Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Chain Reaction {+ Giveaway}

It’s a pleasure to be participating in the Release Day Blitz for CHAIN REACTION by Tara Wyatt.

As part of the blitz, Tara is sharing an excerpt from her new release. In addition, you have the chance to win one of ten (10) mass market copies of CHAIN REACTION. Please see the end of the post for more giveaway details.

◊ Title: Chain Reaction
◊ Author: Tara Wyatt
◊ Series: Bodyguard, Book #3
◊ On Sale: February 28, 2017
◊ Publisher: Forever
◊ Formats: Mass Market
◊ Price: $7.99 (mass market)

Be sure add CHAIN REACTION to your shelf on Goodreads.


Blonde. Beautiful. Talented. Alexa Fairfax is practically Hollywood royalty. But growing up in a family of legendary movie stars also puts her in the spotlight for danger. And after she discovers a plot more deadly than any movie script, Alexa desperately needs a bodyguard. A man like Zack De Luca. A true friend with a good heart, a protective nature-and the hard, chiseled muscles to back it up.
           Zack has always been wildly attracted to Alexa. But since he's training day and night to be an MMA fighter, he's afraid his gorgeous friend will only distract him from his goal. Indescribably sweet and irresistibly sexy, Alexa needs Zack to pretend to be her boyfriend after her life is threatened. Now this fighter-in-training will have to fight his own intense feelings-to keep their little charade from turning into a major disaster . . .


This is Book #3 in the Bodyguard Series. Be sure to check out the Series Page on Goodreads.

CHAIN REACTION is available at the following sites: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Google Play, and Kobo.

Now here’s an excerpt from the book for your reading pleasure.

She leaned her back against the door and shut her eyes, her face ghostly white. Her hands shook as she adjusted the strap of her purse on her shoulder.
Frowning, Zack shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans and headed toward her. She smiled weakly when she saw him, her lips twitching up for a second, but the smile didn’t reach her eyes. Her fingers curled around the strap of her purse, her knuckles going the same shade of white as her face. Something hot and protective tightened his chest, and for a crazy second, he wanted to reach out and pull her into his arms, to promise her that, whatever it was, she’d be okay.
Instead he stopped a few feet in front of her, his hands still in his pockets. “Alexa? You okay?”
Her eyes met his, and she sucked in a shaky breath. “I...Oh God.” She pressed her hands to her face and let out a soft sob, her shoulders trembling.
Zack yanked his hands from his pockets and pulled Alexa into his arms, cradling her against his chest. She felt so tiny, so vulnerable. She barely reached his shoulder despite the fact that she had heels on.
“What happened? Did someone hurt you?” he whispered into her light-blond hair, so fine and soft under his fingers as he stroked the back of her head. So help him God, if someone had hurt her, he would make them bleed.
She pulled back, just enough to look up at him, and he noticed the mascara smudged under her eye. He left his arms around her. It would’ve felt wrong to take them away.
She shook her head slowly, her bottom lip caught between her teeth. “I...don’t think...I can’t.”
“Do you want to go outside? Get some fresh air?” Maybe if she calmed down a little, she’d be able to tell him what the hell had her so...It was more than upset.
The poor girl was fucking spooked.
She hesitated a second before nodding. Without a word he tucked her under his arm, shielding her from the view of the other party guests. He led her down a hallway off the foyer and into the garage, where a side door led into the quiet, dark backyard. The noise from the party filtered out through the open windows, mingling with the soft gurgle of water from the pool. A cool spring breeze rustled the palm fronds and teased Alexa’s shoulder-length hair around her jaw. She brushed it aside as he led her to a stone bench off to the right, their backs to the house.
For several moments they just sat, Alexa sniffling and staring blankly at the still water of the pool. Zack stroked a hand up and down her back, hoping to comfort her in some way. He’d spent the past year as a bodyguard honing his protective instincts, and they now came to life, alarm bells ringing through his skull. Something was very, very wrong.
When she finally spoke, she surprised him with her question. “Who’s the party for? Sierra was cagey about it on the phone earlier.”
Zack glanced back at the house. “Oh. Uh, for Taylor and Colt. They got married in Vegas last weekend.”
Alexa’s head whipped around. “What? But didn’t they just get together?”
“They’re crazy.” She shook her head, but he could hear the smile in her voice.
“That’s what I said.”
Gently, she laid a hand on his arm, the tips of her fingers warm against his skin. “Are you okay?”
Fuck, she was so sweet. He was supposed to be comforting her and finding out why she’d suddenly burst into tears, and she was worried about him because his ex-girlfriend had eloped.
He laid a hand over hers, allowing himself the luxury of tracing his thumb over her delicate knuckles. “I’m fine. Just surprised, like everyone, I think. You gonna tell me what’s wrong?”
She sighed heavily. “I don’t even know where to start.” “Beginning’s usually a good place.”
She scoffed out a laugh. “That would take too long.”
He turned to face her. “Did someone hurt you? What happened, Alexa?”A tremble coursed through her, and he wished he were wearing more than a T-shirt and jeans so that he had a jacket or a sweater to offer her. But he didnt, so instead he pulled her close and tucked her against him. “Please tell me. I want to help.”
She swallowed thickly and looked up at him, meeting his gaze. “I...I think my dad’s a murderer and that I might be in a lot of trouble.”

Excerpted from CHAIN REACTION by Tara Wyatt. Copyright © 2017 by Tara Wyatt. Reprinted with permission of Forever. All rights reserved.
Tara Wyatt Author Photo_GrahamWyatt
Tara Wyatt has been making up love stories ever since she fell head over heels for the Backstreet Boys almost twenty years ago.

Winner of the Unpublished Winter Rose Award, Linda Howard Award of Excellence and the Heart of the West Award, Tara lives in Hamilton, Ontario with the cutest dog in the world and a husband that makes all of her heroes look like chumps.

For more on Tara and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads.

You can also follow FOREVER online by visiting their website and connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

This blitz-wide giveaway is for ten (10) mass market copies of CHAIN REACTION. To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instruction. The widget may take a few seconds to loads so please be patient.

Thanks for stopping by during Tara’s visit today. Do you think being a bodyguard could lead to romance?

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Million Little Things

It’s a pleasure today to tell you about a great new book, A MILLION LITTLE THINGS, by #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery.

MIRA will publish the book tomorrow, February 28th. This third book in Mallery's acclaimed Mischief Bay series has been called “engaging and comically touching” by Library Journal and “delightful” by Booklist.

◊ by Susan Mallery
◊ #1 New York Times bestselling author
◊ MIRA, trade paperback,  
◊ In stores February 28, 2017

A MILLION LITTLE THINGS is available through Amazon.

“Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations. Her engaging and comically touching third novel in the Mischief Bay series continues to satisfy lovers of women’s fiction.”—Library Journal

“Mallery brings back her signature mix of friendship, romance, and humor in this third book in the Mischief Bay series…Mallery has written a delightful book, with realistic characters facing problems and situations in genuine, believable ways. There isn’t a false note in this book or this series.”—Booklist

From the bestselling author of The Girls of Mischief Bay and The Friends We Keep comes a twisty tale of family dynamics that explores what can go terribly, hysterically wrong when the line between friendship and family blurs…

Zoe Saldivar is more than just single—she’s ALONE. She recently broke up with her longtime boyfriend, she works from home, and her best friend Jen is so obsessed with her baby that she has practically abandoned their friendship. The day Zoe accidentally traps herself in her attic with her hungry-looking cat, she realizes that it’s up to her to stop living in isolation.
          Her seemingly empty life takes a sudden turn for the complicated—her first new friend is Jen’s widowed mom, Pam. The only guy to give her butterflies in a very long time is Jen’s brother. And meanwhile, Pam is being very deliberately seduced by Zoe’s own smooth-as-tequila father. Pam’s flustered, Jen’s annoyed, and Zoe is beginning to think “alone” doesn't sound so bad, after all.
          Friendship isn’t just one thing—it’s a million little things, and no one writes them with more heart and humor than book club sensation Susan Mallery!

Author Susan Mallery
#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women. Publishers Weekly calls Susan’s prose “luscious and provocative,” and Booklist says, “Novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling.”

Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle.

For more about Susan and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and sign up for her newsletter.

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope I’ve enticed you to check out Susan’s book that releases tomorrow. Isn’t there something about a twisty tale of family dynamics that just draws you in?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Was it Illness or Murder?

This past Monday we celebrated President’s Day in the U.S. and it’s the perfect time to tell you about the historical fiction surrounding the tragic death of Willie Lincoln in THE MURDER OF WILLIE LINCOLN by Burt Solomon, an award-winning political journalist and contributing editor for The Atlantic and National Journal.

Burt puts a speculative and mysterious twist on history in this gripping new novel about the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son. Doris Kearns Goodwin praises the mystery, saying “…Solomon offers a deeply imagined and entirely plausible account of the Lincoln White House at its saddest…You won’t guess whodunit until the final, suspenseful page.”

          Washington City, 1862:  The United States lies in tatters, and there seems no end to the war. Abraham Lincoln, the legitimate President of the United States, is using all his will to keep his beloved land together.  But Lincoln’s will and soul are tested when tragedy strikes the White House as Willie Lincoln, the love and shining light in the president’s heart, is taken by typhoid fever.
But was this really the cause of his death?  A message arrives, suggesting otherwise. Lincoln asks John Hay, his trusted aide—and almost a son—to investigate Willie’s death.  Some see Hay as a gadfly—adventurous, incisive, lusty, reflective, skeptical, and even cynical—but he loves the president and so seeks the truth behind the boy’s death. 
And so, as we follow Hay in his investigation, we are shown the loftiest and lowest corners of Washington City, from the president’s office and the gentleman’s dining room at Willard’s Hotel to the alley hovels, wartime hospitals, and the dome-less Capitol’s vermin-infested subbasement. We see the unfamiliar sides of a grief-stricken president, his hellcat of a wife, and their two surviving and suffering sons, and Hay matches wits with such luminaries as General McClellan, William Seward, and the indomitable detective Allan Pinkerton.
What Hay discovers has the potential of not only destroying Lincoln, but a nation.

◊ by Burt Solomon
◊ Forge Books
◊ February 21, 2017
◊ ISBN 978-0-7653-8583-3; $25.99

Please join me in welcoming Burt to Thoughts in Progress to talk about his new release. Welcome, Burt.

          I was sitting at my computer one morning, staring at the screen, when an idea popped into my head: a murder mystery in the Lincoln White House (or, Executive Mansion, as I was soon to learn). I love murder mysteries. I love Lincoln. How fun to read! So I’d better write it.
          Immediately, a second thought struck: John Hay as the detective. I didn’t even know I knew who he was. But he turned out to be a very cool guy, a 23-year-old assistant private secretary to Lincoln who lived upstairs in the White House, a witty and irreverent lawyer and poet (and boxer, in my story) who was almost like another son to Lincoln.
          I’m basically a nonfiction guy, a journalist by trade, and the author of three nonfiction histories. So I decided to keep the story line as close to nonfiction as I could. I read about Lincoln’s presidency in order to find a real death I could turn into a murder—and I did.
Willie Lincoln, the president’s 11-year-old—and probably favorite—son, died on February 20, 1862, from what his doctors thought was typhoid fever. I’ve turned his death into a poisoning. I’ve left almost everything else the same—the characters, the events of the day, even the hour-by-hour weather in Washington City (courtesy of the National Weather Service, your tax dollars at work). My favorite three pages in the book may be the Afterword, in which I explain what is factual and what is not.      
I spent days at the National Library of Medicine to find a medicine-slash-poison (all medicines are poisons if taken in excess) common at the time that mimicked the symptoms of typhoid fever in all but one respect. I also combed through old medical journals to find the embalming method that Willie’s embalmer probably used, and to find tests for possible poisons that were known at the time.
          The research for this book wasn’t too different than for nonfiction. In each case, I tried very hard to bring to life the time and place I’m writing about. The trick is an accretion of details, often more vivid than I could invent. I plowed through newspapers, magazines, memoirs, diaries, manuscript collections, archives, and books about Washington in the Civil War. I learned about the hogs and geese in Washington’s gutters, the organ grinders and prostitutes at work on opposite sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, and the canal that became an open sewer (and later Constitution Avenue) stinking like “the ghosts of 10,000 dead cats,” by John Hay’s nonfictional estimation.
          In many cases, research drove the plot line. I learned, for instance, that the longtime White House gardener, John Watt, had learned to pad his invoices and taught the skill to Mary Lincoln, who wanted to spend much more money on making the Executive Mansion (and herself) beautiful than Congress was willing to appropriate. When she happened to mention her transgressions in three letters to Watt, he blackmailed the Lincolns for $20,000, an enormous amount, eventually settling for $1,500 and a military commission. I’ve used this in plotting the book.
          The circumstances of the onset of Willie’s illness, a congressional report on secret secessionists all over the government, the role of Mrs. Lincoln’s seamstress in arranging nurses for Willie and his brother Tad, the exhumation (in actuality, twice) of Willie’s corpse, the struggle between heroic and homeopathic medicine—these were all facts I used in plotting the story.
          For the characters familiar to history, I tried to keep them as close as I could to what’s known. This gave me plenty of material. Elizabeth Keckly, to cite one extraordinary character, was a former slave who became Mrs. Lincoln’s seamstress and perhaps her only friend. I’ve incorporated a true mystery about her real father into the plot line, although I’ve altered the solution for the sake of my story.
          Never having written a murder mystery before, I can’t say if this trouble was the norm, but I found that the hardest part of the plotting was figuring out the middle. The first few steps in the detection seemed pretty evident (even if they proved useless in figuring out the crime) and so did the final few steps, once I’d decided whodunit. The real difficulty was linking up the beginning to the end, and in a step-by-step way that always seemed plausible. Clues can’t just fly in over the transom—there has to be a good reason why they turn up.
In a murder mystery, structure is everything. For one thing, to play fair with the reader, clues to the solution must be placed in plain yet obscured sight. The detective can’t figure things out too quickly and must always be making a bit of progress, even if it’s into a cul-de-sac. I sometimes felt like I was dealing with a set of simultaneous equations (from the days of algebra) in which multiple problems demanded a solution at once.
          I found fiction harder than nonfiction. My favorite quote these days comes from Mark Twain (natch!), who said that fiction is harder than nonfiction because it has to make sense. Everything has to go right in a novel—the characterizations, the relationships, the dialogue, as well as the plot—or I figure the reader will quickly lose patience. I would.

Burt, thanks for joining us today and sharing this fascinating look at how your story came to be. It’s always interesting where ideas come from.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Burt, here’s a bit of background on him.

Author Burt Solomon
BURT SOLOMON is a contributing editor for The Atlantic and National Journal, where he covered the White House and many other aspects of Washington life during the first Bush presidency and President Bill Clinton’s first term.

Burt has written articles for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe, and has appeared on NPR, CBS’s “Nightwatch,” as well as on C-SPAN. In 1991, Burt won the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency. He is also the author of the acclaimed Where They Ain't, a history of baseball in the 1890s.

Burt, his wife, and their two children live inside the Washington, D.C., Beltway.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Do you enjoy stories that are intertwined in history?

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Broken One {+ Giveaway}

I'm delighted today to be a part of author Christine H. Bailey's Xpresso Blog Tour for her release, THE BROKEN ONE.

As part of the celebration, Christine is sharing her Top 10 books she'd hope to have with her on a desert island. In addition, you get a chance to win 2X $5 Amazon Gift Cards and 2X signed copies of THE BROKEN ONE. Please see the end of the post for more details on the giveaway.

The Broken One
Christine H. Bailey
Publication date: April 5, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Sixteen-year-old Farris is picking up the pieces after the untimely death of her best friend. But even one year later, she can’t seem to find “normal” again—not until Lane Evans pops back into her life and pushes her to face reality.
When he offers her the chance to find the truth, Farris fears what will surface. Is it too much too soon or just what she needs to move forward?

Now here's Christine's Top 10 books she'd want to have with her.

Anna Karenina,
Little Women,
The Catcher in the Rye,
The Bible, Speak,
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian,
The Outsiders,
The Giver,
The House on Mango Street,
The Book Thief,
Harry Potter.

Author Christine H. Bailey
Christine H. Bailey teaches creative writing and written composition at a private university in west Tennessee. Before teaching English, Christine worked as a journalist, a marketing/public relations writer, and a freelance editor.
 To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website at www.cibailey.com.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

California’s Mission Phase Inspires a Novel

I’m delighted today to welcome author Barbara Crane (and a friend) to Thoughts in Progress to celebrate her release WHEN WATER WAS EVERYWHERE.

Her story is about a young St. Louis man who goes west to L.A. in the 1800’s during California’s mission phase. The book won a Beverly Hills Book Award and is inspired by the life of John Temple and Rancho Los Cerritos.

Barbara has brought a friend along to give us a different perspective. I’ll let Barbara explain.

Don Rodrigo Tilman is an important character in my historical novel, “When Water Was Everywhere.” He is inspired by the real historical figure Don Juan Temple, as he was known in the early 19th century Pueblo of Los Angeles. Today we’ll look at Tilman from his wife’s point of view. She shared his adventures in the early days of Los Angeles and at their cattle ranch, located in the present-day city of Long Beach, California. Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

My name is Señora Maria Alejandra Arenas de Tilman. My husband, Don Rodrigo Tilman, a man of fine character, was a Yankee sea captain.  When he settled in the pueblo of Los Angeles in the late 1820s, he became a Mexican citizen. You see, Mexico had recently fought a war of independence with Spain.  Alta California, claimed by Spain since the 16th century, became a part of Mexico. By becoming a Mexican citizen, my husband became eligible to own land.

I’m proud of what my husband has become in his adopted homeland. He owned the first store in the pueblo and rapidly became its wealthiest citizen. In 1843, he purchased Rancho Los Sierritos, which means “Ranch of the Little Hills”. Rancho Los Sierritos is 25 miles south of the pueblo of Los Angeles along the Los Angeles River. You should see the river. It is wild and beautiful at Rancho Los Sierritos, lined with willow and cottonwood trees.

My husband has plans for the ranch. He wants to raise an enormous herd of cattle, then sell the hides to the numerous trading ships that dock in San Pedro Bay’s harbor. First, though, he will build a ranch house, where we can live during the summer, away from the pueblo’s heat and dust. Our daughter, nine years old, will like that, too.

I can see that my husband is worried about the future. Mexico has not been a good steward of Alta California. The governors it has sent are not equipped to oversee such a vast territory. On the other hand, if Alta California does become part of the United States, which the American president wants, my husband isn’t sure that his claims to his ranch would be honored.

This is a time of uncertainty for us, but I’m sure my husband will find a way for us to keep our ranch and continue to prosper.

Barbara (and Señora Tilman) thanks for visiting today and sharing this insight. A fascinating look at a part of history.

Author Barbara Crane
Barbara Crane’s most recent novel, When Water Was Everywhere, won a Beverly Hills Book Award. She lives in Long Beach, CA near Rancho Los Cerritos and other sites she used in her novel.

For more on Barbara and her writing, visit her at the following sites:

Thanks for stopping by today. Do you enjoy getting the perspective of a character from a story?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Second Jezebel .. What It Takes To Write

It’s a pleasure today to welcome author Peter Mowbray to Thoughts in Progress to talk about his latest release, THE SECOND JEZEBEL.

Peter's love of history and his fascination with Catherine de Medici is plain to see in his newly published novel. The book, set seventeen years after the infamous Massacre of Saint Bartholomew, concludes Peter's interpretation of Catherine's story which began with his first novel, The Serpent of the Valois.

Here’s a brief synopsis of THE SECOND JEZEBEL:

          The slaughter of thousands of French Huguenots on a sultry August night in Paris 1572 will forever stain the reputation of the Queen Mother, Catherine de Medici.
          As Catherine lays dying 17 years later she relives her most heinous crime as well as her machinations to keep herself and her sons alive and secure the throne of France for the Valois dynasty. For their survival she would employ any weapon be it the cold steel of an assassin blade or a subtle, but deadly potion from her personal closet
          Plots, murders, deceptions and fear all play their part in a long life that has turned Catherine from an innocent Italian Duchess to a duplicitous mother who could smile at murder.
          The tempestuous journey from The Massacre of St Bartholomew to her deathbed is remembered, as all she has achieved now threatens to destroy her.   

THE SECOND JEZEBEL is available on Amazon.

Peter joins us now to talk about what it takes to make a writer. Welcome, Peter.

To make a writer
Telemachus, how did it come about?

For someone who has spent a long career treating Thoroughbred horses - for everything from infertility to racing performance - the transformation to writer has been a long, unlikely and tenuous road. I started dabbling with a pen back in the Seventies, realized it wasn’t a natural talent of mine, but doggedness convinced me to continue. I read a lot of fiction, but always with reservations about copying style or ideas. It was my aim, if I might ever succeed, to have a voice that would be distinctly my own and I didn’t want to steal anyone else’s ideas – even subconsciously. So I muddled on and the efforts weren’t very good; if I was learning and felt there were mild signs of improvement – as well as an innate inability to accept failure.

