Two young immigrant women. One historic strike. And the fire that changed America.
In 1909, shy sixteen-year-old Rosie Lehrer is sent to New York City to earn money for her family’s emigration from Russia. She will, but she also longs to make her mark on the world before her parents arrive and marry her to a suitable Jewish man. Could she somehow become one of the passionate and articulate “fiery girls” of her garment workers’ union?
Maria Cirrito, spoiled and confident, lands at Ellis Island a few weeks later. She’s supposed to spend four years earning American wages then return home to Italy with her new-found wealth to make her family’s lives better. But the boy she loves has promised, with only a little coaxing, to follow her to America and marry her. So she plans to stay forever. With him.
Rosie and Maria meet and become friends during the “Uprising of the 20,000” garment workers’ strike, and they’re working together at the Triangle Waist Company on March 25, 1911 when a discarded cigarette sets the factory ablaze. 146 people die that day, and even those who survive will be changed forever.
Carefully researched and full of historic detail, “Fiery Girls” is a novel of hope: for a better life, for turning tragedy into progress, and for becoming who you’re meant to be.
Heather is a natural 1200 wpm speed reader and the author of twenty-one self-published novels. She came to writing after careers as a software developer and elementary school computer teacher and can’t imagine ever leaving it. In her spare time, she reads, swims, walks, lifts weights, crochets, changes her hair colour, and plays drums and clarinet. Generally not all at once.
England, 1605. When Lord Arik, a druid knight, finds Rebeka Tyler wandering his lands without protection, he swears to keep her safe. But Rebeka can take care of herself. When Arik sees her clash with a group of attackers using a strange fighting style, he’s intrigued.
Rebeka is no ordinary 17th-century woman – she’s travelled back from the year 2011, and she desperately wants to return to her own time. She poses as a scholar sent by the king to find out what’s killing Arik’s land. But as she works to decode the ancient runes that are the key to solving this mystery and sending her home, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic and powerful Arik.
As Arik and Rebeka fall in love, someone in Arik’s household schemes to keep them apart, and a dark druid with a grudge prepares his revenge. Soon Rebeka will have to decide whether to return to the future or trust Arik with the secret of her time travel and her heart.
Hi – I’m Ruth A. Casie and I write historical and contemporary romance. You might be wondering what I’m about. Sit back and let me tell you.
I’m happiest when I’m telling stories either chatting in a group or writing them down. I love to put my hero and heroine in tough situations and dare them to work it out—together, always together. They haven’t disappointed. Oh, they complain but in the end their love and relationships are stronger than ever.
My stories feature strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. They will keep you turning the pages until the end. I hope my books become your favorite adventures.
Publication Date: February 28, 2021
Series: Linfield Ladies Series, Book One
Genre: Regency Romance
Cassandra Linfield is a lady fossil collector who declares she will never marry as no man will ever take her studies seriously. When circumstances force her to travel to Town for the Season, Cassy infiltrates the hallowed portals of the Geological Society from which she has been banned. She is horrified when she comes face to face with her nemesis, the infuriating Earl of Rothbury.
Lord Rothbury is a gentleman-geologist with a turbulent romantic past. After a youthful disappointment he vows never to fall in love again, and makes the decision, instead, to seek out a convenient wife when he returns to England from his geological travels abroad.
Brought together by their close family ties, Cassy and Rothbury collaborate on a geological paper and discover a powerful attraction. Marriage, however, is the one subject they cannot agree upon. But when Cassy’s life is threatened, the two realise that love matters more than their objections.
The Earl’s Lady Geologist features a lady geologist, Cassandra Linfield, who lives in Lyme Regis during the Regency period. I was intrigued a few years ago when I stumbled across an article about palaeontologist Mary Anning, and determined to find out more about her as well as other Regency women who devoted themselves to this emerging scientific field.
Despite her low social station, Mary Anning (1799 –1847) has become the most celebrated of the 19th century British women who worked in the field of geology and palaeontology. She was a collector and seller of fossils, and other than a few letters and one short note on the details of Hybodus, a fossil shark (Anning, 1839), Anning left no written record of her discoveries, and the men of science, who published descriptions of the fossils she sold, seldom gave her credit.
