Award-Winning People are Talking About Acre’s Orphans

Acre’s Orphans has been less than a week, so it’s too early to tell if anyone is actually going to buy it. But they ARE reading it. I know, because I’ve received some very kind words about it from people who win awards and stuff. Many of these are from terrific writers who have read, and enjoyed, Lucca’s adventures. These are writers who I am proud will even talk to me, let alone enjoy my work. (I would write an entire blog post about Impostor Syndrome, but I’m probably not up to it.) That’s a joke. Kinda.

My writing friend Jeffrey Walker, author of the Sweet Wine of Youth series about the First World War, recently showcased me on his blog. (Read the interview here). His last book, Truly are the Free, just won an Indie Brag award for historical fiction as well as a short-list for the Goethe Award


Acre’s Orphans is another rollicking and gritty medieval romp for Wayne Turmel’s utterly incorrigible—yet grudgingly adorable—orphan-hero, Lucca Le Pou. A delightful read for any historical fiction devotee, Turmel manages to render up the decaying Kingdom of Jerusalem accessible, violent, and naughty enough to hook any YA reader, too. Who knew Hospitaller knights and leprous nuns could be so cool?

Apparently someone else is a fan of leprous nuns, because Bradley Harper, author of the Edgar-award winning A Knife In the Fog told me his favorite part was the battle with the bandits where (avoiding big spoilers) poor Sister Marie-Pilar saves the day. You never know what people are going to take from your work, but I kinda dug that scene as well. Brad’s first novel has been short-listed for a a freakin’ Edgar award as Best First Novel. Here’s his review:

“Acre’s Orphans is an enjoyable excursion back to the battle for the Holy Land, contested by none other than the fierce but honorable Salah-Din. Ten-year-old Lucca the Louse has his hands full avoiding Saracen soldiers, merciless bandits, and a spy loyal to neither side but hoping to profit from both. The tale is faithful to history and the diverse culture of the region which exists up to the current day. The characters are well-drawn and the stakes are high when the boy is entrusted with an important message from the captured city of Acre, intended for the remnants of the Christian nobility along the northern coast, four days travel away.  Accompanied by a giant Knight Hospitaller, a young Druze girl on the cusp of womanhood, and a leprous nun, Lucca must get his ragged party safely to Tyre, where an uncertain reception awaits them all.”

Another award-winner is Barbara Barnett. She’s an insanely smart person whose novel The Apothecary’s Curse was short-listed for the 2017 Stoker award. She was the first to tell me in documented form what she thought…

“A splendid adventure laced with new perils at every turn for the young hero at the heart of Turmel’s latest excellent foray into the heart of the Crusades.”

We don’t write for awards. We sure don’t write for the money, but we do write to be read. To have my words enjoyed by people all over the world, including those whose talent I respect is more than a little fun. Just thought I’d share.

If you haven’t ordered your copy of Acre’s Orphans, or haven’t read the first of Lucca’s adventures, they are available on Kindle or in Paperback wherever you get your fix.

And please, leave a review. It’s like applause for the author.

It’s Here. Acre’s Orphans is Out in the World

Even in a city as dirty, crowded, and generally stinky as Acre the smell of smoke stands out from the other odors. There are two kinds of smoke smells. The good kind promises a warm charcoal fire on a cold, rainy day—or a hot meal pretty much any time.

Today, it was the bad kind, and far more exciting…

Acre’s Orphans is the continuing tale of Lucca Le Pou, an orphan boy on the streets of Acre-the wickedest city in the world. He may have survived the Battle of Hattin, but now his beloved city is about to fall to Salah-adin and the Saracens.

What’s left of the Kingdom of Jerusalem is fractured and fighting among itself. When he uncovers a plot to divide the remaining Crusaders, he must get news to the Tyre–the last remaining Crusader stronghold. Can he make it before it’s too late for everyone he loves?

If you’re one of the many readers from around the world who enjoyed Acre’s Bastard, this is the next journey. If you haven’t read the first book yet, this one stands alone and only adds to Lucca’s growing legend.


“The characters are intriguing, the plot is tight, and there is fresh adventure around every turn. Well worth the read”

Windy City Reviews

You can order Acre’s Orphans on Kindle or the paperback at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Chapters.ca

New Zealand Pioneers and Smart Sheepdogs- Amanda Giorgis

Every country in the world has stories to tell about its founding or settling. Yet if you read historical fiction, it would appear the Americans and Brits have the market cornered. Maybe it’s the Canadian in me, but I love stories set in places I’ve never been, and aren’t the same old tropes rehashed (I’m looking at you, Civil War and Regency.) That leads us to Amanda Giorgis and her tale of New Zealand’s pioneering past, The Wideawake Hat.

Okay Amanda, let’s get to it. What’s your deal?

None of my family were surprised when I told them I had written a book, although the surprise was that it has taken me 62 years to do it! I grew up in a small village in Somerset, UK with imaginative parents who passed on their love of books and reading, and the rare ability to see through other people’s eyes and put myself in other’s shoes. I started life in teaching but fell by accident into computing at a time when the industry was dominated by men and ‘computing’ was not even a school subject.For most of my career I stayed around the world of education, making computer systems work for real people in colleges and universities in England. We, that is my husband Terry and I, made the long trip to New Zealand for a wedding in 1997 and fell in love with the country, but it took us another 9 years to form a decent plan to emigrate. We both wish we had done so 20 years earlier, when we were young enough to fully embrace the carefree outdoor lifestyle of this beautiful country.
It suits me fine that there’s little need to wear ‘posh’ clothes here. Nor do you feel like you are competing with your neighbours for the latest new thing. People take you as you are here. I like that. And it is hard not to be inspired by the scenery. One gets quite blasé about the mountains on your doorstep and the wide panoramas which we take for granted as we drive to the shops.
When I am not writing I am usually to be found in the garden battling the elements to force plants to grow in our wild environment, or walking our three rescue huntaway dogs, or in a church tower ringing bells. Bellringing is a passion I share with Terry. We met that way, when I was just a schoolgirl, and, over the years, we have made many friends and woven our lives around ringing church bells.

What’s the story behind The Wideawake Hat?

The Wideawake Hat is the first book in a series about the early settlers to New Zealand’s South Island. It tells the true story of James Mackenzie, a local folk hero after whom the Mackenzie Basin is named, and his clever sheep dog, Friday. Although the facts of James’ arrest for sheep rustling, and subsequent pardon, are irrefutable, what became of him is not certain. The book wraps a fictional scenario around the truth of the story. It begins in 1849 with the arrival in Port Chalmers of newly-weds, George and Sophia McKay. They journey inland to find a new home and, along with settlers from all parts of the Empire, form a new and thriving community.
The saga will continue weaving fact and fiction with the development of the Mackenzie Basin over the second half of the 19th century, and maybe beyond?

Why this story? What was it that was so interesting to you?

The 1850s in the South Island of New Zealand saw the start of European settlement. Before that only Maori had lived there, and they were relative newcomers to the land where strange and unique creatures like the kiwi had evolved undisturbed by human contact. I often wonder how these folk would have felt making a journey from which there was no likely return to a place they knew almost nothing about. Perhaps it would be like us taking on a voyage to the far reaches of the universe. 
Life was tough for the early explorers, many of whom had grown up with strict Victorian sensibilities. Genteel womenfolk who discarded their corsets and full skirts to work on the rough land in harsh weather. Young women who spent much of their adult life pregnant, and became accustomed to the loss of loved ones in the harsh conditions. The men – mainly the second sons of farmers, unlikely to inherit – forced to build shelter for their wives and children and to find food and carve a livelihood, unaware of the extremities of the climate and the vagaries of the indigenous flora and fauna.
I am fascinated by these pioneer souls and wonder if I would ever have had the courage to take the journey myself. I hope I would have done so. I would like to be like Sophia, my heroine.
The idea for the book didn’t come from Sophia though. It came from the tales that surround the mysterious James Mackenzie. He was arrested and imprisoned for sheep rustling and later pardoned because it was ruled that the use of his dog to prove his guilt was unlawful. That much is fact, but there are many stories about him which cannot be substantiated. The one which became the germ of my book is the story that tells of the three sets of footprints found in the wet ground when he was arrested. I asked the question, “Who could have made those other footprints?” And the answer is – my story!

Tough question- what’s your favorite scene?

I could choose so many scenes – maybe the one where James saves Sophia from the unwanted attentions of Thomas Baylis. Or the one where that same rogue, Thomas, meets his demise. Or maybe the trial scene where James begs to be able to hold his beloved dog one last time – that’s a real tear jerker.
In the end I have chosen the pivotal point of the story, where George is caught in a sudden storm. He tries to cross the swollen river on horseback to get home to Sophia. Roy, his dog, hitching a ride across the saddle. It is the part of the book I read aloud to people, but I have to stop at a certain point to avoid spoilers! It shows George’s naivety in building a flimsy bridge which cannot survive the storm and his lack of knowledge of the sudden changes in weather in this part of the world. Despite this, he does his best to get home to his beloved wife. I also like the loyalty of Roy, his dog, and his absolute faith in his master to do the right thing to save them all. It is the passage where most readers tell me they get hooked on the story, and one where a box of tissues may be required!

Where can folks go to learn more?

‘The Wideawake Hat’, published in October 2018, is available on Amazon as an e-book or paperback, and on Kobo as an e-book. The paperback version can also be purchased in New Zealand from my website.
Book 2 of the Applecross Saga, ‘Shepherd’s Delight’, will be available in mid-2019 from the same outlets.
My website is www.amandagiorgis.com
On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Amanda-Giorgis-2139172903077531/
On Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18484155.Amanda_Giorgis


Not to barge in on Amanda’s interview, but Acre’s Orphans officially launches January 28th! You can order Paperbacks on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Chapters. The e-book is Kindle only Please help me launch it successfully by buying now. And any time you read a book  like The Wideawake Hat (or one of mine,) please leave an Amazon or Goodreads review. It’s like applause for  the author.

Jack the Ripper Meets Conan Doyle- Bradley Harper

The best part of writing (or reading) historical fiction is the “what if” game. So here’s one for you. What if Arthur Conan Doyle was caught up in the Jack the Ripper investigation and THAT’S what gave birth to Sherlock Holmes? You gotta admit, that’s a good one, and it’s the premise of Bradley Harper’s novel, A Knife in the Fog.

I stumbled across the book while listening to Ilana Masad’s podcast, The Other Stories (check it out.)

So, Brad, what’s your deal?

I’m a retired US Army pathologist with over 200 autopsies to my credit, about twenty of which were forensic in nature. Prior to attending med school I was an Airborne Infantry officer who had a bad encounter with an army physician, and I decided I could do better. I’ve had four commands, served in the Pentagon on the personal staff of the US Army Surgeon General, and while supporting US Special Forces in Colombia had a $1.5 million bounty on my head for anyone who could deliver me alive to the FARC (offer no longer valid, by the way). In Nov-Dec timeframe my wife of forty-five years and I portray a happily married couple from the North Pole at a local theme park. I’m a soft touch however, and only threaten those on the Naughty List with Spiderman Underoos or burnt cookies.

You are a doctor, double as Santa Claus AND write  your butt off. That’s a good life you got going. What’s the premise behind Knife  in the Fog?

My book is a work of historical fiction, in which I put a relatively unknown young Arthur Conan Doyle on the trail of Jack the Ripper, until the Ripper begins stalking him. I did extensive historical research into the Ripper murders, the Whitechapel area, and Victorian society. I relied heavily upon the expertise of Ripper historian Richard Jones, who besides having two books to his credit on the Ripper, runs a walking tour company that goes in Whitechapel at night. I bought out an evening tour so for some three hours the two of us ambled through the Ripper’s old hunting grounds, and stopped for a drink at the Ten Bells, a pub that served two of the Ripper’s victims, and is still in business today. 

That’s a killer premise. How’d it come to you?

My idea for the book came to me one day while reading about Doyle on Wikipedia. I was surprised to learn that there was a four-year gap between the first Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet (written 1886, released 1887), and the Sign of Four (written and released in 1890). Doyle had a terrible time getting anyone interested in the first story, and in the end settled for twenty-five pounds and loss of copyright just to get it published. Doyle was so embittered that he swore to never write another “crime story.” The Ripper murders happened in late summer and early fall of 1888, and I conceived of a tale involving Doyle that would explain why he eventually agreed to return to Holmes and why the Ripper suddenly stopped without ever knowingly being caught. The idea just grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go. 

Tell us about one particular scene in your book

During my walk with Mr Jones he mentioned that the discovery of the body of the Ripper’s fifth victim, Mary Kelly, coincided with the installation of the new Lord Mayor of London, scarcely a mile away, and that thousands of people left the ceremony to witness her body’s removal. The report at the time mentioned that the crowd was utterly silent as her body was carted away in a simple wooden box. I interspersed the sights and sounds of the formal ceremony with this scene of pathos, and had the sounds of celebration just discernible to the silent witnesses to the Ripper’s foul handiwork. 

It was a similar one-on-one with a tour guide that inspired Acre’s Bastard and Acre’s Orphans. What else should we know?

My book is available at all major bookstores and most independents that deal with mystery, as well as Amazon, and an audio book (Tantor Media)  and ebook format are also available. I was flattered to be allowed to choose the narrator, and Mathew Lloyd Davies, who won an Audie in 2018, just blew me away. A former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, his narration is really a performance. Hearing my words voiced by a professional actor was a thrill I really can’t describe.

Not to barge in on Brad’s interview, but Acre’s Orphans is now available for pre-order on Amazon,  Barnes and Noble, and Chapters. Please help us launch it successfully by buying now. And any time you read a book  like Knife in the Fog (or one of mine,) please leave an Amazon or Goodreads review. It’s like applause for  the author.

Where did Lucca the Louse Come From?

No doubt by now you are aware that Acre’s Orphans will be published on January 28th. Many of you are familiar with its hero, Lucca le Pou (or Lucca the Louse for those of you who don’t speak French.) He’s a popular little guy, and a number of people ask me how I came up with him.

Put simply, Lucca started as a fun idea, and was finally created out of horrible tragedy. It’s probably a story worth sharing, and very few of you will have heard this one. So it started here:

Me in Jerusalem, about 2007

This is me standing in the old city of Jerusalem in November of 2008 on the site of the Hospital of St John… the Hospitallers for those of you who follow such things. As I stood there, thinking all kinds of Crusadery thoughts, I kept asking myself, “what the hell were they thinking?”

The Crusades have always held a fascination for me. I’m a sucker for knights and jousting and swords are always cooler than guns. So I tried to imagine what would make someone travel halfway around the world to fight in a war that, to my modern mind, makes no sense at all. Especially the battle of Hattin. What the hell makes someone do that? And what must it have been like for people who weren’t nobility or churchmen– the average folks? I figured there was a story there, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. Acre’s Bastard originally started as the tale of a Hospitaller knight, and it wasn’t particularly inspiring, given that most of them would be slaughtered at the end.

Then this picture flashed around the world.

This picture of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh was from 2016 when Russian bombs fell on the Syrian city of Aleppo. Aleppo is about 300 miles from Acre, and was a constant scene of battle even back in the 1100s.

Omran Daqneesh is the original Lucca

I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that children had been dying in wars in the region since the beginning of our history, and it just gets uglier and more vicious. That led me to think about other stories of children caught up in war. I was much more interested in the civilians than the knights and nobility. What would it be like for a child back then. If Lucca was a bit older, you know who he reminded me of???

One of my favorite stories is Kim by Rudyard Kipling. An orphan caught up in wartime, befriending soldiers and living on his wits. If you haven’t read it, you’re missing out.

So, I made him more like one of my favorite characters

And so, I imagined Lucca as old enough to not be traumatized like young Omran, and not old enough to actually have to fight, and there you have it.

Now he’s on his second adventure, Acre’s Orphans. There are still lepers, knights, spies, and swordplay. There will be tears and, yes, a lot of laughs.

Check out the new book when it’s published on January 28th. It is available to pre-order on Kindle and the paperback will be available by January 20th.

Of course, if you haven’t read Acre’s Bastard yet, get on it!

I am a Terrible Person. I Kind of Dig It.

I am a terrible, awful, very bad person.

This is clear to me now. There’s no avoiding it. I mean, I don’t kick kittens or steal Salvation Army kettles or anything like that. But I am an objectively evil person because, as a writer, I kind of enjoy torturing my readers. That’s not nice, right?

Example 1: Acre’s Bastard  

My new novel, Acre’s Bastard will be out in January of 2017 and available in all formats and online stores

So, prepublication for the book, I was sending out copies to some folks who said they’d read an advance copy and maybe give me some quotes or reviews. I didn’t know many of these folks, and they’d all read a synopsis. The next day I got a Facebook message from one of these ladies giving me hell and saying I should have put a content warning on the book and I was an irresponsible author for not telling people that certain content might not be appropriate.

Remember, this is Acre’s Bastard. The one many people say is really a (shiver) YA book in disguise. What had gotten her so upset?

The exact quote was, “the graphic sexual assault in chapter 2 triggered my PTSD and really upset me. If you’d put a warning up front I never would have read this horrible thing.”

I was mortified. I don’t want to belittle her experience, and I truly am sorry I upset her. I  went to several other people for their opinion. They all felt it was fine, and she was overreacting. I sent her a note saying there were no hard feelings for her posting her feelings all over Facebook for complete strangers and potential readers to see (even though I thought it was a bit much, you can’t discount people’s feelings or experience.)

Here’s what makes me a bad person: Once I got over the shock of her reaction, one thought kept recurring to me. I was actually kinda proud of myself. To get that reaction,  I must have written the s@#$t out of that scene. It made me smile. Still does. I’m a bad person.

Example 2: Los Angeles, 1952

This is one of my favorite short stories (you can read it here and judge for yourself.) I’ve never been able to find a home for it, for two reasons. First, it’s over 5000 words, and in this world where most short stories are published online, that pretty much makes it War and Peace. Secondly though, it contains a certain word. A word I’ve never used in real life and makes me cringe. You know, the N word.

Just last week a magazine editor told me how much he enjoyed the story, thought it was very well written, but “some of the language” made him uncomfortable and he couldn’t publish it. Now, I can protest (as I often do) that the language and behavior of the characters are not necessarily those of the management. Truth is, when I thought of Lorna yelling that word during the excitement of a boxing match, I smiled because I knew how readers would respond. When I brought it into my writers group, I could hear gasps when they got to “that scene” and it made me happy to my toes. Again, not very nice of me was it?

The latest example: Acre’s Orphans

A character dies in chapter 12. A character a lot of people are very fond of. And I laughed out loud when it came to me. Not in a text-y LOL kind of way, but really laughed. So loud it scared Byron, my cockatiel. Not because it wasn’t sad, but because if I did my job right it would elicit a South Park “you bastards you killed Kenny” moment. When several of my beta readers told me how they reacted, I didn’t apologize. I didn’t shrink. I soaked up their emotional responses, lit a cigar and thought, “yeah baby. That’s my job.”

The truth is, I like making people laugh. I like making them cheer, but I also like making them have an unexpected emotional reaction. Sometimes it’s positive, sometimes it’s horror, or sadness, or disgust. Good. That’s my freaking job.

Someone once said that being a novelist is like telling a joke and waiting 6 months for the laugh. It’s true. If a writer touches you in the feels, let him or her know. Better yet tell them AND Amazon with a review.It’s kinda why we do this.

Even if it means we have to admit we’re terrible, awful, really bad people.

 

15th Century Rom-Com Susan Appleyard

https://www.amazon.com/Crown-Pride-Honour-Wars-Roses-ebook/dp/B07DZMVKFJ/I define historical fiction as any fiction taking place in a different time in history than the one we’re in now. This sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how picky some people (also known as histfic snobs) can be. For example, if there’s enough real history involved, I include alternative history and historical fantasy. Many don’t, and are quite cranky about it. The point is, it can cover many genres, and today’s interview is about a light, romantic tale that takes place in the 15th Century: Susan Appleyard’s “For the Crown.”

Susan, tell us about you…

I was born in England, which is where I learned to love English history, and now live in Canada in the summer with my three children and six grandchildren. In winter my husband and I flee the cold for Mexico, sun, sea and margaritas on the beach. I divide my time between writing and my new hobby, oil painting but writing will always be my first love

 

What’s For the Crown about?

A new departure for me from historical fiction, my latest book ‘For the Crown’ is a historical romance with a dash of humour. The hero is Robbie, Bastard of Ovedale, a warden on the border with Scotland. On one of his forays chasing cattle thieves, he captures a Scots girl, Mary Margaret Douglas and hopes to exchange her for a nice ransom. This plan is disrupted when her family refuses to take her back because she has been ‘ruined’ by the English. Robbie doesn’t know what to do with her. He is forced to take her with him when he goes to war. There is a great deal of dislike and distrust between English and Scots at this time. Robbie has to keep her safe and finds himself falling in love with her.

What is it about this time period that has you so fascinated?

The story is set in the fifteenth century, in the period known as the Wars of the Roses, a very turbulent time in English history as two rival claimants fought for the crown. I have written other books about this period and never tire of reading about it, which proves you can enjoy a story even when you know the ending. The wars provide an exciting background to the development of a mismatched love affair.

History isn’t all battles and daring-do. This is a fun idea. What’s your favorite scene in the book?

My favourite scene in the book – always a difficult choice for an author is the one where Mary drops the bombshell on Robbie that he loves her. (Yes, you read that right.) Robbie is pole-axed. The poor fellow had no idea and thinks the very idea is absurd because they are so wrong for each other. He is a little dense when it comes to matters of the heart but eventually sees that she is right.

Where can people learn more about your book and your work?

I’m on Smashwords

My Amazon Author Page

Amazon UK

My blog: www.susanappleyardwrite.wordpress.com

My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/susan.appleyard.9

My Twitter account: https://twitter.com/Mexisue1

The sequel to Acre’s Bastard is Coming January 21, 2019!

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of my upcoming novel, Acre’s Orphans.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of whatever I’m working on, including Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.  

England After WW1 with Liz Treacher

In my mind, there’s the First World War, then there’s the Roaring Twenties. But there must have been a transition period, where people were caught betwixt (Ha, love that word) the horrors of war and the possibilities of a new decade. Liz Treacher’s new novel, The Wrong Envelope, captures that complicated time.

Liz, tell us about you. What’s your deal?

When I was just four years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but it took me years to get going! In the meantime, I did lots of different things – researcher, alternative therapist, teacher and art photographer. I think all those different jobs gave me the life-experience I needed to finally put pen to paper. I live in the Highlands of Scotland with a view of sea and seals from my window and glimpses of the Northern Lights in the winter.

What’s The Wrong Envelope about?

Set in England in 1920, The Wrong Envelope is a light, witty tale of a romance between a flamboyant London artist and a Devon post lady. It uses humour and irony to explore the years just after the First World War. Life was trying to return to normal but the shadow of the conflict still hung over everyone.

What is it about that time period or story that got you so intrigued? It was a complicated time, to be sure…

A few years ago, I stumbled across a tiny suitcase that belonged to my grandmother. It was full of letters written to her by a soldier during and after the First World War. I was fascinated by the language used – the cheerfulness and bravado of a soldier trying to woo a young lady. I wanted to recreate the thoughts and feelings of the time, but I didn’t want to set a novel during the war itself. 1920 seemed a good year. Although the fighting was well and truly over, the effects were still being felt. Women found themselves in a very difficult position. They had possibly lost brothers or sweethearts at the front. Added to this, the jobs they had so competently covered during the war were being taken away again and given back to returning soldiers. I wanted to expose the problems people faced.

A lot of historical fiction writers began their journey with old letters. Wonder if future writers will be trying to decode old text conversations. What’s your favorite scene in the book?

I really like the first scene of the book which takes place in a rattling railway carriage and which gives a snap-shot of the time. There’s an octogenarian, dressed from head to toe in Victorian black lace, a ticket inspector with a pronounced limp from a war injury, two young ladies, one with cropped hair and short skirt, the other, our heroine post lady, old-fashioned in dress but modern in outlook. And there’s an artist, loud and eccentric, yet full of guilt about not having made it to the trenches. He does something outrageous in the first few pages which starts the story off in a lively manner…

Where can people learn more about your book?

There’s my website https://www.liztreacher.com/

I’m on GoodReads  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36695464-the-wrong-envelope

Of course, it’s available as an ebook on Amazon 

And also here.  https://books2read.com/thewrongenvelope

I”m on Twitter @LizTreacher

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of my upcoming novel.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

 

A Hall of Fame Western Author- Robert Vaughan

Just when I begin to think I’m pretty hot stuff, I come across someone whose body of work is both impressive and intimidating. Such is the case with today’s interview. Robert Vaughan, as you’ll see, has been around a while. His publisher, Mike Bray at Wolfpack Publishing was hanging out at the Las Vegas Book Fest. I asked if he had any historical fiction authors I should talk to, and he couldn’t connect me with Robert fast enough. Here’s the deal on his (I’m estimating) 8 millionth book, The Town Marshal.

So for the uninitiated, tell us about yourself.

I was nineteen years old when I sold my first book.  That was 61 years ago, and since that time I’ve sold somewhere around 400 books under my own name, and 42 pseudonyms.  I wrote the novelization for the mini-series Andersonville, and wrote, produced, and appeared in the History Channel documentary Vietnam Homecoming.   As of this writing, (9 November, 2018) I have five books in the top ten of Amazon Western novels: #1, #2, #3, #4, and #7.

I have hit the NYT bestseller list eight times. I’m the recipient of the Spur Award, (SURVIVAL, writing as K.C. McKenna) the PORGIE Award (Best Paperback Original), the Western Fictioneers Lifetime Achievement Award, I received the Readwest President’s Award for Excellence in Western Fiction, and I am a member of the American Writers Hall of Fame.

I am also a retired army Chief Warrant Officer with three tours in Vietnam. I now live with my wife and my dog on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama. (Editor’s note: See? What’d I tell you?)

What’s the story behind The Town Marshal?

The book , THE TOWN MARSHAL is a look at some authentic Western History. Its two main participants, James Cooper, and Henry Newton Brown, form a close friendship when, along with Billy the Kid, they fight in the Lincoln County War. After that, James and Henry move on, their bond of friendship growing even stronger as James becomes a crusading newspaper editor and Henry, a town marshal feared by outlaws and lauded by his peers and the towns he served.
But something goes wrong, and in an emotive moment, the two best friends find themselves face to face in a dramatic and poignant confrontation.

What is it about that time period that intrigued you enough to focus a book on it?

Of the two main characters, James Cooper is fictional, and I use him to propel the book, and to be a foil for Henry Newton Brown.  Brown is an authentic character with one of the most fascinating, and ultimately tragic life stories.  It was the authenticity of Brown’s story that drew me to the book.

Without giving away spoilers, what’s your favorite scene in the book?

One of my favorite scenes would be the defense of the McSween House in Lincoln. Alexander McSween was a much-respected attorney in Lincoln,  and during the Lincoln County War, his house came under siege.  McSween, James Cooper, Henry Newton Brown, and Billy the Kid occupied the house.  In addition there were three women and a young girl trapped in the house: McSween’s wife, Susan, his sister-in-law Elizabeth Shields, Elizabeth’s ten-year-old daughter, Minnie, and Katherine Gates, the local school teacher.

Where can people learn more about your impressive collection of work?

You can find the 9 Westerns I’ve done for Wolfpack Publishing on their website here.

You can also find me on my Amazon author page.

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of  my upcoming novel.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

Ancient Rome and China Meet – Lewis McIntyre

Whenever I hear people freaked out by other cultures (and you see it all the time) I think about what it must have been like when someone would literally see a different colored face or hear a different language for the first time. I’m not alone in this, I presume, because Lewis McIntyre has written a novel about a literal clash of cultures: Ancient Rome crossing paths with the Chinese for the first time in his novel The Eagle and the Dragon.

So what’s the Lew McIntyre story?

Hello to all.  My name is Lew McIntyre. I have done a little bit of everything, it seems. I graduated from the Naval Academy in 1970 and spent my career in Naval Aviation flying special-mission C-130 Hercules aircraft. I retired in 1990 and continued to support my aviation community to this day as an engineer, though the “Herc” has long since been replaced by the “Merc,” the E-6B Mercury.

I am an odd character, an engineer that seems to have mastered the art of writing.  Over the past twenty years I have done a lot of technical writing that people actually seem to enjoy reading.  About twenty years ago, I began The Eagle and the Dragon, and now here we are, two books out, three in the oven, and my wife Karen has published two, with a third in work. We seem to have found our third careers!

Besides writing, I enjoy biking, amateur radio (call sign KB6IC) and deer hunting.

OH, he tries to sound all normal-guy and non-engineery, then he goes and gives us his HAM sign. Probably not helping your cause any, but I digress. What’s The Eagle and the Dragon about?

The Eagle and the Dragon is a fictional account of the first Roman mission to China, set in 100AD, and modeled loosely around an actual Roman mission to China in 166AD.  Like most first missions, nothing goes according to plan:  Senator Aulus Aemilius Galba, tapped by Trajan to lead the envoy, expects an easy path to fame and fortune.  But the Fates have other plans for him and his unlikely companions.  From the storm-tossed Indian Ocean to the opulent court of Han China, from the grassy steppes north of China with the wild Xiongnu nomads, to the forbidding peaks of the Pamir Mountains guarding Central Asia, they will fight for their lives, looking for the road leading back to Rome. It’s quite an epic adventure, with a few love stories thrown in for good measure.

Writing it was a lot like watching a TV series, I had to go write the next chapter to find out what happened next!

Fun. That’s how I felt writing Acre’s Orphans. What intrigued you about this time period enough to invest the time writing a novel?

What intrigued me most about the era was the extensive contact the Romans had with “The Distant East”, the Oriens Repositus as they called it. Every year for over two centuries, 120 ships a year sailed from the Red Sea ports over the open Indian Ocean for India, loaded with gold, silver and Mediterranean wine to purchase silks, peppers and spices, and artwork.  Even tortoise-shell, from which they made a plastic-like, decorative waterproof finishing for wood furniture. The scale of trade was almost modern in scope, about a half billion dollars in gold going out each year to purchase goods that would be marked up ten, twenty, thirty-fold and taxed at 25%.  There were Roman interest sections, today we would call them consulates, in dozens of Indian cities, along with Roman temples.  Buddhism made its way to Rome as a popular, philosophical religion… things we never heard of.  Roman coins of the era have been found in Nagasaki, Roman shipping jugs have been found in Vietnam, and they even got as far east as Kattigat, somewhere in Borneo. Outside London, two Chinese skeletons were found in a Roman grave across the Thames two years ago… I know their names, they figure in my sequel!

I just had to capture this wholly unknown side of ancient Rome, the big ships they used, how they would have defended their lucrative cargo against pirates, what they thought of the world of the East, so different from their own.  I had to experience for myself what it was like to make that trip, and bring that experience to my readers.

What’s your favorite scene in the book?

I have two, I think.(Editors note: why does everyone always have two?)  One is a violent storm that blows up while the Europa is transiting the Indian Ocean.  I think it was a tropical cyclone, the time of year was right, but I believe they just grazed the fringes of it, otherwise, I might not have been able to finish the book.  The Europa was a big ship, a three-master of about 200 feet, but the seas were bigger, and they fought through the night to keep the ship afloat and facing into the forty-foot waves, wind gusting to perhaps eighty or more knots.  And the next day, de-watering the ship, surveying and repairing the damage, tending the injured.

Yes, the Romans had ships of that size.  I modeled the Europa, Asia and Africa off the Mediterranean grain freighters, which were of that size, perhaps 800 to 1200 tons displacement, for you nautical types. You can read about one such ship, besides my own, caught in a Mediterranean storm with St Paul on board, in the Acts of the Apostles.  It was a very detailed contemporary description of a prolonged storm at sea, accurate enough for a detailed reconstruction of the incident.

The second involves my heroine, Marcia Lucia, Chinese name Si Huar, who begins as an abused concubine of a mid-level Chinese official.  She rises throughout the story, coming to leave that life behind and find love with the grizzled centurion Antonius, for whom love is also a new experience. She learns to fight, much to his disgruntlement, taught by Hina, a warrior woman of the Xiongnu nomads.  Hina is a hard taskmaster and Marcia masters everything Hina sets her to do.  But when she faces her first real fight, a fight with her former consort that must be to the death if she is not to return to the life she left behind, she hesitates… almost fatally.  The doubt, the fear, the uncertainty of that first real fight, the agonizing pain of a serious wound that must be ignored.  Then sitting beside the dead body of the man she has known for ten years, the man she has just killed.

That’s intense. Where can people learn more about you and your work?

You can find my book at Amazon, in Kindle or paperback. Or email me at mcintyrel@verizon.net and I will send you signed copy for just $20, shipping included at no extra charge.

https://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Dragon-Novel-Rome-China-ebook/dp/B01MSEAC3I/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=

I have a second book out, a short story, Come,Follow Me, a Story of Pilate and Jesus, that first Easter weekend told from the point of view of that most reluctant executioner, Pontius Pilate.  Also on Amazon.

 

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of  my upcoming novel.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.