Tuesday, 28 March 2023

The Coffee Pot Blog Tour presents: Pagan King by MJ Porter

Book Title: Pagan King

Series: The Seventh Century

Author: MJ Porter

Publication Date: 21st April 2016 (new cover from January 2022)

Publisher: MJ Publishing

Page Length: 300

Genre: Historical fiction/Action and adventure

Twitter Handle: @coloursofunison @cathiedunn

Instagram Handle: @m_j_porterauthor @thecoffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #TalesOfMercia #TheSeventhCentury #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

Tour Schedule Page:

Pagan King 

MJ Porter 

Audiobook narrated by Matt Coles

From bestselling author, MJ Porter comes the tale of the mighty pagan king, Penda of Mercia.

The year is AD641, and the great Oswald of Northumbria, bretwalda over England, must battle against an alliance of the old Britons and the Saxons led by Penda of the Hwicce, the victor of Hæ∂feld nine years before, the only Saxon leader seemingly immune to Oswald's beguiling talk of the new Christianity spreading through England from both the north and the south.

Alliances will be made and broken, and the victory will go to the man most skilled in warcraft and statecraft.

The ebb and flow of battle will once more redraw the lines of the petty kingdoms stretching across the British Isles.

There will be another victor and another bloody loser.

Universal Link: 

Amazon UKAmazon US: Amazon CAAmazon AU:  Barnes and Noble:  Waterstones: KoboiBooks: iTunes:  Audio: 

MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh to 

Eleventh-Century England, as well as three twentieth-century mysteries. Being raised in the shadow of a building that was believed to house the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia, meant that the author's writing destiny was set.

Website:  Blog: Twitter: Facebook:  LinkedIn: Instagram:  Pinterest:  BookBub:  Amazon Author Page: Goodreads:  Linktr.ee:  Tiktok: 

Matt Coles – audiobook narrator:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mattcolesvoiceovers/

Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@mattcolesvoiceovers 

Website: www.mattcolesvoiceover.com 

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

The Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tours present: The Delafield and Malloy Investigations by Trish MacEnulty


First Book Title: The Whispering Women

Series: Delafield & Malloy Investigations

Author: Trish MacEnulty

Publication Date: 09/06/22

Publisher: Prism Light Press

Page Length: 387

Genre: Historical Mystery, Women’s Fiction

Tour Schedule Page: 

The Whispering Women, Book #1, A Delafield & Malloy Investigation 

The Burning Bride, Book #2, A Delafield & Malloy Investigation

Secrets and Spies, Book #3, A Delafield & Malloy Investigation

by Trish MacEnulty

"Richly drawn characters, the vibrant historical setting, and a suspenseful mystery create a strong current that pulls readers into this delightful novel. But it's the women's issues—as relevant today as they were in the early 1900s—that will linger long after the last page."-- Donna S. Meredith, The Southern Literary Review

Can two women get the lowdown on high society?

“Two powerless young women must navigate a soul-crushing class system and find the levers of power they wield when they combine their strengths. These women may have been taught to whisper, but when their time comes, they will roar.”– 5 Star Amazon Review

Louisa Delafield and Ellen Malloy didn’t ask to be thrown together to bring the truth to light. But after Ellen witnesses the death of a fellow servant during an illegal abortion, Louisa, a society columnist, vows to help her find the truth and turn her journalistic talent to a greater purpose.

Together, these unlikely allies battle to get the truth out, and to avenge the wrongful death of a friend.

What will our heroes do when their closest allies and those they trust turn out to be the very forces working to keep their story in the dark? They’ll face an abortionist, a sex trafficking ring, and a corrupt system determined to keep the truth at bay.

“If you like historical fiction and if you like mysteries, this one is for you!”– 5 Star Amazon Review

Was change possible in 1913?

To find out, read THE WHISPERING WOMEN today!

Excerpt from The Burning Bride by Trish MacEnulty

The problem was she didn’t have the right shoes. Louisa had managed to find a splendid lace and chiffon evening gown by French designer Jeanne Hallée at a broker’s shop in the garment district. It had been purchased by a Rothschild who had subsequently decided she didn’t like the color — a pale blue — so she sent it to a discreet dress broker for resale. The dress was a steal, but looking through her wardrobe, Louisa realized she didn’t have shoes to go with it, and the wedding was in an hour. She sank to the floor in despair. The door knocker resounded from downstairs. A moment later she heard footsteps on the stairs followed by a knock on her bed-room door. 

“Come in, Ellen,” Louisa said. No one besides her assistant and friend, Ellen Malloy, would show up at the front door and be sent immediately upstairs.  

Ellen, windblown, her red hair burnished with the late afternoon sunlight streaming through the window, wore her usual sensible cotton frock and toque. She looked at Louisa on the floor in her silk chemise.

“What’re ya doing on the floor, girleen?” Ellen asked. 

“I have no shoes to wear to Hugh Garrett’s wedding,” Louisa said, holding up a worn lace-up boot with a broken sole. 

“I should think you’d have more important things to worry about than that scoundrel’s wedding after what he did to my friend Silvia,” Ellen said. Hugh Garrett was Ellen’s previous employer, and she would never forgive him for sending a young servant off to have an abortion that killed her. His wealth and status had insulated him from any repercussions. 

“I despise him as much as you do, but that ‘scoundrel’ is still one of the wealthiest men in the city and therefore I have no choice but to attend the wedding,” Louisa said. In spite of her feel-ings about Hugh Garrett, Louisa’s job was to observe and comment on New York society, a job she took seriously, not least because in some ways she was still one of them. She was a Dela-field, after all, no matter how meager her bank account. 

“Well, I pity the poor girl who marries him,” Ellen said and dropped a magazine on the floor beside her. “Take a look at this.”

“What is it?”

“An article that slanders you,” Ellen said. 

Louisa took up the paper and skimmed the article. 

“L. Byron? That’s rich, isn’t it? Does he think this drivel is poetry?” she said. “He calls me a sycophant. That’s a big word from such a little mind. And apparently he’s not an art lover.”  She tossed the article aside. “No one reads these anarchist magazines anyway.” 

She peered into her wardrobe again as if, magically, the perfect pair of shoes would simply ap-pear like Cinderella’s glass slippers. 

“Anarchists read them, and they’re a dangerous lot,” Ellen said. She shooed away the ginger cat curled up on cushioned chair, sat down at Louisa’s vanity, and took off her hat. The wind had pulled strands of hair out of her bun, which stuck out like red wires. 

“They aren’t a danger to me,” Louisa objected. “Maybe to Rockefeller. There was that attempt on his life recently.” She rose from the floor and shut the door to her wardrobe before the cat could leap in it and get trapped inside as had already happened several times. She didn’t have time before the wedding to go shopping, and she couldn’t bear the humiliation of not looking perfectly put together for Hugh’s wedding. She hoped marriage would rehabilitate Hugh.

“The older or the younger Rockefeller?” Ellen asked, as she unpinned her hair, brushed it out, and then coiled it into a thick red rope, which she neatly fastened on the back of head. 

“The younger, which is ridiculous,” Louisa said, taking up the dress she’d laid out on the bed and pulling it over her head. 

Ellen came over and buttoned up the back, smoothing the lace overlay so Louisa looked as if she’d just stepped out of a Paris salon. Louisa clasped a pearl necklace around her neck, glad that her mother had held onto it through the days when they struggled so for money. She gazed at herself in the full length mirror and continued, “I can understand why the anarchists hate the elder but Junior is a philanthropist. He’s too busy giving away his father’s money to oppress anyone.”

“Except for the miners,” Ellen said. 

“Are you one of them now?” Louisa asked. She knew Ellen had no love lost for the wealthy, but anarchism seemed melodramatic. 

“A miner?” Ellen asked. 

“An anarchist.” 

“I’m not sure,” Ellen said with a shrug.

The books in this series are available to read on Kindle Unlimited.

Universal Link:    Amazon UK:  Amazon US:  Amazon CA:  Amazon AU:   Barnes and Noble: 

Trish MacEnulty is a bestselling novelist. In addition to her historical fiction, she has published novels, a short story collection, and a memoir. A former Professor of English, she currently lives in Florida with her husband, two dogs, and one cat. She writes book reviews and feature articles for the Historical Novel Review. She loves reading, writing, walking with her dogs, streaming historical series, cooking, and dancing. 

Website:  Twitter:  Facebook:  InstagramBook Bub:   Amazon Author Page:  Goodreads: 

Friday, 3 March 2023

New Release!! A Matter of Faith, the Days of the Phoenix. Book Two of The Henrician Chronicle!!

I have taken far too long to write A Matter of Faith: Henry VIII, the Days of the Phoenix, Book two of the Henrician Chronicle. I haven't been lazy though. The truth is that not only was I writing a  non-fiction book for Pen and Sword at the same time, I was also fighting brain fog, fatigue and the general 'erk' that follows Covid. 

I'm a little better now although still not the full ticket. I am not sure I ever will be. HOWEVER,  I have overcome it and the book is due for release on 20th March 2023. You can pre-order it now and really help give it a boost up the charts. The more I sell the longer I will be able to continue writing. Book three is already underway.

Scroll down for more on A Matter of Faith or read An excerpt from A Matter of Conscience: Henry VIII, the Aragon Years. 

January 1530

The year opens, a slow creaking door, giving way to the new and the fresh. As the festivities draw to an end, I resolve that this year I shall be merrier, my court will be joyous again. There shall be a new beginning.

I will throw off the trivial traditions that bind me to the wife I abhor. I shall play and sing and joust, for life is for living. From now on I will cease to envy the sons of other men and concentrate on begetting my own.

