The Author Roost – Book Spotlight: Discovery (The Orphan Train Saga – Book 1) by Sherry A. Burton

The Hist Fic Chic is proud to welcome Sherry A. Burton, author of Discovery (The Orphan Train Saga – Book One), to the blog today! As a part of her blog tour, her book is in the Featured Spotlight (The Author’s Roost) and you have a chance to read an excerpt from her amazing story below.


Born in Kentucky, Sherry got her start in writing by pledging to write a happy ending to a good friend who was going through some really tough times. The story surprised her by taking over and practically writing itself. What started off as a way to make her friend smile started her on a journey that would forever change her life. Sherry readily admits to hearing voices and is convinced that being married to her best friend for thirty-eight plus years goes a long way in helping her write happily-ever-afters. Sherry is the author of The Orphan Train Saga novels, a planned eighteen book historical fiction saga that revolves around the historic orphan trains. Books in the saga include Discovery, Shameless, Treachery and Guardian. Loyal, the fifth in the saga, expected to release summer of 2021. Sherry resides in Michigan and spends most of her time writing from her home office, traveling to book signing events and giving lectures on the Orphan Trains.


The Orphan Train Saga, Book 1

Author: Sherry A. Burton 

Publication Date: December 25, 2018

Publisher: Dorry Press

Print Length: 229 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handles: @SherryABurton @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @authorsherryaburton @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #Discovery #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub


While most use their summer breaks for pleasure, third grade teacher Cindy Moore is using her summer vacation to tie up some loose ends concerning her grandmother’s estate. When Cindy enters the storage unit that holds her grandmother’s belongings, she is merely looking for items she can sell to recoup some of the rental fees she’s spent paying for the unit.

Instead, what she finds are secrets her grandmother has taken to the grave with her. The more Cindy uncovers, the more she wants to know. Why was her grandmother abandoned by her own mother? Why hadn’t she told Cindy she’d lived in an orphanage? And how come her grandmother never mentioned she’d made history as one of the children who rode the Orphan Trains?

Join Cindy as she uncovers her grandmother’s hidden past and discovers the life that stole her grandmother’s love.


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The year was nineteen-twenty-one, it was January, and I had nearly reached my eighth year, when my mother took me to the orphanage. I still remember her face clearly and can still see the dark curls that fell loose around her shoulders. I think she was tall, but maybe that was just a child’s perspective. She was thin; that I do recall. Then again, so was everyone who lived in our tenement. Maybe it was because we were always hungry.

It was raining the last time I saw my mother. I was cold and wet, and my mother told me to go inside where I would be warm. I asked her if she was coming inside and she said no, she didn’t want to spoil the floors with her wet shoes. I didn’t have to worry about that. I wasn’t wearing any shoes. Mother was dripping wet, the rain had stripped her of her curls, and her deep black hair lay plastered against the side of her head like a hat. I asked her why she was crying. She told me it was just the rain on her face, but I could hear her sobs and knew she was lying. Before I could respond, Mother opened the door, pushed me inside, and the door closed behind me. The doors nearly reached the ceiling. A deep rich brown, they were the largest doors I had ever seen. An elephant could have walked through without issue. I have never forgotten the sound it made when it slammed shut. A solid thud that vibrated like rolling thunder. The sound has woke me from my dreams more often than I can count. Maybe that is because my mother never bothered to kiss me goodbye.

I was still staring at the door, when an older girl wearing a blue gingham dress and a crisp white apron came and asked me what I was doing. I told her my mother brought me. She shrugged and told me I must have done something very bad for my mother to have left me. I couldn’t recall doing anything bad, but the girl must have been right, as I never saw my mother again.

The girl took my hand and led me down the long hall, which was empty except for a few paintings on the wall and large red crocks evenly spaced along the floor near the wall. I didn’t want to leave the entrance. The building was so big, and I was afraid my momma would not be able to find me. The girl was bigger than me and looked mean, so I went with her. She took me to a room with tall windows and dark walls, where a lady wearing a black dress was sitting behind a large wooden desk. The girl told the lady she’d found me in the hall. The woman picked up a clipboard and asked me if I spoke English. I remember smiling and shaking my head yes. Not everyone in our tenement spoke English. My momma did, but not very well. Momma and Papa and I came over the ocean on a big ship from Poland. While I remember my papa, I do not remember what his face looked like. He died before the ship reached America. They said he was sick. Two men carried him outside in the rain and threw him over the side.

Oh, how I loathe the rain.

Momma said my Ojczulek – that’s the Polish word for Papa – taught me how to speak English so people would like me better. I wish I could remember my papa better. The woman asked my name. I told her my name was Mileta. She asked me what my last name was. I told her that was the only name I had. The lady didn’t seem happy about that. She asked what my mother’s name was. I was going to tell her it was Mamusia – which is the Polish word for momma, but then I remembered what my papa told me and I said her name was Momma. The lady smiled and wrote something on the clipboard. It was the first time the lady smiled. Papa must have been right. My clothes were wet; I was barefoot and so cold I was shaking. The woman must not have liked that I was dripping water on the floor because she told the girl, who she called Clara, to take me to the washroom for a bath and delouse. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but from the look on the girl’s face, I was sure I wasn’t going to like it.

THANK YOU, Sherry, for stopping by the blog today on your blog tour!! I wish you well on your amazing book.


Author of “Blood and Ink”, “The Fire of Winter”, “The Prince of Denmark”, and “Child of Love & Water”

For those following the tour, click here for the next stop:


THE HIST FIC CHIC – November 18th

A DARN GOOD READ – November 24th


OH LOOK, ANOTHER BOOK! – December 9th

RUINS & READING – December 16th



LET THE WORDS SHINE… – January 6th

ZOE’S ART, CRAFT and LIFE – January 13th


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The Author Roost – Join Sherry A. Burton’s Takeover!

In conjunction with the Historical Fiction Book Club, I am happy to welcome to the blog today, Sherry A. Burton, the author of The Orphan Train Series, during her author takeover on DECEMBER 14th!!

To join the author takeover of the group, to ask questions and to enter the contests, please click here:

The Historical Fiction Book Club

Sherry A. Burton is the author of The Orphan Train Saga novels, a planned eighteen book historical fiction saga that revolves around the orphan trains.

Join Cindy as she uncovers her grandmother’s hidden past and discovers the life that stole her grandmother’s love.

The Author Roost – Featured Spotlight with Zenobia Neil

In conjunction with The Historical Fiction Book Club, I am so happy to welcome to my blog, Zenobia Neil during her author takeover of the group on December 7th!

If you wish to join the takeover, ask her questions, enter her contests – please join the group and follow the posts here:


Zenobia Neil was named after an ancient warrior queen who fought against the Romans. A lifelong lover of Greco-Roman mythology, she writes about the ancient world and Greek god erotica. An English teacher by day, Zenobia spends her time imagining interesting people and putting them in terrible situations. She lives with her husband, two children, and dog in an overpriced hipster neighborhood of Los Angeles. Psyche Unbound is her first book. Zenobia would love to hear what your favorite Greek myth is.


The Queen of Warriors is a full-blooded adventure into the ancient and mythological world of the warrior queen, Alexandra of Sparta.  Imaginative, exciting, and alluring!” – Margaret George, author of Helen of Troy  

Cursed by a Babylonian witch, Alexandra of Sparta is forced to return to a city she once conquered to make amends. There she is captured by the powerful Persian rebel, Artaxerxes . 

Book Trailer:

Amazon page:

Zenobia’s website:

Curious Opinion about Writing Historical Fiction – What Do You Think?

I just discovered this YouTube posting about “What Not to do When Writing Historical Fiction” and I have some thoughts.

I agree on some points and disagree on others. Tons of writers use real people as their main character in writing historical fiction, so does that mean that she has never read books by Margaret George or Alison Weir or Phillipa Gregory? She said she NEVER reads historical fiction books with real people as the main character, and after taking a chance by reading “Mrs Poe” she NEVER will again.

In one of my favourite books about a real person – “I, Elizabeth” by Rosalind Miles – uses Queen Elizabeth the First as the main character and fictionalizes the relationship and conversations between her and Robert Dudley. We weren’t there, so how do we know?

I agree with the notion that you have to be careful in not crossing the line into slander or out-right lies when pertaining to real people in history; but, for the most part, fiction is FICTION, and since none of us were ‘flies on the wall’ of said history and their lives, can we not fictionalized some of the parts of their lives while remaining true to what we do know?

I do not mean changing our historical knowledge of, let’s say, the moral uprightness of Abraham Lincoln, his manner and speech, into one of depravity and weakness (which we know to be untrue), but a conversation betwixt he and his wife about the grief they shared (of which none of us were privy to) might be considered an aspect of fictionalizing the details of a real person. For one, I don’t see anything wrong with that. Anything beyond that is delving into alternate historical fantasy (i.e. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer)

I do think, however, it is a dangerous thing for reviewers to be so dogmatic in their opinions about a genre. Taking that sort of stance is rather polarizing, if you ask me. Either you are going to have a huge number of supporters or you are not which, maybe that is what this particular reviewer is going for. I mean, in the world we live in, you can draw a line in the sand and people are going to take sides, for or against.

I am not that sort. I adore historical fiction and the authors who write in the genre. I know their struggle since it is my own-the endless days of research, the time travelling in your brain to another era, and pounding the keys to develop a world where readers can escape from the ordinary day-to-day monotony of today. Who wouldn’t want to leave the Covid-19 world of today to walk down the Bubonic plague-infested streets of London of long ago?

I give authors a hundred years from now permission to fictionalize my life in 2020 in whatever way that is going to provide a measure of escapism for the readers of the 22nd century. This is art, and art is in the eye of the beholder. I’m not going to scrutinize Monet’s Hay Stacks painting and question if there really was more than two haystacks in the landscape. I’m going to accept it for what it is: an incredible work of art built on the passion of the artist. And isn’t that what we are, artists of the written word?

Here is the link to the video if you choose to watch, and please, comment below and let me know what you think on the subject!!

D. K. Marley

The Author Roost – Book Spotlight: Fire and Ash-Gift of the Gods, Book 3 by Thomas J. Berry

The Hist Fic Chic is proud to welcome Thomas J. Berry, author of “Fire and Ash: Gift of the Gods, Book 3”, to the blog today! As a part of her blog tour, his book is in the Featured Spotlight (The Author’s Roost) and you have a chance to read an excerpt from his amazing story below.


Thomas Berry received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from St. Bonaventure University. He takes pleasure in extensively researching both historical fiction and non-fiction stories. In his spare time, he enjoys long distance running and has completed several marathons. He currently lives with his wife and children in New Jersey. You can learn more about Thomas and his historical novels at his website,

Author’s Social Media Links:


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Book Title: Fire and Ash

Series:Gifts of the Gods, Book 3

Author: Thomas J Berry

Publication Date: 10th October 2020

Publisher: BookLocker 

Page Length: 450 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handles: @TBerryAuthor @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @history_writer @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #FireandAsh #HistoricalFiction #AncientGreek #CoffeePotBookClub


Five men and women in Ancient Greece are set on a dangerous journey of self-discovery during the bitter conflict of the Peloponnesian War.

While mighty Athens struggles to rebuild after a devastating campaign abroad, the feared warriors of Sparta prepare to deliver the final blow in a decades long war. No one is safe anymore as the conflict shifts across the Aegean to the shores of wealthy Persia. Old colonies, once loyal to Athens, are eager to rebel and the Great King is willing to pay anything to regain his control over them. These coastal plains set the stage for massive battles and heartbreaking defeats. This time there will be only one true victor.

The news coming out of Sicily ripples across the cities of Ancient Greece like a thunderbolt and it is left to the poor and desperate to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. One young mother is suddenly faced with a horrible tragedy and struggles against all odds to make a new life for her family. An eager boy looking for adventure enlists in the new Athenian ranks but finds life on campaign a lot more than he bargained for. A Spartan officer in the twilight of his years struggles to adapt to a young man’s army and an exiled Athenian strives to earn his way back into the graces of his beloved city. The harem girls in a Persian court meet a handsome foreigner and one risks everything for a chance at love.

As the conflict between Athens and Sparta builds to a final showdown, five men and women struggle to come to terms with their changing world. What will they find in the ashes when peace finally comes?


Cries erupted around her, one overlapping the other in a ceaseless frenzy. The soldiers had the leader they most desired and, in that moment, sought a course of action that would satisfy their bloodlust. “Kill the bastards! Democracy reigns!” “Take the battle to the oligarchs!” “Free our families!”

This time Thrasybulus could not contain them, and she realized now there was only one man who could. She looked up at the dais and her heart skipped a beat as Alcibiades smiled, held up his arms, and spoke in short, commanding sentences. After a few minutes, the people calmed down to a reasonable degree, yet there was still a tension in the air. Anger bubbled to the surface like spouts of lava, exploding in small outbursts throughout the Assembly. She was surprised how quickly it had spread among the populace.

“The Council of 400 has control of Athens for now!” the new supreme commander announced, “but they will not hold sway for long. I understand your feelings and I share them! I would like nothing more than to walk up to the walls of the city and take back what was once ours! However, my first duty is to prosecute this war we find ourselves in! Furthermore, it would a very grave mistake to attack the capital right now. Look who sits at Miletus and watches our every move!”

The crowd began to murmur among themselves, trying to piece together what seemed so obvious to the General. He paused for a moment and she saw him glance down at her from his perch above. She returned his smile but could do little to aid him now. Alcibiades had created a monster of his own making and now he had to ride it out until only one of them was left.

“I could tell you to launch every trireme in the harbor tomorrow morning and we’ll undoubtedly bring the new government to its knees! But we have more pressing enemies here on these very shores! The moment we are gone, the Spartan fleet will sail in and take everything we have! They would control every colony, conscript every able man into their ranks, and steal every daric coin from our meager coffers! That is exactly what I would do in their stead! Worse, they will take that tremendous armada and sail north for the Hellespont! Those single-minded ravens will blockade the narrow passage from the Black Sea and stop all the grain shipments sailing for Athens! We will regain political control, yes, but our families would be strangled and weakened by a merciless adversary! Death by starvation would be our only future! That is not something I could ever permit! You have honored me today and I will lead you to victory! Have patience and give me a little more time. That is all I require!”

The mood of the soldiers seemed to calm down as they digested this sobering observation. A few still called for an immediate attack but they were quelled by others agreeing with their new commander. Timandra realized she was holding her breath and let it out slowly, feeling nervous tension flow out with it. Alcibiades had handled the immediate problems, but she knew he would soon be faced with larger, far more serious ones, albeit of his own making.

He informed the assembled men it was necessary he return to Sardis immediately and confer with Tissaphernes. “There is much preparation to contend with, but the satrap will be forever in your debt when I enter his gilded hall as supreme commander of Athens’ mighty fleet! When I am satisfied that all is ready, I shall return and together we will put an end to Sparta’s plans!”

With that, he gave the dais back to Thrasybulus and stepped off the platform to a rousing ovation. Timandra clapped as well but her mind was reeling at the recent turn of events. The people wanted a savior and they had chosen someone who cavorted with not one but two enemies of the state! They wanted a beacon for democracy, and they placed their trust in a man who had single-handedly destroyed it. They sought a great leader who will steer them on a righteous path yet ordained a felon wanted for Sacrilege and sentenced to death if he ever returned home. He was an ambitious general who brought Athens shame and death abroad yet had risen to the supreme command of their fleet once more.

Alcibiades had told her several times over the last year that he would one day return to Athens. While she always considered it a pipe dream, she had to admit that he had somehow pulled off the impossible. There were challenges ahead and she had no idea how he would meet them. Timandra allowed herself a moment to relax and take it one day at a time. For now, he was the man in charge, and she was at his side absorbing all the accolades with him. It was a surreal feeling!

Buy Links:

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THANK YOU, Thomas, for stopping by the blog today on your blog tour!! I wish you much success on this incredible book!


Author of “Blood and Ink”, “The Fire of Winter”, “The Prince of Denmark”, and “Child of Love & Water”

For those following the tour, click here for the next stop:



THE HIST FIC CHIC – December 1st


THE WRITING DESK – December 3rd

LET THE WORDS SHINE… – December 4th


OH LOOK, ANOTHER BOOK! – December 8th


ZOE’E ART, CRAFT, AND LIFE – December 10th

BROOK’S SCROLL – December 11th

The Author Roost – Spotlight with Edward Rickford

In conjunction with the Historical Fiction Book Club, I welcome Edward Rickford to my blog today along with his author takeover of the group on NOVEMBER 30th!! If you would like to join in the takeover, to ask him questions, and to enter to win his Chaucer award-winning book “The Serpent and the Eagle”, click this link and join the group:

The Historical Fiction Book Club – Edward Rickford’s author takeover – November 30th

Since a young age, I’ve enjoyed writing. College gave me the chance to combine my interest in history and literature, and I now write HF.

Set in pre-Hispanic Mexico, “The Serpent and the Eagle” recounts Cortes’ famed military expedition and the ensuing conflict. 

Book links/author website:

Barnes and Nobles:;jsessionid=A5E2608C5F9AE1B35CE9167DDDC00874.prodny_store01-atgap09?ean=9781735131900

The Renovation of Paris and the Rise of a Different Style of Painting


Author of Victorine, a novel about the iconic model of Manet’s Olympia turned painter, virtually forgotten by history, until now. Sign up to my newsletter, Artful Fiction, at: Podcast: Writing All the Things 

We are the children of the times. We must create what we see as we see it”

There’s no place like Paris. Ah! From its white, uniform buildings to its wide boulevards, it’s unmistakable and has been aspirational for many another city, though none have quite been able to capture its gleam, its lovely bridges where Parisian lovers kiss at night and tourists linger. Of course, Paris didn’t always look like Paris. In 1853, demolition of the old, decrepit Paris began, the change spanning decades as the city was reborn. Most importantly to art lovers, these changes wrought by a well-known architect were recorded by and an influence on painters of the time. 

The man responsible for both the destruction and the resurrection of the old Paris was Georges-Eugène Haussmann, Baron Haussmann, as he was called by most. The architect was tasked with widening boulevards, bringing in a better water supply, and ameliorating sanitary conditions in an overcrowded city with ailing housing centuries old. However, while some looked to the future, eager to see the resulting Paris, others bewailed the loss of the former city.

In fact, a poet of the time, Charles Baudelaire, wrote “The Swan” in response to the changes to Paris’s landscape. He, along with others, wasn’t pleased with “progress” when it meant tearing down medieval Paris. Younger Parisians took the opportunity to record the changes, the losses and the gains. 

The Swan 

Old Paris is gone (no human heart

changes half so fast as a city’s face) …
There used to be a poultry market here,
and one cold morning … I saw

a swan that had broken out of its cage,
webbed feet clumsy on the cobblestones,
white feathers dragging through uneven ruts,
and obstinately pecking at the drains …

Paris changes … but in sadness like mine
nothing stirs—new buildings, old
neighbourhoods turn to allegory,

and memories weigh more than stone. 

On the art scene, the rise of Impressionism and its cousin movements such as Modernism meant painters either recorded with pleasure the drastic changes or complained with their brushes. In fact, while it seems an exaggeration, some see the rise of Impressionism as coming from the renovations. 

Manet, seen by some as the father of Modernism, showed the city’s alterations in his paintings of the time: his outdoor scenes revealed the absence of older buildings, the rise of new, and the increasingly wider boulevards that would become a trademark of Paris. 

His subjects were typically painted en plein air or represented those who worked the streets in one capacity or another. Notably, The Street Singer, which he painted in 1866, using his frequent model, painter Victorine Meurent, the label of that particular painting referring directly to the outdoors nature of the city. It could be argued that the doing away with old Paris encouraged him to imagine a new way of painting. As he was quoted as saying,  “We are the children of the times. We must create what we see as we see it.” Indeed, he did just that. 

He began painting everyday life, a new idea. He painted sidewalk cafes, those out on strolls. As Parisians moved outdoors, so did paintings. His The Rue Mosnier with Flags commemorated the Fête de la Paix (Celebration of Peace) on the 30 June 1878. 

Claude Monet, similarly, painted scenes of city life early in his career. From flags being flown to the train station (his La Gare Saint-Lazare was painted in 1877, while Manet’s take on the same was painted in 1873), Monet was a definitely a Paris flaneur. He painted wintry Boulevard Des Capucines in 1873 and his celebration of Le Pont Neuf of 1871.
Gustave Caillbotte is well known for his Paris Street – Rainy Weather (1877) and A Young Man at His Window (1875), which are only two of his paintings revealing his preoccupation with urban realism, another way of saying Parisians painters became obsessed with their city and its vibrant, newly outdoors, lifestyle. 

A View of Paris from the Trocadero by Berthe Morisot 1871-72 reflected a distanced view of the city a middle-class woman such as she would have had, living in the “suburbs” as she did, but with the city’s buildings close by. 

The makeover of Paris was as expensive as it was extensive, altering Paris forever. It went from a city of dirty, messy streets to a place where city dwellers began spending more and more time outdoors in cafes, strolling gardens and the broadened streets. Instead of only going to the outskirts of Paris to paint, artists were inspired to paint what was right outside their own windows and ultimately, they moved from complaining about the changes to embracing and immortalizing their times. That is something from which we viewers will forever benefit. 

The Author Roost – Featured Spotlight: Malve von Hassell

In conjunction with The Historical Fiction Book Club, I am happy to welcome Malve von Hassell to the blog today during her Author Takeover of the group on November 21, 2020. If you wish to join the fun during the takeover, ask questions, and enter contests for her fabulous books, please click here:

The Historical Fiction Club

Malve von Hassell is the author of The Falconer’s Apprentice (namelos, 2015) and Alina: A Song for the Telling (BHC Press, 2020).

My current work: 

Malve has published two historical fiction books for YA and Middle Grade readers and has one forthcoming. She is currently working on a biography of a woman coming of age in Nazi Germany.


The Falconer’s Apprentice tells the story of Andreas, an adventuresome 15-year old orphan, who embarks on a precipitous flight across Europe to rescue the falcon Adela.  A crotchety falconer, a secretive trader and his feisty daughter, a mysterious hermit, a young king in prison, an aging emperor, and an irascible Arab physician are among the principal characters in this action/adventure novel, set in the 13th century. 

Alina: A Song for the Telling is the coming-of-age story of a young woman from Provence in the 12th century who travels to Jerusalem, where she is embroiled in political intrigue, theft, and murder, and finds her voice. 

The Amber Crane features PETER, an amber guild apprentice in the Thirty Years War in a small town in Pomerania at the Baltic Sea. He keeps a forbidden piece of amber and finds himself drawn into a world three hundred years in the future.

Author Takeover with Trisha Faye

In conjunction with The Historical Fiction Club’s Author Takeover, I am welcoming Trisha Faye to my blog today as a featured spotlight author. If you wish to join her takeover on the club on NOVEMBER 14TH, please follow this link and join:

Bio: Trisha Faye’s passion is writing about people and places of the past.

Blurb: Trisha Faye’s latest book, 100 Years of Christmas, celebrates Christmas through the eyes of seven different women, each finding out what truly matters in life.

Release date: November 3rd.


Trisha’s Tidbits – Free story snippets every week, publishing news, book sales and more

Pages of the Past – Celebrating historical fiction, author interviews, short story contests, and more


Twitter: @texastrishafaye

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