It's All About the Love

6:00 AM Elizabeth Seckman 33 Comments

I got Mark Noce's book, Between Two Fires,  on early release from Net Galley. I started it a few days ago, and I honestly hate putting it down. It's not because it's a historical, and I love history. It's not because it is action packed with wars between kingdoms, bitter feuds, and traitors in the mix. 

I mean all of that is excellent. But it's not what keeps me reading.

For me, it's all about the love. Blended in with all the goodness above is a wonderfully enticing love story. And I am all about the romance.

Okay, okay, so sometimes in the book world, it isn't cool to be into romance. I sat on a panel of authors discussing romance writing and several admitted, they either never considered reading romance until they decided to write it. Or they started reading romance early on, but would hide their "trash" novel inside another, more respectable book.

Not me. Unapologetic romantic here. I've been devouring romances since I could walk myself to the library and sign my name on the check-out card.

My first day of detention in junior high was after a dramatic reading of the love scenes from Danielle Steel's Palimino in math class. Of course, I wasn't the reader...I was entrusted to watch the door while my friend did her best audio rendition of the steamy content.  Little did we know our teacher was wise enough to turn on the intercom between the classroom and the secretary's office during her absence.

Busted. But all in all, it wasn't a tragedy. They let you to read books in lunchtime detention.

Not a believer in romance? Let's consider some very awesome movies:

Star Wars...Han Solo + Princess Laya = romance
Lord of the Rings...Aragorn + Arwen= romance
Thor...Thor + Jane Foster = romance
Harry Potter...Harry + Jenny; Ron + Hermione= romance
Spiderman...Peter Parker + Gwen Stacey (Gwen was better than Mary Jane) = romance 

Romance makes a story awesome.

As it does in Between Two Fires. 

Now, enough writing about the book when I could be reading to see if Branwen will toss the heartless Hammer King for Artagan, the dashing knight,

Praise from Bestselling Authors for Between Two Fires:

“A spirited ride through a turbulent slice of Welsh history!” – Paula Brackston, NYT Bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter

“A fast-paced read that has a wonderfully visual style and some memorable characters. Mark Noce combines Welsh history with a touch of folkloric magic in this promising debut novel. Lady Branwen is a strong and engaging narrator and the turbulent setting of early medieval Wales makes a fine backdrop for an action-packed story.” – Juliet Marillier, Bestselling author of Daughter of the Forest and Wolfskin

Synopsis of Between Two Fires
Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King.
But this fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen herself becomes the target of assassinations and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan her world threatens to tear itself apart. Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.

Places to Order Between Two Fires
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Amazon/ Amazon Kindle/ Barnes & Noble/ Barnes & Noble Nook/ iTunes/ IndieBound/ Thomas Dunne Books

Mark Noce writes historical fiction with a passion, and eagerly reads everything from fantasy to literature. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day, he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. In addition to writing novels, he also writes short fiction online. When not reading or writing, he’s probably listening to U2, sailing his dad’s boat, or gardening with his family.
His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is being published by Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin's Press and Macmillan). It is the first in a series of historical fiction novels set in medieval Wales.

Social Media Links
Twitter/ Facebook (author page)/ Goodreads/ LinkedIn/ Google+/ Thunderclap Campaign

Now, for my good things!

Thanks to our hosts LexaL.G, and Tonja Drecker for this weekly good things check in! 

I'm doing one good thing...
Today is my birthday. Feel free to send me cake. 


  1. Love makes the world go round Elizabeth, wondeerful reviews.
    Enjoy your week-end.

  2. Happy birthday!! Cake on the way.
    Excited for Mark's book.
    Love is universal, thus the appeal. Even I had to insert a little into my second book.

  3. I do like a good love story. I'll have to look for that book.

  4. Happy birthday! Mark's book sounds like a good read, even though I don't read romance. But if the stuff I do read has a love story in it, I'm happy. And I used to be a big reader of historical fiction when I was a teen. Would still be reading it but it's harder to find the good stuff amongst all the second rate these days.


  5. Almost everything has love in it in some form indeed. lol that was a smart teacher to use the intercom.

  6. I always remind people who trash romance that it's an industry run by women FOR women and we need to question why we always tear down things other women do. There are romance novelists making six figures and running their writing business like a corporation. Respect to them! Plus, there are some GOOD romance novels out there. People who scoff at it likely haven't read one.

