High Sea Historical Adventure, Blackwell’s Homecoming, is Entertaining Third Book in Series

02_Blackwell's Homecoming_CoverReview~

I recently had the pleasure of reading Volume III of V.E. Ulett’s Blackwell’s Adventure series. In Blackwell’s Homecoming, she takes to the sea once again and highlights the drama of the Georgian Age.

In this adventure, Blackwell and his family, which now includes grown children, return to England, but quickly get caught up in the drama and society demands of the day. He’s called away and wounded, saved by his son, who is also now in the Royal Navy, and returns to take a position that leads them to Hawaii on Sandwich Islands. As with usual Ulett type of action and suspense, the adventure is not an easy one on the high seas. It’s a joy to read about this family again in its progression, as Ulett has made them such vibrant, multi-dimensional characters over the course of several books. I especially was happy to watch the life and love grow between and with Blackwell and his wife Mercedes.

Beyond the story of the characters, Ulett’s adventure books bring us action and suspense that keep the pages moving, and certainly, I feel this book is her best yet in terms of hooking me to the pages. I love action on the sea and this gives me a proper dose of that all wrapped within a story that is truly layered. I love the history she uses, and even some actual historical people she makes into characters so that they come alive for us as the reader.

It’s an emotional tale as well as you follow along their lives and adventure. It has a little bit of it all, from drama to romance to action. It’s like a fantasy adventure for adults that can sweep a reader into another time and place. Filled with description and detail, I felt the turmoils and the joys right along with the characters. I think that the pacing, plotting, and connectivity improved even from the first book and I can’t wait to see where she takes this series next.

Speaking of description, I also absorbed through her words the lush area of the exotic islands and the sights, sounds, and smells of the sea. I also learned about the conflicts on the island during this time period and found it all very fascinating and interesting. Beyond that, the story she creates is highly fun and entertaining in many ways as well, as well pull for the family and jeer at the villain.

If you like adventure that crosses the sea and takes you back in history, then I highly recommend Ulett’s writing in this dramatic adventure that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. Hoist up the mast head and get ready to be swept away by the sea wind across every page. The whole set would be a great gift for a history buff who favors historical sea adventure.

Excerpt~

Emma was collapsing with fatigue, her feet ached from the heeled satin pumps she wore, and she guessed it must be four o’clock in the morning. She was more than willing to retire, but when she looked into the card room she gave a little gasp. The card tables had already been taken away, and there were only servants remaining, carrying out chairs and glasses. She hurried, her heart thumping a little, and took a place in the line of people waiting for their carriages. It was always she who ordered the hackney or their carriage to be brought round, that was not a problem, but Emma missed Edward standing near her. She felt she must be conspicuous, an unescorted female, especially after the attention paid her earlier.

When her turn came at the head of the line, Emma spoke up. “A hackney coach to Curzon Street, if you please.”

“Oh, no, Miss! Not for you.” A man in pigtail and seaman’s garb was suddenly at her elbow. “His lordship, Captain Lord Cochrane sends his carriage.”

Emma recognized the coat of arms on the carriage, and with a murmured, “How kind”, she allowed herself to be handed in by the rough seaman. The man shut the door of the carriage and jumped up on the box alongside the driver. Emma sank back into the padded seat with a sigh, put off her shoes and promptly fell asleep.

She awoke when the carriage lurched to a halt. The door was opened by the same seaman, the steps let down, and Emma was out of the carriage and upon the pavement before she looked about her.

“This is not Curzon Street. Why have you brought me to Harley Street? This is Lord Cochrane’s house, surely—”

“Pipe down, Missy.”

Another man had appeared at Emma’s side, together the two seamen hustled her up the house steps and into the foyer.

02_Blackwell's Homecoming_CoverBlackwell’s Homecoming, Info~

Volume III of Blackwell’s Adventures

Publication Date: December 19, 2014

Publisher: Old Salt Press, LLC
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 278

Series: Blackwell’s Adventures, Book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction

“A very satisfying conclusion to the Blackwell’s Adventures series, with lusty escapades tempered with amusing side passages, lively characters and a lovely ending.” – Broos Campbell, author of the Matty Graves series

In a multigenerational saga of love, war and betrayal, Captain Blackwell and Mercedes continue their voyage in Volume III of Blackwell’s Adventures. The Blackwell family’s eventful journey from England to Hawaii, by way of the new and tempestuous nations of Brazil and Chile, provides an intimate portrait of family conflicts and loyalties in the late Georgian Age. Blackwell’s Homecoming is an evocation of the dangers and rewards of desire.

PRAISE

“This entire trilogy has lots of adventure, lots of romance, and lots of wonderful settings that will thrill any historical fiction reader.” – Meg Wessel, A Bookish Affair

“A real pleasure to read, this book can stand alone, although I recommend reading the previous volumes to see additional development of the main characters.” – Jeff Westerhoff, Historical Novels Review

AMAZON (KINDLE) | AMAZON (PB) | BARNES & NOBLE (PB) | BARNES & NOBLE (NOOK) | ITUNES

V.E. Ulett, Biography~

VE Ulett photoA long time resident of California, V.E. Ulett is an avid reader as well as writer of historical fiction. Proud to be an Old Salt Press author, V.E. is also a member of the National Books Critics Circle and an active member and reviewer for the Historical Novel Society.

Eighteenth and nineteenth century journals and letters inspired the writing of CAPTAIN BLACKWELL’S PRIZE. The sequels takes Captain Blackwell and Mercedes to the far side of the world, on new personal and cultural adventures. Coming soon from V.E. Ulett, a historical adventure with a fantastic edge.

For more information visit V.E. Ulett’s website. You can also find her on FacebookAmazon,

Giveaway~

To enter to win a paperback of Blackwell’s Paradise, please enter via the GLEAM form HERE!!!!!!!!!

Rules:

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on August 3rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
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– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Interview with Susan Spann, Author of the Shinobi Mystery Series: Writing, Her Recent Travels to Japan, and Sea Animals

I have a wonderfully interesting interview with Susan Spann, author of the Shinobi mystery series, filled with all kinds of good information and beautiful photos of her trip to Japan. Join us in our fun discussion, located right after this intriguing cover of her third historical mystery, Flask of the Drunken Master, which is available July 14, 2015!

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HI, Susan, my friend! I know you’ve just swept back to California after a whirlwind trip to one of your favorite places to see and talk about—Japan! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by here (I promised I wouldn’t make you get up at 4:30 a.m. to ride the bullet train, but it’s still a little journey across the U.S. I know)! I’m glad you made it safely home to California and from what I saw, you had a wonderful time?

Susan: Thank you so much for inviting me to Hook of a Book! Japan was spectacular. I went to research my next few books, and came home with not only the research but a bunch of pictures, stories, and memories.

Erin: Since you’ve graciously joined us here, let’s start by singing you Happy Birthday since your birthday was just July 6! I’ve baked you a traditional Japanese cake and have little tea cups to fill with tea…..ok, no, I didn’t, but I did bake you a more simple cake and we can have whatever your pleasure of drink is to start out.

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Come and sit down in my big library chairs and get comfy and I’ll get things brought out. What would you like to drink with your cake? I’ll be having some sun tea made with fresh mint leaves.

Susan: In Japan, I discovered a sweetened, iced matcha drink—in Japan, it’s “uji-shimizu,” though my husband calls it “frog in a glass.” Matcha is finely powdered green tea, the same kind used in traditional tea ceremonies, though in this case it’s mixed with finely ground sugar (and water) and iced. As you can see, it’s lovely with tea (but it does look a little like liquefied frog…).

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Above: uji-shimizu! Photo by Susan Spann

Erin: That sounds fun, but alas, how do I make it? For you, I’ll try! Now that’s we are settled with our drinks and cake, let’s talk more about you! Primarily of note is that your third Shinobi mystery, Flask of the Drunken Master, releases July 14 from Minotaur Books! I have loved every one of your mysteries so far, this one especially. I can feel your writing style and your characters growing stronger with each book. What do you feel is one thing that ties all three books together into such a strong series?

Susan: Thank you so much. I’m delighted you like the books—nothing makes me happier than hearing someone else enjoys spending time with Hiro and Father Mateo (and me). I think it’s easier to tie the books together, even though the mysteries stand alone, is that I have a “series arc”—a larger story I’m telling “behind the scenes.” Although each book is a self-contained mystery, I’m also exploring the way Hiro and Father Mateo’s friendship grows and matures over time.

Erin: I know, undoubtedly, that you are excited about releasing a third book. But can you share your thoughts and feelings about the progression of your work so far? For instance, do you still get excited for the same things now as you did for the first book? Does it all seem easier now, or more difficult?

Susan: Some things are easier—for example, knowing how Hiro and Father Mateo will react to new situations. I know them better now, so I can anticipate (mostly) what they will do with each new challenge. However, it’s definitely harder to write without revealing the identity of the killers (or suspects) from previous books. I’m managing, though, because It bugs me when I discover a series by reading a later book, and the story ruins an earlier book in the series. I’m trying not to do that!

Erin: You do a great amount of research for your novels, you can easily tell upon reading them. How did you do your research for books 1-3? What types of things do you research? As you continue on with the series, what research will you use of things you’ve discovered?

Susan: Over the years, I’ve built a fairly extensive personal library of books on Japanese history, culture, architecture, and even niche areas like moneylenders (a topic that comes up in Flask) and theater. I know a historian and a tour guide who live in Kyoto, and they help me too. Finally, I do some Internet research, but I’m leery of trusting online information unless I can verify it with at least two other sources. Fortunately, I really love research.

Erin: That’s wonderful! I love research too! As much as that I love travel. Can you tell us more about the various things you saw on your trip to Japan? Any highlights or moments that spoke to you personally and why? What are your favorite memories? What are the favorite places you visited?

Susan: How much time do we have? I could talk about this for days! One of my favorite parts of the trip was the night we spent on Miyajima, an island off the coast of Hiroshima. Itsukushima Shrine, which sits on the island, is the setting for one of my upcoming novels, and we spent the night at a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) so I could spend two full days on the island. Between the breathtaking scenery, friendly deer (I’d always wanted to touch a deer…) and amazing ryokan experience, it ranks in my top life experiences.

Below: Miyajima deer / Photo by Susan Spann

HB Miyajima Deer

I also had a fabulous time climbing Mount Inari at Fushimi Inari Shrine (Photo by Susan Spann):

HB Fushimi Inari (Mt Inari)

And visiting the temple where the famous 49 Ronin from the Japanese epic Chushingura are buried (Photo by Susan Spann):

HB Shrine of 49 RoninI could go on and on – it was truly an amazing journey.

Erin: Amazing! Staying on the island sounds amazing, as does visiting the temple. I love the story of the 49 Ronin! In Flask of the Drunken Master I loved how you utilized a medieval Kyoto brewery. That was so unique and it brought us more into the meat of the culture of this time and place. Did you think about showing any differences between the Shogun’s family and palace/grounds and the more common people of the village, the merchants or was that happenstance of the plot?

Susan: I’m thrilled that you picked up on the fact that this novel brought the reader to a different part of the culture. One of my goals—in addition to telling fun mystery stories—is taking readers on a journey through the unique parts of Japanese culture that many people don’t realize existed. Since Blade of the Samurai took a look at the shogun and the samurai culture, I wanted Flask to show how the commoners lived.

Erin: You have two strong male characters in your protagonist Hiro and his sidekick Father Mateo. However, I like how you portray the women in this novel as well. I was especially surprised at the end and I really loved what you did with it. Can you talk about why and how you chose your specific male and female characters in the novels? How do you find a balance with the genders?

Susan: I try to pick characters who are historically accurate but also unexpected. Yoshiko, the female samurai warrior, is a good example. She made an appearance in Claws of the Cat, but I always planned to bring her back in a larger role in Flask. Most people don’t realize that women from the samurai class could become warriors—it was rare, but it happened, and I love that the novels let me give those unusual women a voice.

With both male and female characters, I try to pick interesting people—people who have unusual jobs, or people who have an interesting worldview to explore. Ginjiro’s daughter Tomiko is one of my favorites—a girl who would rather run her parents’ brewery than marry and raise a family. Suke the monk is a favorite too. People often ask me if Suke is wise or just crazy, and whether there’s more to his story—and if I will ever reveal it. The answer (to all of them) is “yes.”

Blade of the Samurai

Erin: Speaking of characters, yours are so dimensional and connective. As a reader I really feel as if I know them, or could know them. How do you formulate your characters or do they just appear to you? (You know like invisible ninjas—lol)

Susan: Thank you! Before I start writing each new novel, I write a journal entry in the “voice” and from the perspective of each new secondary character (including the killer(s)). I try to get to know them beyond their “expected role” in the novel, because it helps me remember that characters seem more real, and better rounded, if the author takes the time to develop them rather than treating them only as pawns to move around on the page.

Erin: I think that Flask of the Drunken Master is my favorite so far. Are you working on a fourth book? How many do you hope to write in this series?

Susan: My agent currently has the manuscript for book 4—currently titled Mask of the Fallen—which involves the murder of an actor’s daughter. It’s also the last book set in Kyoto—after that, Hiro and Father Mateo will “hit the road” for a group of novels set in other parts of Japan, including the ninja stronghold at Iga.

My current outline will allow at least 15 more books in the series—and I hope I’ll have the chance to write them all!

Erin: Wow, 15 would be amazing! I’d need to devote one shelf just to you! Wonderful to hear. Have you thought about writing of other times and places? If so, where, what, when?

Susan: I just completed the first draft of a side project—also a mystery—set in Japan, but several centuries earlier than the Shinobi books. I’m really excited about it, and we’ll see where it goes.

I’ve always loved history, myth, and legends from all corners of the world, so although I’m sticking with Japan for the moment, I could see myself “traveling” to Denmark in the Viking age, to Genghis Khan’s Mongolia, or even to South America and Africa, if the right story came along.

Erin: Do you think in any of your next book you might include more sea or animal life? I know have a penchant for ocean life. The seahorses you raise are so beautiful and special.  I’d love to see Hiro take on a more serious case along the sea. Would that be doable with his locale and time?

Susan: I love the ocean, and I do have at least one book in the Shinobi series set in an island location.

(Erin: Ah, yes, that’s true! I wasn’t thinking of that!)

I’ve also considered a book for children with photos of my seahorses—they’re a special passion of mine, and I love to share their photos and stories.

(Erin: Yes, please! Addie begs for me to show her what seahorse photo you’ve posted for the day. A couple years ago we did a home lesson on seahorses and we even made her a suit from a paper bag. It was lots of fun and she’s loved them since she was little. Me too!)

HB Seahorses

Above: Photo of seahorse in Susan’s tank. Photo by Susan Spann

Erin: Speaking of sea horses, how difficult are they to care for? What draws you to them? What fascinates you?

Susan: I’ve always loved horses, and dragons, and seahorses seem like a hybrid of the two. They’re mysterious and exotic—and they have a lot more personality than I realized before I started keeping them. The ones I have are definitely individuals, with different likes, dislikes, and characteristics. My largest female, Kirin, is the alpha, and she can be a bit of a bully at feeding time. Little Magellan, who has a disability that stunted his growth, is the friendliest of the bunch, and loves to hitch himself on the other seahorses’ tails or bodies because it makes him feel secure.

I’ve heard it said that on a difficulty scale of 1 to 10, seahorses are a 12. That’s not quite true, in my experience, but they definitely qualify as “special needs pets.” For example, they have no true stomach, so they have to eat at least twice a day, every day, or they can get sick and die. On the other hand, if you take the time to feed them and clean the aquarium once a week, and make sure all the other species in the tank are compatible, they’re not really that difficult to keep.

Erin: I saw that you went to an aquarium when you arrived in Japan. How did it differ from U.S. aquariums? What types of things might you find there? Is the sea very accessible to the Japanese now in modern times and do they enjoy it?

Susan: The Japanese people have great respect for the ocean—historically, they have depended upon the sea for food in ways non-island nations don’t have to do. I ended up visiting both the Kyoto Aquarium and Tokyo’s Sunshine Aquarium while I was in Japan, and both are lovely, clean, modern aquariums with an emphasis on visitor education.

One of the neatest things I saw was the Deep Sea Sunfish—a very rare, peaceful species that’s difficult to keep in a captive setting. I’d seen documentaries about them, but never seen one in person, and I was thrilled to see the lovely, healthy specimen at Tokyo’s Sunshine Aquarium.

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Above: Deep Sea Sunfish. Photo by Susan Spann

And since we’re talking aquarium stories…I also wanted to share a photo of the pelican at Sunshine Aquarium that spent almost 15 minutes trying to persuade my son to feed it:

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Above: Pelican! Photo by Susan Spann

Erin: That’s amazing!! How amazing to be able to see and learn about the sunfish and other species! Being to Japan recently, and also with your interest in the country and its history, what do you wish more Americans knew about Japan or the Japanese? What are the things that stand out to you that make it/them unique? What draws you to learning about their culture?

Susan: One thing I’d recommend to all Americans—to all people, really—is taking the opportunity to experience other cultures “on their terms.” In Japan, this might mean spending a night in a traditional ryokan (a Japanese inn), where you eat traditional food, sleep on a futon on the floor instead of in a Western bed, and go without the Internet for a day. The richest experiences I’ve had in foreign countries always came when I stopped trying to fit the cultures into my own expectations or preconceptions, and opened myself to experiencing the beauty the culture and people had to offer.

Erin: I’ve heard it’s a very beautiful place, outside of the cities. What natural areas did you enjoy? What types of flowers might someone find there? Was there truly serenity as I picture?

Susan: It was exactly as lovely and as serene as you imagine, and then some. From climbing Mount Inari after a rain, smelling the cedars and hearing the crunch of pine needles underfoot…

HB Fushimi Inari (2)

… to walking through Tofukuji’s famous iris garden in the rain…

HB Tofukuji Irises

…to the famous “dry waterfall” and lake in the Zen garden at Tenryuji, in the mountains northwest of Kyoto…

HB Dry Waterfall

The trip was one amazing experience after another. Many of the flowers would be familiar to Americans, because we’ve imported so many of the Japanese favorites here. Irises, orchids, and flowering trees (like cherry trees) are all very common there.

<Photos above by Susan Spann>

Erin: Beautiful! I can only imagine that your trip will make your writing even better in book four! How do you manage to write a book a year as well as keep up with your law practice and your #PubLaw assistance for authors? You are a very busy woman. How do you stay organized enough to get writing done so quickly?

Susan:  I don’t sleep.

More seriously – I tend to practice law on weekday mornings, and write in the afternoons, evenings, and on weekends. It was harder before my son left for college. I miss him when he’s away, but I have to admit, it’s helped my writing time!

As far as organization, I’m a big list-maker, and I use both an online calendar and a physical day-planner to help keep track of my obligations and deadlines.

Erin: Are you a plotter with an outline or a fly by the seat of your pants writer? Do all mystery authors somehow have to be plotters due to creating twists and turns that need to tie up nicely?

Susan: I’m a “plantser”—meaning, I write an outline for every book (two, actually—one for the onstage action and one to keep track of what the characters are doing “offstage” at any given point) but once I start drafting, I let the characters leave the outline if they want to. (They usually do.) The outline ends up being more of a guideline than a mandate. It helps me to know “whodunit” and how the investigation will unfold before I start writing, but once I start drafting, all bets are off.

I do know some mystery authors who write entirely from the seat of their pants, not even knowing who the killer is before they start. Their skill amazes me—I need to know how the story unfolds before I put words on the page.

Claws of the CAt

Erin: I know you like martial arts, knife throwing, etc. You’re probably a female ninja (maybe THAT’S how you get it all done). But what do you like to read, either for pleasure and/or as a way to perfect your own writing?

Susan: I’m an avid reader, in almost all genres. I try to read at least two books a week, though when I’m under a deadline I sometimes only manage one. I read a lot of nonfiction—I’m a narrative nonfiction junkie, especially when it comes to books about mountain climbing or other outdoor adventures. I also love science fiction, fantasy, middle grade and young adult fiction, and—for obvious reasons—mystery and thriller. I just finished re-reading Ernest Cline’s fabulous READY PLAYER ONE, and Delilah Dawson’s HIT was one of the biggest “hits” of this summer for me.

Erin: What are some of your favorite REAL people from Japanese history? If you could meet three for sushi who would they be?

Susan: Tokugawa Ieyasu—the man who unified Japan in the 16th century and established the Tokugawa Shogunate;

Above: The first Tokugawa shogun. www.japanvisitor.com

Matsunaga Hisahide (who plays a role in my novels)—a samurai who overthrew the Ashikaga Shogunate and seized control of Kyoto in 1565;

and Matsuo Basho, a seventeenth-century Japanese poet whose haiku are still famous and beloved in Japan. I love his work.

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Above: A statue of Bashō in Hiraizumi, Iwate. Wikipedia.

Erin: What’s your favorite type of Asian food? What new food did you try in Japan (I know you did so, I know you’re a person who would try something new wherever she went)? What do you like and don’t like?

Susan: I’m actually allergic to fish, so I didn’t try any traditional sushi! However, I did try a lot of new foods in Japan. Wherever possible, I passed up the familiar options and went for something unusual, because I wanted as wide a range of experiences as possible.

My favorite “new” food is Inari Sushi (aka “Inarizushi”), which I ate in a teahouse high on the slopes of Mount Inari. The dish is made by wrapping aburaage (a fried tofu product soaked in a sweet solution to soften it) around a mixture of black sesame and sushi rice. It’s absolutely delicious—and I completely understand why legend says it’s a favorite of Inari’s fox messengers.

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Above: Inari Sushi! Photo by Susan Spann

Erin: Moving away from focusing on Japan, I’ve been wondering….who are your female idols, role models, or women now or in history, that carry the ideals that you feel are important to our gender?

Susan: I have great respect for women who choose to live a life that is true to themselves and their dreams or callings. That includes both famous women like Joan of Arc, and also the “normal” women whose actions may never make the news, but whose strength inspires the people who know them. My mother’s love and dedication to her family and her profession continue to inspire me, and she will always be one of my heroes, too.

I think one reason I strive to create female characters who act with strength, even from a place of (actual or perceived) weakness is that I believe honor and character are traits that don’t belong only to the famous and powerful—and I admire them equally in women who act on the global, historical stage and those who act within the family sphere.

Erin: That’s wonderfully stated, Susan. What is something you want to try to do that you haven’t yet? What are five things on your bucket list?

Susan: Climbing Mt. Fuji (I haven’t yet been able to work it into a trip, but I promised myself I’ll do it next time!); returning to Ryokan Iwaso on Miyajima for a week in the autumn, to watch the maple leaves change; a horseback trip through the Australian Outback; trekking to the base of Mt. Everest; and continuing to write books for as long as I’m breathing!

Erin: I could probably ask you a million more questions, Susan, but I’ll stop for now. Let’s talk about recent books we’ve read and I’ll pour more drinks and we can relax. Would you like more cake?

Susan: There’s always room for more cake! In addition to the books I mentioned earlier, I’ve recently finished Kerry Schafer’s THE NOTHING (the fantastic conclusion to her wonderful fantasy series, THE BOOKS OF THE BETWEEN), RODIN’s LOVER by Heather Webb, and THE THIEF by Fuminori Nakamura; I’ll be traveling a lot on book tour this summer, and I’ve already got my reading list: AFE Smith’s new fantasy novel DARKHAVEN, Douglas Preston’s THE CODEX, and a middle grade retelling of the Snow Queen called OPHELIA AND THE MARVELOUS BOY.

Erin: I’ve read Rodin’s Lover by Heather which tore me up inside in all the best ways and also you’ll enjoy Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy! I’ll have to check out the rest myself! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. I’m so happy to know you, Susan. Thanks for being such a great role model and friend. Best of luck with Flask of the Drunken Master and with new writing! 

Susan: Thank you so much for having me – I’m delighted that we’ve connected and it’s been great fun to share your blog today!

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Flask of the Drunken Master, Information~

Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9781250027061
Pages: 304

Series: Shinobi Mysteries (Volume 3)
Genre: Historical Mystery

GoodReads Link

August 1565: When a rival artisan turns up dead outside Ginjiro’s brewery, and all the evidence implicates the brewer, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo must find the killer before the magistrate executes Ginjiro and seizes the brewery, leaving his wife and daughter destitute. A missing merchant, a vicious debt collector, and a female moneylender join Ginjiro and the victim’s spendthrift son on the suspect list. But with Kyoto on alert in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, a rival shinobi on the prowl, and samurai threatening Hiro and Father Mateo at every turn, Ginjiro’s life is not the only one in danger.

Will Hiro and Father Mateo unravel the clues in time to save Ginjiro’s life, or will the shadows gathering over Kyoto consume the detectives as well as the brewer?

Flask of the Drunken Master is the latest entry in Susan Spann’s thrilling 16th century Japanese mystery series, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo.

Shinobi Mystery Series Titles

Book One: Claws of the Cat (Library Journal Mystery Debut of the Month)
Book Two: Blade of the Samurai
Book Three: Flask of the Drunken Master

Flask of the Drunken Master Available at~

Amazon 
Barnes & Noble

About the Author, Susan Spann~

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Susan Spann acquired her love of books and reading during her preschool days in Santa Monica, California. As a child she read everything from National Geographic to Agatha Christie. In high school, she once turned a short-story assignment into a full-length fantasy novel (which, fortunately, will never see the light of day).

A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts.

Susan’s interest in Japanese history, martial arts, and mystery inspired her to write the Shinobi Mystery series featuring Hiro Hattori, a sixteenth-century ninja who brings murderers to justice with the help of Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest. When not writing or representing clients, Susan enjoys traditional archery, martial arts, horseback riding, online gaming, and raising seahorses and rare corals in her highly distracting marine aquarium. Susan lives in Sacramento with her husband, son, three cats, one bird, and a multitude of assorted aquatic creatures.

For more information please visit Susan Spann’s website and blog. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

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Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/flaskofthedrunkenmasterblogtour/

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Spanning 10,000 years of history: Learn about the Release of The Memory Painter-Weaving History and Science

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Check out this new book that came out in April! I haven’t read it yet, but I’m anxious to read and review it. Sounds like it blends a lot of genres and time periods together very well, especially for a debut novel. Here’s all the information below and you can ENTER TO WIN a copy!