Then, in the Nineties, I was approached to do some equestrian books for J A Allen, in London. That was easy, because I had the training, had read extensively, was very familiar with the subject matter. But that wasn’t real writing, even if there would be a total of 12 books. I’d never be a writer unless I could produce readable fiction.

There’s a myriad of projects here I started and never managed to get an agent or publisher to read. My shelves are laden with ideas and printed pages – but the standard of writing was never good enough. I took classes, but with a terrible determination not to be influenced by others, to be absolutely individual. So I trundled on and all my family said ‘Poor Pete’ – he’s a sad case, and useless.

There were some tiny bits of encouragement, maybe: an agent told me I had ‘a voice’.; another could see seeds in incubation. When my Dad died, I wrote some blank verse and was told I was a poet – not a writer. I’m not a poet.

Then Telemachus slipped into being; a bit of fun really, created in a moment of sadness, but a delight to write – and it didn’t take very long. Perhaps longer to refine, but the story poured out in a matter of weeks in which I could enjoy every moment, every line; have a laugh at my ingenuity.

Still, when finished, it was only my bit of fun and nobody else would want to read it. Classified as ‘rubbish’ by members of my family, even my own children were so convinced I was a failure they raised their eyebrows and tut-tutted.

I thought of trying to put it on Amazon myself, but was afraid I wouldn’t do it properly, that I would mess up the formatting and I really needed an independent edit anyway, an opinion by somebody objective, truthful and professional about its quality - if I personally believed strongly in it. But where do you find someone like that and how could I afford to pay them? You’re thinking ‘hens teeth’!

Then, a year ago, surfing the net one day, I came across a website that offered the whole package for a sum I thought was very reasonable. They would proof-read, edit, format, help with cover design, write blurbs, advice on marketing, place it on Amazon – and all for a figure that was less than the cost of a professional edit. I submitted a Word file on a Sunday afternoon and, to my complete dismay, had a response within an hour. My proposition looked ‘very promising’, I was told. Two days later, I had a seven-page free assessment that was glowing as well as comprehensive. I sent it to two of my children and both screamed loudly ‘Beware, it’s a fraud’. Still, I decided to gamble; it’s in the blood, see? And I felt the work would be ready with an edit. It proved to be the best gamble ever for me; the book was on Amazon’s website within two months. Realistically, they did no proof reading after the initial assessment, I had to change one or two things that should have been blatantly obvious. The editing, too, was a complete farce, had clearly been farmed out, and the standard was so poor I had to spend a couple of days correcting the corrections!

The man responsible for the service was named Dai Williams; he had had a long career in the publishing world and certainly knew all about books. He has since been accused of fraud, but I owe him a debt of gratitude. He died and was no fraudster, just a human being trying to secure his family in the knowledge he was going to die. 

I was quite prepared to take the book down if it got bad reviews, but, to my amazement, they were positive from the start. People talked about the quality of the writing, the intricacies of the story, the underlying mystery of it all. But I was twice as amazed when I got the report from the Writer’s Digest judge, which almost duplicated Dai Williams’ assessment and even went a bit further. To be told by a judge in a competition that ‘ – the depth of the allegory is astounding’ was astounding for me. That he could say it was ‘brilliant’ and ‘an achievement’ meant I had finally got to where I wanted.

Maybe I can call myself ‘a writer’ now!

Peter, thanks for joining us today and sharing this look at what it takes to be a writer. I would say, yes you are a writer now.

For those unfamiliar with Peter’s writing, I’ll let him tell you a bit about his background.

Author Peter Mowbray
My name is Peter Mowbray, I am a “young at heart” 56-year-old, married to Sally and have 2 grown up sons Oli and Ross, we live just outside the regatta town of Henley on Thames in Oxfordshire. I work as an office administrator for a conference and event production

I’ve always had a passion for history, even as a young child, and was fascinated by one particular character from sixteenth-century European history - Catherine de Medici. From the infamous Medici family, who became a Queen of France.

From what I had read and learned, I decided to put together my own interpretation of  Catherine’s story. After studying for and gaining a diploma in historical writing I wrote my first novel – “The Serpent of the Valois” which was self-published in 2013.

The second part of this work is available this month. “The Second Jezebel” concludes my story of this enigmatic woman.

The idea is to learn and write more about some of the fascinating characters that have lived and loved, and who have a story to be told.

Thanks, everyone for stopping by today during Peter’s visit. Has there ever been a character from history that you were (or still are) fascinated with?