Monday, 3 October 2022

I am excited to be hosting the blog tour Fortunate Son by Thomas Tibor #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub @thomastibor57 @maryanneyarde @cathiedunn

 


Fortunate Son

By Thomas Tibor



A powerful, evocative novel that transports the reader to a tense period in America, Fortunate Son is set on a southern college campus during the turbulent spring of 1970. Reed Lawson, an ROTC cadet, struggles with the absence of his father, a Navy pilot who has been Missing in Action in Vietnam for three years.

While volunteering at a drug crisis center, Reed sets out to win the heart of a feminist co-worker who is grappling with a painful past, and to rescue a troubled teenage girl from self-destruction. In the process, he is forced to confront trauma’s tragic consequences and the fragile, tangled web of human connections.

Trigger warnings:
One aspect of this story dramatizes instances of self-harm and makes references to suicide.


Excerpt

Saturday, May 16, 1970

On the night Annabel decided to drown herself, Reed Lawson was drunk. Not falling-down, but close enough. He stumbled out of the packed Rathskeller Bar well past nine o’clock. The smell of stale beer and cigarettes and the pounding of the Rolling Stones’ “Midnight Rambler” bled into the warm Florida night. The bar had advertised LSD—Large Size Drafts—for twenty-five cents, a clever hook to lure in more business.

Reed checked his watch—the same model worn by his father, Commander Frank Lawson, U.S. Navy. Dumbass. An hour late for his shift, which never happened. On time for Reed always meant fifteen minutes early.

He shuffled through the crowded parking lot searching for his car, past students and locals drinking beer, slouching against fenders, passing joints amid the shadows. Then he remembered he’d parked around the corner.

Ten minutes later the Mustang rumbled to the curb in front of a brick bungalow, and Reed stumbled out. Twenty years old, he had a lean, muscled frame that suggested rigid self-discipline. But tonight his swarthy, olive complexion was pale, black hair unkempt, deep-set brown eyes glazed over, Levi’s wrinkled and T-shirt slept in.

Waves of nausea washed over him. Gagging, he was sure he’d vomit. Should’ve eaten something to soak up the beer.

Down the street, the branches of live oaks arched over the sidewalk. A quick gust drove clumps of Spanish moss across the pavement. The university’s iconic Gothic buildings loomed a block ahead—the Florida Polytechnic Institute and State University, better known as Florida Tech.

Reed trudged through patches of weeds that passed for a lawn and onto a porch cluttered with a threadbare sofa, metal chairs, and overflowing ashtrays. A single yellow bulb illuminated a hand-painted sign on the door: Lifelines.

Just what he needed—another Saturday night shift, always the craziest of the week. No way out, though. Maybe two cups of their caffeinated mud would sober him up. With any luck, the call volume would be light.

Reed stepped inside. The hotline phones occupied the bungalow’s largest bedroom, with two desks, two chairs, and a bulletin board papered with warnings about drug side effects, emergency phone numbers, and guidance for handling calls.

Meg was on duty, earnest and professional as usual in sensible shoes, ironed slacks, and a buttoned-up blouse. Her robin’s-egg-blue eyes widened in shock at his drunken, disheveled appearance.

Reed collapsed into the empty chair and mumbled, “Sorry I’m late.”

Meg flicked auburn bangs from a freckled forehead. “Called your dorm earlier. You just missed Annabel.”

His stomach knotted with dread. “What did she want?”

“I tried to find out, but she would only talk to you. Seemed super freaked out. After she split, I called her mom. Turns out Annabel left the house after lunch and hasn’t been back since. Also, her mom found joints and Quaaludes in her room.”

Shit. Annabel’s favorite drug cocktail.

“Sorry,” Meg said. “I begged her to stick around.”

“Not your fault. Any coffee left?”

“Got a fresh pot brewing.”

In the kitchen, every cup was coffee stained. Reed scrubbed and filled one. He listened to the murmur of conversation from the adjacent bedroom—a volunteer talking somebody down from a bad trip. He was way too wiped to deal with anything tonight. Not Annabel, not a tidal wave of callers.

Stepping back into the hotline room, he asked, “Sure she said nothing else?”

“Well, I followed her outside to stall her, but she was in a big hurry. Said something about the river.”

“The river? That’s it?” Annabel must have meant the Black River, where they’d spent so much time together. Reed slammed the coffee mug on the desk, scalding his wrist with the overflow, and raced outside.


Moments later the Mustang roared to life, and Reed barreled onto Broad Street—the city’s main east-west artery—and weaved through stop-and-go traffic. He barely noticed the crowd waiting for a table at Rossetti’s Pizza, the gaggle of students watching dryers spin inside Groomers Laundromat, or the usual stoners lingering outside the Second Genesis head shop.

At the first red light, his left hand trembled on the steering wheel as his right massaged the gearshift. A sobering breeze swept in. He rolled the window farther down to invite more cool air, then smacked the wheel. Should have seen it coming. The signs were there, clear as day. When she’d most needed a friend, he’d let her down, pushed her away to wallow in his own despair.

The light was taking forever to change. Screw it. Reed stomped on the gas and roared through the intersection. Horns blared. Oncoming traffic skidded to avoid a collision. He blew through two more red lights before swerving onto the highway that led out of town.

More alert now and pushing the eager V-8 to ninety miles an hour, Reed peered into the rearview mirror every few seconds, expecting to see flashing red lights. Cookie-cutter suburban houses soon gave way to open farmland. The road narrowed to two lanes lined by a thick forest of southern pines.

On a curve, driving as fast as he dared, Reed roared past a truck, then cut off two denim-and-leather-clad bikers astride chopped Harleys. One lifted a middle finger in salute.

After five more miles that felt to Reed like fifty, the Mustang skidded into a dirt parking lot at the river. He pulled alongside a dusty green Chevy, jumped out, and ran to the shore. Familiar bell-bottoms and sandals lay strewn on a thin strip of sand.

“Annabel!”

He scanned the fast-moving current, illuminated only by pale flecks of moonlight slicing through heavy cloud cover. Gnarled branches of cypress and mangrove dangled over the river. Darkened by tannins from decaying vegetation, the tea-colored water gave the Black River its name. If she’d gone in, it would have been here.

“Annabel!”

A cacophony of tree frogs and crickets answered him. What if she already lay at the bottom or had drifted downstream? Heart pounding, he spotted a glimmer of movement in the middle of the river. Annabel? Driftwood? Or just a ripple on the surface?

Ripping off his sneakers, he waded into the inky river, the muddy bottom sucking at his feet. Though a confident pool swimmer, Reed was nervous in water where he couldn’t see the bottom. Shaky, he labored with clumsy strokes to the middle before pausing to tread water.

“Annabel!”

A crane screeched. A stiff breeze quickened the current. Reed imagined water moccasins stirring beneath him, gators paddling in from the riverbank.
“Annabel!”

A memory surfaced from high school English class—beautiful but forsaken Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet plunging from a willow tree to her watery death. If he was too late and her slender body lay somewhere beneath the surface—skin ivory, lips blue, raven hair fanned out—he had only himself to blame.


This novel is available at Amazon

Thomas Tibor




A veteran writer and video producer, Thomas Tibor has helped develop training courses focusing on mental health topics. In an earlier life, he worked as a counselor in the psychiatric ward of two big-city hospitals. He grew up in Florida and now lives in Northern Virginia. Fortunate Son is his first novel.


Thank you to 
The Coffee Pot Book Club for giving me the opportunity to showcase this novel.





Wednesday, 28 September 2022

I am excited to be hosting the blog tour for Tempted by Her Outcast Viking by Lucy Morris #HistoricalRomance #TheCoffeePotBookClub #BlogTour @LMorris_Author @cathiedunn

 


 Tempted by Her Outcast Viking

 By Lucy Morris



Tempted by the Warrior

But she’ll never wed

Brynhild had once been close to Erik – until he’d betrayed her, and she’d hoped never to see him again. Now the fiercely independent shieldmaiden needs Erik’s skills to rescue her sister. Striking a truce with the tough, isolated loner they reach a mutually beneficial deal: in return, she’ll help him in his quest to find a wife – by teaching him how to please a woman in bed…!


This novel is available at Amazon, Harper Collins, and WH Smiths

Lucy Morris


Lucy Morris has always been obsessed with myths and legends. Her books blend sweeping romance with vivid worldbuilding to whisk you away to another time and place filled with adventure. Expect passion, drama and vibrant characters. 

Lucy lives in Essex, UK, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She has a massively sweet tooth and loves Terry's Chocolate Oranges and Irn-Bru. In her spare time she likes to explore castles with her family, or drink bubbly with her friends.


Thank you to The Coffee Pot Book Club for giving me the opportunity to showcase this book.




Sunday, 18 September 2022

I am excited to be hosting the blog tour for A Turbulent Peace by Paul Walker #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub @PWalkerauthor @cathiedunn

 


A Turbulent Peace
By Paul Walker


January 1919.
 
Following the armistice, Mary Kiten, a volunteer nurse in northern France, is ready to return home to England when she receives a surprise telegram requesting that she report to Paris. The call comes from her Uncle Arthur, a security chief at the Peace Conference.

Within minutes of arriving at the Majestic Hotel in Paris, Mary hears a commotion in the street outside. A man has been shot and killed. She is horrified to earn that the victim is her uncle. The police report the attack as a chance robbery by a known thief, who is tracked down and killed resisting arrest.

Mary is not convinced. Circumstances and the gunshot wound do not indicate theft as a motive. A scribbled address on Arthur’s notepad leads to her discovery of another body, a Russian Bolshevik. She suspects her uncle, and the Russian, were murdered by the same hand.

To investigate further, Mary takes a position working for the British Treasury, headed by J M Keynes.

But Mary soon finds herself in the backstreets of Paris and the criminal underworld.
What she discovers will threaten the foundations of the congress. 


