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

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Welcoming Mary Anne Yarde and her book - The Du Lac Chronicles - to my blog

Today I'm welcoming Mary Anne Yarde and her book - The Du Lac Chronicles (book 1 of The Du Lac Chronicles series) - to my blog as part of the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club (founded by Mary Anne Yarde)

I am beyond delighted to share this book with you all. You see, Mary Anne and I are best friends - we've known each other since school and over the years we've shared many memories and achievements. 

Many years ago, Mary Anne said to me "I have an idea for a story" to which I replied, "Well write it then!" 

I've been fortunate to have seen behind the scenes of The Du Lac Chronicles and have witnessed firsthand the story and characters grow from those early drafts to the fantastic series we see today. It makes me so proud to see what Mary Anne has achieved and she deserves every success (I know I'm biased!).

The Du Lac Chronicles

A generation after Arthur Pendragon ruled, Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities.

Eighteen-year-old Alden du Lac ruled the tiny kingdom of Cerniw. Now he half-hangs from a wooden pole, his back lashed into a mass of bloody welts exposed to the cold of a cruel winter night. He’s to be executed come daybreak—should he survive that long.

When Alden notices the shadowy figure approaching, he assumes death has come to end his pain. Instead, the daughter of his enemy, Cerdic of Wessex, frees and hides him, her motives unclear.

Annis has loved Alden since his ill-fated marriage to her Saxon cousin—a marriage that ended in blood and guilt—and she would give anything to protect him. Annis’s rescue of Alden traps them between a brutal Saxon king and Alden’s remaining allies. Meanwhile, unknown forces are carefully manipulating the ruins of Arthur’s legacy.

Trigger warnings:

Torture, Warfare

Publication Date: 21st February 2016

Publisher: Independently Publishing

Page Length: 317 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction / Historical Fantasy / Historical Romance

You can purchase a copy of the book via these platforms -

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

The book is also available on Kindle Unlimited.

Mary Anne Yarde

Mary Anne Yarde is a multi-award winning and bestselling author of Historical Fiction, as well as an award-winning blogger. She studied History at Cardiff University and went on to study Equine Science at Warwickshire College.

Mary Anne is a passionate advocate for quality Historical Fiction and founded The Coffee Pot Book Club in 2015 and became a professional Editorial Reviewer in 2016.

Mary Anne's award-winning series, The Du Lac Chronicles, is set a generation after the fall of King Arthur. The Du Lac Chronicles takes you on a journey through Dark Age Britain and Brittany, where you will meet new friends and terrifying foes. Based on legends and historical fact, The Du Lac Chronicles is a series not to be missed

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.

You can connect with Mary Anne Yarde via -




Amazon Author Page:


You can learn more about the book and the author by visiting the other blogs on this tour -

Tour Schedule Page:

That's it for now.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Welcoming Jenny Knipfer and her book - On Bur Oak Ridge - to my blog

Today I'm welcoming Jenny Knipfer and her book - On Bur Oak Ridge (Sheltering Trees, book 3) - to my blog as part of the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club (founded by Mary Anne Yarde)

I am delighted to share an excerpt with you all, but first I'll introduce the book.

On Bur Oak Ridge

“The plot has its twists and turns to keep readers intrigued…to the very end. A great comfort read that will soothe the spirit with renewed hope and faith.” Readers’ Favorite five-star review


In the early 1900s, quiet and reserved Molly Lund finds refuge from her past at the Nelsons’ farm in Minnesota. In an attempt to turn a new page in her life, Molly works at making peace with her losses and coming to terms with the disfiguring burns on her face.

Samuel Woodson, the Nelsons’ hired hand, carries his own cares. Split from his family and bearing a burden of misplaced guilt for an act that haunts him, Samuel–seeing past Molly’s scars–draws her out of her self-protective shell.

Molly and Samuel form a friendship, but just as their hearts lead them deeper, an unexpected guest comes calling, demanding what’s his.

Will Molly and Samuel find a way to be together or will they be separated, due to impediments beyond their control? Can they trust in God’s plan and travel a path that heals the hurts of the past?

Readers of historical fiction, Christian historical fiction, and Christian historical romance will delight in this beautifully wrought story of the healing power of love.

“A heartwarming story of healing from external and internal scars. Through some of life’s harder lessons the characters learn to trust, forgive, and find second chances out of the ashes of pain and loss.”

Anne Perreault, author of eighteen inspirational novels, including the Yellowstone series

Trigger Warnings:

Grief, trauma from burns, accidental death, time in an insane asylum.

Publication Date: 29th July 2022

Publisher: Jenny Knipfer—Author

Page Length: 266 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance, Christian Historical Romance, Christian Historical Fiction

You can purchase a copy of the book via -

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Amazon CA:

Amazon AU:

The book is also available on Kindle Unlimited.

Now for the excerpt -


“Oh! Sorry...” a voice rasps out in shock.

I gasp and feel the heat before I ascertain what has happened. Hot coffee has sloshed down the front of my thick, twill shirt. I use a couple of fingers to pull the wet fabric away from my chest. A waft of roasted brew rises to my nostrils. I’ve always liked the smell of coffee but not the bitter taste. I prefer tea.

Mrs. Lund—Molly—stands inches from my chest with a tray of mugs, her mouth agape. We briefly look at each other, full in the face, before she bows her head to the side, hiding her scars. Her lovely, dark hair drapes over the smooth side of her face. The pink shade of her lips reminds me of the wild roses that grow in the ditch. Smooth, unblemished, ivory skin covers the pleasing planes of her face. Her fetching image puts me in mind of a harpy from the sea. Mother told me stories of such creatures when I was a child. I doubt Mrs. Lund knows how beautiful she is. It saddens me to take in the other half of her face. I hate to think of the pain she endured to have such scars. Burns, I now surmise.

“Again, I apologize. Mabel sent me out with coffee for the crew before things swing into action.”

She says the words without looking up; they exit from her mouth rough, strained. I wonder what makes her sound as if she’s smoked too many cigarettes. I wouldn’t guess her to indulge in what Mother would call “the sin of smoking.”

With a hint of the sarcasm I feel, I tell her, “Linc did send me to get some coffee, but I didn’t think I’d be wearing it.”

Why am I talking so much?

I feel a need to engage this woman in conversation, to pull her out of her shell, but ironically, I usually act the same way she does—reserved.

Her clear eye—green-colored with bits of brown and blue— tilts up at me at a strange angle, in question. “Linc?”

I let my childhood name for Lincoln slip, but she was bound to find out eventually. “Yes. Lincoln and I are...old friends. Schoolmates. I called him Linc in our younger days.”

I shrug, release my shirt, and wipe my wet fingers on my thigh. Again, I’m revealing too much. She nods and looks back down at the mown lawn, making as if to return to the house.

“Wait.” I stop her and place my hands on either side of the wooden tray. “There’s no harm done, except I’m a little damp. Still plenty here to drink. I’ll carry it out to the men for you.”

I pull the tray, but she holds firm. She’s stronger than she appears.

She points her chin to my chest. “You’ll need to change.” “It’ll dry in no time, I reckon.”

“But it’s chilly. You’ll...” she gives me a one-eyed gaze, “be cold.”

I gently pull the tray again. “I’ve faced worse.”

She relinquishes it with a quiet sigh.

“Much obliged,” she utters, and she drops her hands, brushing them on her blue, gingham apron.

“My pleasure,” I say and inwardly kick myself. I sound like a salesclerk.

She pauses before she turns. I decide to skip asking for a cinnamon roll. But something else eats at me besides hunger. Some need to connect with another who obviously knows what pain is gives me the courage to ask.

“ it that you grieve?”

I surprise myself with my raw boldness. She stops, her hand on the knob of the door to the house and her back to me. Her head droops farther south.

Her voice sounds hollow, tinny. “You mean who?”

I swallow at my audacity and tighten my grip on the tray. “I suppose so. Who, then?”

Mrs. Lund turns partially back, captured in a perfect silhouette, backlit by the slanted morning light.

“My son,” she tells me, and she slips into the house without so much as a creak of the door.

The words sound like they hurt in more ways than one. Family—deep love and deep heartache.

I shake my head of thoughts that will weigh me down, turn, and walk to the men and their machine to serve up some half- empty mugs of coffee on a drenched tray.

I’m curious about Mrs. Lund’s story, and if I ask her more questions, she may answer. But then she’ll want to ask me some, and I am not ready to confess my sins to her. For some reason that I can’t name, it’s important to me for her to think well of me.

Why I do not know.

Jenny Knipfer

Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken, and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling.

Spending many years as a librarian in a local public library, Jenny recently switched to using her skills as a floral designer in a retail flower shop. She is now retired from work due to disability. Her education background stems from psychology, music, and cultural missions.

All of Jenny’s books have earned five-star reviews from Readers’ Favourite, a book review and award contest company. She holds membership in the: Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, Wisconsin Writers Association, Christian Indie Publishing Association, and Independent Book Publishers Association.

Jenny’s favourite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series, By The Light of the Moon, is set.

She deems a cup of tea and a good book an essential part of every day. When not writing, Jenny can be found reading, tending to her many houseplants, or piecing quilt blocks at her sewing machine.

Her new historical fiction, four-part series entitled, Sheltering Trees, is set in the area Jenny grew up in, where she currently lives, and places along Minnesota’s Northern Shore, where she loves to visit. She is currently writing a four-part novella series entitled: Botanical Seasons and a three-part fantasy series entitled: Retold Fairy Tales.

You can connect with Jenny Knipfer via these platforms -

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Welcoming M J Porter and her book - Cragside - to my blog

Today I'm welcoming M J Porter and her book - Cragside: A 1930's murder mystery - to my blog as part of the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club (founded by Mary Anne Yarde)

I am delighted to share an excerpt with you all, but first I will introduce the book.


Lady Merryweather has had a shocking year. Apprehended for the murder of her husband the year before, and only recently released, she hopes a trip away from London will allow her to grieve. The isolated, but much loved, Cragside Estate in North Northumberland, home of her friends, Lord and Lady Bradbury, holds special memories for her. 
But, no sooner has she arrived than the body of one of the guests is found on the estate, and suspicion immediately turns on her. Perhaps, there are no friendships to be found here, after all. 
Released, due to a lack of evidence, Lady Ella returns to Cragside only to discover a second murder has taken place in her absence, and one she cant possibly have committed. 
Quickly realising that these new murders must be related to that of her beloved husband, Lady Merryweather sets out to solve the crime, once and for all. But there are many who dont want her to succeed, and as the number of murder victims increases, the possibility that she might well be the next victim, cant be ignored. 
Journey to the 1930s Cragside Estate, to a period house-party where no one is truly safe, and the estate is just as deadly as the people. 



Trigger Warnings: 

Description of murder scenes and bodies 

Publication Date: 14th April 2022 

Publisher: M J Publishing 

Page Length: 234 Pages 

Genre: Historical Mystery

You can purchase a copy of the book via -


Now for the excerpt -

Our first introduction to Cragside Estate and Lady Ella 



Chapter 1 


Rain thuds onto the black roof of the Rolls Royce Phantom, but that doesn’t concern me. No, my eyes are drawn to the flurry of activity taking place around the main door of Cragside house, despite the sheeting rain that makes everything appear elongated and out of focus. I can see little despite my best efforts.  


What’s happened now? I want nothing more than to luxuriate in the Turkish bath complex with its beautiful blue tiles, soaking away the stink of the local police station at Rothbury, but that isn’t about to happen. Not if the bustle I’m witnessing is anything to go by. 


Eagerly, not waiting for my chauffeur, Williams, to open the door, I swing it outwards, noticing how my sleeve darkens beneath the deluge, able to hear the hub of conversation as I skip over the gravel driveway. My red driving shoes are drenched between one heartbeat and the next. I can already feel the leather chaffing my cold feet. I hadn’t precisely been dressed for a cold and draughty police station when I was led away in handcuffs the night before. 


Now I wear Williams’ overcoat over my sensible travelling clothes of a green skirt and thick stockings. My favourite blue coat and hat are still on the coat and hat stand. I was given no chance to put them on before being made to leave the house. 


I’ve been gone for much of the day—darkness shadows even the brightest of the light pouring through the open doorway. 


“My Lady,” a startled housemaid meets my gaze, bowing and curtseying all at the same time as we almost collide. I don’t get so much as the chance to ask what’s happened. She runs past me, a dark coat flung over thin shoulders, covering the smart black dress and white pinafore she wears. Her frightened eyes, hollowed by her short-cropped hair and pale face, reinforce my belief something is badly amiss. 


Hastily, I stride into the sheltered stone alcove, grateful to be clear from most of the rain. I wince as I step into a puddle that hadn’t been there on my arrival the day before, cresting the flat and wide stone steps. Above my head, the weight of the house, cast almost into darkness, is telling. Chill water from the puddle slips over wet shoes and onto my cold skin. The rain is streaming at an angle, able to sneak into the stone alcove, whereas normally, it would do no such thing. 


Bright lights welcome me into the house, for all the large double wooden doors hang entirely open, the trickle of flowing water attesting to the direction of the biting north wind even through my borrowed overcoat. I don’t want to consider the state of my hair, and I’m not even a vain woman. 


I can see into the far reaches of the well-appointed property from my location. And there, the activity comes to an abrupt stop. There’s no one inside, not even the efficient butler, Mr Underhill. I can hear no noise from the kitchen. No noise from the dining room. Nothing at all. Can the upright Mr Underhill be out in the rain? I hardly dare think he’ll risk getting his immaculately shined shoes muddied. And if he has, then it’s indeed some new catastrophe that’s befallen the inhabitants of Cragside. 


So then, where are the remainder of the weekend guests? Where are those who’d been so keen to see me sent away, slim hands held cuffed before me as the police smirked at having caught the culprit so easily? I turn, the pull of the unknown too much to ignore. I wish there were a handy torch to light my path into the impenetrable dusk that beckons to me. 


The rumble of another motorcar outside pulling onto the gravel-strewn drive with the distinctive crunch beneath the thin tyres is all I need to hear. I swivel. All thoughts about luxuriating in the Turkish bath complex are forgotten. I need to see. I have to know. 


As I  hope, the other motorcar has been brought alongside that of my Rolls Royce Phantom, Williams still inside and just about visible behind the rain-soaked windscreen. Now both vehicles’ thin, yellow beams attempt to drive back the mizzle and the gloom. I’ve experienced rain like this before on very few occasions. Williams warned me when I mentioned our destination was the far North-East of England in November, but well, I didn’t believe it could be so torrential. 


I step outside once more, pulling the hood of Williams thick woollen coat over my head, wishing for an umbrella. I meet Williams’ eyes through the fogged-up interior of the car. I incline my head questioningly, but he shakes his. I’m not the only one to be unaware of what’s happening. 


Carefully, wary of the deep ravine that lies below me if I take a wrong step, I make my way to where the beams of the two vehicles are being directed. There are yellowed glimmers from small torches, and an amber glow spills from the curtains of the study and the staircase. Still, it isn’t enough to truly see the focus of everyone’s attention. I consider the time. It can only be just after 4 pm. The blackness of the storm shocks me. 

M J Porter

MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh to Eleventh-Century England, as well as three twentieth-century mysteries. Raised in the shadow of a building that was believed to house the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia, meant that the author's writing destiny was set. 

You can connect with M J Porter via these platforms -

You can learn more about the author and the book by visiting the other blogs on this tour -


That's it for now.
Till the next time.
Take care Zoe.