Self-Published Saturday: The Coronation by Justin Newland

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Self-Published/Indie authors with marketing. These authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing to marketing. If I can help even a little bit with marketing, I’m happy to do it. This week’s feature is a The Coronation, historical fiction with a tough of magical realism. It is set in Prussia in 1761.


It is 1761. Prussia is at war with Russia and Austria. As the Russian army occupies East Prussia, King Frederick the Great and his men fight hard to win back their homeland.

In Ludwigshain, a Junker estate in East Prussia, Countess Marion von Adler celebrates an exceptional harvest. But this is soon requisitioned by Russian troops. When Marion tries to stop them, a Russian Captain strikes her. His Lieutenant, Ian Fermor, defends Marion’s honour, but is stabbed for his insubordination. Abandoned by the Russians, Fermor becomes a divisive figure on the estate.

Close to death, Fermor dreams of the Adler, a numinous eagle entity, whose territory extends across the lands of Northern Europe and which is mysteriously connected to the Enlightenment. What happens next will change the course of human history…


Justin Newland is known for creating well-researched historical fiction that is touched with magical realism, and he does not disappoint here. He brings us to East Prussia in 1761, and we meet Countess Marion Von Adler, who is trying to keep her people safe and fed during wartime. She meets Ian Fermor, Lieutenant of the Russian Army, who comes to her aid and is abandoned by the Russian Army. Their connection with the Adler, the mythical eagle, takes fascinating turns throughout this novel.

This is a unique take on the Seven Years War that is filled with adventure, suspense, and intrigue. What is the Adler and where is it leading Prussia and the world? How does the Industrial Revolution come into play? The reader will be left with a fascinating ending and a look at the future. Each chapter is headed with passages of scripture, which adds to the theme of the book, because following the Adler is a spiritual journey for Marion and Ian. This is quite a mystical trip into history. Fans of historical fiction and magical realism will enjoy this novel.

I received a free copy of this book from Zooloo’s Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers – that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

His Books

The Genes of Isis is a tale of love, destruction and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. A re-telling of the Biblical story of the flood, it reveals the mystery of the genes of Isis – or genesis – of mankind.

The Old Dragon’s Head is a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times.

Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution.

The Abdication (July, 2021), is a suspense thriller, a journey of destiny, wisdom and self-discovery.

Justin’s Social Media




Amazon UK

Amazon US

*If you buy the book, please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme


On Monday I reviewed A Matter of Death and Life by Simon R. Green.

On Tuesday I reviewed The Murder of Mr. Wickham as part of a blog tour through Austenprose.

On Wednesday I promoted a beta read for John Howell’s The Final Stop. I also did a post on Creepy Covers that May Scare You Away.

On Friday I reviewed Only For My Daughter for Bookouture.

And for Self-Published Saturday, when I review only self-published and indie books, I reviewed Tales of the Romanov Empire and Cathedral of Silver

I’m a huge football fan (American football), and I spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday glued to the tv watching the draft. My team is the Cincinnati Bengals, and has been for 40 years.

My favorite part of the draft is seeing these young men with their families and watching their dreams come true.

This is one of the most heartwarming videos from the night. He says “Hey Mama! We’re Going To Cincinnati!”


Monday, May 2

On Monday I’ll be reviewing The Coronation by Justin Newland as part of a blog tour for Zooloo’s Book Tours

UPDATE: I posted a spotlight but could not get the book finished in time for a review. The review will go up next week.

I’ll also be doing a cover reveal for The Sign of the Weeping Virgin for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. (HFVBT)

I’ll be posting a new short story that my husband and I wrote for the 2022 Short Story Challenge by A Virginia Writer’s Diary.

On Tuesday I’ll start sharing some of the reviews I did for the May issue of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society.

On Wednesday I’ll be reviewing the audiobook of Bloomsbury Girls as part of a blog tour for Austenprose

On Thursday, I’ll be reviewing the audiobook of The Wedding Season.

