I have updated my review and giveaway policies page (now just titled Policies above). If you are entering a giveaway, please read and abide by the applicable policy.

I am no longer an Amazon Associate. I am currently working on updating my posts with links to various locations to buy books. One of the links I am including is to RJ Julia - this is my favorite local independent book store. You can shop their store online and have access to pretty much anything you are looking for. I do not have any affiliation with any of these sites - just looking to support my local indie book store.

Anyone looking for a new feed reader? My recommendation is Bloglovin'. I made the switch and love the layout, plus there is now an app for my phone. If you use Bloglovin' or have made the switch to another feed reader, please make sure you are following me on it so you miss none of the content here!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Book Review: Gallagher's Pride by M.K. McClintock

galagher's pride

Gallagher’s Pride by M.K. McClintock
Book 1 of the Montana Gallagher series
Unabridged, 5 hr. 57 min.
Trappers Peak Publishing
Alan Philip Ormand (Narrator)
November 12, 2014

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Genre: Historical Romance, Western

Source: Received audio download from the author

She was a on a quest of discovery.

He was on a quest for revenge.

Together they would discover a second chance.

Brenna Cameron travels from Scotland after losing someone she loves in search of family she didn't know existed. Alone now in the world, Brenna makes an arduous journey, following the trail of discovery to Briarwood, Montana. Here she meets Ethan Gallagher, and the rest of the Gallagher clan. Only with their help is she able to discover lost family, heal old wounds and embark on a treacherous confrontation with a man who destroyed her family.

As head of the Gallagher clan, Ethan has more than enough to occupy his thoughts and time-he didn't need the complication of Brenna Cameron and he certainly didn't need the trouble that came with her. Ethan takes on the unwanted duty of self-appointed protector to the headstrong Scot, only to discover there is such a thing as second chances and more to life than revenge.

The first work from M.K. McClintock that I read, was her Christmas collection of short stories, A Home for Christmas. Those short little introductions to her writing style were all I needed to know that I would love her full length western novels…and I wasn’t wrong. I inhaled the first two books in this series before taking a pause to wait on the third. They are THAT good!

In just a few pages, McClintock introduces the readers to her characters and you are instantly transfixed, committed, and in love with them. McClintock knows how to pull you into the story – starting with the sorrow filled backstory of Brenna Cameron. When Brenna arrives in Montana that is when we meet the Gallagher clan – and while the way Ethan and Brenna are thrown together might be a little contrived – it works. As Ethan tries to help her with her mission to find her family, the story gets entertaining with the chaos and adventure that ensues. McClintock knows how to get right down to business and doesn’t waste her words – however it doesn’t feel rushed or underdeveloped. You just get caught up in the whirlwind that is the Gallagher’s and can’t believe you have already reached the end of the book.

Ethan Gallagher is one of the hunkiest hist-fic men I have read about in a while! I love his personality (even if he is stubborn) and how he cares for his family and this woman he just met. Brenna is just as stubborn, but she really adapts to the hard life in the American West and all that comes with it.

I just have to say, this is a wonderful and refreshing series that I can’t wait to read the rest of the works from this author. Inhalable reading!!!



I don’t think that a more perfect narrator could have been found for this book. I just absolutely loved his narration! It felt so true to the characters and story being told. So, not only did the characters and story suck me in, but the narration was the icing on the cake. Loved, loved loved!!

If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?

You can also watch the book trailer below.


Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Also by M.K. McClintock:

Also in the Gallagher's Pride series:

gallagher's hope

Gallagher's Hope (book 2)

Gallagher's Choice

Gallagher's Choice (book 3)

Other M.K. McClintock Books I Have Reviewed:


Find M.K. McClintock: Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Youtube | Blog


Copyright © 2015 by The Maiden’s Court

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Giveaway Winner Announcement


Good evening everyone!  I have been a little MIA the last couple weeks - it's been a little crazy around here.  But I hope to get back to a somewhat regular posting schedule here this week.  Starting tonight with just a quick little post. 

I am just taking a moment to announce the winner tonight of the giveaway for The Promise by Ann Weisgarber.

And that winner is....Carl S!!! 

Congrats Carl!  An email has already been sent to you!


Thanks everyone for entering and have a great evening!


Copyright © 2015 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Guest Post by Ann Weisgarber

I have the opportunity to welcome Ann Weisgarber, author of the just released The Promise as well as previous release The Personal History of Rachel Dupree.  I had the chance to meet Ann back in 2013 at the Historical Novel Society Conference when she was speaking on a panel of the American Experience in Historical Fiction.  When I heard that she was publishing a novel that centered on the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, a subject that has fascinated me, I knew I not only had to read this book, but that I would love to hear how she encountered this oft forgotten tragic event.  Please help me welcome her and read her fascinating tale.

Remembering the Forgotten
Guest post by Ann Weisgarber, Author of
The Promise


After I finished my first novel, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, I wrote articles for The Islander, a magazine based in Galveston, an island a few miles off the coast of Texas. 


Location of Galveston Island

The focus of the articles was unusual or quirky businesses, and in Galveston the options were nearly endless.  Each month, I set up interviews to get the scoop on a particular business or job.  I talked to people who worked in the downtown area such as the man who organized the Historic Home Tour, and I interviewed the owner of a wedding chapel.  All were fascinating but it was an interview with a brother and sister on the West End – the more rural part of the island – that eventually inspired me to write The Promise.

The brother and sister own and manage a small grocery on the part of the island where there’s a mix of beach homes, campgrounds, acres of undeveloped wetlands, and small cattle ranches.  The customers are weekenders, tourists, and the few locals who live year round in the area.  Although the grocery is small, it’s well stocked with everything from fishing lures to pricey wines.  In the summer, customers jam the narrow aisles but in the winter, everyone seems to disappear.

Seven Seas GroceryThe Seven Seas Grocery & Market

In 1963, the brother and sister were teenagers when their parents bought the grocery store.  “There wasn’t much here back then,” the brother told me.  “Just a scattering of houses and a liquor store.”  It was so isolated “you could shoot a shotgun down the road and not hit a thing,” he said.  His sister added that there were more rattlesnakes than children. 

Unlike the downtown area where most Galvestonians lived, electrical outages were common and the water wasn’t safe to drink.  Cold drinks and refrigerated food were sold out of ice chests. “Grocery suppliers refused to deliver to us,” the brother said. “We were too far out of town.”  Even the bread man wouldn’t make the drive.  

Seven Seas - Across the street
Across from the Seven Seas Grocery

The interview ended and I wrote the article.  But I kept thinking about the rustic conditions of Galveston’s West End.  What was that area like at the time of the historic hurricane that struck the island on September 8, 1900?  The storm was and still is the deadliest natural disaster in the United States.  At least 6,000 people were killed and some historians think there might have been 8,000 – 10,000 people who lost their lives.  

Seeking valuables in the wreckage, Galveston, Texas
Searching for valuable in the wreckage.

I’ve long been fascinated by what was commonly called The 1900 Storm.  It’s very much a part of Texas history and families pass down stories about ancestors who perished or who survived the storm.  All other hurricanes are compared to it, and many of the buildings that withstood the storm are marked with historic plagues.  Yet, everything I’d read about the hurricane focused on its impact on the downtown area.  

Carrying bodies, Galveston hurricane, 1900
Carrying bodies from the wreckage

Did anyone live outside the city limits?  If so, who were they?  Did they survive the storm?

Determined to find the answers to these questions, I read every non-fiction book and novel about the storm that I could find.  To my disappointment, none mentioned people who lived on the rural part of the island.  St. Mary’s Orphan Asylum was outside of the city limits and the disappearance of the buildings and the tragic deaths of the nuns and the children are still a part of the 1900 Storm lore.  But was St. Mary’s completely alone without neighbors?

My question took me to the Galveston and Texas History Center at Galveston’s Rosenberg Library.  With the help of the archivists, I eventually found names of people who lived outside of the city limits.  They were fishermen, ranchers, and dairy farmers.  The facts were bare and sparse but combined with the interview with the grocery store owners, I had enough to get started on a story.  

The Promise is my tribute to the forgotten – the women, men, and children -- who lived on the rural part of the island on September 8, 1900, the day a massive hurricane forever changed their lives.  

Ann Weisgarber
Photography Credit: Christine Meeker

Ann Weisgarber's latest novel is The Promise. The Promise was shortlisted for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, making Ms. Weisgarber the first American to be a finalist for this UK prize. In the United States, THE PROMISE was a finalist for the Spur Award in Best Western Historical Fiction and The Ohioana Book Award for Fiction. The novel was a Women’s National Book Association Great Group Read, a Pulpwood Queen Pick for October 2014, and the Pulpwood Queen Bonus Book of the Year. Weisgarber’s first novel was The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, which actress Viola Davis’s JuVee Productions has optioned the film rights. For her first novel, Weisgarber was nominated for England’s 2009 Orange Prize and for the 2009 Orange Award for New Writers. In the United States, she won the Stephen Turner Award for New Fiction and the Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction. She was shortlisted for the Ohioana Book Award and was a Barnes and NobleDiscover New Writer. Weisgarber serves on the selection committee for the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction and is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters. Originally from Ohio, she now divides her time between Sugar Land, Texas, and Galveston, Texas.

Website | Twitter |

The Promise


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Book Blurb:

In THE PROMISE, critically acclaimed and award-winning novelist Ann Weisgarber returns with a deeply moving story about the Galveston, Texas 1900 Storm, the worst natural disaster in the United States in the twentieth century. While there are accounts of what happened to the city of Galveston and its residents, little has been written about what happened to the families on the rural, isolated end of the island, something Weisgarber sought to remedy.

The story begins a few weeks before the storm and is told by two narrators. The first narrator, Catherine Wainwright, is a concert pianist fleeing scandal and Ohio society by marrying Oscar Williams, a recently widowed dairy farmer who lives on the island. The second narrator is Nan Ogden, the local young woman Oscar hired to care for his home and small, grieving son, Andre.

Nan has grown attached to Oscar and Andre, and she struggles to accept Catherine in the household. As for Catherine, she is overwhelmed by her secrets, by motherhood, and by the rougher surroundings. But when the hurricane strikes, Catherine and Nan are tested as never before.

Read an Excerpt!

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also from Ann Weisberger

The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

rachel dupree

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Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia



Now what you have all been waiting for...the giveaway!!

The giveaway is for one paperback copy - open to the USA and Canada only.  The giveaway is open from May 6th - 17th and entries are made through Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Copyright © 2015 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Guest Post by Jeffrey Smith

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Jeffrey Smith to The Maiden's Court.  Jeffrey is one of the authors of the book, Mesabi Pioneers, with author Russell Hill.  Today he brings us a guest post about the life of women on the range in one of the last real frontiers in the United States - Minnesota.  I don't know about you, but I don't know much of anything about Minnesota, now or in the past.  So, I am really looking forward to this post and this book.

Women on the Range

Guest Post by Jeffrey Smith, Co-Author of
Mesabi Pioneers

02_Mesabi Pioneers Cover

The Mesabi iron range in Northern Minnesota may have been one of America's last western frontiers. While life in the early days on the Mesabi was dominated by men--hardy men, rough men--there were women, too.  In fact, it was women who made the Mesabi range the place it is now.

As I write in Mesabi Pioneers, men were the first settlers to come to Mountain Iron, the first mine on the Mesabi. They were men accustomed to being alone for long periods of time. Bigoted men who fought wars, who battled enemies, who sought solitude for any number of reasons.

As mining in the region took off immigrant workers flooded newly built towns. They were as culturally and ethically diverse as the continent of Europe: Finns, Swedes, Norwegians, Slavs, Cornishmen, Germans, Italians, Irish. Once they got settled they sent for their wives.

And the women came. Not just alone, but they brought their children, or their sisters, or their mothers. They came on the promise that their husbands and brothers and sons were living the American dream. The men had struck it rich, they believed, and so they left poverty, political instability, and ethnic repression, as well as everything they had ever known, to move to an unknown place in the dense Minnesota wilderness.

What these women found was not the luxurious life they had expected. They found their husbands and fathers working twelve hour shifts in the mines, out of the pits long enough to eat and sleep for a few hours before they did it all again. The homes they were offered, built by the mining companies, were often nothing more than shacks. In a place where winter temperatures dipped to thirty degrees below zero, thin, tar paper covered walls did little to protect their families from cold winter winds.

The rocky soil fought against the plow, and while the men were in the mines the women dug boulders out of the ground. They tilled the earth and planted seeds. They grew vegetables and herbs and cooked the recipes they brought with them from the old country.

Sometimes they worked themselves, as Minnie does in Mesabi Pioneers. Early mining camps operated kitchens near the mines so the men would not have to stray far from the work. As the mines grew, though, and as towns formed near them, mining camps became more like towns. The company called them Locations. The companies took less and less care of the men and began to treat them more like tools. There were so many immigrants willing to move to the Mesabi range, labor was cheap and replaceable. The burden of caring for the men, and of caring for the home and children--and, to some extent, the land itself--fell to the women.


They baked breads and cooked stews. They harvested the vegetables from their gardens and in the fall canned them so that when the winter came they would not want for food. They fished not for sport but for food and preserved catches of walleye and trout in barrels of salt. They hauled water from nearby lakes and streams in summer and in winter, and heated it over a fire so they could do the laundry. They sewed clothes for themselves, their husbands and their children. When the mines shuttered in winter, or when the men were laid off, the women continued to work. The labor of living never stops.

The women of the Mesabi Range built the communities that grew around the mines. These towns were both ethically diverse and culturally segregated. Outside the mines, Finns only mixed with Finns, Slavs with Slavs, Italians with Italians. They distrusted one another. There were historical reasons for some of the mistrust. Finns, for example, harbored an animosity towards Sweden which had ruled over Finland for centuries. When the Swedes gave Finland to Russia, the Finns had another ethnic group to distrust.

In many ways it was women like Minnie who began the process of bringing the different cultures together. They shared recipes with their neighbors. Finns learned to make Cornish pasties, a meat, vegetable and potato stuffed pie. Italians learned to bake Finnish cardamon bread. Slavs grew to love Italian almond cookies. They discovered that their cultures and people were not so different after all.

If America was the land of opportunity for the immigrants that flooded northern Minnesota in the late 19th Century, the women who came to build homes and raise families found satisfaction in a life "challenged by limits."* While it was men like Lon Merritt and Arthur Maki who helped bring the iron ore out of the ground, it was women like Minnie Maki who helped keep the men working. And who created the culture of the Iron Range that survives still to this day.

*Laitala, Lynn Maria, 1991. "Carrying the Burden: An Historical Reminiscence of Vermilion Range Women." Entrepeneurs and Immigrants, Michael G. Karni, ed. IRRRC P. 40-46.

03_Authors Russell Hill & Jeffrey Smith

Dr. Russell Hill was born and raised on Minnesota’s Iron Range. During World War II he served in Naval Intelligence, receiving several prestigious medals for his service. After the War he received his doctorate from the University of Minnesota and began a long and successful teaching career. Hill passed away peacefully in 2011, surrounded by his beloved family. He was 85-years-old.

Jeffrey Smith began his love of letters at fourteen on a Smith-Corona electric typewriter borrowed from his father. He is a full-time writer, homemaker and stay-at-home parent. He is also an accomplished distance runner, completing 16 marathons, seven 24-hour relay races, and multiple ultra-runs, including several 100-mile races.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Mesabi Pioneers

02_Mesabi Pioneers Cover

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Book Blurb:

In the early 1890s, a group of brothers discovered iron ore in the dense pine woods of northern Minnesota. Mesabi Pioneers tells the story of the immigrants who dug that ore out of the ground, who carved towns from trees, and who built new lives for themselves and their families.

Arthur Maki, a Finnish immigrant known for his carpentry skills, has been hired by the persuasive and poetic Leonidas “Lon” Merritt to join a crew of explorers in the forest. From this remote and formidable locale, Arthur must construct a camp and foster a community into which he can bring his wife and son.

The camp, which the Merritts call Mountain Iron, sits on what Lon believes to be a huge lode of iron ore. However, the rest of the world thinks the Merritts are crazy. While Arthur builds a camp with a Chippewa Indian everyone calls Charlie and a French-Chippewa fur trader named Richardson, the other members of the team explore the surrounding woods for more caches of iron. When a second lode is discovered at Biwabik, Arthur and the rest of the crew know the finding is real. And the iron mining world knows it, too.

As the mine gets deeper and mining operations expand, the camp crowds with a diversity of ethnic and cultural groups. Tragedy strikes in ways large and small. And it is from the ashes of destruction that Arthur finds the community he has been seeking.

Read an Excerpt!

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Mesabi Project Website

Watch the Trailer!


Follow the Tour!

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On Twitter: #MesabiPioneersBlogTour  #HistoricalFiction

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Copyright © 2015 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

New Book Alert-Book Blast: The Witch of Napoli by Michael Schmicker + Giveaway

02_The Witch of Napoli Cover

The Witch of Napoli by Michael Schmicker
Paperback & e-Book, 342 pages
Published: January 15, 2015 by Palladino Books
ISBN: 0990949028
Genre: Historical Fantasy

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Book Blurb:

Italy 1899: Fiery-tempered, erotic medium Alessandra Poverelli levitates a table at a Spiritualist séance in Naples. A reporter photographs the miracle, and wealthy, skeptical, Jewish psychiatrist Camillo Lombardi arrives in Naples to investigate. When she materializes the ghost of his dead mother, he risks his reputation and fortune to finance a tour of the Continent, challenging the scientific and academic elite of Europe to test Alessandra’s mysterious powers. She will help him rewrite Science. His fee will help her escape her sadistic husband Pigotti and start a new life in Rome. Newspapers across Europe trumpet her Cinderella story and baffling successes, and the public demands to know – does the “Queen of Spirits” really have supernatural powers?

Nigel Huxley is convinced she’s simply another vulgar, Italian trickster. The icy, aristocratic detective for England’s Society for the Investigation of Mediums launches a plot to trap and expose her. The Vatican is quietly digging up her childhood secrets, desperate to discredit her supernatural powers; her abusive husband Pigotti is coming to kill her; and the tarot cards predict catastrophe.

Praised by Kirkus Reviews as an “enchanting and graceful narrative” that absorbs readers from the very first page, The Witch of Napoli masterfully resurrects the bitter 19th century battle between Science and religion over the possibility of an afterlife.

Praise for The Witch of Napoli:

“Impressive…an enchanting, graceful narrative that absorbs readers from the first page.” -Kirkus Reviews

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

About Michael Schmicker:

03_Michael Schmicker AuthorMichael Schmicker is an investigative journalist and nationally-known writer on the paranormal. He’s been a featured guest on national broadcast radio talk shows, including twice on Coast to Coast AM (560 stations in North America, with 3 million weekly listeners). He also shares his investigations through popular paranormal webcasts including Skeptiko, hosted by Alex Tsakiris; Speaking of Strange with Joshua Warren; the X-Zone, with Rob McConnell (Canada); and he even spent an hour chatting with spoon-bending celebrity Uri Geller on his program Parascience and Beyond (England). He is the co-author of The Gift, ESP: The Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary People (St. Martin’s Press). The Witch of Napoli is his debut novel. Michael began his writing career as a crime reporter for a suburban Dow-Jones newspaper in Connecticut, and worked as a freelance reporter in Southeast Asia for three years. He has also worked as a stringer for Forbes magazine, and Op-Ed contributor to The Wall Street Journal Asia. His interest in investigating the paranormal began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand where he first encountered a non-Western culture which readily accepts the reality of ghosts and spirits, reincarnation, psychics, mediums, divination,and other persistently reported phenomena unexplainable by current Science. He lives and writes in Honolulu, Hawaii, on a mountaintop overlooking Waikiki and Diamond Head.

Find Michael Schmicker: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Please note that this is a tour wide giveaway and therefore it is not hosted by me.

To enter to win one of two copies of The Witch of Napoli simply enter the form below.


  • Giveaway starts on April 20th at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on May 1st.
  • Giveaway is open to residents in the US, UK, AUS/NZ only and you must be 18 or older to enter.
  • Winners will be chosen via GLEAM and notified via email.
  • Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
  • Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.

The Witch of Napoli Book Blast


Follow the Tour!!

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On Twitter: #TheWitchofNapoliBookBlast   #HistoricalFantasy   #Paranormal  

On HFVBT Tour Page


Copyright © 2015 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New Book Alert - Book Blast: A Dream Called Marilyn by Mercedes King & Giveaway

02_A Dream Called Marilyn Cover

A Dream Called Marilyn by Mercedes King
Paperback & eBook, 180 pages
Published: March 23, 2015 by Triumph Production
ISBN: 0692375155

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Book Blurb:

In the summer of 1962, nothing could prepare Dr. Charles Campbell for his first meeting with his new client, Marilyn Monroe. A reputable psychiatrist, he’s been hired by a studio executive to handle and subdue the star, no matter what it takes. Although he’s been warned about Ms. Monroe’s unpredictability, she’s not what he expected, and resisting her natural charms will test his fortitude.

In the days that follow, Charles’ world is turned upside-down. His marriage has been under pressure and is still fragile from one of his wife’s antics. Obsessed with reinvigorating her acting career, Helen Campbell often ignores her motherhood duties. Charles does as much as he can to hold the family together and to protect his young daughters, but the strain has reached a new intensity for all of them.

Charles’ sessions with Marilyn range from sensual to bizarre. She even threatens to go public with information that could ruin her career and destroy President Kennedy’s administration.

Desperate for advice, Charles enlists help from a former college pal, Bertrand Miller. A private detective, known for seedy practices, Miller isn’t new to Hollywood’s underside—or even to Marilyn’s secrets. He advises Charles to be careful, as it’s rumored that the mob will silence Marilyn to protect Kennedy.

But Charles makes the mistake of getting too personal with Marilyn. Although his intentions are well-meaning, those keeping an eye on Marilyn couldn’t care less, which makes Charles a target for the mob and the FBI. Saving Marilyn from her self-destructive ways and crossing doctor-patient boundaries, might also cost Charles Campbell his life.

Excerpt of A Dream Called Marilyn:

Dr. Charles Campbell tightened the knot in his tie, knowing that today was the biggest day of his career. Maybe even his life. He promised himself–no, swore to himself–that he wouldn’t let his infatuation get the best of him, that he would hold it together when he met her for the very first time, right there in his office.

He’d cleared away the dust, made sure his diplomas hung T-square straight, and he’d washed his hands. Repeatedly. He’d made sure his gray suit and navy blue tie were pressed to perfection. Like most red-blooded, breathing males he’d taken a beating from inside his chest whenever he saw her on the screen. She had that way about her, being able to stir a man’s desires and make you fall in love with her effortlessly. With that teasing smile and that vulnerable naivety she exuded, she could make any man melt, abandon any morals he held. And her curves. Well, Charles couldn’t think on that. Not today.

He’d treat her the way every psychiatrist was expected to treat a patient. Charles promised himself he wouldn’t flinch or become a caricature of himself when he touched her hand. There would be no unbuttoning of his collar or adjusting the air conditioning unit. And his eyes would not wander. That was his resolve.

He dabbed the beads of perspiration from his forehead. Theirs would be a business relationship, he reminded himself. According to the studio contact, the man who’d arranged today’s meeting, this was a woman in desperate need of his professional services. They would establish a doctor-patient association. Yes, simple as that. Charles would uphold the fine reputation he’d built in Los Angeles and tend to her like he would any female client.

Why, he’d treated a number of actors and actresses, from those struggling with sexual identity issues to depressive diseases. Those famous for their cowboy roles, those noted for their singing and dancing. Even those known for the flip of their hair or their on-set tantrums.

But who was he kidding? There was no one like her. Would she notice his resemblance to Rod Taylor? Remark that his hair was lighter, but that the similarities were uncanny. Perhaps his only hope was that she¾

A knock sounded, interrupting his rambling thoughts.

Charles opened the door to his office.

And there she was.

“Miss Monroe.” He stepped aside, held out his hand to welcome her in. “Please.”

Her eyes flashed that shy but friendly grin he’d seen in her movie characters as she entered, a crème-colored shawl hugging her bare shoulders. Interesting, Charles thought, for a sultry June afternoon.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Monroe.” Charles offered his hand.

Marilyn stole a surmising glance of the room, which served as the outer room and waiting area for Charles’ practice. How he wished he’d spruced up the walls. She shook his hand, almost as if the gesture were new to her. Her pink linen dress reminded him of her outfit from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes when she sang, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”. This dress was shorter, sleeveless but with a high neckline, and sans gloves and diamonds.

“Thank you for seeing me, Dr….?”

Charlie reddened. “Dr. Campbell.” Hadn’t the studio contact mentioned his name to her? And as the man from the studio crossed his mind, he found it curious Marilyn had come alone; he’d expected her to be escorted, handed off almost. “May I get you anything? A glass of water perhaps?”

“No, thank you.” She smiled, sweetly yet cautiously. Charles couldn’t blame her. Here was a woman who’d been raised in turmoil, endured multiple heartbreaks and divorce, professional difficulties, much of it in the public eye. All while being rotated through various doctors.

“Would you like to sit here or in my office?”

“Wherever you’d like me.”

The lump that jumped into his throat almost knocked him unconscious.

“There is a couch in here.” He said it as his hand slid the door open to his inner office. “Well, I only mean that it’s probably more comfortable….”

He was certain he sounded lustful, perverted. Minutes into his first session and he was blowing it! Did he have any hope left of instilling confidence in her, in gaining her trust?

To his surprise she laughed. An unexpected, breathy release that made his own breathing pause. She sashayed into Charles’ inner office and seated herself on the burnt-orange couch–how he wished he’d bought a new one!–tucked her legs up beside her and leaned onto the arm.

Instinct struck Charles; he nudged his tie loose, undid the top button of his collar.

He reached for the pad of notepaper and pen on his desk, desperately hoping she hadn’t noticed his acute failure to behave better than an ordinary man.

“I know why I’m here.” She spoke with a sudden perkiness that caught Charles off guard. Many of his clients had battled resentment, denial while sitting on that couch.

“Oh?” He sat in a tufted vinyl chair across from her.

“Yes.” Her eyes were wide. Trusting. “You see, I’m dangerous.”

“To yourself?”

“Not exactly.” Her smile returned. “I know it will be hard for you to understand, and I’m not sure how much I should tell you, for your own good.”

It was too early for Charles to gauge how serious Marilyn was. Their initial encounter was still warm and clutter plagued his mind. He had to shove aside the characters she’d played, the magazine articles he’d read about her, and momentarily ignore disparaging details he’d read about her in the file from the studio contact. Charles had to figure out who Marilyn really was.

Where to Buy: Amazon

About Mercedes King:

03_Mercedes King AuthorA founding member of Sisters in Crime Columbus, Ohio (affectionately dubbed SiCCO), Mercedes King can be found elbow-deep in research, reading, or enjoying the local bike path. Combining her love of pop culture with history, she created A Dream Called Marilyn, a novella focusing on the last weeks of Marilyn’s life.

O! Jackie is a fictional take on Jackie Kennedy’s private life–and how she dealt with JFK’s affairs. Unable to quench that thirst for Kennedys, Mercedes wrote The Kennedy Chronicles, a series of short stories featuring Jackie and Jack before the White House and before they were married.

Plantation Nation follows Emma Cartwright, a 16 year old Southern girl who disguises herself as a young man and fights for the Union Army.

Find Mercedes King: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | Goodreads


Please note that this is a tour wide giveaway and therefore it is not hosted by me.

To enter to win a copy of A Dream Called Marilyn (5 copies are up for grabs) or a $50 Amazon Gift Card please see the Gleam giveaway below.

  • Giveaway starts on April 20th at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on May 1st.
  • Giveaway is open to residents in the US only and you must be 18 or older to enter.
  • Winners will be chosen via GLEAM and notified via email.
  • Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
  • Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.

A Dream Called Marilyn Book Blast Giveaway


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Copyright © 2015 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, April 20, 2015

Interview with Amalia Carosella & Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Amalia Carosella to The Maiden's Court as a stop on her blog tour.  I have a lovely interview with her to post today to help you get to know her better as well as her book, Helen of Sparta.  Stay tuned at the bottom of this post for a tour-wide giveaway.  Welcome Amalia!

02_Helen of Sparta Cover

Heather: Everyone knows of Helen of Troy – why choose to write of her days in Sparta?

Amalia Carosella: Everyone does know Helen of Troy. Fewer people know who she was before she became infamous as Helen of Troy. I wanted her to have a chance to define herself and forge her own identity, separate from Paris and Troy, and not only that, but also to tell a story that not everyone already knew. Her abduction by Theseus is so often overlooked, but it’s these small footnotes in myth that I love to explore!

H: I can honestly say that I am one of those that falls into the category of not knowing of her abduction of Theseus!

H: In writing this novel, what inspiration/sources did you work from?  How much history/mythology is there about this pre-Troy time period to build off of?

