[Women’s Fiction/Mystery]


The Secrets She Carried

MBA&M: Good morning, Barbara! Please tell our readers a little about yourself?

Good morning, and thanks so much for giving me a chance to talk about The Secrets She Carried. It really has been the most amazing and rewarding journey that I almost have to pinch myself. Fourteen years ago, my fiancé, Tom, and I moved to North Carolina. At the time I was a V.P. with a national jewelry chain, but about four years ago I was laid off from my job. At the time, it felt like the end of the world, particularly since it was the second time in five years. Then I realized I hadn’t been paying attention to the messages the Universe was sending me. Finally, with tons of encouragement from my fiancé, I saw that it was time to pursue my lifelong dream. I’d been simmering on the idea for SECRETS for several years, and suddenly I had no excuse not to follow it through. It took a good six months to find my voice again, after so many years in the corporate world, but I finally did, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve been so very blessed. I found the love of my life, and am living the life of my dreams. Like I said… pinch me.      

 MBA&M: What was your inspiration behind writing “The Secrets She Carried”?

One day I was waiting in the car for Tom when I noticed a single gravestone on the side of the road. Now, in North Carolina, this isn’t really unusual. They’re everywhere, along the sides of the road, in the middle of cornfields, even in a mall parking lot in Greenville, because back in the day that’s what people did. Loved ones were buried on family farms. But now those farms are gone, roads have been built—the landscape has changed, and yet these graves, these lost loved-ones, remain. And as I sat there I found myself wondering who was buried in that particular grave, and how long they’d been there. It all felt very sad to me, very lonely. I wondered if there were family members looking for that person, and what story that departed loved one might have to tell so many years later. And just like that Adele Laveau was born. In what felt like minutes, her story came to life in my head and refused to go away.

MBA&M: What made you decide to write a story about a Southern Plantation and its secrets?

Peak Plantation, the setting for Secrets, evolved fairly naturally from Adele’s story. Living in Carolina, where tobacco was once such a huge part of the heritage and history of the state, it was hard to imagine that tobacco in some form wouldn’t be part of Adele’s story. I also liked the fish-out-of-water contrast a plantation setting would offer to Adele’s more humble beginnings. Plus, I’d be lying if I said Gone With the Wind wasn’t one of my favorite books of all time, so there’s that “romantic south” image that’s always been with me. 

MBA&M: What were some of the challenges you found while writing “The Secrets She Carried”?

I think finding and maintaining Adele’s voice was one of the largest challenges, but I also have to say it was also one of my favorites. When I started the novel, Adele Laveau played a much smaller role in the writing. She was more a memory around which the story revolved than an active participant in the story. Gradually, though, that changed, as she began to come to life refused to be quiet. Eventually, my editor encouraged me to expand her role and make her more the focal point of the story. This required some pretty major re-writes, which, as a new writer, I found pretty terrifying. You worry that if you start plucking at the treads of your story it will all unravel and you’ll never be able to put it back together again. Luckily, in this case I did put it back together, and the book is much stronger for those rewrites.  

MBA&M: Inquiring minds want to know, or me anyway: Is the Peak Plantation real or fiction? If real, where did you find the research to begin your project?
Some of my ancestors come from Georgia, they owned a Plantation there, can’t remember the name of it, sad really, but do remember how it looked. I was only a child where they tore it down for farmland. So this is a fascinating and intriguing story to me….

Peak Plantation, as well as the town of Gavin, is purely fictional, although I think all writers tend to create composites of a lot of the places they’ve seen and researched over the years. Over time, those places wind up blending together into a kind of ideal and have a way of finding their way onto the page. Peak is that for me, a place I’d love to visit, timeless and grand and romantic; the kind of place you can’t imagine not standing forever. It’s my own version of Tara, I suppose.

MBA&M: Which character in “The Secrets She Carried” was the most difficult or most challenging to write and why?

Aside from Adele, I think Jimmy Nichols, Leslie’s hard-drinking, con-man of a father, presented the largest challenge, because at the start of the book he needed to be intimidating enough to present a credible threat, but also needed to be redeemable by the end. So, there’s a line you have to walk there, one you can’t cross if you hope to salvage him later on. You have to keep that in mind as you write, and find ways to leave that door open. Funny story: at one time early in the writing, I was considering killing him off, but wasn’t sure how to do it. Tom and I were sitting at a bar one day, discussing my options… gun shot, stabbing, pushed off a cliff… and we noticed the bartenders whispering and giving us the eye. I had to explain that I wasn’t plotting a real murder, just one on paper. To this day, I’m not sure they believed me.  

MBA&M: Which scene was the most difficult to write and why?

Well, I don’t want to give anything away here, but I’d have to say the scene with Adele in the woodshed was by far the toughest to write for me. There are things that happen in life, terrible things that are hard to stomach, but when they happen to someone you care about, and you’re the one actually making those things happen, you can find yourself getting emotional, and even second guessing yourself.   

MBA&M: What you do your for enjoyment in your daily activity?

Would you believe, write? I really do love what I do, and I spend the vast majority of everyday on my laptop, making stuff up for a living. But when I’m not writing, I love to read, cook, travel, and am an avid college football fan. I also run a Facebook Page called The Sunshine Page, which is near and dear to my heart. The page has a about 35,000 followers and embraces a positive living philosophy of love and gratitude, which is something I feel very strongly about. 

MBA&M: We live in Eastern North Carolina, I see you live in North Carolina also, so do you enjoy the Mountains or the Beach?

Seriously, you’re going to make me pick? Wow, that’s really hard. North Carolina has so much to offer that I can’t truly say one way or the other. What I will admit is that we tend to get to the beach side of the state more often than the mountains, simply because it’s a little closer. Tom and I have no qualms about deciding at four o’clock in the afternoon that we’d like to have dinner at the beach, and off we go. Two hours later, we’re sharing a glass of wine and looking out over the Atlantic from our favorite Wrightsville Beach restaurant. In the fall and winter, though, I absolutely want the mountains. Luckily, in Carolina, you have the best of both worlds.     

