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 – Beth Patterson and Her Character

Name: Beth W. Patterson

Give us a brief synopsis of your story. The continuing story of Thérèse Naquin (aka “Pichou,” or Creole for “wildcat”) is one of the eleven-year-old girl in the heart of rural Cajun Louisiana. Pichou mourns the loss of her mentor Mister Broussard but finds a contemporary in a boy her age who moves into the late man’s vacant house. The two quickly become fast friends, eagerly swapping lore and talents. Their happy camaraderie is soon disturbed by the tiny town’s newest threat, a legendary serial killer. Devoid of guns or blades, they must rely strictly on their wits, their quick young bodies, and a heart-stopping bluff that could cost them their lives.

Why did you choose that time period/group of people to write about? The magic and lore of southwest Louisiana was something I’d already experienced in my youth. It was one of the few settings that I felt I could truly make authentic. I began to feel my deepest appreciation for my native Cajun country around my teens, roughly the time when I began to dive deeper into reading fantasy and collecting folktales. A friend of mine and I would often skip school and go visit a lot of elderly iconic Cajun musicians, often recording them playing tunes and telling stories. I named my story after a song by the late, great DL Menard.

What research did you do for the story? I revisited the place that was the inspiration for the setting. I hadn’t spent much time in St. Landry Parish and Evangeline Parishes since maybe 1991. I got sunburned, bug bites, mud splashed up to the roof of my car, and a speeding ticket. In other words, I had a ball. A lot of scenes were set in real places I’d visited in my youth, such as the bar/feed store. I thought it would be a good idea to preserve that little Polaroid snapshot in my memories of a zeitgeist that has definitely changed since then.

What is your writing space like? It’s complete chaos at the moment. I have my own little office, but it’s crammed with musical instruments, piles of notes, journals, and music charts that I still either have to file or throw away. I’ve moved three times in the past three years (with a grand total of ten times over the past twelve years). But now I think finally I might be able to thrive in this new house. I still need to unpack most of my research books (my husband and I are currently using stacks of boxes for our makeshift live-streaming living room studio during the quarantine). But I have a shelf within my line of sight that contains some special items that help me step into a certain frame of mind: photos, candles, a rubber ducky given to me by my late friend Robert Asprin, a painting by my sister in law, a little pair of foo dogs, a tiny brass unicorn, a 3-D printed octopus that shoots the bird multiple times, and a handmade sparkly rainbow skull-spider that a friend sent me (as a thank you present for helping to keep him from going too stir crazy with my quarantine videos). All of these give me courage.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? I’m trying to be a better plotter, because I think that having a well thought out story arc does make for stronger structure. But some of my passages that people seem to find most memorable are my most spontaneous ideas. I was trying to have an actual formula for a story last night, with some necessary questions: What does my main character want? What obstacles are standing in the way? What are the main character flaws? How does the conflict resolve? Is the antagonist a good guy or a bad guy? And then two thousand words just came pouring out before I had a chance to set the framework, so who was I to stop that rare deluge? As we say in music, “I’ll fix it in the mix.”

Is being a writer ‘what you do’ or ‘what you are’? It’s more what I am, because I haven’t yet invested enough time and discipline for it to be what I do. Playing music has been my bread and butter for almost thirty years, so I’ve had to give that priority. For me being a writer is a state of mind. I’m constantly processing incoming information through a storyteller’s lens. Sometimes I’ll start daydreaming, and my husband will notice a look on my face and ask me, “Are you creating a scene again?”

What did you want to be when you grew up? My brother teases me about how when I was little I assembled a little axe out of popsicle sticks and went around whacking on tree trunks (apparently I wanted to be a “woodchopper”). I did attempt writing some stories before kindergarten, for I had taught myself to read and write, even before I knew which way some of my handwritten letters were supposed to face. When I was in the third grade, I saw an episode of Cosmos on TV that was about DNA, and went through a phase of wanting to be a biochemist. By the time I reached the sixth grade, I wanted to be a rock star. While I’m mostly glad that I stuck with being a self-employed musician, I’m glad that not all of my wishes came true, because I definitely couldn’t have handled fame.

Character Section

Name: Thérèse Naquin (aka “Pichou,” Creole patois for “wildcat”)

Tell us a bit about yourself. I’m eleven years old, the whole town thinks I’m fou-fou (crazy), but I’m gonna go to the big university in Lafayette someday and become a herpetologist. Either that or discover monsters and prove that they’re real, like a cryptozoologist. I’ve got one good friend, a boy my age I call Firing Pin. He’s smart like a fox and draws real good. And that’s all I need, me.

Tell us a bit about the society in which you live. We’re pretty far away from the big city. A lot of the old people are superstitious. Everyone is Catholic, but sometimes a little folk medicine never hurt anyone. Everyone on TV talks about Cajun cooking as something really special, but fancy restaurants never get it right. The best food you’ll ever eat is at someone’s maw-maw’s house.

Are you brave? I don’t know, me. There’s some scary stuff out in the world, but when you’re the only one who can stop it, what are you gonna do? I helped this town, but I was scared the whole time! Maybe someday I won’t be afraid anymore.

How do others see you? My Nonc (Uncle) Ulysse and Tante (Aunt) Rosalie think I’m too wild. They didn’t really like me too much when they were raising me. But I saved our town from a dragon, so I think they can forgive me a little bit.

Do you love anyone? Do you hate anyone? I loved the old man down the road from me, Mister Broussard. He taught me to play the fiddle, told me stories, and always had time for me. But he died, and then Firing Pin moved into his old house and became my friend. I don’t know if I love FP or not, but he’s fun to do things with, like when we make Burmese tiger traps or go looking for monsters. I don’t think I hate anyone. My aunt and uncle used to say mean things to me all the time, but I don’t hate them.

What do you REALLY think of your author? She’s okay. She kinda reminds me of myself. But she needs to go outside more. She hasn’t forgotten that monsters are real (although she thinks that monsters are just bad people), but she’s stopped believing in the good guys. I’m gonna try real hard to make sure that I don’t grow up to be too much like her.

What is your favourite thing? Animals, especially reptiles and amphibians.

Well, I killed a dragon that was destroying my town, and later I helped bring down a serial killer. That’s gotta count for something.

 

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AUTHOR BIO (short)

Beth W. Patterson was a full-time musician for over two decades before diving into the world of writing, a process she describes as “fleeing the circus to join the zoo”. She is the author of the books Mongrels and Misfits, and The Wild Harmonic, and a contributing writer to over thirty anthologies.

Patterson has performed in nineteen countries, expanding her perspective as she goes. Her playing appears on over a hundred and seventy albums, soundtracks, videos, commercials, and voice-overs (including seven solo albums of her own).

She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband Josh Paxton, jazz pianist extraordinaire.

 

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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 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

Heroika 2 1.2 FINAL JPG

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 – Witness the Birth of Alchemical Warfare! Read “The Naked Daemon” by S.E. Lindberg

Images (from Wikipedia) 

  • Emerald Tablet
  • Apollonius of Tyana
  • Alexandria Library

Author section

  • Name: Seth (S.E.) Lindberg
  • How would you define a Skirmisher? Any soldier roaming ahead of the core army, usually shield-less and including heroic civilians caught behind enemy lines.
  • What is your usual genre? I focus on alchemy-inspired, dark fantasy. With Perseid Press, I write in the Heroes in Hell series with two characters: the shamed evolutionist Ernst Haeckel (who embellished his beautiful drawings with fictional data) and the smug archaeologist Howard Carter (known for finding/raiding King Tutankhamun’s tomb); their yarn has them exploring the Egyptian Duat afterlife (Pirates in Hell, Lovers in Hell, … and more to come). Check out related Library of Erana posts: Hell Week 2018 – A Day in the Life of Haeckel and Carter and Hell Week 2017 – An Interview with Ernst Haeckel. Separate from Perseid Press, I rely on Sword & Sorcery as a medium to contemplate life-death-art with my Dyscrasia Fiction series (dyscrasia literally means “a bad mixture of liquids”, an alchemical term).
  • Give us a brief synopsis of your Skirmisher story: The Naked Daemon pits the mystic Apollonius of Tyana (deceased ~100 CE) against zealots who destroy what remains of the Alexandria Library. In life, his principles had been aligned with those of the pacifist gymnosophists (a.k.a. naked philosophers); hundreds of years past his death, Apollonius finds himself reborn as a daemon empowered with Hermes’s Emerald Tablet. He observes the Roman oppression over pagan scholars and is challenged with an urgent need to defend knowledge.
    • Will Apollonius rationalize war by unleashing the power of alchemy to do harm?
    • Will he become an angel or demon? How will alchemy transform The Naked Demon?
  • How did alchemy inform your first Heroika tale? “Legacy of the Great Dragon” (Heroika 1: Dragon Eaters) features the Father of Alchemy Thoth (a.k.a. Hermes) entombing his singular source of magic, the Great Dragon. According to Greek and Egyptian myth, Hermes was able to see into the world of the dead and pass his learnings to the living. One of the earliest known hermetic scripts is the Divine Pymander of Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus. Within that, a tale is told of Hermes being confronted with a vision of the otherworldly entity Pymander, who takes the shape of a “Great Dragon” to reveal divine secrets. “Legacy of the Great Dragon” fictionalizes this Hermetic Tradition, presenting the Great Dragon as the sun-eating Apep of Egyptian antiquity. Hermes’s learnings are passed to humanity via an Emerald Tablet. The actual Emerald Tablet (if it was indeed “real”) is arguable the most popular work of Hermeticism since its reveals the secret of transmuting any material’s base elements into something divine or valuable (gold). Many refer to the Tablet as being the philosopher’s stone, or the knowledge embodying it. In fact, the tablet no longer physically exists, but translations of it do. Sir Isaac Newton’s translation of the tablet’s inscription remains very popular, and undeniably cryptic.
    • Apollonius, it appears, not only recovered the Emerald Tablet, but he was entombed with it.
  • Are you a plotter or a pantser? 100% Plotter.
  • What keeps you up at night? Night terrors.
  • What inspires you? Exploring the seam between reality and fantasy. Nightmares.

Character Section

1) Name: Apollonius of Tyana

2) Tell us a bit about yourself. Many claim you to be a miracle worker, rivalling your contemporary Jesus: “No need to compare one man, or woman, to any other. Misunderstood powers, used for good or ill, flow through we hierophants. In this respect, I am merely a conduit. A magos.”

3) Do you believe in a god, or gods? “Of course. I minister people on their behalf.”

4) How do you come to be on this adventure? “In my primary life, I spent decades searching, and reassembling, the Emerald Tablet of Hermes. Atop the sacred slab, in the Serapeum of Alexandria, I passed away. Then I rose, not as a ghost, but as a tangible body.”

5) You pause. Why? “Romans were ransacking the last vestige of the Alexandria Library. Their distaste for humanity revived me. Our conflict did not end peacefully.”

6) You look at your hands. How do you view yourself? “As a bloody daemon, for certain.”

7) Angel or devil? “In my life, I was angelic. Judgement awaits for what came next.”

8) How do others see you? “Most see me with their eyes. A living, naked philosopher. Like other, wise gymnosophists. My disciple Damos sees me through his heart. He is overly loyal. Indeed, he was buried and reanimated with me.”

9) Where are your possessions? “I possess nothing. Therefore, I have the possessions of all other men.”

10) Do you have a moral code? “Spread hope and enlightenment. Slay no living thing. Eat no flesh. Be free from envy, malice, and hatred. Be powerful without inspiring fear.”

11) If you could wish for anything, what would it be? “To abide by my own moral code without fail. The sacred powers, prima materia of Hermes’ Emerald Tablet, can be corrupted, however.”

12) Do you think you make a difference in your world? “Once I did. But then time passed. Now to protect some people, I am tempted to hurt others. Gods work in mysterious ways, through flesh.”

13) What do you fear? “By defending what is righteous, I introduced a new evil to the world.”

14) Which is what?  “Alchemical warfare.”

15) What do you REALLY think of your author? “S.E.? He should be less terrified of me when I visit. When I stand beside his bed, enflamed in chartreuse astral-fire, looming over his sleeping form, I mean only to convey messages. He need not swat my effigy away. He needs to chill. Not all ghosts come to haunt.”

16) What do you want to tell him? “The secrets of alchemy are wordless, conveyed best through dreams. Tonight, when light fades, and dreams wash over your vision. Peer beside your bed. See me, and I will answer you. Pray you do not see another.”

 

AUTHOR BIO

S.E. Lindberg resides near Cincinnati, Ohio working as a microscopist, employing scientific and artistic skills to understand the manufacturing of products analogous to medieval paints. Over two decades of practicing chemistry, combined with a passion for the Sword & Sorcery genre, spurs him to write graphic adventure fictionalizing the alchemical humors (primarily under the banner “Dyscrasia Fiction”).  With Perseid Press, he writes weird tales infused with history and alchemy (Heroika: Dragon EatersHeroika II: SkirmishersPirates in Hell, Lovers in Hell). S.E. Lindberg is a Managing Editor at BlackGate.com, reviewer of authors on the topic: Beauty in Weird Fiction, and co-moderates a Goodreads group focused on Sword & Sorcery.

S E Lindberg Author-site / Amazon Author Page / S E Lindberg on Goodreads / Dyscrasia Fiction on YouTube / Twitter Handle@SethLindberg

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/

New Release – Heroika Skirmishers

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!

Universal Link https://books2read.com/HeroikaSkirmishers

Apple Books

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Barnes and Noble Nook

Kobo

Print versions available here

HABIRU by Michael H. Hanson.

A HANDFUL OF SALT by Sean Poage.

THE NAKED DAEMON by S.E. Lindberg.

SOULS OF A LION by Tom Barczak.

NITHING by Travis Ludvigson.

IN THE SEASON OF RUST by Charles Gramlich.

BLACK QUILL by Cas Peace.

OLD GOLD by A.L. Butcher

A LION IN KAMERUN By Ken Kiser

THE PATROL by William Hiles.

LA PORTE EN ARRIERE by Beth W. Patterson.

DURENDAL by Bruce Durham..

HEROIKA 1.2 BIG COIN 200512

There will be interviews with the characters and authors to follow.

Blog Tour – Jack the Ripper Victims Series – Guest Post – Alan M. Clark

Themes in the JTR Victims Series

jack the ripper victims banner

 (Although this list is rather dry reading, imagine they are not just themes in a set of novels, but aspects of a reality that had an impact on the lives of real people)

Women’s issues and how they evolved in Victorian England

1)Women as the property of their husbands, having to obey, with little or no recourse against physical, psychological, or sexual abuse.

2)The slow evolution of these issues in Victorian England.

3)The worth of a woman in society having much to do with the worth of the man to whom she is wed.

4)The relative worth to society and employers of single middle-aged women with no family ties.

Poverty and social conscience

1)The relief system—the workhouses, out-relief, casual wards, and infirmaries.

2)Opinions based on social Darwinism that helped maintain a class system. The oppression and suppression of those of a lower station in a class system.

3)The various approaches of the innumerable beggars in the streets.

4)The use of child labor.

5)Scavengers of Victorian London, such as bone grubbers, toshers, pure finders, and mudlarks.

6)The struggle for survival in a time of societal change, great advances in technology, and a rapidly changing economy.

The industrial revolution and unemployment

1)The advantage employers had over workers with high-unemployment during the industrial revolution: low wages, abusive practices.

2)Child labor.

3) Piece work for manufacturers, such as finishing articles of clothing, making small items, adhering labels, or whatever small factory work a laborer might take home to be done in spare time or by children in the evenings. The term “piece work” comes from the fact that the worker is paid by the completed piece.

4)The dangers of the workplace in a society with few industrial and employment safety regulations: exposure to poisonous chemicals, powered equipment, and the stresses of highly repetitive labor over long work shifts with little variety.

Alcoholism/Addiction

1)The availability of drink (considered by many in that time another form of food).

2)Alcohol used to treat water to make it potable. Such water is given to children even at a very early age.

3)The use of alcohol to dampen feeling and the escape intoxication provides.

4)The bargaining alcoholics do with themselves as the disease creates ever more physical and social difficulties for the sufferer.

5)The availability of opium in various forms for children and adults.

Education

The evolution of education for the children of the poor—the slow introduction of mandatory education.

Prostitution

Who engaged in prostitution and why the practice could seem attractive—see all categories above.

Alan M. Clark’s Jack the Ripper Victims Series is comprised of five novels, one for each of the canonical victims of the murderer. These stories are not only meant to appeal to those interested in the horror that was the Autumn of Terror, but also those interested in the struggles of women in the 19th century. They are well-researched, fictional dramatic stories meant to help readers walk in the shoes of the victims and give a sense of the world as each of the women may have experienced it. The timelines for the stories run mostly concurrently, so it doesn’t matter in what order the books in the series are read. They are simultaneously drama, mystery, thriller, historical fiction, and horror. They are novels concerning horror that happened.

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A Brutal Chill in August

The First Victim of Jack the Ripper

by Alan M. Clark

Genre: Crime Horror

Print Length: 348 pages

Publisher: IFD Publishing

Publication Date: December 7, 2019

We all know about Jack the Ripper, the serial murderer who terrorized Whitechapel and confounded police in 1888, but how much do we really know about his victims?

Pursued by one demon into the clutches of another, the ordinary life of Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols is made extraordinary by horrible, inhuman circumstance. Jack the Ripper’s first victim comes to life in this sensitive and intimate fictionalized portrait, from humble beginnings, to building a family with an abusive husband, her escape into poverty and the workhouse, alcoholism, and finally abandoned on the streets of London where the Whitechapel Murderer found her.

With A Brutal Chill in August, Alan M. Clark gives readers an uncompromising and terrifying look at the nearly forgotten human story behind one of the most sensational crimes in history. This is horror that happened.

Amazon * Apple * Apple Audiobook * B&N * Kobo

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31683532-a-brutal-chill-in-august

 

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Apologies to the Cat’s Meat Man

The Second Victim of Jack the Ripper

Print Length: 158 pages

Publisher: IFD Publishing

Publication Date: June 9, 2017

This novel is part of the Jack the Ripper Victims Series. Each novel in the series is a stand-alone story.

Annie Chapman led a hard, lower-class life in filthy 19th century London. Late in life, circumstances and her choices led her to earn her crust by solicitation. After a bruising brawl with another woman over money and a man, she lost her lodgings and found herself sleeping rough. That dangerous turn of events delivered her into the hands of London’s most notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper.

Contrasting her last week alive with the experiences of her earlier life, the author helps readers understand how she might have made the decisions that put her in the wrong place at the wrong time

Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34862405-apologies-to-the-cat-s-meat-man

 

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Say Anything But Your Prayers

The Third Victim of Jack the Ripper

Print Length: 224 pages

Publisher: IFD Publishing

Publication Date: June 11, 2017

This novel is part of the Jack the Ripper Victims Series. Each novel in the series is a stand-alone story.

An imaginative reconstruction of the life of Elizabeth Stride, the third victim of Jack the Ripper. The beast of poverty and disease had stalked Elizabeth all her life, waiting for the right moment to take her down. To survive, she listened to the two extremes within herself–Bess, the innocent child of hope, and Liza, the cynical, hardbitten opportunist. While Bess paints rosy pictures of what lies ahead and Liza warns of dangers everywhere, the beast, in the guise of a man offering something better, circles ever closer.

Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22913933-say-anything-but-your-prayers

 

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Of Thimble and Threat

The Fourth Victim of Jack the Ripper

Print Length: 168 pages

Publisher: IFD Publishing

Publication Date: September 28, 2017

In Victorian London, the greatest city of the richest country in the world, the industrial revolution has created a world of decadence and prosperity, but also one of unimaginable squalor and suffering. Filth, decay, danger, sorrow, and death are ever-present in the streets. Catherine Eddowes is found murdered gruesomely in the city’s East End. When the police make their report, the only indicators of her life are the possessions carried on her person, likely everything she owned in the world. In Of Thimble and Threat, Alan M. Clark tells the heartbreaking story of Catherine Eddowes, the fourth victim of Jack the Ripper, explaining the origin and acquisition of the items found with her at the time of her death, chronicling her life from childhood to adulthood, motherhood, her descent into alcoholism, and finally her death. Of Thimble and Threat is a story of the intense love between a mother and a child, a story of poverty and loss, fierce independence, and unconquerable will. It is the devastating portrayal of a self-perpetuated descent into Hell, a lucid view into the darkest parts of the human heart.

 

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36440709-of-thimble-and-threat

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The Prostitute’s Price

The Fifth Victim of Jack the Ripper

 

Print Length: 342 pages

Publisher: IFD Publishing

Publication Date: August 30, 2018

 

A novel that beats back our assumptions about the time of Jack the Ripper. Not the grim story of an unfortunate drunken prostitute killed before her time, but one of a young woman alive with all the emotional complexity of women today. Running from a man wanting her to pay for her crimes against his brother, Mary Jane Kelly must recover a valuable hidden necklace and sell it to gain the funds to leave London and start over elsewhere. Driven by powerful, if at times conflicting emotion, she runs the dystopian labyrinth of the East End, and tries to sneak past the deadly menace that bars her exit.

Although THE PROSTITUTE’S PRICE is a standalone tale, and part of the Jack the Ripper Victims Series, it is also a companion story to the novel, THE ASSASSIN’S COIN, by John Linwood Grant. The gain a broader experience of each novel, read both.

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41796486-the-prostitute-s-price

About the Author

Author and illustrator, Alan M. Clark grew up in Tennessee in a house full of bones and old medical books. His awards include the World Fantasy Award and four Chesley Awards. He is the author of seventeen books, including twelve novels, a couple of novellas, four collections of fiction, some of them lavishly illustrated, and a nonfiction full-color book of his artwork. Mr Clark’s company, IFD Publishing, has released 42 titles of various editions, including traditional books, both paperback and hardcover, audiobooks, and ebooks by such authors as F. Paul Wilson, Elizabeth Engstrom, and Jeremy Robert Johnson. Alan M. Clark and his wife, Melody, live in Oregon. www.alanmclark.com Visit his blog: https://ifdpublishing.com/blog

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Giveaway

 

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/jack-the-ripper-victims-series-book-tour-and-giveaway

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