Posts Tagged ‘Historical fiction’

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The Body in the Ballroom

by R.J. Koreto

on Tour July 1-31, 2018

Synopsis:

The Body in the Ballroom by R.J. Koreto

President Teddy Roosevelt’s daring daughter, Alice, leaps into action to exonerate a friend accused of poisoning a man just about everyone hated.

Alice Roosevelt, the brilliant, danger-loving daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, has already risked an assassin’s bullet to solve one murder. She never expected to have to sleuth another, but she’d never pass up the opportunity, either. Anything to stave off boredom.

And such an opportunity presents itself when Alice is invited to a lavish ball. The high-society guests are in high spirits as they imbibe the finest wines. But one man, detested by nearly all the partygoers, quaffs a decidedly deadlier cocktail. An African-American mechanic, who also happens to be a good friend of former Rough Rider-turned-Secret Service Agent Joseph St. Clair, is suspected of the murder-by-poison, but Alice is sure he’s innocent and is back on the scene to clear his name.

From downtown betting parlors to uptown mansions, Alice and Agent St. Clair uncover forbidden romances and a financial deal that just might change the world. But neither Alice nor her would-be protector may survive the case at hand in The Body in the Ballroom, R. J. Koreto’s gripping second Alice Roosevelt mystery.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: June 12th 2018
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 1683315774 (ISBN13: 9781683315773)
Series: Alice Roosevelt Mystery #2
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

President Roosevelt and I were just finishing out talk when A moment later, the office door opened, and Mr. Wilkie, the Secret Service director, walked in. I stood to greet him.

“St. Clair. Glad to see you’re back. Very pleased with the way it went in St. Louis.” He turned to the president. “Have you spoken to him yet, sir?”

“Yes, and he’s agreed.” Wilkie looked relieved, too.

“Very good then. If you’re done, sir, I’ll take St. Clair to her. My understanding is that arrangements have been made for Miss Roosevelt to leave tomorrow afternoon.”

“Exactly. We’re all done then. St. Clair, thanks again. And I’ll be up in the near future, so I expect to see you again soon.” We shook hands, and I followed Mr. Wilkie out the door.

“Is she smoking on the roof again, sir?” I asked. That’s what happened the first time I met Alice in the White House.

He grimaced. “No. My understanding is that she is in the basement indulging a new hobby of hers. But you’ll see.” He led me downstairs, and that’s when I heard the unmistakable sounds of gunfire. Mr. Wilkie didn’t seem worried, however. “Miss Roosevelt somehow got hold of a pistol and has set up her own private firing range in a storage room. We launched an investigation to figure out how Miss Roosevelt obtained such a weapon but were unable to reach a formal conclusion, I’m sorry to say.”

No wonder they wanted me back.

And just as when Mr. Wilkie had sent me to get Alice off the roof, he once again cleaned his glasses on his handkerchief, shook my hand, wished me luck, and departed.

I heard one more shot, and that was it. She was probably reloading. The sound came from behind a double door at the end of the hallway. I carefully opened it, and she didn’t notice at first.

I watched her concentrating on the pistol, her tongue firmly between her teeth as she carefully focused on reloading. It was an old Smith & Wesson single-action, and she was damn lucky she hadn’t blown her own foot off. She was shooting at a mattress propped against the far wall, and from the wide scattering of holes, it was clear her marksmanship needed a lot of practice.

“A little more patience, Miss Alice. You’re jerking the trigger; that’s why you keep shooting wild. And that gun’s too big for you.”

It was a pleasure to see the look of shock and joy on her face. She just dropped the gun onto a box and practically skipped to me, giving me a girlish hug. “Mr. St. Clair, I have missed you.” She looked up. “And I know you have missed me. They say you’re back on duty with me. We’re heading to New York tomorrow, and we’ll have breakfast together like we used to and walk to the East Side through Central Park and visit your sister Mariah.”

I couldn’t do anything but laugh. “We’ll do all that, Miss Alice. But I’m on probation from your aunt, so we have to behave ourselves. You have to behave yourself.”

“I always behave.” She waved her hand to show that the discussion had ended. “Now there must be a trick to loading revolvers because it takes me forever.”

“I’ll teach you. Someday.” I made sure the revolver was unloaded and stuck it in my belt. Then I scooped up the cartridges and dumped them in my pocket.

“Hey, that’s my revolver,” said Alice. “It took me a lot of work to get it.”

“You’re not bringing it to New York, that’s for sure, Miss Alice.”

She pouted. “I thought you’d relax a little after being in St. Louis.”

“And I thought you’d grow up a little being in Washington. You want to walk into the Caledonia like a Wild West showgirl? Anyway, don’t you have some parties to go to up there?”

“Oh, very well. But promise me you’ll take me to a proper shooting range in New York and teach me how to load and fire your New Service revolver.”

“We’ll see. Meanwhile, if you don’t upset your family or Mr. Wilkie between now and our departure tomorrow, I’ll buy you a beer on the train.” That made her happy.

We walked upstairs as she filled me in on White House gossip.

“Oh, and I heard you were in a fast draw in St. Louis and gunned down four men.” She looked up at me curiously.

“A little exaggeration,” I said. I hadn’t killed anyone in St. Louis, hadn’t even fired my revolver, except for target practice.

“You didn’t kill anyone?” she asked, a little disappointed.

“No. No one.”

But then her face lit up. “Because your reputation proceeded you, and they knew there was no chance of outdrawing you.”

“That must be it,” I said.

“But look on the bright side,” she said, still full of cheer. “New York is a much bigger city. Maybe you’ll get a chance to shoot someone there.”

***

Excerpt from The Body in the Ballroom by R.J. Koreto. Copyright © 2018 by R.J. Koreto. Reproduced with permission from R.J. Koreto. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

R.J. Koreto

R.J. Koreto has been fascinated by turn-of-the-century New York ever since listening to his grandfather’s stories as a boy.

In his day job, he works as a business and financial journalist. Over the years, he’s been a magazine writer and editor, website manager, PR consultant, book author, and seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine. He’s a graduate of Vassar College, and like Alice Roosevelt, he was born and raised in New York.

He is the author of the Lady Frances Folkes and Alice Roosevelt mysteries. He has been published in both Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. He also published a book on practice management for financial professionals.

With his wife and daughters, he divides his time between Rockland County, N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Catch Up With R.J. Koreto On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

 

 

ENTER TO WIN:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for R.J. Koreto. There will be 3 winners of three (3) Amazon.com Gift Cards. The giveaway begins on July 1, 2018 and runs through August 1, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

CLICK for the Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Alice and the Assassin

by R.J. Koreto

on Tour April 1-30, 2018

Synopsis:

Alice and the Assassin by R.J. Koreto

In 1902 New York, Alice Roosevelt, the bright, passionate, and wildly unconventional daughter of newly sworn-in President Theodore Roosevelt, is placed under the supervision of Secret Service Agent Joseph St. Clair, ex-cowboy and veteran of the Rough Riders. St. Clair quickly learns that half his job is helping Alice roll cigarettes and escorting her to bookies, but matters grow even more difficult when Alice takes it upon herself to investigate a recent political killing–the assassination of former president William McKinley.

Concerned for her father’s safety, Alice seeks explanations for the many unanswered questions about the avowed anarchist responsible for McKinley’s death. In her quest, Alice drags St. Clair from grim Bowery bars to the elegant parlors of New York’s ruling class, from the haunts of the Chinese secret societies to the magnificent new University Club. Meanwhile, St. Clair has to come to terms with his hard and violent past, as Alice struggles with her growing feelings for him.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: April 11th 2017
Number of Pages: 280
ISBN: 1683311124 (ISBN13: 9781683311126)
Series: Alice Roosevelt Mystery #1

Get Your Own Copy of Alice and the Assassin on Amazon & Barnes & Noble & add it to your Goodreads list!!

Read an excerpt:

I had a nice little runabout parked around the corner, and Alice certainly enjoyed it. It belonged to the Roosevelt family, but I was the only one who drove it. Still, the thing about driving a car is that you can’t easily get to your gun, and I didn’t like the look of the downtown crowds, so I removed it from its holster and placed it on the seat between us.

“Don’t touch it,” I said.

“I wasn’t going to,” said Alice.

“Yes, you were.”

I had learned something the first time I had met her. I was sent to meet Mr. Wilkie, the Secret Service director, in the White House, and we met on the top floor. He was there, shaking his head and cleaning his glasses with his handkerchief. “Mr. St. Clair, welcome to Washington. Your charge is on the roof smoking a cigarette. The staircase is right behind me. Best of luck.” He put his glasses back on, shook my hand, and left.

It had taken me about five minutes to pluck the badly rolled cigarette out of Alice’s mouth, flick it over the edge of the building, and then talk her down.

“Any chance we could come to some sort of a working relationship?” I had asked. She had looked me up and down.

“A small one,” she had said. “You were one of the Rough Riders, with my father on San Juan Hill, weren’t you?” I nodded. “Let’s see if you can show me how to properly roll a cigarette. Cowboys know these things, I’ve heard.”

“Maybe I can help—if you can learn when and where to smoke them,” I had responded.

So things had rolled along like that for a while, and then one day in New York, some man who looked a little odd wanted—rather forcefully—to make Alice’s acquaintance on Fifth Avenue, and it took me all of three seconds to tie him into a knot on the sidewalk while we waited for the police.

“That was very impressive, Mr. St. Clair,” she had said, and I don’t think her eyes could’ve gotten any bigger. “I believe that was the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen.” She looked at me differently from then on, and things went a little more smoothly after that. Not perfect, but better.

Anyway, that afternoon I pulled into traffic. It was one of those damp winter days, not too cold. Workingmen were heading home, and women were still making a few last purchases from peddlers before everyone packed up for the day.

“Can we stop at a little barbershop off of Houston?” she asked. I ran my hand over my chin. “Is that a hint I need a shave?” I’m used to doing it myself.

“Don’t be an idiot,” she said, with a grin. “That’s where my bookie has set up shop. I’ve had a very good week.”

***

Excerpt from Alice and the Assassin by R.J. Koreto. Copyright © 2018 by R.J. Koreto. Reproduced with permission from R.J. Koreto. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

R.J. Koreto

R.J. Koreto has been fascinated by turn-of-the-century New York ever since listening to his grandfather’s stories as a boy.

In his day job, he works as a business and financial journalist. Over the years, he’s been a magazine writer and editor, website manager, PR consultant, book author, and seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine. He’s a graduate of Vassar College, and like Alice Roosevelt, he was born and raised in New York.

He is the author of the Lady Frances Ffolkes and Alice Roosevelt mysteries. He has been published in both Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. He also published a book on practice management for financial professionals.

With his wife and daughters, he divides his time between Rockland County, N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Catch Up With R.J. Koreto On his Website, Goodreads Page, Twitter @RJKoreto, & on Facebook @ ladyfrancesffolkes!

 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for R.J. Koreto. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift card. The giveaway begins on April 1, 2018 and runs through May 1, 2018. Void where prohibited.

CLICK HERE for the Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Empress Wu Zetian
The Legendary Women of World History Book 5
70 pages
The most hated woman in Chinese history! Travel back in time over one thousand years and meet the first and only
female emperor of China. Born Wu Zhao and given the reign title
“Zetian” just weeks before her death in 705 CE, Empress Wu
was the unwanted daughter of Chancellor Wu Shihuo — too bright, too
educated, and too politically focused to make a good wife according
to contemporary interpretations of the Analects of
Confucius.
Married off at age 14 as a low-ranking concubine to Emperor Taizong, Wu’s
intelligence, beauty, and charm won her a place as his secretary and
protégé, political experience that would empower her to transform
the lives of countless billions.
Explore the life of Empress Wu and discover why the world is a vastly
different place because she dared what no woman in China before or
since ever dreamed of.

Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd: The

Warrior Princess of Deheubarth
The Legendary Women of World History Book 6
56 pages
Queen Elizabeth Tudor’s Heroic Welsh Foremother!

Born in 1097 in Aberffraw Castle, Princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd ap
Cynan was always destined for great things. As daughter to one of
Gwynedd’s greatest warriors she grew up strong and passionate — more
than a match for her older brothers.

At sixteen Gwenllian’s life changed forever when she fell in love with
Prince Gruffydd ap Rhys, the beleaguered heir to Rhys ap Tewdur of
Deheubarth. Together husband and wife fought for and ruled southern
Wales, challenging the Norman Conquest of Wales and proving once and
for all the nobility and courage of the Welsh people, a courage that
endures across the centuries and lives in the heart of every Welsh
man, woman, and child.

Includes an extensive timeline covering over 400 years of Welsh and English
medieval history.


Ten Facts about the Legendary Women of World History You Probably Did Not Know

By Laurel A. Rockefeller

  1. Catherine de Valois was a few days shy of her fourteenth birthday when King Henry V of England defeated her father at the Battle of Agincourt.

Shakespeare makes her appear much older at the time in large part because in the play, the Treaty of Troyes appears to happen very soon after Agincourt.  In truth there is a 4 ½ year gap between those two events during which Catherine grows up –and grows up hating King Henry. When she finally marries him on 2 June 1420 she is 18 ½ years old and wise to the workings of royal courts.

  1. Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland was a battered wife.

Though she was queen sovereign of Scotland, the Church made the rules for marriage and divorce which she could not override.  Therefore, the only solution for Mary was to ally herself with enemies of Lord Darnley willing to murder him on her behalf. These allies ultimately proved untrustworthy and Mary eventually lost both her throne and later her head for it.

  1. Queen Elizabeth Tudor was a “virgin” in the sense that she never married.

The word “virgin” originally had nothing to do with vaginal sex, but meant “a free woman, one not betrothed, not bound to, not possessed by any man” (See https://professorwhatif.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/what-if-we-used-the-word-%E2%80%98virgin-in-accordance-with-its-original-meaning/). Therefore, a woman might be sexually active, yet still considered a virgin.

  1. Unlike her cousin Mary, Elizabeth refused to become the property of any man.

“I will have one mistress here and no master,” Queen Elizabeth famously replied to her Parliament in 1566 when her authority was challenged. Therefore, when we call Elizabeth Tudor “the Virgin Queen” what we actually mean is that she was sovereign in her own right, unconstrained by the men in both her personal and political life. Not even Queen Victoria had so much freedom.

  1. Empress Wu Zetian of China allowed a more or less free press during her reign.

In a time where criticizing the emperor was a crime punishable by death, Wu permitted her subjects a great deal of latitude to praise or criticize her as they desired. This allowed scholarship, culture, technology, and the arts to thrive under Wu’s reign. In addition, she abolished the traditional rule by the wealthy elites and replaced it with the Civil Service Exam system which was open to all men, regardless of wealth or class, empowering the poorest of the poor to earn their way into well-paying government jobs when aided by scholarships.  No wonder rich oligarchs hated her!

  1. Empress Matilda was pregnant when her father, King Henry I of England died.

Overlooked by most historians, Matilda was pregnant with her son William when her father died on 1 December 1135.

  1. Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd ap Cyan was related to Empress Matilda of England by marriage.

When Gwenllian married Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth in 1215 she became sister-in-law to Princess Nest ferch Rhys, one of King Henry of England’s many lovers. Nest gave birth to King Henry’s bastard son Henry Fitzhenry within weeks of Matilda’s own birth on 7 February 1102. This made Gwenllian sister-in-law to the mother of one of Matilda’s many half-brothers.

  1. Under Welsh Law, Prince Henry Fitzhenry of Deheubarth was an heir to his father, King Henry I of England.

Welsh Common Law recognized the legitimacy of all children, regardless of their parents’ marital status at birth, as equal heirs to their parents. Had King Henry of England accepted Welsh inheritance rules, he could have easily named Henry Fitzhenry as heir to the English throne. In theory this could have prevented the nineteen year war between Stephen de Blois and Henry’s sole surviving legitimate child, Empress Matilda of England.

In practice, however, making the half-Welsh Henry Fitzhenry (grandson to King Rhys ap Tewdwr of Deheubarth and nephew by marriage to Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd) would have presented its own political problems. The Church in England fiercely opposed the Welsh legal system because it secularized many domains the Church controlled or attempted to control and provided greater civil liberties to women than the Church considered appropriate. Given the number of senior clergy members in the Witan (German: Witenagemot), it is therefore highly unlikely the Witan would have permitted any of Henry I’s many bastard children to assume the throne which is why Stephen de Blois and Empress Matilda of England were the only two viable candidates for the English throne.

  1. Hypatia of Alexandria was sixty at the time of her murder.

Though the film “Agora” depicts the events of Hypatia’s life happening close together, in reality they happened over a span of decades.  Hypatia was 30 when Theophilus became Patriarch of Alexandria, 36 when the Caesareum and the Temple of Serapis were destroyed by Theophilus and converted into churches, and 50 when her father died in 405. Orestes likewise did not convert to Christianity until after Hypatia’s 50th birthday. With her age adding to her reputation for wisdom, can it be any wonder Hypatia became Enemy Number One in the eyes of Alexandria’s most radical Christians?

  1. Hypatia’s murder ended Alexandria’s golden age.

Not surprisingly, Hypatia’s murder had a chilling effect on Alexandria’s intellectual community.  With its most precious institutions and books destroyed by Patriarchs Theophilus and Cyril and its surviving intellectuals fleeing the city for safer parts of the Eastern and Western Roman Empires, Alexandria became a tiny shadow of its former self under Christian control. In the end, Christian zealots won the immediate war but destroyed the city in the process.


Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA Laurel A. Rockefeller
is author of over twenty books published and self-published since
August, 2012 and in languages ranging from Welsh to Spanish to
Chinese and everything in between. A dedicated scholar and
biographical historian, Ms. Rockefeller is passionate about education
and improving history literacy worldwide.

With her lyrical writing style, Laurel’s books are as beautiful to read as
they are informative.
In her spare time, Laurel enjoys spending time with her cockatiels,
attending living history activities, travelling to historic places in
both the United States and United Kingdom, and watching classic
motion pictures and classic television series.
One winner each week
will receive a sapling tree from the Arbor Day Foundation – trees
will vary depending on the winner’s region – US only. There will
also be two random winners for a special mystery prize- drawn at
surprise moments during the tour!
Follow the tour HERE
to discover the other amazing Legendary Women of World History books
and enter the weekly giveaways!