Friday, July 3, 2015

Daring Passage by Maggie Plummer

"Freddy O'Brennan gulped, her wide eyes following the Union flag of England as Owyn - the Alize's youngest mate - hoisted it to the top of the mast. She clenched her jaw and leaned againt the rail to get a better look, smoothing back wayward curls of her long black hair." Opening Sentence


In this much-awaited sequel to SPIRITED AWAY - A NOVEL OF THE STOLEN IRISH, slave Freddy O'Brennan is on the run. In 1656, determined to pursue freedom for herself and her young children, she braves stormy seas, treacherous castaways, and corrupt Virginia Colony authorities. Romantic sparks between Freddy and ship Captain Colin Shea Brophy smolder and threaten to explode. As they paddle dugout canoes into the James River wilderness, Freddy and her friends must navigate a choking gauntlet of ruthless slave catchers, frontier bounty hunters, warring natives, and a Cherokee renegade out for blood. DARING PASSAGE: BOOK TWO OF THE SPIRITED AWAY SAGA is a 70,000-word historical novel that captures a rare glimpse into seventeenth century colonial Virginia.


This is a stand-alone novel as well as being Book Two of the Spirited Away Saga. Book One is SPIRITED AWAY - A NOVEL OF THE STOLEN IRISH. 
Author's website:

Review by Mirella Patzer
History and Women

Spirited Away was truly I book that I fell in love with. I think it was because for the first time I learned about Irish slavery. That's what historical fiction is supposed to do - teach with emotion. And the opening book of this series did just that. So I was truly excited when Daring Passage became published so that I could continue the fascinating story. As the first, the sequel has the same power and thrust of the first book. This time, the characters travel to the new colonies of Virginia. There, they meet danger and real life and death predicaments, especially if they are discovered to be runaway slaves. 

A stunning plot, memorable characters, and lovely succinct writing, make this novel truly shine. I admire Maggie Plummer's ability to weave a spellbinding tale while digging up facts and research that is new and that teaches readers. I look forward to more books in the series, along with future books and topics Maggie will one day certainly write about. Although the two books will stand alone, I recommend reading both to get the true benefits of this engrossing tale!

Thank you to the author. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Crimson Cord by Jill Eileen Smith

"Rahab draped the pale blue scarf over her head and shivered in the predawn chill. Her two sisters, Cala and Adara, took some convincing, but in the end, they had followed her on the shrt walk to the city's public gardens in search of the dead carcasses of the female coccus ilicis, the crimson worms prized for their deep scarlet dyes." Opening Paragraph

Synopsis:  The breathtaking story of the prostitute who risked everything to protect two Israelite spies before the battle of Jericho.

Wife to a gambler who took one too many risks, Rahab finds herself sold as a slave to cover her husband's debt. Forced into prostitution, she despairs of ever regaining her freedom and her self-respect. But when Israelite spies enter Jericho and come to lodge at her house, Rahab sees a glimmer of hope and the opportunity of a lifetime.

In one risky moment, she takes a leap of faith, puts her trust in a God she does not know, and vows to protect the spies from the authorities. When the armies of Israel arrive weeks later, Rahab hopes they will keep their promise, but she has no idea what kind of challenges await her outside Jericho's walls--or if she will ever know the meaning of love.

Under Jill Eileen Smith's talented hand, the familiar story of Rahab bursts forth in high definition. Immerse yourself in a world of dark and dusty streets, clandestine meetings, and daring escapes as a mysterious biblical figure claims her full humanity--and a permanent place in your heart.

Review by Mirella Patzer

Jericho was a town in decay. The inner and outer walls of the city were in such vast need of repair, they could no longer be considered adequate to protect the people who lived behind them. The richest of the folk lived near the center of the town surrounded by the inner wall. The poorest of the poor, the criminals, the sick, lived between the inner wall and the outer wall. This is where Rahab, a prostitute lived with her family and ran a decrepit little tavern, a rowdy inn patronized by rowdy, unscrupulous men. Such were the men who purchased Rahab's attention. 

One night, she noticed two strangers in her tavern. She suspected they were spies because they were asking a lot of odd questions about the city, its inhabitants, its layout. She guessed they were Hebrew tribesmen, spies sent into the town to gather information before an imminent attack. When word arrived that soldiers were hunting the two men, Rahab hid them on the roof of her house under bundles of flax. Although Rahab told the soldiers she had seen the two men run into the darkness after leaving her tavern, the soldiers searched, but failed to find the two hidden men.

As soon as they were gone, Rahab went up to the roof and spoke with the two men. She revealed her interest in learning more about their God and their Hebrew leader, Joshua. She made it clear that by saving their lives, she had put her life and that of her family at great risk. "You owe me and my family a great debt," she said. This, the men could not deny. She made them promise that when the Hebrew attack began, their army would not harm her or her family and would give them safe passage out of the city. They agreed - all she had to do was leave a red cord hanging from the window she helped the two men escape from. In this way, all the Hebrew soldiers would know to spare them from the slaughter. The two men returned to their camp and relayed all that had transpired to Joshua, who agreed to Rahab's terms.

Several days later the brutal attack upon the city of Jericho began, and it was everything that Rahab feared it would be. The decrepit city walls tumbled, people scurried about in terror, and the slaughter began. No human or animal escaped the blood lust, except for Rahab and her family. The red cord that hung from her window saved their lives. Rahab and her family safely entered the Hebrew camp. Rahab remained, living among them, and converted to the Hebrew religion and became a loyal follower of God. 

Author Jill Eileen Smith has written a novel of Rahab's remarkable survival and faith entitled The Crimson Cord. Well written, evocative, and heart-wrenching, she portrays Rahab as remarkably resourceful, savvy, and kind-hearted. If you love ancient history, Jill Eileen Smith has added to her repretoire of biblical women with this fascinating new addition. Highly recommended. 

Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Andrew Joyce and his true encounter with a super star!

Storyteller Andrew Joyce is my guest today and, wow, does he have an unbelievable story to tell! They say that truth is stronger than fiction. Never has that been truer than here. Read on and you'll see what I mean!


My name is Andrew Joyce, and I write books for a living. Mirella has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new book, MOLLY LEE. I would like to do so by telling you of something that happened to me a long time ago. For what it’s worth, this a true story.

It was 1968; I was eighteen-years-old, and I was hitchhiking from Miami to New York. I had gotten off the beaten track, so to speak. I should have stayed on US 301 (this was before the Interstate Highway System), but instead found myself just south of Memphis hoping to catch a ride into Nashville by noon and then catch a long haul out of that city.

It was early morning. The traffic was light, and I wasn’t having any luck when suddenly a black Mustang screeched to a halt, and the guy driving leaned over and said through the open passenger-side window, “I’m headin’ to Nashville, that do you any good?”

Of course, I said, “Yes,” and jumped in.

As he’s accelerating, he’s looking straight ahead, not at me. In fact he doesn’t say anything, which is strange, but not unusual when you’re hitching. So, I said nothing and stared out the windshield at the fast approaching skyline of Memphis. Then it hit me. I know this guy; I should have tumbled from the voice.

At that time in my life, I was not into different types of music; I liked rock n’ roll. Since then my taste in music has matured to encompass all types. But even though this guy wasn’t a rocker, I knew him and his music. A couple of his songs had crossed over and were played on the top forty stations.

The driver was intent on what he was doing, but I think he caught me looking at him out of the corner of his eye. I noticed he had a firm grip on the steering wheel, his knuckles were white. Finally, after a few minutes he turns to me and says, “Howdy, my name’s John,” and raised his right hand from the wheel and stuck it out in my direction.

We shook hands, and I said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Cash.”

Once John and I shook hands, he became more talkative. Hell, he became downright verbose. He told me about his hitchhiking adventures and asked me about mine. We were three hours out of Nashville and I don’t think there was another quiet moment for the whole three hours. We talked about life, women, and we even got into a metaphysical discussion. He told me about his army days and the time he was arrested in Texas. Just to keep even, I told him stuff that had happened to me while on the road. We didn’t talk about his music or anything like that. I’d been around enough to know that coming off as a gushing fan would have been a major turn off for him. And besides, at the time, I was not a fan, gushing or otherwise. Well, to be honest, by the time we hit Nashville, I was becoming a fan; of the man if not his music.

As we neared Nashville, he told me he’d just gotten married a few months back and was dying to see his wife. “I’ve been gone two days and it feels like two years,” he informed me. Then he said, “It’s about dinner time; why not stop in and get something to eat and then hit the road. June’s a great cook.”

Dinner is what country folk call lunch.

I accepted his kind offer, and we got off the highway and headed for his home, which was only a few blocks away. When we got to his house, and as we were pulling into the driveway, he said, “Looks like June is out somewhere, but don’t worry, we’ll rustle somethin’ up.”

I told him not to bother, that I could cadge a meal down the line. He looked at me, shook his head, and in that deep voice, he asked me if I had any money. Of course, I didn’t and I told him so. He told me that he’d been on the road and hungry, and that if I didn’t get my butt in the house pronto, he’d drag me inside.

So in we went, and we walked right back to the kitchen. John told me to sit at the table as he opened the refrigerator and looked around for a moment before saying, “Ah ha! It’s still here. Then he pulled out a platter with a ham on it. I mean a real ham, bone and all.

Then he came up with a jar of mustard and a hunk of cheese. As he started to slice the ham, he told me where the bread and plates were kept and asked me to get them, which I did.

When the sandwiches where made, two of them, he asked me if I’d like a beer.

“Yes, please.”

So there I am, sitting in the kitchen of a man I’d met only a few hours before, and I’ve got two thick ham and cheese sandwiches and a can of beer in front of me. Not a bad score, and the day was still young!

I asked him if he was going to eat, and he said beer would do him fine.

We’re sittin’ at the kitchen table, me eating and John drinking’ beer when the doorbell rings. So, John gets up, but before he leaves the table, he takes a long swig of beer. “Be right back,” he said. A few minutes later, he came back into the kitchen with this guy.

“Andrew, I want you to meet a friend of mine. This here is Kris.”

I had my mouth filled with ham sandwich, so I mumbled a hello. He waved and smiled, “Glad to meet ya, Andrew.”

John then asked Kris, “How about a sandwich and a beer?”

“Just a beer; it’s my lunch hour, and I’ve got to get back to work, but I have a new song I’d like you to hear and see what you think.”

By now, I’d eaten my two sandwiches and was washing them down with the beer. I had nothing to add to the conversation so I figured I’d just finish my beer and get the hell out of there. But before I could say my thanks and hit the road, John leaves the room and returns a moment later with a guitar.

Prior to my going any further, I’ve got to lay the scene out for you. We’re sitting at a round kitchen table. To my left is John and directly opposite me is this guy, Kris Kristofferson. (At the time I thought it was Chris.) John and I were hitting our beers and looking at Kris tune the guitar. Then he picked at the strings and started to sing. Now I know ya’ all are going to kill me, but I don’t remember what the song was. I wasn’t really paying attention. In my mind, I was rehearsing my good-bye speech to John.

When Kris was done, we all three sat there looking at one another. I didn’t say anything because it wasn’t my opinion Kris sought. Kris didn’t say anything because he was waiting for John to say something, which finally he did.

“It’s not bad. But I don’t know if it’s for me.”

I’ve got to hand it to Kris; he smiled broadly and said, “That’s okay. I just wanted you to hear it and get your thoughts.” Then he lifted his beer and said, “Prosit.” That was my cue to leave. I stood and told John I had to hit the road. He said he’d drive me back to the highway, but I told him not to bother, he had company and besides, it was only a few blocks away. Kris said if I could wait a few minutes, he’d drop me at the highway on his way back to work. I declined his offer. I didn’t want to wait around. I had a full stomach and New York City was calling to me. I said my good-byes and walked out the front door, retrieved my case from the Mustang and headed off for further adventures.

Just one last thing: When I got to New York and opened my case, there was Benjamin Franklin staring up at me from on top of my clothes. John must have put the C note in there when he went to let Kris in.

Andrew Joyce's newest novel is a spin off from the beloved Mark Twain's novel Huck Finn. It's called Molly Lee. With more than 37 Five Star Reviews, find out why everyone is raving about this book! 

Molly is about to set off on the adventure of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes. It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them—a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn—ends up saving her virtue, if not her life. Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice. We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her. Molly Lee is from the author of the best-selling novel REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.

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