Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Read an #excerpt from Liopleurodon: The Master of the Deep by M. B. Zucker #HistoricalFantasy #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @MBZuckerBooks @MichaelZucker1 @cathiedunn

The Master of the Deep
By M. B. Zucker

Publication Date: 20th September 2022. Publisher: Historium Press Books. Cover Design: White Rabbit Arts. Page Length: 251
Genre: Historical Fantasy.

From M. B. Zucker, award-winning author of
"The Eisenhower Chronicles"

Liopleurodon ferox was the deadliest sea predator of all time, the king of the Jurassic ocean. This whale-sized reptile's return to the early twentieth century triggers a geopolitical crisis in this new historical science fiction thriller. Former President Theodore Roosevelt foresees the threat the Liopleurodon would pose if it falls into the wrong hands. The race is on as Roosevelt leads the American effort to destroy it before the Kaiser’s Germany can turn it into a weapon.

Fans of Jurassic Park and Steve Alten’s Meg series will not want to miss this adventure filled with action, political intrigue, and characters that readers will remember long after finishing this novel.

Advance Praise for Liopleurodon: The Master of the Deep

"The storyline itself was superb ---- A Jaws/Jurassic Park thriller and a bit of a spy novel all in one - and compelling."
~ The Historical Fiction Company


 The Liopleurodon preys upon some humpback whales.

A pod of five humpback whales migrated north, searching for plankton. They were led by two bulls, each around 15 meters long. The cows were both between 10 and 12 meters, while the calf, making the journey for the first time, was only four-and-a- half meters. He primarily drank his mother’s milk. The males were tasked with defending the pod against potential threats. Their echolocation sensed something closing in on their position. Something big.

The aggressor was larger than any the whales had ever encountered, his speed greater than they could hope to match. The animal’s black back provided camouflage; he was unaware the whales were tracking him, still unfamiliar with this new world.

The Liopleurodon hoped that preying on mammals would rebuild his body weight—still low from the Jurassic ice age— and that the mammalian blubber could compensate his energy level, which was stifled by the colder climate and reduction in oxygen. He opened his jaws, sliding his teeth together, sharpening them. The Liopleurodon’s smell locked onto the five humpbacks—their sizes, their movements, their locations. He made his pick. He wanted the calf. He formed his plan of attack.

The whales initiated a defensive strategy. The females moved toward the calf while the bulls dove to challenge the Liopleurodon, their powerful flukes propelling them deeper. The pliosaur ascended, bringing all three males on a collision course. The Liopleurodon was as agile as a sea lion, using his flippers to effortlessly dodge the bulls without slowing down. He left them behind. The females placed themselves between the pliosaur and the calf. The Liopleurodon slammed into them, knocking them aside and shattering multiple bones in all three animals upon impact. He bit down upon the calf’s fluke, breaking it. The baby struggled and the Liopleurodon thrashed his neck, trying to tear the calf in two.

The females came back, headbutting the Liopleurodon in his torso, but the reptile’s reinforced rib cage absorbed the blows. The attacks were a distraction, however, and he dove deeper, his teeth gripping the calf’s tail, trying to drown the baby and escape the females. This brought him back within the males’ range, who each slammed into him. He lost his grip on the calf.

The calf’s fluke was too hurt to function. The Liopleurodon was so large that his descent created its own current, dragging the calf from the surface. The bulls chased the pliosaur while the cows balanced the calf on their heads, trying to raise him to the surface to breathe.

The bulls pursued the Liopleurodon deeper, placing more distance between the reptile and the calf. The water darkened. The Liopleurodon tracked his pursuers with his smell; they tracked him with echolocation. He was satisfied that the males were too far away from the calf to interfere again. He turned back, dodging them once more, and closed in on the cows and calf. The cows were distracted by lifting the calf and did not detect the Liopleurodon’s return.

The Liopleurodon grabbed the larger female’s fluke in his jaws and dragged her away from the others. He released her once he felt she was no longer a threat. The mother whale could not balance her child on her own. He sank. The calf’s lungs filled with water and he used his remaining strength to sing a death song to his pod.

