Tag Archives: historical fiction

Meg Mims Sees Double And Strikes Gold

I’m thrilled to feature award-winning author Meg Mims on my blog today as she talks about her Spur Award winner Double Crossing and its smashing sequel, Double or Nothing.  Enjoy! ~ S.G. Rogers

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“Why dMeg in Viennaid you write your Double Series?”

I was influenced by Charles Portis’ True Grit, plus the 1969 movie version with John Wayne. The idea of a young girl whose father is murdered is the basis for Double Crossing, except my heroine is older than Mattie — 19, almost 20 — and quite sheltered and wealthy. Naive, I might add, which means Lily Granville’s determination to track her father’s killer brings plenty of unexpected education in life. It’s a twist of True Grit and Murder on the Orient Express, as one reviewer said — and won the 2012 Spur Award for Best First Novel!  had fun rolling LaBoef and Rooster Cogburn into my hero, Ace Diamond. And when I started writing the sequel, Double or Nothing, I decided to use dynamite like in the (non-Charles Portis) follow-up film starring John Wayne, Rooster Cogburn, with a different twist. ~ Meg Mims

Double Crossing … A murder arranged as a suicide … a missing deed  … and a bereft daughter whose sheltered worldDouble Crossing AP Logo Print is shattered.

August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder. Only one other person knows about a valuable California gold mine deed — both are now missing. Lily heads west on the newly opened transcontinental railroad, determined to track the killer. She soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey. As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary who wants to marry her, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price. Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?

BUY LINKS  Amazon for Kindle and print, B&N for Nook, Smashwords
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Double or Nothing … A mysterious explosion. A man framed for murder. A strong woman determined to prove his innocence.

DoubleorNothing 500x750 (3)October, 1869: Lily Granville, heiress to a considerable fortune, rebels against her uncle’s strict rules. Ace Diamond, determined to win Lily, invests in a dynamite factory but his success fails to impress her guardian. An explosion in San Francisco, mere hours before Lily elopes with Ace to avoid a forced marriage, sets off a chain of consequences. When Ace is framed for murder before their wedding night, Lily must find proof to save him from a hangman’s noose. Will she become a widow before a true wife?

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To learn more about Meg Mims, visit her website, find her on Amazon (Author page), on  FacebookTwitter, and  Pinterest

Regency Romance – Only a Hero Will Do

I’m turning my blog over to author Susan Lodge today.  If you like historical fiction, you’ll enjoy hearing about her novel Only a Hero Will Do!  ~ S.G. Rogers  Flourish

About Me

I have been IMG00020-20111021-1020 (640x479) (2)writing stories for ever but only in the last few years seriously started marketing my work. My first success was a short story published in a national woman’s magazine in the UK. This small but long awaited success prompted me to finish my novel Only a Hero Will Do.

Having lived at some of England’s most historic ports I have been surrounded with maritime history, so it is not surprising that my book is partly set at sea in the year 1810.

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About – Only a Hero Will Do 

Hetty’s desperate gamble to avoid an odious match lands her all at sea. Can an overbearing ship’s physician really be the hero she needs to escape her treacherous family?

Blurb

Marriage to a cruel dandy is not how Hetty Avebury envisions spending the rest of her life. Determined to raise funds to escape the match she earns money the only way she knows how—gambling. Her plans go astray and she finds herself onboard a man-of-war under the care of its stern physician. But Hetty soon realizes that the disapproving Doctor Withington is not at all the man she had first imagined.

If it wasn’t bad enough declaring one of the pressed men as a woman, Robert has been tasked with the tiresome job of returning her safely back to her dysfunctional family. It was ten years ago when his father gambled away his inheritance, home, and any chance of marrying the woman he loved. So when Robert discovers Hetty gambling he takes drastic action to cure her of the habit.

Excerpt

“Annie, will you please walk beside me? Try to remember, I am supposed to be your brother not your employer. You must keep your arm on mine.” Annie pursed her lips but did as she was told.

At five foot four, Hetty was tall enough to masquerade as a male. Her disguise was not of fine quality this time, as she had no desire to stand out in the crowd. It was serviceable and clean, if a little ill-fitting. She resembled a rather youthful clerk.

