Delve into the past – with timeless historical fiction!

This week’s featured genre on Crooked Cat Books is historical fiction. And we have some cracking adventures to share with you!

Crooked Cat has a wonderful collection of historical adventures and fantasy. Three of these are showcased this week. First up is Nancy Jardine‘s lush romantic adventure, The Beltane Choice; then we have Maggie Secara‘s fantastic(al) time-travel mystery, The Dragon Ring; and finally Mark Patton‘s gripping An Accidental King, set in Roman Britain.

Whilst we post three buy links, you can find all books also in paperback and in a range of online retailers.

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Here they are:

Nancy Jardine‘s romantic adventure, The Beltane Choice (#1 in the Celtic Fervour Series), is set in the Celtic north-east of Britain. As the Romans advance further north, the Celtic tribes are forced to stop squabbling amongst themselves. Can a fragile peace hold? 

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Banished from the nemeton, becoming a priestess is no longer the future for Nara, a princess of the Selgovae tribe. Now charged with choosing a suitable mate before Beltane, her plan is thwarted by Lorcan, an enemy Brigante prince, who captures her and takes her to his hill fort. Despite their tribes fighting each other, Nara feels drawn to her captor, but time runs out for her secret quest.

As armies of the Roman Empire march relentlessly northwards, Lorcan intends to use Nara as a marriage bargain, knowing all Celtic tribes must unite to be strong enough to repel imminent Roman attack. Nara’s father, Callan, agrees to a marriage alliance between Selgovae and Brigante, but has impossible stipulations. Lorcan is torn between loyalty to his tribe and growing love for Nara.

When danger and death arrive in the form of the mighty Roman forces, will Nara be able to choose her Beltane lover?

The Beltane Choice tells a tale of war and love in Celtic Britain.

Discover what Nara and Lorcan have to do to hold the peace and keep the Romance at bay: Amazon UK, Amazon com or Smashwords.

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The Dragon Ring, the first in the Harper Errant Series by Maggie Secara, is currently at #42 in the Amazon US Folklore charts! “A perfect escape from reality.” Allow yourself to be whisked away to the Viking era in Essex and Shakespeare’s England! 

Reality TV host Ben Harper has a problem: he owes the king of Faerie a favor. So now he Dragon Ring, The - Maggie Secara
has to track down the three parts of a Viking arm-ring, and return them to their place in time. This takes him through the wolf-haunted forests of Viking Age Wessex, the rowdy back streets of Shakespeare’s London, and a derelict Georgian country house. Partnered with caustic, shape-changing Raven and guided by a slightly wacky goblin diary, Ben must rediscover his own gifts while facing his doubts and the queen of Faerie’s minions, who will do anything to stop him.

The Dragon Ring, the first in the Harper Errant series, is a time travelling epic adventure which takes you to Old England, and beyond.

Start your faerie adventure now on Amazon UK, Amazon com and Smashwords!

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Mark Patton‘s An Accidental King, an excellent account of Roman Britain, has been called “colourful, exciting, and unpredictable” by the Historical Novel Society Review. High praise, well-deserved.

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As he approaches the end of his life, Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, the native-born but loyally pro-Roman client king of Britain, looks back on the thirty-six years of his reign.

He recalls how, as a young man, he was seduced by the grandeur of Rome and the beauty of the written word; how he was befriended by the Emperor Claudius, and by the Roman General, Vespasian, later to rule as Emperor himself.

He remembers the difficulties he encountered whilst trying to mediate between the British aristocracy and Roman officials who were often cruel and frequently corrupt.

Most significantly he reflects on the Boudiccan revolt of 60/61 AD, which he tried to prevent, and in the course of which Britain was almost lost to Rome.
Roman Britain. One man. His fate.

Don’t miss this excellent read: Amazon UK, Amazon com or Smashwords.

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Crooked Cat Books is the perfect place for you to discover this week how our authors researched their stories. Heaven for history buffs. Come on over!

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Interview with Author Vanessa Couchman

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Newly-signed Crooked Cat author Emma Rose Millar invited me for a chat on her blog today.