Excerpt

Rue Gustave Courbet presented as a typical residential street in central Paris; a paved road edged by six-storey cream plastered terraces, double wooden doors and shuttered windows for apartments, alternating with shop fronts, cafes and offices. The mid-afternoon sky had darkened, and the few pedestrians paid me little attention as they busied themselves, wrapped tightly into their collars and scarves. I passed number 18 mid-way on my right, continued to the end of the street and crossed to the other side. I walked back until I was opposite number 18 and stared into the reflection of a shop window. I saw five lights in windows on the second, third and fourth floors, but light was no sure indication of current occupation. I had resolved to take a seat in a nearby café to consider my next move when the door opened, and an elderly man appeared, gazed uncertainly at the sky and prodded a walking stick on to the pavement. There was my chance. I moved quickly over the street, with a hailed warning that the pavement was icy, offering him my arm to step out safely. He was surprised but grateful and grabbed my coat before placing a hesitant foot over the doorstep. I swung the bag off my shoulder with my other arm and put it behind him to stop the door from closing. We took a dozen steps together before I assured him it was safe to continue without my assistance. I watched as he progressed slowly, then I returned to number 18, picked up my bag and entered the hallway.

A single electric bulb lit a dim lobby and stairwell. The door to my left showed a brass letter A, and I assumed the unmarked door to my right was the domain of the concierge. I stilled myself and listened for any sounds of activity, holding my breath in the chill, bare space. Satisfied, I raised my heels and trod carefully up the stairs, grabbing my bag and coat tightly to deaden any rustling from cotton and silk. Apartment E was on the second floor. I tapped the door and waited. Nothing. I removed a white glove and knocked again; the sound echoed, brazen and harsh in the shadowy void of the stairwell. An ear to the door yielded only silence. What should I do? I cursed my lack of preparation; should have written a note in advance to slip under the door. I twisted the door handle in frustration. Was it unlocked? I pushed gently and the door opened.

As soon as I entered, I knew what I would find. The smell of death had become too familiar. I hesitated. Why wasn’t I terrified? I felt a curious mix of nervous anticipation and calm certainty that I should explore the apartment. With a handkerchief to my face, I made my way along a dark corridor to a large room with pale grey light filtered through two windows. I flinched as I caught movement before realising it was my reflection in a full-length mirror. A large table and six chairs occupied the central space. An embroidered white cloth was arranged in a diamond shape on the tabletop, and a blue vase in the middle held an arrangement of dried flowers. Four easy chairs were set around a hearth at the far end with spent coal in the grate, and a neat stack of newspapers topped a smaller table. I examined a few. They were all Le Figaro, in date order with the most recent dated six days ago. 

Four doors led off the main room; the nearest was half-open. I pushed slowly. A bedroom. An overturned cupboard. A trousered leg on a crumpled bed. I took a breath and entered a scene of bloody murder. A man formed a grotesque shape on the bed: arms outstretched; a hand raised with a finger pointing to the ceiling; one leg folded at an awkward angle underneath the other; his head hidden under a pillow covered in dried gore. I stood in the doorway, closed my eyes and steeled myself for a closer inspection. At hospitals, I dealt with the dead and dying in an environment far removed from the actions that caused their wounding or death. This was different. I bore witness to the immediate aftermath of an intimate and deliberate killing. I approached the body and tried to lift the pillow. Stuck to the head. I tugged, then wrenched, and it tore, leaving shreds of cloth around a gaping head wound. I imagined the scene; a terrified man held by strong arms, the pillow suffocating; one shot through the pillow into the forehead. Maybe a muffler or silencer was attached to the gun. It was not the work of one man. I don’t know why, but I had an impression the mission was completed quickly and efficiently by at least three killers.

The mottled features with staring eyes, screaming mouth, and bulging tongue told me nothing. A short, thickset man in his forties with flecks of grey in his hair and moustache, I guessed he had been dead for two or three days. The cut and cloth of a dark suit were workaday, and a fob watch in his waistcoat pocket showed the name of a Swiss maker. I hesitated, took a deep breath, then opened the suit jacket to reveal the name of a French tailor but found no wallet inside.

I knew I should examine the body but looked away to suppress a feeling of nausea. Could I get clues on identity in another, more agreeable, way? I righted the cupboard and examined the drawers, two shirts in one: underclothes in the other. The initials A.C. embroidered in the shirts offered a tantalising clue to a name, but I needed more. Two suits and an overcoat in a small wardrobe revealed nothing about their wearer, so I moved back to the main room. 

The next door was closed. I braced myself for another prospect of horror before opening. An anti-climax. Another bedroom, unoccupied, with everything neat and orderly except for a rumpled blanket on top of the bed. The wardrobes and cupboards were much the same as the other bedroom, with more shirts and underclothes, two pairs of boots and two fur hats, but no initials to offer clues to a name. A hairbrush, comb and small framed photograph of a middle-aged woman lay on top of the cupboard. Nothing was gained from what was clearly a studio photograph, with no inscription and an anonymous background.

Where was the second man? Had he escaped the terrible fate of his fellow resident? He may be an occasional lodger, or surely, he would have reported his death. Perhaps he could have met a similar fate, but at another location. Unless - he was one of the killers. No, that was unlikely. The sparsely furnished apartment gave the impression of a temporary residence, inhabited by men who had a cordial relationship at the very least. 


