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

Tuesday 24 August 2021

Welcoming A B Michaels and her book - The Art of Love _ to my blog

 Today I'm welcoming A B Michaels and her book - The Art of Love (The Golden City 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 share an excerpt with you all but first I will introduce the book.

The Art of Love

Your Journey to The Golden City begins here...


A tale of mystery, social morality and second chances during America’s Gilded Age, The Art of Love will take you on an unforgettable journey from the last frontier of the Yukon Territory to the new Sodom and Gomorrah of its time - the boomtown of San Francisco.

After digging a fortune from the frozen fields of the Klondike, August Wolff heads south to the “Golden City,” hoping to put the unsolved disappearance of his wife and daughter behind him. The turn of the twentieth century brings him even more success, but the distractions of a hedonistic mecca can’t fill the gaping hole in his life.

Amelia Starling is a wildly talented artist caught in the straightjacket of Old New York society. Making a heart-breaking decision, she moves to San Francisco to further her career, all the while living with the pain of a sacrifice no woman should ever have to make. 

Brought together by the city’s flourishing art scene, Gus and Lia forge a rare connection. But the past, shrouded in mystery, prevents the two of them from moving forward as one. Unwilling to face society’s scorn, Lia leaves the city and vows to begin again in Europe.

The Golden City offers everything a man could wish for except the answers Gus is desperate to find. But find them he must, or he and Lia have no chance at all.

Publication Date: 4th May 2014

Publisher: Red Trumpet Press

Page Length: 360 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

You can purchase a copy of the book and the others in the series via -

The Art of Love:

The Depth of Beauty:

The Promise:

The Price of Compassion:

Josephine’s Daughter:

The Madness of Mrs Whittaker:

Now for the excerpt -

God, it feels good to hit something. Gus set up a rhythm with the punching ball, hitting the suspended rubber bag dead on in a series of short, quick jabs that drove it back and forth into the back corner walls of the gym. He kept up the pace until sweat started dripping down his face and onto his chest, and then he punched some more. Some men liked working out with the newer, heavier bags, but Gus liked the challenge of punching the fast-swinging ball bare knuckled before it punched him back. His chest heaving, he began to angle his jabs in order to catch the return swing from different angles.

“Ah, Mr. Hansen was right. He said you’d probably be here, beating the crap out of that thing. You picturing somebody’s face on that?” Will Firestone’s drawl was unmistakable.

Gus caught the ball just before it swung back and hit him between the eyes. “Yeah, do the initials W.F. ring a bell?” He grabbed a nearby towel and wiped his face and arms.

“Funny,” Will said. He gestured to Gus’s reddened hands. “Maybe you should have gone a few rounds with Jack Root instead of Kid McCoy. You could have been the first ever light heavyweight champ.”

“Right.” Gus drank from a jug of water sitting near his towel. “I assume you’re here for some other reason than giving me grief?”

“Yes, actually. Have you got time for a beer?”

Gus nodded. “Be out directly.” He headed for the locker room for a quick shower and a change of clothes. In fact, he was glad to see his partner; anything to take his mind off the mess he’d gotten himself into with Lia.

Ten minutes later Gus and Will were drinking a couple of Anchor Steams over at Fidelio’s Crab Shack, across the street from the Y where Gus habitually worked out.

“What do you need?” Gus asked.

“Not me, friend. I’m here for you. You’ve been out of sorts lately. Mr. Hansen’s noticed, I’ve certainly noticed. You think you’re good at hiding whatever’s going on, but you aren’t.”

Gus snorted. “So, now you’re not only my business partner, you’re my very own Sigmund Freud? When did I get so lucky?”

Will wouldn’t let up. “Look, I told you months ago that Lia was somebody special and that I didn’t want you hurting her. You remember?”

Gus nodded reluctantly.

“And you remember I told you that you were like clockwork when it came to winding down your relationships?”

“You don’t have to remind me.”

“Yeah, well I do. Something’s going on because you’re acting much the same way you’ve acted every time you were ready to cut bait, and I swear, Gus, if you—”

“Okay. All right,” Gus admitted. “Something’s not going right, but it’s not what you think.”

The look Will gave Gus could have cut glass. Shit, on top of everything else, his own partner was ready to smack him. Well, he’d probably do the same if he were in Will’s shoes.

“So, spill it.”

Gus paused and took a long pull on his beer. This was harder to get out than he thought. But he needed to vent or he really was going to hit somebody. “All right. Not that it’s any of your damn business, but I’ve gone and done it. Plain and simple, I’ve fallen head over ass in love with Lia. She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to a lout like me, and that includes the Klondike.”

“Whoa,” Will said, leaning back in his chair. “That’s just about the last thing I thought you were going to say.”

“Well, I said it and I meant it.”

“So what’s the problem? She doesn’t feel likewise?”

“No, I’m pretty sure she feels the same way.”

Will tipped his glass to Gus’s. “So, what’s the problem? You pick a date, you rent a hall …”

Gus rolled his shoulders. “Ah, not so fast. There’s a slight problem.”

“Yeah, what? Don’t tell me she doesn’t want to get married. I mean, I wouldn’t blame her after a messy divorce and all, but …”

“I don’t know, I haven’t asked her. But knowing Lia, I think she’d want to.”

“Well, what are you waiting for? If you want her, you’d better claim her before somebody else does. Marriage is the logical next step. That’s what they tell me, anyhow.”

“Except for one hitch …”

“What’s that?”

“I’m already married.”

Will glared at Gus and grabbed him across the table. “What?! Why, you miserable prick—”

Gus stopped Will’s arm and broke his grip. “Hear me out,” he growled.

“Damn you, this better be good.” Will was breathing hard. Gus had never seen him so ornery.

“Look, nine years ago I thought with my cock instead of my head, and I got married. We went up north and had a baby girl right away. Mattie, my wife, couldn’t hack it, so she took our daughter back down to Seattle. We both knew our marriage wasn’t workin’ out, but she said she’d wait for me … only she didn’t.” He counted off on his fingers. “I checked the boarding house where she’d lived. They said she’d gone down south with a new friend she’d met named Bethany Jones. I met the woman down at her family’s ranch. She said Mattie never made it down that far.”

“What happened?”

“Supposedly she thought I was dead and took off with an old childhood friend she ran into—some bloke I’d never heard of—while they were taking a break from their journey here in San Francisco. I’ve had Pinkerton’s men on it for years. Every time they find a missing person, every time they find a woman’s body …” his voice hitched. “You don’t know what it’s like, not knowing where your little girl is, whether she’s safe or has enough to eat, or …” He stopped, took another swig of beer. Pulled himself together. Finally, he looked up at Will. “So, you know that saying ‘between a rock and a hard place’? Well, that’s precisely where I am.”

“So, I take it Lia doesn’t know any of this.”

Gus shook his head. “No. And I can’t bear to tell her.”

“Why not?”

“Why not? Because there’s no way in hell a woman like her is going to stick with a man who can’t give her everything, including a ring on her finger. And I can’t give her that ring because I can’t find my goddamn wife to get a divorce from her—that’s why not.”

Will straightened in his chair and pulled out a small notebook and pencil from the inner pocket of his jacket. “What the name of that rooming house?”

 “The Empire. Run by an old biddy named Partridge, I think. Yeah, Eugenia Partridge. Why?”

“I’m headed up to Seattle to seal that deal with Rochester. If I have time, maybe I’ll poke around. See what I can find out.” He shrugged. “Couldn’t hurt.”

Gus shook his head. “No point in it. If the Pinkertons couldn’t find any leads, I doubt you will.” He rose from the table and reached for his wallet. “But thanks all the same. I appreciate it.”

Will stayed Gus’s hand. “I’ll get this,” he said, pulling out his own billfold. “But, Gus?”


“You know you’ve got to tell her.”

Gus nodded and heaved a sigh. “And that, Dr. Firestone, is why I’ve wanted to punch the hell out of something all week.”

A B Michaels

A native of California, A.B. Michaels holds mastersdegrees in history (UCLA) and broadcasting (San Francisco State University). After working for many years as a promotional writer and editor, she turned to writing fiction, which is the hardest thing she's ever done besides raise two boys. She lives with her husband and two spoiled dogs in Boise, Idaho, where she is often distracted by playing darts and bocce and trying to hit a golf ball more than fifty yards. Reading, quilt-making and travel figure into the mix as well, leading her to hope that sometime soon, someone invents a 25+ hour day.

You can connect with the author via these platforms -






Amazon Author Page:


You can learn more about the book and the series by visiting the other blogs on this tour.

That's it for now.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe






Welcoming Tracey Warr and her book - The Anarchy - to my blog.

Today I'm welcoming Tracey Warr and her book - The Anarchy (Conquest book 3) - 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 share an excerpt with you all but first I will introduce the book.

The Anarchy

Unhappily married to Stephen de Marais, the Welsh princess, Nest, becomes increasingly embroiled in her countrymens resistance to the Norman occupation of her family lands. She plans to visit King Henry in the hope of securing a life away from her unwanted husband, but grieving for the loss of his son, the King is obsessed with relics and prophecies.

Meanwhile, Haith tries to avoid the reality that Nest is married to another man by distracting himself with the mystery of the shipwreck in which the Kings heir drowned. As Haith pieces together fragments of the tragedy, he discovers a chest full of secrets, but will the revelations bring a culprit to light and aid the grieving King?

Will the two lovers be united as Nest fights for independence and Haith struggles to protect King Henry?

Publication Date: 2nd June 2020

Publisher: Impress Books

Page Length: 218 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Historical Romance

You can purchase this book and others from the series via -

The Daughter of the Last King (Book 1) -

The Drowned Court (Book 2) -

The Anarchy (Book 3) -

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Amazon CA:

Amazon AU:

Barnes and Noble:



Now for the excerpt -

Chapter 21

The Beard

‘Hold still, man!’ Gwenllian cried. Einon, one of the men serving Cadell’s father, sat before her as she struggled to weave the tiny, folded message into the strands of his bushy, red beard. Cadell pinched a hand over his nose and mouth to stop his snort of laughter, but it was near impossible to hold it all in, and his stepmother Gwenllian glanced sidelong at him. ‘You’re not helping, Cadell!’ she exclaimed.

Einon was also doing his best not to laugh. ‘It’s a mite ticklish, my queen.’

Gwenllian sat back to take a frustrated break from her third attempt to entwine the parchment in the beard. Twice before she had almost got it suspended in the wiry red hairs so that it was invisible and carefully couched. But as soon as Einon stood and drew himself up to his considerable height, the tiny letter dropped to the floor. ‘This is no good! It won’t work!’ Gwenllian groaned, her face pink with frustrated effort.

‘You’ve so nearly done it, mother.’ Cadell’s stepmother was not renowned for her patience. ‘Here, let me try.’ Cadell held his hand out for the small, folded square. He had penned the letter. His parents did not write, but he had learnt to do so during visits to his Aunt Nest’s household and he had written the message to the Norse lord Raegnald in a minuscule script. It read,

Gruffudd, King of Deuheubarth, sends love to his foster-brother Raegnald. I mean to attack the Normans at Cardigan, aided by the sons of Gwynedd. Will you send boats and men to assist me in this endeavour and help me to regain the kingdom that is rightfully mine?


Cadell’s slender fingers nested the message deep into the beard. He plaited strands around it so that it could not fall—not when Einon rode, or rolled over in his sleep, or stood in a gale-force wind on the ship taking him to Dublin and Raegnald’s hall. ‘There!’

The man looked down. ‘Can’t see it at all.’

‘It will hold?’ Gwenllian asked.

‘It will hold,’ Cadell said with certainty, looking at Einon. Then he turned to Gwenllian. ‘But is this wise mother?’


‘To trust our lives and throne to your brothers?’

‘Go, with my thanks and hopes,’ Gwenllian told Einon, her brusque manner belying her words.

‘My brother and I will be ready at the gate shortly,’ Cadell told him courteously in an effort to mitigate Gwenllian’s tone.

Einon tucked the forked ends of his loaded beard into his belt, bowed low to them and strode from the room.

‘I don’t want to speak in front of him. That is why you wrote the letter rather than sending a message by mouth,’ Gwenllian told Cadell.

‘Yes, I know.’ This way Einon could not have the message tortured from him if he were captured by the Normans at the port. He would be travelling from Llansteffan. That had been Cadell’s idea too. Nest had invited her nephews to visit her again and Einon would travel as part of the boys’ escort, and then slip away to Ireland by boat at night.

‘No, it’s not wise,’ Gwenllian stated. ‘I don’t trust my brothers at all, but is it wise for us, the royal family of Deheubarth, to sit here in this backwater stirring potage all day long?’

Cadell shook his head. ‘No, for sure. That is not wise.’

Tracey Warr

Tracey Warr (1958- ) was born in London and lives in the UK and France. Her first historical novel, Almodis the Peaceweaver (Impress, 2011) is set in 11th century France and Spain and is a fictionalised account of the true story of the Occitan female lord, Almodis de la Marche, who was Countess of Toulouse and Barcelona. It was shortlisted for the Impress Prize for New Fiction and the Rome Film Festival Books Initiative and won a Santander Research Award. Her second novel, The Viking Hostage, set in 10th century France and Wales, was published by Impress Books in 2014 and topped the Amazon Australia charts. Her Conquest trilogy, Daughter of the Last King, The Drowned Court, and The Anarchy recount the story of a Welsh noblewoman caught up in the struggle between the Welsh and the Normans in the 12th century. She was awarded a Literature Wales Writers Bursary. Her writing is a weave of researched history and imagined stories in the gaps in history.

Tracey Warr studied English at University of Hull and Oxford University, gaining a BA (Hons) and MPhil. She worked at the Arts Council, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Chatto & Windus Publishers, and edited Poetry Review magazine with Mick Imlah. She also publishes art writing on contemporary artists, and in 2016 she published a future fiction novella, Meanda, in English and French, as part of the art project, Exoplanet Lot. She recently published a series of three books, The Water Age, which are future fiction and art and writing workshop books - one for adults and one for children - on the topic of water in the future. She gained a PhD in Art History in 2007 and was Guest Professor at Bauhaus University and Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University and Dartington College of Arts. Her published books on contemporary art include The Artists Body (Phaidon, 2000), Remote Performances in Nature and Architecture (Routledge, 2015) and The Midden (Garret, 2018). She gained an MA in Creative Writing at University of Wales Trinity St David in 2011. She is Head of Research at Dartington Trust and teaches on MA Poetics of Imagination for Dartington Arts School.

You can connect with the author via these platforms -






Amazon Author Page:


You can learn more about the book and the series by visiting the other blogs on this tour,

That's it for now.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe






Wednesday 18 August 2021

Welcoming Meredith Allard and her book - Down Salem Way - to my blog

 Today I'm welcoming Meredith Allard and her book - Down Salem Way (The Loving Husband Series) - 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 share an excerpt with you all but first I will introduce the book and the series.

Down Salem Way

How would you deal with the madness of the Salem witch hunts?

In 1690, James Wentworth arrives in Salem in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his father, John, hoping to continue the success of John’s mercantile business. While in Salem, James falls in love with Elizabeth Jones, a farmer’s daughter. Though they are virtually strangers when they marry, the love between James and Elizabeth grows quickly into a passion that will transcend time.

But something evil lurks down Salem way. Soon many in Salem, town and village, are accused of practicing witchcraft and sending their shapes to harm others. Despite the madness surrounding them, James and Elizabeth are determined to continue the peaceful, loving life they have created together. Will their love for one another carry them through the most difficult challenge of all?

Publication Date: June 2019

Publisher: Copperfield Press

Page Length: 352 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

You can purchase a copy of this book and all of the books in the series via these links -

Down Salem Way:

Her Dear and Loving Husband:

Her Loving Husband’s Curse:

Her Loving Husband’s Return:

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Amazon CA:

Amazon AU:

Barnes and Noble:



Now for the excerpt -

From the Diary of James John Wentworth

2 February 1691, Wednesday

“Would you like a lesson?” I asked.

“Aye,” Lizzie said. “Thank you.”

I took the Bible from the shelf in the Great Room and opened to a random page, John 8:7. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” I said.

“Indeed,” said Lizzie.

Lizzie has progressed well in her reading. And quickly too. I believe our nightly lessons help bond us more quickly than we might have otherwise since our readings prompt long discussions where we learn much about each other. After we read the rest of the passage together, I did the impossible: I cajoled my wife into reading aloud on her own.

“No one has such a lovely voice as you,” I said.

Lizzie laughed. “You think your sweet tongue shall convince me to read alone? When you are such a learned man?” She turned away, her cheeks flushed.

“But you know how I love listening to you speak. Tis like hearing a serenata by Alessandro Stradella.”


I reached for our favorite volume of poetry. “Tis time, Lizzie. Read to me.”

Lizzie turned the book in her hands, over and over. Finally, she nodded. She tentatively opened the book. “What would you like to hear?”

“You know.”

Lizzie’s smile rivals the brightest sunshine. She opened to the page, exhaled, and read, haltingly, with pauses, some from a struggle to sound out or recall the words, some from embarrassment that she read alone. After the first two lines, her voice grew in confidence.

She knew what I wanted to hear.

If ever two were one, then surely we.

If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.

If ever wife was happy in a man,

Compare with me, ye women, if you can.

I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,

Or all the riches that the East doth hold.

My love is such that rivers cannot quench,

Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.

Thy love is such I can no way repay;

The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.

Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,

That when we live no more, we may live ever.

Lizzie closed the book. “Tis true, you know.”

“What is?” I asked.

“This poem, To My Dear and Loving Husband. Tis as though everything I feel for you has been written here, by this woman, a magistrate’s wife I’ll never meet. You are…” Lizzie blushed, hot along her jaw. I touched her cheek and lifted her head so I could see into her eyes. “If ever man were loved by wife, then thee. That is how…”

“Tis all right, Lizzie. You can tell me anything.”

“That is how I feel about you. You are my dear and loving husband, James Wentworth.”

I knelt before Lizzie, pressing her hand to my lips.

“I knew the moment I saw you over the supper table that you were the one for me. I cannot imagine waking up every morning for the rest of my life without looking into your beautiful eyes. I cannot imagine walking through this world without knowing that you were here waiting for me. I cannot imagine having the strength to breathe without you. You are my dear and loving wife, Elizabeth Wentworth. And I love you. I shall never leave you. Ever.”

I swept my wife into my arms and carried her away.

Meredith Allard

Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Trilogy. Her sweet Victorian romance, When It Rained at Hembry Castle, was named a best historical novel by IndieReader. Her nonfiction book, Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction, was named a #1 New Release in Authorship and Creativity Self-Help by Amazon. When she isn’t writing she’s teaching writing, and she has taught writing to students ages five to 75. She loves books, cats, and coffee, though not always in that order. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit Meredith online at

You can connect with Meredith Allard via these platforms -





Book Bub:

Amazon Author Page:

You can learn more about the author and the books by visiting the other blogs on the tour.

That's it for now.

Till the next time

Take care Zoe