Originally posted on Emma Rose Millar:

I’m always happy to chat with fellow historical fiction authors so it’s great to welcome Vanessa Couchman to my blog today.

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Q Hello Vanessa, welcome. We’d like to know a bit about Vanessa Couchman, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.

Thanks so much for inviting me on your blog, Emma. I describe myself as a “young author”, since I’ve been writing fiction for only just over five years. Alas, I’m not young in years. Joining Writers Abroad, an online community for expat writers, was one of the spurs that got me writing fiction.

I’ve had a varied career, including 10 years in the academic publishing industry, an MBA, 7 years in public sector audit and research and 18 years running my own company.

We moved to rural Southwest France in 1997, which we love. Since then, I have been writing research reports, offering copywriting services…

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On the Chaise Longue with Vanessa: an Interview with Emma Mooney @EmmaMooney21

Originally posted on Vanessa Couchman, author:

On the Chaise Longue with Vanessa: an Interview with Emma Mooney @EmmaMooney21

Author Emma Mooney Author Emma Mooney

Today, it’s my great pleasure to welcome fellow Crooked Cat author Emma Mooney to the chaise longue. Emma lives near Edinburgh with her husband and three children. Despite these distractions, she published her first novel, A Beautiful Game, in 2014, which has had excellent reviews. She says she enjoys ‘exploring the grittier side of fiction’.

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Discover exciting contemporary fiction!

It’s contemporary fiction week from Friday, 15th to Thursday, 21st May, over at Crooked Cat Books! We have three exciting novels to share, all set in wonderful locations!

Jane Bwye‘s adventure, Breath of Africa, is set in Kenya; Jeff Gardiner‘s gripping novel, Igboland, in West Africa and Yvonne Marjot‘s mystery, The Calgary Chessman, on the windswept Scottish island of Mull! Discover breathtaking sceneries in gripping stories!

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Here they are in more detail:

A woman’s adventure following a mysterious discovery in the sands on the isle of Mull in front3The Calgary Chessman by Yvonne Marjot is busy climbing the Amazon charts. 

On a windswept beach on the Isle of Mull, Cas Longmore is walking away loneliness when she unearths a mystery in the sand. To Cas, torn between Scotland and her New Zealand home, the object seems as odd and out-of-place as herself. Intrigued, she begins to search for its origins, thinking it will bring a brief respite from isolation. Instead, the Calgary chess piece opens the door to friendships and new hope. Her son, meanwhile, brings home his own revelation to shake her world.

Grab your copy now on Amazon UK, Amazon com or Smashwords

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Danger lurks beneath the surface in Jane Bwye‘s gripping saga, Breath of Africa, frontwhich is at this moment at #31 in the Historical Fiction -> African Amazon charts. 

Thirty years of Kenya’s recent history unfold through the lives of Caroline, a privileged woman from the fertile highlands, and Charles Ondiek, a farm labourer with dreams of an Oxford education.

Charles’s love for Teresa, daughter of a hated settler farmer, leads to a drama of psychological terror fuelled by Mau Mau oath administrator, Mwangi, who is held in detention for six years.

On his release, Mwangi forces Charles and Teresa apart, then turns his attention to Caroline. But she has inner resources, and joins with Charles to seek out a mysterious ancestral cave.

 Against the backdrop of Kenya’s beautiful but hostile desert, the curse is finally broken.

But when Caroline discovers the hidden reason for Mwangi’s hatred, she wonders if she’ll ever, really, belong in the country she loves.

Get carried away to Kenya now on Amazon UK, Amazon com and Smashwords!

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Discover conflict, passion and love in West Africa in Jeff Gardiner‘s brilliant Igboland.

A NEW LIFE THOUSANDS OF MILES FROM HOMEfront2

Lydia and Clem Davie arrive in an Igbo village in Nigeria in July 1967 just as civil war breaks out, but Lydia has trouble adjusting to life in West Africa: a place so unfamiliar and far away from everything she truly understands.

Initially, most of the locals are welcoming and friendly, until one or two begin a frightening campaign of anti-white protests. Lydia’s life is changed irrevocably after she meets enigmatic Igbo doctor, Kwemto, and war victim, Grace. Through them Lydia learns about independence, passion and personal identity. Conflict and romance create emotional highs and lows for Lydia, whose marriage and personal beliefs slowly begin to crumble.

Will this house in a Nigerian bush village ever seem like home?

Find this “fascinating” 5* read on Amazon UK (where it currently sits at #23 Historical Fiction -> African), Amazon com and Smashwords!

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For excerpts, chats and more, join the authors on Crooked Cat Books on Facebook!

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AN UPSIDE DOWN LIFE

It is Contemporary Fiction Week at Crooked Cat Books Facebook Page – and here are three awesome authors. We’ll be sharing titbits, and here’s one of Jane Bwye’s…

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Not The Whole Truth

People have often asked me how much of my own life is portrayed in BREATH OF AFRICA. I say that the story is fiction, but the book draws on my experiences. However, that’s not the whole truth.

My life started naturally enough. I grew up in the Rift Valley and went to school in the Kenya Highlands, then on to Nairobi.

I loved horses. While at boarding school I would just live for my Saturday riding lessons at the nearby racecourse. My best friend and I were a bit hare-brained; we used to break out of school at night at the height of the Mau Mau emergency.

Here is a piece from the first chapter of my book, which has a whisper of truth about it. I’ve embellished it rather, but that’s the beauty of writing fiction.

“Powerful muscles moved beneath her, thrusting her from side to side. She abandoned the rope and leaned along Domino’s neck, clinging onto the coarse hairs of his long flowing mane … She closed her thighs, urging Domino on and called to him. An ear flicked back in acknowledgement and his gallop quickened. The whole world was rocking, swaying, thundering, but she drew ahead and the winning post flashed by.”

Things went a bit wonky after I left school. My brain was the cause of high hopes. My parents suggested I should try for Oxford, but there was a particular nun in Nairobi who told me I was crazy to sit for the Oxford entrance exam AND do my Higher School Certificate at the same time.

“You’ll fail both.” She declared one day in a rage when I gave her some mediocre history prep.

Well – that did it. I just showed her. I got into Oxford – and basked in the glory of achievement. I loved the University life. But the vacs were long, and the English way of life very alien.

Charles is my African character, and these are his first impressions of London:

“It was afternoon. It must be afternoon. The sun was thirty degrees from the horizon and yet his watch said ten o’clock. It was going to take time to get used to this strange phenomenon. That orb, weakly glowing through the smog, seemed to remain stationary all day.

Wet glistening streets slid past … Monotonous brick buildings crept by, covered with grimy filth. Did people really live there? He stared at the terraced houses lining the street. No earth, no trees; just a front door and the pavement.”

I was sooo home-sick. You can read glimpses of my emotions through the character of Charles. My father refused to let me come home for the three-week Christmas vac, just to touch base.

“You must stick it out, Jane,” he said.

I’d left behind the son of a neighbouring farmer – I’d met him before going up to Oxford, and – well … you know –

When I was finally allowed to come home at the end of my first year, the strain was too great, and I made the decision not to return to Oxford. What heartbreak – what drama and outrage! Eventually my parents swallowed their humiliation and gave us a lovely garden wedding. But I’m afraid the happily ever after bit did not last.

Twenty-two months later, my husband died – and yes, there is a chapter in the book which describes exactly what happened. I wrote it down all those years ago as part of a catharsis – a coming to terms with life. I do that often.

Truth is stranger than fiction. And some truth would never be accepted as fiction. In fact, I was left with a six month old baby and then I discovered that I was pregnant. I only knew it was twins eleven days before Colin and Kathy were born.

That’s enough for now. You’ll have to wait until Wednesday to learn why a part of  my life has been a bit upside down.

You can find out more about BREATH OF AFRICA on my WEBSITE: http://janebwye.com/mybooks/breath-of-africa

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