Ignoring a papal edict that I acknowledge her as my queen, I no longer admit Kate into my company. While she keeps her own dull court, in my part of the palace, I surround myself with young, energetic companions. 

Although I lack their youth, there is still not one that can best me on the tennis court or in the saddle. We hunt all day, dance all night and create an atmosphere that is brittle with joy. If life with Anne lacks the warmth I knew with Kate, it makes up for it with delight.

To all intent and purpose, Anne is my queen already. It is she who sits beside me at the feast, she who orders the entertainments, and she is the lady I lead onto the floor to open up the dancing. 

My advisors whisper that I should be content with that. I have the woman I love at my side, why not let matters lie? There is no need for an annulment. Let Kate rot in her apartments like some forgotten cat. There are few who will care.

But I want more than that. I want to show Anne off as my wife, my queen and besides … she continues to refuse me the pleasures of her bed. Sometimes it is not easy for her to refuse but she is strong; her will so much more determined than mine. 

I am so eager for her that I often overstep the boundaries. It is clear from the way her heart patters beneath my hand that she wants me too. When she allows me close and my lips graze her skin, she groans and writhes with wanting. But we go only so far. We both recognise the moment we must draw back for there is more at stake than the sating of our lust. We need a son, but he must be born in wedlock, there can be no question as to his legitimacy. 

Wolsey continues to fumble his way through the meeting of the privy councillors. Norfolk, who has ever looked down on him, smirks beneath his hand, shuffles his feet noisily beneath the table, coughs loudly to further interrupt the cardinal’s flow.

“What can you expect of a butcher’s boy,” I hear him remark as Thomas quits the room when the meeting is done. “It isn’t the king he works for. His paymaster sits in Rome…”

I rest my chin in my hand and tell them to go. I watch as, one by one, they take leave of me. When the room is empty, Norfolk’s words repeat in my head. His opinions of Wolsey’s low beginnings and compromised loyalty echo Anne’s. It is the only thing she and her uncle agree on.

At first, I wonder if he sowed the seed in her mind or contrariwise but then news comes from Francis Bryan whom I’ve sent to Rome on my behalf. He too believes Wolsey and his cardinals have done me a great disservice. He reports that abroad it is widely believed that had the matter been properly dealt with, I’d have been free of the queen long ago.

These findings make sense. When all is said and done, Wolsey is a Cardinal, and as such he must carry out the wishes of the pope. He also has little love for Anne and, if I am successful in ridding myself of the queen, would sooner see me wed to France. 

I am at a loss; without dependable advisors I can trust. Brandon can no longer be relied on, his hatred for Anne is surpassed only by his love for Kate. I mourn the days when our friendship was carefree, and I could confide anything to him. 

What can I do about Wolsey? 

I’ve trusted him since my youth, yet he has failed me; his loyalty is conflicted. He cannot serve both the pope and his king, that is …that is premunire – a crime against the crown. 

If I were to take him down, strip him of his titles, his positions, remove his properties, not only could I elect a more trustworthy advisor, but my coffers would be the fatter for it. 

I have long envied his palace at Hampton. It is wasted on Wolsey; it needs a woman like Anne to grace its elegant halls. It should be mine. What right has a subject to own possessions that outshine the king’s? 

I call a secret meeting with the few I trust … or perhaps, those I know who crave Wolsey’s fall.

Norfolk, scratches his long nose, addresses me without making eye contact.

“Of course, the cardinal is in pay of the pope, and so is Campeggio who is no doubt sneaking from the country as we speak with his baggage full of incriminating papers.”

I look up sharply.

“He has embarked?”

“Not as far as I know, Your Majesty.”

I snap my fingers at a scribe who stands ready with a sharpened pen. 

“Order Campeggio stopped, order his baggage searched, order that he is not to leave until every cranny of his luggage has been investigated.”

“But what of the Cardinal?” Norfolk is eager, his face wolverine. “He is a traitor, Your Majesty. He has deceived you and England by putting Rome before the good of our realm.” 

For a long moment, I stare into a corner, haunted by the wraith of my younger days, when I was newly king. I recall walking with Wolsey in the gardens, he laughed at my jokes, praised my skills, and make little of my failures. He was my friend, my mentor, the first one I’d turn to when matters of state seemed overwhelming. What happened to sway his allegiance? Was it me? Was it Anne? Or was his eye always on the higher prize? 

I remember joking once that he would be pope one day. I recall the way his laughter had faded, how he’d peered into the distance as if imagining it was so. Perhaps he has never loved me for myself, but only for what I could provide! 

And hasn’t he risen high at my expense? Without me, he’d still be gutting rabbits at his father’s butcher shop. I thump the table so hard pain shoots up my arm, then I stand up, my chair tipping to the floor. 

“Strip him of his diplomatic position,” I say before storming from the room in search of Anne.

Even as I hover on the edge of despair, she soothes me, her honeyed voice salving my pain, erasing the inner fear that I am running headlong down the wrong path. I cannot stop it now. I try not to think of him, Thomas my friend... 

Against my will, I imagine the guard approaching him. I envision how he will turn, surprise turning to horror as he realises why they have come. He will drop his bundle of papers, throw up his hands, cry out a protest and beg an audience with his king but …they will not listen. 

His day is done. His fate is sealed. 

I wonder what Kate will say when she hears of it.

“You must take Hampton for yourself,” Anne says, running her hands down my chest, tweaking the buttons on my doublet as though she intends to loosen it. “I have always thought it too grand for Wolsey. The gardens are wonderful. When you travel along the river and come upon the palace suddenly from the water, it takes one’s breath away.”

“There is no need. He has made a gift of it.” I answer distantly. 

Events are running away with me. I try to turn my mind from the enormity of what I am allowing to happen. I must concentrate on the here and now, the future with Anne. I can never go back to how things were before … even if I wanted to.

“I will need a new chancellor. I will ask Thomas More – I trust him. He is a good fellow.”

She sits up, pouting, her prettiness marred by a frown.

“He has little liking for me. He is Catherine’s man.” 

She never gives Kate the title ‘Queen’ and although I shouldn’t, I always find I resent it a little.

“He loves me. He is my man. He will always be my good servant.”


She turns to me, her dark eyes glinting in the shadowy light. “You should speak with Thomas Cranmer. I find him very eloquent, very wise. He believes there is no need for you to beg permission for an annulment from the pope at all. He says there is no reason you cannot just put Catherine aside and marry me at once …” 

She sits up, yawns and stretches so the fabric of her gown is pulled tight to her body. I yearn to undress her. One day, one day very soon, I will do so. I will lie naked with her in my bed and I will get a son on her. Every inch of her body screams of fertility. I can smell it in her hair, in the musky sweetness of her neck. I know, the first night that we finally lie together, I will get her with child.

If you haven't read book one yet, it is on sale at the moment. You can get your copy here: mybook.to/amoc

A Matter of Faith: Henry VIII, the Days of the Phoenix

Judith Arnopp

'Superbly inventive insight into the mind of one of our most famous monarchs' -

 Deborah Swift: award winning author

Finally free of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII is now married to Anne Boleyn, and eagerly awaits the birth of his son. In a court still reeling from the royal divorce and amid growing resentment against church reform, Henry must negotiate widespread resentment toward Anne. But his lifelong dreams of a son to cement his Tudor bloodline are shattered when Anne is delivered of a daughter.

 Burying his disappointment, Henry focuses on getting her with child again, but their marriage is volatile and, as Henry faces personal bereavement and discord at court, Anne’s enemies are gathering. When the queen miscarries of a son, and Henry suffers a life-threatening accident, his need for an heir becomes vital. Waiting in the wings is Jane Seymour, a lady-in-waiting, who offers the king respite from Anne’s fiery passions.

 But, when Anne falls foul of her former ally, Thomas Cromwell, and the king is persuaded that Anne has made him a cuckold, Henry strikes out and the queen falls beneath the executioner’s sword, taking key players in Henry’s household with her.

 Jane Seymour, stepping up to replace the fallen queen, quickly becomes pregnant. Delighted with his dull but fertile wife, Henry’s spirits rise even further when the prince is born safely. At last, Henry has all he desires, but even as he celebrates, fate is preparing to deliver one more staggering blow.

 The virile young prince is now a damaged middle-aged man, disappointed in those around him but most of all in himself. As the king’s optimism diminishes, his intractability increases, and soon the wounded lion will begin to roar.

 The story concludes in Book Three: A Matter of Time, Henry VIII, the Dying of the Light coming in 2023.

 "Riveting. This is Henry from beyond the grave in all his passionate complexity" Elizabeth St John - author of The Godmother's Secret


Wednesday, 1 March 2023

The Coffee Pot Blog Tours present: A Mistake of Murder by Helen Hollick

Book Title: A Mistake of Murder

Series: Jan Christopher Murder Mystery – Episode #3

Author: Helen Hollick

Publication Date: 18th January 2023

Publisher: Taw River Press

Page Length: 169

Genre: Cosy Mystery (Historical)

Tour Schedule Page:  

A Mistake of Murder

By Helen Hollick


The third Jan Christopher Cosy Mystery

Was murder deliberate - or a tragic mistake?

January 1972. The Christmas and New Year holiday is over and it is time to go back to work. Newly engaged to Detective Sergeant Laurence Walker, library assistant Jan Christopher is eager to show everyone her diamond ring, and goes off on her scheduled round to deliver library books to the housebound – some of whom she likes; some, she doesn’t.

She encounters a cat in a cupboard, drinks several cups of tea... and loses her ring.

When two murders are committed, can Jan help her policeman uncle, DCI Toby Christopher and her fiancé, Laurie, discover whether murder was a deliberate deed – or a tragic mistake?

This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited. 

Universal Link: 

First accepted for traditional publication in 1993, Helen became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. 

Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she writes a nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages. She has also branched out into the quick read novella, 'Cosy Mystery' genre with her Jan Christopher Murder Mysteries, set in the 1970s, with the first in the series, A Mirror Murder incorporating her, often hilarious, memories of working as a library assistant.

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She lives with her family in an eighteenth-century farmhouse in North Devon, England, and occasionally gets time to write…

Website:  Twitter:  Facebook:

Facebook Australian Readers’ Page: Mastodon: Newsletter: Amazon Author Page: Goodreads: 

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

I am with Helen Hollick on the blog today, having a 'gander' at her new book!


The Jan Christopher Cosy Mysteries 

by Helen Hollick 

So, What Have Geese Got To Do With Cosy Mysteries?

Well, nothing really, except in my opinion Judith Arnopp’s novel, The Winchester Goose is probably one of her best, and I have five geese, so I thought I would combine these things together to make an interesting article.

The ‘Winchester Geese’ were London prostitutes, in Judith’s novel, at the time of Henry VIII. 

The women and their brothels were not wanted inside the City of London so toted their trade to the South of the River Thames in Southwark, an area exempt from London jurisdiction but under the authority of the Bishop of Winchester. Hence the connection.

Domestic geese have rather a reputation for being bad-tempered. (I wonder if this also applied to the London prostitutes?) The holy geese saved Rome from a surprise attack in 390 BC, and our five geese often alert us to visitors or the postman arriving. Colin, our gander, is actually only a ‘danger’ when his ladies (BooBoo being his main mate) are sitting on eggs, so he is only doing his job of keeping them safe. Not much comfort when you have a large white goose hissing and flapping at you! (The trick is to hiss and flap back!)

My geese are very vocal and have different ‘voices’ for different things, which I do recognise: ‘Danger- fox!’, ‘Water bowl’s empty’, ‘more grain please’, ‘pesky duck/hen – go away! (We have ducks and hens as well.)

Goose used to be the main Christmas dish before turkey became more popular here in England, and the Goose Fairs of the past must have been quite a sight – and sound.

We have quite a few sayings connected to geese:

"Have a gander" - to look at something.

"What's good for the goose is good for the gander" - what is appropriate treatment for one person is appropriate for someone else. 

Someone's "goose is cooked" - they are about to be punished

"Silly goose" refers to someone who is being particularly silly.

"A wild goose chase" - a futile waste of time and effort.

What is the connection with my cosy mystery series which is set in the 1970s with the main character being Jan Christopher, a young North London public library assistant?

I have recently released the third in the series, A Mistake of Murder, where Jan helps her uncle, DCI Toby Christopher and his Detective Sergeant, Laurie Walker – Jan’s fiancé – solve the crimes of burglary and murder. My plan is to alternate each mystery between the setting of North London and Jan’s library, with where I live here in North Devon. So Episode 4, A Meadow Murder, which I am currently writing, has its location at a Devonshire farm and village – where there will be a gaggle of five noisy geese. The gander being called Colin and his chief Missus will be BooBoo...

How’s that for linking three completely different subjects together!

Helen Hollick

The Jan Christopher Cosy Mystery Series:

Jan Christopher #1 A Mirror Murder

Jan Christopher #2 A Mystery of Murder

And just published:

Jan Christopher #3 A MISTAKE OF MURDER 

Was murder deliberate - or a tragic mistake?

A series of burglaries and an elderly person is murdered. Can library assistant Jan Christopher help discover whether murder was a deliberate deed – or a tragic mistake?

January 1972. The Christmas and New Year holiday is over and it is time to go back to work. Newly engaged to Detective Sergeant Lawrence Walker, library assistant Jan Christopher is eager to show everyone her diamond ring, and goes off on her scheduled round to deliver library books to the housebound – some of whom she likes; some, she doesn’t.

She encounters a cat in a cupboard, drinks several cups of tea... and loses her ring.

When two murders are committed, can Jan help her policeman uncle, DCI Toby Christopher and her fiancé, Laurie, discover whether murder was a deliberate deed – or a tragic mistake?

About Helen:

First accepted for traditional publication in 1993, Helen became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she writes a nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages. She has also branched out into the quick read novella, 'Cozy Mystery' genre with her Jan Christopher Murder Mysteries, set in the 1970s, with the first in the series, A Mirror Murder incorporating her, often hilarious, memories of working as a library assistant.

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She lives with her family in an eighteenth-century farmhouse in North Devon and occasionally gets time to write...

A Mistake of Murder by Helen Hollick available from an Amazon near you, or order from any bookstore. Paperback and e-book available.


Helen’s Amazon author page: 


Helen’s Website: https://helenhollick.net/

Subscribe to Helen’s Newsletter: https://tinyletter.com/HelenHollick

Monday, 6 February 2023

The Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tour presents: The Adventures of Ruby Pi and the Geometry Girls by Tom Durwood

Book Title: The Adventures of Ruby Pi and the Geometry Girls 

Series: Ruby Pi Adventure Series

Author: Tom Durwood

Publication Date: December 22, 2022

Publisher: Empire Studies Press

Page Length: 147

Genre: YA fiction 

Tour Schedule Page:  

The Adventures of Ruby Pi and the Geometry Girls

By Tom Durwood

Young adult fiction featuring gambling, bandits, swordplay, probability and Bayes’ Theorem. An English teacher hopes to engage students with colourful STEM adventures. 

“In this outstanding collection, Tom addresses the chronic problem of our young women dropping out of STEM studies. His stories lend adventure to scientific thinking.” ~ Tanzeela Siddique, Math Instructor)

“The Adventures of Ruby Pi and the Geometry Girls”

By Tom Durwood

Excerpt 1: Tank Story



Mathematics reveals its secrets only to those 

who approach it with pure love, for its own beauty.  

-- Archimedes 

“What are these?” asked the pretty girl in the candy stripes, Madeline. “These rows of numbers? They’re weird-- ”

“Stop it!!” replied the boy in the green-wool uniform. “That’s the signal notebook -- ” 

“But the numbers don’t make any sense!” pouted Madeline.

“Yes! Maybe that’s because they’re in code!” The soldier added a brief oath. 

“Shouldn’t you be on your rounds anyway -- ”

The pair had been flirting most of the morning. 

“No need,” replied pretty Madeline. “Simone is doing quite well on her own.” 

“Hey Simone!” Madeline called across the infirmary. “Fatso! We have volleyball this afternoon. Remember what happened last time -- ”

“Hey, give it a rest,” said one of the other boys.

Four schoolgirls, student nurse volunteers, in their candy-stripe uniforms and delicate white hats and clean white aprons, tended the wounded soldiers along the neat rows of cots.  

France was at war with Germany. 

Her soldiers needed mending. 

The lovely, forested grounds of the medieval Cloisters north of the village Montcornet were ideal for recuperation. Pleasant sounds of water running in a brook and birds trilling filled the open first floor of the nunnery. 

Simone moved among the patients’ beds, offering hope, pouring water, parsing out medications.

“Et ta gueule,” replied Simone. “Jump in any time.”

“Simone, you can see, even through your eyeglasses,” said Charlotte, cruelest of the three. “We’re busy conferring with the Security officer s,” meaning the boys at the radios. 

“Oh! Graisse cherie!” Rennie, the small one, chimed in. “You missed a spot! There!”

  In the Spring of 1940, France needed all of her resources, all of her people and all of her history, to fend off the overwhelming force of the Third Reich’s blitzkrieg. Hitler’s Seventh Panzer Division dwarfed all opposition. The Seventh Panzer Division did not distinguish between combatant and schoolchildren, nor did it care to take civilian prisoners.

Suddenly the radio crackled, sharp and loud and grating.

One of the young soldiers pushed Charlotte off his lap as he reached for the radio dials. 

The makeshift hospital in the Medieval nunnery also served as one of Montcornet’s communications stations.     

“What’s that?” asked Madeline suddenly. “That sound -- ”   

Everyone stopped to listen to something new. 

A deep, guttural, reverberating boom rose, overtaking the radio’s thin squawking. It was like thunder rumbling from the basements.

It was a radical, foreign sound, infinitely threatening and sharply out of place in that pastoral, meditative setting.  

A machine sound --            

Now they heard the snap of crunching branches.       


Ilyn, the highest-ranking of the teenaged soldiers, pointed down the road which led to the monastery’s front drive and portico. 

He raised his binoculars.

A monster had suddenly appeared in the road, 

It had somehow burst through the hedgerows. 

It was now shambling directly towards them no more than a quarter-mile away. 

Ilyn cranked the radio generator.   

“Hello! Ready One! Ready One! HEY!” he shouted.  

“A NAZI TANK just pulled up – ”

The creature’s rolling treads smashed over the low stone walls that neatly divided the road from the orchards.    

“But what are we supposed to do?”

A jarring BOOM! sound -- 

An explosive concussion blew them out of their seats and sent a shower of stone shards across the infirmary.   

“Where did that come from-- ”     

Bewildered, blinking, the soldiers and nurses sat where they had fallen.    

The artillery had struck above them.

Now they heard bursts of rapid machine-gun fire --  

Two bodies fell from the second-story balcony onto the lawn in front of the portico.     

“NO! No!” screamed Madeline. “CHARLOTTE. Char, nonono --” 

Charlotte was not moving. She lay slumped unnaturally against the wall. Deep stains of blood scarred her nurse’s uniform. The blow had been terrible and violent --      

“HEY!  HEY!” Ilyn screamed into the radio microphone. “HELP! HELP US!”

Rennie cowered beneath a doctors’ examination table, streaks of blood in her hair --      

One of the boys at the radio started crying.

Madeline moaned in fear, clinging to Ilyn’s leg. 

