Category Archives: History

Welcome to the “ACE CARROWAY AND THE BLOG MONSTER” Blog Tour! @GuyWorthey #4WillsPub #RRBC #giveaway

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Please join me today and welcome RRBC author GUY WORTHEY! He is the fantastic author of the Ace Carroway series. I am currently reading Book 1, Ace Carroway and the Great War.

Please be sure to leave a comment below for your chance to win one of the following prizes:

-(3) Kindle ebooks – Winner’s choice (US residents only)

-(1) $10 Amazon gift card (US residents only) or $10 (via PayPal for non-US residents)

And now over to Guy!

Guy Worthey[1592]Greetings one and all, and a hearty thank-you to my kind host and 4 Wills Publishing!

In this eighth blog tour stop we meet the fifth of Ace’s five associates. He’s got sandy hair and blue eyes in a dark tan face. The suit he wears is almost the same as Bert’s from yesterday but somehow comes off as less showy. It could be the same suit; the two men are about the same average size, both trim, both good-looking as far as my limited powers of judgement can discern.

GW: Greetings, Quack.

Quack: Greetings to you.

GW: Oh, you’ve got a bass voice! I’m a bass.

Quack: Have you ever done radio?

GW: Yes, but tell me, what’s your full name?

Quack: Boxnard Warburton Snana.

GW: Decode that for me. I’m not getting a feel for country or region.

Quack: It is a mixture. My father was, shall we say, well-traveled. His and my last name is his family name among the Lakota, but he could never stay still. He loved South Dakota, but also spent time in Boston and London. Cities fascinated him.

GW: How did you get the nickname Quack? Surely not from Boxnard or Warburton or Snana.

Quack: I was a field medic in the Great War. Bert — I knew Bert at the time — was fond of pointing out that I was not a fully trained doctor, and called me a quack.

GW: How do you feel about that?

Quack: It’s fine. Honestly, the name hasn’t stuck much outside our little group. Also, it’s convenient. “Quack, duck!” is shorter than, “Warburton, get your head down!”

GW: Does that come up very often?

Quack: Often enough. This detective business is risky.

GW: Your grin says that maybe that’s not a bad thing.

Quack: I love it. We all love it.

GW: You’re talking to a guy who is fine with strawberry jam on his toast, and raspberry is acceptable, but leaping to orange marmalade is just too risky.

Quack: It’s not for everyone. You do have to be a little heyoka, a little backwards in the head. But, let me be clear, none of us have death wishes. When somebody says, “duck!” we duck!

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GW: What do you do when you’re not getting shot at?

Quack: I have no steady job, but I do have an unsteady one. From time to time, I’ll land a role in a play. I’m an actor.

GW: No kidding?

Quack: “In jest, there is truth,” says the Bard.

GW: Shakespeare? That’s … very pithy.

Quack: Jest is also necessary to stay sane. We can’t dwell on those times we almost died or we’d be unable to peel a potato for fear of getting impaled.

GW: Honestly? Don’t talk like that. I faint at the sight of blood.

Quack: That’s perfectly fine. You have the luxury of being able to do that.

GW: What? Luxury?

Quack: Imagine living in a small village surrounded by tigers. Danger is constant. Injuries and deaths are common. In such a life, could you really permit yourself the luxury of fainting at the sight of blood?

GW: I’d be tiger food.

Quack: Yes.

GW: Are you really an actor?

Quack: “Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.”

GW: I stand convinced. Thank you for speaking with me today, Quack.

Quack: It is my pleasure.

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Quotes by Quack:

Bert-scolding: “Wipe that smirk off your face, Brat, or I’ll wipe it off for you!”

Learning lines and diction: “How do you say saboteur in German?”

Improving Bert: “Envy, Bert? Tsk. It does not become you, old chum,”

On Ace Carroway: “Wait! I heard about you! You were on track to be the youngest M.D. in Harvard history! It only clicked just now.”

Bert-praise: “You got your man, though. By the thunder of the Wakinyan, I think you broke his face!”

On Gooper: “It is odd. Somehow, he blends into the scenery. His red hair is like the red leaves. His pale skin is like birch bark.”

On flying: “We walk on sky trails.”

Quack gets to say the line that I regard as the very pinnacle of book one: “She’s Ace!”

And a limerick!

Blond Quack is a whiz at disguise.

He’s 5 feet, 9 inches, blue eyes.

Actresses: Notice

This actor’s tight focus

And (hard to miss them) tight thighs.

About Guy Worthey:

Wyoming native Guy Worthey traded spurs and lassos for telescopes and computers when he decided on astrophysics for a day job. Whenever he temporarily escapes the gravitational pull of stars and galaxies, he writes fiction. He lives in Washington state with his violinist wife Diane. He likes cats and dogs and plays keyboards and bass guitar. His favorite food is called creamed eggs on toast, but once in a while he heeds the siren song of chocolate.

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.

Lastly, Guy is a member of the best book club ever – RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB #RRBC! If you’re looking for amazing support as an author, or if you simply love books, JOIN US! We’d love to have you!

About the Ace Carroway Series:

Join Ace Carroway and her motley gang of associates as they travel the world, solving mysteries and fighting crime.

In ACE CARROWAY and the GREAT WAR, sixteen-year-old Cecilia Carroway lies about her age and joins the war effort as a pilot. She earns her Ace nickname over France, but is forced down behind enemy lines. Escape plans are imperiled when Ace catches the attention of imperial minister Darko Dor.

Three years later, in ACE CARROWAY AROUND THE WORLD, Ace’s father dies in a hail of bullets in quiet Hyannis, Cape Cod. Lieutenant Drew Lucy is on the case, but it’s Ace Carroway at the top of his list of suspects.

In ACE CARROWAY and the HANDSOME DEVIL, Ace barely survives an assassination attempt at the hands of her old nemesis Darko Dor. Figuring the best defense is offense, she starts a detective agency in New York. Before the paint on the door dries, a new web of deception ensnares the rookie sleuths. Sudden romantic attention from a pair of handsome strangers is good, right?

Links #1 Great War #2 Around the World #3 Handsome Devil
Paperback Paperback Paperback Paperback
Kindle Kindle Kindle Kindle
Nook, Kobo, Apple, 24 Symbols, Playster, Scribd, Angus & Robertson Ebook $1.99 Others Others

 

“Exquisite, expansive narrative.” Read the latest 5* #review for #histfic THE SOLDIER’S RETURN #RWISA #RRBC

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Exquisite, expansive narrative

“An expansive saga of early 17th Century Germany during the Catholic Counter-Reformation, The Thirty Years’ War, and the Witch Trials of Bamberg – one of the most destructive conflicts in human history. This exquisite narrative follows the travails of a kept farm maid, an alcoholic soldier on the run, and a sadistic Jesuit priest hellbent to rid the region from pestilence, famine and evil through tortuous and murderous forms of purification. Through the lives of these characters we experience the vermin-infested life on the farm replete with bedbugs, lice and fleas; the soldiers’ disease-ridden life on the march, and the zealot’s monastic life of prayer and inquisition. Written from the omniscient perspective of a credible researcher of history, the author pulls no punches in her vivid, sometimes purplish, depictions of plunder, torture, rape and murder, and she portrays the desperate plight of women and children trying to survive against the random vagaries of marauding armies, starving vagabonds, sweeping famine, incest, and the drunken forays of virtually every man in their cloistered lives. Glimpses of love, joy and hope are quickly trampled under the grind of survival, but like the sun, they rise again and again, as does the indomitable spirit and work ethic of the Germanic people. The primary characters’ lives have brutally collided in the past, and their trajectories propel them toward violent ruin. Who will survive? The history books will relate the choices of kings and pope, but if you want to know how their decisions were felt on the ground at the human level, read The Soldier’s Return.”

Review by author Douglas C. Gilbert

THE SOLDIER’S RETURN:

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The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.

The young dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, returns to Amsterdam in chains after a period of imprisonment in the Spice Islands. He manages to escape but must leave Amsterdam in a hurry. Soldiers are in demand in Germany and he decides to travel with a regiment until he can desert. His hope of survival is to reach Sichardtshof, the farm in Franconia, Germany; the farm he left ten years ago. His desire to seek refuge with them lies in his fond memories of the maid Katarina and her master, the humanist patrician Herr Tucher. But ten years is a long time and the farm has changed. Franconia is not only torn by war but falling victim to a church-driven witch hunt. The Jesuit priest, Ralf, has his sights set on Sichardtshof as well. Ralf believes that ridding the area of evil will be his saving grace. Can Pieter, Katarina and Herr Tucher unite to fight against a senseless war out of control?

Available in paperback and for kindle right here: mybook.to/SoldiersReturn

Welcome to the WATCH #RWISA WRITE Showcase Tour, Day 10! #RRBC #RRBCWRW with Mary Adler @MAAdlerWrites

MARY ADLER PIC[1249]Thank you all for joining us today on this showcase tour being sponsored by RWISA (RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS), an elite branch of the amazing RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB! This showcase will feature 19 awesome writers, each having their own special day of being featured on multiple blogs.  We ask that after reading the written work of art by each RWISA Author, please click on the link to take you directly to the author’s profile page on the actual RWISA site.

Today we welcome author MARY ADLER!

 

WHERE IS THE EQUATOR OF HOPE?

by Mary Adler

Where is the equator of Hope?

The Prime Meridian for Love?

The coordinates of Joy?

And where are Lewis & Clark,

to run the rapids of envy

and resolve new paths to the heart?

 

Where is the 39th Parallel of desire?

The Northwest Passage to bliss?

The Gulf Stream that warms cold ashes?

And where dwells the Copernicus of Compassion,

who swears love spins on its own axis,

yet revolves around the other.

 

Where is the Mason Dixon line for the past?

The trade winds of remembrance?

The magnetic fields of memory?

And where is the Galapagos of grace,

where the self evolves to the selfless,

and the soul embraces the stranger?

 

Oh, where is the cartographer of Love,

To find True North of the heart

 

When love has gone south,

When East and West collide,

And all devolves to a point,

barely,

to a point.

***

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Mary’s RWISA profile page

How would you like to become a RWISA Member so that you’re able to receive this same awesome FREE support? Simply click HERE to make application! 

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Welcome to the WATCH #RWISA WRITE Showcase Tour, Day 6! #RRBC #RRBCWRW with Ron Yates @JHawker69

Ron

Thank you all for joining us today on this showcase tour being sponsored by RWISA (RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS), an elite branch of the amazing RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB! This showcase will feature 19 awesome writers, each having their own special day of being featured on multiple blogs.  We ask that after reading the written work of art by each RWISA Author, please click on the link to take you directly to the author’s profile page on the actual RWISA site.

Today we welcome author Ron Yates!

OUT TO PASTURE

Musings of an Erstwhile Asia Hand

by Ron Yates, RRBC 2017 KCT Int’l Literary Award Grand Prize Winner

He watched the hawk circling high in an infinite Southern California sky, far above the shaggy brown hills that loomed behind acres of avocado and orange trees. Every so often the hawk would dip as though preparing to dive on its unsuspecting prey, but then it would pull up abruptly, unsatisfied with the approach to its target, waiting perhaps for a better opportunity.

He knew this hawk. He had seen it before. There were two patches of vermilion feathers on the underside of its broad chestnut wings that reminded him of the red circles that adorned the wingtips of the Japanese fighter planes he used to see in the Pacific during World War II.

He closed his eyes, allowing the warm sun to wash over him. The only sound other than the crisp dry wind that blew up the long pass from La Jolla, was the dull whine of the automatic pool cleaner as it made its programmed passages back and forth in the pool next to the patio. For a moment he could feel himself being pulled back to a time when the heavy coughs of old propeller-driven fighters ripped through the dense, fragrant tropical air like a dull knife through perfumed silk.

For a brief moment, he pictured himself sitting at his old black Underwood, pounding out another story of some long-forgotten battle in World War II, or Korea, or Vietnam that he had covered. He could almost see the white typing paper rolled half-way out of the typewriter and he could see his By-Line typed neatly just above the first sentence of the story:

“By Cooper McGrath

Global News Service.”

He sighed and shifted his body in the pool-side lounge chair, allowing his growing potbelly to slide slowly to the other side of his frame. “Typewriters,” he thought. “Nobody even knows what they are today.”

Then he reached for his binoculars so he could get a better view of the hawk.

“Look at old Zero-sen up there. He’s going in for the kill.”

“Zero-sen?” Ellen was still puttering around the patio, watering potted plants and trees.

“Yeah, the hawk. That’s what I call him. Look at those red spots on his wings. He looks like one of those old Japanese Zeros.”

Ellen squinted up at the sky and frowned. “You have a lively imagination, Cooper.”

The hawk continued to circle, but it was moving further away. Finally, it dipped below a small rise and disappeared. When it reappeared, it was carrying something in its talons. Cooper exhaled and at the same time pounded his ample belly, the sound of which reverberated across the patio like a hollow drum. Then he pulled himself upright in the recliner.

“I always did, you know.”

“Did what?” Ellen asked, only half paying attention to what her brother was saying.

“Have a lively imagination.”

“Oh, that.” She was on her knees pushing sticks of fertilizer into her potted plants. “And as I recall, it always got you in trouble.”

“Is it time for lunch?” he asked, rising slowly to his feet. “God,” he groaned. “I’m stiff as a dead tree.” He looked at his watch. It was already one-thirty in the afternoon—way past his usual lunchtime and his stomach was growling.

“You don’t get enough exercise, Cooper. I keep telling you, you should enroll in that aerobics class they’re offering down at the clubhouse.”

She stood looking at him for a few moments, hands on hips, white, wide-brimmed gardening hat shading her beige face from the hot sun. She loved her brother mightily, but it saddened her to see him in such physical and mental decline. Why had the Global News Service pushed him into retirement? He had given his life to that ungrateful news agency.

As he stretched his arms skyward Cooper’s ever-expanding belly caused the bottom of his shirt to pull out of his shorts at the midriff, revealing a roll of untanned flesh the color of boiled pork. Finally, she shook her head and made one of those disapproving clucking sounds with her tongue.

“I’ll call you when lunch is ready. Why not take a few laps in the pool, or even better, call the clubhouse about that senior’s aerobics class?”

Cooper mumbled some acquiescent reply as Ellen walked into the house. She was right of course. But at 70 he didn’t feel any particular need to jog around a room with a bunch of other ill-proportioned old farts in tights. Hell, he was retired. Why did he have to do anything at all? Hadn’t he worked his ass off all his life? Didn’t he risk his life reporting stories nobody cared about? Didn’t he deserve some time off to do, well, to do nothing? Nothing at all? Hell yes, he did.

He sighed heavily, and a bit guiltily. He always did when he remembered the half-finished manuscript in his small office. It sat there day after day on the desk next to his laptop computer—unfinished, unedited and unsold. Sometimes he half expected it to finish itself, to somehow link up magically with his mind, download forty years of journalistic experience and then turn it all into some kind of marketable prose that a big time publisher would snap up without hesitation.

But it didn’t work that way. He knew that. Oh, how he knew that. After years of meeting one deadline after another—thousands and thousands of them—if there was one thing Cooper McGrath knew it was that nothing got written until he sat down at his typewriter and began banging it out. Then, about five years ago, toward the end of his career as a foreign correspondent, he had reluctantly traded in his typewriter for a computer. The laptop had been sent over to Singapore by his editors. He would no longer roam the Asian continent as he had for most of his professional life. Instead, he would write a column every two weeks that focused on current events. And that’s what he had done for the past few years. His job, he was told, was to insert his years of historical perspective into dispatches written by less knowledgeable, more youthful correspondents.

Cooper knew what was really going on, of course. He was being put out to pasture. Sure, the discipline was the same. You still had to sit down in front of a blank screen and create something worth reading. The difference was the burnout. He felt as burned out as an old war correspondent could feel—like the old iron kettle in which he cooked up his special chili. He had served up so many portions of his life that there just wasn’t anything left to spoon out anymore. It was 1990, and the kettle was empty—empty and caked with rust.

Yet he knew he had things to say, stories to tell, history to recount. He was, after all, an eyewitness to some of the greatest history of the Twentieth Century. World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, not to mention more than a score or so revolutions and coups d’état. When he thought about it that way, he could feel the juices stirring and bubbling in the bottom of the kettle, and he would get excited enough to walk into his small office, turn on the laptop and type a few lines. But after a while, an inexplicable gust of arid self-doubt would blow through his mind, and he would feel the passion receding. Then it would be gone—as extinct as that old black Underwood he used to pound on day after day in places like Rangoon, Saigon, and Hong Kong.

“Nobody gives a damn,” Cooper would say when Ellen asked him why he didn’t finish his memoirs. “It’s all ancient history. Hell, I’m ancient history.”

Ellen knew he was feeling sorry for himself. But she couldn’t bring herself to tell him that. Instead, she guilefully nudged and tugged his ego gently back to its perch above the bleak valley of his self-doubt.

“You’ve seen so much, and you have such a gift for describing what you’ve seen,” Ellen would say. “You must write it all down, to preserve it for others. That is your gift to the world. It shouldn’t be wasted.”

Cooper knew Ellen was right—if not for the sake of history then for the sake of his own mental and physical health. He needed to be doing something. And he had to admit, when he was writing, he felt like he was contributing again. It gave him a sense of power and purpose.

But after Toshiko’s death most of the power and purpose he still possessed deserted him. He retreated emotionally and physically from the world. He gave up the grand old house in Singapore where he and Toshiko had spent the last ten years of their married life. He just couldn’t bear living in it anymore—not when everything in the place reminded him of Toshiko and their life together.

For the first few weeks after Toshiko had succumbed to the ravages of cancer, Cooper would sit on the verandah of their house built during the British-raj, drinking one vodka-tonic after another and wondering why Toshiko had to be the first to go. He always figured he would be the first. After all, he was the physical wreck, not Toshiko. She had taken care of herself. Her 5-foot 2-inch body was as lithe and slim as it was the day he met her in 1946 in Osaka.

Cooper knew the hours spent on his verandah were nothing more than a boozy ritual of self-pity. But he didn’t care. It was the only way he knew to deal with abandonment. And that’s what had happened. He had been abandoned; and cheated, and irreparably damaged. By dying, Toshiko had deserted him. These were the emotions that had churned in Cooper’s sozzled brain with ever-increasing velocity until late afternoon when he was, as they say, “decks-awash and listing severely to starboard.” Then, with the sun descending past the tops of the traveler palms and tamarind trees that populated his front lawn, Cooper would stumble into the house and collapse on the small bed in the guestroom. Even drunk he couldn’t bring himself to sleep in the bed he had shared with Toshiko.

The self-pity finally wore off in a couple of months and so did the appeal of Singapore. After minimal coaxing from Ellen, he left Asia and moved in with his only living relative. Ellen, his little sister, lived in the sunburnt craggy hills just north of Escondido. The house was one of those rambling Spanish-style places with a red tile roof and bleached stucco walls. It had been built by Ellen’s husband just before his untimely death ten years before.

Moving in with Ellen wasn’t Cooper’s idea, but he was thankful she had offered. One evening in Singapore during a fierce tropical storm that had forced Cooper to retreat from the Verandah, Ellen had called, and in the course of the conversation, she suggested he come to California and help out with her thirty acres of avocado and orange groves.

A month later, after selling off five decades of Asian bric-a-brac, several rooms of teak, rosewood and rattan furniture, half of his oriental carpets and various silk screens, wall hangings and jade statuary, Cooper returned to the U.S. It was the first time he had been back in almost 20 years. When he stepped off the plane in San Diego, he couldn’t help observing how sterile, how ordered, how incredibly mind-numbing it all was.

“Where’s the texture?” he asked as Ellen drove him north toward Escondido.

“What?” Ellen responded.

“You know, the texture. The dirt. The coarseness. The graininess that makes a place look lived in.”

Ellen had dismissed Cooper’s outburst as a sign of jet lag or crankiness.

In fact, Cooper was frustrated by how little the change in scenery had done for him. He had merely traded the verandah of his house in Singapore for the poolside patio of Ellen’s mountainside villa. There was one huge difference, of course. There was no booze to be had anywhere in Ellen’s house. Just lots of lemonade and cases of those flavored ice tea drinks that were so irritatingly trendy.

And so it had gone for the past six months that he had lived with his sister in the hills north of Escondido. He purged the booze from his system, but not the pain. He drank lots of ice tea and lemonade and every so often the two of them took day trips to places like the old missions at San Juan Capistrano or San Luis Rey, or the old stagecoach town of Temecula, or the posh resorts of La Jolla.

If nothing else, Cooper was getting to know his kid sister once again and Ellen was rediscovering her brother. Nevertheless, sometimes she thought he would have been better off staying in Singapore. But she was the only family Cooper had left and it distressed her to know he was alone and suffering in Asia.

Cooper watched Ellen as she reemerged from the house and moved across the patio with the water hose trained on the hanging plants. He closed his eyes and imagined Toshiko standing on the long wooden verandah of their Singapore house under slowly turning teakwood paddle fans fussing with the bougainvillea and orchids. It was too easy. All he had to do was will her into his consciousness and there she would be, just as she had always been. That was the problem. As much as he had loved Toshiko in life, he found himself consumed with an even stronger love for her in death. Sometimes he thought it was becoming his own personal cancer, and he had no doubt that it was killing him.

Cooper paced the length of the patio, spent a moment or two pushing himself up by the toes, then walked back to the lounge chair, eased himself onto its thick foam rubber cushions and closed his pale blue eyes under freckled eyelids.

“That’s enough exercise for today. I think I’ll take a little nap.”

Ellen looked over at him and shook her head. His tanned legs with their crepey skin extended from knee-length blue shorts and his meaty, liver-spotted hands rested on a half-buttoned red, yellow and blue Hawaiian shirt that threatened to burst open with each of his breaths.

“You really are a lazy old bear, Mr. McGrath.”

Cooper, muttered an indistinct reply and watched Ellen as she pottered past him into the house. He closed his eyes, yawned, and began drifting away to another time in a vanished world where his personal cloistered refuge awaited.

“Tomorrow,” he mused. “Maybe tomorrow I’ll come in from the pasture.”

The End

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Ron’s RWISA profile page

How would you like to become a RWISA Member so that you’re able to receive this same awesome FREE support? Simply click HERE to make application! 

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Join RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’S “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour with author @mbiermanauthor #RRBC #VictorianEra

Please join me today and welcome RRBC Spotlight Author Mark Bierman! He’s here to talk about his upcoming historical novel set in the Victorian Era:

The “Dull” Victorians

My upcoming novel is set in the late nineteenth century, during the Victorian Era.

Why write about that stuffy time? Wasn’t it inhabited by prigs? If that’s you, keep reading. I think the list of absurdities below may well change your view.

Step off Chuck Norris . . . the Victorians held balloon duels!

The Texas Ranger may have had his eyes on the bad guys, but dishonoring a Victorian could spell death! Forfeit a bet? Call someone a coward? You may eat more than just a knuckle sandwich. The daisies in many cemeteries receive a helping hand from beneath, courtesy of those on the losing side of a duel. For some, even the tried and true method, with all its rules and terrestrial limitations, had fallen out of fashion. Two rivals once devised a way to spice things up.

In early May of 1808, Monsieur Le Pique, and Monsieur de Grandpre, boarded two identical balloons. Both were armed with blunderbusses. These were early versions of shot guns. To make things fair, neither was to shoot until an agreed-upon height of around 900 yards was reached and a signal given. Le Pique fired his weapon first, but missed. Grandpre scored a direct hit on Le Pique’s flying contraption and sent his rival crashing to what must have been a terrifying death.

Tylenol is for sissies.

Arsenic was often used in medications. Despite the known dangers, it was used to treat asthma, cancer, reduced libido and skin problems. Regulations to protect patients was slow in coming because of capitalistic interests and government indifference.

Shocking apparel.

“Her corset is electrocuting her!” Scott shouted as he tried to throw the switch.

Well, not exactly. In reality, the “electrical” corset employed a magnetized-steel busk. The promised benefit was improved circulation. It was invented by Dr. Scott, and sold by Cornelius Bennett Harness. The invention comes as little surprise. The Victorians were obsessed with all-things electric and eagerly purchased other quackeries, including electric hair and flesh brushes.

Personifying animals.

Do kittens have tea parties? Can rabbits learn to read and write in a formal school setting? Can a monkey saddle up and ride a goat? Yup. If they are subjected to Anthropomorphizing Taxidermy.

Walter Potter, apparently bored with the “Plain-Jane” version of stuffing dead animals and posing them into standard positions, decided to take things a little further. Indeed, it became all the rage.

If looks could kill.

Belladonna drops were used to dilate the pupils and give the eyes that special glow. There was only one catch . . . Belladonna was poisonous.

No, just no.

If you’ve seen the movie, Weekend at Bernie’s, then you know what can happen during an attempt to make a cadaver appear alive. One cannot help but contemplate the possibility that the film’s producer may have gleaned the idea from the Victorians. Whether you label it sentimental or macabre, a simple google search will fill your screen with images of deceased Victorians posed to make them appear alive. Often the dearly departed would be photographed with the living.

Human garden art?

If you’re into ceramic garden gnomes, terracotta turtles, or any sort of outdoor knickknacks that add appeal to your yard, you have got to read this!

No wealthy, self-respecting land owner could be without his/her very own living Garden Hermit. What, pray tell, was a Garden Hermit and what need was there for one? The second question is easy, they served no function. They were unwashed and unkempt people who were paid to live on the property and be, well, hermits.

Beer! For breakfast, lunch, and dinner!  

While alcoholism was a problem back then, just as it is today, the men and women of that time can be somewhat forgiven for their generous consumption of the beverage. With water and food supplies often contaminated, it was a way to avoid becoming sick. Though one can’t help but wonder about the prevalence of liver cirrhosis.

This list is but a minuscule window into the bizarre practices and beliefs of our supposedly prim and proper ancestors. As with many areas in life, things are often not what they appear!

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9781483448121_COVER.inddVANISHED

Blurb:  Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

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MarkBAuthor Bio:

Born and raised on a farm near Brockville, Ontario, Mark’s childhood consisted of chores, horseback riding, snowmobile races, fishing trips to local lakes, and many other outdoor adventures. He was, and remains, an avid reader of many genres.

Transitioning into adulthood also meant moving from the farm into large urban areas that introduced this ‘country boy’ to ‘big city’ life.

Drawing on his many experiences as a private investigator, and later, a correctional officer, Mark combines his unique experiences and imagination to create stories and characters.

Follow Mark online!

Twitter:   @mbiermanauthor

Facebook: Facebook

Website:  markbierman.com

Book #Review : Discover authentic, 5***** #GeorgianEra #HistoricalFiction by G.J.Griffiths @gjgfh_g

stars-5-0What did I like about this book? Easy: its authenticity. This is what I expect from historical fiction: an authentic, realistic account of the time period with all the uncomfortabilities that go with it. I haven’t read The Quarry Bank Runaways (Book 1 of the series) yet but Mules; Masters and Mud can be read without having read the first book. Give this book a chance and don’t feel daunted by the dialect! The dialect adds flavor and flair and it may be challenging but I don’t want to be spoon-fed a story. I feel this is a very loving tribute to those western European workers of the 19th century that fought to make our western 20th century factories safer and somewhat human to work in. Highly recommended!

Here’s the book blurb: WARNING! This book may contain NUTS! (Non-Uniform Text Speech) In other words speech in what some have called “Olde English Vernacular.” It is spoken by characters in the book from the North, the Midlands and the South of England. There is a glossary at the end of the book to help if you can rise to the challenge. It adds shades of colour to this 19th century story that you may not be expecting.

When Mrs Alexander wrote about “the rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate” and declared that “God made them, high or lowly, and order’d their estate” in the ever popular hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful, she was probably reflecting one of the mores of the times. It would fit in well with prejudices and beliefs of the middle and upper classes that paternalism had indeed been intended by God, thus laws protecting the workers in their fields, mills and factories were not necessary. In the words of Browning so long as “God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world!”

The continuing story of the Quarry Bank Runaways is about what happened to two cotton apprentices over three decades during the Industrial Revolution; first as qualified young men with hopes and later when they are full grown. By the start of the Victorian period the fates and their ambitions would have collided. Serious events and incidents, both personal and national, were about to impinge upon the lives of Thomas Priestley and Joseph Sefton, who had earlier run away from their apprentice master, Samuel Greg. What would cause a qualified mule spinner to give up his comparatively safe job and risk failure, ridicule or destitution? Ambitious and determined working class individuals like Tommy and Joe had to carefully step through a pathway involving love, loyalty and legal persecution and prejudice, from within the social hierarchy of the times.

The inspiration to write The Quarry Bank Runaways and Mules; Masters & Mud came about after reading The Real Oliver Twist by John Waller, a biography of Robert Blincoe, and acting as a tour guide around the Quarry Bank Mill Museum in England. There to discover the existence of the real apprentices and the lives of many child cotton apprentices during the Industrial Revolution.

Check out G. J. Griffiths’ home page here: https://www.gjgriffithswriter.com/  GJ

About the Author: G. J. Griffiths is a retired science teacher with some early working experience of the photographic industry. Born in the UK he enjoys reading most genres of fiction such as sci-fi, crime/detective thrillers, historical and wildlife stories. Non-fiction reading mainly includes scientific or historical books. Walking in the English, Scottish or Welsh countryside with binoculars ready for bird-watching or other wildlife is a particular pleasure. Seeing badgers and otters in the wild recently was an exciting first.

His first novel was Fallen Hero and the So What! series of three books followed and which are all focussed around the fictitious Birch Green High School. They include: So What! Stories or Whatever!, So What’s Next! and So What Do I Do? Each book is quite different in its overall context, e.g. a collection of the teachers’ experiences, creation of a school nature corner, and arson, fraud and murder. More recent works include poetry: Dizzyrambic Imaginings, two illustrated children’s sci-fi stories about ant-size aliens and a historical fiction based upon real characters from the Industrial Revolution period: The Quarry Bank Runaways.

Welcome to the 2nd 2017 TREAT READS BLOG HOP! #RRBC #RRBCTreatReads @BetteAStevens

Greetings!  Welcome to the 2nd RRBC “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop!  These members of RRBC have penned and published some really great reads and we’d like to honor and showcase their talent.  Oddly, all of the listed Winners are RWISA members!  Way to go RWISA!

We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed, and after reading it, leave a review.  There will be other books on tour for the next few days, so please visit the “HOP’S” main page to follow along.

Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the “HOP’S” main page, your name will be entered into a drawing for a gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!

Today we are featuring author Bette Stevens and her novel DOG BONE SOUP:

BETTE STEVENS PIC[1273]Whether or not you grew up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.