Candace Robb: guest-post and giveaway

A Conspiracy of Wolves
by Candace Robb

Publication Date: August 1, 2019
Severn House/Crème de la Crime
Hardcover & eBook; 256 Pages

Series: Owen Archer, Book 11
Genre: Historical Mystery



When a prominent citizen is murdered, former Captain of the Guard Owen Archer is persuaded out of retirement to investigate in this gripping medieval mystery.

1374. When a member of one of York’s most prominent families is found dead in the woods, his throat torn out, rumours spread like wildfire that wolves are running loose throughout the city. Persuaded to investigate by the victim’s father, Owen Archer is convinced that a human killer is responsible. But before he can gather sufficient evidence to prove his case, a second body is discovered, stabbed to death. Is there a connection? What secrets are contained within the victim’s household? And what does apprentice healer Alisoun know that she’s not telling?

Teaming up with Geoffrey Chaucer, who is in York on a secret mission on behalf of Prince Edward, Owen’s enquiries will draw him headlong into a deadly conspiracy.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

I’m Candace Robb, a writer/historian engaged in creating fiction about the late middle ages with a large cast of characters with whom I enjoy spending my days. Two series, the Owen Archer mysteries and the Kate Clifford mysteries, are set in late medieval York. The Margaret Kerr trilogy is set in early 14th century Scotland, at the beginning of the Wars of Independence. Two standalone novels (published under pseudonym Emma Campion) expand on the lives of two women in the court of King Edward III who have fascinated me ever since I first encountered them in history and fiction.

I am a dreamer. Writing, gardening, walking, dancing, reading, being with friends—there’s always a dreaming element.


The Cutting Room Floor

Write, read, rewrite, read, revise, read, edit, read aloud, polish. My process in a nutshell. But I’m oversimplifying. One scene can go through quite a few iterations of any one of those steps. Which means I leave a lot on the cutting room floor. Don’t know the term? It’s a reference to the act of cutting physical film strips in the process of editing films—before digital. All the material that didn’t make the final cut for myriad reasons—the film ran too long, the scene was judged repetitive, unnecessary, jarring, it was reshot. All this film jargon feels quite apropos because each scene is vividly running in my head as I write. On my computer, the folder for each book contains subfolders of old versions, and those subfolders include small files with titles like “begin old chap 3,” “Jasper’s rant,” “garden in snow,” bits and pieces that I took out but saved just in case.

What snippets of A Conspiracy of Wolves would you find on the cutting room floor? A Murdered PeaceThis would be a prize winner because I played with the idea for the book for several years while working on three books in my Kate Clifford series (The Service of the Dead, A Twisted Vengeance, A Murdered Peace). There are a number of scenes involving the discovery of decorative buttons from the jacket of a young woman gone missing long ago—after Hoban Swann’s death his friends find them around their homes and become increasingly paranoid, though they deny it to anyone who asks. I discarded that thread long ago, when the working title for the book was Death Has No Remedy (a title I am finally releasing to the universe after trying it out for over a half dozen books). The sequence was meant to propel the plot forward and add tension, but to me it read like a long stall. Snip! A few characters fell with that as well. Fortunately no actors were harmed in this process.

A Vigil of SpiesThe cutting room floor was also littered with versions of the first crime scene in A Conspiracy of Wolves. Owen rides out into Galtres to examine Hoban’s corpse in situ. In the earliest drafts both Jasper and Alisoun accompany Owen. But they kept arguing and taking the focus away from the tragedy. I absentmindedly rewrote the scene with Brother Michaelo attending Owen as his scribe, an amusing idea, the fastidious, sardonic monk taking notes on a bloody scene. I loved it. But I’d written Michaelo out of the series at the end of A Vigil of Spies—he  planned to return to Normandy. I cut that scene and tried again. Just Jasper this time. But it felt flat. What I liked about the Michaelo/Owen combo was similar to what I enjoy about Owen’s scenes with Geoffrey Chaucer—the amusing clash of personalities. A sleuth investigating the crime scene is nothing new—the interest is in the particulars. But that’s not enough, especially if there’s more than one such scene in the book. What really makes it fresh is the personalities involved. I needed that slight comic relief of the clashing personalities. Jasper and Owen rarely clash. I tried Alisoun. She can be as annoying as Brother Michaelo. But it didn’t work. In this situation, she would be serious, engaged, no better than Jasper for my purposes. Brother Michaelo worked. He was exactly what I wanted. But what was he doing there? Why hadn’t he returned to Normandy?  Dear reader, I backtracked. And the first chapter of the finished product turned out to be quite different from the original. You know the scene in the tavern, with Owen listening to Tucker’s fiddle music? Yes, it moved much farther into the book. More snips. Now Alisoun had center stage until I shift to Owen returning from Freythorpe Hadden and encountering Brother Michaelo and the bereaved Bartolf Swann. The game’s afoot.

The Nuns Tale Every book is like this. Several years ago I reread both the Owen Archer and the Margaret Kerr series to ensure that the files I delivered to Diversion Books for the new editions were intact. Much to my surprise, many scenes I vividly remember weren’t in the final cuts. I was particularly startled by the absence of a long sequence toward the end of The Nun’s Tale in which Owen maneuvers along narrow ledges on the cliffs near Scarborough, a harrowing scene in which his partial blindness hampers his depth perception. I checked the published books, looking for the scene—it wasn’t in any of them. That entire sequence is lost to me, the cutting room floor files for that particular book deleted long ago. Then I remembered that it had stalled the action, much as the acorn button. Snip!

The perils of write, read, rewrite, read, revise, read, edit, read aloud, polish. But it’s what I do. And one of these days I’ll find a use for the idea of Owen on the cliffs. Look for it.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, August 1
Review at Book Frolic
Excerpt at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, August 2
Review at A Book Geek

Saturday, August 3
Feature at The Writing Desk

Monday, August 5
Feature at Book Addict Rambles

Tuesday, August 6
Excerpt at Broken Teepee
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, August 7
Interview at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, August 8
Guest Post at Reading the Past
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Friday, August 9
Feature at I’m All About Books
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Saturday, August 10
Feature at Clarissa Reads it All

Sunday, August 11
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read

Monday, August 12
Excerpt at Just One More Chapter
Review & Interview at Gwendalyn’s Books

Tuesday, August 13
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, August 14
Guest Post at Words and Peace
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, August 15
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at Book Reviews from Canada


Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.


Excerpt and Giveaway: No Stone Unturned

No Stone Unturned
by Pam Lecky

Publication Date: June 28, 2019
eBook; 286 Pages

Series: The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries, Book 1
Genre: Historical Mystery



A suspicious death, stolen gems, and an unclaimed reward: who will be the victor in a deadly game of cat and mouse?

London October 1886: Trapped in a troubled marriage, Lucy Lawrence is ripe for an adventure. But when she meets the enigmatic Phineas Stone, over the body of her husband in the mortuary, her world begins to fall apart.

When her late husband’s secrets spill from the grave, and her life is threatened by the leader of London’s most notorious gang, Lucy must find the strength to rise to the challenge. But who can she trust and how is she to stay out of the murderous clutches of London’s most dangerous criminal?

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Pam is an Irish writer of historical fiction with a particular love of the late Victorian era and early 20th century. She is fascinated by all things 19th century, from food and clothes to architecture and social history. She is patiently awaiting the invention of time travel, but in the meantime, indulges her love of the past by writing about it.

Her debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was awarded the BRAG Medallion in 2017. It was shortlisted for the Carousel Aware Prize 2016; made ‘Editor’s Choice’ by the Historical Novel Society; long-listed for the Historical Novel Society 2016 Indie Award; and chosen as a Discovered Diamond in February 2017.

In April 2018, Pam published an anthology of some previously published short reads, along with some new work. Her collection of short stories is entitled, Past Imperfect, and features stories set in such diverse settings as WW1 Dublin, the sinking of the Lusitania and a lonely haunted lighthouse.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


A few weeks later, Nathaniel Marsh appeared one morning at Abbey Gardens. He was a respectable-looking man in his mid-fifties, tall and well-dressed and she recognised him as a mourner from Charlie’s funeral. He had not made himself known to her at the graveside, but stood with several other gentlemen behind the next row of headstones.

“Mrs Lawrence, I am so sorry to disturb you at this sad time,” he said, once Mary had closed the drawing room door. “A dreadful business, dear lady. Your husband was a fine fellow. We were business associates these last few months.”

“I am happy to meet you,” Lucy said, waving him to an armchair. Charlie had never mentioned him, she was sure, and she was curious why he had come. He refused her offer of tea. After removing his hat, Mr Marsh sat down, his smile revealing a gold incisor. For some reason, it put Lucy in mind of a pirate.

“I won’t intrude, Mrs Lawrence. Let me be brief. If you could give me your husband’s papers and effects, I will be on my way.”

Startled, she sat staring at him. What on earth could he mean? “Those are private, sir.”

The benevolent look vanished from Marsh’s face, and he moved to the edge of his seat. “Your husband and I were partners. I urgently require certain items he had in his possession. Speed is of the essence. My clients do not care about his demise, you must understand. They expect business as usual.”

“Sir, I have no knowledge of my husband’s business affairs, and he did not keep any of his papers here. I suggest you talk to Mr Faulkner, his solicitor,” she said, trying to keep her temper in check. She retrieved the solicitor’s card from her purse and handed it over. “I’m sure he can help you with whatever you need.”

Mr Marsh stared at the card, then slipped it in to his pocket. “You don’t understand how urgent this is,” he said, scowling at her. “Your husband owed me money, a great deal of money. The business will collapse if I don’t get the—” He paused and ran a handkerchief over his forehead.

“Where is his study?” he demanded suddenly, jumping up. He towered above her, his eyes wild. Lunging towards her, he placed his hands on the armrests on either side of her. Terrified, Lucy shrank back and could only stare up at him. With a roar of rage, he stepped away before charging out of the room. Baffled by his behaviour, she trailed behind and saw him disappear into Charlie’s study. The commotion drew the cook and Mary up from the kitchen. They stood in the hallway, wide-eyed. She signalled to them to stay put. With trepidation she approached the study, then hesitated in the doorway as Mr Marsh began to pull out the drawers of Charlie’s desk and rifle through them. Horrified, Lucy protested, but he continued to ransack the room, ignoring her completely. She did not know what he was looking for and was too afraid to ask.

At last, he appeared satisfied she was telling the truth. But he advanced on her, breathing heavily, his face twisted in anger and frustration. Lucy recoiled against the doorframe, the edge digging into her shoulder.

“You haven’t heard the last of this,” Marsh hissed. “I want what belongs to me.” With a snarl, he brushed past her. At the front door, he turned and fixed her with a stare. “I will find them, you know. I hope you have not been foolish enough to try and sell ’em. The accident which befell your husband was unfortunate. I would advise you to be most careful, Mrs Lawrence. Two tragedies in the one family would be considered very … unlucky.”

The door slammed shut, and the women stared at each other in disbelief.

“No more visitors, Mary, please,” Lucy said, her voice shaking. “No matter who they say they are.”

“Yes, of course, Mrs Lawrence.” Mary twisted her hands, her eyes darting between Lucy and the cook. “We’d best see to this,” Mary said eventually, turning to Mrs Trevor and jerking her head towards the study. The maid gently closed the study door after them. As Lucy walked away, she could hear their frantic whispering.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 5
Review & Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, August 6
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Wednesday, August 7
Excerpt at Words and Peace
Guest Post at Short Books and Scribes

Thursday, August 8
Review & Guest Post at Gwendalyn_Books_

Friday, August 9
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Sunday, August 11
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Monday, August 12
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two copies of No Stone Unturned by Pam Lecky! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.


Six degrees of separation: From Versailles to hacking


Six degrees of separation:
From Versailles to hacking!

I’m glad to be back for this fun exercise! And this month is a wild card, we are supposed to start with the last book of our last chain!
Using my own rules for this fun meme hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest (see there the origin of the meme and how it works – posted the first Saturday of every month), I started in the past at Versailles and ended up in the modern world of hackers!
I love this adventure, always full of surprises.

Here are my own quirky rules:

1. Use your list of books on Goodreads
2. Take the first word of the title offered and find another title with that word in it
3. Then use the first word of THAT title to find your text title
4. Or the second if the title starts with the same word, or you are stuck

After the covers, you can find the links to my reviews or to the title on Goodreads:

  Before Versailles the night before  

  if on a winter's night Light to Enlighten My Darkness

     How the Light Gets In The Innovators

1. Before Versailles
A historical novel about Louis XIV.
My verdict:
“The characters sounded true to life, the topic was well researched, the descriptions beautiful.”

2. The Night Before
I find Wendy Walker to be a strong author, and I’m looking forward to reading more books by her. I have read three so far.
VERDICT for this one: Strong psychological thriller, with nice twists and complex characters.

3. If on a Winter‘s Night a Traveler
If you want to read something original, this one is for you: totally different, unique, and superb writing.

4. A Light to Enlighten the Darkness: Daily Readings for Meditation during the Winter Season
Well, I can’t resist the temptation to feature my own book! This is an anthology, with a short text on the theme of light, for those dark days of the winter season. I have selected texts by Medieval authors, men and women. The introduction is mine.

5. How the Light Gets In
With two of its books containing the word light, I have to feature one of my most favorite series of all times: the Gamache series by Louise Penny.
If you don’t know it though, I highly recommend you start with volume 1, Still Life, as the evolution of the characters and their relationships is so important throughout the 15 volumes so far.
Well, 14 to be exact, but I have already read and reviewed book 15, that will come out end of August. My review will then be featured in Criminal Element.

6. The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
This was so fascinating!
VERDICTSuperb audiobook, the best nonfiction I have listened to this year [that was in 2014]. A brilliant author and a just as brilliant narrator combine their kills to present the roots of our current digital world, and the men and women who worked together to give us what we have today.


Visit other chains here