“What do you mean?” screamed the desperate Ilyn into the receiver. A steady stream of chatter poured out of the speaker.  

“How would I know what type of tank it is -- ”

“Königstiger,” shouted Simone from across a row of beds that had been knocked over. “It’s a Royal Tiger. Can’t you see -- ?” 

She lifted a patient back into one of the cots. 

“DUCK!” screamed Ilyn – 


The bellow of a second artillery round struck the back wall with tremendous ‘thunk!’ and detonated on contact. 

The stone floors shook with the impact.  The system of masonry and archways supporting the Cloisters trembled.   

Outside, steel treads on the gravel road signaled that the death machine was rolling inexorably towards them. 

At seventy-five tons, the Konigstiger was the heaviest tank in all the Third Reich. The Royal Tiger, most destructive tank ever built, led the Panzer corps. Its long-barreled, high velocity KwK 43 88-millimeter cannon could penetrate five inches of armor at a range of two kilometers. It could kill you up close with two 7.92 MG34 machine guns. Driven by a 16-cylinder, 700-horsepower engine, the Royal Tiger could chase down a flock of Jeeps. Its metal skin of green and brown and charcoal gray marked its source, for surely this death-dealer had risen from the caves of the nether-regions, like its beastly brethren, the bloody-jawed Teuton serpent  Jörmungandr. the undead draugr, who single-handedly slew Nerthus and plagued the armies of Nidhogg, and thrice-cursed Grendel, murderous denizen of the mead halls of Heorot.

“HELP US!  HELP!” Ilyn repeated into the radio microphone.

The telegraph clacked in response.   

The tank shifted gears. Its motors whined and revved, turret adjusting as its guns took fresh aim.  

Ilyn stopped to listen to the earphones. He scribbled frantically in his notebook -- 

Metal cranked. An orange-gold flame flashed --     

BOOM!   Another round struck with a harpie-like shriek and a rain of heavy fragments and shrapnel.

“My eardrums!” screamed Rennie. Blood seeped through her fingers as she tried to cover her ears.    

Ilyn fell to the floor, cut almost in two, his body blackened – 

Madeline redoubled her screaming at the sight of Ilyn’s bloody corpse.       

She slammed into the medicine cupboards in her hysterical effort to get away. 

Death stormed the Cloisters.

Simone pushed Ilyn’s body off the chair. 

She pulled trembling Rennie to her feet. 

She leaned over the transmitter and telegraph. 

She found Ilyn’s notebook and scanned through its pages. She stopped to look hard at one page in particular. 

Here is what she saw written there 

10  4  24  23  12  10  /  1  2  12  14  10  4  22  17  

6  12  22  10  12  24 /  24  12  4  24

“What, Simone?” cried Rennie, buoyed by the sight of her friend taking action. “Can’t we go?” 

She wrung her hands to try and keep them from shaking so hard. 

“What’s it say?”

Simone scribbled on a piece of paper. 

The furious Konigstiger entered the courtyard with an angry, guttural Rrrrrrrr  --   

Simone swept up a MAS-36 carbine that was leaning against the radio desk. She whacked hard and broke the lock on the weapons closet with the rifle butt. She swung the doors open.

“Come on Rennie! Help me carry this -- ” 

With effort, Simone plucked one of the big rocket launchers from its rack.

The American- made M1A1 shoulder cannon was a metal tube with attachments and dials stuck onto its shaft, five feet long and fifty pounds heavy.

“Here!” Simone grunted and bade her friend carry the back end of the bazooka. 

Rennie hesitated. 

In the courtyard, the terrible machine sounds came closer.

“It’s just us,” said Simone. “Either we stop this thing, or everybody dies.”

Rennie looked hard at her companion. 

“All right.” 

Brave Rennie wiped her nose. 

“I understand. Simone, I understand.”


Universal Link:

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Tom Durwood is a teacher, writer and editor with an interest in history. Tom most recently taught English Composition and Empire and Literature at Valley Forge Military College, where he won the Teacher of the Year Award five times. Tom has taught Public Speaking and Basic Communications as guest lecturer for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group at the Dam’s Neck Annex of the Naval War College.

Tom’s ebook Empire and Literature matches global works of film and fiction to specific quadrants of empire, finding surprising parallels. Literature, film, art and architecture are viewed against the rise and fall of empire. In a foreword to Empire and Literature, postcolonial scholar Dipesh Chakrabarty of the University of Chicago calls it “imaginative and innovative.” Prof. Chakrabarty writes that “Durwood has given us a thought-provoking introduction to the humanities.” His subsequent book “Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism” has been well-reviewed. “My favourite nonfiction book of the year,” writes The Literary Apothecary (Goodreads).

Early reader response to Tom’s historical fiction adventures has been promising. “A true pleasure … the richness of the layers of Tom’s novel is compelling,” writes Fatima Sharrafedine in her foreword to “The Illustrated Boatman’s Daughter.” The Midwest Book Review calls that same adventure “uniformly gripping and educational … pairing action and adventure with social issues.” Adds Prairie Review, “A deeply intriguing, ambitious historical fiction series.”

Tom briefly ran his own children’s book imprint, Calico Books (Contemporary Books, Chicago). Tom’s newspaper column “Shelter” appeared in the North County Times for seven years. Tom earned a Masters in English Literature in San Diego, where he also served as Executive Director of San Diego Habitat for Humanity.

Two of Tom’s books, “Kid Lit” and “The Illustrated Boatman’s Daughter,” were selected “Best of the New” by Julie Sara Porter’s Bookworm  Book Alert

Website: www.themathgirls.com

Newsletter:  empire-studies-press.mailchimpsites.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TDurwood

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.durwood.52 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tom-durwood-542bb422/ 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.fr/theusefulsherpa/ 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Tom-Durwood/e/B00935QAQ6 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5462355.Tom_Durwood 

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

The Coffee Pot Blog Tour presents: The White Sails Series Collector's Edition by Emma Lombard

Book Title: The White Sails Series Collector’s Edition

Series: The White Sails Series

Author: Emma Lombard

Publication Date: February 1st, 2023

Publisher: Emma Lombard

Page Length: 1006

Genre: Historical Romance

Blog Tour Schedule page:  

The White Sails Series Collector’s Edition

By Emma Lombard

Award-winner, The White Sails Series, where icy winter storms, opportunistic mercenaries, uncharted lands, and a colourful crew of sailors are all lashed together by an epic love story. 

This collector’s edition includes all four books in the series.

The White Sails Series: Special Hardback Omnibus

If Bridgerton and Pirates of the Caribbean had a love child.

Are you a fan of sweeping romantic adventures?

Do you fall for tall, brooding Naval Officers?

Love a feisty female lead who makes you yell aloud?

Then hop aboard Emma Lombard’s hardback Collector’s Edition of The White Sails Series, and batten down the hatches!

But why?

Well, firstly, let me tell you what my Kickstarter campaign isn’t. It isn’t a plea for donations, it’s not a beg for money, and it’s not just another retailer.

Okay, so what is it then? 

Kickstarter is a wonderful way for me to give more to my fans.

It allows fans access to a special collector’s edition that is not (and will never be) available from online retailers.

It allows fans to have each and every copy personalised, which is just not doable on retailers.

It also allows fans a more intimate view of the story behind my series.

And best of all, it allows fans to get involved in my next series, whether through an exclusive sneak peek of the first draft or even having a character named after them.

Oh, and did I mention there’s an opportunity to win the original oil painting of the cover?

Where else in the world do you get all this extra cool stuff thrown in just because you bought a book?

What’s in it for you, Emma?

Without wanting to sound too cheesy, I’m beside myself to put such a pretty book out in the world. I’m mean, just look at that dreamy sunset! I’m not going to lie, I love a chunky book.

This collector’s edition fulfils my ultimate author dream—to be able to hold (and smell) a weighty tome. I’m not the only one—I’ve had folks walk up to my books at the market and pick them up just to smell them! My kind of peeps!

I know it’s taboo to talk about money, but the pledges received for this campaign will help me recoup some of the upfront expenses that I have already laid out, like editing, book cover design, audiobook narration, and it will give me the momentum I need to invest in those same services for my next series, The Gold Hills Series.

You’ll be helping keep the indie publishing ecosphere turning, which in turn lets me keep creating more stories.

So, what’s The White Sails Series about?

One of my readers described it best: If Bridgerton and Pirates of the Caribbean had a love child.

The idea for this series was born from a tiny nugget of family gossip that my grandmother shared with me. She told me how my 3x great grandmother left her well-to-do family in England to elope with an English sea captain, and live aboard his ship with him. 

I took the basic concept of this story and had a blast creating an entirely fictitious imagining of what it might have been like for a woman to live aboard a ship in those days. Quite ironic considering that I get terribly sea-sick myself.

Curious? Never seen what a Kickstarter campaign looks like?

 Just looking: Take a look at Emma's campaign to see it in detail: 

 Note: clicking on this link will not sign you up to anything, it will simply take you to the campaign page to look.


Batten down the hatches, m’lovelies, for a chance to win an exclusive, personalised, hardcover Collector’s Edition of The White Sails Series: 

Fill out the entry form 

Winner will be notified by email on February 18th, 2023.

Buy Links: 

Exclusively available on Kickstarter: 

Emma Lombard was born in Pontefract in the UK. She grew up in Africa—calling Zimbabwe and South Africa home for a few years—before finally settling in Brisbane Australia, and raising four boys. Before she started writing historical fiction, she was a freelance editor in the corporate world, which was definitely not half as exciting as writing rollicking romantic adventures. Her characters are fearless seafarers, even though in real life Emma gets disastrously sea sick.

Website:  Twitter:  Facebook: Instagram:  Book Bub:  Amazon Author Page:  Goodreads: