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

Monday, 19 October 2020

Welcoming Tonya Ulynn Brown and her book - The Queen's Almoner - to my blog

 Today I'm welcoming Tonya Ulynn Brown and her book - The Queen's Almoner- 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, but first I'll introduce the book.

The Queen's Almoner By Tonya Ulynn Brown

Sometimes loyalty to the queen comes at a cost.

Thomas Broune is a Reformer and childhood friend of the young queen, Mary Stuart. When Mary embarks on a new life in her estranged homeland of Scotland, Thomas is there to greet her and offer his renewed friendship. But the long-time friends grow closer, and Thomas realizes his innocent friendship has grown into something more. Yet he is a man of the cloth. Mary is the queen of the Scots. Both of them have obligations of an overwhelming magnitude: he to his conscience and she to her throne. 

When he must choose between loyalty to his queen or his quiet life away from her court, he finds that the choice comes at a high price. Driven by a sense of obligation to protect those he loves, and crippled by his inability to do so, Thomas must come to terms with the choices he has made and find a peace that will finally lay his failures to rest.

Publication Date: June 30, 2020 

Publisher: Late November Literary  

Print Length: 320 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

You can purchase a copy of the book via -

 Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Barnes and Noble:

Now for the excerpt -

We left Strathbogie at daybreak. We made a great spectacle, as over 3,000 men, most on horseback but many on foot, had joined with Mary and were now moving in unison toward Aberdeen. A sea of blacks, browns, grays, chestnuts, and every color of horse in between thundered across the plains and over the hillsides. The regal garments and royal standards of the queen’s army and the colorful tartans and humble weapons of the Highland clans who joined with her cause, merged together into one purpose. The sound of the horses alone was deafening, but when you added the powerful cries of thousands of warriors, the sound was quite bone-jarring.

“Ramses seems a little more skittish than normal, don’t you think, Thomas?” Mary observed the horse with her sharp eye as we made our way to Aberdeen.

“Aye, he has been giving me fits for two days now. He seemed especially on edge this morning as I performed his daily grooming ritual, and then dressed his saddle and bridle. I mean, all the horses seemed to anticipate the fight. But where most pranced in anxious anticipation, Ramses has trembled with nervous energy.”

We were within a few miles of Aberdeen when Lord James commanded a halt of our soldiers. We dismounted to stretch our legs, and James motioned for us to join him at the edge of a long, flat meadow.

“We will stop here at Corrichie Burn. Just over that hill is Midmar Castle. We have reason to believe that Gordon is hiding there.” James pointed to the north. A small canyon lied between where we stood and the castle on the other side.

“Marshland covers that canyon,” Sir Arrick added. “We will need to be very careful when we cross. Watch for small knolls covered in cotton grass. That is where you will want to step. The ground beneath is firmer there and will give you a sure spot to place your step. Avoid the sphagnum moss; it will be soggy and you will lose your footing.”

“How will we ever cross safely on horseback?” Mary cried. “It’s a devil’s trap.”

You will not be crossing at all,” James said. “You will stay here, on the safety of this hill. You will be able to see everything and send messages should you find the need.”

“May I remind you who’s in command here?” Mary crossed her arms in aggravation, staring James down with those fiery green eyes.

James sighed, “Mary, please.”

“Allow me,” I interrupted, touching the queen gently under the elbow and pulling her aside. “Mary, this is a very dangerous area, as you have already observed. Your safety is the most important issue at hand. No matter what the outcome is here today on this field, if something happens to you it will all be in vain. Please, just stay here. Rizzio will keep you company and there will be soldiers here to protect you. You can still watch the whole thing unfold before you.”

The color drained from her face at my words. “You mean Rizzio and you will be here with me, correct?”

I didn’t speak for a moment, but the silence was answer enough.

“Thomas,” she hissed, “you talk of my safety, but what of yours?”

“Mary, I’m not the sovereign. If anything happens to me, the world will go on.” She opened her mouth, presumably to protest, but I continued. “I cannot stand idly by, knowing that I have the skill and strength to assist in this battle. I do it for my queen, and my queen only. Do I have your blessing?”

She stood, lips trembling and tears puddling in her eyes. “I…” she choked, unable to go on.

I pulled my sword from its scabbard and turned the blade toward me. Kneeling, I handed Mary the handle of my sword. “Your blessing, my queen…please.”

“What about your oath…to God?”

“I do not feel I am compromising my oath. If I said it was for God and queen, would that make you feel better?”

A slight smile lifted the corner of her mouth and she wrapped her hands around the guard. “You have my blessing, Reverend Thomas Broune.” She raised the sword to her lips and gently kissed the hilt. Handing the sword back to me, she added under her breath, “If you get yourself killed, I will never forgive you.” The husky scratch in her voice on the word never drove her point home.

I stood and took my sword from her hands. Replacing it in my scabbard, I gave her one last look. My chest tightened, causing a shortness of breath. This woman had turned my world upside down. No matter what happened here today, I knew she held my heart in her hands.

Mary’s men assembled at the edge of the marsh. I stood holding Ramses’ reins when Sir Arrick approached me. “I have been given strict instructions to keep you within my sight at all times.”

I barked a laugh at him, “You just worry about the battle at hand. I can take care of myself.”

“Nay, I cannot defy the queen’s orders. She is concerned about your horse, and I must admit, I have seen how uneasy he is.”

“Aye, he is a little rambunctious today. I think he senses a fight.”

“Smart horse. Just be sure to stay close to me. If you don’t, she might have both of our heads.”

I nodded in understanding but made no promises. Arrick had enough to worry about without having to play nursemaid to me.

We picked our way across the bog, almost reaching the other side when a shout rang out from the top of the hill. In an instant Gordon’s men rained down on us, as we scurried to mount our horses and prepare our arms. I watched Arrick turn to the east and unman a horse before I had finished mounting. But before I could follow him on his campaign, I suddenly felt the ground shift under Ramses’ feet. The horse let out a terrible noise and reared onto his back legs. I gained control of him just in time to reflect a sword coming straight at me. I easily deflected the blade, for the man who bore it was on foot. Thrusting my own sword between his ribs, the soldier fell with a curse on his lips.

“God forgive me and give his soul rest,” I breathed. And that was the last thing I remembered.

Tonya Ulynn Brown

 Tonya Ulynn Brown was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, USA, but now calls southeastern Ohio home. She spent her younger years right out of college, living in Europe and teaching English as a second language. She attributes her time in Eastern Europe as being one of great personal growth, where her love for history, the classics, and all things European was born. Tonya holds a Master’s degree in Teaching and is now an elementary school teacher where she uses her love of history and reading to try to inspire younger generations to learn, explore and grow. Along with all the historical characters that she entertains in her head, she lives with her husband, two sons and a very naughty Springer Spaniel. Her mother has also joined their home, making for a cozy and complete little family.

You can connect with Tonya Ulynn Brown via th following platforms -






You can follow this blog tour and find out more about the book by visiting the blogs detailed here -

I hope you check out Tonya Ulynn Brown's work.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe

1 comment:

Mary Anne Yarde said...

Thank you so much for hosting today's stop!