Monday, September 07, 2020

THE BLACK MIDNIGHT - Kathleen Y'Barbo - One Free Book

Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and bestselling author of more than 100 books with over two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is a member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, Texas A&M Association of Former Student and the Texas A&M Women Former Students (Aggie Women), Texas Historical Society, Novelists Inc., and American Christian Fiction Writers. She would also be a member of the Daughters of the American Republic, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and a few others if she would just remember to fill out the paperwork that Great Aunt Mary Beth has sent her more than once.


Her latest novel The Black Midnight is a historical true crime romantic suspense novel based on the true stories of the infamous murderer Jack the Ripper and the Midnight Assassin, a serial killer who terrorized 1880s Austin, Texas. Neither was brought to justice, and some theorize they are one and the same.


When she’s not spinning modern day tales about her wacky Southern relatives, Kathleen inserts an ancestor or two into her historical, true crime, and cozy mystery novels as well. Recent historical releases include bestselling The Pirate Bride set in 1700s New Orleans and Galveston, its sequel The Alamo Bride set in 1836 Texas, and The Chisholm Trail Bride set in 1880s Texas and Louisiana, which feature a few well-placed folks from history and a family tale of adventure on the high seas and on the coast of Texas. She also writes (mostly) relative-free cozy mystery novels for Guideposts Books.

Kathleen and her hero in combat boots husband have their own surprise love story that unfolded on social media a few years back. They now make their home just north of Houston, Texas and are the parents and in-laws of a blended family of Texans, Okies, and a family of very adorable Londoners.


Dear Readers, I have loved every book that Kathleen has written. Each time I read a new one, I think to myself, this is her best one yet. And it is always true. The Black Midnight, true to form, is my favorite right now. It is a historical romantic suspense novel. It hits all the bases for me. Authentic historical details. A romance that can never be. A suspense story that I didn’t figure out until near the end of the book. Her characters are full-blown with both virtue and vices. They really grabbed my heart and attention and kept me reading every minute I had available each day. You don’t want to miss this one.


Welcome back, Kathleen. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?

I’m sure I wanted to be everything from a horse trainer to a ballerina depending on the day when I was little. However, when I was in college, I thought I would go on to law school after I graduated. Instead, marriage and family delayed my entry into the legal field for about twenty years.


 How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?

Usually it takes about three weeks from start to finish to write a 65,000 word novel. The first two weeks is spent writing the first ½ of the book and the last week, the rest.


How do you come up with themes for your stories?

I rarely know the theme, so that’s a hard question. I start with characters and setting and let them tell me what happens. That sounds simplistic, but that’s really how it works for me most of the time.


Do you have a schedule of when you write?

I work full-time as a paralegal in a law office, so my writing happens on weekends and evenings during the week.


How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?

Ha! I’m not, at least with any regularity. But I try! Though I prefer a desktop, I write on a laptop so I can be flexible and spend time with my husband while I’m working on a book.


What elements do you think make a great story line?

For me, characters are what makes a book. So give an interesting character doing something out of his comfort zone, and I’m hooked.


What was the hardest thing about writing a book?

Convincing myself that I can actually do justice to the synopsis I gave my editor! I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to second guessing my ideas. At the end of the book, once I’ve written THE END, I’m always happy with the results. But the beginning? Not so much. That’s why the first half takes 2/3 of my writing time.


How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?

I’ve lost count! It’s more than 100. That’s like asking which is my favorite child! The one I like best right now is my newest, The Black Midnight (historical true crime/romantic suspense). But I also really like The Pirate Bride (historical romance with pirates) and Firefly Summer (contemporary Texas romance). And my Women of the West series (historical Western romance). And the Secret Lives of Will Tucker series (historical steampunk/romance). I also just wrote a contemporary mystery for Guideposts earlier this year that touched my heart. The title was Where There’s a Will but I think it’s going to be renamed by the publisher. Anyway, ask me tomorrow and I’ll name different ones, I’m sure!


Do you have a favorite character?

I have a few favorites. Anna Finch, the heroine of Anna Finch and the Hired Gun ranks in my top three. I also love my pirate heroine in Pirate Bride and my feisty heiress turned reluctant nanny in The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper. Oh…then there’s….sigh…there are so many!


Tell us about the story.

Three years before Jack the Ripper began his murderous spree on the streets of London, a killer struck fear into the hearts of the citizens of Austin, Texas. Some believe one man is responsible for both while others lay the blame at the feet of someone close to the queen herself. With suspicion falling on Her Majesty’s family and Scotland Yard at a loss as to who the Ripper might be, Queen Victoria summons her great-granddaughter, Alice Anne von Wettin, a former Pinkerton agent who worked the unsolved Austin murders case, and orders her to discreetly form a team to look into the London matter. One man is essential to her team, and she doesn’t want to consider taking on this challenge without his expertise. Unfortunately, he’s back in Texas with a bad attitude and a new profession.

The prospect of a second chance at catching the man who terrorized Austin three years ago just might entice Isaiah Joplin out of his comfortable life as an Austin lawyer, even if it does mean working with the Queen’s great-granddaughter again. If his theories are right, they’ll find the The Midnight Assassin and, by default, the Ripper. If they’re wrong, he and Annie are in a bigger mess than the one the lady detective left behind when she departed Austin under cover of darkness three years ago.

Can the unlikely pair find the truth of who is behind the murders before they are drawn into the killer’s deadly game? From Texas to London, the story navigates the fine line between truth and fiction as Annie and Isaiah ultimately find the hunters have become the hunted. 

Please give us a peek at the first page of the book.

The first chapter of the book is available on preview at Amazon. May I please break from protocol here and give you one of my favorite scenes of the book???? The only things you need to know to understand this scene is that Kellum is a detective from Scotland Yard and Isaiah is the Texan Pinkerton detective hero and he’s been instructed NOT to wear cowboy boots to Buckingham Palace. J


Excerpt from Chapter 22 of The Black Midnight by Kathleen Y’Barbo

A meeting with Queen Victoria’s advisors

Buckingham Palace, London

April 1889


“You may speak freely here,” Annie told him.

“Very well, it concerns your relative, Prince Albert Victor.”

Her attention went to the prime minister who showed no reaction. Then she turned to Kellum.

“I see.” Annie folded her hands in front of her. The man she knew as Uncle Eddy, that the public called Prince Eddy, had a rather interesting reputation, to put it mildly. Still, murder was well beyond anything she would expect of him. “Go on.”

“There have been some rumors...”

He paused, obviously uncomfortable with the topic. Annie wondered if he’d drawn the short straw in the competition to see which of them would be speaking today. Or rather, which would not.

“That is it has been whispered, quietly of course and certainly not intimated in the press or amongst those who might speak publicly...”

Annie shook her head. “If you could just say it, that would be most helpful, sir. I assure you I am not the delicate sort, and I prefer a man who speaks his mind plainly and clearly.”

Kellum gave Simon a helpless look, prompting the police officer to nod. “What Lord Brixton is saying is that there is a theory that the prince could be the killer—this Jack the Ripper--that we are looking for.”

Lord Brixton. Yes, she remembered him now. Papa hadn’t particularly cared for him.

“I-I-I am not advancing that theory,” Mr. Kellum stammered. “However sordid or false, which it likely is, what I am saying is that it is something that has been spoken about, though not publicly. At least not in the newspapers. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it.”

He looked around to the other advisors, and they all nodded. Then he returned his attention to Annie. “If we did not mention it,” he amended. “Our hope is that this investigation might prove that the prince is innocent of any atrocities. Were it to be found otherwise, I do not know how we would manage to tell Her Majesty.”

“So she hasn’t heard these rumors?” Annie asked. “Are you certain? I have found that the Queen is quite intelligent and generally well informed, even about rumors. Nothing gets past her, so do not underestimate her knowledge on this subject.”

“We have heard these rumors.” Granny swept into the blue room with a sea of courtiers following in her wake. “And we are much distressed.” She focused on Annie. “Thank you for the compliment, kitten. However, there must be no preferential treatment for Eddy. I want him properly investigated and I will not abide any editing of the facts.”

“Yes ma’am,” Annie said as she bowed to her grandmother.

She turned to inspect the men in the room. “Prime Minister, we did not expect to see you here.”

Lord Salisbury cleared his throat, his hands clasped behind him. “I am here on an unofficial basis, ma’am. What concerns the nation, concerns me.”

She held his gaze then nodded. “Yes, of course.”

Silence fell. After a moment, her steely gaze landed on Isaiah.

Annie held her breath. The Texan had executed a perfect bow when she entered the room and so far had followed all the rules of protocol he’d only just learned a few minutes earlier.

“Detective Joplin of the Pinkerton Agency,” the queen said.

“I was, Your Majesty,” he told her. “Though I have recently taken up lawyering.”

“An unfortunate turn of events,” she said. “We’ll not need a lawyer here today, thus we hope you have retained some of the knowledge that you once possessed when you actually were a detective.”

Annie detected the slightest hint of a smile beneath Isaiah’s serious expression.  “Yes ma’am. I believe that I have.”

Granny continued to study him. Unlike the other men in the room, Isaiah did not cower under the queen’s icy presence. Rather, he appeared ready to continue their conversation should Her Majesty wish to do so.

“What else have you retained from the time when you were a detective, young man?” Granny glanced down at his footwear and then back up at Isaiah as she waited for his response.

“I have learned that patience is a virtue.” He paused. “And that what is meant to be will be.”

One dark brow lifted. “And what cannot be?”

“Takes a little longer, ma’am,” he said in his Texas drawl.

Annie wasn’t sure whether to gasp or laugh. She decided it best to do neither.

The room fell into silence. Even the courtiers had stopped their whispering. Every eye was on the queen and the Texan who towered over her.

Finally she spoke. “Have you made the acquaintance of William Cody, Mr. Joplin?”

Buffalo Bill? Yes ma’am, I have.” He paused. “I understand he performed here for your Jubilee.”

“We were pleased with that performance.” Her gaze slid to the floor and then returned to his eyes. “We were gifted with footwear much like his cowboys wore. Unfortunately, the ornamentation on them has rendered the boots quite decorative and unfit for our stables.” She paused. “We would much prefer a pair like yours.”

“Ma’am, with your permission I could see that you have them,” he said. “It would be my honor.”

The queen never broke her even gaze or showed any indication of her thoughts on the matter. Then, finally she offered a very slight dip of her head. “We shall allow it. However, we must wonder at the advisability of wearing such footwear meant for the stables on our valuable carpets. Do we understand one another?”

Annie held her breath in anticipation of what the detective would say. Knowing Isaiah, it could be anything from a polite response to another of his cheeky comments.

After a moment, he nodded. “Yes, ma’am. We do.”


Where can my readers find you on the Internet?

My website at contains all my book news and buy links, a list of all my social media contacts, and much more!


Readers, here are links to the book.

Black Midnight -
The Black Midnight (True Colors Book 7) - Kindle


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Elly said...

Oh! I’ve been looking forward to this one! This whole series looks really good, but my sister and I have read and seen a lot about both Jack the Ripper and H. H. Holmes, so this and that one I’m especially excited to read!😆😃
Elly -Indiana-

Anonymous said...

I’ve enjoyed some of the true crimes series and Kathleen Y’Barbo is an awesome author. I definitely has this one on my wish list. I’m from central Texas where we’re excited about a cold front tomorrow. Come on fall!
perrianne (DOT) askew (AT) me (DOT) com
Perrianne Askew

Joan A said...

I have enjoyed the True Crimes series! I'm from Missouri! jarning67(at)hotmail(dot)com

Kathleen Y'Barbo said...

Thank you for the kind words. I hope you enjoy the book!

Melanie Backus said...

I am intrigued!
Melanie Backus, TX

Caryl Kane said...

I'm enjoying the True Colors series.

Caryl K in TEXAS

Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC

rubynreba said...

Sounds like a great book!
Beth from IA

Connie Porter Saunders said...

True Colors has been a great series. Thanks for sharing Black Midnight.
Connie from Kentucky

Needful Things said...

Sounds fascinating FL