Monday, July 1, 2019

Mary Queen of the Scots: The Forgotten Reign The Legendary Women of World History Book 3 by Laurel A. Rockefeller Genre: Historical Fiction


Walking in Queen Mary’s Footsteps: Palaces and Castles
By Laurel A. Rockefeller


Welcome to “Summer in Scotland,” our month-long celebration of Scotland and in particular the Scotland known and loved by its most famous queen, Mary Stuart, better known simply as “Mary Queen of Scots.”

Across Queen Mary’s forty-four years she lived in France, reigned in Scotland, and died in England. Though not all of the places she guested at, lived at, and/or worked from still exist (notably Fotheringhay Castle where she was executed in 1587), these six palaces and castles are not only still standing, but they are open to the public for you to visit this summer.



Built as a retreat from court life at Edinburgh Castle by the Stewarts, the peace and quiet of Linlithgow makes it the perfect getaway for royals and modern visitors alike. Overlooking Loch Linlithgow, there is scenic beauty and waterfowl aplenty to melt away whatever stress comes your way. No wonder it was the Stewarts preferred place to give birth and is Queen Mary Stuart’s birth place.

Open year round except on 25 December, 26 December, 1 January, and 2 January. Tickets start at £7.20 and are available at tickets.historic-scotland.gov.uk


(Loire Valley, France)


Located in the Loire Valley about halfway between Orléans and Tours, Chateau Blois was 15th and 16th century France’s preferred royal residence.  Here Queen Mary and Prince François spent countless weeks in the year at court.  Later, in 1617, it became home to Marie de Medici’s court in exile. Along with her came her very loyal chief advisor, Armand-Jean du Plessis, better known as Cardinal Richelieu (see “His Red Eminence, Armand-Jean du Plessis de Richelieu”).



Open year-round, tickets start at €12. Go to en.chateaudeblois.fr for details and tourism package options.




Favoured by Queen Mary’s father-in-law Henri II and designed in part by Leonardo da Vinci, Chambord is an architectural masterpiece that takes you into the mind of its creator.  Features a unique double-helix staircase designed by da Vinci so that no one going up can meet anyone going down on it.

Open year-round except on 25 December and 1 January, you can stroll the outside grounds for free. Tickets to visit the castle and private gardens start at €14,50.  Go to  chambord.org  for more information.









Edinburgh Castle (Edinburgh, Scotland)


At the heart of Queen Mary’s reign stands Edinburgh Castle which, appropriately, dominates the Edinburgh skyline.  Situated on a cliff high above the rest of the city, it is easy to see why King David I (son of Margaret of Wessex and brother to Empress Matilda of England) chose the site for his castle. Queen Mary and her parliament ruled from here and on 19 June 1566 she gave birth to King James VI in the same bedroom you can visit today. Queen Mary herself made several improvements to the castle which intially she found dark and cold compared to the airy grandeur of the French court, adding wall-coverings and art to warm both body and soul, especially in winter.

Open year-round except on 25th and 26th December. Tickets start at £17.50 if you purchase your tickets online or £19.50 if you purchase at the gate.

Stirling Castle (Stirling, Scotland)

Built in 1107, Stirling Castle is one of the historically most significant landmarks in Scotland’s long pursuit of freedom and independence from English conquest. William Wallace and Andrew Moray famously fought the Battle of Stirling Bridge near here in 1297 to retake the castle from England. Robert the Bruce’s 1304 victory at Bannockburn likewise returned it to Scotland. In 1503, King James IV built its Great Hall. Queen Mary held her baptism service for her son James (VI) here in 1566. When it was James VI’s turn to baptise his son Henry in 1594, he also held the baptism and its celebrations at Stirling Castle.

Open year-round except on 25th and 26th December.  Tickets start at £15 if you purchase online or £16 at the gate.

Lochleven Castle  (Kinross, Scotland)


Built in the 14th Century, Queen Mary guested at Lochleven before its tower turned into her prison in 1567.  This is where she miscarried or aborted James Hepburn’s baby, and where she abdicated her throne in favour of her son James.

Open 1 April to 31 October. Closed from 1 November to 31 March. Access by boat only. Tickets start at £9.00 which includes boat fare. Go to  to purchase advance tickets 
historicenvironment.scotland (strongly recommended).


Wherever your summer takes you, I hope you will spend part of it with Queen Mary Stuart and will make “Mary Queen of the Scots: the Forgotten Reign” your first and best introduction to Scotland’s most tragic and famous queen. Available at your favourite bookstore world-wide in English, Chinese, French, Spanish, German, and Italian. See laurelarockefeller.com for complete links to all editions.



Queen Mary Stuart was one of the most beloved and controversial women in Scottish history. The granddaughter of King James IV and his wife Margaret Tudor, Queen Mary's status as heiress-apparent to Queen Elizabeth's throne in England paired with the violence of the Scottish Reformation set the stage for one of the most dramatic and poorly understood lives of the 16th century.


Mary Queen of the Scots tells Mary's true story, focusing primarily on her reign as queen of Scotland, celebrating her life more than her death and showing us all why she was truly a woman ahead of her time.

Features a detailed timeline, a list of Latin prayers with their English translations, and the lyrics to all four featured period songs performed in the book.


**Available in 6 languages!**




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 TrekDoctor Who, and Babylon 5.

Laurel proudly supports Health in HarmonyThe Arbor Day Foundation, and other charities working to protect and re-plant forests globally.




Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!







Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Spotlight On… The Viking’s Witch By Kelli A. Wilkins


I’m pleased to announce the release of my latest historical romance, The Viking’s Witch. This full-length novel is set in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual love story with adventure and paranormal elements.


The Viking’s Witch
Scotland, 803 A.D.
About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.
But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence and be used for his ambitions?
After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village?
Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other…before time runs out.
Order your copy here:
Link to all other platforms:  https://books2read.com/u/4EQe0o
Read more about the book on my new site: www.kelliwilkins.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.
Her latest historical romance, The Viking’s Witch, was released in June 2019. This full-length novel takes place in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual romance with paranormal elements. 

In March 2019, Kelli published Dangerous Indenture, a historical mystery romance set in Colonial Pennsylvania. She released the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.
Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: kelliwilkins.teachable.com for more details.
If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.

Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock  and iStock  to view her photos.


Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: facebook.com Author Kelli Wilkins and Twitter: @KWilkinsauthor.


Visit her NEW website www.KelliWilkins.com or blogkelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.comto learn more about all of her writings.




Friday, June 21, 2019

An Amish Historical Romance Rebekah's Quilt by Sara Harris



Who can Rebekah trust when the line between English and Amish becomes blurred?

An Amish Settlement. An English stranger. The Blizzard of 1888.

Rebekah's mother, Elnora Stoll, is the finest quilter in all of Gasthof Village but it seems Rebekah has inherited none of her skill. A sweet and gentle love blossoms between Rebekah Stoll and her childhood friend Joseph Graber, despite attempts by her saucy nemesis, Katie Knepp, to sway the young man's affections her way. When Joseph hints at the promise of forever, Rebekah is positive she should say yes to his proposal - until a mysterious English stranger shows up at her homestead and sets everything she thought she knew about her world on end.


Goodreads * Amazon



Jeremiah! The barn’s on fire!” she yelled to nowhere, taking the stairs two and three at a time.
Her brother’s footsteps fell in behind her. “Let’s go!”
The pair hit the door at the same time, flinging it wide open. It cracked against the strain of its hinges. Not bothering to turn around and close it, they raced for the barn. Rebekah hadn’t grabbed a covering and her wet hair streamed out behind her like yellow ribbons from a maypole. It slapped her in the face when the wind whipped from a different direction.
Grinding to a halt at the water pump, Rebekah grabbed Jeremiah by his shoulders.
You help Pa! I’m going in for the animals!”
Jeremiah ferociously began pumping for Samuel who, before that moment hadn’t even noticed that his two eldest children had joined him.
Blitzschlag!” Samuel yelled in German. “Lightning struck the barn!”


The inside of their cozy barn was ablaze. Piles of the sweet-smelling hay, where Rebekah had hidden from her brothers on lazy fall afternoons, were engulfed by the roaring, ravenous flames. The yoke her father had hewn by hand as a boy was charred, hanging on a blackened beam. A rafter collapsed, shocking her back to her senses.
Cream and Butter were tied up in their stalls, pulling and rearing at the ropes that had become their enemy. Tiny Buttermilk bleated and mooed helplessly from behind her mother.
Rebekah yanked free the knots that held Cream and Butter at bay. The eyes of her normally-docile cows were wild and terrifying, but Rebekah grasped the lead ropes in her hands anyway and turned to lead them out.
She looked back at the tiny calf, frozen in fear. Their eyes met. “I’ll be back for you,” Rebekah swore.
Turning, she sang the flapjack ingredients song loudly, so as to be heard over the roaring flame, in a futile attempt to keep both her and the frightened cattle calm.
Another flaming beam snapped and fell behind them, spooking Butter. The milk cow bellowed and reared, dancing on her hind legs before jerking free from Rebekah and tearing off into the heart of the storm.
Rebekah stumbled and fell with the force of Butter’s yank, sending her sprawling in the mud. Pushing herself up, she managed to miss being trampled by Cream’s frightened hooves that stomped around her.
Cream!” she yelled, her voice deep and foreign in her own ears, “Come on!” Ever obedient, Cream, though skittish, walked on to the house with Rebekah.
Tying the nervous cow to the front door, a strong pair of hands fell upon Rebekah’s shoulders, turning her around.
It’s over,” her Pa yelled, pulling her to his chest in a tight hug. “It’s over, girl. It’s over.” It sounded as though he were trying to convince himself of that fact more than convince her. Over his shoulder, she saw that the fierce fire had overtaken the barn. Angry flames licked skyward from the loft.
Stiffening, a scream tore from her lips. “Buttermilk!”
The baby’s gone,” her father yelled.
No!” Struggling against his iron grasp was futile, but after a moment she managed to wean her way from under his elbow.
Rebekah, stop!” Samuel bellowed. “Stillgestanden!”
Ignoring him, Rebekah dodged Jeremiah’s clutches easily, her eyes and heart already set on the glowing barn.
Buttermilk, I’m coming,” she screamed again. Her father rasped behind her. Thankfully, he was all tired out from fighting the fire. She sped ahead, leaving him wheezing in the mud outside the barn.
Rebekah, don’t baby, please.” His weak words sounded as far away as Germany as she raced into the barn.






Excerpt 2

Ma?”
Rebekah slid her legs over the side of her bed, easing them down until her feet met the hardwood floor. Her father had laid this floor expertly in just a few days’ time, or so she’d heard tale.
Shards of pain sparked up her leg from her bad foot, making her stomach turn over. She choked on the yell that strangled in her throat as the rest of her body joined her feet on the floor. Tears blurred her wobbly vision.
A strained groan came from the direction of her parent’s room.
Rebekah shook the foggy stars from her head.
Standing up isn’t really an option,” she reasoned as she sat on the chilled floor that had moments before been her ally. She flexed her multi-hued ankle. “Nope, certainly not an option.”
A series of pants echoed in the dark hallway.
I’m coming, Ma.”
Ignoring the seeping dankness, she stretched out on the floor in her thin nightgown, Rebekah pulling herself along the smooth boards with her hands. She slithered to the doorway like a snake through the grass.
Rebekah managed to navigate around the doorframe only to knock her head on something stationary that shouldn’t be there. “Ow!”
Her mother’s labored breathing drew Rebekah’s attention from her own sudden pain.
Rebekah,” she rasped. She seemed completely oblivious to the fact that Rebekah’s head just met her nose. Hard.
Ma, are you okay?” The absurdity of that question filled the air. Of course her pregnant mother, lying here alone in the early morning darkness, was not okay.
The baby,” she started.
Rebekah didn’t wait for her to finish. She scurried to her mother’s feet and paled at what she saw.
By muted moonlight, it was obvious that the dark pool beneath her mother was blood.
Mrs. Yoder said the baby wouldn’t be coming for a while,” Rebekah stammered. She chewed the inside of her lip as the sea of churning thoughts attempted to push a coherent solution to this predicament into the forefront of her mind. It wasn’t working.
Clear fluid puddled around her mother in stark contrast to the crimson stains. “Ahh,” Elnora gasped.
Something’s wrong,” Elnora said, the tension causing her words to break in unnatural places. “With the baby, something’s wrong.”
The tears sprang up in Rebekah’s eyes without warning. “What Ma, tell me what’s wrong.” Rebekah swiped at her face with the back of her hand. “Tell me what’s wrong and I’ll fix it!”
A grunt from Elnora gave her pause. “I have to push!”
Fumbling with her mother’s nightgown, she sucked in a hard breath. “Ma, I see feet.”
Elnora stopped panting. “Feet?” She began to shake her head in tiny little shakes. “Oh Rebekah, no. No!”
What do I do?” The hysteria was rising in her throat, pinging the ends of her words.
Turn him. Turn the baby.”
The sea of thoughts began to churn again in Rebekah’s mind, this time vicious and wild.
Ma,” she began. The icy fingers of fear clenched tight her throat. A very real pain seared there, just beneath her chin. “I don’t know what to do.”
Dear Father,” Elnora prayed, oblivious to Rebekah’s plight, “Please turn the baby or he’ll die.”
Rebekah placed her hands alongside the tense bulge on Elnora’s stomach. “Please Father; help me save my little brother or sister.”





Sara is a mother of four, animal lover and advocate, and conservationist. Little House on the Prairie, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and Lonesome Dove are among her favorite shows/movies and books. Sara holds her B.A. in History and is the author of the historical romance series, An Everlasting Heart, from 5 Prince Publishing and recently debuted into the children's book realm with Chunky Sugars (5 Prince Kids), written for her own chunky baby.






Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!







Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Thirteenth Guardian Guest Post Michelangelo - Research that surprised me.




I have met people who are serious fine art enthusiasts and connoisseurs. They travel to The Met, The Louvre, The Guggenheim, and The Uffizi Gallery to be in the presence of the work of several of the masters. I love art, but I am not quite at the level of paying the Galleria dell’Academia in Florence to shut down to the public so I can spend 4 hours alone with a famous piece. So, when writing The Thirteenth Guardian, I had to do a lot of research on Michelangelo and his works. Michelangelo is considered by many to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, artists of all time. His paintings and sculptures are world famous and it was easy to find detailed information about much of his mainstream work.

What was astounding to me were some of his lesser known interests. He had a passion for learning anatomy and spent a lot of time studying the human body. During the Middle Ages, dissection of the human body was frowned upon to some degree by the Church. However, the Church would occasionally allow physicians to publicly dissect the cadavers of criminals and artists would frequently attend to study  the inner anatomy of the human body. It is said that Michelangelo wanted to go further in his study of anatomy, and would privately dissect cadavers that he got from one of the local churches before burial. Sometimes, however, he went as far as stealing dead bodies so he could get uninterrupted drawing time. He made intricate sketches of internal organs and it is believed that he incorporated some of this knowledge into his art. That idea blew my mind—but as you look at some of his better known work, like the Creation of Adam fresco in the Sistine Chapel in the heart of the Catholic church, and although it is still a topic of passionate debate, it appears that Michelangelo hid a controversial secret in plain view. Several physicians from leading academic institutions have recently confirmed the anatomical accuracy of the hidden human organs in some of his most famous paintings. It was absolutely fascinating to learn about the lesser known truths about Michelangelo.

Summary
Da Vinci’s secret pales. Michelangelo concealed an explosive truth in his famous Creation of Man fresco in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. Everything we have been taught about Eve is wrong—she didn’t cause the fall of man. Instead, Eve carried a far more devastating secret for millennia; one that will change the world forever.

As the modern-day world suffers the cataclysmic effects of the “Plagues of Egypt”, Avery Fitzgerald, a statuesque Astrophysics major at Stanford, discovers that she is mysteriously bound to five strangers by an extremely rare condition that foremost medical experts cannot explain. Thrust into extraordinary circumstances, they race against time to stay alive as they are pursued by an age-old adversary and the world around them collapses into annihilation.Under sacred oath, The Guardians—a far more archaic and enigmatic secret society than the Freemasons, Templars, and the Priory—protect Avery as she embarks on a daring quest that only legends of old have been on before. Avery must come to terms with the shocking realization that the blood of an ancient queen flows through her veins and that the fate of the world now rests on her shoulders.


About the Author
K.M. Lewis has lived in multiple countries around the world and speaks several languages. Lewis holds a graduate degree from one of the Ivy League Universities featured in his book. When he is not writing, Lewis doubles as a management consultant, with clients in just about every continent. He does much of his writing while on long flights and at far-flung airports around the globe. He currently resides on the East Coast of the U.S with his family.
Social media: twitter.com/kmlewisbooks and instagram.com/kmlewisbooks

Blog Tour Schedule -
June 11th
Bookish Looks https://anewlookonbooks.com/blog Promo Post
Lucy Turns Pages lucyturnspages.co.uk Promo Post
More Books Please blog  www.morebookspleaseblog.wordpress.com  Review
A Diary of a Book Addict http://adiaryofabookaddict.blogspot.com/ Review
What Is That Book About www.whatisthatbookabout.com Promo Post

June 12th
BeachBoundBooks https://www.beachboundbooks.com/blogging-about-books Promo Post
The Avid Reader http://the-avidreader.blogspot.com Review
bookblogarama  https://bookblogarama.com Promo Post
Bookaholic's Therapy https://bookaholictherapy.wordpress.com/ Review

June 13th
4covert2overt ☼ A Place In The Spotlight ☼ https://4covert2overt.blogspot.com/ Promo Post
Baroness Book Trove  https://baronessbooktrove.com  Review
Book Briefs http://bookbriefs.net Review

June 14th
ⒾⓃⓉⓇⓄⓈⓅⒺⒸⓉⒾⓋⒺ ⓅⓇⒺⓈⓈ https://introspectivepress.blogspot.com/ Promo Post
Angel Leya www.angeleya.com Promo Post
Quibbles and Scribbles  http://quibblesandscribbles.com  Review
Books Teacup and Reviews https://booksteacupnreviews.wordpress.com/ Promo Post

June 17th
Character Madness and Musings https://jenabaxterbooks.blogspot.com/ Promo Post
Gwendalyn_Books_ http://gwendalynbooks.wordpress.com/ Review
Teatime and Books http://www.teatimeandbooks76.blogspot.com Promo Post