Interview with Ally Blake, Author of The Secret Wedding Dress

Please welcome the talented Ally Blake to the virtual offices today!  Ally’s latest release is The Secret Wedding Dress, which is published by Harlequin under their new KISS line. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Ally Blake] Redhead, footy fan, mum to three beings of pure delight, putty in the face of Italians & firemen, believer in love, luck & fairies.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for The Secret Wedding Dress?

[Ally Blake] The Secret Wedding Dress was born of a single image that slammed into my sub-conscious one day – a woman standing in a lift, holding a wedding dress that she owned, when into the lift walked the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen ;). I just had to know; who was she, why did she have that dress, and what kind of man would go after a woman he knows owns a wedding dress?!?!?!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Paige?

[Ally Blake] Ambitious, loyal, emotionally-stunted. (The hyphen makes it three words ;))

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Gabe had a theme song, what would it be?

[Ally Blake] I listened to Jace Everett constantly as I wrote this book – he sings the theme song from TV show True Blood. In fact I heard the voice of Joe Manganiello – Alcide from that same show – in my head every time Gabe hit the page. Not a bad way to make a living!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Paige is never without.

[Ally Blake] An escape route ;).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Gabe’s bedroom?

[Ally Blake] Since Gabe travels, a lot and to some truly remote places, I’m not sure he’d would much notice what was or wasn’t in his bedroom. The three things Gabe’s bedrooms MUST have are his own bed. And his pillow -flattened to the point he probably didn’t even need the thing. And his mattress with the man-shaped dint right smack bang in the middle that fit his spread-eagled body to perfection. Unfortunately for Gabe, for much of the book they are lost in transit, so he has to make do with sleeping elsewhere…amongst other things ;). Thankfully he’s a man with a good imagination!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Paige’s greatest regret?

[Ally Blake] I’m not sure Paige has any regrets at the beginning of the book. Her life is pretty much exactly how she always wanted it to be – with a great job and a gorgeous apartment, she’s set up so that she doesn’t need anything from anybody. It’s only with the looming marriage of her best friend, and worse, the new man in her life – big, bad beautiful Gabe Hamilton – making a mockery of her desire never to fall in love that she sees what her life could be, if only she found the guts to let it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Ally Blake] I envy John Le Carre’s clever turns of phrase. I think Dick Francis writes the most wonderful, laid-back, gorgeous heroes. I love Rachel Gibson’s va va voom. I adore Kristan Higgins’ lightness of touch, Sophie Kinsella’s laugh out loud humour and LaVyrle Spencer’s warmth. If my books find a splash of any of the above, I’m a happy writer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Ally Blake] Coffee, computer, white noise – I do my best work in noisy cafes!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Ally Blake] The past months I’ve devoured Rachel Gibson’s entire backlists and adored every book to absolute bits! Tangled Up in You and True Confessions were particular favourites. Fantastic stories with feisty heroines and men to make you melt!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Ally Blake] I’ve been a reader as long as I can remember, but I believe I owe my absolute soul-deep adoration to my Grade 7 teacher who chose John Christopher’s Tripod Trilogy for the end of year book report. My report for the first book ended up covering the entire trilogy and led me to read John Christopher’s Sword of the Spirits books which I still class as absolute favorites today. So much so my son’s middle name is named after the hero!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Ally Blake] With three little kiddlywinks, my non-writing time is pretty much owned by Play-Doh, colouring in, and playing hide-and-seek. In rare kid-free moments I love yoga, cloud-watching, eating M&Ms, snuggling on the couch with the hubby knocking back half hour TV shows, barracking for the Collingwood Magpies AFL team and researching future heroes on Pinterest ;).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Ally Blake] For the latest book release news, the best bet is to pop over to my website – For behind the scenes stuff, head on over to my Pinterest boards. Or come say "hi" at Facebook, Twitter, or

Thanks so much for having me, and happy reading!

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

You can purchase The Secret Wedding Dress  or any of Ally’s backlist from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below.

About the book:

A wedding dress…but no bride!  Paige Danforth isn’t interested in setting herself up for an unhappy-ever-after-thanks to her father’s betrayal, the closest she’ll ever get to walking down the aisle is as a bridesmaid. But one bridal sale later, Paige is left clutching her own champagne chiffon wedding dress! Clearly she needs to end her self-imposed dating drought….

Enter ruggedly sexy neighbor Gabe Hamilton. He wants Paige in his bed and nothing more-no promises made, no promises broken. But will this big, bad adventurer stick around when he discovers not only skeletons-but the wedding dress-in her closet?

Interview with Marissa Burt, Author of Story’s End

Marissa Burt is making another visit to the virtual offices, this time to discuss Story’s End, which hits store shelves next week.  I loved Storybound, and have been waiting impatiently for Story’s End.  I thought it would be fun to ask Marissa a few more questions while I wait for Story’s End’s release, and she gracefully agreed. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Story’s End?

[Marissa Burt] Story’s End picks up at Storybound’s cliffhanger ending, where Una and her friends now know the truth of Story’s backstory and must determine what they will do in light of that knowledge.  Story’s End is a bit darker, because everything is cast in the light of the Tale Master’s lies.  We don’t spend any time in Perrault classes.  Instead, each character must do their part to save story from the threat of enemies.  I’m so eager for readers to meet a few new characters, journey to different districts, and discover more about Una, Snow, Peter, Sam, and Indy!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Was this a more difficult book to write than Storybound?

[Marissa Burt] This is a great question.  Creatively, it was a more straight-forward book to write, since I had a stronger grasp of the direction of the story.  Storybound was very much a patchwork affair, where I wrote different scenes as they came to me, and then I pieced them all together like a puzzle.  In that sense, Story’s End had much more of an outline ad internal structure, which was easier than Storybound.  But there were also more internal rules. I had to make sure new plot points, settings, and characters fit in with the already established rules of the world.  Writing-wise, it’s probably a tie: both books had their specific challenges and joys.  The real tie-breaker is the fact that when I wrote Storybound, I had one child.  By the time I was drafting Story’s End, I had two more babies.  I can now say with some authority that writing a novel while tending three children under the age of four is not advisable – haha!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you feel when you submitted your final revisions for Story’s End?

[Marissa Burt] It was a delightful feeling!  Not only was I so pleased with the end result, but finishing a second book shored up some of those insecurities that plague writers and ask: Can you really do it again?  I was also a bit sad to say goodbye to my friends in Story.  We’ve spent many hours together, and it’s hard to imagine their tale coming to an end.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What has been the biggest change in your life now that you are a published author?

[Marissa Burt] I suppose the biggest change is that I am more diligent to make space for writing.  Before, I approached it more like a hobby and wrote "when I felt like it."  Now, I’m learning to grow the discipline of writing regularly.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did Una change from when we first met her in Storybound?

[Marissa Burt] I love this question!  I have such a soft-spot for Una.  She doesn’t even know how courageous she is. The opening line of Storybound is: Una often imagined she was invisible.  She is unseen, unnoticed, adrift, and lonely.  Her adventures in Story give her a rootedness in her own identity, so that by the end of the Tale, we see she has a sense of belonging.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Peter had a theme song, what would it be?

[Marissa Burt] Haha!  I think Peter would be heavily influenced by Sam, who would no doubt suggest, "The Eye of the Tiger."  I get the impression Peter would never ‘fess up to having a theme song.  I have a feeling he’d secretly listen to country music – or maybe Taylor Swift? – and then fervently deny it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Una is never without.

[Marissa Burt] Hmmm… Una journeys quite a bit in Book 2, and she travels light, so I’m not sure there’s any article she’s never without.  I suppose she is never without a sense of confidence.  I love that when she decides to do something, even if she thinks it might be dangerous, she just goes for it!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Una’s greatest regret?

[Marissa Burt] I’ll have to dance around this one a bit, because it’s spoilerish, but her biggest regret has to do with her choices that expose to Story to threats from an enemy.  This happens some in Storybound but also in Story’s End.  

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Marissa Burt] Just yesterday I finished re-reading C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra.  It’s always been my least favorite in his space trilogy, but, for some reason, this time through I fell in love with it.  

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us about your next project?

[Marissa Burt] I’m just beginning a new fantasy tentatively titled THERE WAS A CROOKED MAN.  It follows a girl named Wren whose interest in Astronomy leads her to discover that she can wield the magic of stardust. On her adventure, she and her friend Simon, discover that the fate of the world rests on their ability to unravel the secrets hidden in Mother Goose Rhymes.  I’m having fun building a new fantasy-world that has a tinge of scifi to it.  As of now, the plan is for There Was a Crooked Man to be out from HarperChildren’s in 2014, with a sequel to follow in 2015.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Marissa Burt] I love to hear from readers!  They may find me on twitter, facebook, goodreads, or through my website

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

You can order Story’s End from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below.

About the book:

Inkheart meets The Neverending Story in the sweeping sequel to Storybound. A deadly Enemy has returned to the magical land of Story—and twelve-year-old Una Fairchild may hold the key to defeating him.

Long ago, a King ruled the land of Story….During his reign, Heroes, Villains, and characters of all kinds lived out Tales filled with daring quests and epic struggles. Then the King disappeared, and over the years nearly everyone forgot that he had ever existed.

Now an evil Enemy has emerged, determined to write a new future for Story. And an ordinary girl from our world named Una Fairchild must find a way to defeat him.

Una and her friends Indy and Peter set off on a quest for answers, facing warlocks, beasts, and enchantments at every turn. But Una soon discovers that the real key lies in her own mysterious ties to Story’s past—and to the long-forgotten King who may be their only hope for survival.

Storybound has been praised by Kirkus Reviews for its “richly imagined world” and by Publishers Weekly as “an appealing fantasy with strong writing and interesting characters.” Story’s End is filled with the same breathtaking action, heartwarming friendship, and timeless appeal. Readers will leap at the chance to return to this captivating fairy-tale world, which is perfect for fans of Inkheart, Gail Carson Levine, and classics like A Wrinkle in Time.

About the Author:

About the author: Marissa Burt was forever getting notes sent home from teachers about reading novels during class. She grew up in Oregon, and drifted eastward through Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee, and South Carolina before coming back to the Pacific Northwest. She now lives in the Seattle area with her husband and three sons. You can visit Marissa online at

Waiting on Wednesday–Made of Stars by Kelley York

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I love the tag line – even the stars are lies. 

In stores October 2013.




When eighteen-year-old Hunter Jackson and his half sister, Ashlin, return to their dad’s for the first winter in years, they expect everything to be just like the warmer months they’d spent there as kids. And it is—at first. But Chance, the charismatic and adventurous boy who made their summers epic, is harboring deep secrets. Secrets that are quickly spiraling into something else entirely.

The reason they’ve never met Chance’s parents or seen his home is becoming clearer. And what the siblings used to think of as Chance’s quirks—the outrageous stories, his clinginess, his dangerous impulsiveness—are now warning signs that something is seriously off.

Then Chance’s mom turns up with a bullet to the head, and all eyes shift to Chance and his dad. Hunter and Ashlin know Chance is innocent…they just have to prove it. But how can they protect the boy they both love when they can’t trust a word Chance says?


What are you waiting on?

Cover Shot! Elisha Barber by E C Ambrose

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Elisha Barber looks interesting.  Elisha is a barber-surgeon.  Is hacking off limbs like hacking off hair?  The first book in E C Ambrose’s Dark Apostle series hits store shelves July 2013.



England in the fourteenth century: a land of poverty and opulence, prayer and plague, witchcraft and necromancy. Where the medieval barber-surgeon Elisha seeks redemption as a medic on the front lines of an unjust war, and is drawn into the perilous world of sorcery by a beautiful young witch. In the crucible of combat, utterly at the mercy of his capricious superiors, Elisha must attempt to unravel conspiracies both magical and mundane, as well as come to terms with his own disturbing new abilities. But the only things more dangerous than the questions he’s asking are the answers he may reveal..

Character Interview–Meet Quinn from Victoria James’ A Risk Worth Taking and Giveaway!


Please welcome Quinn from Victoria James’ A Risk Worth Taking.  After the interview, enter for your chance to win  a $100 Coach gift card.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Quinn] Hardworking, loyal, dependable, and uh, *coughs* good-looking.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share a typical day in the life of Quinn?

[Quinn] *Shrugs* Sure, if you find that kind of thing interesting. Wake up, shower, go to the office then do site visits on our different construction projects. Grab lunch somewhere in between that. Then go home, eat a late dinner then go to bed. Oh, if it’s Monday, I’ll meet my brother Jake for breakfast at John’s diner. Except now that Holly’s back, my routine is kind of all thrown off.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words come to mind when you think of Holly?

[Quinn] Stubborn, Bossy, and, *coughs* hot.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your first reaction after you learned that she was coming back home?

[Quinn] *Shifts in chair* I was happy, I mean, I hated how we left things. And I felt bad for her because of her sister, Jennifer. But, I thought Holly was coming back to Red River for good. So when I found out her real plan, I was floored.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

[Quinn] Ever letting Holly leave Red River in the first place. But, I don’t like looking back and thinking of what could have and should have happened.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Quinn] My BlackBerry.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you have some downtime?

[Quinn] With Holly back in town? There is no downtime. Before Holly and Ella came back to Red River, I really spent most of my time working. Maybe spend time with my brothers, though they can be pretty irritating. I run the family business and it’s pretty demanding.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less?

[Quinn] Easy: Love, Holly and Ella.

[Quinn] Thanks for having me on your blog, Julie-and for asking me all these awkward and personal questions.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] *evil laugh*  This was absolutely a pleasure.

You can order A Risk Worth Taking and learn more about Quinn and Holly, by clicking the link below:

About the book:

Interior designer Holly Carrington worked hard for her success. Then tragedy struck, leaving Holly the sole guardian of her infant niece. Now she’s swapped her designer purse for a diaper bag, and is going ahead with plans to renovate—and sell—her childhood home in Red River. But facing her past also means coming face-to-face with Quinn Manning all over again…

Quinn was the object of her girlhood crush—and heartbreak— and is more gorgeous than ever. He’s also the only person qualified to oversee the renovation. Now they’re butting heads every step of the way… and their attraction is more electrifying than ever! But once the house is sold, Holly needs to return to her real life. And falling for Quinn all over again is one risk she can’t take…


Victoria is giving away a $100 Coach gift card which will be given away at the end of her blog tour to one U.S. or Canadian winner.  Fill out the widget to enter!


Rafflecopter widget:

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A bit about Victoria James:

Victoria James is a romance writer living near Toronto, Canada. Victoria is a mother to two young children, and one very disorderly feline. Victoria attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and graduated with a degree in English Literature, where she met and then later married, her own hero. After Queen’s, Victoria earned a degree in Interior Design. After the birth of her first child she began pursuing her life-long passion of writing. Her dream of being a published romance author was realized last February, 2012, when Entangled Publishing bought her manuscript. Victoria is living her dream-staying home with her children and conjuring up happy endings for her characters.

Cover Shot! Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I haven’t read Falling Kingdoms yet, but that doesn’t stop me from being excited about the next release in the series.  Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes has a cool cover.  What’s up with the pyramid?  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to find out in December, after reading Falling Kingdoms.

In stores December 2013


Auranos has been conquered and the three kingdoms — Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia — are now unwillingly united as one country called Mytica. But alluring, dangerous magic still beckons, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the world…
CLEO is now a prisoner in her own palace, forced to be an ambassador for Mytica as the evil King Gaius lies to her people

MAGNUS stands to eventually inherit the new kingdom but is still obsessed with his feelings for his adopted sister Lucia

LUCIA is haunted by the outcome of the breathtaking display of magic that allowed her father to capture the kingdoms

JONAS watches at the palace gates, a troop of rebels behind him, waiting for him to tell them how he plans to overtake King Gaius

When Gaius announces that a road is to be built into the Forbidden Mountains, formally linking all of Mytica together, he sets off a chain of events that will forever change the face of this land. Because Gaius is not just burrowing into a pile of rock. He’s tunneling directly into the Watchers’ Sanctuary. And his actions will have cosmic consequences.

Review: Protecting What’s His by Tessa Bailey


Title:  Protecting What’s His

Author:  Tessa Bailey


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:


She’s running from the law, and the law wants her bad.

The opportunity was just too damn delicious for Ginger Peet to pass up. The purse full of money she finds—$50,000 to be exact—could give her and her teen sister the new start they need. So she grabs the cash, her gothy sibling, and their life-sized statue of Dolly Parton, and blows outta Nashville in a cloud of dust. Chicago, here we come…

Turns out, Chicago has some pretty hot cops. Hot, intense, naughty-lookin’ cops like Derek Tyler, who looks like he could eat a girl up and leave her begging for more. And more. Tempting as he is, getting involved with the sexy homicide lieutenant next door poses a teensy problem for a gal who’s on the lam. But one thing is certain—Derek’s onto her, and he wants more than just a taste.

And as far as he’s concerned, possession is nine-tenths of the law.


I enjoyed Protecting What’s His because protagonist Ginger was more rough around the edges that most series romance heroines.  She and her younger sister Willa have had to depend on each other and protect each other their whole lives.  Their mother, Valerie, will never be Mother of the Year, and they are both fortunate that they did have each other.  Mom was too busy turning tricks or getting high to do more than blame them for making her life miserable.  Scraping by, either by stealing food for Willa or begging the neighbors for handouts, Ginger has become a fierce guardian.  When she sees the opportunity to get the hell away from their mother, she takes it, as well as a bundle of cash that she finds in her mom’s purse.  Grabbing her sister, she throws their meager belongings into her beat up pickup truck and flees Nashville for greener pastures.

As they move into their new apartment in Chicago, Ginger and Willa make a less than favorable impression on their anal neighbor, Derek.  Though sparks fly between the two of them, Ginger quickly places him on her people to avoid list after discovering that he’s a cop.  She’s lived her whole life suspicious of the police, and after stealing that fifty thousand from her mother, she’s not in a hurry to get chummy with a cop.  She’s got enough to worry about without adding her grumpy new neighbor to the list.  New job, Willa has a new school, and Ginger just wants to fade into the woodwork and live a happy, quiet, safe life as far away from her mother and her seedy acquaintances as she can.

Now, of course, Ginger and Derek can’t keep their hands off of each other.  Every time they encounter each other there is a spontaneous combustion between them.  It was hot!  They are both fighting an intense and all-consuming attraction that will not allow them any peace.  Derek uses some of his police resources to perform a background check on Ginger and her family, and suddenly he’s overcome with an overpowering urge to protect Ginger and Willa from their past.  He can only guess at how dysfunctional their childhood must have been, and despite the disruption they bring to what he thought was a contented life, he can’t get close enough to Ginger. This is probably the only part of the story that didn’t work for me, because he was a cop.  Derek is so possessive of Ginger that he physically attacks other men, both on and off duty.  I just kept wondering if the police department had a hefty insurance policy to pay the lawsuits that were certain to follow him around.

