Saturday, June 6, 2020

Margaret of Wessex The Legendary Women of World History Book 10 by Laurel A. Rockefeller Genre: Historical Fiction

Picts, Scots, and Vikings: an Introduction to the Peoples of Medieval “Scotland.”
By Laurel A. Rockefeller

The people of Scotland are a proud people. From vibrant clan tartans to the frequent protest marches that routinely fill every major city and town, it’s hard to miss the love felt by Scotland’s residents for their country, culture, and unique way of life.  Whether your passion is for the rugged highlands, the romance of its historical rebels like Robert the Bruce, or for the world class poets, painters, and writers that call Glasgow and Edinburgh home, there is something for everyone in Scotland. 
Scotland seems like a homogenous country, an ancient land where people can count their ancestry back for thousands of years. And while this is partially true, the picture is a bit more complex and nuanced than people believe. Let’s take a look at the three major nationalities from whom most modern Scots count as their ancient and medieval ancestors: 

By far the largest ethnic group in terms of both land and population numbers, the Picts were comprised of over a dozen clans spread across the entire region we call “Scotland” today. These are the Brythonic, native peoples who first arrived over three thousand years ago and formed the first settlements. They were builders of the great monoliths whose ruins can be found in nearly every corner of Scotland. Archaeology has recently traced large numbers of the Stonehenge builders to Picts from Orkney. The name “Pict” is Roman in origin and references the Pictish (and generally Brythonic) habit of painting their bodies blue before going into battle.
The Picts spoke a Celtic language that they did not write down. Instead, like other Brythonic peoples in modern day England and Wales, we know about them primarily from archaeology and from written accounts of outsiders like the Romans. It is very highly likely they originally practiced some form of druidism common across other nationalities in the British islands.
As defenders of their lands, the Picts were unbeatable, even by the mighty Roman legions who completely demolished the Celtic societies in England and partially demolished some of the Welsh kingdoms. Hadrian’s Wall was built to contain the Picts and keep them up north.


The Scotti or Scots (Latin for “pirates”) were immigrants from Ireland who arrived around the year 498 CE from eastern Ireland.  Though we call the country “Scotland” in reference to them, the Scotti lived primarily in the county of Argyll on the southwestern coast of Scotland – a very small territory relative to those held by the many Pictish clans.  From roughly 500 CE to 840 CE they existed as the kingdom of Dalriada. Their language was Gaelic, a Celtic language similar to, but decidedly different from the language of the Picts.
As a rule, Scotti population numbers were very small, especially compared to their Pict neighbours to the north and east.
In 810 CE, King Ailpín of Dalriada’s Pictish princess wife gave birth to their son, Cináed mac Ailpín, better known as King Kenneth I MacAlpin. In Kenneth MacAlpin, the crowns of the Picts and Scots merged into a single person. Kenneth’s coronation in 840 in Scone in Perthshire (approximately 30 miles north of House Dunkeld’s capital in Dunfermline) as “king of the Picts” marks the official formation of the new, blended kingdom of ALBA. “House of Alpin” is considered the first of three Scottish dynasties:  House of Alpin, House of Dunkeld, and House of Stewart (Stuart).
Within weeks of Kenneth’s coronation, 143 Viking warships arrived in Dalriada. Almost immediately King Kenneth evacuated Dalriada’s capital of Dun Monaidh. Specifically, he transferred all government documents, religious objects and relics, government workers, and so forth to Scone—including the famous “stone of destiny.” Essentially, King Kenneth abandoned Dalriada to the Vikings in favour of the safety of the much more defensible Perthshire. Without resistance, the Vikings overthrew Dalriada, destroying the kingdom completely.

The Viking story as it relates to modern day Scotland is a Norwegian story. Though the term “Viking” can refer to anyone of Scandinavian origin, the Vikings who specifically invaded Pictish-held lands all came from Norway.
During the 780s, Norwegian war ships arrived in the Orkney Islands. Whether all the Pictish men of Orkney were slaughtered, fled for the Scottish mainland, or a mix of both, we will never know because the Picts left no written records.  What we do know from DNA testing is that there are no Pictish markers among any men from Orkney today. Only among the women of Orkney do we see any trace of Orkney’s ancient Pictish heritage.
In 892 CE, the Jarldom (or Earldom – though there are some differences between an Earl and a Jarl) of Orkney was formalized by the Norwegian crown. Orkney stayed under Norwegian control through all three of Alba’s dynasties, completely independent from mainland Scottish control until 1468 when Orkney was given to King James III Stewart as part of the dowry for Princess Mary, daughter of Norway’s King Christian I.

For nearly 700 years, the kings of Norway controlled Orkney. Nowhere else in the British islands did a king of a far-flung land retain such sovereignty.

Over the centuries, the Picts, Scots, and Norwegians became a single “Scottish” people. The languages of the Picts and the Scots, though probably originally as different as Spanish and Portuguese, merged into a single language we call “Scots-Gaelic” to differentiate it from the Gaelic still spoken in Ireland. Under House Dunkeld another language evolved that merged both Pictish and Gaelic with the English brought to Alba by Queen Margaret of Wessex and of course some local loan words.  “Auld Scots” is that particular language we think of as Scottish today. Though treated as a dialect of English, Auld Scots is much more complex, a reflection of centuries of blending together the different peoples that call Scotland home.

As for why we call this nation “Scotland” despite the minority of actual Scots from Dalriada, the answer ultimately comes from English conquest and imperialism. It was the English who called the kingdom “Scotland” instead of Alba and the English who called the Celtic language(s) of Alba “Scot-Gaelic” when, in truth, most of the language so labelled is probably Pictish in origin.
Using the name “Scotland” instead of Alba is, therefore, part of the legacy of centuries of war between Alba in the north and England in the south. It is one of many open wounds that continue to divide Alba’s peoples from those who wish to be part of the United Kingdom and those who pray for the day Scotland will be called Alba once more, independent from English rule and truly free.





The 11th century was a dangerous time to be of the line unbroken of King Æthelred II Unread and his first queen, Æfgifu of York. Born in Hungary after King Canute III's failed attempt to murder her father, Edward the Exile, Margaret found her life turned upside down by King Edward the Confessor's discovery of her father's survival -- and the resulting recall of her family to England.

Now a political hostage only kept alive for as long as it served powerful men's interests, Margaret and her family found King Máel Coluim mac Donnchadh Ceann Mhor (Malcolm III Canmore)'s invitation to his court in Dunfermline in Alba the long-awaited answer to her prayers.

Scotland would never be the same again.

Includes two family tree charts, an expansive timeline covering over three thousand years of Pictish and medieval history, plus Roman Catholic prayers, and a bibliography so you can keep learning. 




**Special Promo!** 

There are now TEXTBOOK versions of most of the Legendary Women of History series On sale for 99 cents versus $2.99 for the regular editions. The textbook versions add study questions to each chapter of the biographies. 

You can find all the textbook editions at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087CVGB1T

or on my website at https://bit.ly/LARtextbooks

Sale ends June 30th!





Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA Laurel A. Rockefeller is author of over twenty-five books published and self-published since August, 2012 with editions spanning across ten languages and counting. A dedicated scholar and biographical historian, Ms. Rockefeller is passionate about education and improving history literacy worldwide.
With her lyrical writing style, Laurel's books are as beautiful to read as they are informative.
In her spare time, Laurel enjoys spending time with her cockatiels, travelling to historic places, and watching classic motion pictures and classic television series.

Favorites: Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Babylon 5.
Laurel proudly supports Health in Harmony, The Arbor Day Foundation, and other charities working to protect and re-plant forests globally. 


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1 $15 Amazon Gift Card
1 signed paperback copy of Margaret of Wessex
1 audiobook: choice of Hypatia of Alexandria (English) or Catalina de Valois (Spanish)
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Friday, May 29, 2020

LouIsa: Iron Dove of the Frontier by Will Edwinson Genre: Western Historical Fiction


  • What inspired you to write this book?

Actually it was a neighbor. We were talking about one of my other books and she said, “You ought to write a book about my great grand-aunt. And I said, who might that be? She said, “LouIsa Houston-Earp. She was Sam Houston’s granddaughter, and she was also a Harvey girl”. And not knowing what a Harvey girl was, I asked her, “what was a Harvey girl.”

She explained to me that Fred Harvey owned and operated high end restaurants in several railroad depots during the 19th century, and these girls were waitresses in those restaurants. Then she went on to tell me that LouIsa had also been married to Morgan Earp, Wyatt Earp’s younger brother.  This piqued my interest. We talked a bit more and my creative juices began to flow.  Since not much had been written about the real-life LouIsa, I had to create my own character.  She was a real person, but not exactly the same person as the one in my story.

  • How did you come up with the concept of the characters for the book?


Actually, I didn’t.  They just came into the story as I was writing it. I don’t write from outlines.  I agree with Stephen King. He says outlines kill the creative spirit. He says, “just write the damn story” so that’s what I did. The characters came into the story as needed.

  • What did you enjoy most about writing the book?


Anticipating where the characters were going to take me.  They actually wrote the book. I just went along for the ride, but I have to say it was a fun and exciting ride. Full of exciting experiences and surprises.

  • Who designed your book cover?

The publisher.

  • Do you feel the characters high jacked your story?


I wouldn’t go so far as to say they high-jacked the story, but they did play a great role. I’d have an idea for a scene in my mind and would start to write the scene. The characters said to me: “Sorry, Will, but we don’t agree with what you have in mind. Just sit back and write what we tell you. It will be much better.”

  • Convince us why your book is a must read.

Because I believe it’s full of interesting situations.

  • When did you first consider yourself as a writer.

For most of my life I felt I didn’t have the talent to be a writer.  Then at age 55, I said to myself, “Will, if you’re ever going to do it, you’d better get started, or it will be too late. So at age 55 I wrote my first book (which, as of this time, I have not submitted for publication).”
  • Have you written any other books that are not published?

As of this date, the one mentioned in the previous question is the only one.

  • Who is your favorite author?

I really don’t have a favorite. I have read multiple books by  many authors ranging from Robert B. Parker, Jack Higgins, Agatha Christie, Richard Paul Evans, Rosemund Pilcher, Adel Abbot, David Baldacci, Jonathan Cahn, Raymond Chandler, Don Coldsmith, Sydney Sheldon, George Orwell, Janet Evanovich, John Grisham, Winston Groom, F. Scott Fitzgerald Sue Grafton, and many others too numerous to include here.

  • How would you describe your writing style?

Light—and I hope—interesting.

Do your characters come to you all at the same time?
No, they just appear as the story progresses. They all seem to know when it’s the right time to enter the story.






THE IRON DOVE OF THE FRONTIER...

At twenty-one, LouIsa was already a sagacious woman. She had been privileged to attend finishing schools in the East where she learned the ways of "Ladyship" and studied piano under the tutorship of masters, becoming proficient with the classical works of Mozart, Bach, Chopin, Beethoven, Liszt, and many others.

LouIsa: Iron Dove of the Frontier is a story about a tough, but well-educated genteel woman of quiet strength who, when it became necessary, could get down and dirty and fight as adeptly as the best gutter rats. But also, when necessary, she could don a party dress and be perfectly comfortable with Vassar graduates. 




Buddy... His Trials and Treasures 
by Will Edwinson 
Genre: Contemporary Historical Fiction 


Do you need a little stress relief in your life?
Travel back to the world of Buddy Crawford, a simpler, slower- paced world where Cokes were a nickel, movie tickets were a dime, and ten cents bought you a double dip ice cream cone. These engaging, award-winning stories about a young boy growing up in rural America during the 1940s provide a relaxing respite from today's fast-paced world. They may even revive old memories of your own childhood.

Follow Buddy and Cousin Mont as they gather beer and pop bottles from the roadway barrowpits. Join him and his friends at the river swimming hole for a swim, or go fishing for carp in the irrigation canal. Experience the fun as he tours the countryside in an old Model T Ford with his friends. What better way to spend a relaxing two hours than immersing yourself in these stories.

Buddy is somewhat reminiscent of Tom Sawyer in that he quite often finds himself in hot water. Unlike Tom, Buddy's misdeeds are without forethought. They happen because Buddy is...well...he's just Buddy. 






Will Edwinson is an award-winning story teller for his fiction, and an award winning columnist. His second book, Buddy ... His Trials and Treasures, won a first place in state competition, and a second place at national. His "A Bit Of Nostalgia" column that he wrote under another name, won second and first place, awards in two separate competitions from the Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press Association.
Edwinson grew up in rural Southeast Idaho during the 1940s. After his college stint, he made his living on the family farm in Southeast Idaho as a dry land farmer raising barley and wheat, always holding onto the dream he had harbored for most of his life-that of being a writer-but still not confident that he had the necessary abilities and skills for such a career. After reaching mid-life, he determined that if he were ever going to be a writer, it was time to begin. His first book was launched when he was in his mid-fifties.
Edwinson is basically a self-taught author. His passion lay toward storytelling, so he began reading fiction of every genre to get a grasp of different writing styles and writing techniques. He also took advantage of the many books and manuals on writing that were available. These are mentioned on his Links & Lists page at his website, www.willedwinson.com. He is also a graduate of Writer's Digest Short Story Writing course.
In his younger years, Edwinson was also a semi-professional singer, performing on stages from Sun Valley, Idaho, to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. He also demonstrates a flair as an inventor. Out of necessity,to teach his two youngest daughters some rudimentary money management skills, he invented and Trademarked a children's allowance management system, "The Child's Checkmaster." which enabled parents and children to keep better track of the children's allowance draws and which also taught the children some rudimentary money management skills.
Will Edwinson currently lives in Tucson, Arizona. 





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Monday, May 25, 2020

Grace's Ghosts by Stephenie Wilson Peterson Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

  • Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Grace’s Ghosts?


The protagonist is a twelve year old girl named Grace. She doesn’t have a lot of living friends, but she’s the most popular girl in town among the dead. She’s the only person who’s been able to see the many ghosts of the town of Tansy for more than 300 years, so the ghosts have flocked to her since she was a baby. Grace, like a lot of tweens, is a bit unsure of herself when the story starts, but she grows a lot and gains confidence as the story unfolds.

Her best friend is her cat, Midnight. Like nearly all of her friends, Midnight is a ghost. The ghostly kitty stays by her side at all times. He goes to school with her every day. He makes sure she’s never lonely. Midnight is probably my favorite character in the book. 

Grace’s family plays a big part in the story, especially her mom and grandma. They’re strong women who Grace can really look up to, but they are not without their faults.


The many ghosts of Tansy make up most of the cast of characters. They all have unique personalities. Most of them are friendly toward Grace. A few aren’t. But they all are ready to move on into the Light, and they need Grace’s help.

Grace’s only living friend is a boy named Bain. He’s a bit quirky, but he’s funny, supportive, and Grace thinks he’s cute. He helps Grace throughout the story.


  • Have you written any other books that are not published?

I have! Quite a few, actually. Right now, my agent is working to find a publisher for my other books. I’ve written two other middle grade novels, two chapter books, and five picture books. I’m working on another middle grade novel as well as a picture book.  



  • Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?


I like some background noise. If it’s too quiet, I get distracted. I don’t like playing music with lyrics, however. I find myself typing the words to the songs on accident. It’s not as bad if I’m in a coffee shop where there’s other background noise, but at home, I only play instrumental music. A coffee shop is the ideal place for me to write because there’s noise, but none of it is my problem. At home, my kids or my dogs make noise and I know I’m responsible for whatever mess happens while I’m working, so each sound distracts me.




  • What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?



I go into a story with a main character, a setting, and a rough idea of where I want to take the story. Then I write a few chapters to get to know my characters a bit. After I’ve spent some time getting to know them and how they react, I write a rough outline. I base it off the book Save the Cat. I never hold myself to my outlines, but I like to have a general idea of where I’m going.
Grace's Ghosts 
by Stephenie Wilson Peterson 
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy 


Twelve-year-old Grace and her feline best friend, Midnight, have a secret: Midnight is a ghost. But then again, so are the rest of Graces' friends. 

Since she's the only person in hundreds of years with the ability to see them, the many ghosts of Tansy have flocked to Grace since birth. She doesn't mind. She prefers the company of the dead to that of the cliquey kids at school. 

Grace is happy with her strange life, until one day, the ghosts tell her about the secret her town has hidden for centuries. There's a reason there are more ghosts than living people in Tansy. Three-hundred years ago, a lonely witch cast a spell that mistakenly trapped the soul of every person to ever set foot in the tiny town. So when the spirits beg her to find a way to break the curse, Grace is eager to help.
As she searches for answers, Grace makes discoveries about the secret her family hid for generations and a world of magic hidden in her own backyard. 

Grace soon realizes that if she succeeds in breaking the curse, she'll lose Midnight and all of her ghost friends, but if she fails, everyone living in Tansy will face the same fate. Can Grace break the curse before it's too late? 




Book Trailer






Semi-nomadic, Stephenie and her family currently live near Raleigh, North Carolina. Her kids are Texans at heart and Stephenie and her husband grew up just outside of Seattle. Stephenie writes, creates art, and homeschools her three amazing kids. Stephenie loves to hike with her family and drink lots and lots of coffee. 





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Thursday, April 2, 2020

HISTORICAL ROMANCE True Love Series by Debra-Ann Kummoung


True Love Never Fails 
True Love Book 1 
by Debra-Ann Kummoung 
Genre: Historical Romance 


From the family lives of the Bennet sisters and their characterful parents, to the hidden charm, grace, and elegance of the unflappable Mr. Darcy, it might seem as if fans of Austen’s timeless classic, Pride & Prejudice, know all there is to know about this truly great novel. However, within the pages of this much-loved book, there are questions which call out for answers… the greatest of which are: what if everything we believed to be true about the Bennets and their fellow characters was, in fact, a veneer for something quite different? What if the behavior and intentions of the iconic sisters was all an act? And what if Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley, and all the other refined gentlemen of Pemberley and beyond were not the genteel and mannered men we saw them to be?
Such questions, such mysteries, and such tantalizing possibilities form the backbone of True Love Never Fails, a daring and bold reimagining of Jane Austen’s most famed and adored work. Throughout the pages of this stunning novel, which abounds in all that we fell in love with in the chapters of Pride & Prejudice - and much more besides - we’re left second-guessing every motive, every word, and every eventuality we thought we knew so well. As readers, we’re taken into the heart of a dazzling set of cliff-hangers and revealed truths… and we’ll never be able to look our favorite characters in the same way again.
Alongside the rollicking storyline that weaves its way through the moral mazes of 18th century English high society, True Love Never Fails introduces its readers to the elusive and serious Mary Bennet. She’s a sister with a secret, and one who holds the key to the heart of the fun-loving Colonel Fitzwilliam, around whom a spiraling storyline forms. As revelation follows revelation, hearts will be broken, bonds will be formed, and the truth behind this timeless novel will be reimagined and revealed. Thanks to the astonishing deftness of the storytelling, and the author’s keen eye for a twist and tantalizing details, readers will find themselves on a new ride through a familiar landscape that’s as breathlessly romantic as it is captivating. From the first page you’ll be hooked, and by the time you reach the the very last, you’ll be calling out for more from this awe-inspiring retelling of Austen’s masterpiece.
Warning - Cliffhanger! 





True Love Conquers All 
True Love Book 2 


In the anticipated conclusion, True Love Conquers All, author Debra-Ann Kummoung returns you to her unique Pride & Prejudice retelling just hours after the shocking ending in True Love Never Fails… which had cost Mary Bennet her new engagement to Colonel Fitzwilliam.
Elizabeth and Jane along with Darcy and Bingley try to console Mary in the aftermath. Family and friends try to bring our couple back together again, but both are stubborn in their refusal to see the other.
Recalled to war, Colonel Fitzwilliam must depart England, leaving behind his family and friends and most importantly his heart. With the reappearance of an old friend to help him in this difficult time, Colonel Fitzwilliam despairs that he has lost the only lady he has ever loved.
Join the journey across the treacherous ocean to the bustling shores of Portugal and on to the battlefields of Spain. With surprising twists and turns and the steadfastness of a young lady’s heart, discover the truth that true love never fails, but rather despite all obstacles, true love conquers all. 






I fell in love with Pride & Prejudice when I read it in high school. Something about that time - the courtly manners of society, the clothing, and so many other things. Don't get me a wrong, I'm a modern girl and wouldn't last a day without my modern conveniences, but I can still fantasize about that time period.
My husband is my inspiration for Mr. Darcy & Colonel Fitzwilliam (when the good colonel appears in one of my books). My husband has the manners of Darcy but has been a military man like the colonel - so I got both in one man.
In 2020, I will be release the conclusion to True Love Never Fails... and I will be working on a new book - Mr. Darcy's Cinderella Bride. I will also be doing a gentle edit on Falling for Elizabeth Bennet. 







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