Friday, April 18, 2014


Today ActuallyAlethea is pleased to welcome back Scottish author Nancy Jardine, who has been busily writing and publishing in the interim since her last appearance here.

Hi Alethea, it’s lovely to pay a return visit to your blog and always a pleasure to visit the home of a historical author because I empathise with how much research can be involved during the writing process, and how much time we can spend on promoting our work. My Celtic Fervour Series is set a bit further back than your novels are, covering the period AD 71- 84 with the setting northern Roman Britain, but research is research regardless of time and place.

Since I last popped over to see you, After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks, the third book of my Historical Romantic Adventures was launched at the end of March 2014. So far, my series has 3 books- Book 1 The Beltane Choice; Book 2 After Whorl: Bran Reborn; Book 3 After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks.

Book 3 has a long title which doesn’t fit easily on a twitter message but since it’s directly linked to Book 2 of my series-After Whorl: Bran Reborn-I decided a bit of forewarning for the reader was essential. When someone looks at my titles, I hope the similarity of the ‘After Whorl’ at the beginning of both Book 2 and Book 3 will make them wonder why they’re prefaced with the same words. I hope they will then realise that although they are getting a full length story about Brennus of Garrigill and Ineda of Marske in Book 2, the adventures continue for those same characters in Book 3 since they end up being separated for a long time and lead their own adventurous lives with different partners. Reading the blurbs for the books makes that quite clear in addition to a neat message at the end of Book 2 which says ‘To be continued…’

A reader has asked me why I am marketing my stories as Historical Romantic Adventures, and do they need to be read in sequence. Each book of the series is a full length novel and could be read alone, but since they are all interlinked with characters being introduced and then reappearing in later books, it would be a richer reader experience to read them as follow-on novels. They don’t fit neatly into a historical fiction category since they have varying elements of romance, though they are heavy on historical details and involve scenes of bloody war, and military strategy and strife. They are all adventures, though, which plunge the reader into the era and into the minds of my characters and the situations they find themselves in. Since Book 2 of the series does not have a HEA ending, the series doesn’t fit typical romances.

My Celtic warriors from the hillfort of Garrigill in Brigantia find ways to thwart the inevitable advance of the Roman Army onto their territory; the Brigantes being a federation of Celtic tribes whose lands were in northern Britain (north of England). My brothers from Garrigill also find and lose love along the way, suffer hardships, separation from the family, and endure terrible battle injury.

In Book 3, After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks, Brennus continues to spy against Rome but gets on as best he can with a normal family life for some years since the woman who won his love, Ineda, is lost to him. Ineda has been taken prisoner by a Roman tribune who uses her as his personal slave. She can’t escape his clutches but finds ways to tolerate her captivity for a very long time. In the broader sense, Book 3 also involves the flight, and the plight, of the refugee Brigante family into what is now modern day Scotland, the northerly trek taking its toll of family members in death and disease as often happens in refugee situations. The Celtic struggle culminates in a large bloody battle in north-east Scotland between the Celtic tribes
and the Roman army in AD 84, Brennus fighting alongside his brothers, fellow Garrigill warriors and co-opted warriors who have become part of their band.

I’m just dipping a toe into Book 4 which has new main characters, but those well loved ones from Books 1, 2 & 3 are also in the plot!

Alethea- Thank you for allowing me to share my series with your readers and best wishes with your new historical book launch.

Blurb for After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks: 

Pursued by Rome.
AD 73 Northern Britannia

After King Venutius’ defeat, Brennus of Garrigill – known as Bran – maintains a spy network monitoring Roman activity in Brigantia. Relative peace reigns till AD 78 when Roman Governor Agricola marches his legions to the far north. Brennus is always one step ahead of the Roman Army as he seeks the Caledon Celt who will lead all tribes in battle against Rome.

Ineda of Marske treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius, who is responsible for supplying Agricola’s northern campaigns. At Inchtuthil Roman Fort Ineda flees seeking fellow Brigantes congregating on the foothills of Beinn na Ciche.

Will the battle against the Romans bring Ineda and Brennus together again?

After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks is available from:

Nancy Jardine’s novels can be found in paperback and ebook formats from:
Crooked Cat Bookstore
Barnes & Noble
W. H. Smith
and other book retailers.

Nancy can be found at the following places: Blog Website Facebook
Goodreads About Me LinkedIn Twitter @nansjar Google+

Nancy’s writing time is shared with regular grandchild minding duties, tending her large garden, ancestry research and leisure reading. She’s currently writing a family saga based mainly in Scotland, and Book 4 of her Celtic Fervour series. She’s delighted to be able to share that Topaz Eyes (Crooked Cat Publishing) an ancestral-based mystery, is a finalist for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE Fiction 2014; the final round of voting for this during the last week of May. The winners will be announced at a splendid Awards Ceremony in London, 28th May, to which Nancy will attend. (Acquiring the ‘little black dress’ for this will be fun, as will her jaunt to London.)

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Title: Walls for the Wind
Author: Alethea Williams
Genre: Western historical
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Date of publication: April 2014

Alethea Williams:
Hello, I’m happy to be here on ActuallyAlethea today. Even though I wrote Walls for the Wind, I still have a few questions for some of the characters. Let’s try to interview the newspaperman and photographer for the Evening Post who came west from New York City with the orphan train, Mr. Henry Rawlings and Mr. Joshua Simpson. Gentlemen, let me start by asking if you feel you present a true picture of the West for your readers?

Joshua Simpson:
Photographs don’t lie, Mrs. Williams.

Perhaps. But they can be staged. And the words that accompany them can be slanted in whatever direction the writer wishes the reader to lean.

I think we’ve just been insulted, Henry.

Henry Simpson:
Are you referring to anything in particular that I have written, Mrs. Williams? Or do you just enjoy indulging in general character assassination?

I had no idea your feelings were so easily bruised, gentlemen. I just wanted to know if you dressed up your reports a bit, in order to attract readers or perhaps even to assist the government in its efforts to settle the vast interior of this continent. Do you confess to smoothing the rough edges sometimes?

I usually do the interviewing, Mrs. Williams. I never realized until this moment that I don’t much like being interviewed.

Nor I being put in the glare of the footlights.

“All the world’s a stage,” as has been noted.

And you think we serve up the news As You Like It, eh, Mrs. Williams? All right, I acknowledge that upon occasion I leave out the ugly bits in order to polish up the bright spots. Didn’t you do as much with your little book?

My book is fiction, sir. I tried to show the bad as well as the good of a train of orphans leaving charitable institutions for distribution to settlers.

Yes, well, we haven’t the luxury of thousands of words like you. Newspapers measure words by column inches, and we have a deadline. If there is a certain point I wish to make, I must make it in a few hundred words. I haven’t the freedom to invent the facts, as, for instance, fiction writers are permitted to do.

And just one picture can convey in just the briefest glance the feeling, background, and circumstances of a situation that would take many hundreds of words to describe.

Do you ever consider that your words inspire people, especially young people, to come west with unrealistic expectations?

Don’t all words inspire expectations of some sort in the reader? Whether that expectation is to be instructed, inspired, or merely entertained, there is a definite bargain struck between the writer and the person who takes the time to read and digest the writer’s words.

Well said, Mr. Rawlings. I can see that’s as far as we’re going to get on this subject today. So on that parting note, I thank you gentlemen for bearing with me and my questions as much as you have done. And thank you to readers from all of us connected with Walls for the Wind!

Walls for the Wind buy links:

Author bio:
Western history has been the great interest of my adult life. I've lived in Wyoming, Colorado, and Oregon. Although an amateur historian, I am happiest researching different times and places in the historical West. And while staying true to history, I try not to let the facts overwhelm my stories. Story always comes first in my novels, and plot arises from the relationships between my characters. I'm always open to your response to my writing and you can reach me in many of the social media.

Twitter: @ActuallyAlethea

The Romance Reviews author page:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014



Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

Offering an engaging look at a bygone era through determined women and the men who fall in love with them, her Pendleton Petticoats historical western series highlights a melting pot of people from a variety of backgrounds who find their way to a place where they feel accepted and loved. The series begins in 1899, as Pendleton heads into a new century and an era as a booming, bustling city.

New! Find Ilsa at Amazon
1. What inspired you to write the Pendleton Petticoats Series?

I like stories about women who find their strength and courage - who dare to cast aside what’s expected of them and follow their hearts. I chose the town of Pendleton as the setting because its history is so different from what people expect of a small western town in the early 1900s.

2. What's the series about?

Hope. At the core of the series, it’s about hope, dreams, and opening your heart to the possibilities of what is waiting for you in the future. Aundy is desperate to leave Chicago and better her situation. Caterina is on the run from the Italian mafia. Ilsa needs rescued from a bad situation that’s about to get worse. Each of them hold onto the hope that there is something better waiting just around the corner.

3. What made you decide to name the books after the main characters?
The women in Pendleton Petticoats come from all walks of life but find commonality in drawing strength from their courage and persevering in chasing their dreams. Aundy, Caterina, and Ilsa challenge the roles typically assigned to women of this era. It seemed fitting to name the books after the women who are the story.

4. Tell us a little about your main characters.

Aundy is the main character from the first book in the series. She is brave. Much braver than she thinks, although she does admit she’s stubborn with a strong constitution. She needs all the courage and strength she can find when her new husband dies before she can truly become a wife.

Caterina is the feisty Italian heroine in the second book in the series. She grew up in New York City rubbing elbows with the mafia. When one decides he wants her as a wife, her family helps her escape, but have no idea where she’s gone. Caterina steps off the train in Pendleton with nothing but her dream of opening a restaurant and her belief that she can make it happen.

Ilsa, Aundy’s younger sister, has no idea of her own inner strength or all the things she’s capable of doing until she winds up in Pendleton at Aundy’s ranch in the recently released third book in the series. The one thing area where Ilsa shines is designing and creating fashions that are in high demand.

5. Where do you get the inspiration to write?

My inspiration for sitting down every day and writing comes from the fact that I love doing it and there is nothing else I’d rather be doing. I left my day job a few months ago to write full time, so there is some motivation involved there as well to maintain a steady income.

6. Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?

If you enjoy historical fiction, clean romances, or a good western, I hope you’ll consider reading Aundy and its sequels, Caterina and Ilsa. I love to hear from readers, so feel free to drop me a note via any of my social media links.

Thank you, Alethea, for hosting me today. I’m so grateful for this wonderful opportunity to connect with your readers.

Thank you, Shanna, for being here with us on ActuallyAlethea today!

Find the Pendleton Petticoats Series  and Shanna’s other books at:

Follow Shanna online:

Email Shanna at

Author Bio: Shanna Hatfield is a hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure. In addition to blogging, eating too much chocolate, and being smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller, she is a best-selling author of clean romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor. She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America.

What happens when a hopeless romantic with a bit of a sarcastic attitude falls in love with an introvert who dreams of living in a man cave? 

Friday, April 4, 2014


Title: Walls for the Wind
Author: Alethea Williams
Genre: Western historical
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Date of publication: April 2014

Can an angel survive Hell on Wheels? When Kit Calhoun leaves New York City with a train car full of foundlings from the Immigrant Children’s Home, she has no clue she might end up as adoptive mother to four of them in rip-roaring Cheyenne, Wyoming. Kit has spent her life in the Children’s Home and now she rides the Orphan Trains, distributing homeless children to the young nation’s farmers as fast as the rails are laid.

The first time handsome Patrick Kelley spies Kit in Julesburg, Colorado Territory, he wants her. But circumstances, and a spectral-looking demented gambler as well as Kit’s certainty no one in his right mind would want her cobbled-together family, conspire to keep them apart. As Patrick and Kit and her brood ride Hell on Wheels into their destiny, they’re all forced to leave behind everything they knew and forge new lives in the raw American West.

“Frau Goff, you must listen,” she said softly. “Your son was arrested by the constable. Helmut will not be coming home. Reverend Howe is trying to convince the magistrate to release the boy into our custody, rather than have him spend ten days in the public Juvenile Asylum under the influence of the older, hardened hooligans incarcerated there. It was Helmut, Frau Goff, who told us where to find you.”

At the news, the woman’s hand flew to her mouth. Her eyes distant now even though they never left Kit’s face, she moaned, rocking the little girl back and forth. “Ah, Gott in heaven, what shall we do now?” she pleaded under her breath.

“You need to go to the hospital, Frau Goff,” Kit urged, even though she knew the charity wards were full to bursting with sick and dying immigrants. Reverend Howe, however, was prepared to use all his considerable influence to convince the Baldwin sisters to take just these three more into their already overburdened care.

“I cannot go to hospital.” The woman covered her mouth, throat rasping as she coughed up more blood. Twin spots of fever-induced color suffused her sallow cheeks. “Then Hannah would have no one.”

The woman’s hands lovingly kneaded the little girl. Kit waited, fingertips resting on the woman’s arm. Puffs of vapor escaped the child’s rosebud mouth, freezing as her warm breath hit the cold air. Hannah’s eyelids drooped as she lay quietly now in her mother’s arms, and she blinked sleepily.

“It makes no difference if I agree, yah? All you have to do is wait. When I die,” the sick woman said in a dull rasp, “my children will truly be left all alone.”

Kit swallowed the reply that wanted to spill from her lips, words of false hope and promise that the woman would recover. Perhaps, with time, good food, rest and a change of climate, there might have been a chance. But as it was, destitute and starving and already ravaged by her illness, there was in truth little the medical profession could do for Helga Goff.

“Will you sign?” Kit asked in German, fingers tightening on the woman’s skeletal arm. Educated at the asylum in languages, as well as painting and piano, at least some of her training stood her in good stead this day. “Will you give us the opportunity to shepherd your children toward a better life?”

The widow Goff studied Kit with burning eyes. “You will keep Helmut and Hannah together?” she pleaded, also in her native tongue. “Brother and sister always. You will not separate them? Make your solemn pledge to me now, before Almighty God.”

“I assure you the asylum will educate them and find them a home.”

“No! To you! To you alone will I give up my children. Promise me they will be together. Always.” Her voice fading, the woman’s last word ended on a sigh. Her small strength in defense of her children spent, her head drooped toward her chest.

Kit craned her neck, looking frantically over her shoulder to Reverend Howe for guidance. He held out his hands, palms up. “You have chosen to do this work, Katherine.”

Finding no help from the bear of a man in the massive greatcoat, Kit turned her gaze back toward the woman and child. Looking down on the little girl’s soft, golden curls, she said, “Very well, Frau Goff. I promise you that Helmut and Hannah will remain together.”

The sick woman raised her head. For an instant she searched Kit’s face. Then apparently reading truth there, she reached unsteadily for the pen that Reverend Howe had already dipped in ink. Her lips moved as she struggled to read aloud in English:

This document certifies that I am the mother and sole legal guardian of Helmut Goff, age eight, and Hannah Goff, age two. I hereby willingly agree for the Immigrant Children’s Asylum to provide them a home until they are of age. I further promise never to interfere in any arrangements made on their behalf.

Once more she raised fever-bright eyes to Kit’s, as if seeking a way out of signing away her children. But both of them knew it was too late. There was no rescue in this world for Frau Helga Goff. Shoulders rounded in defeat, she lowered her eyes to the release form and signed in a spidery European hand.

Buy links:
Western history has been the great interest of my adult life. I've lived in Wyoming, Colorado, and Oregon. Although an amateur historian, I am happiest researching different times and places in the historical West. And while staying true to history, I try not to let the facts overwhelm my stories. Story always comes first in my novels, and plot arises from the relationships between my characters. I'm always open to reader response to my writing.
Twitter: @ActuallyAlethea
The Romance Reviews author page: