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Sacrifice and Know-How

Thierry Antha Author Interview

Thierry Antha Author Interview

Crimes of Rumba discusses and dissects the crimes behind the worst corporate malpractice in US cultural history. Why was this an important book for you to write?

From 1983 to 1995, it took us almost fifteen years of commitment, sacrifice and know-how to build up awareness about the greatness of Congo music’s modernity in American pop culture. Credits should be given to promoters such as Victor Kibunja, Verna Gillis, Paul Trautman and my company’s tour with Tabu Ley Rochereau-Alive and Well in North-America in 1992, which made Congo music a runaway hit in North America until 1995.

Unfortunately, with little to no precision, 22 years after the Congolese government and musicians’ outright rejection of Fonior’s crimes of rumba, handful writers went off the script and managed to inadvertently slip in Fonior’s fraud of Cuban music. It was disheartening to realize that even few colleagues in the media were still living in the clouds of Fonior’s crimes of rumba. As promoters, time was more of the essence to promoting tours than pressing the matter further why it was a horrific danger to associate Franco Luambo and Tabu Ley Rochereau with Fonior’s post-colonial fraud for America, in the lens of the Congo’s politics from the 1970s to 1990s.This brought up the above headliners’ urgency and request to me to educating their consumers with the absolute truth beyond the fraud of rumba.

Moreover, as journalist and promoter, this is book is mostly important because it connects the dots between King Leopold’s atrocities of red rubber to the crimes of rumba for America by his very own international conglomerate, Societe Generale. Simply put, the fraud of rumba music is the universal and everlasting legacy from King Leopold’s politics and economics in music for America, first, and the world later. It’s never been about the presence of Cuban music in the midst of the state administration’s classified South American music’s mandatory production. But it is all about how, wanton malice, Fonior abused and misused Cuban music to commit fraud and defraud Congolese musicians’ copyrights and consumers’ human rights in America.

You cover a number of topics in this book, but the one that stuck out to me was rumba music. How do you feel music affects the political landscape?

Human life is rhythm. Rhythm is music. And music also controls mankind’s political landscape from singing Nero setting Rome on fire, Herod decapitating John the Baptist in Israel to any election campaign chanting of USA, USA, USA.

In Belgian Congo, for instance, the rhythm of atrocity behind the harvest of red rubber to the germination and criminalization of the state administration’s legal diversity of South American music, in the late 1950s, was controlled by King Leopold’s politics for Societe Generale’s monopoly. The politics behind the abrogation of Copami’s mission to legalize the harvest of “music cash crops” for export created a super culture of dichotomy for the equal production of Congo music and South American music under the law. And this colonial autocracy paved the way for Congolese musicians’ resistance and sabotage, which empowered Patrice Lumumba to ascend to the highest sky of the Belgian Congo’s nascent political parties.

In 1948 president Rafael Trujillo made Merengue the official music of Dominican Republic, while in 1959, Fidel Castro nationalized Rumba as the official music of Cuba for all music of African descent. In 1965, after his coup d’etat, president Mobutu rode the wave of Congo music to install his dictatorship in the Congo DRC. Francois Duvalier used Kompa music to numb the mass’s brain for his dictatorship in Haiti. Bob Marley performed his One Love Concert to defuse the brutal turf war among political nemesis in Jamaica. Bill Clinton’s campaign in the 1990s banked on the success of Macarena to promote his progressive agenda for America’s cultural diversity. And that is the same spirit of music in the politics of King Leopold’s international conglomerate that still captures rumba operatives’ politics for Fonior’s crimes of rumba that have been debunked and rebuked in the Congo DRC and exposed in this book.

What kind of research did you undertake to ensure the book was accurate and detailed?

First, as American of Congolese origin, I have lived Congo music my entire life. As a professional journalist, I covered the Congo DRC’s national rebuke of Fonior’s crimes of rumba for the national radio and television until I migrated to the USA. As co-host of the most famous Congo music radio and television shows, I humbly confessed that my expertise in Congo music is second to none because of my personal and business ties with Congolese musicians. As a young record producer, I have also rubbed elbows with all the who’s who in the music industry. My coverage of Samuco and Umuza, Congolese musicians’ union, are the most inside information that the average journalist has never searched before. From 1983 to 2000, as a promoter and consultant, I have closely worked with all Congolese musicians who have come on tour in North America for others as well as for my own company.

Second, to ensure that the book was accurate and detailed, my documented evidence are based on Belgian Congo’s laws, policies, institutions and corroborated by Congolese musicians’ personal testimonies throughout colonialism and their outright rejection and class action lawsuit against Fonior. The restrictive provision and scope of laws and policies from Belgian Congo to the Congo DRC’s national rebuke of Fonior’s crimes of rumba certify the accuracy of the Royal Decree of 1925 behind the Copami’s mission and its related institutions, coupled with the Royal Decree of 1952 aborting the old mission and its institutions under Societe Generale’s mission. These irrefutable evidence within La Territoriale provide all material facts and detailed events. And this exclusivity makes Crimes of Rumba the best encyclopedia of Congo music ever in terms of chronology of specifics in laws, policies, institutions and events from 1925 to September 1960.

I thought this book was informative and engaging. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

Readers’ takeaway is to know that Fonior’s crimes of rumba are real. Consumers have the right to know that they have been defrauded for decades. Even though, this crime spree was launched from America, in September 1960, its universality has outreached the world. It is based on Fonior’s violation of Congolese musicians’ copyrights. That’s why, as early as 1970s, president Mobutu stood up shoulder to shoulder with them to nationally reject, debunk and rebuke Fonior’s fraud. Unfortunately, after 47 years, the coverage of the Congo DRC’s rebuke has been blocked by King Leopold’s rumba operatives through fake movies, books and theories, who have turned a blind eye to telling the truth for the sole purpose to monetize on it. Not only consumers have the right to be set free from the bondage of Fonior’s crimes of rumba, they have the right to know that rumba operatives still provide a fraudulent, safe home for re-litigation and revisionism of Belgian Congo’s laws, policies, institutions, and against the Congo DRC’s national rebuke of Fonior’s fraud.

This book simply certifies that one can’t explain the complexity of the state administration’s legal diversity and production of South American music under the law, in the Belgian Congo, in complicity with Fonior’s fraud and based on the simplicity of its crime of opportunity on Cuban music for America, first. The engraved musical evidence of South American music’s legal diversity in Fonior’s Congolese re-editions represent self-incriminating evidence, among many others, against its crimes of rumba. One can’t celebrate Congo Rumba’s illegality by hiding Congo Latino from the same Fonior’s fake-outs spree. This case is all about King Leopold’s international monopoly misused Cuban music to commit fraud. Simply put, the fraud of rumba music has been the universal and everlasting legacy from King Leopold’s politics and economics in music for America, first, and the world later. Thanks to Crimes of Rumba the era of defrauding musicians and consumers’ human rights is over now.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

Crimes of Rumba is the hottest, epic combination of business, politics, music, and of course, crimes behind the predatory conduct culture that has glamorized the worst corporate malpractice in US cultural history. As a matter of law, order, and economy, the state administrations intolerance and crackdown on musicians dissent and opposition to the colonial music cash crops production is authoritarianism at best and without precedent in the worlds history of colonization and music. This legal truth and material facts-checkings operation is the blunt, exclusive disclosure of the sources and methods used for the cultivation and autocratic harvest of music cash crops in the Belgian Congo, which were economically engineered from and back to America for its consumption through misinformation, disinformation, deceit, and fraud. Not only is this the tale of the utmost scam that has been very fully funded to defraud the worlds collective memory of rumba, it is the hefty price that our humanity has dearly paid for without consent for Foniors crimes of rumba for decades. Silence has been complicity at worst from the people with knowledge of the case against rumba. Not only are the material facts and consumers rights violated and suppressed, along with musicians copyrights for decades, the morally repulsive glamorization of the fraud has brought creative freedom in the worlds music into disrepute. A lot of readers will discover Thierry Antha with the publication of Crimes of Rumba, Volume I of Congo Music. But this international journalist carried decades of excellence in covering the Congo and Haitis politics, business, and entertainment. His professional and personal ties with all the most famous Congolese musicians in advocacy, promotion, and production of their musical works have crowned him the best authority with respect to the Congo musics history. Contrary to all the spinning, posturing, and work of fiction for rumba, Thierry Anthas expertise and dedication to exposing the truth behind material facts and laws related to Congo music from the Belgian Congo to the Congo is second to none. Embark in this riveting literary journey to discover how Socit Gnrales authoritarian harvest of music cash crops has shattered and destroyed lives and careers for its economic gain in the Americas. Without censorship, Crimes of Rumba, Volume I of Congo Music exposes Foniors victims long overdue rebuttal, which is long way apart from the reality of its predatory conduct culture and its propaganda of rumbas fake-outs.

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No Easy Resolutions

Linnea Tanner Author Interview

Linnea Tanner Author Interview

Dagger’s Destiny follows princess Catrin who is torn between duty to her kingdom and her forbidden love. What were some things you felt you had to bring over from Apollo’s Raven and what were some new themes you wanted to explore?

