Guest Post with Jennie Marsland


I met Jennie at an online writing community, I quickly became a fan. She was very helpful when I first started writing books and I’m happy to help promote her new book, Shattered, today.


Sara, thanks so much for having me here today.  As my bio says, I’ve always been a history buff.

Glimpses of the past spark my imagination, which is why I write historical romance.  I particularly enjoyed writing my new release, Shattered, because I got to delve into the history in my own back yard.

I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.  During both World Wars, Halifax played a vital role as the departure point for troops and supplies being shipped to Europe. During the First World War, an accident occurred here that changed the face of the city forever, and gave me the inspiration for my story.

On the morning of December 6, 1917, two ships collided in Halifax Harbour. One of them, the Mont Blanc, was fully loaded with wartime explosives. The collision sparked a fire that detonated the volatile cargo. The resulting blast remains the largest non-natural, non-nuclear explosion in recorded history. It was used as a case study in the development of the atomic bomb. The city’s North End was literally flattened.

But enough history.

The Halifax Explosion serves as the black moment for my hero and heroine, Liam Cochrane and Alice O’Neill. Liam has been invalided home from the trenches of Europe with a crippling wound.  He lost his brother as well as his youth overseas. He’s got a lot of healing to do, and he isn’t sure he has the strength to do it.

Alice, a girl from Liam’s North End neighbourhood, has loved him for years, but she’s kept her silence to save her heart. Able to read music, but not words, Alice knows Liam can’t be hers. He’d never settle for an illiterate woman, and besides, he’s just started seeing her older sister, Georgie. Ouch.  Alice has been pegged as the family housekeeper – but she’s not quite resigned to her fate. She and Liam have a rocky road to happiness, but in the end, love and courage triumph over disaster –just as they did in real life.

While Shattered is a love story, I’m gratified to find that it seems to appeal to men as well as women. Perhaps that’s because Liam’s point of view is stronger than it is in some romances. I’ll leave you with an excerpt to enjoy, but first a bit of random trivia – did you know that the Christmas tree that glitters in Boston’s Prudential Square each year is a gift
from Nova Scotia, in recognition of the help Massachusetts provided after the Explosion?

Here’s Liam’s and Alice’s first dance, and Liam’s first encounter with Alice’s very troubled brother, Carl, another returned soldier with a lot of problems – and the hero of my current WIP.

He took Alice’s hand and drew her into his arms. Dancing and the heat had brought the blood to her cheeks, and her eyes sparkled like running brook water again. Although she blushed, he sensed no shyness in her body. She fit naturally in his arms, as if she belonged there.

Yeah. She sure isn’t a kid anymore.

Then, like a bolt from the blue an image flashed into Liam’s mind, Alice dancing close, nestled in his arms with her head on his shoulder. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, where did that come from? She’s Georgie’s
sister!  He loosened his hold on her, but that didn’t dull his awareness of every slender curve, of her
light floral perfume. Worse, he saw in her eyes that she felt the awareness between them, too. 

Before he could make an excuse and abandon her, the band ended the waltz with an extra flourish. The leader bowed to the crowd. “Catch your breath, ladies and gentlemen, while the chair of your Social Committee says a few words. I give you Mrs. Frances Henneberry.”

Everyone returned to their seats, Liam with a sigh of devout thanks. He angled his chair to put Stephen and Alice out of his line of slight. As far as I’m concerned, friend, she’s all yours. Good luck keeping her.
Thin, sharp-faced Mrs. Henneberry stepped onto the platform with a self-conscious smile and cleared her throat.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s wonderful to see you all here, supporting our parish’s efforts to ease the
suffering of helpless civilians overseas. There is more than one person here tonight who could tell us first-hand just how severe those sufferings have been and what our sons and brothers have sacrificed in the effort to end them. The least we here at home can do is – ”

Shut up. That’s the least you can do.”

The words carried clearly from the corner nearest the O’Neills’ table. Every head swiveled. Georgie blushed a deep red. Alice’s face blanched pearl-white. In the shadows just beyond the lighted platform, Carl leaned against the wall, his face flushed with heat and liquor. No one at the table had noticed him
come in.

An older, heavier Carl than Liam remembered, with a harder face. The tough kid had grown into a tough man, with an added belligerence. One look at his glazed eyes told Liam Georgie’s brother was a loose cannon.

He and Stephen got up at the same instant and started toward the corner. Stephen got there first and planted himself in front of Carl.

You’ve said enough. Your sisters are here.”

I’m not leaving ‘til I make my point.”

Carl pushed Stephen back and raised his voice again. “That old windbag hasn’t got anyone at the front. She doesn’t have a clue.”

The scathing words on Liam’s tongue died there. Up close, Carl reminded him too much of men he’d seen in hospital, men who woke in the night screaming as he’d done more than once. Men who spent their days looking at the world through vacant eyes. And Mrs. Henneberry annoyed the hell out of him, too.

You’re right, Carl. She doesn’t. This isn’t the place for either of us. Come outside and get some fresh

Fists clenched, Carl took a step forward. “Don’t bullshit me, Liam. I’m not going anywhere until I’m
good and ready. Who do you think you are, anyway? Your little brother isn’t the only one who’s been killed overseas, you know. Just –”

Liam didn’t hear the rest of the sentence. Rage blotted out his compassion, rage and the memory of
Michael-John’s wide, sightless dark eyes. His first punch landed hard in Carl’s belly. The second hit his jaw, knocking him backward and throwing Liam off-balance. They hit the floor, fists flying. The
next thing he knew, Nolan was dragging him to his feet while his father and Stephen pinioned Carl. Liam shook his brother off and dove at Carl, only to have his bad leg collapse and land him back on the
floor. Nolan helped him up again and got a firm grip on his arms.

What the hell? Liam, stop it!”

The girls stood nearby now. Georgie’s eyes sparkled with anger, but the strain on Alice’s face did more to clear the haze from Liam’s mind. He stopped struggling with Nolan, took a deep breath and swallowed. The metallic taste of blood in his mouth made his stomach churn.

The son of a bitch insulted Michael-John.”

Nolan released his hold and took a step toward Carl, putting himself in the man’s face. “If I ever hear of you mentioning my brother’s name again, I’ll finish what Liam started. Dad, Stephen, get him the hell out of here.”

Still winded from Liam’s first blow, blood trickling from his nose, Carl didn’t offer much resistance. Liam figured he’d gotten the worst of the encounter himself, a split lip and what would likely be a magnificent shiner. A couple of older women were on the platform trying to soothe Mrs. Henneberry, who looked on the verge of tears. He should go and say something to her, but at the moment he couldn’t find the words. He shrugged Nolan’s hand from his shoulder.

I’m getting out of here. Apologize to Georgie for me, would you?” Without waiting for an answer, he
walked out.

Buy Link for Shattered:

My blog:

My website:


Author Bio

Jennie Marsland is a teacher, a painter, a musician and, for over thirty years, a writer. She fell in love with words at a very early age and the affair has been life-long. She enjoys writing songs and poetry as well as fiction.

Jennie is a history buff as well as an unashamed romantic. Glimpses of the past spark her imagination, and she believes in happily ever after. She lives in Nova Scotia with her husband, their cat Emily and their outrageously spoiled Duck-Tolling Retrievers, Chance and Echo.