When you make a conscious choice to be happy, no one can take it away from you because no one gave it to you: you gave it to yourself.

A quote from April Green's - Bloom For Yourself Journal

Thursday 27 August 2020

Welcoming Roberta Kagan and her book - The Smallest Crack - to my blog

 Today I'm welcoming author Roberta Kagan and her book - The Smallest Crack - to my blog as part of the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club (founded by Mary Anne Yarde).

I'm delighted to be able to share an excerpt with you which I will do after I've introduced the book. 

The Smallest Crack by Roberta Kagan

1933 Berlin, Germany.

The son of a rebbe, Eli Kaetzel, and his beautiful but timid wife, Rebecca, find themselves in danger as Hitler rises to power. Eli knows that their only chance for survival may lie in the hands of Gretchen, a spirited Aryan girl. However, the forbidden and dangerous friendship between Eli and Gretchen has been a secret until now. Because, for Eli, if it is discovered that he has been keeping company with a woman other than his wife it will bring shame to him and his family. For Gretchen her friendship with a Jew is forbidden by law and could cost her, her life.

You can purchase a copy of the book via the following link -


Publication date: July 1, 2019 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Roberta Kagan

Print Length: 321 pages

Now for the excerpt -

 Hilde found it easy to steal from Jews. She’d been caught once when she took the lipstick from a Jewish shop. The owner was furious, but when Hilde threatened to tell the German police that he had molested her, he let her go without reporting the theft. The best part was that she still kept the tube of lipstick.

The shopkeeper was not watching Hilde intently, making it easy for her to put two dresses on underneath the dress she was wearing. She hung the others back on the hangers and handed them to the shopkeeper.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t find anything,” Hilde said. 
These Jews have been stealing from us good Germans for a very long time. So what if I get a little of it back? Hilde thought.

“Well, good luck to you. I hope you find what you’re looking for,” the shopkeeper said as she began to straighten the dresses on the hangers.
Hilde left the store and ran home. She carefully removed the price tags and hung the stolen goods on hangers. She marveled at her conquest. One dress was pale pink, and the other was pale yellow. Either one would be perfect for a spring dance. They fit Hilde, so she knew both dresses would be too big for Gretchen. Since Hilde liked both frocks equally, she decided she would let Gretchen choose first then she’d wear the other one. Once Gretchen chose her favorite, Hilde would help her add a belt at the waist to make it fit.

Sitting on her bed with her back against the wall, Hilde smiled. She was excited about the dance. Perhaps, by some miracle, with her new dress and her red lipstick, she would be able to attract Hann’s attention. She could hardly wait until the dance. It was two weeks away, and she was counting the days.

Roberta Kagan

I am an USA Today Best Selling Author of Historical Jewish Fiction mainly set during World War 2. My father was Romany and my mother was Jewish, When I was very young I learned about the Holocaust. I couldn't understand how something like this could happen. So, I began to research and learn more. I met with survivors. I even met with children and grandchildren of SS officers. But I still had no answers. I cannot say that I have all of the answers to all of my questions even now. But what I do know is that soon all of the survivors will be gone. Their message must be remembered, the sacrifices that they made must not be forgotten. And so I humbly and with the utmost humility I try to tell their stories. It is painful, but I must convey the darkness and horror of the time, However, I also want the world to know and celebrate the unsung heroes. Because there were many ordinary people who acted in heroic ways. I realize that writing these books is a great responsibility. I pray every day that I am able to do this correctly. I am trying to reach out and touch many people, not with the message of the horrors but with the promise of hope. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for considering my work. It is an honor that I never take lightly.

You can connect with Roberta Kagan via th following links -





Facebook, author page:

Roberta Kagan Book Club:

I hope you will check out Roberta Kagan's work.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe




Tuesday 25 August 2020

Welcoming M J Porter and her book - The Last King: England: The First Viking Age (The Ninth Century Book 1) - to my blog

 Today I'm welcoming author M J Porter and her new book - The Last King: England: The First Viking Age (The Ninth Century Book 1) - to my blog as part of the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club (founded by Mary Anne Yarde).


