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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Talk Like a Pirate


Did you know that it's Talk Like a Pirate Day?

For Rebecca, in Across the River, she must not only talk the talk but walk the walk. That's right, as a pirate! Just why does the daughter of a lord, more accustomed to silk dancing slippers and sneaking out of her home to visit her beloved Caleb end up on the high seas and entangled with pirates? Rebecca finds herself at the center of a round-the-world adventure. It's 1774, both sides of the Atlantic are poised for Revolution, and anything can happen Across the River.

My best to you all,

Friday, September 15, 2017

Autumn Magic


This week While Aurora Slept, my Sleeping Beauty retelling trilogy released in ebook. In case you missed it, the story is told in three parts: The Power of a Dream, Glass Slippers, and Beast Seeking Beauty. You can pick up your copy of The Power of a Dream for free.

Here is the trailer.

Autumn is beautiful, a time of new awakenings, and vibrant color. The chill in the air whispers with promise, the crackle of leaves tingle with magic. That, at least, is how it feels to me. It is why I find myself turning to fairy tales in September. I like to begin my autumn with a bit of magic, before turning to the classics of Halloween in October. (More about those and my novel Painted Faces here.). If you think about it, this time of the year provides the perfect context for familiar fairy tale allusions. Cinderella rides in a giant pumpkin. To find out why this is, read Glass Slippers (Book Two in While Aurora Slept). Harvest celebrates a bounty. While this is primarily thought of as food, learning naturally finds itself into this as well. Autumn, after all, is when school begins (at least in the northern hemisphere). With learning comes books. If you're anything like me, a beautiful harvest of books sounds just about perfect. Edora, new to the kingdom and to being human, discovers that magical wonder in Beast Seeking Beauty. Hint. There's a library. Hint. It's amazing. At least, she certainly thinks so! She's never seen anything like it before.

Wishing you an abundant beginning of autumn, full of all the best harvest, including books!

My best to you all,

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

While Aurora Slept debuts as a bestseller and launches around the world today!

It's launch day! While Aurora Slept, an exciting new Fairytale Relling trilogy launches in ebook around the world today! Even more exciting, it's already a bestseller in three categories! 

This trilogy retells Sleeping Beauty, but other favorite fairytales will also appear. 

About Book One:

Aurora and her sister are inseparable, until dreams divide them.

“On the night of my sixteenth birthday, I fell asleep. When morning came, I didn’t wake up. It’s been a month and I’m still sleeping, but this isn’t the story that you think it is.”

“People think my name is Maleficent but that isn’t true. And as for crimes, all that I am guilty of is loving my sister. My sister is the dawn, Aurora.”
— Midnight

On Aurora’s sixteenth birthday, she makes a selfless wish to save her sister, Midnight, from a curse that began in their childhood. Aurora falls asleep, but she doesn’t wake up. Months later, she’s still asleep. Now the sisters must find their way back to each other. What good is sleeping peacefully, when Midnight’s days without her beloved sister have become a nightmare?

Why I wrote the books:

Sleeping Beauty was my favorite Disney movie when I was younger. I loved it mainly for two reasons: the dress that changed from pink to blue and the song about meeting once upon a dream. When I rewatched the movie as an adult, I realized that, sadly, Aurora had very little agency. In fact, she had very little to say at all. Did she dream while she slept? What really happened? These questions and more, including why Cinderella's slippers are made of glass, and what happens when a beast seeks beauty are answered in the trilogy. 

Have I mentioned the best part yet? Book One: The Power of a Dream is free and available here.

Even better, all three parts have released today, so you don't have to wait a moment to enjoy the journey and partake in the adventure. 

Another aspect of the stories is the heritage of Aurora and her sister. Their father's ancestors came from a starving land, while their mother's people were native to the lands. The story loosely combines a Native American heritage with European royalty in a high north setting. As I have previously written about in other posts, my own heritage often finds its way into my stories. Unlike my previously published novels, this is not historical fiction and so more fictional liberty is taken. Part of a fairytale's appeal is its sparkling magic. I do have centuries old royalty in me, though, and have been recently learning about some Native American ancestors. I hope that you will enjoy the story and discovering what happened While Aurora Slept.

My best to you all,

Friday, September 1, 2017

Exciting New Sleeping Beauty YA Fairytale Retelling Coming in Ebook Trilogy!


I'm very excited to tell you about While Aurora Slept, an exciting new ebook trilogy that retells Sleeping Beauty in an entirely new way. All three books will release on September 12th, which means you don't have to wait to uncover the rest of the story! Once you begin reading, you can unlock all of its secrets.
Once upon a time just got a whole lot more interesting! Be sure to preorder your free copy of book one: The Power of a Dream!

My best to you all,

Monday, August 28, 2017

Have you heard the good news? Flight Before Dawn is now available as an audiobook!


Have you heard the good news? Flight Before Dawn, my bestselling debut novel is now an audiobook! 
Narrator Paula Faye Leinweber did an amazing job of bringing Victoire, Leal, Rainier, Voleta, Father Pierre, and the others to life. Feel the suspense, uncover the mystery, and live through the occupation of France and the struggle for liberation, in the build up to D-Day, in an all new way.

The audiobooks are available at AudibleAmazon, and Itunes
If you prefer to read instead of listen, Flight Before Dawn is available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. For information about all of my books, including many retailers where they are available visit my website.

My best to you all,

Friday, August 25, 2017

Five For Friday: Five Questions to Ask yourself to Make Your Writing Stronger

Today I'd like to share another excerpt of my writing tips book with you. This comes from Chapter Seven: Easy Ways to Improve your Writing.

Five Questions to Ask Yourself to Make Your Writing Stronger

1. Have I engaged all senses?
Many authors write what can be seen. Have you included taste, touch, sound and smell as well?

2. Are characters speaking in dialogue or monologue?
For realistic conversation, make sure that your characters are speaking to each other, not at each other. Speaking at each other = series of monologues and not conversation.

3. Have my characters changed in some measurable way?
Plot builds character in books. It's important to show how the plot has changed your characters and how they have grown or developed by the end. If your character is static, this is a problem.

4. Is there enough suspense?
Even if you are not writing suspense, thriller or mystery, you don't want the plotting, pacing, and outcomes to be obvious. Good writing leads to the reader thinking. Make sure that you offer enough questions, twists and variety to let your readers think.

5. Is this in the best shape possible?
Yes, agents and publishers may change aspects of your story. But, don't wait for others to strengthen your writing. Make it as strong as it can be. If you know that it still needs work, that can hinder you getting the attention you need. Be willing to receive help from others, but get your work in the absolute best shape possible. If you need professional help, contact me. I've helped other authors secure publishing contracts, get agent attention, and strengthen their work. I'd be honored to help you with your writing!

My best to you all,

P.S. Did you hear the exciting news?
Flight Before Dawn, my first novel and a bestseller, is now an audiobook! My narrator did an amazing job and it's available on Amazon and Audible. Itunes coming soon! 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Liberation of Paris and Remembering the Past

August 24, 1944, the day that Paris was liberated, plays an important role in Flight Before Dawn.

Here, I share a behind the scenes commentary of one of its passages.

My best to you all,

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Candle in the Dark: Creation in a time of Destruction


Can we be real? Really real? It can be tempting in a time of seeming destruction to wonder at the possibilities of creation. I see many writers disillusioned by the process, knowing the power of the written word, and yet wondering what difference they can make in the face of hatred, in the shadow of a world that could be, and yet tantalizingly remains adrift.

Photo by Megan Easley-Walsh
But... and this but is important... creation is all the more important when things seem bleak. Take your cue from nature. Out of the darkness and snows of the winter bursts the buds of spring. The birds begin to sing until the choruses grow and swell in the harmonies of summer that surround us now, as they flit from bloom to bloom in the garden.

All metaphor aside and put simply, your words matter. Each person who dares to voice truth, peace, love, acceptance, equality, freedom, each voice adds to the conversation until at last the hatred will be too drowned out to matter. Have you noticed that? Hatred has to scream. It has to disrupt our lives in unthinkable ways. Do you know why? Because love is loud. Always. Peace roars in its serenity. And hatred is forced to try to compete. And so we must not let it win. We must not be silent in its wake. We must love louder. Practice peace louder. Dream louder. Live our freedom louder.

I've mentioned how my first novel, Flight Before Dawn, is about resisting the Nazis and how it's supposed to be about the past. My most recent release, Painted Faces, addresses not the end of the second world war, but the beginning. It takes place in 1938, as the storm clouds begin to gather on the horizon. Again, I've noticed many parallels with events now. It too was supposed to be about the past. Unfortunately, lately, I'm feeling like my historical fiction is not consigned to the pages of history. It often feels more like I have become a contemporary fiction author. But, historical fiction at its best, while artful and imaginative and full of interesting characters and imagined lives, has at its heart, jewels of truth about the past. It stands to warn, to caution, and to prevent the past from repeating.
And sometimes, as in these words from Painted Faces, it serves to offer hope in the face of difficulty.
 Across Europe, Hitler's gathering the fragments of death in the guise of disappointment, fear and oppression. When assembled, they will undoubtedly give rise to a monster more terrifying than any that has roared to life on Universal's screens. But just as Frankenstein's monster was scared by fire, each light kindled by a sincere desire to help another is helping to stomp out the beast.
In life, it is difficult to guarantee happily ever after. I no longer see only stardust. I came to be a part of fiction and have learned that reality can be far more horrific. Every event that has happened is not laced in happiness, just like the movies that I love, but even after living through such events, in the end, the monsters can still be put to rest and dreams can still be realized.

Excerpt from Painted Faces.

My best to you all,

Friday, August 18, 2017

Five for Friday: Dynamic Conflict for Fiction Writers

Today, I'd like to share with you a section of my writing tips book on conflict. This comes from Chapter One: Essential tools for the Writer. Plot is essentially what happens in the story. Conflict is what propels the plot. In the excerpt below, I've outlined the five major types of conflict for you. It can be tempting to think of an evil villain to set your hero up against. There's nothing wrong with that, but stories can be richer, more dynamic, and more fulfilling when conflict arises in unexpected ways. It can also make your characters seem more true to life.
Courtesy of Giphy


Conflict is an important bridge between plot and characters. Each novel, no matter the genre, contains some sort of conflict. Many contain more than one. You can layer conflicts to create more interesting plots and more dynamic characters.

Internal vs. External

External conflict is easy to spot. A firefighter battling the raging flames, a son arguing with his father, or a battle ensuing between two armies are all examples of external conflict. It is a strong component in commercial fiction, fantasy, action, adventure, mystery, crime, and some historical fiction. Internal conflict is about the issues under the surface. This may be conflicting thoughts, emotions, feelings, or interpersonal relationships that are simmering.

Five major types of conflicts

Here are some of the major conflict varieties.

Man vs. Man

This is what most people think of when conflict is mentioned. Basically, a character opposes another character. This may be as dramatic as through a battle or in a more benign way like funny sibling rivalry.

Man vs. Self

While man vs. man is external conflict, man vs. self is internal. Self-doubt, health crises, and overcoming personal obstacles are all examples of this type of conflict.

Man vs. Society

Man vs. society may be external, if the character acts against the injustice. Or it may be internal, if the character is affected by the margniazlation of society, or some other aspect of it, that has been internalized.

Man vs. Nature

This is a frequent favorite of action adventure stories. Vicious animals, bad weather, and surviving in the wilderness are all examples of man vs. nature.

Man vs. God

This may be external, such as a Greek mythology story where a character encounters a god and has some sort of interaction. Or, it may be an internal struggle, such as a character having a crisis of faith.

Need an editor or a professional proofreading of your novel? Email me at [email protected]. Full manuscripts are only $1.50 per page.

My best to you all,

Monday, August 7, 2017

Origins of Writing and Exciting Things Ahead!

Here I am, beside the papyrus plant at the botanical gardens. Hooray for papyrus, paper, and books! I have been working on some surprises and have some very exciting upcoming things to tell you about soon, with my books. I hope you're enjoying Vivian's story in Painted Faces.
All the best,

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Happy Birthday, Vivian!


It's August 1st and that means it's Vivian Harris's birthday.
Who's Vivian Harris? She's one of the central characters in my newest release, Painted Faces. Longing to exchange farm dust for stardust, she seeks out the bright lights of Hollywood! The year is 1938 and anything is possible... even encountering a new worldview, encompassing somewhere as far away as Budapest.

Here's the opening page from Painted Faces...

August 1, 1938
There's nothing wrong with Kansas. I should know. I lived there my whole life. The only thing is, I have dreams that are gigantic and in Kansas my dreams just don't fit. You know how Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz books, (By the way, MGM's filming that this year) is lifted out of Kansas into an extraordinary world and suddenly there's magical creatures and new friends but also dangers she never could have imagined? That's me. Except that, I'm not a fictional character, even though I love them, particularly those on the silver screen. I'm real.
I'm Vivian Blanche Harris and less than a year ago, I would have thought that The Wizard of Oz was only a book. I also would have never thought that somewhere as far away as Budapest could have any bearing on my life. Europe existed as a foggy, over there place. It might have been Camelot for all I knew about it.
But, that was then. That was before. Before what you ask? Before everything. Before I disappointed my family and friends. Before I dared to dream bigger than I ever have. Before I learned that the horror of the films in the theater pales in comparison to the reality that can be encountered in the world and is often far from obvious. After all, the movies are in black and white and we live in color. Each day, I'm discovering another facet of that color. The twenty candles on my cake today remind me of all those possibilities, as I pause to reflect on all that I've wished for and all that's happened.

