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Friday, 29 September 2017

Historical Literature at its pure best! .@pruebatten #medieval #historical

Book One of The Triptych Chronicle
Prue Batten

Byzantium stretches a weakening grip across Eastern Europe, trying in vain to hold onto all that has made it an empire. Tyrian purple, the unique dye that denotes its power, is held under close guard by the imperial house.

However a Jewish merchant from Venice has sourced an illegal supply and Tobias the dwarf minstrel and his twin brother, Tomas, begin a dangerous journey to retrieve the purple and deliver it into the merchant’s eager hands.

But is this supply as secret as they had hoped?

Trade is cut throat, men are expendable, money is power and Constantinople provides the exotic backdrop during a time of scimitars and shadows.

This is Tobias – the story of a minstrel and a broken life…

Semi-finalist in 2016 M.m. Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction (UK)
'Authentic characters and a twisting plot move this tale to a gripping end.' Christian Cameron, author of The Chivalry Series
'Although the time and the place of the story is very different, there was something ... that reminded me of the great Patrick O'Brian. For historical fiction, there is really no greater praise.' Matthew Harffy - The Bernicia Chronicles.
‘A powerful tale of violence, treachery, and intrigue, set in the cut-throat world of medieval trade.’ Ann Swinfen, author of The Chronicles of Christoval Alvarez.
‘An atmospheric journey through the seedy underbelly of medieval Europe.’ SJA Turney, author of Marius’s Mules.

Excerpt from
Tobias (The Triptych Chronicle Book 1)

They stopped at the top of the stair. Behind them, the world opened out, tantalising in its vast opportunity. Promising so much, Toby thought. In some monastery chapel close by, men’s voices drifted on the air in a chant, just the one word – Alleluleia, a single voice and then choral responses in tonal rises and falls. Had he come to Constantinople for this? For Divine music and inspirational words? Or for excitement and lust?
But all he could think of as he turned back to the massive doors that made him feel like an ant was, No, I came to buy a lyra.
Dana walked through the south gates and along the narthex, avoiding the imperial gates. He followed like a child, skirting the omphalos, his eyes drifting up to the dome that hung weightless it seemed, above them. Light streamed in through the windows and to anyone who thought God didn’t exist, this sight above all others must change their minds. Toby crossed himself as he spun slowly in a circle, eyes fixed on that sight.
How in Heaven’s name had they created arches strong enough to hold the dome in place?
His eyes drifted further and what he had thought were smaller buildings, clustered around the skirt of the basilica, were in fact supportive smaller domes. It was a wonder of construction … coloured marbles that reminded him of Dana’s kerkis trees and golden mosaics, a richness that made one question if one was now in Heaven. He stared at the huge silver iconostasis in the distance, but then his glance caught on the most perfect icon – the Pantocrator’s face, placid, wise, all-knowing. He crossed himself again.
‘Tobias,’ hissed Dana. ‘Tobias, pay attention. I have found a priest who can help us…’ She grabbed Toby’s arm and yanked him behind her toward a tall man whose hair flowed luxuriantly and whose beard intermingled with his hair. On his head, a small cloth skoufos balanced precariously and he wore a plain but richly golden pectoral cross. ‘Tobias, this is Father Symeon. He has been within the Church all day and had an enquiry from a small person … did you not, Father?’
‘Indeed. He was … not unlike yourself,’ he nodded at Tobias, a hand reaching for the prayer rope at his wrist and fingering the knots.
He is afraid of me…

Monday, 25 September 2017

Red-hot sex. Searing betrayal. A passionate and elusive love… .@AnniFifeAuthor #inlust #steamybooks


Chased by her criminal kingpin father, Katya Dalca runs to New Orleans and straight into the arms of Luke Hunter.
Sucked into the carnal world of the French Quarter, she succumbs to Luke’s potent sexuality. He not only steals her breath, he steals her heart, and the only leverage she has against her father.
She’s left with no choice but to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life alone.
Undercover DEA agent Luke Hunter thought his newest assignment—recover a stolen flash drive to gain the trust of the Russian mob—was like any other.

But his target brings him to his knees, and after one taste of her intoxicating beauty, he's in too deep. Doing his job means walking away, leaving his heart behind with nothing but a promise to reunite. It's a promise he can't keep.

When Katya's past reaches out and her world unravels, her only hope is the one man she is most vulnerable to—Luke.

(When Katya first meets Luke, he is operating undercover as Michael.)

I snuggled deeper into the cosy bedding, lazy and heavy-limbed. Shifting slightly, warmth spread through me as the slight stickiness between my legs brought with it delicious memories of the night before. I never dreamed that I could be so wanton, so wildly desperate for one man’s touch.

And boy, did he touch! His potency evident in every aching muscle in my body.

Mmmm. Heat flickered as his musky scent infused my senses.


I loved his voice. Especially when he said my name, so deep, rich like dark molasses.


I forced my lids open. And drowned in sensual, male beauty. “Hi,” I purred. And it was a purr. I sounded like a sated cat. Inching a hand out from under the covers, I reached up, hungry to stroke his rough morning stubble.

He reared back as if stung.


My hand hovered midair as he lowered himself to a chair that was pulled up close to the bedside.

How did that chair get there? Was he watching me sleep?

Sluggish, I looked at the window. The curtains were drawn together but didn’t quite meet. Faint light trickled in. It was barely morning. I looked back at Michael and cold started to seep in. Shit. He was fully clothed, he was even wearing his jacket. Only his hair looked out of place. He obviously couldn’t find the cord that I’d enthusiastically pulled from it like a wild woman, and now it hung loose to his shoulders. Bed-hair. Do men get bed-hair?

He was still. Hands clasped together, elbows resting on his knees. Here, but not here. Only his eyes flickered as they roamed intensely over my face. Such wickedly, beautiful eyes. After he came inside me they had turned an inky-blue, almost black.

Now, they were deep shards of navy. And they sent ice cascading through me.

I was still naked and he was fully clothed. I jerked upright and pulled the covers to my chin. My stomach quivered, only it wasn’t in a sexy way.


Friday, 22 September 2017

A disgraced aristocrat, distant planets and a new identity - Zara by .@MarkHenwick #free #scifi #serial

Zara - A Name Among The Stars
Mark Henwick

Your family’s been murdered, the estates illegally confiscated, and they’ve turned it around so people think you’re the criminal. The warrant for your arrest is a fiction, and you face a stone cold certainty you’d never make it to the prison cell alive.

To get off the planet, you forge a new identity and take the first job you might be qualified for.

You didn’t expect what happens next. To fall in love with everything about your new role – everything – including a man who can’t possibly respond. And then to find that the same conspiracy that destroyed your family is intent on destroying his as well, using you as a weakness in his defences.

Run away? Stay and fight, knowing that even victory will leave you alone again?

Read the  first two episodes for FREE!

You are nothing without me. Nothing! It will serve you best to remember that.

My grandfather shouting, looming over me. Terrifying man, utterly terrifying. Strong and confident adults were afraid of him, let alone a fifteen-year-old slip of a girl as I was at the time. Those wild eyebrows over the cold, piercing eyes. That cruel mouth, and the voice that issued from it; born to command. The way he carried tension in his body, as if it could break out into violence at any second.

…remember that.

I remember. He’d spoken those words standing in front of the panoramic window in his study.

That window looked over the formal manor gardens, past the ornamental lake and down into the stretching crop fields below. There were misty woods in the far distance. No inch of ground that he saw from that window was not under his ownership. The manor itself bore his Name.

You are nothing…

Quivering in fear, I had stubbornly refused to believe it then.

The arrogance of untried youth. I’d put a lot of faith in the weight of history that lay on the manor and estates. Even later, as I began to see the troubles that he’d long known, I refused to believe.


The weight of history, I’d thought, though I’d not dared to say it aloud.

But history has no weight, and forms no shield. History is simply a long time to collect enemies.

…without me.

And I am without him now. He is dead, murdered by exactly the enemies he warned me about, not six years after that lecture in his study.

The large counter at the front of the room clicks loudly. Everyone’s eyes jerk up, even though we know the number displayed is one more than the last number, and we all know what number we hold in our sweaty hands.

The last woman who’d entered the office at the front hadn’t come back. She’d gone out another way, gone through. They’d let her through.

As a distraction, I try to call her to mind. Young, tall, thin, short blonde hair, serious look. Nervous, but then all of us are. Who is she? A student perhaps, hoping to join some distant university off-world? A course unavailable here?

I don’t know. All I really know about her is she has been let through; that she’s getting off this planet.

Would I trade places with her? Without even knowing who she is and where she’s going?

She didn’t look stupid; she wouldn’t trade with me, even if it were possible, not for all my ‘privileges’ and ‘history’.

And neither would I trade with her.

Fool! Arrogant imbecile! Your pride will slow you, and then the hounds will drag you down into the dirt where you will die. I imagine my grandfather’s anger at my refusal to trade places with the student, spitting out the kind of hunting metaphor he always used.

In a strange way, it is comforting to imagine him still here, still angry at me.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Enjoy reading #romcom? Check out The Blow-In for laughs and romance .@susl #womenslit

Excerpt to whet your appetite

The Blow-In

“Finola McGee, editor-in-chief,” it said on the gleaming brass plate.

I picked up my phone to take a shot of this amazing sight but put it back in my bag. No reason to celebrate or brag about it. Had it been The Irish Telegraph, where I had been the political reporter until recently, it would have been a big deal. But it was a tiny local rag in a little town in County Tipperary with a circulation of about four thousand. A bit of a come-down it would seem. But, ah well, I was taking a break from the hustle and bustle—to rest and recuperate among the rolling hills and green valleys of the Irish countryside. To breathe fresh air. To listen to the birds in the early morning. To enjoy silence, calm and bucolic country life. Running the Knockmealdown News would be fun and different, I told myself. I might even find myself a handsome farmer to marry and have five kids and a dog. My mother would be beside herself with joy.

“Why Knockmealdown?” I wondered when I applied for the job.

“Because of the mountain range,” Jerry Murphy, the owner and publisher told me during the job interview in his local pub, pointing out the window as he downed a pint of Guinness with impressive speed.

“Of course,” I said, feeling stupid as I looked out over the green slopes of said mountains. “I should have realised.”

Jerry nodded and raised a finger, which resulted in a waiter racing across the grubby carpet, coming to a screeching halt at our table like The Road Runner. I was impressed. I usually had to grab waiters by their throats to get them to take any notice.

“Another one, please, Paddy,” Jerry said. “How about you, Finola? Will you join me in a pint? They pull the best one in Ireland here.”

Mentally salivating at the thought of a well-pulled pint of the black stuff, I toyed with my glass of Ballygowan. But the new me only drank alcohol at weekends.

“No thanks. I’ll stick to water.”

He studied me with his bird-like pale-blue eyes. “You’re not a pioneer, are you?”

I faked a jolly laugh. “Not at all. I do like a pint now and then. But…” I hesitated. “I gave it up for lent.”

“It’s the end of May.”

“It’s a kind of detox thing.”

He eyed my bag of bacon crisps. “Right. Okay. Just the one then, Paddy,” he said to the waiter, a tall man with teeth like a horse.

“Righty-o, Jerry,” Paddy chortled and prepared to leave.

Jerry stopped him. “Before you go, I’d like you to meet our new editor.”

Paddy’s eyes widened as he noticed me. “Jesus Christ, if it isn’t Finola McGee.” He wiped his hand on the back of his trousers and grabbed mine in an iron grip. “The famous Finola!”

“How did you know?” I asked, trying not to wince.

 “I’ve seen you on the telly a couple of times. No mistaking that freckly face and the wild hair. Except now it’s short and purple. Suits you.”

Friday, 15 September 2017

Ooops, here's the late inventory of #book #excerpts #authors #writing

I was so excited by the upcoming excerpt event that I forgot to do an inventory of the authors taking part!
For September and October (and probably November, as a few late entries are coming forward as the word gets round) I am opening WWBB to showcase author excerpts, and to start us off we had Harriet Steel with her crime mystery called Trouble in Nuala. A great start, I think you’d agree.

So, in date order we have the following:

The Blow-In by Susanne O'Leary – 18/09/17

Zara – a name among the stars by Mark Henwick – 22/09/17

Luke’s Redemption by Anni Fife – 25/09/17

Tobias (Book One of The Triptych Chronicle) by Prue Batten 29/09/17

After Midnight by Travann Rogers – 02/10/17

Dustwalker by Tiffany Roberts 05/10/17

Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton – 09/10/17

A Secret Muse by Mandy Jackson-Beverly – 13/10/17

The Cowboy and the Vampire by Kathleen McFall 17/10/17

The Haunting of Dr Bowen by C. A. Verstraete 28/10/17

Lizzie Bowden Zombie Hunter by C. A. Verstraete 31/10/17

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Mystery and intrigue spiced with humour .@harrietsteel1 #bynr #exoticbooks

Trouble in Nuala

Harriet Steel
When Inspector Shanti de Silva moves with his English wife, Jane, to a new post in the sleepy hill town of Nuala, he anticipates a more restful life than police work in the big city entails. However an arrogant plantation owner with a lonely wife, a crusading lawyer, and a death in suspicious circumstances present him with a riddle that he will need all his experience to solve.

Set on the exotic island of Ceylon in the 1930s, Trouble in Nuala is an entertaining and relaxing mystery spiced with humour and a colourful cast of characters.


Trouble in Nuala

Inspector Shanti de Silva exhaled a deep sigh of relief as the train left the sweltering lowlands of Colombo and commenced the long climb to Kandy. From his seat in the polished teak and leather opulence of the First-Class carriage, he watched the forest become denser with every mile, plantations of banana, king coconut and rubber trees jostling for space in the rich, red earth.
From time to time, the trees retreated to make way for the startling lime-green splash of a paddy field where egrets stood like white question marks, hungry for water snails and frogs. Elsewhere he saw dusty villages slumbering in the heat of the afternoon. Their elders squatted outside the huts, huddled in little oases of shade cast by overhanging roofs thatched with palm leaves. Village children, their energy less sapped by the heat, jumped up and ran alongside the tracks, waving and shouting until they tired of the race to keep up.
The train stopped at Kandy, obliging de Silva to pay a few rupees for a rickshaw man to take him on to the nearby station at Peradeniya where he had to wait an hour for the hill train. Even in the waiting room, there was no escape from the heat. It seemed to have coalesced into a damp, solid block that pressed down on the air, squeezing out every trace of freshness. He pushed a finger between the limp collar of his starched shirt and his perspiring neck and ran it round, then fanned himself with his hat.
A summons to attend as a witness in a trial at the High Court in Colombo had been the cause of this uncongenial journey. He consoled himself with the thought that his evidence had made a considerable contribution to the conviction of a gang of thieves who would no longer be at liberty to ply their nefarious trade in the city’s bazaars and public places. It had been a nuisance though that the trial had run into an extra day. He had hoped to be home for the weekend but it hadn’t been practical to make the slow journey after Friday’s hearing, only to return on Sunday in time for court the following day.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Book excerpts wanted (to entice, enthral and enjoy!)

I've been a bit lax on my blog this year but now I'm back and I want to rev it up again!

And I'd like to start with book excerpts to take us into autumn, so I'm asking you, dear authors, to send me your 500 (approx.) book excerpt, blurb and purchase link (no more than three links) to me at: wiselouise@gmail.com

My blog may only haver 500 followers but my posts are shared to over 9m people using various platforms facilities. Oh, and all books will be posted on Book Junkies, and if you've not heard of that then where have you been! lol Check it out here.

That's it. A short and sweet guest post.

What are you waiting for? Email those enticing excerpts!