Blog Tour and Book Review: Shadows of Swanford Abbey

*Book review at the bottom of the page

BOOK DESCRPTION

Agatha Christie meets Jane Austenin this atmospheric Regency tale brimming with mystery, intrigue, and romance.

When Miss Rebecca Lane returns to her home village after a few years away, her brother begs for a favor: go to nearby Swanford Abbey and deliver his manuscript to an author staying there who could help him get published. Feeling responsible for her brother’s desperate state, she reluctantly agrees.

The medieval monastery turned grand hotel is rumored to be haunted. Once there, Rebecca begins noticing strange things, including a figure in a hooded black gown gliding silently through the abbey’s cloisters. For all its renovations and veneer of luxury, the ancient foundations seem to echo with whispers of the past–including her own. For there she encounters Sir Frederick–magistrate, widower, and former neighbor–who long ago broke her heart.

When the famous author is found murdered in the abbey, Sir Frederick begins questioning staff and guests and quickly discovers that several people held grudges against the man, including Miss Lane and her brother. Haunted by a painful betrayal in his past, Sir Frederick searches for answers but is torn between his growing feelings for Rebecca and his pursuit of the truth. For Miss Lane is clearly hiding something.

The increase in popularity in the historical suspense genre is well-deserved. I have long enjoyed Gothic romances from classic authors such as Emily Bronte, Daphne du Maurier and Victoria Holt. There is something thrilling about being transported to a gloomy atmospheric country estate filled with secrets and mystery.

In the tradition of her predecessors, award-winning and bestselling author Julie Klassen’s highly anticipated new historical suspense novel, Shadows of Swanford Abbey, is releasing on December 7, 2021, from Bethany House Publishers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Klassen

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. Her books have sold over a million copies, and she is a three-time recipient of the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award and has been a finalist in the RITA and Carol Awards. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

The increase in popularity in the historical suspense genre is well-deserved. I have long enjoyed Gothic romances from classic authors such as Emily Bronte, Daphne du Maurier and Victoria Holt. There is something thrilling about being transported to a gloomy atmospheric country estate filled with secrets and mystery.

In the tradition of her predecessors, award-winning and bestselling author Julie Klassen’s highly anticipated new historical suspense novel, Shadows of Swanford Abbey, is releasing on December 7, 2021, from Bethany House Publishers.

YOUTUBE VIDEO

Author Julie Klassen shares her inspiration for Shadows of Swanford Abbey

ADVANCE PRAISE

“A brilliant Agatha Christie-esque whodunit by reader favorite Julie Klassen. Set in the creepy atmosphere of an old abbey, Shadows of Swanford Abbey will keep you guessing until the very end. There’s plenty of danger, intrigue, and—yes—romance to delight Regency-era lovers of all ages. Truly a don’t-miss read!”—Michelle Griep, Christy Award-winning author of Once Upon a Dickens Christmas

“If you enjoy historical fiction with equal blends MYSTERY (suspense) and ROMANCE, then I recommend Shadows of Swanford Abbey with you wholeheartedly without any reservations. This may just be my FAVORITE Klassen novel yet.”—Becky Laney, Becky’s Book Reviews

“Once again Julie Klassen has delivered an intriguing book with all kinds of mystery and a few ghosts added in made it all worth the midnight oil I burned because I didn’t want to put it down!”—Lori Parrish, Red Headed Book Lady

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

BOOK REVIEW

Julie Klassen has done it again. As the book description says, this is an ode to both Jane Austen and Agatha Christie, and it is a work of art. The characters are well developed, and the mystery is full of twists and intrigue. The setting in an old abbey turned hotel makes this novel even more fascinating. The cast of characters is superb. The hotel guests add even more suspense and intrigue. As you are navigating this historical romantic mystery, you might even see a ghost. Mystery, history, and romance are all woven together masterfully. Fans of all of these genres will love this compelling read. Fans of Julie Klassen will not be surprised that she’s produced another winner.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

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Self-Published Saturday: Amulet of Scion

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help self-published/indie authors with the huge task of marketing their books. Self-Published/Indie authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing and more. If I can help even a little bit with the marketing, I’m glad to do it. If you would also like to help, please share this post with your followers. If you are interested in this book, I have buy links below. If you decide to read it, be sure and leave a review. Our first feature today is a wonderful young adult fantasy adventure, Amulet of Scion.

BOOK REVIEW

When Bailee Paxton is given a locket by her dying mother, it comes with four warnings. “Keep it secret,” “Keep it safe,” “Never take it off,” and “Never give it to anyone.” Bailee, however, decides to have it appraised in order to help raise money for her friend Asher. Then the professor she has taken it to is found in a trance, and his collection of ancient artifacts is missing. Is Bailee a suspect? And why does she feel that she’s being watched?

This clever tale set in South Africa will keep you spellbound. It is a captivating adventure that follows the secrets of a magical amulet and a town with a fascinating past. It is a fantastical but dangerous ride into the world of magic. The characters are so well crafted and the mystery is complex and deep-seated. The author also has a wonderful descriptive ability. Her depiction of the aftermath of a rainstorm is a beauty to behold…”The rain had stopped. Scores of tortoises sipped moisture from leaves, seagulls screeched, swarms of white butterflies fluttered across Martha’s herb garden, and children’s chatter drifted from the shore.” This is just one example of the way Grobler makes the beauty of South Africa come alive under her pen. Over and over, her vivid word pictures make us feel as if we are there. The history and mystery of the amulet will captivate the reader, and the story moves splendidly along, surrounded by magic and nature. Amulet of Scion takes you on a magical and perilous mystery adventure in a country glittering with beauty and natural riches. Fans of young adult/middle grade fantasy, mystery, and paranormal fiction will want to check this one out.

NOTE: If you’re American, as I am, and pause over some of the spelling and expressions, it is because British spelling and South African expressions are used.

Although I originally received a free copy, I also purchased a copy of this book because this is a talented author that I’d like to support.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J.T. Grobler

J.T. GROBLER lives with her husband and daughter. She shares her space with two formidable Staffordshire terriers. Her dog of choice, but honestly, anything four-legged that lets her hug it surely has a kind soul. 

When she isn’t writing, she’s probably strolling with her furry friends through the local farmer’s vineyards or dawdling along the beach. She adores boat rides, watching an active slipway and the wind on her face. 

She also has a pair of African Grey parrots who love to jabber about what she said yesterday. 

Her first writing job came from a third-grade teacher – 100 lines of “I must not eat in class”.

Thank you for reading!

CONTACT J.T. GROBLER

Website

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

BUY LINKS

Amazon US

Amazon UK

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Self-Published Saturday: Sincere Thoughts by Karen A. White

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Indie/Self-Published authors with the daunting task of marketing. Self-Published/Indie authors have so much on their plate–editing, cover design, and marketing among them. If I can help even a little with marketing, I’m happy to do so. Today we are featuring a collection of Christian poems, Sincere Thoughts by Karen A. White.

BOOK REVIEW

Sincere Thoughts is a lovely book of Christian poetry done in free verse by Karen A. White. The poems cover spiritual struggles, including pain, loss, grief, and separation from God, but joy and hope are also woven throughout. The poem RETURN is about the journey of finding your way back to God. ONE STEP AT A TIME tells how each step forward makes God’s purpose in your life become more clear. MOONBEAM tells us that even in the stress and struggles of life, God is always there. GOODBYE and REGRETS are deeply personal poems about death, love, and loss. Grief and pain surrounding the death of White’s husband and other family members can be found throughout this book, and her thoughts and insight will help others who have lost loved ones. 

Sincere Thoughts by Karen A. White conveys powerful emotions and shares with us life lessons the author has learned. I felt the author’s pain, rejection, renewed hope, and even joy as I traveled through this poetry collection. It is a personal reflection on God, family, and new beginnings, but also speaks of divorce, despair, and grief, with which many readers can relate. In this book the author starts at the bottom of the stairs and finds new hope, healing, and trust in God while climbing up again. These reflections, thoughts, and memories will give you renewed strength during your own spiritual journey. Overall, this is a moving ode to life’s struggles and God’s presence in our lives. It will be a great help to those who are struggling. I would recommend this poetry book to anyone dealing with grief, pain, and loss, or anyone looking for God’s purpose in their lives. 

I received a free copy of this book and reviewed this book for Reader’s Favorite.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

In 2019 Karen A. White withstood the illness and death of her loving spouse, Evangelist Edmond White. These events tested her love for and faith in God. She is sure that without Christ in her life she would have been lost and without hope. Through her life, walk, trust and faith in God she is reassured that all things are possible: Hope, Love, Completeness, Joy, Peace, Stability. Karen’s poems come from her heart, life’s experiences and her journey. She wants the reader to know they are not alone in their struggles, there is a positive side to everything as in “I Can”, and that each of us has the power to inspire; but we must “Lead by Example” knowing that there still will be times when we will shed a few “Tears”. 

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Who Knew You Could Do This With PowerPoint

Self-published/Indie authors: This is a great article on how to make Powerpoint a marketing tool. reblogged from Jacqui Murray’s Worddreams.

During my promo for my latest prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature. one of my wonderful hosts posted this article  I wrote about how I use a venerable favorite PowerPoint in my book marketing. In case you missed it, here’s a revisit:

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As an Indie author, I not only write my own books but do all the marketing. For most of you, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. I’m always looking for ways to make it easier and faster. The old standby PowerPoint has come to my rescue more often than I expected. I’ve used PowerPoint for a score of years so am entirely comfortable with it and appreciate not having to learn new buttons and widgets. As a result, if PowerPoint can make me look like a pro, I’m using it.

Here are a few ideas on how PowerPoint can spiff up your marketing:

Trailer

Time…

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Top Ten Things Not to Do if You Decide to Self-Publish Your Book

Hilarious! Self-Published authors must read!

Fiction Favorites

Photo by ron dyar on Unsplash

This post originally ran on October 12th, 2015. Those with memories of an elephant might like it again. For the rest of us, I hope you enjoy it.

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The inspiration for this list is my latest effort to self-publish the next John J. Cannon story titled His Revenge. Since I had absolutely no experience in publishing, the journey was a long winding road marked by plenty of mistakes. I’m sure the trial and error method is not over yet, but here is some of what I learned. Don’t forget I’m a fiction writer, so some of these lessons have been enhanced with dubious facts to make them more exciting and hopefully humorous. I would, therefore, resist publishing this list on the Huffington Post. (hear that, Arianna?)

Top Ten Things Not to Do if You Decide to Self-Publish Your Book

10 If…

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Self-Published Saturday/Countess Jacqueline

Self-Published Saturday is my attempt to help self-published authors with the gargantuan task of marketing their books. They have to do it all, and if I can help even a little bit, I will.

I ask you to also help authors by sharing the Self-Published Saturday posts with your followers so they can see these books. Even if a particular book might not be your cup of tea, it may be the perfect read for one of your followers.

Today I want to bring to your attention again a great author, Gail Meath, who writes historical fiction, often about great and accomplished women who are not as well known in history. Countess Jacqueline of Holland, leader and warrior, is the Subject of Meath’s book, Countess Jacqueline. See my review below.

Countess Jacqueline by Gail Meath is a prize-winning historical romance based upon the life of the real Countess Jacqueline of Holland, who ruled the counties of Holland, Zeeland, and Hainut in the Low Countries (Netherlands) from 1417 to 1433. The book opens with Jacqueline as a young girl whose father is already trying to arrange her marriage to secure his kingdom. Fiercely independent and an excellent horsewoman and archer, she resists marriage as long as she can. After the death of her father, politics come into play as another heir demands her title and her lands. Jacqueline fights for her lands and her people, making mistakes along the way, and possibly finding the love of her life.

This is a very well written novel by Gail Meath, who weaves together a captivating story by combining both real and fictional characters to create a spellbinding saga. The true story of Jacqueline’s life, battles, and marriages, and her love of and dedication to her people is amazing, and Meath expertly adds perfectly placed characters and storylines. She brings the Countess, her passion for Holland, and the way of life in that era alive on the page, and her meticulous research of the period is obvious. Readers will become immersed in Jacqueline’s life in 1400s Holland and feel as if they are there. Fans of historical fiction and romance will enjoy this book. 

I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited, where members can read it for free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gail Meath

Award-winning author Gail Meath writes historical romance novels that will whisk you away to another time and place in history where you will meet fascinating characters, both fictional and real, who will capture your heart and soul. Meath loves writing about little or unknown people, places and events in history, rather than relying on the typical stories and settings. 

The subgenres of her books vary from action-packed westerns, plot twisting murder mysteries and biographies of powerful women who defied the strict rules of society fighting for the freedom of their countries. Her romances may exclude steamy sexual scenes, yet the intensity between heroine and hero will satisfy your deepest fantasies. 

Outside of writing, she spends loads of time with her husband, children and grandchildren. 

FIND GAIL MEATH ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Instagram

BUY COUNTESS JACQUELINE

Amazon *Kindle Unlimited Subscribers can read it for free.

Link to Gail Meath’s Website

Link to my Amazon review

BEFORE YOU GO

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Tomatoes and Memories

Photo by Doug DeMoss

(Story about my Mom and gardening begins in the second paragraph.) Believe it or not, this week wasn’t all about books! The tomatoes in my garden are coming in fast and heavy, and I did a lot of canning this week. I haven’t posted about canning much, but I do enjoy water bath and pressure canning when I get a chance. This week I had to take time off work to keep up with these tomatoes, and on two different days I put up about 20 quarts, 5 pints of tomatoes, and five half-pints of green tomato jam (lemony and delicious, I promise). I still have more tomatoes to can, so I’m thinking about spicy ketchup or tomato chutney of some kind. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

I have been canning off and on for years, but there is a story behind these tomatoes that make them mean so much to me. My mom was an avid and gifted gardener. She grew up in the mountains of North Carolina in the 1930s/40s with eleven brothers and sisters, and a Dad who was a farmer and logger. She helped out in the house, and and she also helped her Mom can the garden bounty in a washtub out in the yard over an open fire, as they did not yet have electricity. Mom moved to Cincinnati when she married my Dad and we lived in a poorer suburb, but she always had a magnificent garden. My whole life growing up we had garden vegetables in the summer and home-canned vegetables in the winter. I never thought much about it, but we were eating well, despite being a family of 10 in a three-bedroom house..

When my Dad retired, he and my Mom moved back to those North Carolina mountains and she had a garden for the 20 years they were able to stay there. She always had home-canned green beans, tomatoes, and sauerkraut, as well as other vegetables and fruits, and she was happy to give them to her kids. Consequently I still was able to eat home-canned vegetables more than most. When health problems became too much for them, they moved back to Cincinnati so my sister could help them. My Mom immediately started a garden and kept it up, even when her health began to deteriorate. My Dad had dementia and heart problems, and passed in 2019.

When my Mom died suddenly in March 2020, she left behind tomato seedlings she had already started. My brother gathered them and split them up between the siblings. I planted my share of those seedlings, and they didn’t do very well at all. However, I got enough tomatoes to get seeds for this year. This year my husband and I planted the seeds, and the plants have thrived! We call them Granny Tomatoes, because my mom always went by Granny to her many kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. We put in about 20 Granny plants and about 10 Romas, and the bounty has been plentiful, with many more still on the vines. So these tomatoes to me are more than just a garden treat. They are a legacy, one of which I am very proud.

Photo by Doug DeMoss

All of the tomato photos were taken by my husband in our tomato garden, as was the one I put on the main page of this blog.

The first two photos are my Mom (Dorothy Jenkins Zinser) at 16. The original version is on the left and a colorized version is in the middle. On the right is my Mom at almost 88, making sauerkraut in October 2019. She went to Heaven five months later.

A Self-Published Saturday reblog: Book Review from France

As part of Self-Published Saturday, this is a reblog of a review for a great Self-Published book, The Siege of An Loc by Nguyen Trong Hien. See the rest of the review on his site. I have also reviewed this book on my site.  Link below

My review of The Siege of An Loc

neihtn

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine who lives in Paris sent me an email about “The Siege of An Lộc”, my second novel published a year ago. I have translated his email below and also included his original in French.

oOo

I read your book “The Siege of An Loc”. I finished reading it a long time ago, but I was too perturbed by the events related to Covid to give you my impressions.

I loved both of your books [“Village Teacher” and “The Siege of An Loc“] and I think that one of these days someone will put the two on the silver screen since you provided sufficient historical details as well as details on military operations to transform both novels into love, historical, and action movies.

“The Siege of An Loc” is particularly captivating from beginning to end. From the start, I…

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Self-Published Saturday: Free Self-Published Book Today/Your Words Your World

Louise Bélanger’s wonderful book of poetry, Your Words, Your World, is free today on Amazon (ebook version only). The sale is worldwide and today only. Be sure and pick up a copy, absolutely free, and leave a review on Amazon. Reviews are extremely important, as you all know, and the authors appreciate them so much!

GET YOUR WORDS, YOUR WORLD ABSOLUTELY FREE

Here is my link to my 5-star review of Your Worlds, Your World that I did on a previous SP Saturday.

Two Reminders before you go:

  1. After you read your free ebook, please leave a review. Reviews are needed and are extremely important.
  2. Please press the Twitter and Facebook buttons below and share this news with your friends. They may want a free book too!