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What She Wanted Out of Life

Harmke Buursma
Harmke Buursma Author Interview

Rose Through Time follows a woman who is transported back to the Regency era where she is at the mercy of the handsome owner of the Hawthorne estate. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve always loved time-travel novels like Outlander, and I grew up reading the books by Jane Austen or other classics like Jane Eyre. Rose Through Time and its ongoing world was my chance to combine the two.

Rose is an intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I wanted a character that was both strong and sensitive. In the beginning of the novel I wanted her to really question who she was and what she wanted out of life; questions that came up because of her break-up and the loss of her grandmother. My goal throughout the story was to see her buck against change when it first arrives but have her grow along the way until she isn’t afraid any longer to accept what she wants and deserves.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

One of the major themes in Rose Through Time is Loss; From Rose losing her grandmother to the loss of her relationship. This same theme also plays a role with the other characters. John and Beth have lost their parent’s and William deals with the loss of his lover. Other themes that also come up are friendship and love.

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

William Through Time, a semi-stand alone in the A Magical Bookshop Novel series, is coming out early 2022. William Through Time follows William Chambers, a recurring character in Rose Through Time, as he deals with the loss of his lover James during the Napoleonic wars. Spurred by a letter from his friend John, William returns to Hawthorne. There he meets Austin, a man who just like his friend’s wife Rose has traveled from the future. William wrestles with feelings of guilt, nightmares about his military service, and strict Regency Era society rules as he becomes more and more intrigued by the strange and modern young man. Will love slip through his hands once more or can he hold on to it?

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What would you do if you traveled through time and landed in the Regency era?

Still grieving, Rose Hart takes on the difficult task of packing up her grandmother’s home. There she stumbles upon a mysterious book with her late grandmother’s name which proves to be the first key in an unraveling mystery that leads her to a strange bookshop and catapults her from her modern day life in the Southwest of the U.S.A to a small town called Westbridge in Regency Era England. 

Suddenly Rose finds herself a stranger in a foreign time and place. A guest at the mercy of the handsome John Easton, the wealthy owner of the Hawthorne estate, and his sister Beth. She meets the scheming Mrs. Ashbrook and befriends John’s friend William, a troubled but charming military man just returned from the war in France. Rose finds herself living the life of adventure she always dreamed of filled with intrigue, danger, and perhaps love. Just one question remains; will she stay or will she go?

Perfect for fans of time-travel and enemies to lovers romance.

Rose Through Time

Rose Through Time: A Magical Bookshop Novel by [Harmke Buursma]

Readers fond of time-travel novels in the vein of books like Outlander, will enjoy this “Magical Bookshop Novel” Rose Through Time by Harmke Buursma. We begin our story in modern times with a woman named Rose who is grieving not only the loss of her maternal grandmother but also the loss of her recent relationship. In an effort to ease the pressure of responsibility off of her mother and perhaps to take her mind off her own recent break-up, Rose offers to take on the burden of organizing her late grandmother’s belongings after the funeral. While going through her grandmother’s things, Rose comes across a book that transports her through time.

This is a charming and straightforward romance novel ideal for readers looking for a light beach read. The book is an exceptional reflection of a real life love story, although in the regency era, where the melodrama is set aside and we instead focus on the characters and their lives. There are major decisions to be made throughout the story, and readers will be able to relate to them as well. Though this is a romance novel, the blossoming friendship between our protagonist, Rose, and the lead man’s sister, Beth, is an engaging relationship that I enjoyed reading. Following Beth and Rose’s activities was one of the highlights of this book, at least for me. I liked how this novel provides readers with the opportunity to explore both a romance and a friendship.

The story is entertaining in its ability to convey a simple premise with a passion and a sense of drama that will keep readers engaged. The characters are easy to understand and are endearing. As a reader, we move through the motions of a straight-forward but sentimental romance, encountering many of the usual plot devices and familiar tropes that fans of love stories have come to expect. This book is ideal for die-hard fans of light, simple romances who only want to be taken along for the ride without having to untangle a mess of relationships and angsty drama.

Rose Through Time is an endearing historical romance that will send readers back in time and provide them with a feel-good story that is easy to follow and fun to consume.

Pages: 260 | ASIN: B097RBS4QW

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I Love Her Rebellious Spirit

Wendy Louise Hawkin
Wendy Hawkin Author Interview

To Kill a King follows a spirited archaeologist trapped in Iron Age Ireland who struggles to survive a prehistoric warrior culture. What were some sources of inspiration that informed this novel’s development?

One night, I was looking through a National Geographic and discovered photographs of Old Croghan Man, a bog body dug from the Irish peat in 2003. When I read the article and saw that he was 6’6”, about twenty-five years old, and likely a warrior-king who’d been deposed and ritually murdered in such a profound way, I was hooked. I had to tell his story and make his life and death meaningful. I hope I did that.

When I was finishing high school in my thirties, I took a course called Native Ancestry 11. I still remember the moment the text explained “animism” – the idea that everything—rocks, trees, soil, animals, clouds, moon, stars—has spiritual energy. “I know that! I’ve always known that.” That moment was the catalyst to my journey in Indigenous Studies. During my BA, I studied archaeology, anthropology, and North American Indigenous cultures. But the Indigenous cultures of Ireland and Scotland, particularly the Neolithic cultures, also intrigue me. These people were so tuned into nature; much more so than we are today.

I suppose Sorcha arose from that part of me. She’s a composite of me and several young women I’ve known, some of them Irish. I love her rebellious spirit and especially her flaws. I love that she asks for what she wants, doesn’t put up with abuse from men, swears her heart out, speaks her mind, and teaches Old Croghan Man to curse even though she’s been forbidden to change history by Cernunnos. I introduced Sorcha and her first experience seeing the Old Croghan Man artifact in Book 2, To Sleep with Stones. Because she’s gifted in psychometry when Sorcha touched the copper mounts on his leather armband, she envisioned the man’s face and that’s one of the reasons she became an archaeologist. When Cernunnos offers to take her anywhere in the world to any time and culture, Iron Age Ireland is the natural choice.

I’ve always wanted to travel back in time especially to the Celtic countries I write about. I find Diana Gabaldon of Outlander fame very inspiring. I love how Diana mixes genres, times, and cultures, and courageously tells the truth of her characters’ experiences. She doesn’t hold anything back and that courage inspires me to do likewise.

Singer-songwriter, Peter Gabriel, inspired the voice of Conall Ceol, my Druid bard. I’ve been listening to Peter’s archetypal lyrics and incredible voice for years but how could I describe it and the effect Peter’s singing has on me? I’m hoping Estrada did Conall and Peter justice with his comments about the “six-hundred-year-old yellow cedar tree that had been split by lightning” that he remembers when he hears Conall sing. The bard’s voice makes him want to “curl into Conall’s yellow cedar soul and steam.” I feel that way listening to Peter Gabriel most days.

Your characters are well defined and intriguing in their own ways. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Thank you for saying that. I’m an intuitive writer and don’t create my characters as much as allow them to speak, so I can’t take credit for their eccentricities. They arrive fully developed. I don’t outline or even plot the stories and never tell them what to do, so they often surprise me.

What I realized after writing this last book was that I’d been chronicling Estrada’s inner journey throughout the books. In To Charm a Killer, he’s a player until he falls in love with an Irish witch named Primrose who heals his past wounds. Unfortunately, that relationship doesn’t work out but, because of Primrose, To Sleep with Stones finds him drawn to the ideal of marriage and family, something new and foreign to him. His father disappeared when he was twelve and his mother abandoned him to his tyrannical uncle—this is why he’s so attracted to magic, myth, and freedom. In Stones, Estrada will do anything to save his friend Dylan from being hurt in prison and that loyalty to his friends is another of his ideals. In To Render a Raven, the ideal of self-sacrifice for the greater good arises. Estrada’s grown into being an amazing father but he’s still questioning what’s more important: freedom or family? Because he’s polyamorous, he loves both Michael and Sensara, his child’s mother, plus he’s still attracted to other people. But Raven ends in tragedy and we see how destroyed Estrada is in the beginning of To Kill a King.

The driving ideals behind Hollystone Coven prevail throughout the books. The value “to thine own self be true” arises with all the characters who are either LGBTQ or allies. The witches celebrate a myth of ecology, which is something our planet desperately needs today. The coven reveres nature so their rituals are all intended to heal the Earth; while their actions are geared at saving peoples’ lives. They fight evil and value honor, respect, and freedom. Sensara, doesn’t go to Iron Age Ireland with Estrada but she’s a healer and the matriarch of Hollystone Coven. Sensara demands truth and loyalty, but values forgiveness and love. That’s how she manages to stay attached to Estrada though he often makes her crazy.

What draws you to Irish folklore and what aspects were important for you to include in your story?

I was raised on faery stories and truly believed in faeries from childhood. Growing up, I spent a lot of time alone out in nature riding my horse and I’m sure I connected with all kinds of spirits. My father’s family, the Carrs, were Celts, so there may be some ancestral connection, but honestly, I feel it’s more a past life thing. When my daughter and I were driving through the west counties of Ireland in 2005, we turned to each other and said, “We’re home.” So, I have an intrinsic connection to Ireland and all that it is. Magic. The Irish faeries are the descendants of gods—the Tuatha de Danann (tribes of the Celtic Goddess Danu). They appear in Books 1 and 2. In To Kill a King, I weave in the Druidic lore.

And of course, Cernunnos is the Ancient Horned God of Celtic Myth. He first appears in Book 2 when Estrada invokes him along with the Celtic Oak King to help solve the murder and get Dylan released from prison. Cernunnos appears again in this story as the trickster god and is really the character who manipulates everything from time to people. I love his character because he’s such a tease and likes to play with the humans. Still, he sees something special in Estrada who he calls “shaman.”

This is book four in your Hollystone Mysteries. What can readers expect in book five?

Well, I can’t say too much since I don’t plan these things. However, at the end of To Kill a King, Estrada is given a timely gift by Cernunnos which creates an epic cliffhanger. Someone said I should have ended it before the cliffhanger, but how could I? Estrada needs this opportunity to right the wrongs and rid the world of evil. Doesn’t he? And, of course, the cast of characters, their motivations, hopes and dreams, change significantly at the end of book 4. I can’t say how. That would be giving it away. But Estrada’s already shown me some of what he’s planning and all I can say is, it will be epic.

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“Her fingers flew to the fey butterfly tattooed on the back of her neck. Her friend, Yasaman, had designed it for her when she finished grad school. It was her symbol of freedom. Sorcha never wanted to be a professor bound to lecture halls—all she ever craved were the wild places and their stories. Now she was deep inside Ruairí’s story. Sometimes the butterfly brought her joy; other times, inspiration . . . but always a sense of hope. And she needed all three in this moment for her heart was breaking to see her man so broken.”Sorcha just wanted to warn Ruairí of his fate until she saw him and fell in love. How could she leave him to be ritually murdered and cast in a bog to cure for two thousand years?Though he’s lost and grieving the loss of his lover, when Estrada realizes his fiery friend, Sorcha O’Hallorhan, is trapped in Iron Age Ireland, he demands that Cernunnos take him and Dylan back through time to rescue her. The Horned God obliges but states the rules: you cannot change history or develop bonds with anyone. How can Sorcha, the spirited archaeologist, survive this prehistoric warrior culture? Assuming she’s fey, Ruairí’s unscrupulous rival wants her power; but worse still, Ruairí’s lover, the wicked Crow Queen, wants her dead.Can Estrada use his Wiccan powers and magician’s skills to defeat these Iron Age Druids and bring his friends home without changing history?A spin-off of To Sleep with Stones, Book Four tells the story of archaeologist Sorcha O’Hallorhan’s deepest desire. Buy this romantic, time-traveling, prehistoric thriller today and find out what it takes To Kill a King.

Save Magic City

Save Magic City by [Rocsanne Shield]

Edmund is a murderous sorcerer and knight with a long rap sheet. His latest crime gets him banished seven hundred years into the future and cursed to obey only good commands or face severe pain if his actions cause anyone suffering. Stuck in the future, he soon receives a sense of purpose and goes through a remarkable transformation when Leona and her son Leo find him in the woods. Bound to obey her every command, Edmund attempts to get her to allow him to save her collapsing town with magic but she refuses. Together with some friends, they must find realistic ways to go up against the big corporation that has left the citizens jobless and save the penniless town. All the while, Edmund and the people of Magic City are oblivious to a secret adversary lurking in the shadows, biding his time.

Rocsanne Shield’s Save Magic City is a fantasy novel brimming with intrigue and fun. Don’t be fooled by the title. Though magic and other supernatural elements like telepathy form the threads of Shield’s story, at the core of this tale are deeper themes.

For one, the author helps us recover the appreciation for our world we may have lost through familiarity. The author does this by showing us the world through the lens of one just discovering its thrills.

With shreds of humor here and there, the book reflects a child-like playfulness anyone would love. I also loved that Shield’s work is a fairly easy read. It’s great for children too because of its inspiring themes, child characters, and simple language.

The author serves up content you might consider wholesome. It’s bursting with hope, unity, and cooperation. It’s a needed glimpse into what people are capable of when they band together to tackle collective problems.

Sheild establishes a balance between the need for human effort and a little sprinkle of serendipity. No matter who we are, some factors will lead to our fortunes which we’ll have zero power over. Call those factors answered prayers, granted wishes from the universe; anything, but we can’t deny that fate conspires to bring good our way as much as it does evil too. The story felt linear at time, but then a twist would come along that I didn’t see coming and ensures the book ends on a high note.

I felt a little backstory on some of the major characters would have helped me better connect with them. I’d have loved to know who Leona was and how she came to adopt Leo.

We might be getting a sequel if the way the book ended is anything to go by. While I’ll readily curl up with anything Shield launches next, this book is sure to keep fans entertained in the mean time.

Pages: 304 | ASIN: B07CF4HQCQ

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Jeremy and the Witches’ Medallion: The Witch Hunt

Jeremy and the Witches Medallion by Randy Gauthier takes place in the 1600’s, during the reign of King James I, 12 years after the execution of nine accused witches when the land of a woman whose body disappeared is put up for sale which unravels a series of events about her life and a new investigation on her whereabouts.

Parallel to this it also follows the story of Jeremy, a high school senior with aspirations of becoming an Olympic champion. When his mother gifts him with a medallion and it is then stolen by a magpie, Jeremy embarks on an adventure laden journey to retrieve it. He soon finds himself a victim to time travel, transported back to the era of King James and his witch hunting frenzy.

This book has incredible historical accuracy. The preface provides the reader with a perfectly summarized context of the era the story is set in, starting with King Henry XVIII and the events that lead up to the reign of King James l.

The novel is not all facts and history though, it has enough drama to keep readers engaged. It is mostly written for younger audiences (teens and young adults) but anyone who enjoys medieval history will most likely be captivated by this magical story.

The first person narration might seem too modern for a story set in the seventeenth century, however the author made it work incredibly well, combining today’s language with a medieval storyline. It was very easy to follow and surprisingly enjoyable.

The characters are complex and well-written, with interesting backstories that the author reveals throughout the book rather than showing it all at once. My personal favorite was Jeremy, who was working on becoming an Olympian and was unexpectedly sucked into a world of magic, witchcraft , and adventure. The author shows Jeremy’s struggle to balance his modern life aspirations with his medieval journey.

Jeremy and the Witches Medallion is an educational and enjoyable novel with unexpected twists, an interesting plot, and complex characters. It is especially attractive for people who enjoy historical fiction and have a hard time finding accurate portrayals of each time period. As one of those history junkies, I rate this book five stars for its originality and wonderful story. It is the author’s debut novel and I’ll certainly be looking forward to reading more of his work.

Pages: 340 | ISBN: 1647501520

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The Bystander

The Bystander by [Harry Wolden]

What would happen if time just…stopped? If people stopped aging, and the sun never again moved from its current spot? The people on Earth had the opportunity to find out, and the answer turned out to be chaos and war. For the groups of survivors who remain after many moments, no one could say exactly how long, each day is a struggle. Those that are just trying to make it have to contend with time cults and cannibals, as well as other survivors who may or may not be benign. Is there any chance of the world returning to normal? There are clues that point to an unlikely place for salvation.

The Bystander by Harry Wolden is an epic tale of a dystopian future that is stuck firmly in the present. Wolden weaves the story through a variety of voices and points of view, a device that isn’t always easy, but he does it extremely well. The beginning of all the trouble is laid out calmly enough, with an introduction to a few of the main characters, before everything gets wild and the story takes on a palpable sense of chaos and uncertainty. By the time the action really gets going, the impression is that an incredibly long amount of time has passed since time stopped, but it is never made explicit as there is no way for the characters to know, and truly it doesn’t matter. Each new group adds another layer to an already exciting story until an eventual showdown between those who want a return to normal life, and those who have created a religion around making it happen.

The Bystander touches on many themes over the course of its pages, some of them wholesome like family, hope, and resilience. It also doesn’t shy away from the ideas of arrogance, greed, and power and even the best of us harbor to a small extent. The book is multi-layered and complex without ever feeling too heavy or difficult to understand. Wolden does an excellent job of balancing all the pieces and building a complete environment for us to witness, for better or worse.

The Bystander was easily one of the best sci-fi novels I’ve read this year, and was engaging from the very start. Wolden crafted a plethora of characters that weren’t always likeable, but were nonetheless always interesting and he created an epic story from a unique idea. Highly recommended!

Pages: 520 | ASIN: B0947JDV4R

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It Often Comes at a Price

John  Hazen
John Hazen Author Interview

The Correction follows a man that has the ability to give people a chance to correct their past, but one wrong correction sends him on a perilous journey of redemption. What was the inspiration behind the idea of the ‘Correction’?

I sometimes get a concept—or more precisely a question—in my head I can’t get rid of that eventually matures and finds its way into a novel. Questions like ‘What would happen if someone came upon one of the thirty pieces of silver given to Judas for Jesus’ life?’ or ‘Is it possible to compare two wars like the Civil War and the Vietnam War that are dissimilar in so many ways?’ are examples. The Correction is no different. Even the most fortunate and luckiest person on earth has one ‘what if’ moment where they would have liked to have done something differently. Making a mistake or saying the wrong thing or making a selfish decision that hurts someone else, these foibles of the human character seemed too universal not to try to capture. In The Correction, I give a lucky few people an opportunity to go back and correct a mistake. It seems like this would be too good to be true, but like any such gift, it often comes at a price.

What were some ideas that drove Joseph Vance’s character development throughout the novel?

I wanted Joseph Vance to be an everyman but at the same time be lofty in his goals, aspirations and ideals. He is a man who has what is most dear to him stolen from him through a Correction gone wrong. He slips into despair and cynically puts his gift to improper ends, but I wanted there to remain in him a spark of the better man he is. Hopefully, that spark is enough to burst into a flame of redemption, but you’ll just have to read the book to find out!

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I always try to infuse broader societal messages in my books even as I’m presenting personal stories and relationships. The Correction is no different. The scourge of racism plays a special role in this book. There are also stories of love, devotion and acceptance throughout the novel. I think the one theme that most permeates this book is that of second chances. Everybody deserves a second chance. The Correction presents the epitome of giving someone a second chance to correct a mistake and make amends.

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

I’ve written a series, The Vega Investigative Thriller Series, about a New York City Investigative TV Reporter, Francine Vega. She uncovers and helps thwarts plots that, if allowed to proceed to fruition, could jeopardize the safety and security of country and even the world. The third book, Beyond Revelation, came out in December and it’s time to write the fourth in the series. I’m hoping to have the next book finished by the end of the year.

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It’s human nature to make mistakes. We learn and grow because of them. What we can’t do is go back in time to correct a mistake—that is unless we meet Joseph Vance or his family. When Joe performs Corrections—a gift passed down generation to generation over eight hundred years—people are transported back for a do-over of a wrong decision they made. As a result, lives are changed, usually for the better. But after one Correction goes terribly wrong, Joseph loses what is most dear to him. He must then make a choice, one which will determine whether he will be redeemed or consigned to a life of despair.

The Devil Pulls the Strings

The Devil Pulls the Strings by [J.W. Zarek, Peter Johnston, Susanne Purvis]

Confusion is the name of the game for poor Boone. Most of the time, he doesn’t know where he is, who he is talking to, or why he is there. Boone’s life is one strange adventure after another, but none of these adventures are planned. Boone Daniels is a time traveler and an unwilling one at that. A tragic event involving his best friend, Flynn, has placed Boone in the very awkward and frightening position of finding someone called “the Professor.” Nothing about his task is appealing, but Boone is not in a position to argue. He’s on a mission to make things right.

The Devil Pulls the Strings is an imaginative science fiction tale by J.W. Zarek. Main character, Boone Daniels, has happened upon his time-traveling abilities quite by accident, and he remains in a perpetual state of overwhelming confusion when his travels take him to one century and one part of the globe after another. While he is not thrilled at the idea of going to New York to take Flynn’s place in a gig, he knows he owes Flynn and owes him big.

Boone’s travels from place to place and time to time happen quickly–very quickly. Zarek has the book’s main character moving rapidly through time to complete the mission he has been given. Readers are treated to numerous tidbits of history as Boone races through time to prevent events he knows will occur. There seems to be nothing left out when it comes to major historical events, famous names, and easily recognizable points of interest. The blend of present-day Boone and time-traveling Boone make for an engaging storyline.

The first-person point of view really makes Zarek’s book a truly engaging adventure novel. Hearing Boone describe his apprehension and his insecurities in his own voice really make the story all the more relatable. He struggles with his strange gift, and he is in a constant battle trying to figure out which way is up and how to solve the never-ending puzzle before him.

The Devil Pulls the Strings is a wildly thrilling time travel adventure. Readers who love a good underdog will find Boone Daniels the perfect main character–his constant trepidation is endearing. Zarek’s unlikely time-traveling hero, Boone, brings an element of humor and normalcy to an otherwise magnificently spun urban fantasy adventure tale.

Pages: 252 | ASIN: B09435JJ67

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