Summer Warrior – Blog Tour

Summer Warrior
The Clan Donald Saga Book 1
by Regan Walker
Genre: Romantic Historical Fiction

Somerled’s parentage was noble, of the Kings of Dublin, the royal house of Argyll and the great Ard Ri, the High Kings of Ireland. But when the Norse invaded Argyll and the Isles, his family’s fortunes fell with those of his people. When all hope seemed lost, he rose from the mists of Morvern to rally the Gaels, the Scots and the Irish.

Sweeping across Argyll and the Isles like a fast-moving storm, brilliant in strategy and fearless in battle, Somerled began retaking his ancestral lands, driving away the invaders and freeing the people from the Norse stranglehold. In doing so, he would win the title Somerle Mor, Somerled the Mighty, Lord of Argyll, Kintyre and Lorne and, eventually, Lord of the Isles.

This is the unforgettable saga of his path to victory that birthed the Kingdom of the Isles and won him the heart of a Norse king’s daughter.

A lawyer turned writer, Regan Walker is an award-winning, bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romantic historical fiction. Her novels weave history and historical figures into fictional stories with political intrigue, a bit of mystery and love. She lives in San Diego and loves to walk along the seashore with her dog “Cody”.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$20 Amazon giftcard + winner’s choice of ebook from Regan Walker
(If US winner, you can choose an autographed paperback if preferred!)

Meet My Character Week – Jack #Horror #HistoricalFiction

Who are you? (Give a brief description of yourself). I am Jack, I seek to clean up the once noble streets, deal with the vice and the stain on our glorious empire.

How did you find yourself in your current predicament/on your current adventure? My adventure? I suppose it is. I avenge my brother, I avenge those who have fallen to the pox. I do it for her – the shining icon of decency and family life. She whose character is unstained.

Who are your companions? I have none, except the beast and the blade.

What is your moral code? How does it compare with the general moral code of your area?  You mean the whores, the drunkards, the gamblers and the dens of vice? I come to solve the problems of the streetwalkers and their filth. I serve the common good. I serve in her name.

How many crimes have you committed? Five or five hundred – it matters not.

How do you think others see you? They fear me. My reign of terror has them cowering but still some ply their trade. I hear the cry of the newsboy on the corner when my night’s work is done, and the beast laughs. I want them to fear the blade in the night. I want them to smell the blood.

Do you see yourself as a ‘good’ person? I kill the tainted, the corrupt and the wicked. I serve the empire, I serve her.

What is your greatest achievement? The Double Event – two in one night!

If you could live your life again would you make the same choices? Of course

Do you have any dirty secrets? You have no idea!

Why should we read about your adventures? I will be a legend, a myth. I will disappear and yet my name will live forever.

***

Author – A. L. Butcher

Jack appears here:

The year is 1888, and the place is Whitechapel, in the very heart of London. But the heart is bleeding. A mysterious killer is stalking women of the streets – his true name is unknown, but his legend will go down in history. This is a short tale of Jack the Ripper.

18 rated for scenes of violence.

 

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Echoes of Love – Book Tour – Guest Post – Gina Ardito – #Historical #Romance

Today we welcome Historical Romance writer Gina Ardito.

Gina – over to you…

We’re living in strange days. And we’re all trying to find a new normal we can live with. One of the aspects of writing historical romances I love is that I know how it’s going to end. Oh, not the way my characters will win in the end (I’m a total pantser, which means I have no idea where my story will go ‘til it lands somewhere), but definitely how the historical crisis they’re living through will end. That’s a luxury we don’t have these days. But it’s important to remember that when our historical figures were surviving their trying times, they had no idea how it would end, either. We just have the luxury of hindsight.

When I opted to choose to set ECHOES OF LOVE during the time of Napoleon’s march on Russia, I knew how the emperor’s gambit turned out. Chesna, my royal governess, has no such certainty—though she suspects. And yet, time and again, when I threw the worst sort of betrayals at her, she outwitted me and rose to the occasion. Take, for instance, this scene when the French army has invaded her city and she has fled to the church with her young prince for sanctuary until she can plan their next move.

“Please, Your Majesty, you must listen to me.”

The boy flipped down the blanket and opened one eye to stare at her. Obviously, her use of his new title had struck through his sleep-fogged brain. His brow furrowed, and a lone tear slipped down his cheek. “Papa?” The squeaky tremor in his voice confirmed her suspicion that he sensed the truth regarding his father’s fate. “He’s gone, isn’t he?”

She bowed her head. “Yes, sire. Forgive our haste, but we must speak quickly.”

The cot creaked as Mikhail sat up. With a shiver at the cold air, he folded his arms over his chest, and looked around in confusion. “Where are my garments?”

Chesna exchanged a quick glance with Karol, who came forward with the bundle of dirty clothes. “Here, Your Majesty.”

Mikhail’s expression mirrored his disgust. “Those are filthy. Where did you get them?”

Cheeks flushed, Karol backed away from the boy’s indignance. “From a dead boy in the street, sire.”

“How dare you!” he shouted. “I do not wear dirty garments.”

“You do now,” Chesna said flatly. She halted the argument he might attempt with an index finger pressed to the child’s lips. “Please, Your Majesty. Listen to me. I’ll explain.”

Although his eyes narrowed in displeasure, Mikhail nodded.

She removed her finger and gestured for Karol to bring the clothes forward. “Do you recall what you asked of me when I told you of your mama’s death?”

“Yes,” he replied warily. “I asked if you’d be my mama now. But you said you could never take her place.”

She shook out the threadbare shirt to remove any stray dust or insects, then slid the rough garment around his satiny shoulders. “Well, sire, I’ve changed my mind.”

The boy looked up, one eyebrow quirked. “How so?”

“To rule Amatia, Napoleon would destroy the royal family, including you. But the French only plan to remain here for a short time before pressing on toward Moscow. They must cross the mountains before the cold weather sets in. And if they’re defeated in Moscow, a fate my father claimed was all but certain, your throne reverts back to you based on your alliance with Tsar Alexander. Until then, we must keep these foreigners from discovering your true identity so they cannot harm you or take you prisoner.”

One eyebrow quirked up, an expression so like his father’s, Chesna sucked in a sharp breath. “And how will we accomplish this?”

She refocused on the new king. “While you slept, Karol took your garments and went out into the streets. He found a dead boy of about your age, removed his clothing, dressed him in your royal attire and left his body beneath that of your father’s. By tomorrow morning, Napoleon’s army will be under the assumption they succeeded in killing the entire royal family.”

“So you’re going to pretend to be my mama to fool our enemies,” he surmised. At Chesna’s nod, he clapped. “How clever of you!”

I wish I had the answer as to how our current circumstances will end, but the best I can promise is that it will, eventually, end. Until then, why not lose yourself in stories where you may not know how they’ll wind up together and happy at the end, but you know they will? I highly recommend you start with ECHOES OF LOVE.

Echoes of Love
by Gina Ardito
Genre: Historical Romance
Royal governess Chesna Dubrow must protect the five-year-old king of Amatia from Napoleon Bonaparte’s invading army. To do so, she’ll be forced to wed one of the emperor’s loyal soldiers. But Pietor Gabris isn’t any soldier. Years ago, he broke Chesna’s heart, forgetting the vows they’d made to love each other forever.
Pietor’s return to Amatia is embroiled in subterfuge. Amidst the deceit surrounding him, he clings to the one truth he cannot ignore: his timeless love for Chesna. Yet confessing what’s in his heart would sentence them both to death. To keep Chesna safe, he must portray the role of traitor, ensuring her animosity continues to blow hot and harsh.
As danger and intrigue swirl around the palace, can Chesna place her faith—and heart—with the one man she swore she’d never forgive?
Editorial Review from Entrada Publishing:
The old saying goes, if you love something, set it free, and if it is
meant to be, it will return. In Gina Ardito’s historical fiction
novel, she explores the idea of lost love, and bitter-sweet homecomings.
Set in the fictional country of Amatia, Chesna is the governess of the
young prince Mikhail, as a means to ease her broken heart. Six years
prior, her childhood sweetheart, Pietor was sent off to Russia, and
soon forgot all about Chesna. However, fate will soon bring the two
lost lovers together again, but under dire circumstances. As
Napoleon’s armies march upon Amatia, Chesna finds herself caught
between loyalty to her country, and what her heart desires.
Ardito does a masterful job blending real-life historical events, with a
beautifully crafted love story. She crafts a suspenseful and engaging
narrative, taking readers through historical events, and the inner
conflicts within Chesna, and Pietor. The storytelling is beautifully
done as Ardito explores the concept of long-lost lovers, betrayal,
and learning to follow your heart. The narrative flows in an organic
way, with tension masterfully woven throughout. The dynamics between
Chesna and Pietor is natural, and their relationship is very well written.
Along with a tender love story, the author sets up a mystery that Chensa,
and Pietor must unravel before it is too late. Readers will be on the
edge of their seats, as they follow along in the race against time.
Chesna must figure out who to trust, and who she can place her faith in.
For those looking for a suspenseful, yet tender love story, Echoes
of Love
is a fantastic historical fiction novel. Gina Ardito is a fantastic
writer, and her novel will pull at your heartstrings, as well as
leave you breathless.
I honestly don’t know. If I believe you, someone whom I’ve known
all my life wants me dead. I have nowhere to turn and no one whom I
can trust. I am surrounded by enemies on all sides. Do you have any
idea how that makes me feel?”
I kill houseplants. There. Now you know one of my greatest shames. I’m not boasting. I just figure that if you’re reading this, you’re looking for more than how wonderful life is as a writer. You get enough of that elsewhere. Ditto for political rants, how to lose thirty pounds in a week, and creating gorgeous crafts with nothing more than twine and soup cans. My goal is to connect with you, dear reader, even if you’re not a writer, not a New Yorker, not a mother, not a female. We’re human (unless one of us is a spambot), and what we have in common is flaws. So here are a few more of mine:
I sing all the time. I sing songs most people don’t know–jingles from television, crazy stuff I used to listen to on Dr. Demento, Broadway and movie soundtracks, and I can even bum-bum-bum through instrumental music. I sing in the car. In the shower. While I’m grocery shopping. And I headbop while I sing. When I’m not singing, I talk to myself. Just ignore me and move on. You get used to it after a while.
I don’t eat my vegetables. Seriously. I only started eating salad about ten years ago, but I’d still rather have a cookie.
Given the option, I would live in a mall where I would never have to worry about freezing temperatures or too much sun. I’m extremely fair-skinned and could burn under a 60-watt light bulb.
I can’t sleep without background noise so the television’s on all night. If it’s too dark and too quiet, all I have are my thoughts. And even *I* don’t want to be alone with my thoughts.
Don’t ask me to Zumba, line dance, or march in the parade. I have absolutely no rhythm.
I color outside the lines. Not because I’m a rebel, but because I suck as an artist. My artistic ability is limited to being able to draw Snoopy sleeping on his doghouse. And I don’t even draw that well.
Regrets. I have more than a few.
My favorite activity is sleep, and I’m pretty good at it. I don’t clock a lot of hours, but I can powernap like a Persian cat and rejuvenate within ten minutes.
I consider shopping and dining out excellent therapy for anything wrong in my life.
My feet are always cold. Always. My husband of more than a quarter century claims it’s because I’m an alien sent to Earth to destroy him. (He might be right about that.)
Coming to my house for a visit? Unless you’ve given me plenty of advance notice, be prepared. My floor will not be vacuumed, there will be dishes in my sink, and I only make my bed when I change the sheets once a week (I’m climbing back into it ASAP. Why make it?) Housecleaning is not high on my priority list. Okay, to be totally honest, it’s not on the list at all.
I can resist anything…except ice cream.
Since this is our first date, I figure I’ve revealed enough secrets for now. But if you’ve read this bio and think I might be the author for you, pick up one of my books or stalk my website: www.ginaardito.com.
$25 Amazon
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

 

#Heroika Skirmishers – Tom Barczak

Heroika 2: Skirmishers – Souls of a Lion

My name is Thomas Barczak. Souls of a Lion tells the story of the twinned souls of Lavi, young men made assassins, both behind enemy lines, both alone, one against the Romans beneath the shadow that was Masada, and the other in the Warsaw Ghetto fighting back against the German occupation, both of them, ultimately and tragically, betrayed by their own people as well. Ultimately, only a girl in red is left for them to save, if there is to be any chance at all of saving themselves from both the hell and death of war. Death of the body. Death of the soul.

I have always listened to the idea of two people joined across time. Unable to speak to one another, they are sometimes given a glimpse. Sometimes, the actions of one may help, or even hurt, the other. The parallels of the Hebrew people’s struggle against both the Romans and the Nazis has always spoken to me as well. I am not Jewish by either faith or blood. I am only an author who has studied some portions of history. I have learned that when you study history, that truth is nearly always stranger than fiction. This is what compels me.

As I went deeper into these two different, yet similar, points in time, the twinned trials of this one group of people spoke to me of something deeper as well. All dogma and religion aside, it spoke to me of how a few, and sometimes even a one, who were willing to rise above circumstance, and sometimes, even the ones they were fighting to protect, to defend against their loss. They had to have to known their likelihood of failure. Perhaps it didn’t matter. Perhaps they weren’t just doing it for themselves, but for generations yet to come, or perhaps, generations that have already been.

A Skirmisher, by definition, is one who goes forward, ahead of the lines, who seeks engagement alone with the enemy, that stands apart, ahead, to protect those that are behind them. They do this with steel on the battlefield, they do it with spirit on the battlefield of their soul.

Lavi is the name shared by the hero(s) of this story, a soul that has already been shaped, and worn, and betrayed as the story opens beneath the new moon over Masada. He is a calculating and shrewd killer who struggles with lament. In the dark night of the Warsaw ghetto the soul, and the name, belong to someone very different, a boy on the leeward cusp of everything he knew, but there is no going back when everything to go back to is already gone. One Lavi still seeks redemption, while the other still looks for something to save.

To both, a little girl in red offers them their only salvation, if not for themselves, then perhaps for the other, or one past, or another yet still to come.

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#Heroika Michael H. Hanson and His Character


Name: Michael H. Hanson

Give us a brief synopsis of your story:

The Sea People, the largest military force in Mediterranean history, is closing in on Egypt, the last true bastion of order and culture in the ancient world. A never before seen alliance of countries and nation-states have united to defend against this rampaging overwhelming horror. On the eve of battle, it is the skirmish lines of the fierce nomadic tribespeople known as The Habiru, who just may hold the answer to victory. Civilization itself is at stake in this breathless adventure.

Why did you choose that time period/group of people to write about?

I was always fascinated by the theory that the Ancient Hebrews were, in fact, the historically documented peoples known as The Habiru. Biblical accounts of how that ancient people really entered Egypt are questionable at best. I decided to create my own tale as a possible example of how it all came about.

What are the challenges in writing historical fiction/fantasy?

Mixing known facts about B.C. cultures with believable character descriptions and dialogue. It is always tough to keep one’s self from overly romanticizing the past, and also tough to remember how current cultural norms are not the mindset of our ancestors. In a world of political correctness, it is a fine line one has to walk to write an entertaining historical adventure story.

What is your usual genre?

I generally write contemporary sciencefiction, fantasy, and horror… and lots of Poetry!

How do you define a hero?

One who is willing to place the needs of others above their own and doing so in the face of great danger and great fear.

What is your writing space like?

A comfortable couch or sofa I can lounge upon with a mac laptop slung on my belly.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A Scuba Diver or an Astronaut

Name three things you really love about writing, and three things you don’t like.

I love the solitude, the challenge, and the total control I have over the endeavour.

I don’t like tight deadlines, the long wait between submission and acceptance/rejection, and the mind-worm my guilty conscious implants in me when I’ve put off writing for too long.

 

Character Section;

Name: Amnon, son of Amram

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am born of the Naphtali, the eighth of the twelve tribes of the Habiru. I lead a thirty-man group of Skirmishers, lightly armed and fleet-footed warriors whose duties are scouting, spying, and enemy harassment.

Tell us a bit about the society in which you live.

The Habiru are a nomadic warrior nation that once lived along several stretches of the land of Retjenu. In recent years the mighty Ramses III befriended the Habiru leaders and, impressed by our savagery and skills, invited us to move our camps across the border of Egypt and down to the city of Abu, as allies and equals.

How do others see you?

I’m a leader, as was my father, his father, and many grandfathers before them. Mine is a holy bloodline of commitment and duty. Others look to me for leadership and I will never let them down.

Do you believe in a god?

Of course. What kind of stupid question is that? I believe in the high god, Yahweh, and his deific consort, Asherah, the goddess of healing.

How do you define a hero?

I don’t. That word has no meaning in my culture. I am a warrior of god. One of many. I do what I must. What else is there?

What do you REALLY think of your author?

He’s an arrogant pagan, dismissive of the strength of my people’s moral, ethical and religious conviction, and far too interested in the childish minutia of mundane combat.

If you could have three wishes what would they be?

That I never fail in any of my military duties, that I never bring shame upon my family or clan, and that I and all my loved ones will die and earn the right of an eternal afterlife in the Bosom of Abraham.

AUTHOR BIO (short)

Michael H. Hanson created the ongoing SHA’DAA shared-world anthology series currently consisting of “SHA’DAA: TALES OF THE APOCALYPSE”, “SHA’DAA: LAST CALL”, “SHA’DAA: PAWNS,” “SHA’DAA: FACETS”, “SHA’DAA: INKED”, and “SHA’DAA: TOYS”, all published by Moondream Press (an imprint of Copper Dog Publishing). In 2017, Michael’s short story “C.H.A.D.” appeared in the

Eric S. Brown edited anthology “C.H.U.D. LIVES!” and his short story “Rock and Road” appears in the Roger Zelazny tribute anthology “SHADOWS AND REFLECTIONS.”  Michael also has stories in Janet Morris’s Heroes in Hell (HIH) anthology volumes, “LAWYERS IN HELL,” “ROGUES IN HELL,” “DREAMERS IN HELL,” “POETS IN HELL,” “DOCTORS IN HELL,” “PIRATES IN HELL,” and “LOVERS IN HELL.”

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#Heroika Skirmishers – A L Butcher and her Character #Historical Fantasy

Author section

Name A.L. Butcher

Give us a brief synopsis of your story A new religion sweeps the land on the point of a sword, and the old gods are none too happy. A mysterious plague fells lord and peasant alike, a woman on the margins of society knows a cure – but to seek it brings a risk of death and unleashes awful magic.

What is your usual genre? Fantasy/Fantasy erotica.

How do you define a hero? A selfless person – who will do what others won’t, someone, even at great risk to themselves.

Is being a writer ‘what you do’ or ‘what you are’? I’ll rephrase that as ‘being a storyteller’. Being a storyteller is what you are. If you don’t have that it can’t be what you do. Not everyone who tells stories writes them down. Not everyone who writes tells a story. Storytelling is as old as humanity – it helps to make sense of the world, to explain the unexplainable, to find a better life, and place for a while, to escape, to be brave, to be loved, to be noble. And to be wicked.

I think if you are a storyteller those tales, those adventures will find a way to be told – to your kids at bedtime, secret files no one will ever see on your computer, that hidden notebook, the distraction at meeting times.

Many people who do write down their stories will never publish them, or if so beyond their family and friends. There is a craft to writing – oral storytelling is probably more forgiving than the written word, but there are certain rules, of course. And that’s the ‘what you do’ bit – the learning of that.

What did you want to be when you grew up? A squirrel. When I was little I was obsessed with them (I still am to a degree). My first stories were about two squirrels called Patch and Silky, they had many adventures

Name three things you really love about writing and three things you don’t like.

3 things I love: I can create something from nothing. I am never alone. I can go anywhere.

3 things I hate: Too many characters wanting their stories told at once. Marketing books. Typos.

If you could invite anyone from history or literature to dinner who would you choose and why? Let me see…. Shakespeare, Terry Pratchett, Tolkien and Homer to provide the after-dinner stories; Mozart, Erik, the Phantom of the Opera and Freddy Mercury for the music; Tempus, King Arthur, Frodo Baggins, Boudicca for the anecdotes. We’d have a dish from each of their favourite foods. I dare say there would be a drink or two.

 

Character Section

Name: Moira

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am a herbalist, I hold some of the old knowledge – my father and brother were Guardians – protectors of the old religions – but I only barely knew my father and my brother his disappeared. The women of my line are what you would call witches. My land is overcome with the fierce new religion of Arun, and so I must hide what I am.

I live alone, my mother is gone and I have none who care except Mordicai, the Smith’s son, and Old Robin – the village recluse. Mordicai is set to marry another and Robin is frail and elderly. Soon I shall have no one. But the people here need me, at least when it suits them.

How do you come to be on this adventure? There is a plague on our town – much death and sickness. The new god, Arun, has done nothing to allay it, so someone must seek an answer or everyone will be taken.

Tell us a bit about the society in which you live. The Lord-Reeve is reasonable enough – he tries to keep the peace in a time or fear and uncertainty. He is the Duke-Regent’s man – and that too is an unsettled state of affairs. The Archduchess rules in the name of her daughter – the old Archduke’s only living heir – and there has never been a woman on the throne. The Duke Regent is a dragon-rider – not a nobleman and assists her in governing the land, but they are distant from us.

This new religion is brought with sword and fire and all must convert or die. The old ways allowed for many gods, many beliefs – and the magics and rituals which went with them.

It’s less than a decade since the end of the war, and the lands are still recovering.

I am female, of the old bloodlines and the old beliefs and so I must take care. I cannot appear to be what I really am – Arun’s priests despise my kind – they are afraid they may be wrong, I suppose.

Are you brave? I do what must be done when others will not. But I fear many things – the new god’s followers, the loss of knowledge, the sword and the flame.

If you could have three wishes what would they be? I wish for the plague to be gone, I wish to be allowed to live my life in peace and safety, I wish that people would get on with one another.

Do you think you make a difference in your world? I hope so.

 

AUTHOR BIO (short)

British-born A. L. Butcher is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet, and a dreamer, a lover of science, natural history, history, and monkeys. Her prose has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as ‘evocative’. She writes with a sure and sometimes erotic sensibility of things that might have been, never were, but could be.

Alex is the author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles and the Tales of Erana lyrical fantasy series. She also has several short stories in the fantasy, fantasy romance genres with occasional forays into gothic style horror, including the Legacy of the Mask series. With a background in politics, classical studies, ancient history and myth, her affinities bring an eclectic and unique flavour in her work, mixing reality and dream in alchemical proportions that bring her characters and worlds to life.

She also curates speculative fiction themed book bundles on BundleRabbit – for the most part the speculative fiction Here Be Series

Awards: Outside the Walls, co-written with Diana L. Wicker received a Chill with a Book Reader’s Award in 2017.

The Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales won best fantasy for 2018 on NN Light Book Heaven.

Echoes of a Song – one of her Phantom tales – won best fantasy 2019.

Alex is also proud to be a writer for Perseid Press where her work features in Heroika: Dragon Eaters; and Lovers in Hell – part of the acclaimed Heroes in Hell series. http://www.theperseidpress.com/

 

Social Media links

Website http://www.libraryoferana.co.uk/books.html

Blog https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/about-a-l-butcher-fantasy-author-poet-author-promotion/

Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/2hK33OM

Smashwords Author Page https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ALB123

Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/LightBeyondtheStorm/

Indiebound Author Page https://www.indiebound.org/search/book?keys=author%3AButcher%2C%20A.%20L.

Twitter http://bit.ly/Twi2hJZ3h9

Goodreads http://bit.ly/GR2iqokvK

Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-butcher-8342ab13b/

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.co.uk/abmonkey/

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Heroika Skirmishers – Cas Peace and her Character #Fantasy #HistoricalFiction

Author section

  • Name: Cas Peace

Give us a brief synopsis of your story: Britain is a country rich in legends and myths. Any writer seeking inspiration for a story concerning battles, skirmishes, mythical creatures or heroic deeds could do worse than research the many wonders of our misty Isles. For my second Heroika story, “Black Quill”, I did exactly that.

I’m from Hampshire, southern Britain, and soon unearthed the legend of a cockatrice that reportedly lived near a local abbey. When I also discovered that this abbey had connections to Queen Ǽlfrida, mother of Æthelred, called the Unready, I simply had to combine the two stories.

Queen Ǽlfrida became the prioress of the abbey after her husband, King Edgar, died, and she reportedly had Edgar’s son killed so her own son, Æthelred, could inherit the throne. Æthelred, whose nickname ‘the Unready’ is a derivation of ‘unraed’, or poorly-advised, forced his mother to give up her powerful status as queen and become prioress of the abbey as penance. And it seems that tragedy and sly dealings dogged the former queen because before Edgar married her, he sent his best friend, Æthelwold, to check her out. Æthelwold fell for her and married her himself, and Edgar was so furious when he found out that he had Æthelwold killed. What a family!

In my story, “Black Quill”, the life of a disabled farm girl becomes irrevocably entwined with the fates of both the abbess and the cockatrice—producing a denouement that is anything but simple.

What are the challenges in writing historical fiction/fantasy? I find the main challenges revolve around invoking a realistic, visceral atmosphere, enabling the reader to immerse themselves in the story as fully and naturally as possible. In many ways, I find it easier to achieve this with a historical fantasy rather than one which comes purely from the writer’s mind, because there will be readers already familiar with the chosen setting. The hard work comes in the research which, if thoroughly and successfully carried out, enables the writer to surround themselves with ancient sights, sounds and smells, allowing the writing to flow seamlessly, already imbued with the ambience of the time. Solid historical facts play their part too, although in fantasy, of course, facts can be twisted and adapted, providing hours of fun for playful writers and readers alike.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? When I first started writing I was definitely a pantster, mainly because I hadn’t intended to become a writer and certainly didn’t know what I was doing! I was simply filling a few bored hours by writing out a little scenario I’d had in my mind since watching a kids’ TV show in the ’70s. Wow, did that open some floodgates! Before I realized it, I’d written around 300,000 words, and those words eventually became my first Artesans trilogy. The second and third trilogies were written in a similar way; although this time I understood more about my craft. Since that heady, exciting, scary and immersive time, however, I have learned the pleasures of plotting, very necessary seeing as I’m writing a prequel to the events in that first trilogy. But I’ll admit that I still crave that incredible, irresistible feeling of words desperate to be written, rushing through my mind and onto the page.

What did you want to be when you grew up? When I was a kid, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. I was average at most things scholastically: best at English, abysmal at anything to do with numbers (still am!). The exams I took were generic, and I only achieved good passes in English, Biology and Art. I did toy with the idea of going to art college to study fabric design, but throughout my childhood my heart really belonged to horses. My parents couldn’t afford for me to have one and neither could they really afford to send me to college, so I finally found a good school of equitation and enrolled as a working pupil. This meant you had living accommodation and meals provided, and received a clothing allowance for work clothes, but there was no wage and you worked with the horses in return for lessons in equitation and horse care. It was a good arrangement and I had a great group of co-workers around me. I passed my initial exams to become an Assistant Instructor, and remained at the establishment for several years as a wage-earning instructor. Now, I incorporate horses into my writing, as my love for them has never waned.

Character Section

Name: My name is Gytha

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am the daughter of Rathgar, a farmer. I had a twin sister, Larna, who was killed. My father took another wife, Anice, after my mother died and she gave him two more children: Anice cared nothing for me. They call me the cursed girl because I saw great evil but didn’t die like Larna did. They say I caused her death, and that evil is sure to find me again.

How do you come to be on this adventure? My father had to find a place for me because my crippled legs mean I cannot work on the farm. I was useless to him and no one would wed me. But I am quick and clever with my hands and so he sought a place for me at the Benedictine abbey, where I might learn to copy manuscripts and scrolls. The abbess, who once was Queen Ǽlfrida before her son forced her into the abbey, took pity on father’s sorrow over the death of my sister and eventually agreed to take me. That is the reason I was here when the evil finally found me.

Tell us a bit about the society in which you live: Our Anglo-Saxon society is structured and ordered. Our countryside has been formed into areas called hundreds, and shires. We have laws and government. The language we speak is known as Old English. We worship the Christian God and there are many abbeys and monasteries throughout the land. Although there are also kings, the bishops, abbots and priors wield great power. We have been relatively peaceful for many years but recently there has been an increase in Viking raids on England. The Danes are keen to take back the land King Edgar took from them—land they first stole from us. But these are matters for kings and leaders. I come from a line of simple farmers; all we can do is farm and try to survive.

Are you brave? Is it brave to run from a monster? Is it brave to leave your twin sister to a horrific fate? Is it brave to survive being crippled, faced with a useless life? If so, I am very brave, for I have done all these things. Larna’s voice in my mind tells me all will be well, and so I endure for the sake of my sister.

How do others see you? I am called the cursed girl—I am the girl who survived seeing the devil, the girl who should have died instead of her sister. They see my twisted, ruined legs; they never see my nimble, clever fingers. They hear me speak of Larna’s voice in my head and hear madness. They would much rather not see me at all and, in the abbey, they do not have to.

Do you believe in a god? I believe in the Christian God. Most of England believes in the Christian God—the bishops and abbots make sure that we do. Yet we also believe in the ancient evils, and there are some in the countryside who still practice the old rites, the forbidden rites, the druid rites. There are hedgewives and witches still and, of course, there are Danes who refuse to spurn their pagan beliefs.

How do you define a hero? I have never met a hero. I suppose a hero would be a great warrior, someone like King Edgar who subdued the Danes in England. Or maybe a hero would be someone who rescued people from disasters, who gave up his life to save others. I am a simple girl with no life—what do I know of heroes?

Do you love anyone? Do you hate anyone? I adore my twin sister, Larna. I speak to her all the time and she speaks to me, even though she’s dead. She is my only friend. I love my father, even though he gave me to the abbey. It was not his fault; he could not afford to feed a crippled, cursed girl. I don’t really hate anyone, although I don’t like father’s second wife, Anice. Anice only cares for her two young children.

What do you REALLY think of your author? I am not sure why she decided to tell my story above all the others she could have chosen. But I am grateful to her, because she has given my useless life some meaning.

Do you have a moral code? Father taught us to be honest, to be kind to others, and to respect others’ property—especially Seyerd, the farmer who owns land next to ours. He grows delicious fruit and father says we’re not supposed to pick it without permission. But if the branch grows across father’s side of the hedge, why should we not? The abbey where I now live has strict rules, and everyone must obey the abbess.

If you could have three wishes what would they be? The first would be that my sister had not died. The second that I was never crippled. The third that father had never wed Anice.

How do you view yourself? I was a happy, cheerful, helpful child before the monster came. After, I was quiet, because I was shunned by people who thought I was cursed. I became sad, fearful that father would send me away because no one would wed me. At the abbey, I work hard and make no trouble because I need the shelter the abbey provides.

What is your favourite thing? My favorite thing in all the world is to hear Larna’s voice in my head. It is my redemption, my promise that all is not lost, that I will one day be with her again.

Do you think you make a difference in your world? Of course not! What difference could a useless girl like me make to the world?

 

AUTHOR BIO (short)

Amazon UK Bestselling author Cas Peace lives in the lovely county of Hampshire, southern UK. Originally, she trained and qualified as a teacher of equitation. She also learned to carriage-drive. She then spent thirteen years in the British Civil Service before moving to Rome, Italy, where she and her husband Dave lived for three years.

As well as her love of horses, Cas is mad about dogs. She currently owns two rescue lurchers, Milly and Milo. Cas loves country walks, working in stained glass, growing cacti, and folk singing. She is also a songwriter and has written and recorded songs or music for five of her Artesans of Albia fantasy novels. They are available to download free from her website.

As well as being a novelist, Cas is also a freelance editor and proofreader. Details of her Writers’ Services and other information can be found on her website: http://www.caspeace.com.

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#Heroika Skirmishers – Bruce Durham and His Character #Fantasy #Historicalfic #Meetanauthor

 

Author section

Name (Mandatory) Bruce Durham

Give us a brief synopsis of your story: The remnants of a Peacekeeping force flee before the relentless approach of a corrupted madman who is nuking the world into oblivion. A glimmer of hope for the future presents itself in the form of a mysterious priest, a fabled horn and a legendary sword.

Why did you choose that time period/group of people to write about? I wanted to write about a slightly post-modern-day end of the world scenario, mix in some legend and myth and explore how modern-day soldiers would react to something completely out of the normal.

What is your usual genre? I’ve written across several genres, including historical, fantasy, Sf and horror.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? I’ll meticulously plot my story, then find some of the characters decide they have different ideas. It’s a bit of a struggle, but they usually win out.

If you could invite anyone from history or literature to dinner who would you choose and why? It would definitely be Robert E. Howard. His body of work was immense, encompassing fantasy, historical fiction, horror, poetry, westerns, boxing tales and pure adventure. Needless to say, his influence on me was immense. Just to pick his brain would be worth the steak dinner.

 

Character Section

Name (Mandatory) Grace Matthews

Tell us a bit about yourself. I am a Peacekeeper. My rank is First Lieutenant, 3rd  Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment. I’m a career soldier, single, not that its anybody’s business. Not much else to say.

How do you come to be on this adventure? I was stationed in the Sinai with an aircraft control unit when all hell broke loose. From there it was a steady retreat across North Africa and into Spain. This wasn’t so much as an adventure as it was about survival.

Tell us a bit about the society in which you live. Right now? It’s a madhouse.

Are you brave? I don’t know. I know I have a duty to the well being of the people in my command. If that makes me brave, then so be it.

How do others see you? You’ll have to ask them. They haven’t deserted, so I must be doing something right.

Do you believe in a god? At this point I don’t know what to believe in.

What do you REALLY think of your author? I hope he rots for putting me in this situation. I just wanted a normal life, you know?

Do you have a moral code? Duty.

If you could have three wishes what would they be? To live. To love. To be in a sequel.

Do you think you make a difference in your world? Time will tell.

 

AUTHOR BIO (short)

Bruce Durham lives in Mississauga, Ontario. He has appeared in Paradox: The Magazine of Historical & Speculative Fiction, Lovecraft eZine, Flashing Swords, Return of the Sword, Rage of the Behemoth, Sha’Daa: Last call, Lawyers in Hell, Rogues in Hell, Poets in Hell and Heroika: Dragon Eaters, among others.

 

Heroika: Skirmishers

Conflict is a constant. When force on force is inevitable only the intrepid need come forth. Summon the Skirmishers to their eternal purpose, to face a foe who must be opposed at all cost. Gird yourself and join the brotherhood of ‘do or die.’ HEROIKA: SKIRMISHERS is an anthology of desperate struggles in far flung time-scapes, the age-old smell of battle and death. SKIRMISHERS –Tales for the bold among you!

https://www.amazon.com/Heroika-Skirmishers-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B085N7XZLZ/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heroika-Skirmishers-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B085N7XZLZ/

 

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Heroika Skirmishers Interviews – Travis Ludvigson and His Character

Author section

  • Name: Travis Ludvigson

 

  • Give us a brief synopsis of your story Nithing (an Old Norse term for a coward, an outcast or a man without honor), is a tale of betrayal and redemption set in the later part of what is known as the Viking Age. Grimolf is a warrior driven from his home, harried by those who would take his life and with it earn glory and riches. An opportunity to change his fate arrives and he must choose which path to follow.

 

  • Why did you choose that time period/group of people to write about? The Norse are a fascinating people made up of fighters, farmers, craftsman and seafarers. Their influence reached throughout much of the known world at the time, and can still be seen today. Additionally, they were a group of men and women who represented strength in the face of adversity and a fierce devotion to that which they loved.

 

  • How would you define a Skirmisher? A Skirmisher is a fighter who engages in smaller battles where hit and run tactics can be used. They can serve as scouts to collect intelligence, and can also serve as a small, quick reaction force that can be used to harry the enemy and keep them unbalanced. A Skirmisher is a fast, smart, efficient fighter who knows how to hit the enemy hard before they can properly react.

 

  • What are the challenges in writing historical fiction/fantasy? Ensuring that there is accuracy in the depiction of time and place of the story. I always take the time to do good research of the terrain, animals, names of both people and places, historical events and other details to be as true to the history as I can. However, I am also writing fiction, so I take some liberties to change a few things to better fit the story. You just have to find a good balance so you don’t destroy the vision you have created for the reader.

 

  • What is your writing space like? It is a cold, dark cave located well below ground, wherein I am surrounded on all sides by books; the ether filled with the collective murmuring of millions of voices and stories. Directly to my left sit Huginn and Munin (Thought and Memory) to provide inspiration. A mirror hangs in front of me so that I can look into my own eyes and try to discern whether the thoughts that are coalescing within are worthy of the story. And there is typically a dog or cat lounging somewhere nearby, just waiting for the chance to divert my attention to them.

 

  • If you could invite anyone from history or literature to dinner who would you choose and why? Man, there are so many it is really hard to narrow this down. If I had to choose one person from history, I suppose it would have to be Marcus Aurelius. He was a warrior, a statesman and a philosopher and would be a great dinner companion. Then afterwards, maybe he would be agreeable to sparring and could give me some pointers on using the gladius.

 

Character Section

1)Name: Grimolf

2)Tell us a bit about yourself. I don’t really like to talk. I enjoy fighting and drinking. In fact, I believe I will pour another right now.

3)Are you brave? I don’t fear anything or anyone, but I don’t know if its bravery or not.

4) Do you believe in a god? There are many gods and goddesses: Odin, Tyr, Thor, Frey, Freya, Sif and the other Aesir and Vanir.

5)Do you love anyone? Do you hate anyone? I did love someone deeply, but she betrayed me. And I hate the man who was my Jarl, that black-hearted coward is the one who took my whole life from me. One day I will introduce my axe to his head and settle the matter.

6) What do you REALLY think of your author? Well, he knows how to fight, and I can respect that.

AUTHOR BIO (short)

Travis Ludvigson is an author of urban, historic and supernatural fiction. He served with honor in U.S. Air Force Intelligence, tested his fighting prowess in a Muay Thai championship in Asia and is fiercely proud of his Norse heritage. He loves reading, spending time with his feisty wife and brilliant son, and playing with their giant mastiff and tough little bulldog.

Author website/blog:

http://norseman73.wix.com/land-of-the-norseman

Twitter:

@TravisLudvigson

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/travisludvigsonauthor

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4272358.Travis_Ludvigson

Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/Travis-Ludvigson/e/B00BNASEIG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1430185761&sr=8-1

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Heroika: Skirmishers

Conflict is a constant. When force on force is inevitable only the intrepid need come forth. Summon the Skirmishers to their eternal purpose, to face a foe who must be opposed at all cost. Gird yourself and join the brotherhood of ‘do or die.’ HEROIKA: SKIRMISHERS is an anthology of desperate struggles in far flung time-scapes, the age-old smell of battle and death. SKIRMISHERS –Tales for the bold among you!

https://www.amazon.com/Heroika-Skirmishers-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B085N7XZLZ/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heroika-Skirmishers-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B085N7XZLZ/

 

 

 

#Heroika: Skirmishers – Interviews – Sean Poage and His Characters #Meetanauthor

Name (Mandatory) Sean Poage

Give us a brief synopsis of your story – A Handful of Salt

At the dawn of the fourth century, BC, Cyrus the Younger hired an army of ten thousand Greek mercenaries to challenge his brother for the throne of the Persian Empire. His Greeks were victorious, but he was slain and the Greeks were stranded deep inside the Persian Empire without supplies. Their only way home was to fight their way north through the mountains of eastern Turkey to the Black Sea, as described through the eyes of one of their leaders, Xenophon.

It is considered one of the greatest feats of military history and has often been recounted and reimagined, but never through the eyes of their adversaries, the Persians, or the ancestral tribes of eastern Turkey. One event, in particular, is haunting and tragic. Today we struggle to understand the mind-set of ancient cultures, often making the mistake of seeing their world through the filter of our own values. This story is an attempt to understand a heroic perspective alien to our own.

  • Why did you choose that time period/group of people to write about?

I love ancient history and the Anabasis is fascinating, but there is not much left to say about it from the Greek side of the story. However, no one has done a piece from the point of view of the Anatolian tribes that the Greeks encountered as they struggled to get home. Why did these tribes continually attack the Greeks? Why did one village commit mass suicide when the Greeks came too close?

  • What research did you do for the story?

I always do a lot of research for my stories. The Anabasis, of course, is the primary text. I also had to determine the most likely route, which is still in dispute. Then I had determine the most likely location for the events of my story, determine the tribe that lived there, what they called themselves, how they related to their neighbours, to the Persians and so on. I love this stuff.

  • How would you define a Skirmisher?

A skirmisher is typically a lightly armed soldier who relies on speed and manoeuvrability to be effective in battle, rather than heavy armour and weapons. While the goal of heavy infantry is to come to close battle with the enemy and slog it out, skirmishers try to outmanoeuvre the enemy, hit and run, break up enemy formations, wear down the heavy soldiers and win in the long game.

  • What are the challenges in writing historical fiction/fantasy?

For me, it is getting each detail right. I can’t bear to bend history to my story. If I include it, it must be factual, or at least plausible to history.

  • What is your usual genre?

Historical fiction, so far, though I intend to do more in fantasy and scifi, eventually.

  • How do you define a hero?

To me, a hero is someone who freely and knowingly risks his or her own welfare for the benefit of another, without thought to any reward.

  • What did you want to be when you grew up?

Originally an astronaut. I was certain I would be NASA’s first kid in space. Apparently, they didn’t have my correct address. I wanted to write stories from my teens, but not much came of it. Now I am finally indulging that dream.

Character Section

1) Name Gocha

2) Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a seasoned warrior, husband and farmer. My wife and I have shared a difficult life, full of sorrows as well as blessings. Our circumstances in life have fallen low, but we have a fine heifer, two asses, some sheep and goats. But no children, anymore.

3) How do you come to be on this adventure?

Invaders from a distant land threaten our homes, so I must do my duty to protect them, and try to impart my experience on our young warriors.

4) Tell us a bit about the society in which you live

We are an ancient people, attuned to the rugged mountains of our ancestors. We sing, dance, tend our farms and pastures and raise our children to respect the ancient ways. We have no towns larger than a few dwellings, but impenetrable strongholds on the mountainsides. We wage no wars on those who leave us be, but we fight unto death against any who threaten us. The Taochi Never Submit is our creed, and never have we been conquered.

5) Are you brave?

What is bravery? Is it the thoughtless lack of fear? I have known dreadful fear, but have never shrunk from my duty.

6) How do others see you?

I do not care.

7) Do you believe in a god?

Of course. They have little to do with us mortals, but our ancestors are with us, always. They watch over us, judge us, and if we are worthy, will welcome us to their company when this life ends.

8) Do you love anyone? Do you hate anyone?

I love my wife, Bedisa. She is wise, kind, and stronger in spirit than anyone I have ever known. I love my loyal friend, Temur. I love my daughter, who I may not name since she has become a handmaiden to the Wife of the Dead. Or perhaps the Wife, herself. I love my three sons, who have already joined our ancestors. I hate no one.

AUTHOR BIO (short)

Sean Poage, has had an exciting and varied life, as a laborer, soldier, police officer, investigator, computer geek and author. Travelling the world to see history up close is his passion.

These days he works in the tech world, writes when he can, and spends the rest of the time with his family, which usually means chores and home improvement projects, with occasional time for a motorcycle ride, scuba dive, or a hike in the beautiful Maine outdoors.

 

 

Heroika: Skirmishers

Conflict is a constant. When force on force is inevitable only the intrepid need come forth. Summon the Skirmishers to their eternal purpose, to face a foe who must be opposed at all cost. Gird yourself and join the brotherhood of ‘do or die.’ HEROIKA: SKIRMISHERS is an anthology of desperate struggles in far-flung time-scapes, the age-old smell of battle and death. SKIRMISHERS –Tales for the bold among you!

https://www.amazon.com/Heroika-Skirmishers-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B085N7XZLZ/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heroika-Skirmishers-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B085N7XZLZ/