Exclusives

#BlogTour : Listen To The Wind (The Orphans of Tolosa #1) by @Susanne_Dunlop #Review & #GuestPost #ListenToTheWind #TheOrphansOfTolosa @HFVTB

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Hello everyone! I have the great pleasure to be todays stop on this wonderful blog tour for; Listen To The Wind by Susanne Dunlap. Let me tell you that I have a mammoth post for you all today; Not only will I be sharing my review of this splendid book, I also have an exclusive guest post by Susanne for you all – and it is an amazing post and there is a chance to win a cop of Listen To The Wind. So without further ado, sit back and enjoy.

Listen to the Wind by Susanne Dunlap

Publication Date: April 22, 2019
Publisher: Bellastoria Press
Format: eBook & Paperback; 388 Pages

Series: The Orphans of Tolosa, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction/Medieval

 

 

Sent away from their families for their own protection when they were very young, Azemar and Azalaïs become separated when they are forced to flee from the band of outlaws who served as their supposed protectors. Armed only with scraps of memories and the wits and intelligence that have helped them survive brutal conditions, they struggle to find each other again and discover the mysterious past that links them across distance and time. Who are they? And do they hold the secret of the legendary Cathar treasure? All they know is that knights and monks spell danger, and they must find a way to survive at all costs if they are to fulfill their destiny—and preserve their vanishing culture.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

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Guest Post by Susanne Dunlap

One of the best things about being a historical novelist is having the opportunity to delve deeply into a period and imagine the world as it was at that time. Perhaps that’s why, in order to put in the months (or years) of researching and writing a historical novel I have to become completely passionate about my subject and my characters—real or invented.

Most of my novels have taken place in the modern world, from the 17th-20th centuries. But something about the world of thirteenth-century Languedoc caught me and simply wouldn’t let me go.

It all started in grad school. I was studying music history at Yale University, working toward a PhD, and loving every minute of the research and writing. When in the medieval seminar I found out about the women troubadours (trobairitz) of Languedoc in the 12th and 13th centuries, I was utterly intrigued. Apparently all 20 of the trobairitz historians know of came from one small region of what is now southern France, but was then its own patchwork of political entities and its own culture. They didn’t even speak French, but spoke what is now referred to as Old Occitan, and was then sometimes referred to as Lemozin.

The troubadours and trobairitz wrote courtly poetry in very complex metrical forms. The subjects were love, of course, but in the case of the trobairitz, the love was decidedly earthly. They spoke of disappointments, of unrequited love, of friendship, and passion—where the men tended to go in a more esoteric direction, making the object of their love poetry the idea of a lady rather than an actual living, breathing, woman.

So, I thought, these women who weren’t afraid to be honest must have been strong, intelligent, educated, and imaginative. What’s not to like?

Very little is known about the real lives of the trobairitz, so I found myself creating characters and a story that integrated the poetry and music, and captured the volatility of the period. Because trobairitz came from the educated upper classes, Jordane de la Moux d’Aniort, daughter of a baron, is the trobairitiz in Listen to the Wind.

The Orphans of Tolosa trilogy (of which Listen to the Wind is book one) takes place as the culture of the region is being crushed by the inquisition, which not only sought to eradicate the Cathar heretics, but to impose the legal systems of northern France and subsume the region into the territories ruled by the King of France.

Although the region is now fully part of France, a modern version of the language is still spoken, and the descendants of those fiercely independent people cling to their cultural heritage. In recognition of this heritage, what used to be known as Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrenees is (as of 2016) now referred to as Occitanie, and if you visit there, you’ll see many street signs in both French and Occitan.

It is my hope that readers will not only be drawn into the adventures of the characters in Listen to the Wind, but also appreciate the culture that inspired the story.

More historical tidbits and a glossary of Old Occitan terms featured in the book is at https://orphansoftolosa.com.

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Well, what can I say about this book? Thrilling, engaging, illuminating and brilliantly entwined with history and a wonderfully complex story. It takes you on a real adventure through 13th Centaury France, the colourful writing makes every scene so beautifully detailed and vivid you can see it playout like a film in your mind.

I haven’t read any of Susanne Dunlap’s work before, but after reading this – or should that be; devoured – I will definitely be reading more, her writing is so imaginative and atmospheric that you become completely lost in the story and before you know it you have whiled away a full afternoon.

The story opens with siblings; Azalais and Azemar who are living in a orphanage in Tolosa, they live a happy simple life roaming around the woods and surrounding area, making up games with the other orphans abuts knights in shining armour and damsels in distress. Everything in their life is good, that is until a illness spreads throughout the area and the people who were supposed to be protecting them soon turn on them and the other orphans, thinking it them that has caused all this illness and death. The children flee for their lives and in the melee Azalais and Azemar become separated, promising to meet up.

But, all doesn’t go to plan and what should have been a simple meet each other again in the next town turns into years of uncertainty and adventure for our two youngsters. What at first appears to be a very simple story of these two young people trying to forge their way through such hardships and attempting to find one and other again, you soon realise that this is far more then that. There is a ethereal and magical quality to the story, that is both surprising and addictive reading. We soon see that there is more to these two then meets the eyes, they have secrets buried within them that even they don’t know and even though once they have separated and when they try to find their feet they are more intricately entwined to one and other then originally thought.

So when they meet again years later, which is an amazing and gorgeous scene their shared past and destined future soon becomes clear.

This is an intriguing and complex story with lots of secrets and lies interwoven within the characters personal stories, it is charming, exciting and mesmerising. Ms Dunlap’s writing is wonderfully immersive and brilliantly atmospheric, there is a real starlight quality to this book which will grab any readers attention.

Definitely a must read, I cannot wait to see what comes next in this series.

This was a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you Susanne and Amy.

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About the Author

Susanne Dunlap is the author of six works of historical fiction. Two are for adults (Emilie’s Voice and Liszt’s Kiss, both published by Touchstone books of Simon & Schuster). Four are for young adults (The Musician’s Daughter, Anastasia’s Secret, In the Shadow of the Lamp, and The Academie, published by Bloomsbury). A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in London, Brooklyn and Northampton, MA. She now lives in Northampton with her long-time partner, Charles, has two grown daughters, three granddaughters, a grandson, a stepson and a stepdaughter, four step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter—that’s a total of four children and nine grandchildren!

In her spare time she cycles in the beautiful Pioneer Valley.

For more information, please visit The Orphans of Tolosa website. You can follow author Susanne Dunlap on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, and BookBub.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Make sure you go back through the blog tour and check out all the blogs which have participated.

Monday, May 13
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Tuesday, May 14
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, May 15
Interview at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 16
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, May 17
Review at Bookish Sarah
Review at Comet Readings
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, May 20
Review & Guest Post at Clarissa Reads it All
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, May 21
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, May 22
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, May 23
Interview at Donna’s Book Blog

Friday, May 24
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 27
Review at Macsbooks
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, May 28
Review at Coffee and Ink
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review & Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away one copy of Listen to the Wind by Susanne Dunlap! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – Listen to the Wind

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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#BlogTour : No Other Duke But You (Playful Brides #11) by Valerie Bowman #Review & Exclusive #Extract #NoOtherDukeButYou #PlayfulBrides @StMartinsPress

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Hello my lovely readers! Do I have a great post for you today?! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this great blog tour for No Other Duke But You by Valerie Bowman, no only will I be sharing my review of this No Other Duke But You, with you all, but I have an exclusive extract for you all to feast your eyes on. So, do grab yourself a cuppa, take a seat and enjoy.

SINGLE LADY SEEKS DUKE

Lady Delilah Montebank has her marital sights set on the Duke of Branville. There’s just one problem: he barely knows she exists. But no matter, she’s got a plan to win him over with her charm, her wit—and perhaps the love potion she has in her possession wouldn’t hurt her cause…

Lord Thomas Hobbs, Duke of Huntley, thinks his best friend Delilah’s quest to become a duchess is ridiculous. He’s always said he’d rather give up all the brandy in London than commit to one person for life. Besides, he knows that Delilah’s love potion can’t possibly win over Branville…since she accidentally gave it to him instead. But perhaps this is the excuse he needs to show her he’s always loved her…

Delilah can’t believe she gave the potion to the wrong duke. Then again, Delilah could do a lot worse than win the hand of her handsome best friend. Could it be that the right duke has been before her eyes all along?

Purchased Here

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Exclusive Extract

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

Delilah glanced up and down the dim hallway. It was well past three in the morning, she was still dressed in the pink ball gown she’d worn to the party, and she clutched the small vial of Cupid’s Elixir in her sweaty, guilty palm. She pressed her back against the shadowed wall not far from the Duke of Branville’s bedchamber. She could do this. More importantly, she would do this. She’d come this far, hadn’t she? What did a little sneaking about in the middle of the night matter?

She’d got detailed instructions to Branville’s room from Derek, who thankfully hadn’t asked any questions about why she wanted to know. According to him, the room was four doors to the right, just past the staircase on the third floor. The third floor was where all the bachelor gentlemen were sleeping. It would be a complete scandal if she was found lurking about alone at this time of night, but she’d waited until the household seemed quite asleep and then waited a bit longer for good measure. Anyone who saw her now would be skulking about themselves, which meant they would hardly be in a position to judge her. She briefly wondered if she’d run into Lavinia.

It was not as if she was out to do anything particularly scandalous. It was more silly and frivolous than anything else. She’d simply die, however, if Branville woke up and asked her what she was doing sprinkling pixie water in his eyes. She’d already decided to pretend as if she were dreaming, thinking she was Puck in the play. Sleepwalking. That would make all the sense in the world. Wouldn’t it? She swallowed hard. Probably not, but she wasn’t about to let the fear of being caught stop her. Besides, all of her and Lucy’s matchmaking had turned into a colossal mess. If a spray of perfume could sort it out, so be it. Of course, Delilah’s conscience reminded her that she hadn’t offered any of the perfume to Rebecca to use on Thomas. She didn’t want to even contemplate that. She’d already shared it with one other person, and that made her guilty enough. The image of Madame Rosa’s disapproving, craggy face had haunted her all evening.

Delilah shook off the thought and turned her attention back to the matter at hand. Pressing her empty palm against the darkened wall, she inched her way along until she came to Branville’s door. She felt like a spy. This was how professional spies did such things, wasn’t it? Too bad she was too embarrassed by her actions to ask the veritable house full of professional spies who happened to be asleep behind other doors right now.

She transferred the vial into her opposite hand and slowly reached to grasp the door handle. The metal was cold in her bare hand. She’d discarded her gloves, deciding that they would make her actions more clumsy. The last thing she needed tonight was to be more clumsy than usual. Decidedly, she needed to be less so.

She clutched the door handle like a lifeline and closed her eyes, steadying her shaking fingers on the knob. She was close, so close. Praying that the door wouldn’t squeak, she turned the handle slowly. The only sound was the thumping of her own heart in her ears.

When the handle was turned as far as it would go, she pushed it, praying fervently that it wasn’t locked. It took a moment before she realized the door was opening. Its hinges silent, merci a Dieu. Completely silent.

She slipped inside the cool, dark room. Steady, deep breathing came from the bed. Thank goodness, she hadn’t woken the duke with her entrance. She could barely see a thing, but she didn’t dare light a candle. A tiny stream of moonlight filtered into the room through a small opening in the curtains on the far window. She used that to identify the hulking bed in the center of the room. She tiptoed over to it slowly, taking care in case there was anything to trip over. No doubt she would find it if there was.

She made it to the foot of the bed without incident and paused, trying to quell her nerves and dispel her guilt. She clutched the vial more tightly in her palm, shaking with fear and anxiety. Now that she was here, she had no earthly idea how to drop liquid on a man’s eyes without awakening him. Besides, how much of it was she supposed to use? Surely not much. She would employ the tiniest drops possible so as not to disturb him, but she also needed to ensure the perfume touched his eyelids. Tricky business, this being a fairy. She had a sudden appreciation for Puck.

Holding her breath, she lifted her skirts with her free hand and tiptoed to the right side of the bed. Because it was summer, the bed curtains weren’t drawn. The window was open, and a slight breeze blew through the crack in the curtains.

The outline of the duke’s body was barely visible in the moonlight. He was turned away on his side, his back to her, his face toward the window. She would have to lean over his body to sprinkle the elixir on his eyes. The bed was tall. She must carefully climb up to do this task properly. She only hoped she didn’t jostle the mattress enough to wake him.

She waited in silence for a few moments to ensure his breathing remained steady, then she carefully lifted first one knee and then the other, bracing them on the mattress and pulling herself up, still clutching the vial. She winced as he moved slightly in his sleep, but he kept his face turned away. Blast it.

Once she was fully atop the bed, she paused and hoped the hammering of her heart didn’t wake him. He smelled good, a combination of soap and maleness that she wanted to breathe in. There was something vaguely familiar about his scent.

Shaking away that unhelpful thought, she moved gingerly across the mattress on her knees until she came to a stop at his side. His shirt was off. The beam of moonlight hit his smooth, muscled arm. She swallowed. The man’s chest was positively swoon-worthy. She took a deep breath to calm her nerves and uncorked the vial. Then she carefully leaned over as far as she could to locate his eyes. They remained shrouded in the dark, but she took a guess as to their general direction and tipped the little vial as slowly and carefully as she could. He turned then, and she was afforded enough light to see that the first tiny drop of liquid did indeed fall directly onto his eyelid.

He blinked, and she held her breath. When he settled back into sleep, she closed her eyes and said a brief prayer that she would get away with it a second time before tipping the vial once more to allow another tiny drop to fall on his other eyelid.

He blinked and rubbed at his eyes while Delilah held her breath again, paralyzed with fear. Soon, he settled back into his pillow and his breathing returned to its steady pace.

She pressed a hand to her throat. It was over. She was done. All she had to do was extract herself from the bed and the room without being seen or heard. The difficult part was behind her.

Still praying he wouldn’t stir, she backed away from the duke. Slowly. Slowly. She’d nearly made it to the edge of the bed when he flipped over to face her. A beam of moonlight slid over his sleeping features.

Delilah gasped.

From No Other Duke But You. Copyright © 2019 by Valerie Bowman and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

This is book eleven in the ‘Playful Brides’ series, and even though I haven’t read them all, I have thoroughly enjoyed all that I have read, these books are a lot of fun to read Valerie Bowman has a real witty way with words that never fails to amuse. She has genuine gift for her play on words and her imaginative storylines ….plus, not to mention her amazing heroes!

Delilah has come to the point in her life where she really must wed, after all she can’t very well keep going around like a feral child for the rest of her life now can she? She knows who she wants to marry, the only problem is to catch his attention. So, she devises a ‘not so’ brilliant plan to lace her intended with a love potion that will have him falling to his knees in love with her, then she can live happily ever after. Sounds like a good plan, right?

Unfortunately for Delilah her great plan doesn’t go to plan as the man she wanted doesn’t end up drinking her potion, but instead the man she has always seen as a best friend does. Oops!

Thomas has always had feelings for Delilah, he has never had any inclination to get stuck in the parsons mousetrap himself, yet when he sees his friend so adamant on becoming a duchess and her infatuated with another man he starts to have stirrings which shows themselves as true love for her. So, he starts to show her exactly how much she means to him.

Will Thomas finally prove to her that he has always loved her? And will they finally have their happily ever after?

The story which follows is a fun, clever and imaginative and quirky; friends to lovers romance. Even though this is a very fun, light-hearted and easy to read book and there is a real playful element to it which I found very entertaining, yet for me it wasn’t the best I have read of the series. It did feel as though there was something lacking, it didn’t quite have the same magic as the other books did. It has all the ingredients of a brilliant Valerie Bowman book; imaginative and fun plot and sensual, charismatic and lovable characters. But whether because it’s the last book, it has lost some of that much loved sparkle.

Overall this is a charming, little story that has a real warmth and wit to it that will entertain, those who love Ms Bowman’s work will devour it in one.

This was a complementary copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour.

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About The Author

Valerie Bowman grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her mini-schnauzers, Huckleberry and Violet. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS.

A Chat With….Author Charlotte Brentwood @charbrentwood, #Exclusive #AuthorInterview #AChatWith

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Hello my lovely readers! Today I have the great pleasure to welcome Charlotte Brentwood; author of The Hearts Of Amberley series to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals for an exclusive chat.

About Charlotte

Charlotte developed serious crushes on a series of men from age fifteen: Darcy, Knightley, Wentworth and Brandon. A bookworm and scribbler for as long as she can remember, Charlotte always dreamed of sharing her stories with the world.

Earning a degree in communication studies, she was seduced by the emerging digital world and has since worked with the web and in marketing. She is a member of the Auckland chapter of RWNZ. 


Now mother to an adorable human tornado, Charlotte is trying to find the time for reading, seaside walks, warbling at the piano and quaffing far too many hot chocolates.

Author website / Goodreads / FacebookTwitterPinterest

Interview

Frankie – Hi, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.

Firstly what five words would you use to describe yourself?

Charlotte Mother, writer, music-lover, speed-walker, fast-talker

Frankie – If you could take a holiday in any era and place, When and where would it be? And Why?

CharlotteI would love to travel back to Regency England so I could see what it was really like! Was it as elegant and beautiful as the period dramas would have us believe? What was it like to go to a ball or ride through Hyde Park? And did men really look as handsome as our favourite heroes?

Frankie – Can you tell us a little about latest release? This can be your most recent or up-and coming release.

CharlotteMy new release (out April 20th) is GLOVED HEART, a sweet regency romance. This is the second book in the “Hearts of Amberley” series but it can be read as a standalone. As a new mother, I poured my heart into writing about Amy Miller, who is coming to terms with having a newborn in less than ideal circumstances. Now afraid of men, can she open her heart to Henry, who has loved her all along?

FrankieWho was your childhood hero?

Charlotte – I think the people I looked up to the most were my parents.

FrankieIf you could have one of your books made into a film, which book would it be and who would play your lead characters?

Charlotte If GLOVED HEART was made into a film, I would have Toby Stephens play the hero Henry, because he’s a redhead and he looks hot in period clothing! The female lead is harder (and not so fun to spend hours dreaming about on Pinterest). I always think she looks like the lady on the book cover.

Frankie – Out of all your work, who is your favourite character and why?

Charlotte – At the moment, my favourite would be my hero Henry. He is so selfless and giving, and he never gives up on Amy, the heroine. Plus he’s a farmer, so he’s big and strong 

Frankie – Where does your inspiration for your books come from?

Charlotte From my imagination! Stories, characters and situations fly into my brain from all kinds of places. It could be when I’m doing some historical research, when I’m watching a movie, or when I overhear a conversation. Quite often ideas come from a mishmash of other things I’ve scene – what would happen if that person had to deal with this other thing?

FrankieWhat three tips would you pass on to an aspiring author?

Charlotte Write what you want to write. Write often. Read widely.

FrankieIf you were hosting a dinner party what three people would you invite? (They can be real/fictional, from any era)

Charlotte Jane Austen, Jo March, Anne Shirley

FrankieThank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun . . . What is your all-time favourite naughty but nice food?

Charlotte – Tiramisu – creamy, chocolatey, spongey and coffee-flavour… what’s not to like?

Mmmm, Yummy! Thank you for chatting with me today, Charlotte.

 About the Book

Gloved Heart by Charlotte Brentwood

Can she ever trust again?

Amy Miller is struggling to come to terms with her new life as a mother, while being a reluctant guest in a rigid gentry household. A victim of abuse, she is determined to never trust a man again.

Henry Russell has loved Amy for as long as he can remember, but his family want nothing to do with her. A chance encounter with Amy rekindles a friendship which might save them both.

The discovery of a secret which holds the key to Amy’s past will change them forever, and jeopardise any chance they have for happiness. Can Henry show Amy that true love will give her everything she could ever need?

Note, although this is a ‘sweet’ read, there is some subject matter that may offend sensitive readers, including mention of a rape and very mild violence and coarse language.

Gloved Heart Can be Purchased from Amazon

 

A Chat With….Author; Penny Hampson @penny_hampson #AChatWith #AuthorInterview

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Hello my lovely readers! Today I have the great pleasure to welcome Penny Hampson, author of A Gentleman’s Promise and An Officers Vow to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals. We are talking reading, writing and eating brownies, do take a look.

About the Author

Having worked in various sectors before becoming a full time mum, Penny Hampson decided to follow her passion and studied History with the Open University. One B.A. Honours degree and an MPhil later, Penny found her dream role at a leading academic institution, helping academics, publishers, researchers, and others find the images or text they needed in that institution’s extensive special collections. Flash forward nineteen years, and Penny decided to indulge her other main passion, historical fiction; this time not just reading it, but writing it too. Encouraged by friends, family, and professional writers, three years later Penny published her debut novel A Gentleman’s Promise.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

Website / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon / Facebook

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Author Interview

FrankieHi, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.

Firstly what five word’s would you use to describe yourself?

Penny Committed — I like to see things through

Inquisitive — I love research and discovering new things, especially about the past

Grumpy — when there isn’t the time to do everything I want to do

Happy — when I’m with my family, especially my two year-old granddaughter

Oblivious — when I’m lost in my writing, I lose track of time

FrankieIf you could take a holiday in any era and place, When and where would it be? And Why?

Penny This is difficult, there are so many places and times I’d like to witness. I suppose if pushed I’d opt for attending the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball in Brussels on the 15th June 1815, the eve of the Battle of Quatre Bras and Waterloo. It was attended by Wellington, who knew Bonaparte was marching towards him and that a showdown was imminent. Wellington, with his usual sang-froid, gave no indication to the other attendees that he and his army would be engaging the enemy in a matter of hours. I’d love to be able to whisper in his ear ‘Don’t worry, things will be bad, but your allies will turn up and Napoleon will finally be defeated.’

FrankieCan you tell us a little about latest release? This can be your most recent or up-and coming release.

Penny An Officer’s Vow tells the story of two people who discover life doesn’t always play out as expected.

Nate is depressed, thinking his life of action is over, thanks to the wound he sustained at the Battle of Talavera. He’s contemplating ending it all when his path is crossed by runaway heiress Lottie Benham. She needs to stay in hiding until she comes into her inheritance, but achieving that is not as easy as she thought.

They join forces, but matters don’t go according to plan…

An Officer’s Vow is the second book in my Regency-set Gentlemen Series, following the exploits and misadventures of a loosely linked group of friends. Some characters will appear in more than one book, but each story can be read as a standalone

FrankieWho was your childhood hero?

Penny Peter Pan — I always wanted to fly!

FrankieIf you could have one of your books made into a film, which book would it be and who would play your lead character’s?

Penny Oooh, I wish! An Officer’s Vow would make a good film, it has intrigue, romance, and lots of interesting locations!

For me, Richard Armitage is Major Nate Crawford and Emma Watson would be a lovely Lottie Benham. The late, great Alan Rickman was the inspiration for my Duke of Wheatley and I always imagine Sean Evans as Francis Heslop.

FrankieOut of all your work, who is your favourite character and why?

PennyIt has to be the Duke of Wheatley (he appears in both my books). Is he a saint or a sinner? I haven’t made my mind up yet. His character is ambiguous — he’s done bad things, he uses people, but his love for his sister and Francis is very real. I’m building up to giving him his own story, but that will be a long way off!

FrankieWhere does your inspiration for your books come from?

Penny Lots of places. Watching television programmes or films, I’ll catch myself thinking ‘I’d have done it differently’. Snatches of conversation and phrases in the coffee shop, on the bus, or on the train. Visiting stately homes and wondering what life was like for the people who lived there in the past. Sometimes ideas appear spontaneously from nowhere.

FrankieWhat three tip’s would you pass on to an aspiring author?

PennyIt’s good to find time to write everyday, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t manage it. I’ve had to accept that I won’t always get the time I need to write, I just write when I can.

Always have a notebook handy — you never know when a brilliant idea will occur!

Get an editor. If you are a self-published author, an editor is essential to point out errors and enable you to compete with traditionally published authors.

FrankieIf you were hosting a dinner party what three people would you invite? (They can be real/fictional, from any era)

Penny Samuel Pepys — he could tell some tales about Restoration England, he enjoyed scandal and was not above being rather scandalous himself on the quiet (of course, I’d have to confess that I knew all his secrets). The Duke of Wellington — calm, cool, and collected, but he enjoyed gossip too, and was very popular with the ladies. Queen Elizabeth I — she ruled alone for nearly forty-five years, avoiding marriage at a time when it was universally believed that a female couldn’t manage without male guidance. She’s keep the other two male guests in order!

FrankieThank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun . . . What is your all-time favourite naughty but nice food?

PennyCake, no question. Most types, but chocolate cake for preference (I love a chocolate brownie).

Mmm, yumm! Thank you, Penny for chatting with me today!

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About the Book

An Officer’s Vow

The future looks bleak to Major Nate Crawford. Depressed after being sent home from the Peninsular Campaign as unfit for service, he contemplates ending it all. Then an unexpected opportunity for adventure beckons in the shape of a delightfully intriguing runaway heiress. He will prove his worth as an officer and a gentleman by offering his help. He has a plan…
Lottie Benham is desperate. Her life is in danger and she needs a place of safety until her next birthday. The unexpected proposal from this attractive, but intimidating officer could be the answer to her prayers. Not normally a risk-taker, she decides to gamble all by placing her trust in this charismatic gentleman, who she suspects might be more in need of help than she.
But the best laid plans…
Caught up in conflict, danger, and deception, will Lottie and Nate survive to find the perfect solution to their problems?

Purchase book HERE

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Penny’s book A Gentleman’s Promise is currently on offer at 99p over at Amazon UK, why not grab it it while you can, here’s a little about the book.

A Gentleman’s Promise

Emma has struggled across a Europe devastated by Napoleon to get her brother back home, but when she arrives she finds her family all but destroyed.

She meets a stranger who claims the estate now belongs to him. Who is this man? Emma doesn’t know. What she does know is that it would be madness to fall in love and surrender her freedom…

Richard never wanted the title and estate he’s now inherited. He hadn’t even known of his connection to the family until his solicitor revealed it to him. But when Emma and her brother turn up claiming to be the estate’s rightful heirs, he can’t ignore his suspicions. Nor can he ignore his growing feelings towards Emma. Could she be the woman he’s been searching for?

Independent and strong, Emma never wants to marry. Richard is looking for a docile, obedient wife. Can their quest to catch a killer teach them that what they both wish to avoid is exactly what they need?

Purchase book at Amazon UK

#Exclusive #CoverReveal : The Dukes Regret (The Duchess Of Gracechurch Trilogy #3) by Catherine Kullman @CkullmannAuthor #TheDukesRegret #TheDuchessOfGracechurchTrilogy

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Hi my lovelies, I am excited to be sharing the very first and exclusive look at Catherine Kullmann’s up and coming book; The Duke’s Regret, which is book three in the The Duchess Of Gracechurch Trilogy and I have to tell you that this cover is so beautiful as soon as I saw it, I was wide eyed as it is so distinctive and classic. But, you don’t want to just take my word for it, you want to actually see it. So, here it is…

The Duke’s Regret (The Duchess Of Gracechurch Trilogy #3) by Catherine Kullmann

Genre: Historical Romance/Historical Fiction

Publisher: Willow Books

Format: Ebook/Paperback

A chance meeting with a bereaved father makes Jeffrey, Duke of Gracechurch realise how hollow his own marriage and family life are. Persuaded to marry at a young age, he and his Duchess, Flora, live largely separate lives. Now he is determined to make amends to his wife and children and forge new relationships with them.

But Flora is appalled by his suggestion. Her thoughts already turn to the future, when the children will have gone their own ways. She knows divorce is out of the question, as it would mean social ruin, but an amicable separation might be possible and perhaps even a discreet liaison once pregnancy is no longer a risk.

Can Jeffrey convince his wife of his sincerity and break down the barriers between them? Flora must decide if she will hazard her heart and her hard-won tranquillity when the prize is unforeseen happiness.

I was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, I moved to Germany where I lived for twenty-five years before returning to Ireland. I have worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector.

I have a keen sense of history and of connection with the past which so often determines the present. I am fascinated by people. I love a good story, especially when characters come to life in a book.

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The Duchess Of Gracechurch Trilogy

Set in Regency England from 1803 to 1816, The Duchess of Gracechurch Trilogy celebrates friendship, family and love.

Wed before she was seventeen in a made match to a duke’s heir, heiress Flora Hassard quickly learns that her new husband has very little interest in getting to know his new wife. Supported by her mother-in-law, she creates a happy home for herself and her children while ‘donning the Duchess’ in a society where she uses her position and influence in the ton to befriend young wives “whose husbands are, well, distant, shall we say? They are safe in that circle, or as safe as they want to be. The older women keep an eye out for the younger ones, warn them of the worst rakes, that sort of thing; keep them out of harm’s way” (Perception & Illusion). Flora is content, but her contentment has come at a high price—she has had to turn her back on love.

Books One, The Murmur of Masks and Two, Perception & Illusion tell the stories of two of the brides Flora befriends while in Book Three Flora herself takes the lead.

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About The Author

I have always enjoyed writing, I love the fall of words, the shaping of an expressive phrase, the satisfaction when a sentence conveys my meaning exactly. I enjoy plotting and revel in the challenge of evoking a historic era for characters who behave authentically in their period while making their actions and decisions plausible and sympathetic to a modern reader. In addition, I am fanatical about language, especially using the right language as it would have been used during the period about which I am writing. But rewarding as all this craft is, there is nothing to match the moment when a book takes flight, when your characters suddenly determine the route of their journey.

Facebook / Books Go Social Publisher / Twitter / Amazon / Goodreads / Website

#Exclusive Guest Post : The Truth About Love And Dog’s; The Cover by Lilly Bartlett @MicheleGormanUK #GuestPost #TheTruthAboutLoveAndDogs

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black twist pen on notebook
Photo by Mohammad Danish on Pexels.com

Hello my lovelies, Today I have a brilliant guest post for you to feast your eyes over, from the utterly charming Michele Gorman aka; Lilly Bartlett. Lilly is here chatting all about her new book; The Truth About Love and Dogs and the difference in US and UK covers. So, I will hand you over to Lilly…

The Cover by Lilly Bartlett.

How often do you pick up a book because of the cover? I do it all the time. It’s what makes me take the time to look at the description, read the first few paragraphs, and, if I like all that I see, decide to buy it.

So, is it any wonder that covers cause us authors so much angst? They might even make us more nervous than writing the book itself. That’s because writing is an evolutionary process. It takes months to do, plus there are many rounds of editing. But the cover is the instant, one-and-only first impression your book will make. It’s like getting ready for a first date with someone that you really really want to impress! You’ve only got one chance.

Every single author I know holds her breath when that email comes through from the publisher saying “Here’s the cover art and we hope you’ll love it as much as we do.”

So here it is: my one chance. These are the two covers we’ve chosen to make a first impression for The Truth About Love and Dogs.

What do you think? They’re very different from one another, aren’t they? That’s because tastes in romcom covers in the UK are so different from preferences in the US.

For the US cover – the basket of pups – we wanted something fun and eye-catching that conveys the book’s tone rather than the story exactly. Publishers go for the look and feel more than an image that literally tells you what the story is about (that’s the job of the title and the description). There are pugs in the book, by the way!

The UK cover might have a very different look, but its tone is the same. There, we wanted to project a cover the reader can fall into, with intriguing groupings of people that provoke curiosity.

I always ask my Facebook friends and newsletter followers for their feedback about my proposed covers, and the US readers mostly go for a photographic cover while UK readers love the illustrated ones. Does that hold true for you? Which do you like better?

Whichever cover grabs you most, I hope you’ll love the story inside!

Happy reading!

Lilly xo

About The Book 

Four little words, uttered by her husband…
‘Oh my god,’ he gasped into her shoulder. ‘Shannon!’
There’s just one problem: her name isn’t Shannon.

Rewind six months and Scarlett and Rufus aren’t in the honeymoon stage anymore so much as the honey-should-we-bother phase. Desperate to get their sparkle back, Scarlett has plotted, planned and waxed more than any woman should have to, but none of it is working. Which makes it very hard to start the family they want.

At least her business is going strong, even if her marriage isn’t. She and her best friend spend their days tangled up in dog leads and covered in fur. Scarlett/ is the fairy dogmother, training hopeless pets like compulsive eater Barkley, impulsive Romeo Murphy and bossy Biscuit. Meanwhile, her best friend walks the dogs and pines for the man who doesn’t know she exists. Thank goodness the women have each other.

If only Scarlett could work out how to get her marriage back on track. But Rufus isn’t sharing his feelings with her. He is, though, sharing with her best friend. Her best friend, Shannon.

Amazon USAmazon UK 

About The Author

Michele Gorman Author
Michele Gorman/ Lilly Bartlett

Michele writes books packed with heart and humour, best friends and girl power. Call them beach books, summer reads, romantic comedy or chick lit… readers and reviewers call them “feel good”, “thought-provoking” and “laugh out loud”. She is both a Sunday Times and a USA Today bestselling author, raised in the US and living in London with her husband. She is very fond of naps, ice cream and Richard Curtis films.

Michele also writes cosy chick lit under the pen-name Lilly Bartlett. Lilly’s books are full of warmth, romance, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.

If you want to connect with me on Facebook or through my newsletter then you can get involved in my next cover choices!

Facebook / Newsletter / Twitter / Website 

 

Exclusive Cover Reveal : Death Comes To Dartmoor (A Merriweather & Royston Mystery #2) by Vivian Conroy @VivWrites #DeathComesToDartmoor #AMerriweatherandRoystonMystery

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Hello my lovelies, have I got a treat for you all today! I am so excited to be sharing the very first and exclusive look at the cover of Vivian Conroy’s up and coming book; Death Comes To Dartmoor which is book two in the amazing Merriweather and Royston Mystery Series. I have been so looking forward to this book, I have to say that this cover is absolutely beautiful, it is really amazing! It has such an atmospheric feel about that will really grab your attention, when I first saw this cover I thought; How stunning is that?! So when I got offered the chance to be apart of Viv’s cover reveal I jumped at the chance, I will say I got a little giddy! So enough about me, you don’t want to hear me babbling on and on all day. Your here to have a look at this amazing cover, well here it is…

Format: Hardback, Ebook

Pages: 320 pages

Genre: Cosy Mystery, Historical, Thriller

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

ISBN-13: 978-1643850092

The mist-shrouded moors of Devon proffer a trove of delights for two vacationing zoologists―but also conceal a hoard of dark secrets reaching down to the fathomless depths of the ocean.

Miss Merula Merriweather barely saved her uncle from the gallows after he was wrongly accused of murder―and now, she’s left the bustle of Victorian London to recuperate in the fresh air of Dartmoor with her fellow zoologist, Lord Raven Royston. The trip offers a unique treat, as they’ll be staying with a friend of Raven’s, who owns a collection of rare zoological specimens―including a kraken, a sea monster of myth and legend.

But all is not right in the land of tors, heaths, and mist. Their host’s maid has vanished without a trace, and the townspeople hold him responsible, claiming that his specimens are alive and roam the moors at night, bringing death to anyone who crosses their path. Merula and Raven are skeptical―but the accusations become more ominous when they find several specimen jars empty.

As the two hunt for clues across a desolate and beautiful landscape, a stranger appears bearing a shadowy secret from Merula’s past. Could there be a connection between her family history, the missing girl, and a fearsome monster that could be on the loose? The race is on to find the truth.

Ebook to be released August 19th

Hardback to be released on August 29th

Goodreads / Amazon UK / Amazon US

You can now request to review this glorious book from Netgalley, and I would definitely say go and request it as this book is going to be amazing REQUEST HERE

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A Merriweather and Royston Mystery Series

Perfect for fans of Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell mysteries comes the enchanting series debut from Vivian Conroy, The Butterfly Conspiracy.

In late Victorian times, when new inventions cause both excitement and terror, a mysterious death at a zoological lecture brings together two unlikely allies in a quest through London’s upper crust and underbelly to unravel the ingenious murder method and killer behind it.

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About The Author

Vivian Conroy

Having spent many afternoons as a teen on the Nile with Poirot or confronting sinister spinsters in sleepy English towns with Miss Marple, it was only natural Vivian Conroy would start writing mysteries of her own. Atmospheric descriptions, well developed characters and clever plotting made several of her cozy mysteries #1 Amazon US and Canada bestsellers in multiple categories. Her new Victorian mystery series features a female zoologist, allowing Vivian to share her fascination with natural history, a field where in the Victorian age costly deceit, questionable experiments and extraordinary theories offer great inspiration for a mystery writer’s fertile imagination. Besides writing, Vivian enjoys hiking, collecting stationery and trying new desserts, especially if chocolate is involved.

Vivian loves hearing from her readers, why not follow her on Twitter and Goodreads  and get updates on all her work.