Wednesday, November 11, 2015

To Be A Spy by Jessie Clever


Samuel Black must make a decision: to be a spy like his father or follow his heart.

Either is likely to give his mother chest pains.

For Samuel is no longer a lad with the ambitious and noble wish of being a lamplighter to keep the seedy streets of London safe.  About to embark on university, his mind stirs with the thoughts of creating a policing force in London to safeguard its citizens.  Held back by his family’s legacy as spies, Samuel does not make his ideas known.

But when he stops a would-be purse-snatcher, his path unexpectedly veers into that of one Miss Penelope Paiget, and suddenly, Samuel must make a choice.

The short stories in the Spy Series:
1.     To Be a Spy
2.     To Be a Duke
3.     To Be a Lady

The Spy Series short stories take place after the conclusion of the Spy Series.

To Be a Spy is available at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Google Play, Kobo, and All Romance ebooks.  Find it on Goodreads.

London, 1822

It happened on Marlborough Street a little past two o’clock two days before Christmas.
Samuel had just returned from Eton the day before as his Greek studies had compelled him to stay longer than the rest of the students.  It all sounded rather dull, but honestly, it was quite thrilling as one of his tutors believed he had stumbled upon an undiscovered Biblical text.  The ramifications could be enormous, and so when asked to assist him in analyzing the text, Samuel had stayed on, of course.  It wasn’t as if he would miss the opportunity.
And thus two days before Christmas, he found himself on Marlborough trying desperately to find a present for Jane and Elizabeth.  He wondered briefly if any other man of ten and eighteen was stricken with not just one headstrong sister but two for whom to shop, and if those sisters were raised by an equally headstrong mother.  All three of them would not settle for the customary ribbons or baubles or fabrics that other ladies would surely drool over.  If it were anything less than divine, the Black women would not find it at all appealing.
Samuel stared in one window after another hoping inspiration would strike.  It was while waiting for inspiration that the crime was committed.
He was standing innocently enough outside of Rugbottom’s Books admiring a particularly ornate illustration of Shakespeare’s sonnets when the commotion began behind him.  Having been raised in less than ordinary circumstances, the time that lapsed between when the commotion began and when Samuel noticed it was rather exaggerated.  But commotions were quite common in the Black family, and he thought nothing of it.
Until Lady Delia Witherspoon screamed.
“He’s stolen my reticule!”
Samuel turned at this in time to see Lady Witherspoon pointing at a fleeing figure clutching the offended reticule under his arm.
And then Lady Witherspoon screamed again.
“That man!  He’s stolen my reticule!”
The fleeing man charged at Samuel directly, as it was previously noted, Samuel merely stood in the middle of the pavement staring into a window.  He was obviously ripe for any interaction with a passerby on the pavement, even should that passerby be a thief.
As he watched the thief approach, Samuel’s mind took that opportunity to think on matters.  He wondered briefly if other gentlemen stepped out of the way of fleeing criminals or if they advanced.  He wondered if they cowered at the thought of getting their waistcoat ruined.  And then he wondered what the wives of said gentlemen would think if their noble husbands did not act to avenge the slight against a lady.
Samuel thought none of that likely as the gentlemen of the ton that he had had the pleasure of meeting were all sopping idiots.  The apprehension of criminals was not something that suited such personalities.
And then Samuel sighed.
He sighed because he quite liked his waistcoat.  It was a fine cranberry color that went well with his breeches, and if he had learned anything from his Uncle Alec, it was that a man who showed care for his dress showed care in every aspect of his life.  And that was why Samuel was rather despondent to put his cranberry waistcoat in danger.

About the Author:

In the second grade, Jessie began a story about a duck and a lost ring.  Two harrowing pages of wide ruled notebook paper later, the ring was found.  And Jessie has been writing ever since.

Armed with the firm belief that women in the Regency era could be truly awesome heroines, Jessie began telling their stories in her Spy Series, a thrilling ride in historical espionage that showcases human faults and triumphs and most importantly, love.

Jessie makes her home in the great state of New Hampshire where she lives with her husband and two very opinionated Basset Hounds.  For more, visit her website at

Connect with Jessie on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Blog Tour: Too Old for Christmas by Zina Abbott

A holiday romance set in 1854 Columbia, California.
Too Old for Christmas, by Zina Abbott.