She was born on 20 May 1799, in the coastal town of Lyme Regis in southwestern England. While professionals, as well as amateurs, visited Lyme Regis to collect fossils, many found Mary Anning and her fossil shop the main attraction (Edmonds, 1976). Her discoveries included the first ichthyosaur skeleton that was correctly identified. Her brother Joseph discovered the skull and, a few months later, Mary discovered the rest of the skeleton.
Mary searched for fossils in the area’s Blue Lias cliffs, particularly during the winter months when landslides exposed new fossils that had to be collected quickly before they were lost to the sea.
Mary Anning also had a connection to Jane Austen. In 1804, Austen asked a cabinetmaker named Richard Anning (Mary’s father) to bid on repairing a broken lid. He went to where the Austens were staying in Broad Street, but Jane wouldn’t accept his bid as she thought the quote of five shillings was too expensive.
Part of Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion is set in Lyme Regis. It is tempting to wonder if Mary Anning (a celebrated female scientist who wasn’t properly recognised in her time) and Jane Austen (a celebrated English writer who wasn’t celebrated while she was alive) ever crossed paths in this beautiful seaside town.
Both Jane Austen and Mary Anning feature in my Regency romance The Earl’s Lady Geologist. It was fascinating to discover the connection between the two legendary ladies, even though it was quite tenuous.
Davis, Larry E. (2009) “Mary Anning of Lyme Regis: 19th Century Pioneer in British Palaeontology,”
“A gentle Regency romance, full of sweetness and intelligence. Alissa Baxter’s writing is period perfect.” -Mimi Matthews, USA Today bestselling author of The Matrimonial Advertisement
“The Earl’s Lady Geologist by Alissa Baxter deftly weaves together the charm of a traditional Regency romance, fascinating information on scientific society of the time, with a quiet subtext about the challenges faced by women interested in pursuing science. This first book in a new series is wonderfully satisfying on many levels!” -Mary Jo Putney, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author
“While immersing the reader in the mores and life of the Regency era, Alissa Baxter manages to write strong, independent heroines whom modern-day women will cheer and root for. Plus the addition of little details that wrap around the plot and the characters make reading her books all the more special because you never know when you might land on a little Easter egg morsel in the beautiful and engaging prose. Historicals with heart and engaging characters that read real—that’s what you get in Ms. Baxter’s books.” -Zee Monodee, USA Today bestselling author
“A truly traditional Regency romance, with lots of witty banter, very reminiscent of Georgette Heyer. Recommended for anyone who likes a completely clean traditional Regency, with strongly authentic writing, historical accuracy and a satisfying romance. Baxter’s writing is excellent, and her dialogue, manners and settings are true to the era. A spirited heroine, a brooding hero, lots of sparkling banter and an authentic Regency setting—with added fossils! Great fun. From Lyme Regis to the drawing rooms of London, Alissa Baxter takes the reader back to the time of Jane Austen.”
Mary Kingswood, author of traditional Regency romances
About the Author
Alissa Baxter was born in a small town in South Africa, and grew up with her nose in a book on a poultry and cattle farm. At the age of eleven she discovered her mother’s collection of Georgette Heyer novels. The first Heyer novel she ever read was Sylvester and she was hooked on Georgette Heyer after that. She read and reread her novels, and fell totally in love with the Regency period and Heyer’s grey-eyed heroes! After school and university, where she majored in Political Science and French, she published her first Regency novel, The Dashing Debutante.
Alissa travelled overseas and worked as a flight attendant in Dubai before she moved to England, where she did an odd assortment of jobs while researching her second novel, Lord Fenmore’s Wager, which she wrote when she moved back to South Africa. Alissa’s third Regency novel, A Marchioness Below Stairs, is the sequel to Lord Fenmore’s Wager.
Alissa has lived in Durban and Cape Town but she eventually settled in Johannesburg where she lives with her husband and two sons. Alissa is also the author of two chick-lit novels, Send and Receive and The Blog Affair, which have been re-released as The Truth About Series: The Truth about Clicking Send and Receive and The Truth About Cats and Bees.
Series: The Thompsons of Locust Street, Book #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Meet the Thompsons of Locust Street, an unconventional family taking Philadelphia high society by storm…
1869 Bareknuckle champion, James Thompson, is confident his future continues with beautiful women and victories in the boxing ring. Men admire his skills, power, and quick fists, and are more than willing to bet their hard-earned coins on his name. Women admire his handsome face, his undaunted confidence, and his powerful body. Nothing will change his successfully plotted course, until…
Lucinda Vermeal arrives on the Philadelphia social scene when her father moves them to the city in the hopes that his only daughter will find a suitable partner. After all, her husband will be intimately involved with Vermeal Industries whose business interests and political connections touch France, England and all of the United States. Lucinda’s pale statuesque beauty attracts the finest of Philadelphia’s young men, but her cool and reserved attitude keep them at arm’s length. Until she meets a man willing to challenge her at every turn. Will James Thompson expose Lucinda’s passionate nature like no other man ever could?
“Love always has something to say. Sometimes it shouts from the highest hill, and sometimes it whispers so softly one must listen closely to hear. Do not turn away. It is a rare and precious commodity. Treasure it.” The Gentrys of Paradise
Holly Bush’s historical romances are set during the turbulent and transformative years of the late 1800’s. The first two books in her newest series, The Gentrys of Paradise, released in the spring of 2017 and began with the novella Into the Evermore where readers meet Virginia horse breeders, Eleanor and Beauregard Gentry. The following books feature their children, Adam, Matthew, and Olivia. For the Brave is Matthew’s story and is the first full length book of the series. Olivia’s book, For This Moment, released in the spring of 2018. The final book, For Her Honor, is now available.
The Crawford Family Series following the fortunes of the three Boston born Crawford sisters and includes Train Station Bride, Contract to Wed, Her Safe Harbor, and companion novella, The Maid’s Quarters. Cross the Ocean and Charming the Duke are both British set Victorian romances. Fan favorites stand-alone historical romance novels include Romancing Olive and Reconstructing Jackson. Holly’s books are described as ‘emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance.’
She also writes General Fiction under the name of Hollis Bush.
Holly makes her home with her husband, one happy Labrador Retriever and a clever Jack Russell rescued from the pound, and two difficult cats in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Connect with Holly at www.hollybushbooks.com, on Twitter @hollybushbooks, and on Facebook at Holly Bush. Follow Holly on her Amazon author page to receive new release updates and on BookBub to check out her reviews and get sale information.
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
History Through Fiction LLC
Hardcover, Paperback, & eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction
In the year 1398 A.D., Lady Goharshad and her husband, King Shahrokh, come across an ancient manuscript in the ruins of Karakorum, the Mongol capital. The manuscript chronicles the era of Mongol invasions with entries by three princesses from China, Persia, and Poland who are captured and brought to the Mongol court.
After being stolen from her family at the Tangut Emperor’s coronation, Princess Chaka, the Emperor’s youngest daughter is left with no choice but to marry Genghis Khan. Thus, the Tangut join Genghis as allies. She is the first to secretly chronicle the historical events of her time, and in doing so she has the help of an African eunuch by the name of Baako who brings her news from the war front.
Princess Reyhan is the witty granddaughter of the last Seljuk King in Persia. She is kidnapped by Ogodei, Genghis’s son and heir, who falls in love with her. The romance does not last long, however, since a Mongol beauty wins Ogodei’s heart, and Reyhan is sidelined. Reyhan continues the tradition of recording the events in secret, turning her entries into tales.
During the Mongol invasion of Poland and Hungary, Princess Krisztina, niece to Henry the Pious, is taken as a prisoner of war by the Mongols. Reyhan learns about Krisztina’s predicament through Baako and asks Hulagu, Genghis’s grandson, to help free her. Krisztina has a difficult time adjusting to life in Mongolia, and at one point she attempts to run away but is unsuccessful. When the child she is bearing is stillborn, the Mongol court shuns her. She is able to return to her homeland in old age but comes back to Karakorum and writes her final entry in the journal.
Through beautiful language and powerful storytelling, this fact-based historical novel lays bare the once far-reaching and uncompromising Mongol empire. It shows readers the hidden perspectives of the captive, conquered, and voiceless. It brings to light the tremendous but forgotten influence of Genghis Khan and his progeny, while asking readers to reconsider the destruction and suffering of the past on which the future is built.
“The author’s in-depth research is evident throughout The Sky Worshippers. For readers who enjoy a lush blend of historical fact and fiction, this novel details the smells, sights, sounds of a pivotal era in time, uniquely told through the eyes of three captive princesses.” – Gina Wilkinson author of When the Apricots Bloom
“F.M. Deemyad immerses the reader into the 13th Century world of Genghis Khan. It’s an unforgettable story of survival and strong women as we experience life through the eyes of the conquered-and the conquerors. In The Sky Worshipers, history comes vividly alive.” – John DeDakis, Novelist, Writing Coach, and former Senior Copy Editor for CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer”, http://www.JohnDeDakis.com
“In this stunning saga, F. M. Deemyad takes us on a thrilling journey as Genghis Khan and his sons sweep across Asia and Europe, worshiping the sky while they conquer one nation after another and capture women to enslave and marry. The women’s stories, rich with architectural, historical and cultural detail, hold an important message for all of us who have inherited privileges as the result of our ancestor’s atrocities. A great read and a phenomenal debut!” – Raima Larter, Author of Fearless and Belle o’ the Waters
“The Sky Worshipers by F.M. Deemyad draws us into Genghis Khan’s conquests through the eyes of three women ripped from their homes and thrust into royal service. This lyrical novel is a vivid imagining of hearts and minds of women who left their marks on history, despite history’s failure to acknowledge their contributions. It allows us to connect with timeless striving for a world of compassion, equal opportunity, and celebration of diversity. A beautiful novel.” – Lisa L. Leibow, J.D., Co-Founder, Board President, Chief Operating Officer, The Scheherazade Project
“An illuminating telling of Mongol conquest and the people who lived-and died-making decisions that shaped half the world. The broad strokes of time are revealed through the perspectives of single bristles of the brush. Cleverly imagined and carefully rendered, The Sky Worshipers is an engaging, personal look at one of history’s momentous eras.” – Zach Powers, author of First Cosmic Velocity
About the Author
F.M. Deemyad was born in Kermanshah, Iran. She grew up in the capital, Tehran, attending bilingual schools run by Christian and Jewish minorities. Her father, born and raised in India, had come to Iran when he was in his late twenties. Being the son of a linguist who had taught English Literature in India for a number of years, he exposed the author in her preschool years to the English language, and she learned to love classic literature under her father’s instructions. She received her Master’s degree in Writing from Johns Hopkins University in 2016. She currently resides with her husband in Maryland.
Series: The Emma of Normandy Series, Book 3
Genre: Medieval/Historical Fiction
A breathtaking conclusion to Bracewell’s Emma of Normandy Trilogy, brimming with treachery, heartache, tenderness and passion as the English queen confronts ambitious and traitorous councilors, invading armies and the Danish king’s power-hungry concubine.
In the year 1012 England’s Norman-born Queen Emma has been ten years wed to an aging, ruthless, haunted King Æthelred. The marriage is a bitterly unhappy one, between a queen who seeks to create her own sphere of influence within the court and a suspicious king who eyes her efforts with hostility and resentment. But royal discord shifts to grudging alliance when Cnut of Denmark, with the secret collusion of his English concubine Elgiva, invades England at the head of a massive viking army. Amid the chaos of war, Emma must outwit a fierce enemy whose goal is conquest and outmaneuver the cunning Elgiva, who threatens all those whom Emma loves.
Patricia Bracewell grew up in Los Angeles where her love of stories led to college degrees in Literature, a career as a high school English teacher, and a yearning to write. Her first novel, Shadow on the Crown, about the 11th-century queen of England, Emma of Normandy, was published in 2013. Its sequel, The Price of Blood, appeared in 2015. The final book of her Emma of Normandy Trilogy, The Steel Beneath the Silk will be published March 2, 2021.
Patricia lives with her husband in Oakland, California.
Zahara and the Lost Books of Light
by Joyce Yarrow
Publication Date: December 13, 2020
Genre: Historical Fantasy
When Seattle journalist Alienor Crespo travels to Granada to apply for citizenship as a descendant of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492, she uncovers her own family story, along with a hidden treasure trove of medieval Hebrew and Arabic books, saved from the fires of the Inquisition.
This “Library of Light” is being protected by a secretive group of literary caretakers. Alienor joins their struggle to safeguard the priceless manuscripts from discovery and destruction by a fanatical group devoted to restoring limpieza de sangre, purity of blood, to the Iberian Peninsula.
Crespo forms mystical bonds with her female ancestors, both Jewish and Muslim, who once faced the same dark forces aligned against her. What began as a routine, freelance assignment becomes front page news in Spain’s growing confrontation with its troubled past.
With a touch of magic realism honoring the mystics of Andalusia, as well as an emerging romance entangled in mystery, this fast-paced novel is rich with conflict and suspense.
This is an excellent dual-time line novel where the main character is able to visit in the past lives of her ancestors. Intriguing and transporting, set in an unusual time and place on multiple levels with many storytellers. I loved the adventure and exotic location with an intrepid and strong female lead-surrounded by other strong women who fight the forces of darkness for the lost library. Highly recommended.
About the Author
Joyce Yarrow is the author of literary novels of suspense that “appeal to readers who enjoy unusual stories with an international setting.” – Library Journal
Her latest offering is a historical fantasy – ZAHARA AND THE LOST BOOKS OF LIGHT – from Adelaide Books in Dec 2020.
A New York City transplant now living in Seattle, Joyce began her writing life scribbling poems on the subway and observing human behavior from every walk of life.
Her published novels include ASK THE DEAD (Martin Brown), RUSSIAN RECKONING – available in hardcover as THE LAST MATRYOSHKA (Five Star Mysteries), RIVERS RUN BACK, co-authored with Arindam Roy (Vitasta, New Delhi).
She is a Pushcart Prize Nominee with short stories and essays that have appeared in Inkwell Journal, Whistling Shade, Descant, Arabesques, and Weber: The Contemporary West and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Yarrow is a member of the Sisters in Crime organization and has presented workshops on “The Place of Place in Mystery Writing” at conferences in the US and India.
Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Adelaide Books, NY (print); Skyboat Media/Blackstone (audio)
Paperback, eBook & Audiobook
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Cyclonic hordes of insects, a telepathic despot, body-swapping sex – just a few of the surprises Salvador Samuels encounters when he finds himself swept back to pre-colonial times walking in the moccasins of a blind Indian – who, in turn, has been transported into Salvador’s body in present day America. Four hundred years apart, they’re bound by a common mission to rescue our world, aided by the mysterious presence of the mounds. Thousands of these ancient earthworks once dotted the landscape of North America. We still don’t know why they were created. Sacred Mounds suggests they are as important today as when they were made over a thousand years ago.
Sacred Mounds, a first novel of magical realism and historical fantasy, weaves the stories of two men, each a stranger in a strange land. With the help of two remarkable women, they must find a way to save our planet and return home.
From Jim Metzner, producer of the Pulse of the Planet series and podcast, with a foreword by Hutke Fields, principal chief of the Natchez Nation.
This novel sucks you in and won’t let go until the last word, which I suspect is not the last at all. An historical fantasy brimming with adventure in the world of the vanishing Natchez tribes in both early America and 21st America with a dual timeline based on possession. Gritty and humorous , thrilling and captivating, I highly recommend this book and other books by this author.
“This is a rollicking, thought-provoking, rollercoaster of a novel. It’s time traveling on steroids, but it asks big questions. Bravo.” – Ken Burns, filmmaker
“After decades of most American fantasy writers echoing European fantasists and using European myths, it’s refreshing to see an extravagantly imaginative writer go into the history and myths of the Natchez nation… We have a chance to see our own culture through the eyes of a native of the Natchez civilization, so the view is double — us seen by them, them seen by us. It’s amazing to read something so fresh and vivid tying us back into the roots of this land and the people who knew it first.” – Orson Scott Card, author “Ender’s Game”
“Jim Metzner’s Sacred Mounds draws you right into the action with high energy prose, strands of mystery floating in the wind, and lively characters. A great read, with Metzner’s usual deep insights into the amazing workings of the natural world seeping into you while you are caught up in the flow. Enjoy!” – Robert Thurman, President, Tibet House US
“Metzner’s time-bending style is interwoven in a well-researched novel about the great Natchez Nation and the mysterious mounds across the midlands of America. This is a witty and inventive historical fantasy that seduces with twists and turns accompanied by lively street wise contemporary dialogue. It will keep you magnetically amused right up to the surprise ending.” – Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Member, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, MT
“There are not enough words to fully outline the rich, complex and historically and culturally accurate setting of this tale of supernatural heroism. The novel folds ancient traditional wisdom into the seams of its story with the author’s well-honed narrative skills, delivering the tastes and flavors of its mingling times and cultures with ease and aplomb. One ends up feeling not like an onlooker, but an active participant in the events. The book is hard to put down. It’s a page-turner, but an intelligent one; one that asks more questions than it answers and left, for one, this reader hoping for a sequel.” – Lee Van Laer, Senior Editor, Parabola Magazine
“The tribe’s descent from late prehistoric mound builders connects the Natchez people to one of North America’s most intriguing puzzles. Archaeologists know how the earthworks were built, but excavations cannot reveal what these monuments meant to the native people who built them. With Sacred Mounds, Metzner embraces the mystery to weave a story across time and cultural boundaries.” – Jim Barnett, author “The Natchez Indians: A History to 1735”
“Jim Metzner can really spin a yarn. This story is filled with historical reality as well as spectacular descriptions of what could be. Jump into this book. Feel the challenges of the characters. Join with the Shining Ones. The adventure is yours!” – From the foreword by Hutke Fields, Principal Chief of the Natchez Nation
About the Author
Jim studied acting at Yale Drama School and enjoyed a brief career working as a singer-songwriter in London, where he opened for TRex, Free and Pink Floyd. He has been producing sound-rich audio since 1977, starting with the ground-breaking short format radio series – You’re Hearing Boston. Metzner’s other award-winning series include You’re Hearing San Francisco, You’re Hearing America, The Sounds of Science, Voices of Innovation, and Pulse of the Planet, which has been on the air since 1988 and is now heard widely as a podcast. He has recorded all over the world and received major grants from the National Science Foundation, NASA, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Grammy Foundation.
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Severn House Publishers
Series: A Simon Westow Mystery, Book 3
Genre: Historical Mystery
Winter is about to take a chilling twist…
Thief-taker Simon Westow is drawn into a deadly puzzle when the melting snow reveals a dark secret in this gripping historical mystery, perfect for fans of Anne Perry and Charles Finch.
Leeds, 1822. The city is in the grip of winter, but the chill deepens for thief-taker Simon Westow and his young assistant, Jane, when the body of Laurence Poole, a petty local thief, emerges from the melting snow by the river at Flay Cross Mill.
A coded notebook found in Laurence’s room mentions Charlie Harker, the most notorious fence in Leeds who’s now running for his life, and the mysterious words: To the dark. What was Laurence hiding that caused his death? Simon’s hunt for the truth pits him against some dangerous, powerful enemies who’ll happily kill him in a heartbeat – if they can.
“This dark tale features a strong and sympathetic hero as well as equally appealing supporting characters … Likely to draw in readers of Andrea Penrose, Charles Finch, and Anne Perry” -Library Journal on The Hanging Psalm
“This historical tour de force reminds readers who come for the mystery that life hasn’t changed for the disenfranchised” -Kirkus Reviews Starred Review of The Hocus Girl
“Gripping … offers authentic period ambiance, vivid characters, crisp dialogue, and plenty of twists” – Booklist on The Hanging Psalm
“Outstanding … Historical mysteries don’t get much better than this” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review of The Hocus Girl
“An exciting debut … Steeped in Regency atmosphere, it holds your interest from beginning to end” – Kirkus Reviews on The Hanging Psalm
“Solid … a welcome contrast to such aristocratic Regency sleuths as C.S. Harris’s Sebastian St. Cyr.” – Publishers Weekly on The Hanging Psalm
“This is an excellent historical mystery, the second in the Simon Westow series. Readers will enjoy it and look forward to additional books.” – Historical Novels Review of The Hocus Girl
“Beautifully balanced between suspense and action … the historical background … as always, engaging, detailed and authentic.” – Joanne Harris, bestselling author of Chocolat, on The Hocus Girl
“Combines multiple twists, vivid descriptions of life in the early nineteenth century, strong characters, and a surprising ending. A perfect read-alike for David Liss’ popular series starring another British thief-taker.” – Benjamin Weaver, Booklist on The Hocus Girl
About the Author
I’m a novelist and music journalist, the author of many books set between the 1730s and 1950s in Leeds, as well as others in medieval Chesterfield and 1980s Seattle.
Above all, though, it’s Leeds I love, the people, the sense of the place changing with time. Yes, I write mysteries, but ultimately they’re books about people and their relationships, and the crime becomes a moral framework for the story.
Pittsburgh has provided an interesting, vibrant and eclectic place to grow up and eventually become a writer of stories. Stories through which History, Science, Alchemy, Romance, High Stakes, and Mythology are woven.
My writing is also touched by ghostly echoes which greet me as I hike or bike through what were once bustling sites from the age of industry of the region, now reclaimed by nature. These are the ethereal remnants of those who shed their blood, sweat and tears onto what is now sacred ground.
Come dive into the stories shaped by these unique forges. The twists in the path are unexpected, fraught with danger, but always worth the journey.
Where passion and love take root unexpectedly, bloom, and somehow manage to survive against all odds, one surprising way or another.
Excerpt from Chapter 4 ~ 345 BCE, Temple of Thoth, Egypt
Thoth finally spoke, “I cannot give you an answer at this time, archangel. There is much I need to consider. Such as eons of Celestial disdain which will not simply disappear, my lack of faith they can come with sincerity to the table of diplomacy—against the need to indeed strengthen the alliance.” He gave an impatient nod of his head. “Enough talk of Celestials. Tell me of this philosopher and why Malachi is needed.”
“The Seraph view the confusion and fear caused by King Alexander’s sieges as an opportunity. They make it known they offer protection from Alexander to those who would turn and join them. Aristotle is Alexander’s confidante and advisor. If the Seraph take Aristotle out of the picture, chaos will ensue, and they will gain a sizeable advantage.”
Thoth stroked his beak in thought as he listened. “Go on.”
“Aristotle’s philosophy is counterproductive to the Seraph rebellion. Celestia has determined it critical for Aristotle to have protection.”
“That is all well and good for Aristotle and Alexander, angel,” Thoth’s voice was intonated with sarcasm. “Please, share with me how my temple will be protected.”
“I believe you will find Katherine the Adamantine quite capable. She is one of our most formidable assassins and guardians, a Sekhmet lioness warrior of the ancients, and of the Nile,” Raphael answered.
“‘Quite capable’, you say, Raphael? Hmm?” issued a low, contralto female voice from thin air near Thoth’s throne.
Raphael scowled, and both of them looked toward the disembodied voice. Sea blue and silver coruscation filled the air in a tall column near Thoth’s throne. Consolidating, the shimmer took on a dark, cinnamon-skinned female form. As she solidified, the silver tip of her dark blue spear shone in the sun. Cinnamon hair, in scores of thin braids, pulled back from her temples, fell to the middle of her back. Her cerulean linen shendyt shone like the sea, and her polished bronze cuirass and greaves shone as if the sun itself stood among them.
“Katherine,” Raphael intoned, curt yet courteous, with a nod toward her, “a grand entrance, as usual.”
“Raphael,” she mimicked his tone, then looked to Thoth. “Greetings, Thoth, my lord.” Her nut-brown skin tone emphasized the shifting topaz of her eyes.
His daunting gaze upon the woman, Thoth’s black eyes glittered while his beak elongated and again curved in an intimidating hook.
Unflustered, Katherine gave a brief bow of her head to Thoth, no attention given to his fierce countenance. The chest plate of her cuirass glinted in the sunlight as she shifted her gaze back to Raphael, dissecting him with her penetrating stare.
Displeasure seeped from Raphael as his lips turned down at the corners and he inclined his head.
Katherine tsked. “Come, now, Raphael. You archangels can be so strait-laced and stuffy.”
Raphael peered at Katherine with narrowed eyes as he unrolled several maps. He took a deep breath, then looked down at the papyrus splayed before them. “I know you will handle things well, Katherine. Take heed, the Seraph are becoming more cunning and shrewd. Keep alert for the slightest divergence. Assumptions can be dangerous—”
He looked up in time to see her lips forming silent words, assumptions can be dangerous, as she mocked him. Raphael halted. He lifted his brows as the tops of his wings appeared and peaked, ruffled from behind his shoulders, in his annoyance.
Katherine returned his gaze, her lips turned up at the corners in a subtle smirk.
The moment stretched for an eon; the incense cracked.
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