only $0.99!

Willow Bloom’s biggest challenge is to organise her thirteenth birthday party. However, a walk in the woods near her home provides some big surprises – a mystical guardian from another world, a magical forest, and the discovery that her parents are part of a secret order that protects dreams. With the discovery comes a calling. A prophecy tells of a young one who can push back the dark forces that threaten to corrupt our hopes and dreams. Is Willow that young one? Can she take on the forces of evil, the Underlord Maliceius, and win?


Read an Exerpt

“Isn’t that normal? How else are you meant to make things happen?”

“Willow, let me put it another way. Imagine that you are following a chocolate cake recipe to bake a birthday cake. This recipe has been developed and tested by others over and over so that you can make it too. It’s a ‘normal’ cake recipe that everyone follows. Now, what if you wanted to make this cake a little more special because it was for someone you really love? You think about this person while you are mixing the batter when suddenly, ‘out of nowhere’, you get the idea to add raspberries to your batter. Now your cake is no longer the original recipe. You didn’t need the raspberries to make the cake work, but you were inspired to create something different, inspired by someone special to you. You changed the world, just a little, by adding the raspberries.”

“Really, Mum, it’s a cake.”

“It’s an analogy, Willow.”

“I know. What you’re saying is that too many of us are making the same chocolate cake, following other peoples’ ideas. But to help things change, we need to create using inspired thought too. Right?”

About the Author:
E.V. Farrell lives in rural Victoria with her husband and two sons. This is her first novel.

http://www.hooklinebooks.com/young-adult-novels.php
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ev_farrell
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Willow-Bloom-Dream-Keepers-Farrell-ebook/dp/B07GDPSRH5/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/willow-bloom-and-the-dream-keepers

E.V. Farrell will be awarding the use of the winner's name in the sequel to Willow Bloom and the Dream Keepers to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thetis The Deep Sky Saga Book 2 by Greg Boose


Thetis
The Deep Sky Saga Book 2
by Greg Boose
Genre: YA Sci-fi Fantasy
Pub Date: 10/8/18



Lost meets The 100 in this action-packed YA science fiction series.
Blind and broken, orphaned teenager Jonah Lincoln reluctantly boards a rescue ship bound for the planet Thetis, but not before it picks up a few more surprising and dangerous survivors from the massacre on the moon Achilles. After regaining his sight, Jonah sees the gated colony on Thetis is just as he feared–cloaked in mystery and under an oppressive rule with no one to trust–and that outside the walls, it’s even worse. Surrounded by terrifying new landscapes and creatures, Jonah and his friends fight to save the colony and restore order to the planet.





REVIEW:




Achilles
The Deep Sky Saga Book 1
Young colonists find themselves stranded on an unpopulated moon—and not as alone as they thought—in a series debut from the author of The Red Bishop.


The year is 2221, and humans have colonized a planet called Thetis in the Silver Foot Galaxy. After a tragic accident kills dozens of teenage colonists, Thetis’s leaders are desperate to repopulate. So Earth sends the Mayflower 2a state-of-the-art spaceship—across the universe to bring new homesteaders to the colony.
For orphaned teen Jonah Lincoln, the move to Thetis is a chance to reinvent himself, to be strong and independent and brave, the way he could never be on Earth. But his dreams go up in smoke when their ship crash-lands, killing half the passengers and leaving the rest stranded—not on Thetis, but on its cruel and unpopulated moon, Achilles.
Between its bloodthirsty alien life forms and its distance from their intended location, Achilles is a harrowing landing place. When all of the adult survivors suddenly disappear, leaving the teenage passengers to fend for themselves, Jonah doubts they’ll survive at all, much less reach Thetis—especially when it appears Achilles isn’t as uninhabited as they were led to believe.







REVIEW: 

ACHILLES: 
Wow, just wow! I started reading Achilles, the first book in the series, and ended up at 3 am, bleary-eyed and completely hooked. The book starts with a horrific crash, as a ship carrying cadets, doctors, and scientists smashes onto an alien planet. They were supposed togo to Thetis, a new colony in space - instead they are wrecked upon Thetis's moon - Achilles. The main character, Jonah, is a teen, an army cadet, and completely overwhelmed by everything. The author gives us bits and pieces about Jonah, as we see the accident and survivors through his eyes. The POV is tight, so we are not privy to anyone else's thoughts, but it works superbly with the story. The action never stops, the characters are amazing, and the world building is breathtaking. Amazing - highly recommended. However, be warned - extremely violent - the bopok also brings up such subjects as drugs and insanity. I'd say for ages 16+

THETIS: 
 Thetis starts exactly where Achilles leaves off - and you really need to read book I to appreciate book II, because there is so much back story to assimilate (but don't hesitate - book I is superbe)! Jonah is now on Thetis, and trying to make sense of what happened during the time he spent on Achilles. Thetis seems like a nice planet - but why is everyone coughing? The adults needed something on the spaceship that crashed on Achilles, but no one is telling Jonah the whole truth. It's up to him to put things together. Told from a teen's POV, this story is also amazing in world building and how true to life the characters' actions seem to be. Kudos to the author - read these books - you will not be disappointed! 





The fourth of six kids, Greg Boose grew up on a large produce farm in northeast Ohio. He received his undergraduate degree from Miami University, and then later received his M.F.A. at Minnesota State University Moorhead where he focused on screenwriting and fiction. He lives in Santa Monica with his two young daughters.



Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!





History, books, and gifts

I'm pleased to welcome historical author Tom Williams to talk about his books. And soon, "'tis the season to be jolly"...