Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Spotlight and Review of A Marchioness Below Stairs

Today, I want to welcome my writer friend, Alissa, to my blog. Her Regency romance is now out! I had the privilege of reading and reviewing it before it even came out on pre-order!

A Regency Romance

About the Book

Escaping from Bath and the news that her former love is about to marry another, Isabel, the young widowed Marchioness of Axbridge, accepts an invitation to her cousin’s house party. Yet, instead of finding respite, she stumbles into a domestic crisis of majestic proportions: The kitchen servants have succumbed to the influenza.

If that weren’t bad enough, her former sweetheart arrives with his fiancée, seeking shelter from the increasingly hazardous snow storm. Trapped inside Chernock Hall with a volatile mix of house guests, including abolitionists and slave owners, Isabel wishes she could hide below stairs for the duration. But, alas, she cannot. While helping in the kitchen, Isabel is cornered by her cousin’s disreputable friend, Marcus Bateman, who challenges and provokes her at every turn.

At last, the storm subsides. However, the avalanche of repercussions cannot be undone. Caught in the grip of the terrible winter of 1813, will Isabel’s greatest threat come from the weather, her abolitionist views, or from falling in love again?

If you love traditional Regency romances, you'll adore A Marchioness Below Stairs.

About the Author

Alissa Baxter wrote her first Regency romance, The Dashing Debutante, during her long university holidays. After travelling the world, she settled down to write her second Regency romance, Lord Fenmore’s Wager, which was inspired by her time living on a country estate in England. Also the author of two contemporary romances, Send and Receive and The Blog Affair, Alissa currently lives in Johannesburg with her husband and two sons.

About the Publisher

Founded in 2007, Regency Reads specializes in Regency and Georgian era romances. In addition to publishing new titles, Regency Reads offers an extensive catalog of previously (paper) published fiction in the form of ebooks. We provide ebooks in ePub, PRC/Mobi, and PDF – all the formats you need to enjoy these classics on the device of your choice.

A Marchioness Below Stairs
By Alissa Baxter
On Sale: November 15, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-947812-00-0

Regency Reads | 181 pages | $5.00

Buy Links:

My Review:

The story is about Isabel, a widow from a stifling arranged marriage, who wishes to remain single and maintain her independence. But she can't ignore the handsome reformed rake, Lord Bateman. Through a series of adventures and mishaps she finds herself in due to her fiery spirit, Isabel discovers Lord Bateman to be different from any man she's known.

I've never really enjoyed Regency stories, but I was keen to give this one a try as I enjoy Alissa's writing. I wasn't disappointed. I didn't feel bogged down by the language and manners in this book; instead I was quite fascinated by the lifestyle and ways portrayed in this lovely novel. It was written in an interesting and compelling way.

Although this was predominantly a romance, I felt it was more than that. The story spoke about a strong woman who stood up for her truth and freedom, and fought for justice and human rights. I thoroughly enjoyed the rich history in this book and how the heroine was a woman beyond her time. The book was infused with some tension and suspense too.

To top it off, the hero wasn't bad either.

Friday, November 10, 2017

He Completes Me

I hope Elric2012 doesn't mind me copying this from Deviant Art.
What a beautifully crafted Strength card - from his tarot deck that he's creating.

So, this guy befriends me on my author Facebook account. My privacy settings are much lower on that account, because I use it to promote my books, and I don't want to turn people away. I accepted his friend request. Then he starts messaging me and asking me personal questions. He lives in a country in Northern Africa. I ask him what he wants, stressing that I don't do long-distance relationships. Really, how can you get to know someone who you never see and when you do see them, it's just for a holiday? You don't get to see them in real life, how they respond to situations, and how they get on with friends and family. It freaks me out! That's why I don't do these things.

I've heard of so many people being scammed through a man who messages them on Facebook or a dating site. He romances them with flattery and romantic words, then asks for money so he can fly to their country and visit them. Some women actually send the men money and then find out it was a scam. I heard a story recently about a total jerk who managed to convince a woman to fly over to his country to meet him (they'd actually met previously but briefly) and then told her it was a joke - a bet he'd made with his friends that he could get a really ugly woman to do his bidding! She was devastated, as you can imagine.

Back to my situation: this online man gets upset with me and accuses me of being racist because I wasn't interested in chatting. I stressed again that I'm not interested and that it's nothing to do with race, but because it would never work and how can he want me so much if he knows nothing about me? He responds with a message, saying he really wants to come and visit me and build a life with me! Sigh... I just ignored him and I've unfriended him.

It makes me think of how desperate women can get for a man that they will get taken by these fellows. Ladies, we don't need a man. They enhance our lives (if they're good men); they don't complete us. Really, we need to find our happiness in ourselves first.

As a writer and editor of romantic fiction, I now have an aversion to books where the woman is now complete when she finds her "perfect" man. What utter crud! We are whole and complete on our own. Yes, having a partner to share our lives with is beautiful and wonderful, but if we tap into God's love and love ourselves enough, that big, gaping emotional hole won't be there. And then we won't feel desperate to fill it with the first guy that comes along. And then get used and abused along the way.

So, in the meantime, while I wait for that moment when I meet the right man, I'm working on filling up that hole and loving, respecting, and appreciating myself. Validating myself! Wahoo!

We're powerful creatures - women. We don't have to give away our power to anyone. Tame the beast like in the picture above!

Tiny Buddha is brimming over with wisdom, as always. I love this article:


I don't know if you've ever watched a movie or series and it's deeply impacted you in some way. Well, I couldn't keep quiet about the BBC Merlin series any longer. Last night, we watched the final two episodes of the series. I was deeply emotional for hours afterwards. This series is seriously one of the best things I have ever watched. It comes on par with the Harry Potter books (because although watching the Harry Potter movies was great, I already knew what was going to happen). 

The series is about a young man, Merlin, who takes on the position as servant of Prince Arthur. He's a sorcerer and magic is forbidden in the land. Sorcerers are punished with the death sentence, so Merlin must keep his magical abilities, given to him from birth, a secret. But he certainly uses them constantly (and somehow secretly) to save Arthur's life because he believes Arthur will bring peace and prosperity to Camelot one day.

Please proceed with caution due to possible spoilers:

Firstly, there is a strong "gospel" message in the story. King Arthur epitomises the true and just king who wants to bring peace into the world. He often shows mercy to people who don't deserve it and he often chooses peace over war. His willingness to give his life for his people shows the true heart of God. I wouldn't say he always does it as he is human and flawed, but the contrast between him and his father Uther remind me of the fundamentalist view of God as opposed to the Christ-like view of a loving God who never sends people to eternal hell or kills whole nations, as some people interpret from the Bible. Merlin is also a lot like Jesus - the most powerful sorcerer (miracle-worker) who ever lived, but the one with the true servant's heart who never wants any credit for the many times he saves the lives of others. 

Secondly, they somehow got me so invested in the character and stories that I can't stop thinking about it and I became deeply attached to the characters. That is the mark of a true story - brilliantly crafted, where you are taken into their world and feel like you're a part of it. I have not seen anything like it on TV.

The inner character and metal of the main characters are great for young people to watch (and also adults) to show us what a true hero looks like. It's feel-good, moral, and yet real and funny at the same time.

I think they chose great actors for the series. I just love Merlin. I love Colin Morgan - the very Irish young man they chose for the part. What I like is he looks like a real everyday person and not a Hollywood cut-out doll. Oh, and those piercing blue eyes that look right into your soul!! Arthur is cute as a button, and Bradley James suits the part perfectly. I love the chemistry between Arthur and Merlin. I think the fact that the two actors were good friends helped bring that chemistry into the show. They really worked well together. I love that they chose a lady of colour for Guinevere. And Angel (yes, that's her name) is perfect for the role. And who doesn't love a cleverly thought-up villain (or should we say villainness?) Morgana had her reasons for turning bad and although not excusable, we see the pain that has brought her to that point.

I highly recommend you watch the series. It's long, but you won't regret it. If you're a fantasy nut like me and obsessed with dragons and magic (like me) you won't be disappointed. 😊

If you want to learn more about the series and see a few pics, this is a good article:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Forest by Krista Wagner

Today I want to welcome fellow Clean Reads author, Krista Wagner, who is sharing about her new middle-grade / young adult fantasy release, The Forest. This book looks amazing.


The Forest is a middle-grade/young adult fantasy about a bullied high school boy who encounters a life-changing mystery inside of a magical forest. In the sequel to her middle-grade fantasy The Gold, Krista Wagner fast-forwards seven years to show us what has become of Shane Smith, the fifth-grade bully from The Gold. Tired of his dad's abuse and his teacher's mistreatment, Shane takes a walk inside of a forest. Little does he know that the forest contains mysteries that will forever change things for him. Will he be ready to face the sudden shift in his world?

When abused Shane escapes to the forest, he encounters a miraculous mystery.

Mini Excerpt: 

He didn't like not understanding things; it made him feel stupid, and it only confirmed his dad's verdict that he would never amount to anything worthwhile.  Huffing out of frustration, he moved forward until the edge of his shoe touched the brink of the forest. He was going to show his dad that he was somebody.

Reader Reviews:

The Forest is well crafted, and passionately told story about Shane, and the many issues he faces growing up. The attention to detail weaves a rich tapestry that embraces the reader, taking us from the harsh reality of abusive adults to the mystical, alluring forest with ease. The issues Shane faces will be familiar to many youth, and I'm sure they will connect with this well written story. It will be well-received by young adults across the globe.--Susan Day

In this YA Fantasy novel, The Forest, Krista Wagner entertains, informs, and encourages her readers once again! This story, a sequel to her previous work, The Gold, follows seventeen year old Shane Smith into a tumultuous life of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his alcoholic father. Shane’s authentic anxiety and hopelessness is immediately transferred to the reader, as well as the peace, joy, healing, and renewal that he finds in the forest. Wagner’s fearless ability to tackle extremely heavy subjects with skillful and open dialogue is a hallmark of her writing. This is a beautifully written book that will fill the reader with a confident hope. Turn the page. “The Forest” awaits!!--Karen Wiser

The Backstory:

In my MG fantasy The Gold, ten-year old Amanda Greene is constantly teased by her classmate. Shane the bully. I thought it would be interesting to see what becomes of him and if he ever learns from the choices he makes.

About the Author:                                                                                                  
Krista Wagner is a 70's product best known for her spiritual suspense and fictional realism. In addition to being a recipient of the Reader's Favorite 5-star seal, she has been praised by award-winning screenwriter Sean Paul Murphy for her writing skill and strong plotting. Wagner holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is an English associate instructor with an indispensable faith in Christ.

I'm also a 70's product. 😏 Congrats on your awards!!

Buy Link:

Author Website:

Book Trailer: