Book review & giveaway: Time and Regret, by M.K. Tod

Time And RegretM. K. Tod
on Tour September 1-10 with

Time and Regret

(historical mystery)

Release date: August 16, 2016
on Amazon

ISBN: 978-1503938403
366 pages

Author’s page | Goodreads


When Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried family secrets. In the box are his World War I diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve her grandfather’s puzzle, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her…

Through her grandfather’s vivid writing and Grace’s own travels, a picture emerges of a man very unlike the one who raised her: one who watched countless friends and loved ones die horrifically in battle; one who lived a life of regret. But her grandfather wasn’t the only one harboring secrets, and the more Grace learns about her family, the less she thinks she can trust them.


After a somewhat slow start, Time and Regret quickly became intriguing. Martin’s diaries gave way to sections set during the Great War, and I was fascinated. His words weren’t the lengthy sort of diary one usually gets in books like this, but brief, blunt observations that set the stage. Then, to have Grace trying to find clues… I couldn’t stop reading. Things built, and the ending wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. In a good way.

I especially appreciated that Grace was not a 20-something year old, but a woman of an older age, with more experience, and having gone through a divorce. She was a more interesting character for it, and her friendship and relationship with Pierre felt very natural, and not overdone.

It was also refreshing to have a novel partly set in 1991. It’s two historical periods in one novel, and it took me a few minutes to reset my brain to ‘not present time’ when reading about the more modern era. I had to remind myself that 1991 was pre-cellphone, internet, etc. (I am more than old enough to remember it, but still…)

And finally, the art world connection was a real treat. Museums and (*mumble mumble spoilers*). Definitely a book to pick up.


Time And Regret MK Tod

Time and Regret is M.K. Tod’s third novel.
She began writing in 2005
while living as an expat in Hong Kong.
What started as an interest in her grandparents’ lives
turned into a full-time occupation writing historical fiction.
Her novel Unravelled was awarded Indie Editor’s Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
In addition to writing historical novels,
she blogs about reading and writing historical fiction at,
reviews books for the Historical Novel Society
and the Washington Independent Review of Books,
and has conducted three highly respected reader surveys.
She lives in Toronto, Canada,
with her husband and is the mother of two adult children.

Please visit her website and her blog A Writer of History
Subscribe to her mailing list
or contact her at mktod [at] bell [dot] net

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter
on Goodreads and Pinterest

Buy the book (print, ebook audiobook): Amazon


You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open internationally:
5 winners will receive a print copy of this book.



Time And Regret Banner

Follow the blog tour for THE LONDON GAME, and win books!

the-london-game-bannerClick on the banner above to be taken to the full listing of sites participating, and to learn how to win a copy of the book!

The game isn’t over.

Art dealer Marc Perron relocates to London with his lover, singer Sera Durand, to protect her from past mistakes. Blackmailed by a gangster, he must return to Paris, leaving Sera alone and vulnerable. Forging a precious painting may be his only chance at survival, but if he’s found out, the consequences will be deadly.

Without Marc, Sera struggles in an English-speaking country, coming face to face with his lies, his sexual past, and her own misdeeds. Finding a job at a jazz club called ‘Sanctuary’ is anything but, as she is not safe from her new boss, or the disturbing man who spies on her every move.

Once more, the lovers must play the game, but the stakes are higher than they imagined…


Review & Giveaway: Rodin’s Lover, by Heather Webb

The Giveaway

Win a copy of Rodin’s Lover in ebook or paperback (US/Canada only). Skip to the entry widget at the bottom of this post to enter!

My Review

rodins-lover-coverI knew only a little about Camille Claudel before I picked up this book. I of course knew about Rodin, and The Gates of Hell is one of my favourite sculptures ever. (If you haven’t yet, try to see it in person; the size and detail is incredible.)

The story was fascinating, and it ranged from Camille’s adolescence until her tragic descent into mental illness. I hadn’t known that of her; such an unfortunate end to a very creative life. The story was a page-turner for me, and I read this book in one, blissfully uninterrupted, sitting. There aren’t too many books I can say that about.

Camille’s path into sculpture, and the workings of an atelier, were my favourite parts of the book. That’s probably the art geek in me. But aside from that, I hoped and wished for Camille’s success, and felt her agonies and frustrations as my own, the sign of a well-written novel. I highly recommend it, and I know I will be picking up Heather Webb’s other work.


A mesmerizing tale of art and passion in Belle Époque France

As a woman, aspiring sculptor Camille Claudel has plenty of critics, especially her ultra-traditional mother. But when Auguste Rodin makes Camille his apprentice—and his muse—their passion inspires groundbreaking works. Yet, Camille’s success is overshadowed by her lover’s rising star, and her obsessions cross the line into madness.

Rodin’s Lover brings to life the volatile love affair between one of the era’s greatest artists and a woman entwined in a tragic dilemma she cannot escape.


“Dazzling!….. In Rodin’s Lover, author Heather Webb brings to life, with vivid detail, the story of brilliant and tormented sculptress Camille Claudel and the epic love affair with the legendary sculptor who worshiped her. Deeply moving and meticulously researched, this book will capture your heart, then hold it tightly long after the final page.” –Anne Girard, author of Madame Picasso

“A rich, sensuous novel…[was] written with great empathy for the very human Rodin and his lover, this novel of the visceral world of the 19th century Paris ateliers, of clay-stained dresses and fingernails, lithe models who vow to remain and then go, family love which stays through all difficulties and talent which endures, comes vividly to life.” –Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet

Rodin’s Lover
[historical fiction/ women’s fiction]

Release date: January 27, 2015
at Plume/Penguin

320 pages

ISBN: 978-0142181751

About the Author

rodins-lover-heather-webb1Heather Webb is the author of historical novels BECOMING JOSEPHINE
and RODIN’S LOVER published by Plume/Penguin, a freelance editor, and blogger. You may also find her contributing to award-winning writing sites including WriterUnboxed and When not writing, Heather flexes her foodie skills and looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world.

Visit her website and her blog. Follow her on FacebookTwitter

Subscribe to her newsletter.

Buy the bookPlume/Penguin |  Amazon  |  B&N  |  IndieBound


THE CHRISTMAS GAME is free for the holidays!

AlyssaLinnPalmer_TheChristmasGameFrom now until New Year’s Eve, grab a copy of my Le Chat Rouge novella, THE CHRISTMAS GAME, over at All Romance eBooks!

Alone in London on business just before Christmas, Marc Perron meets an intriguing young woman working at a bookshop. A light flirtation seems to lead nowhere, but the night before he returns to Paris, she knocks on his hotel room door.

Madelaine’s taking a risk, but no one’s ever looked at her the way Marc does, and she’s not about to pass up a chance to get to know him better. When he suggests a game of wagers, she can’t resist challenging him. And herself.

Their matchup is a fiery one and each wager tops the last, the sexual heat between them crackling. Neither want to lose the game, but Madelaine fears she might be losing her heart as well.

This novella is a part of the Le Chat Rouge series, but can be read as a stand-alone story.

Book Review: The Mona Lisa Speaks, by Christopher Angel (+ Giveaway!)

Leave a comment to be entered to win an autographed copy of THE MONA LISA SPEAKS! (US/Canada only.)

the-mona-lisa-speaksAnother thriller I couldn’t put down. I feel like I’m being spoiled!

It didn’t take me long to get into this book, a tightly written story that kept me captivated all the way through. Canadian computer security expert Robertson Ross foils a robbery attempt on art gallery owner Mathilde, and in the process, meets the woman of his dreams. Except it’s not that easy. Love never is, and Mathilde has more problems than she lets on.

Right from the start, I was delighted with this book. It’s so nice to read a book where an American isn’t the protagonist. I could cheer on a fellow Canadian (fictional though he may be). And I could imagine myself in the Louvre, wandering the halls, seeing the art, and wishing I too could see the expansive storage of artifacts and art.

Reading this story felt like a delicious indulgence—art, Paris, daring thefts, computer geekery, and true love, all rolled up in one. The author’s direct first-person narrative sucked me into the story so quickly, and in sections I almost didn’t dare to breathe, wondering how Rob might get himself out of the sticky situations he found himself in. I was never quite sure how things would turn out.

This is a fantastic read, and I was delighted to see a bonus chapter of a followup book. Now, to wait until that one is released!

And here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite!

She loved the quiet of the nights and the early mornings, especially Monday nights, because Tuesday was a day without the hordes of the great unwashed, and instead brought the blessed ministrations of her admiring and careful staff.  They treated her as she felt she should be.  They fussed over her, admired her, and appreciated her true beauty.  If only they could be convinced to hide her away from public display – keep her in private for only those true cognoscenti.  That would be the life.

But, who was this strange fellow?  She didn’t recognize him, and she knew all of her usual caretakers.  And, why was he alone?  What was that strange sheet placed over the case?  She was always glad when the case was opened, but this didn’t feel like a breath of fresh air to her.

Was this more of those strange and invasive tests?  What did they call them – x-rays and infrared scans?  She dreaded the strange, unpleasant coldness of the examining tables, and the cold, technical feel of the examination itself.  Yes, Leonardo had dreamed of machines like this, but surely not to have them trained on her!  The secrets of her beginnings were nobody’s business but hers, and Leonardo’s.  And if he had taken them to the grave, then that is the way he wanted it.  If he had painted over her veil, it was because he thought that suited her better, and showed off her beauty all the more.  Why reveal an imperfection the master had hidden?

What is that in this man’s hands – a new frame?  What?  NO, IT CANNOT BE! Oh, Leonardo, what sort of betrayal is this of your greatest work?

She saw herself – in somebody else’s hands.  It was like looking down on oneself from death.  There was her smile, the smile that had beguiled millions, but she suddenly found herself as the viewer, not the viewed.  And it terrified her.

This was not Leonardo’s great work.  This was a travesty, a transgression of everything that was right in the world.

Wait, he dared touch her?  What was this madman going to do?

About the book:
Brilliant and confident Robertson Ross, an outdoorsy Canadian computer expert hired to update the Louvre’s security system, falls in love with Mathilde, a classic beauty and cultured Parisian art dealer.  But, when he discovers that she’s deeply in debt to Jacques Renard, a powerful and dangerous lord of the French criminal underground, he has to embark on the risky and thrilling theft of the Mona Lisa to save her – and their unborn child.

Rob’s biggest problems actually begin after he successfully steals the Mona Lisa and replaces her with a perfect copy.  Facing betrayals and double-crosses at all turns, he needs every bit of his intelligence, cunning, courage, and computer skills to stay alive and reunite with his true love.  This is a story of thrills, danger, and a Canadian from the frozen North falling in love with Paris.

Buy the book:
Released May 6, 2013 by Over The Edge Books

ISBN-10: 1484166957
ISBN-13: 978-1484166956

Get in touch with the author:
Twitter @filmangel and @MonaLisaSpeaks

Christopher AngelAbout the Author:
Emmy nominee Christopher Angel was inspired to write The Mona Lisa Speaks, his first novel, during a visit to the Louvre, where he dared ask, “why is the Mona Lisa so famous?”  The answer, in part, surprised him: few know that the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911, and went missing for two years.  Wondering what happened in those intervening two years launched his own fictional update of the story.

A professional film-maker, Christopher’s most recent movie as a writer/director is This Is Not A Test – a satire about domestic terrorism that aired on Showtime. He was nominated for an Emmy for his work on James Cameron’s documentary, Expedition Bismarck, and won a student Academy Award for his short film, Mr. October.  Christopher received his B.A. from Yale University, where he was a Humanities major, and an MFA in film-making from the University of Southern California.


Cover Reveal: The Paris Game

I’ve been sitting on this for a little while, waiting until I returned from my trip. But now, I’m pleased to be able to show off the cover for my upcoming release, The Paris Game! It is the first in a new series, and I’ll be releasing a second book later this year.


On the darker side of Paris, it’s dangerous to not pay your debts…

A singer in a jazz club past its prime, Sera Durand must come up with thousands of euros to pay back her boss, a ruthless gangster.  A confrontation with her ex, an art dealer profiting on the wrong side of the law, leads her into a questionable wager, but one that could solve her problems.

Marc Perron knows a winning proposition when he sees one. Seducing a shy young woman of Sera’s acquaintance will be the easiest thing in the world, and the prize, to have Sera in his bed once again, is worth the chance of losing a sizable sum. What he didn’t expect was the depth of Sera’s desperation.

When one of his deals goes awry, Marc’s solution could cost them more than money…

The Paris Game - Alyssa Linn Palmer

The Unabashed Francophile Post, Part 9: My Trip to Paris (1)

I went to Paris in June of 2003, as a very generous birthday gift from my parents. My father was working there for six weeks. I hadn’t been working at all, having been diagnosed with a chronic illness, and without their generosity, I would never have been able to see the city that has since figured so prominently in my life and my writing.

I didn’t always have an interest in France. As I’ve written previously, about Simone de Beauvoir and about French authors, my abiding interest was sparked by a Philosophy of Literature class. I read Sartre’s La Nausée, and Edmond Jabès’s The Book of Questions, and Andre Breton’s surrealist novel Nadja.

So, though my French language classes in elementary, junior high and high school were lamentably poor, and my grasp of the language shy and shaky, I was off to see the City of Light with my own eyes.

I arrived on the 15th of June, having flown Calgary via Montreal to Paris, landing at eight-thirty in the morning. Yes, I remember…. because I wrote it down. A friend of my mother’s bought me a journal for my trip. Exhausted, my mother and I took the Air France bus into the centre of the city, alighting at the stop nearest the Arc de Triomphe and hefting our bags for the walk to the apartment just off the Avenue de Wagram.

Later that morning, I had my first café crème. Not the most exciting of things to report, but it was a revelation. I’d had coffee before, of course, including cappuccino, espresso and the like, but the taste of this café crème was like nothing else. It came in a white porcelain cup and saucer with a paper-wrapped lump of sugar on the side and a small spoon. It was delicious.

I remember the morning being pleasant, sunny with a light breeze. The café we’d stopped at had been crowded with the Sunday brunch crowd and our table still had dishes from the previous occupants cluttering it. Compared to at home, the service was slow, but it didn’t matter. Through my tired daze, I was already fascinated with this new city, so different from home.

Guest Post: Grit City Emotobooks Revolutionize Fictional Storytelling, by Ron Gavalik

When I heard about Grit City on Twitter, I couldn’t help but be intrigued. I love noir, and I love art, and when I heard that Dillon Galway’s gun for hire was a sultry lady sharing my name, I had to take a read. Author Ron Gavalik was happy to share his thoughts here on the blog.

As a writer it’s always been a goal of mine to bridge the gap between the cerebral gratifications of well-plotted writing and the visual stimulation of illustrative art or film. Like a mad scientist with crazy hair and a battered lab coat, I experimented with various styles, structures, and word painting exercises. Nothing seemed to achieve my goal.

Then it came to me. I had a mini-epiphany. Insert abstract, emotionally representative illustrations during peak moments of tension. By delivering a visual of what the character feels and experiences, the reader becomes more intensely immersed in the story.

The term emotobook is simply a portmanteau word I conjured, as a fun and memorable label for this new medium of fiction.

Unlike comic books that use direct illustrations as the primary storytelling device, Grit City emotobooks are written mystery noirs, with an urban fantasy twist. The four or five illustrations in each thirty-page installment merely lend a visual experience to the internal emotional processes of the characters.

It’s lots of fun.

Grit City is a continuing story, published each month to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks and other eBook retailers. In each installment the reader is exposed to a dark and calamitous world, where the nefarious rule.

Our main character is Dillon Galway, an idealistic freelance journalist in his mid-twenties, who barely scrapes out a living reporting on corruption for the metro newspaper and his own blog.

Dillon embodies a double meaning of the term grit. He is a gritty individual, who drinks and lives meagerly. But he also possesses grit. Courage and strength of character are his dominant personality traits.

I’ve constructed a world where Dillon shares a symbiotic relationship with the city. Its failures have lowered him, yet he remains hopeful for the restoration of peace and opportunity. Occasionally, he relies on the sexy and sultry Alyssa Stephano (gun for hire) to help when situations require her nickel-plated Colt .45 revolvers.

Grit City was an ideal place to live at one time. We all know of towns that have fallen over the years. The murder of Dillon’s father and the rise of the Syndicate started Dillon’s downward spiral. All meaningful power in business, politics, and law enforcement were funneled into the hands of this wealthy organization.

But in the shadows of the back alleys, whispers stir in the underground of an unnamed force. Something or someone that’s determined to upset the status quo. When Dillon is tipped about horrifying activities he’s propelled into a perilous investigation that may lead to dire consequences.

As the series progresses he’s faced with unfathomed challenges, but also gains abilities most consider impossible.

We’ve all dedicated our lives to the pursuit of a new fiction medium. We’re thankful such a broad audience is heralding the story. It seems our tagline on the website is true: Read one installment and you’ll be hooked until the gritty end.

Grit City is the maiden series of Grit City Publications. Our team of illustrators and editors are working with writers to launch a catalog of emotobook titles in 2012. It’s our goal to offer emotobooks in the following genres: Mystery, Horror, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Western, Romance, Erotica, and Inspirational. Cross genres are welcome and encouraged.

Maybe you have what it takes to write or illustrate for us.

Ron Gavalik has devoted his life to the written word. He’s practiced a long and successful career in fiction writing, journalism, and technical documentation. His short fiction has appeared in several magazines and online venues. His news articles have informed thousands of readers throughout the United States.

He conceived the new medium of emotobooks in 2010 while earning his M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Grit City is the maiden serialized story, and is receiving accolades among a large and diverse base of readers throughout the US, UK, and Germany.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Ron spends much of his free time in the outdoors of Southwestern Pennsylvania. He enjoys fishing, hiking, and riding his trail bike. He can be reached through his website at: