Cover Crush: The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

Cover Crush banner

I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary.

The Queens of Innis LearThe Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

Macmillan-Tor/Forge

Sci Fi & Fantasy

Pub Date 27 Mar 2018

Description

Dynasties battle for the crown in Tessa Gratton’s debut adult epic fantasy, The Queens of Innis Lear.

Three Queens. One crown. All out war.

Gaela. Ruthless Commander.
I am the rightful heir of Innis Lear. No more will I wait in the shadows and watch my mother’s murderer bleed my island dry.

The King’s hold on the crown must end—willingly or at the edge of my sword.

Regan. Master Manipulator.
To secure my place on the throne, I must produce an heir. Countless times I have fed the island’s forests my blood. Yet, my ambition is cursed.

No matter what or whom Imust destroy, I will wield the magic of Innis Lear.

Elia. Star-blessed Priest.
My sisters hide in the shadows like serpents, waitingto strike our ailing king. I must protect my father, even if it means marrying a stranger.

We all have to make sacrifices. Love and freedom will be mine.

“Amazing. Just Amazing.”–Robin McKinley

My thoughts: 

Powerful cover. I love the tones and the vibe it gives. I’ll be reviewing the excerpt from NetGalley and blogging about it soon!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Other great cover crushes from my fellow book bloggers: 

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired
Meghan at Of Quills & Vellum

Stay calm and support book bloggers

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Blog Talk Radio with Yvonne Mason

The Case of the Boarding House Murder (An Upson PI Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition

Saturday at 8:00 am on blog talk radio with Yvonne Mason, Author Norton Upson will be talking about his upcoming book. The Case of the Boarding House Murder! Link HERE 

Interview: MARY –Tudor Princess by Tony Riches

I’d like to welcome best-selling historical fiction author, Tony Riches To Layered Pages! 

Thank you for chatting with me today, Tony! Please tell me about your latest book, MARY –Tudor Princess.

Mary Tudor Princess

 Hi Stephanie, thanks for inviting me. I researched Mary Tudor’s early life for my last book, Henry – Book Three of the Tudor Trilogy. In the Tudor Trilogy I’d moved forward one generation with each book, so it appealed to me to write a ‘sequel’ which did the same. I’d become intrigued with Mary’s story of how she risked everything to defy her brother, King Henry VIII.

How did you come to write stories about the Tudors and what captivates you about them?

I was born in Pembroke, within sight of the castle where Henry Tudor was born, so I’ve always been keen to know more about how he became King of England. My research has taken me to some amazing places. I followed the footsteps of Jasper and Henry Tudor to their exile in remote Brittany and visited Henry’s magnificent tomb in Westminster Abbey. I’ve become an expert on the Tudor dynasty and want to help readers understand the true stories behind the myths. Last year I was part of a community group which raised the money for a statue of Henry Tudor in front of Pembroke Castle, so his importance to the town will never be forgotten.

Henry Tudor statue at Pembroke Castle

 Please tell me a little about Mary’s relationship with her brother Henry VIII

 Mary was Henry’s closest living relative, as neither got on well with their sister Margaret, (who’d been married off to the King of Scotland at the age of fourteen). Mary didn’t seem to mind when Henry married her off to the fifty-two-year-old King Louis XII of France. Although Mary was barely eighteen at the time, Henry saw his younger sister as a small price to pay for a treaty with France. The problems between them began when Henry turned his back on Queen Catherine, as Mary was one of the few who dared to speak out against Anne Boleyn.

What sets your story apart from other Tudor Stories?

This book has the benefit of the three others in the trilogy which explore how Mary Tudor’s world developed from the beginnings of the Tudor dynasty. Although Mary – Tudor Princess can be read on its own, the Tudor Trilogy means I’ve had the opportunity to explore her life in much greater depth. The same real people and places connect all my books and I’ve worked hard to ensure they are as historically accurate as possible.

How do you flesh out your characters greatest sorrows?

 There is a famous quote by Pulitzer prize winning poet Robert Lee Frost ‘No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.’ I become so immersed in the lives of my characters that something like the loss of a child can be quite emotional. Mary Tudor was a princess and Queen of France, but she suffered greatly after the death of King Louis, so I had plenty to work with.

Was there a scene you found humorous to write about?

 Mary was one of the guests of honour at the spectacular meeting between Henry VIII and King Francis I of France in June 1520, which became known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold. The two kings did their best to outdo each other in every possible way. Although it was a serious diplomatic meeting, there are stories about the two kings wresting each other to the ground, playing tricks and even seeing who could sing the loudest. Hall’s chronicle notes that ‘When dinner was over, some time was spent dancing in the banqueting hall. Before he started to dance, the French king went from one end of the room to the other, carrying his hat in his hand and kissing all the ladies on both sides – except for four or five who were too old and ugly’.

Tony Riches in front of castle

What are Mary’s attributes you find most intriguing to write about?

 I wanted to explore Mary’s vulnerability as well as her strengths. I was intrigued by the complex relationship with her brother Henry VIII, and she had a strange dependence on Henry’s right hand man, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. Wolsey was always doing her favours and lending her money. Of course, she knew he had ulterior motives, but she wept when she heard of his death.

What are some emotional triggers for Mary and how does she act on them?

There are many in this book, from the consequences of her decision to marry for love, to the trials of medieval childbirth. Although Mary shows exceptional courage and resilience, in the end they take their toll on her. Then she emerges from her sanctuary in Suffolk to challenge her brother’s decision to divorce her lifelong friend, Catherine of Aragon.

How is Henry influenced by his settings?

Henry used his father’s fortune to create his own settings and filled them with like-minded people. He was constantly on the move, in what was known as a ‘royal progress,’ and often took over a thousand people of his household with wagons carrying everything he might need. Even when he went to France he created a tented palace at huge expense. This could be seen as tremendous self-belief but in truth it veiled a deep insecurity.

How much research went into your story?

I’ve been researching the early Tudors for the last five years. When I began the trilogy I had little information about Owen Tudor, (Mary’s great-grandfather). The amount of information increased exponentially by the time I reached the story of Mary’s father, Henry Tudor, as he kept detailed legers of his finances. This time, I had the advantage of a fascinating book The French Queen’s Letters, by Erin Sadlack, which includes all Mary’s surviving letters, many with replies, as well as an insightful analysis of her state of mind at the time. I prefer primary research and found her letters offer an evocative ‘voice’ for Mary, as well as revealing how she felt about people and events.

What are you working on next?

When I was writing about Mary Tudor I researched the life of her second husband, Sir Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and visited his tomb at Windsor Castle. He was Henry VIII’s best friend and a champion jouster and adventurer, leading an army into France even though he had no military experience. Then he breaks his promise to Henry and secretly marries Mary. I’m now writing Brandon – Tudor Knight, which will tell the story from his point of view.

Where can readers buy your book?

All my books are exclusive to Amazon and available worldwide in eBook and paperback. The Tudor Trilogy is also available as audiobooks and an audiobook edition of Mary – Tudor Princess is now in production.

(Book links)

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Amazon AU

About the Author

Tony Riches

Tony Riches is a full-time author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the fifteenth century, with a particular interest in the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. For more information about Tony’s other books please visit his website tonyriches.com and his popular blog, The Writing Desk and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches.

 

Georgia’s Hightower Trail

Me in Summer time 2017Last Monday my daughter and I drove by a Hightower Trial Marker heading towards Roswell on Shallowford. I was captivated by seeing the marker and remembering the history. It is a fascinating one and yet sad at the same time…

Learning about old roads and trails people in our own history used is extraordinary. So much happened along those roads and there were many settlements around them. Who were theses people? How far would they walk? How did they live? What did they experience? These questions always flood my mind and my thirst for learning more intensifies when I see these markers.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Hightower marker II Cropped

Text from website about the Historic marker: “Already a well-established route in the 1700s, the Hightower Trail was a major Indian thoroughfare and part of a network of trails connecting Augusta with the Etowah River area and Alabama. The path crossed the Chattahoochee River at a shallow ford below Roswell, traveled in a west and northwest direction through Fulton County, crossing Willeo Creek to enter Cobb County. It traveled over land later developed as the Mountain Creek subdivision and connected with present-day Shallowford Road near its intersection with McPherson Road. Shallowford then closely follows the original path through East Cobb. Pioneers also followed the ancient trail into the region transforming the footpath into a wagon road, remnants of which were still visible to 20th century residents living here when the area was still rural.”

Website

Hightower (Etowah) Trial – Fulton Co., GA – Ancient Traces and Roads

Thinking Roads

Cold Feet By Brenda Novak

Me in Summer time 2017This evening I am hanging out with Madison Liberman and Caleb Trovato. At least this is how I roll with Cold Feet by Branda Novak. This story is character driven and the plot is really interesting. I am about half way in and I’m seeing that not everything is what it appears to be, though I do have my suspicions. Am I feeling the attraction between Madison and Caleb. I don’t know…maybe it’s because I want him for myself. Ha. Stay tune. More to come!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Cold FeetAbout the book:

When the past won’t go away…

The Seattle police suspect Madison Lieberman’s father was the serial killer they call the “Sandpoint Strangler.” Madison refuses to believe it. Her father is now dead, and all she wants is the chance to create a new life for herself and her six-year-old child.

Then she discovers something in the crawl space beneath her parent’s house. Something that makes her question her father’s innocence. Or the innocence of someone else who’s equally close to her…

When another woman turns up dead, crime writer Caleb Trovato wonders whether they’re dealing with a copycat killer. Or is the real Sandpoint Strangler still alive? Caleb’s sure Madison knows more than she’s telling, and he’s determined to find out what. But he doesn’t expect to fall in love – or to lead Madison and her child into danger…

A Time to Heal by Janet Stafford

Camp Letterman tents

Camp Letterman tents 1863

After the battle of Gettysburg, over 30,000 Confederate and Union soldiers are estimated to have been wounded and were scattered over the battlefield, in field hospitals, and in public buildings and private homes throughout the area. Dr. Jonathan Letterman, Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac (also known as “the Father of Modern Battlefield Medicine), ordered a that a central hospital be established to care for those left behind. Camp Letterman was located east of Gettysburg near the York Pike on Wolf Farm. In A TIME TO HEAL, Capt. Philip Frost is assigned to the hospital, and he and Maggie’s oldest daughter, Lydia, strike up a friendship. Janet Stafford will be writing a blog about Camp Letterman at the end of the week at her website.

Janet Stafford’s Facebook Page

Website

About the book, A TIME TO HEAL:

A Time To Heal

In 1863, Maggie Blaine Smith sat down and wrote in her journal: “It seems to me that this time after the storm of battle has been a waiting time, a time of recovery. We did not know where we would be led next. We did not know when or if change would happen.” A TIME TO HEAL, set in the months immediately after the Battle of Gettysburg, continues the story of Maggie and Eli Smith and their unconventional family. Maggie’s daughters and friends remain in the town as they struggle to care for a houseful of wounded soldiers. Meanwhile, Maggie and Emily, having suffered terrible trauma, move with their husbands to a more peaceful location about seven miles away. Everyone hopes and prays for healing and a return to normal life. And then an act of compassion puts them in jeopardy.

Amazon