Blog Tour: Widow’s Lace by Lelita Baldock

Widow's Lace coverTitle: Widow’s Lace

Author: Lelita Baldock

Blurb:

A hundred year old mystery, the widow left behind, a fallen soldier, the abandoned fiancée, an unnamed body and the young student determined to find the truth.

In 1886 famous English poet Edward Barrington moves from Derbyshire, England to a farm on the Finniss River, in South Australia. Two years later he disappears.

25 years later Archie Hargraves abandons his fiancée Clara and travels from England to meet with Edward’s widow, Rosalind. He plans to write a biography and make a name for himself, independent from his wealthy father. Returning to England in 1914 he abandons his work to join the war in Europe. His journal of notes from Australia is never released.

Ellie Cannon, a young PhD candidate at Sydney University, is writing a thesis on one of Barrington’s last known poems, The Fall. It’s not going well. Struggling with her relationship with her mother and loss of her father, Ellie is on the brink of failure.

Then a body is found by the Finniss River, 130 years after Edward’s disappearance. Could it be the famous poet?

The discovery draws Ellie into the worlds of Edward, Archie and Clara, taking her across Australia and England in her search for the truth.

Covering life in remote South Australia, the social pressures of 1900s Britain and the historical role of women, Widow’s Lace is an historical fiction, mystery cross-over dealing with themes of obsession, fear, love, inner-secrets and regret. But also the hope that can come from despair.

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AUBarnes and Noble


Excerpt:

Part Two: Edward

Chapter 6

I approach. Hesitant step. 

Head too high to see horizon’s future. Gently glowing golden aura.

Port of London, England 1886

The long, loud wail of the ship’s horn blew a second time. Edward, sitting in his carriage on the dock, took a deep steadying breath. It was time. Gripping the carriage handle, he straightened his shoulders and swung out of his seat landing lightly on the dockside. Before him the docks teamed with activity; families of steerage passengers trying to navigate the crowded space while keeping together and managing their luggage; cargo boys hauling barrels and steering groups of pigs and lambs, presumably water and food for the journey; baggage men carting the belongings of the wealthy. Several boats were in port. Large bales of what Edward supposed was wool and barrels of wine were being hauled by dirty, hefty workers. Smoke rose from large chimneys on the deck of one of the cargo ships, creating a hazy shimmer over the dock, its heat and smell permeating the air and mixing unpleasantly with the slimy scent of the fish some men were catching further downstream. 

Despite all the bustling distractions of the port, it was their passenger vessel that dominated the scene. The Orient, her dark steel sides glistening in the morning sun, rose up from the water like a leviathan. Long and sleek, her body would house some 500 hundred souls on her voyage to Australia. She was a combined design, powered by steam on the run through the Suez Canal, then by sail as they surged across the empty oceans of the Southern Hemisphere. 

 Currently, her decks were awash with sailors checking ropes and packing sails or having a final cigarette before official duty began. Edward closed his eyes a moment, gathering himself. You can do this, he told himself firmly. His thundering heart beat a silent retort he resolved to ignore.

Edward scanned the docks for a luggage worker to manage his belongings. 

‘Excuse me, sir,’ a young man clad in tailored trousers and an Orient jacket stood before Edward. ‘Mr Barrington I presume? I’m Mr Davids, here to arrange your luggage, sir.’

‘I am Mr Barrington. Thank you. There is quite a lot I’m afraid, you may need to get some help…’

‘Don’t be worrying yourself, sir,’ the young man grinned up at Edward as he moved towards the luggage strapped to the back and top of the carriage. ‘Cabin 34, am I correct? ‘

‘Yes, thank you.’

‘Course, sir. Leave it to me.’ Mr Davids turned calling out to a group of lads standing off to the side dressed in brown slacks and shirts, not an Orient colour among them. The boys came running over, all pimples and fuzzy beards and began loading themselves up with more bags and boxes than seemed feasible before heading for the ship. Mr Davids swung a smile at Edward and joined them, leaving him adrift in the sea of activity. He strode to the carriage and opened the door once more, ‘Darling, if you are ready to board?’

A white gloved hand appeared from the carriage to grip his own and he gently guided his wife, Rosalind Barrington, down the carriage steps to the dockside.‘

‘Oh!’ The soft sound escaped her lips, but not his notice. Edward gripped her waist quickly, steadying her against the pull of gravity that threatened as her knees wobbled beneath her.

‘I am sorry my love,’ Rosalind breathed, ‘I must have risen too fast from my seat.’

Edward stared hard into her deep green eyes. Grey smudged the hollows beneath them, her skin waxy and pale. ‘Of course,’ he lied and gave her his most reassuring smile.

Rosalind smiled back, transforming her features to those of the healthy woman he married, offering a glimpse of why they were here, his hope and promise. If only for a moment. 

They’d met three years ago at his poetry recital in Manchester’s neo-gothic town hall. Dressed in green silk trimmed with black lace, hair gathered in large cascades, eyes bright with copper tinge, Rosalind had turned every head in the room. Edward could not look away. Showing an uncharacteristic confidence, he’d approached her, dared to touch her arm, invited her to Hathrone to take tea. She accepted. A week later they stood beneath the apple trees, red with winter’s promise and declared their hearts.

‘I love you,’ he had whispered.

‘I love you too. But, I must warn you. I am to be a divorced woman. I will… damage your reputation.’

Edward had laughed. Rosalind’s brutish husband was well known in society, loudly decrying his wife for the absence of an heir, while escorting a series of young women about town.

‘I am overjoyed that you are to be divorced. I do not wish to have you as a mistress. I wish to make you all mine. Now and always.’ 

Overcome, tears limned Rosalind’s eyes. 

Gently Edward wiped them away. ‘Don’t cry my love, not ever again. Until my last breath I will protect you. We will never know loneliness and sorrow again.’

They fell into each other and on a bed of leaves sealed their love, skin to skin, forever.

Straightening her sun hat, Rosalind turned to take in the docks. ‘This harbour is much larger than I expected, there are boats lining the water out as far as I can see.’

Edward leaned in close to her ear and whispered, ‘Follow the inlet with your eyes, where it seems to meet the sky? That is the start of our journey to Australia!’

Rosalind turned to face him, bringing their eyes, their lips closer. He felt a huff of breath as she laughed lightly, ‘What an adventure we are to begin.’

Edward’s heart tightened at the bravery of her words. Throwing social etiquette to the winds, he pecked her on the cheek, her skin warmer than it should be beneath his lips. 

‘Come Mary, it is time we boarded,’ he called back to the carriage.

The older lady, well into her 60s, stepped gingerly from the carriage, the swelling of her ankles and lower legs had been troubling her more as the days cooled into autumn. Her right hand clutched a single satchel, all her worldly possessions. She had been with Rosalind since his wife was a child, it would have been cruel to take a younger maid. Mary had earned this. She looked up at him and nodded stoically. They turned as one and walked to the Orient, their transport to another country, almost another world. And hopefully a new life.


Lelita BaldockAbout the Author:

Lelita has a passion for stories, especially those with a dark undercurrent, or a twist to be revealed. 

She hopes to tell interesting stories that people will find themselves drawn into. Stories that are for entertainment and escape, and hopefully a little thrill of the unexpected. She truly enjoys the experience of writing, exploring human traits and reactions as well as the darkness that can lurk unexpectedly inside anyone.

Born and raised in Adelaide, Australia, Lelita holds a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English and History from the University of Adelaide and a Bachelor of Education from The University of South Australia. During her twenties she worked as an English teacher in both Australia and the United Kingdom, working with the International Baccalaureate curriculum.

Now Lelita and her husband run a web development business, and she makes time for writing after hours and on weekends. It can mean long days and late nights, but she doesn’t mind, stories are her passion.

Lelita’s long term goal as a writer is to be able to publish her stories regularly and hopefully appeal to a wide range of readers.

Lelita currently resides in the United Kingdom with her husband Ryan and beloved rescue-cat, Jasmine.

Connect with Lelita:

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Blog Tour: Song of the Psychopath by Mark Tilbury

smaller coverTitle: Song of the Psychopath

Author: Mark Tilbury

Genre: Dark Thriller

Blurb: A year after going missing from home, Tommy Scarlett is found unconscious in an isolated country road. He has a fractured skull, broken wrist, and numerous other injuries. Recovering in hospital, Tommy has no recollection of the past. He doesn’t even recognize his own family.

After returning home, Tommy suffers severe headaches and acute depression. Desperate to help him, his father puts him into the care of a private therapist. But Tommy soon learns his troubles are far from over.

As the past is slowly unlocked, it becomes increasingly clear that Tommy has suffered an ordeal so horrendous it beggars belief. And those responsible are determined to silence him by any means possible.

Can Tommy find out what really happened to him and bring those responsible to justice?

Or will the past finally catch up with him and finish him off for good?


Review:
fourstars
As many of you will know, I’ve followed Mark since his first book, The Revelation Room. He has been a diehard supporter of my writing as well. With Song of the Psychopath, we again journey down the rabbit hole of the more darker side of humankind. I admired how Tilbury utilized flashbacks with Tommy and how his personality visibly changed when experiencing one. I will openly admit this is not my favorite of Tilbury’s novels, not because it isn’t well-written, or the emotional impact is palpable, though. I will say, he’s certainly earned his nickname of ‘Twisted Tilbury.’ As always, I will await the next book by him to see just what he comes up with. Fair warning, this author is not for the faint of heart.


Mark Tilbury Author PicAbout the Author:

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.

He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have his fifth novel, The Key to Death’s Door published along with The Liar’s Promise, The Abattoir of Dreams, and The Ben Whittle Investigations relaunched, by Bloodhound Books.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

Social Media Links:

https://twitter.com/MTilburyAuthor

http://marktilbury.com/

https://www.facebook.com/marktilburyauthor/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13926121.Mark_Tilbury

Blog Tour: His Marriage Gamble by Nancy Fraser

BookCover_His Marriage GambleTitle: His Marriage Gamble

Author: Nancy Fraser

Genre: Historical Romance

Blurb:

Felicity Beaumont, the rebellious daughter of Louisiana elite devises a plan to move her father’s illegally owned slaves north to safety using the gambling river boat known as the Lucky Lady. Dressed as a young farm boy, she attempts to sell family heirlooms to raise the funds she needs. Short the full amount, she continues her ruse and bargains her way aboard the boat as their chaperone.

Charismatic owner of the Lucky Lady, Jake McAlister doesn’t trust women, and when he discovers Felicity’s subterfuge, he remembers exactly why.

While they find themselves in agreement about helping the free men and women, they are at odds over everything else, including their quickly escalating feelings for one another. When caught between Felicity’s powerful father and the ire of a local judge, they’re forced into a marriage neither wanted.

Can they make the best of a bad situation? And, will gambling on love be a bust or reap them both a happily ever after?

The book is on sale for $0.99 during the tour.


Review:
fourstars
I have to say, I really enjoyed this foray back into historical romance, not least of all because Beaumont is the maiden name of one of my own main characters from Louisiana! Jake and Felicity were very sweet together. I liked how they were unexpectedly thrown together, but romance blossomed. I think the only thing I would change is maybe knowing what was in the letters from the slaves they rescued, which were mentioned at the end and never discussed. Also, I think an epilogue would have tied up a few loose ends for me. Other than that, it was an easy read, and I felt it really comforting to move back into a familiar reading genre.


Excerpt:

Jake McAlister lifted his foot to the railing above the Lucky Lady’s stern and lit a thin cheroot, its tip glowing bright red in the dark night sky. His cargo hadn’t yet arrived, and he felt the first stirring of concern. He’d asked permission to dock at this unfamiliar port under the guise of making some repairs. To overstay his welcome would draw attention he didn’t want or need. He’d give them twenty minutes and then…

“Excuse me, are you Jake McAlister?”

Jake raised his head. A young boy of no more than fifteen or sixteen stood before him. “Can I help you, kid?”

“I’m here to arrange passage for some of my friends.”

The boy coughed out his words, and Jake had to stifle a chuckle at the lad’s attempt to hide the obvious changes in his voice. “You’re the one who contacted me?” Jake asked.

“Yes.” The boy shuffled nervously from one foot to the other and kept his gaze narrowed on the ship’s deck.

“And, just where are these friends of yours?”

The boy let out a shrill whistle and a long line of blacks came out from behind a nearby building, first the men, then the women and, finally, the children. They arrived carrying their worldly belongings in a few large satchels, a handful of worn burlap sacks and, surprisingly, one rather expensive-looking steamer trunk. Jake counted heads as they came on board.

“I count four men, six women, and sixteen children. At fifty bucks a head for the adults and twenty for the children, that comes to eight hundred and twenty.”

“That’s right,” the boy confirmed, “how much extra for me?”

“I don’t take spectators on these runs, boy. The agreement is to take the blacks north to freedom. From the looks of them, they don’t need a caretaker, unless it’s to help them read.”

“My friends all know how to read, Mr. McAlister. And write.”

“Then they don’t need you, do they?”

“I’ve got the money.”

“Which you are going to give to me.”


Author AvatarAbout the Author:

Jumping Across Romance Genres with Gleeful Abandon—is an Amazon Top 100 and Award-Winning author who can’t seem to decide which romance genre suits her best. So, she writes them all.

Like most authors, Nancy began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.

Nancy has published over thirty-five books in full-length, novella, and short format. 

When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five wonderful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.

Author Social Media:

Website: http://www.nancyfraser.ca 
Facebook: http://facebook.com/nancyfraserauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nfraserauthor  @nfraserauthor 
Bookbub: http://bookbub.com/profile/nancy-fraser
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Fraser/e/B004AOL61Y/ 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7206382.Nancy_Fraser
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/fraser425/ 
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3gC68iMStwKCr4v_S6fMIA 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/romauthor_nancyfraser/
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Blog Tour: Beware the Lizard Lurking by Vivienne Brereton

The House of the Red Duke 2Title: Beware the Lizard Lurking
(The House of the Red Duke, Book 2)

Author: Vivienne Brereton

Blurb:

Welcome to the candlelit courts of Europe!

Uninvited guests at a secret wedding.

 A frozen River Thames.

 May Day celebrations to remember.

 The young Henry VIII, with the aid of his chief advisor, Thomas Wolsey, and against the counsel of Thomas Howard, the Earl of Surrey, is hellbent on a so-called holy war with France. This puts him at odds with his Scottish brother-in-law, James IV of Scotland, and his older sister, Margaret. 

Both Tristan and Nicolas know that time is running out for them before they have to…enter the Church – and into an arranged marriage, respectively. In the meantime, they remain at loggerheads over pretty Ysabeau de Sapincourt, the spoilt young wife of the hapless Robert.

At La Colombe, near Ardres, in Picardy, spirited little Valentine is still making mischief as she sees fit.

Across the Narrow Sea, Cecily is perfectly content in her beloved Zennor Castle, in Cornwall. 

None of them know what Dame Fortune has in store for them. Will she allow them to follow their own paths…or has she got other ideas?

Buy Links: Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon AU


Vivienne BreretonAbout the Author:

Born between historic Winchester and Southampton in the UK, Vivienne has been passionate about the Tudors for as long as she can remember. This led to a degree in Medieval History at university, and the growing desire to write a novel.

However, life took over somewhat and only after stays, short and long, in six countries she called home did she finally settle down to finish her novel.

Words have always played an important part in her life, whether it’s been writing, editing, teaching English, or just picking up a good book.

Having three sons came in very handy when she had to write about squabbles between the male characters in her novel. Not so handy when she took her boys to Hampton Court and one of them got lost in the maze!

Seeing ‘A Phoenix Rising’, the first book in the series ‘The House of the Red Duke’ in print for the first time was a moment of great joy for her. She very much hopes that anyone reading ‘Beware the Lizard Lurking’, the second book in the series, will enjoy the end result as much as she enjoyed writing it.

Social Media Links:

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Blog Tour: The Search by Michael L. Ross

The Search eBook CoverTitle: The Search (Across the Great Divide, Book II)

Author: Michael L. Ross

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

Where do you go when home is no longer an option?

The guns of the Civil War have ceased firing, and the shots are but an echo… yet the war rages on, deep inside Will Crump’s soul. His “soldier’s heart” is searching for peace, and in that quest Will joins the westward movement, setting his path on a collision course with adventure, loss, and love.

The Westward Expansion floods the sacred, untouched lands with immigrants, bringing conflict to the Shoshone, Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho. Amidst the chaos Will finds safety in the shadow of the US Army, but the army brings battle-hardened troops into Red Cloud’s War, pulling Will into a tornado of conflict. Broken treaties and promises leave both sides searching for answers. Will’s search leads him to a battle for survival, and there he finds a love that could change him forever.

Dove, a young Shoshone woman, is a survivor of the Bear Creek Massacre. After being kidnapped and escaping from the Cheyenne, she joins Will’s search, seeking where she belongs. Dove longs for more than the restricted role placed on women in her tribe. If she can learn to trust a white man, he just might help her find home… and hope.

Together, Will and Dove must search for understanding, and reach Across the Great Divide.

Buy Links:
Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AUBarnes and Noble Kobo


Review:
fivestars
I immensely enjoyed this novel, even though I’ve not read the first one in the series (something I’m going to have to remedy). As an author of historical fiction set around the American Civil War as well, I fully appreciated the discussion of how early PTSD in soldiers was treated, and how the men suffering often had to cope by simply escaping. I loved Dove’s character, and felt she was a necessary part of Will’s journey, as well as providing pertinent parallels to modern day prejudices. I look forward to reading more by Michael Ross!


Michael RossAbout the Author:

Best-selling author Michael Ross is a lover of history and great stories. He’s a retired software engineer turned author, with three children and five grandchildren, living in Newton, Kansas with his wife of forty years. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, and still loves Texas. The main character of “Across the Great Divide”, William Dorsey Crump, is one of the founders of Lubbock and Shallowater, Texas. Michael knew Will’s granddaughter when he was a child. He has written a scholarly article on Will Crump for the Texas Historical Society, published in the Handbook of Texas Online, and has sold short stories in the past. This is his first novel and the first in the Across the Great Divide series, now an Amazon bestseller.
Michael attended Rice University as an undergraduate, and Portland State University for his graduate degree. He has degrees in computer science, software engineering, and German. In his spare time, Michael loves to go fishing, riding horses, and play with his grandchildren, who are currently all under six years old.

He sees many parallels between the time of the Civil War and our divided nation of today. Sanctuary cities, immigration, arguments around the holiday table, threats of secession – all are nothing new. Sometimes, to understand the present, you have to look at the past- and reach Across the Great Divide.  

Social Media Links:

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Blog Tour: The Salty Rose by Beth M. Caruso

Cover_TheSaltyRoseTitle: The Salty Rose

Author: Beth M. Caruso 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

Marie du Trieux, a tavern keeper with a salty tongue and a heart of gold, struggles as she navigates love and loss, Native wars, and possible banishment by authorities in the unruly trading port of New Amsterdam, an outpost of the Dutch West India Company.

In New England, John Tinker, merchant and assistant to a renowned alchemist and eventual leader of Connecticut Colony, must come to terms with a family tragedy of dark proportions, all the while supporting his mentor’s secret quest to find the Northwest Passage, a desired trading route purported to mystically unite the East with the West.

As the lives of Marie and John become intertwined through friendship and trade, a search for justice of a Dutch woman accused of witchcraft in Hartford puts them on a collision course affecting not only their own destinies but also the fate of colonial America.


Excerpt:

The Director General slammed the gavel down with the harsh thud of an ending. 

“Marie du Trieux, you are hereby banished from New Netherland forever!” he said. 

As I held on to the railing of a departing schooner, I remembered the jarring finality of those stark words against me. Looking back one last time at my town, a little place in the wilderness that had grown up with me—I longed to stay in the home where I gave birth to all my children, the location of my loves and of my losses. 

This is the best place to begin recounting the story of how I played a part in the transition from Dutch New Amsterdam to English New York, my dear granddaughter. 

I suppose the English will have their own tales to tell about the events that transpired but I want you to know my personal and secret version of the history of my beloved city before I am gone. 

Having left New Amsterdam for the first time on that cold winter day in 1664, I felt unsettled, not quite believing that the time for my departure had finally come. Where had the time gone? How quickly had it passed? It had been nearly forty years since I first set foot on the shores of Manhattan with my mother, father, and little brother. 

The view from our vessel, The Morning Star, was unrecognizable from the one my family saw many decades earlier. We had arrived to nothing but marsh, forest, and a few Indian canoes that approached our ship in greeting and curiosity. It’s easy to recall my excitement as a young girl of flowing dark hair seeing the Natives for the first time when we reached these shores many years ago. 

But at the point of my expulsion, I wasn’t an adventurous, naïve child anymore. A mature and defiant woman who had faced her share of hardship and disappointment had taken her place. The Council of New Netherland and Director General Stuyvesant had told me they were finished with my repeated offenses and had given the order for banishment. I’d been in trouble with the authorities far too often they said. They’d insisted that my tavern be closed. 

“So this is how it must end,” I uttered in disbelief to my son Pierre, your uncle, as we huddled together on deck.


AuthorPicAbout the Author:

Award-winning author, Beth M. Caruso, is passionate to discover and convey important and interesting stories of women from earlier times. She recently won the literary prize in Genre Fiction (2020) from IPNE (Independent Publishers of New England) for her most recent novel The Salty Rose: Alchemists, Witches & A Tapper In New Amsterdam (2019). The Salty Rose is Beth’s second historical novel and explores alchemy in early colonial times, an insider’s view of the takeover of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, and the Hartford Witch Panic with information she gathered from previous and ongoing research. Beth’s first historical novel is One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America’s First Witch Hanging (2015), a novel that tells the tale of Alice ‘Alse’ Young and the beginnings of the colonial witch trials. She based the story on original research she did by exploring early primary sources such as early Windsor land records, vital statistics, and other documents. She lives in Connecticut with her family. Beth kayaks and gardens to unwind.

Website: http://www.oneofwindsor.com

Email: oneofwindsor@yahoo.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/oneofwindsor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bethmcaruso/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Salty-Rose-Alchemists-Witches-Amsterdam/dp/1733373802

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-salty-rose-beth-m-caruso/1133991342


Beth M. Caruso will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Blog Tour: A Lightness in My Soul by Annette Oppenlander

Cover_A Lightness in My SoulTitle: A Lightness in My Soul

Author: Annette Oppenlander

Genre:   Historical biographical

Blurb:

Inspired by the incredible true story of a German teen taken prisoner at the end of WWII, determined to survive and to reunite with his mother – A Lightness in My Soul is a tribute to the triumph of hope and redemption against all odds.

Germany, October 2019: In a car repair shop an elderly man waits next to a woman. They begin to talk about the Great War, when he was just a teen. He tells her a story, one he has never shared—his own.

Bavaria, April 1945: For the last two years, fifteen-year old Arthur and his classmates have lived in a youth camp. Far from home and allied bombs they spend their days with lessons, hikes, play fights and helping local farmers harvest ever decreasing crops. They have been told that the war will be over soon and that they’ll return home to a victorious Germany.

When the U.S. Army marches into camp, they are arrested and taken to the just liberated Dachau concentration camp. Everything they ever believed turns out to be false. They were lied to… not only has Germany lost the war, what they find is monstrous. But being a prisoner is only the beginning of their ordeal…


Review:

fivestarsA heartwarming, short novella based on a true story, A Lightness in my Soul takes the reader to the opposite side of WWII, through the eyes of a young man sent to a Hitler Youth camp in the closing years of the war. I loved this short snippet of Arthur’s life. There was no shying away from the evil realities of the Holocaust, and how some did not know what was going on right under their own noses. I would love to see this expanded out into a full novel, but the emotional impact gained by this format was enough to create a lasting impression.


Excerpt:

The Hitler Youth ran the camp, and even Herr Wagner had to follow their orders. He was pretty strict, a tall, skinny guy with a stern mouth, his hair short and stubbly with graying temples. He’d look at you with those deep-set eyes and you’d shut up. But the camp leader, a fellow named Steinmann, outdid him by far. He didn’t even have to look to get his point across. When he showed up we all hushed, including our teacher.

How he did it, I don’t know. He wasn’t even particularly tall; in fact, most of us towered over him. But that didn’t seem to stop him from doling out punishment when he saw fit. And that was daily. His favorite was marching and standing at salute for hours at a time. 

Half of Steinmann’s face was burned, leaving a pockmarked, scarred landscape that was rumored to be a war wound he’d suffered in one of the early battles in Poland. It made his face lopsided, having obliterated his right brow altogether. They say our eyes are windows into the soul, and that was the first time I believed it: Steinmann’s eyes were a metallic gray, cold and distant, and a little bit dead.


Author PictureAbout the Author:

Annette Oppenlander is an award-winning writer, literary coach and educator. As a bestselling historical novelist, Oppenlander is known for her authentic characters and stories based on true events, coming alive in well-researched settings. Having lived in Germany the first half of her life and the second half in various parts in the U.S., Oppenlander inspires readers by illuminating story questions as relevant today as they were in the past. 

Oppenlander’s bestselling true WWII story, Surviving the Fatherland, received multiple nominations/awards. The recently translated German version received the silver Skoutz Award 2020. Uniquely, Oppenlander weaves actual historical figures and events into her plots, giving readers a flavor of true history while enjoying a good story. 

Oppenlander shares her knowledge through writing workshops at colleges, libraries, festivals and schools. She also offers vivid presentations and author visits. The mother of fraternal twins and a son, she recently returned to her home, Solingen, Germany where she lives with her husband.


Contact:

Website: http://www.annetteoppenlander.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annetteoppenlanderauthor 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aoppenlander 

Pinterest: annoppenlander

Blog: http://www.annetteoppenlander.com/blog/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Annette-Oppenlander/e/B00W8QRTJ4/

Email: annette.oppenlander@yahoo.com 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lightness-My-Soul-Inspired-Story-ebook/dp/B08KS9RGRQ/ 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/de/en/ebook/a-lightness-in-my-soul 

Apple iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-lightness-in-my-soul/id1538221421


Giveaway: Annette Oppenlander will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Book Blast: Without a Head by M. Glenda Rosen


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. M. Glenda Rosen will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Jenna Preston is used to investigating cheating spouses, fraud, and even a murder or two in her role as a private investigator. But she’s never consulted on a case quite like the one at Darcy’s Salon in East Hampton. A killer has struck and left behind a woman’s head in the upscale salon’s shampoo sink.

As Jenna struggles to make sense of the what’s happened, she comes up against entitled and badly behaved beach dwellers, greedy parties with motives all their own, and the billion dollar beauty industry. With her loyal dog Watson at her side, Jenna pieces together clues and tracks down a killer who claims victims that are dying to be beautiful.

Read an Excerpt

Saturday, as always was an exceptionally busy day, “in season” at Darcy’s Salon, which is why she had gotten there so early. She always wanted the salon looking perfect, ready for stylists and clients, who this day had appointments beginning at 7 am.

Located off the main avenue of this posh resort at the East End of Long Island, less than ninety miles from Manhattan, the salon was known for catering to the rich and famous, as well as some of wanna-be customers, primping for weekend parties and fundraising events.

The salon was truly beautiful with warm color tones and soft matching leather client chairs facing gold (well, fake gold), trimmed mirrors. There was a reception area with the latest issues of fashion magazines from Paris and Rome, and a few of the more popular Hampton rags, like Dan’s Papers were spread out on a marble table, next to it a coffee machine offering gourmet flavored coffee and teas.

Most of the women who came to Darcy’s Salon had plenty of money, some from their own success, although others were arm candy for much older, wealthy men. Sometimes one of them would joke (maybe not) that they were “Dying To Be Beautiful” like some of the famous models and celebrities, many of who summered in The Hamptons.

“Jenna, you’ve seen how difficult and fussy they can be, and their egos—they’re constantly seeking confirmation of how beautiful they look. They want to come to a high-end salon, expecting to be treated like royalty. And believe me, we do.”

About the Author:
Marcia Rosen (aka M. Glenda Rosen) is author of ten books including The Senior Sleuths and Dying To Be Beautiful Mystery Series and The Gourmet Gangster, Mysteries and Menus (with her son Jory Rosen). She is also author of The Woman’s Business Therapist and award-winning My Memoir Workbook. Marcia was owner of a successful national marketing and public relations agency, received numerous awards for her work on behalf of business and professional women and has given many presentations, now as Zoom Events, such as: Encouraging the Writer Within You, Writing A Mystery…Not A Mystery, Book Marketing with Zoom and Podcasts, Writing From Your Soul, Memoir Writing and The Senior Sleuths & Dying To Be Beautiful Mysteries. Member of Sisters In Crime, Southwest Writers, Central Coast Writers and Public Safety Writers Association. Board Member, 2021, National Association of Independent Writers and Editors.

Sample of Scheduled Zoom Programs: The National Steinbeck Center (6 week program on About Being an Author), Shelter Island Library, an hour marketing presentation. Public Safety Writer’s Association Encouraging the Writer Within You, Central Coast Writers “About Being an Author,” Podcast Marketing for Southwest Writers, Murder on The Beach bookstore, Memoir Writing Sessions, Shelter Island and Westhampton Beach Library, “Writing Mysteries…Not A Mystery,” and other venues and topics for 2021.

http://www.theseniorsleuths.com
http://www.creativebookconcepts.com
https://www.amazon.com/M.-Glenda-Rosen/e/B06W51M2YH
https://www.facebook.com/MarciaGRosen
https://twitter.com/WriterMysteries
https://www.instagram.com/mglendarosen/
https://www.pinterest.com/marciaglendarosen/

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Q4FWFKF/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

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Book Blast: Late for Love by M.K. Scott


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. M. K. Scott will be awarding a $40 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The senior sleuths love a good laugh, but this conundrum is no laughing matter. A missing journalist, an African Grey parrot, and a possible mob connection sound like the beginning of a bad joke. Unfortunately, there is no punchline and no one, aside from the seniors, who would dare to take the case on.

Will their first chance to handle a case on their own prove to be way too much for them to handle, and more importantly, could this first be their last?

Read an Excerpt

Gus placed his hand on the page. “I got it. We could ask her if there was anyone who wanted to kill her sister.”

The wide grin announced his friend thought this was an obvious question. To some it might be, but not to the parrot party club owners who knew nothing about Lyre’s disappearance. Jake shook his head before replying. “We don’t want direct questions that might make her suspicious. We might try some parrot talk and allow Lorelei to tell us stuff without realizing it.”

“Parrot talk? Are you the bird whisperer now?” Gus inquired with a dismissive sniff.

“No. I do watch television, especially on Saturday mornings when that vet show is on. Parrots tend to pick out their feathers when they are distressed. Sometimes, they’re aggressive. Other times, they won’t eat or talk as much and perform repetitive behavior. Lorelei will immediately tell us she’s not Lyre and her sister isn’t there, possibly hoping that’ll get rid of us. It’s important to listen to how she says it.”

“Got it.” Gus held up a thumb to indicate comprehension. “If she breaks into tears, then maybe she actually cared for her sis.”

“Possibly.” Jake tapped his pen on his friend’s hand to get him to move it, which he did. “I’m more interested in her explanation about her sister. Will she say her sister is dead? She might say her sister is missing. Could be she might say her sister isn’t there, indicating nothing.”

“Don’t forget she could just slam the door in our faces or possibly not open it at all.”

“There is that. I can only work with what I know currently. If we’re able to see the bird, I can make a visual inspection asking if the bird was pulling out its feathers when she got it. I’m not sure how long the bird was alone, but I’m sure it was distressed being locked up without food or water. Then I could mention that sometimes birds are impacted by the owner’s emotions. I might ask if Lyre was afraid of something.”

“I thought the sisters weren’t close,” Gus pointed out.

“Could be,” Jake conceded even though it galled him to do so. It sort of ruined his plan about questioning the sister. “People say stuff like that all the time, especially when they don’t want to talk to the police. Not being close could mean a lot of stuff, too. Maybe they didn’t do lunch or share clothes, but they did have a general idea of what was happening in each other’s lives. Lorelei could be good for supplying a friend’s name or a boyfriend. They might know more.”

About the Author: M. K. Scott is the husband and wife writing team behind The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries and The Talking Dog Detective Agency. Morgan K Wyatt is the general wordsmith, while her husband, Scott, is the grammar hammer and physics specialist. He uses his engineering skills to explain how fast a body falls when pushed over a cliff and various other felonious activities. The Internet and experts in the field provide forensic information, while the recipes and B and B details require a more hands-on approach. Morgan’s daughter, who manages a hotel, provides guest horror stories to fuel the plot lines. The couple’s dog, Chance, is the inspiration behind Jasper, Donna’s dog. Overall, both are fun series to create and read.

