A special welcome from The Hist Fic Chickie today’s guest: Juliane Weber. I must admit, just reading her bio piqued my interest immensely since I also am a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon. While I cannot claim the lofty degrees of a science major, I respect the field after doing research for my next time travel novel in which many aspects of physics and time paradoxes are a part. I have added her new book, Under the Emerald Sky, to my to-read list and can’t wait. Keep an eye out for my review!
While science is just a hobby for me in relation to my writing, Juliane is actually a scientist. She holds degrees in physiology and zoology, including a PhD in physiology. During her studies she realised, however, that her passion lay not in conducting scientific research herself, but in writing about it. Thus began her career as a medical writer, where she took on all manner of writing and editing tasks, in the process honing her writing skills, until she finally plucked up the courage to write her first historical novel, Under the Emerald Sky. The book is the first in The Irish Fortune Series, which is set in 19th century Ireland around the time of the Great Famine. Juliane is inspired by Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander Series of books, who also happens to be a scientist turned novelist. Juliane lives with her husband and two sons in Hamelin, Germany, the town made famous by the story of the Pied Piper.
A few more interesting things from Juliane: “Hi, I was born in Germany but lived in South Africa for most of my life, where I met my husband and had our children. And just to make things a little more interesting: my husband is Serbian and has lived in Serbia, Libya, Russia and South Africa. He now lives in Germany with us, of course, but works for a company that’s based in the Czech Republic. Needless to say, we have plenty to talk about with people we’ve just met!”
Synopsis of Under the Emerald Sky
He’s come to Ireland to escape his past. She’s trying to run from her future. It’s 1843 and the English nobleman Quinton Williams has come to Ireland to oversee the running of his father’s ailing estate and escape his painful past. Here he meets the alluring Alannah O’Neill, whose Irish family is one of few to have retained ownership of their land, the rest having been supplanted by the English over the course of the country’s bloody history. Finding herself drawn to the handsome Englishman, Alannah offers to help Quin communicate with the estate’s Gaelic-speaking tenants, as much to assist him as to counter her own ennui. Aware of her controlling brother’s hostility towards the English, she keeps her growing relationship with Quin a secret – a secret that cannot, however, be kept for long from those who dream of ridding Ireland of her English oppressors. Among the stark contrasts that separate the rich few from the plentiful poor, Under the Emerald Sky is a tale of love and betrayal in a land teetering on the brink of disaster – the Great Famine that would forever change the course of Ireland’s history.
Alannah O’Neill is an Irishwoman who lives with her brother on their family estate. The O’Neills are one of few Irish families to have retained ownership of their land, the rest having been supplanted by their English conquerors over the course of Ireland’s bloody history.
Kieran O’Neill is Alannah’s brother, who keeps her firmly under his thumb, planning on marrying her off to someone of his dubious choosing. Kieran hates the English and has become entangled with those who seek to rid Ireland of her English oppressors.
Quinton Williams is an English nobleman who has come to Ireland to oversee the running of his father’s ailing estate. Here he meets Alannah O’Neill, but can she and Quin find happiness?
He led me along the path, which ambled away from the manor house and grounds, down into a small valley of luscious green countryside that bordered the small river. The grasses and delicate flowers of the hills gave way to reeds and lilies at the edge of the gently flowing water, which we traversed over a small wooden bridge. Orange-breasted robins flew around us while wrens whirred from bush to bush, breaking into surprisingly loud but sweetly melodious song. I closed my eyes, enjoying the sunshine on my face and relishing in the beauty of a sky that was bright and blue, with not a cloud in sight.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Quin’s voice was soft and filled with wonder.
I opened my eyes and found that both horses had come to a stop on the other side of the stream, my mare nibbling contentedly on the succulent grass, nose to nose with Quin’s brown gelding. “It is,” I said. “It’s wonderful. It’s…home.”
He smiled at me and looked around him, shielding his eyes from the sun. “It’s rather unlike my own home,” he said after a moment, turning back to me.
“Do you miss London?” I asked.
“Yes…and no,” he answered, and laughed. “I do miss the comforts and familiarity of my own house, of course. Not to mention the pleasure of being able to speak to everyone in English! But…right now…I wouldn’t trade places with anyone,” he said softly, holding my gaze.
I swallowed and looked down onto my hands. When I looked back up, he was still looking at me, but with a good-natured smile on his lips. “Mind you, I would trade my best pair of boots for a good old-fashioned traditional English meal, one that doesn’t involve potatoes!”
Facts and fiction, history and romance, light and darkness – all in one novel!
A beautifully written novel. The historical facts are well researched, indicating the onset to a dark era in Irish history. The tale of two people with high hopes to make a better life for the less fortunate as well as for themselves give the story an amorous touch – a passionate love story for the ages! I look forward to reading the next installment!
Thank you to Juliane for stopping by The Hist Fic Chickie today! And for more on her and her book, come by The Historical Fiction Book Club and type her name in the ‘Search’ box to find her postings during her author takeover on February 15, 2021. And don’t forget to go to Amazon to purchase her book today!!
Congratulations to Bruce Bishop for his debut novel, Unconventional Daughters! Bruce W. Bishop is a veteran travel and lifestyle journalist who is based in Nova Scotia, Canada.
It’s 1922 in a coastal town in Nova Scotia, Canada. A naïve Eva Carroll marries her stepfather with her controlling mother’s consent. The community is shocked, and when her aunts arrive from Sweden, a dangerous mix of family secrets and lies reaches a crescendo. If you love family sagas, historic locales, and surprising plot twists, you’ll become immersed in Unconventional Daughters.
One recent review (from the U.K.):
“***** FANTASTIC!!! If you love Historical Fiction full of drama, betrayal, feminism and true life events, this is for you.
Following three sisters from a very young age, you get to see how they grow up after being adopted when their parents died. They get separated from their brother, who they get to finally meet again years later. You have so much drama going on with the sisters and then when you get introduced to Eva, you’re hit with more. I don’t want to give too much away, but this is one incredible book, I felt emotional, angry, annoyed and I was so invested in the stories. I’m excited to read the spin off book that’s soon to follow.” – E.J. Palmer, England, 07 March 2021
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 .
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, www.thomas-berry.com.
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!
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
JOIN HER BLOG TOUR for REVIEWS, READINGS, CONTESTS, & MORE!
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.
D. K. MARLEY
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:
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:
In conjunction with The Historical Fiction Book Club, I am welcoming Lindsay Downs for his featured spotlight along with his AUTHOR TAKEOVER on November 6, 2020! Please visit the club to participate in the takeover and sign up to win one of his books.
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.
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.