Archive | April 2023

The Vampire Society: Christopher and Gaspar, Book Two

Book Link

From Amazon:

This is the second installation of “The Vampire Society: Christopher and Gaspar”, an emotional and psychological roller coaster with evil at the controls. Dreams become prevalent and beliefs turn to extremes as a tide of evil threatens to annihilate Chris’s and Gaspar’s chance at an eternal loving union.

Before being born, Chris was Chosen to become a vampire. When he neared the physical age of his protector, a dangerously sexy vampire named Gaspar, Chris was ever more eager to embrace his fate. The transition begins, but his father’s intense hatred of vampires is a gate Chris must pass through.

Radu, a mere bastard on his good nights but thoroughly treacherous even by vampire standards, coerces his coven to enact revenge on Gaspar and take Chris for himself. Their method: manipulate the hate within Chris’s father to set the couple’s families against each other. Radu is the malevolent puppet master pulling the strings of all humans and vampires beneath him. And for extra thrills, he will throw in a good dose of malicious violence.

Is no one safe from Radu’s wickedness? How will Chris and Gaspar protect themselves and all their loved ones? If one uncanny ebony rose could get its way, it would cover the world in glittering love. But what can one rose really do?

My Review:

This book is definitely vampire, mostly the love that vampires give to their mate. Male with female, male with male, and female with female. One faction of the vampires are a demonic cult under Radu. The good vampires are under Zenith, who is good. Christopher is a human male bonded to Gaspar since his creation. Tom, human male and Christopher’s father resents the intrusiveness of the vampires despite knowing very little about them. I leave the to find out for themselves the fate of each character.

Double Trouble #showtime #CastlewoodManor

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From Amazon:

American Marchioness and mummy-to-be Lady Gemma Lancaster Williams is up to her maternity toes with the soon to be completed renovations at Cherrywood Hall and the planning for the Prince of Kingwood Ball, a royal, society event. The startling find of a skeleton in the construction zone brings renovations to a grinding halt. History is about to get a big royal wake-up call with this ghoulish find, as scandals from the past are revealed.

Gemma’s college friend, interior designer extraordinaire, Rikkhe St. Claire has an eye for clues and a nose for trouble, helping Gemma uncover deadly details from years gone by. A new nanny’s in the halls of Cherrywood—will Figgy McEwen’s psychic conversations with the ghost whisperers from the past lead Scotland Yard to discover fiends most foul? Chaos on the film set of the Castlewood Manor movie lead to more than one deadly demise—are they accidents? Or pre-meditated?

Royal diaries, international intrigue, a film’s future, and meddling friends and family bring these scandalous happenings to a head. Gemma, hunky-dunky, hubby Kyle, and new doggie of the manor, Teddy are definitely in for double trouble in this almost-royal who dun nit like no other!

My Review:

This novel is unique in some ways. We have a queen who plans to give her throne to her son, a mad woman who became more unstable as the story goes, and babies being born. Toss in a royal family to the mix and add in numerous aspects of the royal family, yet written completely different. Nothing..No. This royal family was able to work out a narrative that fit right into this five star book. Look out below… when on stage!

A Matter of Faith

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Book Title: A Matter of Faith: Henry VIII, the Days of the Phoenix

Series: The Henrician Chronicle

Author: Judith Arnopp

Publication Date: March 20th, 2023

Publisher: self-published

Page Length: 209

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handle: @JudithArnopp @cathiedunn

Instagram Handle: @Tudor_JudithArnopp @thecoffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #Tudors #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

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A Matter of Faith: Henry VIII, the Days of the Phoenix

Judith Arnopp


Finally free of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII, is now married to Anne Boleyn and eagerly awaiting the birth of his son. In a court still reeling from the royal divorce and growing public resentment against church reform, Henry must negotiate widespread resentment toward Anne. He places all his hopes in a son to cement his Tudor blood line, but his dreams are shattered when Anne is delivered of a daughter.

Burying his disappointment, Henry focuses on getting her with child again, but their marriage is volatile and as Henry faces personal bereavement, and discord at court, Anne’s enemies are gathering. When the queen miscarries of a son, and Henry suffers a life-threatening accident, his need for an heir becomes critical. Waiting in the wings is Jane Seymour, a lady-in-waiting who offers the king comfort and respite from Anne’s fiery passions.

But, when Anne falls foul of her former ally, Thomas Cromwell, and the king is persuaded he has been made a cuckold, Henry strikes out and the queen falls beneath the executioner’s sword, taking key players in Henry’s household with her.

Jane Seymour, stepping up to replace the fallen queen, quickly becomes pregnant. Delighted with his dull but fertile wife, Henry’s spirits rise even further when the prince is born safely. At last, Henry has all he desires but even as he celebrates, fate is preparing to deliver one more staggering blow.

Henry, the once perfect Renaissance prince, is now a damaged middle-aged man, disappointed in those around him but most of all in himself. As the king’s optimism diminishes, his intractability increases, and the wounded lion begins to roar.

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This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

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Author Bio:

When Judith Arnopp began to write professionally there was no question as to which genre to choose. A lifelong history enthusiast and avid reader, Judith holds an honours degree in English and Creative writing, and a Masters in Medieval Studies, both from the University of Wales, Lampeter.

Judith writes both fiction and non-fiction, working full-time from her home overlooking Cardigan Bay in Wales where she crafts novels based in the Medieval and Tudor period. Her main focus is on the perspective of historical women from all roles of life, prostitutes to queens, but she has recently turned her attention to Henry VIII himself.

Her novels include:

A Matter of Conscience: Henry VIII, the Aragon Years. (Book one of The Henrician Chronicle)

A Matter of Faith: Henry VIII, the years of the Phoenix (Book Two of The Henrician Chronicle)

The Beaufort Bride: (Book one of The Beaufort Chronicle)

The Beaufort Woman: (Book two of The Beaufort Chronicle)

The Kings Mother: (Book three of The Beaufort Chronicle)

The Heretic Wind: the life of Mary Tudor, Queen of England

A Song of Sixpence: The story of Elizabeth of York

Intractable Heart: The story of Katheryn Parr

The Kiss of the Concubine: A story of Anne Boleyn

Sisters of Arden: on the pilgrimage of Grace

The Winchester Goose: at the court of Henry VIII

The Song of Heledd:

The Forest Dwellers


Her non-fiction articles feature in various historical anthologies and magazines and an illustrated non-fiction book, How to Dress like a Tudor will be published by Pen & Sword in 2023.

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This entry was posted on April 25, 2023. 4 Comments


Book Title: INCEPTIO (10th Anniversary hardback)

Series: Roma Nova

Author: Alison Morton

Publication Date: 28 March 2023 (original ebook and paperback 1 March 2013)

Publisher: Pulcheria Press

Page Length: 390

Genre: Thriller

Twitter Handle: @alison_morton @cathiedunn

Instagram Handle: @AlisonMortonAuthor @thecoffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #10YearsINCEPTIO #RomaNovaSeries #AlternativeHistory #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

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Alison Morton


“It’s about Roman blood, survival and money. Mostly yours.”

In an alternative New York, Karen Brown is running for her life. She makes a snap decision to flee to Roma Nova – her dead mother’s homeland, the last remnant of the Roman Empire in the 21st century. But can Karen tough it out in such an alien culture? And with a crazy killer determined to terminate her for a very personal reason? 

Stifled by the protective cocoon of her Roma Novan family, deceived by her new lover, she propels herself into a dangerous mission. But then the killer sets a trap – she must sacrifice herself for another – and she sees no escape.

A thriller laced with romance and coming of age, this first in series is Roman fiction brought into the 21st century through the lens of alternative history and driven by a female protagonist with heart and courage.

This 10thAnniversary hardback edition includes bonus content: Three character ‘conversations’, two short stories and the story behind INCEPTIO.

Coffee Pot Book Club tour for INCEPTIO 10th Anniversary Edition hardback 

When Angels Fly     24 April 2023

How does a character like Carina come to life?

Reading is an emotional trip, and we want to gasp, shiver, feel rolls of warmth, resentment, sympathy, fear, loss, and triumph as we turn the pages. Rounded, multi-layered characters are essential to engage people in a story. Superwomen can work in some contexts, but readers quite like our heroines and heroes making horrible mistakes, misjudgements and dubious decisions, along with being aware, clever and cunning as appropriate.

But equally important is to think about is what formed those characters. Some characteristics are common across ages, locations and personality. Bad temper or a sweet disposition, a loving childhood or abusive environment can occur whether your character lives in Ancient Rome or the Moon Colony in 2175.

When I invented my main character Carina Mitela, the heroine of INCEPTIO in Roma Nova which I’m celebrating today, I needed to know who she was, where did she come from, what did she want, and fear? What was stopping her? What did she like? What were her values? What were her strengths and weaknesses?

Carina had to go through a ‘birthing’ process or perhaps even a regression; she’d started off fully formed in my imagination at the start of INCEPTIO, the first of her adventures.

So I had to lay some clues to get her to where I wanted her…

We first see her working in the New York Kew Park as a weekend volunteer.
What this tells us – she loves the outdoors and works happily with others.

She enjoys running and keeping fit.
What this tells us – she’s sporty.

At the beginning of INCEPTIO, Karen (not yet Carina) is not particularly happy or unhappy. Although she’s not achieving very much in her job, she buckles down and gets on with her tasks.
What this tells us – she’s unsure of her abilities, and unsettled, but resilient.

The early loss of her parents and fostering with cold relatives forces her to be self-contained and not a little wary of others.
What this tells us – she needs to feel safe. Part of the urge to protect herself makes her a smartmouth.

She defends an older person from some young bullies.
What this tells us – she has a strong sense of fairness and has the courage to put it into action.

She has a hot temper and makes snap decisions, not always wise ones.
What this tells us – she’s passionate and fallible.

She enjoys the movies and subscribes to a movie periodical.
What this tells us – she has a nice, normal, safe hobby.

The foundations were laid. The traumatic events in INCEPTIO revealed her innate toughness and determination, her sense of fairness, her hot temper and compassion. Now I had to build in some factual background in the form of a character sketch.

A brief biography of Carina
Born in the Eastern United States (EUS), father William Brown, ex-UK citizen, mother Marina Mitela, daughter of one of the Twelve Families who founded Roma Nova in ancient times. Although registered with the Roma Novan authorities at birth as Carina Mitela, she was raised as Karen Brown in the EUS with her father’s surname. For her first twelve years, she lived in New Hampshire. Sadly, she lost her mother in a mysterious car accident when she was three, and her father from cancer at twelve. Fostered adequately, but unlovingly, with distant Brown cousins in Nebraska on the edge of the Indigenous Nations’ territories, she left for the autonomous city of New York the day after graduating high school. After several jobs, at the beginning of INCEPTIO she has ended up as an assistant account executive in Bornes & Black Ad Agency.

Physically, she is too tall and angular to be classically pretty, she has an athletic build, blue eyes and red-blonde hair. She doesn’t know it yet, but she bears a striking resemblance to her grandmother, Aurelia, as a young woman.

Deeper and deeper…
More of Carina’s background emerges in the books following INCEPTIO where she is the lead character – CARINA, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO. However, Carina’s backstory is reinforced when we see her mother, Marina, in the second group of books which feature Carina’s grandmother, Aurelia, as a young woman. Marina is a young child in AURELIA, set in the late 1960s, an older child in NEXUS and a young woman in the early 1980s in INSURRECTIO and RETALIO. William Brown, Carina’s father, not only courts Marina, but helps Aurelia in INSURRECTIO and RETALIO. And Carina herself is born in RETALIO. Although these incidents are subplots to Aurelia‘s story – she is after all the heroine of those four books – they also flesh out Carina‘s background.

Back to Carina’s own stories…
In the novella CARINA, our heroine leads her first overseas mission and some of the eager newbie enthusiasm fades as the realities of political and professional life touch her. In PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO, she matures, becoming a parent as well as an effective special forces soldier. She has found her place in life, but the heart-wrenching challenges she faces test her loyalty and duty to the full and nearly break her profound love for her partner, Conrad.

Later, she becomes a senior officer in the Praetorian Guard Special forces, a senator and imperial councillor, and heads the Twelve Families of Roma Nova, yet remains a loving mother and granddaughter but not without her doubts and worry about fouling up. Not an easy combination at any stage of her life!

Over the series we see different parts of each individual’s story – I love hooking the past, present and future together – but Carina retains her basic character traits and values throughout, although how she expresses them and assesses her reactions develop through the stories.

She is only human, after all!

Buy links:

INCEPTIO 10th Anniversary special edition hardback:

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Book Depository:

Your local bookshop or library

All other formats (ebook, paperback, audio)

Author Bio:

Alison Morton writes award-winning thrillers featuring tough but compassionate heroines. Her ten-book Roma Nova series is set in an imaginary European country where a remnant of the ancient Roman Empire has survived into the 21st century and is ruled by women who face conspiracy, revolution and heartache but with a sharp line in dialogue. INCEPTIO starts the adventure…

She blends her fascination for Ancient Rome with six years’ military service and a life of reading historical, crime and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history. 

Six full-length Roma Nova novels, including INCEPTIO, have won the BRAG Medallion, the prestigious award for indie fiction. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices.  AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. The Bookseller selected SUCCESSIO as Editor’s Choice in its inaugural indie review. The Historical Novel Society recently selected JULIA PRIMA, the first Foundation story set in the 4th century, the accolade of Editors’ Choice.

Alison lives in Poitou in France, the home of Mélisende, the heroine of her two contemporary thrillers, Double Identity and Double Pursuit. Oh, and she’s writing the next Roma Nova story.

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This entry was posted on April 24, 2023. 4 Comments

Back to the Burgh and Beyond

Book Link

From Amazon:

Meet Alexa Owl. She’s returned home to Pittsburgh after a divorce to start a new life and a new business, The Owl’s Nest Couturier Shoppe. Much to her surprise, she’s getting more than she ever bargained for: Detective Bobby Starr, and he’s no ordinary sleuth. Bobby is an angel who’s returned to Earth in hopes of earning his way into the Guardian Angel Squad. He’s been sent by none other than Saint Pete to acquire Alexa’s help to solve three cold case murders he left behind. Except, here’s the catch: he’s only been allotted four days to solve the first case! How in heaven’s name is she supposed to do that? Alexa is a professional seamstress—not a detective. Bobby insists the only way to solve the first case is to return to 1953, and Alexa’s not in love with that idea at all!

My Review:

I have found this novel to be a truly lovely romance and mystery style with a bit of time travel, period clothing, contemporary clothing, and a dash of ghost man and ghost cat that very few people can visualize. Since I’m all about clothing this is terrible to suffer as I read. Okay. Bad joke. Honestly, this novel as about as perfect as possible for this reader and reviewer.

The Last Forest

Book Link

From Amazon:

From the furthest dunes and the edges of night – Comes a tale of determination, bravery and compassion!
Derwin isn’t strong, cool, or even popular. And she definitely doesn’t believe in herself.
Until fate transports her to a broken and desolate dystopian world.
A world where technology is the rift that divides humanity.

To survive she must find a bravery and strength she didn’t know she had.
She must win the hearts and minds of strangers.
And, finally she must vanquish an age-old hatred rooted in the land.
If she fails, the last forest and all of humanity will fall to dust, forgotten forever.

My Review:

Wow. What a story. If you like time travel and are not afraid to go on adventures, then this book is for you. The book brings together the current time and time far into the future where two groups lived, the Foresters and the Wastelanders. I won’t give away the adventures, but I think the Grand Canyon is the setting from ultimate survival due to a mega storm of a hurricane that lasted for days and united both groups as only trials and tribulations have a way of doing.

The Last Great Saxon Earls Series

Media Kit

Book Title: Godwine Kingmaker

Series: The Last Great Saxon Earls

Author: Mercedes Rochelle

Publication Date: April 4, 2015

Publisher: Sergeant Press

Page Length: 351

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handle: @authorRochelle @cathiedunn

Instagram Handle: @thecoffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #AngloSaxon #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

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by Mercedes Rochelle


They showed so much promise. What happened to the Godwines? How did they lose their grip? Who was this Godwine anyway, first Earl of Wessex and known as the Kingmaker? Was he an unscrupulous schemer, using King and Witan to gain power? Or was he the greatest of all Saxon Earls, protector of the English against the hated Normans? The answer depends on who you ask.

He was befriended by the Danes, raised up by Canute the Great, given an Earldom and a wife from the highest Danish ranks. He sired nine children, among them four Earls, a Queen and a future King. Along with his power came a struggle to keep his enemies at bay, and Godwine’s best efforts were brought down by the misdeeds of his eldest son Swegn.

Although he became father-in-law to a reluctant Edward the Confessor, his fortunes dwindled as the Normans gained prominence at court. Driven into exile, Godwine regathered his forces and came back even stronger, only to discover that his second son Harold was destined to surpass him in renown and glory.

Special Excerpt:

Who was Wulfnoth Godwineson?
by Mercedes Rochelle

Most of us lament the fate of Harold Godwineson (or Godwinson), last of the Anglo-Saxon kings killed at the Battle of Hastings. But how many know about his younger brother Wulfnoth? Born about 20 years after his famous sibling, Wulfnoth was whisked away as hostage for his father’s good behavior when he was only about 12 years old. In all the confusion surrounding Godwine’s return from exile in 1052, he was probably kidnapped by the Archbishop Robert of Jumièges, who fled from London with the rest of Edward’s Norman allies. Robert turned over Wulfnoth and cousin Hakon to William, claiming (in one version) that King Edward had declared the Norman Duke as his heir, and sent the boys along as guarantee of his pledge. Presumably the Duke did not investigate the validity of this promise. Why should he suspect the word of an Archbishop?

Harold Swears an Oath to William. Source: Wikimedia

Poor Wulfnoth was in quite a fix. After all, he was the youngest son and hence, expendable. At the time he was abducted, his father was striving to get his position back. Earl Godwine probably didn’t even know his son was missing until after the fact. How culpable was the King? Could Godwine accuse him of betraying his trust? (Wulfnoth was Edward’s hostage, after all.) Not likely. Would Godwine have written to Duke William offering to pay a ransom for his son? Wulfnoth was not likely ever to know, and his father died the next year, which must have seemed like a catastrophe to the lonely youth.

I’ve read some Victorian-era historians who bemoan the innocent prisoner kept under lock and key. But I suspect his confinement was more in the nature of a high-ranking son of a noble, raised in the ducal household to ensure the loyalty of the father. The captive son would be treated like a squire or even a member of the family, provisionally allowed to roam free with the understanding that he would not try to leave. Or at least, I hope this is how Wulfnoth was treated, for he never deserved his fate. I can only suspect the boy was a powerful negotiating tool for the Duke, just in case the opportunity arose. And if King Edward really did offer William the crown, of course he would keep the boy as security. There should have been no reason to put him in a prison cell.

William the Conqueror. Source: Wikimedia

When Harold made his fatal oath to support William’s claim to the throne in 1064, once again Wulfnoth had to stay as surety for his promise; it seems that his fellow hostage Hakon was not as important, and William let him go home. Once Harold took the throne, I wonder if William was tempted to kill his hostage? If the Duke was as nasty as he is made out to be, surely one would have expected him to take his revenge. But he didn’t. In fact, Wulfnoth was the Duke’s hostage until the day William died; on his death bed, a repentant William the Conqueror released all his hostages.

Alas, Wulfnoth’s freedom was short-lived. William Rufus is said to have rushed to England to claim his patrimony, taking Wulfnoth with him. Having a Godwineson on the loose was too risky for the Norman heir; the last thing Rufus needed was a new rebellion with a puppet figurehead. Of course by then, Wulfnoth had been a captive so many years he had no friends in England, no property, nor any family left; they had all fled the country and his sister Queen Editha had died in 1075. So he wasn’t much of a threat, and the new king was content to confine Wulfnoth to Winchester, where he may have become a monk at the cloister. He died in the year 1094.

It’s interesting to me that the least dramatic and least talked-about Son of Godwine is the only one to have survived the events of 1066. In my world of historical fiction, this gave him the opportunity to compile the remembrances of his brothers and finish the chronicle begun by his sister Editha. In her words: I preserved my real story, and intend to pass it on to my last surviving brother Wulfnoth, who can prepare it for a future chronicler not hostile to our house. Who is that chronicler? Myself, of course! You can read all about it in FATAL RIVALRY.

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This series is available on Kindle Unlimited

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Author Bio:

Mercedes Rochelle is an ardent lover of medieval history, and has channeled this interest into fiction writing. She believes that good Historical Fiction, or Faction as it’s coming to be known, is an excellent way to introduce the subject to curious readers. She also writes a blog: to explore the history behind the story.

Born in St. Louis, MO, she received by BA in Literature at the Univ. of Missouri St.Louis in 1979 then moved to New York in 1982 while in her mid-20s to “see the world”. The search hasn’t ended!

Today she lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.

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This entry was posted on April 19, 2023. 4 Comments

William Steven Frank

Please welcome William Steven Frank to my blog. Shall we Get started?

1. Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.

Hello! My name is William Steven Frank. I am grateful to have this opportunity. I am a middle school teacher, and an author when I can find time! I have self-published one book using Xulon Press. Its available in all of the usual places. I am married, with one son, and 2 cats.

2. Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?

I have always enjoyed writing. I wrote a short story, and published it using Amazon’s self-publishing program. When I received my first royalty payment, I was astounded. Not only because I had done zero marketing for it, but it seemed incredible to me that people would pay to read what I wrote!

I knew it was time to start writing my first full-length book back in 2015. At the time, I was unemployed, so while I was seeking employment, I decided to ‘create a job for myself’. I knew I had some writing skills, so I started going to my local library everyday with my laptop with the goal of writing my first book. I came up with the general concept, did extensive research, and spent that summer writing Vianden.

3. How difficult was it writing your first book?

I knew I could write well, but I had never written a novel before, so I had plenty to learn. I spent time watching some YouTube videos about writing novels, and went through a deliberate, outlined process to create my characters and storyarcs. Since I was writing historical fiction, I needed to research events in the 20th century, and other details. This book is an accomplishment for me, but I know I can write a better book next time. There is always room for improvement.

4. Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?

Writing my first draft was not too difficult, but what became difficult and discouraging was realizing that I had more to learn than I thought I would. After I wrote it, I had no interest in publishing it through Amazon because they take a large portion of your royalties, but I did nothing with it until last year. I did not have the money to publish it myself, and I had no idea how to market a book.

What stopped me was that I saw an example of someone else who had done it. The mother of a student of mine had published a book through Xulon Press. I looked into their services, and with the support of my wife and son, made the financial commitment to make Vianden a reality.

After gaining approval through my school’s process, I was able to add my book to the curriculum. I wrote a study guide for it, and now my 7th graders read it as part of their Literature class. The school bought copies, my publisher sent me some free copies, and I kept the ball rolling. My son paid for a voice actor he found on, and with his recording I was able to create an audiobook for Audible and iTunes through; Audible’s publishing program.

5. Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?

Without a doubt, my wife and son were the most supportive of my dream. From a summer’s worth of work in my local library, to it being available in all formats in multiple places, and eventually approved to be a part of my curriculum, my family has been with me every step of the way.

6. Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Take the time to create your story. Invest in research and solid character development. Invest in yourself by learning from other authors. You do not need to reinvent the wheel, but you do need to make your work unique and special, even if it is only special to you.

7. What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?

The best advice given to me is from the Bible, Micah 6:8. “It has been told to you, what is good and what does the Lord require of you? To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. This verse means a lot to me. It was my grandfather’s verse as part of his Bar Mitzvah, and my father’s Bar Mitzvah, and my Bar Mitzvah. I have become a Christian since then, and I have the phrase posted in my classroom. It is a good way to live, and I want to live it our as best as I can.

8. What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?

My target audience is middle school age kids primarily. I have researched the text difficulty using this calculator. The scores presented from the 8 different measurements gave me a good indication of what audience would be best for my book. The site lists the scores and how to interpret them. I highly recommend this resource to any writer.

The writing targets my audience because many young people today are not familiar with the events of the 20th century, and my book surveys the history in some detail, but not an overwhelming amount. Likewise, the vocabulary used is meant to be challenging and an opportunity to expand their knowledge.

It is my first novel, so like anything else, I will get better at writing over time.

9. Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?

In my case, the cover was not a difficult project. Vianden is a real castle in Luxembourg, so the only challenge was finding a good picture of it that was in the public domain. My publisher helped me with that. For the audiobook, I used the same cover, but in order to get it into the required format for ACX, I enlisted the aid of one of my oldest friends who has a graphic designer on his payroll. He did the work for free and in a short time frame.

10. What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?

I am currently working on a different book I wrote the same summer as Vianden. I wrote 158 pages consisting of 40,538 words before I decided to put it on hold and work on Vianden. It is a work-in-progress, and I have an extensive amount of re-writing to do. Here is a small excerpt from it:

The 1970 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser with its V8 engine was hurtling down the Edens Expressway at speeds that Roger Stein, my soon to be father, would normally never drive. Next to him, Rebecca Stein, my soon to be mother, was concerned and struggled to keep me from being born in the car. It was a beautiful, sunny day in the Chicago area, so as the tension was high in the roaring testimony to the glories of Oldsmobile prowess, the mid 70’s temperature went largely unnoticed.

Highland Park hospital would have been a much closer alternative, but it was ruled out due to a discovery that had arisen in the latter part of the pregnancy. Previous rH compatibility tests had not indicated an issue, but now that problem was detected and could possibly require a blood transfusion at birth. It was an unlikely situation, but my soon to be parents refused to take any chances. It was determined by the obstetrician that Michael Reese hospital in Chicago would be better capable of handling this situation. If this had been her first pregnancy, it may not have been as much of an issue, but this wasn’t. Her beautiful daughter, my soon to be sister Rachel, had been born in 1967 during a horrific blizzard in New York. My mother’s blood cells were recognizing my blood cells as potential threats, and had antibodies ready to attack my blood cells as invaders. The possible complications of this situation could include brain and/or mental functioning damage. I was already in peril before I even had taken my first breath outside the womb.

The Edens merged with the Kennedy Interstate and the trip was close to being complete. Miraculously, no police detected this hulking blue monstrosity of American might during its charge down the highways. My father’s stress mirrored my mother’s, but her pain was escalating. It seemed as if I was either desperate to get out and start living or I was terrified and was doing everything I could to hide from the life that was rushing towards me. I can’t say that I remember which it was.

11. Any last words before we wrap things up?

Thank you again for the opportunity to work with you. I hope your readers appreciate the work you do, and if they like historical fiction, they just might like Vianden. Free samples are available on Amazon at the link above.

Lastly, I would encourage your readers to not give up. Anything worth doing, takes time and effort. There are thousands of authors out there, there is no reason you cannot join their ranks and bring joy to someone’s life by reading your story.


William Steven Frank was born and raised in Highland Park, IL. He received his B.A. degree in criminology with a minor in political science from Northern Illinois University. He has been a middle school social studies/history teacher for 5 years, and a middle school English teacher for 5 years. Currently residing in Wisconsin, William enjoys spending time with his family and their two cats. His interests include sports cars, politics, reading, some video games, history, and writing. This book is fictional. The real names, locations, and events used in the book are present to communicate the story in a historical context

Links below





Audible (Available on iTunes, and Apple Books as well)

Barnes & Noble


Xulon Press Publisher

Direct Textbook


Finding Thomas Dames #memoir

Book Link

From Amazon:

Finding Thomas Dames is the moving true life story of Lynne Morley’s ancestor, who, as a child, turned to a life of petty crime in order to survive the grim streets of Georgian Nottingham, one of the most poverty stricken cities of that era.

A city where life was cheap, disease was rife and the grim figure of death was an ever present companion.
Apprehended by the law on many, many occasions, and labelled an “Incorrigible Rogue”, Thomas felt the full force of the law on frequent occasions before an irritated judiciary sentenced him to be transported to the new penal colonies in Western Australia. The incredible story reveals how this happens not once – but twice!

Sent south on the convict ship, Lincelles, Thomas endures a three month journey of brutality and privation. This scarcely believable story is unearthed by Lynne and painstakingly recreated here.

My Review:

Morley has done extensive research into Finding Thomas Dames. I applaud the effort as not the best of records remained from back then, and some had many name variations. Morley dug deep into history is this quest. That amount of research cannot be measured as she dug looking for single words that could possible tie in to Thomas Dames.

Trending #BooksWorthReading

I trended on Twitter this morning. Well, my hash tag #BooksWorthReading trended. So, that is kinda me, but not my physical person. Still – I created a book board on Pinterest “Books Worth Reading” and this morning, I was still trending with my hash tag when I logged out. Due to this being such a new thing for me, @MaryLSchmidt , I think it’s cool.