BOOK BLITZ: Touch of a Witch by S.G. Slade #Fantasy

Touch of a Witch
S.G. Slade
(Darkness Rising, #1)
Publication date: October 31st 2023
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Historical

When visions of death haunt her every move, only the darkest magic can save her.

Sarah Stone’s family have always closely guarded the secrets of their witchcraft. Though they tend as healers to those that know them, few guess the truth of the family’s skills.

But others have secrets too, and when Sarah finds herself caught in the grip of a terrifying curse, she fears for the fate of all she holds dear. As a dark shadow haunts the taverns and brothels of Bankside, whispers of the curse begin to spread. Then she is accused of witchcraft, and there seems to be no escape.

In a world where the those called Witch end up on the gallows, can Sarah find a way to turn the curse aside? Or will the price be too high to pay?

Content warning: strong sex scenes and the occult.

Touch of a Witch is the first standalone novel in the seductive Darkness Rising series.

An earlier version of this novel was published previously as Shakespeare’s Witch

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She dreams she is in a forest of pine at night, walking barefoot on the cold, soft earth. A full moon glimmers through the branches of the oaks overhead, brushing silver hues across everything it touches, and a stream trickles lazily beside her – she seems to be following its path upstream, searching for the source, and despite the darkness, she finds her way easily, unafraid.

In time she comes to a clearing where the stream begins, emerging from an outcrop of rocks to spill into a pool that fills before it overflows and runs off along its way. Stepping out of her shift, she slides into the water and lowers herself down until the surface laps around her shoulders. It is cool and clear and sweet, and she is tempted to submerge herself, to give herself to the sacred water and stay in this place always.

Then, one by one, four men approach to stand at the edge of the pool, one at each point of the compass. She feels no shame at her nakedness before them, no fear, content and at ease in the pure crystal water. She has no doubt this is where she is meant to be. Wheeling slowly, the rock hard and smooth beneath her legs, she regards each of them in turn. As she turns, each man holds out a hand to beckon her to them, and she sees then that they too are naked.

She goes first to stand before her father, out of habit of respect and obedience, and he speaks to her, though with no voice she can hear with her ears.

Bride thou shalt be, obedient daughter of Christ.

Placing one hand on her shoulder, and the other on her breast, he rests them there until she steps away and drops back into the water to wash herself free of the taint of his touch.

Then she turns to Simon.

Wife thou shalt be, loving mother of children, though none of mine.

He too places one hand on her shoulder and one on her breast, until she slips away from his touch also to rinse herself clean in the pool.

Then she goes to Tom, whose skin is taut and pale in the moonlight: his nakedness before her quickens her breath. He steps closer.

Lover thou shalt be, spirit of the earth.

For a long moment she waits before him, and when finally he lifts his hand to her breast, she gasps as a charge fires between them. She steps closer, her breasts pressing against his ribs and his member hard against her belly. Desire flares through her before he takes her hand in his and leads her to Nick. She waits, drinking in the beauty of the man who stands before her, his muscles strong and vivid in the silver light.

Mistress thou shalt be, if thou so wills it.

He reaches for her hands and lifts them to his lips, drawing her closer in towards him. Then she stands against him, and with his touch to her breast, she feels herself begin to fall, floating and free.

Author Bio:

S.G. Slade was born and raised in the historic city of Bristol in England, and now lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, son, and a very small dog called Livvy. She has worked variously as a secretary, a teacher, a shop assistant and a nurse, but lifelong obsessions with books, history, and magic have never waned. When she isn’t reading or writing (which isn’t often), you can find her either doing yoga, going for long walks, or watching old movies. Touch of a Witch is her first historical fantasy book.

She uses the pen name S.G. Slade for her fantasy books, and also writes Historical Fiction under the name Samantha Grosser.

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BOOK TOUR: Under His Spell by Luv Lubker #VictorianFiction #HistoricalFiction

Under His Spell, The Rival Courts

By Luv Lubker

Audiobook (coming soon):
Ella McNish, Jamie Collette, Max Mustache, Christian Stark, Ju Thomas, Philip Zielinzki, Michael Garamoni

A beautiful love story between the Princess Royal Victoria and Fritz Wilhelm, Frederick III of Prussia

A lonely young man attends the first World’s Fair – the Great Exhibition of 1851 – and meets a family who changes his life forever.

Follow the young Prince Fritz – later Friedrich III – of Prussia and his wife, Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, Vicky, (parents of Kaiser Wilhelm II) through their courtship and the joys and struggles of their first four years of marriage.

Fritz and Vicky dream of a peaceful united Germany, but Fritz’s uncle Karl has his own dreams of power…

Discover often hinted at but unrevealed secrets of the Prussian Royal court…

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“It is Papa’s home… and yours.” She looked down, blushing slightly and speaking the last words more softly. “Shouldn’t we be going? Mama is probably waiting for us.” She looked around. “Here is Lady Flora Macdonald. She will be joining Mama. We should go on soon.”

“Vicky!” She had again been gazing at the heather-covered mountains, but turned to face him at the sound of his voice. It must have been strange, he thought; it hadn’t sounded like his own voice. He knelt, picking a bunch of white heather. “Would you like to go to Germany, always… always…?” He couldn’t speak any more, his throat had gone dry; his hands shook so much that he nearly dropped the flowers before he pressed them into her hand.

She looked at him, her eyes growing wider, her face turning bright red. “I didn’t say anything to offend you, did I, Vicky?”

She shook her head. “Would you like to come to Germany, with me?” She nodded, still blushing deeply, and buried her face in the bunch of heather. She pressed it to her heart, then, separating a few stems, kissed them, and held them out to him. Her hand trembled visibly, and her fingers felt hot as they touched his. She squeezed his fingers as he took the flowers back.

Meine Vicky.” His voice wouldn’t come out above a whisper, as he held up his arms to help her dismount. She swung down gracefully and stood before him, her face still crimson, her eyes on the flowers on the ground.

