Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Kitty Norville Series by Carrie Vaughn

Katherine - Kitty - Norville was just a normal college student when she was attacked by a werewolf. Guess how you become a werewolf? That's right...get bitten. Her world is turned upside down as she learns to live with the new set of rules that her life now entails. She must contain the wolf inside, learn to handle her heightened strength and sharpened senses.

Her nighttime job as radio DJ seems perfect for her new lifestyle. She is content selecting and playing her favorite music until a chance on air comment about the existence of vampires suddenly has the phone lines lighting up. Seems there are a lot of folks out in radio land who want to know more about the supernatural or have interesting stories to tell. Kitty has a bit of personal experience, not to mention a personal interest, in the topic and it turns out that she has a lot to say.

So, Kitty's radio show, The Midnight Hour, is born and is an immediate success. But, unfortunately for Kitty, it is hard to maintain your anonymity when you are a famous radio personality. The local werewolves are jealous and other supernatural folks are unhappy about having their centuries of quiet existence shattered by a lone werewolf. There are some major complications coming Kitty's way!

This series currently consists of six books:

Kitty and the Midnight Hour

Kitty Goes to Washington

Kitty Takes a Holiday

Kitty and the Silver Bullet

Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand

Kitty Raises Hell


I got into the tour just a bit late and was afraid that I wouldn't be able to read more than one of the books before today. To my surprise, I zipped through the first three and I am halfway through number four! The word for this series is FUN! They are action packed and exciting, I'm blowing through them because I can't seem to put them down. Kitty is an interesting and independent character that is growing and finding her way as the series progresses. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Listen to the Blog Talk Radio interview with Carrie Vaughn, visit her blog and her website.

Okay, now for the REALLY great part. If you would like to win all SIX books, the ENTIRE series so far...I just happen to have a set to give away! So, if you would like to enter, just leave me a comment here, please include your email address if it is not part of your ID. For three extra entries you can become a follower (if you are one already, you are all set), tweet the giveaway on twitter or blog about it and link back here. If you do any of these, please leave me a separate comment to let me know. Winner will be drawn at random and must have a US or Canada mailing address (no PO Boxes, please). Enter until midnight on April 8. Good luck!

Many thanks to Miriam at Hachette Book Group for sending me the books!

See what others on the blog tour thought of the Kitty books:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Suggestions

Though she already has legions of fans, Elizabeth George is my Saturday Suggestion for this week. Have you ever read one of her books? Usually, I prefer my books to have historical settings (as I am sure most of you know). But I'll read anything Ms. George cares to write. She has a wonderful mystery series that is set in present day London and features Inspector Lynley and his partner, Barbara Havers. Her settings are impeccable, when you read one of her books you would swear that she is British, but she is not, she is American and from California. I don't think that she has ever even lived in England. Obviously, her research is excellent.
Elizabeth George

The unusual thing about Elizabeth George is that she does not hesitate to devote entire books to the point-of-view of side characters. If you are a series reader (as I am), there is nothing more interesting than to get inside the other characters. It provides a whole new dimension to the stories, a depth and richness that is not normally achieved. I read scathing reviews of her recent book, What Came Before He Shot Her, which is devoted entirely to the perpetrator of a horrible crime, his family and background. Lynley and Havers are largely missing from the book, which was the chief complaint. It is true that if you were a new reader, just picking up that particular book as your first Elizabeth George experience, you might be completely lost, but I thought the book was a fantastic addition to the series. I DO recommend that you read them in order, the characters grow over time and it helps to have started at the beginning. The series, so far, consists of:

A Great Deliverance
Payment In Blood
Well Schooled in Murder
A Suitable Vengeance
For the Sake of Elena
Missing Joseph
Playing for the Ashes
In The Presence of the Enemy
Deception on His Mind
In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner
A Traitor to Memory
A Place of Hiding
With No One as Witness
What Came Before He Shot Her
Careless in Red

I picked up Careless in Red last time I was in London. It is sitting by my bed, I haven't had time to get to it yet. When I do, you can be sure I will post a review here. The BBC has a successful television series based on this series, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. They are aired on PBS in the United States from time to time. I haven't ever had a chance to watch one but they seem to be popular. I'll have to put them on my DVD list, it would be interesting to see how they translate to television.

Time for an Audiobook Giveaway...

If you hate taking time out of your busy reading schedule to do the necessary, mundane tasks of everyday life (like cooking, cleaning, driving), try listening to an Audiobook! It makes the work easier and the time fly by...perfect multi-tasking for today's busy world! And I have two new Audiobooks to give away, Drood by Dan Simmons and Undress Me In the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman. Which one suits you?



I reviewed Drood awhile ago, it is a fantastic gothic novel and I think it will be fun to listen to in audio format. Check out my review of the book for a synopsis!





Bestselling author Susan Jane Gilman's riveting new memoir is a hilarious and haunting true adventure. It's filled with the memorable characters, psychological insights, and dazzling humor she's known for. Yet it also displays an accomplished literary eloquence and grandeur of scale that will entertain and enthrall old and new fans alike.

To enter, just leave a comment here telling me which audio you would like to win. Three additional entries to anyone who becomes a follower (or follows already), tweets on twitter or blogs about the giveaway with a link back. If you do one of these, please leave a separate entry letting me know. You can enter until midnight eastern time on April11. I will randomly draw three winners of each title and notify you via email. Please be sure to leave your email address if you do not have email in your ID link. Winners must have a US or Canada mailing address (no PO Boxes). Many thanks to Anna at Hachette for providing these audiobooks and the other memoirs that I am currently giving away!

Additional Memoir Giveaway: I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti

From failure to fusilli, this deliciously hilarious read tells the story of Giulia Melucci's fizzled romances and the mouth-watering recipes she used to seduce her men, smooth over the lumps, and console herself when the relationships flamed out.

From an affectionate alcoholic, to the classic New York City commitment-phobe, to a hipster aged past his sell date, and not one, but two novelists with Peter Pan complexes, Giulia has cooked for them all. She suffers each disappointment with resolute cheer (after a few tears) and a bowl of pastina (recipe included) and has lived to tell the tale so that other women may go out, hopefully with greater success, and if that's not possible, at least have something good to eat.

Peppered throughout Giulia's delightful and often poignant remembrances are fond recollections of her mother's cooking, the recipes she learned from her, and many she invented on her own inspired by the men in her life. Readers will howl at Giulia's boyfriend-littered past and swoon over her irresistible culinary creations.

I can't wait to read this book. I have to make my husband the pastina, he remembers his Mimi making it for him when he was a little boy!

If this sounds like a book you need, just leave a comment here telling me what your favorite dish is when you want to have a romantic dinner. Three extra entries for anyone who becomes a follower (or follows already), tweets the giveaway on twitter, or blogs about it. Please leave a separate comment if you do. Five winners will be chosen at random and must have a US or Canada mailing address (no PO Boxes). Enter until midnight eastern on April 4. Good luck!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Review: Angel's Tip by Alafair Burke

When new homocide detective Ellie Hatcher takes her usual early morning jog with her brother, Jess, they stumble right over a murder victim. Chelsea Hart, a beautiful blond Indiana college student, has been dumped there in East River Park with her hair weirdly chopped off.

As the first detective on the scene, Ellie takes charge. Her find, her case. She calls her new partner, J.J. Rogan, and together they begin to put together the pieces of this seemingly random crime. Attractive college girl, in town with two girlfriends for spring break, plucked from a trendy nightclub after a night of partying.

It is surprisingly easy to find the murderer, the man Chelsea was seen dancing with at the club until three in the morning. He's the obvious choice, plus his record is not spotless. Easy. Maybe too easy, Ellie thinks. Too bad she is the only one with second thoughts. Everyone else is happy they got the guy, case closed.

But Ellie gets a call from a man whose daughter was murdered years ago. He's had a dream about his daughter and he thinks she is trying to tell him something. Maybe the two crimes are connected.

Well, he must be a nut, right? Probably. Ellie pulls his daughter's case anyway. And the biggest similarity, the only thing not released in the press, is something about the hair. Ellie becomes convinced that there is no way the suspect they have could be the right one, he is too young, and there are more similar cases that stretch back too far. A serial killer who has been at work for years. Can she and Rogan figure out who is the real murderer before it's too late...for Ellie, herself?

Alafair Burke has a winner in the character of Ellie Hatcher. She is quick, sharp, smart, endearing and fun. I enjoyed the development of the new relationship between Ellie and Rogan. This book flew by, the pages practically turning themselves as the suspense built up. The Manhattan setting is perfectly evoked and the author's knowledge of the world of the New York Police Department added believability to the story. This is a talented author and I look forward to her next exciting installment!

Visit the author's website here.

Angel's Tip is published by Harper. ISBN 978-0-06-166861-6.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Review: Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly

At sunrise on June 23, 1839, her sister Maire's wedding day, Honora Keeley stands on the Silver Strand of Galway Bay and gazes out. The Bay is her home and her family's livelihood since her father is a fisherman in the village of Bearna. She is sixteen years old and pledged to the church. She will join the convent as a novice nun in a few months, a great honor to so poor an Irish family as the Keeleys.

But that morning will change the course of Honora's life. Out of the sea, fresh from an early swim, walks a beautiful young man, tall, dark haired. Michael Kelly. Within the space of an hour there is no going back, fate has brought them together and they are determined to be married.

There are obstacles. Michael is not a fisherman, has no land or money. But, despite the problems, they are wed and they are happy. Maire is not, she is quickly widowed and then is forced to become a servant to a tyrant landlord. She is the one bleak spot in the otherwise happy life of the Kellys. They have a small farm at the top of a hill overlooking the Bay and, though the work is hard and the rent high, they manage to feed their growing family and find joy together.

"I was used to the give-and-take of a large family, where one broke in on the other, splintering sentences, bouncing thought away from meaning. But Michael and I listened to each other, each waiting as the other found words for what we'd never said before, never even thought before, giving shape to dreams and to fears. I'd no idea I was such a worrier - the ifs and buts that flowed out of me. Michael teased them away."

And then the unthinkable happens. In 1845 the potato harvest, the staple of the Irish peasant diet, is blighted and rots in the ground. The hunger and suffering that winter is terrible. When the potato crop fails two out of the following three years, the result is millions of deaths. The landlords and the British rulers do not care and attempts to help are mired down in bureaucracy and are ineffectual.

Honora watches her children starve, her neighbors die, and she dreams of finding the means to escape, to buy passage to another place where her family can live and grow: America. She is far from the only one, the ships are filled with Irish immigrants trying to find a better life. The voyage is dangerous and many die before they even reach North America. But some make it and they send back the means for the next one to escape. An entire race of people, trying to rescue each other.

She does escape, with her family and Maire's. Not without losses and terrible grief, but Honora has strength of spirit, strength of character, strength of will to sustain her loved ones and find a place where they can prosper.

All great historical fiction is rooted in fact and Galway Bay is no exception. Mary Pat Kelly is the great-great-granddaughter of Honora Keeley Kelly. The author has followed the great Irish storytelling tradition and created this fictionalized account of her own ancestors, an epic saga of one family's journey through one of the darkest hours in human history. It is a story of faith, of family lore and ancient tales, of great suffering and the triumph of the human spirit.

I am, as so many Americans must be today, part Irish. This book brings home the terrible destruction of the Great Hunger in a way that has never been clear to me before. Because it is personal story, one family's struggle that could be any family from that place and that time. Fiction, maybe, but with the weight of truth behind it.

Read Mary Pat Kelly's inspiring letter, visit her blog and her website. There you will find more about this book, plus information and inspiration for looking into your own family story, your ancestry.

Please join us at 11 AM Eastern Time on Tuesday, March 17th for a live St. Patrick's Day interview with Mary Pat Kelly on Blog Talk Radio!

See what everyone else on the blog tour thought about Galway Bay:


http://athomewithbooks.blogspot.com/

http://book-thirty.blogspot.com/

http://readersrespite.blogspot.com/

http://www.myfriendamysblog.com/

http://bermudaonion.wordpress.com/

http://www.acircleofbooks.blogspot.com/

http://www.corinnesbookreviews.blogspot.com/

http://lorisbookden.blogspot.com/

http://www.bookthoughtsbylisa.blogspot.com/

http://teddyrose.blogspot.com/

http://libraryqueue.blogspot.com/

http://allisonsatticblog.blogspot.com/

http://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/

http://luanne-abookwormsworld.blogspot.com/

http://bookingmama.blogspot.com/

http://enroutetolife.blogspot.com/

http://www.marjoleinbookblog.blogspot.com/

http://peekingbetweenthepages.blogspot.com/

http://cafeofdreams.blogspot.com/

http://jennsbookshelf.blogspot.com/

http://thebookczar.blogspot.com/

http://www.writeforareader.edublogs.org/

http://linussblanket.com/

http://booksbytjbaff.blogspot.com/

http://www.caribousmom.com/

http://hiddenplace.wordpress.com/

http://www.chikune.com/blog

http://librarygirlreads.blogspot.com/

http://diaryofaneccentric.blogspot.com/

http://savvyverseandwit.blogspot.com/

http://www.kayespenguinposts.blogspot.com/

http://writebyfaith.blogspot.com/

http://www.frommipov.blogspot.com/

http://booksiesblog.blogspot.com/

http://www.bookbargainsandpreviews.com/reviews/history/galwaybay.htm

http://wendisbookcorner.blogspot.com/

http://www.thisbookforfree.com/

http://abookbloggersdiary.blogspot.com/

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Suggestions: Valerie Anand

This week I would like to suggest British author Valerie Anand. Many years ago I started reading her Bridges Over Time series. This series, along with a few others, got me hooked on Historical Fiction. It is a saga that follows an English family through the years, as their fortunes rise and fall, beginning when they are poor serfs in the middle ages. There are six volumes:

The Proud Villeins
The Ruthless Yeomen
Women of Ashdon
The Faithful Lovers
The Cherished Wives
The Dowerless Sisters

Really, lovely books. There are also seven other stand alone historical novels that were published before the Bridges Over Time series:

Gildenford
The Norman Pretender
The Disputed Crown
To a Native Shore
King of the Wood
Crown of Roses
West of Sunset

She is still writing, her latest historical novels are set in Exmoor, Somerset, in the west of England. The House of Lanyon and The House of Allerbrook are both available new. The rest may be out of print, but there should be used copies available (that's how I got most of mine).



Valerie Anand also writes an excellent historical mystery series, under the name Fiona Buckley, set at the court of Queen Elizabeth I. This series features the Queen's lady-in-waiting, and sometime spy, Ursula Blanchard. The first book, To Shield the Queen, plunges Ursula into the biggest scandal of the Queen's reign, when Robert Dudley's wife, Amy, fell down the stairs to her death.

To Shield the Queen
The Doublet Affair
Queen's Ransom
To Ruin a Queen
Queen of Ambition
A Pawn for a Queen
The Fugitive Queen
The Siren Queen

New Memoir Giveaway!

Hachette has a couple of great new memoirs coming out and they have generously provided five copies of each one for this giveaway (thank you, Anna!). To enter, just leave a comment here letting me know which book you would prefer to win. Contest will be open until midnight, eastern time on April 1 and winners must have a US or Canada mailing address (no P.O. Boxes, please). Three extra entries for anyone who blogs about this contest, follows my blog, or tweets it on twitter. (If you do any of these, please leave a SEPARATE comment to let me know). Make sure there is contact info in your comment, either an email address or in your ID link. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via email. Good luck!




A LUCKY CHILD BY THOMAS BUERGENTHAL

Thomas Buergenthal, now a Judge in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, tells his astonishing experiences as a young boy in his memoir A LUCKY CHILD. He arrived at Auschwitz at age 10 after surviving two ghettos and a labor camp. Separated first from his mother and then his father, Buergenthal managed by his wits and some remarkable strokes of luck to survive on his own. Almost two years after his liberation, Buergenthal was miraculously reunited with his mother and in 1951 arrived in the U.S. to start a new life.