Social Media

Website: http://www.morgankwyatt.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMorganKWyatt
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/morgankwyatt
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5826299.Morgan_K_Wyatt
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/morgankwyatt/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/M-K-Scott/e/B01M4JGK1A/

The book will be on sale for $0.99 on the day of the tour.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08FYX8SCL/ref=x_gr_w_bb_glide_sout

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Blog Tour: I Know You, Don’t I? by Bethany Askew

Cover_I Know You, Don't ITitle: I Know You, Don’t I?

Author: Bethany Askew

Genre: Women’s Fiction / General

Blurb: When Carly Spurway is mistaken for old school friend Caroline Westminster, she has the chance to re-invent her life.

As the lines between fantasy and reality become blurred, the web of deceit Carly weaves around herself for protection threatens instead to trap her.

But what has happened in her past to make Carly want to escape? And is Caroline’s life as perfect as Carly thinks it is?

This story explores how well we really know the people we have relationships with; the different versions of the truth we tell ourselves and others; and the impact of the past on the present.


Review:
fourstars
A tale of the grass is always greener, Carly believes the life of former classmate, Caroline, is better than her own, after seeing her Facebook photographs. Little does she know, appearances can be deceiving. I very much enjoyed this exploration of how we perceive others through the stories we tell on social media. It’s a stark reminder that not everyone has an easy ride through life, and coming to terms with who we really are is better than pretending to be someone we’re not.


Excerpt:

“I know you, don’t I?”

“No,” she says, “you must be mistaken…”

“Caroline,” he says firmly. “Caroline Westminster…”

She shakes her head but he’s seen the flash of recognition in her eyes. 

“I used to teach you,” he says. “At East Devon College. Maths. You were very good…”

He’s older, of course. His hair is greying and there are laughter lines around his eyes, but there’s no mistaking him. This is her moment to correct him.

“I’m not Caroline,” she should say. “I’m Carly. Carly Spurway.” but the moment’s gone and she finds herself shaking hands with him automatically. “Mr. Exton…” she says politely.

“Mark, please.” He laughs. “What’re you doing here?”

She glances around at the pictures on the walls.

“Not here, literally.” He laughs again and she can see now that he’s a bit nervous. “I mean, here in Taunton?”

“I live here. Well, only just. I’ve been here a few weeks. You?”

“Oh, we’ve been here for years. I’m teaching at Wyvern’s now. The sixth form college.”

The ‘we’ isn’t lost on her. Married, obviously. Well, of course, he would be by now. He must be, what, early forties? He was probably only a few years older than them when they were in the sixth form, though he seemed so much more mature, not long out of university; the good-looking Maths teacher that all the girls fancied and all the boys wanted to emulate. He’s still good-looking, despite the slightly greying hair. More confident now, though. Slim, athletic-looking. Clearly he looks after himself. He senses her examining him and his dark eyes hold hers. Embarrassed, she looks back at the painting.

Someone pushes past them, jogging his elbow so that his red wine spills slightly over the back of his hand. He bends his head to lick it off and says, “It’s getting crowded in here. Why don’t we go through to the bar?”

“I’ve got to go,” she says quickly, glancing at her watch for authenticity.

“Oh, please,” he says. “Just a few minutes. I don’t often bump into former students. You’ve all moved away…”

She knows she shouldn’t. This goes against everything she’s moved here for. But he doesn’t know who she is. He thinks she’s someone else. She doesn’t have to see him again.


Author Photo Bethany AskewAbout the Author:

Bethany Askew is the author of six novels: The Time BeforeThe World WithinOut of Step, Counting the Days, Poppy’s Seed and I know you, don’t I?

She has also written a short story, The Night of the Storm.

Bethany likes to write about women’s lives and is particularly interested in their role in society, their positions as wife and mother and the impact of marriage, children and divorce on family dynamics. 

Bethany was born and brought up in Somerset and has lived there all her life. A Dispensing Optician by profession, she was able to fulfil her lifelong ambition to be a writer when she retired from employed work seven years ago. She is married and has four grown-up children and six grandchildren.


 Links:

www.bethanyaskew.co.uk

www.onactiveservice.co.uk

Facebook: Bethany Askew Novelist

Twitter: @AskewBethany

Publisher’s Author Page: https://www.wallacepublishing.co.uk/bethany-askew.html

Amazon UK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/I-Know-You-Dont/dp/1999613678/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Bethany+Askew&qid=1603832764&sr=8-1

Amazon USA

https://www.amazon.com/I-Know-You-Dont-ebook/dp/B08KQGX83X/

Barnes and Noble: 

https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-know-you-dont-i-bethany-askew/1137848773

Blackwells UK:

https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/I-Know-You-Dont-I-by-Bethany-Askew-author/9781999613679

Andersons USA, 

https://www.andersonsbookshop.com/book/9781999613679


GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:

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