Category Archives: Historical Fiction Books

Steampunk Mystery Book Feature: Whispers of Bedlam Asylum by Mark C. King @MarkCKingAuthor


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Thriller, Mystery, Steampunk


whispers-of-bedlm-asylum

Even the splendor of Victorian Age London was not without its faults. In its heart is one of the darkest places in human history, Bedlam Asylum. The whispered rumours of brutality, fear, and hopelessness turn out to be only the beginning of its cruelty.

One man is trying to protect his family by uncovering the worst of Bedlam’s hidden secrets. One woman is following in her late husband’s footsteps to try and help those that can’t help themselves.

They will both find that looking for evil does not necessarily make one prepared to find it.

Free on Kindle Unlimited!

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Excerpt:

Even the splendor of Victorian Age London was not without its faults. In its heart is one of the darkest places in human history, Bedlam Asylum. The whispered rumours of brutality, fear, and hopelessness turn out to be only the beginning of its cruelty.

One man is trying to protect his family by uncovering the worst of Bedlam’s hidden secrets. One woman is following in her late husband’s footsteps to try and help those that can’t help themselves.

They will both find that looking for evil does not necessarily make one prepared to find it.


About the Author:

mark-c-king

Mark King is an easy-going writer with a talent for finding enjoyment in most any situation. He’s a lifelong reader whose literary interests include science fiction, adventure, thriller, and mysteries. He grew up in California but now lives in upstate New York with his wife. When not working or writing, he can be found watching movies, kayaking, associating with friends, and of course reading. Mark is happy to have been recently accepted as a Goodreads author!

Visit Official Website at: www.MarkCKing.com


Historical Fiction Spotlight and Interview: In a Time Never Known by Kat Michels @FictionofTruth


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Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction


in a time never known

New Release!

Wife, mother, spy. Anna is hiding a dangerous secret from her family, especially her Confederate General husband. However, it is not her covert work for the Union that she finds the most daunting, it is dealing with her spoiled Southern belle daughter. When Kady discovers that her mother has been leading a carefully constructed double life, she must choose whether to work by her mother’s side in the shadows or return to the pampered life of a Southern planter’s daughter.

Cast into the bloody fray of one of the deadliest wars in our history, In a Time Never Known is the story of women who courageously defy the expectations of the era to do unprecedented things, altering the course of American history and their own lives.

Free on Kindle Unlimited!

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Barnes and Noble


Excerpt:

“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of…” Martha stopped speaking to stifle a rising sob. She knew she had to stay strong for her children, but she could not get past that word. Another scream pierced the air and even the young Confederate soldier, guarding the door with his gun at the ready, flinched at the sound. Biting her lip, she swallowed past the lump of fear lodged in her throat, let her eyes fall shut, and started again.

“Lord, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.”


About the Author:

kat michels

Kat Michels lives in Los Angeles, CA, with her two puggles. She is the author of a historical fiction novel, three children’s book, and a series of mini-biographies about extraordinary American women. Kat has received multiple awards for her writing, including two regional Emmys for her work on short-form documentaries.

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Author Interview:

Thanks for doing an interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey?

I’ve been writing stories and poetry for as long as I can remember. My life has been a series of scraps of paper and napkins with brilliant, spur-of-the-moment ideas hastily scribbled on them. Despite this, it took until I was in my mid-twenties before it occurred to me that not only was I a writer, I wanted to write as my profession. From there I started dabbling wherever I could. I wrote the narrative to a couple of short-form documentaries. I was a theater critic in Los Angeles for four-ish* years. I discovered the joy of uncovering and writing about historical American women who did extraordinary things, but received little to no recognition for their work. And the need for a heartfelt baby shower gift plus the chorus of a show tune getting stuck in my head became my introduction to the world of children’s books. While I have a place in my heart for all of these things, I have learned that it is really in the novel that I feel most at home. I love a good sweeping story that carries you away – to watch, to read, and to write.

* I say “ish” because I still get pulled back in by the siren song of live theater and write a review when I see something that truly blows me away.

How many books do you currently have published?

Four – three children’s books (Children Have Got to Be Carefully Taught, 10 Cheeky Monkeys, Monsters in the Night) and one novel.

What has been your favorite book to write so far? Why?

The novel is my favorite medium to tell a story, but children’s books are my favorite to write. I get to play around with rhymes and poetic structure and they are way less work than a novel. As much as I love writing, it is work. When the entire book is less than 100 words, it feels less like work and more like play.

Are you currently working on a book? Will this be your next release?

I am actually working on four different books right now, which didn’t seem crazy until I said it. Now it sounds a little crazy. I don’t know which one will be my next release, but the smart money is on one of the children’s books. I work with two different illustrators, so I’m working on the text for a prequel to Monsters in the Night for M. McCune to work on, and a book called Because I’m a Girl, for A. Sutton to work on. Then I am also working on the sequel to In a Time Never Known, as well as a non-fiction book about the Civil Rights Movement as told through the eyes of the women who fought for the movement.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I get to write the stories that I’ve always wanted to read.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?

I have come to realize that I don’t get writer’s block, I get writer’s fear. The ideas are flowing and I have words to put down, but I am afraid that what I put down won’t be good. That I won’t be able to make the words on the page match the idea in my head. This fear builds to the point that I become paralyzed and incapable of putting anything down on the page. At those times, I turn to friends for encouragement. There was one piece of advice/encouragement that has really stuck with me. I called a friend one night and told her all about this book that I wanted to write, but was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. She said to me, “The first draft may suck. But you have the talent, the passion and the dedication to fix it, so that the final draft will be great. Just start.” Those words are now my mantra when the self-doubt starts to creep in, “Just start.”

Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you?

Yes – Jacob. No matter what I threw at that guy, he would always come out on top. He’s just one of those characters that can see where he will benefit in every situation he’s faced with. In early drafts I fought against that, because I wanted him to have some sort of comeuppance. It never worked, and I just wound up with chapters that felt false. Eventually I gave in and let Jacob be Jacob.

Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why?

Mary, Anna’s personal slave, is hands down my favorite character. She is so strong, both by necessity to live as a slave, but also as part of her nature. She has learned how to survive in the circumstances she was dealt without giving up her dignity and sense of self. Yet despite all of her hardships, her capacity to love and empathize with those around her is immeasurable. If I could sit down and have a chat over a cup of coffee with anyone in my book, it would be Mary.

I don’t know that I would call him my least favorite character, but definitely the character that I love to hate is General Bell. He has a set of rules by which he lives and he is going to stick to them even if it means turning on those he holds most dear. He is just so awful in so many ways, but underneath that cruel exterior is a sad little boy that didn’t get held enough as a child. There are times that I want to give him a hug, then punch him in the face, because he both needs and deserves both.

So far, what has been your favorite scene to write?

The battle scene was particularly fun to write. I studied stage combat for seven years, so I got up and acted out most of the fight to help me get the descriptions and the flow of the violence correct.

What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers?

I have learned so much about criticism. First and foremost, that any critique is simply one person’s opinion about the work in front of them. Outside of memoirs that work has nothing to do with you as a person. While the work may feel like your baby, it’s not, and a critique of that work is not an attack on you as a person. As such, it should not be taken personally. Which is definitely easier said than done. However, the only way to get better is to let people read your work, and comment. So this realization and acceptance made me more open to criticism. The more open I was, the more I actually listened, and the better my writing became.

The one thing that I always tell new writers is that they have to learn the difference between criticism (This sucks!) and constructive criticism (Jane reacting this way feels forced. Why is she so disturbed by the situation?). On the whole, the former can be ignored and the latter should be considered. But at the end of the day, it’s your work. Just because someone says they don’t like something, doesn’t mean you have to change it. Now if ten people all say the same thing, then you have a problem that needs addressing.

Do you have any extras you’d like to share, like a teaser about an upcoming new release, a summary of a deleted scene, or a teaser about a surprising plot twist or character?

My most recent children’s book was released on October 5, and I had a lot of fun doing a recorded reading of it for Youtube. https://youtu.be/VCWeDDSV4lY

Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read?

When I’m reading for pleasure my tastes run toward historical fiction, fantasy and young adult. I live in this world every day, so when I read I like to enter a different world. That being said, what gets me excited about a story is when an author can paint the world of their book so vividly that I can picture every aspect of it in my mind. I’m willing to overlook mediocre writing or shaky plots as long as the world-building is fantastic. Suck me into your world and you’ve got me till the end. Young Adult books are my guilty pleasures. They read quickly, often have better writing than adult books, and sometimes are downright silly. Sometimes you just need to read about a giant peach smashing some nasty aunts.

What about television shows? Movies?

I’ll watch just about anything by Joss Whedon. Years ago, I was reading an interview he did in a magazine and came across a piece of advice that has stuck with me. He said, “Give your audience everything they want, but in the worst possible way.” That concept intrigues me, and I love to see him play that out in his work. I also love how he is able to inject moments of comedy into even the most serious of scenes. As George Bernard Shaw said, “”Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.” I’m also a huge fan of Criminal Minds. I find the psychology of deviant behavior fascinating.

Is there a book that you have read that you feel has made a big impact on your life? Why?

Loath as I am to admit it, I was not a big reader when I was younger. I read what was required of me for school or the summer reading program at the library, but no more. Books were often chosen because they contained the correct page count for an assignment, with little regard to their content. In 7th grade, I read The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye because it was so long, I could be done with the semester’s reading assignment after one book. I didn’t even know what it was about when I opened it and read the first page. Ironically, it was the first book that truly enveloped me in a story and made me fall in love with sweeping historical dramas. Looking back, that is probably where the kernel for historical fiction was planted.

The only other book that truly stands out to me is, A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. I read it in college and was completely absorbed in the concept of alternate truths, which was sparked specifically by her discussion of Shakespeare’s sister. What if she had been the brilliant writer in the family? What if she had tried to pursue that career? Would we have even a tenth of the canon that we do today, had the author been a woman instead of a man? I was fascinated by the ‘what ifs.’ I already had a love for history, and reading her words opened up a whole new angle of exploration.

If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say?

Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Did I say rewrite? Rewrite again!


Historical Adventure Book: Exodus Lost by S.C. Compton


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exodus lost
 

Genres: History, Adventure

Exodus Lost reopens cold cases from antiquity and applies cutting-edge science, classical scholarship, and tenacity to solve them. The adventure begins with Aztec and Mayan chronicles of an epic voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. By mapping the details within these texts, the author tracks down their lost homeland and corroborates the local traditions of an ocean-crossing long before Columbus. This discovery leads to new insights into the origins of Mexican and Western civilizations, the Bible (including new archaeological evidence for two major biblical events), the alphabet, and much more. Enter a world of exploration and discovery, mystery and revelation. Whether your passion is archaeology or religion, history or simply a great adventure, Exodus Lost delivers. Beautifully illustrated with 126 photos, maps, and engravings.

Buy this book now at:

Amazon


About the Author:

 S. C. Compton has been fascinated with ancient civilizations since childhood adventures living in the rainforests of Peru with his grandparents and exploring Incan ruins in the nearby Andes. He went on to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in the Humanities cum laude from Shimer College, a Master of Liberal Arts from the University of Chicago, a Master of Arts in Literature from Northwestern University, and studied at Oxford University and in Switzerland at L’Abri. Compton dedicated 14 years to the research and writing of Exodus Lost, including travels to archaeological sites in Egypt, Mexico, Greece, Israel, and Turkey and to relevant museum and library holdings across Mexico, Europe, and America. He currently edits academic journals in the fields of history and literature for Oxford University Press.


Historical Fantasy Spotlight: Three Great Lies by Vanessa MacLellan @mccvan


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Fantasy/Historical Fantasy


three great lies book

While vacationing in Egypt. . .
Jeannette Walker, a cynical scientist jaded by swarms of tour groups and knick-knack shacks, is lured by a teenage tour guide to visit a newly discovered tomb. No other tourists there! Inside the chamber, she tumbles down a shaft and 3000 years back in time.

Now, in a world where deities walk the streets and prophecy stinks up the air, Jeannette is desperate for normal and the simple pleasures of sanitation and refrigeration. However, a slave master hawking a cat-headed girl derails her homebound mission, and Jeannette—penniless in this ancient world—steals the girl, bringing down the tireless fury of the slaver.

Saddled with a newly awakened mummy and the cat-headed girl, Jeannette, through her unparalleled experience gained from watching spy movies, contrives a plan to free them from the slaver’s ire, but will she have to dive into the belly of the beast to succeed?

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Excerpt:

“Hello?” Her voice hung flat in the narrow hall, the acoustics wanting. It surprised her to find a network of passages and rooms. Each dry, empty antechamber sucked the fluid from her mouth and mocked her with hostile silence. As she wandered from one small chamber to the next, she expected to find piles of offerings, maybe gold or jewels, or even pottery, but the rooms housed only one blocky sarcophagus. Otherwise empty, they had been left incomplete—or emptied under ill-intentioned methods.

“Kid.” Her calls had turned into a mantra, lacking the passion of initial panic and had morphed simply into a word that slipped from her lips each time she entered a new room. “Kid?” Her guide played an amazing impersonation of somebody who was just not there.

When she hit the end of the passages, having explored each alcove with no sign of life, she began retracing her steps to that first room she’d tumbled into. The kid must have been on the upper level after all, and had not fallen down the threshold into crazy land like she had. Just her luck.

Exhausted, dragging her feet across the stones, she almost tripped on the flat surface. She just wanted to return to her hotel and sleep. The dreaded knowledge of the long trip back in the bike’s sidecar—assuming she could even return that way—and the fact that she was running out of water, sapped away her optimism. Trips were designed to be fun, a bit of adventure, a bit of pampering. She was ready for the spa treatment now. The tour planners had touted it as part of the package deal. She’d never had a spa treatment: no foot rubs, no facials. The knowledge that a hot bath and massage waited for her spurred her forward, though all she really wanted to do was close her eyes and open them again to her hotel room, the soft bed and bowl of fruit, the funky scent of the detergent that tickled her nose to the edge of a sneeze.

Damn it. This wasn’t what she wanted.

Frustrated, she stomped across the floor, her hard-soled hiking boots clomping as her mind soldiered through her options to make it back to El-Balyana, let alone Luxor. With her thoughts leap-frogging from walking miles, to hijacking a camel, to the cost in dog lives of a taxi trip to her hotel, she didn’t see the figure standing near the opened sarcophagus as she rounded the corner.

When she did, she froze.

Within the eon caught between one blink and the next, she absorbed details of the monster from a bad B movie: short, about her height, wrapped in linen gauze. Arms bound to its sides, it twisted and writhed, struggling to free itself from the linen embrace.

Then it moaned, a noise tapped straight from its slim chest, desperate and hungry, and Jeannette couldn’t contain her own scream.


About the Author:

vanessa photo small

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Alternate Historic Fiction Spotlight: The Value of Equality by Cristie M. Locsin


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Alternate Historic Fiction/Lovestory


Value of Equality

Release Date: 6/12/2017

In 1969, the powerful hacenderos in the province of Azusa had been known to create political leaders. The hacenderos’ desires to keep their land and abolish the rebels groom Mayor Karlos Vasquez to enter the world of national politics. Daria Hernandez, Señor Enrique Hernandez’s daughter, paved the way for the ambitious and idealistic Mayor Vasquez. The mayor’s false beliefs and the people’s weariness ended democracy and tore the country apart, leading to a new form of government. The Value of Equality is the second book of a trilogy.

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Excerpt:

“Today we mark a new era in our beloved republic. We are no longer a nation of inequality. Today we establish a new government. I present to the world the People’s Republic of the Philippines.”


About the Author:

My interest in writing started at an early age as my father is an avid writer. I hold a degree in Journalism and was a reporter for various local ethnic newspaper. When I became a mom, I took a break and became and advocate for children with special needs. My passion for writing never left me and finally I wrote my first book The Value of Equality. The book depicts the story of hacienderos and political makers. This is the first book of a trilogy.

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