Now dedicated to helping those subjected to tyranny throughout the world, Buergenthal writes his story with a simple clarity that highlights the stark details of unimaginable hardship. A LUCKY CHILD is a book that demands to be read by all.

Check out Thomas Buergenthal talk about his story in this video.

or


HOW I GOT TO BE WHOEVER IT IS I AM BY CHARLES GRODIN

In his candid and engaging new book HOW I GOT TO BE WHOEVER IT IS I AM, successful actor, author, and activist, Charles Grodin, looks back at the major events and private moments that have shaped his life. And, since Grodin is one of the best storytellers around, he can't help but entertain while offering insight gained from a wealth of experience.

Read the full description here.

Winners, Winners, Winners...

This past week has been insanely busy and I see that I have not managed one single post! URGH! I hate that. So today I am going to do quite a bit of housekeeping here, starting with the winners of my six recent giveaways. Here they are...

Throw Out Fifty Things by Gail Blanke goes to:

Kaye at Pudgy Penguin Perusals
Debdesk
Carolyn at Carolyn's Creations & Papercrafts
Dawn M.
Jen at Literate Housewife

Mrs. Meyers Clean Home by Mrs. Thelma A. Meyer goes to:

Stephanie at Open Mind, Insert Book (what a fantastic blog name!)
Bev at Merry Weather
ladytink_534 at Up Close and Personal with Ladytink
Michele at A Reader's Respite
bookworm

In Hovering Flight by Joyce Hinnefeld goes to:

Jayme at Lovely.Composition

The Crimes of Paris by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler goes to:

jolt!
songbirdz at Book Tales
Meg at write meg
sara
Nancy

Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear goes to:

Indigo at Scream Quietly
Valerie at Morbid Romantic
Beth F at Beth Fish Reads
Riva at Riva's Blog
Annette

And finally, the winners of Drood by Dan Simmons are:

Kristi at Books and Needlepoint
Molly at my cozy book nook
Carol M.

Congratulations to all of the winners and thank you so much for stopping by and entering!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday Suggestions

This week my Saturday Suggestion is the author Miriam Grace Monfredo. She wrote a series of six historical mysteries which feature Glynis Tryon, an independent and strong minded woman in the 1850s. Glynis is the librarian in Seneca Falls, NY. In the debut mystery, Seneca Falls Inheritance, the story evolves around the women's rights movement and Glynis assists Elizabeth Cady Stanton during the rally and the subsequent murder.

In the following novels the first glimmerings of the Civil War begin to build into the story lines. The series is very well researched, I thought they were all well done and I loved the character of Glynis. The series includes:

Seneca Falls Inheritance
The Stalking-horse
Blackwater Spirits
North Star Conspiracy
Through a Gold Eagle
Must the Maiden Die

Each book takes the reader further forward in time, the last one right to the start of the Civil War and the events at Harper's Ferry. Then the author spun off a trio of novels which highlight a character from some of the earlier novels, Glynis's niece, Bronwen Llyr. Bronwen becomes an investigator for the newly formed Pinkerton Agency and will become embroiled in the events of the War in the Cain trilogy: Sisters of Cain, Brothers of Cain, and Children Of Cain. Glynis appears in the later novels, too, though not as the central character. The last book was published in 2002 and I can't find a website or any other information about the author. This is an series with penty of action, strong female characters and historical detail. Give one a try and see if you like them!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Review: In the Shadow of the Sun King by Golden Keyes Parsons


Book One in the Darkness to Light Series

Madeleine Clavell lives happily with her husband, Francois, and three children in seventeenth century rural France. King Louis XIV has determined to unite France to one religion, Catholicism, and the result has been the rampant persecution of Protestants. Though Madeleine and her family are Protestant, they have been left alone due to her father's previous service at court and her own youthful dalliance with the King.

Everything changes when the King's Dragoons burst into their lives, demanding housing and wreaking havoc. Protestant children have been forcibly removed from their parents for raising by the Catholic church, so Madeleine and Francois manage to help their two small sons escape with the aid of their Uncle Jean.

