Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Book Blitz: THE SHADOW OF THE TUDOR ROSE



A graduate of Exeter University in the early 1980s, I spent 20 years as a teacher of French, Latin and Classical studies, before a change of career led me to writing children's fiction. Currently residing in Abu Dhabi, I live with my husband and our beautiful Tonkinese cat.

The Shadow of Atlantis is the first in a series of time-travel adventures, featuring 3 children and a rather special cat called Max. I'm now working on the 17th book, The Shadow of the Great Fire. The series also includes several novellas that feature Max the talking Tonkinese cat undertaking solo adventures. As I take my young readers on a magical mystery tour through the past, I'm hoping that my love of history, myth and legend will rub off on them too. 


In 1588, a plot to invade England and overthrow Queen Elizabeth the First is about to unfold. At this crucial moment in English history, four visitors from the future arrive in Elizabethan London. 

Twins Joe and Jemima Lancelot, together with their friend Charlie and their talking cat Max, embark upon their next journey into the past as they continue the search for their missing parents who are lost somewhere in the mists of time.

Finding themselves at the heart of a web of conspiracy, can the young time-travellers solve the mystery of the Tudor Rose?






Snippet:

At the beginning of the book, Max the Tonkinese cat has a strange experience when he steps out into the garden one night:

     ‘El Gato!’
     Maybe it hadn’t been the whisper of the leaves he’d heard earlier. Max’s fur stood on end as he recognised the voice with its strange accent from his dream. It sounded eerily familiar.
     ‘El Gato? I know you’re there, El Gato. Listen to me. Don’t run away.’
     Max stiffened, too scared to turn around.  Whoever the voice belonged to must be nearby in the garden somewhere. He was tempted to just bolt through the cat flap into the safety of the house, but his feet wouldn’t obey him and he remained frozen to the spot, oblivious to the rain that was now coming down harder.
     ‘El Gato, come to me now. Don’t delay – I need you.’
     Max was struggling to understand. What did it mean? Why did the voice keep talking about cake? Something about a g√Ęteau… Max was rather partial to sweet things – he had a particular fondness for doughnuts – and he guiltily remembered the time he’d filched a strawberry tart that had been left on a plate in the kitchen. Mum had blamed Joe, until Jemima had spotted the tell-tale crumbs clinging to Max’s whiskers. But who would be trying to lure him away with the promise of a cake out in the garden at this unearthly hour?
     ‘The Rose, the Rose, El Gato – there is great danger…’ 



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Friday, June 19, 2020

Great Summer Reads: THE KING'S RANSOM




I’m a retired high school English teacher. A devourer of books growing up, my profession introduced me to writings and authors from times long past. Through my studies and teaching, I fell in love with the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Now, I hope to inspire young readers and those Young-at-Heart to read more through my Tales and Legends for Reluctant Readers set in these worlds—Ancient Egypt, Medieval Wales, and coming soon, a hair-raising adventure through ancient worlds in search of 5 rare Phoenix Feathers.

All of my books come with Free study guides and/or extensive Back-of-the-Book materials.

My husband and I love to travel. In 2008, we spent three weeks in Egypt traveling by local train from one end of the country to the other; in 2014, we spent three weeks in the UK driving over 1700 miles through England, Wales, and Scotland; and in 2016, we spent a week in Iceland. We’ve also traveled to Mexico, Jamaica, and Aruba. Our next big adventure will be to Greece and Italy.

When I’m not writing or traveling, our 4 grandkids keep us busy.


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Three Friends
Three Quests
Three Mysterious Predictions

Gavin, Philip, and Bryan bravely vow to clear their friend of murder by taking the Knight’s Oath and embarking on individual quests to save The Wild Man. In the end, each one faces their fears and even death in their determination not to fail.
And one will have to disclose the biggest secret of all.
Join Gavin, Phillip, and Bryan on their quests and share the adventures that await them in the land of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

~ Universal Amazon Link
     




Snippet:

Gavin jumped to his feet and took off running, rounding the corner of the stable. Ahead was another, smaller building, an open door right in front. Not knowing where else to go, he dashed through the opening and into the dark. The foul smell almost did him in. Gagging, trying to hold his breath, his gaze swept the darkness.

“My swords! What could stink so bad?”

Seeing the stench’s source, he clapped a hand over his mouth to keep from throwing up. On the other side, lit only by a slit in the roof, lay the decaying body of a man. Unable to hold back any longer, he threw up. Still spitting and gagging, he looked again through watering eyes at the man. Wisps of white hair stuck out of the skull. It was impossible to tell who he had been. Some flesh remained, but only enough to discern that the figure was indeed a man.

Shouts outside brought him out of his stupor. He looked around, but saw no way out other than the door he’d come through.

“What I wouldn’t give to be back home,” he said. “I could die here. No one will believe the thief is a prince of Pembroke!” His stomach still queasy, Gavin searched the darkness for a hiding place. He moved further toward the back of the room and then froze; his heart skipped several beats.

Two lights shone in a dark corner. A quiet voice spoke to him. “Here! Come here! I’ll halp you.”

A small figure stepped out of the darkened corner, his frail hand extended. Ragged white hair like that clinging to the corpse sat atop the apparition’s head. Gavin backed away, but the ghost followed. “Who...what...who are you?” he croaked.




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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Great Summer Reads: MAIL ORDER ROSLYN



My name is Robyn Echols. Zina Abbott is the pen name I use for my American historical romance novels. I’m a member of Women Writing the West and Western Writers of America, and American Night Writers Association. I currently live with my husband in California’s central valley near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”

I love to read, quilt, work with digital images on my photo editing program, and work on my own family history.

I am a blogger. In addition to my own blog, I blog for several group blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, which I started and administer.


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Roslyn Welsh is sent by stagecoach to Junction City to marry a man with whom her aunt and guardian, without Roslyn’s knowledge, had been corresponding. His requirements for a wife were that she must be at least twenty-one years of age with a family Bible for proof, and she must have no children. Only, Roslyn is not quite twenty-one, she has a baby, and her aunt has no intention of sending the family Bible with her. The marriage prospect turns into a disaster. Stuck in a strange town with no money, she is told there is no work for a decent woman with a baby. To allow herself time to figure what to do with her future, Roslyn accepts an offer to ride the stagecoach to the Ellsworth B.O.D. Stagecoach station to help the stationmaster’s wife.
        Elam Stewart survived the American Civil War, but his left leg from above the knee down did not. With no home to return to and realizing there are very few people willing to hire a man with only one good leg, he’s convinced he has no future. While working as a day laborer in the local Junction City livery, he becomes intrigued by a visitor named Ross who is anxious to spend time with the horses. Elam discovers Ross’s secret. Then he learns where Ross intends to seek work. Even though he does not have a future, he does have a Spencer repeating rifle. He can have a purpose.
        Roslyn and Elam ride the same stagecoach to the Ellsworth Station on the Kansas frontier. Between resentments among the stock tenders, difficulties with animals that pass through the station, and the threat of attacks by the Cheyenne Native Americans, is there a future for Roslyn and Elam at the station? Or will their future take them on another stagecoach ride away from Ellsworth?
        Please look for my other two books in the Widows, Brides & Secret Babies series, Mail Order Lorena and Mail Order Penelope, that will be published this summer. The three stories are related and part or all of them involve  the stagecoaches and stations on the Kansas frontier in the late 1860s.


~ Universal Amazon Link
     




Snippet:

     Ross laughed in response—a laugh Elam now recognized as being feminine.
     “I see what you mean.” She reached for a bridle. “Will this do for Sadie?”
    “Yes, ma…” Elam cleared his throat. Get ahold of yourself, Elam. You almost said “ma’am.” Don’t know her reason for passing herself off as male, but it ain’t up to you to go calling her on it. “Reckon that will be fine, Mr. Welsh. You wanting me to saddle this here horse for you?” Why did I offer? Because I know she’s a woman? She already done said she could saddle and tack her own horse.




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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Great Summer Reads: SEA SO BLUE




Nichole Giles, author of the Descendant trilogy, and the Water So Deep series, has lived in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Texas. 

She is a fan of all things paranormal and magical, and her dreams include raising a garden full of fairies, riding a unicorn, and taming the pet dragon she adopted at a local Convention. 

She loves to spend time with her grown children and two grand-babies, travel to tropical and exotic destinations, drive with her convertible top down—even when it rains—and play music at full volume so she can sing along.






Caspian is looking for his mother. Snatched from the beach as a child and raised as a half-breed Mer-Prince in the long-lost city of Atlantis, his turn to rule is coming fast. Caspian learns that the Mer in Oceania have found a method to visit land—a practice forbidden in Atlantis—and later return to the sea. Unfortunately, the “magic” method involves poison so potent that only half-breeds with undamaged lungs can survive it. When his Sea King father forces Caspian’s engagement to a mermaid he can’t stand, Caspian decides it’s time to go in search of his human roots, and the woman who gave him life.

Elise has nothing left to lose, except the house she grew up in and a beat-up classic car her father had intended to restore. While her friends leave home for college and abroad, she’s stuck waitressing at The Sea Turtle, begging for enough hours to pay her power bill, and using her lunch breaks to place flowers on her parents’ graves. Not only is she not looking for love—she’s not even looking for friendship. Loss is something she knows too much of, and she can’t survive any more. But when she finds a mysterious stranger wandering the cemetery, she takes pity on the pathetic soul and brings him to her work where she can feed him a solid meal.

The innocent meeting turns into an unbreakable bond, and sets off a chain of events that leaves them both questioning their place in the world—be it land or sea—and discovering just how essential love and family can be.

~ Universal Amazon Link
     




Snippet:

He swung into the cove, heart thudding with anxiety, and muscles bunching with frustration. This was no way to live his life. The sensation of being followed was not new or unusual to him, but hearing noises to substantiate the fear was a first. Breath tightening his chest, he listened at the thin, cave wall, and by the time his breathing evened out, decided he was being paranoid. He’d seen both birds and squirrels, along with the occasional stray neighborhood pet skulking around before.
James crossed to the ledge and secured the envelope under a heavy rock, next to the flower. Should he have written her a true love letter? He had zero experience in wooing a woman he couldn’t pursue in person, although, he also had zero experience being in love. “Pretty words aren’t necessary, right?” he asked the empty cave. “You already know, don’t you?”
“I do.”
James whirled, hope leaping into his throat, and then melting into panic at the sight of Emma’s best friend, Heather, standing barefooted on the sand. On Emma’s sand. In Emma’s cove. “You do what?” James croaked.
Her hands fisted at her side, and her face twisted into a vicious scowl. “I know you did something to Emma. You’re the reason she’s gone.”
James pressed his fingers to his eyes, shaking his head in a jumble of fear and anger. “We’ve been through this already. I love Emma. I would never do anything to hurt her. I miss her as badly as you do.” Worse, he was sure.
She stepped closer, inches shorter than him, but the fierce anger in her eyes sharp enough to cut down a ten-foot giant. “You were the last person to see her, to talk to her, and no one has seen her since. No trace of her has been found, except what you brought back with you. How can you have no explanation for where she’s gone if you weren’t part of her disappearance?”
“Because I don’t know!” he shouted. “Don’t you think if I knew I would be there too? Don’t you think if I knew, she’d be here right now?”
Another step toward him. “If she was still alive, Emma would be with her family. She would never let anything keep her from her brother.”
He swallowed a lump of pain lodged in his throat. “I know. I agree. You’re absolutely right. Still doesn’t make me guilty of anything. I would never try to keep her from Keith.”
Heather drilled a finger into James’ chest. “Tell me the truth. You killed my friend, didn’t you?”




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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Great Summer Reads: THE GUISE OF A GENTLMAN




Multi-award-winning author of 25 best-selling Regency Historical Romances, Donna Hatch is a hopeful romantic and an adventurer at heart. Each book she writes is filled with wit and heart and plenty of swoon-worthy romance. Donna sings, plays the harp, and loves to ballroom dance. Her family, including six children and two cats, recently left their native Arizona for the Pacific coast of the US. No matter where they live, she and her husband of over twenty years are proof that there truly is a happily ever after.



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The widowed Elise is a perfect English lady living within the confines of society for the sake of her impressionable young son. Her quiet world is shattered when she meets the impulsive and scandalous Jared Amesbury. His roguish charm awakens her yearning for adventure. But his irrepressible grin and sea-green eyes hide a secret.

A gentleman by day, a pirate by night, Jared must complete one last assignment from the Secret Service before he can be truly free. Elise gives him hope that he, too, can find love and belonging. His hopes are crushed when his best laid plans go awry and Elise is dragged into his world of violence and deceit. She may not survive the revelation of Jared's past...or still love him when the truth is revealed.

The Guise of a Gentleman is a wholesome Regency Romance, a.k.a. "clean" that explores finding one's true self, loyalty, honor, and trusting loved ones. With plenty of swashbuckling action, it provides a several good twists that play off of familiar situations and proudly proclaims the redemptive power of love. 



Snippet:

     “You are a woman of great courage to face those cutthroats alone.”
     His fingers closed around hers as if she were a lifeline. Her late husband’s hands had always been smooth and soft, the hands of a gentleman, so unlike this man’s calluses which bespoke hard work. She marveled at the strength in those hands, not to mention the tingles that traveled up her arm.
     A flush crept over her face and she struggled to retain her composure. “I saw a cruel act and felt compelled to intervene. I could do nothing less.”
     His eyes darted over her face and he said in a stronger voice, “Those men might have turned on you.”
     “I’m an excellent shot.”
     “And did you not consider that you may have been in danger from me?”
     She suspected many women found him a very great danger, but not for the reason he spoke.
     Swallowing against a dry mouth, she lifted her chin. “You hardly looked dangerous at the time. And I daresay you lack the strength to offer any threat now.”
     The barest hint of a smile twitched his lips and a wicked light glinted in his sea-green eyes.   





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