 About the Book:

Irishman Sean Flood survived the potato famine, crossing the Atlantic, the Mexican-American War, and wandering the Western wilderness with his mules and freight wagon. But, due to poor diet and deprivation, his teeth did not fare well. It’s November of 1854 in Columbia, California, Queen of the Southern Mines, a city Sean is helping to rebuild after the disastrous fire the previous summer. Intense stabbing tooth pain drives him to see Doc Massey, the local dentist. He first stops by the mercantile to pick up a bottle of whiskey—for medicinal purposes—and food­­­­ he’ll be able to eat when it’s all over. If only the beautiful but aggravating woman ahead of him who keeps her face half hidden and insists she won’t accept charity would finish up with her purchase so he can get his supplies, his tooth pulled and return home to his mules and half-built cabin….

That night, Sean meets the woman’s two sons, Jesse and Benjy McNair, and learns her secret. He decides with only three teeth left in his head, he needs widow Ona McNair’s charity—and he’s willing to pay for it. Sean won’t accept nine year-old Jesse’s declaration his family’s poverty means the boy is too old for Christmas that year. Sean is a full-grown man and he’s not too old for Christmas. He not only plans to come bearing gifts to Christmas Eve dinner with the McNairs, but he knows exactly what gift he wants for himself.  
*Sweet Romance

Excerpt #2:

          When Sean had walked up the hill towards home, he had decided his
Columbia State Park's collection of turn keys for extracting teeth
rotten luck that day couldn’t get any worse. It had started with blinding tooth pain, made worse by his need to work through the pain, expanded by the encounter with the beautiful but aggravating woman in the mercantile and had been topped off by the bone-wrenching visit to Doc Massey to have his tooth pulled. But, he’d been wrong. It had gotten worse. Instead of being able to come home and fix something soft to eat before he drowned his pain into oblivion that night with the rest of the whiskey, the woman’s boy stood before him trying to hand back to him a chunk of dried beef he had stolen because he was hungry. How was a man well on his way to being blind drunk with a swollen cheek dripping bitter-tasting blood and pus into a flannel pad, one whose head hadn’t waited for the hangover before it started throbbing, supposed to deal with this latest complication?
          “Nay, I’ll not be offering you charity and I’ll not be telling your ma. But, you’ll get what’s left of the meat after I get my share. And, you’ll be working for it, boy. ‘Twill not be feeling like doing ought but crawl in a hole ‘til I get better or die, but ‘tis time I build a fire and put my coffee and a pudding on to boil. And, you’ll be helping me. When I’m done boiling my beef, you can have them both plus some of t’other.”
          “Both? You’re going to boil two pieces of meat tonight?”
          “Aye, if you shan’t be taking all day giving me that work you promised. See if there be a dry spot under yon cover,” Sean pointed to the section of canvas still covering his roof trusses. “Gather some stones from that pile,” Sean pointed to the rocks he had collected for his fireplace, “and build a fire ring inside where ‘tis dry, but not too close to the walls, mind you. I’ll be starting a fire with the dry I have under the oilcloth,” Sean pointed to the pile of small twigs and branches he had gathered and kept as dry as possible. “You can be gathering the driest deadfall you can find to feed the fire whilst I start our supper. If need be, you can drag it here and use my hatchet to chop it in smaller pieces…” Sean stopped and eyed the boy critically before he continued. “Well, sore head or no, I may be needing to do the chopping. ‘Tis likely you’re not old enough to use a hatchet, now are you?”
          Jesse pulled himself to his full height. “Ma says I’m too old for Christmas this year. If I’m too old for Christmas, then it must mean I’m old enough to use a hatchet.”

Too Old for Christmas is now available on pre-order at Amazon. You may purchase it by clicking HERE. It will be available on Nook soon.

 About the Author:

Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. 

The author currently lives with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” She is a member of Women Writing the West, American Night Writers Association, and Modesto Writers Meet Up. She currently lives with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” She enjoys any kind of history including family history. When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.


Zina Abbott Links:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Goodreads  |  Twitter

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