MBA&M: Please tell our readers where to find you and where they may purchase “The Secrets She Carried”?

My Facebook author page is:

My author website is:

The Secrets She Carried is available where ever books are sold, including:

Thank you so much for taking time to spend with us and our readers today! As I have read “The Secrets She Carried” I would highly recommend this amazing story!




*from the publisher*

THE SECRETS SHE CARRIED (NAL Accent Trade Paperback Original; October 1, 2013; 978-0-451-41877-7; $15.00), a stunning story about a woman journey of discovery into her family‘s journey of discovery into her family’s long-buried past.

For Leslie Nichols, Peak Plantation doesn’t have a happy place in her memory.  She is plagued by the death of her mother, her father’s disgrace, and an unhappy childhood.  When Leslie’s grandmother Maggie dies, Leslie isn’t the only one who was left with the property.  Jay Davenport also has claim to Peak Plantation as the caretaker. 
Before Maggie died, she told Jay about a terrible secret that haunted him about a mysterious lady named Adele who came to the plantation in the 1930’s and died there.  When Leslie finds a cryptically marked grave on the property, both she and Jay are about to discover shocking secrets that have the power to change Leslie’s life forever.
Buy Links: 
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(Sponsored by the publisher)
Thanks to Kayleigh, we are offering 1 lucky commenter a print copy of “The Secrets She Carried”. Sorry, open to U.S. residents only! Giveaway will run from December 5 until December 12, 2013.
Thank you everyone for stopping by today and spending a few moments with our guest, Literary Debut author, Barbara Davis.
If you feel so inclined, please help us spread the word on this talented new author!
We at MBA&M wish each and everyone a safe and happy Holiday Season!






Genre: Historical Fiction(Rome 1492)

Series: A novel of The Borgias #1

Source: Received for an honest review from the publisher

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425259463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425259467

*Author’s website*

Rome, 1492. The Holy City is drenched with blood and riddled with secrets. A pope lies dying and the throne of God is left vacant, a prize awarded only to the most virtuous – or the most ruthless. The Borgia family begins its legendary rise, chronicled by an innocent girl who finds herself drawn into their dangerous web . . .

Vivacious Giulia Farnese has floor-length golden hair and the world at her feet: beauty, wealth, and a handsome young husband. But she is stunned to discover that her marriage is a sham, and she is to be given as concubine to the ruthless, charismatic Cardinal Borgia: Spaniard, sensualist, candidate for Pope – and passionately in love with her.

Two trusted companions will follow Giulia into the world of the Borgias: Leonello, a cynical bodyguard bent on bloody revenge against a mysterious killer, and Carmelina, a fiery cook with a gift for delicious food and a past full of secrets. But as corruption thickens in the Vatican and the enemies begin to circle, Giulia and her friends will need all their wits to survive in the world of the Borgias.







Kate Quinn is a native of Southern California . She attended Boston University, where she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in classical voice. A lifelong history buff, she’s written three previous novels set in ancient Rome — Mistress of Rome, Daughters of Rome, and Empress of the Seven Hills — all of which have been translated into multiple languages. Kate lives in Maryland with her husband.


THE SERPENT AND THE PEARL by Kate Quinn is an intriguing Historical Fiction set in 1492 Rome. #1 in “A Novel of The Borgias”,what a beginning! Fast paced and filled with deceit,betrayal,passion,secrets,revenge,enemies,mystery,corruption and friendship. Follow Giulia Farnese,Cardinal Borgia,Leonello,Carmelina and a cast of characters that are as wicked as they may be good. Cardinal Borgia is beyond wicked,he is a Spaniard bent on having his way at all cost. Giulia is forced to be his concubine by her doting husband or his he a spineless jerk…..Oh well, let’s move on,my thoughts. We have all heard of The Borgias,or some of us anyway. “The Serpent and The Pearl” virtually comes to life on these pages…you can almost feel Giulia’s pain. A riveting tale with engaging,and charismatic characters. A dangerous web of deceit,and the legendary rise of the Borgias in ancient Rome,as told through the eyes of a young girl,Giulia. A very complex,compelling tale of lust,betrayal and let’s not for. If you enjoy historical fiction,early Rome, and a great read than I would suggest you pick up “The Serpent and The Pearl” for your reading pleasure. A great read from beginning to end. I can hardly wait to read the rest of the story……Received for an honest review from the publisher.



REVIEWED BY: AprilR,  Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More




*Images from the publishers website*

Sharon  LathanSharon Lathan

Sharon Lathan is the author of the bestselling Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, and Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley. In addition to her writing, she works as a Registered Nurse in a Neonatal ICU. She resides with her family in Hanford, California.

For more information on this author and her published works,please visit:




George Darcy is the second son of a wealthy landowner in Georgian Era England and, at 22, is considered to be a brilliant, rising star in England’s field of medicine. Dr. Darcy refuses the easy, comfortable pathway and enlists as a physician with the British East India Company, embarking on a personal quest where he strives to change the face of medicine while yearning to fill the void left within his soul. His search for family, enduring love, and lost companionship is a quest not wholly realized until his return to England and Pemberley. There’s a new generation of family and friends that will heal the physician, and to his greatest surprise, the true love of his life awaits.

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402273495
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402273490



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(Sponsored by the publisher)

*Prize mailed directly to the winner*

Thanks to, Rebecca, at Sourcebooks, we are offering 1 lucky commenter a print copy of “The Passions of Dr. Darcy” as a giveaway. Open to U.S. residents only! No P.O. Boxes,please. Giveaway will run from April 23 until April 30,2013.

*Tell us why you enjoy reading Jane Austen Sequels,inquiring minds what to you,or me anyway*









shadows and strongholds

Many thanks for inviting me to be interviewed on your blog.

Thank you for spending with us and our readers today!

MBA&M: Please tell our readers who may not know you a little about yourself?

EC: I was born in an industrial mill town in the North of England where my family had lived for generations.  My father moved us with his job to Scotland, where I spent most of my childhood, and then we came south back to England and Nottingham.  I still live near Nottingham in a 200 year old beamed cottage on the outskirts of a small village.
I had always told myself stories right from being a little girl, but I didn’t begin writing them down until I was 15.  I fell in love with a tall, dark, handsome knight on a TV programme and that was it.  Through him I became hooked on the Middle Ages.  The more I researched, the more I became interested in telling stories set in that historical period.  I knew from being a teenager that I wanted to write historical fiction for a living, and that’s exactly what I set out to achieve.  In the meantime, while learning my craft and waiting for the call, I worked in supermarkets filling shelves to earn money, and eventually after serving an apprenticeship of more than a decade, I got the call, and had my novel The Wild Hunt accepted by a leading London literary agent and a major UK publishing house. I gave up my job stacking cans on shelves and became a full time author.

MBA&M: What do you feel the allure of historical fiction, Knights and England is to readers?

EC: There are many reasons; one size doesn’t fit all. I think there’s the whole chivalry thing and the ‘knight in shining armour’ sweeping a girl off her feet. I think it’s the romance of that time.  For many readers they might feel that it is part of their cultural roots too.  For others it’s that very potent feeling encapsulated by fairy tales and romances. Just imagine Carey Elwas saying ‘As you wish’ at the opening of the Princess Bride.  That’s the feeling. There is the nostalgia for a simpler time when an honourable man could swash-buckle his way out of danger, the bad guys get their come uppance and the lady be swept into the arms of a strong man who would keep her safe.
I think on the more serious side there is also a strong curiosity about the period.  People are genuinely interested in knowing more about it, told through the medium of a good story.  I try to stay as true to the life and times as I can.  With me a reader won’t get the Disney version; they will get the reality, but even so there is adventure, romance, and plenty to cheer about.  I write about real people and their dilemmas and conflicts. 

MBA&M: What is your biggest challenge in writing historical fiction?

EC: I guess it’s being a bridge between the mindset and expectations of readers now and the mindset and expectations of the people I write about.  For example, marriages where the aristocracy were concerned were often arranged and might involve girls as young as 12 and boys of 14.  This seems distasteful to us now, but back then it was a cultural norm. The bride or groom was viewed as being capable of making adult decisions and entering the adult world at that stage.  It’s sometimes a challenge to walk the line of being true to the period and keeping modern readers on board. 


shadows and strongholdsMBA&M: In “Shadows and Strongholds” Brunin  Fitzawarin is a young man finding his way, what was the inspiration behind writing this story?

I had already written about what happened to Brunin’s son, Fulke, in another novel which Sourcebooks will be publishing in the autumn and titled THE OUTLAW KNIGHT. I became very interested while writing that (originally for the UK) in the story of Fulke’s parents.  The tale of the FitzWarin family adventures was written down in a 13th century chronicle called Fouke Fitzwaryn, which can be described as a true family history with embellishments. I was intrigued by a passage that spoke about Hawise (heroine of the novel) accusing Brunin of cowardice because her father was being battered to a pulp in battle outside the castle walls and Brunin had not gone out to do anything about it (he was 18 at the time). Goaded by her taunts, Brunin grabbed a rusty axe, mounted an old nag and galloped out to single-handedly save the day.  I thought this was a fantastic incident and begin thinking about how I could craft a story round it based on the known facts and my own imagination. Hawise was obviously a strong and confident young lady.  With Brunin there was plainly more than met the eye. What were the conflicts? What had happened before this incident? What happened after when Brunin and Hawise met up again?  SHADOWS AND STRONGHOLDS was the result of those pondering and much more.

MBA&M: Who was you favorite secondary character to write about and why?We talk of heroes and heroines,but forget the secondary characters who carry the story alone.

EC: That’s a difficult one; I have at least three for the role.  I think Hawise’s father Joscelin, and his wife Sybilla would be favourites in terms of I would love to go back and meet them and talk to them.  But probably the most important person in terms of carrying the story along  even though she is a difficult personality, is Marion de la Brewere. She is an orphaned heiress who is brought up as a companion to Hawise and her sister. Marion is pretty and dainty with exquisite manners and a head filled with chivalric ideals.  But life isn’t always like that and as she and Hawise grow up, companionship becomes rivalry and problems arise, not  least when Marion casts her eyes over Brunin.

MBA&M: What is next for you, if you can tell us this?

EC: Most certainly!  Sourcebooks will be publishing the sequel to SHADOWS AND STRONGHOLDS, titled THE OUTLAW KNIGHT in the Autumn.  Meanwhile in the UK in June, the first novel of my Alienor of Aquitaine trilogy will be coming out – THE SUMMER QUEEN. I expect it will be coming to the USA at some point in the near future, so check the website for forthcoming details.  I’m currently writing book 2 of the trilogy THE WINTER CROWN.


MBA&M: Please tell our readers how to connect to you and where to find “Shadows and Strongholds”?