They had left in the early hours after Hetty had written her aunt a short note to tell her not to worry. She couldn’t risk anything else, as she knew Stark and her father would ask too many questions. If she knew nothing, Aunt Amelia wouldn’t have to lie—something she didn’t like to do.

After a moment, Hetty and Annie searched for a respectable inn, both having missed breakfast. It was only after they had seated themselves in the Boar’s Head and ordered a modest meal that Hetty realized it was a bad choice. The tables were occupied by groups of unsavoury looking males, half of whom were staring at Annie in a very vulgar way. Hetty looked around with a feeling of foreboding while picking at a cold rabbit pie. The room started to empty as a strange murmur of discontent rippled through the establishment.

Annie fidgeted beside her. “I don’t like it, Miss Hetty! It ain’t right.”

Hetty groaned. “Harry—not Miss Hetty! For heaven’s sake, Annie!”

“Beg pardon…Harry,” she said, as though the name was blasphemous, “but I think we should go now.”

Hetty agreed and prepared to rise when the door shot open and the remaining customers scattered in all directions. A small party of hefty men, armed with wooden batons, sauntered in and stopped in the centre of the room, assessing the occupants.

Annie grabbed Hetty’s arm. “It’s the press-gang!”

It took a moment for Annie’s words to register then Hetty swallowed violently. If only her skirts were back on. One of them noticed her and narrowed his eyes with a terrifying gleam like a predator. He pointed his finger her way. “Now, lad, I reckon you look ripe for adventure. Eager to serve your king, I wager.”

Hetty shook her head and grasped Annie. “No, sir, I have my sister here to look after.”

The man wandered closer, his fleshy face beamed and his voice cajoled. “What’s your name, lad, and how old are you?”

“Harry Blake. I am fourteen.” Surely that is too young.

The man considered her for a moment, and Hetty didn’t dare to breathe.

“Bring him.”

Logic ceased. Hetty ducked under the table and tried to crawl toward the door, but one of them crunched a foul-smelling boot down on the small of her back, and her breath escaped in one whoosh of pain. A large hand hoisted her up by the neck cloth and placed her on her feet.

Links:

Available at Musa Publishing  – http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14&products_id=336

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Only-Hero-Will-Do-ebook/dp/B008NB7Z6U/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1343903185&sr=1-1&keywords=only+a+hero+will+do

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/only-a-hero-will-do-susan-lodge/1107076321?ean=2940014973380

Please visit me at my website –  http://www.susanlodge.com

Facebook  –  http://www.facebook.com/susan.lodge.39

Twitter – https://twitter.com/pagehalffull

A Bolton, a Bolton! The White Hawk! – Author David Pilling

If you are a fan of historical fiction, have I got a treat for you! Please welcome British author David Pilling to Child of Yden as he talks about his newest release! ~ S.G. Rogers

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Suzanne has kindly allowed me a guest spot to talk about Book OnChoosing_the_Red_and_White_Roses - Henry Arthur Payne (1868–1940)e of The White Hawk, my new series of novels set during The Wars of the Roses.  This period, with its murderous dynastic feuding between the rival Houses of York and Lancaster, is perhaps the most fascinating of the entire medieval period in England. Having lost the Hundred Years War, the English nobility turned on each other in a bitter struggle for the crown, resulting in a spate of beheadings, battles, murders and Gangland-style politics that lasted some thirty years.

Apart from the savage doings of aristocrats, the wars affected people on the lower rungs of society. One minor gentry family in particular, the Pastons of Norfolk, suffered greatly in their attempts to survive and thrive in the feral environment of the late 15th century. They left an invaluable chronicle in their archive of family correspondence, the famous Paston Letters.

The letters provide us with a snapshot of the trials endured by middle-ranking families like the Pastons, and of the measures they took to defend their property from greedy neighbours. One such extract is a frantic plea from the matriarch of the clan, Margaret Paston, begging her son John to return from London:

“I greet you well, letting you know that your brother and his fellowship stand in great jeopardy at Caister… Daubney and Berney are dead and others badly hurt, and gunpowder and arrows are lacking. The place is badly broken down by the guns of the other party, so that unless they have hasty help, they are likely to lose both their lives and the place, which will be the greatest rebuke to you that ever came to any gentleman. For every man in this country marvels greatly that you suffer them to be for so long in great jeopardy without help or other remedy…”

The Paston Letters, together with my general fascination for the era, were the inspiration for The White Hawk. Planned as a series of three novels, TWH will follow the fortunes of a fictional Staffordshire family, the Boltons, from the beginning to the very end of The Wars of the Roses. Unquenchably loyal to the House of Lancaster, their loyalty will have dire consequences for them as law and order breaks down and the kingdom slides into civil war. The ‘white hawk’ of the title is the sigil of the Boltons, and will fly over many a blood-stained battlefield.

