Guest Author Irina Shapiro

irinashapiro_new_author_pic_05162015-300x300Today we’ve invited author Irina Shapiro to tell us about her new series. Irina was born in Moscow, Russia. In 1982 her family immigrated to the United States and settled in New York. After graduating from Bernard M. Baruch College, Irina first worked in advertising, and then in Import/Export as a Logistics Manager. She left her job in 2007 to focus on her autistic son, and began to write. Since then Irina has written more than twenty novels. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

The-Lovers-Echoes-From-The-Past-Kindle-EditionI always tend to hesitate when people ask me, “What genre do you write?” probably because what I write doesn’t fit into any specific category. My books can be described as romance, historical fiction, mystery, and even time travel. I have so many different ideas, I want to incorporate them all into my books and interweave them in a way that’s new and unique. So why limit myself?

My new series, Echoes from the Past, is marketed as archeological mysteries and time travel, but that’s oversimplifying things. There’s romance, past and present, a genealogical puzzle that concerns the murky and unexpected origins of my main character, archeologist Dr. Quinn Allenby, and there’s just a little bit of the supernatural. You see, Quinn was born with a gift, or a curse, depending on what day you ask her. She can see into the past when holding an object that once belonged to someone who’s now deceased. Of course, as an archeologist, there’s no greater gift than tothe forgotten be able to get a glimpse into the lives of those who came before us, but as a woman, reliving the passions, disappointments, and heartbreak of those unfortunates can take its toll.

When Quinn signs on to do a BBC program entitled Echoes from the Past, she must delve into the lives of people whose remains have been discovered buried in unexpected places and suggest foul play. It’s up to Quinn to reconstruct how a young 17th century couple wound up in a locked chest, and died face to face, as if sharing a final kiss, or how a 14th century mother and child came to be buried naked and face-down on the fringes of a leper cemetery, a practice meant to punish and humiliate, even in death.The Unforgiven

In the third installment of the series, Quinn travels to New Orleans in search of her biological father. There, she hopes to finally learn where her gift came from and to discover if there might be others who share her unusual ability. As Quinn delves into the life of Madeleine Besson, a Southern belle who was seemingly erased from history at the onset of the Civil War, Quinn finds the answers she is seeking at last, but unearthing long-buried secrets comes with a price. When Quinn blithely strolls into the trap of a killer, she must fight to save herself and her unborn child, or unwittingly become just another echo from the past.

The Forsaken eCover

The Unforgiven (Echoes from the Past Book 3) is now available for purchase. And look for the next installment of the series, The Forsaken, which will take you into the complicated political struggle that was the Wars of the Roses.

“But why do you write about history?” They Ask….

Many have asked why I write about history.

“Writing about history takes so much time, you know, all that research!” they say.

Let me introduce some of my history… about history.

I love the Old West. I love New Zealand. I love stories of “the old countries”.  I have relatives from Denmark, Scotland, Russia, and the American South, all of which interest me no end. My genealogy charts are getting more branched as I continue to delve!

  • I grew up on Highway 84 in La Honda, CA…
  • where the Younger Brothers used to hang out after big heists…
  • where the Stage ran through…
  • and the Peek-a Boo Inn (yes, it was what it sounds like), the eleven bars, three churches and one store were the standard, back in the day. La Honda and some of its history is now featured in the third story of The Long Trails series, in  A Sea of Green Unfolding)history

Then I went away to university, finished veterinary school…(had to be a hoss-doc, didn’t I?)…

  • and lived in Placerville, CA on the Pony Express Trail.history

So, I was rather steeped in the Old West from a very young age.

Well, things led to things and I made my way to New Zealand, where I’ve lived for the past 27 years and have just published my fourth book. They comprise three 1860’s historical fictions in The Long Trails series and the newest, a contemporary novella, placed in the middle of the new Once Upon a Vet School series.

“But I hate reading about history,” some others say.

I love and write history, but rather than vomiting facts and figures all over the pages in what authors call “info-dumps”,  I offer it in a palatable way, by letting my fictitious characters interact with real historical ones in real historical settings. In essence, offering history in a tasty mix. It might just make history buffs of some people who didn’t think they’d ever go there!

History is good, but what about Food?

Recipes, oh yes, did I mention recipes? history Each of my books contain a recipe, pertinent to the story and time. Food. Always important, but I digress…

In case you were wondering what my historicals are about, have a read!

The Long Trails Series

Tales of factual fiction, adventure stories rich in historical detail, following the escapades of Aleksandra, Xavier, and Tatiana as they travel across continents and seas through the 1860’s.

Book One: A Long Trail Rolling history

She didn’t expect to become a target…but she is one now.

Aleksandra is alone and running to prevent her father’s killer from discovering their family secret. Disguised as a Pony Express rider in 1860’s Utah, Aleksandra winds up in even deeper trouble when she rides full speed into the Paiute Indian War. With Xavier, her compelling Californio boss, can she escape the Indians on the warpath and evade the man who’s already killed her father—and set his sights on her?

Book Two: The Hills of Gold Unchanginghistory

No one will stand in their way—and live.

As the Civil War rages, secessionists menace California. Aleksandra and Xavier are trying to get back home—through the oncoming Civil War, the mining camps of 1860’s Nevada and California, and the Sacramento floods—to Xavier’s Californio Rancho de las Pulgas. Embroiled in the Confederate’s fight to drag the new state from the Union and make it their own, can Aleks and Xavier survive?

Book Three: A Sea of Green Unfoldinghistory

When you’ve lost everything, the only way to go is up—isn’t it?

Follow the young couple’s journey to adventure in the turbulent wilderness of 1861 New Zealand. Tragedy strikes in Aleksandra and Xavier’s newly found paradise on their California Rancho and von Tempsky’s invitation draws them to a new life in New Zealand—where the land wars between the European settlers and the local Maori have only just begun.

Book Four: Tatiana   Due out 2018!history

When the tsar holds the reins, nothing is certain—even life itself.

Stableman’s daughter Tatiana rises to glamorous heights by her equestrienne abilities—but the tsar’s glittering attention is not always gold. She and her husband Vladimir become pawns in the emperor’s pursuit of a coveted secret weapon. While Tatiana and their infant son are placed under house arrest, Vladimir must recover the weapon, or risk losing his wife and young son. With the odds mounting against them, can they find each other again—half a world away?

Find my books here!

Tatiana is my WIP (Work In Progress) right now. Does anyone have anything they’d especially like to see in the story? 

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Take care,

Lizzi

Ready for Another Release? A Sea of Green Unfolding is Out!

Good morning!  Thanks for coming along!

I’m very excited to tell you that 

A Sea of Green Unfolding 
is
Now Available!

(and I redid the cover!  I hope you like it!)

It’s out in ebook and will soon be available in print as well!

I Can’t Wait for You to Read

A Sea of Green Unfolding !

It’s the third book in
The Long Trails series.

~ When you’ve lost everything,
the only way to go is up—
isn’t it? ~

Tragedy strikes in Aleksandra and Xavier’s newly-found paradise on their California Rancho de las Pulgas. Von Tempsky invites them on a journey to a new life in peaceful New Zealand, but change is in the wind. When they reach Aotearoa, they disembark into a turbulent wilderness—where the wars between the European settlers and the local Māori have only just begun.

Here’s this month’s giveaway!

If you’d like to go into the draw to win a copy of the regular print edition of newly-released A Sea of Green Unfolding (when it’s available, soon!),

1-leave a review of A Sea of Green Unfolding where you purchased your eBook or paperback, then

2-message me on the contact form at the bottom of this page with your email address and the site (URL ideally!) where you left your review

and you’ll be in the draw!

It’s available on Amazon right now for just $2.99 USD!

Amazon        iBooks         Kobo        Nook

(will be released on other sites on the 10th)

If you’d like to be kept up to date on new releases, special offers and the inside story, you can subscribe here!

And an excerpt!

 

March 1863  Rancho de las Pulgas,  San Mateo County,  California

Aleksandra Argüello’s brother-in-law peeked out through the slits between his lashes, and his bloodshot eyes widened at her in horror. He scrambled to his feet and bolted for the kitchen door—but she beat him to it.

“I repeat, Sancho, what did you mean when you said our baby was born out of wedlock, and that she’d never inherit the rancho?” she said past gritted teeth, as she stood against the plank of solid oak barring his way.

No se, no se, I don’t know,” he stammered, and began to spin toward the window, then froze at the sharp edge of Aleksandra’s sword across his throat.

Xavier Argüello chose that moment to open the door, and stopped short.

¿Cómo? What’s going on?” Aleksandra’s husband’s eyes narrowed at the pair of them.

“That’s what I’d like to know,” Aleksandra said. Sancho turned his head and she winced, blinking at the alcohol fumes wafting from his breath.

“Sancho?” Xavier’s long legs covered the distance to them in two steps.

Aleksandra tightened her grip on the sword and the miscreant inhaled sharply, but otherwise didn’t move.

Su hermano,” she said, directing her words to Xavier, though she never looked away from Sancho, “your brother, showed up three hours ago, just after you left for morning feeding, reeking of tequila and looking like he’d been out drinking all night. He was mumbling something about Melissandra, ‘our poor little girl’, I think he said, ‘pobre niña’.”

“That’s right,” Xavier said.

“And that Rancho de las Pulgas should be hers, but it was ‘too bad she was born out of wedlock’. Then he passed out on the floor. When he finally stirred just now, I asked him to repeat what he’d said, and to explain himself. He tried to bolt, so I’m encouraging him to stay and talk awhile.” She gave Xavier the hint of a grin.

 

Xavier’s brows shot up as he flicked his head sideways, his frown now fully on his brother. “Illegitimate, eh, hermano? ¿Come se dice? What did you say? Out with it.”

With a desperate sideways glance, Sancho ducked and spun, swinging a fist at Aleksandra as he pulled away. Xavier’s punch caught him first, and Sancho’s head snapped back and he dropped to the floor.

Aleksandra ducked down beside him to check his pulse, then stood up, shaking her head, as she sheathed her shashka.

“Are you even carrying your sword around the house?” Xavier asked, his dark brows lowering.

“It’s only been two weeks since your daughter and I were kidnapped, from this house,” she said, fixing him with a stare. “I’m happier with it by my side.” She shook her head. Xavier must be upset to even think of asking about it.

Xavier shifted his gaze to his brother.

“I thought he’d stopped the drinking episodes,” he said.

“So did I, but he left three days ago, so I guess he had plenty of time to get drunk.”

Xavier’s jaw was tight as he reached for her. He closed his eyes for a moment as he pulled her in close, and slid his fingers along her arms.

“Mmmmm. You’ve been baking. You’re covered in flour.” He looked down at her with a hint of a smile, then a frown. “And you’ve gotten dough in your hair,” he said, picking up her long blonde braid from where it hung down nearly to her knees.

Aleksandra shook her head. “It happens,” she said, and glanced toward the kitchen table. “Adelita’s already begun making the tortillas without me, while we’ve been playing here.”

“I’m worried about Sancho. Mama is too,” he murmured.

“Xavier, do you know anything about what he said?”

“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” he said, and turned toward their Indian sirvienta, who stared at them all, her mouth agape. He nodded to her.

Buenos tardes, Adelita,” he said, as he reached for the water jug. He poured himself a cup and took a long drink. “We were married in Virginia City,” he told the woman. “Sancho is drunk.”

 

“But what if it were true?” Aleksandra looked sideways at him. “My mama and papa would turn over in their Catholic graves if it were.”

Xavier stilled. The black fringe of his forelock half-hid his brown eyes, flecked with gold, as he shifted his gaze to his brother.

“Sancho,” he said, loudly.

Nothing.

“It’s an issue easily resolved for us, really,” Xavier said, as he knelt beside Sancho and shook him, “but it could be a little tricky in that Melissandra should by rights be first in line to inherit Rancho de las Pulgas. Mi hermano knows it well.

“Sancho,” he barked, but his younger brother never flinched. He shook his head.

“What if he knows something we don’t?” Aleksandra said, shivering as a chill settled in her gut. Sancho could be telling the truth. “The Methodist pastor in Virginia City thought he could perform the ceremony in the absence of a priest, but what if…”

Señor Argüello,” Adelita bit her lip, and looked at them, her brow furrowed, “a letter came for you and la señorita,” she nodded at Aleksandra, “from Virginia City, but I don’t know who it was from. I put it on the desk of el señorito.”

“Sancho’s desk? When was that, Adelita?”

,” she nodded. “It was many months ago, just before you returned from picking up the colts from Utah and Molly and Sebastian from Virginia City. Before the bebé was born.”

“I think it’s time to look around the office,” Xavier said. “Let us know if he moves, por favor, Adelita?”

They left her patting out tortillas, between nervous glances at Sancho, and headed for the rancho office.

Sí, sí, por supuesto,” she called after them.

They searched the desk and shelves for an hour, but found only piles of long-overdue bills and a stack of notes with odd, illegible scribbles. The only figures decipherable on them were the rather large dollar amounts scrawled upon their face.

“More bills, no doubt,” Xavier said, with a shake of his head. “Guess I’ll have to take over the books, too.”

“We should’ve looked before, but…Sancho has been a bit displaced, with your return.” Aleksandra winced.

“I wanted to leave him a little pride,” Xavier lifted a brow, “but we need to keep the rancho solvent.” He looked at the heap of chits, his lips in a hard line. “Difficult enough, without having creditors breathing down our necks. I wondered why all the storekeepers were giving me sour looks.”

“We’ve found nothing here. Perhaps he’s ready to wake up now,” Aleksandra said.

This time, when Xavier shook his shoulder, Sancho struggled to a sitting position.

“Wha—? Oh, Xavier,” he said, his brows narrowing at his brother for a moment, then he shrugged and rubbed his eyes.

Buenos días, hermano.” Xavier sat on a stool beside him and regarded him over his coffee. “Hard night?”

“Must’ve been. I feel like—”

“—don’t say it,” Aleksandra cut in. “My Spanish is improving.”

He turned to face her, an odd look upon his face.

 

“I was wondering,” she went on, “what you meant when you said Melissandra was born out of wedlock, earlier?”

Sancho’s mouth dropped slowly open and his eyes widened, then he glanced toward the doorway. He lunged toward it, but Xavier had him in a head lock before he took three steps.

“Tell us about it, hermano,” Xavier said, his voice cold steel.

“Ah, ah…I was going to give you the letter, but I…lost it.”

“You can do better than that,” Xavier growled low.

“Maybe, if you let me go, I can…”

Xavier’s jaw locked, along with the grip on his brother’s throat.

“Where are we looking?” Xavier enunciated each word.

“The office,” he whispered, eyes closed.

Xavier hustled him along before him, his arm still locked around his neck.

“You can let go, now,” Sancho whined.

“If you like,” Xavier said, and shoved him through the open office doorway.

After Aleksandra entered, the door slammed shut behind her, and a key scraped in the lock. Xavier pocketed it.

“Now, tell us about it,” he said.

“Well, it should be here.” Sancho riffled through piles on the desk, then glanced at the drawers down the side.

“Granted, we don’t know exactly what we’re looking for,” Xavier said, “but we’ve already looked.”

Sancho stopped, mid-shuffle, and turned, a tight smile on his face.

“Then, I don’t know what you’re talking about. She’s lying.” He looked at Aleksandra in triumph.

Xavier narrowed his eyes at them both for a moment.

She raised her brows in return.

“Absolutely not,” she said, and drew her shashka from its place at her hip. She walked with measured tread toward Sancho. Morning sunlight glinted off the polished metal of the short Cossack sword.

Her brother-in-law paled and took a step back, before he whipped around toward the window. He stopped short just before he got there, with a whimper.

 

If you’d like to read more, it’s out TODAY

on Amazon here

for only $2.99 USD

Available in paperback soon.

Thanks for coming by!

Hope to hear back from you soon!

xx

Lizzi

Lizzi grew up riding wild in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods, became an equine vet and emigrated to New Zealand. With her first novel, Lizzi placed or won RWNZ contests in 2013, 2014 and 2015. She can’t wait to get into her first contemporary vet-girl novella—to be published for Christmas with Authors of Main Street!