Category Archives: MY RAMBLINGS

The Author Roost – A Way to Inspire Young Hist Fic Readers with Marie Sontag

In conjunction with The Historical Fiction Club’s author takeover for October 14, 2020, this is a featured spotlight for Marie Sontag. Check out the takeover here: The Historical Fiction Club

Marie Sontag holds a BA in social science and an MA and Ph.D. in Education. Having taught adults, high school and middle school students for over 15 years, Dr. Sontag knows how to capture and hold her students’ and readers’ attention.

Bringing the Past to Life epitomizes the passion and writing career of Dr. Sontag. Her middle grade historical fiction series, Ancient Elements, includes The Bronze Dagger, The Alabaster Jar, and the Silver Coin. The series takes readers on adventures with 12-year-old Samsuluna (Sam) and his adoptive sister, Amata, as they travel throughout Ancient Mesopotamia during the reign of Hammurabi, king of Babylon in 1781 BC.

When Dr. Sontag shares in classrooms and assemblies about her Ancient Elements series, she is always accompanied by her authenticated artifacts. These include a 3,000-year-old bronze dagger unearthed from Sam’s home area in the Zagros Mountains, now part of present-day Iran, as well as an alabaster jar and a Phoenician coin.

Dr. Sontag’s second historical fiction series, Warsaw Rising, begins with book one, Rising Hope. This young adult novel unfolds the story of six teens who, through loss, find hope as they fight against the Germans when their Scout troops join forces with the Underground Army during the 1944 Warsaw Rising. Watch for the release of books two and three of the series in the near future.

Although not a historical fiction novel, Dr. Sontag’s first nonfiction book, When Love Is Not Perfect, still fits under the umbrella of her tagline, Bringing the Past to Life. When Love Is Not Perfect leads those suffering from the wounds of abuse through a discovery of God’s reparenting process – a process that will help them heal from the damaging effects of abuse as they gain an understanding of the loving nature of God. Written from a survivor’s viewpoint, this book covers the emotional, social, and psychological aspects of recovery, as well as the spiritual dimension. Although now out of print, it is still available through Amazon.com.

“Bringing the Past to Life – One Adventure at a Time,” epitomizes the passion and writing career of Marie Sontag. Her newest release, California Trail Discovered, furthers her tradition of crafting adventurous historical novels for middle grade and young adult readers. California Trail Discovered brings her number of series to three: the Ancient Elements, Warsaw Rising, and now, the Whitcomb Discoveries series.

Visit Marie’s FB Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Marie-Sontag/e/B001KCWYFG

Visit Marie’s Blog: https://www.mariesontag.com/

“California Trail Discovered”

Blurb: Traveling the Oregon and California Trails in 1846, Daniel Whitcomb (a fictional teen) and Virginia Reed (a historical teen and member of the Donner Party) find their lives forever changed when their wagon train leaders choose an unexplored trail.

Release Date: October 14, 2020

BOOK TRAILER:

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Simplicity Versus Academia

To me, simplicity is always the answer. If something rings true, then it most often is true. I love the quote from Galileo below in my article, but if you want more of an academic answer to the question of Shakespeare’s authorship, then go no further than the astounding academic research done by Ros Barber, winner of the Hoffman Prize and author of “The Marlowe Papers”. She, along with the incredible research done by Mr. Peter Farey, inspired me to write my own novel on Marlowe.

Here is her newest article: Big Data or Not Enough? Zeta test reliability and the attribution of Henry VI

From the Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection blog: Link: http://marlowe-shakespeare.blogspot.com/2009/03/simplicity-versus-academia-by-dk-marley.html

My Article:

Simplicity Versus Academia

Galileo said, “Facts which at first seem improbable will, even on scant explanation, drop the cloak which has hidden them and stand forth in naked and simple beauty.” Simplicity often reveals truth, whereas there is confusion in an overabundance of words. I do not claim to be an academic, nor do I ascribe to the level of a scholar who spends her days wrangling with Stratfordians about the identity of “Mr. W.H.” or “the Dark Lady.” I am simply a writer who finds beauty in words, the way certain phrases roll off the tongue, the transcending feeling that a mere paragraph can invoke, or when a novel shows the commonality of the human condition. In that beauty, that naked and simple beauty, stands stark truth uncluttered by a convocation of words. At last, seeing the forest and not just the trees. Facts that Stratfordians voice as improbable, the fact that Christopher Marlowe is the true writer of the plays and sonnets, even on scant explanation, such as I am able to produce, being as I am just another common enthusiast, has indeed, to my mind, dropped the cloak which has hidden them and stands bared for all the world to see. Truth is simple. Truth is the one person shouting that the emperor is naked when all others shut their eyes, look away or refuse to believe. And the simplicity of it relates to the everyday ordinary person, which is the vast majority of the world. If the world was able to be presented with the simple facts concerning Christopher Marlowe, as I was, there would be no more doubting. Even if the academic world can never produce solid evidence, we have more than reasonable doubt here that William Shakespeare had the skills, education, knowledge of languages, etc. to produce such profound verse. Simply put, he was an actor, not a playwright or poet. Christopher “Kit” Marlowe, on the other hand, was gifted at an early age with skills that exceeded his years. Educated at the best schools and surrounded by those who prodded him, he travelled to the continent, he excelled in languages and proved himself a capable playwright and poet well before his twentieth year. Where was Shakespeare during those years? Still in Stratford, married with three children, with no evidence that he wrote a single thing. Again, Galileo, an academic himself, revealed the answer in relation to these two men. Simple truth trumps pretentious fabrications any day, all you have to do is to remove the veil from your eyes, to stop gorging on the Shakespearean propaganda fed to you through the years, and hear the ring of truth sounded in Marlowe’s own words in Sonnet 76: “Why write I still all one, ever the same, and keep invention in a noted weed, that every word doth almost tell my name, showing their birth and where they did proceed?”

D. K. Marley

Read the book inspired by the Shakespeare Authorship debate:

The Peep Show

So, I’ve added a new page to this website and blog called ‘The Peep Show’ going along with my theme of The Hist Fic Chic.

This page is dedicated to book trailers and videos for historical fiction novels and authors, as well as podcasts and Youtube channels.

Sorry to disappoint but no hot chicks here … unless you are looking for the beautiful strong men and women of historical fiction. I mean, come on, how can you resist looking at the alluring eyes of Anne Boleyn or the strong arms of Jamie Fraser on the covers of historical fiction (or sub-genre) novels?

You know what is even more enticing? READING about these amazing people!! So, watch the videos and get some ideas for your next tantalizing read!

If you are a historical fiction, historical romance, historical fantasy, historical time-travel, or any other sub-genre author connected to historical fiction, and you would like to include your book trailer to this site, please contact me at histficchickie@gmail.com!!

Here’s one of mine to get things going:

“Blood and Ink” by D. K. Marley – available in ebook, paperback, hardcover, and Audible.

Kindness is Magic

While this doesn’t pertain to historical fiction, it did happen to a historical fiction author – me, and I just had to share.

With this year, the infamous 2020, we can expect anything to happen and so far, this late in the year, it has all been bad. I have heard the stories through the years of people doing amazing things for others, such as, paying for the person behind you while in line in a drive-thru or the guy on Tik Tok who walked up and paid for everybody in line at Wal-mart; but, as of yet, or I should say, as of today, it had never happened to me.

Over the past few months, I’ve tried myself in small ways. Since we have not been able to go far from our house, my granddaughter and I decided to make pies for our neighbors with a small little note to tell them we were thinking of them and hoped they were all right. On our street, that entails about four houses that we left the care package on their door.

But today, out of the blue, my husband and I decided to have a “date day” and go eat breakfast at a local eatery that is doing very well in social distancing and sanitizing. While sitting there for about fifteen minutes after ordering and just chit-chatting, a young woman sitting all by herself darted by our table and laid something on the napkin in front of me. I looked down, then back up at her as she smiled, waved, and said, “Enjoy your meal!!”

Needless to say, we were both shocked and pleasantly surprised at this small act of kindness from a stranger. She left some money for our meal on the table. I immediately got up and tracked her down at the cash register, my heart full, and when she saw me, she backed up and laughed as I did air-hugs toward her, shouting, “I wish I could hug you!!! Thank you so much!!”

My reasons for telling this story is what her act did for us after she left. Later on, after talking about this sweet person, this act motivated us to pass on the deed. Before we left the restaurant, I found a group of ladies sitting together across the restaurant, and did the same for them.

A single act of kindness spurs more acts of kindness in this mad mad world of 2020. And it makes you feel so good inside . . . I promise . . . you should give it a try!!

Check Out My Tunes

So, I just added a music player to my sidebar (look over there to the right as you are reading this) with some exquisite medieval and Celtic music!! Take a listen while you are perusing the pages – I promise it will put you in the mood to settle down for a nice historical fiction story while sipping your favourite coffee or tea!!

Music – check

Tea or coffee – check

Perhaps your doggie or kittie snuggling close – check

Now, find yourself the perfect HF book and get to reading!! – check, check

Ta Da!! The Hist Fic Chic is Now a Blog Tour Host!

In conjunction with The Coffee Pot Book Club, the fabulous and far-reaching blog of Mary Anne Yarde, I am happy to announce that I am now a blog tour host for her club!!