In an attempt to stop the tyranny of the Dragoons, Madeleine journeys to Paris. She hopes that she can call on her prior relationship with Louis to prevent the destruction of her family's lives. She manages to meet with him, but he demands a price that she is unwilling to pay. When she returns home she is dealt a terrible blow and it will take all of her faith and fortitude to face the future and the coming trials.

"When your homeland, the hills and trees and rivers where you have built a home and a life and raised a family, is snatched away, where do you go? When the tapestry of your life that you have woven together through the years with the threads of laughter and tears is rent, what patch is used to mend the tear?"

King Louis XIV

The author based the idea for this book on a crumbling family diary that she happened to inherit from a relative. I love that this story is based on her own family's history and their journey, both geographical and spiritual. As was so often the case in our history (and, sadly, not entirely unheard of today) they only wanted a place to live simply and practice their religion freely. It is a vividly imagined, captivating novel full of adventure. The lovely thing is that, throughout the trials, a sense of hope and deep faith is maintained. I can't wait for the second installment in this series, A Prisoner at Versailles, coming out in the fall of 2009.

For more information, you can visit the author's website.

In the Shadow of the Sun King is published by Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-1-59554-626-5.

Take a look at some other reviews of this book:

A Reader's Respite

Novel Teen

Nancy Famolari's Place

The Koala Bear Writer

Bookopolis

Monday, March 2, 2009

Review and Blog Tour: The Kingmaking (Pendragon's Banner, Book One) by Helen Hollick

The fifth century in Britain was a time of upheaval and change. The Romans had abandoned the island and a power vacuum was created with their going. The native tribes, never unified except for one single, shining moment under Queen Boudicca, immediately returned to warring against each other. Cunedda, Lord of the Votodini, lost his lands north of Hadrian's Wall and was exiled to the mountains of Gwynedd in Wales. Uthr the Pendragon, great war leader and Cunedda's ally, fled the island. The victor, Vortigern, declared himself King of Britain and, to keep his throne, hired vast numbers of hated Saxon mercenaries and took a Saxon wife.

The Kingmaking begins with Arthur's arrival, at the age of fifteen, in Gwynedd. He comes as a serving boy to Uthr, but despite his low status he dreams of becoming a leader of men. A rebellion is planned to reclaim Britain from Vortigern. The war party departs, leaving Arthur behind with Cunedda's young sons and only daughter, Gwenhwyfar. In the short peaceful time they are together, Arthur and Gwenhwyfar forge a strong bond. But the harmony is shattered when the war party returns, defeated, with the news that Uthr is dead.

The demoralized troops feel that all hope has been lost with their leader. But Cunedda has a surprise announcement for all assembled. Uthr had a son, declared dead at birth but actually hidden away, in plain sight, to keep Vortigern from killing the Pendragon heir. Arthur, humble servant, is actually Uthr's son.

Arthur now has the chance that he dreamed of, and he grabs it. Unfortunately, he is young and untried, has little skill with sword or spear. He must learn and the only way to do that is to pledge his sword to the one in power, his enemy Vortigern. To cement his loyalty Vortigern exacts a terrible price, Arthur must marry Vortigern's daughter: greedy, scheming Winifred.

Gwenhwyfar is heartbroken, then horrified when she learns that she is to be forced to marry Vortigern's nephew and right hand man, Melwas. To prevent the marriage to a cruel and violent man, her family helps her escape to Less Britain, Arthur's childhood home, beyond the reach of Melwas.

The coming years will test the strength and determination of the Pendragon and his followers. They will learn lessons well, bide their time and overcome seemingly impossible obstacles on the way to their goal....giving Britain an honorable King and the hope of a peaceful future.

This is Historical Fiction at its best. The author has taken the story of Arthur and deftly shaken off the myth and fantasy that cling to it. Gone are Merlin and his sprinklings of magic, instead we have Arthur as he might have really been. A man, a leader, a soldier who drank and used women, who loved and was loyal but also cheated and lied. A warrior who adopted tactics that worked, no matter the cost. A man trying to find footing in a rapidly changing world, a complex world that included those that clung to Roman ways, followers of the Goddess and the druids, and the vast, spreading tide of Christianity.

Here you will find rich, multi-layered characters, breathtaking drama and aching sadness. Crumbling Roman cities and soaring Welsh mountains. Brilliant battles and horrible losses. A complex, compelling story and a refreshing look at the origins of a legend.

I have long been a fan of Helen Hollick's writing and The Pendragon's Banner trilogy is at the top of my list of favorite Historical Fiction. The other two books in the series are Pendragon's Banner and Shadow of the King. I can't recommend them highly enough, they are all fantastic historical novels!

The Kingmaking is published by Sourcebooks. ISBN 978-1-4022-1888-0

Here's the list of blog tour stops...see what other reviewers have to say!

http://harrietdevine.typepad.com/harriet_devines_blog/2009/02/the-kingmaking.html
http://lazyhabits.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/the-kingmaking/
http://carpelibrisreviews.com/the-kingmaking-by-helen-hollick-book-tour-giveaway/
http://www.historicalnovels.info/Kingmaking.html
http://www.bibliophilemusings.com/2009/02/review-interview-kingmaking-by-helen.html
http://lilly-readingextravaganza.blogspot.com/2009/02/kingmaking-by-helen-hollick.html
http://chikune.com/blog/?p=488
http://booksaremyonlyfriends.blogspot.com/
http://peekingbetweenthepages.blogspot.com/
http://webereading.blogspot.com/
http://www.caramellunacy.blogspot.com/
http://bookthoughtsbylisa.blogspot.com/
http://www.skrishnasbooks.com/
http://jennifersrandommusings.wordpress.com/
http://rhireading.blogspot.com/
http://passagestothepast.blogspot.com/
http://steventill.com/
http://savvyverseandwit.blogspot.com%20/ 3/2 and interview 3/3
http://www.carlanayland.blogspot.com/
http://readersrespite.blogspot.com/ 3/3 and interview on 3/5
http://libraryqueue.blogspot.com/ 3/4
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/ 3/4
http://www.myfriendamysblog.com/ 3/5
http://samsbookblog.blogspot.com/ 3/5
http://goodbooksbrightside.blogspot.com/ 3/5

Guest Post: Helen Hollick, author of The Kingmaking (Pendragon's Banner, Book One)

I am absolutely thrilled to have Helen Hollick here today for a guest post. She has been one of my favorite authors since I first read the Pendragon's Banner trilogy back in the mid 1990s. I am having a hard time believing that it has been about fifteen years! The best thing about the re-release of this great series by Sourcebooks is that it gives me a happy reason to read them again. I remembered that I loved them, but I had forgotten WHY. Now I can put it into words and my review will be up a bit later today.

Now, I would like to welcome Helen!! My question to her was:

Has your writing process changed since the first edition of The Kingmaking was published in 1994?

Gosh, yes!

I suppose (I hope!) my writing has matured, and I now have the confidence to think of myself as a professional author (albeit one on a level of prosperity similar to the proverbial Church Mouse).

One of the most difficult things for new writers (and established writers?) to do is sing praises of their work. It is so hard to not appear to boast, and then there is always that nagging little voice saying, "But what if people are just being nice? What if my book is really a load of rubbish?"

Believe me, it takes a lot of confidence to shove that voice aside, and it never fully vanishes.

Every so often something happens to rock my confidence (yes even after having 8 books published) and I start thinking that maybe I am not a good writer after all.

Having said that, on the whole I know that my books are good. I am proud of what I have written. Therefore, I will blow my own trumpet as and where I can. After all, no one else is going to tootle it for me.

My writing style has improved, I think; there are things I know now that I wish I’d known back in 1993 when I was first accepted by William Heinemann here in the UK. Little things, maybe, but they can make such a difference to a good read.

Not starting sentences/paragraphs with a character’s name for instance - looking down a page in the first edition of The Kingmaking you would find lines starting like this:

Arthur walked into the room…
Arthur took a sip of wine…
Arthur mounted his horse and cantered away…
How much better to write:
Walking into the room, Arthur….
The wine tasted rich and fruity. Taking another sip, Arthur…
Mounting, and kicking his horse into a canter, Arthur…

Going self publish with my latest adventure/fantasy pirate-based series has taught me to take more notice of the editing process. With William Heinemann the editing was undertaken by the Publishing House, though of course it was still up to me to proof read, make corrections etc.

I very much relied on Heinemann to edit the original Kingmaking, however. By the third book, Shadow of the King, I had found the confidence to protest at any changes I did not approve of. A copy editor had totally altered my style of writing. Where I had written a sentence of dialogue to make it sound as if the character is in the past - "Shall I not?" for instance, she had altered it to "I shall not." I was very indignant about that.

I was also extremely angry that when The Kingmaking was originally published in the US the wrong file had been sent. The uncorrected proof. It was this file they printed from., but by the time I found out it was already too late, the books were printed. I gave up counting the errors at 360. One I will never forget is Arthur’s "bread stubbled chin." It should have been beard stubbled, of course. To this day I picture Arthur with croutons on his face.

(Just have to break in for one second here to say that I READ that edition and, the story was so engrossing, I never noticed any mistakes!)

If you want to write, editing is so important. Not just for the checking of spelling, punctuation, continuity, but for the plot, the idea. You, as the writer, know perfectly well what is happening and why because all the information is in your head. Your reader can only go on what you have written, however. And if what you have written does not make sense… you are scuppered. A good editor will spot the problem.

I cannot remember who said this, but it is a terrific quote: "When I wrote that only God and I knew what I meant. Now only God knows."

I also have the confidence to delete whole passages. For that first Kingmaking I would agonise over taking out one word. Now if my instinct tells me something is not right, out it comes – even if it is a whole page or a whole chapter. In fact my first draft of Sea Witch started about 50 pages before where it starts now. I realised that for this type of book I had to get straight into the action, not ponder on my hero’s early childhood as I had with The Kingmaking. So I hit the delete button for what had been about a month’s worth of work.

Without sounding big-headed, I thoroughly enjoyed reading through the proof of this Sourcebooks edition of The Kingmaking. I am not saying it is perfect – there are bound to be one or two missed typing errors, and maybe on reading it you decide the story is not your cup of tea, which is fair enough. It would be a dull old world if we all liked to read the same things, but I enjoyed the read. I fell in love with Arthur all over again – and cried at the sad bits. And there were one or two passages that I had to go and check in the original version, for truly I did not remember writing such thrilling stuff.

Did I really write that? Gosh!


Thank you, Helen! I'm always fascinated to hear about the writing process. I'm so glad to have had you here today!! What an honor, and a thrill, for me.

Be sure to visit Helen's website and come back later today for my review....

Book Giveaway Carnival is Here!! Giveaway: In Hovering Flight by Joyce Hinnefeld

Welcome, everyone to Book Giveaway Carnival!! This week, many of your favorite book bloggers will be giving away some fantastic books! So head on over to Book Room Reviews for a list of everyone participating and the links to the giveaways. Tracy at Book Room Reviews is the creator and host of Book Giveaway Carnival....thanks, Tracy, for hosting this great event!

My giveaway this week is In Hovering Flight by Joyce Hinnefeld! This book has been generously provided by Caitlin at Unbridled Books. I reviewed it in December, you can read my review here. To enter, just leave a comment here with a note about why you think you might like this book. For two extra entries you can blog about the giveaway, tweet it on twitter or become a follower of my blog. If you do one of these, please leave a separate comment letting me know. The winner will be drawn at random and must have a US or Canada mailing address. P.O. Boxes are OK (!). Enter until midnight, eastern time on March 8. Good luck everyone and enjoy the Carnival!!

Oh--I have five other book giveaways going on this week, please check them out! They are all on my left sidebar, just click on the book cover to enter!

Thank you!!

Thank you to Beth at Beth Fish Reads and to The Blogger Guide for helping me to customize my template and to Andrea at The Little Bookworm for improving my header!!

About Me

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.