Friday, May 30, 2014

Mackenzie's Cross Book Tour: Guest Post and Book Giveaway (2 Winners)

Please join Sarah Barthel as she tours the blogosphere from May 12- June 4 for Mackenzie's Cross and enter to win your own copy!

Mackenzie's Cross
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Topaz Publishing
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

When Duke Kensington dies, how can a young kitchen maid stand up for what she believes and save her best friend?

Mackenzie’s life has always been one of duty. However, in a land where even the Brotherhood of the Knights are becoming power hungry mongers, how can a young kitchen maid maintain her morals when tempted with all she’s never had?

In the end, the truth is even more complicated than Mackenzie had ever imagined.


Research can be hard, but it is nearly almost rewarding. As I worked on research for my novel, Mackenzie’s Cross, I came across all kinds of interesting facts that I wanted to include, but they simply didn’t fit the setting.

Then I came across an article about lepers living out their remaining lives in local convents, and my curiosity was piqued. See, I have psoriatic arthritis and had read a long time ago that medieval sufferers of psoriasis were often diagnosed with leprosy. Ever since I’d read that, I’d wanted to include it in a book somehow, but hadn’t thought about it until I came across that article about lepers and convents.

I was trying to develop a character to aid in part of Mackenzie’s journey -- not someone who would help her uncover the true cause of Duke Kensington’s death, but someone who would help her learn the more refined elements of royal society (how to be a lady, etc.). When I came upon this article, all the elements in my mind came together.

What if a young lady of noble birth had been diagnosed with leprosy, but in reality had psoriasis? She would have had to take the death march and conceal herself inside either a convent or a leper asylum. There she would have received medical treatment and would be presumed dead by those who loved her. However, because she had psoriasis instead of leprosy, she would possibly have had times of remission where she showed no symptoms and others when she was in pain from the skin disease. A keen eye might have suspected she didn’t have leprosy, but the stigma was so strong, it would be hard to combat the discrimination.

So that is how the character of Lady Elizabeth came to belong in Mackenzie’s world. You’ll never see it spelled out in the novel, but she suffers from a misdiagnosis. She locked herself in a convent for the youth of her life because her family feared the stigma of such a disease. I like to think that by the end of the novel, she’s found a happy medium, but it is hard to predict the future for characters … even when you’ve penned them.

If you have further questions about Lady Elizabeth or any of my characters, please find me on Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail me and ask! And do read Mackenzie’s Cross to uncover more tidbits about medieval life!

Buy the Book

Amazon CA (Kindle)
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

About the Author

Sarah Barthel
Sarah Barthel was raised on a steady diet of old Hollywood musicals and classic literature. It instilled in her a love for looking into the past to discover new passions.

Nurturing her love of language, she learned French, Latin and Japanese. This led her to study in Paris and host a Japanese exchange student. She followed her passion to American University in Washington DC, where she studied British literature and history.

Since then she has thrown herself into writing. She loves to find unique, and unexplored ideas in familiar settings. A member of the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators, she currently lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, daughter and two crazy dogs.

You can connect with Sarah on Facebook.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, May 12
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Tuesday, May 13
Excerpt at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, May 14
Review at SOS Aloha

Friday, May 16
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, May 21
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, May 22
Excerpt at Let Them Read Books

Monday, May 26
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, May 30
Guest Post at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, June 4
Review at Staircase Wit


To win one of two copies of Mackenzie's Cross, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally and ends at 11:59pm on June 4, 2014. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on June 5th and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclaimer: Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment.

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