One of the themes I carry over from Apollo’s Raven is Catrin is torn between her duty to her kingdom and her forbidden love for the Roman enemy, Marcellus. However, in Dagger’s Destiny, Catrin must face the consequences of her forbidden love when her father, King Amren, accuses her of treason due to her liaison with Marcellus. Duty is of greatest importance to the characters because it exemplifies the honor central to being in a position of power. Duty to the state and the family’s legacy is explored as well as duty to loved ones and to one’s self. The characterizations of Catrin, Marcellus, and their fathers are more fully explored as each person must grapple with balancing their duty to the state vs. their love to those they cherish. There are no easy resolutions as the fathers have resorted to brutality and corruption to maintain their powers.

Another theme that is explored in Dagger’s Destiny is fate vs. free will. Catrin must dive into the Depth of Possibilities of what choices she can make to stop the curse that foretells her half-brother will kill their father. However, whenever Catrin changes the future, the curse an alter in unexpected ways.

Dagger’s Destiny is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a romance, fantasy and history as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

When I first start writing the series, the story was intended to be a historical fiction based on the legacy of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, but with a Celtic twist. However, as I explored Celtic and Roman mythology, I began weaving in some of the fantastical elements to help explain what the Celts believed. I was particularly fascinated to learn that the Celts has a similar belief in the immortality of the soul as the Greek philosopher, Pythagoras. They believed the soul could transmigrate between different animal species and could occupy another body after death. As a result, the series evolved into a more mythical tale as I weaved in other fantastical worlds and druidic powers into the historical backdrop.

The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?

A secondary character that I enjoyed developing was Ferrex—a loyal, duty-bound Celtic warrior who deeply loves Catrin and risks his reputation to support her. Down-to-earth and blunt, Ferrex is a sharp contrast to Marcellus, a suave and impetuous Roman nobleman who has had a reckless affair with an older married woman. Ferrex will continue to play an important role in the series.

This is book 2 in your Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Where will book 3 take readers and when will it be available?

Book 3: Amulet’s Rapture will take the star-crossed lovers, Catrin and Marcellus, to Gaul (modern-day France) and Rome. Even thought they believe they are destined to be with each other, they encounter resistance to their love at every turn. They will sacrifice almost everything to be together, but can Catrin must balance her fate to retake her kingdom as a warrior queen with her role as the lover of a man who considers her subservient?

Amulet’s Rapture is drafted and undergoing revisions based on feedback from critique partners and an editor.  It is my goal that it will be published in approximately one year.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebook | Website

Dagger's Destiny (Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 2) by [Tanner, Linnea]

A Celtic warrior princess accused of treason for aiding her enemy lover must win back her father’s love and trust

In the rich and vibrant tale, Author Linnea Tanner continues the story of Catrin and Marcellus that began with the awarding-winning novel APOLLO’S RAVEN in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings Series. Book 2: DAGGER’S DESTINY sweeps you into an epic tale of forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia.

War looms over 24 AD Britannia where rival tribal rulers fight each other for power and the Romans threaten to invade to settle their political differences. King Amren accuses his daughter, Catrin, of treason for aiding the Roman enemy and her lover, Marcellus. The ultimate punishment is death unless she can redeem herself. She must prove loyalty to her father by forsaking Marcellus and defending their kingdom—even to the death. Forged into a warrior, she must overcome tribulations and make the right decisions on her quest to break the curse that foretells her banished half-brother and the Roman Empire will destroy their kingdom.

Yet, when Catrin again reunites with Marcellus, she is torn between her love for him and duty to King Amren. She must ultimately face her greatest challenger who could destroy her life, freedom, and humanity.

Will Catrin finally break the ancient prophecy that looms over her kingdom? Will she abandon her forbidden love for Marcellus to win back her father’s trust and love? Can King Amren balance his brutality to maintain power with the love he feels for Catrin?

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The Trauma of a War

Jonathan Hatendi Author Interview

Jonathan Hatendi Author Interview

The Zimbabwean War of Independence is a vivid account of the country’s struggle for independence told through your personal experiences. Why was this an important book for you to write?

It, like most, if not all war situations has a lifelong impact on those affected and mine was an experience which I felt had to be told.

You used many of your own experiences when writing this book, but did you undertake any research to ensure you had a holistic view of events?

As far as I am concerned research would only have been necessary if this was a historical recording of events in which case I would have paid more attention to a chronological order, which my reviewer mentions.

This book causes one to reflect on their own life journey. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

The main aim is for the reader to try and understand what it was like for the people affected. Just as I have read numerous accounts of the first and second world wars, I wanted the reader to be able to feel the trauma of a war situation which should be avoided by all and any means, where possible.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

It is on political events, power struggles, and corruption on the newly independent countries of Zimbabwe and South Africa – the contrast and similarities.

Author Links: Amazon | Twitter

The Zimbabwean War of Independence - My experience as a civilian by [Hatendi, Jonathan]A personal experience of the Zimbabwean war of independence as it happened and culminated in the country’s independence in 1980. The account is of events that took place almost four decades ago but the memory is still so vivid in my mind as if they had just occurred. I believe this is the case with any profound experiences that one goes through in one’s life’s journey. 

I had always felt I had to tell the story some day especially soon after our abduction from school, but have only managed now to sit down and give the compelling story of the war as it was fought and escalated.

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Magickal Adaptations

Tantra Bensko Author Inteview

Tantra Bensko Author Inteview

Encore superbly intertwines themes of history, myth, psychology, romance and many more. Was this a conscious effort when you started writing or did this happen organically while writing?

Tantra: Thank you very much. I wrote the original idea as a Psychological Suspense novelette intentionally claustrophobic in scope. A hypnotist programs a standby to believe she is his wife, the star of a show, and abducts her before the curtain following the encore removes the post-hypnotic suggestion. He takes her, while she still believes she is his wife, to live in an “empty” alchemist’s castle.

I began with the alchemist’s castle that Miriam is taken to because I know a lovely man who sometimes lives in his family castle and sells homeopathic alchemical monoatomic elixirs using gems, flowers, and such. That’s the extent of my kind friend’s similarity to anything in the novel, but it sparked my imagination to bring the Gothic convention of immortality elixirs up to date in a believable way.

When I saw its potential as a novel in the series, I opened it up, as I do at the end of each Nevermind book, to a widening, spooky awareness of the relationship between these individuals and the community. That glimpse of how the protagonists are being used to influence others for nefarious purposes creates a shudder, a sensation I find pleasurable and strive for in my books. I love finding out the truth, no matter how grim (or fictional – especially if it reflects real life.)

A Thriller sensation slowly creeps up in each book with the big dramatic clash of the two factions at the end, the societally controlling and the heroic exposing of that mass mind control. When studying for my hypnosis certification long ago, I learned about negative hallucinations, when someone standing in front of us disappears if the hypnotist so commands. The Agents of the Nevermind are always up to something, always getting their noses into hypnosis. Subtle hypnotic techniques used by intelligence agents/news anchors sway a country into believing the deceitful narrative. Thus, proxy wars and coups garner popular support.

The more the public’s wits are softened, the more easily they can be fooled, and thus the Agents’ Occult Revival throws off people’s natural propensity toward logic. I explore ways that mind control has been used by the government throughout history, such as with the myths of Atlantis, Shambhala, and Camelot. The idea for legend-wars came late in the book’s creation, arising from studying of mystical imperialism in England. The historical use of those legends that I describe in the book is factual and it eventually structured the narrative conflict. Intelligence agents poached those cultural legends internationally, to persuade countries to align with them militarily.

I wanted to please readers with a fulfilling, moral romantic story. So, I eventually integrated Miriam’s friend Colin into the plot, who has no idea where she has vanished to, at the end of the last show of the theater season. The romance is Gothic in that Miriam is torn between the “light” and “dark” men and becomes isolated and gaslighted by the latter. Dune is dangerous, forbidden, rumored to be an Agent, the object of her sexual obsession, and in control of her subconscious. I deliberately pushed further into the “friends to lovers” to thrill the fans of that trope. Colin is the handsome, playful friend, a conscientious publisher who reliably does good things for her. But once he goes feral – watch out!

I enjoyed the Gothic underpinnings of this book. What were some Gothic sources of inspiration for you?

Tantra: I studied Gothic history in depth to understand the history underlying the conventions, including thorough material like Tyler Tichelaar’s The Gothic Wanderer: From Transgression to Redemption, and Gothic Imperialism, the Gothic Imagination Podcast, Gothic Studies Journal, “The Imperial Gothic” by Suzanne Daly, “The Truth About the Winchester House,” and Invisible History Blog’s Mystical Imperialism.

In terms of modern imaginative works, I didn’t draw from the directly, but I love the Spanish TV show, El Internado, Bates Motel, Crimson Peak, Ghost Flower by Michele Jaffe, My Sweet Audrina, Gothic Romantic Suspense by Phyllis Whitney, Mary Stewart, Daphne du Maurier, and Awakening by S.J. Bolton.

Characters that seem as if they walked out of a novel inspired the book, like John Mulholland, who of the British Magical Society, an officer who wrote the spellbook for soldiers, and went to work for the CIA and wrote their manual on deception and misdirection. Gaslighting of individuals who are used to gaslight a large population is a major interest in the book and the series.

Encore ‘dramatizes mystical sensual energy manipulation techniques’. How did you come about this topic and why did you want to explore this in your book?

Tantra: I studied about energy from childhood, learning to detect it through formally studying remote viewing until I became extremely accurate at age 11. When I got older, I learned advanced Tantra Yoga and taught it. The aspects of Tantra that require belief don’t convince me, but the exercises are very effective. Tantric history includes dark elements such as sexual energy vampirism and the sacrificing of the dakinis, which need to be included in the public discourse, to balance out the pastel, diluted, sexualized version of the practice that so many people believe is Tantra. The actionable techniques are also worth teaching through the novel. I still do these myself. Blissful.

Gothic novels tend to include magick grimoires, exotic mysticism and forbidden, out-of-this world sexuality. And as this novel relates to the role of the occult myths in British imperialism, particularly in the East, I wanted to delve deeply into the Tibetan sensibility and its magickal adaptations. That gave me the chance to describe a kind of love that I enjoy: circulating awareness between myself and a partner. Then, each partner should bring awareness back inside when ready to move on with the day.

This is book 3 in the The Agents of the Nevermind series. Where will book 4 take readers next?

Tantra: It’s called Giant Jack, a prequel set against the background of rise of the Agency and President Planda, who has gigantism. Planda networks with the budding Agency to create the Occult Revival, which is how he wins the election. Gigantism is a factual hormonal imbalance that makes some people very tall, with big hands, foreheads and such. They don’t tend to live as long, unfortunately, as average. So, Planda had to figure out a way to make the condition look positive in the eyes of the public. He called on the Agents of the Nevermind to run news stories on the Theosophical ancient superior giants and co-opted entertainment, books, documentaries, and cults. They picked Giant Jack to be the cult giant celebrity. Jack achieved gigantism artificially by taking Human Growth Hormone throughout his adolescence. It became a trend, and that’s why there are giants in the series.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Encore: A Contemporary Love Story of Hypnotic Abduction (The Agents of the Nevermind Book 3) by [Bensko, Tantra]

In this Seductive Psychological Suspense, a troupe in England braves threats by hecklers when performing the history of the rare gem, Moldavite. The meteoric stone, featured in legends of Shambhalla and Atlantis, is sought after for its supposed mystical properties. The charismatic hypnotist, Dune, made the troupe famous, especially his wife Susan, the star. Whenever actors become ill, Dune hypnotizes the standbys to believe they actually are the actors they replace on stage, to fool the discerning audience. When the curtain reaches the floor after the encore, the post-hypnotic suggestion always ends, and the standbys recall their identities.

Susan mysteriously disappears, so her standby, Miriam, takes her place. Miriam’s friend Colin clutches flowers in the audience, ready to congratulate her on the life-changing evening. He just that day kissed her for the first time. Will he become more than a friend that night?

He doesn’t get the chance. Before the curtain lands, with Miriam still believing she is his wife, Dune whisks her away to an alchemist’s castle: Dune has plans for an equinox ritual using the Moldavite elixir made there. Rumors say he is a secret agent, in a cult intertwined with the Nevermind and the Bennu troupe. In fact, Bennu is an ancient Egyptian flamingo deity, similar to the Phoenix, associated with initiation rituals that break down the identity and rebirth a person into a loyal member of a secret society.

This contemporary Gothic Romance dramatizes mystical sensual energy manipulation techniques that have been used for both good and bad. And it also explores the dangerous historical appropriation of cultural legends for the sake of forging military alliances.

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Literary Titan Book Awards November 2018

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

Mortgaged Goods by [Cobcroft, Lorraine]Lifeliners by [Vucak, Stefan]Encore: A Contemporary Love Story of Hypnotic Abduction (The Agents of the Nevermind Book 3) by [Bensko, Tantra]

American River: Currents: Book Two of the American River Trilogy by [O'Connor, Mallory M.]FUTURE WORLD ROLLS!: We Are Family (Carousels of Life Book 2) by [Tumbler, Terry]The Spell (The Shaman's Lover Trilogy Book 1) by [Kemm, Georgina Lucy]

Dagger's Destiny (Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 2) by [Tanner, Linnea]Aeon Rises by [Cronin, Jim]Survivors of the Sun: A post-apocalyptic thriller by [Kingslie, Mia]

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful by [Collins, Ellie]Mall Hair Maladies by [Volchko, Kristy Jo]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Antebellum Struggles: Slavery, Lust and Suspicion (BOOK ONE) by [Erman, Dickie]

Extinction 6 by [Kouros-Mehr, Hosein]Dark Karma: Sword of Vengeance by [Simmons, Laura]

The Dead Wake Horror Collection Vol 1 by [Douglas, Ellie]A Monk's Tail by [Spencer, Kyle]

The Hunt for the Three Roses (The Three Roses Trilogy Book 2) by [Hubbard, Jason]Inevitable dreaming by [Dröge, Dave]

Going Dark (Gabriel Jets Book 1) by [Grace, Jolene]The Zimbabwean War of Independence - My experience as a civilian by [Hatendi, Jonathan]

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

Rises from Humble Beginnings

Carole Penfield Author Interview

Carole Penfield Author Interview

Midwife of Normandy follows young Clare as she struggles to save her family and career from France’s tyrannical king. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

An avid fan of history, I researched 17th century religious persecution of Huguenots by King Louis XIV and was surprised how few historical fiction novels had been set during this turbulent period (as opposed to numerous novels set in other times, like Tudor England.) I also noted that many historical fiction authors focused on women of royal or aristocratic blood as protagonists.

I wanted to do something different, so I created a Huguenot female protagonist, who rises from humble beginnings and dares to defy and outwit male authority, including the King’s soldiers.

After visiting Rouen and the beautiful countryside of Normandy, I felt certain this was the perfect location for my book.

I didn’t think being a midwife could be so interesting and this novel definitely caused me to look more into the profession. Why did you choose this profession for Clare in the story?

Let’s face facts; there weren’t many professional options available to 17th century women. It was widely held that their only proper role was marriage, absolute obedience to husbands, and bearing of children. Midwifery was almost exclusively performed by females, but was looked upon as a lowly trade.

In order to rise above her humble beginnings, Clare decides to offer her services, using a secret ancestral formula for pain-free birth, exclusively to wealthy members of the aristocracy who reward her handsomely, thereby turning midwifery into a lucrative profession.

Clare is a fascinating character that continued to develop as the story progressed. What were some themes you wanted to capture in Clare’s character?

Throughout history, women have struggled against many prejudices. What I set out to achieve was to create a strong, ambitious young woman who sought to control her own destiny. In a sense, Clare was an early pioneer for female equality in 17th century France, as she sought a career. However, she knew she was also obligated to marry in order to bear a female child to carry on her ancestral midwifery heritage.

At first, dewy-eyed young Clare is disappointed when her romantic childhood sweetheart leaves the country and she is coerced into marrying his older, dull brother. However, she turns out to be much stronger than her husband, even to the point of secretly using birth control until she decides the time is right for bearing children. And she is the one who must bravely plot their escape from France.

Another minor theme is the conflict a career woman faces between spending time with her children and working outside the home. A feeling of guilt. This balancing act continues through the present day, so it is a universal, contemporary theme.

What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?

The second novel in the series, Lucina’s Destiny, is now available on Amazon.com. It follows the exciting adventures of Clare and her family as they settle in England.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads

Midwife of Normandy (Secrets of the Austen Midwives Book 1) by [Penfield, Carole, Lady, A]Clare Dupres, ambitious young Huguenot midwife living in turbulent 17th century France, struggles to save her family and career from the terrors of tyrannical King Louis XIV.

On the brink of womanhood, she records in her journal the grand plan for her perfect life–marriage to the man she loves, renovation of mysterious Maison Dupres as her home, and a rewarding profession. The key to her plan lies in “the magic elixir,” her ancestors’ secret formula for pain-free childbirth, which she offers solely to wealthy aristocratic women.

But King Louis’ increasing pressure on Huguenots to convert to Catholicism shatters Clare’s dreams. Her lover forced to flee France, she is compelled to marry his boring brother. Then she is banned from practicing midwifery. Yearning to continue her profession coupled with fear that her children will be kidnapped by Papists, Clare tries to convince her stubborn husband to move to England, but he is blind to the growing menace. When danger lurks in the form of the King’s dreaded Dragonnade soldiers, she must summon all her strength and determination to save her family.

Can Clare succeed in getting her family safely out of France before it is too late?

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Professor B.A. Zikria Interview

This is an interview of Professor B.A. Zikria about his recent books.

B.A. Zikria, born in Afghanistan, came to America at the age of eighteen to study medicine. He finished college in three years, studied at Johns Hopkins medical school in Baltimore, and received his diploma from President Eisenhower, brother of Milton Eisenhower, president of Johns Hopkins. He trained in Bellevue and Columbia Presbyterian Medical Centers. He taught medical students at the College of Physicians and Surgeons for 25 years and trained surgeons at CPMC and affiliated Harlem Hospital for 45 years. He has received 10 U.S. Patents during his career. After his retirement, he began writing philosophical and historical books.

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Malalai Joan of Arc of Afghanistan and the Victors of Maiwand: The Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-1882 by [Zikria, B.A.]

Dagger’s Destiny

Dagger's Destiny (Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 2) by [Tanner, Linnea]

If you’re looking for a fantastical adventure with a hint of historical influence, then look no further than Dagger’s Destiny by Linnea Tanner. Beginning in Britannia when the Romans were making their presence known to the island nation, we are thrust into the center of turmoil. This is book two in a series, so it’s advisable to read the first installment before continuing. However, even if you come into the series with this volume, you will not be disappointed. With our strong female lead, Catrin, we follow the princess as she deals with the possible betrayal of her people by the one she loves, and the cold, unforgiving judgement her father, the king, passes on her because of it. This is only the beginning. It is not easy to break a curse that has been afflicted since your father’s generation. Will Catrin succeed in her father’s stead?

There is never a dull moment in this book, which is useful to those who may be experiencing the series for the first time. Tanner has a clear grasp on the historical aspects of her setting, showing that she has put in some research. This is a fantasy novel, of course, so there are liberties taken. Even so, the way she crafts the tale could make one believe that these are the true stories of an age long gone. It can be difficult to jump into a series without reading the first installment, but Tanner shares enough of the previous book and background so that those who are potentially new, or who have taken a long break between, will not be lost. Because her story is so intricate it’s easy to get caught up in what’s happening. This is a wonderful skill that successful writers hone for years.

It can be difficult to make a book exciting, full of action, romance, and fantasy and still balance it with great characters. Catrin is our lead: she is strong, special and proud. A princess of Britannia who is in love with a man of Rome. A love like theirs is not welcomed in this age: her beloved is the enemy and she is seen as a fool. Despite her challenges, Catrin continues to rise above them, even if she is knocked down for a short period of time. This character creation shows the author’s dedication to telling a great story. So often tales that are full of action boast flat characters. Catrin seems to be alive within the pages of this book.

If you are looking for an exciting adventure that leaves you wanting more, do not pass up Dagger’s Destiny. Boasting fully developed characters and a well-defined setting, this book caters to all readers. The romance, fantasy, action and subterfuge are sure to win over readers from several genres. The core of the story is stable and the writing is excellent. A great addition to anyone’s bookshelf.

Pages: 333 | ASIN: B07G3G4G55

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Unusual Genealogy

Anita Bunkley Author Interview

Anita Bunkley Author Interview

The Twisted Crown is a fascinating story about a free black woman from the North searching for her mother in the post-Civil War South. What served as your inspiration while writing this novel?

My father’s family is from Moncks Corner, SC, and we still own property there. I was born in Ohio and grew up in the North. I have always been fascinated by stories about our land in Moncks Corner, called Bryan Tract, and how it was acquired, as well as our family’s unusual genealogy. My great-grandfather was a white man from Iowa, who went to South Carolina during Reconstruction, and eventually became a wealthy state senator. I have always felt that period in American history was not well documented from the female, Afro-centric point of view. So, I decided to focus on that time period. Once I began to acquire primary source documents that provided details of my great-grandfather’s life, I wanted to pen the novel from the point of view of a woman from the North who travels into the South during Reconstruction.

This is an entertaining novel that is high in social commentary. What were some themes you wanted focus on in this book?

Romance: My family’s mixed race background demonstrates the crossing of racial lines at that time, as is really evident throughout history. I wanted to present this aspect of society through characters who could see past the racial, cultural, and societal barriers that existed during this time period. Political: I wanted to better define what Reconstruction actually was. It was not rebuilding bridges and constructing new buildings, but an effort to establish a solid political structure and an economic base to replace the defeated Confederate government. Societal: My goal was to showcase the work of the Freedman’s Bureau and underscore its importance in helping freed slaves establish new lives in freedom after the Civil War.

Eva is an intriguing character that continued to develop as the story progressed. How did you capture the thoughts and emotions of a young black woman during this tumultuous time in history?

As a novelist of historical fiction, I have always focused on examining a period in history through the eyes of an African-American woman. My own family experiences, coupled with years of researching the role of black women throughout pivotal periods in history helped me shape Eva.

What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?

Writing historical fiction takes time, detailed research, and inspiration. I always spend time traveling to the geographic locations that I plan to use in my books I’m mulling time periods, traveling, and pulling my next story together without any release date in mind.

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The Twisted Crown by [Richmond Bunkley, Anita]

The Twisted Crown takes readers from the bustling streets of Boston at the height of the Abolitionist movement to the war-ravaged landscape of Reconstruction-era South Carolina.

In 1867, Eva Phillips, who was born a slave yet lived in freedom, travels across the chaotic landscape of South Carolina in search of the mother who gave her away. During her journey, she is befriended by a black political activist promoting the rights of the newly freed slaves, a wealthy northern Carpetbagger, and a gutsy lady gambler who teaches Eva how to survive in the tumultuous Post-war environment.

When the spirited young widow’s quest draws her into a dangerous web of theft, lies, and murder, she becomes the target of a long-awaited confrontation that forces her into a fight for her life.

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Inspired by my Love of Art and Music

Mallory O'Connor Author Interview

Mallory O’Connor Author Interview

American River: Tributaries follows three immigrant families struggling to pursue their dreams during the turbulent 1960’s. What served as your inspiration while writing this book?

My love of Northern California, the place where I grew up, and the wonderful history of the area. I was also inspired by my love of art and music and my passion for social justice issues.  Immigration and ethnic diversity are the cornerstones of the story.

This book has so many fascinating characters that are well developed. What were some themes you wanted to capture in your characters?

Basically, the story focuses on the creative search for meaning, knowledge, compassion and understanding in a tumultuous world filled with prejudice, obstacles, jealousy, and betrayal. As my characters encounter these obstacles, they discover their own strengths and weaknesses and grow beyond their self-centered ambitions.

I thoroughly enjoyed the historical backdrop to the story and how well researched it was. What historical milestones were important for you to highlight in this book?

The Gold Rush had a tremendous impact on the population and culture of California. Before the Gold Rush, the population consisted mainly of Native Californians and Californios (settlers and landowners of mixed Spanish, Native Californian, and African descent). But gold fever brought people to California from all over the country and the world. The Anglo Americans (of English, Irish, or Scots descent), other Europeans (including Italians, Russians, Greeks and East Europeans), Chinese, Japanese, African Americans, and many more who came and stayed. This changed the makeup of the state’s population making it one of the most ethnically diverse in the country. So, this cultural diversity sets the scene for later entanglements.

 Most of the story takes place in the 1960s, that decade that Time Magazine recently termed “The decade that changed a generation.” So, I take the reader down memory lane as my characters encounter the major issues of the time: immigration, racial prejudice, migrant workers, gay rights, women’s rights and the Vietnam War.

This is book one in the American River Trilogy. What can readers expect in book two, American River: Currents?

In Book Two, American River: Currents, a cavalcade of disasters—both personal and public—threatens to overwhelm the scattered members of the McPhalan, Ashida, and Morales clans. Alliances fray, relationships dissolve, divisive secrets are revealed, and promises are broken as the members of three California families struggle to salvage their shattered dreams.  The story follows the character’s journeys to places as distant as Cleveland, Ohio, Venice, Italy, and Kyoto, Japan. From the concert halls of Europe to the artist’s lofts of Manhattan, American River: Currents is filled with passionate and resolute characters who refuse to let go of their unique visions of success—even as life’s tumultuous currents threaten to sweep them all away.

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American River: Tributaries: Book One of the American River Trilogy by [O’Connor, Mallory M.]In the mid-1800s, three immigrant familiesIrish, Japanese, and Mexicansettle along the American River in Northern California. A century later, only one family remains.

Owen McPhalans Mockingbird Valley Ranch is still a thriving family business in 1959. But when his wife, Marian, leaves Mockingbird to follow her dream of becoming a successful artist, she ignites a firestorm that impacts the descendants of all three families. As artists, musicians, writers, and politicians inherit their immigrant parents hopes, they are torn apart by ambition, prejudice, and deception while struggling through the turbulent 1960s. From the concert halls of Europe to Kyotos ancient avenues, and Manhattans artists lofts to San Franciscos North Beach, they each learn the price they must pay in order to realize their dreams. But just as the river is drawn to the sea, they eventually find themselves pulled back to the place that forged the original link between their destiniesa place called Mockingbird.

American River: Tributaries follows three California families as the descendants of Irish, Japanese, and Mexican immigrants embark on unique journeys to pursue their dreams amid an unsettled 1960s world.

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