My best to you all,

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Monsters behind Painted Faces


Next week, Painted Faces, my fifth novel debuts around the world!
Yesterday, I spoke about one of the important settings in the story: Budapest, Hungary.

Hungary is also a land associated with iconic horror figures. To me, horror as a genre, always alludes to classics of literature and the classic monsters of 1930s and 1940s Hollywood, specifically those of Universal.

I also hinted at one of Hungary's most famous exports, who might just scare you out of your wits...
I can now lift the curtain and reveal that it's Bela Lugosi.who portrayed Dracula in 1931.

Pumpkin and lantern on a doorstep in Budapest

It's a tradition for me to revisit the classic figures each Halloween. Visiting Budapest just a couple of days before Halloween, and seeing the beautiful ripe pumpkins sitting on the steps, brought these figures to life.

So, how exactly do Universal monsters fit into Painted Faces? Without giving too much away, I'll say that one event is based in an interesting historical detail that I uncovered in my research. In 1938, several movie theaters ran a promotion to attract attention to the Universal monsters. Sequels were in the works and the original movies of Dracula and Frankenstein were shown as double features. The promotion went further than this, though. It offered any lady brave enough to watch by herself $10!
At the time, people were fainting from the horror.

The classic monster movies are more than just a scare or a thrill, though. Their creation, in the decades following WWI, tried to interpret the horror that the world saw and the grisly injuries that men returned from the trenches with. Exploring the appeal and the ramifications of the horror genre is a component of Painted Faces.

As an interesting side note, Bram Stoker, who wrote Dracula was from Dublin and I have visited the museum about him.

Never fear. Though these allusions do fit well with Halloween, Painted Faces runs from March to August, 1938 and tells the story of a summer. We'll explore one of those summer experiences tomorrow.

Pre-order to take advantage of the special $1.99 ebook price.

And remember to claim your free preview.

My best to you all,

The Circus is in Town!


Step right up! Step right up! Be prepared for the a-maze-ing show!

The smell of sawdust. The texture of the canvas under your hand as you peek inside the tent. Your heart catches. There. It's amazing! Beautiful!

There's nothing like it. The circus is in town!

I've been discussing various elements of my upcoming novel, Painted Faces, and I promised a summer delight in this post.

Although the circus is by no means exclusive to the summer, the idea of the circus transforming a field with its color and joy is quintessentially summer to me.

In elementary school, I lived in California. I have fond memories of the circus coming to town. These were the circuses where the elephants hoisted the tents and the three rings emerged from the dust of the land. The sequins of the costumes glistened in the sun and the acts competed for attention. It was difficult to decide where to look when three engaging acts were trying to be the best spectacle.

Vivian has never been to the circus before. In the pages of Painted Faces, she encounters a traveling circus. More than just an afternoon of entertainment, the circus changes her life in a way that she won't be able to forget. While there, she'll have to face some of the biggest decisions of her life and she might just meet her biggest friend.

Vivian knows a good deal when she sees one and is sure to take advantage of it! You should too.

Yes! I want to pre-order my ebook today.

Yes! I want my free opening chapters today.

My best to you all,

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Beautiful Budapest: A Photographic Journey through an Author's Inspiration


Next week, on the 18th of July, Painted Faces, my fifth novel launches around the world! To celebrate its release, I'll be doing a number of posts on various themes and settings from the book. We begin in the east!

The banks of the Danube from Buda Castle 
Part of the story takes place in Budapest.

Budapest, Hungary, on the Danube River is an inspiring place of history, intrigue, and beauty. After visiting it in 2010, I knew that it would find itself into a story. Painted Faces became that book.
Several real locations that I visited are sprinkled throughout the story.
I'll give you a sneak peek at some of the scenes, taken from my own photographs.

Fisherman's Bastion
Matthias Church

Café Gerbeaud Exterior
The deliciousness of the iconic Café Gerbeaud is also represented. It is a favorite spot for the Strigosi siblings, Márkus and his sister Eszter. Café Gerbeaud is beautiful, with its red velvet drapes and crystal chandeliers.The cake is from one of the original recipes. The confections have been dazzling the appetites of Budapest since the mid-nineteenth century. 

Café Gerbeaud Interior

Delicious Cake at Café Gerbeaud

Inside a Private Box at the Opera House

The Opera House sets Eszter's heart racing. Just like their author did, the Strigosi siblings see a ballet there together.

Come back tomorrow, to discover a very famous Hungarian's role in Painted Faces! He might just scare you out of your wits...

Pre-order to take advantage of the special $1.99 ebook price.

And remember to claim your free preview.

My best to you all,

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sneak Peek at the Opening Chapters of Painted Faces


What's better than a new book coming out in less than two weeks?
Getting it at a very special pre-order price, of course!
And what's even better than that?
Not having to wait any longer to read the opening chapters!
That's right. You can claim an .ebook, in whatever format you prefer, for free and get a sneak peak at the opening chapters of Painted Faces. Don't have a Kindle or an e-reader? No problem! You can claim a .pdf and read it right off the screen.

Yes, I want to start reading Painted Faces right now! Take me there. 

I'm very excited for you to discover Vivian's dreams and the secrets that lurk through Budapest and all the way to Hollywood!

My best to you all,

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Writer Wednesday: Clues into the Plot of Painted Faces


In yesterday's post, I mentioned the exciting news that Painted Faces, my fifth novel, is launching around the world on July 18th!

Would you like some clues into the plot? Check out my Pinterest board for a sneak peek behind the scenes!

Have you pre-ordered your ebook? They're available at the very special pre-order price of $1.99.
Barnes & Noble
Google Play

(More shops coming soon.)

My best to you all,

Join the fun by subscribing to my newsletter! 
*The latest newsletter features a connection to the Fourth of July in Painted Faces, in a behind the scenes sneak preview.*

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Thrilled to Announce my Fifth Novel!

Happy Fourth of July to you! To celebrate the day, I'm announcing my fifth novel: Painted Faces. I've been hinting at it for awhile now and mentioned it in a previous interview. Now, I'm thrilled to officially announce that Painted Faces is launching around the world on July 18th!

The Fourth of July is an especially fitting day to announce Painted Faces, as it is a story about dreaming big and chasing freedom. For nineteen-year-old Vivian Harris that means trading in the farm dust of Kansas for stardust. That, at least, is her deepest hope. For two siblings in Budapest, that means seeking sanctuary and safety away from the rising tide of anti-Semitism. The year is 1938. Mystery lurks from the canvas flaps of circus tents, through the shadowy streets of Budapest, and from the silver screen. When running to her future and away from their past, only one place will do. Destination? Hollywood!

I have more exciting news! For the first time ever, the pre-order price for the ebook is only $1.99! Please note that this is a pre-order special. You can pre-order your copy here and be one of the first to read Painted Faces! As always, paperback and hardcover will also be available.

Barnes & Noble
Google Play

More shops coming soon!

Here's the trailer!

Have a wonderful Fourth of July! Whether you're American or not, may the day encourage you to follow your dreams.

My best to you all,

Join the fun by subscribing to my newsletter! 
*The latest newsletter features another connection to the Fourth of July in Painted Faces, in a behind the scenes sneak preview.*

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews: Interview with historical fiction author Megan Eas...

I'm at Lisa's blog today, discussing Flight Before Dawn!

Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews: Interview with historical fiction author Megan Eas...: Historical fiction author Megan Easley-Walsh joins me today to chat about her new suspense, Flight Before Dawn. Bio: Megan Easley-...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Historical Details are Excellent... Definitely an Enjoyable Read!

Have you heard the good news? Macmillan is expanding my ebook distribution!
To celebrate it, What Edward Heard is currently on sale for only $1.99!

Have you joined my newsletter?

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Digging Deep Into My Family's Past


Cover for the Ebook of the Historical Fiction Novel with Magical Realism, What Edward Heard, by Bestselling Author Megan Easley-WalshIt's a last name that's not so common. In fact, in the United States, Easley can be traced to one ancestor. He arrived in the colony of Virginia in the early 1600s and was a French Huguenot. The family can be traced into Switzerland and they were silk merchants.

Is this sounding familiar? If you've read What Edward Heard, it will! In the book, Edward, a WWI veteran, is a central character. But, the painting that Francesco paints in Venice in 1566 is also a primary character. The painting travels from Venice to Edward in England in 1916. Along its way it encounters characters from many locations and time periods, including French Huguenots, silk merchants, and early settlers in Virginia.

Researching What Edward Heard allowed me to dig deep into my genealogy. Interesting titbits from family members are sprinkled throughout my novels, but What Edward Heard in particular allowed me to explore my background and some of the locations and professions that my ancestors lived in and took part in.
A strong component of What Edward Heard is the enduring legacy of items and bonds. In writing this story, I took part in strengthening the bond with my family's past. And yet... in the midst of the old, there is always something new to uncover. The painting reveals that. So too does the book.

My best to you all,

Have you heard the good news? Macmillan is expanding my ebook distribution!
To celebrate it, What Edward Heard is currently on sale for only $1.99!

Have you joined my newsletter?

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Your Help is Needed to Solve a Mystery that Began Centuries Ago...

What Edward Heard's distribution is expanding! 
To celebrate, the ebook is on sale for its lowest price ever- only $1.99! 
At Amazon (Kindle): http://amzn.to/2hr47oB
At Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://bit.ly/2s51Aq1

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Bestselling Author

Thanks for helping Flight Before Dawn continue to soar!


I have exciting news to share with you about Flight Before Dawn, my first novel.

It is now a Bestseller for French Historical Fiction on Amazon! In addition, its distribution has expanded and digital copies are available to libraries. There's currently a sale going on to celebrate this wider distribution, which I wrote about here.

I also write behind the scenes looks at various sections of the novel and my most recent look was chosen as the Book Bubble of the week! If you follow me on Bublish, you'll be notified every time a new behind the scenes commentary appears.

My best to you all,

Have you joined my newsletter? It's full of historical happenings, writing tips, seasonal celebrations, and first looks at information on my books.

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Amazing News!

I have Amazing News about Flight Before Dawn! Its distribution is expanding even farther. Digital availability for libraries is just one new exciting location.

In honor of that expanded distribution, there's currently a celebration sale.

The usual price of Flight Before Dawn is $9.99 digitally. The lowest it has ever been was $7.99 on Amazon.
Now, for a very short time, Flight Before Dawn is a massive 80% off!! That's only $1.99.

Here are some of the locations where you can pick up this great deal!

As always, if you enjoy what you read and would like to leave a review, I'd be grateful!

Barnes & Noble
Google Play

Now also available at Smashwords. Be sure to include the coupon at checkout.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Writer Wednesday: The Secret Keeper

Picture of the Number One Bestselling Historical Fiction Novel Cover of The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton on the Blog of Historical Fiction Author Megan Easley-Walsh, author of Flight Before Dawn, What Edward Heard, North Star Home, and Across the RiverHello!

On Writer Wednesday, I discuss another author and his or her book. Today's pick is The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.

This was one of five books that I picked up in a charity sale for €1. That's for all 5! (Current exchange rate makes that $1.09.

This was the first book by Kate Morton that I read and I wasn't disappointed. It's multi-layered, with interwoven secrets, the kind of book that I love to read and to write. Like What Edward Heard, it's set in multiple time periods. Morton's book follows generations of a family, rather than a painting's journey. Like Flight Before Dawn, WWII has a significant purpose in the story and characters' allegiances and intentions can be mysterious to navigate.

The Secret Keeper largely revolves around three women: Laurel, Dorothy, and Vivien, and one man: Jimmy. Set primarily in the 1940s, 1960s, and 2011, Laurel digs into the secrets of her mother's, Dorothy's, past. In 1961, sixteen-year-old Laurel witnessed her mother commit a crime and she's trying to get to the bottom of it. Vivien and Jimmy are intimately tied to the reasons, but it will take cleverness and commitment to uncover everything that happened and why it did.

I write twists and turns and this is something that often is mentioned in reviews of my work. Because of that, I can often see what's coming and I especially love when a book still manages to surprise me. The Secret Keeper did that. I literally had to turn back the page and reread a portion to make sure I hadn't missed a page.

I like to sprinkle clues into my writing, hidden meanings that will be understood by the readers after they know what the truth of the story is. After I finished reading this, I found clues popping into my mind, like snapshots of hidden meaning.

As an interesting side note, I have a central character named Vivian in one of my upcoming books and another of my upcoming works deals with WWII London. I found myself thinking about my own stories while reading this, while being completely drawn into Morton's work. It's almost 600 pages, but it flew by. The editor in me wondered why we were being told the same information twice at times, but it all pieces together in a way that makes sense. It's also literary in style, something that I again enjoy reading and writing. For all of my novels, visit me at New Historical Fiction.

Have you read The Secret Keeper? What other literary historical mysteries have you enjoyed?

My best to you all,

Have you signed up to join the fun? My monthly newsletter features historical happenings, seasonal celebrations, writing tips, and you'll also receive the most exclusive content on my writing.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Writer Wednesday: Prisoners of Geography


On Writer Wednesday, I discuss another author and his or her book that I've recently read. Today's pick is Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that tell you everything you need to know about the world by Tim Marshall.

History and politics are influenced by geography. That's basically the crux of geopolitics. In this brilliant book, several major countries and regions of the world are discussed within their own unique geographic location.

Having studied history-focused International Relations and having done research that centers on the intersection of history, International Relations, politics, geography, and geopolitics, I was especially eager to read this book. It jumped out from the shelf at the bookstore. I was not disappointed!

Topics such as what countries have green or blue navies (basically, are they guarding their coasts or going farther out to sea), examining why Russia is expansive in character, understanding how mountains have kept the peace between neighbors, and how rivers have hampered or encouraged settlement patterns are explored. Of special interest to me, given my research areas,was how lines on a map can be arbitrarily drawn and greatly influence history. I've studied that extensively.

Geography is both man-made, through cartography, as well as a product of natural features. In both cases, geography has shaped our history and continues to impact our present and will do so into the future. New technologies are changing the way that geography is dealt with, but geography still remains heavily influential in our world.

My best to you all,

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Across the River launches around the world today!


I'm very excited to say that Across the River, my fourth novel, is launching around the world today from Macmillan! Ebooks are available from several retailers. Print copies in paperback and hardcover are also available via Ingram distribution. Links are listed below. Thank you for your interest in my books and for telling others about them. It's much appreciated! Keep reading for behind the scenes information, more about the book, a book trailer, and an excerpt! 

Behind the Scenes:
In Across the River, Rebecca and Caleb speak about silver plates in the river. Just as I have drawn on family history for components of my previous novels, this detail also comes from my family. Centuries ago, silver plates were hidden in a river by family members to protect them. Rebecca's reasons for hiding her own plates are quite different. I'll let you discover that for yourself.

About Across the River:

For her, he'd go to the ends of the earth.
When she disappears, he might have to.

In the English countryside in 1774, Caleb Haroldson and Rebecca Turrington are destined to be together. Stealing her inheritance to fund the life of her choosing with Caleb seems like an easy enough task for Rebecca, as she schemes with him beside the river late one night. But Rebecca is not the only one making plans for her future.

When Turrington Manor is ravished by flames and a mysterious hooded figure on horseback appears, Rebecca is swept into a plot of revenge and revolution. Is anyone safe in a land where hundreds have gone missing?

As Rebecca struggles for her freedom and Caleb endeavors to find her, both sides of the Atlantic are poised to erupt and everywhere lurks the haunting phrase "Across the River."


There is no life and death.
There is only life.
Death is an illusion, an appearance, nothing more.
It is a fleeting shade that disappears in the light of truth.
And life, life is constant, ever-flowing like a river.

Chapter One
The English Countryside, Summer 1774

Rebecca's head rested against his chest, as Caleb lay with her beneath the star-strewn sky. The afternoon's rain had dampened the grass, but the ground was not muddied. Rich earthiness whispered against his nose, but was drowned by the scent of Rebecca. Clasping her hand with his, she leaned over him. Her cheeks, rosy from the coolness of the night, danced merrily under her eyes.
“Come away with me,” Rebecca said.
He knew that look.
“Come away with you?”
She nodded, the stars conspiring with her to more intensely highlight her beauty.
“I could not bear to marry another and they are so intent on promising me to someone else.”
She knew what she was doing. Merely hearing her words had cast a dagger into his heart, though he knew she had not meant to be cruel. Rebecca only meant to use the truth to make her proposition irresistible to him.
“Caleb, I could not bear to be with another man.”
The softness of her skin as she held his hand stood as reminder to the sweetness in his memory, when there had been more than—
“Come away with me,” she repeated.
Caleb swallowed. Oh, how he wanted to indulge her! It was all he could do to keep from agreeing. But, he had to be practical; one of them did.
“What would we live off of?”
“Our love.”
She was not so naive to think this the only necessity, but she knew the power of her charm on him and she was determined to get her way.
“And how shall I pay for food when you are hungry?”
She said nothing for a moment. He wasn't supposed to object.
“Those silver plates, the ones my mother is forever having polished.”
There wasn't a servant for miles that didn't dread the thought of Rebecca's mother's plates.
“Your mother would never part with them.”
“Then, I shall have to take them.”
“Your plan is to steal the plates?”
“It can hardly be called stealing if I am taking my own inheritance.”
Caleb put his hands behind his head, forgetting he was supposed to be applying practicality and now only concerned with watching her loveliness as her mind raced forward.
“Yes, yes, that is it. I shall hide them in the river,” Rebecca said.
“In the river, whatever for?”
“You ask too many questions,” she said, leaning into him. Her lips brushed against Caleb's, to silence him.
“And you,” he said, feeling the softness of her hair over his arm, “make it truly difficult to concern myself with the answers.”
Rebecca looked at him to remind him that yes, she was the power-holder here. She lay her hand against his shirt.
“I feel your heart,” Rebecca said, “I feel it as strongly as though 'twere my own. Truthfully, Caleb, I hear your heart beat.”
“You hear my watch,” he said, with a laugh, pulling his watch from his pocket. The face was marred, but it shone in the sunlight as he worked, glinting at him when he clicked open its half-broken hinge to count the hours until he could see Rebecca again. She stared at him with such intensity that his laughter dried up like a brook encountering an oasis.
Temptress. Beautiful, beloved temptress.
Tiny prickles of grass pushed against his skin, like splinters in his workshop. The world was awake here, rawer, but in a pleasant way. Everything burst with vibrancy, with vitality, like a thousand trees with arms outstretched to the skies above. Pines clung in his nose, fully rooted, away from the saw and the hammer that he would transform them with into the finest furniture for miles. Furniture that someone as noble as Rebecca could even sit on, and yet furniture that cemented his place in the world as a craftsman.
“Caleb, you have kept me waiting far too long. You really ought—”
“So, this is where you wander off to.” The words sliced through their shared moment, shattering all promise of what was to come.
“Richard,” Rebecca said, hastily moving away from Caleb at the sight of her brother. Caleb's eyes went wide, as a guilty flush washed over him. He scrambled to his feet, pulling Rebecca up with him.
“Richard,” Caleb said now, “I can assure you that I mean Rebecca no harm. I only have the best of intentions toward her.” Though caught, his honor would not be sullied.
Richard looked from one to the other.
“I know my sister well enough to know that she can only abide by her own will. I am sure that the only one who has been led here this evening is you.”
“I—” Caleb opened his mouth to speak and then, realizing he could make no argument, shut it again. Yes, Rebecca had led him. Caleb, accustomed to cursing the gentry beneath his breath as he toiled for the paltry wages they offered, would bend to no man. But Rebecca, her long hair falling over her silken body, was no man.
“Richard,” Rebecca said now, stepping nearer her brother and resting her hand on his arm, “we have done nothing wrong. Promise me, Brother, you will not speak of our innocent secret.”
Whether she had deftly bent the truth or spoken the reality she believed was unclear. When Rebecca spoke with such sweetness of purpose, one soon found himself agreeing with her.
Richard, fond though as he was of her, was adept at navigating his way through her persuasive powers. Looking at them now though, with their eyes absent of fear and only love finding a home therein, he couldn't help but agree with her. Perhaps, he was not so immune after all.
“All right, I will do as you ask. But, Sister, do be more careful. You can hardly think that Father would be willing to overlook the state I have found you two in. Mother would have you married off or else sent away to a nunnery before the sun rose.”
Caleb wondered at the validity of the threats, but Rebecca, successful in at least one dealing tonight, brushed aside his comments.
“Richard, you worry far too much.”
“Even so, you must realize that if you are gone any longer you will soon be missed.”
She really couldn't object to this point. Turning to Caleb one last time, she said in a voice that only they could hear,
“Do consider what I have said, my love. I admit to wishing to sway you, but believe me, it is no whim. I have thought of nothing else for days.”
“Rebecca,” Caleb said. Doubt had dragged its ugly fingers across his face and she wanted to see nothing of the sort.
“Kiss me, Caleb, kiss me as though 'twere for the last time.”
She threw her arms around him before he could object and Richard turned away.
“Rebecca, we best leave,” Richard said, beginning to walk away from the two.
Her lips pulled slowly from Caleb's, only to say,
“Yes, I am coming.”
The words had hardly slipped from her mouth, when she pushed her lips to Caleb's again.

“Go,” he whispered against her. Assuredly, if he had known what was to happen, he never would have said it.

Ebooks available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ibooks,and Kobo. Paperback and hardcover books are also available and can be found on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.