MAGIC IN HER EYES by Donna Dalton / Spicy Historical / Released June 23, 2017 by The Wild Rose Press
MAGIC IN HER EYES by Donna Dalton / Spicy Historical / Released June 23, 2017 by The Wild Rose Press
BETWEEN TWO FIRES by Mark Noce / Historical Mystery, Romance / Released Aug 23, 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books
Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King. But the fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen becomes the target of assassination attempts and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight names Artagan, her world threatens to tear itself apart.
Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.
Reminiscent of classics like The Mists of Avalon and A Game of Thrones, and newer popular titles like Hild, Branwen’s tale masterfully weaves together elements of mystery and romance with Noce’s gift for storytelling.
MARK NOCE writes historical fiction with a passion. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he has been an avid traveler and backpacker. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. He also writes short fiction online. When not reading or writing he’s probably listening to U2, sailing his dad’s boat, or gardening with his family.
Tell us about your new release. MIDNIGHT IN BERLIN is based on the true story of how Colonel Noel Macrae, a British military attaché, knowing the futility of appeasement, planned to assassinate Hitler on the eve of WW2.It is also the story of Sara Sternschein, a young Jewish woman forced to work as a courtesan in a Nazi brothel. The book weaves these two characters into a story of love and betrayal set in a city held in the grip of the Gestapo and fearful of the coming war.
What led you to write this book? Firstly I was very impressed with the story of how a lone diplomat stood up against the clearly misplaced appeasement policies of his government and offered to sacrifice himself to prevent war. Secondly the fact that the Gestapo did indeed run a brothel in Berlin to entrap their enemies gave me the opportunity place a young Jewish women at the heart of the story and let her loose to challenge the bestiality of the Nazi regime – and fall in love .
Did you have an interesting experience in the research of this book? I did plenty of research in Berlin – a fascinating city that still guards its secrets behind a warm welcome for visitors.
How important is setting to your story? Vital. Berlin in 1938-39 when the book is set, is a menacing, fearful city that has fallen to the Nazis but still remembers a great cultural past. The book contains two maps showing exactly where many of the scenes takes place including Hitler’s Reich Chancellery, the Adlon Hotel and the British Embassy.
Which is more important characters or setting? Oh, very much the characters; if your characters do not come alive on the page and appear real and interesting to the reader no amount of beautifully portrayed setting is going to rescue the book.
Are any of your characters loosely based on people you know in real life? Most of my characters are indeed drawn from real life. William Shirer, the CBS correspondent in Berlin at the time, Sir Nevile ( note one l) Henderson the British ambassador, Neville Chamberlain the British Prime Minister, Reinhard Heydrich the Gestapo chief are all real people. The lead character Noel Macrae is very much modelled on Col Mason MacFarlane the actual British military attaché at the time.
Do you people watch for character inspiration? Yes but mostly one does so without realizing it. Quirks of character, small personal habits like the way some people tug at their ears when thinking, the different ways women put on make-up, all these and others come back to one when writing.
Do you have a favorite fictional character by another author you’d like to meet? There is hardly a character in Dickens I would not like to meet but above all Becky Sharp from Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. She is trouble all the way – a real mischief maker and thus well worth an invitation to a long lunch.
What do you hope readers take away from your work? One reviewer said this was a morally charged book and indeed I hope reader take some lesson from the way the western powers turned a blind eye to Hitler’s warlike intentions and bestial treatment of the Jews in the 1930s.But above all I hope this is a story of how the power of love can help people survive even the worst circumstances.
Do you have an interesting quirk about your personality that you’d like to share? Not really unless to say that like many others writers I do find a glass or two or good red burgundy a great help when the black dog of writers block descends.
What do you do when you are not writing? Research the next book, yoga, worry (needlessly) about my children, worry about humankind’s capacity for savage intolerance, drink red wine.
Which book impacted you as a teenager? I fell in love with William Faulkner aged about 16 .I read everything from Soldier’s Pay to The Reivers and revered every word .Sadly find him unreadable now. P.G. Wodehouse was an early favorite to and he has stayed with me. A great author to re-read on a dark night
Do you read the same genre you write? No. I certainly read historical fiction but modern authors like James Salter are more my taste.
What is #1 on your bucket list? I want to spend time in Japan to try and understand a people that caused so much havoc in the last century and seem to made peace with the world – and themselves – also I love the food.
Have you ever written a scene that ‘creeped’ you out? Sex scenes are very difficult especially for male writers of fiction. I have sometimes written such scenes trying to be honest without being too graphic only to have them cut and criticized, indeed mocked, by my editors (mostly women.) And they were quite right
Do you have a favorite writing place or writing rituals? Same desk, same time, 9 am every morning. I place an hour glass on the desk , turn it oer, and do not move until the hour is up .I do this for three hours with strong green tea in five minute intervals. It is the only way to get words down.
Do you have a reoccurring theme to your books? Not intentionally but I have been told my books do all show strong women characters overcoming great adversity and – mostly- triumphing in love.
What are you reading now? James Salter’s Dusk – a collection of short stories. He is a superb stylist and only after his death last year (2015) was he hailed as the master story teller that he was. His early novel A Sport and a Pastime is rightly recognized as an erotic masterwork.
What social media do you participate in? Fb twitter Instagram.
What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you? Have you ever really truly been in love?
What’s next for you? I have written a play but would rather not say any more.
THE CAVENDON LUCK picks up nine years after CAVENDON WOMEN in July of 1938. Cecily and Miles, with the help of the whole family, have brought the family and the estate back from the brink of disaster. But now, with the arrival of World War II, Cavendon Hall will face its biggest challenge yet. Intrigue, romance, sorrow, and joy fill the pages of this epic saga as the Ingham and Swanns protect each other and the villagers, and reveal their true capacity for survival and rebirth.
Excerpt from HER ONE TRUE LOVE:
Matthew turned and faced Jane. “When are you leaving for the city?”
She took another step back, her gaze darting over his face. “The day after tomorrow. Why?”
“Because I will escort you. We can travel together in my carriage.”
“No, I do not need your––”
“I will be going anyway. I planned to visit some contacts in the city in the hope of securing guaranteed trade for Biddestone in the coming year. It seems unnecessary for us to make the trip separately when I have a carriage plenty big enough for us both.”
“There is absolutely no need. Jeannie will be coming with me.”
“My offer still stands.”
She glared. “It’s my intention to start on the path of independence, of finding out what the world has to offer me on my own merit. I will hardly be carving out my own path when at the first step from my home, I lean on you.”
“You are being stubborn.”
She pulled back her shoulders. “And you are not?”
The longer he looked at her, the more Matthew saw the quiet beauty he’d desperately tried to ignore. He took a steadying breath. “Please, Jane. Let me escort you to Bath.”
The seconds passed, but Matthew held his tongue. It was imperative she spoke next, that she understood he didn’t mean to bully her but wanted to ensure her safety to a city ravaged by danger, as much as opportunity.
She sighed. “Fine. On one condition.”
He held her gaze. “Which is?”
Her eyes softened, slowly lighting with mischief. “You smile. Now. You smile at me like you did before she left.”
Heat rose to his face. “You want me to smile?”
“Yes. Smile for me, Matthew.”
Empathy and passion swirled in eyes, but they also bore a deep, painful awareness that scratched hard over his heart. The longer he stared, the more he wanted to make her happy.
He smiled, his gaze on hers…and was surprised to find the trade no effort at all.
The Wild Rose Press, Inc. (Tea Rose) (February 14, 2015) Historical Romance
Slightly Noble is a captivating tale of Captain Jack, an American privateer who inherits the title of viscount after his estranged father’s death, and Abigail Halsey, a pregnant woman who is sent to a convent while her father tries to find a solution to his unwed daughter’s plight. Captain Jack is faced with the terms of his father’s will— marry and produce an heir or lose his family home to an unworthy cousin.
Jack and Abigail come into their union for very selfish reasons; Jack wants his inheritance and Abigail wants to keep her child and give him a name. Both hero and heroine have past hurts that cause misgivings about one another and challenge them at every turn.
Lilly Gayle paints a realistic picture of the social expectations in nineteenth century England. From the characters of the noble class to the low life who run baby farms, Gayle populates the book with dynamic characters who help the reader understand the time period.
This book is a must read for those who enjoy historical romance with a touch of suspense.
This review as provided by Jackie McMurray for her column Jackie’s Jargon in the April 2015 issue of The Book Breeze.