Tribal Affairs

Tribal Affairs
By Matt Dallmann
Genre: Ya Fantasy
Release Date: July 31st 2017

Summary

Dahlia, a centuries old genie, lies hopelessly trapped in a damaged golden locket charm attached to an ankle bracelet. Its owner, sixteen-year-old Liana, wears it for the first time during her father Jamison’s opening night illusion spectacular.

Not only does its presence cause Jamison to folly his performance, but it also starts a chain of bizarre events that lead to a showdown with Dahlia’s mortal enemy, Stefan, and an unsuspecting romance between Liana and his son.

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Excerpt

He slowly turned away, changing the stance of his feet as if preparing his body for motion. That was it? Liana felt her emotional capital building back up and could think of only one thing to spend it on: getting what she came for. She looked at the collar of Stefan’s turtleneck as he walked away. It was time to go on the offensive. Liana turned and followed him offstage.

Stefan entered the next room with the satisfaction of a hoarder returning to his nest. In fact, according to Jamison, the only reports of ever seeing him smile were at times when he was nestled comfortably among the scattered lumber, various tools, and bolts of muslin in this, his special room. Just as he was about to make another impression of his backside in a pile of sawdust on his chair, Liana bolted in like a superhero.

“Wait, Stefan!” she called.

He turned his head like an owl, and just as quick.

“I wanted to make sure everything was okay with the harness.”

“Oh, yes,” said Stefan. “I’m so sorry about what happened on opening night. It was a total fluke. I promise it won’t happen again. These brand-new harnesses are top-of-the-line.”

“Great.”

Liana began to notice the subtle tells in his body language and revealing tones of his voice. He was apologetic and submissive and would certainly help her.

“Also,” she started, “I know this may seem a little strange, but, that tattoo on the back of your neck; I think I’ve seen it somewhere else before. What does it mean?”

Stefan smiled. “That old thing? I got it back when I was in high school. I was a wild one back then.”

Liana smiled, insisting on another answer.

“It means about ten different things,” Stefan obliged.

“Really?”

“Yes, strange, isn’t it? Some ancient language, I forget the name of it. I’ve got a whole book of different translations in the back. Would you like to see it?”

“Sure. I’d love to.”

Stefan sauntered over to a large metal cabinet with Liana in tow. He seemed to glide across, around and through the mass of stuff about the room, while Liana dodged everything like navigating an obstacle course.

“My wife says I collect too much crap, so I’ve started keeping things here at the theater.”

He opened the large metal cabinet and began rummaging through piles of old dusty books. The search seemed to go on forever.

“I don’t want to be a bother,” Liana said trying to come up with a suitable excuse to leave.

“No, don’t be silly. It’s my pleasure.”

Maybe so, but Liana began to regret her actions. The wrestling match wasn’t over, and reality had started gaining ground. Without a struggle, Liana gave up her dominant position and started to back away from Stefan. Assuming her place as the submissive, she was afraid to turn away from him and didn’t notice the door behind her closing.

“You have her eyes, you know,” said Stefan.

“What?”

“Her eyes, the woman in your dreams.”

As Liana began to panic, Stefan continued rummaging through the old books.

“How do you know about—?”

“I know everything about you.”

He turned to look at her. He was different, no longer the slow-moving turtle but rather a dominant silverback gorilla. His shoulders bulged as his eyes pierced into Liana’s mind.

“What do you mean?” said Liana.

“You can see things with those eyes, can’t you?” he asked.

Liana backed away as he gained ground on her.

“Amazing things,” said Stefan. 

His eyes became black, and Liana felt herself going into a trance. Images of the beautiful woman from her dreams and the elder man flashed into her head, she standing on the cliff and he advancing on her. Still, Liana couldn’t see his face. Why couldn’t she see his face? The images continued to flash, faster and faster; the beautiful woman, the elder man, the hanging man, the laughing band of ruffians, the beautiful woman, the elder man, the beautiful woman, the elder man, the elder man, the elder man. The images stopped. Liana looked directly in front of her and saw his face. It was him.

“Xethalis,” she whispered.

Stefan smiled. Liana thrust out her arms and pushed Stefan across the room with the strength of twenty men. His back slammed against the opposite wall, causing it to collapse on top of him.

Liana’s trance broke. She looked down at her hands then across the room at Stefan, buried beneath the collapsed wall.

About the Author

Matt Dallmann has a background in acting and holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. His films and screenplays have been featured at film festivals across the United States including Cinequest, Big Apple Film Festival, Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival, DragonCon and Zero Independent Film Festival. His piano compositions have been published for commercial use and he is a member of ASCAP. Matt is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of the boutique medical billing firm VGA Billing Services, Inc. in New York City. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

Author Links

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The El Paso Red Promo

THE EL PASO RED FLAME GAS STATION 

AND OTHER STORIES

By J. REEDER ARCHULETA

Genre: Fiction /Short Stories / Coming of Age

Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing, LLC

Date of Publication: December 8, 2017

Number of Pages: 132

Scroll down for the giveaway!

These short stories are about coming of age in rural far West Texas.  The stories are about the people who have come to stay in a remote part of Texas with a climate that can be harsh and unpredictable and that is demanding and unforgiving.  The stories are told through the eyes of Josh, a young boy, who finds himself alone in a small farm and ranch community and who realizes that he will have to make his own way in this place. 

Along the way he meets a group of characters with different takes on life.  Some try to help shield him from the chaos of the world, some try to add more chaos. But all of them, in their own distinct way, through jobs, advice, or actions, play a part in his life.

PRAISE FOR THE EL PASO RED FLAME GAS STATION:

“Punchy, plainspoken dialogue…colorful and charismatic characters…The result is an atmospheric Texas…reminiscent of Larry McMurtry’s “The Last Picture Show.” — Kirkus Reviews

“The universality of Josh’s journey gives it a timeless quality…a rich tapestry…The stories are conveyed in lean, elegant prose reminiscent of Annie Proulx and Cormac McCarthy” — Blue Ink Review

“Archuleta’s collection offers poignant and hopeful stories of determination in the face of need. Thoroughly engaging…narrated with passion and eloquence…” — The Clarion Review                       

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The author was raised in far West Texas and five generations of his family are in their final resting place there.  His great-grandfather is buried in Concordia Cemetery in El Paso within spitting distance of the grave of John Wesley Hardin.

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4/17/18

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The Page Unbound

4/17/18

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Hall Ways Blog

4/18/18

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Books and Broomsticks

4/19/18

Author Interview

Texas Book Lover

4/20/18

Review

Forgotten Winds

4/21/18

Excerpt

Book Fidelity

4/22/18

Promo

The Love of a Bibliophile

4/23/18

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StoreyBook Reviews

4/24/18

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The Clueless Gent

4/25/18

Character Interview

That’s What She’s Reading

4/26/18

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A Skin of a Dragon Blitz

A Skin of a Dragon
By Frances Jones
Genre: YA Fantasy

Release date: March 17th 2018

Summary

After a chance find in a smugglers’ cave, Tom Wild is kidnapped by a stranger and whisked away to London to face a secretive and ancient group of magicians. He is presented with an agonizing choice: join them and forsake his old life and family forever or face a grisly death. Tom quickly realises that all is not as it seems and that the group’s leader is engaged in a dangerous game of magic, power and war.

At stake is the future of England, her King, and the very existence of magic.

Buy on Amazon

Excerpt

Chapter 1

My mother believed I possessed the gift of foresight. I was born at the stroke of midnight under a full moon, a curious time bestowing special abilities upon newborns, or so the midwife assured my parents. Yet, despite my mother’s belief, I had no sense of the shift my life was poised to take one rainy day in mid-September 1648 as I peered into a rock pool in search of crabs.

I wrinkled my nose and dangled my line into the water. The grey sea sloshed around the rock on which I stood, met by the rainwater that trickled down in rivulets from the cliffs above. Summer wasn’t yet a distant memory, but the storm of the previous day had been a sharp reminder that autumn had arrived. Peggy, my wiry-haired mongrel, watched the gulls scavenging amongst the rocks but had yet to summon the energy to chase them. Beside me my sister, Lizzie, shivered and looked forlornly back to the beach.

‘To think the fields were ploughed but a fortnight ago,’ she muttered.

I felt a tug on my line and lifted an enormous crab out of the rock pool, but Lizzie was distracted. She glanced up at the sky as a finger of sunlight broke through the clouds overhead.

‘Zooks! Look at the sun, Tom! Mother will be starting supper.’ She grabbed her bucket of crabs and scrambled back across the rocks. ‘Don’t forget the tobacco for Father,’ she called over her shoulder as she crossed the beach towards the lights that were beginning to twinkle in the windows of the cottages that made up the tiny hamlet of Osmington Mills. 

I replied with a wave as I set my bucket on a ledge out of the wind and began the slippery climb to the smugglers’ cave. It was a precarious route in wet weather, with fissures into which one could quite easily slip and become stuck, but in an hour’s time the tide would be in, cutting the cave off from the beach entirely.

