Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book Spotlight: To Live Forever by Andra Watkins

Synopsis:

Is remembrance immortality? Nobody wants to be forgotten, least of all the famous.

Meriwether Lewis lived a memorable life. He and William Clark were the first white men to reach the Pacific in their failed attempt to discover a Northwest Passage. Much celebrated upon their return, Lewis was appointed governor of the vast Upper Louisiana Territory and began preparing his eagerly-anticipated journals for publication. But his re-entry into society proved as challenging as his journey. Battling financial and psychological demons and faced with mounting pressure from Washington, Lewis set out on a pivotal trip to the nation’s capital in September 1809. His mission: to publish his journals and salvage his political career. He never made it. He died in a roadside inn on the Natchez Trace in Tennessee from one gunshot to the head and another to the abdomen.


Was it suicide or murder? His mysterious death tainted his legacy and his fame quickly faded. Merry’s own memory of his death is fuzzy at best. All he knows is he’s fallen into Nowhere, where his only shot at redemption lies in the fate of rescuing another. An ill-suited “guardian angel,” Merry comes to in the same New Orleans bar after twelve straight failures. Now, with one drink and a two-dollar bill he is sent on his last assignment, his final shot at escape from the purgatory in which he’s been dwelling for almost 200 years. Merry still believes he can reverse his forgotten fortunes.
 

Nine-year-old Emmaline Cagney is the daughter of French Quarter madam and a Dixieland bass player. When her mother wins custody in a bitter divorce, Emmaline carves out her childhood among the ladies of Bourbon Street. Bounced between innocence and immorality, she struggles to find her safe haven, even while her mother makes her open her dress and serve tea to grown men.
 

It isn’t until Emmaline finds the strange cards hidden in her mother’s desk that she realizes why these men are visiting: her mother has offered to sell her to the highest bidder. To escape a life of prostitution, she slips away during a police raid on her mother’s bordello, desperate to find her father in Nashville.

Merry’s fateful two-dollar bill leads him to Emmaline as she is being chased by the winner of her mother’s sick card game: The Judge. A dangerous Nowhere Man convinced that Emmaline is the reincarnation of his long dead wife, Judge Wilkinson is determined to possess her, to tease out his wife’s spirit and marry her when she is ready. That Emmaline is now guarded by Meriwether Lewis, his bitter rival in life, further stokes his obsessive rage.


To elude the Judge, Em and Merry navigate the Mississippi River to Natchez. They set off on an adventure along the storied Natchez Trace, where they meet Cajun bird watchers, Elvis-crooning Siamese twins, War of 1812 re-enactors, Spanish wild boar hunters and ancient mound dwellers. Are these people their allies? Or pawns of the perverted, powerful Judge?


After a bloody confrontation with the Judge at Lewis’s grave, Merry and Em limp into Nashville and discover her father at the Parthenon. Just as Merry wrestles with the specter of success in his mission to deliver Em, The Judge intercedes with renewed determination to win Emmaline, waging a final battle for her soul. Merry vanquishes the Judge and earns his redemption. As his spirit fuses with the body of Em’s living father, Merry discovers that immortality lives within the salvation of another, not the remembrance of the multitude.


Read an Except HERE.  

World Hermit Press | March 1, 2014

Buy the Book

Amazon (Kindle Ebook)

Amazon (Paperback)

Barnes & Noble (Nook Ebook)

Barnes & Noble (Paperback)


About the Author

Hey. I’m Andra Watkins. I’m a native of Tennessee, but I’m lucky to call Charleston, South Carolina, home for 23 years. I’m the author of ‘To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis’, coming March 1, 2014.  It’s a mishmash of historical fiction, paranormal fiction and suspense that follows Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis & Clark fame) after his mysterious death on the Natchez Trace in 1809.

I like:

hiking

eating (A lot; Italian food is my favorite.)

traveling (I never met a destination I didn’t like.)

reading (My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo.)

coffee (the caffeinated version) and COFFEE (sex)

performing (theater, singing, public speaking, playing piano)

time with my friends

Sirius XM Chill

yoga (No, I can’t stand on my head.)

writing in bed
candlelight

I don’t like:

getting up in the morning

cilantro (It is the devil weed.)

surprises (For me or for anyone else.)
house cleaning

cooking

Author Links

Website
 | Facebook
 | Twitter
 | Goodreads | 
Google+
 | Pinterest

Natchez Trace Walk

The Natchez Trace is a 10,000-year-old road that runs from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. Thousands of years ago, animals used its natural ridge line as a migratory route from points in the Ohio River Valley to the salt licks in Mississippi. It was logical for the first Native Americans to settle along the Trace to follow part of their migrating food supply. When the Kaintucks settled west of the Appalachians, they had to sell their goods at ports in New Orleans or Natchez, but before steam power, they had to walk home. The Trace became one of the busiest roads in North America.