“Womack’s debut is one of those rare works that impresses from the first vivid, unsettling scene, gradually building an atmosphere of secrecy and trepidation that ensures that the suspense remains high throughout. Part mystery, part science-fiction plot and part romance, this is a novel with broad cross-genre appeal, and the well-drawn scenes and flashes of humor and insight give this thriller a rare depth as well.” (RT Book Reviews)

The Memory Painter, Synopsis and Info~

Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Picador
Formats: eBook, Hardcover, Audio
Pages: 336

Genre: Supernatural Historical Thriller/Romance

GoodReads Link

READ AN EXCERPT.

What if there was a drug that could help you remember past lives?

What if the lives you remembered could lead you to your one true love?

What if you learned that, for thousands of years, a deadly enemy had conspired to keep the two of you apart?

Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artist whose paintings have dazzled the world. But there’s a secret to his success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream. When Bryan awakes, he possesses extraordinary new skills…like the ability to speak obscure languages and an inexplicable genius for chess. All his life, he has wondered if his dreams are recollections, if he is re-experiencing other people’s lives.

Linz Jacobs is a brilliant neurogeneticist, absorbed in decoding the genes that help the brain make memories, until she is confronted with an exact rendering of a recurring nightmare at one of Bryan’s shows. She tracks down the elusive artist, and their meeting triggers Bryan’s most powerful dream yet: visions of a team of scientists who, on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer’s, died in a lab explosion decades ago.

As Bryan becomes obsessed with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the scientists’ deaths, his dreams begin to reveal what happened at the lab, as well as a deeper mystery that may lead all the way to ancient Egypt. Together, Bryan and Linz start to discern a pattern. But a deadly enemy watches their every move, and he will stop at nothing to ensure that the past stays buried.

A taut thriller and a timeless love story spanning six continents and 10,000 years of history, The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack is a riveting debut novel unlike any you’ve ever read.

Praise for The Memory Painter~

“Gwendolyn Womack’s tale dazzles.” (US Weekly (Standout Spring Novels))

“The guy-meets-girl story as you’ve never heard it before…A mind-explosion of a journey ensues that involves time travel, mystery, love, and a whole lot of plot twists.” (Refinery29)

“Suspenseful and ambitious…We predict The Memory Painter’s story of love and revenge will be one of 2015’s biggest literary hits.” (Paste Magazine (Best New Books of the Month))

“It’s a thriller as well as a love story, spanning 10,000 years of history. And it sounds freaking mental.” (io9, The Most Essential Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of the Month)

“A time-travel tale, stylishly told.” (Elle Canada)

“Womack’s debut is one of those rare works that impresses from the first vivid, unsettling scene, gradually building an atmosphere of secrecy and trepidation that ensures that the suspense remains high throughout. Part mystery, part science-fiction plot and part romance, this is a novel with broad cross-genre appeal, and the well-drawn scenes and flashes of humor and insight give this thriller a rare depth as well.” (RT Book Reviews)

“It’s best not to try to analyze the ambitious plot of this thriller, which combines romance, fantasy, and adventure; just hang on for a wild and entertaining ride around the world and through the centuries back to ancient Egypt.” (Library Journal (starred review))

“A page turner that will keep readers up late into the night. Readers who love adventure, romance and fantasy will love this book.” (The Vancouver Sun)

“Womack makes a romantic case for the existence of destiny…and does a beautiful job…Dive into this sweeping, romantic journey that will leave you breathless and a little unsure of where in time you’ve landed.” (Kirkus Reviews (One of the Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Reads of the Month))

“Well-drawn historical flashbacks, engaging characters, and a twisty ending make this thrilling blend of neuroscience, romance, and ancient worlds good bets for Da Vinci Code and Outlander fans.” (Booklist)

“Some debuts cause a stir. [But] The Memory Painter makes quite a splash… On its surface, The Memory Painter reads like sci-fi. Fundamentally it speaks to the cultural, emotional, and spiritual connectedness that binds us all.” (New York Journal of Books)

“The Memory Painter is romantic and fun, full of history and science teased out at the perfect pace.” (BookRiot)

“Womack has crafted a dark story defined by fast-paced prose that at moments sings poetic…at the novel’s conclusion, all story threads have been tightened into a snug, satisfying knot.” (ZYZZYVA)

“The chapters recounting [Bryan and Linz’s] past lives are chock full of interesting historical tidbits…like being on a movie-themed ride at Disneyland.” (Publishers Weekly)

“In The Memory Painter, Gwendolyn Womack delivers a multi-layered debut novel like no other: passing through the veils of time and brimming with history, mystery, science, intrigue, and passion.” (Katherine Neville, New York Times and No. 1 internationally bestselling author)

“The Memory Painter is an absolute masterpiece. Spellbinding from beginning to end, this brilliantly woven tale of time-crossed lovers will keep you hooked well into the wee hours. Gwendolyn Womack is a storytelling virtuosa, whose sexy, action-packed mind-boggler of a book is destined to become a classic.” (Anne Fortier, New York Times bestselling author of Juliet and The Lost Sisterhood)

“A sweeping, mesmerizing feat of absolute magic. Ten thousand love stories, tales of revenge, inventions, histories, mysteries, and memories combine to serve up a complex and utterly riveting novel that leaves you with feelings of awe and wonder. A star is born!” (M. J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author of The Witch of Painted Sorrows)

“Layers of past and present form a rich pastry of a narrative–poignant and thoughtful, rich and suspenseful, filled with intrigue and dripping with meaning. Womack’s meditation on the beautiful mystery of memory is a riveting read from cover to cover, leaving us with the breathless realization that while grief may be eternal, so is love.” (Charlie Lovett, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman’s Tale and First Impressions)

Official Book Trailer~

Link: https://youtu.be/c4Cc_NS7lPE

The Memory Painter Available at:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
iBooks
IndieBound
Kobo
Powell’s

Author Gwendolyn Womack~

03_Gwendolyn WomackOriginally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack began writing theater plays in college while freezing in the tundra at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. During that time she lived in St. Petersburg, Russia on an independent study working with theater companies.

She went on to receive an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Directing theater and film where she was encouraged to write her own material. After graduating she focused on writing feature screenplays and was a semi-finalist in the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship.

In 2009 she moved to Japan and began THE MEMORY PAINTER the following year. Currently she resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son where she can be found at the keyboard working on her next novel.

THE MEMORY PAINTER is her first novel.

For more information visit Gwen’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.