The rocks were slick beneath my feet, and the drizzling rain soaked right through to my skin as I clambered from one to the next. This exposure to every extreme of weather that the Dorset coast endured had weathered my complexion into a freckled ruddiness. My usual mop of sandy curls now lay plastered against my forehead, and my eyes squinted against the rainwater that dripped from my brow.

As I set my feet on sand once more, I stooped to pick up a small wooden box nestled between two rocks at the mouth of the cave. It was perfectly plain, cylindrical in shape, with an elaborate lock formed of tiny brass cogs, dials and pulleys, some of which were clearly missing or broken. I looked back to the beach. Only the smugglers ever came here. Perhaps it belonged to one of them- except that all the smugglers in Osmington Mills were far too careful to leave anything out in the open. There were crevices and tunnels that wound right into the heart of the cliffs where contraband was cleverly concealed from the prying eyes of the customs men. There was no need to leave anything in plain sight. Besides, the little drift of sand piled up against the box seemed to indicate it had been deposited there by the sea.

‘I bet it’s from that shipwreck yesterday,’ I muttered to Peggy as I tucked it under my arm and ducked into the cave. The entrance was just a few feet in height and submerged at high tide, but inside it widened and rose steadily above the tide’s reach, opening out into several passageways and crevices scooped out by the sea in ancient times. It was a perfect smugglers’ cave.

I selected one pack of tobacco from a pile of goods stuffed into a cleft in the wall and tucked it into my belt. With the crabbing line, I lashed the box to my back. I would need both hands to scale the rocks back to the beach.

Outside, the wind had picked up, and the drizzle was replaced with great spots of rain. Across the beach, a flicker of firelight glowed in the mouth of another smaller cave beyond a rocky outcrop.

”Tis a fool who ventures out with a storm about to break,’ I thought to myself.

Thunder rumbled overhead, and the foamy white tips of the waves collapsed against the rocks with an intensity that had become a familiar sight over the past week. The few fishing boats that had braved the rain were now gone, safely moored in the harbour. Everyone was braced for another mighty storm.

About the Author

Frances lives in Shropshire, England with her husband and two pet rabbits. She started writing to fill her evenings while her husband, a former Grenadier Guard in the British Army, was away. A Skin of a Dragon was inspired by the Tower of London ravens which her husband told her about after one of his guard duties at the Tower. Folklore and the history of magic are also a continual source of inspiration.

Aside from writing, Frances’ other passion is rabbits, and she spends far too much time watching videos of the furry critters online!

Author Links

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A Borrowed Dream: Review and Giveaway

Rating:
A BORROWED DREAM
The Cimarron Creek Trilogy, Book 2
by
Amanda Cabot
Genre: Historical Romance / Inspirational
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 20, 2018
Number of Pages: 352
My Rating: 4/5
Scroll down for the giveaway!

Catherine Whitfield is sure that she will never again be able to trust anyone in the medical profession after the town doctor’s excessive bleeding treatments killed her mother. Despite her loneliness and her broken heart, she carries bravely on as Cimarron Creek’s dutiful schoolteacher, resigned to a life without love or family, a life where dreams rarely come true.
Austin Goddard is a newcomer to Cimarron Creek. Posing as a rancher, he fled to Texas to protect his daughter from a dangerous criminal. He’s managed to keep his past as a surgeon a secret. But when Catherine Whitfield captures his heart, he wonders how long he will be able to keep up the charade.
With a deft hand, Amanda Cabot teases out the strands of love, deception, and redemption in this charming tale of dreams deferred and hopes becoming reality.

CLICK FOR BOOK TRAILER ON ANIMOTO!


PRAISE FOR A BORROWED DREAM:

“Cabot’s sweet love story will appeal to readers of gentle romances. . .Although this title stands on its own, readers of A Stolen Heart (2017), the first in Cabot’s place-based trilogy, will be happy to revisit the folks of Cimarron Creek.” — Booklist

“The second book in Cabot’s Cimarron Creek trilogy is even better than the first, with a dash of suspense, an intriguing bit of medical history and a host of enjoyable characters.” — RT Book Reviews

PRAISE FOR A STOLEN HEART, BOOK ONE IN THE CIMARRON CREEK TRILOGY: 
“Readers will enjoy the surprising ending as well as the romance always found in Cabot’s books.”Publishers Weekly

“Moments of humor provide a nice balance to the heartwarming scenes and the mild suspense thread.”RT Book Reviews

“Cabot’s nonpreachy inspirational romance features characters who genuinely try to live honorable lives, and their story has broad appeal for readers of gentle fiction and historical romance as well as for readers of Christian fiction.”Booklist 
CLICK TO ORDER ON:
Baker Book House  ┃  Amazon  ┃  Barnes & Noble 
┃  Christianbook.com  ┃  Books-A-Million  ┃  Kobo  ┃


Love, historical fiction, suspense, with Christian teachings, this story was purely delightful!

Catherine is a school teacher and seems a bit put off by men. And it’s obvious that the woman can take care of herself. She’s a bit headstrong and iron willed, but has a good heart and is filled with determination. Her strong spirit I think is what draws Austin to her.

Austin is very set on not finding a second wife, and despite how hard he tries, it’s obvious from the start that he’s drawn to Catherine, the school teacher. I love how Austin is just, how do I put it, has his feathers ruffled, when it comes to all things Catherine. He pretends to be disinterested in her, but than adorably reacts to the fact that someone is “courting” Catherine by spilling his coffee everywhere. It’s too cute and too tender hearted.

The characters in this story are very well developed and the plot has many twists to it.  I think it’s a well balanced story and has a little for everyone that is looking for a good historical romance. At the heart of all this is love, forgiving others, family, and those relationships that really are important and matter. If you are looking for a good cozy read, then be sure to check this one out!

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of A Stolen Heart, the first book of the Cimarron Creek trilogy, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming. 

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THREE WINNERS
1ST: Copy of A Borrowed Dream, Novel Teas (25 count), Paddywax Library Collection Ralph Waldo Emerson Scented Soy Wax Candle, Cedar & Wild Fern (6.5oz) 

2ND: Copy of A Borrowed Dream + $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
3RD: Copy of A Borrowed Dream + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

APRIL 12-21, 2018

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

4/12/18
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4/12/18
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4/13/18
Review
4/13/18
Author Interview
4/14/18
Excerpt 3
4/14/18
Excerpt 4
4/15/18
Review
4/16/18
Notable Quotable
4/16/18
Notable Quotable
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Scrapbook Page
4/21/18
Review
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Death Island Blitz

Death Island
by Kelsey Ketch
Genre: NA Historical Fantasy
Release Date: December 31st 2017

Summary from Goodreads:

Her family name tainted by her great-grandfather’s crimes of piracy, Meriden Cummings is far from the typical 18th century woman. A social outcast, she works in a carpentry shop in a small village, where the people barely tolerate unconventional behavior.

However, her life takes a turn after a gang of pirates attack her village and her blood reveals an ancient map adorned with Mayan glyphs leading to Death Island. An island legends say is ruled by the Mayan god of the underworld, Ah Puch. Her great-grandfather had sought after the island before he vanished without a trace. Now, Meriden is about to journey across the sea to understand her family history.

There are only a few problems: her growing feelings toward a mysterious stranger linked to her great-grandfather’s past; a greedy band of pirates after her great-grandfather’s legendary treasure; and a contract she has unwittingly signed in blood with Ah Puch himself.

 

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks

Excerpt:

I paced the deck with the few men that stayed behind on watch. It was growing late, and Captain Connell’s curfew was quickly approaching. Soon all the crew would return to the ship, stumbling drunk and fucked out of their minds, but calmer than they had been for a while. Some reason, my body twitched in excitement. I’d been anxious since Meriden left with the last group. There was a knot in my gut the moment she stepped off the dock, and the feeling hadn’t gone away since.

I causally walked to the starboard bulwark, catching sight of the harbormaster’s window. The candle still burned as it had been long before night fall. Odd, I thought. The knot in my stomach twisted even tighter. I haven’t seen the harbormaster work his books this late into the night. I leaned against the gunwale and squinted a little, trying to focus my vision. The candle was nearly spent, and underneath the dripping wax laid what possibly could be a hand, but it was too far to tell. As I eased back, my gut squirmed like a bunch of worm snakes. I needed to be sure all was well, for Meriden’s safety and the rest of the crew.

Neglecting to ask Swan’s permission, I slipped down the main deck, across the gangway, and headed straight for the harbormaster’s office. The street was as quiet as the grave when I reached the door. I raised my hand to knock, only for the door to push open on the first tap to the solid oak. I swallowed the lump that crammed its way into my throat. This wasn’t good. I drew my working knife and stepped inside.

“Hello,” I called. “Anyone still here?”

It felt stupid walking into the dark hallway without knowing if I might end up dead or accused of theft, but my gut told me to keep pushing forward. I turned right into the room with the burning candle still flickering inside. The office was clean and uncluttered except for the few stacks of paper on the desk. On top of which laid the harbormaster, as if he merely fallen asleep in his desk chair. My eyes refocused again at his outstretched arm. A trail of hot, liquid wax ran across the flesh of the harbormaster’s hand, which didn’t even stir the man awake. My heart pounded with adrenaline, and I pushed the man up by the shoulder.

A maroon-colored pool poured onto his books from what looked like a dagger wound to the harbormaster’s shoulder. A serious wound, but not one that should have killed. It was the discoloration of the man’s skin and the vomit around the mouth that gave me a better idea what had brought on the man’s demise. I’d seen the signs many times before from men who died in blackish waters as well as a few victims that died at Baker’s hand.

Snake venom.

 

About the Author

Kelsey Ketch is a young-adult/new-adult author, who works as a Wildlife Biologist in the state of North Carolina. During her free time, she can often be found working on her latest work in progress or organizing the New Adult Scavenger Hunt, a biannual blog hop. She also enjoys history, mythology, traveling, and reading.

For more information, please visit her site at kelseyketch.com.

Author Links:

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YA Bound Book Tours

The Downfall of Galveston’s May Walker Burleson

THE DOWNFALL OF GALVESTON’S MAY WALKER BURLESON
Texas Society Marriage & Carolina Murder Scandal
by
T. Felder Dorn
Genre: True Crime
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing / The History Press
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Date of Publication: April 2, 2018
Number of Pages: 192 pages, 30 b&w images
Jennie May Walker Burleson was envied for having everything a woman of her time could want—the privileged upbringing, the dazzling good looks, the dashing war hero husband. She was admired for demonstrating that a woman could want more, from the front of the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession to the bottom of a Mesoamerican archaeological dig. But as she stood over the body of her husband’s second wife, gun in hand, society’s envy and admiration quickly hardened into pity and scorn. T. Felder Dorn examines the complicated trajectory of her life as socialite, suffragist and shooter. 




CLICK TO BUY ONLINE
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T. Felder Dorn graduated from Duke University in 1954 with a BS in chemistry and was awarded a PhD in that discipline in 1958 by the University of Washington. He was a member of the chemistry faculty at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, in 1958–69 and then served four years on the program staff of the College Board in New York. From 1973 to 1991, he held administrative positions at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, serving as associate dean, dean and vice-president for academic affairs. His last ten years at Kean were spent as professor of chemistry. He retired in 2001. Felder Dorn and his wife, Sara Ruth, have resided in Millburn, New Jersey, since 1973. They have three children and three grandchildren. Dorn has previously published four books: Challenges on the Emmaus Road: Episcopal Bishops Confront Slavery, Civil War, and Emancipation (University of South Carolina Press, 2013); Death of a Policeman, Birth of a Baby: A Crime and Its Aftermath (Xlibris, 2012); The Guns of Meeting Street: A Southern Tragedy (University of South Carolina Press, 2001); and The Tompkins School, 1925–1953: A Community Institution (Attic Press, 1994).

 

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

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4/3/18
Promo
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4/5/18
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4/6/18
Review
4/7/18
Promo
4/8/18
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4/9/18
Review
4/10/18
Promo
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Wickwythe Hall: Guest Post

WICKWYTHE HALL

By Judithe Little

Genre: Historical Fiction / WWII

Publisher: Black Opal Books

Date of Publication: September 30, 2017

Number of Pages: 324

*Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist*

*2018 Reader Views Readers’ Choice Award for Historical Fiction*

*Winner of the Tyler R. Tichelaar Award for Best Historical Fiction*

*Official selection of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club*

Scroll down for the giveaway!

May 1940. The Germans invade France and the course of three lives is upended. Annelle LeMaire is a French refugee desperate to contact her Legionnaire brothers.

Mabry Springs, American wife of a wealthy Brit, is struggling to come to terms with a troubled marriage and imminent German invasion. And Reid Carr, American representative of French champagne house Pol Roger, brings more than champagne to Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Their paths entwine when Churchill and his entourage take refuge at Wickwythe Hall, the Springs’ country estate hidden from the full moon and German bombers beneath a shroud of trees. There, as secrets and unexpected liaisons unfold, Annelle, Mabry, and Reid are forever bound by the tragedy they share.

Part Downton Abbey, part Darkest Hour, Wickwythe Hall was inspired by an actual confrontation between the British and French navies in July 1940 and is a story of love, loyalty, and heartrending choices.