To launch To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis, I will be the first person of either sex to walk the 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did since the rise of steam power in the 1820′s. March 1, 2014 to April 3, 2014. Fifteen miles a day. Six days a week. One rest day per week. I will spend each night in the modern-day equivalent of stands, places much like Grinder’s Stand, where Meriwether Lewis died from two gunshot wounds on October 11, 1809.
I will take readers into the world of the book. You’ll see the places that inspired scenes and hear the backstories of different characters, with running commentary by my father, who’s tagging along with me.

I’ll also have a daily YouTube segment where I answer reader questions about the book, my walk, my arguments—I mean—interactions with my dad, and whatever readers want to know. Ask me anything at mystories(at)andrawatkins(dot)com. 

You might see yourself on this site during my tour.



To Live Forever is currently on tour.  Click HERE to check out the tour schedule.  You'll find reviews, giveaways, author guest posts and more!



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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Researching a Historical Novel: A Guest Post from Linda Little (Includes Giveaway)

I'm super pleased to welcome author Linda Little to the blog today with a guest post about researching a historical novel.  Linda is the author of the recently recently novel Grist, and is currently touring the blogosphere with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours (click here for the tour schedule).

Be sure to check out my review for Grist here

Take it away, Linda!

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Researching for a historical novel can be a challenging business. Who among us has not read a historical fiction, come across some inaccuracy, and gone crowing through the house, “Look, she said they ate Corn Flakes and Corn Flakes haven’t been invented yet!” But when the shoe is on the other foot, then what? Now other people will be scanning my work for errors. I’ve adapted new standards in accuracy since I’ve learned what it is to be the person trying to compose in another time period. For me, the most import goal is to create characters that interact with the time, that express the time, and that personify the time. Of course we want to be as accurate as possible in the objects and styles that surround the characters but I think the worst historical fiction is the one that furnishes the period properly, dresses characters in period costume, but then peoples it with modern men and women. Cultural and intellectual history is by far the most important aspect of the temporal setting.

I have both an advantage and a disadvantage here. I have some academic background in history. This means I know what is most important, but it also means I know how much this entails and how difficult it is to achieve in its totality. Particularly in the lives of women it is difficult to assess levels of freedom and social censure in rural areas and in the lower classes. It can be difficult to know how people felt about the complications and combinations that naturally occurred in life. Modern western women in take for granted that women should have equal opportunities to choose their lives—equal to men, that is. It can often be a stretch for us here in the wealthy, post-industrial West to embrace the fact that this assumption is only true for us here and now and that in most places in the world this is not true today and it was not even true here until about the 1970s or 80s. It is important to grasp these cultural truths as wholes not as isolated facts. Culture influences everything a person expects and everything their neighbours expect. It drive what people have, do, want, and fear.

The three the most important historical sources for me in writing Grist were a diary of a Pictou County miller named James Barry, an 18/19th century millers’ guide, and a social history book called Sojourning Sisters. James Barry was clever, eccentric man who bought an old mill, refurbished it, and operated it through the last half of the nineteenth century as his main source of income. He was also a musician and composer and a bookbinder. He also appeared to loan money on occasion. He kept a daily diary—a practise picked up by his daughter upon his death. While much of the diary records weather and comments about his health, he will also go off on occasional riffs about religion or politics or, more commonly, the short-comings of his mother-in-law. The causes of the big disagreements in his family life are left unstated. Sometimes he will talk about the mill and milling. I think the character of James Barry might make an interesting study but I was interested in his milling activites, his chores, his prices, his debts, his purchases and profits. A few lines in Grist came from his words. The one I remember vividly is: “he ate like a Mohawk.” This must have been an “expression” and is particularly interesting because the Mi’kmaq are the first nation here. So he is not talking about real people or anyone he has met. This is part of a more generalized racist language. My guess is that this expression was probably widespread and indicates how far the local first nation population was from everyday sensibilities and awareness.  “He was a sorry tool for the job,” is another Barry-ism and one of his favorite comments about other men. While Barry was quite the egoist and an eccentric, Ewan’s character does not reflect him. Ewan had his own problems. I did not study Barry deeply enough to know him, nor was I particularly interested in the real man. I wanted to make my own character. But a few turns of phrase from the day can go a long way to making a piece sound authentic. And what I find is that once our ears become attuned to the language we are reading it can be surprisingly easy to come up with “expressions” that sound authentic, even if they are made up.

