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Review: The Parting Glass by Gina Marie Guadagnino Brings Love and Drama Circa 19th Century NYC and Irish Immigrants #histfic #histnov #lgbt

The Parting Glass, Historical Fiction Review –

Parting Glass Cover

With St. Patrick’s day not long behind us, and it still being women in history month, I have a review of the recently released The Parting Glass by Gina Marie Guadagnino, which features Irish-American characters. Last week, I posted an interview HERE on the site with the author as well, which will give you more insight into her book and the processes to her publishing it. I’d suggest going back and reading that if you haven’t after you take in this review. I believe the author is currently in Ireland, so I can’t wait what she uncovers to write about next.

The Parting Glass is the new debut historical fiction novel from Gina Marie Guadagnino and published by Atria set in 19th century New York City. It delves into themes of Irish-American immigrant life, and worth nothing in my own quest to support inclusivity in art, that it has LGBTQ+ themes in regards to featuring lesbian characters.

Generally I don’t often think there is a reason to single out the sexual orientation of characters, but since it’s an historical time period as well as a deep part of the characters and their interactions with each other and the times, I think it’s important to identify it as a key part of her work. It’s been called reminiscent of Sarah Waters, and I agree to some degree, because she handles her characters with great emotion and care.

Mary Ballard is an Irish handmaiden who falls in love with the lady she assists, who happens to be herself in a forbidden-type of tryst with the Irish brother of Ballard, who works in the stables. Yep, cue drama. Mostly for Mary Ballard, whose heart pines to frustration. It’s forbidden (what? all of it) in the 19th century, of course, in an upstairs/downstairs sort of way first of all, as Ballard and her brother are hired help, and Charlotte Walden is aristocracy living in Washington Square (the area of the rich who hired low-wage labor). The lesbianism would be frowned upon too, but that’s the heart-wrenching part too, as it’s unrequited love. Cue more angst in here.

Also racism is heavy at work during this time period, though it’s coming to the tail end of it (kinda? I think it’s still going on now), so the climax is heated as the Nativists and the No Nothing Party spew hatred against Catholics, Irish, immigrats as a whole. There is also a lot of corruption and gangs. That’s why some people liken this to part Gangs of New York. I get that.

Guadagnino has done a tremendous amount of research and it shows in her writing, which is beautiful and captivating both. Her historical details are plenty and give a solid foundation for the story to unfold and the well-developed characters to flourish. The best developed was Mary of course, both sides of her personalities as you’ll come to read, but Charlotte needed some work to not be sterile (even if high society ladies may have seemed so at the time, she was rebelling and have sex with the stable hand – his character also ignited by the fact he is leading an Irish gang).

Given the lush and vivid descriptions of this area of NYC, it’s obvious Guadagnino knows, loves, and has researched the history of it extensively. The setting is a marvelous backdrop for which the story unfolds with some twists and turns amid the drama. I truly enjoyed the imagery she presented to the reader with her engaging prose.

In wearing my editor’s hat, I’ll note that though it was clean, lush, descriptive, and a dramatic, enjoyable read, it does what so many traditionally published debut historical fiction books do, and that’s possibly try to do too much and not be able to wrap up all the intertwining plots quickly enough by the ending page count a publisher wants. It could have been strictly a romance or a strictly a take on the Irish immigrant issue of the day, because there was enough plot to both. If I was to offer suggestions, I’d have played up the latter and toned down the romance and the focus on the maid living this dual life, or picked one or the other of the sister and brother to focus on. But that is just a small suggestion in the whole scheme of the book.

If you want a 19th century romp in NYC, with drama among the class system, a woman’s journey to self, and a lesson in Irish immigrants and their plight, this book will be a steamy and interesting read for you. Guadagnino definitely knows her Irish-American history and culture and how it intertwined with others in this time and place. Her love of NYC is undeniable. There aren’t many historical fiction books out there that I know of that use the Irish-American culture in their narratives and I am glad to see her rise to the occasion as there are so many stories to tell and create!

Highly recommended as a unique, cultural yet entertaining read that will tug at your heart strings and leave you breathless by the end.

The Parting Glass, Information –

Parting Glass CoverPub date: March 5, 2019
Publisher: Atria
Hardcover; $26.00
ISBN: 978-1501198410

Will a brother and sister’s steadfast vow withstand their wild devotion to the same woman? THE PARTING GLASS, a tempestuous nineteenth century love triangle threatens all that one secretive servant holds dear, is Gina Marie Guadagnino’s lush and evocative debut.

Posing as a lady’s maid in 1837 New York City, Maire O’Farren must tread carefully. The upper echelons of society despise the Irish and Maire, known to her employers only as Mary Ballard, takes great care to conceal her native lilt and lineage. Nor would the household be pleased with a servant who aids her debutante’s midnight assignations with a stable groom. Least of all would they tolerate a maid who takes a stronger liking to her charge than would be deemed entirely suitable for her sex.

Maire tends to wealthy young heiress Charlotte Walden’s every whim and guards her every secret. Though it pains her, Maire even delivers her brother Seanin to her beloved’s bed each Thursday night, before shedding her clandestine persona and finding release from her frustration in the gritty underworld around Washington Square. Despite her grief, Maire soon attracts the attentions of irreverent and industrious prostitute Liddie Lawrence, who soothes Maire’s body and distracts her burning heart.

As an English baron and a red-blooded American millionaire vie for Charlotte’s affections, Seanin makes calculated moves of his own, adopting the political aspirations of his drinking companions and grappling with the cruel boundaries of class and nationality. As Seanin rises in rank in a secret society and the truth of both women’s double lives begin to unravel, Charlotte’s secrets soon grow so dangerous even Maire cannot keep them. Forced to choose between loyalty to her brother or to her lady, between respectable society or true freedom, Maire finally learns that her fate lies in her hands alone.

Deeply researched and finely rendered, THE PARTING GLASS captures the delicate exuberance of nineteenth century high society, while examining sexuality, race, and social class in ways that feel startlingly familiar and timely. Perfect for fans of Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith and Emma Donoghue’s Slammerkin, Guadagnino’s captivating upstairs/downstairs historical fiction debut will leave readers breathless.

Gina Marie Guadagnino, Biography –

Gina Marie Guadagnino Author Photo by L.M. PaneGina Marie Guadagnino received a BA in English from New York University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School.

Her work has appeared in the Morris-Jumel Mansion Anthology of Fantasy and Paranormal FictionMixed Up: Cocktail Recipes (and Flash Fiction) for the Discerning Drinker (and Reader).

She lives in New York City with her family.

Praise for The Parting Glass

Downton Abbey meets Gangs of New York in this darkly compelling debut. A claustrophobic love triangle of stifled desire and class warfare plays out to deadly, devastating effect. A gem of a novel to be inhaled in one gulp.” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALICE NETWORK

“Knotted thickly with secrets both fervid and calculating, to read THE PARTING GLASS is to enter a jungle of passions and lies. Immaculately researched and gorgeously written, this book is noteworthy for its grasp of the agony caused by hiding cracks in the human heart. A thoughtful, lyrical, sensuous, moving tour-de-force.” —Lyndsay Faye, author of JANE STEELE

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Cover Reveal: Ribbons of Scarlet (Women of the French Revolution). And it’s GORGEOUS! #histfic #frenchrevolution


I have who I consider to be some very talented, creative writerly friends who pen historical fiction that is now gracing the New York Times, USA Today, and other charts as well as earning awards and acclaim. These amazing women are intelligent, savvy, and write with flourish, but I also adore and admire them for their tenacity, independence, and grit. And as always, their humor.

Today, in honor of women in hisotry month, I’m very excited to show you the cover of an endeavor by the six of them, who you’ll meet below, with publisher William Morrow – stories about ladies of the FRENCH REVOLUTION!! One of my favorite things in which to get lost reading.

Check it out for yourself – coming in October 2019 but you can pre-order now.

Have a great evening!


Six bestselling and award-winning authors bring to life a breathtaking epic novel illuminating the hopes, desires, and destinies of princesses and peasants, harlots and wives, fanatics and philosophers—six unforgettable women whose paths cross during one of the most tumultuous and transformative events in history: the French Revolution.


RIBBONS OF SCARLET: A Novel of the French Revolution, releases October 1, 2019! Check out the amazing cover below and pre-order your copy today!



About RIBBONS OF SCARLET: A Novel of the French Revolution –
(Coming October 1, 2019)

Ribbons of Scarlet is a timely story of the power of women to start a revolution—and change the world.

In late eighteenth-century France, women do not have a place in politics. But as the tide of revolution rises, women from gilded salons to the streets of Paris decide otherwise—upending a world order that has long oppressed them.

Blue-blooded Sophie de Grouchy believes in democracy, education, and equal rights for women, and marries the only man in Paris who agrees. Emboldened to fight the injustices of King Louis XVI, Sophie aims to prove that an educated populace can govern itself–but one of her students, fruit-seller Louise Audu, is hungrier for bread and vengeance than learning. When the Bastille falls and Louise leads a women’s march to Versailles, the monarchy is forced to bend, but not without a fight. The king’s pious sister Princess Elisabeth takes a stand to defend her brother, spirit her family to safety, and restore the old order, even at the risk of her head.

But when fanatics use the newspapers to twist the revolution’s ideals into a new tyranny, even the women who toppled the monarchy are threatened by the guillotine. Putting her faith in the pen, brilliant political wife Manon Roland tries to write a way out of France’s blood-soaked Reign of Terror while pike-bearing Pauline Leon and steely Charlotte Corday embrace violence as the only way to save the nation. With justice corrupted by revenge, all the women must make impossible choices to survive–unless unlikely heroine and courtesan’s daughter Emilie de Sainte-Amaranthe can sway the man who controls France’s fate: the fearsome Robespierre.

Here is a cool video cover reveal done by one of the authors, Sophie Periot!



Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Apple Books | Kobo

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About the Authors –

Kate Quinn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. A native of southern California, she attended Boston University where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. She has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with “The Alice Network” and “The Huntress.” All have been translated into multiple languages. Kate and her husband now live in San Diego with two rescue dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.


Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Goodreads


Stephanie Dray is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year.

She lives near the nation’s capital with her husband, cats, and history books.



Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Dray & Kamoie Website


A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction, Laura Kamoie has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction. She is the author of AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER and MY DEAR HAMILTON, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowing her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Goodreads


Sophie Perinot is an award-winning, multi-published author of female-centered historical fiction, who holds both a Bachelors in History and a law degree. With two previous books set in France—during the 13th and 16th centuries—Sophie has a passion for French history that began more than thirty years ago when she first explored the storied châteaux of the Loire Valley.

She lives in the Washington DC metropolitan area with her husband, children and a small menagerie of pets.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Goodreads


Heather Webb is the award-winning and international bestselling author of six historical novels set in France, including the upcoming Meet Me in Monaco, set to the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s wedding releasing in summer 2019, and Ribbons of Scarlet, a novel of the French Revolution’s women in Oct 2019. In 2015, Rodin’s Lover was selected as a Goodreads Top Pick, and in 2017, Last Christmas in Paris became a Globe & Mail bestseller and also won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association STAR Award. Her works have received national starred reviews, and have been sold in over a dozen countries worldwide. When not writing, you may find Heather collecting cookbooks or looking for excuses to travel. She lives in New England with her family and one feisty rabbit.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Goodreads


E. KNIGHT is a USA Today bestselling author of rip-your-heart-out historical women’s fiction that crosses the landscapes of Europe. Her love of history began as a young girl when she traipsed the halls of Versailles and ran through the fields in Southern France. She can still remember standing before the great golden palace, and imagining what life must have been like. She is the owner of the acclaimed blog History Undressed. Eliza lives in Maryland atop a small mountain with a knight, three princesses and two very naughty newfies. Visit Eliza at, or her historical blog, History Undressed, You can follow her on Twitter: @EKHistoricalFic, Facebook:, and Instagram @ElizaKnightFiction.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Goodreads


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Review: All Eyes on Alexandra – A Beautiful Picture Book on Crane Migration

Review: All Eyes on Alexandra –

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Anna Levine, the author of the picture book All Eyes on Alexandra, graciously sent me and my daughters a print review copy of her book! First of all, the illustrations by Chiara Pasqualotto are gorgeous. I was happy to agree to review this title because the girls and I love birds so much, especially the herons and gulls that we watch when we go up and spend time at the lake during the summer. When it came in the mail, and we opened it up to look through it, the images immediately captivated us. In this bleak winter we are having, it brightened our days and made us think of sun and nature again.

My 15-year-old hopes to be a marine biologist of some sort, so the book particularly interested her in this regard, besides her love of birds and animals. It was so very interesting for her, and my 11-year-old, to learn about the migration of birds especially in another area of the world. I never knew myself that Israel was a bird’s holiday point! Did you know 500 million birds fly over Israel each year on the way to Africa? I feel it’s not only a lovely picture book to look at and read to children but a wonderful teacher’s resource whether the teacher is parent or in the classroom. It’s a definite “must buy” for libraries! It teaches about migration, weather, locations, and so much more.

Past this scientific value of course, there is the character of Alexandra, who is a crane. She is brave, bold, and adventurous, but as her family sees it, one to not always follow directions. Through Alexandra’s eyes we see the path of the birds, but also the love of their family and how they complete their journey together. However, it also teaches that though sometimes a parent or loved one might be scared of a child “flexing their wings” on their own (almost made me cry since I had let my own son do that this year moving eight hours away to go to college in Washington D.C.), you have to let them try. Alexandra succeeded far beyond their hopes!

I loved how the book showed you through the many locations and stages the bird fly in formation through, from cities to past lighthouses, some skylines and some beautiful, serene natural beauty. I loved seeing a little of Israel through the author and the illustrator’s eyes as well, without any political or religious undertones so that it can be enjoyed by everyone of all cultures.

Both of my girls loved this with comments of “Ooooo so pretty” and “Awwww so cute” and “Very cool!” Though intended for ages 4-7, anyone who appreciates art, birds, books, or beauty will love it for a keepsake. And moms of children in this age range will certainly get a lot of reading out of it.

We can always keep an eye on Alexandra with her red scarf and follow her lead. We love to travel through books at our house and this excursion with the cranes was a wonderful trip during our snowy afternoon, but we will enjoy reading it anytime of year! Highly recommended!

Come back again next week when Anna has a guest article on Oh, for the Hook of a Book! about things you can do with your children to learn about other cultures!

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About All Eyes on Alexandra –

 In All Eyes on Alexandra, young Alexandra Crane is terrible at following her family in their flying Vee. She can’t help it that the world is so full of interesting distracting sights! When it’s time for the Cranes to migrate to Israel’s Hula Valley for the winter, Alexandra is excited but her family is worried. Will Alexandra stay with the group, and what happens if a dangerous situation should arise? Might Alexandra—and the rest of the flock—discover that a bad follower can sometimes make a great leader?

Based on the true story of Israel’s annual crane migration.

Print Length: 32 Pages

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Publisher: Kar-Ben Pub

ISBN-10: 1512444391

ISBN-13: 978-1512444391

All Eyes on Alexandra is available to purchase on AmazonBarnes and NobleTarget and Thrift Books.

Author Anna Levine, Biography –

Author photoAnna Levine is an award-winning children’s book author. Like Alexandra Crane, the character in her latest picture book, she loves to explore new worlds.

Born in Canada, Anna has lived in the US and Europe.  She now lives in Israel, where she writes and teaches.

You can find Anna Levine online at –

Author website:

Twitter: @LevineAnna 

Instagram: @booksfromanna 

About the Illustrator, Chiara Pasqualotto,

artistChiara Pasqualotto was born in Padua, in northern Italy, currently teaches illustration and drawing classes to children and adults, in particular in Padua during the summer at the Scuola Internazionale di Comics and in Rome.

Since 2008 she’s been living in Rome and working with illustration professionally: her first picture book, Mine, All Mine! was published in 2009 by Boxer Books (UK), since then she published with Oxford University Press, Giunti, Terranuova and some American publishers (Paraclete Press, Tyndale, LearningAZ, Kar-Ben Publisher).

You can find Chiara Pasqualotto online at –

Artist website –




If you’d like to read more reviews of this book or some articles by the author about fun things to do with your kids, check out some more of the stops of her online tour.

December 3rd @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Make sure you visit WOW’s blog today and read an interview with the author and enter for a chance to win a copy of the book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 5th @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Visit Cassandra’s blog where she shares her thoughts about Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 6th @ Break Even Books

Visit Erik’s blog where you can read Anna Levine’s guest post about how to jog your inspiration.

December 7th @ Coffee with Lacey

Grab some coffee and visit Lacey’s blog where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 8th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog today where he joins in the fun of celebrating and shares information about Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 8th @ Christy’s Cozy Corners

Visit Christy’s blog and cozy up while you read her review of Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 9th @ Coffee with Lacey

Visit Lacey’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s guest post about designing your ideal writing spot.

December 9th @ Christy’s Cozy Corner

Visit Christy’s blog where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about how she decided to use crane’s in her story.

December 10th @ Thoughts in Progress

Visit Pamela’s blog where you can read Anna Levine’s guest post about how authors use anthropomorphic animals.

December 11th @ Read. Write. Sparkle. Coffee.

Make sure you visit Jeanie’s blog today and read her thoughts about Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 12th @ Author Anthony Avina Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog where he interviews Anna Levine, author of All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 13th @ Read. Write. Sparkle. Coffee.

Make sure you visit Jeanie’s blog today and read Anna Levine’s guest post about building a theme day around a picture book.

December 13th @ Oh for the Hook of a Book

Visit Erin’s blog where she shares her thoughts on Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 14th @ Growing with Science Blog

Be sure to visit Roberta’s blog and read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra as well as read Anna’s guest post about five fun bird-themed activities.

December 14th @ Wrapped in Foil

Visit Roberta’s blog today where Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra gets featured on the weekly STEM Friday post (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math books!).

December 15th @ A Storybook World

Visit Deirdra’s blog where she features Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra in a spotlight post.

December 17th @ World of My Imagination

Stop by Nicole’s blog today where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 18th @ Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Visit Erin’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post featuring activities for young children to explore their world.

December 19th @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Visit Cassandra’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about naming your characters.

December 19th @ Linda’s Blog

Make sure you visit Linda’s blog today where you can read her thoughts about Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 20th @ Word Magic: All About Books 

Visit Fiona’s blog where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 21st @ Bring on Lemons

Make sure you grab some lemonade and stop by Crystal’s blog today where she reviews Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 27th @ Linda’s Blog

Visit Linda’s blog again where you can read her interview with author Anna Levine.

December 28th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog today you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 31st @ Strength 4 Spouses

Visit Wendi’s blog and read Anna Levine’s guest post on learning about families and different cultures.

January 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit author Anthony Avina’s blog where he shares his thoughts about Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

January 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about getting into the head of your middle-grade characters.

January 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit author Anthony Avina’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about using fiction to write non-fiction.

January 7th @ Strength 4 Spouses Blog

Visit Wendi’s blog again where you can read her thoughts about the book All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine.






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Guest Article: Historical Inspiration Peeked from Rough Riders to The Volunteers by John Nuckel

I welcome John Nuckel to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! to talk about the inspiration for his latest book, Drive, which he found after reading about the Rough Riders and The Volunteers. I’m always intrigued by secret societies and this time period in NYC. John uses his research as the basis for a modern day crime thriller. I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did. Enjoy!

How I Found Historical Inspiration in The Volunteers

by John Nuckel, author of Drive

My latest book, Drive, is the first novel in The Volunteers series.

The idea for The Volunteers came to me as I was reading the history of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. I found that many of the men in that troop came from my hometown, New York City. It was especially compelling to find that many of the officers in the Rough Riders were from prominent and wealthy families. I learned that William Tiffany of jewelry fame died as a result of a fever he developed during his time in the Cuban jungles with the Rough Riders. In that era people of a certain class were expected to serve and to make a contribution towards the greater good.

The creation of The Volunteers series came to me after my research led me to another wealthy New Yorker who served with the Rough Riders. Woodbury Kane was a relative of the John Jacob Astor family. It is Kane in the foreground in Remington’s painting of the storming of San Juan Hill, pistol in hand. When I sought out his bio and read that his profession was Yachtsman and Bon Vivant, I had to use him as a character.

The story starts when Kane returns home to New York and is no longer content to live the life of the gilded set. He forms the Volunteers to fight against the tyranny of Tammany Hall around the turn of the last century. Kane is joined by his friend, Jacob Riis, the trailblazing journalist, and Teddy Roosevelt himself. Together they work to do what is right: “Et Omnia Recta.” Their purpose is to lift the common man from the oppression of the corrupt Tammany government.

Like any great world city, New York has more interesting characters and events to count. In Drive, Kane and Riis deal with the forbearers of the American Mafia, Paul Kelly, and Monk Eastman, the enforcers for Tammany politicians and founders of the gangs that produced Myer Lansky, Lucky Luciano, and Al Capone, among many others.

The Volunteers have stayed active in the background to this day. They still meet in the saloons and mansions of the early years and remain steadfast in their calling, Et Omnia Recta.

The parallel story in Drive takes place in today’s New York, when Annie Falcone, a NYPD officer, is recruited to protect America’s greatest technological mind from a murderous Chinese hacker. Her assignment takes her to Martha’s Vineyard, where it will take all of her skills and her “drive” to survive the mission.

The Volunteers series will cover many of the scandals and news events in New York City over the last 120 years. The second book in the series, will be set during the Harlem Renaissance. The famous Cotton Club was owned by and Irish gangster, Owney Madden, and is the heart of the story.

Every crooked politician, mob king, showgirl, and jazz musician in New York spent time in the club. What could possibly go wrong? What fun to write and read.

I hope you enjoy Drive and that you will join me on my journey with The Volunteers series.


Drive, Synopsis –

Et Omnia Recta—to make things right.

n the late 1800s, a secret society is formed by a captain from Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders with the support of the nation’s leading industrialists and bankers. Over a century later, the tradition continues, in the same saloons and boardrooms of New York City where it all began.

In this crime thriller, where history and current events unite, Woodbury Kane, Jacob Riis, and Roosevelt himself fight the tyranny of Tammany Hall in the first mission of the Volunteers during the turn of the last century.

In today’s New York, the descendants of the Volunteers recruit Annie Falcone, a New York police officer, who takes the oath: Et Omnia Recta. She is to provide protection to one man, America’s top technological mind, from his longtime adversary, Sheng, China’s most brutal hacker.

Annie is unaware that she’s merely a decoy to draw Sheng out for the hit squad that was sent ahead of her. Her instincts alone will be the force behind the success or failure of the mission.

Like so many other Volunteers before her, Annie’s survival depends upon her courage, her skill, and her DRIVE.

John Nuckel, Biography – 


John Nuckel went from the welfare apartments of a middle-class town to a successful career in the financial world. Even in the midst of his accomplishments, he knew he needed to express himself creatively. He’s always said he met enough characters sitting on barstools on Wall Street to fill a dozen books, so now he’s embracing his creative spirit by writing. He encouraged others to do the same on his radio show, “Wake Up and Dream.”

He is a New York Times contributing writer and the author of three white-collar crime thrillers in The Rector Street Series (The Vig, Grit, and Blind Trust), as well as two short stories (The Victory Grill and The Garden). Drive is his latest work.

Find more about John –





Purchase Links – 


Thanks for a wonderful article, John!

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Writer’s Call: Write an Article or Conduct Interviews for Our Special Projects

Hook of a Book Special Features: Calling Authors and Writers

We will doing volunteer projects here at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! for February’s Women in Horror Month, March’s Women in History, and April’s National Poetry Month! We need writers to submit interviews and articles. For this, you’ll get your own information and books featured on this site as well as guaranteed views. You can check each individual page on this site for the submission calls and more information ongoing. All articles and interviews will be posted on this site. I hope you’ll join us, male and female both! And please spread the word. You can view what’s been submitted in the past for Women in History by looking under that tab (we did this also in 2014 and 2017).

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact Erin at 




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Expanded Version of My BREATHE. BREATHE. Mixed Dark Fiction Collection is Here!

BreatheBreatheHey all, so today my mixed dark fiction collection, BREATHE. BREATHE., came out in its expanded edition and also in print and e-book format. When it first published in July, it was a handmade, limited edition chapbook from Unnerving (a Canadian magazine and book publisher), and it sold out. Now, I worked feverishly and and added 50% more poems and added three more short stories to accompany the previous two. I am really happy with how this turned out and how all the various themes mesh together under the large umbrella of breathing – through trauma, pain, murder, depression, anxiety, etc. And yet I also weaved folklore, history, mystery, and murder into it the poetry and the stories. There is also revenge, anger, fear, and madness tucked into the pages and wrapped in a Gothic atmosphere.

Selcouth Station remarked on the content in the limited edition that it was: “Raw, risky, and brave. Breathe Breathe could tear itself apart withthe amount of raw emotion contained in its fifty-seven pages. Al-Mehairi sheds light on difficult topics such as abuse, anxiety, loneliness, and love that hurts more than heals.”

I hope you’ll take a chance on my collection. It has a lovely foreword from the Bram Stoker nominated author Brian Kirk (We Are Monsters) to touchingly lead readers into the work. The response has been so kind and I am so humbled by the support and the thoughts on my work. I look forward to hearing from any readers who want to offer their thoughts too.

You can find it in paperback and kindle now on Amazon, or Kobo, but more online sites should pop up soon too. I’ll be back to offer more updates. And please do review or add my book to your TBR shelf on GoodReads too!

What’s it about?

Breathe. Breathe. is a collection of dark poetry and short fiction exploring the surreal depths of humanity. It’s a representation of how life breaks us apart and words put us back together. Purged onto the pages, dark emotions flow, urging readers into murky seas and grim forests, to the fine line between breathing and death.

In Act One, readers are presented with a serial killer in Victorian London, a lighthouse keeper with an eerie legacy, a murderous spouse that seems to have walked right out of a mystery novel, and a treacherous Japanese lady who wants to stay immortal. The heightened fears in the twilight of your minds will seep into the blackest of your nights, where you have to breathe in rhythm to stay alive.

In Act Two, the poetry turns more internal and pierces through the wall of denial and pain, bringing visceral emotions to the surface unleashing traumas such as domestic abuse, violence, and illness.

In the short stories, you’ll meet residents of Valhalla Lane whose lives are on a violent parallel track to collision, a man who is driven mad by the sound of a woodpecker, a teenage girl who wakes up on the beach and can’t find another soul in sight, a woman caught in a time shift pitting her against the Egyptian goddess Anuket, and a little girl whose whole world changes when her favorite dandelion yellow crayon is discontinued.

Amid these pages the haunting themes of oppression, isolation, revenge, and madness unfold through folklore, nightmares, and often times, raw, impulsive passion crafted to sear from the inside out.

With a touching foreword by the Bram Stoker nominated author Brian Kirk (We Are Monsters), Breathe. Breathe. will at times unsettle you, and at times embrace you.

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, a veteran writer and editor of the written word, offers up a mixed set of pieces, identifying her as a strong, new voice in dark fiction that will tear the heart from your chest, all the while reminding you to breathe.

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Praise for Breathe. Breathe.

“It’s full of the unexpected – bits of lace cut through with the odd and the horrible and the beautiful. Through it all I sense the power of a survivor!! And I love that!”

  • Sue Harrison, internationally best-selling author of Mother Earth Father Sky

“In Breathe. Breathe., Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi employs sharp, jagged words arranged in sparse, disturbingly visceral clusters to force readers to “breathe” through the fear and pain of abuse and personal terror. It’s a sense reinforced by the deceptively quiet but disquieting story, “Dandelion Yellow.” Filled with sharp sensory detail, the highlight is “Life-Giver of the Nile,” an evocative circular time-shift tale in which an Egyptologist’s soul is required by Anuket, ancient and modern goddess of the Nile, for a greater purpose. Whether in poetry or prose, dark kernels nestled within horror tropes indicate that Al-Mehairi writes from the gut and from the heart but with the fierceness of a survivor, the soul of a fearless champion. This mixed collection is a fine introduction to a strong, intriguing new voice in dark fiction.”

  • W.D. Gagliani, Bram Stoker Finalist, author of Wolf’s Trap (Nick Lupo Series)

“Breathe. Breathe. is at times haunting, visceral, bittersweet, and tender. Erin Al Mehairi bares her soul and invites readers to devour it whole.”

  • Hunter Shea, author of We Are Always Watching

“Erin Al-Mehairi weaves a web of narrative and poetry both beautiful and nightmare-inducing in Breathe. Breathe., invoking heartache and the need to see through the shining masks life presents us to confront the darkness it truly holds.”

  • Michelle Garza, co-author of Bram Stoker nominated Mayan Blue

”I loved Dandelion Yellow.  I was hyperventilating at the end, but it was such a beautiful, painful and artful tale.  I’ll be saying that last line to myself for weeks at least. Just beautiful.  I’m re-reading the rest.  One read just isn’t enough because DAYUM.  Beautiful.”

  • Somer Canon, author of Vicki Beautiful and The Killer Chronicles

“A tireless champion of horror fiction, Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi breaks into the genre with her debut collection BREATHE. BREATHE. Her dark and vivid poetry and short stories will be sure to delight fans of dark fiction! “Night Stalked” is definitely one of the stand-out poems you will find within.”

  • Rich Duncan, The Horror Bookshelf

“Raw, risky, and brave. Breathe Breathe could tear itself apart with the amount of raw emotion contained in its fifty-seven pages. Al-Mehairi sheds light on difficult topics such as abuse, anxiety, loneliness, and love that hurts more than heals.”

  • Selcouth Station

“Wonderful writing that explores the dark corners of your mind, where fear grabs you, and you struggle to breathe.”

  • David Spell, The Scary Reviews

Erin, Biograpy –

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Journalism, and History. She has 20 years of experience in the communication fields and is currently a writer, a journalist, a publicist, and an editor among many other things.

She writes fiction, essays, stories, and poetry and is an avid reader of many genres. She has edited poetry anthologies, novels, fiction pieces, and other various non-fiction and journalistic pieces. As a journalist, she’s written, interviewed, and edited for various newspapers, magazines, media outlets, and online news sources at both ends of the spectrum in media and public relations.

As an entrepreneur, she owns two businesses: Addison’s Compass Public Relations and Hook of a Book Media, in which she acts as a PR/Marketing Consultant, publicist, and editor. She also handles marketing and PR for Sinister Grin Press, where she is also an editor. Her third pursuit is writing her own works for publication. She volunteers her time in the community and is the chairwoman on the board of directors for a local mental health center and rape crisis and domestic violence safe haven.

She is the mother of three school-aged children and a cat. She lives with her family in rural Ohio nestled in the forest—a place just ripe for nightmares. Her passions are reading, writing, book hunting, hiking, and entertainment such as movies/film, television, and music. Oh, and she bakes, because you can’t do any of that without cookies.

Erin is a co-host with her Marketing Morsels segment on Project Entertainment Network’s The Mando Method, an award-winning weekly podcast for new and veteran writers.

Breathe. Breathe., published by Unnerving, is her debut collection and a mix of dark poetry and short stories. She will also be featured in the upcoming anthology from Unnerving called Hardened Hearts coming in at the end of 2017. Many other works in various genres are in progress as well.

You can e-mail her at hookofabook (at) hotmail (dot) com and find her easily at You’ll also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest where she loves new friends.



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Article: The Dark Lady of Devon by Catherine Cavendish

Catherine Cavendish is one of my most loved authors and a great writer friend. She’s one of the most talented women gothic and horror writers working today and she’s extremely supportive of other authors and her writing friends. She lives in the UK and always offers me the best essays for my site featuring haunts from there (though she has featured some in the states too), which I always love. Enjoy her article today on a very interesting ghost, and check out all her gothic titles, recently re-released. Linden Manor, and some of her other books, are some of my favorite reads.

The Dark Lady of Devon

by Catherine Cavendish, author of Linden Manor


“My ladye hath a sable coach,

And horses two and four;

My ladye hath a black blood-hound

That runneth on before.

My ladye’s coach hath nodding plumes,

The driver hath no head;

My ladye is an ashen white,

As one that long is dead.”

My novella – Linden Manor – features the ghost of Lady Celia Fitzmichael, about whom a scary nursery rhyme was written, which haunted my main character, Lesley Carpenter. In it, Lady Celia is never mentioned by name. Instead, she is referred to as ‘The Scottish Bride.’ And woe betide you if you laid eyes on her ‘blackened face.’

This made me research other notable hauntings by tormented brides (and women generally) and, inevitably, my path led to Devon, home of so many wonderful hauntings and folklore. Here, I found a tale which has all the hallmarks of a Daphne du Maurier dark story (OK, I know she wrote in neighbouring Cornwall, but you get my drift.) The tale of Lady Mary Howard is a dark and tragic one. Every night, her ghostly carriage and massive black dog, regularly travel sixteen miles from Okehampton Castle to Fitzford House and back again. Each time, the purpose of their journey appears to be to transport a single blade of grass.


So who was Lady Mary? And why does she perform this repetitive ritual?

She was born Mary Fitz in 1596, only legitimate child of Sir John Fitz, a man whose inherited wealth made him too rich, too young (at age 21). He spent his money, sinking into depravity and degeneracy to Dorian Gray proportions. His wickedness eventually alienated him from the whole of Tavistock – the town near his home of Fitzford House. Then, two men were killed on the steps of his house. They included his best friend. John Fitz slid into insanity and committed suicide at the age of 30, leaving nine year old Mary alone. She was sold by King James I to the Earl of Northumberland. He married her off to his brother, Sir Allan Percy, to ensure her fortune passed to their family when Mary was just twelve years old. Her new husband was 31.


The enforced marriage was shortlived as Percy caught a chill while on a hunting trip and died in 1611. Soon after, Mary eloped with her true love, Thomas Darcy. Tragically though, he died just a few months later. Mary had yet to celebrate her sixteenth birthday, so she was technically still the Earl’s ward. He married her off to husband number three – Sir Charles Howard, fourth son of the Earl of Suffolk. They had two children who both appear to have died in infancy. Then he too succumbed and died – of unknown causes – leaving Mary a widow for the third time at the age of just 26.

By now, tongues were wagging. That’s a lot of husbands to lose in rapid succession. Had the father lived on in his daughter? After all, didn’t Sir John Fitz become mixed up in murder at one time?

By now, perhaps as a result of her experiences at the hands of unscrupulous men, Mary had learned a little about keeping her hands firmly on her own purse-strings. She was now a wealthy and desirable widow and married husband number four – Sir Richard Grenville – who no doubt thought he was onto a good thing. He soon found out his new wife wasn’t to be taken advantage of. He didn’t like it and vented his wrath cruelly on her. Mary refused to relent, and kept her money safe.


In the end, Sir Richard’s cruelty became too much for Mary and she sued for divorce, between 1631-32. From then on, a series of extraordinary events saw Sir Richard imprisoned for debt, his subsequent disappearance for seven years and terrible injustice heaped on Mary when he returned and a court ordered that he could seize Fitzford House and her possessions. When Mary eventually turned up there (she had been living in London), she found the mansion wrecked.

Her marriage to Grenville was the only one to produce children – a son, Richard, who died young, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary – neither of whom Mary had anything to do with as they served as a constant reminder of their father. She did keep one child with her though. Her son, George, born around 1634 and whose father is unknown (possibly Theophilus, Earl of Suffolk).


As she grew older and remained, with her son, at the restored Fitzford House, Lady Mary became noted around Tavistock for her strong will and imperious temper. When her son died unexpectedly in 1671, she never recovered and died soon after. Then the legendary hauntings began.

It is said that, at dead of night, the gates of Fitzford House creak open and a massive black hound, with flaming red eyes bounds forward. Behind it rattles a coach made of bones, driven by a headless coachman. Its single passenger is a ghostly lady. Sixteen miles up the road, the coach stops at Okehampton Castle where the dog picks a single blade of grass. Back at Fitzford House, the dog lays this carefully down on a stone. Legend has it that when all the grass has been thus transported from Okehampton Castle, Lady Mary will finally be at rest.


Now, here’s a flavour of Linden Manor:

Have you ever been so scared your soul left your body?

All her life, Lesley Carpenter has been haunted by a gruesome nursery rhyme—“The Scottish Bride”—sung to her by her great grandmother. To find out more about its origins, Lesley visits the mysterious Isobel Warrender, the current hereditary owner of Linden Manor, a grand house with centuries of murky history surrounding it.

But her visit transforms into a nightmare when Lesley sees the ghost of the Scottish bride herself, a sight that, according to the rhyme, means certain death. The secrets of the house slowly reveal themselves to Lesley, terrible secrets of murder, evil and a curse that soaks the very earth on which Linden Manor now stands. But Linden Manor has saved its most chilling secret for last.

Linden Manor has just been reissued by Crossroad Press and is available from:


Barnes and Noble


Other books by Catherine Cavendish include:


And are currently available – or soon will be – from:

Catherine Cavendish Amazon page

Catherine Cavendish Amazon page


Catherine Cavendish lives with a long-suffering husband and ‘trainee’ black cat in North Wales. Her home is in a building dating back to the mid-18th century, which is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV. Cat has written a number of published horror novellas, short stories, and novels, frequently reflecting her twin loves of history and horror and often containing more than a dash of the dark and Gothic. When not slaving over a hot computer, she enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.

You can connect with her here:

Catherine Cavendish





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Daughter of a Thousand Years Gave Me My Thought-Provoking Viking Fix!

Out today (Feb. 21, 2017) is Daughter of a Thousand Years by Amalia Carosella! Check out the synopsis below and then stay to read my release day review! I really enjoyed this book!

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Daughter of a Thousand Years by Amalia Carosella

Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Lake Union Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 442 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Medieval Romance

Greenland, AD 1000

More than her fiery hair marks Freydís as the daughter of Erik the Red; her hot temper and fierce pride are as formidable as her Viking father’s. And so, too, is her devotion to the great god Thor, which puts her at odds with those in power—including her own brother, the zealous Leif Eriksson. Determined to forge her own path, she defies her family’s fury and clings to her dream of sailing away to live on her own terms, with or without the support of her husband.

New Hampshire, 2016

Like her Icelandic ancestors, history professor Emma Moretti is a passionate defender of Norse mythology. But in a small town steeped in traditional values, her cultural beliefs could jeopardize both her academic career and her congressman father’s reelection. Torn between public expectation and personal identity, family and faith, she must choose which to honor and which to abandon.

In a dramatic, sweeping dual narrative that spans a millennium, two women struggle against communities determined to silence them, but neither Freydís nor Emma intends to give up without a fight.

I loved Amalia’s former Helen of Sparta series and you’ll find reviews for those books and an inteview with Amalia on my site already. However, when I heard Amalia would be publishing a book featuring one of my top favorite topics, and I’m not shy about this one – VIKINGS – I was all in! I have to say that in looking forward to it so much when I actually found time to squeeze in reading it, I was captivated.

Amalia writes Daughter of a Thousand Years in dual time periods and with two female protagonists. Emma is in the modern age of 2016, the daughter of a politician and a Catholic, and Freydis, living a thousand years earlier, is a pagan, a Thor worshipper, and the daughter of the infamous Eric the Red.

I am not the type of editoral reviewer that rehashes plots, but in this book, Amalia explores religions of the different time periods and how the women, and their family structures, dealt with them. Emma has always been interested in Viking history, but as her family expects (in most ways) perfection, Emma finally finds the courage to be true to herself when she wishes to explore the pagan religion of Thor. As Catholics, of course, her parents aren’t pleased, so she’s brave to stand up for herself. Meanwhile, a thousand years earlier, Freydis struggles to stay true to her own pagan religion and family as the wave of Christianity and converstions begins in society. Of course, we’ve read or seen these themes before…well, I have since I seek out books like this out of interest, and of course, we’ve seen this juxtaposition in history between Viking pagans and English Christianity as the Vikings began their exploring (which is viewable even on the show “Vikings,” but for some reason, it’s not getting old yet. There are still stories to be told that speak to the bravery and courage of those who believe in their own spiritual depths, as well as those who choose to align with another. Isn’t this even a common theme in society today, that people need to understand each other, and religions, to make peace with each other? I think the dual storylines really showed the fact that this issue is still strong today.

I also thought that Amalia did a wonderful job of featuring two strong and fiesty women that have many similarities even if they lived so far removed. Of course, the history section was a favorite, as it’s my first love, and she has superb historical writing. There was more background and research, and as times were tougher, I think it only served that Freydis would be a bit more animated and have more to fight through in an actual action sort of way. But I thought she wrote Emma just as well for our time period, and growing up in the now, is quite different than then! She was strong in forging her own way, even if countries and treasures and survival didn’t depend on it. Possibly her family felt their careers depended on it, but really that is nothing to what they endured so long ago. Emma showed great fortitude in becoming her own original person and not fitting the mold, which does still take bravery, especially when it means stading up to one’s parents.

As always, Amalia’s writing is beautiful and captivating. Her dialogue and character development, which her books show she always has worked hard on, continue to improve. We can see the locations, feel the characters emotions, and cheer them on in our own ways. As I mentioned her settings and descriptions are wonderful to read. I do believe the historical lean that Amalia puts on her books, as opposed to strictly historical romance, make books like Daughter of a Thousand Years stand out.

If you like to be swept away in a good historical fiction read, and like memorable reads with strong female characters, this is a good book for you to dive into eyes first. Pick this up as one of your highlights of th first half of 2017. Fans of “Vikings” should like the themes in this book and get a more unique look at women of that time period. Contemporary readers may even find their foray into historical fiction. Highly recommend – I give it 4 stars in hopes that she keeps challenging her prose.

Purchase –


About Amalia Carosella –

03_Amalia Carosella Author (1).jpgAmalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). For more information, visit her blog at

She also writes myth-steeped fantasy and paranormal romance under the name Amalia Dillin. Learn more about her other works at

You can connect with Amalia Carosella on FacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Google+. Sign up for her newsletter, The Amaliad, for news and updates.

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Review: The Loyalist Legacy by Elaine Cougler

Elaine Cougler has written a wonderful trilogy, The Loyalist Trilogy, and the third book, The Loyalist Legacy recently released just in time for the holidays. This trilogy follows the stories of a family over generations who are Ontario-area Canadian loyalists to the Crown during the time of the American Revolution. I’ve featured Elaine many times before: you can read a review of her first book, The Loyalist’s Wife, HERE, which beings the story of John and Lucy; you can read my review of her second book, The Loyalist’s Luck, HERE, which continues their war torn story in Niagara area; you can read an interview I did with Elaine after book two came out HERE. This can all give you a great idea about this exciting trilogy if you’d not yet read any of them. Here is the cover and synopsis for the third book, stay tuned below for my review!


The Loyalist Legacy, Synopsis –

After the crushing end of the War of 1812, William and Catherine Garner find their allotted two hundred acres in Nissouri Township by following the Thames River into the wild heart of Upper Canada. On their valuable land straddling the river, dense forest, wild beasts, displaced Natives, and pesky neighbors daily challenge them. The political atmosphere laced with greed and corruption threatens to undermine all of the new settlers’ hopes and plans. William knows he cannot take his family back to Niagara but he longs to check on his parents from whom he has heard nothing for two years. Leaving Catherine and their children, he hurries back along the Governor’s Road toward the turn-off to Fort Erie, hoping to return home in time for spring planting. With spectacular scenes of settlers recovering from the wartime catastophes in early Ontario, Elaine Cougler shows a different kind of battle, one of ordinary people somehow finding the inner resources to shape new lives and a new country. The Loyalist Legacy delves further into the history of the Loyalists as they begin to disagree on how to deal with the injustices of the powerful “Family Compact” and on just how loyal to Britain they want to remain.


The Loyalist Legacy, which as I noted is book three, continues on the story of the next generation – William, the son of John and Lucy Garner. William and Catherine Garner are the focus of this book (so you could conceivably start with this one and go back to book one for the back story). William and his family are living in Upper Canada after the brutality of the War of 1812. They haven’t heard from his family in two years and he’s grown increasingly concerned.

The story opens with Catherine in distress, much as A Loyalist’s Wife did many years ago with Lucy. William has left to head back to Niagara to check on his family. Catherine is left with their growing family, and work at home and in her husband’s absence, to attend to, while navigating the harsh wilds of the area and the strong political climate. It reminded me of Lucy in the first book as she was left straddling when John was away in the war. Elaine once again shines in giving the reader strong female characters and showing us the perils of many a woman at the time of such upheaval. Her women are always historical super heroes!

As well, on the other side of the coin, she constructs good male characters. I love her male characters, because though they always seem to need to leave their wives in her tales for certain reasons, they don’t like it. And when they are with their families, they are excellent family men. Life is hard and they do what they have to do, but overall, these men are compassionate, loving, and loyal to those they love. They are also fiercely wise. Those are important traits for men. I don’t think we often see men from this era being written with such empathy. They are usually pretty sterile or hated characters in history. I really love how Elaine gives us real people we can be connected to and be pulled toward – both male and female.

Once again, I love Elaine’s scenic details. I’ve learned so much about Niagara and Upper Canada during this time period from her work. I can easily visualize it from her descriptions and set a scene in my head. Being in the U.S., but just down from this area, it was really interesting to understand that much of what they were dealing with in regards to elements, war, Native Americans, etc. It’s so interesting from my perspective here in Ohio reading about how things were so similar for people in the part of the U.S. and Canada at this time, even if they had to fight for different sides. The ramifications of the war on families and cultures is evident no matter who’s side they identified on. I think Elaine’s book is so important as it’s one of few to really give us an inside glimpse at loyalists who lived Canada during the time they were made to fight in the war and the times following. I think we tend to skip over learning all of this here in America and just see all loyalists as British who came over from England to fight and then returned. Many were actually just normal pioneers and colonists as well. It’s a curious thing to actually be taught Canadian history and this series makes me want to delve into it even further.

I don’t like to give too much of the plot away in my reviews. If you’re a constant reader of my reviews you’ll notice that. I want you to enjoy the experience of all the plot points for yourself. But I will say that I do believe this is the BEST book by Elaine in this whole series. Her writing feels more free, and comfortable, in its own skin. It flows fuller and with more emotion. Her character development has more strength and her characters more complex – even John and Lucy as we’ve watched them grow over the years are more dimensional than ever. Her descriptions, as I stated previously, are nestled into all the right places and create such a visual dynamic that allow her characters to dance off the page.

After showing us the wages of war in book two, in The Loyalist’s Legacy she brings to us lives that are being pieced back together in a stymied and yet pivotal political climate that’s also ripe with change. The arrival of the “Family Compact” and this brotherhood’s opposition to democracy is explored in this book, as is the way it separated actual brothers and families in their loyalties and decisions. The meaning of the term loyalist comes into question as rebellion stirs just as new designations are being formed. Elaine explores the rebellion of 1837 which disseminated the Family Contract and the pursuit of establishing aristocracy but instead a mixed monarchy. Elaine shows how, in fact, families like those she portrays weren’t aristocracy, but people who lived off the land. We can better see through her portrayal, the alternate view of some of the situations. It was fascinating how such common people such as this family of farmers helped create such a lasting legacy on the futures of Canada, America, and Britain.

I applaud Elaine for putting together such a stellar set in The Loyalist Trilogy, and am so happy to report that The Loyalist Legacy does in fact end the trilogy in grand finale fashion. I am not ready for it to end though. As we learn so much about all of John and Lucy’s children, I wish for more stories of them as history unfolds. The Loyalist Legacy is a beacon in the historical world that shows us how common families can survive through not only the harsh climates they lived in and homesteading, but the political machinations too. I love that Elaine’s families remained first and foremost loyal and loving to each other, no matter if everything tried to tear them apart.

A beautifully written, immaculately researched, deeply descriptive novel full of heart and the true power of freedom – which only comes from within one’s own heart.  A great testament to Canadian history and to the life of the author’s ancestors.

I highly recommend!

the-loyalist-legacy_webPraise for Elaine Cougler and The Loyalist Trilogy of Books –

“….absolutely fascinating….Cougler doesn’t hold back on the gritty realities of what a couple might have gone through at this time, and gives a unique view of the Revolutionary War that many might never have considered.” – Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews.

“….an intriguing story” – A Bookish Affair

“I highly recommend this book for any student of history or anyone just looking for a wonderful story.” – Book Lovers Paradise

“Elaine’s storytelling is brave and bold.” – Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Purchase The Loyalist Legacy



03_Elaine CouglerElaine Cougler, Biography

Elaine Cougler is the author of historical novels about the lives of settlers in the Thirteen Colonies who remained loyal to Britain during the American Revolution.

Cougler uses the backdrop of the conflict for page-turning fictional tales where the main characters face torn loyalties, danger and personal conflicts.

Her Loyalist trilogy: The Loyalist’s Wife, The Loyalist’s Luck and The Loyalist Legacy coming in 2016. The Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair selected The Loyalist’s Wife as a finalist in its Self-Publishing Awards. The Middlesex County Library selected the book as its choice for book club suggestions. The Writers Community of Durham Region presented Elaine with a Pay-It-Forward Award.

Elaine has led several writing workshops and has been called on to speak about the Loyalists to many groups. She writes the blog, On Becoming a Wordsmith, about the journey to publication and beyond. She lives in Woodstock with her husband. They have two grown children.

Elaine Cougler can be found on Twitter, Facebook Author Page, LinkedIn and on her blog.









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Interview: Seven Authors of A Song of War Raid My Home to Discuss Book


Interview –

Yesterday, I reviewed A Song of War: A Novel of Troy, a continuity anthology by the H Team members of by Christian Cameron, Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, SJA Turney, and Russell Whitfield. You can check out that review HERE. Each of these anthologies are penned by different acclaimed historical authors which makes up the H Team. The team members who collaborated on A Song of War did a fantastic job! I have the distinct pleasure of having an exclusive interview with all seven authors! I didn’t doubt they’d cause a raucous in my home either and I couldn’t have been more correct. A fun time had by all (but I promise they are professional writers NOT drunks). Enjoy!

Welcome members of the H Team authoring A Song of War! I don’t think I’ve ever had this many people invade my home and library before, but I’ve made sure to put out a spread of food as traditional as I could in honor of the book so we’ve got grapes and fruits, olives, cheese, and plenty of wine (I know at least that will make Kate and Stephanie happy!). How does that sound? Go ahead and pass the plates, I’ll pour the wine….


Kate: Thanks! Much wine was drunk over the course of writing and editing this book, let me tell you. *passes krater of wine along to Libbie*

Simon: *Brandishes bottle of whisky* I always come prepared…

Vicky: I started a bit early. *hic* What are we talking about? 😉

Stephanie: It’s still afternoon where I am, but it’s always a good time for wine!

Christian: *reaches blearily for krater* Wine?  You guys were holding out on wine? What are we writing about, anyway?

We’ll have a party for the book and document our conversation and I’ll try to keep up since I’ve also never interviewed this many people at one time. The last time I did an H Team interview, you all came separately. Some of you have been here before and some of you know me pretty well, but a few of you’ve I’ve not met, and I’m sure my readers are as excited to hear from you as I am! I’m glad you’re all here to celebrate the release of your book. (We all cheer!!!!)

I’ll start out asking some broad questions and feel free to jump in on any questions you’d like to answer.

Erin: Troy is such an amazing piece of history that never ceases to ignite the imagination of readers to this day. Who chose the project theme? Why were each of you chosen for this particular continuational anthology?

Russ: Kate Quinn suggested Troy – I think her thinking was “we’ve done a day, then a year… what can we do for a decade?” She’s threatened us all with death if we suggest The Hundred Years War next, though! As to being chosen, I feel very honoured and privileged to have been invited to work with my literary heroes. I guess I was chosen to kind of lower the tone in the email chats?

Kate: Or was it Simon who first put Troy on the table? I remember he was dying to do something with Aeneas. As soon as the words “Trojan War” were spoken, we all pretty much caught fire. (I maintain my stance on the Hundred Years War, though. Anyone who suggests it gets a spatha in the kidneys.)

Simon: If I remember correctly half a dozen different ideas were bandied around in a single conversation following the release of “A Year of Ravens.” I seem to recall throwing out numerous suggestions, some of which were probably quite odd. I think Troy captured everyone’s imagination.

Stephanie: I loved both “A Day of Fire” and “A Year of Ravens” so I jumped at the chance to join the H Team this time around. I think I might have yelled in all caps at Kate when she asked me to join the group!

Christian:  I was brand new to the group and joined after the decision was made, but the idea of writing Troy is what got me into this mess.  Er, I mean book.


Caption: Wiki/Triumphant Achilles dragging Hector’s lifeless body in front of the Gates of Troy. (From a panoramic fresco on the upper level of the main hall of the Achilleion)

Erin: Was it fun or challenging (or both) for each of you to write your own mini story while also tying it together with the rest of the stories? How did you best accomplish the flow?

Kate: After having done three of these things, the main trick to keeping things smooth has turned out to be lots of mapping in advance–we all knew exactly what section of the timeline we had to inhabit, and so the trick was just bringing our story to conclusion within that span. Interweaving our characters is the fun part. Sometimes we co-wrote scenes together–for the bit in my story where Odysseus chats up Hellenus, Vicky wrote her hero’s lines and I wrote mine, and the whole exchange turned out very differently than I expected!

Russ: Kate is a smart lady – the whole thing ran like clockwork. I had the following story (cos Chris Cameron writes like The Flash) and wrote around what Chris had set up. The funny thing was that the bits that I included were edited out: I was running with a scene from Agamemnon’s point of view that he had written from Briseis’s – but that never made it to the final edit. So the whole degradation of Achilles’s bride was actually Chris’s idea that I was riffing on. Full disclosure!

Libbie: It was very challenging for me, because this is the first time I’ve done a collaboration with any other authors. Collaborating with six others at the same time was not the way I expected to enter the world of co-writing, but I’m glad I did it! It was interesting to see how everybody exchanged ideas about our characters, and how all my co-authors interpreted the events. Fortunately, I feel like we all worked together really well.

Simon: Kate is so practised and skilled at binding it all together now that I am quite in awe. I just picked up a tale I loved and wrote it, then followed guidelines from cleverer people than me. Mind you, I wrote my tale last and had the benefit of having read several of the others first, so I could integrate bits and pieces into my story from others.

Vicky: We’re all professionals, so we can get pretty serious, but working on these projects ends up feeling like a raucous playdate–a fun, irreverent, energizing, creative play date! As always, I’m excited and honored to be invited to play with such masters!

Stephanie: I had so much fun including everyone’s characters in my section. I had the good fortune of being able to piggy-back off Kate’s story, so she’d already introduced many of the key players. It felt like a puzzle to me, trying to figure out how to give everyone’s narrators as much face time as possible.

Christian:  Kate is quite brilliant at this thing. And, luckily, I started writing with my father, years ago, and exactly in this format; write, polish, add, write, polish, add. So it wasn’t all that alien. And I have another side-project with Simon (tries to see what kline Simon is lying on) and so…

Erin: How do you feel you accurately presented this time period – one which is always up for all sorts of interpretations and many people feel might not have existed? How did you each do your research?

Russ: Chris is an expert on all things Ancient Greece – he was the go-to source and we all bought the same illustrated book (by Peter Connolly) at his suggestion. In this way, the costumes and kit were all consistent. Our other bible was “The Trojan War: A New History” by Barry Strauss (or Bazzer as he was known in our email chats… (“Bazzer has it that they stopped here for x-days.”).  And I’ll lay money that everyone had the “Troy” soundtrack on at some stage or another–

Kate: Yup.


Russ: One of the fun things we did at the outset was stunt-cast the “movie of the book.” It really worked well, cos once we’d chosen what person to “play” our character, we then knew what they looked like so the descriptions of them were consistent. And because I had Chryseis in my story, I could look at loads of pictures of Kelly Brook and legitimately claim it was research. #winning!

Libbie: Chris was a life-saver for me. I knew almost nothing about ancient Greece going into this. Ancient Egypt is my area of specialty, and I’ve dabbled in some other ancient cultures, too, but so far not Greece. I would have made a total fool of myself without Chris’s guidance, and the suggestions and fact-checking of Kate Quinn and Stephanie Thornton, too!

Simon: As they said, Christian Cameron is the man to ask when you have a question on this era. I was quite stunned at some of the amazing little historical tidbits he came out with. I was able to follow my main source text (Virgil’s Aeneid) quite closely, complementing it with detail from some excellent scholarly works I was recommended.

Vicky: I tried not to panic about writing Odysseus, since so many people “know” him. Some of my research showed that Odysseus was sometimes reviled and belittled for his trickery, as it was less ennobling than being a champion with the sword. His wily ways eventually earned him respect but I was able to see some ambivalence about him in the Iliad. In almost all situations, he was paired with golden Diomedes, which also gave me some new ideas.

Stephanie: This was a new era for me too. I’ve written about Alexander’s Greece, but found very early on that things were quite different several centuries in. I will say that this story had me doing some of my strangest research to date, including finding the best way to preserve human eyeballs. I decided to skip the hands-on research for that tidbit, and restrict myself to Google.

Christian: Wow. All flattery gratefully appreciated. That said, I had been preparing for a whole set of novels on this period and then dropped the idea … complex reasons, never mind.  But it meant I had already done some good research. To me, the interesting part was working with the group to make the compromises–and that’s not a dirty word–the compromises between what (little) we know of Mycenaean Greece, and what we see in the Iliad (which is often about 8th and 7th c. BCE iron age Greece) and even our own small-r romantic expectations about the Iliad. We had to get all that right; it was world creation, like writing a fantasy novel, as well as research and authenticity. I think we all enjoyed it.

Kate: Yup.

Erin: What did each of you hope your characters would invoke in readers about the time period? Which were your favorites – in your own story or in other stories? Why?

Russ: Well – I can’t call anyone out because everyone did a brilliant job. I thought that Si’s characterisation of Aeneas was ace – I loved the idea of making him a bit of a prig, but each of the writers did an amazing job as I say. For my part I just hoped that people would understand why Agamemnon is the way he is. He’s never going to be a nice man, but I hoped readers would at least understand why he’s so horrid. It was hard at first but the more I wrote him the more I understood him. At the end of it, I wanted to assassinate Achilles myself! He’s a pain in the ass!


Caption: Wiki / Aeneas tells Dido about the fall of Troy, by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin

Stephanie: I thought Russ’s take on Agamemnon was beyond impressive. I’ve always seen Agamemnon as a villain, but Russ actually made me feel bad for the guy!

Libbie: I loved Philoctetes in my own story. He’s gruff on the outside but he’s a big, melty, gooey guy in love on the inside. And I’ve always been a sucker for the tragic, unrequited love storyline. It’s just about impossible to pick a favorite in the other stories. I was blown away, reading the final stories, to see how beautifully each author rendered their characters. The surprise of sympathizing with Agamemnon was a big one for me. And some of the creepy twists Stephanie put into Cassandra’s scenes gave me literal chills, so my hat’s off to her!

Simon: I hoped (and still do) that Aeneas brought out a sense of sorrow in the reader, but also of hope. That is what his tale is. A mix of sorrow and hope.

Vicky: I’ve always loved Odysseus and writing him only helped deepen my affection for the trickster. However, I also ended up having a tremendous amount of empathy for Cassandra, Briseis, Philoctetes, and (to my amazement) even Agamemnon. Really, I thought every story’s main character was brilliant.


Caption: Wiki / Head of Odysseus from a Roman period Hellenistic marble group representing Odysseus blinding Polyphemus, found at the villa of Tiberius at Sperlonga

Kate: I love Vicky’s Odysseus. He has more cameos throughout all the stories than any other character, and the page just comes to life every time he strolls onstage, I thought. And Chris’ Achilles was truly weird in the best sense of the word: part man, part god, petulant and heroic and cruel and kind. Sometimes all at the same time!

Christian: I loved Aeneas and I thought Russ’s Agamemnon was brilliant; I thought Cassandra was such a good character that I considered fudging my plot line to get her into my story. I loved Odysseus but I’m biased; to me he’s the best character anyway. As for my own stuff, I really wanted to emphasize, as an expert ‘battle and war writer,’ what a crappy life women would have had in the Iliad mythos. Too often, I think ‘Boy’s Own’ genre stuff absolutely ignores the sheer scale of refugees, ruined lives, and haunted, broken people that war leaves. I thought it would be … different to dwell on all that.  And still write a good fight scene!


Caption: Representation of Trojan Horse / Original image by Tetraktyas
*See attribution terms at bottom of post*

Erin: What kinds of lessons can we call learn today as people, and/or our governments, from the stories of Troy and Greece? Do you believe myths can be reality or be examples for reality?

Russ: I’m nowhere near smart enough to answer that one and if I try I’m just going to show myself up because everyone else will be really erudite. I’m essentially the fart-joke guy of the H Team.

Libbie: Every team needs a fart-joke guy to keep the rest of its members from taking everything too seriously. We couldn’t have done it without you, Russ. Whenever I write ancient historical fiction, I just hope my readers pause and consider how similar the characters’ basic feelings and goals are to the way we think and feel today. We’ve been the same humans for all of our vast history. Our behavior hasn’t changed much, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the context. I think we can learn from the story of the Trojan war that drawn-out conflicts have serious consequences for everybody involved. And every myth, every story, is built on some kind of truth…something that’s important to us as people.

Stephanie: There are definitely lessons to be found, but I certainly hope some of those Greek myths aren’t examples for reality! Otherwise we’ll have a lot of girls being turned into trees and such.

Simon: *Folds arms and grumbles in the corner, because he thought he was the Fart Joke guy*

Vicky: The fart joke guys are the best. But Kate’s “sex commando” asides are hysterical too.

Christian:  Clearly no one thinks I’m the fart joke guy. Whatever. Human conflict is incredibly messy, like all the other things humans do — love, art, farming, sieges… what little we know from recent scholarship about Troy suggest superpower politics between the Hittites and their Syrian and Egyptian rivals were influenced by upstart Mycenaean and that Troy may have been a focal point for a nasty little surrogate war with slave taking and roving criminal gangs aiming at destabilizing the governments of the Mediterranean littoral. Like, modern Syria. Or do we just see it that way? A little study of historiography suggests that we are almost unable to avoid projecting our own lives on the past…. Damn. A fart joke would have been funnier. And wait, didn’t I coin commando sex raid? Kate?

Kate: You did! Russ is the fart joke guy, Chris is the Commando Sex Raid guy, and Si is the guy flying a model TIE fighter past the camera during Skyped plotting sessions . . . As you see, Erin, we’re a very serious bunch.

Erin: How did you all accomplish writing this collection together so seamlessly? What was the process like?

Russ: Kate’s a brilliant editor and Steph was continuity checking – they’re epic and it’s down to them that the whole thing reads the way it does. I can’t thank them enough. Kate is especially brilliant when she suggests changing a word here or there that just elevates my writing. Basically, if you read the Agamemnon story and come to a turn of phrase and think “that’s really good” the Hand of Quinn will have touched it.

Libbie: Being new to all of this, I just kept my mouth shut, did what the more experienced authors needed me to do, and turned in my piece by the deadline!

Simon: With Kate at the helm it’s just a case of writing a good story and then listening to what she tells you to do. That’s my opinion, anyway. I would be utterly lost in how to tie it all together, but having seen her do it twice now, I’m fairly sure she could take any seven pieces of writing and integrate them seamlessly.

Vicky: Yes, Kate is a true genius and a brilliant writer. She wins the MVP award for pulling us all together to make this work. She certainly held my hand more than once (Libbie too) as I struggled with Odysseus’s arc. She made terrific suggestions throughout the writing process.

Stephanie: Yep, it’s all about Kate. She went in and worked her magic, plus everyone edited at least a couple stories, which was invaluable.

Kate: Aww, you’re all such sweet-talkers. But they’re being way too complimentary. Editing a collaboration like this is time-consuming (that’s always my job because I have zero skills to offer in terms of formatting or banking or online wizardry) but it’s not difficult when all the writers on the team are SO good. With a group like this, there was literally no problem we could not crowd-source a solution to. If one of us didn’t know whether pines were indigenous to Sparta or how to preserve a human eyeball in a jar, you can bet that among the other six of us, someone would have the answer.  

Christian: Kate’s brilliant.  

Erin: Some of you have written in these before, but do you all feel it’s something you’d love to do again? What other ideas have or can each of you come up that you think would make good collections?

Russ: I’m honoured to have been invited to do this again. If I’m asked next time, I’d do it in a shot.

Libbie: I’d love to do it again, now that I understand how it all comes together. We have kicked around a few ideas for some potential future H-Team projects, but I don’t think we’ve settled on anything yet.

Kate: The gods only know what we’ll do next, or who will be involved–the lineup of authors tends to rotate depending on who’s got room in the deadline schedule and who doesn’t–but this is too much fun to quit now!

Simon: I have a taut writing schedule, but if there’s space in it to work with the H team and they’ll have me, I will always take part. My ideas are almost entirely Roman-o-centric, but then, with two millennia of Roman history to play with, there’s plenty of stories to cover.

Vicky: Would I love to do this again? Ummm. YAS. Please.

Stephanie: I’d bribe each of these writers with all the ice cream cake they can eat for a year if they’d have me again!

Christian:  I have five books to write this year.  And I really only do periods I love and understand… but… really, I’d love to do it again. Of course, they have to ask me, too. Heck, maybe I’ll learn a fart joke.

Erin: If you all could travel to Greece together, what places would each one of you plot on the itinerary?

Libbie: I would love to see the caves at Delphi! That has always been on my “to visit someday” list.

Russ: The pub, because I have to think of things like that while the others are off doing the Parthenon and Thermopylae and all that authory historical stuff.

Kate: I’d like to see the actual ruins of Troy, after poring over so many archaeological sketches. Then probably join Russ in that pub for a cold one.

Simon: I’ve done much of what I’d want to see in Greece, but I would love to spend time everywhere again and again. In particular, Actium, Corinth, Mistra, and Thessalonica for me.

Vicky: I’ve never been to Greece so I would want to see EVERYTHING. Also, I’d be that annoying person that would go all “verklempt” at every site and museum.

Stephanie: I love Greece! I haven’t been to Delphi yet, so I’ll definitely tag along with Libbie for that one!

Christian: I take a tour to Greece almost every year, called Pen and Sword. We go to Delphi… hey, everyone, it’s a blast! We have a bus as nice as a land yacht and we’re in charge! Crusader castles, wineries, superb temples… seriously… y’all should come. Yes, I go to Greece almost every year and sometimes twice… I adore Greece, both past and present. This year we’ll go to the Macedonian royal tombs, which I haven’t seen yet…


Caption: Delphi

Erin: Let’s eat, drink, and be merry. I won’t put each of you in the hot seat anymore. And besides there might be a giant wooden horse at the door I have to attend to…..

Thanks so much to all of you for writing an amazing anthology and for hanging out with me today to discuss it. Best wishes for you all on this book and all your own personal works as well. Come back anytime!

Russ: Thanks, Erin – you’re a wonderful host 🙂

Libbie: Thanks for having us!

Kate: *raises glass in salute of our hostess*

Simon: *Grins over shot glass*

Vicky: *downs shot and raises the glass in your honor* Thanks, Erin!

Stephanie: *passes a piece of ice cream cake* Thanks so much for having us!

Christian: *leans over to kiss Kate* Oh best of editors, let me sing your praises. *realizes he’s drunk too much.* Simon, can you drive?

02_a-song-of-warA Song of War: A Novel of Troy

by Christian Cameron, Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, SJA Turney, and Russell Whitfield
Foreward by Glyn Iliffe

Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Knight Media, LLC
eBook & Paperback; 483 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Ancient History/Anthology

Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky, a city destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other plans—the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy’s gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: slaves and queens, heroes and cowards, seers and kings . . . and these are their stories.

A young princess and an embittered prince join forces to prevent a fatal elopement.

A tormented seeress challenges the gods themselves to save her city from the impending disaster.

A tragedy-haunted king battles private demons and envious rivals as the siege grinds on.

A captured slave girl seizes the reins of her future as two mighty heroes meet in an epic duel.

A grizzled archer and a desperate Amazon risk their lives to avenge their dead.

A trickster conceives the greatest trick of all.

A goddess’ son battles to save the spirit of Troy even as the walls are breached in fire and blood.

Seven authors bring to life the epic tale of the Trojan War: its heroes, its villains, its survivors, its dead. Who will lie forgotten in the embers, and who will rise to shape the bloody dawn of a new age?

Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo

About the Authors

CHRISTIAN CAMERON was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. He grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa,Christian Cameron and Rochester, New York, where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.

After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), he joined the United States Navy, where he served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, he became a full time writer in 2000. He lives in Toronto (that’s Ontario, in Canada) with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice, currently age four. And a half.

LIBBIE HAWKER was born in Rexburg, Idaho and divided her childhood between Eastern Idaho’s rural environs and the greater Seattle area. She presently lives in Seattle, but has also been a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah; Bellingham, Washington; and Tacoma, Washington. She loves to write about character and place, and is inspired by the bleak natural beauty of the Rocky Mountain region and by the fascinating history of the Puget Sound.

After three years of trying to break into the publishing industry with her various books under two different pen names, Libbie finally turned her back on the mainstream publishing industry and embraced independent publishing. She now writes her self-published fiction full-time, and enjoys the fact that the writing career she always dreamed of having is fully under her own control.

KATE QUINN is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate has succumbed to the blogging bug, and keeps a blog filled with trivia, pet peeves, and interesting facts about historical fiction. She and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

VICKY ALVEAR SHECTER is the author of the young adult novel, Cleopatra’s Moon (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra’s only daughter. She is also the author of two award-winning biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta. The LA Times calls Cleopatra’s Moon, “magical” and “impressive.” Publisher’s Weekly said it was “fascinating” and “highly memorable.” The Wall Street Journal called it “absorbing.”

STEPHANIE THORNTON is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

Her novels, The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora, Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt, The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan, and The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great, tell the stories of history’s forgotten women.

SJA TURNEY lives with his wife, son and daughter, and two (close approximations of) dogs in rural North Yorkshire.

Marius’ Mules was his first full length novel. Being a fan of Roman history, SJA decided to combine his love of writing and love of the classical world. Marius’ Mules was followed two years later by Interregnum – an attempt to create a new fantasy story still with a heavy flavour of Rome.

These have been followed by numerous sequels, with three books in the fantasy ‘Tales of the Empire’ series and five in the bestselling ‘Marius’ Mules’ one. 2013 has seen the first book in a 15th century trilogy – ‘The Thief’s Tale’ – and will also witness several side projects seeing the light of day.

RUSSELL WHITFIELD was born in Shepherds Bush in 1971. An only child, he was raised in Hounslow, West London, but has since escaped to Ham in Surrey.

Gladiatrix was Russ’s first novel, published in 2008 by Myrmidon Books. The sequel, Roma Victrix, continues the adventures Lysandra, the Spartan gladiatrix, and a third book, Imperatrix, sees Lysandra stepping out of the arena and onto the field of battle.


To win a paperback copy of A Song of War: A Novel of Troy by the H Team, please enter below:



– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on November 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
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– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


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*Attribution for Trojan Horse art: Based on Wikipedia content that has been reviewed, edited, and republished. Original image by Tetraktyas. Uploaded by , published on 14 May 2013 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-ShareAlike. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial reasons, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.

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