This novel is available at Amazon
This novel is available to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription. 

Paul Walker


Paul lives in a village 30 miles north of London where he is a full-time writer of fiction and part-time director of an education trust. His writing in a posh garden shed is regularly disrupted by children, a growing number of grandchildren and several dogs.

Paul writes historical fiction. The William Constable series of historical thrillers is based around real characters and events in the late sixteenth century. The first two books in the series – “State of Treason” and “A Necessary Killing”, were published in 2019. The third book, titled “The Queen’s Devil”, was published in the summer of 2020.

Travel forward a few hundred years from Tudor England to January 1919 in Paris and the setting for Paul’s latest book, “A Turbulent Peace”. The focus of the World is on the Peace Conference after WW1 armistice. Add a dash of Spanish Flu, the fallout from the Russian Revolution, and you have a background primed for intrigue as nations strive for territory, power and money. 

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Thank you to The Coffee Pot Book Club for giving me the opportunity to showcase this book.






Thursday, 15 September 2022

I am excited to be hosting the blog tour for The Muse of Freedom (A Cévenoles Sagas novel) by Jules Larimore #historicalfiction #BlogTours #TheCoffeePotBookClub @jules_larimore @cathiedunn

 


The Muse of Freedom 
(A Cévenoles Sagas novel) 
By Jules Larimore


First in the series from The Cévenoles Sagas is THE MUSE OF FREEDOM.

“Brilliantly told, a story that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page . . . fresh and compelling, as relevant now as it was then.”
~ Janet Wertman, award-winning author of The Seymour Saga trilogy

A French Huguenot apothecary’s legacy of secrets, a mystic healer’s inspiration, a fateful decision.

In the mysterious Cévennes mountains of Languedoc, France, 1695, Jehan BonDurant, a young nobleman forcibly held in a Dominican prieuré as a child, comes of age only to inherit a near-derelict estate and his Huguenot family’s dangerous legacy of secrets. While he cherishes his newfound freedom apprenticing as an apothecary, his outrage mounts over religious persecutions led by King Louis XIV’s Intendant Basville, who is sent to enforce the King’s will for “One King, One Law, One Faith”. 

The ensuing divisions among families and friends and the gradual revelation of his own circumstances lead Jehan to question his spiritual choices. A journey deep into the heart of the Cévennes in search of guidance, unfolds in a way he least expects when he enters the enchanting Gorges du Tarn. There he discovers his muse, Amelia Auvrey, a free-spirited, mystic holy woman who reveals ancient healing practices and spiritual mysteries.

Together they quest for peace and spiritual freedom by aiding the persecuted until the Intendant’s spy reports their activities and the King’s dragoons are sent out after them. To retain their freedom, they must choose to live in hiding in a remote wilderness, join a festering uprising against the persecutions, or flee their cherished homeland with thousands of other refugees in search of hope.

Inspired by the true story of Jean Pierre Bondurant dit Cougoussac, distilled and blended with Cévenole magic lore, this is an inspiring coming of age story and family saga of courage, tenacity, and the power of love in a country rife with divisions under the control of an authoritarian king obsessed with power. 

Fans of Poldark, Magic Lessons, The Lost Apothecary, and The Huguenot Chronicles will find thematic elements from those stories melded into this thrilling and obscure slice of French history.

This novel is available at Amazon 

Jules Larimore


Jules Larimore writes emotive, literary-leaning historical fiction to inspire positive change for the oppressed and refugees, and to encourage an intimate relationship with the natural environment.

Influenced by a background in freelance travel writing, Jules uses captivating historical settings as characters. Then distills and blends them with a dose of magic, myth, and romance to bring to life hopeful human stories. A previous career in marketing offered an outlet for creative writing used to romance brands with mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.

With a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University, Jules has studied medieval history, ancient Greek culture, anthropology, folklore, narrative composition, and architectural design, and has trained under writing geniuses Libbie Hawker/Olivia Hawker and Roz Morris. While investigating the ancestor who inspired The Muse of Freedom, Jules researched late 17th century Languedoc customs, politics, and spiritual traditions specific to the little known Cévennes mountains of south-central France, culminating in a rich repository to feed future novels about the Cévenol people and culture.

Jules lives primarily in Ojai, California, with time spent around the U.S. and in various countries in Europe gathering more treasures in a continued search for authenticity.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram • Pinterest • Book Bub • Amazon Author Page • Goodreads • YouTube

Thank you to The Coffee Pot Book Club for giving me the opportunity to showcase this book. 






Thursday, 8 September 2022

I am excited to be hosting the blog tour for The Eisenhower Chronicles by M. B. Zucker #HistoricalBiography #WWII #BlogTour @MBZuckerBooks @MichaelZucker1 @maryanneyarde



The Eisenhower Chronicles
By M. B. Zucker


In 1938 he was a lieutenant colonel stationed in the Philippines; by 1945 the world
proclaimed him its savior. From leading the forces of liberal democracy against history’s most evil tyrant to the presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower fought for and kept the peace during the most dangerous era in history.

The Eisenhower Chronicles dramatizes Ike’s life, portraying his epic journey from unknown soldier to global hero as only a novel could. He is shown working with icons such as FDR, Winston Churchill, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and confronting challenges like D-Day, the Little Rock Crisis, and Sputnik.

Eisenhower’s legacy is grounded in defending the world from fascism, communism, and nuclear weapons. This novel shows how he accomplished it all and takes readers into his mind and soul, grounding the history in the man who made it.

Excerpt

The Little Rock crisis becomes the biggest domestic crisis of Ike's presidency. Like in national security, Ike tries to resolve it diplomatically before using force by meeting with Governor Faubus. This story is told in the first person. 

My advisors arrived at my painting room in our Newport White House. I put down my paintbrush and turned to them. Leading the pack was Chief of Staff Sherman Adams. A former New Hampshire Governor, Adams possessed a no-nonsense attitude that I appreciated. This did not endear him to politicians, who found him rude and accused him of being a Rasputin-like figure. They must not have seen Adams at social gatherings, where his singing was often the life of the party.

Next was Attorney General Herbert Brownell, my principal advisor on legal issues and civil rights. This dated to even before I became President, as he led efforts by the Eastern Establishment Republicans to draft me to run in 1952. Lastly was their escort, Sergeant John Moaney, my Negro valet to whom I referred earlier. John was my closest companion, other than Mamie. He followed me everywhere; through World War II to the presidency. He even came with me to NATO, even though it meant separation from his recent wife.

I turned to Adams first.

“Where’s Jim Hagerty and General Morgan?”

“On their way.”

Next, I turned to Brownell.

“Any updates?”

“Little Rock’s school board asked a federal judge if they should undo their order to the Negro students to avoid Central High while the situation continued. The judge said that the integration must continue.”

That was good. We can never appease extremists.

“Who’s the judge?” Adams asked.

“Ronald Davies. He’s on the District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas,” Brownell answered.

“Is he one of ours?”

“Yes,” I interjected. “Can Davies rule on Faubus’ actions?”

“Yes,” Brownell replied, “even if Faubus made no effort to carry out the federal court order, which he hasn’t.”

I furrowed my brow and crossed my arms.

“To do nothing would set a precedent that governors and states can choose which federal court orders to follow. I don’t see how we can let that stand.”

“I agree, Mr. President. That’s why my team and I at DOJ developed a contingency plan for this as soon as Brown came down.”

“Which is?”

“We’ve already launched an investigation of whether Faubus sought to trigger violence by deploying the Guard.”

“Who’s involved in the investigation?” Adams asked.

“The FBI and the marshals’ offices that Davies has at his disposal.”

“Has the investigation found anything important?” I asked.

“The main discovery was to confirm that there were no agitators in Little Rock, which Faubus claimed he was protecting against. This mess is entirely his doing. That means he risks being held in contempt of federal court and that we can withhold federal funds from the Arkansas National Guard.”

“What about using federal troops?”

“We hold that option to enforce the District Court’s order.”

“What if Faubus rejects our claim about the agitators and says he has a duty to ‘prevent violence’ by using the Guard?” Adams asked.

“We could counter by saying the federal government has a duty to protect children, who he’s endangering.”

“And if he denies that?”

“Then the federal government will have to stand firm and use federal troops.”

“Which is exactly what I hope to avoid, if at all possible,” I interjected again. “Faubus is almost here, and we need to discuss the plan for this meeting.” I had their attention. “We need to anticipate that Faubus is going to ask for a delay in withdrawing the Guard. I’ll ask you, Herbert, about that idea, and you have to say in confidence that that would be illegal. He might get mad at you, but I’ll still look like an honest broker, which we’ll need if we’re going to resolve this situation diplomatically.”

“This is a terrible idea, Mr. President!” Brownell exclaimed. “Faubus has soiled himself and is undeserving of meeting the President of the United States!”

I sighed as Brownell’s face turned red. I had heard this argument before and had overruled it the first time. Adams spoke.

“Faubus knows he’s made a mistake and is looking for a way out.”

“Or he’s trying to make President Eisenhower look weak, which he is succeeding at. The President already comes off as weak on civil rights issues because he refuses to use the Bully Pulpit. This will be a domestic equivalent of the Munich Agreement!”

“I want to exhaust all of our diplomatic options before resorting to force,” I countered. “Especially if it means sending young boys against a mob. In the South. As a Republican.”

“We have to give Faubus an out to make a retreat without losing face,” Adams concurred.

“I’ve made my opposition clear,” Brownell said as he constrained his temper.

Brooks Hays, a Democratic Congressman from Little Rock’s district, brokered the meeting between Faubus and myself. I had given Hays the specific telegram that Faubus sent me to request the meeting. Faubus agreed to use it. He arrived at the Newport White House by helicopter. Adams and Hagerty, my Press Secretary, greeted him in front of reporters. They led him to me.

Faubus and I were alone. I did my best to not glare at him, this man who threatened our Constitution and the rights of millions for his own political gain. He appeared to constrain his nerves. He must have known he was over his head. Faubus spoke first after we sat down.

“I served under General Patton in the Second World War. Third Army. He was a great man.”

“He certainly was an effective subordinate. On the Western Front.”

Faubus squirmed as I shot down his attempt to establish a connection. I cut to the chase.

“I hope you know, Governor, that you’re going to have to undo the situation that exists in Little Rock. States can’t defy the Supreme Court.”

He snorted.

“What, are you trying to do this quickly so you can get back to your golf?”

“No,” I muttered, with tension in my voice, “I’m trying to give you a way out.”

“Me! There are ugly plans afoot in Arkansas against me. Now what I require from you, Mr. President, is a ten-day break. A time for breathing that will let temperatures a chance to cool off, to give emotions a chance to subside. I also need the assistance of federal marshals to restore order.”

“I don’t intend to grant a governor who is defying a federal court order control of federal marshals. What you need to do is leave the National Guard in place but to change their orders to escort the Negro students into the school instead of keeping them out. If you do that, the DOJ will recommend that Judge Davies not find you in contempt of federal court.”

“I can’t stand for the federal government and the North to step all over the Southern way of life. And I fail to see how it benefits you, Mr. President, to antagonize the South.”

“I hold to one purpose in this situation, Governor. There must be respect for the Constitution—that means the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution—or there will be chaos.”

“The Constitution belongs to all of us, not nine unelected—”

“We wouldn’t have a coherent legal system if every individual could interpret the Constitution their own way. Now, the federal government has jurisdiction over this issue and it’s my duty to enforce the Supreme Court’s ruling. That means a state will lose if it defies the federal government in this situation and, frankly, no one will benefit from a trial of strength between a President and a governor. I don’t want to see any governor humiliated.”

“I’ve come too far to do what you ask of me, Mr. President. Backing down now would cost me reelection.”

“To be blunt, Governor, you created this situation. It’s on you to resolve it and to put the good of your state and the country ahead of your own career.”

“Easy to say when it’s not your career,” Faubus muttered as he leaned back in his chair and then leaned forward again. “Am I right in understanding that you have a portrait of Robert E. Lee in the Oval Office?”

“Among others, yes.”

“I see myself as acting in Lee’s tradition. Loyalty to the state over the federal government. Surely you can see—”

“The legality and acceptability of nullification may have been questionable before the Civil War, but Appomattox settled it for all time.”

Faubus’ face sank at my interrupting him. It was clear we were getting nowhere, as I predicted. Time for Plan B.

“Let’s go for a walk,” I suggested. Faubus nodded and followed me. We entered an outer office. Waiting for us were Brownell, Adams, General Morgan, and Brooks Hays. Ann Whitman, my personal secretary, sat outside the room.

Faubus’ eyes darted between us, aware he was surrounded. Six chairs were placed in a circle. I led the group to the chairs and told Faubus to sit next to me.

“I feel like a choirboy,” Faubus joked. I briefly summarized the private meeting I’d had with Faubus to the others and Faubus’ request for a delay. I then turned to Brownell.

“Herb, can’t you go down there to Little Rock and ask Judge Davies to postpone the implementation of this order for a few days, ten days, or three weeks? Whatever time it might be decided is best to try to solve the problem?”

Brownell shook his head, as planned.

“No, that’s impossible. It isn’t legally possible.” He eyed Faubus. “The governor may not agree with the Supreme Court’s decision, but he must obey it.”

Faubus was silent and frowning, studying my reactions, aware that this was scripted. He finally spoke, primarily to me.

“I am preserving peace and good order with the National Guard.”

“The order was outrageous, Governor,” I shot back.

“I had no choice! Your Attorney General sent the FBI and federal marshals to Little Rock to arrest me!”

“That was based on a request from Judge Davies!” Brownell exclaimed.

Faubus turned to me in exasperation.

“Do you see the type of people you have in your administration?”

“I support Mr. Brownell and am determined to uphold the Constitution against mob rule,” I said, making my stance plain. The room settled into an awkward silence until I retrieved a letter from my pocket. “This is from a gentleman, a businessman, I believe, who offered me free advice. He recommended that I remove every Southern officer from command within the Army because they are going to stage a revolution over this Little Rock situation. So, I ask you, Governor, how far do you plan to go in opposing the federal government?”

Faubus squirmed back in his seat again. His eyes darted to and fro.

“I hope you know, Mr. President, that I am a loyal citizen and that I recognize federal supremacy.”

A sudden smile overtook me. He folded!

“Remember, Governor, I don’t believe you should necessarily withdraw the Guard when you return home. Just change their orders to support integration rather than oppose it. That will resolve this situation without you losing face.”

“I appreciate that,” Faubus responded.

I turned to Hagerty.

“Please explain how constructive this meeting was to the press, Jim.”

I heard Mrs. Whitman scoff from the other room and couldn’t help but notice how bothered Brownell looked. They lacked my optimism that the breakthrough was genuine. It would turn out they had reason to do so.

The Eisenhower Chronicles is available to purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones and Kobo

M. B. Zucker


M. B. Zucker has been interested in storytelling for as long as he can remember. He discovered his love of history at fifteen and studied Dwight Eisenhower for over ten years. Mr. Zucker earned his B.A. at Occidental College and his J.D. at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He lives in Virginia with his wife.








Wednesday, 7 September 2022

I am excited to be hosting the blog tour for God of Fire by Helen Steadman #HistoricalFantasy #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @hsteadman1650 @cathiedunn

 


God of Fire
By Helen Steadman


‘Love was surely the greatest punishment of all’

He’s a rejected immortal. But can this magical blacksmith fight against fate and overcome the darkness of his past?

Hephaestus fears he’ll never be accepted. Cast down from Olympus and raised by a powerful sea witch, he sets out on a quest to discover his unknown father’s true identity. But he struggles to be taken seriously by the other gods who only want him for his ingenious inventions.

Convinced that solving his paternity will help him earn the love he seeks, the god of fire traps his mother and refuses to free her until she reveals a name. But when he uncovers a terrifying truth, he finds himself with more enemies than allies amongst the wrathful Olympians.

Can Hephaestus unlock buried secrets and prove himself worthy?

God of Fire is an imaginative standalone historical fantasy. If you like forgotten legends, fantastic beasts, and dark tales punctuated with humour, then you’ll adore Helen Steadman’s fascinating expedition into mythology.

Buy God of Fire to unravel the mysteries of ancient Greece today!

Recommended for fans of Mythos, Song of Achilles, Circe and Pandora’s Jar.


This novel is available at Amazon and all good online bookstores.


Dr Helen Steadman



Dr Helen Steadman is a historical novelist. Her first novel, Widdershins and its sequel, Sunwise were inspired by the seventeenth-century Newcastle witch trials. Her third novel, The Running Wolf was inspired by the Shotley Bridge swordmakers, who defected from Solingen, Germany in 1687. Helen’s fourth novel will be published on 13 September 2022. This is God of Fire, a Greek myth retelling about Hephaestus, possibly the least well-known of the Olympians. Helen is now working on her fifth novel.


Despite the Newcastle witch trials being one of the largest mass executions of witches on a single day in England, they are not widely known about. Helen is particularly interested in revealing hidden histories and she is a thorough researcher who goes to great lengths in pursuit of historical accuracy. To get under the skin of the cunning women in Widdershins and Sunwise, Helen trained in herbalism and learned how to identify, grow and harvest plants and then made herbal medicines from bark, seeds, flowers and berries.


The Running Wolf is the story of a group of master swordmakers who defected from Solingen, Germany and moved to Shotley Bridge, England in 1687. As well as carrying out in-depth archive research and visiting forges in Solingen to bring her story to life, Helen also undertook blacksmith training, which culminated in making her own sword. During her archive research, Helen uncovered a lot of new material, and she published her findings in the Northern History journal.


Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram • Book Bub • Amazon Author Page• Goodreads  • YouTube • SoundCloud 


Thank you to The Coffee Pot Book Club for giving me the opportunity to showcase this book.




Thursday, 4 August 2022

I am excited to be hosting the blog tour for On Bur Oak Ridge (Sheltering Trees: Book Three) by Jenny Knipfer HistoricalRomance #BlogTour @JennyKnipfer @maryanneyarde






On Bur Oak Ridge
(Sheltering Trees: Book Three)
By Jenny Knipfer


“The plot has its twists and turns to keep readers intrigued…to the very end. A great com-fort read that will soothe the spirit with renewed hope and faith.” Readers’ Favorite five-star review 

A HISTORICAL NOVEL OF FINDING HEALING AND A SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE

In the early 1900s, quiet and reserved Molly Lund finds refuge from her past at the Nelsons’ farm in Minnesota. In an attempt to turn a new page in her life, Molly works at making peace with her losses and coming to terms with the disfiguring burns on her face. 

Samuel Woodson, the Nelsons’ hired hand, carries his own cares. Split from his family and bearing a burden of misplaced guilt for an act that haunts him, Samuel–seeing past Molly’s scars–draws her out of her self-protective shell. 

Molly and Samuel form a friendship, but just as their hearts lead them deeper, an unexpected guest comes calling, demanding what’s his. 

Will Molly and Samuel find a way to be together or will they be separated, due to impediments beyond their control? Can they trust in God’s plan and travel a path that heals the hurts of the past?  

Readers of historical fiction, Christian historical fiction, and Christian historical ro-mance will delight in this beautifully wrought story of the healing power of love. 

“A heartwarming story of healing from external and internal scars. Through some of life’s harder lessons the characters learn to trust, forgive, and find second chances out of the ashes of pain and loss.” 
Anne Perreault, author of eighteen inspirational novels, including the Yellowstone series

Trigger Warnings:
Grief, trauma from burns, accidental death, time in an insane asylum 


Excerpt


Samuel


“Oh! Sorry...” a voice rasps out in shock. 