  7. Love that cover! The story sounds good, too.
    I'm with you - romance makes any book better. :)

  8. Ooh, you were a bad girl, Elizabeth! *snort*

    All books need a little romance. I'm intrigued by Welsh history. Combine the two and it sounds like a great book. Congrats to Mark!

  9. Happy birthday. Oops, I ate the cake - it was nice - and it's the thought that counts, isn't it?

    One thing that struck me from the panel you were on was the comment that several writers hadn't read romance before they decided to write it. It seems odd to write in a genre you're not familiar, or is that just me?

  10. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, girl! I'll go bake your cake after I finish writing this comment. Since I'm the one who will actually be eating it, I trust cheesecake will do...?

    Sounds like a terrific book. (You'll remind us when it's actually released, right?)

    Yeah, a dash of romance makes any book or movie better. Preferably with a healthy dollop of humor, too. (i.e. "When Harry Met Sally" and any book written by Tawna Fenske or Linda Grimes)

  11. Thanks so much, Elizabeth! I'm glad you're enjoying the romantic portions of my historical novel:) And happy birthday too! :)

  12. I lucked out and got an ARC from Netgalley too of Mark's book. I'm loving it so far!

  13. It's nice to see a male romance (and historical fiction) writer. Go Mark! Good luck with Between Two Fires!
    Hope you're still enjoying your birthday week/year.

  14. Hi Elizabeth and Mark - Happy Birthday weekend Elizabeth. While Mark good luck for your release in a couple of weeks or so ... cheers Hilary

  15. Mark's book is up next on my reading list. Can't wait to start it.
    Happy Birthday!!

  16. Happy belated birthday. I hope you had an amazing day. In our house, your whole birthday month is sort of special. Hope you got spoiled. I like a good romance novel too. Everyone needs romance:)

  17. Best wishes to Mark. I need to get back in the loop. Missing in action for too long.

  18. I enjoyed Mark's book. Glad you did, too!

  19. I loved Mark's book too! And happy belated birthday, Elizabeth!

  20. Happy Belated Birthday! I like a little romance in my stories, too. Congrats to Mark on his new book! It sounds like a great read.

  21. Happy Birthday!!!
    Romance definitely makes a story loveable! Mine just have to be a smaller part of the story because I write them so terribly. :)
    Congrats to Mark! (and congrats to you as an awesome romance writer!)

  22. Happy belated birthday. I love a strong romantic thread in a book. It just pulls me in. Congrats to Mark.

  23. Happy Birthday! Hope you eats all the cake you want. The last romance I read was Me Before You and it was fantastic. Okay, I did read the sequel too, and it's pretty good, but the first is awesome.

  24. Happy belated birthday. Wonderful book review. I recently discovered romances and they are great, yes some can be terrible but there are a lot of good writers in that genre.
    Mark, congratulations on your book.

  25. It's wonderful to find the genre and niche that you love. Mark's book sounds perfect for you! And I have to admit, I'm a sucker for a Happy-Ever-After ending. :)

  26. Happy Belated Birthday, Elizabeth!!!! I'm sending you my special Pina Colada Cake! **Yummy**

    You're so right about romance coming in all kinds of shapes and forms. I love romance in all movies, and books of intrigue like James Bond, Thrillers, etc... and it's what makes the entirety of the story interesting.

  27. A wise old writer I met once upon a time ago told me that every story is a love story in one form or another. I have yet to read or watch something that's proven that wrong. I'm okay without writing romance, personally, though. Give me a good old-fashioned Tuck Watley sexbrawl™ instead any day.

  28. I like what ABFTS said above about every story being a love story in one form or another. I'd say that every good story is. If there isn't an element of love to it, the characters are probably flat (not good), because we all want to love and be loved... and if the story is true to life it will reflect that. As you say, it's all about the love.

  29. Romance is addictive! Funny how I was one of those girls who refused to touch romances and read exclusively horror, but then when I started writing, I had to grudgingly admit most of what I wrote were love stories in one form or another. Now I can't get enough romances. :)

    I won a copy of Mark's book and I loved it. Incredible storytelling.

  30. Grats Mark! I've seen your book around and it looks good. Gotta say I love love too, Elizabeth.

  31. I'm right there with you about romance. It's such a huge part of being human that no story is complete without it.

  32. Happy birthday! And I enjoyed Mark's book, too. Lots of romance, but not gushy. I like the way he handled the story.


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