Tuesday, December 27, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Death at St. Vedast: A Bianca Goddard Mystery by Mary Lawrence

Death at St. Vedast: A Bianca Goddard Mystery by Mary Lawrence

5/5 Stars


Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Kensington (December 27, 2016)
Publication Date: December 27, 2016
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services

Blurb


During the tempestuous reign of Henry VIII, London alchemist Bianca Goddard has seen up close what keeps a man alive—and what can kill him. A good thing, for she will need all her knowledge to keep a friend away from the gallows . . .

Bianca and her husband John are delighted to share in the glad fortune of their friend, Boisvert, the silversmith, who is to wed Odile, the wealthy widow of a goldsmith. But a pall is cast over the upcoming nuptials when the body of a pregnant woman is found beneath the bell tower of St. Vedast, the very church where the betrothed are to be married.

Tragedy strikes again at the couple’s reception, when Odile suddenly drops dead in the middle of the wedding feast. The constable suspects Boisvert poisoned his new bride for her money, but there’s not a trace of poison in her food or wine. Could the two deaths be connected? To prove their friend’s innocence, Bianca will need to employ her knowledge of alchemy—for if she can determine how the bride was killed, she may find the person responsible for her murder—before another victim is added to the death toll . . .



My Review


This is the third book in a series involving the talented and intelligent alchemist, Bianca Goddard. I was immediately drawn to this novel, as it is set during the reign of King Henry VIII. This was a time period where no one was truly safe, even the king's wives. Whether it be disease, childbirth, infection, witchcraft, plague, or other illnesses, both physical and mental; it was a very dangerous time to be alive in!

Bianca is determined to discover what is causing the mysterious deaths that are happening right around and involving the Church at St. Vendast. In one instance a pregnant woman climbs to the top of the church spire, all while singing and acting in an insane manner, than falls to her death. Then there is another death, this one a wealthy widow. Bianca begins to piece together this mystery, and the reader is kept on the edge of their seat as she does. I found myself wanting to skip pages to find out what was going to happen next! The writer definitely has a great talent when it comes to writing mystery novels. Usually I am not a huge fan of mysteries, however I love most novels that are set during medieval times, especially Tudor times, and this novel is no different.


If you're looking for a novel that is going to keep you up at night, because you can't put the book down until you find out what happens next, than this is perfect for you! It's a lovely historical mystery novel, and I definitely recommend it! 


Bianca Goddard Mystery Series:

Book One: The Alchemist's Daughter
Book Two: Death of an Alchemist
Book Three: Death at St. Vedast



About the Author

Mary Lawrence lives in Maine and worked in the medical field for more than twenty-five years before publishing her debut mystery, The Alchemist’s Daughter (Kensington, 2015). The book was named by Suspense Magazine a “Best Book of 2015” in the historical mystery category. Her articles have appeared in several publications, including the national news blog The Daily Beast. Book 2 of the Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Death of an Alchemist, released in February 2016. 

Visit the author at www.marylawrencebooks.com.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: A Kingdom's Cost: A Novel of Scotland by J.R. Tomlin


5/5 Stars


Publisher: Albannach Publishing (April 5, 2016)
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Print Length: 281 pages


Blurb


Eighteen-year-old James Douglas can only watch, helpless, as the Scottish freedom fighter, William Wallace, is hanged, drawn, and quartered. Even under the heel of a brutal English conqueror, James's blood-drenched homeland may still have one hope for freedom, the rightful king of the Scots, Robert the Bruce. James swears fealty to the man he believes can lead the fight against English tyranny.

The Bruce is soon a fugitive, king in name and nothing more. Scotland is occupied, the Scottish resistance crushed. The woman James loves is captured and imprisoned. Yet James believes their cause is not lost. With driving determination, he blazes a path in blood and violence, in cunning and ruthlessness as he wages a guerrilla war to restore Scotland's freedom. James knows he risks sharing Wallace's fate, but what he truly fears is that he has become as merciless as the conqueror he fights.


My Review


As a fan of the historical fiction author, J.R. Tomlin, as well as a huge fan of Scotland's history, especially The Black Douglas, I was more than excited to read this novel. The author does an amazing job of staying as true to Scotland's history as possible, without coming across as though you were reading a textbook. "A Kingdom's Cost" is yet another great historical fiction novel by J.R. Tomlin, and The Black Douglas, aka James Douglas, is brought to life for the reader. 