The head of the clan at the start of Book One: Revenge is Edward Bolton, an ageing veteran of the French wars. His wife, Dame Elizabeth, is the hard-nosed matriarch. They have three soThe White Hawkns, Richard, James and Martin, and a daughter, Mary. Richard is heir to the Bolton estates, an impulsive and vengeful young man whose actions during the course of the book almost lead to the destruction of everything he holds dear. The second brother, James, is a drunken chaplain who must master his demons before he can fight for his kin. Martin is a small boy, much affected by the violence he sees all around him. Mary is a strong-willed and intelligent young woman faced with the task of holding everything together in the face of war and calamity.

If all this whets your appetite, then please check out the paperback and Kindle versions of Book One below…

~ David Pilling

The White Hawk – paperback version

Kindle version

To check out David Pilling’s  blog, go HERE, find him on Facebook, and/or follow him on Twitter

The Samurai’s Garden — Guest Post by Author Patricia Kiyono

I’m pleased to welcome wonderful author Patricia Kiyono back to Child of Yden, as she discusses how her rich family heritage found its way into her latest release. Enjoy!

~ S.G. Rogers

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, S.G! I’m very excited about the release of The Samurai’s Garden. In writing this, I drew on my own Japanese heritage, and I thought today I’d share a little bit about it.

Growing up, we celebrated American holidays like our friends and neighbors did. My dad, though he was of Japanese descent, was born and raised in America, so our home looked much like everyone else’s, except for a few touches that my mom, who lived in Japan until she married her Japanese-American soldier, insisted on. In our living room, beautiful kimono-clad dolls posed in glass cases. In various places of the house, streamers of origami cranes attested to her belief in their ability to grant wishes. And occasionally, when I got home from school, I’d hear the stereo playing recordings of traditional Japanese songs.

In one corner of the living room was a small case with a picture of my deceased grandparents. It had a candle in front of it, and every day mom would put fresh water and fruit. Sometimes she would put a small bowl of rice there, too. She would bring the food and water, ring a little bell, and then bow. This was the family shrine, or obutsudan. I didn’t know much about the traditions surrounding these rituals. Maybe it’s because I didn’t ask. My brothers and I just accepted these actions as part of mom’s life.

Now that I have a home of my own, I realize these rituals were an important part of who mom is. My living room also has touches of Japan. I have a two-foot tall Japanese doll in a glass case—a wedding gift from my relatives. She stands in a place of honor, next to my piano. She’s a reminder of where I came from. This reminder was one of the reasons I needed to write a story full of the traditions and history of the land of my birth. And so The Samurai’s Garden came to be. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about them, and about the characters who bring these traditions to life.

Blurb:

Hiro Tanaka prepared for a life as a samurai warrior. But his world changed when Japan’s feudal system was abolished by the Emperor. Now, he must find a new vocation. Disillusioned with fighting and violence, he travels alone, going north to the island of Hokkaido.  Many other samurai wander through the country and are known as ronin. Some have forsaken their honorable way to prey on the less fortunate.

Hanako Shimizu experienced first-hand the devastation caused by these disreputable wanderers.  The previous winter, they raided her farm and killed her husband. Now, she needs to rebuild but has no money and no prospects — except for the dubious intentions of the town merchant.

When Hiro, tired of his wandering, encounters Hanako in the market, arguing with the merchant, he poses as her late husband’s cousin then offers to help her on the farm in exchange for a place to stay.  Working on the land, Hiro finally finds the peace he has been seeking. But the reappearance of the rogue ronin, led by an unscrupulous leader from Hiro’s past, forces him to take up his swords again. But now, the stakes are higher.

This time, he’s fighting from the heart.

The Samurai’s Garden is available at Astraea Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Patricia Kiyono can be found at her website, blog, facebook, and on Twitter (@PatriciaKiyono)

Author David Pilling Tells Tales of Olde – Guest Blog

Lythe and listin, gentilmen,

That be of frebore blode;

I shall you tel of a gode yeman,

His name was Robyn Hode

These are the opening lines of the first verse or ‘fytte’ of the ‘Lytell Geste of Robyn Hode’, the fifteenth century compilation of Robin Hood ballads. There were earlier stand-alone ballads, and ‘rhymes of Robyn Hode’ are mentioned in passing in a text from 1377, but the ultimate origins of the legend are unknown.

What has this potted history of Robin Hood got to do with my upcoming novel, Folville’s Law? Well, the germ of inspiration for my story came from my interest in medieval outlaw legends, and the history that lay behind the romance. Robin himself may or may not have been a real person, but what is certain is that the forests of medieval England were stuffed full of real outlaws. They were hard men, these ‘wanderers by night’, and two of the most notorious to stalk the troubled northern parts of England in the early fourteenth century were Eustace Folville and James Coterel.

Eustace and James made for perfect villains, being charismatic, ruthless gangsters who would cheerfully smile at you while sticking a knife under your ribs. And they lived in interesting times. England was a mess, presided over by a catastrophic king, Edward II, and his dreadful favourites, the Despensers. Law and order had broken down, allowing men like Eustace Folville and his gang to run riot, and the country was threatened by invasion from Edward’s estranged Queen, Isabella, and her lover Roger Mortimer. Again, all perfect raw material to stitch a story from.

So much for the historical personalities, what of my fictional hero? Sir John Swale is a ‘knight of Cumberland’, the far north of England, a grim place blasted by decades of ruinous cross-Border warfare. I have tried to portray him as a man of his time, haunted by the slaughter of his family by a band of raiding Scots, and motivated (at least in the beginning) by standard knightly preoccupations i.e. land and money.

The ‘love interest’, so to speak, is supplied by Elizabeth Clinton, a widow and possibly the most modern of the characters, in that she is an independently-minded woman in charge of her own affairs.

Add to this a bucket of blood, intrigue and politics, and you have ‘Folville’s Law’, an effort to portray the drama and brutality of life hundreds of years ago, and tell a good story into the bargain…I hope!

– David Pilling

Book Cover BlurbWhen Sir John Swale, knight of Cumberland, is sent on a secret mission to the Midlands by his ruthless and corrupt master, little does he suspect that his life, and the future of his country, is about to change forever.

England in 1326 is a land ruled by the corrupt and inept Edward II and his hated favourites, the Despensers. Threatened by invasion from Edward’s estranged Queen, Isabella, and her lover Roger Mortimer, they turn to desperate measures to preserve their precarious hold on England. Caught up in the vicious game of war and politics is Sir John Swale, a landless Northern knight with a dark past, who in the course of serving his masters makes a lethal enemy in the shape of the ruthless outlaw, Eustace Folville.

Excerpt:

Swale caught the thrust and turned it aside. His opponent was too close to attempt a cut, so he struck out with the cross-guard, feeling the impact as it thumped into the man’s cheek. Howling, the robber stabbed again, missed, and threw his weight against Swale. Strong fingers groped at Swale’s face, trying to gouge his eyes. He caught the robber’s hand, bit his fingers and hacked at his shoulder. The habergeon absorbed the blow, and the robber’s hasty attempt to gut Swale in return failed as his falchion scraped harmlessly against the knight’s breastplate.

Their horses surged apart, whinnying in panic. Swale had the distance now to bring his longer reach into play, and pressed his attack, chopping and slashing with sheer brute strength. His opponent parried, but was tiring, his face wet with sweat and his sword arm shuddering under the impact of each blow. Fierce joy flowed into Swale’s breast as he realised that he was going to win.

Then the shirtless old man appeared from nowhere, lunging and grasping at the robber’s leg with his scrawny dead-white arms. “Strike!” he croaked.

Amazed, Swale’s opponent gaped at the greybeard clinging on to his leg. His guard faltered, and Swale unleashed a vicious backhand cut that bit deep into the robber’s neck, chopping into his throat and half-decapitating him.

Links:

Buy @ Musa Publishing  (Also coming soon to Amazon and other fine outlets)

David’s Blog: http://pillingswritingcorner.blogspot.com/

*****

Thank you, David, for being my guest!

– S.G. Rogers