Tag: Historical

Book Excerpt: OUT OF SPLINTERS AND ASHES by Colleen Donnelly

thumbnail_OutofSplintersandAshes_w11919_300 (2)OUT OF SPLINTERS AND ASHES by Colleen Donnelly / Historical Romance / Releasing Soon

She couldn’t love her enemy, because he did.

OUT OF SPLINTERS AND ASHES is a pre-World War II story of the disrupted love affair between a German romance author and a US runner in Hitler’s Olympics. She wrote for him and he carved for her until their world exploded, sending him back home to the US, separating them forever…except in her stories and the wood he carved, enough evidence to the families each went on to have that someone else lay in their backgrounds.

The hints, the indications, and the awareness of an absence that family members could sense brought out the worst in everyone, and eventually brought Dietrich from Berlin to the US to discover if the man in his grandmother’s novels was real.

Cate’s grandmother keeps an old mirror on her New York City bookstore’s wall that resembles one in a pre-World War II German woman’s love stories. Both mirrors have been burned, and both hold carved flowers on their frames. Her grandmother believes, but Cate sets out to disprove, that neither the mirror nor the stories mean a thing…and that Cate’s grandfather isn’t the man in the book who at one time carved flowers and attached them to a mirror for someone else.

Dietrich and Cate find themselves the generation called to resolve and experience what it is to love an enemy, but even more so, what it is to become the enemy of the one you love.


Grandma was impossible to stop. She charged around me, into the room, flipping on a light as she did.

“You can go now,” she barked at the soldier still holding the door. “This won’t take long.”

He nodded at Grandpa, then shut us in, us and the mirror.

I saw Amabile’s story all over again as Grandpa spotted the mirror, the deep down flicker I’d noticed before, but brighter now. Grandma and I disappeared as time took him backwards, his face transforming from old and haggard to young and alive—then to terrified, and lastly to nothing, except guilt. Grandma didn’t raise the mirror as I expected her to, and shake it in his face. She let it hang in front of her, between them, the charred frame and lone lily all he could see.

I stared at the trembling finger that stretched and touched the blackened wood, scars this man probably deserved exposed at the cuff of his sleeve.

“I believe this is yours.” Grandma’s voice was low. I’d never seen them this close together before, never seen them face each other. But I’d seen the mirror between them forever without knowing it was there.


thumbnail_me (160x160) (160x160)AUTHOR BIO

Colleen L Donnelly is a US Midwestern author whose first published novel set her on a new course in life by making the Amazon number one bestseller list. Sticking close to historical fiction as her preferred genre, she has broadened her story base to include romance, western, and a little bit of mystery. When not writing, Colleen is outdoors, hiking through the woods, searching for rocks, or observing wildlife.

Colleen’s other books can be purchased through The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

Mine to Tell http://amzn.to/1PNJo4S

Asked For   http://amzn.to/1TyflEu

Love on a Train   http://amzn.to/1m9eYCx

The Lady’s Arrangement   http://amzn.to/2qj7DE2

Out of Splinters and Ashes – Soon to be released


Contact Colleen at:

Website: http://www.colleenldonnelly.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ColleenLDonnell

Goodreads: http://www.Goodreads.com/colleenldonnelly

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColleenLDonnelly

New Release: SONG OF A CAPTIVE BIRD by Jasmin Darznik

9780399182310SONG OF A CAPTIVE BIRD by Jasmin Darznik / Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction / Released Feb 13, 2018 by Ballantine Books

A spellbinding debut novel about the trailblazing Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, who defied society’s expectations to find her voice and her destiny
“Remember the flight, for the bird is mortal.”

All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh Farrokhzad is told that Persian daughters should be quiet and modest. She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways to rebel—gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother’s walled garden, venturing to the forbidden rooftop to roughhouse with her three brothers, writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father, and sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour over café glacé. During the summer of 1950, Forugh’s passion for poetry takes flight—and tradition seeks to clip her wings.

Forced into a suffocating marriage, Forugh runs away and falls into an affair that fuels her desire to write and to achieve freedom and independence. Forugh’s poems are considered both scandalous and brilliant; she is heralded by some as a national treasure, vilified by others as a demon influenced by the West. She perseveres, finding love with a notorious filmmaker and living by her own rules—at enormous cost. But the power of her writing only grows stronger amid the upheaval of the Iranian revolution.

Inspired by Forugh Farrokhzad’s verse, letters, films, and interviews—and including original translations of her poems—this haunting novel uses the lens of fiction to capture the tenacity, spirit, and conflicting desires of a brave woman who represents the birth of feminism in Iran—and who continues to inspire generations of women around the world.

New Release: THE GREAT ALONE by Kristin Hannah

51eH5ngcYiLTHE GREAT ALONE by Kristin Hannah / Historical Fiction / Released Feb 6, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska—a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

TARNISHED GOLD by Barbara Townsend

thumbnail_TG Print-Cover, bleed trimmedTARNISHED GOLD by Barbara Townsend

Placer City, Wyoming, 1933: Em Olson struggles to keep her log hotel operating in the busted gold mining town. Her only help comes from a spoiled cousin and a loyal but disabled family friend. Her sister in California encourages Em to sell the crumbling family hotel. Their father had abandoned the family years earlier–an act that Em believes caused her mother’s death. But the thought of leaving the peace of her mountain village for the bustle of a major city repulses her. 

While Em worries over the decision, a handsome geologist arrives at her hotel to scout for a gold mine for his boss. He explores the area for a suitable prospect as the attraction between Em and Finch grows. She’s stunned when he uncovers a swindle involving her property. Then she’s horrified when he stumbles on the reason for her father’s disappearance. Stressed to the breaking point, she seeks answers to so many questions while the man she has grown to love prepares to depart on his next assignment.

Book Excerpt of Tarnished Gold by Barbara Townsend:

Continue reading “TARNISHED GOLD by Barbara Townsend”

New Release & Excerpt: MAGIC IN HER EYES by Donna Dalton

perf5.000x8.000.inddMAGIC IN HER EYES by Donna Dalton / Spicy Historical / Released June 23, 2017 by The Wild Rose Press


“Do you also have an aversion to being touched?”
Meredith looked up and met the lieutenant’s taunting gaze. It was a challenge she couldn’t ignore. She hefted her chin. “Not if I have given permission to be touched.”
One corner of his mouth twitched. Surely that wasn’t a smile. From what she’d seen, the most his lips could manage were frowns. 
He held out his hand. “May I help you into the wagon, Miss Talbot? In the name of expediency?”
Straw rustled behind her. One child hummed. Another thrummed on the wagon boards. The children were getting restless. She could contain herself long enough to be lifted onto the wagon.
“Very well. I give my permission.”
His hands curled around her waist. Heat seeped through her blouse and branded her skin. Her stomach started doing odd little summersaults like the ones she’d seen Chinese acrobats perform at a local fair. So much for containing herself.
His grip tightened, and he lifted her up and onto the wagon bed as if she weighed no more than a rag doll. His hands lingered a moment before he released her. Gray-brown eyes fused with hers. A strange connection churned between them like the rush crowding the air before a storm.

New Release: BETWEEN TWO FIRES by Mark Noce

between-two-firesBETWEEN 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.

Interview: James MacManus

James MacManusTell 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.

Midnight in BerlinWhat 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.