Friday 26 February 2021

Discover what inspired #HistoricalFiction author, L.J. Trafford, to write The Four Emperors series #mustread #Inspiration @TraffordLj


Publication Date: 31st August 2018
Publisher: Sphinx
Page Length: 428 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Debauchery. Depravity. Decadence. 
Just everyday life at the Imperial Palace.

Whilst Emperor Nero plays with his new water organ and a cross-dressing eunuch, his wily secretary Epaphroditus manages affairs of state. But dissent and rebellion are growing across the empire, and Nero is soon to discover playtime is over. Praetorian prefect Nymphidius Sabinus, disgusted by the moral degeneracy, secretly plots the overthrow of Nero's court. Motivated by the traditional Roman values of valour and nobility, yet blinded by his own righteousness, Sabinus is ignorant of what he has unleashed - The Year of the Four Emperors.

Palatine is the first in an enthralling four-book series about the tumultuous 'Year of the Four Emperors'.

How I came to write the Four Emperor Series.

The year 69 A.D. was a momentous one in Ancient Rome, known as the Year of the Four Emperors, it saw four very different men battle for supremacy. Three would ultimately fail, one would be left standing as the sole ruler of an empire that stretched from chilly Northern Europe to the warmth of the North African desert.

It is a year heaped with incident and drama; massacres, coups and battles between warring armies all feature. But my inspiration for writing the Four Emperors Series of novels came from a single moment in this most incident packed of years.

It was the morning of the 15th January 69 A.D. and Emperor Galba has discovered his own Praetorian Guard have declared Otho emperor. A debate followed between his advisors as to what they should do, when one made a suggestion:

“Titus Vinius urged the necessity of staying in the palace, arming the slaves for defence.” So says Tacitus in his Histories, an account of this year.

My immediate thought was, “I wonder what those slaves were thinking?” 

This was the lightbulb moment, the driving force behind the four books (Palatine, Galba’s Men, Otho’s Regret and Vitellius’ Feast) that make up the series, what were these Imperial slaves and ex-slaves of the palace thinking?

What were their thoughts as Galba’s advisors handed out the weaponry and instructed them to hold the palace?

Were their loyalties even with Galba? Or did they see Otho as their saviour?

What was it like for them to have their whole world turned upside down serving four very different men as emperor in the space of a year? 

How did they survive these violent changes of regime? 

Indeed, how did they survive at all in a brutal world where they could be whipped, beaten or even crucified on the whim of their master?

These were the characters whose eyes I would explore this dramatic year through, because the Imperial slaves and ex-slaves of the palace are the ones with a ringside seat of events. When Emperor Nero fled Rome in 68 A.D. and committed suicide, which kicked off this bloody battle to be his successor, he took only three people with him; they were all ex-Imperial slaves. 

These members of the Imperial household are by the side of emperors as they triumph and as they, bloodily, fall. They were the perfect witnesses for my fiction series.

Having slaves as my heroes and heroines gave me a chance to explore a chunk of Roman life that isn’t so well known. Soldiers and gladiators are well covered in fiction, but those toiling as secretaries and seamstresses, bodyguards and hairdressers for their Imperial masters and mistresses feature less often. Their voices are absent from the historical record almost entirely, there are no memoirs by Roman slaves, there are no accounts of their lives by themselves. When the likes of Tacitus mention them at all, it is a sneering way; uppity ex-slaves unworthy of advising and emperor. It seemed important to give them a voice for once, along with their own dreams, ambitions and failings – all played against the drama of history.

One reviewer described Palatine as: “Downton Abbey with teeth.” Which I think captures it nicely.

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Amazon UK Amazon US

L.J. Trafford studied Ancient History at the University of Reading after which she took a job as a Tour Guide in the Lake District.

Moving to London in 2000 she began writing ‘The Four Emperors’ series. The series comprises four books – Palatine, Galba’s Men, Otho’s Regret and Vitellius’ Feast – which cover the dramatic fall of Nero and the chaotic year of the four emperors that followed. 

Palatine received an Editor’s Choice mark from The Historical Novel Society. 

Her most recent published work is the non-fiction, How To Survive in Ancient Rome is available from Pen and Sword.

Welcome to Day #10 of the blog tour for Beware the Lizard Lurking (The House of the Red Duke, Book 2) by Vivienne Brereton @VivienneBreret1




February 15th – March 5th 2021

Publication Date: 12th February 2021
Publisher: Yuletide Press
Page Length: 302 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Welcome to the candlelit courts of Europe!

Uninvited guests at a secret wedding.
 A frozen River Thames.

 May Day celebrations to remember.

 The young HenryVIII, with the aid of his chief advisor, Thomas Wolsey, and against the counsel of Thomas Howard, the Earl of Surrey, is hellbent on a so-called holy war with France. This puts him at odds with his Scottish brother-in-law, James IV of Scotland, and his older sister, Margaret. 

Both Tristan and Nicolas know that time is running out for them before they have to…enter the Church - and into an arranged marriage, respectively. In the meantime, they remain at loggerheads over pretty Ysabeau de Sapincourt, the spoilt young wife of the hapless Robert.

At La Colombe, near Ardres, in Picardy, spirited little Valentine is still making mischief as she sees fit.

Across the Narrow Sea, Cecily is perfectly content in her beloved Zennor Castle, in Cornwall. 

