Best-Selling and Award-Winning Author of Historical Fiction with Mystery/ Suspense, Paranormal and/or Romantic Elements, and Historical Gothic Young Adult Fiction.

Monday, December 14, 2015


Dear Readers,

I am delighted to announce the release of BETWEEN THE SHADOWS (THE LEGION OF MITHRAS), now available in print and Kindle format at Amazon.com and worldwide Amazon locations. Availability in other EPUB formats should be available by the end of December 2015.

BETWEEN THE SHADOWS is a stand-alone novel, and the first book in THE LEGION OF MITHRAS series.

I am super excited about this book, and cannot wait to hear what you think about it. A great deal of research went into the book, and I even included a glossary which addresses characters, places, events, and some Scots-Gaelic terms.

So, what is BETWEEN THE SHADOWS about?

BETWEEN THE SHADOWS is a historical paranormal romance thriller set in 1813 England and Scotland. The Regency period, especially in 1813, was a tumultuous period in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. King George III was mentally ill and unable to fulfill his obligations as monarch. His Royal Highness Prince George Augustus Frederick, was named Prince Regent in 1811. In addition to the ongoing Napoleonic Wars, Britain was also engaged in the War of 1812 with the United States of America.

So, what better time to add another threat into the mix? And introduce a remarkable heroine who begins a journey of self-discovery, empowerment, and often terrifying challenges.

Thus, when an ancient evil rises to threaten the world of the living and the realm of the dead, 19-year old Patience Sinclair is recruited by a covert group of young, extraordinary English lords, known as The Legion of Mithras, to help save mankind.

Patience Sinclair has lost everything—her family, her freedom, and the young man she loves. Yet three years of exile in the highlands of Scotland has made her more determined to prove she deserves to be free. The time has come to embrace what she is, and the gift she has kept hidden from the world.

However, returning to London is not without danger. Each step Patience takes puts her in the terrifying path of a serial killer, and an evil unlike anything she has ever known.

When fate reunites her with Viscount Leighton, Patience discovers others with supernatural abilities they have closely guarded. Can she and the Viscount move beyond the pain of their past, learn to trust love, and work together with the mysterious, secret Legion to conquer evil? Or, will darkness win?

You won’t want to miss learning about PATIENCE SINCLAIR and the powerful members of THE LEGION OF MITHRAS. What is the secret they have also hidden for years? What is the evil that grows and threatens humanity? This book marks the beginning of an extraordinary journey for Patience Sinclair and the Legion members that will not only redefine their existence, but their importance in the future of their country.

The Kindle version of this book is $3.99. However, if you purchase the beautiful, illustrated print version of this title for $12.50 at Amazon, you can buy the Kindle version for just .99 cents. To purchase BETWEEN THE SHADOWS at Amazon.com in either print or Kindle form, click on the book cover on the right sidebar. When the EPUB version is available on iBooks and Nook, links will be posted. Please note the content of this book is appropriate for ages 15 to adult.

Thank you for stopping by today, and I hope you will find BETWEEN THE SHADOWS the beginning of a wonderful adventure. ~ AKB

Thursday, April 18, 2013

WHISPER IN THE WIND - A Time Travel Best Seller on Amazon!

"Clocks slay time; time is dead as if clicked off by little wheels, only when the clock stops does time come to life." ~ William Faulkner Time is an amazing concept, isn't it? We chase time. We run away from time. Moments tick by so quickly these days, especially if you have children, there are moments when we wish we had the power to make time stand still. Perhaps what I love about writing historical fiction is that I can make time stand still. Even better, I can transport my readers to another time, another place. And that is what WHISPER IN THE WIND is about.

Just 20 hours ago, less than a day, I first announced on Facebook that my Historical Romantic Time Travel titled WHISPER IN THE WIND had been released in Kindle format. Today, I received notification that it was #84 on the Best Seller List for Time Travel in Digital format on Amazon. Of course, I would love for this book to reach the Top 10, but to see the response it has already received in such a short time is amazing. And I hope after you've read this post, you will want to read WHISPER IN THE WIND, too.

WHISPER IN THE WIND is the first book in the Windswept Texas Romance series. It is the story of Molly Magee, a 21st century young woman and Jordan Blake, a former Texas Ranger and Pinkerton detective from the late 19th century. Yet, as the tag line for this book states, "Sometimes finding the love of your life is often just a matter of...Time."

Here is the 'blurb' or description of the book from the back cover:

When Molly Magee is suddenly swept back in time, she finds herself in the Old West with gunslingers, high stakes gamblers, Victorian ideology toward women, and a Pinkerton detective named Jordan Blake. As she tries to understand what happened to her and find a way home, danger seems to follow her at every turn. Survival is a daily challenge, but it's a hundred times worse when--to avoid answering questions from a persistent and seductive Pinkerton--she fakes amnesia. She soon realizes the biggest threat of all is the one Jordan Blake poses to her heart.

Jordan Blake has lost everyone he's ever loved. As a Texas Ranger turned Pinkerton detective, Jordan has become a cynic about people and justice, and is ready to walk away from a life that has lost its meaning. He never knew that a prayer whispered in the wind would bring him an angel of mercy, and a love he'd never hoped to find.

From the open splendor of 1885 Texas to dark decadence and murder in New Orleans, Molly and Jordan learn that when fate takes a hand, finding the love of your life is often just a matter of...Time.

WHISPER IN THE WIND is a sensuous, unforgettable Historical Romance Time Travel. Now available at a special introductory price of $3.99 in digital format for Kindle, the title will soon be available as well on Apple, Nook, Kobo, etc. With a stunning cover by Ramona Lockwood, beautiful interior illustrations by Elissa Marie, and a compelling, passionate love story that I believe will touch your heart, the print version of WHISPER IN THE WIND will be available for purchase by the end of April 2013.


With a sigh of frustration, Molly marched down the street. Stopping short, she turned to find him close at her heels. “Let me tell you something, Mr. Detective. Just because I had a weak moment this morning doesn’t make me a floozy. You know absolutely nothing about me, so stop assuming you do.”

“Did I say you were a floozy?” he asked in a low voice.

“Well, no.”

“No,” he repeated then shook his head. “I’m trying real hard to understand, Molly. You tell me you’ve lost your memory. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my doubts about that. I’ll just have to take your word for it. But what I do know is you’re scared. And it would be easier for me to help you, if you told me why.”

Tears blurred Molly’s vision. “Let’s see. I’m in a strange place. I have no family, no home, and no income. It’s probably over a hundred degrees out today, and I feel like I’m wearing thirty pounds of clothing which, by the way, just happens to be twenty years out of date. The sheriff could care less if I live or die. And…well…as grateful as I am that you want to help me, you have a job and, like you said, your next assignment could come anytime. I need to be able to survive on my own and time isn’t on my side. So, yes, Jordan, I’m scared.”

He said nothing, but kindness and concern returned full force to his eyes and proved her undoing.

God, help me, I could fall in love with Jordan Blake all too easily.

The realization hit hard. She’d spent a lifetime dreaming about a man like Jordan Blake—strong, handsome, and solid as an oak. The kind of man you could depend on through thick and thin, loyal and true, compassionate toward those in need and willing to give his last dime if you needed it. He was also sexy as hell.

“Molly, I know what it’s like to be lost and need a friend as if your life depends on it.”

“You do?”

“Let’s just say someone helped me a long time ago.” A faint smile touched his emerald green eyes. “And if it hadn’t been for that person, I wouldn’t be here today.”

“What happened?”

His eye color darkened, as if the memory still haunted him. Perhaps that was what they had in common. Painful, private secrets. Memories of a past that now shadowed their lives.

After a moment more of awkward silence, Jordan gruffly cleared his throat and looked up at the sky. “You’re sure right about this heat. It’s hot as Hades today. Let’s get you a room and some practical clothing. Then, we’ll see about finding you work.”

“I can’t let you do that.”

“I can.” He took hold of her elbow.

She refused to budge. “Jordan, I don’t want to embarrass you but, well, I know why you only had coffee for breakfast this morning. It was because you didn’t have enough money to buy a meal for both of us. Granted, I don’t know what a Pinkerton earns, but it can’t be that much. You’ve got expenses of your own. And, on top of everything else, we both know it isn’t proper.”

Seductive warmth shined in his eyes; in fact, they almost twinkled down at her. “Molly, for your information, I drank about two quarts of rotgut whiskey yesterday. Black coffee was just fine with both me and my belly. And as for things not being proper, well, the way I see it—you and I have been nothing but improper with one another from the moment we met.”

“I know, but—”

He put a finger on her lips to silence her. “I’m not some dirt poor cowboy, sugar.” Leaning down he whispered in what sounded like an authentic and very formal British accent. “Indeed, my dear Miss Magee, I am exceedingly wealthy.”

She frowned. “What happened to your Texas drawl?”

A slow grin curved his lips, the deep dimple on his left cheek more pronounced than ever.

“Does that mean you’re not going to tell me?”

The mischievous way he looked at her made her stomach flip-flop. For a moment she thought he might even kiss her. Instead, he leaned forward and whispered against her ear. “I’ll tell you my past when you tell me yours.”

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. And I hope you'll take the time to check out WHISPER IN THE WIND today. ~ AKB

Monday, December 31, 2012

Hogmanay...The Ancient Origins and Customs of New Year's Eve Still Celebrated in Scotland

Today I have been counting my blessings from the passing year, and preparing to welcome the New Year following the traditions of Hogmanay and my Scots heritage. Each year I am asked by friends about Hogmanay and its customs, and this year is no different. So, for those of you unfamiliar with Hogmanay, I've decided to post an excerpt about Hogmanay from an article I did last year about how various cultures celebrate New Year.

Meaning the “last day of the year”, Hogmanay is an old, much loved custom in the highlands of Scotland. It dates back to the celebration of the Winter Solstice among the Norse yet also encompasses Gaelic customs used at Samhein. Much of Scotland’s traditions and customs are often intertwined with those of the Norse. When one remembers many people of Scots heritage are descendants of Vikings who crossed the North Sea to invade Scotland, it is not surprising in the least to see Norse influence still in existance in the culture and traditions of Scotland.

The customs practiced at Hogmanay begin at dawn on New Year's Eve. After a small breakfast, Scottish homes undergo the 'redding'. They are cleaned from top to bottom until spotless. Items are then placed about to convey what you would like to have happen in the New Year, i.e., coins for prosperity and symbols for health, love, and protection. For example, a piece from the sacred Rowan tree would be situated above your door as a token of good luck. Bits of Holly are used to keep away mischievous faerie folk,whilst Mistletoe was placed to ward away illness. Other bits of nature utilized for their 'magical' attributes are wood from the Yew and Hazel tree. This ancient traditions stems from the belief that placing pieces from these trees inside your home on Hogmanay would protect both the home and those who dwelled within.

When the clock strikes midnight, windows and doors are opened to welcome the New Year, and a feast is set for all to enjoy. And I mean "all". No one is turned away. And since it is a tradition for adults to go door-to-door singing or shouting Hogmanay, quite a crowd could be expected...which brings me to the Scots tradition of "first footing".
Basically, first-footing is the first person who crosses your threshold after midnight on New Year's Day. Traditionally, he or she should come bearing gifts such as: salt, shortbread (yum!), whisky, and a black bun (the dense, rich Scottish fruitcake). Another one of my favorites is the Clootie Dumpling (pictured below), a dessert pudding made with flour, sugar, sultanas, currants, spices, and treacle. The gifts are supposed to bring luck to the house and family in the New Year. Naturally, in return, food and drink are offered to your guests.

It can become quite the Céilidh or party as everyone who wants to be the first-footer shows up and you have a house full of guests – and lots of delicious goodies. Oh, and if a tall, dark (preferably handsome) man is your first-footer, needless to say that brings the best luck of all! Makes you wonder if whomever invented this tradition was a romance writer, doesn’t it? On the other hand, should a fairhaired man show up on your doorstep, the luck may not be so good, as they are a reminder of the Viking invaders. Hmmm.

Of course, no gathering would be complete without everyone raising a glass and singing Auld Lang Syne, the traditional New Year's anthem written by the famous Scottish poet, Robert Burns. And lest you think I jest about the level of merriment and partying for Hogmanay, the day after New Year's, January 2nd, is also a holiday in Scotland...no doubt a much appreciated day to recover from overindulgence.

Among the most popular traditions upheld today are the torchlight processions throughout the highlands. In Edinburgh last year you would have seen, "A bunch of noisy, hairy Vikings and Scottish highlanders, dragging a Viking warship, lead a 15,000 strong crowd bearing flaming torches" as they walk (along with some pipers)from historic Parliament Square on the Old Town's Royal Mile, down the Mound, along Princes Street and Waterloo Place, and up to the ancient Edinburgh meeting ground Calton Hill. Phew! Talk about a hike! Most cities, towns and villages in the highlands will have a torchlight procession, which culminates with everyone igniting a roaring bonfire and usually features a grand fireworks display.
The bonfire itself has a long history and great importance at Hogmanay. It represents everything from the Sun and the driving away of evil spirits, to how light will always conquer the darkness, and the belief that the bonfire will secure happiness and luck in the New Year. The bigger the bonfire, the better the luck. In fact, great care has always been taken to ensure the bonfire would not go out. Since everyone in the towns and villages would each carry a torch to light the bonfire, certain sure that the tradition must be upheld by the entire community, it would be a terrible omen of bad luck should the bonfire go out before sunrise.

Although I sadly cannot be in my beloved highlands this Hogmanay, the spirit and customs of this special day remains with me and my family. As we draw ever closer to the threshold of the New Year, I hope it is filled with health, happiness, love, peace and prosperity for us all. And may your first guest in the New Year be a tall, dark-haired, handsome man wishing you Happy New Year in Scots-Gaelic with, Bliadhna mhath ùr!

So, Slainte everyone and since I dare not forget my Irish ancestors, here is a very appropriate Irish blessing for Hogmanay (or any day in the New Year). "May your troubles be less, your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door." ~ AKB

Monday, October 15, 2012

Writing Historical Fiction - Bringing The Past To Life

I'm not sure what it was about history that captured my attention so much as a child. My mother used to say I was an "old soul". Whether that's true or not, I always had a keen fascination for the past and how people lived. I loved to visit museums, battlefields, old forts, historic homes, and even cemeteries. Sounds a bit morbid that any kid would want to visit cemeteries, doesn't it? But they didn't scare me. I would walk amongst the very old tombstones, the upright kind you just don't see anymore. Growing up in New England, there were alot of cemeteries dating back to the Revolutionary War and Colonial America. I would wonder about the people whose names were inscribed on those markers, and the all but forgotten times in which they lived and died.

I'm the same way with portraits and old daguerrotype postcards. I study the faces captured on canvas or film so long ago, and want to know about that person. For instance, here is an oil portrait of a little Scottish boy that I fell in love with at an antique store in Scotland. There was no information about this little lad from the 19th century, but the thought of him being forgotten tugged at my heart. He needed a home, and so I took him home. His portrait hangs on a wall in my writing loft, and that sweet, innocent face is staring down at me right now.

To say I tend to have a habit of collecting people from long ago would be an understatement. I do love art, but they represent something so much more to me. A connection to the past, to actual people of another time who were just as loved and vital in their world as you and me are to our friends and family today. No one wants to be forgotten.

Very often a writer will use the photograph of an actor or model for inspiration of a character in their book. We then ask ourselves all sorts of questions about that person -- their past, their strengths and weaknesses, the way they walk and talk, and even the way they think and what their hopes are in life. We want them to become so real to the reader that they will almost jump off the page and become unforgettable. In essence, a writer uses words to capture a character on paper much the way that an artist does with paint on canvas. Whether the audience of that work is reading a book of fiction or looking at a painting of a real person from long ago -- they both can not only captivate your attention but your heart.

Sitting on my desk now is the portrait of a middle-aged woman dated 1860. There is handwriting beneath the oval image of her sweet, serene face, but it is hard to decipher. Apart from being drawn to her face, I noticed that placed delicately atop the ink writing, preserved for well over a century now, is a strand of her hair. Someone loved this woman. Someone, no doubt a loved one, didn't want to forget this woman. No, I don't know her name or how it came to be that this tiny framed image should come to my attention, but I happily accepted the role of being the guardian of her portrait.
What these two portraits also have in common is the fact they are from another time long ago. They are, in fact, historical figures (no matter if they were famous or not), and by their existence helped form the tapestry of humanity to which we all belong. So many lives touch one another, in ways we don't always understand or appreciate at the time. And it never ceases to amaze me how much we can learn about life and ourselves by studying the past.

As a writer of historical fiction, I spend a great deal of time on research and that can be time-consuming. But it's important for me to try and be as accurate as possible. Research may involve something as simple as food and fashion or medical treatments and political issues prevalent at that time. Like today, economic and social issues affected the lives of people on a daily basis. So, it would be negligent for a writer to ignore the influence of war or important historical facts on characters in their book.

Much as I love history and feel it is important to embellish my work with historical facts, I strive to paint an accurate picture and not dump a heavy history lesson on the reader. I also strive to make my characters resonate with the modern reader. For example, in my debut novel, The Sense of Honor, the heroine is a young woman who has pushed aside her hopes and dreams to help protect the people she loves. That nurturing, selfless desire to help one's loved one or family is something that many women can relate to today. So, even though Christiana Tatum's fictional life takes place in 1812, there are many women today who push their dreams aside to help others. Whether it is a young women putting college on hold and working to financially help her parents in these hard economic times, to working moms or caregivers of elderly parents, women continue to prioritize and usually put the needs of others before their hopes and dreams every day.

At the same time, a historical writer must never lose sight of the fact their characters must accurately represent the time period. People who love to read historical fiction are also usually well versed in history. In fact, many readers have become armchair scholars because of their love of history and of a specific time period. And nothing will pull a devoted historical reader out of a book faster than inaccuracy about the time period or hearing a character using modern vocabulary or dialogue that didn't exist in their world.

As a child, the historical novels I read greatly impacted my love of history and desire to learn more about certain time periods. Novels set in the Regency and Victorian periods were of particular interest, especially works of fiction by Jane Austen,Charlotte Bronte,and Victoria Holt. Of course, we all know Austen and Bronte were not writing history, but about the time period in which they lived. Still, it's fair to say they never could have foreseen the historical impact their work would have on future generations studying the early 19th century or Victorian era. Without doubt, Miss Jane Austen documented the Regency period with such skill and detail that her work has given readers, students, scholars, and historians a remarkable insight into the actual customs, culture, fashion, transportation and leisure activities, as well as the social and economic structure of 19th century England and its effect on the privileged and working class.
Today, Jane Austen's books continues to bring the past to life and touch the lives of readers all over the world. Her unforgettable characters have become iconic representatives of the Regency period in literature. She also remains, without question, a guiding influence in my writing. Whether I write a novel set in the Regency period or one set in the American West of the late 19th century, as an author of historical fiction, I feel it is a responsibility to honor the past by painting an accurate picture of the setting. It is my goal to take the reader on a journey to another time and place, one that will be both visual and emotional, and perhaps inspire a reader to look deeper into the past or take a harder look at a portrait of some unknown person they might encounter in a museum or shop.

History does surround us and whether we think so or not, it is part of who we all are. So, don't shy away from it. Pick up a historical novel today and travel back in time. You may be surprised by how much your learn and by how much it resonates with you and your life today. And if you have a favorite author of historical fiction, I would love to know who and the title of your favorite book.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy Reading! ~ AKB

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Music...The Soundtrack of our Lives

Like many people, music has always been a large part of my life. In fact, I believe that most people feel the same way. All of us have a personal soundtrack to our lives. Songs by recording artists and groups that were somehow always playing in the background. Songs we sang as children on the playground. Music we listened to as we did our homework. The hymns we sang in church. The Christmas carols we sang from childhood to adulthood as we decorated an evergreen tree. Standing at a baseball game, hand over your heart, as your join in with others singing The National Anthem. The first time you heard a symphony orchestra, or the overture for a Broadway musical. The haunting notes from a lone piper playing Amazing Grace at the funeral of a loved one. From the cradle to the grave, music has been a constant presence in most of our lives, a loyal friend that can make us tap our toes and sing along, or comfort and help ease our pain.

I know that when I hear a certain piece of music I am transported back in time to a moment in my life and I am reminded of the often overlooked impact that music made in my life. Most recently, upon learning about the death of singer Andy Williams on September 25, 2012, a rush of memories came forth. Memories from my childhood, so often tucked away in the busy pace of the present. Memories of my darling mother, and of being home with her and my siblings. Of happy times when life was far less complicated and we just didn't realize we would not be together forever.
I was so sad to hear that Andy Williams had died. At the same time, that golden door in my memory opened as I reflected on his music and how it played such a signifiant part during some of the happiest times of my life. And so I have been reminiscing a great deal these past few days, listening again to all his songs. And you know what? They still made me so very happy.

The truth is, I cannot recall a time when music has not surrounded me. It just always seems to be near. I love it! Pure and simple. I'm the person in the theatre who pays as much attention to the soundtrack of a film as the film itself. Let's face it, take away Darth Vadar's theme when he appears on screen or just walks, and it would not have the same impact.

As a writer, I always listen to music when I write and it plays an important role in the creativity of my work. Since I write historical fiction, the music I choose is usually from that time period. However, I also listen to soundtracks from films that also took place in the same time period.

For example, right now I am working on a Historical Paranormal Thriller series that takes place in the early 19th century (or Regency period). So, the soundtracks from the 1995 film, Sense and Sensibility (Original Music by Patrick Doyle) and the 2005 verion of Pride & Prejudice (Original Music by Dario Marianelli) have both helped to immerse my thoughts into the time period I am writing about.

At the same time, since Between the Shadows (Book One of the series) is also a very suspenseful thriller, I needed much darker music that would help me visualize and create some very frightening moments for the characters.
A few of the movie soundtracks I have purchased that have helped tremendously are: The Others (Original Music by Alejandro Amenábar); The Woman In Black (Original Music by Marco Beltrami), and the 2011 Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part II (Original Music by Alexandre Desplat).

I find it helpful to create a specific playlist for each book I am writing on, based on the elements and mood I want to evoke. Then, as I sit and write alone in my writing loft (aka three flights up in the attic), I light a scented candle, listen to my playlist, and close my eyes for a moment. Sometimes I look out the leaded glass gothic window, but seeing with my mind's eye the setting of my book.

I'm not the fastest writer. I tend to focus a great deal on plotting and research, and unless I am completely happy with each scene as I write it, I cannot move onto the next chapter. It can be a nuistance at times, but I'm just not one of those writers who can rush through with a draft and then go back and re-write or change things. That may work for some, but not for me. I write in a straight trajectory, from Point A to Point B. I will take some compelling twists and turns in the plot of my book, but from a writing standpoint, I am the proverbial turtle who MUST maintain his own pace in the race with the famous hare. Still, eventually, I will accomplish the same goal...a completed novel...and hopefully readers will love it.

In closing, and in keeping with the theme that music does make up a soundtrack for our lives and can transport us back in time when we least expect it, today I purchased an album of the original music from the Dark Shadows TV series. Cool, eh? There are some great pieces, "A Darkness at Collinwood", "The Secret Room", "Seance", and "The Old House". If you ever watched the original series on TV or in reruns, you will recognize the background music. However, I wasn't prepared for Barnabas himself (Jonathan Frid) to start talking whilst haunting music plays in the background on a piece called, "I, Barnabas". Suddenly, I was that little kid hiding behind the sofa as my mom (unaware of my presence) watched the show. Anyway, here is the opening lines of the script read by Jonathan Frid as Barnabas:

"Midnight, a hush falls through the melancholy halls of Collinwood. The solemn moon casts dark shadows over the placid stillness of the old mansion. I, Barnabas, lie in deep sleep on my bed of purple velvet, asleep but awake to your thoughts, your feelings, your desires..."

Um...very spooky, Barnabas. I feel like Halloween just arrived in broad daylight.

Have a great day everyone, and remember to listen to the music of life! ~ AKB