Author Archive: Elizabeth Keysian

A medieval murder mystery? Why, yes please!

Get your teeth into this thrilling book right away with an exclusive excerpt… but here’s a bit about the story first, as well as some powerful accolades!

The Colour of Evil

Every Londoner has money worries, and talented artist and some-time sleuth, Seb Foxley, is no exception.

When fellow craftsmen with debts to pay are found dead in the most horrid circumstances, fears escalate. Only Seb can solve the puzzles that baffle the authorities.

Seb’s wayward elder brother, Jude, returns unannounced from Italy with a child-bride upon his arm. Shock turns to dismay when life becomes more complicated and troubles multiply.

From counterfeit coins to deadly darkness in London’s worst corners. From mysterious thefts to attacks of murderous intent, Seb finds himself embroiled at every turn. With a royal commission to fulfil and heartache to resolve, can our hero win through against the odds?

Share Seb Foxley’s latest adventures in the filthy streets of medieval London, join in the Midsummer festivities and meet his fellow citizens, both the respectable and the villainous.

Praise for Colour of Evil:

Samantha Willcoxson, author & historian:

Toni Mount is simply brilliant. If you love CJ Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake – and I do – you will love Toni’s Sebastian Foxley. From learning how a 15th century scrivener created illuminated manuscripts to venturing within the dank tunnels beneath the Tower of London, Toni is an artist who completely immerses the reader in another time and place and always leaves one eager for the next book.”

Stephanie Churchill, author of historical fiction and epic fantasy:

“Leave it to Seb to unravel another international spiderweb of intrigue, betrayal, murder, and deceit. Our flawed, loveable hero has done it again. And at the end of it all, his future is looking brighter than ever. I cannot wait to find out what happens to him next!”

Sharon Bennet Connoly, author and medieval historian:

“A beautifully crafted mystery that brings the dark, dangerous streets of medieval London to life. Toni Mount is a magician with words, weaving a captivating story in wonderful prose. The Colour of Evil is, to put it simply, a pleasure to read.”

Kathryn Warner, medieval historian and author of numerous books about the fourteenth century, including biographies of Edward II and Isabella of France:

“The ninth instalment of Toni Mount’s popular Seb Foxley series is sure to delight Seb’s many fans. Mount puts her deep knowledge of late medieval England to good use once again, and takes us on another exciting adventure, this time with Seb’s older brother Jude, returned from Italy, in tow. Mount’s detailed world-building, as always, brings fifteenth-century London to life.”

Let’s get going with that excerpt I promised.

If ever there was a hell-on-earth, this was it, in the city’s very heart.

In the rats’ nest of alleyways south of Tower Street, Furnace Court was more noisome than most. Sunlight never dared trespass among the soot-encrusted walls, nor tip-toed into the confines where fire burned, smoke choked and the din of metal on metal rang out, assaulting the ears. Yet a man made his livelihood here. Bare-armed and brawny, smut-covered, the smith toiled at his anvil in the near darkness, working by the flickering light of the devil’s flames. Sweating, he hammered and quenched, re-heated and shaped, forcing his will upon the metals at his mercy. No iron could resist his power.

But such heavy labours were not his sole employment. Elsewhere, in the secret darkness beneath the streets, he had a second, smaller furnace. A more lucrative trade was to be had here, furtive and treasonous, undermining the prosperity of a kingdom. Hamo cared not a jot. In supposed-silver coins, struck with a die stolen from the nearby Tower Mint, there was money to be made – literally.  

As the instigator, the greedy genius behind this crime, spread more of the gleaming, underweight groats and pennies throughout the city, strangers began to notice. Such coins undermined their livelihood and must be traced back to the source.

Thus it was that two men, speaking English with a foreign sound, came to a shop, just as the owner was closing the shutters at day’s end, demanding to be told the origin of the coins at fault. When no answer was forthcoming, the pair resorted to torture: a thousand small cuts, none fatal, but each draining the victim’s strength a little more. Every time they paused, removing the rag from the victim’s mouth, they repeated the question:

‘Who makes these coins?’

The victim did not know the answer. He had but borrowed them to pay what he owed. Exchanging a debt to one for a debt to another.

The cuts continued until the strangers were certain the victim spoke true by which time only death awaited but they would not deliver the fatal cut. Time would do that. But it was necessary that a clear message be left. And it could not be spoken by the victim. For fear he might name them, they split his tongue in twain – to warn the devious serpent lurking behind the counterfeiting business that they would hunt him down. Then, to show how much they knew of it, they covered the victim’s right hand – the guilty hand that passed the fake coins – in shiny pigment, brought for the purpose. And to end the message: that there was no escaping their retribution, they nailed the dying victim’s hand to his workbench and left a bag of the false money behind.

The new-minted coins, used to pay debts to the strangers, shone even brighter than silver: the colour of evil.

**

Friday, the eleventh day of June in the year of Our Lord 1479

The Foxley House in Paternoster Row in the City of London

I returned home with my purchases of quills and ink, Gawain at my heel. I could have asked Kate or Nessie to buy them, although, in truth, such items were not needed in the workshop. The errand was simply a means of escape. I entered the kitchen but the sense of something – someone – missing assailed me, like an icy hand clutching my heart, as it always did these days.

Rose sat stitching a pair of gloves of lavender-dyed kid leather, her work so delicate, the stitches were nigh invisible. Little Dickon was at her feet, playing some unknown game with a bunch of straws and a few twigs. Nessie stood at the board chopping fresh sage from the garden, the kitchen filled with its earthy scent. ’Twas a scene of domestic tranquillity, yet utterly amiss.

My Emily was not there.

I could not get used to the lack – a black hole in my soul that I feared naught would ever fill entirely.

I lifted Dickon from the floor. He laughed, showing off his few perfect white teeth.

‘Does my little man fare well?’ I asked him. A string of dribble down my jerkin was the answer to my query.

‘He does very well,’ Rose said. ‘Dickon, show your Papa how you can play at peep-boo.’

The child put his fists over his eyes then took them away of a sudden, shrieking with delight. I took up a table napkin to assist his game, covering my face with it. He pulled it aside, shouting ‘Boo!’ It was a merry jest indeed and one he seemed unlikely to tire of in the near future. I had work to do but what of that? Merriment was hard to come by of late. Thus, I would play with my son a while. He would attain the first commemoration of his birth date in the week to come: the first significant day in his life thus far. I prayed daily that he would see many, many more, as so many infants do not. 

‘Mercy is coming to dinner,’ Rose said, ‘That you may see Julia.’

I nodded.

Julia was my daughter, born two months since upon that most sorrowful of days. The widow, Mercy Hutchinson, was the infant’s wet nurse but having three sons of her own, including Edmund who was a little older than Julia, she had taken the new babe to live with her in Distaff Lane, until she was weaned. Mercy’s other children were Simon, a scholar at St Paul’s School, and that scamp Nicholas – a toddling who was trouble upon two legs. I remained uncertain of the wisdom of having Nicholas visit too often, fearing Dickon might copy the elder child’s bad habits – biting people being his most recent undesirable trait. But Mercy and my kinsman Adam were betrothed, so I had to make the best of it: Nicholas would one day become a member of the family.

Neither was I able to determine for certain quite how I felt about Julia. Born too soon, she was the cause of my beloved Emily’s death. Yet she was an innocent.

Here is how to get the book and connect with the author, Toni Mount-

http://mybook.to/Colour_Evil

http://getbook.at/colour_of_evil

Social Media Links:

Website: https://sites.google.com/view/tonimount/home

Website: https://www.sites.google.com/view/sebastianfoxley/home

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tonihistorian       

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/toni.mount.10/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/toni.mount.10/?hl=en

Amazon Author Page: author.to/ToniM

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7481351

Fantastic Fiction: https://www.fantasticfiction.com/m/toni-mount/

Don’t miss out!

I have something nice to share. One of those smashing Rafflecopter giveaways… a $25 Gift Card and paperbacks for U.S. readers- take a look 😁
And don’t worry if you’re in the U.K. I’ll be doing my own paperback giveaway for U.K. readers to celebrate this release. Here’s the link https://gleam.io/B17A5/lord-of-the-manor-giveaway

I love being able to share excerpts from other authors’ books!

It is an honour to be a host on the Blog Tour for THE TEST OF GOLD by Renee Yancy.

Here’s what the book is about-

Raised in the shadow of a mother who defied convention, but won’t allow her own daughter the right to make the same choices, heiress Evangeline Lindenmayer has been groomed since childhood to marry into the British aristocracy.

When Lindy challenges her mother’s long-laid plans by falling in love with a poor seminary student, the explosion is bigger than the Brooklyn Bridge fireworks on Independence Day.

You can get your copy of the book at the retailers listed below-

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08WM2HCH7

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08WM2HCH7

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-test-of-gold-renee-yancy/1138727180?ean=9781736366202

If you love the book, why not connect with Renee?

Website: https://www.reneeyancy.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/YancyRenee

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reneeyancy/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YancyRenee

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/renee-q-yancy-842a1631/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/reneeyancy/_created/

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/renee-yancy

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Renee-Yancy/e/B00726MJDQ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55044611-the-test-of-gold

Here’s an exclusive excerpt-

Jack leaned against the lamp post across the street from 660 Fifth Avenue, as carriage after carriage drove up and discharged gorgeously gowned and top-hatted inhabitants at the glittering entrance to the Lindenmayer mansion. Hoping for a glimpse of Miss Lindenmayer, he searched every window again and again, without success.

“Here, boyo, what are you about, loitering here?”

Jack turned. A policeman regarded him with a rather jaundiced eye. Jack nodded toward the mansion. “I stopped to listen.” Laughter and music drifted out the open windows, and he recognized the beginning of a waltz. “It’s such a lovely evening for a stroll.”

No need to mention he’d been standing here for the last two hours. The policeman gave him the once over, his narrowed eyes not missing a detail of Jack’s plain frockcoat. “You live in this neighborhood?”

“On the Upper East Side. With my uncle, Joseph Winthrop.”

“Do you now?” The policeman tucked beefy fingers into the belt girding his ample waist. “And would that be the pastor of St. Thomas Episcopal?”

Jack glanced at the brass name badge on the officer’s wool coat. “Yes, Officer McConnell.”

“And you might be?”

“Jack Winthrop.” He repressed an impatient sigh and glanced sideways toward the house. Wait! There—was it her?

A young woman in a sparkling white gown, her dark hair swept up on her head, in conversation with a man in white tie and tails. He clenched his fists and peered closer, not caring what the policeman might think.

“Ah.” McConnell’s gaze followed Jack’s. “Quite the party, isn’t it? But not for the likes of us, hey?”

Jack didn’t answer, straining to determine if the girl was Miss Lindenmayer.

“There’s fifty of us coppers here tonight, hired special for the ball. To keep the riffraff away, mind.”

Jack continued to scan the windows. Maybe if he ignored the officer, he’d go away. Then he gasped. There she was!

“Hmm.” McConnell followed Jack’s startled gaze. “Oh, boyo, I understand now. In love with the colleen, are you, laddie?”

Jack exhaled hard. “Is it that obvious, Officer?”

“It is, lad. That it is.” McConnell gazed toward the Lindenmayer mansion. “Love’s grand, isn’t it?” He tapped Jack gently on the chest with his baton. “Right, then. I’ll be off now on my rounds. I trust you’ll not be here when I come through again.”

“Yes, Officer. Thank you.”

Officer McConnell crossed the street and headed off down the sidewalk. Jack looked at his coat and plain boots. How he’d love to march into the mansion, announce himself as a friend of the debutante, and steal her away for a dance. What a commotion that would cause. He supposed he’d be unceremoniously thrown out. Perhaps arrested. How would he explain that to his uncle?