None of them know what Dame Fortune has in store for them. Will she allow them to follow their own paths…or has she got other ideas?

Head over to The Whispering Bookworm for a fabulous review.

Click HERE!

Welcome to Day #5 of the blog tour for Blood Libel by M Lynes #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour @MLynesAuthor @authorrochelle

February 22nd – March 5th 2021

Publication Date: 31st January 2021

Publisher: Independently Published

Page Length: 260 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery

Seville, 1495

The mutilated body of a child is discovered behind a disused synagogue. The brutal Spanish Inquisition accuses the Jewish community of ritual child murder - the ‘blood libel’. The Inquisition will not rest until all heretics are punished.

Isaac Alvarez, a lawyer working for the royal estate, is a reluctant convert to Catholicism who continues to secretly practice Judaism. When his childhood friend is accused of the murder Isaac is torn between saving him and protecting his family. Isaac is convinced that solving the murder will disprove the blood libel, save his family, and protect his faith.

As the Inquisition closes in how far will Isaac go to protect both his family and his faith?
Head over to The Historical Fiction Blog for a fabulous guest post.Click HERE!

Thursday 25 February 2021

Blog Tour: The Custard Corpses, by M J Porter, April 6th – June 8th 2021

Join The Coffee Pot Book Club on tour with…

The Custard Corpses
By M J Porter

April 6th – June 8th 2021

Publication Date: March 25th 2021
Publisher: M J Publishing
Genre: Historical Mystery

A delicious 1940s mystery.

 Birmingham, England, 1943.

 While the whine of the air raid sirens might no longer be rousing him from bed every night, a two-decade-old unsolved murder case will ensure that Chief Inspector Mason of Erdington Police Station is about to suffer more sleepless nights.

 Young Robert McFarlane’s body was found outside the local church hall on 30th September 1923. But, his cause of death was drowning, and he’d been missing for three days before his body was found. No one was ever arrested for the crime. No answers could ever be given to the grieving family. The unsolved case has haunted Mason ever since.

 But, the chance discovery of another victim, with worrying parallels, sets Mason, and his constable, O’Rourke, on a journey that will take them back over twenty-five years, the chance to finally solve the case, while all around them the uncertainty of war continues, impossible to ignore.

MJ Porter

M J Porter writes historical fiction set before 1066. Usually. 

This is M J's first foray into the historical mystery genre and the, relatively recent, twentieth century. 

M J writes A LOT, you've been warned.

Blog Tour: The Shadows of Versailles (An Affair of the Poisons, Book One) by Cathie Dunn

Join The Coffee Pot Book Club on tour with…

The Shadows of Versailles
An Affair of the Poisons, Book One
By Cathie Dunn

May 10th – May 21st 2021

Publication Date: November 20th, 2020
Publisher: Ocelot Press
Page Length: 277 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction / Historical Mystery

Dazzled by Versailles. Broken by tragedy. Consumed by revenge.

When Fleur de La Fontaine attends the court of King Louis XIV for the first time, she is soon besotted with handsome courtier, Philippe de Mortain. She dreams of married life away from her uncaring mother, but Philippe keeps a secret from her.

Nine months later, after the boy she has given birth to in a convent is whisked away, she flees to Paris where she mends gowns in the brothel of Madame Claudette, a woman who helps ‘fallen’ girls back on their feet.

Jacques de Montagnac investigates a spate of abducted children when his path crosses Fleur’s. He searches for her son, but the trail leads to a dead end – and a dreadful realisation.

Her boy’s suspected fate too much to bear, Fleur decides to avenge him. She visits the famous midwife, La Voisin, but it’s not the woman’s skills in childbirth that Fleur seeks.

La Voisin dabbles in poisons.

Will Fleur see her plan through? Or can she save herself from a tragic fate?

Delve into The Shadows of Versailles and enter the sinister world of potions, poisoners and black masses during the Affairs of the Poisons, a real event that stunned the court of the Sun King!

Cathie Dunn

Cathie Dunn writes historical fiction, mystery, and romance.

Cathie has been writing for over twenty years. She studied Creative Writing, with a focus on novel writing, which she now teaches in the south of France. She loves researching for her novels, delving into history books, and visiting castles and historic sites.

Her stories have garnered awards and praise from reviewers and readers for their authentic description of the past.

Cathie is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

After nearly two decades in Scotland, she now lives in the historic city of Carcassonne in the south of France with her husband, two cats and a rescue dog. 

Tour Schedule

May 10th

The Books Delight

Brook’s Journal

May 11th

Let Your Words Shine… 

Books, Lattes & Tiaras 

A Thousand Suns

May 12th

Historical Fiction With Spirit… 

Jenny Knipfer’s Official Blog 

Judith Arnopp’s Official Blog 

May 13th

Elizabeth St John’ Official Blog 

Amy Maroney's Official Blog 

Candlelight Reading 

May 14th

B for Book Review  

The Writing Desk 

CelticLady's Reviews 

The Whispering Bookworm

May 17th

MJ Porter’s Official Blog

Viviana Mackade’s Official Blog

May 18th

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Oh look, another book!

May 19th

A Darn Good Read

Linnea Tanner’s Official Blog

Wendy J Dunn’s Official Blog

May 20th

Zoe’s Art, Craft & Life

The Historical Fiction Blog

Deborah Swift’s Official Blog

May 21st

Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne 

The Book Bandit’s Library