BBNYA Semi-Finalist Spotlight: The Vicar Man, by Amelia Crowley

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This year, the Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA) is celebrating the 50 books that made it into Round Two with a mini spotlight blitz tour for each title. BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 15 finalists and one overall winner.

If you want some more information about BBNYA, check out the BBNYA Website or take a peek over on Twitter: @BBNYA_Official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (If you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.


The Vicar Man
by Amelia Crowley
Publisher: Self-Published
Length: 196 Pages
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Comedy, Satire
Age Category: New Adult, Adult
Date Published: 20 August 2021

Dora is a barmaid.

Usually her life is fairly simple: she gets up, cleans the inn, feeds the chickens, argues with the increasingly obstreperous cockerel, listens to the woes of her fellow barmaid, avoids doing the laundry, and serves drinks to the motley crew of islanders who lurk about the taproom every night.

The same old routine, day in, day out.

Tonight, though, is different.

Tonight, just one week before the vernal equinox, after a catastrophically bad harvest the year before, a stranger has walked into the bar…

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Author Bio

Amelia

Amelia lives in Yorkshire with her family.

At least she definitely had a family around here somewhere, but to be honest she’s spent so much of the last year staring into a word processor she thinks they may have wandered off.

Her writing is fuelled by mugs of terrible, over-sugared coffee, much better chocolate, and the occasional macaron, and is punctuated by her soulless whimpers and the sound of her head hitting the keyboard.

She posts updates on her books and writing at https://www.ameliacrowley.com/ When she remembers.

Spotlight & Author Interview: Woman on the Wall, by Robin Rivers

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TWO EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN RISKING THEIR LIVES
TO SECURE THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY—FIVE CENTURIES APART

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Woman on the Wall
The Sibylline Chronicles, Vol. 1
by Robin Rivers
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Robin Marie Rivers Publishing
Out September 6, 2022
394 pages

For 500 years, the once powerful order of the Sibylline has kept the identity of its future prophetess hidden in the most famous painting in the world. Amid the chaos of post-World War II France, one woman discovers their ancient secret and its ability to transform a fragmented world. 

Paris & Amboise, 1945.

A brilliant, devoted, and driven paleographer …

After 480 days as a Nazi political prisoner, Dr. Marie Guerrant returns to Paris to repatriate the Mona Lisa and find her daughter. When a British Colonel arrives claiming he needs her French Resistance connections to find the lost painting, which she helped hide seven years earlier, distrust is high. Tipped off about her daughter’s involvement and the Colonel’s obsessive belief that the Mona Lisa contains the identity of a modern-day Sibyl prophetess, Marie must risk her life to save her daughter and the masterpiece from men consumed by controlling destiny.

Amboise & Fontevraud, 1519.

A brave, bold, and potent prophetess …

On the eve of rising as the Sibyl of Amboise, Aesmeh de la Rose must rely on her visions to find Leonardo da Vinci after he and the Mona Lisa disappear from his workshop at Clos Lucé. The precious painting and its creator cannot be lost or the ancient Sibylline Order faces extermination after more than 1000 years of rebuilding their powerful matriarchy. Torn between duty and love, Aesmeh must tap into an ancient alchemy in a race to keep the Order safe. But, an unspeakable betrayal forces her to make an unfathomable choice to secure the future of the Sibylline.

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Praise:

Intricately plotted, Woman on the Wall by debut author Robin Rivers is a fast-paced historical fantasy set in Paris and Amboise, France in 1519 and 1945. It honors the Sibylline as so much more than ancient myth and celebrates their place in every woman’s journey to self-discovery.

The first book in the six-part series The Sibylline Chronicles, Woman on the Wall is an entrancing tale revealing the fate of two extraordinary women risking their lives to secure the future of humanity–five centuries apart. This rich alternate his- tory binds a brilliant, devoted, and driven paleographer and a brave, bold, and potent prophetess beyond time, each fighting to restore sight to a world blinded by the power and control of men.


COMING FALL 2023

A mother’s devotion. A daughter’s determination. An ancient terror’s obsession. The Mother House [The Sibylline Chronicles Vol. 2] by Robin Rivers, available wherever books are sold.


Author Interview:

1. What inspired you to write this book? OR Tell us a little about how this story first came to be.Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else?

About ten years ago, a friend gave me the book Azazeel by Youssef Ziedan and I fell in love with his notion of Hypatia of Alexandria as a Sibyl. I went digging and discovered that the stories of these ancient prophetesses, who are immortalized everywhere from the Sistine Chapel to the floor of the Cathedral in Sienna, Italy, don’t exist. I found that impossible to believe, so I set out to create a world in which the Sibylline are an incredible force that those who couldn’t control them set out to erase. This novel took me about three years to complete. I traveled to France in 2019 in order to get all of the local research completed and the discoveries that I made there transformed the novel.

2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?

Humility. The editing process was a real lesson in what I didn’t yet know or understand how to apply. I quickly developed a thick skin and a real respect for all of the people writing a novel.

3. What surprised you the most in writing it?

How much I LOVED employing all of my journalism training and techniques to write a thriller. I found my voice with this novel.

4. What does the title mean?

It is definitely multi-layered. Woman On The Wall, at its most simple, is meant to reflect the Mona Lisa and her place at the Louvre. We can look beyond it and see the irony of the Sibylline surviving in the very halls of the men who set out to destroy them. Finally, it is the identity hidden within the brush strokes of the most famous painting in the wall, holding the fate of us all in that stillness until the time comes that the Sibylline rise again.

5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?

Sister Maurine and Iné Soudier are both inspired by the real Maurine Soudier. I met Maurine when she led me through an absolutely wonderful tour of Château Gaillard Amboise and was so charmed by her stories. She and I have kept in touch in the years since and I sent her an advance copy of the novel. I also hope to reconnect with her when I am in France later this year.

6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?

Love and hate are hewn from the same stone.

7. What is your favorite part of the book?

I love the letters from Aesmeh and those that pepper the novel. There were so many more included in the first draft and I had to pare them back to the few gems that appear in the final version of the novel. Using the literary device as a way to bridge time just makes me swoon a bit.

8. Which character was most challenging to create?

Marie was by far the most complex and challenging character to create. For me, striking the balance of tough, smart, independent woman with a softness that allowed her not to cling too dangerously to her false beliefs turned my writing life upside down for a while. To be honest, Marie was not the original heroine of this story, but emerged as the most provocative and I rewrote the novel with her as the lead.

9. What are your immediate future plans?

My immediate future plans are to pack my suitcase and hit the road for a few solo weeks in France. It’s definitely going to involve some research for Vol. 2 of the Sibylline Chronicles, which is going to center around the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud and the region of the Loire Valley surrounding Saumur. Really, though, I’m going to Saumur to sip sparkling wine and sleep for two weeks. I’m exhausted.


About the Author

Robin Rivers HeadshotRobin Rivers is an award-winning writer who guides young authors as CEO of Quill Academy of Creative Writing. She has always been fascinated with stories of lost times and nerds out in the realm of all things historical, fantastical, female, and mythological. As a result, she spends her days in a literary universe best described as slipstream

— a mix of historical, magical realism, and haunting romance. Robin lives with her husband, daughters, and their sphynx cat Hypatia on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil- Waututh Nations in Vancouver, Canada. Woman On The Wall is her debut novel. Stay up to date on The Sibylline Chronicles at thesibyllinechronicles.com and follow Robin on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Spotlight& Excerpt: She’s the One Who Won’t Behave + Giveaway

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She's the One Who Won't Behave
S.R. Cronin has a new fantasy book out, The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters book 6: She’s the One Who Won’t Behave. And there’s a giveaway!

Gypsum, the sixth of seven sisters, has always been a rebel. Yet no one thought she would go so far as to join the reczavy, a group living in tents on the edge of the desert and known for their sexual promiscuity and playful ways.

But as the date of the Mongols’ return draws near, Ilarians of all types must work together if they are to have any hope of surviving. And the reczavy, for all of their odd ways, do have plenty of tricks up their sleeves. Well, up their sleeves whenever they are bothering to wear clothes, that is.

Gypsum is touched when her oldest sister Ryalgar comes to call, and brings an olive branch with her. Ryalgar recognizes that the reczavy have as much to lose as anyone, and as much to contribute. Will Gypsum accept a key role in the plan to stop the invasion? Of course she will.

Unfortunately, her playmates don’t all feel the same sense of urgency. Many would rather simply enjoy the time they have left. A few claim to be allergic to long term planning. And some are too busy with their own poorly-timed plans to overthrow the government Ilari already has.

Good thing needlepoint is the one traditional skill at which Gypsum has always excelled. She will need to thread a fine needle in order to coax this recalcitrant group into becoming life-saving warriors of a very different kind.

About the Series:

People ask me what The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters are like. I’d say its Little Women acting like The Seven Samurai in Brigadoon with hints of Sex and the City.

The series consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. These historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, but together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.

Which sister saved the realm? That will depend on who you ask.

How do they save it? Each sister will offer you surprising information on why this didn’t go as planned.

Warnings: references to non-consensual sex in the past.

Universal Buy Link | Amazon | Goodreads


Giveaway

S.R. is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link


Excerpt

She's the One Who Won't Behave meme
“What’s your name?”

I knew every boy who went to my school and the smiling young man asking me the question was not one of them. He’d joined our circle of tidzys after the others arrived, standing around the fire with us as we sought a partner for the holiday celebration. He’d already introduced himself to several young women. Whatever he murmured incited giggles and a few unmistakable wiggles as well.

When he approached me, these women turned their wide eyes away from his face to give me a narrowed-eye stare of warning. I didn’t understand why. His lighter hair and tanned country physique weren’t that special, although he did have the confidence that makes everyone seem more attractive. And enough an indifference to make a young woman willing to do much to impress him.

I didn’t play games like that.

My first instinct was to make up a ridiculous name. Duck Piss came to mind. Then I decided the name my family had stuck me with was probably ridiculous enough.

“Gypsum. My name is Gypsum.”

“Isn’t that some ugly grey rock?” he asked.

“Yup. It was going to be that or Duck Piss, so I guess I lucked out.”

I turned away from him, and focused my gaze on several attractive men crouching in front of the fire, sharing laughter and ale. As I said, I don’t like stupid games or the men who play them.

“My name is Sheep Scump. Nice to meet you.”

I turned back. “Well, at least you play along.”

“Oh, I play along very well.”

Really?

“So what are you doing here? You got tired of playing with the tidzys over at your own school?”

“No. My school got tired of me. Or rather they tired of my attempts at humor and asked me to seek education elsewhere. I start classes here after the holiday.”

I don’t know why I asked the next question.

“Do your parents know?”

He winced.

“They barely knew which school I was at then.”

“Oh.” Quite different than my overinvolved parents. “What did you do to get kicked out?”

He slipped an arm around my waist and in one slick move he turned the two of us away from the fire.

“I’ve a jug of particularly fine red dinner wine waiting in my saddle bag. I hoped I’d find someone worth sharing it with. Would you care to walk over to the stables while I tell you of my horrendous crimes?”

I liked the feel of him. His smell. Okay, I even liked the undercurrent of hurt under his bravado. And I liked the promise of something better to drink than the cheap ale being handed out around the fire.

“Sure. Let’s walk, talk, and see where this goes.”

He ran his hand up my side and gave my breast a friendly squeeze. I didn’t have much to offer in that area, but he didn’t seem to care.

I put my hand on his butt and squeezed back.

We both knew exactly where this was going.


Author Bio

AUTHOR PHOTO - She's the One Who Won't Behave - S.R. Cronin
Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and is now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.

She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Although she’s lost several beloved cats on her journey, she’s been lucky enough to gain a husband and three kids who love her despite how odd she is.

Today she lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she also answers a hot-line, volunteers for SFWA, and plans her future travels.Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and now writes a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. The synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.

She’s made a lot of stops along the way. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. She’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up fine, both despite how odd she is.

These days she lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she also answers a hot-line, does things to improve her writing, and volunteers for the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) of which she’ s proud member.

It is her life’s dream to tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.

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