Saturday, 18 November 2017

The Du Lac Chronicles ~ Book Excerpt #ASMSG #HistFic

Would you like to have a sneak peek between the covers of The Du Lac Chronicles? Yes? Well, read on…

The Du Lac Chronicles 
by 
Mary Anne Yarde


A generation after Arthur Pendragon ruled, Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities.

Eighteen-year-old Alden du Lac ruled the tiny kingdom of Cerniw. Now he half-hangs from a wooden pole, his back lashed into a mass of bloody welts exposed to the cold of a cruel winter night. He’s to be executed come daybreak—should he survive that long.

When Alden notices the shadowy figure approaching, he assumes death has come to end his pain. Instead, the daughter of his enemy, Cerdic of Wessex, frees and hides him, her motives unclear.

Annis has loved Alden since his ill-fated marriage to her Saxon cousin—a marriage that ended in blood and guilt—and she would give anything to protect him. Annis’s rescue of Alden traps them between a brutal Saxon king and Alden’s remaining allies. Meanwhile, unknown forces are carefully manipulating the ruins of Arthur’s legacy.


Book Excerpt

AD 495 Wessex, Briton.

Alden du Lac drew in a ragged breath. The cold night air hurt his lungs, and the rough wooden post that he was tied to rubbed the wounds on his back. He had prayed for the welcomed relief of unconsciousness; alas, it was not to be. It seemed even God wanted him to suffer for his failings.

He had lost count how many times he had been lashed. All he knew was that each lash represented every Wessex soldier that had been killed by his men. Cerniw's losses had been far higher, but no one paid for their deaths. Life was never fair, though; he did not need a lost battle and hundreds dead to tell him that much.

The year had been horrendous. Cerniw, with its rugged moorlands, its vast forests and beautiful coasts, had been struck with one pestilence after another. The people started to talk about moving, and some already had. Those who had stayed loyal to the land and, of course, to him, no doubt now wished they had not, for when Cerdic's Saxons came, they purged the kingdom, making it look like the hell the bishop preached of in his Sunday sermon. Alden, unlike God, had been powerless to do anything about it. Oh yes, he had fought, but the numbers he fought against had overwhelmed his army, for who could fight the devil, without God on their side, and think to win?

Alden hung his head in shame, his shoulder-length dark hair falling into his face. He cursed his naivety and worse still, his arrogance. His younger brother had warned him, but he had not heeded the warning; instead, he believed the useless treaty that Cerdic of Wessex had offered him only months before. He should have seen where Cerdic was going with it then, only he had been blinded by grief, by guilt. The responsibility for what happened, therefore, was his and his alone. He knew that, and he took the blame. He deserved to be tied to a post waiting for death.

Alden closed his pain-filled grey eyes as the image of his homeland in flames scorched his mind. He could hear the screams, the begging for mercy, and the cries for help. He could taste the terror in the air and feel the heat of the flames. Dear God, what had he done?

He had been left with no alternative. Even now, with the clarity of hindsight, he could see no other choice. He had ridden towards the enemy, carrying the white flag of truce and hoping  sweet Lord, how he had hoped  for clemency, not for himself, but for his people.

Instead, Cerdic's soldiers had pulled him unceremoniously from his horse and taken him prisoner along with at least eighty of his kinsmen. Of their fate he was uncertain, but his was assured. If he did not die tonight from exposure then an axe awaited him at dawn. It was a terrifying thought, and he prayed to God for courage. He felt no warm, welcoming presence and he feared what all men secretly feared, that on the morrow, he would not die well.

Snow began to fall softly from the night sky, not enough to settle, just enough to plummet the temperature further. He began to shiver. He tried thinking of a warm fire and his large bed covered in thick furs. It did not help. After all, when last he saw his fort it was in flames.

“Are you still alive, du Lac?”

Alden kept his head down, pretending to be unconscious, and hoped the bastard would leave him alone to die in peace.

Draca, the guard in charge of the prisoners, was not fooled. He lived for terror and he had no intention of allowing the former ruler of Cerniw an easy death. He grabbed Alden's chin roughly and forced his head up.

Alden opened his eyes and stared with contempt at the soldier in front of him. Draca was a huge man, with a shiny bald head, tiny eyes and a big fist, whose breath stank of stale beer and his body of gone-off fish mixed horribly with the smell of fresh blood  not his own, but someone else's.

“Not quite dead yet, are you? Won't be long, though.” Draca chuckled deep in his throat. “I've never killed a King before. I'm looking forward to it…”







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Thanks for reading...
Mary Anne xxx

Friday, 17 November 2017

#NewRelease ~ A Highland Moon Enchantment (A Tale from the Order of the Dragon Knights) #Romance @m_morganauthor


Have you heard that the fabulous Mary Morgan has a book out just in time for Christmas?

A Highland Moon Enchantment
 (A Tale from the Order of the Dragon Knights)
by Mary Morgan

 
Irish warrior, Desmond O’Quinlan has never surrendered his heart to any woman. He has no wish to have his soul tortured by love. Yet, the moment he locks gazes with Ailsa, his fate is destined for an adventure he never fathomed. He may have battled alongside a Dragon Knight, but his greatest challenge will come from within his own heart.

Ailsa MacDuff, a warrior among her clan, has no desire to have a man chain her to a life of obedience. However, that is before she meets Desmond. The temptation to allow this warrior inside her heart is a risk she dares to take, but one that could lead to a future of emptiness and sorrow.