I gasp and feel the heat before I ascertain what has happened. Hot coffee has sloshed down the front of my thick, twill shirt. I use a couple of fingers to pull the wet fabric away from my chest. A waft of roasted brew rises to my nostrils. I’ve always liked the smell of coffee but not the bitter taste. I prefer tea.


Mrs. Lund—Molly—stands inches from my chest with a tray of mugs, her mouth agape. We briefly look at each other, full in the face, before she bows her head to the side, hiding her scars. Her lovely, dark hair drapes over the smooth side of her face. The pink shade of her lips reminds me of the wild roses that grow in the ditch. Smooth, unblemished, ivory skin covers the pleasing planes of her face. Her fetching image puts me in mind of a harpy from the sea. Mother told me stories of such creatures when I was a child. I doubt Mrs. Lund knows how beautiful she is. It saddens me to take in the other half of her face. I hate to think of the pain she endured to have such scars. Burns, I now surmise.


“Again, I apologize. Mabel sent me out with coffee for the crew before things swing into action.”


She says the words without looking up; they exit from her mouth rough, strained. I wonder what makes her sound as if she’s smoked too many cigarettes. I wouldn’t guess her to indulge in what Mother would call “the sin of smoking.”


With a hint of the sarcasm I feel, I tell her, “Linc did send me to get some coffee, but I didn’t think I’d be wearing it.”


Why am I talking so much?


I feel a need to engage this woman in conversation, to pull her out of her shell, but ironically, I usually act the same way she does—reserved.


Her clear eye—green-colored with bits of brown and blue— tilts up at me at a strange angle, in question. “Linc?”


I let my childhood name for Lincoln slip, but she was bound to find out eventually. “Yes. Lincoln and I are...old friends. Schoolmates. I called him Linc in our younger days.”


I shrug, release my shirt, and wipe my wet fingers on my thigh. Again, I’m revealing too much. She nods and looks back down at the mown lawn, making as if to return to the house.


“Wait.” I stop her and place my hands on either side of the wooden tray. “There’s no harm done, except I’m a little damp. Still plenty here to drink. I’ll carry it out to the men for you.”


I pull the tray, but she holds firm. She’s stronger than she appears.

She points her chin to my chest. “You’ll need to change.” “It’ll dry in no time, I reckon.”


“But it’s chilly. You’ll...” she gives me a one-eyed gaze, “be

cold.”


I gently pull the tray again. “I’ve faced worse.”


She relinquishes it with a quiet sigh.


“Much obliged,” she utters, and she drops her hands,

brushing them on her blue, gingham apron.


“My pleasure,” I say and inwardly kick myself. I sound like

a salesclerk.


She pauses before she turns. I decide to skip asking for a

cinnamon roll. But something else eats at me besides hunger. Some need to connect with another who obviously knows what pain is gives me the courage to ask.


“What...is it that you grieve?”


I surprise myself with my raw boldness. She stops, her hand on the knob of the door to the house and her back to me. Her head droops farther south.


Her voice sounds hollow, tinny. “You mean who?”


I swallow at my audacity and tighten my grip on the tray. “I suppose so. Who, then?”


Mrs. Lund turns partially back, captured in a perfect silhouette, backlit by the slanted morning light.


“My son,” she tells me, and she slips into the house without so much as a creak of the door.


The words sound like they hurt in more ways than one. Family—deep love and deep heartache.


I shake my head of thoughts that will weigh me down, turn,

and walk to the men and their machine to serve up some half- empty mugs of coffee on a drenched tray.


I’m curious about Mrs. Lund’s story, and if I ask her more questions, she may answer. But then she’ll want to ask me some, and I am not ready to confess my sins to her. For some reason that I can’t name, it’s important to me for her to think well of me.


Why I do not know.



This novel is available at Amazon

This novel is available to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription. 



Jenny Knipfer


Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken, and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling. 

Spending many years as a librarian in a local public library, Jenny recently switched to using her skills as a floral designer in a retail flower shop. She is now retired from work due to disability. Her education background stems from psychology, music, and cultural missions.

All of Jenny’s books have earned five-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, a book review and award contest company. She holds membership in the: Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, Wisconsin Writers Association, Christian Indie Publishing Association, and Independent Book Publishers Association.

Jenny’s favorite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series, By The Light of the Moon, is set.

She deems a cup of tea and a good book an essential part of every day. When not writing, Jenny can be found reading, tending to her many houseplants, or piecing quilt blocks at her sewing machine.

Her new historical fiction, four-part series entitled, Sheltering Trees, is set in the area Jenny grew up in, where she currently lives, and places along Minnesota’s Northern Shore, where she loves to visit. She is currently writing a four-part novella series entitled: Botanical Seasons and a three-part fantasy series entitled: Retold Fairy Tales.
        
Thank you to The Coffee Pot Book Club for giving me the opportunity to showcase this book.






I am excited to be hosting the blog tour Fortunate Son by Thomas Tibor #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub @thomastibor57 @maryanneyarde @cathiedunn

  Fortunate Son By Thomas Tibor A powerful, evocative novel that transports the reader to a tense period in America, Fortunate Son is set on...