If you wish to have your Historical Fiction book on blog tour, please visit her author promotions page here: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/p/blog-tours.html

The Legend of St Dwynwen – The Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers, and Shakespeare’s Inspiration?


Article by S. E. Morgan – Historical fiction author


In the decades after the Romans left British shores, the old gods vied with the new Christian religion. Saints were named, often when they founded a new churches. Missions sent from Christian kingdoms such as Brycheiniog, deep in the Welsh mountains.

Dwynwen was daughter of the Welsh ruler Brychan Brycheiniog. She was one of a reputed 24 children, although other versions suggest 24 daughters and 24 sons! They lived in Garth Madron, (Talgarth, near Brecon) in the 5th century.  Brychan reared a highly educated and godly brood, all his children studied under an elderly blind priest, Drichan, in Glandwr near Builth Wells. 

Her legend was first documented in the 12th century, and  her church was an important pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages but presumably there was an oral history reaching back long before that. She was revered in Wales until the Protestant Reformation, when Henry VIII’s English church discouraged the veneration of saints. Her name and the legend were largely forgotten until Victorian times when a cross was erected near her church, with another more ornate version in 1903.

In the 60’s a student introduced the idea of sending cards on her saint’s day, which was  celebrated since the 15th Century on the 25th of January. Her legend predates Shakespeare and the story of the Sleeping Beauty tales by many centuries, and possibly because of the long oral history has several version.

Dwynwen fell in love with Maelon Dafodrill, a handsome prince, who returned her love, but her father would not allow the match. In many accounts, rejected Maelon either rapes or attempts to rape her. In other versions she is simply distraught because they were not allowed to marry and hopes to forget him.  Broken-hearted Dwynwen runs into the forest and prays for help. An angel appears and gives her a sweet potion which turns Maelon into block of ice. Dwynwen prays again for assistance and is granted three wishes; that Maelon is revived, that she never has to marry, and that true lovers are rewarded and looked after. She retreats to the beautiful little Island off the coast on Anglesey, Ynys Llanddwyn and establishes a sanctuary amidst ‘dwarf bramble and briar rose’ beside a holy well. Pilgrimages to visit that well were made by women wanting the saint’s blessing. Whether their request would be granted was supposed to be determined by watching  the direction the fish swam in her holy well.

I have based my new novel, “The King over the Sea”, around Maelon her rejected lover. Dwynwen and Maelwyn Succus, better known as St Patrick, in all probability, also lived around this time in Wales. No one knows quite who this young man Mealon was, which gave me plenty of scope for my tale, which aims to be an exciting page-turner. (Free on Kindle Unlimited).

Bio: After many years working in mental health and latterly as a civil servant, I have taken time to indulge in my passions of walking, Wales and writing. I am working to combine all three, in historical novels set in Wales. Occasional potter, photographer and painter, my aim is to develop parts of my brain little used until now – while I still have the chance.

A “Just Hatched” Book – The Monster Within, The Monster Without by Lindsay Downs

The Monster Within, The Monster Without. The Rebirth of Miss Francene Stedman

Blurb– When bodies start turning up in Whitechapel, Miss Steen returns to London with Lord Cartwright and the Countess of Harlow as her chaperone to solve the murders. Little does she realize she will be introduced to the last person she wants to meet — and hunting down the murderers proves a lot more difficult than they had anticipated.

This book is part of the Tragic Characters in Classic Lit series.

Excerpt  Offered another cup of tea told me this interview, which was more of an inquisition, was not finished. Not that I was complaining since I greatly enjoyed improving on my story. It was false but excellent practice for the future, if needed. From behind me I heard the French doors open.

I sensed a man was approaching because the breeze carried his masculine scent to me, which I did not recognize. The walking stopped. My hostess lifted her head slightly giving the newcomer a smile of pleasure.

“I was wondering if or when you would make your presence known to us. Miss Steen, may I introduce you to my son, Lord Cartwright.”

When the countess said “Lord” at first the word did not register in my mind. In London I was acquainted with a Mr. Cartwright, but he was far from being a peer.

“You must have met him as he is employed by Sir William Morse as a Runner from Bow Street.”

I set the bone china teacup and saucer on the glass tabletop, then clinched my fists in anger as I turned in my chair to see if this man was who I knew. He is. Except now he wore a dark brown jacket with matching vest. Covering his legs were buckskin riding britches tucked into well-worn riding boots. A perfectly tied cravat in a coachman’s knot circled his neck, which I was sorely tempted to wrap my fingers around and strangle him. Even more annoying was the wisp of raven black hair hanging down over his forehead. He stood in front of me with a slight smirk on his lips. 

That behavior caused me to almost lose what little politeness I had left in me. When he gave me a slight bow then reached for my hand, I lost my temper completely.

“Miss Steen, this is indeed a pleasure,” he spoke.

His words were pleasant but behind them I was sure he was laughing at me for having fooled him all these years.

I could no longer be in his presence. Standing, I gave him my hand across his smirking face. Dashing for the open doors, I escaped him 

I barely could make out what he was yelling, not that I cared for he had just made a fool out of me. Rushing out the front door I told the coachman to take me home.

“Now,” I screamed at him, climbing into the carriage.

We had barely arrived at the main road when tears started filling my eyes then rolled down my cheeks. I withdrew a hanky from my reticule and tried to pat my face dry but could not because the waterworks continued to flow unabated. Through hazy eyes I saw the coach was approaching my parent’s house. The carriage barely halted when I thrust open the door, climbed out then raced inside and up to my room, throwing myself on the bed.

Buy links-

US- https://tinyurl.com/yxpmmwte

UK- https://tinyurl.com/yyskcuj2

CA- https://tinyurl.com/y5u797sq

AU- https://tinyurl.com/y3qoj7q7

Author’s bio- I’ve been an avid reader ever since I was old enough to hold a red leather bound first edition copy of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake in my lap.

So it only seemed natural at some point in my life I take up pen and paper to start writing. Over time my skills slightly improved which I attribute to my English teachers. 

My breakthrough came about in the mid 1970’s when I read a historical romance written by Sergeanne Golon, Angelique. This French husband and wife team opened my eyes to the real world of fiction. Stories about romance, beautiful damsels, handsome heroes and plots which kept me hooked. Of course, being a man, I had to keep my reading hidden from others as that wasn’t appropriate reading for men.

With this new found appreciation of the written word I took up other books and devoured them as a starving person would a plate of food. I them attempted to write again. I still wasn’t satisfied so I put it aside for years as other events entered my life.

Finally, in the early years of the new millennium I tried again to write and once again met with limited success. At least now I was able to get past the first page or two. Then, in 2006 a life changing event brought me back to my love, I took a job as a security officer. This allowed me plenty of time to read different genres. 

My favorites are regency and murder mystery. As I poured through everyone I could get my hands on I knew this could be something I wanted to do and have been successful.

I’ve been published since 2008.

Since 2012 I’ve lived in central Texas.

Author links

Facebook- http://tinyurl.com/pgq8vzz

Twitter- @ldowns2966

LinkedIn- http://tinyurl.com/e8t56

Goodreads-http://tinyurl.com/prcdmml

Lindsay Downs-Romance Author- http://tinyurl.com/kvfz468

Amazon- http://tinyurl.com/ktem76c

Rabbit Holes

The path of writing is pocked with rabbit holes. I can remember each and every time the moment before the first fall, the peeking into the darkness, my hands wrapped over the edge and the grass tickling my fingers. There is something there, I would say, I can feel the eyes upon me. And then, without warning, the plunge; free-falling into those subconscious dreams as your fingers lay gently on the keys of your laptop. The miracle of the first line forming, spinning by you as you reach out and grab hold, while the sounds of ticking clocks and whistling teapots whirl in your ears. Sometimes you thud to the ground, that horrible feeling of being lost in a thought and not knowing where you are, the dreaded jabberwocky writer’s block. But you push forward, a small tasty morsel of inspiration settles in your jaw; you shrink down into your story, turn the key in the lock and open the door. What delights fill your eyes as a garden of characters greet you. The persistent flowers wanting to know what kind of writer you are, the intuitive caterpillar not resting until you answer his questions of ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘where,’ ‘how,’ and ‘why,’ the childish twins helping you remember things of your youth, those tidbits of memory adding to your tale, adding together a little madness, a little hare-brained concoctions of your own imagination, and “ta-da,” your story forms and weaves until the climax. All the while, the Cheshire cat in your heart smiles and moves you on. The climax stares down at you with an axe in her hand. She is the moment of ultimate revision when your story either collapses or succeeds. All the cards are in your hand. You play the game, you shuffle the stack, rearranging and reinventing until you stand tall over the creation of this dream. All your fears, all your passion, and all your days of winding down wordy paths, now complete and ready for the world. The jabberwocky is slain, your story has grown-up and the white rabbit waits for you a little ways down the trail. So, wake up to dream. Inspiration is right in front of your eyes. Come, follow me; I see another rabbit hole.

How About Some Historical Fantasy?

Salina Baker is a multiple award winning author and avid student of Colonial America and the American Revolution. Her lifelong passion for history and all things supernatural led her to write historical fantasy. Reading, extensive traveling and graveyard prowling with her husband keep that passion alive. Salina lives in Austin, Texas.

Links to Salina’s blog and American Historical research: