The Fish King and the Two Wise Ghosts

Please welcome Francis H Powell to my blog. Hello Frank. Shall we have sit and have a chat?   

Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.

Hello, I am Francis, I was born in the UK, but I’ve lived in France for quite a long time. I am a writer, but also a painter and musician. I love to create things. I live with my wife, son, and rescue dog, called Bertie.

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

Writing for me took off when I was living in Paris and saw an advert for short stories, in a magazine. It was a little homemade magazine called Rat Mort (dead rat, for anyone who doesn’t speak much French). Having some stories actually published, was a real lift. I went on from there.

How difficult was it writing your first book?

Writing is a pleasure, promoting and selling books is another matter.

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

Maybe sometimes you think, why do I make so much effort? What are the returns? Is this just a labour of love? I love writing stories, creating characters, imagining stories in my head. Developing stories.  

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I would like to bring a smile to their faces. We live in a harsh world.

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

With my latest book “The Fish King and the Two Wise Ghosts, my target is children six years old and over. I have created a picture book; I did all the illustrations as well as writing the story.

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

The cover and indeed the title of the book came about because my ten-year-old boy, did a drawing a few years back, that looked like a king holding the hand of two ghosts. I began to write a poem based on this drawing. Following this I decided to change the poem into prose, but I kept quite a lot of the poetry.

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

Mostly promoting the book as well as some short stories; I also write a lot of poetry. Here is a little sneaky excerpt of the Fish King…


There once was a Fish King who lived in an old, ruined castle deep in a magical ocean. As well as many servants, there lived two wise ghosts. One day Ghosts John and Henry looked at the king and said, “Sire, your clothes are so out of date, and your palace is now in a terrible state. We ghosts have haunted it, over hundreds of years, but the splendour it had, has long disappeared.”

The Fish King pulled a face and looked at the crumbling walls, as some bricks tumbled to the floor. “You may have a point,” the king mumbled, it could do with some sprucing up. He also summoned the royal tailor to conjure up some dazzling designs. The two ghosts were always friendly and gave good advice. They would only scare people who were not very nice. They spoke to the king almost every day and when he was a boy, they loved to play with him. They would tell him jokes and whizzed round the palace and would play terrible tricks on his young sister Alice. They appeared from nowhere at the foot of her bed, she would shriek and scream, till her face went bright red.

One day the Fish King woke with a most terrible fright. There was something on his mind, something not quite right. A thought came to him, like a flash in his mind. I need to find a queen who is both beautiful and kind. A search through the kingdom was soon underway. A list was drawn up of suitable candidates. Weeks later Princess Chipolata arrived at the palace. Her wicked smile soon had the king under her spell. It seemed that the Fish King had met his chips. He even kissed this fishy princess on the lips. Ghosts Henry and John wondered about the king’s catch. Was this fishy princess such a good match? Though King Fish and Chips seemed to go together. The two wise ghosts thought that they knew better.

 When some of the king’s crown jewels suddenly went missing, the two ghost friends immediately knew who was behind this outrage. The princess seemed to 5 be always sneaking about, she was soon their prime suspect, without a doubt. “Sire, sorry to say it’s that Princess Chipolata, who stole those jewels.” “Utter nonsense!” roared the king in a rage. Being a wise king, he knew of course it’s impossible to keep a ghost in a cage. Later, the two ghosts saw the princess taking some gold and thought that the king should be immediately told. The king growled, “why won’t you stop with these terrible lies!” The ghosts said, “we saw it ourselves, with our very own eyes!” The king shouted, “now the castle’s ghosts have turned into spies!” Raising his voice he added, “if you weren’t ghosts, you’d be running for your lives.”

 The king was now in a terrible mood. He wouldn’t smile nor eat his food. However, it seemed the fishy princess was nowhere to be seen. It was exactly as the two ghosts had feared. Eventually, she was caught with the crown jewels. The king realized he’d been taken for a fool. “I need to be careful when choosing a queen, not every princess is all that they seem.” The two friendly ghosts were back in his good books. The princess went to prison for her terrible crime. The palace changed back into its normal state and calm was restored.

Any last words before we wrap things up?

Tell your children to keep drawing and let their imaginations go wild. My son draws a lot, even at school, his teacher dumps his drawings in the bin. Everybody should express themselves by drawing.

The Fish King and the Two Wise Ghosts – Blossom Spring Publishing

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This entry was posted on May 12, 2023. 1 Comment

The Queen’s Scribe

Media Kit

Book Title: The Queen’s Scribe

Series: Sea and Stone Chronicles

Author: Amy Maroney

Publication Date: April 25, 2023

Publisher: Artelan Press

Page Length: 388

Genre: Historical fiction

Twitter Handle: @wilaroney @cathiedunn

Instagram Handle: @amymaroneywrites @thecoffeepotbookclub

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The Queen’s Scribe

Amy Maroney


A broken promise. A bitter conflict. And a woman’s elusive chance to love or die.

1458. Young Frenchwoman Estelle de Montavon sails to Cyprus imagining a bright future as tutor to a princess. Instead, she is betrayed by those she loves most—and forced into a dangerous new world of scheming courtiers, vicious power struggles, and the terrifying threat of war.

Determined to flee, Estelle enlists the help of an attractive and mysterious falconer. But on the eve of her escape, fortune’s wheel turns again. She gains entry to Queen Charlotta’s inner circle as a trusted scribe and interpreter, fighting her way to dizzying heights of influence.

Enemies old and new rise from the shadows as Estelle navigates a royal game of cat and mouse between the queen and her powerful half-brother, who wants the throne for himself.

When war comes to the island, Estelle faces a brutal reckoning for her loyalty to the queen. Will the impossible choice looming ahead be her doom—or her salvation?

With this richly-told story of courage, loyalty, and the sustaining power of love, Amy Maroney brings a mesmerizing and forgotten world to vivid life. The Queen’s Scribe is a stand-alone novel in the Sea and Stone Chronicles collection.

Praise for the Sea and Stone Chronicles:

Island of Gold is a nimbly told story with impeccable pacing.”

Historical Novel Society, Editor’s Choice Review

Sea of Shadows is stunning. A compelling tale of love, honor, and conviction.”

Reader’s Favorite Review

Amy Maroney is the author of the award-winning Miramonde Series, the story of a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern day scholar on her trail.

Author Thoughts:

The remarkable Queen Charlotta of Cyprus, a forgotten medieval heroine

Three years ago, I began researching a series of books (the Sea and Stone Chronicles) set in medieval Rhodes, Greece. My plan was to feature strong, talented women caught up in the extraordinary events of the era. I never intended to write about a queen, nor did I think for a moment I’d write anything about Cyprus.

But when I stumbled across the extraordinary story of Queen Charlotta of Cyprus, my plan changed in a heartbeat.

In 1458, Charlotta ascended the throne, already a widow at just 15. Her half-brother, Jacco, vowed he would seize her crown. He proceeded to gain the favor of the Sultan of Egypt, raise an army, and attack his sister’s kingdom.

As Jacco’s army swept over the island, Charlotta hustled her court to the seaside fortress of Kyrenia, where they survived a massive siege. Her second husband, Louis of Savoy, proved a weak and disinterested leader, more enthusiastic about chess and backgammon than strategizing for war. Convinced the only way to save her kingdom was to drum up support in the West, Charlotta left Louis behind in Cyprus and voyaged across the Mediterranean, entreating allies for help.

This courageous queen’s story just had to be told. So I resolved to bring her to life with a novel, The Queen’s Scribe.

Though her father, King Jean, was a Frenchman born into the Lusignan dynasty, Charlotta’s mother, Eleni Palaiologina, was a Greek woman with a forceful personality. She dominated her husband’s court and raised her daughter to be a thoroughly Greek girl.

The Lusignans had ruled the Kingdom of Cyprus for centuries and took great pride in their French heritage. But Queen Eleni brought in powerful Greek supporters and poured money into Greek Orthodox churches and monasteries all over the island. Tension began to build between Greek and French factions within the court and the churches, and violence followed.

When Charlotta was married to Prince João of Portugal as a young teen, she was suddenly required to use French (their common language). Yet, by all accounts, her French was terrible. Her need for trusted interpreters would only grew stronger when her husband was killed and she was married for the second time to a French-speaking nobleman. Things got even more dire when she was under siege and forced to seek assistance from Western allies such as the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller, the Pope, and the King of France. Everything hinged on Queen Charlotta’s ability to communicate in French.

I chose to tell Queen Charlotta’s tale through the eyes of fictional Estelle de Montavon, daughter of a French falconer. I first wrote a story starring her in an anthology a few years ago, and she plays a minor role in my novel Island of Gold.  In The Queen’s Scribe, Estelle, a talented scribe and skilled interpreter, offers unique value to the Lusignan court of Cyprus.

In the novel, Estelle’s language skills become as valuable as gold when the royal court retreats to Kyrenia Fortress and civil war breaks out between the queen and Jacco. As Queen Charlotta voyages across the Mediterranean Sea beseeching allies for help, Estelle is at her side, witnessing every triumph and disaster along the way.

Although Queen Charlotta only reigned for a short time, she displayed breathtaking ambition, courage, and tenacity. Her story has been lost in the mists of history for too long. I hope The Queen’s Scribe plays a role in bringing Charlotta of Lusignan’s extraordinary tale back to life.

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Author Bio:

Amy Maroney studied English Literature at Boston University and worked for many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon, U.S.A. with her family. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading.

Amy is the author of The Miramonde Series, an Amazon-bestselling historical mystery trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Amy’s award-winning historical adventure/romance series, Sea and Stone Chronicles, is set in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus.

An enthusiastic advocate for independent publishing, Amy is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and the Historical Novel Society.

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This entry was posted on May 12, 2023. 4 Comments

CORSAIR and the Sky Pirates

Please make welcome Mark Piggott to my blog. Hello Mark! Shall we sit and chat for a spell?  

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

Originally from Phillipsburg, NJ, I am a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Navy. I spent my career as a Navy Journalist, retiring from active duty in 2006 as a Chief Petty Officer. I began my second career as a government employee, working for the Department of the Navy as the editor of The Flagship Newspaper (military newspaper for Hampton Roads, VA) and public affairs officer at the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, Yorktown, VA. I currently work as a writer-editor for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. My first novel, Forever Avalon was published in 2009 by James A Rock Publishing, but after they went out of business, I had to self-publish it at Amazon. That was followed by the next two books in the series, The Dark Tides and The Outlander War. I then released a new steampunk fantasy book, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, via Lulu. In 2021, I signed with Curious Corvid Publishing. My fantasy novella, The River of Souls, was published in 2022 and my steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, was published in 2023. I live in Alexandria, VA, with my wife, Georgiene. We have three children.

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 originally wanted to be a comic book writer and artist, but I could never develop my artistic talent well enough so I became a writer. I started writing my own stories during my Naval career. On my last deployment aboard USS Enterprise, I began working on my first book, Forever Avalon. You see, whenever I deployed at sea, I always had a recurring dream about being with my family on an island of fantasy and magic. It probably came from my years of playing Dungeons and Dragons. I finally decided to put that dream into words and began writing my novel. When I finished writing it, I stopped having the dream.

3. How difficult was it writing your first book?

I had no trouble telling my story, only with the basic mechanics of storytelling, i.e. writing in past tense over present tense, overuse and repetition of words (“just” is one of my favorites), proper placement of quotes, etc. Once I got the mechanics down, it’s simply a matter of telling my story. I think I’ve rewritten Forever Avalon multiple times, uploading new versions to Amazon. At one point, I even got a two page list of grammar edits from my mother when I sent her a copy of my book. That was quite humbling.

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

Not so much writing but the expense of being an independent author. I’ve spent more than I’ve made as an author and it makes me question why I do this. But, I love writing and telling my stories to people. Those who enjoy my books keep me going. When a teenager comes back to me months later to buy more of my books because he loved the story and inspires to be a writer himself—that keeps me going.

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

I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the love and support of my wife, Georgiene. She is my rock, my love, my reason for doing this. She has given up so much to support me whenever I travel to events, go to book signings, even editing my manuscripts. She is my everything and I thank God that he brought her into my life. I could not do this without her.

6. Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

My stories are based on fantasy, but the characters are real as they delve into the problems they face. My characters live, breath, eat, sleep, laugh, and love through the stories I write. I hope you will come with me to experience their adventures.

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

The best advice I ever received is actually from a movie. It was something I said at my U.S. Navy retirement ceremony. It’s from Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” where Clarence the angel wrote, “No man is a failure who has friends.” My success in life is not based on wealth or books sold, it’s based on the people you meet along the way.

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

When I wrote my first books, my own children were still teenagers. I wrote it so they could read it. Now that they’re older, my writing has become more mature, but at the same time, I have grand-nieces who are becoming avid readers. So, I’m shifting some of my writing back to their level. I’m actually working on my first YA fantasy story revolving around teenagers growing up in a town where human and Fae live together. At the same time, with my steampunk historical fiction Corsair and the Sky Pirates, I focus on the historical figures of that era to help teach young and old about people we never learned about in school. For example, I never heard of Bessie Coleman, an African-American woman who flew an airplane before Amelia Earhart. Her story is one of the forgotten aspects of history.

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

For all of my covers, I had some input with the artist to create my vision to draw the reader in. For Corsair and the Sky Pirates, I wanted to show an airship in all its steampunk glory. For The River of Souls, I wanted to see the eternal river traveling across eternity. I provide the vision, but the artist brings it to life.

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

I editing through three finished manuscripts, one is with a beta reader, one with my wife (who always edits my work) and I working through her edits on the third. These include the final chapter of the Forever Avalon series entitled Arcadia Dawn, a new book about religious bigotry told through a fantasy story called A Dance with Darklings and Demons, and finally the YA Fantasy called Pendragon’s Puzzle. I’ve included an excerpt of that story. I am also working on the next installment of Corsair and the third book in my Last Magus series (book two, Dragonfire and Steel comes out in December from Curious Corvid Publishing).

11. Any last words before we wrap things up?

I just want to thank you for this opportunity as simply ask anyone who loves fantasy, adventure, and a little steampunk to take a look at my books. I know you’ll enjoy them.

Amazon Author Page

Of All That I Could Be! #kidlit

Book Link

From Amazon:

Every child, at one time or another, has imagined being this creature or that. Of All That I Could Be! enables a child to pretend what life might be like as something else’s. But, in the end, the message is clear, there is nothing more worthwhile than being ME

My Review:

This book is delightful! The power of a child’s mind will expand each new wish taught about more animals, flora and fauna, and children can learn and have safe and fun adventures. The illustrations fit in nicely. If you use a reading application on your phone, then this is not a book for you due to small text size. On a tablet or pc would best show not only the words, but the artwork would pop out. I did try to zoom in, and my application allows that but the text was hidden if a zoomed in. I highly recommend this book for children and for those who care for children.

Someone in the Water #romance #paranormal

Book Link

From Amazon:

Spring Lewis knows death. As a nurse in the ICU, she has experienced more than her fair share of it. The difference is, she is acutely aware not everyone who dies stays in the afterlife.

Vince Roundtree is tired. Tired of living life alone and where his health takes a back seat to his career as a music professor. His nightly walks along the river help clear his head and strengthen his body, but he never expects to find his heart there too.

Spring and Vince find themselves walking a path of forgiveness, understanding, and acceptance, but their rose-colored glasses blind them to the dangerous shadow lurking in the darkness. When Spring breaks her silence about the people in the water, the reaper comes calling, and it will be up to Vince to save her from certain death before time runs out.

My Review:

Mettner is my favorite contemporary writer of happily-ever-afters. Let’s back up a bit. Our female MC is an ICU nurse, and she meets a guy she end up falling I love with. Through trials and tribulations, and a lot of in depth work on oneself must be dealth with. I’m not writing about the couple and I won’t give anything away. I will say that one nurse is a medium, she sees dead people in their dead states and normal state. Let’s add in an addition of a murderous person killing teenagers every year except for a span of two years. The MO is the same, but no one can obtain evidence to prove that the healthy teenagers killed were actual murders. Accidental drowning? Maybe. Three in one night? It is highly unlikely that three strong kayakers flipped in to the water and each one hitting their head on a rock and dying. The perp is one sick person. Five star read!

This entry was posted on May 9, 2023. 2 Comments

Muskets and Masquerades

Book Title: Muskets and Masquerades

Series: Muskets Trilogy

Author: Lindsey S. Fera

Publication Date: 18th April 2023

Publisher: Pompkin Press

Page Length: 500

Genre: Historical Fiction / Historical Romance

Twitter Handle: @AuthorLinzFera @cathiedunn

Instagram Handle: @bostonduchess @thecoffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

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Muskets and Masquerades

Lindsey S. Fera


Jack and Annalisa are married only five months when, enroute to France, a shipwreck separates them. On different shores, each believes the other dead. But when Annalisa learns Jack is alive, she returns to America and discovers much has changed. After a betrayal, she flees town as her alter ego, Benjamin Cavendish, and joins the Continental Army.

Unbeknownst to Annalisa, Jack has also joined the Continentals, harboring shameful secrets from his days in mourning. Against the backdrop of war with Britain, façades mount between Jack and Annalisa, and the merry minuet of their adolescence dissolves into a masquerade of deceit, one which threatens to part them forever.

Muskets and Masquerades


Annalisa wiped the sweat and grime from her face and, clutching her musket, hurried after George and Quinnapin. Her brother sought General Benedict Arnold, who rode wildly up and down the lines atop his brown gelding. Annalisa thought the general might fall from his horse with the force of his vigor.

“Rally, men, rally! To Breymann’s Redoubt!” General Arnold galloped into the fray toward British and Hessian lines.

Annalisa regarded George and Quinnapin. They’d all been fighting most of the afternoon, and the British had retreated back to Freeman’s Farm, all their advancements from the first battle gone. Breymann’s Redoubt, to the British far right, appeared weaker than Balcarre’s Redoubt, heavily defended by both British and Hessians forces, and situated mid-field.

“He’s daft,” George said, “but if we can overtake that fortification, we’ll be behind British lines. This will be a decisive victory, Little One.”

With lips pursed, Annalisa nodded. Her musket loaded and bayonet affixed, she sprinted into the fray with Quinnapin; George fell behind.

“By my side, Cav,” George shouted over the deafening boom of cannon and musket-fire. He wielded his firelock on a charging Hessian, but the soldier sliced Annalisa’s right arm.

“Fie!” She hollered.

Her brother discharged his fowler on the assailant, and with a sputter, the German fell. George turned to her. “Quick, your neckpiece.”

Blood spilled from the gash as she untied the linen cravat from her neck, and with George’s help, wound it tightly about her arm.

“I’ll be fine,” Annalisa said, though it burned.

She loaded her musket then fired, striking a Redcoat in the chest, then thrust her bayonet into an oncoming Hessian. Beside her, George reloaded his fowler with expert quickness, firing three volleys a minute at the onslaught.

“Quinn!” Annalisa fired her Brown Bess on advancing British. Quinnapin swung his tomahawk into their opponent, an echo of their coordinated efforts at Freeman’s Farm.

The battlefield ebbed with smoky, sulfuric discharge of gunpowder, the scent mingling with coppery blood. Such sights and smells often returned Annalisa to Bunker Hill, but she peered ahead. At the foreground of their ambuscade, General Arnold rode recklessly about the field. If only we had someone like him at Bunker Hill. Then we may have proved victorious that day.

Cloistered amidst her charging militia, Annalisa lost sight of General Arnold, and fired upon a Hessian foolish enough to advance, despite his retreating army. The soldier toppled to his knees and landed upon his face. He gurgled and gasped into the earth. Pitying him, Annalisa bayonetted him, and his gurgle ceased. Would that this unknown German have done similarly for me had I fallen. With a shiver, she cradled her wounded arm, stepped over his body, and hastened after George.

Quinnapin, who just maimed a Lobsterback, cleared his blade on the soldier’s red coat. Beside him, George nodded to her arm, now soaked with blood.

“Would that I’d killed that Hessian before he got to you,” he said.

“Worry not, ’tis but a scratch,” she replied, recalling his gruesome injury from Lexington and Concord, of which he’d said the same. Her right bicep throbbed viciously beneath the tied cravat, but she was confident she could treat it once they returned to camp.

“They retreat!” a militiaman shouted above the roar of explosive gunpowder.

As the sun made a lazy departure toward the horizon, the Redcoats and Hessians hurried from the field, leaving behind the dead and wounded. Freeman’s Farm, empty of Burgoyne’s army, left the Continentals and militia behind Breymann’s Redoubt. Her body beginning to ache, Annalisa wound her good arm about George and together, they hobbled through the body-littered field. This must be how Oliver was presumed dead.

Quinnapin sidled up beside them. “That looks to be a nasty wound, Cav. Have you enough within your supplies to remedy it?”

“I do.” With nothing to distract her, the searing burn of the gash amplified, but she withheld a grimace. The cut is deep, but not long.

“Cav!” A familiar voice rang through the evening smog, and William, encrusted in blood and dirt, bounded toward them with Bartlett at his heels.

“What is it, Wilhelmina?” George asked.

“’Tis General Arnold,” he replied, his face pink beneath a layer of grime. “He’s been badly wounded.”

Annalisa stared at Quinnapin, whose healing capability far eclipsed her own.

“How bad is his injury?” Quinnapin asked, catching her glance.

“We know not, only that he was shot in the leg, and had fallen from his horse,” Bartlett answered for William.

“Where’s Jack?” George asked.

“I know not,” William replied. “I’ve not seen him since this morning.”

Bile rose into Annalisa’s throat. What if he’s wounded, or dead? I must search this field for him…

“Josiah and Isaac are with Captain Fleming and the rest of the Massachusetts regiment burning British tents,” William added. “Arnold is with the Connecticut regiment. You must go, quickly.”

Annalisa hesitantly followed Quinnapin as he weaved through the confusion of men and tents.

“He has surgeons and doctors enough, I’m sure,” Annalisa said. “How could they know to ask for us?”

“We’ve a reputation, Cav,” Quinnapin replied, looking back. “We healed many after Freeman’s Farm.”

The sky quickly darkened, as autumn is wont to do, but the mask of night hardly obscured the vestige of battle. Campfires and lanterns lit the smoky landscape in eerie glow, and Annalisa choked on the sulfur still clogging the air. She quivered, unsure if it was her untreated wound, or the otherworldly nature surrounding her.

I’d rather be any place but here, tonight. And we must find Jack…

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Author Bio:

LINDSEY S. FERA is a born and bred New Englander, hailing from the North Shore of Boston. As a member of the Topsfield Historical Society and the Historical Novel Society, she forged her love for writing with her intrigue for colonial America by writing her debut novel, Muskets & Minuets, a planned trilogy.

When she’s not attending historical reenactments or spouting off facts about Boston, she’s nursing patients back to health. Muskets & Masquerades is her sophomore novel.

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This entry was posted on May 4, 2023. 2 Comments

Pagan Warrior

Media Kit

Book Title: Pagan Warrior

Series: The Seventh Century

Author: MJ Porter

Publication Date: 25th May 2015 (new cover from January 2022)

Publisher: MJ Publishing

Page Length: 294

Genre: Historical fiction/Action and adventure

Twitter Handle: @coloursofunison @cathiedunn

Instagram Handle: @m_j_porterauthor @thecoffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #PaganWarrior #TalesOfMercia #TheSeventhCentury #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

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Pagan Warrior

MJ Porter

Audiobook narrated by Matt Coles


From bestselling author, MJ Porter comes the tale of the mighty pagan king, Penda of Mercia.

Britain. AD632.

Penda, a warrior of immense renown, has much to prove if he is to rule the Mercian kingdom of his dead father and prevent the neighbouring king of Northumbria from claiming it.

Unexpectedly allying with the British kings, Penda races to battle the alliance of the Northumbrian king, unsure if his brother stands with him or against him as they seek battle glory for themselves, and the right to rule gained through bloody conquest.

There will be a victor and a bloody loser, and a king will rise from the ashes of the great and terrible battle of Hædfeld.

Guest Post:

Who was Edwin, king of Northumbria (616-632/3)

Pagan Warrior is the fictionalised telling of a famous battle between two main forces, that organised by Cadwallon of Gwynedd and including Penda of Mercia, and that of Edwin, the king of Northumbria. But who was King Edwin of Northumbria?

Edwin is an intriguing historical character. He was born into the royal line of Deira, but his kingship was curtailed by King Æthelfrith of Bernicia, who married his sister, Acha, and seems to have claimed both Bernicia, of which he was king, and Deira as his to rule, in what became known as a united Northumbria (those north of the River Humber).

Edwin seems to have spent these years in exile, perhaps chased from kingdom to kingdom by Æthelfrith, as he is recorded in Gwynedd, possibly, and then allying with Mercia and then the East Angles. He married the daughter of a king of Mercia, Ceonburh, with whom he had two sons, Osfrith and Eadfrith, and forged an alliance with one of Saxon England’s most powerful kings, Rædwald of the East Angles, who may, or may not, be the man buried at the famous Saxon site of Sutton Hoo. Edwin famously endured a number of attempts on his life.

After Æthelfrith’s death, at the battle of the River Idle, Edwin took control of Deira and Bernicia and indeed, in turn, drove his sister and her many children into exile with the Picts and men and women of Dal Riata, both in modern-day Scotland, where it’s said some found sanctuary on the holy island of Iona.

Once king he began the process of converting the Northumbrian Saxons to Christianity as part of his marriage union with a Kentish princess. This ‘new’ Christianity was introduced from the south via Kent, and Bishop Paulinus was dispatched with King Edwin’s new wife. Æthelburg, to convert the ‘pagan’ Northumbrians.

But, at the battle of Hædfeld, fought between Edwin and Cadwallon of Gwynedd, the two men, believed to have been foster brothers, faced off against one another, and in doing so, brought many of the kingdoms then found in Britain into the fight. One would be the victor, and one the defeated, and if they were truly foster brothers, this was a family argument that created one of the most famous battles of the seventh century.

Image of Edwin: DaveWebster14, CC BY 2.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons

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Author Bio:

MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh to 
Eleventh-Century England, as well as three twentieth-century mysteries. Being raised in the shadow of a building that was believed to house the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia, meant that the author’s writing destiny was set.

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This entry was posted on May 2, 2023. 3 Comments

The Scots of Dalriada

Book Title: The Scots of Dalriada

Author: Rowena Kinreead

Publication Date: January 26th, 2023

Publisher: Vanguard Press

Pages: 287

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handles: @RowenaKinread @cathiedunn

Instagram Handles: @rowenakinread @thecoffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #ScottishHistoricalFiction #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

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Book Title and Author Name:

The Scots of Dalriada

By Rowena Kinread


Fergus, Loarn and Angus, Princes of the Dalriada, are forced into exile by their scheming half-brother and the druidess Birga One-tooth.

Fergus conceals himself as a stable lad on Aran and falls helplessly in love with a Scottish princess, already promised to someone else. Loarn crosses swords against the Picts. Angus designs longboats.

Always on the run the brothers must attempt to outride their adversaries by gaining power themselves. Together they achieve more than they could possibly dream of.
Fergus Mór (The Great) is widely recognised as the first King of Scotland, giving Scotland its name and its language. Rulers of Scotland and England from Kenneth mac Alpín until the present time claim descent from Fergus Mór.

Full of unexpected twists and turns, this is a tale of heart-breaking love amidst treachery, deceit and murder.

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May 1st
When Angels Fly

Guest Post

What illnesses did the people in 5th century Ireland have and how did they try to heal them?

In the 5th century AD, Ireland was a society with a rich oral tradition, and much of the knowledge of illnesses and cures was passed down through the generations by word of mouth. Many of the cures used in Ireland at that time were based on traditional herbal remedies and other natural treatments. In this post, I will write about some of the illnesses that were prevalent in Ireland in the 5th century AD and the cures that were used to treat them.


One of the most common illnesses in Ireland in the 5th century AD was tuberculosis. This disease was often fatal and was spread through contact with infected individuals. Other common illnesses included pneumonia, dysentery, and various types of skin infections. In addition, the Irish also suffered from dental problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease.


The Irish in the 5th century AD had a deep knowledge of the medicinal properties of plants and other natural remedies. Especially the druids were knowledgeable about illnesses and cures. Although the knowledge was not exclusively known to the druids, they were the main healers on the island before the arrival of Christian monks. The monks could read Greek as well as Latin, and drew on the vast amounts of learning, in written accounts from the more civilised nations. One of the druids’ most commonly used cures for illnesses was herbal remedies. Herbs such as sage, chamomile, and thyme were used to treat a wide range of illnesses, including tuberculosis, pneumonia, and dysentery.

In addition to herbal remedies, the Irish also used other natural treatments to cure illnesses. For example, they believed in the healing power of water, and they used hot springs and other natural sources of water to treat various ailments. They also believed in the power of certain foods, such as honey and garlic, to cure illnesses.

The Irish also used a range of other treatments to cure illnesses. These included bloodletting, which involved removing a small amount of blood from the patient’s body, based on an ancient system of medicine in which blood and other bodily fluids were regarded as “humours” that had to remain in proper balance to maintain health. It is claimed to have been the most common medical practice performed by surgeons from antiquity until the late 19th century, a span of over two thousand years. In Europe, the practice continued to be relatively common until the end of the 19th century. Cupping was another popular treatment, which involved creating a vacuum on the patient’s skin to draw out impurities.

In addition to these natural remedies, the Irish also relied on the power of prayer and spiritual healing. The Irish believed that illnesses were often caused by spiritual imbalances, and they used prayer and other spiritual practices to restore balance and promote healing.

In conclusion, the Irish in the 5th century AD had a deep knowledge of the medicinal properties of plants and other natural remedies. They used a range of herbal remedies, natural treatments, and spiritual practices to cure illnesses. Many of these cures were based on traditional knowledge and were passed down through the generations by word of mouth. Despite the lack of modern medical knowledge, the Irish in the 5th century AD were able to treat a wide range of illnesses using these natural remedies and other treatments.

Author Bio:

Rowena Kinread grew up in Ripon, Yorkshire with her large family and a horde of pets. Keen on travelling, her first job was with Lufthansa in Germany.

She began writing in the nineties. Her special area of interest is history. After researching her ancestry and finding family roots in Ireland with the Dalriada clan, particularly this era.

Her debut fiction novel titled “The Missionary” is a historical novel about the dramatic life of St. Patrick. It was published by Pegasus Publishers on Apr.29th, 2021 and has been highly appraised by The Scotsman, The Yorkshire Post and the Irish Times.

Her second novel “The Scots of Dalriada” centres around Fergus Mór, the founder father of Scotland and takes place in 5th century Ireland and Scotland. It is due to be published by Pegasus Publishers on Jan.26th, 2023.

The author lives with her husband in Bodman-Ludwigshafen, Lake Constance, Germany. They have three children and six grandchildren.

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The Vampire Society: Christopher and Gaspar, Book Two

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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!