The carnivore bit down on the calf’s back, shattering its spine. Blood puffed from his mouth. The four adult humpbacks watched powerlessly as the ocean’s returning apex predator swam away with the youngest member of th

You can pick up your copy of this book over on Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU,

M. B. Zucker

M. B. Zucker has been interested in storytelling for as long as he can remember. He discovered his love of history at fifteen and studied Dwight Eisenhower for over ten years. 

Mr. Zucker earned his B.A. at Occidental College and his J.D. at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He lives in Virginia with his wife.

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Monday, 14 November 2022

Look who has a new book coming out!!! Wolves of Wagria (Olaf's Saga, Book #3) by Eric Schumacher #Viking #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour @DarkAgeScribe @cathiedunn


Wolves of Wagria
(Olaf's Saga, Book #3)
By Eric Schumacher

Three kingdoms. Two friends. Only one way to survive.

For fans of Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden comes the tale of Olaf Tryggvason and his adventures in the battle-scarred kingdom of Wagria.

It is AD 972. Olaf Tryggvason and his oath-sworn protector, Torgil, are once again on the move. They have left the Rus kingdom and now travel the Baltic Sea in search of plunder and fame. But a fateful storm lands them on the Vendish coastline in a kingdom called Wagria.

There, they find themselves caught between the aggression of the Danes, the political aspirations of the Wagrian lords, and the shifting politics in Saxland. Can they survive or will they become just one more casualty of kingly ambitions? 

Find out in this harrowing sequel to the best-selling novels, Forged by Iron and Sigurd’s Swords.

This novel is available on #KindleUnlimited.

Eric Schumacher

Eric Schumacher discovered his love for writing and medieval European history at a very early age, as well as authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Bernard Cornwell, Jack Whyte, and Wilbur Smith. Those discoveries fueled his imagination and continue to influence the stories he tells. 

His first novel, God’s Hammer, was published in 2005.

You can follow Eric Schumacher on Amazon or by joining his newsletter at https://www.ericschumacher.net/readers-club.

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Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Look who is in the SPOTLIGHT!!! Squire’s Hazard (The Meonbridge Chronicles, Book 5) by Carolyn Hughes #Medieval #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour @writingcalliope @cathiedunn


Squire’s Hazard
(The Meonbridge Chronicles, Book 5)
By Carolyn Hughes

Publication Date: 6th October 2022 . Publisher: Riverdown Books. Page Length: 360 pages.
Genre: Historical Fiction

How do you overcome the loathing, lust and bitterness threatening you and your family’s honour?

It’s 1363, and in Steyning Castle, Sussex, Dickon de Bohun is enjoying life as a squire in the household of Earl Raoul de FougΓ¨re. Or he would be, if it weren’t for Edwin de Courtenay, who’s making his life a misery with his bullying, threatening to expose the truth about Dickon’s birth.

At home in Meonbridge for Christmas, Dickon notices how grown-up his childhood playmate, Libby Fletcher, has become since he last saw her and feels the stirrings of desire. Libby, seeing how different he is too, falls instantly in love. But as a servant to Dickon’s grandmother, Lady Margaret de Bohun, she could never be his wife.

Margery Tyler, Libby’s aunt, meeting her niece by chance, learns of her passion for young Dickon. Their conversation rekindles Margery’s long-held rancour against the de Bohuns, whom she blames for all the ills that befell her family, including her own servitude. For years she’s hidden her hunger for retribution, but she can no longer keep her hostility in check.

As the future Lord of Meonbridge, Dickon knows he must rise above de Courtenay’s loathing and intimidation, and get the better of him. And, surely, he must master his lust for Libby, so his own mother’s shocking history is not repeated? Of Margery’s bitterness, however, he has yet to learn…

Beset by the hazards these powerful and dangerous emotions bring, can young Dickon summon up the courage and resolve to overcome them?

Secrets, hatred and betrayal, but also love and courage – Squire’s Hazard, the fifth MEONBRIDGE CHRONICLE.

You can pick up this novel at Amazon. This book is also available on  #KindleUnlimited


CAROLYN HUGHES has lived much of her life in Hampshire. With a first degree in Classics and English, she started working life as a computer programmer, then a very new profession. But it was technical authoring that later proved her vocation, as she wrote and edited material, some fascinating, some dull, for an array of different clients, including banks, an international hotel group and medical instruments manufacturers.

Having written creatively for most of her adult life, it was not until her children flew the nest several years ago that writing historical fiction took centre stage, alongside gaining a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Portsmouth University and a PhD from the University of Southampton.

Squire’s Hazard is the fifth MEONBRIDGE CHRONICLE, and more stories about the folk of Meonbridge will follow.

You can connect with Carolyn through her website www.carolynhughesauthor.com and on social media:

Tour Schedule 

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

Read an #excerpt from Skull’s Vengeance (Curse of Clansmen and Kings, Book 4) by Linnea Tanner #HistoricalRomance #AncientRome @linneatanner @maryanneyarde

Skull’s Vengeance
(Curse of Clansmen and Kings, Book 4)
By Linnea Tanner

A Celtic warrior queen must ultimately sacrifice what is most precious to her to vanquish her half-brother and reclaim the throne. 

AS FORETOLD BY HER FATHER in a vision, Catrin has become a battle-hardened warrior after her trials in Rome’s legion and gladiatorial games. To fulfill her destiny, Catrin must return to Britannia and pull the cursed dagger out of the serpent’s stone. Only then can she unleash the magic of the Druids to destroy her evil half-brother, the powerful sorcerer, King Marrock. Always two steps ahead and seemingly unstoppable, Marrock uses his power to summon destructive natural forces to crush any rival who tries to stop him.

To have the slightest chance of beating Marrock, Catrin must forge alliances with former enemies, but she needs someone she can trust. Seeking military aid from Marcellus, her secret Roman husband, is her only option, which rekindles their burning passion for one another. But Marcellus must play a deadly game in the political firestorm of the Julio-Claudian dynasty to support Catrin’s cause.

In order to destroy King Marrock and take back her kingdom. Catrin must align herself with a Dark Druidess, but she could ultimately lose her heart and soul for the price of the kingdom. Can she strike vengeance against Marrock with a secret weapon from the Otherworld?  


Chapter 35 Final Orders

Governor’s Headquarters, Lugdunum, 6 August, 28 AD

The centurion escorted them into a dimly lit chamber, where Decimus sat behind a large table on which scrolls were strewn. At his back were cubicles jammed with additional scrolls. A pudgy assistant dressed in an oversized, white linen tunic and toga hunched next to Decimus—like a dog waiting for orders.

The centurion announced Marcellus and handed the sealed scroll to the assistant to unseal and open. Decimus greeted Marcellus with an ice-cold stare. Marcellus nervously acknowledged Decimus with a slight nod and waited for him to read the imperial orders.

Decimus’s eyes shifted downward as he read the parchment. “Impressive,” he repeated, occasionally stealing a glance at Marcellus.

The anticipation of what Decimus’s final orders would be made Marcellus’s heart beat as rapidly as a war drum. The deathly silence finally broke with the clap of Decimus’s hand on the tabletop, signaling he was ready to begin.

“Leave us,” Decimus barked, exchanging glances with his assistant and the centurion. They both left the chamber and shut the massive door with a bang on their way out.

Decimus rubbed the corner of his eyelid as he studied Marcellus and the two ex-gladiators. “I find it unsettling, Marcellus, that you have brought two fierce gladiators with you.”

“Do you want them to wait outside?” Marcellus asked.

Decimus shook his head. “No. I want them to hear what I have to say. They can stand at the entry door.”

The governor’s unexpected response took Marcellus by surprise. He gestured for Negasi and Ferrex to do as Decimus ordered.

For a moment, Decimus rubbed the facial scar at the corner of his mouth. “So, you have an imperial order decreeing that you are the praetor of the northern garrison?”

“Yes, but Tiberius mandated that I report to you for final orders,” Marcellus said, still questioning why Decimus had asked the gladiators to stay in the chamber.

“You must be on friendly terms with Tiberius, then,” Decimus commented.

Marcellus nodded. “I met him at his palace on Capri.”
Decimus breathed in deeply. The blue vein in the crescent-shaped facial scar stretching from his left eye to his mouth pulsated as he spoke evenly. “Did you know your father threatened to cut off his patronage of me? He knows Catrin is alive and accuses me of being a liar. How did he find out?” 

“I never told him,” Marcellus replied. “But it is hard to keep a dark secret like that.”

Decimus regarded Marcellus with probing eyes. “What is clear, though, is that you had a falling-out with your father.”

“I am not here to discuss my personal life. I am here for final orders,” Marcellus said firmly, to divert the conversation.

Decimus leaned back in his chair but kept his eyes riveted on Marcellus as he spoke. “Well, then, let me give you an update on military operations. I ordered expeditionary forces to Britannia to defend the Catuvellauni territory from Marrock’s raids. I advised Tiberius of this.”

“Wise move,” Marcellus said without any inflection in his voice, despite Decimus’s contemptuous scowl.

“I made the decision because Adminius, a son of Cunobelin, petitioned for military support in late fall of last year. Did you know the prince is betrothed to Catrin?”

“I was not aware,” Marcellus said flatly, although he could feel his pulse pounding in his neck.

Decimus studied Marcellus for a moment. “I find it highly irregular to petition Tiberius directly to assign you as a commander of the northern legion.”

Marcellus met Decimus’s piercing stare. “That said, I assume my final order is to take immediate command of the fortress at Gesoriacum.”

Decimus rose from his chair, and his voice grew louder. “Subordinates do not assume. Subordinates do not overstep. Subordinates obey. Only I, as governor, understand the regional issues. I speak the native tongue, which you never bothered to learn. I am in charge of military operations here. Not you—a boy who needs to think with his head! Do you understand?”

Marcellus averted his gaze from Decimus’s glazed eyes and looked at the cubicles. “I understand. Would you enlighten me about my assignment?”

Decimus leaned forward, both hands firmly planted on the tabletop. “You are to remain in Lugdunum and hunt down rebels plundering Roman estates. Centurion Priscus Dius will report to you. You remember him?”

Marcellus clenched his hands in anger, recalling how the centurion had abused Catrin during training in the legion.

That slimy guard dog!

“What about the expedition to Britannia that Tiberius promised I would lead?” Marcellus asked, more bluntly than he intended, noting the frown on Decimus’s face.

“Tribune Arius Petronis is the commander for military operations in Britannia. Not you,” Decimus declared. “His forces are set to sail back to northern Gaul in September. After that, Tiberius will reassess the situation to decide whether we need to commit more troops to Britannia. Meanwhile, you will stay in Lugdunum.”

Marcellus cocked an eyebrow. “To do what?”

“Do you recall the raven at the gladiatorial game last year?” Decimus asked unexpectedly.

Marcellus’s stomach dropped. Catrin had used the raven as a stage prop to incite fear in the mob during the games. 

Decimus continued. “Remember, it flew out of the arena after Catrin’s fight? Alas, it has returned to haunt me. Every day, the black demon perches on a column at the coliseum, ready to swoop down on me. It has clawed the top of my head and made it bleed.” He inhaled sharply. “But it suddenly vanished about a month ago.”

“A good thing it is gone,” Marcellus said, thinking of the raven that had swept over him just before this meeting.

“Strange. The raids at Roman estates began around the same time the raven disappeared. The only explanation I can think of is that Catrin has returned to Lugdunum. As we both know, she speaks directly with Apollo and can summon her magic from his messenger, the Raven.” Decimus’s eyes narrowed. “Do you know where Catrin is?”

Marcellus nervously shifted his feet. “How would I know? She left my villa almost a year ago, after I freed her.”

A nasty scowl contorted Decimus’s face as he walked around the table and stepped up to Marcellus. “Now that you are here, it is strange the raven has vanished. That seems more than a coincidence.”

Marcellus gave a nervous chuckle. “Most likely, the raven found a mate outside the city.”

“Or perhaps the mate found the raven,” Decimus said, a biting sarcasm to his voice. “I’ve been told a woman leads the raids on the estates. And a raven is always with her.”

Marcellus swallowed down a sense of panic. He kept his eyes fixed on Decimus, though his heart raced with the thought that Catrin was spearheading the raids. It made sense. She’d freed Brutius’s slaves in Rome and had stolen coins.

“One of the plundered estates is yours,” Decimus added. “The thieves stole most of the horses. Some of the slaves went missing—possibly dead or kidnapped to be sold as slaves. A barn was burned down.”

Stunned, Marcellus felt his mouth gape open. “Catrin would never attack my villa.”

“Did I say it was Catrin?”

You can pick up your copy of this book at the following bookstores: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, GooglePlay, and Booktopia

Award-winning author, Linnea Tanner, weaves Celtic tales of love, magical adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia. Since childhood, she has passionately read about ancient civilizations and mythology. Of particular interest are the enigmatic Celts, who were reputed as fierce warriors and mystical Druids.

Linnea has extensively researched ancient and medieval history, mythology, and archaeology and has traveled to sites described within each of her books in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Books released in her series include Apollo’s Raven (Book 1), Dagger’s Destiny (Book 2), and Amulet’s Rapture (Book 3). Skull’s Vengeance (Book 4) is anticipated to be released in late 2021 or early 2021. 

A Colorado native, Linnea attended the University of Colorado and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry. She lives in Fort Collins with her husband and has two children and six grandchildren.

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Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Read my #BookReview of The Godmother’s Secret by Elizabeth St.John @ElizStJohn @cathiedunn


The Godmother’s Secret
by Elizabeth St.John

Publication Date: 4th October, 2022. Publisher: Falcon Historical. Page Length: 350 pages. Genre: Biographical Historical Fiction / Historical Mystery

What if you knew what happened to the Princes in the Tower. Would you tell? Or would you forever keep the secret?

November, 1470: Westminster Abbey. Lady Elysabeth Scrope faces a perilous royal duty when ordered into sanctuary with Elizabeth Woodville–witness the birth of Edward IV’s Yorkist son. Margaret Beaufort, Elysabeth’s sister, is desperately seeking a pardon for her exiled son Henry Tudor. Strategically, she coerces Lancastrian Elysabeth to be appointed godmother to Prince Edward, embedding her in the heart of the Plantagenets and uniting them in a destiny of impossible choices and heartbreaking conflict.

Bound by blood and torn by honour, when the king dies and Elysabeth delivers her young godson into the Tower of London to prepare for his coronation, she is engulfed in political turmoil. Within months, the prince and his brother have disappeared, Richard III is declared king, and Margaret conspires with Henry Tudor to invade England and claim the throne. Desperate to protect her godson, Elysabeth battles the intrigue, betrayal and power of the last medieval court, defying her husband and her sister under her godmother’s sacred oath to keep Prince Edward safe.

Were the princes murdered by their uncle, Richard III? Was the rebel Duke of Buckingham to blame? Or did Margaret Beaufort mastermind their disappearance to usher in the Tudor dynasty? Of anyone at the royal court, Elysabeth has the most to lose–and the most to gain–by keeping secret the fate of the Princes in the Tower.     

Inspired by England’s most enduring historical mystery, Elizabeth St.John, best-selling author of The Lydiard Chronicles, blends her own family history with known facts and centuries of speculation to create an intriguing alternative story illuminating the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower. 

Book Rating:

πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š⭐ = A book in a million
πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š = I could not put this book down. I Highly Recommend it.
πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š = A really great read.
πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š = It was enjoyable.
πŸ“šπŸ“š = It was okay.
πŸ“š = Um...! πŸ˜•

My Review 
The Godmother's Secret
I could not put this book down. I Highly Recommend it.

The king is dead - now what? As Richard, the new Lord Protector gathers his forces to intercept his nephew (Edward V) and get him away from those upstart Woodvilles, Elysabeth is charged with delivering Edward safely to The Tower of London where he will await his coronation - a coronation that is destined to never happen.

This novel follows Elysabeth as the world around her seemingly falls apart. She must make a choice - should she try and rescue the young princes, or should she leave them to their fate? This novel is deeply moving and Elysabeth is right in the thick of it, trying to make the right decision, not only because she loves the boys but because of her godmother's oath. She is torn between wanting to respect her husband and her king's wishes, and following her heart. Elysabeth is a character that comes across as very brave, a hero, one might say, but she is not a hero for her own sake, but for that of the children. She is a very brave and extremely likeable character and one I enjoyed reading about her very much.

There are several very distressing scenes in this novel, I think it would be fair to call them harrowing, so I would advise having some tissues close to hand. Likewise, this is a novel that really begs to be read in one sitting because the action and the drama do not stop. 

If you enjoy historical fiction set during the Cousins War, then I think you should put this book on to your to-read list. It is a truly great read.

You can pick up your copy of this book over on Amazon

Elizabeth St.John

Elizabeth St.John spends her time between California, England, and the past. An acclaimed author, historian, and genealogist, she has tracked down family papers and residences from Lydiard Park and Nottingham Castle to Richmond Palace and the Tower of London to inspire her novels. Although the family sold a few country homes along the way (it's hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth's family still occupy them— in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their legacy. And the occasional ghost. But that's a different story.

Having spent a significant part of her life with her seventeenth-century family while writing The Lydiard Chronicles trilogy and Counterpoint series, Elizabeth St.John is now discovering new family stories with her fifteenth-century namesake Elysabeth St.John Scrope, and her half-sister, Margaret Beaufort.

Social Media Links:

Website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Book Bub, Amazon Author Page, Goodreads 

Sunday, 23 October 2022

Read an #excerpt from Island of Dreams by Harry Duffin #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour @duffin26 @cathiedunn


Island of Dreams
By Harry Duffin

Publication Date: December 2022. Publisher: Cumulus Publishing. Page Length: 420 pages
Genre: Historical Family Saga

In May 1939, when Professor Carl Mueller, his wife, Esther, and their three children flee Nazi Germany, and find refuge on the paradise island of Cuba, they are all full of hopes and dreams for a safe and happy future.  

But those dreams are shattered when Carl and Esther are confronted by a ghost from their past, and old betrayals return to haunt them. 

The turbulent years of political corruption leading to Batista’s dictatorship, forces the older children to take very different paths to pursue their own dangerous dreams. 

And - among the chaos and the conflict that finally leads to Castro’s revolution and victory in 1959, an unlikely love begins to grow - a love that threatens the whole family. 

Having escaped a war-torn Europe, their Island of Dreams is to tear them apart forever.


As the wailing combined with the throb of the engines, Anna turned away from the crowd lining the rails. She felt her parents needed her and she needed to be with them. If they were to die, they would begin their final journey together as a family.
   She had just reached the main stairway to go back inside the ship, when she heard a man cry out. Fearing another suicide attempt she turned to look. 
  ‘Look!’ the man shouted again, excitedly. 
  All eyes followed his pointing finger. Anna went back to the agitated crowd and wormed her way through to see the cause of the excitement.   
  A small, stubby boat was racing through the water towards them. As the craft grew larger, approaching the cordon of police boats still surrounding the ship, the passengers started chattering excitedly. The helmsman of the boat was a plump black man. Beside him stood a young policeman and another man in a crumpled, cotton suit, his shock of straw-coloured hair flattened to his brow by the speed of the boat. 
  As the boat raced through a gap made by the police launches, the man looked up at the passengers crowding the rails. His handsome face looked tired, worn, but triumphant. Cupping his hands to his mouth, he shouted excitedly, 'The Mueller family! Professor Carl Mueller!’

The atmosphere in the Mueller’s cabin was electric. 
  ‘He’s said he’s got visas for us to leave the ship!’ gasped Anna, breathless from dashing the news to her parents.
  Carl and Esther looked at each other, a mixture of shock, joy and disbelief. But it was true. A steward, hurrying after Anna, confirmed the good news. They were to take their luggage to the ship’s ladder and disembark. All the Mueller family and Nanny Price too.
  The next few minutes were a blur. Carl, Hans, Nanny and the steward stumbled up the companionway to the boat deck, hauling various brown leather cases. Bringing up the rear behind Esther, Anna and Klaus, two more stewards carried Esther’s trunk. 
 Having climbed the ladder to the ships deck, Freddie looked through the excited crowd. Carl was easy to see, being over six foot and wearing a silver-grey homburg, but the rest of the family were hidden in the milling throng. Anger was rising as the crowd grew, demanding to know why they weren’t allowed to leave too.  Freddie had expected it. He glanced at Ramos, who smoothly slipped his gun from its holster and fired one deafening shot into the air. The effect at such close quarters was immediate. The crowd took a pace back, allowing Carl to shepherd his flock to the ladder where another policeman was waiting to help them down to Lardy’s boat.
  Freddie only glimpsed Esther, tearful and near to panic, as she was jostled through into the arms of the policeman. Out of Freddie’s sight, Anna had wrestled her arm from her father’s grip.
  ‘No!’ he heard her shout angrily. ‘I’m not leaving without the others. It isn’t fair!’
  Carl, occupied with the bemused Klaus, had become separated from his daughter, who was about to become submerged in the crowd.
  ‘Anna!’ he cried.
  Esther’s cry of panic pierced the hubbub. Freddie forced himself into the scrum, grabbed the young girl firmly round the waist and carried her, kicking and screaming, to the top of the ladder where Ramos helped him carry her down the precarious steps. They were all in danger of falling as Anna struck out furiously, catching Freddie full in the face, and knocking Ramos’s cap into the water.
  ‘No, no!’ she cried. ‘We can’t leave them! They’re our friends!’
  Somehow, they were all suddenly in the small swaying boat, the luggage was tumbled in after them and Lardy gunned the craft away from the sheer, black wall of the ship. 
 The family huddled towards the prow in silence, with Carl hugging the sobbing Anna to his chest and holding Esther in an embrace all the way. Freddie sat in the stern with Ramos and Lardy.  No one spoke on the short journey.
Ramos, aware of the danger of the large, excitable crowd gathered at the quay, told Lardy to take the boat through the harbour channel and up the river leading through the Old City. 
As they entered the mouth of the narrow river and the S.S. St Louis disappeared from view behind the dockside warehouses, Anna let out a little cry, ‘Papa!’
 Carl hugged her closer.  ‘Hush, Liebchen,’ he murmured. ‘There was nothing we could do.’
 After Lardy had tied up at the small jetty, Freddie quickly found two taxis. He and Ramos crammed into the front seat of the first, with Anna and Nanny Price in the back.
  ‘Hotel Ingleterre,’ Freddie instructed the driver.
  As the two cabs wound through the narrow shadowed Spanish style streets, that made up the ancient and most beautiful part of Havana, Freddie became aware for the first time that his nose was violently throbbing. Touching it he realised it had bled. He took out a handkerchief and dabbed it gently. The faint red smudge on the white cotton told him the blood had already dried. 
  The ship's klaxon sounded one final echoing blast. Glancing behind Freddie looked straight into the wide dark eyes of Anna, glaring hatred at him from the shadow of the rear seat. 
  ‘You had no right to drag me from the ship!’ she said coldly. ‘I wanted to stay.’
  ‘I understand how you feel –,’ began Freddie, but Ramos, squashed at his side, snapped without turning his head.
  ‘You should be grateful! I would have left you there!’
  Anna was about to respond, but felt Nanny Price’s hand gently squeeze her own. She contented herself with staring hard at the back of Ramos’ bare head, pleased that she’d knocked the man’s hat into the water.

You can pick up this novel at Amazon. This book is also available on  #KindleUnlimited

Harry Duffin

Harry Duffin is an award-winning British screenwriter, who was on the first writing team of the BBC’s ‘Eastenders’ and won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best TV serial for ‘Coronation Street’. 

He was Head of Development at Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment Group, producing seven major television series, including ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ starring Richard ‘John Boy’ Thomas, and ‘Twist in the Tale’, featuring William Shatner. 

He was the co-creator of the UK Channel Five teen-cult drama series ‘The Tribe’, which ran for five series. 

He has written three novels, Chicago May, Birth of the Mall Rats [an intro to the TV series ‘The Tribe’], and Island of Dreams, which will be published in December 2022.

Chicago May is the first book of a two-part series: www.chicagomay.com 

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Monday, 10 October 2022

Look who is in the SPOTLIGHT!!! Small Eden by Jane Davis #HistoricalFiction #TheCoffeePotBookClub #BlogTour @janedavisauthor @cathiedunn

Small Eden
By Jane Davis

A boy with his head in the clouds. A man with a head full of dreams.  

1884. The symptoms of scarlet fever are easily mistaken for teething, as Robert Cooke and his pregnant wife Freya discover at the cost of their two infant sons. Freya immediately isolates for the safety of their unborn child. Cut off from each other, there is no opportunity for husband and wife to teach each other the language of their loss. By the time they meet again, the subject is taboo. But unspoken grief is a dangerous enemy. It bides its time.

A decade later and now a successful businessman, Robert decides to create a pleasure garden in memory of his sons, in the very same place he found refuge as a boy – a disused chalk quarry in Surrey’s Carshalton. But instead of sharing his vision with his wife, he widens the gulf between them by keeping her in the dark. It is another woman who translates his dreams. An obscure yet talented artist called Florence Hoddy, who lives alone with her unmarried brother, painting only what she sees from her window… 

Jane Davis

Hailed by The Bookseller as ‘One to Watch’, Jane Davis writes thought-provoking literary page turners.

She spent her twenties and the first half of her thirties chasing promotions in the business world but, frustrated by the lack of a creative outlet, she turned to writing.

Her first novel, 'Half-Truths and White Lies', won a national award established with the aim of finding the next Joanne Harris. Further recognition followed in 2016 with 'An Unknown Woman' being named Self-Published Book of the Year by Writing Magazine/the David St John Thomas Charitable Trust, as well as being shortlisted in the IAN Awards, and in 2019 with 'Smash all the Windows' winning the inaugural Selfies Book Award. Her novel, 'At the Stroke of Nine O’Clock' was featured by The Lady Magazine as one of their favourite books set in the 1950s, selected as a Historical Novel Society Editor's Choice, and shortlisted for the Selfies Book Awards 2021.

Interested in how people behave under pressure, Jane introduces her characters when they are in highly volatile situations and then, in her words, she throws them to the lions. The themes she explores are diverse, ranging from pioneering female photographers, to relatives seeking justice for the victims of a fictional disaster.

Jane Davis lives in Carshalton, Surrey, in what was originally the ticket office for a Victorian pleasure gardens, known locally as ‘the gingerbread house’. Her house frequently features in her fiction. In fact, she burnt it to the ground in the opening chapter of 'An Unknown Woman'. In her latest release, Small Eden, she asks the question why one man would choose to open a pleasure gardens at a time when so many others were facing bankruptcy?

When she isn’t writing, you may spot Jane disappearing up the side of a mountain with a camera in hand.

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Read an #excerpt from Liopleurodon: The Master of the Deep by M. B. Zucker #HistoricalFantasy #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @MBZuckerBooks @MichaelZucker1 @cathiedunn

Liopleurodon: The Master of the Deep By M. B. Zucker Publication Date: 20th September 2022. Publisher: Historium Press Books. Cover Design: ...