The Young Mill-Wright and Miller’s Guide was written at the end of the 18th century by Oliver Evans and was revised and reprinted in many editions through the 19th century. The edition I used was the eighth edition, originally published in 1834. I had first seen it in the provincial archives in Halifax in the rare book section and I had to wear archivists’ gloves to read it. I’d made a couple of trips to the city to make notes from it when Lee Valley tools (Algrove Publishing) reprinted the book for sale in their stores. Imagine my delight! Really, what are the odds! So I had my own copy—text diagrams and all—right by my keyboard. The drawings at the back of the book were the drawings young Ewan first saw and recognized as the manifestation of mechanical theory. The laws and lists that he takes into himself as kind of a religion in his search for order in a chaotic world are taken directly from this text.

The third resource I would like to mention is, Sojourning Sisters: The Lives and Letters of Jessie and Annie McQueen by Jean Barman (U of T Press, 2003). This is a scholarly work but eminently accessible.  It is a great read in its own right. The introduction gave succinct and valuable context. The bulk of the work is built on letters exchanges between two McQueen sisters and their family at home in Sutherland’s River, Pictou County, Nova Scotia. These letters give 19th century language for young women who lived at the same time and in the same locale as Penelope. Language, attitudes, and the ethos of the time rise off these pages. Again, Penelope is in no way drawn from these adventurous young women; what’s the point of writing a novel if you forego the fun of building your own characters?

I looked at lots of other resources and I certainly looked up all sorts of details on the web. What a resource the internet is—we never had that when I went to school! (Clearly, there is less and less excuse for getting details wrong.) But at some point it is important to get going on your characters and your story. Anyone who has researched anything knows you could be at it forever. It can take over and kill the very project it is supposed to be fostering. The more we find, the more questions are uncovered. I think it is important to get a sense of the backdrop then get going. Once you are on your way it can be relatively easy to fill in the facts and details you need as they come up. We enter a new world when we create and what fun to make that world in a time or place removed from our own. This is what makes historical fiction so rewarding to write and to read. 

***********

About the Author

Linda Little lives and writes in the north shore village of River John. Originally from the Ottawa Valley mill town of Hawkesbury, she lived in Kingston and St. John’s before moving to Nova Scotia in 1987.

Linda has two award-winning novels, Strong Hollow and Scotch River. She has published short stories in many reviews and anthologies, including The Antigonish Review, Descant, Matrix, The Journey Prize Anthology, and The Penguin Book of Short Stories by Canadian Women.

In addition to writing, Linda teaches at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and is also involved with River John’s annual literary festival, Read by the Sea.

For more information visit Linda Little’s website.

Giveaway

I'm pleased to host a giveaway for one paperback copy of Grist.   Giveaway details are as follows:

- Open to residents of Canada and the U.S. only;
- To enter simply leave a comment on this post including your email address;
- One entry per person;
- The giveaway will run until midnight (EST) April 25, 2014. 

Good Luck!



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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: Grist by Linda Little

Synopsis:

“This is the story of how you were loved,” Penelope MacLaughlin whispers to her granddaughter.

Penelope MacLaughlin marries a miller and gradually discovers he is not as she imagined. Nonetheless she remains determined to make the best of life at the lonely mill up the Gunn Brook as she struggles to build a home around her husband’s eccentricities. His increasing absence leaves Penelope to run the mill herself, providing her with a living but also destroying the people she loves most. Penelope struggles with loss and isolation, and suffers the gradual erosion of her sense of self. A series of betrayals leaves her with nothing but the mill and her determination to save her grandchildren from their disturbed father. While she can prepare her grandsons for independence, her granddaughter is too young and so receives the greater gift: the story that made them all.

Roseway Publishing | April 15, 2014 | 234 pages (trade paperback) | ISBN 13: 9781552665992

My Review

Linda Little's latest novel, Grist, is a gorgeously written tale set in rural Nova Scotia in the late 19th century.  The story focuses on the life of Penelope MacLauglin, a one-time school teacher who seems destined to remain unmarried until she meets Ewan, a miller.  While Ewan is short on words, he nevertheless manages to successfully woo Penelope and convince her to become his wife.  While Penelope is optimistic that she'll provide Ewan with a happy home full of children, she soon learns that her husband is not the man she thought he was.  Ever hopeful, Penelope constantly struggles to connect with her husband and be the wife he expects her to be.  Ewan, however, shows little interest in his wife, and as the years pass Penelope is increasingly left alone to run both the mill and the household as Ewan heads out of town to conduct business.  Penelope's life is not an easy or a happy one, but she is able to find solace in her grandchildren, especially the granddaughter for whom this tale has been written.

It is evident from the very first page of Grist that Linda Little has a beautiful way with words.  Her descriptions of everyday life, as well as of the thoughts and feelings of her characters, make the reader feel as if they are an active part of the story rather than just observing events through the pages of a book.  Readers can sense Penelope's isolation and loneliness, and experience her loss of hope and rising sorrow as the events of her life turn increasingly tragic.  The reader can't help but feel sorry for Penelope, and yearn for her to experience the happiness that she desperately seeks yet that continually eludes her.   Although the story is told primarily from Penelope's perspective, a few chapters are told from Ewan's point of view.  While these chapters initially had me feeling some sympathy for Ewan,  it wasn't long before his actions turned me against him completely.  
 The narrative of Grist moves along at a slow but steady pace.  This pace helps to evoke a strong sense of time and place.  While daily life in 19th century rural communities could be slow, it was also characterized by regular routine.  Little effectively illustrates these routines, giving the reader an appreciation for what daily life must have been like for a woman such as Penelope.  The MacLauglin's mill is a important element of Grist, and it is clear that Little undertook a good deal of research in order to convey to the reader some of the finer points of building and running a mill.  

Recommended to fans of literary historical fiction, novels that feature unique heroines, and/or readers interested in rural life in the 19th century. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Source: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher as part of Linda Little's Virtual Book Tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Grist is currently on tour!  Click here to check out the tour schedule.  

About the Author

Linda Little lives and writes in the north shore village of River John. Originally from the Ottawa Valley mill town of Hawkesbury, she lived in Kingston and St. John’s before moving to Nova Scotia in 1987.

Linda has two award-winning novels, Strong Hollow and Scotch River. She has published short stories in many reviews and anthologies, including The Antigonish Review, Descant, Matrix, The Journey Prize Anthology, and The Penguin Book of Short Stories by Canadian Women.

In addition to writing, Linda teaches at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and is also involved with River John’s annual literary festival, Read by the Sea.

For more information visit Linda Little’s website.


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: The Eagle and The Swan by Carol Strickland

Synopsis:

For 1,500 years she has been cruelly maligned by history. Labelled as corrupt, immoral and sexually depraved by the sixth-century historian Procopius in his notorious Secret History, the Byzantine Empress Theodora was condemned to be judged a degenerate harlot by posterity. Until now. Due to a conviction that its contents would only be understood by generations of the distant future, a manuscript that has remained unopened for a millennium and a half is about to set the record straight. It will unravel the deepest secrets of a captivating and charismatic courtesan, her unlikely romance with an Emperor, and her rise to power and influence that would outshine even Cleopatra.  This historical novel traces the love affairs, travails, machinations, scandals and triumphs of a cast of real characters who inhabit an Empire at its glorious and fragile peak.  It’s the tale of a dazzling civilization in its Golden Age; one which, despite plague, earthquakes and marauding Huns, would lay the foundation for modern Europe as we know it.

Erudition Digital | November 7, 2013 | AISN: B00GIR54MI

My Review

Carol Strickland's debut novel, The Eagle and The Swan, is about Byzantine Empress Theodora and her husband Emperor Justinian.  The story is told from the perspective of the monk Fabianus, a childhood friend of Theodora's who is called upon to write a true history of Justinian and Theodora's reign when it becomes apparent that the official history being written by Procopius may not present Theodora in a favourable light.

Theodora seems to be a popular figure to write about these days, and with good reason, as the Empress lived a fascinating life.  The Eagle and The Swan is the second novel of Theodora that I've had the pleasure to read in the past year, so I went into this book with a basic knowledge of both her life and of the time period in which she lived.  Overall, I enjoyed Strickland's interpretation of both the characters and events.  My favourite aspect of this novel was the heroine herself.  Strickland's Theodora is a smart, compassionate, and determined woman, and it is not difficult to see how she was able to rise from poverty and prostitution to become the consort of an Emperor.   Theodora never forgot where she came from, and always tried to help young women who found themselves in unfortunate circumstances.  Justinian, however, does not come across quite so well.  While Theodora cautioned a moderate approach to solving the ills of the state, Justinian continually ignored the advice of his wife and listened to his most trusted advisors, including his prefect John the Cappadocian, who resorted to extreme torture to extract money and information from people.  While Justinian is sometimes referred to as Justinian the Great, he comes across as anything but great in this novel -- although this book only covers the early years of his reign. 

The Eagle and The Swan is a long novel, but Strickland's smoothly flowing prose keeps the narrative moving along at a steady pace.  It wasn't until the final quarter of the novel, when I felt too much extraneous detail was added to the story, that I thought the narrative got somewhat bogged down.  At times some of the dialogue comes across as too modern, and the narrative does contain a couple of obvious anachronisms -- the mention of cholera, a disease not found outside of India until the 19th century, and a character's recognition of the need to boil water to avoid it, are the two that most stand out.   One element I really wish had been added to the novel was an Author's Note.   It's obvious that Strickland conducted a great deal of research in order to write this novel, but I would have appreciated a note explaining what key elements of the story are fact and which are fiction.   Regardless of these few shortcomings, the story itself is definitely an enjoyable one and I wouldn't hesitate to read more from Carol Strickland.

The Eagle and The Swan is recommended to readers interested in historical novels set in less common time periods, as well as those who enjoy novels with strong, interesting female protagonists.
   
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Source: I received a copy of this novel as part of Carol Strickland's Virtual Book Tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.


The Eagle and the Swan is currently on tour!  Click here to check out the tour schedule. 

About the Author

Carol Strickland is an art and architecture critic, prize-winning screenwriter, and journalist who’s contributed to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and Art in America magazine. A Ph.D. in literature and former writing professor, she’s author of The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in the History of Art from Prehistoric to Post-Modern (which has sold more than 400,000 copies in multiple editions and translations), The Annotated Arch: A Crash Course in the History of Architecture, The Illustrated Timeline of Art History, The Illustrated Timeline of Western Literature, and monographs on individual artists.

Author Links:

Author Website | Book Website | Facebook Page | Twitter | Pinterest

Giveaway

I'm pleased to host a giveaway for The Eagle and The Swan.  Up for grabs are two ebook copies of the novel.  Giveaway rules are as follows:

- Open internationally;
- To enter, simply leave a comment on this post with your email address;
- One entry per person;
- The giveaway will run until midnight (EST) on April 21st, 2014.

Good Luck!


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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Book Review: Apocalypse by Dean Crawford

Synopsis:

In the notorious Bermuda Triangle, a private jet vanishes without a trace, taking with it scientists working for the world-famous philanthropist Joaquin Abell. Meanwhile, Captain Kyle Sears is called to a murder scene in Miami. A woman and her daughter have both been shot through the head. But within moments of arriving, Sears receives a phone call from the woman’s husband, physicist Charles Purcell.

“I did not kill my wife and child,” he says. “In less than twenty-four hours I will be murdered and I know the man who will kill me. My murderer does not yet know that he will commit the act.” With uncanny accuracy, Purcell goes on to predict the immediate future just as it unfolds around Sears, and leaves clues for a man he’s never met, former war correspondent Ethan Warner.

The hunt is on to find Purcell, and Warner is summoned by the Defense Intelligence Agency to lead the search. But this is no ordinary case, as Warner and his partner, Nicola Lopez, are about to discover. The future has changed its course, and timing is everything. The end is just beginning.

Relentlessly fast-paced and action-packed, Apocalypse combines realistic science, suspense, and intrigue to create an ingenious blockbuster thriller.


Touchstone | March 2014 | 416 pages | ISBN 9781451659498

My Review

Apocalypse is the latest novel in Dean Crawford's Ethan Warner thriller series.   In this novel Ethan and his partner Nicola Lopez are called upon by the Defense Intelligence Agency to help find scientist Charles Purcell, a man wanted for the murder of his wife and daughter but who claims to be innocent.   With Purcell correctly predicting events of the near-term future, however, it soon becomes apparent to both Warner and Lopez that there is much more to their search for Purcell than it first appears.  What follows is a race against time itself. 