I've read a couple of books dealing with his life, and I felt that I was able to get to "know" him, and what drove him to become so determined and loyal to Scotland, best with this novel. James Douglas was loved by Scotland's people and their king, Robert the Bruce; however, this meant that he was one of England's greatest enemies at one point in time. His intelligence and knowledge of ways to beat the English, even though greatly outnumbered and having much less artillery, made him a legend in his country. This novel is the first in a series of three, and it gives you a look into exactly why he chose the path of fighting for his country's freedom, no matter the personal cost; and he did suffer a great amount of personal loss. The author does a great job of showing his readers what James Douglas was up against, his strength of character, as well as his loyalty to his country and king.

If you are a fan of Scotland's history, with William Wallace, The Bruce, The Black Douglas, etc., than I 100% recommend this book (and series) to you. In fact, I recommend all of J.R. Tomlin's novels, as I am a huge historical fiction fan, and she does a fantastic job of bringing real people, who died long ago, back to life for the reader. She is definitely one of my top 10 favorite authors for this genre. A solid five out of five star rating from me!


About the Author


J. R. Tomlin is the author of seven historical novels: The Black Douglas Trilogy (A Kingdom's Cost, Countenance of War, and Not for Glory), A King Ensnared, A King Uncaged and Freedom's Sword, as well as a historical mystery, The Templar's Cross. She has also co-authored several fantasies with C. R. Daems: Blood Duty, Talon of the Unnamed Goddess, The Shadow Ryana, and The Shadow Gypsy.

She has close ties with Scotland since her father was a native Scot, and she spent substantial time in Edinburgh whilst growing up. Her historical novels are set in Scotland. You can trace her love of that nation to the stories of the Bruce and the Good Sir James her grandmother read her when she was small and to her hillwalking through the Cairngorms where the granite hills have a gorgeous red glow under the setting sun.

In addition to spending time in Scotland, she has traveled in the US, Europe and the Pacific Rim. She now lives in Oregon.



Author's Social Media






Purchase The Black Douglas Trilogy on Amazon



Thursday, November 10, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Annelisa Christensen, Author of The Popish Midwife - Why I Love Seventeenth Century Midwives


Why I Love Seventeenth Century Midwives


If there’s any group of women anywhere I have the greatest respect for, it’s the midwives. The job they do, even now, requires different roles. They support a pregnant woman before birth; they can be present at the birth and then they often provide post-birth advice and care. This means they are frequently the source of the most constant contact between the mother, her children and the medical profession throughout large portions of her childbearing years. Having a good midwife can make the difference between being comfortable and happy with the new role of motherhood, help recovering physically, and mentally and emotionally adapting to a life with a new dependent. A good midwife can help make that transition smooth; a more disengaged one can leave a new mother feeling uncertain, insecure, unhappy.
And that’s now.
Three hundred years ago, many women could act as a midwife for the birth of a family member, friend or neighbour. And, indeed, it often fell on ladies of quality to tend to births not only one of their own household, but also of those working for them. For many of these women, the only experience they might have is of being present at other births, perhaps watching their mother or another female relative at the bedside. There was no formal training, only networking. Any woman might fall into this group.
But there was another group: midwives who regularly attended births both near and far away, and were paid for it, made a living from it. A decent living at that, in many cases. Good midwives were highly sought after, and when a woman found one, they continued to retain them for future births, as well as spread the word this was a midwife you could trust. These woman often learned their trade through apprenticeships lasting many years, and obtained a licence to practice based on the testimonials of several different women who had been birthed by them.
I’ve discovered something special about this group of women. They have certain qualities that make them stand out at a time when women were supposed to be subservient. Perhaps it is because they were able to retain a certain level of independence, or perhaps it is because they were given certain privileges of entry into places other women were forbidden (if the wife of a coffee house owner was having a baby, the midwife was bound to be allowed entry, when they wouldn’t otherwise be). Or perhaps it is because they had to bravely walk to and from births whether by day or through dark, unlit streets at all hours of the night. Something made this group of
women brave.
As I did my seventeenth century research for The Popish Midwife, delving into the life of Elizabeth Cellier who stood up in court for her belief, I came across Anne Hutchinson in Boston, famous for defending the right of a person to think for herself. At least three others wrote a book (Louise Bourgeois in France; and Jane Sharp and Elizabeth Cellier in England). There were many more outstanding midwives.
The story I’m currently writing is different from these. It’s about infamous rather than famous midwife, Marie Desormeaux. She murdered her husband and planted bits of his body to be found all over London. However, I argue that, after years of abuse, she was desperate enough to take her life into her own hands. I no way condone murder, but in that time beating your wife was condoned, desirable even, to bring her under control. And when that power fell into the hands of a man who physically, emotionally and sexually abused his wife, several times to the point of near-death, I can understand her desperation. It was either him or her.
Even in this awful situation, Marie showed aspects of character similar to the other midwives of the time – that inner strength, confidence and belief in herself.
So many midwives of the time stood out, whether for good or for bad; accused of witchcraft but more likely employed to search for witch-marks; of being a whore, yet conversely of their wisdom in the lore of nature and birth; of being drunks or for their calm in dealing with births going wrong. Whatever their reputation, there was something about them that brought forth strong feelings one way or another. And for that I’m grateful. It means they were talked about, recorded, for good or ill, leaving traces and trails to follow today.
I came upon Elizabeth Cellier’s story by accident (I won pages recording her trial in an auction), but once I saw what an interesting person she was, her notoriety, that she was talked about, made fun of, I was able to find clues about her in so many different places, all waiting for me to put together and create her story. I think you’ll agree her story is exciting and worth reading.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Blog Tour - Roma Amor: A Novel of Caligula's Rome by Sherry Christie