AC: There’s a perfect amount of history for writing, in my opinion! Most of what we know about the political and cultural elements of Bronze Age Greece comes from the Linear B tablets found at a few Mycenaean sites, and the general archaeological record. We know there were incredibly large palaces, and that society was highly organized in regard to trade and production of goods (both because the tablets reveal careful inventories and because we find evidence of widespread trade of goods in the region). We have a pretty good idea of what foods they were eating as staples and what livestock they husbanded.  We even know which “nation” had the best medicine and maybe more interestingly, we know that they  knew where to send for the best physicians! Basically, we have a lot of broad strokes, which provide a really fantastic foundation, without getting in the way of a good story, if that makes sense.

As far as the mythology goes, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are the most significant and the earliest narrative sources. They were written probably 400-500 years after the fact, but we know from the language and the technology  described in the epics that their oral roots stretch back into the bronze age. There are also several familiar gods and goddesses referenced in the Linear B tablets – Poseidon Earth-Shaker, Zeus, and Hera, to name a few. I drew from Homer, Hesiod, Euripides, Pseudo-Apollodorus, Plutarch, and Ovid, among others, in order to piece together a coherent narrative of Helen’s early life and Theseus’s later years. A lot of the earliest sources for the epic cycle surrounding the Trojan War have sadly been lost, so we have to rely on the later sources (who quote them or summarize them) to fill in some of the background!

H: Helen is depicted in various ways in mythology – as a wayward woman driven by her desires; a sorrowful and regretful woman; a treacherous and devious woman.  What is your version of Helen like?

AC: My Helen is still young. She’s only just reached marriageable age, and is still struggling to figure out what it means to be a daughter of Zeus and face the blessing/curse of her beauty. She knows what’s coming – this terrible war, fought over her – and she’s desperate to find a way to subvert it. She wants to have some control of her life and her fate, rather than just remaining the pawn of her father/family or the gods.

H: This is not your first novel, or mythology based novel for that matter.  What is different about this novel from those that you have written previously under the name Amalia Dillin? 

AC: Helen of Sparta is very firmly grounded in the historical Bronze Age, and so is her story. My Fate of the Gods books are more focused on the gods as characters – Thor, and Adam, and Eve are all working beyond the perception of the everyday person – while Helen’s story is much more human. She’s working within the world, rather than acting as a puppet-master outside of it. My Fate of the Gods books also hopscotch through thousands of years from the mythical Creation to the future, rather than exploring just one time in history – so there are some pretty big differences which mark my Amalia Dillin works as Fantasy, and my Amalia Carosella title(s) as Historical!

H: I have read that Helen of Sparta is designed to stand alone, but that there is also more story to tell.  Are you working on a continuation or sequel?  Are you working on something else?

AC: Helen of Sparta encapsulates a small piece of Helen’s mythology – particularly, the lesser known myth of her abduction by Theseus, the king of Athens and the son of Poseidon – in that respect, it’s complete within itself as an exploration of that myth. However, it certainly does not encompass all of Helen’s journey through the whole of her mythology, leaving a lot more of her life to retell! I’m currently working on writing another book, continuing her story, and I’d love to share more of not just her story, but also the stories of the other heroes and heroines who surround and weave through her mythology, and Theseus’s!

03_Amalia Carosella Author

Amalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too).  She also writes fantasy and paranormal romance as Amalia Dillin.

Find Amalia Carosella: Website | Facebook | Twitter: Amalia Carosella | Twitter: Amalia Dillin | Goodreads

02_Helen of Sparta Cover

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Book Blurb:

Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war—a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers—violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war—thwart Helen’s plans and bar her path. Still, she refuses to bend to the will of the gods.

A new take on an ancient myth, Helen of Sparta is the story of one woman determined to decide her own fate.

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

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Tour-Wide Giveaway

I am happy to share with you this tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $40 Amazon Gift Card!  Please note, as this giveaway is tour-wide, I am not in control of anything to do with this giveaway.

  • Giveaway starts on April 1st at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 22nd.
  • Giveaway is open to residents in the US only and you must be 18 or older to enter.
  • Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 23rd and notified via email.
  • Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
  • Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.

Entries are made through the GLEAM application below.  Good luck!

Helen of Sparta


Copyright © 2015 by The Maiden’s Court