EC: Readers can drop by my website at  There is plenty of extra information there about my books and the history of the period, and also ways of contacting me including Facebook and Twitter.



shadows and strongholdsSHADOWS AND STRONGHOLDS


  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Reprint edition (March 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402274599
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402274596

Synopsis(From the author’s website)

A Mediaeval tale of pride and strife, of coming of age in a world where chivalry is a luxury seldom afforded, especially by men of power. An awkward misfit, loathed by his powerful and autocratic grandmother, nine-year-old Fulke FitzWarin leaves his family to be fostered in the household of Joscelin de Dinan, Lord of Ludlow. Here Fulke will learn knightly arts, but before he can succeed, he must overcome the deep-seated doubts that hold him back. Hawise FitzWarin is Joscelin’s youngest daughter and she befriends Fulke. As they grow up, an implacable enemy threatens Ludlow and as the pressure mounts, their friendship changes until one fateful day they find themselves staring at each other across a divide. Not only does Fulke have to overcome the shadows of his childhood, he faces a Welsh threat to his family’s lands, and the way he feels about Hawise endangers all his hard won confidence. As the menace to Ludlow intensifies, he must either confront the future head on, or fail on all counts, not knowing if Hawise stands with or against him.

This novel is the prequel to Lords of the White Castle.



“MY THOUGHTS” on this title!


We hope you have enjoyed our guest today and will spread the word!




E.K. Prescott,Ph.D.


five star publishing

ivy chronclesprescot

NEW BOOK UNCOVERS THE secrets THAT lie beneath the green

CHANDLER, AZ (Winter, 2013) — Sometimes, things are not as they seem, and sometimes, we must believe in things that we cannot see. Yearning to move from behind a desk and back to detective work, Richard Wikki finds himself investigating a lot more than a murder case in 9 Squares – the first book in The Ivy League Chronicles series by E.K. Prescott, Ph.D.

This historically rich mystery – a new title from Five Star Publications, Inc. – takes readers to New Haven, CT in 1923, where Maize Judson has enrolled at Yale University with hopes of becoming an investigative journalist and Richard Wikki, a former detective from Scotland Yard and now a criminology professor at Yale, is trying to start a new life for himself in the US.

When Maize and her best friend Leslie find a skeleton buried on the beach with an amulet wrapped around its fingers, she and Richard set out to solve the mystery, but the more they uncover, the deeper the mystery becomes. Richard soon discovers that underneath the chaotic daily events of a new decade lies an organization that stretches from North America to Europe.

While The Ivy League Chronicles: 9 Squares is a fictional story, it is embedded with historical facts, genealogies and events that were very real in the 1920’s. “The true historical research itself seemed unbelievable to me,” Prescott explained. “I felt that no one could make up anything more intriguing.”

Scheduled for release in winter 2013, The Ivy League Chronicles: 9 Squares (ISBN:978-1-58985-254-9, $14.95 softbound; 978-1-58985-255-6, eBook) will be available in traditional print as well as through electronic media, with distribution through Midpoint Trade Books, Ingram, Baker & Taylor and For more information, please visit

To learn more about FiveStar Publications,Inc., which celebrates 27 years in business, and its other award-winning books, visit the website, email or call 480-940-8182.



Why did you choose New Haven, CT as the setting for your book?

E.K.: Actually, my husband and I put a map of the US in front of me, and I closed my eyes, lifted my arm high, and put a finger down at New Haven, CT. Then I started researching the place. The history was so intriguing; I couldn’t make it up any better. So that is where I started: a map and historical research.


 How long did it take you to research the historical information for the book?

E.K.: That is hard to say, because I was teaching full-time while I researched the book. And the research is continual even after you have the outline and start writing. I am always digging further. So as a rule of thumb, I would say I researched for a year, and built the plot outline and characters around the research.


 What surprised you the most during your research?

E.K.: The unbelievable truths I found as I delved into the 1920s in the US and England. I found so many connections that we hadn’t been taught in any history courses … it was eye-opening.

Who do you think would most enjoy reading this book?

E.K.: Anyone who loves history, fiction, mysteries, and series books.

How many books will be in the series? When will the next book in the series be available?

E.K.: At this point, there are six books planned in The Ivy League Chronicles series. But if my fans want more, there is always a possibility.

In 9 Squares, Maize has a reading done by a psychic. Have you ever had a reading and were you pleased with the experience?


E.K.: In the 1920s, metaphysics was very popular – especially among the elite. Anybody that was anybody had a psychic at their events, even at baby showers. Since this series is historical fiction, it was only fitting to add this to the plot. In fact, during my book signings I am dressed in 1920s style clothing and have a psychic with me to help the history come alive! Anyone who buys a book receives a free five-minute reading.

Thank you E.K. for spending time with us and our readers today! What a fascinating story!





by E.K. Prescott, Ph.D.



ivy chronclesPUBLISHER:        Five Star Publications, Inc.

P.O Box 6698Chandler, AZ85246-6698

(480) 940-8182 / Toll-free: (866) 471-0777

PRICE:                 $14.95 US/ $15.95 CAN

SIZE:                   6 x 9

ISBN:                   978-1-58985-254-9

eISBN:                 978-1-58985-255-6

PUB. DATE:         Winter 2013


DISTRIBUTORS:  Midpoint Trade Books, Ingram, Baker & Taylor and




The year is 1923, and Richard Wikki, a former detective from Scotland Yard and now a professor at the prestigious Yale University in New Haven, CT, misses his days of crime solving. Maize Judson has enrolled at Yale with hopes of becoming an investigative journalist. When Maize and her friend find a skeleton buried in the sand at the beach with a mysterious amulet wrapped around its fingers, she and Richard set out to solve a murder. But Richard soon finds himself following well-planted illusionary clues, and as he continues to investigate, a series of events shake the depths of his philosophical, religious and spiritual beliefs, as well as his perspective on life…forever.





Although a fictional mystery, The Ivy League Chronicles: 9 Squares by E.K. Prescott, Ph.D., is filled with historical facts and events that were very real in New Haven, CT in the 1920’s. The book explores the truths about the ruling class of the United States and gives the reader a sense that there is a lot more to the world than what is actually seen. Prescott brilliantly weaves together the threads of New World Order, metaphysics, witchcraft, conspiracy, and good and evil into this first installment of the Ivy League Chronicles series.




by E.K. Prescott, Ph.D.

ISBN: 978-1-58985-254-9

eISBN: 978-1-58985-255-6

Published by Five Star Publications, Inc.

P.O. Box 6698, Chandler AZ85246-6698



  A former detective from Scotland Yard, Richard Wikki is now a professor at Yale University and misses his days of crime solving. Maize Judson hopes to become an investigative journalist. When Maize and her friend find a skeleton buried in the sand at the beach with a mysterious amulet wrapped around its fingers, she and Richard set out to solve a murder. But Richard soon finds himself following well-planted illusionary clues, and as he continues to investigate, a series of events shake the depths of his philosophical, religious and spiritual beliefs, as well as his perspective on life…forever.






E.K. Prescott, Ph.D., has been an educator for almost 30 years, and has taught at the college level for the past 15 years. She spent many years as a high school English teacher, middle school principal, and national educational consultant. Among her many accomplishments, she has been awarded research grants, named director of a research institute, and her work was published by the S-STEP group of the American Educators Research Association. She was also asked to present her research in London, England at a S-Step conference.


Prescott earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri and her master’s degree at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, WI. She earned her doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was awarded a three-year, full-time Fellowship.


She is currently an online Associate Faculty member, mentor and residency instructor for the University of Phoenix-School of Advanced Studies, as well as a part-time professor for other online doctoral programs.


E.K. Prescott lives in a log cabin nestled in the mountains of northern Arizona with her husband, four horses, and two black labs.



ivy chronclesGIVEAWAY ALERT!

(Sponsored by the publisher)

We are offering 1 lucky commenter a print copy of “THE IVY LEAGUE CHRONICLES

9 SQUARES“. Sorry, U.S. residents and please no P.O. Boxes! **You MUST leave a comment here and on the review in order to be eligible AND leave a valid e-mail address in your comment,please**



Thank you everyone and don’t forget to check out “My Thoughts” and leave a comment in order to be eligible for the giveaway!










James Mace was born in Edmonds, Washington, and grew up in Meridian, Idaho. He joined the U.S. Air Force out of high school, and three years later changed over to the U.S. Army. He spent a career as a soldier, including service in the Iraq War.

In 2011, he left his full-time position with Army Guard and devoted himself completely to writing. His series, “Soldier of Rome – The Artorian Chronicles”, has been a perennial best-seller in ancient history on Amazon. In 2012 he branched into the Napoleonic Era with the short novella, “Forlorn Hope: The Storming of Badajoz”. This was soon followed by the full-length novel, “I Stood With Wellington”.

He also co-wrote the critically acclaimed screenplay, The Evil That Men Do.

Visit him at

Find James!



A Day in the Life of author James Mace


Though I make a comfortable living as an author, my daily life may not be quite what one envisions when they think of the stereotypical writer. I do live by myself in a decent house; however, while it is commonly thought that authors are introverted and sometimes reclusive by nature, I find that I am the exact opposite. A friend told me once that he cannot believe I’m a writer, because I’m the most outgoing person he knows. I confess that working from my house can make this a difficulty, because if I’m not careful, I can go days without any sort of human interaction at all. I’m sorry, but email, texting, and Facebook don’t count. So what does a ‘typical’ day look like for James Mace? Well, aside from drill weekends with the Army Guard, and my summer holidays to Europe, it might look something like this:


7:30 to 9:00 (varies) – Wake up. Okay, so I know you want to have a good sleep routine, and some days, especially in winter, it is difficult to leave my warm bed. But the nice thing about being a self-employed author is you can be more flexible on your get-up time. Shave, shower, brush teeth, the usual things that any self-respecting individual does first thing.


Unless there is something pressing, I will head downstairs to make breakfast, feed the cats (yes, I’m a cat person), take my vitamins and other supplements. One stereotype I seem to buck here is that I don’t drink coffee. I know many writers, and people in general, who need their liquid fix first thing; I’m just not one of those. About the only time I do drink coffee is during drill weekends with my Army Guard unit. Breakfast is almost always eggs, bacon, with a protein shake for later in the morning. And while my breakfast is cooking, I’ll have a glass of vegetable juice and a bowl of raw spinach.


After breakfast I’ll log on and check my email, Facebook, Twitter, as well as glance at sales rankings and any new reviews for my books. As I am currently writing my eighth book, I have a bit to keep an eye on. If the Muse is cooperating, I’ll get some work done on my next novel.


Around 10:30 I down my morning protein shake and get my workout clothes on. I live just outside of Boise, and the gym I do CrossFit at is clear across town. There are others much closer I can use; however, I have friends who use this particular facility and I like the people that work out with me there. That’s my extroverted nature coming out. At 11:00 I head to the gym. Usually I will do about a mile on the treadmill and a few minutes on the rowing machine to warm up. We then subject ourselves to whatever brutality the CrossFit instructor throws at us. Last year I competed in the Spartan Races, a series of savage obstacle courses ranging from three to fifteen miles, and I look to use this program to greatly improve my performance this coming season. My first competition this year will be the Las Vegas Super Spartan in April, so my training during the offseason is crucial.


Around 1:00 I head home, and after a shower, a post-workout shake, and light lunch, I sit back down in the office, check for any email or social media updates, and get back to work. A high-intensity workout gets the blood flowing, both to the muscles as well as the brain, and while my body continues to cool down, I find that I can often do some of my best creative writing during this time. This is also the time when I will check and see how my actual sales are looking. I admit I am a bit obsessive about this, but of course since this is how I make my living, one cannot exactly fault me for it. I check Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, Kobo eReader, as well as my print sales via CreateSpace. Barring any other commitments, I then return to my work.


Something that is an ever-present part of my writing is music. This is actually a little tricky. I need to make certain that whatever I listen to does not become a distraction from my writing. This is why music with lyrics is often avoided, unless I keep it turned down low. Also, even though my passion is Heavy Metal, I do need to have something playing that is relevant to whatever I am working on. Example: When writing my novel about Waterloo, “I Stood With Wellington”, I listened to instrumental or baroque music from the time period. As much as I love Iron Maiden, it just does not go with the genre. Mind you, when working on my Soldier of Rome books, anytime there is a battle scene being written, you can bet I will have something crushing and brutal playing in the background. I’m willing to bet that my typing speed also increases during this time. About the only type of music you will never hear me play is country. It simply does not work for me…ever! And if I’m feeling really eccentric, usually when writing at night, I may throw on some oldies. You would not believe what I have written when listening to Bobby Darin or Paul Anka! A good failsafe is a solid composer like Hans Zimmer or Basil Poledouris.


Afternoons and evenings are often a time for meeting up with friends, as well as the ever-hopeful lunch / dinner date. In the summer months I’ll often take my bike onto the Boise Greenbelt, or go for a jog in the foothills. Monday nights I usually hit the trails with my running club, the Boise Hash House Harriers; that is when the weather is not so cold!


Since I don’t have a set schedule for working, I may do some writing at night. Some of my best work has come after the sun falls, under the soft glow of a lamp, with inspiring instrumental music filling in the gaps of time and space. At 10:15 I check my final sales figures for the day. Don’t ask me why I chose 10:15, that is just what I do. I suppose if I wanted to be really daring, I could go with 10:17.


It is then time to shut down the computer, do my evening hygiene, climb into my ever-comfortable king size bed, and try and do a bit of reading before drifting off to sleep.


Keep in mind that my days are often filled with other commitments, though about the only thing I am not flexible on is my workout time. Example: the week I am writing this, I am having lunch with a close friend from the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, meeting with a lady from the Jane Austen Society, who want me to do a presentation for them on the Napoleonic Wars, having a release party for my latest book, and there may be a dinner date worked in as well. All in all, it is a good life and I would not change it for going back to the proverbial Rat Race.



I-Stood-With-Wellington-199x300ABOUT I STOOD WITH WELLINGTON

In February, 1815, after nine months in exile, Napoleon Bonaparte, the deposed Emperor of the French, escaped from the Isle of Elba. Seizing the initiative while the European powers bicker amongst themselves at the Congress of Vienna, Napoleon advances towards Belgium with an enormous army, where the combined forces of Prussia and England are cantoned. The French Emperor knows that if he can achieve a decisive capture in Brussels, it will shatter the already fragile European alliance.

Leading the allies is Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington; the venerable British field marshal who defeated Napoleon’s best generals in Spain, yet who the emperor had never personally met in battle. Napoleon knows that if he can draw away Wellington’s chief Prussian ally, Gebhard von Blucher, and destroy his army first, he can unleash his entire might against the British. A victory over the unbeaten Wellington will cripple the alliance even further, as it will then deprive them of both English soldiers and financing.

In Belgium, Captain James Henry Webster has finally returned to a line regiment after being terribly wounded at the Siege of Badajoz three years prior. He is given command of a line company within the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, the elite of the British Infantry.

A series of indecisive clashes will lead to a collision between the two greatest military minds of the age and the bloodiest single day of the entire century, as Wellington and Napoleon lead their armies to either immortality or oblivion. For Captain Webster, he fights for both his nation and to protect his young daughter in Brussels. Along with the rest of the Guards Division, he finds himself at the apex of the battle, where the fate of the entire world will be decided; at a place called Waterloo.



In the spring of 1812, the British army under Sir Arthur Wellesley, Earl of Wellington, has driven the French from Portugal. With Napoleon obsessed by the invasion of Russia, Wellington turns toward Spain. The way is barred by two fortresses, Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz. When Ciudad Rodrigo collapses after a short siege, Wellington prepares to break the fortress of Badajoz, the most formidable stronghold in Europe.

Lieutenant James Webster is in mourning following the loss of his wife, and he volunteers to command the small group that will lead the assault. Second in command is Sergeant Thomas Davis; recently diagnosed with a fatal illness, he prefers a valiant death in battle. Breaches have been blown into the walls of the southern bastions, Trinidad and Santa Maria, and here Wellington will unleash the 4th and Light Divisions, while launching diversionary assaults on the northern San Vincente bastion, as well as the Badajoz castle. Together with one hundred volunteers, the Forlorn Hope, Webster and Davis will storm the breach.





James Mace Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule:

*Partial Tour Dates from February 12 -February 28,2013*

Tuesday, February 12

Interviewed at Yahoo News

Thursday, February 14

First Chapter Reveal at As the Pages Turn

Friday, February 15

Interviewed at Divine Caroline

Monday, February 18

Book spotlight at The Book Connection

Wednesday, February 20

First Chapter Reveal at Literal Exposure

Friday, February 22

Interviewed at Between the Covers

Monday, February 25

Guest blogging at Newsvine

Wednesday, February 27

I Stood With Wellington reviewed at Vic’s Media Room

Thursday, February 28

Forlorn Hope reviewed at Vic’s Media Room

I Stood With Wellington reviewed at Blooming with Books


Don’t forget to check out “Our Thoughts” on  “FORLORN HOPE”!







Book Description(from Amazon)

Release date: February 5, 2013
As the Belle Epoque dawns, Paris attracts artists from everywhere. One is Jeanette Palmer, daughter of a prominent Ohio family, who has left Vassar College under a cloud of scandal.

Amid the city’s great bohemian neighborhoods and teaching studios, Jeanette befriends other female artists, as well as an American Civil War veteran named Edward Murer. She begins to achieve a level of artistic success. And her happiness increases as she and Edward grow more intimate with each other.

But Edward is plagued by his demons and addicted to laudanum—and as the world opens its arms to Jeanette, and the society around her is transformed by cultural and scientific innovations, she must resolve a conflict utterly new to so many women: the choice between ambition and love.

  • Reading level: Ages 18 and up
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade; 1 edition (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425257789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425257784



Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Katherine graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.A. in English and earned a Ph.D. in medieval studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She worked in the publicity department of the New Orleans Public Schools, taught in the expository writing program at Yale University, and served as the executive editor of the book publishing program of the Council on East Asian Studies at Harvard University. She now lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband, John Keenum, and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

For more information,please visit her at:

**Photo by Tammy Woodard**


Thank you for spending time with us today!






Danvers Tincture


pouring teaMBA&M: Donna, please give our readers some insight into the mind and life of Donna Fletcher Crow?


Donna: Wow, that’s a hard one. How to describe oneself? First, I’d say I’m a very happy person. I’m very aware of my blessings: a wonderful husband of almost 49 years, 4 children and 11 grandchildren and a job I love.  Also, I think I’m well organized. I love having a structured day that allows me to go to my computer after breakfast and stay there until 3:00 when we stop for Afternoon Tea— a major tradition in our family— then a cozy evening by the fire watching old black and white movies with my husband. That’s a perfect day. Sometimes it happens.


MBA&M: What was your inspiration behind writing “A Tincture of Murder”?

DONNA: Because Lord Danvers is a Victorian True-Crime series each book has to begin with a true crime so I start by searching history and law books. I was thrilled when I found the case of the William Dove poisonings. It happened at just the right time to carry on from “To Dust You Shall Return” where we left Charles and Antonia the year before and it was set in York— one of my all-time favorite cities.

As to the fictional story I build around the true crime, I knew York was an important center for the work of Oxford Movement priests who chose (rather scandalously) to live and work among the poorest of the poor including fallen women (women who have hurt their knees, in the Monty Python phrase).

And then, just for good measure I found another horrific true crime that’s far more bizarre than anything in Dickens. So I had plenty to work with in this rather short novel.

Danvers TinctureMBA&M: How much research is involved in writing a Victorian True-Crime mystery? And where do you go to find your information?

DONNA: A lot. Fortunately, I love research. I have several books on Victorian crime, and then, of course there’s always the internet. Once I’ve identified the case I want to work with I start requesting interlibrary loans. Our Boise Public Library is wonderful and very happily borrows dusty tomes and microfilm from all over the country for me.


As to the Victorian period detail I keep files on Victorian life based on years of reading. 

MBA&M: Who was your favorite character in “A Tincture of Murder”? Why?


DONNA: That’s interesting because when I began this series Charles, Lord Danvers, was my entire focus. Antonia features very little in the first book “A Most Inconvenient Death.” As the series has progressed, however, I find myself being more and more drawn to Antonia and find it easier to write from her viewpoint. Perhaps her becoming a wife and mother rather than a “toast of the town” society leader has led to that.

MBA&M: What were the hardest/and the easiest scenes to write, why?

DONNA: The courtroom scenes were both the hardest and the easiest. They were easiest because I was using actual transcripts of the trial so I didn’t have to make anything up. They were hardest because I had to pare down hours and hours of courtroom drama to a few pages hoping to give enough information for my readers to understand it all and not so much they would become bored. Also, I had to keep the fictional story going, largely through what was happening in my viewpoint character’s mind.

MBA&M: If you could pick any character in one of the “Lord Danvers” series to be, who would it be and why?


DONNA: Oh, I would love to be the Dowager Duchess of Aethelbert— Charles’ Aunt Aelfrida. She is always so absolutely sure she is right about everything, she won’t put up with anything she considers nonsense, she rules all around her by terrorizing everyone and yet her family secretly adores her.  She is the handiest character a writer could possibly have because when I want to move the plot ahead all I have to do is have Aunt Aelfrida march in and pronounce on a subject. A perfect deus ex machina.


MBA&M: I understand the “Lord Danvers” series has 3 other stories, do you feel the reader should read the others to better understand the series, in what order or can each be read as a stand alone?


DONNA: Each story is a stand alone as to the settings and murders. The thing that progresses is Charles and Antonia’s relationship. In the first book “A Most Inconvenient Death,” set in a country house in Norfolk, Charles is grieving the death of his fiancé and only realizes at the end that he cares deeply for Antonia. “Grave Matters” is the story of their honeymoon in Scotland. In “To Dust You Shall Return,” set in Canterbury, they are finding their footing as a married couple. I think I give enough, although brief,  backstory information that the reader will understand the situation wherever they pick up the series.


MBA&M: Describe 3 words that give the reader a better understanding of this series?


DONNA: Victorian True-Crime Novels.

MBA&M:  What is the first book you remember reading?


DONNA: I remember my mother reading “Heidi” and “Bambi” to me. I read The Bobbsey Twins on my own. Since I was an only child living on a farm books were my friends and I dreamed of living in a family like the Bobbseys. That probably influenced the fact that we had 4 children— none of them twins, but now we have twin granddaughters.


MBA&M: Last but not least, please tell readers how and where to contact you and where they can purchase “A Tincture of Murder”?Danvers Tincture


DONNA: Please visit my website at to see all of my books, pictures of my research trips and a tour of my garden. My blog and contact information are there, too.

“A Tincture of Murder” is available in all ebook formats.



Thank you, Donna for this most fascinating story of Lord Danvers,the Victorian era and a true-crime story!




Danvers Tincture

A Tincture of Murder

Charles and Antonia are off to York leaving the smoking ruins of Danvers’ ancestral home behind them. They need peace and quiet to recuperate from the near-tragedy. Instead they are thrown into nursing destitute fallen women in one of York’s worst slums. Women who keep dying inexplicably. Is a mad poisoner stalking the streets of York?

A Victorian true-crime mystery with two historical crimes, one which set legal principles still followed in courts of law today and one more bizarre than anything dreamed up by Charles Dickens.

  • Publisher: Greenbrier Book Company (November 30, 2012)
  • Language: English



(Sponsored by the author)

We are offering 1 lucky commenter a PDF copy of “TINCTURE OF MURDER”. Giveaway open internationally and will run from today January 29 until February 6,2013.



Please check out “Our Thoughts” on this title!


Thank you for spending time with us and our wonderful guest today. Please spread the word!





*Image from the publisher’s site*

Kathy Hepinstall is the author of three previous novels, The House of Gentle Men (a Los Angeles Times bestseller), The Absence of Nectar (a national bestseller), and The Prince of Lost Places. She is an award-winning creative director and advertising writer, whose clients have included top brands in American business. She grew up in Texas.


MBA&M: Kathy, please tell our readers a little about Kathy Hepinstall?

I work as an advertising creative and also write novels.


MBA&M: What was the inspiration behind writing “BLUE ASYLUM”?


I’d been wanting to set a love story in an insane asylum and was visiting Sanibel Island to write a novel on an entirely different topic and the story just kind of fell together.


MBA&M: How hard was it to write a compelling story about “madness”,”abuse”,”and “spousal crudity” during the Civil War era?


 It was a time when it was fairly easy to lock away a wife on some kind of trumped up charge of madness.  A very sad time in the history of women’s rights.


MBA&M: How much research was involved in writing “BLUE ASYLUM”?


Did quite a bit on asylums, and my sister and I had done a lot on the Civil War for another novel.  Also researched the history of Sanibel, along with flora, fauna, etc.


MBA&M: For those readers who do not know you, who would you compare your writing style to for this era?


 Don’t really have a comparison of that era.


MBA&M: If you could step into a book,which book you most want to be in,and why?


That’s a great question. If you mean a book of mine, I’d love to hang out with Persely, Boone and Alice in Absence of Nectar because I like them so much as characters.


MBA&M: Who would you say most influenced your writing career? Why? 


 Toni Morrison comes to mind.


MBA&M: What piece of advice would you give to any inspiring writer?


Think of writing as a combination of magic and muscle.  Both need to be exercised to exhaustion and with faithfulness and hope.


MBA&M: Please tell our readers where to find you and where “BLUE ASYLUM” is available? Blue Asylum is available at Amazon and surviving bookstores.



                     Kathy, do you have anything else you would like to add? 

Thank you so much for your support!

You are so welcome. What a great pleasure to have with us and our readers today!




Hardcover:288 pages

Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 10, 2012)



ISBN-13: 978-0547712079

Book Description(from Amazon)

Publication Date: April 10, 2012
Amid the mayhem of the Civil War, Virginia plantation wife Iris Dunleavy is put on trial and convicted of madness. It is the only reasonable explanation the court can see for her willful behavior, so she is sent away to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a good, compliant woman. Iris knows, though, that her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of disagreeing with him on notions of justice, cruelty, and property.

On this remote Florida island, cut off by swamps and seas and military blockades, Iris meets a wonderful collection of residents–some seemingly sane, some wrongly convinced they are crazy, some charmingly odd, some dangerously unstable. Which of these is Ambrose Weller, the war-haunted Confederate soldier whose memories terrorize him into wildfits that can only be calmed by the color blue, but whose gentleness and dark eyes beckon to Iris.

The institution calls itself modern, but Iris is skeptical of its methods, particularly the dreaded “water treatment.” She must escape, but she has found new hope and love with Ambrose. Can she take him with her? If they make it out, will the war have left anything for them to make a life from, back home?

Blue Asylum is a vibrant, beautifully-imagined, absorbing story of the lines we all cross between sanity and madness. It is also the tale of a spirited woman, a wounded soldier, their impossible love, and the undeniable call of freedom.



Check out our “Thoughts” on “Blue

Asylum” by Kathy Henpinstall!



Thank you for spending your time with us and our guest today! Please spread the word to all your friends and on your social networks.



Please come again,soon!





*Images from the author’s website*

About the Author(from the author’s website)

Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 36 books, mostly novels dealing with British history.  The award-winning Glastonbury, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work.  A Very Private Grave, Book 1 in the Monastery Murders series, is her reentry into publishing after a 10-year hiatus. Book 2, A Darkly Hidden Truth, will be out this fall, and she is at work on Book 3, An Unholy Communion, scheduled for 2012.

The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries is a romantic intrigue series using literary figures as background: Dorothy L Sayers in The Shadow of Reality and Shakespeare in A Midsummer Eve’s Nightmare.

Her newest release in the ebook field is Lord Danvers, a Victorian true crime series: A Most Inconvenient Death, Grave Matters, and To Dust You Shall Return.

The Daughters of Courage, Kathryn, Elizabeth and Stephanie is a pioneer family saga based on the stories of Donna’s own family and other Idaho pioneers in the Kuna, Nampa and Boise area.

Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 adult children and 10 grandchildren. Donna is remembered by Idahoans with long memories as a former Queen of the Snake River Stampede, Miss Rodeo Idaho and runner-up for Miss Rodeo America. She is an enthusiastic gardener.

Visit her website at:




Book 2: A Darkly Hidden Truth

Felicity can’t possibly help Father Antony find the valuable missing  icon. She’s off to become a nun.  And then her impossible mother  turns up  unexpectedly. And a good friend turns up murdered…

Breathtaking chase scenes, mystical worship services, dashes through remote water-logged landscapes, the wisdom of ancient holy women, and the arcane   rites of The Knights Hospitaller keep the pages turning. Will Felicity choose  the veil – or Antony?


Amazon,and The Book Depository

Book trailer:


Check out our “Thoughts” on “A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH” by Donna Fletcher Crow!!


Please spread the word on Twitter,Facebook and anywhere else you can!!


Thank you for your support!!