 I'm delighted to be able to share an excerpt with you which I will do after I've introduced the book. 

The Last King: England: The First Viking Age (The Ninth Century Book 1)

By M J Porter

 They sent three hundred warriors to kill one man. It wasn’t enough.

Mercia lies broken but not beaten, her alliance with Wessex in tatters.

Coelwulf, a fierce and bloody warrior, hears whispers that Mercia has been betrayed from his home in the west. He fears no man, especially not the Vikings sent to hunt him down.

To discover the truth of the rumours he hears, Coelwulf must travel to the heart of Mercia, and what he finds there will determine the fate of Mercia, as well as his own

Publication date: 23rd April 2020

Publisher: Indie

You can purchase your copy via the following links -

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

 Now for the excerpt -


I taste it on my lips, and over the salt of my sweat.

And I scowl. It’s not a flavour I wish to get used to. All the same, I know what it is without a second thought.

My seax glistens slickly in the dull light, the gleaming claret reminding me more of an exotic wine from the south than the lifeblood it truly is. The double headed-eagle impeccably depicted on the handle seems to wink at me, as the eyes fill with the ruby mixture.

Not that I focus on it for more than the time it takes me to blink.

This horde feels as though it’ll never stop, and I’m determined to end the lives of as many of them as possible. Such slaughter doesn’t bring me joy, but this is my skill. I wield it because I must.

My weapon, so sharp it cuts through byrnies as though they’re no more than spider webs, is busy today.

They come against my force, as small as it is, and they mean to annihilate us. But we will not go without making our sacrifices to their god of war.

My seax sweeps effortlessly along the abruptly exposed throat of my enemy, the realisation of what’s befallen him only reaching his eyes as he falls to the ground. I step over him, already sighting my next enemy.

This one swirls an axe in his left hand, as I reveal my bloodied teeth. His entire body recoils, almost a backward step. Before he can consider his move, I’ve sliced through his belly, the gut threatening to spill at my feet. I dismiss him and move onto the next man.

The ground beneath my feet squelches with each step, slick, more like a flooded river than the solid ground it should be.

It’s awash with the dead and wounded, the long shield wall that tried to defeat us long since disintegrated to small spots of desperate one to one fighting. This is my favourite part of any battle.

I turn, noting the angle of the sun, the brush of the breeze against my slick body, breathing deeply through my nose. This is not my first battle. Far from it.

I hear the cries of those boys who thought themselves men, and equally of those men who’ve found they are but boys when their lives are threatened.

I scorn them. They’re not worthy of my attention.

Quickly, I reach for my weapons belt, keen to know that all is where it should be. My hand brushes over the sharpened edges and deadly blades that make a home there. For now.

Satisfied, I pick my next target, a tight knot of men fighting not five steps away, and move forward.

I don’t hurry. Not this time. Neither, as I’ve seen others do, do I check the weight of my weapon, or test the strength of my arm as I consider my next move. Instinctively I know that all is well.

They’ll not fail me. They haven’t before.

The sun is high above my head, few clouds to be seen, other than high up, more wisps than anything substantial.

This battle has been long. It began with the streak of fire across the eastern sky, and I don’t foresee it ending other than when that same stripe sinks below the western horizon.

Those who met their death in the first wave of the assault will be cold and stiff by then, the heat of the sun of no help to them.

Those yet shivering with their mortal injuries will watch for the flashes of disappearing gold with fear. They’ll not see it rise again.

I simply mark it with detachment. There are more warriors to kill.

There are always more enemies to kill.

My seax arm sweeps to the right. I would sooner not kill a man who doesn’t know I’m there, but he should be paying more attention.

The wound along the back of his neck opens up with unsurprising ease, and I notice how my sworn-man takes advantage of the action to slice across the throat.

The enemy wobbles, his head bobbing. I fear it will topple to the floor before he does, and so I step around him.

Icel grins at me, his black beard dripping with the blood of his foe, as I grunt an acknowledgement, and nothing more.

Icel pivots to face the next enemy, as I stride beyond him. Coldly I count how many face us, how many are my warriors, almost pleased to see that the numbers, with my presence, are now equal.

That’s not how we started this battle.

And it’s not how I plan on ending it either.

I’ll ensure we roundly defeat our enemy, and when they’re dead, I’ll plan my next move.

I focus my thoughts, sight my target, and rush quickly toward them. He barely has time to raise his seax before I slice across his body. Blood spurts, as the links of his metal coat burst open under the blow from my weapon.

Another step, a slash of the seax from left to right, and blood is falling like rain.

Sometimes, I think the enemy make it too easy for me. I’m fast and relentless, and always have been. But, I’m cautious against my arrogance. My men tell me that my strength is prodigious. For one always used to being so strong, it’s impossible to know what it must feel like not to be.

My enemy staggers, perhaps not appreciating the extent of the injury. I take a cold moment of pity and allow him to fall onto the edge of my seax.

His final gasp of air is filled with fluid, as I reverse my hold, letting him slide to the floor.

I step gingerly over the rapidly growing pool of blood, grimacing at the stench of opened bowels and salty iron, at the result of my particular talents. Each kill is more than a number. But only just.

I feel as though I sweep through the enemy. They are warriors of all shapes and sizes, ages and skill levels. They all fall beneath my weapons, as though I fell defenceless saplings. This butchery gives me pleasure, and a burst of adrenaline only found in battle.

Only when I glance up, finding no enemy before me, do I stand upright, bring my legs together, menace with my seax, and glance at the field of slaughter.

I lead twenty men. The enemy must have numbered at least double that. Of those who remain, three are stood, angled to protect the back of each other, while three of my warriors threaten them. Another five wait to take the place of any who might fall. I think they’ll wait forever. My sworn warriors know how to make a kill, but some of them will insist on enjoying it first.

To the far right, I see where one lone figure attempts to escape into the muddy field ditch, alive for now, but not for much longer.

Other than those four opponents, all others are dead, or fled, or pretending to be dead.

I sigh heavily, abruptly aware of the ache in my shoulders, and the dryness of my mouth.

I could drink a barrel of cold water. But it’s not yet time to declare this battle won.

“How many?” I call, as though to no one, but Edmund answers, as quickly as always, his voice rich with the joy of battle.

“Two who will die, three with injuries that should recover, and Pybba, who lost his hand. The damn fool.”

I turn to meet the eyes of Edmund. He grins at me, as cocky as ever when the battle seems to be won. It’s not the same when a battle starts. In fact, when a battle commences, I almost expect him to run from the attack, or, if he stays, to soil himself, there and then.

His courage is slow to arrive and takes days to dissipate. But he fights with a tenacity I admire, and I’d never wish to go into battle without him.

“Leave one alive,” I turn and bellow, reminding my warriors that we must employ the tactics of the Raiders, even if I don’t want to. One must always live to tell of what befell their friends and comrades on the field of slaughter.

“Too late,” Edmund’s voice is soaring with laughter, as he too watches the remnants of the three Raiders losing their fight to live. “They always get bloody carried away,” he complains, but amusement thrums through the words rather than anger.

“Then bring me the one over there, heading toward the field ditch. We’ll stitch him up and send him on his way.” Once the killing begins, it’s almost impossible to stop until everyone on the battlefield lies unmoving.

M J Porter


I'm an author of fantasy (viking age/dragon themed) and historical fiction (Early English, Vikings and the British Isles as a whole before the Norman Conquest), born in the old Mercian kingdom at some point since AD1066. I write A LOT. You've been warned!

You can connect with M J Porter via the following links -

Author Website:

Author Blog:


Hope you will check out M J Porter's work.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe