Wednesday, April 21, 2021

#AudibleReview The Traitor by T.J. London Caffeinated PR

Today I'm excited to bring you my review of T.J. London's #2 in her Rebels and Redcoats saga, The Traitor. And as an added bonus I'm including the interview we did for book #1, The Tory.

ASIN: B0912619BW
Publisher: T.J. London
Release Date: 4-19-2021
Length: 18 hours-3minutes
Source: Caffeinated PR

Audible | Goodreads | Amazon


Spy. Liar. Scoundrel. Redcoat.

Provocateur and spy for His Majesty, Captain John Carlisle returns to Fort Niagara with the secrets he stole in the arms of the beautiful Oneida innkeeper, Dellis McKesson. Determined to complete his mission and clear his name, he’ll see justice done—and damn the consequences. Now, he finds himself drawn into political intrigue as the British prepare to launch a three-pronged attack that will bring the Rebels and the Mohawk River Valley to its knees.

A dangerous revelation finds Dellis as whispers of intrigue insinuate her beloved is not all that he seems. Unwilling to wait for her lover’s return, she sets out in search of the truth as the Onieda begin negotiations with the Rebels, breaking the neutrality agreement with the crown. A bold move that will stoke a fire between the brother tribes and lead to a bloody inter-confederacy war—one Dellis predicted, and one John incited.

While war between the colonies and the King smolders, the punishing winter of 1777 allows the perfect opportunity for old enemies to settle scores, lying in wait, ready to exploit John’s one weakness—his heart. John is not an innocent man. The truth he’s long tried to hide from can no longer be ignored, the ghosts of the past seeking justice, and karma wanting payment for sins so dark they cannot be forgiven.

My Review:

The Traitor
Rebels & Redcoats #2
TJ London


The Traitor, book 2 in TJ London’s Rebels and Redcoats saga is all about secrets, lies and consequences.

Captain John Carlisle of his Majesty’s Army has fallen in love and is trying to keep his love the beautiful Oneida Innkeeper Dellis McKesson safe while he tries to clear his name about his involvement in the massacre at her village two years earlier that resulted in the death of her parents and a brutal attack she survived that was carried out on the orders of his then superior officer Major Roger Delancey. But to do that he’ll have to confess his many sins which he’s not proud of but he also knows that keeping her in the dark will be their downfall.
Dellis is tired of all the posturing by the men in her life and wishes all her relationships could be easy but that’s certainly not the case with her Redcoat. She just wishes he’d come clean with whatever he’s hiding because she’s got a secret to tell him too.
As the world around them continue to crumble and the obstacles between them grow they both know that their love is precious but can it weather the storm that’s coming?

This not for the faint of heart as it contains some pretty graphic and violent content, non-stop action and a rather raw narrative but since it fits TJ London’s storyline like a glove and it’s not there for shock value it actually gives the story an added element of honesty. The audience will find themselves entranced by the period perfect costumes and customs, a smokin hot romance and credible characters that will stay with the listener long after the book is over. And as in book one it’s John and Dellis who rule the pages with their passion, their pain and their resilience.
Fans of Outlander and other realistic historical fiction of the like will love this series that is meant to be read in order.

The narration by Shane East and Tara Langella who portray John and Dellis are incredible they emit just the right amount of emotion in every word but they’re not alone and the performances of
Marnye YoungPatrick ZellerShayna Small and Nicholas Boulton are also exceptional making the audio version the way to go.

My Interview with T.J. for The Tory:

TJ welcome to The Reading Frenzy I absolutely LOVED The Tory.
What inspired this 3-part American Revolutionary saga?
Hello, Debbie!! I am so glad you liked The Tory! That makes my rebel heart patter and skip a few beats, but it’s in a drum cadence for the forward march.

The answer to your question is: It’s a loooooooooooong story, but for the sake of brevity I’ll try to make it short. As you probably figured out, I love American Revolutionary War (big surprise, I know). But truly, I fell in love with the time period when I was a little girl, and I pretended to be sick so I could lay on the couch in the living room and watch John Jakes’s The Bastard on the one TV my parents had. HAHAHA! So 1970s, right? But seriously, I fell in love with the look of time, the clothing, the hair, and the age of enlightenment idea, and then later, I read the whole saga by Jakes and further fell in love. Then I went on to study it extensively in college, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now, for the writing of the saga… I always dabbled in writing; as a matter of fact, I wrote an early version of The Tory—which my husband threw in a dumpster after we got into a huge blowout twenty years ago when I was in college working on my PhD. (Never let it be said that the Revolutionary Author is not a forgiving soul, cuz he has all his limbs, anatomical parts vital to being male, and he’s still my DH)

Now, where was I? Oh, yes, writing the saga. I actually started writing as part of counseling. Two very catastrophic events happened simultaneously; one was the onset of my father’s manic depression and me having to commit him, and the other a harassment case at my place of work which forced me to leave my beloved job. As everything spiraled downwards, I went to a terrible place and started counseling. When I would sit with my counselor every day (yes, every day, as I was not well), I would start crying, have a panic attack, and never resolve my problems. We tried meds, we tried all different techniques, but things were just getting worse and worse.  So, Lorrie, my beautiful and wise counselor, suggested I write. Hence, I pulled on old inspiration, the original version of The Tory, and started re-writing it. Each appointment, I’d come to her office and read to her what I wrote the night before, and we’d talk through it. Why does John Carlisle drink? Why does he hate his life? Why is Stuart schizophrenic? Why is Dellis’s father dead? All of that was mirroring aspects of my life, actually, down to some of the genuine dialogue. As Lorrie and I discussed the story, I slowly unraveled what was going on my life and got the courage to face my pain and speak my truth.

When the book was done, it was actually called The Traitor (what one of my work colleagues called me when I exposed the harassment situation at my place of work). My counselor then told me she wanted me to let someone read the book. So, I did. It was crude, but my few readers really liked the story and thought it was compelling. With a bit of coaxing, I went to some writing conferences and met with several editors and publishers, but found many naysayers who panned the story. I did eventually hook up with Kathe Robin, my concept editor, and she loved it and believed in it from the get go. Together, we split The Traitor into two books, and I decided to go independent. After that, I found my copy editor, Jo Michaels, and now she’s my indispensable guru of writing.

That’s a very, very abridged version of the story, but it’s the indisputable truth, and I’m happy to say I’m still in therapy, I have a new job, Dad went to Heaven, and I now have 4 books under my belt (and a very proud counselor).

How exciting to have this now available as an audiobook and I have to say the narrators knock this out of the park!
Did you have a hand in picking the crew?
I picked all of them. (I am a bit of a control freak, especially because of why this book was written) So, the amazing people at The Audio Flow sent me the auditions they felt fit what I asked them for, and then I listened and chose the narrators.  Patrick Zeller killed me as Roger DeLancie. I heard the insanity and strength in his voice, and I just knew it. It was as if he was in my brain and knew exactly how Roger sounded (which is scary).  HAHA! Marnye Young was just so deliciously devious as Celeste, there was no way I could pick anyone else. She understood the power of that character, like the Queen on the chess board who can move in any direction. Tara Langella really had the frenetic energy and the soulfulness of Dellis in her voice. She understood this was a tough, strong, resilient woman, and her reading echoed that so hard. I just adore listening to her. She is my Dellis. Finding Shane East was a different story. I knew how I wanted John Carlisle to sound, and none of the auditions quite had the right voice. I needed terse but sexy, and someone playful, who was also able to deliver some powerful performances. So, I talked with Joc at The Audio Flow and said, “I need more Daniel Craig and less King of England. Help me out here.” She suggested Shane East. Now, she’d never worked with him, and I plead ignorance as I’m new to audio, so I had no idea who he was. But, to Joc’s credit, she reached out to him, and he thankfully said yes. I confess, I melted when I heard him read the opening line of the book. He was nothing short of brilliant. And yes, it’s true, I still walk around imitating how he says the book chapters because his voice is just so decadent. And of course, wouldn’t you want your sexy redcoat spy to sound like that? Helloooooo.

Why did you decide to have this available in audiobook form and when will the other books in the saga be available as an audiobook?
I blame Joc from The Audio Flow. I never even considered audio, as I am not an audio person. It was all her. I was at a conference, and she approached me and said, “That book belongs in audio.” To which I asked, “Have you read it?” And she replied, “Nope, but I know my business, and that book belongs in audio.” She then handed me her business card, but we lost track of each other. Done. Flash forward, a year later, during COVID, she saw Man of War on FB and reached out to me again, and the rest is, pun totally intended, history. Here we are today. I’m forever grateful to her for seeing inspiration in my little, unknown Revolutionary War Saga. And to The Audio Flow’s credit, the recording is just brilliant. I couldn’t be more pleased with their work. (kisses to Joc and her team)

The Traitor should be coming out late winter, 2021, and then the others subsequently after that. All of my narrators are very busy, and I have a writing side hustle and my real job, so we’re working with all that and scheduling. But, yes, they are coming.

You did not pull any punches describing difficult to read passages concerning abuse and murder. I personally congratulate you for this and find it reminiscent of the Outlander series.
Did you have a hard time including these scenes or was there never a question in your mind about it?
The Tory was written in counseling and was never meant to be read by anyone but me, so I just went for the story without any fear or motivation in mind but to free myself of pain. The story is the story. Luckily, Kathe Robin and Jo Michaels, my editors, understood the journey it took to write The Tory, so they realized that you couldn’t take away too much from the story. This was too personal, and there was too much pain wrapped up in these words; it just had to be what it was, come what may. And I’m so thankful they helped me refine but never chopped away at my vision. I don’t write violence and abuse for shock value; remember, I was going through something very personal, and I wrote it because I was trying to make peace with my own demons, and hopefully, in turn, maybe help someone with theirs. That’s why I kept everything, the violence, the sexiness, the betrayals, all of it; this is how the story came to me, and I respected the vision and stayed true to it. Call it ignorance. Call it hubris. But honestly, it was “this is my story, love it or leave it.”

This book saved my life, and that’s not author bravado. John and Dellis were there for me when I was standing on the edge, ready to jump, and everything that’s happened to me since The Tory’s release has been kismet. Even this interview is further proof of how that book has blessed my life and permanently changed it for the better.

Let’s talk about your unlikely duo of Captain John Carlyle of his majesty’s army and Dellis McKesson a mixed race innkeeper.
They both have experienced some pretty harrowing things in their past.
Which one gave you the most trouble while creating them?
You have to remember, both of them are a different side of me coping through counseling. John was me in my harassment case, and Dellis was me in the personal issues I’d long suppressed. They were far too easy to write because they were warring in my head day in and day out. They were me, yes, steeped in lots of history, fiction, and drama, but the core of their story comes from my life, some of which is too personal to discuss here.

I think now, you can see why choosing the right voices was so important to me, why I needed to be involved. Honestly, I cried the day I heard the first chapter of the audio, deep, painful, gut-wrenching tears. Finally, finally, I found closure for what happened to me. The dedication of The Turncoat is: “It is within these pages, I found justice…” Well, through Shane East and Tara Langella, I found my voice again. And oh, how beautiful they sound speaking my truth.

Let’s talk about Man of War it’s reportedly a prequel to The Rebels and Redcoats saga.
What brought about its creation and will there be more?
Yes, there will be more books to come.  Promise!
Man of War is a prequel, but I want it to be read 4th in line so some of the saga secrets are kept under wraps until I want you to know them. It’s all Royal Navy fun, and we meet the sexy, strong, hero with a heart, Captain Merrick. He was also created around the time of the original Tory, and his story is also in that same landfill, degrading with my hard drive. HAHAHA. (I’m such nice wife) But, as I was building The Tory in counseling, I merged the two story ideas and got The Rebels and Redcoats Saga. MOW also comes out of counseling, and at the end of each book, I talk about this in my acknowledgments.

Tj thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on book #5, The Rebel, and book #6, The Renegades, as we speak. For those two books, we’re going to pick up alongside The Traitor and then after The Turncoat, but Alexei McKesson is going to lead the saga for a little while. Ever wonder what he was up to all the those times he disappeared and then reappeared to mess up John Carlisle’s life? HAHAHA!
After that, the next one is going to be about John Carlisle, simply because he won’t shut up in my head and there is more story to tell for him and Dellis. John’s so demanding. Love that redcoat man of mine.

Thank you, Debbie, for having me in for a chat. Super fun questions. I hope I didn’t bore all of you and I hope you look at The Tory with different eyes now. LOL.
Huzzah, Rebels! Until next time. Have fun and do something revolutionary every day of your life.  

About the Author

T.J. London is a rebel, liberal, lover, fighter, diehard punk, and pharmacist-turned-author who loves history. As an author her goal is to fill in the gaps, writing stories about missing history, those little places that are so interesting yet sadly forgotten. Her favorite time periods to write in are first and foremost the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the French and Indian War, the Russian Revolution and the Victorian Era. Her passions are traveling, writing, reading, barre, and sharing a glass of wine with her friends, while she collects experiences in this drama called life. She is a native of Metropolitan Detroit (but secretly dreams of being a Londoner) and resides there with her husband Fred and her beloved cat and writing partner Mickey.

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