On Self-Published Saturday, I will be doing a spotlight of Forever Silenced by Richard Cohen


Book Promo: The Discontent of Mary Wenger #HistoricalWomensFiction

*Not a book review

TheDiscontent copy

Welcome to the book tour for The Discontent of Mary Wenger by Robert Tucker. Read on for more details! efortin ebook The Discontent of Mary Wenger (Paper Dolls #1) Publication Date: February 3rd, 2022 Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Tell-Tale Publishing Emotionally torn between the conflicting historical social forces of feminism and the traditional roles of women in post-World War II society, Mary Wenger struggles with a deep sense of despair. Spanning the continent during the decades of the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s to the turn of the century, her compulsive lifelong odyssey in search of an acceptable house in which to realize her personal and economic goals throws her out of balance with her family. A master wordsmith tells Mary’s story with a subtle touch of humor only an actual descendant could wield with success. Her fictional memoir is based on historical facts and bravely reveals Mary’s discovery and fear of separation from her children. The existential examination allows Mary to finally understand how her personal discontent, obsessions, internal demons, and depression affect her husband and children, as they mature and independently react to her attempts to mold them to her vision of how they all should be as a family. The life of every character is determined by his or her delusions and how they clash or compromise with one another. Add to Goodreads


Since I was a young girl, I have always believed that death is stalking me. It lurks and hovers in the dark recesses of my mind like a virus waiting to strike and destroy when I least expect it.

When I was eight years old, I wrote a poem about myself and death.

My name is Mary

Sounds airy

Death is scary

It makes me wary

Being wary makes me carey

All my life, I have developed defenses and tried to be a protector of the people I love. They often didn’t see things the way I did and they didn’t agree with me. But I knew what was best for all of us.

I always have.

My mother told me the first night when she and Dad moved in, the wail of an infant floated up to their bedroom. Eyes wide open with fear, she lay listening as the weak cry faded to silence.

“Mike, did you hear that?” she whispered and poked Dad in the ribs. “It came from the cellar.”

“Just a cat. I’ll chase it out in the morning.”

Shaking his arm, she insisted. “It sounded like a baby. You must go down and look.”

“I’m tired. I look in the morning.”

“Please, Mike, I scared.”

“Aah! All right.” He touched a lighted match to their bedside candle. The electricity had not yet been connected. He went down the creaking stairs into the cellar.

Unseen by him, a woman’s bare foot and leg were pulled out through the window. The glow of the candle light was reflected by the wet shine of an object in one corner. Dad approached it and his blood chilled.

A newborn infant lay curled, the blood and mucous of the afterbirth still clinging to its blue body.

In horror, he fumbled his way back up the stairs to the bedroom where he blew out the candle and set it on the dresser.

Mother pulled the blankets close around herself. “What was it?”

Dad quickly climbed into bed. “Nothing but cat. I get rid of it in the morning.”

Before Mother awoke, Dad buried the infant in the back part of the yard farthest from the house in a corner of what would be a vegetable garden.

Many years later, when I was a young woman, Mother told me she knew Dad had lied to her to shield her from the grotesque reality of what he had found in the basement. She knew the difference between the wail of a newborn infant and the wail of a cat.

She never asked him where he had buried the infant. She suspected she knew from the unusual growth and size of tomatoes she had planted in that section of the garden. The thought of the child as fertilizer sickened her. Believing the soul of the infant existed in the ripe red fruit, she buried the tomatoes in a field far from the house and dug up and destroyed the plants.

Refusing to explain why, she avoided planting any other vegetables in that part of the garden. The spot of untilled soil was a silent message to Dad that she knew what had lain buried there.

I was sitting between Ruth and Nina clinking ice in our glasses of lemonade. I slowly turned the pages of the latest Sears & Roebuck catalog while they chatted about the clothes and merchandise they would buy if they had the money. We all did a lot of wishing in those days. Wishing didn’t cost anything, but left us with an aching malaise and a shared emptiness that our imaginations could not fill.

Since we had little in the way of personal possessions, we shared everything. If one of us even bought a candy bar, we wouldn’t think of eating it all. We would divide it up so each of us had a taste.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

IMG_0987TuckerTU Author of 27 novels and a retired business and management consultant in a wide range of industries throughout the country, I reside with my wife in Southern California. I’m a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles with Bachelor’s and Master Degrees. A Pulitzer nominated author, I am a recipient of the Samuel Goldwyn and Donald Davis Literary Awards. An affinity for family and generations pervades my novels. My works are literary and genre fiction that address the nature and importance of personal integrity. As the grandson of immigrants who fled persecution in Germany and Austria-Hungary and came to America during the early 1900’s, the early history of our country and the rise of the middle-class have always held a fascination for me. The dramatic depiction of fictional characters placed in actual events sharply and realistically bring alive the harsh times and adversity of the multitude of people who sought freedom and a better way of life and demonstrate that only a little over one-hundred years have passed to bring us to where we are as a struggling society today. The chronology and events of history have captured and held my interest for many reasons, among them being stories that entertain, educate, and inform. Learning about the lives of my immigrant grandparents coming to America from Czechoslovakia during the early 1900s and the lives of my parents during the 1920s, 30s, and 40s provided the initial motivation. Researching and writing historical fiction is a way to learn more about myself and my origins and the social, political, and economic influences related to my generation. Whether writing historical fiction or non-fiction or fantasy, I’m drawn into the societies and cultures of a particular period that inspire the creation of characters who bring that era to life. Not only do I experience this dynamic in books, but in films, plays, dance, music, and other art forms. Researching history takes me into the exploration of new territory perhaps outside of my own life experience through reading other sources, interviews, travel, and films. Although a number of fine books are written from personal experience by authors who lived through those times, much of the historical writing by contemporary authors is dependent on secondary sources. Forays into the past for story material is a rewarding part of the creative process. Robert Tucker Book Tour Organized By: R&R Button R&R Book Tours

Book Review: Out Front the Following Sea

This is the story of Ruth Miner and her journey of survival in 17th-century New England. Accused of witchcraft after her parents’ deaths, she stows away on the ship of her friend Owen, who feels responsible for all her misfortune. However, they both soon find themselves fighting for their lives as the war between England and France in 1689, known as King William’s War, begins. Ruth’s strength and independence make her a target in this patriarchal society, and Owen, who has French ancestry, is treated as a suspect by the English. After Owen and Ruth find love, a harsh and domineering man tries to destroy them both.

What a wonderful and authentic work of historical fiction! The dialogue is completely true to the period, and there is a helpful list of non-English phrases at the end of the book. The descriptions of the people and their prejudices are completely realistic. The reader is shown how the absolute oppression of women includes death to any woman who seeks to be different, and how the accusation of witchcraft is a convenient excuse. The superstitions of the time are fascinating and well-researched. The wildness of the New World and the cruelty of those in power against anyone who disagrees with them are splashed in blood across the pages of this realistic and no-holds-barred novel. Out Front the Following Sea is an odyssey in an untamed country that will one day be America. Those interested in American history will want to explore this oft-forgotten period in her past.

I received a free copy of this book from Regal House Publishing via Historical Novels Review Magazine. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Leah Angstman

Leah Angstman is a historian and transplanted Midwesterner, unsure of what feels like home anymore. She is the recent winner of the Loudoun Library Foundation Poetry Award and Nantucket Directory Poetry Award and was a placed finalist in the Bevel Summers Prize for Short Fiction (Washington & Lee University), Pen 2 Paper Writing Competition (in both Poetry and Fiction categories), Saluda River Prize for Poetry (twice), Blue Bonnet Review Poetry Contest, Baltimore Science Fiction Society Poetry Contest, and West Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition. She has earned three Pushcart Prize nominations and a Best of the Net Award nomination, and serves as Editor-in-Chief for Alternating Current Press and a fiction and nonfiction reviewer for Publishers Weekly.


Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

Book Review: A Heart Adrift

This is another one of the books I reviewed for the February edition of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society.

In 1755 York, Virginia, 28-year-old chocolatier Esmée Shaw has never quite gotten over her former fiancé, Captain Henri Lennox, although it has been ten years. Now considered a spinster and determined to forget him, she is running her mother’s chocolate shop and working on new recipes.  When Henri returns to complete a lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay, a former dream of theirs, Esmée is more shaken than she lets on.  As war with the French seems more and more likely, will Esmée and Henri find a new peace of their own?

This is a well-written historical romance, and the dialogue rings true to the period.  Bitter stings of lost love and hope of a new start are complicated even more by news of impending war.  The writing is beautiful, but the plot moves slowly at times.  It does pick up in the second half of the story. The history of the time is well researched.  The technique of chocolate making in colonial times is fascinating, and I found myself craving chocolate while Esmée was creating her confections. Esmée is a very strong and accomplished woman for the time period, and the book is better for it. The politics, treachery, and conflicts of that era are well portrayed. There is a Christian theme of trusting God’s plan.  Fans of historical romance and U.S. history will enjoy this book.


Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Proud of her heritage, she is also a Daughter of the American Revolution. When not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.

According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Foreign language editions include French, Dutch, Spanish, Slovakian, & Polish.

Readers can find Laura Frantz here.


Self-Published Saturday: The Heart of the Run #Review #Q&A

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Independent/Self-Published authors promote their books. Self-Published authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing, and if I can help even a little bit with the marketing side of things I’m happy to do it. I also ask you all to help out too by sharing these posts on social media. Today I am sharing a review that I did for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. The book is called The Heart of the Run by Craig Pennington. Craig also graciously agreed to do a Q&A, which is below. Be sure and check out his bio, too. He’s led an exciting life!


This is the fictionalized history of the Muirhead family (later Moorhead), in Scotland and Ireland from 1648 to 1764. The novel begins with Alexander Moorhead, who is on a ship with his mother, crossing the sea from Ireland to the Americas in 1764. During the voyage, Alexander tells stories of his ancestors to his new friend Peter, a young ship’s officer. Through Alexander, we learn of John James Muirhead, who fought in the Scottish Civil War and then later became Captain of the Guard for the Marquess of Argyll. Then we meet John and Donald Muirhead, and through them experience the horrific Massacre of Glencoe. Alexander’s stories of other relatives also describe important periods of history. As Alexander tells his friends the story of his family, the story of three countries is also told, and it is often a bloody tale.

I enjoyed this meticulously researched novel. The characters are well-written, and I connected with them right away. Through the stories of this family, we are transported to important events in Scottish, English, and Irish history. We learn of the Jacobite rebellion, the Smallpox Epidemic of 1720, and the Irish famine, as well as many other events in history. We are also steeped along the way in the knowledge of whisky making, printing, horticulture, and sailing. We learn of language and literature as well. The amount of history and knowledge contained in this book is impressive.

While we are learning so much, we are also experiencing a well-written novel full of suspense, heartache, romance, and intrigue. Readers will be swept away to other times and places by these stories within a story. Those interested in European history will enjoy this captivating novel.

I received a free copy of this book via Historical Novels Review Magazine, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


Craig Pennington

Craig Pennington met his wife, Claudia, in Key West while working for a salvage company looking for Spanish shipwrecks. Together they continued their nautical lives in Montserrat and Dominica. After getting married, Craig managed offshore construction projects for the Navy, while Claudia became the director of major maritime museums in Washington DC, Newport News VA, and Key West. Craig always had an extra job as ‘museum husband.’ Today they enjoy retirement, book collecting, and horses in Sarasota, FL.


Let’s go beyond the bio. Tell us something we might not know about you from reading your bio.

I still find it hard to think of myself as a writer. I wasn’t in the school newspaper club, I didn’t write in college, I have never submitted a manuscript for publication. Yet, I now find myself at the computer for hours every day, researching, writing, and re-writing. I love it, and I have become addicted to it. When I settle down at night and pick up the novel I am reading, my mind starts going back to what I am working on. Suddenly, another idea pops into my head, and I reach for the notepad. My bio talks about my past; writing is my present. I think friends from school or my earlier life are surprised to see what I am doing now.

Speaking of your bio, it says you used to work in Key West searching for Spanish shipwrecks, which sounds like a fascinating job. Can you share with us some of things you found? What was most rewarding about that job and what do you consider your greatest discovery?

I graduated from college in 1977 and moved to Key West with the dream of working for Mel Fisher, who was searching for the Atocha, a Spanish galleon that sank in a hurricane in 1622. At the time, Mel had a new salvage master who was a retired Navy captain. I started working for him as a deckhand and diver and eventually became captain of one of the salvage boats. From this man, I learned how to drive a boat, execute search grids, and, most importantly, lead a crew of young men and women. It sounds romantic, but it is hard work. We uncovered bronze cannon, gold bars, silver coins, and amazing artifacts. I only treasure hunted for about 5 years, but it was one of the most exciting and rewarding times of my life.

Your books span important periods in Irish, Scottish, and American history and are obviously well researched. Do you enjoy the research aspect of writing? Could you take us through your research process? 

Thank goodness for the Internet and Google Earth! With the help of those platforms, I ‘visited’ places Covid kept me from going to in person. I traveled the roads, viewed the towns, and made wonderful contacts in Ballymena, Inveraray Castle, and Campbeltown. The historical society in Campbeltown directed me to Angus Martin, the local historian. He has published dozens of books on the region, and we became penpals. One day soon, my wife and I plan to visit Scotland and take Angus and his wife out to lunch.

I use Wikipedia, but I don’t rely on it. It is a tool I find helpful to launch my research. Still, it is amazing what you can find. Many archival texts are now fully scanned and available, and you can search within them for specifics. I collect important websites in my Favorites folder. Once the storyline is established, I go back to them repeatedly for choice details. In The Heart of the Run, the challenge was deciding what historical tidbit to include and what to abandon.

You also say in your bio that your wife has had a career in museums. Was that helpful when you were writing/researching your book?

I met my wife, Claudia, while working for Mel Fisher in Key West. She was an Art Historian working as an underwater archaeologist. We have been married for 40 years, during which time I essentially followed her career. Maritime history was always part of our lives. We returned to Key West after 20 years when she became director of the Art and Historical Society. Together, we wrote very successful state and federal grants. Claudia always said that she provided the ‘steak’ and I added the ‘sizzle’ – she came up with amazing ideas for exhibits and programs, and I put it into words. When a dinner party guest asks if I ever found any treasure, I always smile and point to her.

To continue with the topic of research, The Heart of the Run is set during a shipboard voyage. Obviously, you have had a lot of experience on the ocean, but what was the best way for you to research conditions that would exist on a ship at that time?

I could almost say that I didn’t have to do any research other than looking up specific details. While treasure hunting, the Hornblower stories were essential reading. I loved them and could identify with the young officer while I was learning to be a captain myself. Since then, I have read hundreds of seafaring novels and non-fiction accounts of life at sea. My library has several shelves devoted to the subject. So, between my own experience working at sea, whether searching for shipwrecks or managing ocean construction projects for the Navy, and reading about the Age of Sail, I absorbed the feel of shipboard life. My first novel, Dead Reckoning, primarily takes place on a small cargo ship in the Caribbean. It fictionalizes many events I am happy to say I survived.

The Moorheads series was inspired by family history that was originally published in 1901 by your great-great grandfather. What was the name of that publication, and was it widely available at that time or just available for the family?

It is a small book called History of the Moorhead Family from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Time, independently published by Alexander Thompson Moorhead. Like his father and grandfather, he was a newspaper publisher in Indiana, PA. I believe he sent copies to all the Moorheads in the book, but I doubt it reached much of an audience beyond that. The book is just over 80 pages long and available on Amazon with a few missing pages. Both Heart of the Run and my new story are based on the first few pages of his history.

The first book in this series, called West of The Alleghenies, was published in 2020, has sold over 900 copies, and has 67 reviews on Amazon. This is not easy to do for a self-published book. Since marketing is the most daunting task for any self-published/indie author, do you have any marketing tips to share with other authors here?

I finished West of the Alleghenies as the Covid epidemic struck. Plans to do book signings and travel ended abruptly. Additionally, all historical societies, my primary marketing target, closed. I had to do everything from home.

First, I contacted the editor of my hometown newspaper (the hero, Fergus Moorhead, is famous there), and they did a front-page article on the Sunday edition. I could not have asked for a better launch. Then, I created a colorful announcement with links to my Amazon page and sent it to every historical and genealogical society in Western Pennsylvania and New York I could find. Although closed to visitors, some responded and added a link in their newsletters.

I contacted Muzzleloader Magazine, whose readership I thought would enjoy the story, and they gave me a very favorable review. I added my book to Bernard Cornwell’s Booklist, sent announcements to every person I knew, and put it on Facebook. With the encouragement of a friend, I submitted my novel to the Florida Writer’s Association Royal Palm Literary Awards contest. The book was awarded the Silver Medal for Best Published Historical Fiction in 2021! That significantly boosted my confidence as a writer.

Finally, the importance of my novels being selected for review by the Historical Novel Society cannot be understated. Two great reviews will help introduce new audiences to the struggles our ancestors had to overcome to live in this country.

You have mentioned that there will be a third book in this series. If you can, would you tell us the title and a little bit about it? When do you expect it to come out?

In The Heart of the Run, we watch love grow between young Alexander and Mary Morrow. Their son, James Moorhead, becomes a newspaper publisher in Indiana, PA. In 1843, he established the first antislavery newspaper in that part of the country.

My new story, tentatively called Murder in the Promised Land, is a historical thriller set in 1826 when James investigates the brutal murder of two runaway slaves. This story dovetails with the saga of a young boy forever changed by the Philadelphia Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793. Are the murders an effort to discourage the fledgling Underground Railroad, a twisted plot involving Freemasons, or are they linked to an act of insane vengeance reaching back more than thirty years?

I hope the story will show the moral growth of this man from a staunch Scots-Irish, law-abiding newspaperman to one of the most outspoken abolitionists of the day.

What advice can you give to new writers who are just starting their writing and publishing journey?

Write. It has been said by many experienced authors before, and I can tell you it is true. Just write. If you are stuck and nothing is flowing from your head, write a sentence. As someone who was never a ‘writer,’ I am often amazed at how a scene can write itself. Sometimes I outline the basics I want to address and then let my fingers fly. One of the most enjoyable things about writing is to be pleasantly surprised when your character takes you in a direction you did not anticipate.

Thanks so much, Craig, for your great answers. I look forward to your next book.








*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Amazing Books That Have Less than 100 Reviews on Amazon–and should have thousands.

This is a new feature I’m starting which was inspired by a post on another blog, Feed The Crime (One Book At A Time. The post here lists books the blogger has loved that have less than 200 reviews on Goodreads. With a tip of the hat to them, I take a look at Amazing Books by Indie/Self-Published Authors With Less Than 100 Reviews on Amazon. This is aimed at telling the world about great books they may not have seen. Indie authors do not have the marketing machine enjoyed by the traditionally published, so it is up to us to share, read, and review these great books. A couple of these books are from small, independent presses, but most are self-published. Please share this post with all of your social media followers, because some of them may find a book they love, and would have otherwise missed.

If you click on the covers, you can go straight to the Amazon link.

I plan to do this feature at least once a month, so please share these great books with others. Let’s get these books the attention they deserve.

Agustina De Aragón by Gail Meath. This is the amazing story of the “Spanish Joan of Arc.” My review is here.

No Ordinary Thing: GZ Schmidt: This is amazing Middle Grade/Young Adult historical fiction–with a time-traveling snow globe! My review is here.

The Robin Hood Trilogy: Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer: This is the best Robin Hood retelling I have ever read. My review is here.

TELLING SONNY: Elizabeth Gauffreau: This gorgeously written book will take you back to Vaudeville in the 1920s. My review is here.

Your Words Your World: Amazing poetry book about God and His Creation. My review is here

This amazing Middle Grade/Young Adult fantasy series, The Hamelin Stoop series, is reminiscent of The Chronicles of Narnia. My review is here.

These are all great books that received 5 stars from me. They just need readers to know about them. If you decide to read any of them, please leave a review on Amazon. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

Blog Tour and Book Review: The German Wife


Germany, 1939:Annaliese is trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband Hans has become cold and secretive since starting a new job as a doctor at Dachau. Every morning she watches from her kitchen window as he leaves in his car. The sight of him in the dark uniform of the SS sends shivers of fear down her spine and she longs to escape…

When a tall, handsome Russian prisoner named Alexander is sent from Dachau to work in their garden, lonely Annaliese finds herself drawn to him as they tend to the plants together. In snatched moments and broken whispers, Alexander tells her the shocking truth about the camp. Horrified, Annaliese vows to do everything she can to save him.

But as they grow closer, their feelings for each other put their lives at risk. And Annaliese finds herself in grave danger when she dares to fight for love and freedom…

America, 1989: Turning the pages of the newspaper, Annaliese gasps when she recognizes the face of a man she thought she’d never see again. It makes her heart skip a beat as a rush of wartime memories come flooding back to her. As she reads on, she realizes the past is catching up with her. And she must confront a decades-old secret – or risk losing her only son…


Debbie Rix has written seven novels, the latest of which is The German Wife. As an ex-journalist, historical accuracy is key, and she strives to weave her stories around real life events. ‘The research process is vital,’ she says. ‘I work on the principle that if I find something fascinating, then so too will my readers.’

Her novels have been published in several languages – including Italian and Czech and her 5th novel ‘The Secret Letter’ will soon come out in Russia.

Debbie spends a lot of time in Italy and that country is the setting for 5 of her 7 novels. When not traveling she lives in the Kent countryside with her journalist husband, children, chickens and four cats. She began her career with the BBC – initially as the newsreader on Breakfast Time, thereafter appearing as a presenter and reporter on a variety of factual and light entertainment television series. She had a spell as an Agony Aunt and has also written about gardens and gardening – one of her private passions.


This is an interesting but disturbing German perspective on World War II, both before, during, and after the war. Annaliese goes from a young woman in love with her husband, Hans, to someone married to a monster, a doctor at Dachau concentration camp. When she meets Alexander, a prisoner sent to work in her garden, she learns the horrific truth about Dachau and her husband’s role there.

This is a heartbreaking story of a woman thrust into a situation she never would have chosen and how she responds to it. The character development of Anna and Alex is good, and disconcerting at times, as Anna cannot seem to completely grasp what Alex has been through. There is also a shocking situation between them that Anna doesn’t fully seem to understand. The often cold and calculating, but sometimes conflicted Hans is well written. He is the epitome of someone who gave up humanity for personal gain. Some other German characters in the novel, including Anna at times, seem to want to ignore the past and forget their roles in it. Although this seems cold, it is possibly close to a true portrayal of how Germans were feeling at the time. This is a heartrending novel about an evil regime, the people they used and slaughtered, and the country they tore apart. It is also a look at that time in history through the eyes of a German woman who was left to rebuild her life in the aftermath.

I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.





Self-Published Saturday: Leora’s Dexter Stories

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Indie and Self-Published authors with one of the most difficult tasks they have to do–marketing. Indie authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing, marketing, and more. If I can help even a little bit with the marketing, I’m happy to do it. This week’s feature is the wonderful Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression. the second in the Leora Series. This is the story of an American family struggling through the depression in rural Iowa.


The undertow of the Great Depression becomes poignantly personal as we experience the travails of Leora and Clabe Wilson, a displaced Iowa farm family. Gritty determination fuels this family’s journey of loss and hope, a reflection of what many American families endured during those challenging times.

In this true story the Wilsons slowly slide into unemployment and poverty. Leora must find ways to keep her dreams alive while making a haven for her flock of seven children in one run-down house after another.


This is a wonderful true story of a family of tenant farmers struggling to survive during the depression years in Iowa. Spanning from about 1927 to 1942, we follow the family as they move from farm to farm, working hard to make ends meet and put food on the table. At the same time, we learn the history of a country as it falls into the Great Depression and then tries to rise out of it. We watch the Wilson family suffer hunger, sickness, and heartbreaking loss in a time of great hardship. We watch them go from farming to odd jobs to unemployment, working hard and finding a way to survive.

When the two oldest go off to join the Navy, they put the family on their shoulders instead of leaving them behind, sending money to help keep them warm and fed. The mother, Leora Wilson, who was not allowed to go to high school, gets to see her children graduate against great odds. Through memoirs, letters, photos, and newspaper articles, we follow this family as they learn of the New Deal, finally accept some help from the government, and eventually go off to war. And through it all, we realize that despite their lack of money, they are rich in love, loyalty, grit, and fortitude. This saga of a family and a country speaks in detail of a way of life that no longer exists and documents it for all time. It is a part of American history that should not be missed.

I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.


Joy Neal Kidney

I am the keeper of family stories, letters, pictures, research, combat records, casualty reports, and terrible telegrams. Active on several history and military Facebook pages, I help administer local ones–Audubon County, Dallas County, and Guthrie County, Iowa–the places where my motherline stories originated, as well as Depression Era Iowa. 

Born two days before D-Day to an Iowa farmer who became an Army Air Corps pilot, then an instructor–with orders for combat when the war ended–and an Iowa waitress who lost three of her five brothers during that war. I spent my childhood in an Iowa farmhouse with a front porch. Now I live with my husband, a Vietnam veteran, in a suburban house with a front porch.

I’ve published two books (“Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II” and “Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression.”) I’m a regular contributor to Our American Stories. 

Awards: 2021 Great American Storyteller Award by Our American Stories and WHO NEWSRADIO 1040

2021 – First place Our Iowa Stories award named for Joy Neal Kidney.


*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

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Self-Published Saturday: Under a Gravid Sky

As you know, self-published/indie authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing and more. Self-Published Saturday is my attempt to help a little bit with the marketing side of things for self-published/indie authors. This post features a book I reviewed for the November issue of Historical Novels Review (HNR), the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. Below is my 5-star review. HNR must have agreed with me because they made this book an editor’s choice.

The Hanoverian Army, having won the Battle of Culloden in 1746, storms the northeastern Scottish Highlands, intent on crushing its clans. Seven-year-old Duncan hides while his family is burned to death. In 1747, five-year-old Rowena loses her mother, who dies in childbirth. Duncan is taken in by a priest, and then is passed to Rowena’s father, who teaches him the art of smuggling whisky. Rowena soon befriends Morna, the green woman, who eventually passes on to her the healing skills of the natural world. Years later, Hugh McBeath, a ruthless exciseman who has arrived to end the whisky smuggling in the area, is captivated by Rowena’s beauty. Although he thinks she is a witch, he wants her for his wife. Duncan, meanwhile, is the best smuggler in the glen, but feels he can never be worthy of the lovely and gifted Rowena.

Beautiful and breathtaking, this Scottish historical novel transports you to the sweeping beauty of the Highlands. The dialect is perfect for the period, and the lush descriptions of the scenery take the reader straight to the moss-covered mountains of Scotland. The story is alive with folklore as we learn of “wild places” and “faeryhills.” Because she is learning the art of healing and is sensitive to “the trees and their spirits,” Rowena is often thought of as a witch in a time when witches were tried and killed. The whisky-smuggling culture of the Highlands, and the reason for it, is also explored. Full of deception, treachery, love, folklore, and kinship, Under a Gravid Sky is a heartrending but passionate saga set in a tough and sometimes heartless time.

I received a free copy of this book via Historical Novels Review Magazine. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


Angela MacRae Shanks was born in Garmouth, a village near the mouth of the River Spey in northeast Scotland, and still lives near here. Her mother was born in Strathavon, a real place, and this remote glen is very dear to her heart. Here she first heard tales of the dramatic history of the area, its people and their struggles, and became fascinated by it. 
Growing up in Moray, a beautiful part of Scotland known as ‘malt whisky country’, an interest in the area’s illicit past grew, particularly the smuggling of whisky and the reasons behind it. Her fascination with the natural world and the folklore of the Highlands, combined with her training in natural therapies spawned a need to weave herbal lore into her tales. Those who healed using plants and the wisdom of nature, usually women, were often condemned as witches – she felt the need to explore this injustice. And so The Strathavon Saga was born.


Amazon US

Amazon UK

Link to Book 2: The Blood and the Barley

Amazon US

Amazon UK

*Kindle Unlimited Subscribers can read the books for free.

Two Reminders before you go:

  1. If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. This is very important to self-published authors.
  2. Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!