Anne Barwell on Research Ice Creams and her latest story Prelude to Love (guest post, excerpt, and giveaway)

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Prelude to Love by Anne Barwell
Dreamspinner Press
Cover art : Bree Archer

Buy Links: Dreamspinner PressAmazonBarnes and Noble  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Anne Barwell here today. Welcome, Anne!

Research Ice Creams by Anne Barwell

Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for Prelude to Love, a Dreamspun Desire novel from Dreamspinner Press.

I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter. 

One of the things I really enjoyed about writing Prelude to Love was setting it locally, i.e. in Wellington, New Zealand.  After recently writing books set in the U.K, and WWII France and Germany, it was great not to have to spend hours pouring over google maps and reading guide books in order to get the locations right.

But that didn’t mean that I didn’t have to do some research…  It’s been a while since I stopped off at Oriental Bay in Wellington and had ice cream, and apparently things have changed since the last time I did.  One of my beta readers—Reesha—read the scene where Joel and Marcus meet at the beach for ice cream and told me that if they’re doing that, there’s a place they really need to go.  I googled the place she mentioned—Kaffee Eis—went through their menu and chose flavours I thought the guys would like.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go try them out as I had a deadline fast approaching, and I knew Reesha would pick up on any errors as she’d been there.

Fast forward about a month after I sent submitted the book and Reesha and I headed into Wellington after work to pick up a friend from the airport.  With time to spare, we stopped off at the location where that scene in the book takes place and…. went to Kaffee Eis for ice cream.  They were every bit as good as I’d imagined, and as a bonus we took photos of the ice cream, and the view from the waterfront as we ate them.

If you ever come to Wellington, walking along Oriental Parade with an ice cream from Kaffee Eis is definitely something I’d recommend!

Blurb

Music speaks directly to the heart.

 

Two very different men face turning points in their lives after the collapse of long-term relationships….

Joel is a music teacher who knows it’s time to forget his ex and move on, while Marcus runs a lawn-mowing business and has come to Wellington to escape the reminders of a recent breakup. Although they’re opposites, when Joel and Marcus connect, their romance has the potential to hit all the right notes.

 

Too bad neither of them feels ready for new love.

 

With family and friends in common, dating is risky—things could get messy if it doesn’t work out. The sweet song of possibility draws them to each other, though, and they share a kiss following a Chopin prelude.  But it will take some practice and perseverance to find their perfect harmony….

Excerpt:

Joel stood on the stage at the front of the orchestra. He looked up when the door opened, and smiled.

Several of the kids in the orchestra turned around to see what Joel was looking at. A couple of the girls sitting in the front row of violins glanced back at Joel and then again at Marcus, but didn’t say anything.

Joel cleared his throat. “Okay, let’s take that one from bar thirty. Everyone found that? It’s two bars before the first time bar, so we’re going to play from there and do the repeat. I’ll give you a bar for nothing.” He raised his baton. “One. Two. Three.”

The orchestra began playing one of the tunes Joel had been humming the week before.

Marcus found a seat at the front of the hall, next to a woman about his own age. She tapped her foot along with the music and kept her eyes on Joel more than the musicians did.

A few other adults sat around them, listening. One woman seemed absorbed in whatever was on her tablet, although she nodded in time with the music and looked up when the flutes began to play.

Probably parents come to pick up their kids.

Marcus suddenly felt the odd one out, although he didn’t regret coming. Joel had an intensity about him when he conducted that was missing when he gave piano lessons. Although he’d been focused on his students then too, this felt different. Conducting was something Joel clearly loved—it reminded Marcus of when Joel had played the prelude for him.

A trumpet blared, jarring Marcus from his thoughts.

Joel lowered his baton, and although most of the orchestra stopped, the kid playing the trumpet didn’t seem to notice.

“Quentin!” Joel called, and the kid suddenly stopped playing.

“Yes, Mr. Ashcroft?”

“I think you’re a couple of bars ahead of the rest of us,” Joel said. “You’re sounding great, but it doesn’t quite work if you come in at the wrong place.” He spoke softly, so it didn’t sound like a reprimand.

One of the boys playing clarinet grinned, and the girl next to him giggled.

“Everyone makes mistakes,” Joel said. “Next time it might be someone else coming in at the wrong place. Even me.”

The whole orchestra laughed.

“Now,” Joel said, “I think we can run this through from where we were before, but this time we’ll just keep going until the end of the piece. So play the second time bar instead of the first. Okay?”

Giveaway

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You can follow the tour here:
January 2 – Happily Ever After Chapter
January 3 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
January 3 – Gillian St Kevern
January 4 – Love Bytes Reviews
January 5 – My Fiction Nook
January 8 – Kimi-chan Experience
January 8 – Two Men Are Better Than One
January 9 – Boy Meets Boy Reviews
January 10 – Dreamspinner Press Blog
January 11 – Anna Butler
January 12- Nic Starr
January 16 – Aisling Mancy

About the Author

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

Website & Blog: http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anne.barwell.1

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sylvrebarwellhoffmann/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115084832208481414034/posts

Instagram: https://instagram.com/anne.barwell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/annebarwell

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4862410.Anne_Barwell

Queeromance Ink Author Page:

https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/anne-barwell/

New Zealand Rainbow Romance Writers:

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: Prelude to Love by Anne Barwell

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Music speaks directly to the heart.

Two very different men face turning points in their lives after the collapse of long-term relationships….

Joel is a music teacher who knows it’s time to forget his ex and move on, while Marcus runs a lawn-mowing business and has come to Wellington to escape the reminders of a recent breakup. Although they’re opposites, when Joel and Marcus connect, their romance has the potential to hit all the right notes.

Too bad neither of them feels ready for new love.

With family and friends in common, dating is risky—things could get messy if it doesn’t work out. The sweet song of possibility draws them to each other, though, and they share a kiss following a Chopin prelude. But it will take some practice and perseverance to find their perfect harmony…

Prelude to Love by Anne Barwell is another sweet, heartwarming romance in the Dreamspun Desires line from Dreamspinner Press.   Relatively low key and with only a bit of realistic family style angst, Barwell’s story is a lovely tale that gives a reader the flavor of the Wellington, New Zealand location, some believable characters and happy HEA that readers will be delighted with.

The cast that Barwell created for Prelude to Love here was immensely likeable and real, including the child and cat. I enjoyed following their interactions and relationship dynamics.  If the attraction between Joel and Marcus found it’s way from physical attraction and friendship to instant love, well, that for me was my only issue with this story.  At times they felt more like best friends instead of passionate lovers, and it was that missing “spark” here that made it and this couple a little less memorable for me.

The family drama between father and son over Joel’s homosexuality plays out realistically.  I was less sure how I felt about what it said about the relationship between Joel and Marcus and the events that took place.  I found myself less connected with them both than I should be.  It could be just me and someone else will feel more suitably empathetic than irritable, which is what I felt at certain points.

Prelude to Love by Anne Barwell is a sweet contemporary romance.  I love the Wellington location, that’ s  a plus for those of us who always want an extra look at the New Zealand city.  Want a new story?  Check out the latest from the Dreamspun Desires….

Cover Artist: Bree Archer.  It’s a lovely cover, complete with the Wellington coastline.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 234 pages
Expected publication: January 2nd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640801646
Edition LanguageEnglish

Anne Barwell on Writing, Characters and her new release One Word (Hidden Places #3) (author interview,excerpt and giveaway)

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One Word (Hidden Places #3) by Anne Barwell
Dreamspinner Press
Cover art by

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press

 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Anne Barwell here today on her One Word tour.  Welcome, Anne, and thanks for answering some of our author questions for us.

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Anne Barwell

Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for One Word, the 3rd book in my Hidden Places series from Dreamspinner Press.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Yes, definitely. When my brother and I were kids, my dad introduced us to the SF genre, and both of us were hooked very quickly. I still read a lot of SF, although I tend to drift more into fantasy these days because there is more of it about. It was the other way around then.  I write what I like to read, so a lot of my stories have SF or fantasy elements to them.  I also write historical although my interest in those didn’t come until later, although some of that was because of stories Dad told about family history.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m happy with either.  I think some stories work well with a HEA, but some don’t.  With an MM historical a HEA is often not feasible, given the penalties for being found in a homosexual relationship.  Also, I think that often stories are a slice of someone’s life, so I like to think of the characters continuing their story after the final page of the book. Life doesn’t always tie everything up in a pretty bow, so stories shouldn’t always need to either.

  • Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I didn’t read romances as a teenager, and only started reading them in recent years. I enjoy them, although I still tend to lean toward the genre romances such as SF, fantasy, historical etc. Sometimes, though, I just want something lighter and I have a few favourite authors I turn to for that.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Susan Cooper, who wrote the Dark is Rising fantasy series is a big influence. I blame her for my interest in fantasy and anything Arthurian.  Madeleine L’Engle is another. I love A Wrinkle in Time and the other books in that series, and the way her other books, although in another series, were connected and had characters in common.

More recently reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series inspired me to start writing again as an adult.  Tanya Huff is another one. They’re also both mainstream writers who have gay characters in their fiction.

  • How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

Instead of a scene from the story, I like my covers to reflect elements of the story and its characters.  Most of the story in One Word takes place in a small English village hence the background on the cover.  The Morris Minor is Donovan’s pride and joy—and was also the car I learnt to drive in.  Ethan is a Maths and Science teacher, hence the mathematical equations as part of the background.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

That’s like trying to choose a favourite child.  One that will always stand out for me is Shadowboxing which is book 1 of my WWII Echoes Rising series. I’m proud of that story, and the series, and it was the first story I wrote that I knew was going to be a novel—it turned into a three book series.

  • If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

I prefer my characters flawed, but in saying that I think they still need to be likeable.  If they have no redeemable features why would someone fall in love with them?  On the flip side, people aren’t perfect and I’d be very suspicious, and think a main character was unrealistic, if he or she was cheerful all the time and didn’t have the occasional bad mood. There are things in this life that would make anyone grumpy.  Ditto for someone who never makes mistakes—the saying comes to mind about not knowing that Mr. Right’s first name was Always.

  • With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To wide our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write because I have characters who want their stories told. With life being a bit stressful at times, I enjoy being able to escape into another world, and giving these guys the happy endings they deserve. However, I do believe in making them work for that HFN or HEA.

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

My next book is called Prelude to Love and releases from Dreamspinner on 2nd January as part of their Dreamspun Desire range.  I loved writing this story as it’s set locally, plus one of the main characters is a music teacher so I didn’t need to do a lot of research.  Here’s the blurb:
Music speaks directly to the heart.

 

Two very different men face turning points in their lives after the collapse of long-term relationships….

Joel is a music teacher who knows it’s time to forget his ex and move on, while Marcus runs a lawn-mowing business and has come to Wellington to escape the reminders of a recent breakup. Although they’re opposites, when Joel and Marcus connect, their romance has the potential to hit all the right notes.

 

Too bad neither of them feels ready for new love.

 

With family and friends in common, dating is risky—things could get messy if it doesn’t work out. The sweet song of possibility draws them to each other, though, and they share a kiss following a Chopin prelude.  But it will take some practice and perseverance to find their perfect harmony….

Once my blog tour for One Word is finished, I’m getting back into writing The Harp and the Sea, which I’m co-writing with Lou Sylvre. It’s an historical with a dash of fantasy set in 1745 on the Isle of Skye.  While she’s writing her part of it, I’ll be working on A Sword to Rule which is the second and final book in my fantasy Dragons of Astria series.

One Word Blurb

A Hidden Places Story

Ethan Leavitt arrives in the idyllic village of Oakwood to search for a missing friend. Having always prided himself on his ability to find rational explanations, Ethan’s trust in concrete evidence and logic is tested by the mystery of Oakwood and Tomas’s disappearance.

Donovan Campbell’s happy, sometimes flippant, exterior hides a past he’d rather forget. As he struggles with his memories and to hold on to the inn he owns with his best friend, the last thing Donovan needs is for some guy he’s only just met to start getting under his skin. When a bank robbery escalates into a dangerous situation, Donovan must embrace a part of himself he can no longer ignore in order to save a future that might never have the chance to exist.

Ethan learns that often the person you’re looking for is not the one you find. But have he and Donovan both realized that too late…?

Excerpt

“If you want to talk anytime, I don’t mind listening.” Donovan glanced at the screen, then back to Ethan. Everyone else in the room was focused on the movie, and he’d kept his voice low so they wouldn’t be overheard. “Not now of course, but later.”

“I’m fine,” Ethan repeated. He edged toward the other end of the sofa, away from Donovan. “Thanks, though,” he added quickly. He did appreciate the offer, but it wasn’t a good idea.

“Time for a break,” Heidi announced, grabbing the remote and hitting Pause. “Doug and Mikey, come help me make drinks and bring in supper.”

“I don’t—” Mikey started to stay.

Doug cut him off. “I don’t know about you, Mikey, but one of the first things I learned about Heidi is that she means she really needs help but doesn’t want to admit it.” He winked at Mikey. “I’m sure Indy wouldn’t leave a lady in need to fend for herself.”

“Well, if you put it that way, I suppose.” Mikey got to his feet and followed Heidi out of the room. “Heidi, do you think Dad would mind if I texted him to see how Granddad is?”

“I’m sure he wouldn’t,” Heidi replied. “I think it’s a great idea.”

“Nice psychology there, Doug,” Ethan said. He didn’t think for a moment that Heidi needed the help, considering how organized she was.

“About as subtle as Heidi,” Donovan murmured. “The two of you are a match made in heaven, I swear.”

“There’s nothing wrong with my hearing either,” Doug said, although he didn’t sound offended by Donovan’s comment. “I’m going to help out in the kitchen.” He collected the empty popcorn bowl. “We’ll be at least five minutes.”

“Yeah, real subtle,” Donovan said.

“Huh?” Ethan wasn’t sure what Donovan was on about. “I think it’s sweet that Doug likes helping Heidi in the kitchen. A lot of guys don’t, and one person in the relationship gets to do all the work.”

Another mark against Duncan.

Perhaps the long walk Ethan had taken that morning hadn’t been such a great idea. It had given him too much time to think, and reflection wasn’t something he did well, especially of late.

“Yeah, he looks after her. I’d be having words with him if he didn’t.” Donovan cleared his throat. “You seem real distracted this evening, Ethan. Did something happen?”

“I’m not distracted,” Ethan said. “I’m enjoying the movie.”

The last part of what he’d said was true, at least. It appeared there was something to the genre Tomas had spent years trying to get him to read and watch after all.

“Uh-huh.” Donovan put his hands behind his head and leaned back on the sofa, keeping his tone casual. “That’s what all the stuff about helping out in the kitchen was about. Doug and Heidi are both good at reading people. You’ve gotten more and more distracted and agitated over the past twenty minutes or so. I bet if I asked you what was happening in the movie before Heidi hit Pause, you wouldn’t be able to tell me.”

“I know exactly what’s going on,” Ethan said indignantly. “And weren’t you supposed to be watching the movie instead of me? Can you tell me what happened in the last five minutes?”

“I’ve seen it before. I can quote this movie in my sleep, so answering that question isn’t going to prove anything.”

“So you admit you were watching me?”

Donovan blushed bright red. For a moment, he seemed flustered as hell. “Umm… I mean…. You’re changing the focus of this conversation onto me.”

“So?” Ethan brushed imaginary crumbs from his jeans. He sighed. As much as he thought Donovan looked hot—

No, not going there.

“Look, I’m sorry,” Ethan tried again. “I appreciate your concern, but it’s not something I want to talk about. With anyone.” He attempted an olive branch, not because he wanted to, but because…. The last thing he wanted was to upset anyone, and especially not Donovan.

“Don’t worry, it’s not about Tomas. If I’d heard something, I would have told you, okay? I know you’re concerned about him too.”

“Okay.” Donovan raised his arms in mock surrender. “I won’t ask about your crap if you don’t ask about mine.”

“I was only being concerned last night,” Ethan protested. Surely Donovan wasn’t going to bring that up now, after pretending it hadn’t existed all day?

“That’s all I’m doing now,” Donovan said softly. “Deal?”

“Oh.” Ethan ignored the way his cheeks flamed. Donovan had neatly turned Ethan’s indignation back on himself. “Point taken.” He took a deep breath, knowing he didn’t have any option but to agree. “Deal.”

Buy Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/one-word-by-anne-barwell-9001-b

Giveaway

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You can find the list of sites taking part in the blog tour here:

https://annebarwell.wordpress.com/blog-hops/

November 3 – Open Skye Book Reviews
November 6 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy
November 6 – Top to Bottom Reviews
November 6 – Two Men Are Better Than One
November 6 – Gay Book Promotions
November 7 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
November 8 – Happily Ever After Chapter
November 9 – Love Bytes Reviews
November 10 – Boy Meets Boy Reviews
November 10 – Nic Starr
November 13 – The Novel Approach Reviews
November 14 – Dreamspinner Press Blog
November 15 – Aisling Mancy

About the Author

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Authors Speak and Love Bytes.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

Anne Barwell on Bidding Adieu to her series and her release Comes a Horseman’, Sequel to Winter Duet (guest post and giveaway)

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Comes a Horseman (Echoes Rising #3) by Anne Barwell
DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Available for Purchase at DSP Publications

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Anne Barwell here today talking about the writing the series finale, and her latest release Comes a Horseman (Echoes Rising #3).  Welcome, Anne!

✒︎

 

Bidding Adieu by Anne Barwell

Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for Comes a Horseman, the 3rd and final book in my WWII Echoes Rising series from DSP Publications.

I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter.  DSP Publications also have the ebooks for Shadowboxing (book 1), and Winter Duet (book 2) on sale from 17th July-August 4th.

Although I started writing this series with a clear overall story in mind, part of me still can’t believe I’ve finished the final book.  I first began writing the early draft of Shadowboxing in 2002, but shelved it when the thought of all the research got a little daunting.  After my first novel with Dreamspinner Press, Cat’s Quill, was published in 2011, I dusted off the manuscript for Shadowboxing and started writing again. This time the research felt more doable, and hoping I might have a home for it, I went back to the beginning, edited it heavily, and finished the story.  I was delighted when Dreamspinner wanted to publish it, and ecstatic when it and Winter Duet, book 2 of my renamed Echoes Rising series, were republished by DSP Publications in 2016. 

Although this story wasn’t my first published book or series, it was the first thing I’d written that I knew was going to be a novel.  That novel quickly became a three book series, when I realised the story I wanted to tell either needed to be split into a series, or would be one very long book.

I’ve grown attached to these characters, as they’ve been a part of my life for nearly twenty years, and although I’m happy I’ve finally finished telling their story, I’m going to miss them. Despite writing in series, Echoes Rising is the first I’ve finished—although I’m working on completing my others in progress too.  The characters—much like myself—have changed and grown over those years, to the point where I had to rethink some of the scenes in this last story.  They might have worked at the beginning of the series, but these men are no longer the same as they were when they started on this adventure.  They’ve endured many hardships, lost people they cared about, but through it all they’ve built friendships which have impacted their lives. I figure that’s quite an achievement considering that—apart from Matt and Ken—none of them knew each other before the pieces moved into place leading into their mission into German in 1943.

I suspect—considering the strong personalities of these men—that although Echoes Rising is finished, that they’ll find another way to sneak into my writing.  I’m gearing up to set up an author newsletter and will be writing free fiction as a part of that, and Liang is making noises about sneaking into a 1950s murder mystery I want to write.  Matt already has a blink and you’ll miss it cameo in an upcoming release, so watch this space.

After all, these guys are spies, and very practised at getting into places they’re not to be.  I’ll miss the 1940s and WWII as well. I’ve learnt a lot more than I ever thought I would, so maybe other characters from that period still have stories they want to share. Only time will tell.

Finally, I want to thank the readers who have enjoyed reading about my characters’ exploits in WWII. I’ve loved being able to share this series with you. 

Blurb

Echoes Rising Book 3, sequel to Winter Duet

France, 1944

Sometimes the most desperate struggles take place far from the battlefield, and what happens in secret can change the course of history.

Victory is close at hand, but freedom remains frustratingly just beyond the grasp of German physicist Dr. Kristopher Lehrer, Resistance fighter Michel, and the remaining members of the team sent by the Allies—Captain Matt Bryant, Sergeant Ken Lowe, and Dr. Zhou Liang—as they fight to keep the atomic plans from the Nazis. The team reaches France and connects with members of Michel’s French Resistance cell in Normandy. Allied troops are poised to liberate France, and rescue is supposedly at hand. However, Kristopher is no longer sure the information he carries in his memory is safe with either side.

When Standartenführer Holm and his men finally catch up with their prey, the team is left with few options as they fight to keep atomic plans from the Nazis. With a traitor in their midst, who can they trust? Kristopher realizes he must become something he is not in order to save the man he loves. Death is biding his time, and sacrifices must be made for any of them to have the futures they want.

Excerpt:

Matt nodded, his lips moving although he did not speak. He was counting, Michel realized, as they pulled away from shore, and using the rhythm of his movement to distract himself from the darkness.

The moon’s light highlighted the waves lapping around the boat—the water seemed to reach toward them before diving back again. Ken and Matt quickly settled into a unified motion, both focused on what they were doing, although Ken glanced at Matt a couple of times.

Frej signaled for Matt and Ken to change direction slightly and rest the oars. They did that for a few moments, letting the boat drift with the current. If Michel squinted, he could see the outline of the bridge in the distance and several shapes moving at either end of it. The guards on duty would hopefully stay focused on the bridge itself and not notice a small rowboat sneaking over the border. The area was well guarded, but as it had been secured for quite some time, they would not be expecting trouble.

On the other side of the boat, Liang quickly turned and leaned over the side. As soon as he started to make a gagging noise he shoved his hand over his mouth to silence it. If his seasickness got any worse, it would be difficult to mask the noise of him vomiting over the side of the boat. He was doing his best to silence his dry heaving, but his hunched posture suggested he felt miserable and unwell.

Frej leaned toward Ken and gestured. Ken nodded, rested the oars again, and then he and Matt changed direction. Matt was still counting under his breath, and he gripped the oar tightly.

“Who’s there?” The shouted question shattered the silence.

Kristopher glanced around, an expression of panic on his face.

Michel put a hand on his arm to calm him but didn’t dare whisper the reassurance he wanted to. He turned around and strained his eyes, trying to find the source of the disruption. Matt and Ken stopped rowing, the boat drifting back the way they’d come, caught by the current.

He heard boots against wood in the distance—the unmistakable sound of men running, probably over the bridge crossing the Rhine south of their position. “No farther or I’ll shoot,” one of them yelled.

Frej got down on the floor of the boat. Michel and Kristopher followed, then Liang. Matt kept hold of his oar, trying to keep it as still as he could. He leaned down into a crouch, as did Ken.

Gunfire sounded from the bridge. A couple of shots in succession before stopping. Michel heard an engine, a vehicle approaching. A door slammed, and then everything went quiet again. Logically he knew the bridge was a good few kilometers away, but Frej was right about noise carrying on the water. If felt too close for comfort.

Frej waited a few minutes. “Row,” he whispered urgently. “While they are distracted.”

Giveaway

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You can find the list of sites taking part in the blog tour here: https://annebarwell.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/comes-a-horseman-blog-tour

July 25 –  MM Good Book Reviews

July 31 –  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

August 1 – Two Men Are Better Than One

August 1 – Top to Bottom Reviews

August 1 – Genre Talk at The Novel Approach Reviews

August 2 –  Love Bytes Reviews

August 3 –  Andrew Q. Gordon

August 3 –  DSP Publications Blog

August 4 –  Nic Starr

August 4 – Alpha Book Club

August 7 –  My Fiction Nook

August 8 –  Divine Magazine

August 9 – Aisling Mancy

August 10 – Lucy Marker

About the Author

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Authors Speak and Love Bytes.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

Down Under Showcase – Day 3 Fun Facts, Contest Details, and author Anne Barwell

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Here we are at Day 3 and our Down Under author today is Anne Barwell.

Make sure you visit her page to learn all about her and her books.  Enter her giveaway and don’t forget to hunt for the Scavenger word or phrase somewhere in the post and enter Bottom Drawer Publication’s contest here.

Australia Fun Fact:

Didgeridoo (also known as a didjeridu):man playing didgeridoo
The didjeridu is a musical instrument designed by Aboriginal Australians. It is traditionally made from a branch of hollow tree. A didjeridu is played by blowing into one. Didjeridoo is Australia official musical instrument.

 

 

 

New Zealand Fun Fact:

Hector's DolphinThe Hector’s Dolphin, the world’s smallest marine dolphin, which grows to a maximum length of 1.5 metres, is found nowhere else in the world but in New Zealand waters.