Category Archives: Uncategorized

Help me introduce readers to the Tumultuous (but also romantic) Tudors!

I have spent the past year- and some!- writing a series of Tudor era romances for Dragonblade Publishing. All that hard work may be about to pay off, as Book 2 in the collection, LORD OF LOYALTY, has been nominated for a RONE Award!

I would so love your vote to help my book progress further in the contest. You’ll need a FREE subscription to the fabulous InD’Tale magazine before you can vote- find out more here indtale.com/2021-rone-awards
Time’s up for this category, Historical Ancient-1800, tomorrow, April 18th, so please act NOW! Thank you ❤️

Great reviews for a new release!

LORD OF THE MANOR, my intriguing historical romance set in Tudor England, is released TODAY. There are some terrific reviews coming through. I really like the one by Morgan & Many Books, of which the following is an extract-

“…I will definitely read more from Keysian as I like her character development, prose, and evident research tack and I feel like I can trust her to write some good pre-19th century HR.”

Candy Briggs liked the book too- “I highly recommend this wonderful novel.”

You can still get LORD OF THE MANOR at the discount price of just $0.99. You can grab your copy here- mybook.to/lordofthemanor

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is lord-of-the-manor-graphic.jpg

Here’s a bit 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.

A Knights Templar site in Essex

Back in 1990, my partner got as job a site archaeologist at Cressing Temple, in Essex. No- it wasn’t a temple. It was a site gifted to the Knights Templar by Queen Matilda, wife of King Stephen, where lay brothers and employees of the military order could raise crops to finance the Crusades.

Living there for seven years as we did was an amazing experience and I really hope to find time to write more about some of the things that happened, such as the time the cat got walled up, the time the carppet almost caught fire, the moment the car rolled through the fence, and the occasion when the TV crew came and wrecked the archaeology, but I got to be on the telly!

Some other time, mayhap. For now, I would like to signal Cressing Temple, my temporary home, as the inspiration for LORD OF THE MANOR, my Tudor era story that is published TODAY! More about that anon. For now, here is a picture of the place, and a link where you can find out more about the history and archaeology of this fascinating site.

An invite and some competitions

If you live in the US, there is a contest you can enter if you attend my Facebook takeover in the Dragonblade Readers’ Group on Tuesday 13th April. I’ll be available to chat, tell you a little about my latest book, LORD OF THE MANOR, and entertain you (hopefully) with one of my quirky quizzes. Here’s the address for the Facebook takeover- https://www.facebook.com/groups/274839866984258

I’ll be live at 13.00 PDT, which is 21.00 BST. See you there!

You can also enter this Rafflecopter contest for a $25 Gift Card and paperbacks- https://gleam.io/B17A5/lord-of-the-manor-giveaway

I am also giving away signed paperback copies of the first four books in the Tudor era TRYSTS AND TREACHERY collection to some lucky UK winners. To be entered into the draw, you will need to either retweet the following pinned post on Twitter https://twitter.com/EKeysian/status/1380172481445646337 or this share this Facebook post https://www.facebook.com/LizKeysian/posts/4216710898348328. Or even do both! I’ll add your name to the draw and let you know at the end of the week if you’re a winner.

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/

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!