Monthly Archives: June 2014

BLOG TOUR: Queen of Bedlam by Laura Purcell

queen-of-bedlam-copyTitle: Queen of Bedlam
Author: Laura Purcell
ISBN: 978-1444720808
Publisher: Myrmidon Books Ltd
First Published: 10 June 2014 (paperback) / 23 June 2014 (Kindle)
No .of pages: 432

Synopsis (from Amazon):
London 1788. The calm order of Queen Charlotte’s court is shattered by screams. The King of England is going mad. Left alone with thirteen children and with the country at war, Charlotte has to fight to hold her husband’s throne. It is a time of unrest and revolutions but most of all Charlotte fears the King himself, someone she can no longer love or trust. She has lost her marriage to madness and there is nothing she can do except continue to do her royal duty. Her six daughters are desperate to escape their palace asylum. Their only chance lies in a good marriage, but no prince wants the daughter of a madman. They are forced to take love wherever they can find it, with devastating consequences. The moving true story of George III’s madness and the women whose lives it destroyed.

I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, but usually, my tastes run to Tudor or Roman escapades. Queen of Bedlam, however, has made the Regency period a whole lot more attractive to me!

I knew a little about the period and the situation of George III and the Prince Regent before coming to the novel, largely due to films such as The Madness of King George and television shows like Blackadder III, so although I wasn’t coming to the book blind, I knew there was a lot I didn’t know. I was pleased to find the novel was engaging and informative, without ever being condescending or presumptive. It is equal parts historical fact and musings as to the inner thoughts and motivations of the royal family during what must have been an incredibly trying time for them all.

The glimpse into the workings of the royal family as the ruling monarch descends into madness, leaving the country effectively bereft of leadership while at war, is fascinating, and the strength of the women, in particular Queen Charlotte and her eldest daughter, Princess Royal (also named Charlotte), must have been immense to keep things together until the Regency was established, putting the Prince of Wales (also named George, after his father), at the reigns.

The writing flows beautifully, making for a very pleasurable reading experience that leaves one with a far better knowledge of Regency Royalty and how they must have felt dealing with life, love, loss, and a father (and ruler!) whose mood changed like the British weather, and whose very sanity was constantly in question.

See Laura Purcell’s author guest post HERE.


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BOOK BLAST: The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet by Laura Fuentes


unnamedI wish I had the words that would best describe what it feels to hold your very own printed book in your hands.

I now understand the expression “writing a book is like birthing a child.” Minus the  delivery and having an actual baby (this coming from a mom of 3).

I’ve had my author copy on my desk for a few weeks now, and I’m falling more and more in love with it every time I look at it.

Today, because you are one of my community members, you can download a free sample!

I’d love for you to read my introduction, my philosophy on shopping, and get a few free recipes.

I poured my heart out into this book. I’ve made my husband taste things that he would rather not have to give his “honest opinion” (luckily those never made it into the book).  I’ve worked a ridiculous amount of hours trying to get every single recipe typed up in a way that even a novice home cook or a young person could follow.

I was a stress case for 12 weeks, relied on every family member and friend for child care, and drank way too much coffee while staying up way past my bedtime to meet a deadline (or two).

This cookbook is a manual for parents who want to make homemade food simple. A guide filled with prep-ahead tips to help you make lunches the night before so you can keep it together in the morning when you are busy trying to get the kids out the door –ahem! my life.

I wanted to write something that was worth gifting to a friend. A book filled with breakfast, lunch, and family sized dinners that would never go out of style. Recipes you could use for the entire family, regardless of the age of your child.

Unlike other recipe books, the meals are pictured exactly as you would need to pack them inside a lunch box, a thermos, or a snack box. Because really, nobody wants to eat a soggy lunch.

This book is a resource for anyone who wants to take control of their kitchens, get organized with real meal ideas that don’t require a lot of kitchen skills or time. It’s not a gourmet book, it’s a real family, short on time, I’m out of ideas kind of book.