 He kicked a stone and sent it skittering into the street, and slowly walked away. At the corner, he turned and gazed at the Lindenmayer mansion. Every window blazed with light. Miss Lindenmayer lived and breathed only a few hundred feet from him, but she might as well be on the moon for all the good it did him.

It’s been great fun writing these Tudor era romances! Find out what the final one has to offer.

The last book in the Trysts and Treachery series is now up for pre-order, at the advance discount price of just $0.99. It’s set in the time of King Edward VI and is called LORD OF THE MANOR. Read on for more about the story.

To her, he represents authority and power. To him, she spells sedition and danger.

Orphaned at birth, Cecily Neville owes more than her name to the former hospitallers of Temple Roding. She was still a child when the reformation wrenched her home and adopted family from her and now, like the few surviving monks, she lives in fear that her past could take a deadly toll. Her closest friend is her precious peregrine falcon, Charlemagne. Her greatest enemy is Allan Smythe, the new owner of Temple Roding.

Grieving over the loss of both wife and child, Smythe throws his heart and soul into reviving the old hospitaller commandery that he’s bought in partnership with his brother-in-law, Kennett Clark. He can’t risk being distracted by the mysterious but tempting Cecily and her murdering bird. However, when Smythe is forced to save her from his brother-in-law’s lecherous clutches, the unscrupulous Kennett vows to destroy them both.

On a knife-edge, Smythe can’t afford to relax the rents owed by Cecily and her fellow villagers. If he doesn’t demolish her former home for profit, he risks losing everything to Kennett. But when necessity forces him to employ Cecily, there’s more at stake than his future and his battered heart. Something lies hidden in the depths of the hospitaller commandery that could solve all of Smythe’s problems… or threaten his life. 

It all depends on whether he, or the very determined Cecily, finds it first.

You can get your copy here http://mybook.to/lordofthemanor and remember, if you buy it before April 13th, you can get it at a discount!

There’s a new, spine-chilling anthology waiting in the wings…

Your favourite Dragonblade authors have once more come together to create a collection of ghostly romances for your delight and delectation! UPON A MIDNIGHT DREARY is now available for pre-order, and it’s a steal at just $0.99 for 21 never-before-seen stories. Some of these are by USA Today and Amazon bestselling authors, so you know you’ll be in good hands.

Why not order your copy NOW, so you’ll have something to look forward to as the nights begin to draw in…

A brand new magazine for Historical Romance fans!

I am absolutely stoked to be writing both historical articles and quizzes for The Shift magazine. I know readers will absolutely LOVE this new project, and urge anyone who hasn’t signed up yet to do so. You can find out more HERE.

The cover below will give you an idea of what to expect if you sign up.

Today, I have a fun surprise to share with you…

 I’ve teamed up with 25+ fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of Historical Romance novels to 2 lucky winners!

 Oh, and did I mention the Grand Prize winner gets a BRAND NEW eReader?  

You can win my award-winning novel WORKHOUSE WAIF, plus books from authors like Anna St. Claire and C.H. Admirand.

 Enter the giveaway by clicking here  bit.ly/HistoricalRom-Mar21

 Good luck and enjoy! But act fast, as there’s only one more day top go!

Huzzah! A new book and some new covers!

The 4th book in my Marry in Haste novella collection will be out soon. I decided to treat myself to some new covers, which I created using the Bookbrush platform (I LOVE doing graphics on Bookbrush!) Here is the cover for NEVER TEMPT A WIDOW.

And here’s the story-

The Duke of Wolfingham’s scapegrace daughter Seraphina is convinced her lover tried to kill her. Alone, penniless, and desperate, there’s nothing she can do to save the life of her beloved baby daughter, Adelina. Sir Rowland Cavendish offers an escape from her grief, but how can Seraphina ever trust a man again?
Rowland has just lost his wife, and his baby boy needs feeding. The beautiful young widow from the village would make the perfect wetnurse, but the conditions she sets in exchange for her compliance are not at all what he expects.
Seraphina refuses to share her secrets with Rowland, but her past returns to haunt her, threatening her new-found security. Her future hangs on a knife-edge as the game turns deadly, and a web of kidnapping, blackmail, and lies is uncovered.
She loves Rowland deeply, but if she doesn’t leave him, he may lose what he values above all else. His baby son.

The book comes out on May 18th, but you can pre-order your copy HERE.

Maybe I’m a REAL writer after all…

I’ve always felt a bit ambivalent about my writing. Is it any good? Is it terrible? Do only a few select and special people really “get” Elizabeth Keysian? Bearing this in mind, it came as a very welcome surprise that my Victorian historical novel, WORKHOUSE WAIF, received a Silver Medal in the Author Shout Reader Ready Awards. Woohoo! To celebrate, I’ll be putting the book back into Kindle Unlimited, so people can read it for FREE, and I’ll be running a discount for a limited time very soon.

Here’s a bit about WORKHOUSE WAIF.

How can Bella Hart escape the hell of the Victorian workhouse?
Fleeing the abuse that she suffered there, the lonely outcast hopes her new life in a factory town can provide the esteem and affection she craves. Torn between the worlds of masters and workers, Bella falls for the enigmatic Jack, but their relationship shatters when his true identity is revealed. In a desperate bid to revive her love, Jack unearths Bella’s past, with tragic consequences.
After a devastating fire, a secret emerges that seals Bella’s fate, and that of everyone and everything she holds dear.
Fans of Catherine Cookson and Victorian historical romances will love this book.

Delve into the legend that is El Cid!

THE FALL OF KINGS is the breathtaking third instalment of the Legend of the Cid by STUART RUDGE.

Find out more below, and order your copy from Amazon. And while you’re at it, why not catch up with the first two books in the series too?

Castile. 1071 AD. Three kings. One crown.

After Sancho II of Castile dispatches his champion Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar to capture his brother, King Garcia of Galicia, he hopes it is a defining moment in his quest to reunite the lands of his father under one banner. But Alfonso VI of Leon is one step ahead, and has already added the lands of Galicia to his domain. When the only alternative is war, Sancho turns to Rodrigo to lead the armies of Castile, and he must use all his tactical acumen to defeat the Leonese in the field. Only one son of Fernando can claim victory and become the Emperor of Hispania.

Rodrigo and Antonio Perez, now a knight of the realm, find difficulty adjusting to the new regime. Dissent and unrest run rife throughout the kingdom, and the fear of a knife in the dark from enemies old and new hangs heavy upon the pair. But if it is allowed to fester, it threatens to undo all that has been achieved. Can Rodrigo and Antonio root out the enemies of the king, and prevent chaos reigning throughout the land?

Publication Date: February 5th 2021

Publisher: Independently Published

Page Length: 406 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

View on Amazon: Amazon UK • Amazon US • Amazon CA • Amazon AU

Author Bio:

Stuart Rudge

Stuart Rudge was born and raised in Middlesbrough, where he still lives. His love of history came from his father and uncle, both avid readers of history, and his love of table top war gaming and strategy video games. He studied Ancient History and Archaeology at Newcastle University, and has spent his fair share of time in muddy trenches, digging up treasure at Bamburgh Castle.

He was worked in the retail sector and volunteered in museums, before working in York Minster, which he considered the perfect office. His love of writing blossomed within the historic walls, and he knew there were stories within which had to be told. Despite a move in to the shipping and logistics sector (a far cry to what he hoped to ever do), his love of writing has only grown stronger.

Rise of a Champion is the first piece of work he has dared to share with the world. Before that came a novel about the Roman Republic and a Viking-themed fantasy series (which will likely never see the light of day, but served as good practise). He hopes to establish himself as a household name in the mound of Bernard Cornwell, Giles Kristian, Ben Kane and Matthew Harffy, amongst a host of his favourite writers.

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