Archive for November, 2020

Tagai Tarutin
Silverwood Books
Medieval Romance

Hellalyle and Hildebrand, were drawn into a relationship engineered by those same unseen forces who had selected her bodyguard; their purpose, to thwart the devil, incarnate in Prinz Paulus, in its attempts to kill the princess.

A downs-syndrome girl of mysterious origins, named Ethla, emerges out of the wildwood. She is taken care of by Princess Hellalyle. and plays a crucial part in the narrative.

The king, while away, learns of the developing relationship between his daughter and the leader of her bodyguard, and feels betrayed by the English knight, and so dispatches his champions – his seven sons, and Paulus – to arrest, and execute Hildebrand, and confine Hellalyle until the king`s return.

The eleven, remaining protectors of the princess, leave the kingdom, believing their contract has been nullified by Thorstiens edict, leaving Hildebrand alone to face Hellalyle`s brothers and step-brother. The Englishman takes the fight to his adversaries, and slaughters all the unfortunate siblings of the princess, except Paulus, who after surrendering to Hildebrand, turns about and treacherously kills him, and then brutally, incarcerates his step-sister.

As these occurrences were unfolding, in another part of the continent, one of her bodyguards, the Teutonic knight, Karl von Altenburg, now living in a monastic order, experiences a vision, informing him of Hellalyle`s plight, and sets out to for Castle Preben.

Meanwhile, in her prison, Hellalyle gives birth to Hildebrand`s son, now sole heir, whom she names Hagen. On a fateful day, Ethla, at the princess’s urging, flees into the wilderness, taking to safety, the infant crown prince, to save him from Prinz Paulus, who, feeling outwitted mortally wounds the princess in revenge.

“A beautiful love story of a medieval knight and a noble princess written by Tagai Tarutin. The book allows us to go back in history and hear more about the exploits of the legendary Hildebrand and his beloved Hellalyle. The book is full of picturesque scenes of the events in Medieval Europe and it gives us the opportunity to immerse in the spirit of those times. It will be a good read for those interested in history, literature and romance…” – Alexandra Suyazova, Teaching Fellow of English, Saint Petersburg, Russia

“A fabulous story that could be easily transformed into a screen version, about a truly romantic relationship beyond any prejudice, driven by pure intentions at the times when the chivalry and nobleness made the difference in survival of a human life.” – Anatoly Leonidovich Rasputin, graduate in English from the University of Linguistics, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3mcbyi3

B&N → https://bit.ly/2TgAJnj


In the great hall, Hellalyle, on hearing the news that her brothers were coming to arrest Hildebrand, pleaded with him to leave. “Hildebrand, you must leave – my father has dispatched my brothers to seize you. Our relationship has set in motion a fait accompli, and now your life is in great danger.”

However, Hildebrand, staring into the fire, was in no mood to listen to her pleading, saying, “Whatever the other knights decide to do, I cannot in all consciousness allow myself to abandon you to an uncertain fate, as I feel responsible for this dire situation.”

Hellalyle, in desperation, pleaded, “Will you, please, be sensible! You cannot defeat eight armed men! Remember, these are my brothers, and at the end of the fight you will lie dead, and so will most of my brethren, and for what end? My family destroyed, and

Prince Hildebrand ignominiously buried in a foreign field, which will be a tragedy for the English nation, and it will not end there, as I feel further calamity awaits those remaining at this fortress.”

“Fate must run its course!” exclaimed the defiant knight, raising his voice. “If you think I will deliver you into the hands of Paulus, you gravely underestimate me. No greater evil walks the land, and he will surely die on the blade of my sword! As for my remains lying beneath the woodland floor, that holds no fear for me, as you have introduced this knight to the beauty of nature, and honour awaits if wild creatures should walk across my grave!”

The soldier’s expose of his inner self prompted Hellalyle to gently grasp his forearm, in a gesture of empathy to his plight, with a pained expression etched on her face. The other bodyguards met to decide on what action to take considering the king’s command, knowing that they must not obstruct. All – save one – agreed that they should depart, convinced their contract with the monarch was severed by these unfortunate events. Von Altenburg, at first, declined to abandon his friend. He was fearful for the safety of the princess, but he eventually conceded, opting to join his comrades in arms.

News of their impending departure reached Hellalyle, who decided to visit them. In a fractured voice, she addressed the company.

“Honoured knights, whom I might almost regard as my brothers and such gallant men, warriors of the Christian church…my heart is about to break. I stand here now imploring you to persuade Hildebrand to leave at once with his fraternal fighters, for if he were to stay, I fear that some tragedy may befall him and my family.”

Her impassioned speech prompted the knight von Streitz to say, “He appears to be deaf to our pleading, Your Highness! What more can we do to sway him?”

Hellalyle, almost in despair, raised her hands to her face and burst into tears. All eleven knights, embarrassed, kept their eyes fixed on the ground before stealing past her prostrate figure, anxious to avoid an uncomfortable situation.

As they rode from the castle, von Altenburg lingered to pay one last visit to Hellalyle and Hildebrand. Entering a chamber, he observed them by the window, Hildebrand pacing up and down, stabbing the floor with his sword, in apparent frustration, the princess standing in sombre contemplation of the densely wooded prospect below. They were all alone as she had sent her staff to the safety of the kitchens. As they turned to face him, von Altenburg became struck by their dramatically altered demeanour. The once-resolute Prince of England now despondent and downcast; and Hellalyle, her face once so radiant now shut down, her eyes that brightly sparkled now eclipsed. She appeared almost lifeless.

‘Hellalyle and Hildebrand’ is Tagai Tarutin’s first completed novel.There are two others of a completely different genre, that lie unfinished, awaiting inspiration.He has worked most of his life in sales but has always had an interest in Arts and Humanities. Things that are beautiful and appealing play an essential part in his imagination.Besides travelling in West Europe, he has journeyed to the far South Atlantic, and European Russia, anxious to see parts of the world that are for many mystical destinations on a historical map.You can visit his website at www.hellalyleandhildebrand.com.

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Inside the Book

Becoming Alfie

Author: Neil Patterson
Publisher: Greenhill
Pages: 279
Genre: Historical Fiction


Alfie Norrington was born into poverty in London’s East End in the first minute of the twentieth century. His life was a battle. From the Brick Lane markets where young Alfie pilfered and pickpocketed, to the trenches of Flanders, Alfie fought every step of the way.

Almost killed by a trench bomb he battled to recover and while in a military hospital Alfie made a promise that dramatically change’s his life. A true East End hero, Alfie begins his journey away from poverty armed with a robust moral compass and an open heart.

Becoming Alfie is the first in the Alfie Norrington series. It follows the life of a man who positively influenced thousands of people. The world needs more individuals like Alfie Norrington, that give much more than they take.


Amazon → https://amzn.to/31smrod

About The Author

Neil Patterson

Neil Patterson was born 15 miles East of London near the River Thames. As a child he played on the tidal mudflats which, since Roman Times, had been a depository for man’s detritus . Neil was fascinated by the many items that he found whilst mudlarking, old coins, bottles and buttons. He found pieces of clay pipes that Londoners used to smoke Tobacco, which was introduced to Britain in the 16 century. The fragments of clay pipes fired Neil’s enthusiasm for History.

Late into his teens Neil began to keep a diary and has carried this practice throughout his adult life. He has also written many short stories and poetry but not until he stopped working, in his late fifties, has Neil found time to dedicate to his writing.

Neil ‘s Uncle lived in Australia and from early childhood he dreamt of living down under, he says he was born in England with an Australian heart. He followed his heart migrating to Australia 40 years ago. Neil now works full time as a writer and lives in Murrays Beach with his wife Jann and their border Collie, Harry the dog.


Website: http://www.alfienorrington.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/search/top?q=author%20neil%20patterson

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Why does your tummy ache? Why does it make noises? What happens in your stomach after you eat? Why should you eat slowly?

In this educational picture book, the author answers these questions and more, describing the “five tummy men” that inhabit our stomachs and their specific jobs:

Mr. Boss, the one in charge

Mr. Swallow, catcher of food

Mr. Grinder, most happy when you chew well

Mr. Piler, sorter of nutrients into piles for different parts of your body

Mr. Deliveryman, carrier of piles to your body

FIVE FUNNY TUMMY MEN encourages dialogue between children and adults, making it a good resource for class or homeschooling discussions. Children are told to eat healthy and chew well and not snack a lot between meals, and in a simple, clear and friendly manner this cute little book explains exactly why. Recommend for readers 4-8. A multicultural edition of the book is also available.

Available at Amazon and B&N

Multicultural edition on B&N

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Joan Schweighardt is the author of River Aria , which is both a standalone novel and the third book in a trilogy, as well as other novels, nonfiction titles, and children’s books. She is also a freelance writer and ghostwriter. She’s here today to talk about the craft of writing historical fiction.


Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, River Aria. To begin with, can you give us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it? 

A: River Aria is narrated by Estela Hopper, who, as a ten-year-old girl living in the impoverished fishing village of Manaus, Brazil in the early 20th century, is offered a twist-of-fate opportunity to study opera with an esteemed voice instructor. During her years of instruction, Estela, who is talented, passionate and dramatic by nature, dreams of leaving Brazil to perform in New York. But as her beloved instructor is not able to convince the managers of the great Metropolitan Opera that they should bring on a mixed-race immigrant who grew up on the banks of the Amazon River to become an elite performer, Estela accepts what they do offer, a position in the sewing room, and leaves Brazil on a ship with her cousin JoJo in the year 1928.

The challenges that befall Estela and JoJo in New York are plentiful. Estela’s father, an Irish American who came to her village nearly twenty years earlier (at which time she was conceived), has a plan for what her life should look like once she is settled. Her relationship with JoJo changes drastically when he learns he was lied to about his own parentage, and again when he takes a dangerous job working for the owner of a speakeasy. And of course her personal challenges of finding some modicum of success in a place like New York are not only enormous but crushing to her once robust sense of self.

River Aria is a standalone novel, but it is also the last book in a trilogy that begins in 1908, in Manaus. Basically what happened, historically speaking, is that after the invention of the automobile, rubber, which had been used previously for things like shoe soles and manufacturing parts, was suddenly in extremely high demand. The Amazon rainforest is full of rubber trees, so entrepreneurs from all over Europe rushed to Manaus, which is centrally located on the Amazon river, and made it their headquarters for the rubber industry. There was nothing there, so they had to build their own mansions, hotels, restaurants, schools, and they built them all with the best materials, imported from Europe. But in 1912, rubber trees that had been planted on British territories in Southeast Asia began to produce, and the industry in South America came to a standstill. All the wealthy Europeans fled, and the amazing structures they had built to accommodate them were left to decay—which happens quickly in a region on the equator surrounded by rainforests. The centerpiece of their architectural achievement was the Teatro Amazonas, a magnificent opera house the rubber barons hoped would entice the world’s most elite performers to come to Manaus. The rubber boom was my inspiration for the entire series, but the Teatro Amazonas inspired River Aria.

Q: What do you think makes a good historical novel? What would you say are the three most important elements?

A: I can narrow it down to two: research and the ability to weave the garnered information into the plot without getting heavy-handed.

There are basically two categories of historical fiction. One is when you are writing about a historical person or group of people, and the other is when you are using a historical event or time period as a backdrop for your story. River Aria is a based on a time period (1928-29) unfolding in two particular settings, Manaus, Brazil and New York City (and a nearby section of New Jersey). It was fairly easy to research New York/New Jersey because there is a wealth of information about that area during the Prohibition years…and also because I grew up there, and while I wasn’t alive at that time, I know people who knew people who knew people, and I can imagine what it was like. Studying that same time period in Manaus, Brazil was much tougher. I’ve read lots of books about the South American rubber boom, which took place from about 1879 to 1912, but my main characters were born at the end of the rubber boom, and Manaus changed drastically after the boom ended and all the rubber barons fled. I wound up reading white papers, lots of them. Also, Estela and JoJo are are mixed race on both their mothers’ sides, Amerindian and European. The Indian people from whom they are descended were taken captive by missionaries 300 years before the start of my story. But while they were separated from their sacred lands, their myths and legends would have survived at least to some extent. All that had to be taken into account and woven into an ever unfolding plot.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: I knew that I was going to write about a young woman coming from Brazil to New York to try to succeed in the world of opera, and that one of her many obstacles would be the expectations of her American father, whom she has only met, briefly, once before. But just as I was about to begin writing, serendipity struck. A friend sent me a book by a Robert Henri, who was a prominent artist living in New York at the time Estela would be traveling there. My initial outline had already provided Estela with an artistic cousin her age, JoJo, and after reading the Henri book, I got the idea to further complicate the plot by having JoJo accompany Estela to New York. The book wouldn’t be the same without him.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: Even though Estela grows up in poverty, in a location that is in many ways closed off from the rest of the world, she herself has this incredible opportunity to study with an accomplished voice instructor who comes to Manaus from Portugal to try to make a difference in the lives of a few young people. In once sense, this renders Estela worldly. But at her core she is still a “river brat” who who loves loud Brazilian music, indigenous folk lure, and her freedom. Her unusual background provided several guidelines for building out her character, and I added to them over the course of several drafts.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: River Aria doesn’t really have a villain. What it has is people with good intentions who make mistakes with devastating consequences. One of those people is Estela’s father. He is overbearing with his daughter. He is possessive and he doesn’t trust her to make wise decisions on her own. But he is tolerable…right up until he loses his job and external factors begin to plague him. Other characters in the book make mistakes with serious consequences as well.

I’ve always enjoyed books like The House of Sand and Fog, by Andre Debus lll. In that story, everyone is well intentioned (at least in the beginning) but flawed. They make assumptions and then act on them, and their actions result in great misfortune. To me, that kind of story is more intriguing than a story with an obvious villain, though I like those too. Before We Died, the first book in the rivers trilogy, has a more obvious villain. He is more or less a composite of the rubber barons I read about in my research.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical tips?

A: This is one of the good things about writing historical fiction. The time period I am writing in comes with its own suggestions. Prohibition, speakeasies and rumrunners were making lots of news in New York in 1928/1929. The jazz scene was in full swing (pardon the pun). The Metropolitan Opera House itself was making news. The Great Depression was looming. So yes, I tapped into all of that in the process of moving the plot forward. But again, I think in this book a lot of the tension comes from knowing that the characters are are making mistakes and not knowing what the ramifications will be.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: I traveled to South America twice, once to spend time in the deep jungle and once to visit Manaus and travel on the Amazon and Rio Negro with a guide. Even though I was reading books constantly on all subjects related to my story, I wouldn’t have had such a feel for the rainforest if I hadn’t been there myself. My river guide, for instance, grew up on the Amazon

and was able to give me all kinds of great information I wouldn’t have found in books. And of course while in Manaus I visited the Teatro Amazonas, the opera house that is the main inspiration for Estela’s story.

This is not to suggest that a writer must visit every location she wants to write about. For years I never traveled anywhere, because my kids were too young or I didn’t have the money. The Internet provides alternative ways to get a feel for a place. A friend of mine who was writing a YA novel spent a lot of time on Pinterest putting together her own scrapbook of photos that she thought would enhance her setting descriptions. Unfortunately, she died recently and will never get to complete her novel, but when I visit her Pinterest page, I can imagine what she was going for.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: All three books in the series of which River Aria is a part share themes concerning immigration, oppression, community, and family. In addition, River Aria focuses on music, art, folklore, etc. I started off thinking in terms of staying in line with the history of the times, and the themes snuck in as the plot developed.

As far as recurrent themes, I write a lot about families, especially sibling relationships.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: When Estela and a few of her fellow “river brats” first start studying with their instructor, Carlito Camilo, he tells them that what he will teach them is magic, meaning the magic of opera and all that it entails. But then he backs up and corrects himself, saying, “No one can actually teach magic, and no one can actually learn it. What I will teach you is to be slaves to the consideration of magic, to pay homage to it physically and spiritually and visually and technically. I will teach you to invite magic into your lives, knowing full well it will likely elude you. But we can invite it just the same; we can prepare the way for it; we can behave as if we expect it—because sometimes it simply appears in those places where it knows it is wanted.”  

I think it is the same with craft and art. As writers all we can do is get the craft down as best we can and then hope we have achieved some level of artfulness as well. As far as editing, I don’t see how anyone can not edit. But maybe that’s just me.

Q: What makes a successful novelist?

A: The answer depends on how you define success. There are so many great writers out there who don’t get picked up by big publishing houses and who wind up with small publishers and never sell a lot of books. Or they wind up self publishing but don’t have the marketing skills to drive traffic to their work. But if their writing experience is intense, if they have perfected their craft and provided a great story, who’s to say that’s not success?

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. Thoughts?

A: That doesn’t feel right for me. I can tell you that proofreading is like doing homework. I always work with a proofreader, but then I always have to proofread again anyway, because very few proofreaders, no matter how good they are, catch every single thing. I myself am a terrible proofreader, at least with my own work.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A: I’ve enjoyed being in writing groups over the years. There were only three of us in the last one I was in. That was the best, because we were all good writers and we were all seasoned and able to both give and take criticism.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: In the course of my freelance writing career I came to ghostwrite several books for clients. It’s a remarkable experience to write someone else’s story, to try to present it the way you think they would if they were writing it themselves, in their voice. Because you’ve got to stick to their story, the most important thing you can bring to the project is craft. I don’t think writing someone else’s story is something many emerging writers would want to do, but I would suggest to those who are between books and waiting for new ideas to give it a try, even if it’s only something short for a friend. If I were teaching craft, I would ask all my students to do this. It’s a great way to develop skills.

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Judith Campbell is dying, and she cannot take the painful truth about where her son came from to the grave with her. While on her deathbed in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994, Judith tells him the tragic story of his conception, and which of two men his birth father could be: the young man who professed his love to her, or the pastor who assaulted her.

Set in the Deep South in 1947, The Waltz of Devil’s Creek digs into the dark crevices of racism and women’s rights during a heated political climate in an era of segregation. Combined with Judith’s lack of social stature, and at a time when reporting sexual assault was unheard of, every injustice is stacked against her from the very beginning.

But there is a light in Judith’s young life: her best friend, Joseph Bird, who has loved her since childhood. Joseph stands up for Judith when no one else will and proves that even in the darkest of times, a light is always burning.




Link to book on B&N:


Link to book on Kobo:


Book Excerpt:

“But Mrs. Bird,” I said, looking over at her, “God don’t want people like Pastor Allman.”

She just looked at me for a moment, and then a smile slowly lit up her eyes again.


The voice snapped Mrs. Bird and me from our moment, our heads simultaneously jerking toward the living room.

When we heard Joseph’s feet stomping against the floor as he ran down the hallway, Mrs. Bird and I dropped the dishtowel and the plate and hurried out of the kitchen.

“YOU GET YER DUMB ASS OUT HERE!” a second voice shouted, “OR WE’RE COMIN’ IN TO GET YOU!”

“That’s the Woodson brothers,” I told Joseph’s momma.

“Don’t you go out there,” she warned him as he thrust his big feet into his shoes. “I mean it, Joseph, don’t you go out that door!”

He flung the front door open anyway, and before he could step outside, the Woodson brothers jumped on him in the doorway.

“Joseph!” I screamed.

“Get out of my house!” his momma shrieked.

The whole house shook as the three fought; a small table underneath the window beside the door fell over, shattering the flower vase atop it; fists swung and legs kicked, and cuss words flew.

“You little piece of shit, you burned up my truck!” said the blonde-haired brother.

“I’m gonna kick your nuts right up yer throat!” said the brown-haired one. “What tha hell were you thinkin’ boy?!” Thwap! When his fist pulled back, his knuckles glistened with Joseph’s blood.

“Let go of him! Let go! Let gooo!” I dug all ten of my fingernails into the blonde’s arm, trying to stop him from pulling Joseph out of the house.

His momma was on the other side, screaming as she worked, unsuccessfully, to beat them off with a broom. The blonde shoved me away, and I fell onto my butt on the porch as they dragged Joseph down the steps and into the front yard.

“Don’t you touch my son!” Mrs. Bird roared, and the broom came down hard on the brown-haired one’s back.

He whirled around, seemingly unfazed by the blow, and yanked the broom from her hands and tossed it.

They nearly beat Joseph unconscious.

Mrs. Bird ran next door and called Sheriff Woodson, but he never showed; he’d stayed out of all the incidents between Joseph and his sons. But Joseph wouldn’t have had it any other way.

About the Author

Justine Carver was born and raised in the Southern United States on a heavy dose of creek-wading, lightning-bug-catching, and Saturday morning cartoons. She is a full-time writer, all-the-time reader, and every now and then, she pulls her head out of the clouds long enough to remember how much better it is up there.


Website: https://justinecarver.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author_justine_carver/

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