GIVEAWAY~

To enter to win a signed copy of The Memory Painter, please enter via the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on July 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Direct Link to GLEAM giveaway: https://gleam.io/pkst9/the-memory-painter

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The 10th Anniversary of the GORGEOUS Illustrated The Lover’s Path by Kris Waldherr Brings a Unique Digital Experience

Yes, I know, look at that cover art! Take a minute to close your mouth back up. That’s the art of Kris Waldherr. Mouth dropping. It’s gorgeous and perfect for the re-issue of her novella, The Lover’s Path.

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I missed out 10 years ago when Kris released the gorgeous historical fiction escape of a print book, with a love story full of myth and forbidden romance. From what I hear, it was a complete artistic experience within itself: elegant and mysterious in offering little nuances like small letters tucked inside tiny envelopes, maps and portraits, and was considered eye-candy with its gilded and artistic borders and edges.

It was my hope, after becoming acquainted with Kris some years back, to purchase this book from a seller foremost for the art alone. I absolutely admire and swoon over her artistic talent with its nod back to the medieval times and reminds me of the art drawn in the books I sometimes view at various city art museums that have large European collections. She channels the 16th century through her work and embraces a time of bold colors and golden accents and especially the romanticism of Venice, Italy. I adore her art.

But her creative idea for writing this novella that surrounds the art is also original and unique. Filamena Ziani is the fictional younger sister created by Kris, but the sister of a true historical courtesan, Tullia Ziani. It’s evident that Kris researched meticulously the time and place in order to tell her fairy tale and molded Filamena into an ideal woman of this 16th Century Venetian time period where courtesan and prostitution work, and the subsequent laws, impacted so many women. Being able to obtain status as some form of artist (poet, musician, or creating art) was a way out of a lifetime of being marked. I feel that Kris did a wonderful job of creating Filamena so that she could better highlight the feminism elements of her book. We can feel Filamena’s courage and strength of spirit, as well as her yearning and romantic heart. We can see how Filamena was able to thrive during her life, and yet, as she was forgotten by time, I liked how Kris set up a world for the reader that created her being immortalized with a museum in Italy, with a curator even introducing Filamena to us, and one in which we can peruse without even traveling outside our home. How clever!

Kris has re-published her book into an e-book format for its 10th anniversary! It was my pleasure to be able to review a copy of it for the iPad and it was a magical and magnificent hour or two. Since Kris also develops apps and produces beautiful and workable websites for authors, she has combined this talent with her illustrative skills and has given us an interactive book that still encompasses the wonderful, mythical story as well as her visually appealing art, yet includes sections for tapping to see more information in various places. It’s very cool to be able to have this fully integrated experience so you are still immersed in the fictional world she’s created. You will be sliding your finger and tapping on art and find yourself completely captivated and lost as you travel to Italy. It was stunning to my eye, as the art shined off the page, and everything on my iPad worked perfectly much to my delight!

I was mesmerized by each section of the book that Kris set-up for the reader, swept away by the tale that wound around comparison myths of Tristan and Isolde, Dante and Beatrice, Osiris and Isis, and more. I was so moved by Filamena’s tale throughout, lost in her time and place and her overall story, and frozen by the end. This is the kind of book that transcends romance and makes you feel heartache. You know, the type of heartache that comes from true love that almost knows no boundaries. This is a story that will make you FEEL and you won’t forget. You’ll revisit it again. I know I will. I treasure her work, both the delicate story telling, the original way in which she framed Filamena’s story within a story, and her gorgeous art.

Whether you already have the book The Lover’s Path, or are just being introduced to her work, this iPad version (there are also other formats available) is a must for a light enjoyable escape that will end up making your heart feel enchanted. Visually, your eyes will light up in joy as you appreciate the art peppered throughout. Your spirit may even be moved. I wouldn’t miss out on having this digital version. I’m not a huge fan of digital, but this is a unique and entertaining experience. I still want to order any copy I can find of the hardcover version too.

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Excerpt~

Chapter 1: Grace

The fiaba of the lover’s path begins almost two decades ago as the story of two sisters, alike as doves in appearance, but different as water and wine in temperament and experience.

At that time, I was only a girl of sixteen. For as long as I could remember, my sister Tullia and I lived in a palazzo set in Venice, a labyrinth of a city where we heard the sea murmur its music day and night. This palazzo was furnished by my sister through her extraordinary talents and beauty. It glittered with golden mosaics, and was graced with sumptuous paintings and intricate tapestries. Within this palazzo we were aided by servants who felt affection for us. Among them were Caterina, who was Tullia’sruffiana—her procuress and confidant—and Caterina’s daughter Laura, who was my playmate as well as my maid. And it was there in this palazzo that I bent to my sister’s rule, a sapling recognizing the sun’s sovereignty.

As I write of Tullia, I will try not to be harsh. I know many have called her a mysterious beauty, cool in the use of her considerable intelligence and allure. In all honesty, my sister was as elusive to me as she was to others. Nonetheless, I hope time has bestowed upon me a measure of wisdom as I remind myself of her unavoidable influence upon me. After all, Tullia was my first vision in this life. My earliest memory is of her bending over to soothe me as I sobbed the inconsolable tears of childhood, her blonde hair a dazzle of light around a divinity. Unlike most children, my first word was not madre or padre. It was sorella, sister, in honor of Tullia, for our parents had drowned a year after my birth, leaving my sister as the elder of us by fourteen years to raise and provide for me.

Despite her reputation as the most illustrious courtesan in Venice, Tullia shielded my eyes from the carnal nature of love; I saw little that would make a nun blush. But she educated me in other ways, teaching me to read and write in Italian and Latin, a priceless gift bestowed upon few women, for which I am forever grateful. She also tutored me in the art of music, for which I quickly showed love and aptitude. My precocious talents soon won me the affectionate soprannome, or nickname, of la filomela—the nightingale—so similar to my given name of Filamena.

If it was because of my sister that I had an active mind, a voice to sing, food to eat, and a roof over my head, it was also because of my sister I was made to stay inside my home after I turned twelve. Noting that I was of an age where men might approach me because of her profession, Tullia did not allow me to leave the palazzo unless I was dressed plainly and accompanied by an elder servant. These occasions arose less and less frequently as time passed. No matter how much I begged for freedom, Tullia ignored my pleas. She would explain to me in patient tones that my isolation was necessary. It was her hope that, in time, people would see me as a woman separate from her, rather than as the sister of a courtesan. This was small consolation, for the loneliness that colored my hours felt unending. At sixteen, I was of an age when most young women had already married and borne children, or entered a convent to do God’s work. For myself there was nothing—only an abstract promise that might be fulfilled in the future if my sister willed it so.

What else do I remember about my life at that time? Sometimes when I was alone in my room, I would let a feather fall from my window into the sea. I’d watch it float away into the sea for as long as I could, imagining the countries it might reach—faraway lands I wished I could visit one day, unnamed countries I could only imagine.

I also recall the brightness of gold ducats and of my sister’s hair. The insistent chatter of baby sparrows clustered about my feet as I sang inside the walled garden behind our palazzo. The precious show of sun upon my face.The spicy perfume of oranges from our garden.The briny smell of the sea on warm summer afternoons.The starched linen of my plain brown cloak against my young, tender skin—the cloak that hid me from others’ eyes on the increasingly rare occasions when I ventured into the world. Most of all, I remember the confusion of innocence, gratitude, anger, and guilt that infused my emotions toward the sister I loved yet resented.

Now as I look back, I think Tullia truly wished our fiaba of two sisters to remain as it was forever—to divert time like water from its path. But this, of course, was impossible. To preserve my innocence, a courtesan such as my sister would have had to layer restriction upon restriction as if they were blankets upon a winter bed. While she may have thought she was protecting me from the bitter cold, she only made the snow outside my window look all the more enticing.

I began to think of escape.

In the May of 1526, I celebrated my sixteenth birthday, still trapped within my home by my sister’s will. By then, it had been well over six months since I’d last set foot outside our palazzo beyond the walled garden. Shortly after my birthday came La Sensa, the annual celebration marking the marriage of Venice to the sea. Despite the cruel illness that had taken so many lives earlier that spring, my sister still held her infamous annual feast. Many considered this unseemly, but Tulla’s La Sensa feast was necessary to solidify her standing and desirability in society. It was for this celebration that she would compose a poem praising the powers of love and set it to music; I would perform this song to the accompaniment of her lute.

I looked forward to these recitals as a prisoner yearns to glimpse the first anemones of spring from her jail window. I loved the intense study involved in mastering new music as much as I loved the transfixed attention of my sister’s guests as I sang for them. While I did not otherwise participate in Tullia’s entertainments—she would not allow me, for by morning’s wake these celebrations often disintegrated into private ones of a more sensual sort—after I finished singing, I would watch from the back of the musicians’ gallery, set high on the wall of the great hall. I was careful not to let the candlelight reveal me as I eagerly spied upon the world forbidden to me.

However, by the spring of my sixteenth year, my joy in music was tempered with steely resolve: I would use my music to free myself from my sister.

Though over two decades have passed since this night, I still remember how I sat inside my chamber the evening of the feast, trying with little success to calm my trilling nerves. Caterina had confided that a great cardinal was coming to La Sensa, one reputed to especially love music. I would perform for him and more than one hundred guests. He would hear me sing. Perhaps I could gain his favor, like so many musicians before me. He could champion my art, bring me to court. I would become a virtuosa, a great musician, and make my way in the world.

As I prepared for La Sensa, I felt the weight of the hopes I dared not express to anyone but myself. My maid, Laura, helped me dress. I braided my hair myself. As I twisted it into a knot behind my neck, a sinuous perfume curled about me. Lilies, roses, vanilla….

“Like two doves are we,” Tullia announced softly, standing behind me as I stared at myself in the mirror. “Both light and serene.”

I exhaled her perfume and looked up. The mirror reflected two golden-hair sisters with grey eyes. One wore a simple gown the color of cream, her braided hair bare of ornaments; the other, red brocade embroidered with silver thread, the full sleeves of her dress slashed with silver ribbon, her curls woven with pearls. I felt as plain as Tullia was beautiful. A sparrow next to a bird of paradise.

“I know you’ll sing your loveliest tonight, Filamena,” she said. “Though I remain uncertain how wise it is to allow you to perform….”

I couldn’t bear to answer; I feared any protest would invite attention to what I most desired. My heart sped as my sister curved her long neck, so much like mine, to rest her soft cool cheek against my shoulder. Could she guess my thoughts? Apparently not, for she only smiled at our reflection in the mirror.

“Shall we?” she asked after smoothing my hair. “The hour is late.”

Tullia took my hand to lead me to the musicians’ gallery, where I was to remain unseen though not unheard. I followed her, cold with desperation.

From my perch above the great hall, I looked down onto the celebration already underway. I stared at the cardinal, resplendent in his scarlet robes as he held court before my sister’s guests, willing his eyes toward mine. Though the hall was full, there were fewer guests than usual, no doubt because of the sickness that still lingered in Venice. Some wore large-nosed masks of gold and silver, as if they could deceive death by hiding their identities. Others, their faces bared, were less cautious. Dressed in costly silks and velvets, they milled about the large wood and marble table set in the center of the great hall. Gracing the table were some of the voluptuous offerings for which my sister’s celebrations were famed: platters of fowl and fish and bread, with rose petals arranged like a ruddy snowfall around each dish; rare fruits preserved in cordial, nuts glistening in honey, and numerous silver flasks of wine.

Upon my sister’s cue, servants extinguished half the candles, plunging the room into a golden dusk. Everyone fell silent.

Tullia rose and greeted her guests with a graceful speech. Then she looked up at me, hidden in the musician’s gallery, and nodded.

As she plucked the strings of her lute, my voice soared forth.

[end excerpt]

The Lover’s Path, Synopsis and Info~

02_The Lover's Path_CoverPublication Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Art and Words Editions
eBook; 114p

Genre: Historical Fiction/Graphic Novel

New expanded and revised anniversary edition. Finally available for iPad and Kindle.

GoodReads Link

“To truly love another, you must follow the lover’s path wherever it may take you . . .”

Filamena Ziani is the much younger sister of the most famous courtesan in sixteenth-century Venice, Tullia Ziani. Orphaned as an infant, Filamena has come of age bent like a branch to her sister’s will, sheltered and lonely in the elegant but stifling confines of their palazzo by the sea. Then a dark-haired stranger offers a gift that will change the course of her life forever: a single ripe plum, and an invitation to walk along the lover’s path, wherever it may lead.

THE LOVER’S PATH, a moving tale of forbidden love, is a romantic epic told in multiple layers. Through a novel combination of Filamena’s narrative, famous love stories from history and mythology, and sumptuously ornate illustrations, Filomena’s path is beautifully described and, finally, stunningly revealed.

Praised by The New York Times Book Review for her “quality of myth and magic,” Kris Waldherr brings to life a remarkable period in Venetian history using art and words. Her glorious celebration of romance, the feminine spirit, and the power of love to transform will inspire and move readers everywhere.

Praise for The Lover’s Path~

“THE LOVER’S PATH is beautiful in every way; not only is the story of the girl’s secret and ultimately dangerous love wonderfully told, but the exquisite illustrations and layout make you feel that you have truly fallen into old Venice with its longing and eroticism. Prepare to be lifted into another time and place and discover secrets long guarded. That one extraordinarily talented writer/artist/designer could have created this whole world is almost not to be believed but it is so. You must own this lovely, lovely book! —Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude and Camille and Marrying Mozart

“The Lover’s Path is a visual and literary feast…. The star-crossed lovers are a celebrated courtesan’s virginal and over-protected young sister and a cardinal’s illegitimate son. The lovers in the book are linked mythically and thematically to the archetypal lovers on the Lover’s Path: Dante and Beatrice, Isis and Osiris, Tristan and Isolde, Orpheus and Eurydice, and ultimately Eros and Psyche…. Haunting.”—Mary Sharratt, author of Daughters of the Witching Hill

“Prepare to be transported to 16th century Venice from the first page. This novel is a feast—a full-color picture book for adults that tells a wrenching story of eternal love…. This beautiful fable reminded me of Erica Jong’s Serenissima.”
NPR Books

“With this illustrated novel, Waldherr has spun a wondrous story spilling over with mythological figures, with tarot cards and personal letters. You’re pulled into a vortex of a 16th century romance centered on Filamena Ziani, the younger sister of a famous courtesan in Venice…. Waldherr, who based her novel on a real-life courtesan, also created the illustrations for her book.”—The Albuquerque Journal

“Voluptuous illustration and enthralling narrative … in this extraordinary testament to the strength of the feminine spirit.”—WNBC/B(u)y the Book

“Kris Waldherr’s The Lover’s Path plunges readers into the mysterious and exhilarating world of sixteenth-century Venice…. A visual adventure.”—Women in the Arts, the Magazine of the National Museum of Women in the Arts

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Find the The Lover’s Path~ (Psst, until July 5 it’s just $3.99!)

Kindle Fire format (Deluxe edition with full color graphics)
Kindle format (Optimized for b/w and smaller screen size)
iPad format (Deluxe edition with interactive full color graphics):
iPhone format (Optimized for small screen size):

Author Kris Waldherr, Biography~

03_Kris Waldherr_AuthorKris Waldherr is an award-winning author, illustrator, and designer whose many books include Doomed Queens and The Book of Goddesses.

She is also the creator of the Goddess Tarot, which has nearly a quarter of a million copies in print.

Waldherr’s illustrations have been exhibited in many galleries and museums, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Mazza Museum, and the Ruskin Library.

She lives and works in Brooklyn with her husband and their young daughter. Visit her online at KrisWaldherr.com.

You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Tour Schedule:  http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/theloverspathblogtour/

Hashtags: #TheLoversPathBlogTour #KrisWaldherr

Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @KrisWaldherr

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D.J. Niko’s Next Sarah Weston Achaeological Adventure is Coming in November: Here’s the Sco

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I already hold a beautiful advanced reading copy of The Oracle in my hands from Medallion Press. It looks even better in person! I loved the first two books in this series and I think that D.J. NIko is an amazing writer with a knack for storytelling. Her adventures are fun and easily books to be lost in, and though I’ll be reading this summer, when it comes out in November is also a perfect time for readers to curl up inside and read when the weather is blustery out on the East Coast. If you live in warmer climates, well…you’ll enjoy the book in whatever setting you’re in and the rest of us will be jealous of your nice weather. Here is some pre-information and pre-order links, so if you’re interested order early as it really assists authors in their efforts. Or until June 26, there is a giveaway included below!

The Oracle, Synopsis and Info~

Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Medallion Press
Paperback; 456p
ISBN-13: 978-1605426273

Series: The Sarah Weston Chronicles, Book Three
Genre: Historical/Archeological Adventure

GoodReads Link

In Delphi, the mountain city deemed by the Greek gods to be the center of the Earth, a cult of neo-pagans re-create with painstaking authenticity ancient rituals to glorify the god Apollo and deliver oracles to seekers from around the world.

When antiquities are stolen from a museum in nearby Thebes, British archaeologist Sarah Weston and her American partner, Daniel Madigan, are drawn into a plot that goes beyond harmless role-playing: someone’s using the Delphian oracle as a smoke screen for an information exchange, with devastating consequences for the Western world.

Pitted against each other by the cult’s mastermind, Sarah and Daniel race against time and their own personal demons to uncover clues left behind by the ancients. Their mission: to find the original navel stone marked with a lost Pythagorean formula detailing the natural events that led to the collapse of the Minoan Empire.

But will they find it in time to stop the ultimate terrorist act?

Pre-Order The Oracle~

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository 
IndieBound

Author D.J. Niko~

Daphne Nikolopoulos, photography by Lauren Lieberman / LILA PHOTO

Daphne Nikolopoulos in an award-winning journalist, author, editor, and lecturer. Under the pen name D.J. Niko, she has written two novels in an archaeological thriller series titled The Sarah Weston Chronicles. Her debut novel, The Tenth Saint (Medallion Press, 2012), won the Gold Medal (popular fiction) in the prestigious, juried Florida Book Awards. Her follow-up release, The Riddle of Solomon, continues the story of British archaeologist Sarah Weston as she seeks the relics—and mystical secrets—left behind by the biblical King Solomon in remote Israel.

Daphne is now releasing The Oracle, book 3 in The Sarah Weston Chronicles, in November of 2015. Also slated for publication in 2015 is her first historical novel, The Judgment, which is set in Israel and Egypt in the tenth century BCE.

In addition to writing fiction, Daphne is editor in chief of Palm Beach Illustrated magazine and editorial director of Palm Beach Media Group. Prior to that, she was a travel journalist who logged hundreds of thousands of miles traveling across the globe, with emphasis on little-known and off-the-beaten-path locales—many of which have inspired her novels.

Daphne frequently lectures about her research on the ancient world. She is an instructor at Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society, teaching on the subject of archaeology. She has also spoken to audiences at the Jewish Community Center of the Palm Beaches’ Academy for Continuous Education, and several libraries and private groups throughout Florida.

Born and raised in Athens, Greece, Daphne now resides in West Palm Beach with her husband and twin son and daughter. You can find her on the Web at djnikobooks.com and connect with her on Facebook (AuthorDJNiko) and on Twitter: @djnikobooks.

Giveaway~

To enter to win an Advanced Reading Copy of The Oracle by D.J. Niko please complete the giveaway form below. Two copies are up for grabs!

Direct Link to Enter: 

https://gleam.io/campaigns/wFT2U/facebook-install/0hqTJE

⇒ Giveaway is open to residents in the US, UK, and Canada.
⇒Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on June 26th.
⇒You must be 18 or older to enter.
⇒Only one entry per household.
⇒All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
⇒Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 27th and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
⇒Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.

Cover Reveal Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/theoraclecoverreveal/

Hashtags: #TheOracleCoverReveal #Historical #Archeological #Adventure

Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @djnikobooks

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