The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet is designed to teach you how to make real food convenient and appealing to your kids. The book is divided into chapters like:

  • Pack Like a Pro: Nourishing Foods on the Go. Everything you need to know to get started with packing the best lunches and making meals for your family. From budget-friendly shopping, how to stock your pantry, and tips on making prep-ahead meals.
  • Get Out the Door: Breakfasts to Go. A whole section on portable breakfast items, my family’s favorites, and the tips a parent needs to getting out the door in the morning with well fed kids on time.
  • Fill the Box: Sandwiches and More. Long gone are the days of one peanut butter and jelly sandwich after another. It’s time to bring variety back into your family’s lunches! The sandwiches, wraps, and pinwheels in this section incorporate leftovers and easy to find ingredients into new favorites.
  • Add Some Fun: Interactive Lunches for Picky Eaters. This section is for every parent who has had to fight or say no to one of those colored pre-packaged lunches at the grocery store. The lunches in this section teaches how how to make your homemade version delicious, nutritious, and a lot more fun!
  • Fill the Thermos: Portable Hot Lunches. Inspired by my good friend who lets her kids eat school lunch because a “hot lunch” is better than a sandwich. I beg to differ. These hot lunches will rock your thermos world.
  • Extra Credit: Staples, Drinks, Treats, and More. The recipes here are the tipping point of going fully homemade. This chapter will be your most visited, guaranteed.
  • Putting it All Together: Meal Planning and More. A 2 week sample plan with recipes from the book, a guide on how to use the recipes in the book to create classroom sized snacks, and making meals on-the-go.


Of course, I had a little help with my most difficult to nail recipes. The Classroom Cupcake Recipe was tested by 67 families from this community!

A huge thank YOU to those of you who tested it and gave your feedback. With your help, the recipe made it into the book! Easy, fluffy, golden cupcakes every time.

Today, you have the opportunity to purchase this book at a pre-sale price on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Pre-ordered books are being shipped out as early as this coming week! Even if you live overseas, your e-book preorder helps!

In addition, I will be signing and shipping personalized cards to the first 250 lucky people. All you have to do is email your purchase receipt to now through 7/1/14 (I have under 100 left!).

If you’ve already bought your copy, dig in your email inbox and forward your receipt! I’d love to send you a personalized note.

And now, you get an exclusive inside look at the cookbook by clicking here.

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BLOG TOUR: Author guest post – What was King George III’s illness? by Laura Purcell

George_III_in_Coronation_editFor many years George III was known as the “mad” king of England. But as attitudes and science have progressed, historians and doctors alike have tried to diagnose the illness which haunted George from 1788 to the end of his life.

It is extremely difficult to determine whether he suffered from a psychological disorder, or a disease that caused mental disturbances as part of a larger problem. A recent theory is that George had acute porphyria, a rare inherited condition affecting the enzymes that produce porphyrins and heme. Porphyria has an acute impact on the nervous system causing abdominal pain, vomiting, muscle weakness, seizures, hallucination and paranoia. A high heart rate may also develop. You may have seen the film The Madness of King George, in which the King’s urine is reported to be blue. This was certainly the case through some of his illness, and blue urine can be another sign of porphyria.

However, we cannot lay too much store by this one symptom, as some of the medicines the King was prescribed could well have changed the colour of his urine.The first hint of the King’s condition came in 1765, just five years into his reign. He was feverishness with stitches in the chest and a pulse rate of 120. For a time his life was feared of. The strange episode was referred to merely as a fever, and perhaps it was, but similar symptoms appeared in the onset of George’s great illness twenty three years later.

Before the mental delirium, George experienced violent stomach pains which seized him in the night and rendered him speechless. When under an attack, he found it difficult to breathe. At one time he showed his third daughter, Elizabeth, a rash that had appeared on his arm. She said it looked as if he had been scoured.

These were not the only physical symptoms. Doctors’ reports show shooting pains from side to side in the King’s back, cramp and swelling in the legs, which was thought to be gout. Indeed, for some time the doctors believed George’s manic episodes were caused by gout “travelling up to the brain”.

QUEEN-OF-BEDLAM-copyVisual disturbance also troubled the King. He felt he had a floating mist before his eyes and feared he would go blind. But more curious is the changing colour of the King’s eyes. The whites became yellow and Queen Charlotte described his pupils as “blackcurrant jelly”. In terms of behaviour, George’s illness shows similarity to bipolar syndrome. During manic episodes, he barely slept, speaking continually until the foam ran from his mouth. Sometimes crying, sometimes violent, it was impossible to predict the King’s mood. However, before his illness George was always eccentric, fast-talking and painfully blunt. This makes it hard to decide whether he was truly displaying alternating mania and depression. On the recent BBC documentary Fit to Rule, a leading doctor examined George’s handwriting and found significant changes during bouts of illness. He believes there is enough evidence to prove George was bipolar. Unfortunately, he makes no mention of the physical symptoms such as the mottled skin and swelled veins in George’s face, let alone the bodily cramps.

With a life dominated by duty, an over-bearing mother and the death of his father at a young age, George does seem a likely victim of psychological damage. It is certainly true that the methods used by Doctor Willis – the keeper of an asylum– were the only ones that had an impact on the King’s behaviour. But whether this was science or coincidence, we will perhaps never know.

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Book blast: Successio by Alison Morton

successioAbout the Book

Publication Date: June 4, 2014
Silverwood Books

Book three of the Roma Nova thriller series…

Roma Nova – the last remnant of the Roman Empire that has survived into the 21st century – is at peace. Carina Mitela, the heir of a leading family, but choosing the life of an officer in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces, is not so sure.

She senses danger crawling towards her when she encounters a strangely self-possessed member of the unit hosting their exchange exercise in Britain. When a blackmailing letter arrives from a woman claiming to be her husband Conrad’s lost daughter and Conrad tries to shut Carina out, she knows the threat is real.

Trying to resolve a young man’s indiscretion twenty-five years before turns into a nightmare that not only threatens to destroy all the Mitelae but also attacks the core of the imperial family itself. With her enemy holding a gun at the head of the heir to the imperial throne, Carina has to make the hardest decision of her life…

Praise for Successio

“If there is a world where fiction becomes more believable than reality, then Alison Morton’s ingenious thrillers must be the portal through which to travel. Following in Caesar’s footsteps, she came with INCEPTIO, saw with PERFIDITAS – and has well and truly conquered with SUCCESSIO!” – Helen Hollick, author and Managing Editor Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews

“Alison Morton has done it again. SUCCESSIO is the latest in her series of powerful tales of family betrayals and shifting allegiances in Roma Nova. Once again, I was gripped from start to finish.” – Sue Cook, writer and broadcaster

Roma Nova Series

Book One: Inceptio
Book Two: Perfiditas
Book Three: Successio

Watch the book trailer

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

alison mortonAbout the Author

Alison Morton writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with strong heroines. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French, German and Economics, a masters’ in history and lives in France with her husband.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, she has visited sites throughout Europe including the alma mater, Rome. But it was the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) that started her wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by women…

INCEPTIO, the first in the Roma Nova series, was shortlisted for the 2013 International Rubery Book Award and awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion® in September 2013. The next in series, PERFIDITAS, published October 2013, has also just been honoured with the B.R.A.G. Medallion®. Alison is working on the third book SUCCESSIO which will be out in June 2014.

Connect with Alison Morton

Amazon UK Author Page
Amazon US Author Page
INCEPTIO Facebook Page
PERFIDITAS Facebook Page


To win an Autographed copy of SUCCESSIO & Bookmark please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form by clicking on the link below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

  • Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on June 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
  • Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on June 28th and notified via email.
  • Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Rafflecopter giveaway

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BOOK BLAST: Blackwell’s Paradise by V. E. Ulett

Blackwell’s Paradise
by V.E. Ulett

blackwells-paradisePublication Date: January 8, 2014
Old Salt Press LLC
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

Series: Blackwell’s Adventures, Volume II
Genre: Historical Adventure/Naval HF

Relive the pleasure of falling into the past with the author of Captain Blackwell’s Prize, in Volume II of Blackwell’s Adventures.

The repercussions of a court martial and the ill-will of powerful men at the Admiralty pursue Royal Navy captain James Blackwell into the Pacific, where danger lurks around every coral reef. Even if Captain Blackwell and Mercedes survive the venture into the world of early nineteenth century exploration, can they emerge unchanged with their love intact. The mission to the Great South Sea will test their loyalties and strength, and define the characters of Captain Blackwell and his lady in Blackwell’s Paradise.

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BOOK BLAST: 1066: What Fates Impose by G. K. Holloway

1066: What Fates Impose by G. K. Holloway

Publication Date: March 4, 2013
Matador Publishing

1066 What Fates Impose by G K HollowayKing  William then utters the following words to the room: ‘I appoint no one as my heir to the Crown of England, but leave it to the disposal of the Eternal Creator, whose I am and who orders all things. For I did not attain that high honour by hereditary right, but wrested it from the perjured King Harold in a desperate bloody battle.’

England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own. There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland.

Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies will stop at nothing to gain power. As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold.

Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose?

Buy the Book

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Book Depository
Troubador Publishing

GK HollowayAbout the Author

I have been interested in history since I was a boy, which I suppose explains why, when I came across a degree course in History and Politics at Coventry University that looked tailor made for me, I applied right away.

In my first year at Coventry I lived in the halls of residence within a stone’s throw of the Leofric Hotel. In the opposite direction, just a short walk from my halls, is the bell tower that houses a clock, which when its bell chimes the hour, produces a half size model of naked Lady Godiva riding a horse for the titillation of tourists. Above her, Peeping Tom leans out of a window for a better view. In all of the three years I was there, it never once occurred to me that I would one day write a book featuring Earl Leofric and his famous wife, as key players.

After graduating I spent a year in Canada before I returned to England to train as a Careers Officer in Bristol. Later, I lived and worked in Gloucestershire as a Careers Officer and then in Adult Education as an Education Guidance worker.

After I met my wife, I moved back to Bristol to live and I worked at Bath Spa University as a Student Welfare Officer for a number of years. It was about this time I read a biography about King Harold II which fascinated me so much I read more and more about the man and the times. I found the whole pre-conquest period of England so interesting I couldn’t understand why no one had written a novel about it. So, I decided to write one myself. Now, after many years of study and time spent over a hot keyboard, I have finally produced thatnovel.

1066: What Fates Impose is the result of all that study and hard work and is the first book I’ve written. I am now working on a sequel.

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BOOK BLAST: The Lost Duchess by Jenny Barden

The-Lost-DuchessThe Lost Duchess
by Jenny Barden

Paperback Publication Date: June 5, 2014
Ebury Press
Paperback; 448 pages

An epic Elizabethan adventure with a thriller pace and a high tension love story that moves from the palaces of England to the savage wilderness of the New World.

Emme Fifield has fallen about as far as a gentlewoman can.

Once a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, her only hope of surviving the scandal that threatens to engulf her is to escape England for a fresh start in the new America where nobody has ever heard of the Duchess of Somerset.

Emme joins Kit Doonan’s rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits bound for Virginia. But such a voyage will be far from easy and Emme finds her attraction to the mysterious Doonan inconvenient to say the least.

As for Kit, the handsome mariner has spent years imprisoned by the Spanish, and living as an outlaw with a band of escaped slaves; he has his own inner demons to confront, and his own dark secrets to keep…

Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh’s settlement in Virginia was abandoned in 1587 its fate has remained a mystery; ‘The Lost Duchess’ explores what might have happened to the ill-starred ‘Lost Colony’ of Roanoke.

Buy the Book

Amazon (AUS)
Amazon (UK)
Book Depository

jenny bardenAbout the Author

I’ve had a love of history and adventure ever since an encounter in infancy with a suit of armour at Tamworth Castle. Training as an artist, followed by a career as a city Jenny solicitor, did little to help displace my early dream of becoming a knight. A fascination with the Age of Discovery led to travels in South and Central America, and much of the inspiration for my debut came from retracing the footsteps of Francis Drake in Panama. The sequel centres on the first Elizabethan ‘lost colony’ of early Virginia. I am currently working on an epic adventure during the threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada.

My work has appeared in short story collections and anthologies and I’ve written for non-fiction publications including the Historical Novels Review. I am active in many organisations, having run the ‘Get Writing’ conferences for several years, and undertaken the co-ordination of the Historical Novel Society’s London Conference 2012. I am a member of that organisation as well as the Historical Writers’ Association, the Romantic Nevelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. I’ll be co-ordinating the RNA’s annual conference in 2014.

I have four children and now live on a farm in Dorset with my long suffering husband and an ever increasing assortment of animals.

I love travelling, art, reading and scrambling up hills and mountains (though I’m not so keen on coming down!).

Author Links

Jenny Barden’s Blog
English Historical Fiction Authors Blog

Also by Jenny Barden

Mistress of the SeaMistress of the Sea
by Jenny Barden

Publication Date: June 20, 2013
Ebury Press
Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Mistress Cooksley may be a wealthy merchant’s daughter, but she blushes at my words and meets my eyes look for look. Yet I cannot hope to court her without fortune, and a dalliance with a pretty maid will not hinder me from my path.

Captain Drake’s endeavour might bring me gold, but I, Will Doonan, will have my revenge.

The Spaniards captured my brother and have likely tortured and killed him. For God and St George, we’ll strike at the dogs and see justice done.

I thought I’d left Mistress Cooksley behind to gamble everything and follow Drake, and here she is playing the boy at the ends of the world. She’s a fool with a heart as brave as any man’s. Yet her presence here could be the ruin of us all…

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