Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Giveaway! Carol Bodensteiner's "Go Away Home"

Today on the blog, I'm hosting a spotlight giveway for Carol Bodensteiner's "Go Away Home". A copy of the novel will be given away courtesy of the author, so follow this link for a chance to win!

Tour Schedule: 
Hashtags: #GoAwayHomeBlogTour #HFVBTBlogTour #HistNov #HistFic
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @CABodensteiner

Publication Date: July 1, 2014Rising Sun Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Liddie Treadway grew up on a family farm where options for her future were marriage or teaching. Encouraged by suffragette rhetoric and her maiden aunt, Liddie is determined to avoid both and pursue a career. Her goal is within her grasp when her older sister’s abrupt departure threatens to keep her on the farm forever.
Once she is able to experience the world she’s dreamed of, Liddie is enthralled with her independence, a new-found passion for photography, and the man who teaches her. Yet, the family, friends, and life of her youth tug at her heart, and she must face the reality that life is not as simple, or the choices as clear-cut, as she once imagined.
GO AWAY HOME is a coming-of-age novel that explores the enduring themes of family, friendship, and love, as well as death and grief. This novel will resonate with anyone who’s confronted the conflict between dreams and reality and come to recognize that getting what you want can be a two-edged sword.

Praise for Go Away Home

“Go Away Home is … a tale of choices, dreams realized and rejected, and how values evolve … gently compelling and highly believable.” – D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“Excellent characters and an extremely realistic plot … Go Away Home is the perfect story of coming home.” – Samantha Rivera, Readers’ Favorite reviewer

“… a heart-warming and heart-wrenching tale … a story that promises to fulfill what it is to be alive when one chooses the life one wants to live, despite the consequences” – Paulette Mahurin, author of The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

“Go Away Home is a coming of age novel that is well-written, compelling, and endearing … a strong sense of place, excellent character development, and an engaging plot line.” – Kara Logsden, Iowa City Public Library

“Every life is a story, no matter how mundane it may appear on the surface, but it takes a writer like Carol Bodensteiner to draw a reader in and keep them turning the pages. Bodensteiner … writes characters with depth … she’s captured the era … with meticulous historical detail.“ – J. P. Lane, author of The Tangled Web

About the Author

Carol Bodensteiner grew up in the heartland of the United States, and she continues to draw writing inspiration from the people, places, culture, and history of the area. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society. She is the author of Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl, a memoir. Her essays have been published in several anthologies. Go Away Home is her first novel. For more information please visit Carol Bodensteiner’s Website/Blog

You can also find her on FacebookTwitterGoodreads, and LinkedIn. Sign up for Carol’s Newsletter.

Go Away Home Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 8
Interview & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 10
Guest Post at Closed the Cover
Friday, July 11
Review & Giveaway at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, July 14
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, July 15
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, July 17
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Friday, July 18
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story
Monday, July 21
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Tuesday, July 22
Spotlight & Giveaway at Caroline Wilson Writes
Thursday, July 24
Review & Giveaway at Closed the Cover
Friday, July 25
Tour Recap at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: "The Fortune Hunter" by Daisy Goodwin

The Fortune Hunter is an interesting tale that twines the lives of the famously beautiful Elizabeth of Austria (or ‘Sisi’ as she was known to her familiars), Captain “Bay” Middleton, and his fiancée Charlotte Baird.

Loosely based on historical fact, the novel opens with Charlotte, a plain girl in possession of a great inheritance. As such, she is a prize on the marriage market, but getting married is the last thing on her mind. Her obsession with the burgeoning art of photography is what holds her attention, much to her brother’s chagrin. When she comes into contact with Captain Middleton, she is swayed by his charm and is soon promising to marry him. Middleton is not unaware of her fortune, but truly cares for his fiancée and her various quirks. As a well known ladies man and superior horse rider, he is soon tapped to play pilot to visiting royalty--Sisi--and wrapped into her spell of beauty and mystique.

Ms. Goodwin excels at creating flawed but sympathetic characters. Even though Bay’s behavior is spoiled and self-serving, he still displays guilt at betraying Charlotte, the real woman of his heart. Charlotte is virtuous without being annoying. As for Sisi, she is cast into the role of usurper of Bay’s affections, which could easily spoil the reader’s perception of her. But instead, she comes across as sad--a woman who fleeing from her royal responsibilities all while still expecting full and undivided loyalty.

In short, The Fortune Hunter is an interesting read. And just look at that cover! While I did not like it as much as The American Heiress, it is still worth the read. And now I want to visit Vienna even more! Apparently Schonbrunn Palace has a whole Sisi Museum complete with the empress’s original clothing. Very cool!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Interview with an Author: Glen Craney and "The Spider and the Stone"

Please help me welcome Glen Craney to the blog today. His novel "The Spider and the Stone" is a fascinating account of Scotland in the time of English repression and clan upheaval. It is very well written and I enjoyed reading it. Here is a quick summary...

As the 14th century dawns, Scotland’s survival hangs by a spider’s thread. The maniacal Edward Longshanks of England schemes to annex the ancient kingdom to his growing realm. But a slight, dark-skinned boy named James Douglas—inspired by his headstrong lass—refuses to move from the monarch’s path. Here is the thrilling story of the war and forbidden love that saved Scotland and destined the founding of America.

Welcome Glen! First off... Tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you turn to writing?

First, thanks for inviting me to join your marvelous blog, Caroline. 

I came to writing novels in a roundabout way. I grew up in Indiana and worked as a trial lawyer in Indianapolis for a few years. I took a sabbatical from the law practice to attend Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and quickly discovered that I'd rather dig up stories than sit in boring depositions. After New York, I join the Washington D.C. press corps and covered national politics and the Iran-contra scandal as an editor-reporter for Congressional Quarterly magazine. 

For fun, I enrolled in a screenwriting class at Georgetown University, and the instructor encouraged me to pursue movie writing. On a whim, I moved to southern California and eventually won the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting, which is awarded by the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences. After snagging a Hollywood agent and pitching my ideas to studios, I took the advice of my late mentor, Harry Essex, a renowned writer of old Hollywood, and turned my screenplays into novels. I'm often told that my books have a cinematic bent, so that's probably the reason.

Scotland seems to be getting a lot of attention in historical fiction world lately. Were you inspired by this sudden interest or have you always been interested in the topic?

This year marks the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, Scotland's greatest military victory. And in September, the Scots will vote on their long-anticipated referendum for independence from the United Kingdom. Those of us with Scottish heritage worldwide have have greeted the Bannockburn commemoration with much celebration. Although the battle plays an important role inThe Spider and the Stone, the novel's release this year was purely coincidental.

The ghosts of Auld Caledonia apparently tapped me to write this novel. I don't know why, but I often get inspiration for my books in dreams. About ten years ago, I awoke from a vivid one in which I was a mounted knight fighting a duel near a stream with a black-robed hag who was armed with a sickle. In the midst of this death struggle, the dream shifted to a photograph of me standing with six other knights around a seated king in a pose of celebration. Below the photograph, a caption read: "Americans aid the King at Bannockburn."

Baffled, I went on a quest to decipher the dream's meaning. Within weeks, I was in Scotland walking the fields below Stirling and around the famous burn of Bannock. I thought I had traveled there to research a novel with King Robert Bruce as my protagonist. But two weeks later, when boarding the plane for home, I had two new main characters returning with me: Sir James Douglas, the Bruce’s friend and commander who terrorized northern England with his dashing raids; and Isabelle MacDuff, the Countess of Buchan, who turned against her clan to crown the Bruce. Their story unfolded so quickly in my mind that, when I got off the plane eight hours later, I had my novel outlined.

So who is your favorite character in the novel?

James Douglas, nicknamed the Black Douglas by the English, is a fascinating hero, but Isabelle MacDuff hasn't received the recognition she deserves. I have a special fondness for Isabelle. I don't want to give away the story line for readers, but she paid a horrid price for her decision to put Scotland's freedom ahead of her personal welfare. In my opinion, history has given short shrift to the role that Scot women in general played in the wars of independence. I hope Spider helps corrects that injustice.

Do you have any other works in progress?

I've had three other novels released this year, although all have been years in the making. Unlike many authors who stay within a particular era and genre, I can't avoid chasing a good historical tale wherever it leads me. 

The Yanks Are Starving recounts how a charismatic hobo led twenty thousand jobless World War One veterans into the nation's capital in 1932, only to be driven out by General Douglas MacArthur and the regular U.S. Army troops. The Virgin of the Wind Rose is a historical thriller about two espionage conspiracies, a half-millenium apart, that converge to expose the real identity of Christopher Columbus. The Lucifer Genome, which I wrote with fellow Columbia grad John Jeter, is a mystery-thriller about a holy relic and a desperate chase for the oldest human DNA on earth.

Currently, I'm at work on a novel set in Georgia during the last days of the American Civil War. I can't get into specifics, but if I were in a Hollywood producer's office, I'd pitch it as A League of their Own meets The Patriot.

Who is your favorite author?

My dirty little secret is that I read so much for research, my list tends to be mostly non-fiction. Robert Caro is a master at biography. When I do have the opportunity to enjoy good historical fiction, I've found that Sharon Kay Penman and the late Nigel Tranter rarely disappoint.

And finally, if you could live in any time period, what would it be?

If I could play centerfield for the Yankees, I'd choose the golden era of New York City baseball, the 1950s. Seriously, I'm not much of a romantic when it comes to historical eras. Life was so brutal and disease so rampant until the latter half of the last century that I don't know why anyone would want to trade our existence with that of another time period.

Thanks again for stopping in Glen. Getting to know is a worthy pursuit in my mind! "The Spider and the Stone" is now available at Amazon in both Kindle and paperback editions. To learn more about Glen and his other literary endeavors, please visit his website.

Interview with an Author: Glen Craney and "The Spider and the Stone"

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Chadwick and "The Summer Queen"

Today's spotlight is on Elizabeth Chadwick and her newest novel "The Summer Queen."

About the Book

Young Eleanor has a bright future as the heiress to wealthy Aquitaine. But when her beloved father dies, childhood is suddenly over. Forced to marry Prince Louis of France, she barely adjusts before another death catapults them to King and Queen. Leaving everything behind, young Eleanor must face the complex and vivacious French court – and all of its scandals.

Book Trailer

About the Author

Elizabeth Chadwick (UK) is the author of 20 historical novels, including The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion, A Place Beyond Courage, The Outlaw Knight, Shadows and Strongholds, The Winter Mantle, and The Falcons of Montabard, four of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Awards.

Praise for Elizabeth Chadwick

“An author who makes historical fiction come gloriously alive.” – The Times of London

“You don’t just read a Chadwick book; you experience it.” – Shelf and Stuff

“ A star back in Britain, Elizabeth Chadwick is finally getting the attention she deserves here.” – Dierdre Donahue, USA Today

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Queen-Novel-Eleanor-Aquitaine/dp/1402294069/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/summer-queen-elizabeth-chadwick/1116882616?ean=9781402294068

Books A Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Summer-Queen/Elizabeth-Chadwick/9781402294068

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781402294068

Win A Copy 

Follow the link to register to win a copy of "The Summer Queen" courtesy of the author and Sourcebooks!


Friday, July 11, 2014

Interview with an Author: Antonia Hodgson and "The Devil in Marshalsea"

Earlier this week, I spotlighted Antonia Hodgson's new novel "The Devil on Marshalsea". Well I'm back today with an interview with the author. I'd like to thank Antonia for taking the time to stop by.

       Tell us a bit about yourself. Youre an editor by trade--why did you choose to venture into writing?

I’m not sure it was a choice! I’ve always been drawn to writing, storytelling, creating characters, imagining worlds. When I write I become completely absorbed in what I’m doing—it’s the thing I want to do most and everything else fades away. This is one definition of happiness. Of course there are also many times when I pace up and down the room racked with self-doubt and frustration, but that’s all part of the process.

As for my job as an editor—I’ve worked in publishing ever since I finished university. I’m lucky—I’m good at English but rotten at almost everything else. This made it very easy for me to decide what job to pursue. I love reading and talking about books and I love being around inspiring, intelligent, creative people. So publishing was the obvious choice. I could have become a teacher like my mother, I suppose—but when you work in publishing, there is the added bonus that you can nip to the loo whenever you want.

How did you come up with your subject?

It all started with my main character, Tom Hawkins. He’s a young, impulsive gambler who has been living on his wits in 1720s London after being disinherited by his father. (Following an unfortunate incident in a brothel.) He’s terrible with money, so it seemed inevitable that he would end up in a debtors’ prison. So I began to research the various prisons of the time and came across the story of the Marshalsea gaol. I became fascinated by the way the prison was run and the story of its sadistic, charismatic keeper William Acton. I realized that it would be the perfect place to set the entire novel.

Who is your favorite character in the novel?

It’s dangerous having favorites when you write crime novels. You might have to kill them off…

I love it when readers tell me their favorites, though. I know at least one person who wants to marry Tom. Which would be a huge (if enjoyable) mistake.

Do you have any other works in progress?

I’ve just delivered the sequel. I’ve really fallen in love with the period and the world I’ve created. I just hope I can drag readers along with me for the ride!

Who is your favorite author?

I don’t have one favorite. I tend to have favorite books, rather than authors. Frankenstein, The Woman in White, Catch 22, Our Mutual Friend, Remains of the Day, Gormenghast, A Place of Greater Safety, The Constant Gardener, Cold Comfort Farm, Njal’s Saga, Watchmen, and so many more. That variety is part of the joy of reading, for me. So many worlds to explore.

And lastly, a bonus question. If you could live in any time period, what would it be?

Right here, right now. Any other answer speaks of regret or escape. I like to look my own time period in the eye and live in it just as well as I can. 

Well there you have it folks. I'd like to thank Antonia for stopping in. Make sure you pick up a copy of her novel "The Devil in Marshalsea". It's available at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, and Indiebound.