Protecting What’s His is a quick, blisteringly hot read with likable protagonists.  I was glued to the story from beginning to end, and I can’t wait to see what Tessa Bailey comes up with next!

Grade:  B/B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Elizabeth Chadwick, Author of Shadows and Strongholds and Giveaway!


Please welcome award winning author Elizabeth Chadwick to the virtual offices today!  Elizabeth’s latest historical release is Shadows and Strongholds.  After we chat about her book, you can enter for a chance to win a copy!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Elizabeth Chadwick] A time traveler who loves the Middle Ages, chocolate, chatting, her husband and her dogs. Oh, and the Marshal men!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Shadows and Strongholds?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Certainly. It’s a coming of age story based on a family history that was written down in the 13th century. It’s set in England, on the Welsh borders, and is about a boy, Brunin FitzWarin, who is sent to be a squire at the great castle of Ludlow in the hopes that it will be the making of him after he’s had a difficult time at home. The lord he is sent to serve, Joscelin de Dinan, has two daughters. The younger one, Hawise, is something of a tomboy with a bright, forthright nature, and like no one Brunin has ever met before. There is also his lord’s ward, Marion de la Bruere, a pretty, dainty girl, who has her eye on Brunin as future husband material. It’s the story of how Brunin finds out just who he is amid the harsh realities of 12th century England with different factions fighting for the crown, and how Hawise and Marion learn their own often hard lessons as they mature during fraught times. It’s a historical novel that deals with events that actually happened, and has a fair share of swash-buckling, dramatic tension, well-seasoned with romance.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] I found them in a medieval chronicle from the 13th century called The Romance of Fouke FitzWaryn. So this is based on the history of what really happened. Brunin FitzWarin and Hawise de Dinan did really exist, and this is the story of how they faced up to their challenges.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Brunin?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Deep, smouldering, courageous

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Hawise is never without.

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Her determination

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Hawise’s bedroom?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Small silver bells (read the novel and find out why not!), Brunin’s grandmother, Ernalt de Lylse’s hawking gauntlet.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Brunin’s greatest regret?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Not getting to hang out with his father as man to man.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Pictures of artifacts from the Middle Ages, chocolate in all its forms, and heavy metal music.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Time enough in the day to do it, copious amounts of tea, thinking space.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] How Far Back do you want to go? The Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell. That was the book that moved me on from elementary to more detailed reading.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] I go for long walks with my husband and dogs, I take photographs, I read, listen to music and I cross stitch if I get a moment.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] They can drop me a line at Or connect at Twitter or Facebook, details at my website

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!


Ready for your chance to win Shadows and Strongholds? Just fill out the widget below. Earn extra entries for following.  US addresses only, please.

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You can purchase Shadows and Strongholds from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:


About the book:

A medieval tale of pride and strife, of coming-of-age in a world where chivalry is a luxury seldom afforded, especially by men of power.

England, 1148—ten-year-old Brunin FitzWarin is an awkward misfit in his own family. A quiet child, he is tormented by his brothers and loathed by his powerful and autocratic grandmother. In an attempt to encourage Brunin’s development, his father sends him to be fostered in the household of Joscelin de Dinan, Lord of Ludlow. Here Brunin will learn knightly arts, but before he can succeed, he must overcome the deep-seated doubts that hold him back.

Hawise, the youngest daughter of Lord Joscelin, soon forms a strong friendship with Brunin. Family loyalties mean that her father, with the young Brunin as his squire, must aid Prince Henry of Anjou in his battle with King Stephen for the English crown. Meanwhile, Ludlow itself comes under threat from Joscelin’s rival, Gilbert de Lacy. As the war for the crown rages, and de Lacy becomes more assertive in his claims for Ludlow, Brunin and Hawise are drawn into each other’s arms.

Now Brunin must defeat the shadows of his childhood and put to use all that he has learned. As the pressure on Ludlow intensifies and a new Welsh threat emerges against his own family’s lands, Brunin must confront the future head on, or fail on all counts….