02_Roma Amor


Roma Amor: A Novel of Caligula's Rome by Sherry Christie

Publication Date: April 15, 2016
Bexley House Books 
Paperback; 496 Pages 
Genre: Historical Fiction

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  READ EXCERPT

Marcus Carinna hears a voice whisper, "Your turn," as he rides past his family tomb. An unseen presence also startles the Germanic priestess Aurima, whom he is bringing to Rome. But hardheaded Romans scoff at ghosts, and Marcus can't believe it's a warning from his brother, who killed himself three years earlier. 37 AD: To great acclaim, 25-year-old Caligula Caesar has become Rome's new master. No one is more pleased than Senator Titus Carinna, who helped him succeed to the throne. It's a shame the Senator's older son--Caligula's closest friend--committed suicide after being charged with treason. But that still leaves Marcus, his second son. Headstrong and hot-tempered, Marcus would rather prove his courage by leading legions against Rome's enemies than take his brother's place. Yet when his father orders him to befriend Caligula, he has no choice. Caught in a web of deceit, conspiracy, and betrayal, he will uncover a secret that threatens his family, the woman he desires, even his life... and may bring chaos to the young Roman Empire.



My Review


"Roma Amor: A Novel of Caligula’s Rome", is a complete page turner by author Sherry Christie! I had shied away from reading historical fiction set during the Roman Empire the past couple of years, but I thought this one sounded interesting, so I gave it a chance. So glad I did! I feel like I was able to learn so much about the inner workings of the Roman Empire as I read, but never once did I feel as though it lagged or became overly text book like. Prior to this novel, my only experience with Caligula was a movie I picked up at Family Video with the title “Caligula.” What a mistake that was! It was a 1970’s or 80’s film, and it was basically a soft core porno! It wouldn’t have been so bad, except for the fact that I had sat down to watch it with my parents, thinking it would be an interesting historically based movie! I think I turned 10 shades of red before finally making an awkward exit up to my bedroom. This book was a MUCH better experience than that one!

Marcus’ character is definitely one that draws female attention. He’s strong, wealthy, from the upper class, a warrior, and a bit of a bad boy. However, he is set on reforming himself, and making his father as proud of him as he was of his first son, Publius, who had been sentenced to death by the previous Roman Emperor, Tiberius. Marcus also develops a fascination with a Marcomanni Priestess named Aurima, who is a hostage of Rome after being taken prisoner during battle. His fascination leads him to do things that could possibly have serious consequences for his family’s good name, and possibly his life, but he finds that he is drawn to her, and unable to stop thinking about her.

"Roma Amor" is definitely one of the better books I’ve read recently. I found myself reading until two or three in the morning sometimes, unable to put it down for the night. Though it is a good sized book, I finished it quickly, because it was impossible to walk away from! If you are a fan and/or have interest in historical fiction, especially history dealing with the Roman Empire, than I would highly suggest getting this book. The author’s writing is fantastic, and never feels stiff or uneven, and the characters are so well-written that you can truly believe they were all real people, straight out of the past. Without a doubt, this is a FIVE out of FIVE STAR novel!



Reviews


"The first installment in a page-turning saga that revisits the heroes and villains of the grandest city of the ancient world.... Comes alive with the long gone characters who were its lifeblood"
-Kirkus Reviews

''Combines current political concerns, the wide lens of the serious historical novel, and emotional maturity and realism with an utterly splendid grasp of what it must have been like to live in Rome under Caligula's reign.'' -Sarah Smith, Agatha Award winner and New York Times Notable author


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound


About the Author


03_Sherry ChristieAfter earning a Phi Beta Kappa creative award in college for an early draft about a nobly born charioteer, Sherry Christie spent many years of research and revision developing ROMA AMOR into the story about fathers and sons that it wanted to be. It's a joy to immerse myself in the lives of first-century Romans--and a distinct change from my day job as a . In addition to writing, Sherry is a professional copywriter. She lives on the coast of Maine with a native-born Viking and two cats. For more information, please visit Sherry Christie's website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 24
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, October 25
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, October 26
Review at Kinx's Book Nook
Friday, October 28
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Monday, October 31
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, November 1
Review at Bookfever
Wednesday, November 2
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Friday, November 4
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Monday, November 7
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, November 9
Review at Bookramblings
Review at The Book Junkie Reads
Interview at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, November 10
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads
Friday, November 11
Review at Beth's Book Nook
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Guest Post at The True Book Addict

Giveaway

To win a paperback copy of Roma Amor: A Novel of Caligula's Rome by Sherry Christie, please enter via the Gleam form below. 2 copies are up for grabs!


Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 11th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


  Roma Amor




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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

TWO Years Since Serial's Debut on Audio--Check Out Serial's Best Spin-Offs!

Two years since Serial's audio debut 

On Friday 3rd October 2014, the podcast that became a worldwide cultural phenomenon made its debut. Serial, described by critics as an audio game-changer, gripped the world with its exploration of Adnan Syed’s 1990 conviction for the murder of his former girlfriend, Hay Min Lee. The podcast was downloaded over 20 million times in 2014 alone and went on to win a Peabody Award in 2015. Two years on from Serial, the editors at Audible.co.uk have selected the best Serial spin-offs and investigatory true-crime, for those who still can’t let go…




1. Adnan's Story: The Case That Inspired the Podcast Phenomenon Serial
Author: Rabia Chaudry
Narrated by: Rabia Chaudry

'The first letter I received after being arrested in 1999 was from Rabia. Since that time until now, she has believed in my innocence and been committed to my exoneration.... There is no one better to help tell my story, and no one that I trust more to tell it, than Rabia.' (Adnan Syed)

Rabia Chaudry, a family friend, always believed him and has never given up the hope that he might someday be released. By 2013, however, after almost all appeals had been exhausted, things looked bleak. That was when Rabia contacted Sarah Koenig, a producer at This American Life, in the hopes of finding a journalist who would bring greater attention to Adnan's story and might shed new light on the case.

Woven with personal reflections from Adnan himself, and the story of his family, community, and public advocate Chaudry, the audiobook offers new insight into the story that captivated the attention of millions as his legal and investigatory team seek to find out the truth of what really happened on that day in 1999.




2. In The Dark
 Created by APM Reports
 Free on the iTunes store

A podcast about a 27-year child abduction investigation that changed the nation.

Child abductions are rare crimes. And they're typically solved. For 27 years, the investigation into the
abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota yielded no answers. In the most comprehensive reporting on this case, APM Reports and reporter Madeleine Baran reveal how law enforcement mishandled one of the most notorious child abductions in the country and how those failures fueled national anxiety about stranger danger, changed how adults parent their kids and led to the nation's sex-offender registries.




3. Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime
 Author: Val McDermid
 Narrated by: Sarah Barron

The dead talk. To the right listener, they tell us all about themselves: how they lived, how they died--and who killed them.

Val McDermid uncovers the secrets of forensic medicine with groundbreaking research and her own experience. Along the way you'll wonder at how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine time of death and how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer.





4. Undisclosed
Written and narrated by: Rabia Chaudry, Susan Simpson and Colin Miller

The Undisclosed podcast investigates wrongful convictions, and the U.S. criminal justice system, by
taking a closer look at the perpetration of a crime, its investigation, the trial, and ultimate verdict... and finding new evidence that never made it to court.

Series One explores the State of Maryland's case against Adnan Syed. The podcast revisits the case from the beginning, looking at all available evidence - not only what was presented in Serial, but new evidence that we uncovered in the team’s investigation. The podcast is written by three attorneys and as such it delves deeply into the legal side of the case, aiming to get to the truth of what happened on January 13, 1999.



5. The Innocent Man
 Author: John Grisham
 Narrated by: Craig Wasson

In the major league draft of 1971, the first player chosen from the State of Oklahoma was Ron Williamson. When he signed with the Oakland A's, he said goodbye to his hometown of Ada and left to pursue his dreams of big league glory.

Six years later he was back, his dreams broken by a bad arm and bad habits-drinking, drugs, and women. He began to show signs of mental illness. Unable to keep a job, he moved in with his mother.
In 1982, a 21-year-old cocktail waitress in Ada named Debra Sue Carter was raped and murdered, and for five years the police could not solve the crime. For reasons that were never clear, they suspected Ron Williamson and his friend Dennis Fritz. The two were finally arrested in 1987 and charged with capital murder.

With no physical evidence, the prosecution's case was built on junk science and the testimony of jailhouse snitches and convicts. Dennis Fritz was found guilty and given a life sentence. Ron Williamson was sent to death row.

If you believe that in America you are innocent until proven guilty, this book will shock you. If you believe in the death penalty, this book will disturb you. If you believe the criminal justice system is fair, this book will infuriate you.




6. Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony
 Author: Jeff Ashton
 Narrated by: Jeff Ashton
 
It was the trial that stunned America. On July 5, 2011, nearly three years after her initial arrest, Casey Anthony walked away, virtually scot-free, from one of the most sensational murder trials of all time. She'd been accused of killing her daughter, Caylee, but the trial only left behind more questions: Was she actually innocent? What really happened to Caylee? Was this what justice really looked like?

In Imperfect Justice, prosecutor Jeff Ashton, one of the principal players in the case's drama, sheds light on those questions and much more, telling the behind-the-scenes story of the investigation, the trial, and the now-infamous verdict. Providing an inside account of the case, Ashton, a career prosecutor for the state of Florida, goes where the press and pundits have only speculated, detailing what really happened during the investigation, showing how the prosecution built their case, and explaining how a woman so shrouded in suspicion was proclaimed innocent. Ashton examines what the prosecution got right, what they got wrong, and why he remains completely convinced of Casey Anthony's guilt.




7. Criminal
 Co-created by: Phoebe Judge, Lauren Spohrer, Eric Mennel


Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the "if it bleeds, it leads," kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. Hosted by Phoebe Judge, this podcast is just as addictive as Serial, and one that’s sure to get you hooked.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

GIVEAWAY & REVIEW: Blog Tour for In the Garden Room by Tanya Eby




Historical Suspense, Gothic

Date Published: July 18, 2016

Publisher: Blunder Woman Productions


Blurb



It is Chicago. 1910. Eleven-year-old Lillian March looks over her mother’s dead body with a sense of relief.

As a poor woman, her mother, Cora, never had any real choices or happiness with her life. Cora and Lillian flee to the bustling city of Chicago, where she is certain she will have the life of opulence she deserves.

Cora and Lillian face deep hardships in turn-of-the-century Chicago as Cora’s mind continues its downward spiral. With no money and no hope for income, Cora sells Lillian to The Garden Room, a brothel, where young girls and desperate women are kept like flowers in a jar.

John March comes looking for his daughter and his wife in an attempt to rescue them, but even if he finds them alive, is rescue really possible?

IN THE GARDEN ROOM is an exploration of madness, desire and two women’s choices in a time when they weren’t really allowed to choose.



My Review


In the Garden Room was a welcome reminder that sometimes it’s good to step outside of my usual genre of reading material, and try something a little different! While this novel is historical fiction, which is what I like, it is set in a period of time that I very rarely read about. I was immediately drawn in by Cora’s character. She the beautiful mother, who lives her life thinking about the “what if’s” and dreaming about being anywhere else in the world other than where she is at. She’s in a loveless marriage, which she believes she is too good for, and has a child who is something she considers to just be in her way. She a dreamer and she is naïve, which is the perfect combination for Zeke to take advantage of. She ends up leaving her husband, and dragging her daughter, Lillian along with her to Chicago. Cora has high hopes that she will end up wealthy and worshipped by Zeke, but things turn out nothing like she expected. Lillian loves her father, but now believes he is dead (thanks to her mother). The hard-scrabble city life turns Lillian into something she completely different than what she was when they arrived. Both Cora and Lillian change drastically, and do what it takes to stay alive in a city without mercy. Lillian’s father, John, is alive and well, and is determined to find his daughter and bring her home, but he has no soft feelings towards the wife who turned his life upside down.

It is definitely a darker novel, and it’s easy to get caught up in the strong emotions that each of the characters displays. I definitely felt a little depressed and shocked at times as I read. As a mother, it was difficult for me to imagine ever putting my children in the position that Cora placed Lillian. It is definitely the type of book that is hard to put down once you get into it. I typically read historical fiction that is set prior to the industrialized age, but I am glad that I gave this one a chance. I definitely suggest picking a copy up, you won’t be disappointed! A solid FIVE out of FIVE stars from me!



About the Author


Tanya Eby is a writer and an award-winning audiobook narrator. She has published a variety of novels from romantic comedies to mysteries to dark historical pieces. While her writing crosses genres they all share quirky characters and complicated relationships. Visit her at tanyaeby.com or follow her on Twitter @Blunder_Woman.



Contact Info



Website: www.tanyaeby.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Blunder_Woman

Blog: https://twitter.com/Blunder_Woman

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30979784-in-the-garden-room



Purchase Links




Friday, September 2, 2016

GUEST POST: One Writer's Dreams by Christy English, Author of Aphrodite's Choice

One Writer’s Dreams

By Christy English


How does a writer go from obsessing about Eleanor of Aquitaine to being possessed by the need to write about a goddess? For any of you who have read my historical fiction novels THE QUEEN’S PAWN or TO BE QUEEN, both of which have Eleanor of Aquitaine as a narrator, you know that it is not that far a leap from queen to goddess. Indeed, I think Eleanor would have enjoyed the comparison.

But as with more than one of my novels, APHRODITE’S CHOICE first came to me in a dream.

During the summer and fall of 2010, I was traveling around the Southeastern US going to book signings and literary festivals to support my first published novel, THE QUEEN’S PAWN. While I did this, I took time out to see friends and family along my route, and I stopped at my godmother’s on my way back to my home base (at the time, that was Wilmington, NC.) We got to talking about books, as we so often do, and she asked me why I had never written a paranormal novel, a genre she loved to read.

I didn’t have an answer for her, other than to say that a character with a paranormal story had never shown up on the doorstep of my mind. If one ever did, I said, I was sure to write it. Because, in my world, the book is always the boss.

That night I slept well, tucked away in her frilly guest bedroom downstairs. And as the early morning light began to creep in at the windows, I dreamed of a goddess of love, of her mortal friends, and of the man who was hunting her.

The first fifty pages of the novel came from my very involved, very detailed dream, pretty much as they appear now in APHRODITE’S CHOICE. While my Aphrodite, or Addy Stanfield as she calls herself in modern Boston in 2016, is an immortal being who came down to earth to offer an aspect of the healing of Divine Grace, she is also a woman. A woman with a perspective out of time, a woman who belongs to all times and places, and to none.

Addy loves her mortal friends, though she knows that she will very likely live long enough to watch them die. She keeps an immortal lover, the war god Ares, who comes into and out of her life on his own whims, and in his own time, often wreaking havoc as he passes through her world. And for the last eight hundred years or more, the same group of men has hunted Addy and her sisters, fellow goddesses who do the work of serving humanity, each in their own way. This group, the Brotherhood of the Light, destroy her sisters when they can, and as the novel opens, Addy discovers that they have found her yet again.


Paranormal thrillers are a lot of fun to read, but before APHRODITE’S CHOICE, I had never written one. She opened my eyes to a whole new world, as each of my characters has, as I pray each new character always will. I am very grateful for that conversation with my godmother, and her off-the-cuff question about paranormal story-telling. My life is infinitely richer for having met and worked with Addy, and I hope that, if you read her story, she enhances your life half as much as she has blessed mine.