PRAISE FOR WICKWYTHE HALL:

“…a riveting and enlightening mix of history and fiction that puts a human face on the costs of war…engaging…”  — Foreword Reviews

“Little’s characterization of Churchill is so well done. She makes his personality and presence so real. Mabry was a character to be admired for her decisions and actions. A good read with a satisfying ending.”   — Historical Novels Review

“Judithe Little tackles war and masterfully boils it down to personal moral dilemmas. Beautifully written and rich with atmosphere…Wickwythe Hall is a stellar achievement.”  — Ann Weisgarber, author of The Personal History of Rachel DuPreeand The Promise

“…an emotional and touching story about the lives of three people during World War II, at the time of Hitler’s invasion of France in 1940. Inspired by real people, places and events in history, this whirlwind novel will no doubt leave an imprint on your heart long after you finish reading.”  — Reader Views

“If you love history, beautifully rendered characters, and stories that will tug at your heart, add Wickwythe Hall to your list.”  — Book Perfume

CLICK TO ORDER ON:
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Do You Like Champagne?

Guest Post by Judithe Little

I do! Champagne plays a part in my historical novel Wickwythe Hall. It’s the connection between my fictional character, Reid Carr, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. In the novel, Reid Carr is a representative of French champagne house Pol Roger. In real life, Pol Roger was Churchill’s favorite champagne. Voilà! Fact meets fiction.

Churchill’s love of libations is well documented.  He began each day with whiskey and soda or a tumbler of sherry, then moved on to wine, champagne, port with the cheese course, and ninety year old brandy before bed. But champagne was his favorite, particularly Pol Roger. He liked to have his own bottle by his plate at the table in order, according to his wife Clementine, “to be independent of the vagaries of butlers.” His zeal for French champagne ran so deep that during World War I, he roused his fellow troops with the battle call “Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s champagne!”

Not only did he have a taste for champagne, he had champagne tastes and lived beyond his means. In 1926, he resolved to tighten his belt. He wrote a note to Clementine stating, “no more champagne is to be bought.” He attempted to reduce his cigar use to four a day. He directed that there be no fish course unless they had guests. But by 1936, he was in the hole again, owing his wine merchant $75,000 in today’s dollars. Blessedly, the threat of imminent poverty inspired his most prolific work as a writer (kids, don’t try this at home). He literally wrote his way out of financial disaster.

His devotion to champagne and Pol Roger deepened when he met the striking Odette Pol Roger in 1944 at an Armistice Day party in Paris. He insisted she be invited to every dinner he attended in Paris thereafter.

Born Odette Wallace in 1911, she was 37 years Winston’s junior. In her youth, she and her sisters comprised a beguiling trio known as “the Wallace Collection.” Odette married Jacques Pol Roger, a co-director of his family’s champagne house, and the two lived near Jacques’ parents at Epernay. There, during World War II, Odette was a courier for the Resistance, bicycling 12 hours to Paris when needed.

In the years after the war, with her charm, beauty and joie de vivre, she became the face of Pol Roger. Her self-professed mission was to encourage people to enjoy champagne. She found a kindred spirit in Winston, and their friendship was deep.

Just as Winston was a professed Francophile, Odette likewise had English passions. She raised chickens, gardened, and was a devotee of fly-fishing. She spent summers at her chateau on a trout river in Normandy. She told The Daily Telegraph in 1970 that after a dinner in Paris, she got in her car to drive home and:

As the sun was coming up I was thinking of getting a bit of sleep when I looked down from my bedroom window and saw a huge trout in the stream which runs through the property. So I grabbed my rod and rushed down and caught him – still in my dinner gown. Well! Life must be enjoyed, no?

Odette sent her friend Winston a case of Pol Roger every year for his birthday. Winston named a race horse after her. When he died in 1965, Odette placed a black border on the labels of bottles exported to Britain. Later, Pol Roger named its prestigious cuvée after him, rich and full-bodied as he preferred.

All of this may seem like a romantic glimpse into the long-lost past. But today, at your local wine store, you can still find a piece of history inspired by this great friendship: the Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.  And if the cost of the special edition ($250 plus) is too much, Pol Roger offers a $50 bottle. It’s still a splurge, but even now, in 2018, life must be enjoyed, no?

Judithe Little grew up in Virginia and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.

After studying at the Institute of European Studies and the Institut Catholique in Paris, France, and interning at the U.S. Department of State, she earned a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law where she was on the Editorial Board of the Journal of International Law and a Dillard Fellow.

She lives with her husband, three teenagers, and three dogs in Houston, Texas, where she’s at work on her next historical novel set in France.

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR

3/27/18 Guest Post 1 Books in the Garden
3/27/18 Bonus Post Hall Ways Blog
3/28/18 Review Syd Savvy
3/29/18 Excerpt The Librarian Talks
3/30/18 Guest Post 2 Chapter Break Book Blog
3/31/18 Review Books and Broomsticks
4/1/18 Notable Quotable Book Fidelity
4/2/18 Guest Post 3 StoreyBook Reviews
4/3/18 Review Momma on the Rocks
4/4/18 Guest Post 4 The Page Unbound
4/5/18 Review #Bookish

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Sympath Blitz

Sympath (The Sentinels of Eden #3)
By Carolyn Denman
Genre: Clean YA Fantasy
Release Date: March 2018


Summary

Annie has grown up knowing she is destined to meet her soul mate. He will always remain close to her. He will always know exactly where she is, and how she’s feeling. He’ll guard and protect her. At least, until she produces the next heir to her Cherubim line.

There has to be a way to avoid this supernatural stalker. And she is not a prize-winning ewe.

Determined to find her own identity before becoming bonded to her Guardian, Annie does everything she can to keep him at a distance – until her partner Cherub, Harry, dredges up the mystery of his parents’ deaths and triggers unwanted attention from an organized crime syndicate. Now all three of them need to do whatever it takes to save Harry’s farm, solve the mystery of the missing ruby necklace, and keep anyone from finding the hidden Paradise it came from.

Songlines on Goodreads

Sanguine on Goodreads

No History To Speak Of

A teaser to Sympath – Sentinels of Eden #3 by Carolyn Denman

The envelope fell to the floor, ignored in favour of its contents. George Durante let his eyes blur, feeling his heart thud against his ribs, but when he focussed his vision again, the numbers on the letter in front of him hadn’t changed. Must be a mistake. Too many digits. He opened the locked file behind the till, flicking through the files to ‘D’ and drew out the valuation certificate he’d arranged weeks ago. Fingers that had been trained to remain steady while setting the tiniest of jewels, trembled just a little as he laid the certificate next to the letter on the counter. His cousin’s signature embellished the certificate with inked promise, clearly stating that the gemstone was worth $28,400. Jimmy had never been wrong or unreliable with his valuations. George trusted him. That figure seemed right for a ruby of that size and clarity, and the client had been very tempted to part with it for that price, although she had denied it, and left his shop muttering that she would never sell her husband’s wedding gift. He was not one to push, and after eleven years of working in Nalong, he knew he didn’t need to. Mrs Doolan would be back once the bank sent another foreclosure notice for her farm.

She’d need a lot more than $28,400 to solve their financial problems though, which was why George had asked his cousin to send out a few extra enquiries. He’d hoped that some of his family contacts might have yielded a better offer for her. If he could find a buyer willing to pay a bit extra for the gem, she might just be able to tip the balance with the bank. Just enough to hold them off for another season. Just long enough for the rains to return.

The ruby was stunning. It had been a joy to work with when Geoff Doolan had brought it to him eight years earlier. George had polished the stone, bringing out its deep crimson shine the way blood returns to chilled fingers when you rub warmth back into them. And the setting Geoff had requested suited it perfectly. A heart-shaped 8.17 carat ruby, just under 12mm diameter, cradled by golden angel’s wings – the ideal wedding gift for a girl named Ruby. The piece was pretty enough to sell for well above its value if he found the right buyer, and according to the letter he’d just received, it had apparently attracted someone’s attention.

George picked up the typed, unsigned letter again and almost lowered his magnifying glasses from his forehead to examine it, as if he could pick out the flaw by staring at the ink more closely. His extended family in Melbourne had some…dubious contacts. Could he trust this? Celarsi Holdings. Never heard the name before, but he also knew better than to pry into it. If they wanted to offer that much for the necklace, then he should do his job and arrange the transaction. Just how much of a cut should he take? The valuation certificate was genuine, as far as he could tell. Jimmy wouldn’t risk his reputation by faking it, but it had taken longer than expected to receive it. Had the gem been sent for a second opinion? If so, he hadn’t been advised of the result – no, he couldn’t think too hard about those implications. Ruby Doolan wouldn’t know how much he was selling it on for. He genuinely wanted to help her, but this was business, and there was nothing legally wrong with buying her jewellery at whatever price she was willing to agree to. If some rich lady had fallen in love with the necklace after seeing the photos he’d sent, and wanted to play games with her husband’s money, that was not for him to judge.

His hand hovered over the receiver for a few seconds before he picked it up and dialled.

‘Hello, Ruby Doolan? This is George from Durante Diamonds. I’ve been thinking about your situation and I’d like to help. I’ve been studying the current market and I believe I’m in a position to be able to offer you a slightly better price than the certified valuation. Is there a convenient time we can meet to discuss it?’

About the Author

Carolyn lives on a hobby farm on the outskirts of Melbourne with her husband, two daughters, and her parents. The fact that she always has at least three of her pets following her around at any one time in no way means that she is the fairest in the land. They probably just like her taste in music.

As well as writing stories for Aurealis and Andromeda Spaceways magazines, Carolyn is also the author of the YA Australian fantasy series The Sentinels of Eden.

Author Links

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Songlines Review

Songlines
By Carolyn Denman
Genre: Clean YA Fantasy
Release Date: August 20th 2016


Summary

We belong to the Earth, Lainie-Bug. We were sent here in human form for a reason. If you don’t know what to do, then just be human.

 Right. Like that was ever a simple thing to do.

In the heart of the Wimmera region of Australia, an ancient gateway is kept hidden and safe by a creature so powerful that even the moon would obey her commands – at least it would if she had any idea that she wasn’t just a normal girl about to finish high school.

When a mining company begins some exploratory sampling near Lainie’s sheep farm, a family secret is revealed that makes her regret not having learned more about her heritage.

 What she’s told by their farm hand, Harry, can’t possibly be true, but then the most irritating guy in class, Bane, begins to act even more insane than ever, until she can no longer deny that something very unusual is going on.

When Harry doesn’t return from his quest to seek help to protect the area from the miners, Lainie sets out to discover the truth of her heritage, and of the secret she’s been born to protect.

Purchase Links

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Review

This is book was very original. What I liked most about it was the sense of humor. It was scattered throughout in its lively dialogue and funny habits of the characters. The author constantly ties in threads of irony and one-liners that had me laughing throughout.

The plot moves pretty consistently after the initial few chapters of character building. Once Lainie finds out who she is and what really happened to her mother, her life changes forever. All the missing pieces she’s tried to ignore and said were normal, fall into place. There was a few odd reactions from the characters that threw me off at first. Especially when it came to her discovering her true life and is understandably angry but then has to apologize for her behavior. The characters did become much more clearer and compelling as I continued reading.

I do want to note that this is first person since some have preferences as well. I found it refreshing since I haven’t read one in a bit. I did, at times, have trouble distinguishing who was speaking in a conversation since the dialogue moves quickly and there’s a few cultural barrier habits. Some phrases I googled since they came up often. It was great challenge and interesting insight. Not only into Australian life but the fantasy and storytelling as well.

Honestly, this book was very enjoyable and creative. It is packed with character driven mystery and all spectrum of emotion. It’s been a really long time that a book has really hit the nose on my sense of humor too. It very knowingly twisted usual character tropes and then broke the third wall in it’s execution. It was a very clever way of writing. The ending was great and unexpected. It will immediately tempt you to get book two.

About the Author

Carolyn lives on a hobby farm on the outskirts of Melbourne with her husband, two daughters, and her parents. The fact that she always has at least three of her pets following her around at any one time in no way means that she is the fairest in the land. They probably just like her taste in music.

As well as writing stories for Aurealis and Andromeda Spaceways magazines, Carolyn is also the author of the YA Australian fantasy series The Sentinels of Eden.

Author Links

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Dam Nation Blitz

DAM NATION 

BOOK RELEASE BLITZ 

Bonnie and Clyde #2

By CLARK HAYS AND KATHLEEN McFALL

Genre: Historical / Alternative History / Romance 

Publisher: Pumpjack Press

Date of Publication: March 24, 2018

Number of Pages: 266

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Bonnie and Clyde: Defending the working class from a river of greed.


The year is 1935 and the Great Depression has America in a death grip of poverty, unemployment and starvation. But the New Deal is rekindling hope, with federally funded infrastructure projects, like Hoover Dam, putting folks back to work. So, why is someone trying to blow it up? 
That’s what Bonnie and Clyde set out to uncover in the novel Dam Nation by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall, the second book in a provocative speculative fiction series that re-imagines the outlaws’ lives. 

“A rollicking good read!” — Midwest Book Review

 

WHAT IF? 

The Texas Ranger looked up at Sal, a mixture of fear, respect and revulsion in his eyes. “Let’s pretend for a minute it wasn’t Bonnie and Clyde in that ambush,” he said. “Why? Why would it be different people in that car?”

 

“How would I know?” Sal asked. “I work for the government. I trust that the government has my best interests at heart. I follow orders. You didn’t.”

 

“I won’t be quiet about this unless you can tell me why anyone would try to save them outlaws.”

 

“If they were still alive, I would tell you that everyone has a purpose in life, and perhaps they are fulfilling theirs. And if they were still alive, I would tell you that you don’t use good dogs to guard the junkyard, you use the meanest goddamn dogs you can get a collar around.”

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Clark and Kathleen wrote their first book together in 1999 as a test for marriage. They passed. Dam Nation is their sixth co-authored book. 

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