In Apocalypse Dean Crawford has crafted a well-written, quick-paced scientific thriller that keeps the reader eagerly turning the pages.  The science is (thankfully) well-explained, although some of it didn't seem entirely plausible (although this could just be a result of me not being able to wrap my mind around the possibility of some of the science).  Ethan Warner is a complex protagonist and, while I've not read the other novels in this series, it is obvious that previous events in Ethan's life have played a large role in who he is and how he sees the world.   Crawford has also created an intriguing cast of supporting characters, many of whom you can't help but root for -- including Charles Purcell.  I found the novel's villain to be a bit over the top in terms of his vileness, but can't deny that his actions and Warner's attempts to foil them made for an entertaining read.   The novel's conclusion is gripping, and includes some unexpected twists that have definitely left me curious to know what's next for Ethan Warner.

While part of a series, Apocalypse can be enjoyed without having read the two novels in the series.  However, I definitely plan to go back and read them.

Recommended to fans of suspense and thriller novels. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Source: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review


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Monday, April 7, 2014

The Towers of Tuscany by Carol M. Cram: Book Blast

The Towers of TuscanyHistorical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and author Carol M. Cram are excited to announce The Towers of Tuscany Book Blast!

Join us from April 7-13 as The Towers of Tuscany is featured around the blogosphere, along with a chance to win one of three copies of this amazing new novel!

Called "a beautifully crafted masterpiece of historical fiction", "lush", and "page-turning" Cram's debut novel will appeal to readers who enjoy a strong female lead who, against great odds, dares to follow a dream. The Towers of Tuscany includes a Reader's Guide making it a perfect Book Club pick! In honor of the Book Blast we are giving away three copies to three lucky readers, see below to enter.

Publication Date: January 23, 2014 New Arcadia Publishing Formats: Paperback, Ebook
Genre: Historical Fiction

Set amid the twisting streets and sunlit piazzas of medieval Italy, the Towers of Tuscany tells the story of a woman who dares to follow her own path in the all-male domain of the painter's workshop. Sofia Barducci is born into a world where a woman is only as good as the man who cares for her, but she still claims the right to make her own mistakes. Her first mistake is convincing her father to let her marry Giorgio Carelli, a wealthy saffron merchant in San Gimignano, the Tuscan city of towers. Trained in secret by her father to create the beautifully-crafted panels and altarpieces acclaimed today as masterpieces of late medieval art, Sofia's desire for freedom from her father's workshop leads her to betray her passion and sink into a life of loveless drudgery with a husband who comes to despise her when she does not produce a son. In an attack motivated by vendetta, Sofia's father is crushed by his own fresco, compelling Sofia to act or risk the death of her soul. The choice she makes takes her on a journey from misery to the heights of passionĂ³both as a painter and as a woman. Sofia escapes to Siena where, disguised as a boy, she paints again. When her work attracts the notice of a nobleman who discovers the woman under the dirty smock, Sofia is faced with a choice that nearly destroys her. The Towers of Tuscany unites a strong heroine with meticulously researched settings and compelling characters drawn from the rich tapestry of medieval Italy during one of Europe's most turbulent centuries. The stylishly written plot is packed with enough twists and turns to keep readers up long past their bedtimes.

READ AN EXCERPT.
The Towers of Tuscany
 

Praise for The Towers of Tuscany

"The Towers of Tuscany is a delightful escape to the Siena we all love. Carol Cram has crafted a delicious story about a strong woman torn between her secret past, her love of painting and the forbidden charms of her rich patron. Hard to resist and highly recommended!" - Anne Fortier, Author of The Lost Sisterhood and the New York Times bestseller, Juliet

"Carol Cram's lush descriptions and intriguing characters bring this dramatic tale of medieval Tuscany to life. If you love Italian art, a feisty heroine, and a page-turning plot, you will adore this novel." Deborah Swift, Author of A Divided Inheritance

"The Towers of Tuscany has all the elements of a wonderful historical novel: a talented, frustrated heroine, a treacherous, feckless husband, and a promise to a dying, much loved father who orders the heroine on a dangerous mission. Carol is a first rate storyteller. The research is well done. Every chapter displays a fine knowledge of painting technique of the 14th century, and customs and mores of the age. The details of dress, fabric, food, are flawless. The clever dialogue and fast pace make the novel zing along." - Roberta Rich, Author of The Midwife of Venice and The Harem Midwife

"Sofia will set your heart racing as she attempts to find what we all, in our own ways, strive to seek: love, resolution, and artistic freedom. The legacy of this story will leave you yearning for more." Cathleen With, award-winning author of Having Faith in the Polar Girls Prison

Buy the Book

Amazon (Ebook) Amazon (Paperback) Barnes & Noble Book Depository IndieBound

About the Author

Carol CramCarol M. Cram has enjoyed a great career as an educator, teaching at Capilano University in North Vancouver for over twenty years and authoring forty-plus bestselling textbooks on business communications and software applications. She holds an MA in Drama from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Carol is currently focusing as much of her attention as she can spare between walks in the woods on writing historical novels with an arts twist. She and her husband, painter Gregg Simpson, share a life on beautiful Bowen Island near Vancouver, Canada.

Author Links

Website
Blog
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, April 7
Literary Chanteuse
Bibliophilia, Please
Cheryl's Book Nook
A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Confessions of an Avid Reader  

Tuesday, April 8
Mari Reads
Peeking Between the Pages
History From a Woman's Perspective  

Wednesday, April 9
Reviews by Molly
Susan Heim on Writing
Oh, For the Hook of a Book


Thursday, April 10
Passages to the Past
Book Lovers Paradise
To Read or Not to Read
Curling Up With a Good Book  

Friday, April 11
Words and Peace
The Mad Reviewer
Historical Fiction Obsession  

Saturday, April 12
Book Nerd
Layered Pages
Princess of Eboli
Kelsey's Book Corner

Sunday, April 13
West Metro Mommy
The True Book Addict
Caroline Wilson Writes  

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Giveaway

To enter to win one of 3 copies of The Towers of Tuscany please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on April 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on April 14th and notified via email. Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Inscription by H.H. Miller: Book Blast

Inscription_CoverH.H. Miller's Book Blast for Inscription will be featured around the blogopshere from March 31-April 13.

Publication: January 9, 2014
H.H Miller
Paperback; 278p
ISBN-10: 0615944418

eBook: 700kb
ASIN: B00HSBNW5Y

The year is 1851 and the Grand Guard is ravaging Mainland. Arrests. Floggings. Swift executions. Twenty-year-old Caris McKay, the beautiful heiress of Oakside Manor, is sent to live with distant relations until the danger has passed. It's no refuge, however, as Lady Granville and her scheming son plot to get their hands on Caris's inheritance with treachery and deceit.

Soon, alarming news arrives that the ruthless Captain James Maldoro has seized Oakside and imprisoned Caris's beloved uncle. And now he's after her.

Caris escapes with the help of Tom Granville, the enigmatic silver-eyed heir of Thornbridge. But when a cryptic note about a hidden fortune launches them on a perilous journey across Mainland, Caris and Tom must rely on wits, courage, and their growing love for each other if they hope to survive.

Filled with adventure, intrigue, and romance, Inscription will transport you to a historically fictional world you'll never want to leave.

READ AN EXCERPT.

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About the Author

H.H. Miller AuthorH. H. Miller is the author of the novel Inscription, a historically fictional romantic adventure. In real life, she's content director at Stoke Strategy, a brand strategy firm in Seattle, Washington, where she specializes in transforming what some might call "boring" technology jargon into compelling, readable, memorable stories. Her favorite escape is Manzanita, Oregon - a place of beautiful beaches, wild storms, chilly nights around the bonfire (even in July), and time to enjoy life with her husband and three children.

For more information please visit H.H. Miller's Facebook Page.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, March 31
A Bookish Affair
Closed the Cover
Mina's Bookshelf

Tuesday, April 1
Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, April 2
Book Nerd
CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, April 3
Flashlight Commentary

Friday, April 4
The Mad Reviewer
Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Saturday, April 5
Pages of Comfort

Sunday, April 6
So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, April 7
Confessions of an Avid Reader
History from a Woman's Perspective

Tuesday, April 8
The True Book Addict
Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, April 9
Broken Teepee

Thursday, April 10
SOS Aloha
Caroline Wilson Writes

Friday, April 11
Layered Pages

Saturday, April 12
Susan Heim on Writing
Curling Up With a Good Book

Sunday, April 13
Passages to the Past

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Giveaway

To enter to win one of 2 copies of Inscription please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on April 13th.. You must be 18 or older to enter.  Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on April 14th and notifiied via email.  Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway


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