The Franklin Deception (The Dashkova Memoirs #4)

Book four in The Dashkova Memoirs is LIVE!

When Thomas Jefferson’s longtime companion is murdered with dark magic, Katerina Dashkova and Ben Franklin must find the killer before the war-hungry Federalists learn the truth and use it to maneuver America into a war with Russia. Unfortunately, the unknown assassin isn’t the only one causing trouble: a certain rusalka with a magical hold on Kat’s future has made an impossible demand that will test her loyalty to her new country to its very limits.

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The Franklin Deception is the fourth book of The Dashkova Memoirs historical fantasy series.  Get it now on Amazon for only $4.99, or in paperback for $14.99.

Book One – Revolutionary Magic

Book Two – A Cauldron of Secrets

Book Three – Birds of Prophecy

Book five, Nightfell Games, will be released in August!

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10 Weird Facts about Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin is one of the most well known figures of American, or even global, history.  Most know him as one of the Founding Fathers, or that he “discovered” electricity with a kite, key, and string.  You might even know that he was a prolific inventor.  But most don’t know much beyond those few facts.

While Ben Franklin is a lot of things, he’s also one of the characters in my new historical fantasy series The Dashkova Memoirs.  While researching his life to get a feel for the man behind the myth, I learned about many aspects of his character that made me appreciate him even more.

He’s not at all the caricature of the historical figure he’s become.  He was a flawed, brilliant, sometimes devious man who changed his mind about many subjects during the course of his long life.  He loved and lusted, and was unfaithful to his wife, while simultaneously practicing his Virtues.  He had ideas and beliefs and was not afraid to use the tools at hand, most often his printing press, to change public opinion.

He was above all, a modern man born in a colonial time.  In the course of my research, I found many aspects of Ben Franklin that would feel familiar to people today.   So I’m going to share some of these quirks and interesting facts about Ben Franklin that you were, no doubt, unaware of.

1) To prove that European intellectuals were far too pretentious and concerned about unimportant matters when it came to science, Ben wrote the paper Fart Proudly to show the importance of researching bodily matters.

2) He practiced “air bathing” for better health.  At the time, the common wisdom was that cold weather caused sickness.  Ben, however, understood that people were the problem and being cooped up all winter with each other led to sickness, so he would sit in his open window, naked as the day, to help with air circulation and disease prevention.

3) Practiced what we now call “sock puppetry”, using multiple aliases in his pamphleteering to give the appearance that many people had similar views, sometimes arguing with himself through different names.  His most famous alter ego was Silence Dogood.

4) Practiced Thirteen Virtues as a way to improve his character.  Though never all of them at once, knowing that he was fallable and practical.  What’s even more remarkable is that he came up with this system at the age of twenty.

5) Nearly electrocuted himself trying to kill and cook a turkey with electricity.

6) Created a drinking club called Junto (which means “To join”) in which its members met informally over drinks to discuss the issues of the day.  Many of his social inventions came from this club, or others like it.

7) A large number of bodies were found in Ben Franklin’s basement in 1998.  It was presumed that they were taken from graveyards to study human anatomy, which was in its infancy in those days (and very illegal).

8) The First Mythbuster.  Jamie and Adam would be proud, or visa versa if Franklin were alive today.  Ben Franklin solved the myth of mesmerism, which involved a force called animal magnetism, using his wits, the scientific method, and the placebo effect (which was unknown at the time).

9) Ben nearly lost his life chasing a “wind-spout”, or tornado, in Maryland to help prove his theory that water spouts were really made of air.

10) He was a great swimmer and once swam 3.5 miles up the Thames from Chelsea to Blackfriars.  He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1968.

These ten items are only a glimpse into Ben Franklin’s amazing life.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading the various texts about Ben during my research for The Dashkova Memoirs.  If you’d like to read more about a fictional fantasy version of Ben Franklin, then you can find my books on Amazon.

Book One – Revolutionary Magic

Book Two – A Cauldron of Secrets

Book Three – Birds of Prophecy

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Birds of Prophecy (The Dashkova Memoirs #3)

Birds of Prophecy is live!  While it’s only been a few weeks since the last release, I didn’t want readers to have to wait too long for the next book.  So if you were waiting to jump in, now is the time.  You won’t regret it.  You’re going to love where the series is going.

If this is your first introduction to the series, let me tell you that it’s along the lines of the Dresden Files or Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows with a touch of The Baroque Cycle from Neal Stephenson, and filled with myths of the ancient world.  The action follows Princess Dashkova, a real historical figure, along with Ben Franklin (who needs no introduction).

A good friend of mine, Annie Bellet, describes the series in this way (and I use this description quite often because it’s brilliant): “Secret Russian princess, a young Ben Franklin, alternate history, mystery, and magic.  What’s not to love?”

And as always, the amazing Ravven made the cover.  This might be my favorite one, but it’s hard to pick between them because they’re all so good!

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Katerina Dashkova must die.

When Warden Simon Snyder seeks Kat’s help to solve a bloodless murder, she becomes entangled with a prophecy that predicts her death on the Winter Solstice. The investigation turns an old friend into a dangerous enemy, complicates loyalties, and creates a mystery so deep that Kat will have to expose herself to ultimate betrayal to solve it. Even if she does, the question remains: Can she save Philadelphia from an ancient evil?

Birds of Prophecy is the third book of The Dashkova Memoirs historical fantasy series.  Get it now on Amazon for only $3.99.

Book One – Revolutionary Magic

Book Two – A Cauldron of Secrets

Book Three – Birds of Prophecy

Book four, The Franklin Deception, will be released in June!

 

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A Cauldron of Secrets (The Dashkova Memoirs #2)

Release day part deux!  Yes, it’s only been a week, but I didn’t want to put out the first book without having the next couple of books in the series complete, so readers wouldn’t have to wait to wade into the story.

A Cauldron of Secrets, book two of The Dashkova Memoirs, is now released on Amazon.  Once again, the amazing Ravven conjured the cover right out of the books.  I can’t tell you how perfect it is, but you’ll understand once you read the book.

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Ignorance is bliss, unless the world is out to kill you…

An investigation into a strange cauldron and a dead thief in Ben Franklin’s parlor leaves Katerina Dashkova, Russian princess in exile, as the main suspect.  With her memory damaged and Ben Franklin missing, Kat must navigate the treacherous waters of American politics to solve the mystery while ominous rumblings threaten to drag the country into a new war.

A Cauldron of Secrets can be found on Amazon for only $2.99.  If you haven’t read the first book, Revolutionary Magic, you can purchase it on Amazon for $0.99.

The third book in The Dashkova Memoirs, Birds of Prophecy, will be released before the end of May, followed by the fourth book, The Franklin Deception, in June.

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10 Reasons Why You Should Know Princess Dashkova

History is a fickle beast.  Sometimes the most important people get lost in the annals of time.  Maybe they were on the losing side of a war, or they existed so long ago, that records no longer exist.  I find these figures are sometimes the most interesting.

One such little known person of history is Yekaterina Romanovna Vorontsova-Dashkova.  Sometimes known at Princess Dashova, or Catherine the Little.  Here are ten reasons why you should get to know her:

1) She put Catherine the Great on the Russian throne, by organizing a coup against her husband Peter III (not Peter the Great).  While historians disagree the importance of her role, it’s clear that Russian history, and thus world history, would be much different today without her.

2) She was the first woman in the world to head an academy of science as the Director of the Imperial Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Not only did she head it, but she rescued it from obscurity after years of mismanagement, and turned it into a world class scientific organization at the time.

3) She was the first woman to be invited into the American Philosophical Society.  This occurred after a fateful meeting between her and Ben Franklin in Paris.  The American founding father was quite intrigued with Katerina Dashkova and they corresponded by mail for many years.

4) She was the first woman member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science.

5) She excelled in all areas despite resistance to her gender (which was considerable in those times), doing things her way, and succeeding in every one.

6) She was named a colonel in the Russian military at the time (though this fact is disputed by some historians)

7) She was a woman of many skills.  Read this description of Dashkova by a friend, Catherine Wilmot (who later helped publish Katerina’s memoirs).

“She helps the masons to build walls, she assists with her own hands in making the roads, she feeds the cows, she composes music, she sings and plays, she writes for the press, she shells corn, she speaks out in church and corrects the priest if he is not devout. She speaks out in her little theater and steers the performers if they stray from their parts. She is a doctor, an apothecary, a surgeon, a veterinary, a carpenter, a magistrate, a lawyer. In short, she hourly practices every type of incongruity. She corresponds with her brother, with authors, with philosophers with poets with all her relations, and yet, appears as if she had time hanging on her hands.”

8) She met and inspired the greatest minds of the Enlightenment, Diderot and Voltaire.

9) Katerina led the creation of the first Russian dictionary.

10) She’s the brilliant, flawed, oft-misunderstood, and determined heroine of The Dashkova Memoirs.

The first book in the series, Revolutionary Magic, is out now on Amazon for $0.99.

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Revolutionary Magic (The Dashkova Memoirs #1)

Release day!  Not only a new release, but the start of a whole new series!  I’ve been working towards this day for a couple of years now, so I’m very excited for this launch.

The Dashkova Memoirs is a new series along the lines of the Dresden Files or Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, filled with myths of the ancient world.  Book two, A Cauldron of Secrets, will be available on May 12th, and the third book, Birds of Prophecy, will follow a few weeks later.  Here’s the cover, by the exquisite Ravven:

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Exile.  Princess.  Thief.

After years of running from the Emperor of Russia’s assassins, Ekaterina “Kat” Dashkova has finally found an unlikely home in Philadelphia under the tutelage of Benjamin Franklin.

When a mid-level government official is found wandering colonial Philadelphia without his clothes—and his last two years of memories—Ben and Kat suspect otherworldly forces at work.  Neither of them know that a dark revolution lurks beneath the veneer of civilization, ready to unleash its malevolent magic unless Kat makes a grim sacrifice.

Revolutionary Magic is the first book of The Dashkova Memoirs historical fantasy series.

Get it now on Amazon for only $0.99.

Book two, A Cauldron of Secrets, will be released on May 12th!

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Cover Reveal – The Dashkova Memoirs (Books 1 – 5)

This moment has been in the making for about three years now when I first had the idea for a steampunk mystery series based around Benjamin Franklin.  I spent two years on research while I finished up the Alexandrian Saga.

Then last year, I started writing the Dashkova Memoirs, which as you’ll notice in the series title, doesn’t mention Franklin.  While Ben Franklin is a huge part of the series, I found a little-known historical figure that demanded to be center stage–Katerina Daskhova, or Princess Dashkova.

In a later post, I’ll get into why I chose Katerina Dashkova as the central figure of the series, but for now, just trust me that she’s pretty amazing.

Fast forward to today for the cover reveal.  The talented Ravven has created the kind of covers that authors dream about having for their books.  I nearly fell out of my chair the first time I saw the mock ups.  Ravven plucked the images from my mind and magicked them onto the cover.  I can’t go into too many details about the specific images without giving away the plots, but I think many readers will smile when they check the covers again after finishing the books.

So here they are in all their glory:

Revolutionary Magic (Book One)

Exile.  Princess.  Thief.

After years of running from the Emperor of Russia’s assassins, Ekaterina “Kat” Dashkova has finally found an unlikely home in Philadelphia under the tutelage of Benjamin Franklin. 

When a mid-level government official is found wandering colonial Philadelphia without his clothes—and his last two years of memories—Ben and Kat suspect otherworldly forces at work.  Neither of them know that a dark revolution lurks beneath the veneer of civilization, ready to unleash its malevolent magic unless Kat makes a grim sacrifice.


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A Cauldron of Secrets (Book Two)

Ignorance is bliss, unless the world is out to kill you…

An investigation into a strange cauldron and a dead thief in Ben Franklin’s parlor leaves Katerina Dashkova, Russian princess in exile, as the main suspect. With her memory damaged and Ben Franklin missing, Kat must navigate the treacherous waters of American politics to solve the mystery while ominous rumblings threaten to drag the country into a new war.

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Birds of Prophecy (Book Three)

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The Franklin Deception (Book Four)

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Nightfell Games (Book Five)

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The first two books of the series will be out on May 5th and 12th respectively.  The third book will be released within a month after the first two.  Look for more information on this website about the releases and other information about The Dashkova Memoirs, or sign up for my newsletter for news and free books.

 

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New Release – Women of the Apocalypse Bundle

I have a confession.  I used to daydream about the apocalypse when I was growing up.  Nothing passed the time in class like deciding what my weapon of choice would be against a horde of slavering zombies.  Or figuring out where I would make my bunker in the event of a nuclear holocaust.

My friends and I made armor out of peg board, weapons out of liberated shop wood, tennis balls, and chain, and used motorcycle helmets for head gear.  We recreated the Piers Anthony Battle Circle series which included bludgeoning each other with said weaponry.  We even burned a ring into the yard for our arena.  It was good fun.

So it was a joy to assemble this bundle about women kicking ass in the apocalypse with a group of other wonderfully talented authors.  There’s just about every kind of end-of-days represented in the bundle, including my novel The Digital Sea, so you’re sure to find a story you’ll like.  And the cost is just right at $0.99.

Women of the Apocalypse - 3D Bundle

The bundle is available at these retailers: Amazon, B&N, KOBO, and iTunes for $0.99.

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Women of the Apocalypse on StoryBundle

The end of the world comes with a BANG!, a sword thrust, and a whole bunch of kick-ass heroines.

Don’t lie.  If you’re like the rest of us.  You’ve harbored secret desires about surviving the end of the world as we know it.  Either you’ve wanted to be one of the women in these books, or have them at your side while you’ve faced down hordes of zombies or demons ravaging the countryside.  The apocalypse is the ultimate test of your survival skills, plus you don’t have to worry about finding parking spots anymore.

I’m curating a new Women of the Apocalypse bundle for storybundle.com, a remarkable collection of nine pulse-pounding novels by an amazing group of authors.  As always, at StoryBundle, you name your own price—whatever you feel the books are worth.

In these nine tales, the apocalypse unfolds in nine different ways.  Do you prefer aliens or zombies?  Would you like a sudden end, or a slow slide into the collapse?  Is a little romance in your future or do you not have time while you’re kicking down doors and chopping off heads?  The only choice you don’t get to make is who’s the one saving the world, or in this case, what’s left of it.  So grab a can opener and your favorite weapon, because the end never goes quietly.

The Women of the Apocalypse bundle runs for three weeks only.  This is a great deal, and a great way to pick up a batch of books while you’re digging your personal Judgment Day bunker.

Less than two weeks left!

Women of the Apocalypse on StoryBundle

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Thank you Readers!

A book without a reader is just a diary.  I’m happy to report I haven’t just been writing notes to myself these last few years.  The promotion of the Alexandrian Saga (Books 1-3) was a smashing success.

Here are a few screenshots of the various rankings at their peaks:

iTunes #45 Overall

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B&N #5 Overall

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Amazon #26 Overall

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Amazon Author Rank – Historical Mystery #10

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Amazon Author Rank – Fantasy #11

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I particularly like the last one because when I look to #9 I see my friend Annie Bellet!

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I couldn’t have done it without you, the Readers!

If you haven’t gotten a copy yet, due to a quirk iTunes, the sale is still on for another week at all locations.  So grab it at $0.99 while you can.

AMAZON     B&N     KOBO     iBOOKS     GooglePlay

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