May 29, 2015

Caddy Rowland - Making History, Bohemian Style (Part 15)

Please welcome back historical fiction author and artist, Caddy Rowland, our (now) quarterly contributor here at Historical Fiction Connection.

Cabaret de l'Enfer

Entrance to Cabaret de l'Enfer

I posted last time about a cabaret in Montmartre where death was the theme. Well, this cabaret took it a step further. It was named Cabaret de l’Enfer (The Cabaret of the Inferno) and was satanically themed. Cabaret de l’Enfer was in the red light district of Montmartre (Pigalle), not far from Moulin Rouge. From the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth, patrons could come and drink in hell. This cabaret is very hard to gather much information about, unfortunately. I will tell you what I know. It seemed to have operated for over fifty years, and was located on the Boulevard de Clichy.

The entrance was a large, horrible, fanged open mouth in a gigantic face with eyes blazing crimson. “Enter and be damned. The Evil One awaits you!” was the warning people heard as they entered the hellish nightclub. The chorus of rough voices was enough to make even the bravest man reconsider.

Once inside there were crevices in the walls with molten silver and gold, flames would shoot out of rock clefts, and thick smoke came from smoldering fires in various caverns, smelling of sulfur. Thunder rumbled throughout.

One cauldron over a “fire” had musicians playing various instruments, and if they didn’t play correctly they were prodded by imps holding “red hot” irons. In fact, all servers were red imps. Many carried boiling and smoking beverages to the thirsty, damned patrons.

Most patrons sat at red tables which glowed, then dimmed, only to glow again and again. All orders were screamed out, changing them to frightening ingredients and side-effects. More imps sat on fires or turned somersaults across the floor.

One could even witness a snake transforming into a devil. Of course, Satan was there, heckling all who dared to stay once they had entered. He walked the club in a scarlet robe, adorned with glowing jewels. His sword blazed with fire. He had a black mustache that curled up into sharp points and a sneering grin. His shrieking laugh bounced off the walls, making the place even more leery. He’d accuse women of sending men to hell with their “ways” and condemn others to eternal damnation.

Next door was another cabaret with the theme of Heaven, complete with angels, harps, and clouds. It wasn’t nearly as popular as hell. I wish I had more information to share with you about these two places, as they sound like fun places to visit. Even though the information is sparse, I hope you enjoyed what I was able to share. 

If anyone has more information about either of these two places, I would love to hear from you at

Historical Fiction by Caddy Rowland: 

Contact and Social Media Info. For Caddy Rowland:

Author Email:
Twitter: @caddyorpims

May 26, 2015

Spotlight on Emma Maxwell McCone's The Wishing Boy

Dublin, 1930s - political unrest between Republicans and the De Valera Government. An art exhibition takes place and contains an unusual painting entitled "The Wishing Boy". Catrin Kilpatrick, the daughter of a well-known business man, admires the unique painting and wants to buy it, but Devlin O'Farell the artist refuses to sell it. Determined to have her way, she travels to Galway where he lives, and plans to make the purchase. Little does she know, Devlin worked for Flan Maguire, the most powerful man in Galway, and Commander of the Galway IRA Brigade. She has walked into the Lion's Den, and will find herself in great danger.

“The Wishing Boy” ISBN 9781784550653 by Emma Maxwell McCone was released on 3/31/2015 and is is available to buy from Amazon and all good booksellers.

Publisher’s Website:

About the author
Ken Scott, who writes under his mother’s name, was born Glasgow, Scotland in 1929.

He married in 1954 to Rhona after decades of service to the Woollen Industry, and they have raised one son and two daughters who have long since flown the nest. For the past 22 years they have resided in Swansea where they enjoy an active life covering sporting and musical activities. Ken started his first published work at the age of 14, supplying the local newspaper with reports on soccer activities, and during his adult career in textiles had over 50 articles published in textile magazines with international circulation.

May 25, 2015

Spotlight on John A. Connell's Ruins of War

Title: “Ruins of War”
Author: John A. Connell
Release date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin Books
ISBN: 978-0425278956

Winter 1945. Seven months after the Nazi defeat, Munich is in ruins. Mason Collins—a former Chicago homicide detective, U.S. soldier, and prisoner of war—is now a U.S. Army criminal investigator in the American Zone of Occupation. It’s his job to enforce the law in a place where order has been obliterated. And his job just became much more dangerous.

A killer is stalking the devastated city—one who has knowledge of human anatomy, enacts mysterious rituals with his prey, and seems to pick victims at random. Relying on his wits and instincts, Mason must venture places where his own life is put at risk: from interrogation rooms with unrepentant Nazi war criminals to penetrating the U.S. Army’s own black market.

What Mason doesn’t know is that the killer he’s chasing is stalking him, too.

Praise for the book
“Compelling debut.”
Publishers Weekly

“A thrilling hunt...gripping and gruesome.”
—James Becker, bestselling author of The Lost Testament

“John Connell's RUINS OF WAR is the best historical crime novel I've read all year. As vivid a sense of time and place as anything by Alan Furst, a killer as horrifying as any in Thomas Harris, and a central character I'm sure we'll be reading about for years to come.”
—Scott Phillips, author of The Ice Harvest and Hop Alley

“RUINS OF WAR is a well-crafted, classic police tale set in postwar 1945 Munich, a city that could double as the living room of hell. Mason Collins, a military cop, actually asked to be transferred there, and immediately has to find a killer who is preying on the citizens, adding terror to abject misery. Mason's pursuit of the madman takes him though a ruined landscape, filled with inhabitants as shattered as the city they live in."
—Larry Bond, author of Red Phoenix and Shattered Trident

Buy the book

About the author
John was born in Atlanta, Ga., then spent his childhood in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, NYC, and D.C. before moving back to Atlanta at the age of 13. While at Georgia State University his fascination with human thought drove him to study Psychology, and when that didn’t satisfy his curiosity about the human spirit, he turned to Anthropology, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a minor in Psychology. During that time and after graduation he was a keyboardist and singer in rock and jazz bands, while simultaneously dabbling in writing short stories. To work his way through college and beyond, he stumbled upon some rather unique jobs: stock boy in a brassiere factory, courier for the Georgia State Health Department delivering gonorrhea and syphilis cultures from OB-GYN offices, a repairer of newspaper vending machines, a stint as an apprentice machinist, and a printing press operator.

John’s love of storytelling is what compelled him to switch to a career in film, even though he knew nothing about film and no one in the business. He “logically” chose camera work (not knowing anything about film cameras either) as a way into the business. He started in the film business in Atlanta and then moved to Los Angeles and worked his way up the ranks in the camera department to become a camera operator for both movies and TV. He also worked as an assistant aerial cinematographer using helicopters that took him all over the world. He kept at the writing, frequently expressing his deep desire to fulfill that dream. And then someone finally said, “shut-up, sit down and write.” And so he did. Between film projects or during lighting setups, he studied the craft of writing and produced mostly action/adventure screenplays. He then toyed with the idea of making two of his screenplays into YA novels. That’s when he discovered the rich potential for storytelling that novels provide, and with it his true passion.

During this time he met and married a French woman in Los Angeles. While he was working on a hit TV show as a camera operator, his wife was offered an excellent opportunity in Paris, France. They jumped at the chance, though they’d just bought their dream house two months earlier, and John had the French language proficiency of a two-year-old! He’d always wanted to live in Europe, particularly Paris, and it provided him the opportunity to devote full time to writing. He still takes occasional film jobs in the US. He now speaks French moderately well, though hardly a day goes by when his wife doesn’t roll on the floor with laughter at his attempts.

Currently, his wife and he live in Versailles, France, trying suburban living for a while, but they miss the energy of Paris and plan to move back there next year.

Visit the author

May 20, 2015

Spotlight on Jennifer Bort Yacovissi's Up the Hill to Home {Giveaway}

Genre & Subject:                                                     Historical Fiction                                                                       
Demographic:                                                          Adults, Women, Catholics
Release Date:                                                           April 28, 2015
Publisher:                                                                  Apprentice House Press / Loyola University Maryland
Publisher Phone:                                                      410-617-5265                                                                                 
Distributor:                                                                Ingram                                                                                        
Hardcover ISBN:                                                    9781627200394
Paperback ISBN:                                                    9781627200561
Ebook ISBN:                                                            9781627200400

Prices:                                                                        $35.99 (h), $19.99 (p), $5.99 (e)

Author URL:                                                  

Publicist:                                                                    Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist -
Pages:                                                                        477

Images:                                                                     None

Index:                                                                        No

Bibliography:                                                           No

Bindery:                                                                    Hardcover, Paperback, Ebook

Family. Home. Memories. Lillie Voith holds these values most dear.

When the cherished daughter, wife, and mother of nine is bedridden after a fall, her memories tug at threads woven through a century, as the fabric of her family frays around her.

“A living portrait of a loving family”, Up The Hill sketches four generations of the Miller/Beck/Voith clan from pre-Civil War to Depression era Washington DC.

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About the author
Jenny Yacovissi grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, just a bit farther up the hill from Washington, D.C. Her debut novel, Up the Hill to Home, is a fictionalized account of her mother's family in the same region. 

In addition to writing historical and contemporary literary fiction, Jenny is a reviewer for Washington Independent Review of Books and Historical Novel Society. She owns a small project management and engineering consulting firm, and enjoys gardening and being on the water. Jenny lives with her husband Jim in Crownsville, Maryland. 

To learn more about the families in Up the Hill to Home and see photos and artifacts from their lives, visit 

Please leave a comment below with your email address to enter to win an eBook copy of this book -- open internationally! Giveaway ends on Wednesday, May 27 at 11:59pm CST.

May 18, 2015

Stephen Clegg's The Fire of Mars - Guest Post

My name is Stephen F Clegg, I am retired, and I have never been busier!

I have always had an active and fertile imagination, and I have told my children and grandchildren stories all of their lives; indeed, to this day I have never been allowed to read anything to them, I’ve always had to make up stories on the spot. And it was this situation that prompted me to leave adult tales for them to read when I am no longer here, allied to a hope that they will recall those endless, happy days with my loving wife Jay, and me.

My first published novel was named Maria’s Papers, and it was based upon true events that happened to my great great Aunt Maria Clegg in the 1800’s.

She had been a diminutive, single, lady with limited means, tasked by her father to reclaim what they believed was a family-owned estate at the end of a long tenure, from a wealthy and ruthless family who insisted that they’d purchased it, and not leased it. But her tiny stature utterly belied her grit and steely determination. She fought a battle of attrition with them for seventeen years, until in 1870; she was incarcerated in a lunatic asylum for having ‘Delusions of Exaltation’.

I have never seen anything as ambiguous and open for translation as that outrageous charge, and after obtaining her pitiful and scandalous medical records in 2010, I, like others in my family, believe that somebody had paid to have her locked-up.

In recording these events in a fictional tale, I had to have an authentic feel of the 1800’s. It was necessary to carry out abundant amounts of historical research, and I grew to love it. It was fascinating, instructive, and I soon realised that it was rich in all sorts of story-telling possibilities.

My enjoyment in penning the first, led me to writing subsequent novels, all containing the same central protagonists in a series of stand-alone thrillers. My second outing was named The Matthew Chance Legacy; that was followed by The Emergence of Malaterre, and then my latest, The Fire of Mars. It was released in January 2015, and is a split-storyline historical fiction set in Charleston, South Carolina. It is centred on the real-life events of the SS Georgiana which sank off The Bay of Palms near Charleston Harbour, containing confederate gold, during the American Civil War.

I have been lucky enough to have three prize nominations for my work, and I’m proud to say that I was a finalist in The People’s Book Prize 2014.

I am now at the editing and proof-reading stage of my fifth novel, The Hallenbeck Echo, and I’m sixty-thousand words into writing my sixth, The Monkshead Conspiracy. They are all split-storylines, and all involving historical fact, and/or, fiction.

It is a genre I find irresistible. Not only does it afford me the opportunity to let my mind run riot with events of the past, it also gives me a real insight into how life was back then, and it makes me realise how lucky and privileged I am to be living in these times.

If you’d like to learn more about me or my novels, or if I can, in any small way, help anybody else interested in historical fiction, please feel free to contact me via my website and I’ll do whatever I can.

Thank you for reading my post. 

About the book
At the latter end of 2006, a well-respected, married, church Deacon discovers the possible hiding place of a huge and valuable ruby named ‘The Fire of Mars'. He becomes obsessed by it, and dreams about finding it to be able to fund a new and exciting life with his secret lover. But when he becomes involved in a hit and run scam, everything changes - he needs it to escape his dilemma. Thereafter his life and his actions begin to spiral down to depths he never thought possible.

In November of the same year, historic researcher Naomi Wilkes and her husband Carlton, arrive at St Andrew's church in Charleston, South Carolina, in pursuit of the same stone. And none of them have any idea of the scale of horrors they will unearth...

“The Fire of Mars” ISBN 9781784551889 by Stephen F. Clegg is available to buy from Amazon and all good booksellers from 30/01/2015.

About the author
Stephen Clegg was born in Stockport in 1947. He is retired and happily living on the south coast of England with his wife, children and grandchildren. In 2012 his first novel ‘Maria's Papers' was released. His second, ‘The Matthew Chance Legacy' became a finalist in ‘The People's Book Prize 2013/14', and his third ‘The Emergence of Malaterre' was released in April 2014. This is his fourth outing, with more to follow.