Friday, August 16, 2019

GUEST POST: Dare to Believe in Legends by Carolyn Arnold author of the MATTHEW CONNOR ADVENTURE SERIES


City of Gold
Matthew Connor Adventure Series, Book 1
by Carolyn Arnold
Genre: Action, Adventure 
Dare to Believe in Legends
by Carolyn Arnold

“This book has everything: a kidnapping, murder, a police investigation, and the hunt for lost treasure. A real page-turner full of thrills and emotion with excellent descriptive writing and characters that jump out of the pages and come to life.”
Beck Valley Books

Many people have died trying to find the Incas’ lost City of Gold. For a long time, it was believed to be a real city that was filled with treasure beyond imagining. It’s fabled to even have streets made of gold. But over the centuries, it has been relegated to nothing more than fantasy and myth.

When the seed was planted in my mind that I wanted to try my hand at an action adventure, the possibility that something like the City of Gold truly existed toyed with my imagination and got me writing about it. The research I conducted was intensive, and the more I learned, the more intrigued I was. There are so many different takes on the legend, and just like the telephone game most of us played as kids, the stories about the City of Gold changed slightly each time it was told.

But the varying stories presented a challenge, as did my background in mostly writing mysteries. After all, they are grounded in the real world and governed by police procedure and science—the complete opposite of myths and legends. So when it came to writing about the Incas’ lost City of Gold, I felt like I needed to find it and make it real in order to write about it! In fact, I had said numerous times that if I had the money to fund an expedition, I’d set out in search of the City of Gold myself!

After completing my research, I developed a theory of where the city might be. And with so many people throughout history talking about it, surely there had to be some truth to their words. Then again, the treasure could have long since been found and taken and distributed elsewhere. Who can know for sure?



Ah, but therein lies the fun. The prospect that the Inca’s City of Gold may be out there waiting to be discovered has endless possibilities! And whether it is or not, writing this book reminded me of a valuable lesson: there is nothing wrong with believing. In fact, I dare you to believe. I dare you to sink into the world of possibilities…







Finding the Incas' lost City of Gold would be the discovery of a lifetime. But failing could mean her death…
Archaeologist Matthew Connor and his friends Cal and Robyn are finally home after a dangerous retrieval expedition in India. While they succeeded in obtaining the priceless Pandu artifact they sought, it almost cost them their lives. Still, Matthew is ready for the next adventure. Yet when new intel surfaces indicating the possible location of the legendary City of Gold, Matthew is hesitant to embark on the quest.
Not only is the evidence questionable but it means looking for the lost city of Paititi far away from where other explorers have concentrated their efforts. As appealing as making the discovery would be, it’s just too risky. But when Cal’s girlfriend, Sophie, is abducted by Matthew’s old nemesis who is dead-set on acquiring the Pandu statue, Matthew may be forced into action. Saving Sophie’s life means either breaking into the Royal Ontario Museum to steal the relic or offering up something no one in his or her right mind would refuse—the City of Gold.
Now Matthew and his two closest friends have to find a city and a treasure that have been lost for centuries. And they only have seven days to do it. As they race against the clock, they quickly discover that the streets they seek aren’t actually paved with gold, but with blood.



What to expect from the Matthew Connor Adventure series:

Action-adventure books for the mystery lover. Does treasure hunting excite you? What about the thought of traveling the globe and exploring remote regions to uncover legends that the world has all but forgotten? If so, strap yourself in for an adventure with modern-day archaeologist Matthew Connor and his two closest friends. Indiana Jones meets the twenty-first century.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Indiana JonesLara CroftNational Treasure, and The Relic Hunter.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.






The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh
Matthew Connor Adventure Series, Book 2

In Egypt’s Western Desert lies the tomb of an unnamed pharaoh that hides a secret so powerful, it could destroy the world as we know it.Archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor has made a career of finding legends the world has all but forgotten. Though there’s one in particular that has fascinated him for years—the Emerald Tablets. Myth says that they possess the knowledge of the universe, allowing humankind to traverse Heaven and Earth, and have the power to bestow wealth and wisdom upon whoever possesses them. But if they fall into evil hands, it could cause a global disaster.

So when a former colleague stumbles across an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic map that promises to lead to a pharaoh’s tomb
and the Emerald Tablets, there’s no way he’s turning down her invitation to join the dig. He only has one stipulation: his best friends Robyn Garcia and Cal Myers come with him.

The road ahead isn’t going to be an easy one, and their shared dream of recovering the Emerald Tablets is being crushed at every turn. And just when they think it’s all over, they learn there are a few clues they have overlooked. But they’re no longer the only ones searching for the Tablets. Now, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and soon they’ll find out that when it comes to hunting legends, they can’t trust anyone.








CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and beagles and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.




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Sunday, August 11, 2019

Friday, August 2, 2019

Behind the Mask by Marianne Petit Genre: Historical Romance


Author Marianne Petit mixes true life experiences with fiction to create a suspenseful tale of intrigue and romance set in the early days of war-torn France. 



In 1940's Paris, both rich and poor are thrust together, a mixed society struggling to survive. American born Yvette Matikunas, one of the privileged few, goes underground with a deathbed promise to her grandfather that has her roaming the streets of France with a dangerous message. She quickly learns that no one is who they seem to be and trust is a thing of the past.

Injured in battle while trying to save the life of one of his men, Colonial André Rinaldo is disillusioned by a shell-shocked country and a weak government. Persuaded to go underground and unite his fellow compatriots by forming resistance groups, he meets a beautiful blonde, whose determination to free France from foreign dictatorship is as strong as his.

In the middle of espionage and clandestine rendezvous, they form a partnership that deepens under the ever-present threat of arrest. But with America’s interest in the war building in the background all Americans are ordered to leave.

Will Yvette return to the States, or will André persuade her to stay and fight for love?





Marianne Petit is a past President of the Long Island Chapter of the Romance Writers Of America. Her love of writing stems back to high school. She spent hours reading Nancy Drew, Alfred Hitchcock and poetry. At the age of fifteen she wrote a short story for children, as well as numerous works of poetry. Her love of history stems from her father, Roger, a Frenchman, whose love of American history greatly influenced her writing interests .



She is a past President of the Melville Lions club, a service organization that raises money for the less fortunate - especially the sight and hearing impaired. 

Newsday and several local newspapers have written articles on Ms. Petit and she was recently interviewed on TV for her time travel.

Marianne loves to ski, white water raft, horseback ride, and enjoys the theater. She lives on Long Island is happily married for over 30 years.





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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Lizzie Borden by Elizabeth Engstrom Genre: Historical Mystery, Thriller

How did this book come about?
My editor at Tor Books called me one day and said they were interested in publishing a book about Lizzie Borden, and wanted to know if I knew about the case. Of course I knew. Everybody knew. It remains one of America’s great unsolved mysteries. She said, “Who do you think did it?” I told her my theory, and she said, Wow, I’ve never heard that one before.” And we struck a deal.

Then I had to write a factually-correct book that ended the way I speculated. Not an easy task. I combed through old newspaper articles, trial transcripts, speculative articles published in psychological books and magazines—everything I could find about her and the case. There are certain undisputed facts, but there was hardly anything known about the personalities of the Bordens. So within that realm, I was able to design the characters who could accomplish the denouement of that Fall River tragedy.

Fun fact about this book
The editors at Tor, the original publisher of Lizzie Borden, went through this book with a fine-toothed comb, and made certain that every word in it was in use during 1892. Many of the words we use in American society were coined during by journalists during WWI and WWII, and they are so much a part of our lexicon, that we tend to think they were always in use. Not so.


Did she do it?


A hundred years ago, it was the Trial of the Century. A young woman stood accused of brutally murdering her father and stepmother in a crime so heinous that it became a benchmark in human tragedy.

A hundred years later, the Lizzie Borden case still resounds in the imagination. There are those who staunchly defend Lizzie’s innocence while others vehemently declare that she did it, and that the murder was justified.

In Elizabeth Engstrom’s brilliant novel, the dark psychology of the Borden household is laid bare. Lizzie, her sister Emma and their parents Andrew and Abby Borden, are sharply illuminated—as are the paranoia and concealed hatred that secretly ruled the family. Domestic violence and dysfunctional families are not inventions of modern times.

Every door in the Borden house is metaphorically locked, and each room holds the terrible secrets of its occupant…Engstrom skillfully and subtly builds a psychological plot, moving the reader inexorably toward the anticipated savage denouement.” —Publishers Weekly





Elizabeth (Liz) Engstrom grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois (a Chicago suburb where she lived with her father) and Kaysville, Utah (north of Salt Lake City, where she lived with her mother). After graduating from high school in Illinois, she ventured west in a serious search for acceptable weather, eventually settling in Honolulu. She attended college and worked as an advertising copywriter. 


After eight years on Oahu, she moved to Maui, found a business partner and opened an advertising agency. One husband, two children and five years later, she sold the agency to her partner and had enough seed money to try her hand at full time fiction writing, her lifelong dream. With the help of her mentor, science fiction great Theodore Sturgeon, When Darkness Loves Us was published. 

Engstrom moved to Eugene, Oregon in 1986, where she lives with her husband Al Cratty, the legendary muskie fisherman, and their Duck Tolling Retriever, Jook. Liz holds a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing and a Master of Arts in Applied Theology, both from Marylhurst University. A recluse at heart, she still emerges into public occasionally to speak at a writers conference, or to teach a class on various aspects of writing the novel, essay, article or short story. An avid knitter and gardener, she is on faculty at the University of Phoenix and is always working on the next book.





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Thursday, July 25, 2019

After She Became A Lady by Wareeze Woodson Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense


Laurel Collingsworth, seventeen and deeply in love, expects to marry her hero and live in wedded bliss forever after. Instead, with the ink barely dry on the marriage lines, Lord Robert Laningham is called away to Spain and the war. With a heavy heart, she sends her husband off with a kiss and a prayer for his safe return.

Now alone in her new role of Lady Laningham, she faces a series of terrifying events, shadowy intruders, missing jewelry, and mysterious footfalls in the night. Added to her alarms, she must fight her hostile sister-in-law for the reins of her husband’s establishment.
When Lord Robert Laningham returns, can she convince him danger stalks the halls of the ancient mansion? In his wounded state, will he listen, or must she protect her child, her recovering husband, and her household by herself?





I write historical romance fiction novels set in the 1800s forward with a twist of suspense. All of my characters and stories that are portrayed in my books are fictitious. I am a native of Texas, but I have traveled through out America and beyond. As a dreamer, I love to visit new places where I can imagine a heroine meeting a hero in a special way. I'm an avid reader of (all sorts) and I love to write.


I married my high school sweat-heart and after having raised three sons plus one daughter, our love for each other remains unshaken. Now we enjoy our eight grandchildren. We can send them home, but we're always happy for their return.

Outside of my family activities, I sing with the Silver Belles at my church and hate to miss even one practice. The local chapter of RWA is also at the top of my list of pleasures. It keeps me grounded with craft and connected with other writers.

Most of all, I enjoy going fishing with my husband. Give me a pole and leave me alone to bask in the sun, listening to water gurgle along the riverbanks while allowing my mind to float away to some distance place. Ah! Perfect.





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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Gardenia Duty by Kathleen Varn Genre: Women's Historical Fiction

In 1957 jobs are scarce in rural Ashland, Alabama. Bobby Higgins is facing life decisions; his family’s farm struggles and threat of the draft hangs over 18-year-old males as the Cold War rumbles in the distance. Bobby heads off to boot camp, vowing to provide for his family from his pay. Between shore and sea duty, Bobby leaves broken hearts in every port. 
When his own heart is stolen by Rose, he’s shocked to learn that she comes with four daughters, a package deal he’s unsure he wants. 
But when Rose disappears, Bobby finds her and persuades her to marry him. Somehow they navigate their way through the trials of marriage and parenting as he fulfills his patriotic career and his promise to raise four willful daughters. 
In the spring of 2004, his daughters are brought together by grief. They forge new bonds, sharing their joys, losses, regrets, and ultimately family secrets that will seal all their fates…if they can summon the courage to report for duty.



Kat Varn’s love affair with words manifested when she turned four and taught herself to read. As she grew older, books and reading were an escape from responsibility.  As the oldest daughter in a transient Navy family, words fed her imagination to embrace adventure and magical worlds. Kat was drawn to the strength of little girls in The Little Princess and The Secret Garden.
Eventually, Kat dove into journaling between the pages of beautiful leather notebooks, recording her children’s infant landmarks. Journaling also helped her find solace in the grief of a toxic relationship. Throughout her journey to extract her family from oppression, she explored the idea of freedom through allegorical short stories. In the midst of angst and soul searching, she retained a sense of humor that gave her the resilience to pursue the search for her true self.
Kat hopes her readers enjoy Ameera’s journey to pursue the forbidden zone of dance while becoming part of a larger experience—embraced and bonded to eight glittery belly dancers. Each of them aware they may have never met without the common denominator of a six-week belly dance class under the tutelage of their troupe director.
Kat is now very happily married to her soulmate. She resides in Charleston, South Carolina, where she worked for an adoption attorney for twenty-three years. With her two children settled in adulthood, she is exploring a beautiful world, from scuba diving in Fiji or photographing from Alaska’s frozen tundra.




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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Smuggler's Escape by Barbara Monajem Genre: Historical Romance, Adventure


After escaping the guillotine, Noelle de Vallon takes refuge with her aunt in England. Determined to make her own way, she joins the local smugglers, but when their plans are uncovered, Richard, Lord Boltwood steps out of the shadows to save her. Too bad he’s the last man on earth she ever wanted to see again.

Years ago, Richard Boltwood’s plan to marry Noelle was foiled when his ruthless father shipped him to the Continent to work in espionage. But with the old man at death’s door, Richard returns to England with one final mission: to catch a spy. And Noelle is the prime suspect.

Noelle needs Richard’s help, but how can she ever trust the man who abandoned her? And how can Richard catch the real culprit while protecting the woman who stole his heart and won’t forgive him for breaking hers?




Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young, then moved on to paranormal mysteries and Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Regency mysteries are next on the agenda.

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups. She used to have two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding (because it was too weird to resist) and to succeed at knitting socks. She managed the first (it was dreadful) but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.




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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!