March 31, 2020

Historical Fiction Connection is closing up shop

Sadly, we have come to the decision to stop publishing on this blog due to personal time constraints. The site will stay up at http://hf-connection.blogspot.com so be sure to redirect anything linked to this site adding blogspot.com. Going forward, no new posts will be published. The HFC Facebook page will still be active so anything posted at my blog (see below) about your work will continue to be posted there.

I will carefully consider any submissions at my permanent blog, True Book Addict. However, the same guidelines will apply (listed below). I have a contact form on the blog. Please use that for any queries following the guidelines below (as previously outlined on this site). You do not have to submit any materials via the contact form. Once I respond to you via the email you leave in the contact form, you may then submit your materials by responding to my email.

Authors: BEFORE CONTACTING ME at the True Book Addict site!
Do not contact me to review your book. I will promote your work using a submission from you in your own words. Submit a guest post, article or feature for how you would like to be represented on my site. Please note that we are not your advertising space. Please send something exclusive that will not be reprinted elsewhere.

Also, please provide us with the standard summary, a photo of the cover, and that little extra such as a one-of-a-kind commentary about your book. A book giveaway to be hosted here, mailed by you, would be welcomed and much appreciated, but certainly not required! You may send your guest post on Word format or pasted within the email you send.

Still don't know what to send? We would love to hear about your own muse.. your historical figure or era that intrigues and inspires you! What do you feel is unique about your book? What interesting and intriguing topic did you stumble upon during your research? Tell us about it, in about 500 - 600 words, adding pictures where you would like.

Visit True Book Addict here, or at the links above.

I reserve the right to not post something for any reasons I deem necessary, such as any content that would not be suitable for all audiences. Since this site is a hobby, we cannot commit ourselves to any article that you request. If we have time to pursue our hobby, we will in turn pursue your request. However, please understand that we work full time and have families that are our priorities at all times. 

February 23, 2016

C.W. Gortner's The Vatican Princess - Book Blast and {Giveaway}


The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia by C.W. Gortner

Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Ballantine Books
Hardcover, Ebook, Audiobook
400 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction



Infamy is no accident. It is a poison in our blood. It is the price of being a Borgia.

Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias fascinated and terrorized 15th-century Renaissance Italy. Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of the pope, was at the center of the dynasty’s ambitions. Slandered as a heartless seductress who lured men to their doom, was she in fact the villainess of legend, or was she trapped in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and survival?

With the ascension of the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI, the new pope’s illegitimate children—his rival sons, Cesare and Juan, and beautiful young daughter Lucrezia—assume an exalted position in the papal court. Privileged and adored, Lucrezia yearns to escape her childhood and play a part in her family’s fortunes. But Rome is seductive and dangerous: Alliances shift at a moment’s notice as Italy’s ruling dynasties strive to keep rivals at bay. As Lucrezia’s father faces challenges from all sides, he’s obliged to marry her off to a powerful adversary. But when she discovers the brutal truth behind her alliance, Lucrezia is plunged into a perilous gambit that will require all her wits, cunning, and guile. Escaping her marriage offers the chance of happiness with a passionate prince of Naples, yet as scandalous accusations of murder and incest build against her, menacing those she loves, Lucrezia must risk everything to overcome the lethal fate imposed upon her by her Borgia blood.

Beautifully wrought, rich with fascinating historical detail, The Vatican Princess is the first novel to describe Lucrezia’s coming-of-age in her own voice—a dramatic, vivid tale set in an era of savagery and unparalleled splendor, where enemies and allies can be one and the same, and where loyalty to family can ultimately be a curse.


Praise
“Assiduously researched and expertly crafted . . . . This unholy plunge into Rome’s darkest dynasty is wholly engrossing.” – Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author

“A spider web of Renaissance intrigue with a legendary cast . . . Impressive research, a lush background, and deft characterization make for a fascinating read.” – Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author

“Elegantly written and deeply researched . . . Renaissance Italy is vividly brought to life. I’m captivated by this knowledgeable author’s take on the controversial Borgias.” – Alison Weir, NYT bestselling author


About the Author
C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information visit C.W. Gortner’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twittter, Goodreads,Pinterest, and YouTube. Sign up for C.W. Gortner’s Newsletter for updates.


Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, February 9
Unshelfish
Drey’s Library
The Maiden’s Court
CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, February 10
The Lit Bitch
The Never-Ending Book
A Dream within a Dream
What Is That Book About

Thursday, February 11
Laura’s Interests
The Reader’s Hollow
Flashlight Commentary

Friday, February 12
Let Them Read Books
To Read, Or Not to Read

Saturday, February 13
So Many Books, So Little Time
Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Sunday, February 14
100 Pages a Day
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Monday, February 15
A Book Geek
A Bookish Affair
Puddletown Reviews

Tuesday, February 16
Just One More Chapter
Historical Fiction Obsession
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Wednesday, February 17
Impressions In Ink
A Literary Vacation
The Country Bookworm

Thursday, February 18
The True Book Addict
Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, February 19
Passages to the Past
Kristin Un-Ravelle’d
Book Lovers Paradise

Saturday, February 20
Beth’s Book Nook Blog
One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Sunday, February 21
Carpe Librum (Seize The Book)
Seize the Words: Books in Review

Monday, February 22
Broken Teepee
Book Drunkard
The Reading Queen

Tuesday, February 23
Teatime and Books
View from the Birdhouse
Historical Fiction Connection


Giveaway
To win a Borgia-Inspired Velvet Bag & Beaded Bracelet from C.W. Gortner please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.

Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 23rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Vatican Princess Book Blast

December 30, 2015

Anthony Anglorus' The Prince of Prigs - Guest Post

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Anyone who believes that they are too knowledgeable to learn more and improve is both a fool and a failure-in-waiting. There is always something you can improve. In my case, whilst I was ploughing through and writing, I was also posting regularly on critique sites and listening to what others had to say.

Yes, there were a few times that I rejected suggestions - but usually, that would be because I had also received suggestions from others which I preferred. However, using a critique site to improve your work is the first tip I would offer. Your family and friends are simply not able to view your work objectively. Nor can you.

Another important point arose fairly early on; how many words should I write? All the advice seemed to point to 70,000 words, and I stuck to this target. Subsequently, I have learned that once a book passes 80,000 words, this creates a manufacturing problem which escalates the cost. As all publishers are looking solely at the question of whether they can make money from your book, something which makes it more expensive to produce is obviously highly disadvantageous.

My next valuable tip came during the submissions process. One agent rejected my work with a comment, which was “I don’t like books in first person; they limit the breadth of the storyline too much.” It hurt, but she was right; writing in first person forces you to keep the focus totally on one character and what he knows and learns. You can’t build any sort of conspiracy, can’t explain the motivation of others. Third person gives you the flexibility to build a complex tale.

Whilst writing “The Prince of Prigs”, I hit a problem; I have no experience or knowledge of battle, and did not feel competent to write about it. Yet my story had brought me to the cusp of my hero joining an army in Ireland - a country I have never really visited. For seven long months, the story sat growing electronic dust until one day, I met author Ben Kane during his epic walk along Hadrian’s wall with a couple of other authors. “Well,” he said in that appealing Irish brogue of his, “I was a vet before turning to writing, and I’ve never been to war. It never stopped me writing about it, you should just go with it. I got away with it, why shouldn’t you?”

I did go with it, but I put it off until later, deciding first to insert more about what was happening in England at the time. Then I thought it would be good to insert another highwayman, one of his contemporaries. Finally, I wove in a friendship with a leading member of the parliamentarians. Now I was ready to write about war - but wait, I’d almost used up my allocation of words! But then I spotted that if I got him to do that, then he would hate him and seek revenge. Then he could take his revenge that way but him could do that if that man spotted he. So I was able to follow my instincts and avoid writing about war.

Finally, some advice directly from me myself personally. After a lot of rejections, it became clear that the selected opening events were not sufficiently tickling anyone’s fancy. So I made the radical decision to ignore all advice and swap two events. I was opposed on this, but stuck to my guns. Once it was cleaned up, I submitted it to two small publishers. Both liked the opening. Both asked for the full document. One offered me a contract, which I liked and so had to tell the other publisher that the book was no longer available.

I know that this last advice completely contradicts everything else. But in essence, what it says is that in the final resort, your heart knows best.

The Prince of Prigs by Anthony Anglorus

Publication Date: July 6, 2015 
Bygone Era Books 
Formats: eBook and Paperback 
Genre: Historical Fiction 

Add to GR Button
The union of England and Scotland under one crown is not even a half century old, and the Parliamentarians already threaten the very fabric of the nation. These are the adventures of highwayman Capt. James Hind who, in Robin Hood fashion, steals from the Roundheads to help fund the royalist cause. When Cromwell comes to power, James, the Prince of Prigs, must be careful whom among his treacherous “friends” he trusts.

AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | BARNES and NOBLE | CHAPTERS | KOBO

Praise

"Any who view historical fiction as dry or plodding should pick up The Prince of Prigs: it wraps courtroom drama, social issues, flamboyant personalities and British politics under one cover and represents a rollicking good read even for audiences who normally eschew the genre. As for those who know how compelling it can be - The Prince of Prigs is ample evidence of the powers of historical fiction." - D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review
03_Anthony Anglorus 1

About the Author

After a lifetime of balancing books, Anthony turned his hand to writing them in 2009. His first book, The Other Robin Hood, is available as an ebook. An Englishman still living in England, he married a Russian doctor in 1999 and will be moving to rural France after reaching retirement age — but the writing will continue. He is already working on the sequel to The Prince of Prigs, tentatively titled Dark Days, Dark Deeds.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

01B_The Prince of Prigs_Blog Tour #2 Banner_FINAL

December 09, 2015

Spotlight on Anna Belfrage's In the Shadow of the Storm


In the Shadow of the Storm (The King’s Greatest Enemy, Book One)by Anna Belfrage
Publication Date: November 1, 2015
Silverwood Books
Genre: Historical Fiction


Adam de Guirande owes his lord, Sir Roger Mortimer, much more than loyalty. He owes Sir Roger for his life and all his worldly good, he owes him for his beautiful wife – even if Kit is not quite the woman Sir Roger thinks she is. So when Sir Roger rises in rebellion against the king, Adam has no choice but to ride with him – no matter what the ultimate cost may be.

England in 1321 is a confusing place. Edward II has been forced by his barons to exile his favourite, Hugh Despenser. The barons, led by the powerful Thomas of Lancaster, Roger Mortimer and Humphrey de Bohun, have reasons to believe they have finally tamed the king. But Edward is not about to take things lying down, and fate is a fickle mistress, favouring first one, then the other.

Adam fears his lord has over-reached, but at present Adam has other matters to concern him, first and foremost his new wife, Katherine de Monmouth. His bride comes surrounded by rumours concerning her and the baron, and he hates it when his brother snickers and whispers of used goods.

Kit de Courcy has the misfortune of being a perfect double of Katherine de Monmouth – which is why she finds herself coerced into wedding a man under a false name. What will Adam do when he finds out he has been duped?

Domestic matters become irrelevant when the king sets out to punish his rebellious barons. The Welsh Marches explode into war, and soon Sir Roger and his men are fighting for their very lives. When hope splutters and dies, when death seems inevitable, it falls to Kit to save her man – if she can.

In the Shadow of the Storm is the first in Anna Belfrage’s new series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his baron, his king, and his wife.


About the Author
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours.

When Anna fell in love with her future husband, she got Scotland as an extra, not because her husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century – and were related to the Stuarts. For a history buff like Anna, these little details made Future Husband all the more desirable, and sparked a permanent interest in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of the acclaimed The Graham Saga, began to take shape.
Set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, the series tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters.

Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The King’s Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling.
The first installment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, will be published in the autumn of 2015.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel.


Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/intheshadowofthestormblogtour/
Hashtags: #IntheShadowoftheStormBlogTour #HistoricalFiction #HistFic
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt

December 08, 2015

Maureen Willett's Near the Wild - Excerpt


Somewhere in the haze of trying to reach the elusive man with black hair and blue-green eyes, I heard a distant sound. At first, it seemed to be just a part of my nonsensical dreams, but the sound got louder until it crept into my consciousness. I sat up and blinked the sleep from my eyes, wondering what was happening. Everyone was racing toward the stairs like stampeding cattle. I shook my head to get the fog out, and threw off the covers. I had to be there to catch the first glimpse with everyone else. I grabbed a blanket and wrapped it around my cotton nightgown, throwing modesty and propriety aside.

I ran to the upper deck in anticipation and searched for a spot to look over the rail. There were too many people and no room. I looked around for a MacKeighry, but they had all been swallowed by the frenetic crowd at the rails. I spotted an empty barrel by one of the mastheads, so I climbed on top of it to peer over heads, not caring that my blanket had fallen somewhere on deck. No one cared. I was not the only half-clad person caught up in the excitement.

What was before me was greatly unexpected. The land stretched out farther than the eye could see, but it held an odd, brownish hue. I sighed in disappointment. There were no emerald fields, as I had been accustomed to at home. I had never seen such dull landscape. Even the ancient town where we embarked on the ship in France had been prettier than this. Everyone onboard shouted and applauded, happy to be in this vast, new country, but I didn’t join in the revelry. This new land, no matter how promising, meant the end of my relationship with Finn, and, therefore, the end of all happiness.

As we made our way into the New Orleans harbor, there were tall weeds along the marshy land, and a boy ran along on shore, waving to our ship. I’d never seen a person with such exotic skin. It was the color of milk chocolate, and his eyes were big, brown saucers. His white smile showed missing teeth. Behind him was a dilapidated house that was probably once magnificent but now was overgrown with weeds and thick vines. Half of it had been burned. Faint whispers of a way of life before the Civil War came through with the breeze, but they were nothing more than old, unspoken secrets of days gone. The thick air felt almost menacing. There was something else in the air, too. This place was filled with mystery, and I was intrigued, in spite of longing for Ireland and Finn.

As the Belle Asisse got closer to the harbor, the water became murky brown from the runoff of the bustling harbor. And the buildings got bigger, although they appeared to be thrown together with a piece of plywood and some bricks. Everywhere people, mostly men, ran around, carrying various goods to load ships. The site swirled before my eyes. I started to fall off the barrel. Then everything went black.

###

All I could see through the fog in my head was a pair of seawater-colored eyes. They seemed to be watching over me. I wanted to reach up to the face that held those eyes, but I didn’t have the strength. It would be such comfort to feel his cheek upon mine. Noises all around scratched at my brain. Every time the blackness threatened to engulf me, he’d shake me until my head cleared somewhat. It was infuriating! All I wanted was the deep, endless sleep, but he wouldn’t let it happen.

“Please, leave me alone,” I cried, but my voice didn’t come out correctly, and no one heard me.

###

There was light overhead, a blinding, scorching light. My head felt heavy and achy.

I didn’t know how long I had been delirious, although later I’d hear that it had been a few days. Just when I felt too weak, and the darkness came close to overtaking me, I awoke. The buzzing of a fly near my ear helped me focus on something tangible while I looked around at my new surroundings. I swatted the fly away, then sat up and blinked.

The bright sunlight shined through white sheets draped over a few carefully placed logs of wood. They were actually big twigs, I realized as I looked around the makeshift tent. I was on a cot, dressed in my linen nightgown with only a sheet to cover me. Sweat dripped down the back of my neck. I tried to swallow but had no luck with a throat so dry. I carefully put my feet on the ground.

“Maeve, darling,” Ma said as she came into the tent. She grabbed me just as I was about to fall on my face. “You’re awake! Oh, thank the Lord!” She hugged me for a moment and then helped me back to the cot.

“What happened?” I managed to ask between cracked lips.

She put her hand to my forehead and smiled. “We’re not really sure. You suddenly fell ill, but you didn’t have a fever, so I had hope. You were in a deep sleep and didn’t want to come out of it. Perhaps a touch of influenza.” Her beautiful face turned to a worried frown. “But it doesn’t matter now. You’re awake.”

It hadn’t been the flu, but I didn’t want to tell Ma that. My body, and my spirit, had rebelled at this new life, this new set of rules restricting me from seeing Finn. Quite simply, my body had gone through withdrawal. Finn had once warned me that humans could inhale radiant dust by being around someone like him regularly, and that could lead to hallucinations and, even, madness. He’d also warned that I’d have to go through an illness to get over my physical addiction if we were ever parted. But I’d never believed him. Until now.

I wondered if waking up meant I wouldn’t miss him so much.

I looked around the small tent, seeing our things and travel cases piled high between blankets on the ground. I was on the only cot. “Are we in Kansas?”

“No, my dear. We’re still at the harbor, waiting to board a river boat to St. Louis.”

“We’re in America?”

“Yes,” Ma said with a smile. “We’ve had our papers signed and are official residents.”

“Where is he? I thought I saw him.”

Ma frowned again but then tried to cover it with a smile. “Your father isn’t here. He’s meeting us in St. Louis, where we’ll take the train to Kansas.”

I furrowed my brows. Finn had been at my side, pushing me to wake up and rejoin the world. “No, I wasn’t talking about Da. Where is Finn? I know he’s here.”

The smile faded from my mother’s face, and she put down my hand she had been holding. Her eyebrows went up in a determined arch. “He’d better not be, young lady! I will hear no more of your leprechaun. I’ve told you, he is not allowed to come with us to Kansas, and I will no longer indulge your relationship with him.”

“But. . .”

“No, Maeve. Do not speak to me of him again. Ever!” Ma stood and put both hands on her hips. “Enough. I’ve had enough of it!”

I took a deep breath and looked away, knowing her will was probably as strong as Finn’s. They both seemed to want the same thing, the end of our relationship, which meant the end of my world. There was no hope of an interesting life in this new land, not without him. Little did I know how wrong that assumption was. But at that moment, I felt retched.

###

Later that evening, after having a few hours to drink some broth, regain some of my strength, and get dressed, I ventured outside the tent. The air was cooler than it had been that afternoon but still thick with moisture. A constant hum of crickets and other creatures could be heard over the bustling community of immigrants. I didn’t want to think about what was creating such a noise in the swampland beyond the campfires, so instead I focused on the activity in front of me. Laughter, music, children shrieking with delight, and loud voices with all sorts of accents drifted toward me.

I strolled around the campsite, taking in the sights, wondering where all the MacKeighrys had gone. I almost stumbled over a woman so black she blended into the night sky. She sat on a rock, holding what looked to be homemade dolls.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” I said as I corrected my direction.

A deep chuckle came from her withered mouth. “Ooowee! No one has eva’ called me ‘ma’am’ before, Sugar Plum. At least no one of yo’ color.” She smiled up at me, showing off the whitest,

straightest teeth I had ever seen. Pieces of gray hair peeked out of the bandana wound around her head. “Do you want one of my dolls?”

She held it out to me to the point I had to look at it or be rude.

“No, thank you,” I said as I backed away, suddenly sensing something dark in the crudely constructed cloth and yarn doll.

“I can put a spell on the man o’ yo’ dreams with it. He’ll never cheat or leave you.”

“Yes, but can you make a magical being stay by my side forever?”

She put her head back and heartily laughed. “Oh no, child. Nothin’ can control something magical.”

I sighed as I walked away, hearing her laughter at my back. At least the people of this new land didn’t deny the existence of magic, I thought with a small measure of hope.

I started back toward the tent but then heard familiar voices raised in anger, so I turned toward that instead.

“No, it is absolutely out of the question,” I heard Ma say.

“I’m eighteen. I can do what I want. I’m not a child!” Gavin said much too quickly.

“Then stop acting like one,” Michael said, as he pointed his finger in Gavin’s face. Not something I would ever dare to do.

I could feel the anger in the air around them. They all turned as I arrived at where they stood, slightly away from the main campfire.

“Go away, Maeve. This isn’t your concern,” Michael said through clenched teeth.

“Get that finger out of my face, or I’ll break it,” Gavin said. His cold stare was convincing enough to make Michael put his hand down.

I searched Ma’s eyes for a reason for this rift, but she looked away as tears fell down her cheeks. “Gavin has decided to leave us.”

“What?” The astonishment came through in my voice. I noticed Michael’s hands open and close in a fist. I looked at Gavin, wondering what had happened. He had always been the rebel, but it had never gone this far before.

“Seems our brother here thinks life as a gambler in New Orleans will get him what he wants,” Michael said.

“It’s better than being a farmer. Besides, it’s my gambling wins that got everyone a passage on that river boat. You’d all be stuck in in this stinky campsite if it weren’t for me,” Gavin said, slapping his hands to his chest. “Once again, we have to pick up slack for Da’s shortcomings and

find money somehow. I’m tired of it! I’ve done my part for you all. Now, I’m gonna make it the way I want.”

“That’s not true! Da sent the money to get us to Kansas,” I exclaimed. Why would Gavin say such a thing? Da would never leave his family stranded in a strange country. But then the three of them turned and stared at me as if I were a child.

“As I said, Maeve, this is none of your concern,” Michael said with a nod toward our tent, dismissing me.

“No,” Ma said. “This is her concern as one of the older children. It’s time she knew the truth.”

I looked at my mother with confusion.

“Your father had only enough money for our steerage across the ocean.”

“But. . .” I couldn’t think of what to say. “You brought us all this way without knowing what would happen? How were you planning to get us all to Kansas?”

Ma bit her lip, and Michael’s head sunk a little bit.

“I knew I’d figure something out by the time we landed,” she said.

“Yeah, but you didn’t have to; I came to the rescue,” Gavin chimed in a factual manner. “Why do you think I played cards on the ship so much? And now, I’m buying my freedom with your passage up river. I’ll telegraph Da that you’re on your way, so he can meet you. Then I’m off the hook.” His words weren’t said in anger or desperation, which made them seem final.

Ma began to shake, and Michael just stood there nodding his head and looking into the distance.

“Gavin? What are you doing?” I asked, stepping closer to him. I seemed to be the only one able to form words at the moment. I couldn’t imagine life without him. We were only thirteen months apart and had spent our entire lives as co-conspirators.

“What I want to do, for the first time in my life. This land is full of promises. Anything is possible.” Gavin’s voice held persuasive excitement. “And I want more than being a farmer for the rest of my life. You could come with me, if you want to?”

“Come with you? Where?”

A flash of sadness crossed Gavin’s handsome face, but then it was gone. “I’ll see you at the boat landing in the morning,” he said to Ma. “Get to the pier for the River Queen by dawn. I’ve heard they’ve overbooked the boat, so anyone showing up late might not make it on. Get there early, and I’ll make sure you get private quarters. The captain owes me some money, so he promised me that.” He walked away and headed out of the campsite.

My mouth fell open. I couldn’t imagine the MacKeighry family without Gavin’s wit and quick thinking. While Michael was the older, more serious brother, Gavin was the one who managed to get

the impossible done, no matter how much scheming and manipulating he had to do. Da was a dreamer, so Michael and Gavin had been the caretakers of our large, and somewhat unusual, family. I looked at Michael and wondered how he’d ever manage without his second in command, and how I’d manage without my closest brother – the one who never judged me.

“We won’t speak of this again, especially around the boys,” Ma said. “If anyone asks, Gavin is staying behind to make sure our papers are in order and will be joining us later.”


Near the Wild by Maureen WillettPublication Date: June 15, 2015
eBook; 229 Pages
ASIN: B010JLKZZY
Genre: Historical Fiction



COWBOYS AND LEPRECHAUNS. Both occupy Maeve MacKeighry’s world in 1870, and she must decide which will win her heart. Leprechauns are feared, even in Ireland, but that doesn’t prevent Maeve from striking up a friendship with one who lives near her village. But once Maeve becomes a young woman, the local villagers start to gossip, especially since the MacKeighrys are known to practice magic in their home. It’s just for entertainment, but the town folk don’t see it that way. Rather than be outcasts, the MacKeighrys set off to America to homestead in Kansas, vowing to leave their magical ways and friends behind. Little do they know that Maeve’s friend follows and protects them on their journey.

The MacKeighrys encounter many adventures along the way to Kansas, only to find a simple sod house on their new farm at the end of the journey. The untamed land offers a fresh start for the family, as well as two very interesting men who both compete for Maeve’s attention. Pretty young women in a wild western town are a rarity. But can she forget her magical friend, and turn her attention to two of the most interesting men she has ever met? Perhaps cowboys and outlaws have a certain charm that a leprechaun doesn’t, after all.
Most of the novel takes place in Kansas in 1870 and is based on my family’s history. The idea of the MacKeighry’s sod house came from the home of my great grandfather. I was lucky enough to visit it as a teenager before the house was destroyed. One of the characters, Nikki Fuerst, is based on an ancestor, a prince from Austria who was disinherited for marrying a commoner and sent off to America. Stories I’ve been told my entire life about my family’s history and traditions, such as levitating tables, are included in Near The Wild.



About the Author
Maureen Willett is a writer of fiction that pushes the boundaries of established genres. Her stories mostly come from her own family legends that have been passed down through generations, but then she tops them off with a twist of faery dust and angel wings. But at the core of each story are great characters in very human conflicts that anyone will find compelling. Each novel is crafted as an experience that will take readers beyond their day-to-day lives, incorporating themes of time travel, reincarnation, and magic. She is a former journalist, public relations professional, and media marketing specialist. Maureen lives in Hawaii with her family and walks the white-sand beaches of Oahu each day to get her inspiration for writing.


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