19 April 2018

Book Launch: Victory Girls (Lavender Road 6), by Helen Carey

New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

VICTORY GIRLS is the sixth poignant saga in Helen Carey's much-loved Lavender Road series, set in south London during the Second World War. Not to be missed by readers of Katie Flynn, Annie Murray and Lilian Harry. Praise for the Lavender Road novels: 'Funny, poignant, emotional and unputdownable' London Evening Standard

August 1944. Allied troops are fighting their way across Europe. But rocket attacks on London are a chilling reminder that the war is far from over.

Helen knows all too well how dangerous it is in war-torn France. But it's a long-time since she heard from her French fiancé, Andre, and nothing is going to stop her going back to track him down, before he is lost to her forever.

Her friend Molly is finding it hard to stop thinking about the lovely Canadian pilot she met while nursing overseas, and the future she might have had, if only she had been good enough for him. Now Molly is back in London, determined to discover the truth about the mother who gave her up for adoption when she was four years old.

Victory may be just round the corner, but the fighting is far from over for the women of Lavender Road.

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About the Author  

Helen Carey is best known as the author of the popular wartime Lavender Road series. The previous novel in the series, London Calling, was shortlisted for the RoNA Award for best Historical Romance. Helen also writes travel articles and short stories, and from time to time she teaches Creative Writing at various universities, specialising in story structure. She is also a fellow of the Royal Literary Fund. Before being published herself, she worked for a literary agency and as a reader for several publishers. Having spent quite a lot of time in different parts of the world, Helen now lives mostly in Pembrokeshire in West Wales where she and her husband run their small coastal farm as a conservation project.  For more information about her and her books please visit her website www.helencareybooks.co.uk and find her on Facebook and Twitter @HelenCareyBooks. 

14 April 2018

Three great tips for fiction writers #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

There is so much advice for new writers it must be quite bewildering for anyone starting out on the long journey to successful publication.  For this month’s #AuthorToolboxBlogHop I’ve therefore had a think and here are my top tips:

Develop your own authentic voice

Finding your ‘voice’ as a writer is what can make your work stand out from the rest. Think of your favourite authors - and why you look forward to their next book. Best-selling author Jeff Goins says, ‘Once you’ve found your voice, make sure you continue to develop it. It’s a discipline, one that can’t be overlooked if you’re going to have the impact you desire and that your words deserve.’ Find out more at Jeff’s post 10 Steps to Finding Your Writing Voice.

Show don’t tell

Don’t groan – even after writing eight novels I find this advice useful when reviewing a first draft. ‘Telling’ has its place, as there are times when you need to tell the reader something and ‘showing’ is about using all the senses to make readers feel what your characters feel. Creative writing expert Emma Darwin says, ‘Understand their respective strengths, and use each to your story's best advantage. like everything in writing, it isn't even binary, but a spectrum, from the telliest tell, to the showiest show.’ Find our more at Emma’s useful post Showing And Telling: The Basics.

Never state what you can imply

I’ve put this in the header of my current work in progress as a reminder. Like showing and telling, there are times to be flexible but it’s always good to involve the reader more by making them do some of the work. Award winning author Peter Selgin says, ‘Telling readers what to think or feel is the job of a propagandist. A storyteller’s main purpose, on the other hand, is to create experiences for the reader, to involve us so deeply, so convincingly, so authentically in those experiences that we feel what characters feel..’ Find out more at his post In Storytelling: Never State What You Can Imply.

Happy writing!

Tony Riches

Do you have some great writing tips you would like to share?
Please feel free to comment

The #AuthorToolboxBlogHop is a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you learn! The rules and sign-up form are below the list of hop participants. All authors at all stages of their careers are welcome to join in.

13 April 2018

Healer: The Gift of Dreams (A Tales of Freya Short Story Book 5) by Sarah Dahl

New on Amazon UK

A collection of sensual short stories set in the Viking Age

In a world of crackling fires and rough landscapes, long winters and bloody raids, the immediacy of life and death ignites undeniable passions. Warriors and monks, healers and housewives -- all follow the call of their hearts and bodies to indulge in pleasures that may forever change their lives.

Viking farmer Magnus is plagued by a demon. Since his wife’s death, the dreaded Mara tortures his body and mind. Powerless, he sends for a healer, the unexpectedly young and beautiful Audr
"Sarah Dahl brings a crisp, contemporary voice to an ages-old world of battle, bloodshed and primal indulgences. Her refreshing style not only draws the reader back into ancient times; it brings the characters to us, allowing us to meet in the middle for a vibrant and accessible experience. From two ravaged warriors reaping the spoils of war to the sensuality of a medieval menage, Ms. Dahl has a way of making scars sexy and luring out the vulnerability in the invulnerable." 
J.D. Lexx, author of The Crimson Confessions
"With her unique writing style and in-depth knowledge of this bygone era, she brings the world of clashing swords, dashing warriors, and strong, independent shield maidens to life. Brutality turns into sensuality in an instant, leaving the reader satisfied, yet craving more. Her writing is addictive, and every story in this brand new and exciting series is sure to thrill and delight." 
Elaine Coetzee, author of Runo's Curse
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About the Author

Sarah Dahl lives on the edge of the rural German Eifel and writes historical fiction primarily set in the Viking age. She also works as an editor, translates, and coaches new writers. She is interested in the everyday life in bygone centuries, and the human stories that may have occurred behind the hard, historical facts. Find out more at her website www.sarah-dahl.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter @sarahdahl13 

12 April 2018

New Book Review: Richard the Lionheart: The Crusader King of England, by W. B. Bartlett

New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Hollywood has a tradition of introducing King Richard I in the last few minutes of stories of Robin Hood, but how much do you know about the real man behind the myths which have grown over the years? I recall being taught at school about his wars of the crusades and remember thinking it can't have been good to be out of the country for quite so long.

Richard the Lionheart: The Crusader King of England is therefore a useful reappraisal of what King Richard really achieved, and provides an intriguing insight into his life, and how his actions were shaped by the times he lived in. 

I found surprising parallels with the modern world, as he battles Islamic enemies, and had the nickname 'Richard Oc e No' (Richard yes and no, much like our modern leaders.) The author visited Syria for his research on the great crusader castles, and notes how well the different communities have coexisted, yet as I write this, Syria is on the brink of an international war.

W. B. Bartlett's experience shows in his lively and readable style, and he uses engaging montages to bring the story to life.  I'd never thought about it but Richard's untimely death meant he never had the chance to show us what sort of king he might have been. I'm sure he'd have done a better job than his successor, King John.

This isn't the story of an English king, it's about the life of an Angevin noble who became King of England. A great book which I am happy to recommend.

Tony Riches

Disclosure: A review copy of this book was kindly provided by Amberley Publishing

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About the Author

W. B. Bartlett has worked across the globe in almost twenty countries and has spent time in over fifty. He is the author of many history books for Amberley including titles on the Titanic, Medieval History and Dam Busters. He lives in Bournemouth.

11 April 2018

Historical Fiction Blog Tour: Port of No Return, by Michelle Safitch

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US  

Contessa and Ettore Saforo awake to a normal day in war-stricken, occupied Italy. By the end of the day, their house is in ruins and they must seek shelter and protection wherever they can. But the turbulent politics of 1944 refuses to let them be.

As Tito and his Yugoslav Army threaten their German-held town of Fiume, Ettore finds himself running for his life, knowing that neither side is forgiving of those who have assisted the enemy. His wife and children must also flee the meagre life their town can offer, searching for a better life as displaced persons.

Ettore and Contessa’s battle to find each other, and the struggle of their family and friends to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a devastating war, provide a rich and varied account of Italian migration to Australia after World War II.

What can you do when you have nowhere left to call home? Port of No Return considers this question and more in a novel that is full of action, pain and laughter — a journey you will want to see through to the very end.

Port of No Return is the first novel in a series of two.

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About the Author

Michelle Saftich is a first time author who resides in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband and two children. She holds a Bachelor of Business Communications Degree, majoring in journalism, from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). For the past twenty years, she has worked in communications, including print journalism, sub-editing, communications management and media relations. In 1999, she was named National Winner for Best News Story in the ASNA (Australian Suburban Newspaper Awards). Born and raised in Brisbane, she spent ten years living in Sydney; and two years in Osaka, Japan, where she taught English. Find out more at Michelle's website https://michellesaftich.com/ and find her on Twitter @MichelleSaftich

10 April 2018

Where Destiny Commands: 1939 - 1945 A Time Of Love & War, by Leila Sen

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Based on true events and discovered memoirs, Where Destiny Commands is a love story set against the flaming backdrop of WWII....

It is 1940. Invoking the protection of the warrior goddess Kali, destroyer of evil, mother goddess of redemption, time and change, a young Indian doctor prepares to join the IMS in the British Indian Army. The war takes him from his home town of Calcutta (Kolkata) in India to the Middle East where global history is in the making, and the dispute over religious beliefs and the rights to homeland will change and divide the peoples of this world for decades to come. 

With his Battalion, The Prince of Wales's Own 2/4 Gurkha Rifles, he advances through the ancient cities of Iraq, Syria and Persia (Iran) to Cairo, and the erupting deserts of North Africa. Serendipity plays its hand in Cairo, a tumultuous city of political intrigue and espionage seething with Allied forces from all around the world. 

There he meets a young woman who has fled the Armenian genocide in Turkey to find safe haven in Egypt. His capture, on a fateful day in June 1942, by Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps in the chaotic Battle of the Cauldron, cannot deter their destiny. Despite separation and the global turmoil surrounding them, the story of their love transcends the tragedies of war, the boundaries of far flung countries, and the barriers of time and fate.

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About the Author

Leila Sen was born in Calcutta, India, at the end of WWII. They were the final days of the British Raj as India embarked on her fight for independence. An award winning poet, and an author of children’s literature, this is her first novel. Inspired by her parents, she undertook the writing of their story as a labour of love, and has dedicated this book to them. Leila lives in San Francisco with her husband, Ronjon, without whose help this book would not have been possible. For many years they enjoyed this beautiful city with a number of family members mentioned in this book. Now, they continue to live in the home they shared with her parents, and still share with their remaining family of rescued pets. Follow Leila on Twitter @_LeilaSen

8 April 2018

Historical Fiction Spotlight: The Prophetic Queen: The Tumultuous Life of Matilde of Ringelheim, by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer

Available on Amazon UK, Amazon US and Amazon CA

To dream of death is a curse.

"I WAS BORN with the ability to prophesize the future. The destinies I dream about are impossible to alter, despite my many attempts to do so...nightly visions forewarn me of good fortune, but also of despair, discord, and death--always death."

Matilde of Ringelheim, a paragon of virtue and achievement, a legendary woman of passion, beloved 10th-century queen, and saint of the Germanic states, was one of the most influential and charitable women in European medieval history. Her story of love, family discord, betrayal, prophetic dreams, and political intrigue is an epic account of her history.

As the virtuous daughter of a noble family educated in an abbey, young Matilde faces a promising future, but she keeps a secret. Through her dreams, she can predict the future. When Duke Heinrich of Thuringia arrives unannounced at the abbey and wishes to marry Matilde, her childhood is over. At fourteen, she weds the young, enigmatic duke. She must leave everything behind and learn to navigate the intricacies and intrigues of her new life as a duchess, and later as queen.

Beset by great political intrigues, a ravaged people, fraught relationships, and yet inspired to a greater calling, Matilde sees what her future could hold if she could seize the moment—if her husband will believe in and act upon her prophetic dreams.

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About the Author

Mirella Patzer was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and grew up in Calgary, a city famous for the Calgary Stampede, oil companies, and the wild west. She attended the University of Calgary where she specialized in leadership and human resources. She has worked as an Italian-English bilingual secretary, police radio operator, and administrative manager. She writes sweeping historical novels set in exciting periods of history. From the medieval eras to the early 18th century, her novels feature intriguing characters and fascinating heroines. Her favourite setting is Italy, for that's where the root of her passion lies, the roots of her strong Italian heritage, but she has also written about early Canada and medieval Germany. Mirella lives in Cochrane, Alberta, with her husband and family. Find out more at her website www.historyandwomen.com and find her on Twitter @HistoryandWomen