When betrayal looms from within, the battleground of love is no match for these two warriors. Can the power of a Highland full moon be strong enough to unite or destroy them? 

Links to Purchase

About the author

Scottish paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California, with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return. 

Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling--writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories. 


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Thursday, 16 November 2017

Blog Tour ~ By Love Divided #HistFic @hfvbt @ElizStJohn



Book Tour and Giveaway ~
 Historical Virtual Book Tour Presents....



By Love Divided
By Elizabeth St. John

 
Royalist Sir Allen Apsley thinks his choice is clear, but when his mother embraces the Puritan cause, and his beloved sister Luce falls in love with John Hutchinson, a Roundhead soldier, his loyalties are tested. Is it family first? Is it country first? As England falls into bloody civil war, Allen must fight for king and country, while Luce embraces Parliament’s radical views and confronts the very core of the family’s beliefs. And when their influential Villiers cousins raise the stakes, Allen and Luce face a devastating challenge. Will war unite or divide them? In the dawn of rebellion, love is the final battleground.

Based on surviving memoirs, court papers and letters of Elizabeth St.John’s family, By Love Divided continues the story of Lucy St.John, The Lady of the Tower. This powerfully emotional novel tells of England’s great divide, and the heart-wrenching choices one family faces.

Reviews

“I am completely blown away by Elizabeth St. John’s follow up novel, By Love Divided. The depth of her characterization, the elegance of her prose (and dialogue) and the masterful way in which she presents the realities of the English Civil War such that we’re bleeding for both sides is nothing short of brilliant. If you want a compelling, exquisitely written story to immerse you in the past, By Love Divided is a must read! I consider it one of my favourite historical reads and it’s earned a place on my keeper shelf! 5 plus stars!”
Cryssa Bazos, Author of The Traitor’s Knot


Excerpt

Chapter 5

My mother showed as much humility and patience, under that great change, as moderation and bounty in her more plentiful and prosperous condition.
Luce Apsley
21st March 1633

Leaving the partitioned chamber and descending the broad stairs into the echoing expanse of Westminster Hall, Luce and Babs briskly crossed the flagstone floor, wooden heels clicking. Groups of clerks huddled under the arched windows, using the diffused light to proof their work, while lawyers steered their clients to recessed embrasures for private conversations. Although tempted to stay and peruse the stacks of tomes at the booksellers’ stalls, Luce had no interest in the bloodsucking lawyers standing in the hall, preying on their troubled victims. Even if her mother’s purse permitted legal counsel to guide them through the maze of interrogatories, she would not have trusted these corrupt lawyers with their defense.

“You were so composed, Luce.” Babs looked up at her. “How do you keep calm?”

“They are simply men and answer to the same God as I. He will be their judge as much as they are mine. And He sees all.” Pushing a strand of hair back under her starched white hood and adjusting her cuffed sleeves, Luce carefully straightened the decorative small bows. She must remember to sponge a clean set for tomorrow. The courtroom dust clung to the linen like a shroud.

“Our parents did nothing wrong, did they, Luce? That is a long list of items they accuse us of stealing.” Babs stopped still, her blue eyes filled with tears.

“Our father was the king’s man. His only crime was that of blind loyalty to a corrupt court and a foolish monarch who considers himself divine.”

“Hush, Luce, you cannot speak this way.” Babs looked around. “You sound like a Puritan. Remember Allen’s warning. Do not voice your opinions aloud.”

Luce ignored her, for she needed to spill the words denied airing before the judge.

“And you think it is right that our family lives in penury, our mother is dragged into lawsuits, our brother exiled behind the walls of his university to evade the interrogators, all because the king commanded our father to finance the Duke of Buckingham’s ill-planned French war?”

She steered Babs around a cluster of weathered country folk huddled around an extravagantly beaver-robed justice.

“Where is King Charles when his citizens are held hostage by a rough justice that no longer cares for the common man?” Luce waved her hand around Westminster Hall, disgusted at the sights and sounds of men’s grievances dissected before corrupt magistrates.

 “Look around you, Babs, for this is what England has come to. You are not too young to learn.” Unspoken thoughts plagued Luce’s mind. “This day in Chancery Court has brought a new awareness, and your innocence is eroding in this knowledge.”

Luce dropped her voice. She cared not if Babs understood her words or not. This was the rhetoric she learned from the sermons she attended with her mother. The preachers did not hold back their anger. Why should she?

Copyright © Elizabeth St. John 2017.

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of By Love Divided to one lucky winner! Enter here.

Giveaway Rules

• Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 28thYou must be 18 or older to enter.
• Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
• Only one entry per household.
• All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
• Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Links for Purchase


About the Author
Elizabeth St.John was brought up in England and lives in California. To inform her writing, she has tracked down family papers and residences from Nottingham Castle, Lydiard Park, and Castle Fonmon to the Tower of London. Although the family sold a few castles and country homes along the way (it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth’s family still occupy them – in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their imprint. And the occasional ghost. But that’s a different story…

By Love Divided, Elizabeth’s sequel to The Lady of the Tower, follows the fortunes of the St.John family during the English Civil War, and is out now.

For more information, please visit Elizabeth St. John’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


By Love Divided by Elizabeth St. John
Publication Date: October 12, 2017
Falcon Historical
eBook & Paperback; 381 Pages

Series: The Lydiard Chronicles, Book Two

Genre: Historical Fiction