He stepped closer. He gently put his right arm around her to draw her to him, but hesitated, letting her stand where she was. He put his hand on her shoulder; with the fingers of his left hand he touched her cheek for the first time, running his thumb over her lips. He stroked her chin, hoping she would look up at him.

She glanced up, and then down again, blushing more deeply than ever, then looked up to meet his eye, her lips parting slightly. The wind blew coldly, but he felt warmth flood through him as he closed his eyes and gently touched her lips with his.

He felt her hand on his chest. He opened his eyes. Several of the little heather-bells clung in her hair, and her face smelled sweet from the flowers. She was smiling, but looking down again. She stepped closer and hid her face against his chest. He felt her hand on his back; her arms were around him. He felt her shiver as the wind blew harder. Finally, the space between them had closed, and he embraced her tightly, kissing the top of her head.

“Vicky,” he whispered, as he stroked her cheek again. She raised her head, and he bent down to kiss her again. Their lips had barely touched, when she turned her head.

“Oh!” It was not really speech, but something between a sigh and a sob.

About the Author

Luv Lubker has lived in the Victorian era half her life, making friends with the Brontë sisters and the extended family of Queen Victoria. Now she knows them quite as well as her own family.

Born in a cattle trough in the Appalachian mountains, Luv lives in Texas – when she comes to the modern world.

When she isn’t living in the Victorian era, she enjoys being with her family; making and eating delicious raw food, riding her bike (which she only learned to ride at 25, though she’d ridden a unicycle since she was 7), and watching animals – the passion of her childhood.

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BOOK TOUR: Archibald the Grim Series by J.R. Tomlin #HistoricalFiction

The Douglas Bastard
Archibald the Grim Series
J R Tomlin
Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Young Archibald, the Black Douglas’s bastard son, returns from exile to a Scotland ravaged by war. The war-hardened Knight of Liddesdale will teach him what he must learn. And with danger on every side, he must learn to sleep with one eye open and a claymore in his hand because even their closest ally may betray them…

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Guest Post:

My fascination with James, Lord of Douglas, known as the Black Douglas, came early from my granny reading me stories of his fight beside King Robert the Bruce for Scotland’s independence. My first trilogy was about this great knight. I did not give much thought to his sons for a long time. His older and ‘legitimate’ son died in battle while still in his teens, leaving only young Archibald. But Archibald was not his heir.

Archibald, as the chronicler Jean Froissart put it, “was held of little account because he was a bastard.” They underestimated him. Archibald inherited his father’s appearance, a dark, large man, and his father’s skill in battle. Even so, in his youth, he followed the man who carried on in James’s fight, his cousin, William Douglas, the Knight of Liddesdale.

The Knight of Liddesdale made Archie his squire. With this great fighter, Archie learned all he needed to know, as Liddesdale had learned from King Robert and the Black Douglas who went before.

On foot should be all Scottish war.

Let hill and marsh their foes debar

And woods and walls prove such an arm

That enemies do them no harm.

In hidden spots, keep every store

And burn the plainlands them before.

So, when they find the land lie waste

Needs must they pass away in haste,

Harried by cunning raids at night

And threatening sounds from every height.

Then as they leave, with great array,

Smite with the sword and chase away.

This is the counsel and intent

Of Good King Robert’s Testament.

Against the English, Archie learned to use the tactics of night attacks, ambushes, escalades of castle walls, and simple deception as he and Liddesdale recaptured castles and drove the English from their land. To these skills, he added to his strong sword arm that soon struck fear into any enemy he faced. Even so, he was still held of ‘little account.’

However, Archie also had a good friend, King David of Scotland, who would make a big difference in his life. As soon as the King was old enough to rule in his own right, David returned from exile to Scotland, determined to lead the fight against the English. And at his side in that fight, he meant to have Archie. Archie would fight for his King, whatever it might cost—and the cost would be high.

About the Author:

J R Tomlin is the author of twenty historical novels.

Her historical novels are mainly set in Scotland. You can trace her love of that nation to the stories of Robert the Bruce and the Black Douglas that her grandmother read her when she was small and to her hillwalking through the Scottish Cairngorms where the granite mountains have a gorgeous red glow under the setting sun.

In addition to having lived in Scotland, she has traveled in the US, mainland Europe and the Pacific Rim. She now lives in Oregon.



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BOOK TOUR: Alternate Endings – a short story anthology @HistWriters @cathiedunn#HistoricalFiction #anthology #ShortStories #AlternateHistory #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

Alternate Endings

A Short Story Anthology of Historical What Ifs

by Salina B Baker, Stephanie Churchill (Foreword), Sharon Bennett Connolly, Elizabeth Corbett, Virginia Crow, Cathie Dunn, Karen Heenan, Michael Ross, and Samantha Wilcoxson

We all know the past is the past, but what if you could change history?

We asked eight historical authors to set aside the facts and rewrite the history they love. The results couldn’t be more tantalizing.

What if Julius Caesar never conquered Gaul?

What if Arthur Tudor lived and his little brother never became King Henry VIII?

What if Abigail Adams persuaded the Continental Congress in 1776 to give women the right to vote and to own property?

Dive in to our collection of eight short stories as we explore the alternate endings of events set in ancient Rome, Britain, the United States, and France.

An anthology of the Historical Writers Forum.


This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

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Meet the Authors

Samantha Wilcoxson

Samantha Wilcoxson is an author of emotive biographical fiction and strives to help readers connect with history’s unsung heroes. She also writes nonfiction for Pen & Sword History.

Samantha loves sharing trips to historic places with her family and spending time by the lake with a glass of wine. Her most recent work is Women of the American Revolution, which explores the lives of 18th century women, and she is currently working on a biography of James Alexander Hamilton.


Sharon Bennett Connolly

Historian Sharon Bennett Connolly is the best-selling author of five non-fiction history books, with a new release coming soon.

A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Sharon has studied history academically and just for fun – and has even worked as a tour guide at a castle. She writes the popular history blog, 

Sharon regularly gives talks on women’s history; she is a feature writer for All About History magazine and her TV work includes Australian Television’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’


Cathie Dunn

Cathie Dunn writes historical fiction, mystery, and romance. The focus of her historical fiction novels is on strong women through time.

She loves researching for her novels, delving into history books, and visiting castles and historic sites.

Cathie’s stories have garnered awards and praise from reviewers and readers for their authentic description of the past.


Karen Heenan

As an only child, Karen Heenan learned early that boredom was the enemy. Shortly after she discovered perpetual motion, and has rarely been seen holding still since.

She lives in Lansdowne, PA, just outside Philadelphia, where she grows much of her own food and makes her own clothes. She is accompanied on her quest for self-sufficiency by a very patient husband and an ever-changing number of cats. 

One constant: she is always writing her next book.


Salina B Baker

Salina Baker is a multiple award winning author and avid student of Colonial America and the American Revolution. 

Her lifelong passion for history and all things supernatural led her to write historical fantasy. Reading, extensive traveling and graveyard prowling with her husband keep that passion alive. 

Salina lives in Austin, Texas.


Virginia Crow

Virginia Crow is an award-winning Scottish author who grew up in Orkney and now lives in Caithness.

Her favourite genres to write are fantasy and historical fiction, sometimes mixing the two together. Her academic passions are theology and history, her undergraduate degree in the former and her postgraduate degree in the latter, and aspects of these frequently appear within her writings.

When not writing, Virginia is usually to be found teaching music. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of music, especially as a tool of inspiration, and music is often playing when she writes. Her life is governed by two spaniels, Orlando and Jess, and she enjoys exploring the Caithness countryside with these canine sidekicks.

She loves cheese, music, and films, but hates mushrooms.


Elizabeth K Corbett

Elizabeth K. Corbett is an author, book reviewer, and historian who has recently published a short story, “Marie Thérèse Remembers.” She is currently working on her debut novel, a gothic romance set in Jacksonian America.

When she is not writing, she teaches academic writing, something she is very passionate about. She believes in empowering students to express themselves and speak their truth through writing. Additionally, she is a women’s historian who studies the lives of women in eighteenth and nineteenth century North America. Mostly, she is fascinated by the lives of the lesser known women in history.

A resident of gorgeous coastal New Jersey, she takes inspiration from the local history to write her historical fiction. She is an avid reader who adores tea and coffee.


Stephanie Churchill

After serving time as a corporate paralegal in Washington, D.C., then staying home to raise her children, Stephanie Churchill stumbled upon writing, a career path she never saw coming.

As a result of writing a long-winded review of the book Lionheart, Stephanie became fast friends with its New York Times best-selling author, Sharon Kay Penman, who uttered the fateful words, “Have you ever thought about writing?” 

Stephanie’s books are filled with action and romance, loyalty and betrayal. Her writing takes on a cadence that is sometimes literary, sometimes genre fiction, relying on deeply-drawn and complex characters while exploring the subtleties of imperfect people living in a gritty, sometimes dark world.

She lives in the Minneapolis area with her husband, two children, and two dogs while trying to survive the murderous intentions of a Minnesota winter.


Michael Ross

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.

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. 


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BOOK TOUR: The Devil’s Glove (Salem Book 1) by Lucretia Grindle #TheDevilsGlove #HistoricalFiction #Salem #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @cathiedunn

Northern New England, summer, 1688.
Salem started here.

A suspicious death. A rumor of war. Whispers of witchcraft.

Perched on the brink of disaster, Resolve Hammond and her mother, Deliverance, struggle to survive in their isolated coastal village. They’re known as healers taught by the local tribes – and suspected of witchcraft by the local villagers.

Their precarious existence becomes even more chaotic when summoned to tend to a poisoned woman. As they uncover a web of dark secrets, rumors of war engulf the village, forcing the Hammonds to choose between loyalty to their native friends or the increasingly terrified settler community.

As Resolve is plagued by strange dreams, she questions everything she thought she knew – about her family, her closest friend, and even herself. If the truth comes to light, the repercussions will be felt far beyond the confines of this small settlement.

Based on meticulous research and inspired by the true story of the fear and suspicion that led to the Salem Witchcraft Trials, THE DEVIL’S GLOVE is a tale of betrayal, loyalty, and the power of secrets. Will Resolve be able to uncover the truth before the town tears itself apart, or will she become the next victim of the village’s dark and mysterious past?

Praise for The Devil’s Glove:

“From its opening lines this historical novel from Grindle (Villa Triste) grips with its rare blend of a powerfully evoked past, resonant characters, smart suspense, and prose touched with shivery poetry.”

~ BookLife Reviews Editor’s Pick

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From the Author:

I lived with Resolve Hammond for ten years before she finally escaped on to the first page of The Devil’s Glove. So, you would think we knew each other pretty well. But in the year that followed, she never ceased to surprise me. And that is one of the delights of writing fiction – the way characters  become themselves, often in ways you would never predict.

They can be eccentric. They trip, break ankles and develop a limps. Or cut off all their hair. Sometimes they’re more mundane, deciding to hate cats or be left-handed. Things that don’t much difference. Often though, they get up to stuff that is really inconvenient, often destroying a beautifully planned plot  in the process.

The greatest writing teacher I ever had warned me about this wrecking ball tendency. Specifically, he warned never to try to ride herd on a rogue character. If they are on their way to the supermarket and end up in a jazz club, well you better start tapping your foot and listen up. Because they are telling you, in no uncertain terms – that plot you thought was so good? Hmmn, maybe not. Or at least nowhere near as good as what happens when characters flex their muscles and take on lives of their own. Because that’s when the page comes alive. That’s the sweet unpredictable magic – the alchemy of writing fiction.

But what about historical fiction? Salem happened in 1692, in Massachusetts, even if all your characters suddenly decide to go to Rhode Island. True enough. Historical fiction, the placing of characters in the frame-work of actual events does have boundaries, at least in terms of date, place, and who killed whom. But how your characters react, what they feel, what drives them and inhibits them and leads them to make the choices they make; all of those crucial components that make someone who they are instead of merely what they are – that’s all up for grabs. That’s all up to them. Which is why books often don’t come out they way we think they will when we write that first sentence. Sometimes, you don’t know what your story is until you let your characters tell you.

When I started The Devil’s Glove, I was interested in who the women who got sucked into that firestorm – as accusers or accused or simply collateral damage – were. I thought I might be writing about group hysteria or, well, who knew? It turned out, they did. As the Hammonds, and Judah White, and Mercy Lewis and Abigail Hobbs took on lives of their own, I realized I was writing about survival. About the ways in which each of a group of women bound together by circumstance navigated her own history in order to survive. In the end, they told a much better story than I could have, and took me on a much wilder ride. I hope you enjoy getting to know them as much as I did.

Author Bio:

Lucretia Grindle grew up and went to school and university in England and the United States. After a brief career in journalism, she worked for The United States Equestrian Team organizing ‘kids and ponies,’ and for the Canadian Equestrian Team. For ten years, she produced and owned Three Day Event horses that competed at The World Games, The European Games and the Atlanta Olympics. In 1997, she packed a five mule train across 250 miles of what is now Grasslands National Park on the Saskatchewan/Montana border tracing the history of her mother’s family who descend from both the Sitting Bull Sioux and the first officers of the Canadian Mounties.

Returning to graduate school as a ‘mature student’, Lucretia completed an MA in Biography and Non-Fiction at The University of East Anglia where her work, FIREFLIES, won the Lorna Sage Prize. Specializing in the 19th century Canadian West, the Plains Tribes, and American Indigenous and Women’s History, she is currently finishing her PhD dissertation at The University of Maine.

Lucretia is the author of the psychological thrillers, THE NIGHTSPINNERS, shortlisted for the Steel Dagger Award, and THE FACES of ANGELS, one of BBC FrontRow’s six best books of the year, shortlisted for the Edgar Award. Her historical fiction includes, THE VILLA TRISTE, a novel of the Italian Partisans in World War II, a finalist for the Gold Dagger Award, and THE LOST DAUGHTER, a fictionalized account of the Aldo Moro kidnapping. She has been fortunate enough to be awarded fellowships at The Hedgebrook Foundation, The Hawthornden Foundation, The Hambidge Foundation, The American Academy in Paris, and to be the Writer in Residence at The Wallace Stegner Foundation. A television drama based on her research and journey across Grasslands is currently in development. THE DEVIL’S GLOVE and the concluding books of THE SALEM TRILOGY are drawn from her research at The University of Maine where Lucretia is grateful to have been a fellow at the Canadian American Foundation.

She and her husband, David Lutyens, live in Shropshire.

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BOOK TOUR & GIVEAWAY: The Rock at the Bottom by Cynthia Hilston #HistoricalFiction #Romance @RABTBookTours

Lorna & Tristan #3


20th Century Historical Fiction / Romance

Date Published: 03-21-2023



Stephen feels he is marked from day one to lose the ones he loves. His
mother dies giving birth to him, and his alcoholic father makes sure Stephen
never forgets it. To block out his father’s hate, fists, and belt,
young Stephen loses himself in his imagination. Stories become his closest
companions and barricades against a family that never wanted him. Once he
can look his father in the eye, Stephen swears he will never be the monster
his old man is. He vows he will become a published author, if for no other
reason than to prove his father wrong.

While his dreams of being a bestselling novelist and falling in love come
true, Stephen has much to prove to himself before he can write his own happy
ending. Set against the backdrop of Prohibition-era Cleveland, Stephen
fights the same alcoholic demons that plagued his father as he tries to
begin a life free from his family. He meets equally headstrong Julie and is
smitten, but their marriage is as fractured as his career is solid. He can
find ten ways to write about being in love, but he has a hard time
translating love on the page to love in real life. Julie slips between his
fingers like sand, and Stephen sees his father staring back when he looks in
the mirror.

Try as he might to rewrite his life, even going so far as to change his
name, he has to wonder if he is the author or the killer of love.



At eighteen, I stood taller than my father. No one had come to my graduation ceremony—no big surprise. Afterward, I returned to my house. We’d moved out of the rundown dump along the Cuyahoga River, for with the passing years, Dear Daddy had climbed the career ladder. With the twenties well underway by that point, the auto industry was booming. Mr. George Richardson, Sr. could turn on the charm when needed, and he used it at his job to great effect. That he could devote himself to his work proved he could have devoted himself to his family…to me.

But no matter where I laid my head, no matter which of the three houses I’d been forced to live in while growing up, none had been my home.

We weren’t so wealthy as to live in one of the leftover mansions from Millionaires’ Row along Euclid Avenue or in the esteemed residences of Bratenahl just east of downtown Cleveland along the lakeshore. The Fifth City, as Cleveland was called back then, was changing. The wealthy had shifted east to the so-called “Heights.” Our dilapidated first city home had new construction beside it. Towers that seemed to touch the sky were underway. My pal Ben and I were leaning toward making a buck working with such projects.

The old man and I inhabited an oversized brick home along Liberty Boulevard. He feigned at making a better name for himself to the outside world. A different woman would come over every weekend. He even threw parties with some of his buddies from work, but I knew him better. His parties were as empty as Jay Gatsby’s. I’d read Fitzgerald’s work shortly after its release the previous year and found it mirrored the current times and trends well. As for how I saw my father in that fiction, I guessed from his vacant stares into the bottom of a bottle, where he thought he could somehow erase my mother’s absence.

So, it was no surprise when I entered the living room that second Saturday in June to find my father in his easy chair, a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other.

“Where’d you get this round of giggle juice?” I motioned toward his empty bottle.

My father scowled, the heavy creases framing his mouth deepening. He dropped the dead soldier, and it rolled until it stopped at my foot. I picked up the bottle, shook my head, and tossed it aside. It gave a satisfying shatter.

Prohibition hadn’t stopped the old guy from getting zozzled whenever the urge hit.

“What d’you want?” He got to his feet.

I stepped up to him, and he recoiled.

“I’m leaving,” I said.

“Then what’re you waitin’ for? Get outta here!” He pointed with a quivering finger toward the front door.

“I have a few things to say first.”

My father gazed up at me and seemed to shrink more. “Well, out with it.”

“I’m a writer. I’ve been writing stories since I was a little kid, and you won’t stop me.”

He snorted. “What do I care about those rags?”

“I thought you’d like to know, Father, that you inspired me.”

He squinted, then raised his eyebrows. “Huh? What’s that?”

“Your hatred inspired me to imagine a life better than this hellhole, and you”—I poked his chest, hard—“are the villain.”

He raised his fist, but I caught it before he struck. As I pushed back with the force of a stronger, younger man, his legs buckled, forcing him into his chair.

“You come to gloat, boy?” His words were the only weapon he had left.

“I came to tell you the truth. I pity you, Father. You’re pathetic.”

His gaze dropped to his lap. The man reached into his pocket and fumbled for another cigarette, then lit it with shuddering hands. Letting out a long plume of smoke, he said, “Maybe, but the fruit don’t fall from the tree.” He jabbed the cigarette at me.

I shook my head. “I’ll never be like you.”

A hollow laugh filled the room. He laughed until coughs overtook him. Then he went quiet, until a sob escaped. “No matter what you think, boy, you can’t change who you are. You were born a killer. No fancy dreamin’ will take away your reality. You think I haven’t tried?”

I turned and took a few steps until I stood on the threshold to the outside. Glancing back at my father, I knew that would be the last time I saw him. “Maybe you should’ve tried harder.”

Maybe you should’ve loved me.

About the Author

Cynthia Hilston is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married,
and lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Writing has always been like another
child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction,
she stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction,
although she still dabbles in fan fiction.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books,
shamelessly watches Hallmark movies and When Calls the Heart, pets her
orange and black kitties, looks at the stars, drinks wine or coffee with
good friends, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.


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BOOK TOUR & INTERVIEW: The Delafield and Mallow Investigations by Trish MacEnulty #historicalfiction #historicalmysteries @cathiedunn

The Whispering Women, Book #1, A Delafield & Malloy Investigation

The Burning Bride, Book #2, A Delafield & Malloy Investigation

Secrets and Spies, Book #3, A Delafield & Malloy Investigation

by Trish MacEnulty

About the Book

“Richly drawn characters, the vibrant historical setting, and a suspenseful mystery create a strong current that pulls readers into this delightful novel. But it’s the women’s issues—as relevant today as they were in the early 1900s—that will linger long after the last page.”

— Donna S. Meredith, The Southern Literary Review

Can two women get the lowdown on high society?

“Two powerless young women must navigate a soul-crushing class system and find the levers of power they wield when they combine their strengths. These women may have been taught to whisper, but when their time comes, they will roar.”

– 5 Star Amazon Review

Louisa Delafield and Ellen Malloy didn’t ask to be thrown together to bring the truth to light. But after Ellen witnesses the death of a fellow servant during an illegal abortion, Louisa, a society columnist, vows to help her find the truth and turn her journalistic talent to a greater purpose.

Together, these unlikely allies battle to get the truth out, and to avenge the wrongful death of a friend.

What will our heroes do when their closest allies and those they trust turn out to be the very forces working to keep their story in the dark? They’ll face an abortionist, a sex trafficking ring, and a corrupt system determined to keep the truth at bay.

“If you like historical fiction and if you like mysteries, this one is for you!”

– 5 Star Amazon Review

Was change possible in 1913?

To find out, read THE WHISPERING WOMEN today!


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Often writers started out as readers. Was there a particular book that inspired you to be an author?

I loved books as a child. One of my favorites was Eloise, and I sometimes think I got my spare style from those books. I also remember being immersed in The Jungle Book, The Black Stallion and the Albert Payson Terhune books about collies. I’d love to think my books might create that feeling of being immersed in another world.

Do you tend to read the same genre you write?

Yes. Sometimes for research or review purposes, and sometimes for sheer enjoyment. Outside of historical fiction, I also love thrillers. I’m a fan of Michael Connelly and Thomas Perry. Occasionally a fantasy novel (for example, Six of Crows) will enthrall me.

Do you have a favorite time period to write about? If so, why?

So far I’ve been writing about the earlier 20th century, which I like because it has the perfect balance of unfamiliar and familiar. It’s fairly easy to research the era since it’s not so long ago. I was even able to find film footage of a few important events (i.e. the boarding of The Lusitania!). But it’s far enough in the past that many of the stories are not well known. I had no idea, for example, how prevalent gang activity continued to be into the early 20th Century in New York. And this was before prohibition.

Writers sometimes have furry, feathered, or scaled helpers. Do you have a writing companion?

I have three — one cat and two dogs! The little dog and the cat vie to be on my lap which can make writing difficult. The best thing the dogs do for me is get me out of the house every day and into nature for a half hour or so. So necessary for my mental health!

How long have you been writing, and how long did it take before your first book was published?

I have always wanted to be a writer. In college I wrote for the student newspaper. After college, I worked for a film production company writing scripts. Then I wrote for a newsletter company. Eventually I wound up back in journalism. I also won some screenwriting awards during that time. Finally, I went back to graduate school and published short stories. My first novel came out in 2000 when I was 45.

Do you have a routine you follow when you’re working on a book? A certain time of day when you write, or a snack you keep nearby?

I usually write every morning until noon or 1, when I take a yoga or pilates class. Afternoons are for editing, marketing, dog walking, reading, and napping. As for a snack, I recently started roasting walnuts. So yummy. 

Did anyone give you writing advice when you were first getting started? Do you think it helped?

It’s not so much advice that helped me. It was the encouragement. Several teachers validated my writing, and that made me want to keep going. My first writing teacher was Harry Crews, and when he invited me to join his graduate workshops while I was still an undergraduate, that gave me a big boost of confidence. My second writing teacher, Lynda Schor, was hugely significant to me. We are friends to this day. 

What is the scariest thing you face as a writer? How do you handle it?

Well, we all have to make a living, so for years I was a college professor. During that time, my creative energy went into my teaching, and I worried I would never be able to devote my time and energy to writing, but I worked hard and saved, and now I’m living my dream. 

If you could pick your top 3 favorite books of all time, what would they be?

Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Wolfe

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Of course, as soon as I wrote those titles, I thought, Wait! What about Toni Morrison, Jane Austen, Jack London, Robert Louis Stephenson, Ralph Ellison as well as historical fiction authors Kristin Hannah, Kate Quinn, Madeline Martin, Libby Grant, Amor Towles, Robert Olen Butler, and so many others who have impacted my life with their stories! Truly, I can’t pick just three. 

Does your family support your writing?

My husband is absolutely the most supportive person I could possibly have in my life — financially, emotionally, and technically. And my daughter has always believed in me. (She didn’t even complain about being in my memoir, Wait Until Tomorrow!)


Trish MacEnulty is a bestselling novelist. In addition to her historical fiction, she has published novels, a short story collection, and a memoir. A former Professor of English, she currently lives in Florida with her husband, two dogs, and one cat. She writes book reviews and feature articles for the Historical Novel Review. She loves reading, writing, walking with her dogs, streaming historical series, cooking, and dancing.

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BOOK TOUR: The Very Dead of Winter by Miles Watson #HistoricalFiction @RABTBookTours @themileswatson

A Sinner’s Cross Novel, Book 2

Historical Fiction

Date Published: 07-04-2022

Publisher: One Nine Books



On the eve of what will be known as The Battle of the Bulge, the survivors
of Sinner’s Cross are scattered all over Europe. Halleck, the tough Texan
who drives men like cattle, finds himself surrounded in the snow-blanketed
forests of the Eifel Mountains riding herd on greenhorn soldiers; Breese,
the phony hero with a chip on his shoulder the size of Rushmore, embarks on
a bloody mission of redemption behind enemy lines; Cramm, the one-eyed,
one-armed German staff officer, tries to balance duty against his lust for
vengeance against those who crippled him. Three men separated by war will
once again converge… in The Very Dead of Winter.

Winner of the Literary Titan Gold Medal and the Pinnacle Book Achievement


Walking with the careful, foot-weary step of convalescents or the elderly, the two men started through the rubble-choked streets for the Regimental command post. King patted all of his pockets for gum, a process that took perhaps a minute and involved the shifting around of his sling, bandolier, and several pineapple grenades, but he came up empty. “Sometimes I wish I smoked,” he said ruefully.

“Dirty habit. Never cottoned to it myself. Besides, a man who don’t smoke can always do a little horse-tradin’ with his ration.”

“And here I was, just giving those Chesterfields away like a sucker.” King fell silent for perhaps a minute. Another buzz bomb scudded overhead; both men screwed up their faces at the hideous noise of its engine, but neither raised their gaze. It required too much energy. When the sound of it had faded, the lieutenant said, “What the fuck are we doing here, Top?”

“In Europe? Well, I dunno about you, but I got this funny letter from the President sayin’ that I had to report to the courthouse so they could swear me in as a soldier, and next thing I knew—”

“Funny guy. You always joke after a battle?”

“It beats bawlin’.”

“I’m not so sure.”

“You handled yourself pretty good back there.” Better than I did, goddamn it.

“I got us ambushed.”

“You were just along for the ride, Lieutenant. The teedee captain in the lead tank was the one to blame, if anybody is; and he’s dead, so there ain’t no sense blamin’ him. But hell, if you got the need, blame the Krauts; they’re the ones’t killed him.”

“You see things real clearly, don’t you?”

“You want to say ‘simply’ you just come on out and say it. But for the record, I don’t see as how complicatin’ things helps anybody. A man’s got a problem, he goes to a buddy, or a preacher, or maybe his barkeep; he don’t go to his grandma’s sewin’ circle. One question needs one answer.”

“Now that is simple.”

“Simple ain’t necessarily bad, and it sure as hell ain’t necessarily wrong. There ain’t no maybe on a light switch.”

About the Author

Miles Watson is the x15 award-winning author of the CAGE LIFE and SINNER’S
CROSS book series as well as the short story collection DEVIL’S YOU KNOW. A
veteran of both Hollywood and law enforcement, his first and last passion is
writing, and he intends to publish in every genre before he cashes in his

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BOOK TOUR: Sisters of Castle Leod by Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard #HistoricalFiction @EHBernardAuthor @cathiedunn

Sisters of Castle Leod: A Novel

by Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard

**Finalist in the 2022 American Writing Awards**

Millions are fans of Diana Gabaldon’s popular Outlander books and television series, but few know that Gabaldon’s fictional Castle Leoch was inspired by a real Scottish castle, Castle Leod. The two sisters who lived there at the turn of the twentieth century were among the most fascinating and talked-about women of their era. 

Lady Sibell Mackenzie is a spiritualist, a believer in reincarnation, and a popular author of mystical romances. Petite and proper, she values tradition and duty. Her younger sister Lady Constance, swimming champion and big game hunter, is a statuesque beauty who scandalizes British society with her public displays of Greek-style barefoot dancing. The differences between the sisters escalate into conflict after Sibell inherits their late father’s vast estates and the title 3rd Countess of Cromartie. But it is the birth of Sibell’s daughter that sets in motion a series of bizarre and tragic events, pitting sister against sister and propelling Sibell on a desperate mission to challenge the power of fate. 

Sisters of Castle Leod, by award-winning author Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard, is the emotionally charged story of two sisters torn apart by jealousy and superstition, and the impossible leap of faith that could finally bring them together.

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From across the street, we saw Constance exit her private car in front of the theater. Her outfit had a distinctly Japanese flair, a long, loose-fitting brown robe gathered at the waist with slits up each side. In a Bohemian way, she looked quite stylish. Half a dozen photographers surrounded her as she swept across the sidewalk to the entrance.

Edward and I remained in our taxi, watching a line forming outside the box office. Our seats had been reserved in advance. We planned to claim them at the last moment, after the lights had dimmed.

“This will be the first time you’ve seen Constance dance. Do you think your heart can take it?” I said, trying to lighten our otherwise somber mood. Neither of us was looking forward to confronting her after the show, but how else were we to find out anything? If, at first, I’d doubted that she and Austin could really be in such dire financial straits, I didn’t any longer. Selling that necklace, as I now felt sure she’d done, had to have been a last resort.

Edward patted my hand reassuringly. “If it’s too much for me, I’ll close my eyes and take a little snooze. But I don’t see why we have to sit through her performance. We could have arranged to speak to her afterwards.”

“You’re not in the least bit curious about her dancing? If one can look past her skimpy costume, I’m sure there’s much to appreciate.”

“Don’t you suppose the entire audience will be looking past her costume? That is what it’s designed for.”

I rolled my eyes. “Very amusing. Remember, we will not lecture her about propriety or anything of the sort. If we do, she’ll never open up to us. Our purpose is to see how we might assist her and Austin to get back on their feet.”

“First, we need to understand how their situation came about to start with. Constance had a tidy sum in her dowry when she married, and, to all appearances, Austin was a prosperous landowner.”

“Don’t we know plenty of people accustomed to being wealthy who’d rather die than admit they no longer are?”

“That’s not my point. I’m talking about the possibility of a deeper problem …”

“Such as?”

He grimaced slightly. “Lots of things can cause people to spend more money than they have. All I’m saying, Sibell, is that before you hand over any sizeable sum to bail them out, you’d better be sure they’re going to use it appropriately.”

He was right. Many a young nobleman had frittered away his fortune on some secret addiction. But how likely was Constance to admit the root of their problem if, indeed, it was something heinous? “Let’s not speculate. We’ll find out what we can and, hopefully, figure out the rest. And say nothing about the necklace. It would only make Constance feel we’d been spying on her. I know exactly how she’d react. Clam up in an instant, and we wouldn’t get another word out of her.”

“The necklace is another problem. We’ll need to solve that one ourselves. If that young fellow, Khoury, thinks he can manipulate us into paying twice what the piece is worth, he’s sorely mistaken.”

For a split second, I considered telling him everything. Asking him to accompany me to the jewelry store tomorrow so we could present a united front against Demetrius’s demands, whatever they might be. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it, for fear he might sense what I wished not to admit even to myself. My attraction to Demetrius had not diminished with the years. Though I no longer questioned my devotion to Edward, how could I explain away this feeling that still haunted me? The belief that my soul was bound to another.

Whether or not I wanted it to be.


The intertwined melodies of two flutes signaled the velvet curtain’s rise, revealing a backdrop of lush woodland crowned by a glowing silver orb. A painted prop, yet the setting reminded me of home and how much I missed it. How I would have loved to pluck my sister from among the tall, faceless buildings of New York City and drop her onto the windswept moors of Ross-shire, where both of us belonged! I wished I could know if she regretted the decisions she’d made. Might she long to return to life the way it was, before she’d decided that her duty was to scandalize the civilized world?

Was she simply too stubborn to admit her mistake?

My sister’s sudden entrance onto the stage, pirouetting across the floor with her arms in a graceful arc above her head, elicited a collective gasp from the crowd. Though one couldn’t see everything through the gauzy film of her diaphanous robe, what could not be seen was easily imagined. A wave of whispered chatter was followed by a smattering of hoots and calls, the latter leaving little doubt as to why some members of the audience had come. Yes, Constance was beautiful, as perfect a womanly figure as nature had ever created. She continued her dance, whirling about the stage in a self-induced trance, veils flowing, bare feet flying, and I was mesmerized. But what I saw was surely different from everyone else. I was watching a soul take flight.

Unprepared for the plethora of emotions that flooded over me, what I felt most keenly was guilt. I should have listened, from the beginning, when she tried explaining herself to me—when she talked about beauty and what it means and how she wanted to teach others by example. But I’d brushed her off as brash and egotistical. Was her desire to dance so different from my desire to write? Despite critics who called my pagan-inspired tales shocking, I kept on. Writing had become one of the few things in life about which I was unwilling to compromise.

Wasn’t Constance entitled to feel the same about dancing?

Violins, like a rush of wind, swelled and died, and then out of the silence came again the plaintive melody of the flutes, beckoning the dancer along a woodland path. One by one, other instruments joined in and, as they did, her dance became more exuberant, her moves more daring. A gazelle-like leap, then spinning with arms outstretched, head thrown back, gazing at the multitude of stars in her imaginary sky. Round and round, faster and faster. I stared in wonderment. How could anyone do that and not become impossibly dizzy? But, of course, this was my sister, the consummate athlete. Master of every physical challenge. Champion of every sport she’d ever tried. My God, I was proud of her!

And then it happened.

Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard

A former touring musician/songwriter and public relations professional, Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard is the author of two Amazon bestsellers: THE BEAUTY DOCTOR, “a compelling historical novel steeped in mystery with strong elements of a medical thriller” (Readers’ Favorite, 5 stars), and TEMPTATION RAG: A NOVEL, a “resonant novel … about the birth and demise of ragtime … luxuriously crafted” (Publishers Weekly). Her books have been finalists for the Eric Hoffer Book Award, National Indie Excellence Awards, and Arizona Literary Contest; they have received 5-star ratings from Readers” Favorite, Book Readers Appreciation Group, and historical fiction Discovered Diamonds. Elizabeth and her family live near Phoenix, Arizona.

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BOOK TOUR: That Dickinson Girl by Joan Koster #HistoricalFiction @womenwewrite @cathiedunn

That Dickinson Girl

by Joan Koster


Eighteen-year-old Anna Dickinson is nothing like the women around her, and she knows it. Gifted with a powerful voice, a razor-sharp wit, and unbounded energy, the diminutive curlyhead sets out to surpass the men of her day as she rails against slavery and pushes for women’s rights. Only two things can bring her downfall—the entangling love she has for her devoted companion, Julia, and an assassin’s bullet.

Forced to accompany the fiery young orator on her speaking tour of New England, Julia Pennington fights her growing attraction to the ever more popular celebrity. When a traitor sets out to assassinate Anna, Julia must risk her life to save her.

Loosely based on the life of forgotten orator, feminist, and lesbian, Anna Dickinson, That Dickinson Girl is the story of one woman’s rise to fame and fortune at the expense of love during the political and social turmoil of the American Civil War.

An earlier version of That Dickinson Girl was a finalist in the Mslexia Novel Competition.

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That Dickinson Girl by Joan Koster Chapter 27 Excerpt 3

Half an hour later, Anna gave her signature bow and released the shivers she’d stoppered inside. They’d survived another day.

“You shortened the speech,” Julia said, hastening to her with her shawl and coat.

Bah. Their minuscule brains couldn’t handle more.” Julia helped her into her coat. Anna buttoned it up. “I am getting tired of facing down these Copperhead snakes at every speech.” She glanced at Julia. The girl’s lips were blue with cold. “Let’s find you a nice warm fire.”

“There should be one at the hotel.” Julia tugged on her cape and draped Anna’s shawl over her shoulders.

Anna looped arms with her, and together they walked out of the church. On the threshold, they halted under the sheltering overhang. Rain still poured down. From the mountain of coal waste shadowing the town, a froth of gray black culm ran down the road and gathered around the step. Anna clamped her teeth together and slowly lifted her skirts.

“Wait.” A hand brushed her sleeve.

“Yes?” She turned and discovered a man shorter than herself peering up at her. Wrapped in a plaid cloth, he stood round-shouldered, his face a patchwork of leathery skin, gray eyes, and grizzled beard.

“Dear lady, I’d come to curse you, I did. I firmly believe a woman’s place is in the home. Well, but now I’ve aheard you, and I think surely God has sent you, an angel out of heaven, to fight for justice.”

He paused, his tongue sweeping over his lips, as if testing to see if the words were really his. “Ain’t an educated man. Ain’t seen the world. Spent my days in the dark well of the mine where thinking too hard puts you on the blacklist. But believe me; I never heard anyone speak like you did today. You’re not like those politicians. Heard you punch out at evil and wrong. Heard you agree that allowing the rich to pay their way out of the draft is unfair.”

He looked away, not at the town, but at the sky. “You should understand why we’re angry. The miners here, when they’re drafted, their little boys and their old, bent fathers must go into the mine to keep food on the table. But today, you’ve made me see a broader view—why we must win this war.”

He scowled. “But miss, I envy the slave and the soldier lucky to have your voice speaking out for them. So, I made a prayer back there to God.” He pointed back inside the church. “Someday … someday soon, when the war be done and over, you come back here and use that voice from the angels to fight for a better life for us miners. Will you please?”

“Justice is my mission. Worker’s rights, people’s rights, my cause.” Anna put a hand on either side of his head, bent over, and bestowed a kiss on his pate. She straightened up. “When I return, I will visit your—”


Wood splintered behind her.

Anna spun around and slapped at her hair.

A look of horror flashed across the miner’s face. “Down.” He dropped to the ground and crawled back into the church.

“Get down,” Julia echoed and thrust Anna onto the muddy steps, covering her body with hers. “Someone shot at you.”

“No. Let me up.” Anna rolled out from under Julia’s weight and staggered to her feet. “I will not cower.”

Another shot passed over her head and struck the frame of the church door. Chips of molding flew up like startled birds. The noise reverberated off the clapboard houses that tipped up and down the street and echoed through the hills.

Her body went numb with the sound then rebounded like a soldier under fire, full of heat, primed to kill or to run. Anna squinted into the rain, searching for her attacker, aware that she and Julia stood exposed. She called out, her voice sharper than any saber, “Cowards! Hiding behind a gun. Come out and face me.” She spread her arms out wide and descended the steps. If they thought she would turn and flee, she’d never be allowed on the platform again. No one worshipped a victim. “Are you afraid of me? A girl?”

About the Author:

When she is not writing in her studio by the sea, Joan Koster lives with her historian husband and a coon cat named Cleo in an 1860s farmhouse stacked to the ceiling with books. In a life full of adventures, she has scaled mountains, chased sheep, and been abandoned on an island for longer than she wants to remember.

An award-winning author who loves mentoring writers, Joan blends her love of history, and romance, into historical novels about women who shouldn’t be forgotten and into romantic thrillers under the pen name, Zara West. She is the author of the award-winning romantic suspense series The Skin Quartet and the top-selling Write for Success series.

Joan blogs at, Women Words and Wisdom, American Civil War Voice, Zara West Romance, and Zara West’s Journal and teaches numerous online writing courses.

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