Monday, January 19, 2015

Medieval Monday with Jenna Jaxon

BELEAGUERED, Book 3 of Time Enough to Love:
When death holds sway in the world, can even the greatest love survive?
Finally in France, Alyse and Thomas return to their roles as courtiers to Princess Joanna.  Their passion for one another continues to smolder hot and deep—until one fateful encounter changes everything.
During a formal banquet, Alyse must share an intimate dance with Geoffrey, her first love. His searing touch proves Alyse’s love and desire for him is as strong as when they first met. Tormented by this revelation, Alyse is bitterly torn between the love of her life and her love for her husband.
Into this agonizing situation, the disaster of the Black Death rears its head, decimating the princess’s retinue and threatening all their lives.  Alyse, Thomas and Geoffrey must try to save the princess from the ravening disease but at a dire cost to themselves.  With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both of the men she loves.  But which love will survive?

To find out more about Jenna Jaxon and her books check out her blog.
Buy LinkAmazon

EXCERPT: Beleaguered:
Geoffrey hurried on with a suggestion. “’Twould be the work of a few moments for me to teach it you, my lady.”
It would have to serve. She shot a look over her shoulder at her husband, who nodded and laughed with the princess though his eyes were trained on her. Best get on with it then. The sooner ’twas done, the better.
“Your skill at dancing is such that you would certainly learn the steps with but slight instruction from me.” Geoffrey leaned so close his voice, against her ear made her jump and recall herself. She stepped back and looked at him.
His practiced courtier’s smile flickered at her, and she caught something deeper shining in his eyes that she fought not to see. Her heart stuttered a beat.Her body flushed with the anticipation of dancing with him again even as misgivings swirled in her mind. No good would come of this dance, but Thomas watched closely to see that she acted cordially to Geoffrey. Would that it was an act.
With a sense of heavy foreboding, she extended her hand to him. “Very well, Sir Geoffrey. What must I do first?”
He placed her hand atop his arm and led her to their place in the circle of dancers then grasped her hand to pull her around to face him.
The moment his hand touched her skin, a streak of fire shot through her. Her mouth went dry, and her gaze flew to his face. Surely he felt that as well?
He stared back, his eyes mirroring all too clearly the blaze that coursed up her arm.
Damn Geoffrey Longford.
In a daze, she looked around at the other dancers, expecting them to stare accusingly at her. As if they could see this sinful feeling that tore at her soul. At a loss for how to act, she raised her gaze to beseech Geoffrey. “What do we do now?”
’Twas an apt question for, God forgive her, at the touch of Geoffrey’s hand, all thought of her husband had fled. She was back on the deck of the Phillipa, facing him once more. Loving him once more.
Geoffrey cleared his throat, his face flushed, and said simply, “Follow me.”
Then they were twirling around the circle, hands clasped, arms touching intimately, He seemed to brand her wherever he touched. The figure reversed, and her other side was scorched as if a red-hot blade seared her. Her gaze locked onto Geoffrey’s, and the music, the dancers, the Great Hall and all its inhabitants melted away until all that was left was the whisper of his breath in her ear and the heat of his body pressed close against her.
He leaned in closer to whisper, “I must lift you now.”
Before she could grasp that staggering news, his arm went around her waist and he lifted her, twirling them around full circle. She panted, blood pounding in her temples, roaring in her ears.
They continued to dance, but she moved as though she were a doll made of rags, her legs barely able to stand. Her world narrowed to the single source of light and life that was the man who held her in his arms again. The man whose love she could no longer deny. Despite the agony of the betrayal, in the core of her being she knew neither the vows she had spoken to Thomas nor the passion they had enjoyed in his bed would ever match the intensity of love and belonging she shared with Geoffrey. As soon compare a candle’s flame to the sun.
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Next Medieval Monday my featured author is Cathy MacRae with her latest release.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Medieval Monday with H.K. Carlton

The Devil Take You
I believe your stay in purgatory has only just begun...

Scotland - 1307 - During the Scottish Wars of Independence
Gard Marschand will stop at nothing in his pursuit to regain what is lost. Concealing his true identity, he will associate with his enemies, kill his own countrymen, even sell his soul to the devil if all else fails. He will lie, cheat, steal, rape and siege his way across two countries gaining power and reputation in his malevolent wake. His determination all consuming, until King Edward commands Gard to lay siege on Ross-shire holding, where Braelynn Galbraith obliterates his single-minded purpose.
Braelynn Galbraith wants peace for her beloved Scotland, marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Callum, and a house full of children. In that order. But evil incarnate in the form of Gard Marschand, turns her life inside out and destroys all hope of a decent marriage. 
Can Gard abandon his deep-seated need of revenge for a love that might just save his soul, or will he succumb to the demons that hound him and surrender to the devil within?

To find out more about H.K. Carlton and her books check out her blog
This book is available at MuseItUp Publishing   Amazon    
Excerpt: The Devil Take You
Braelynn ran as if the hounds of hell were on her heels. They could very well be this time. She ran while she prayed. “Please God, if ya get me outta this one last scrape I promise I will ne’er pass another message ta the rebels again.”
 She should have learned her lesson from the last two outings, almost captured both times. This would be her last, one way or another.
 She’d been pursued many times throughout the years and always managed escape. But things were getting much too dangerous. These were not English soldiers on her heels this time. She knew not who hunted her but the steady beating of hooves bore down on her. Brae ran for the caves to lose them there, just as she’d done the day she glimpsed William Wallace two years past, days before his capture. She remembered begging and pleading with the vicar to allow her to accompany him that day. He said it was too dangerous and he himself would carry the message to the rebels; but when he’d let slip that William might possibly be at the meeting place, she threatened to follow after him if he did not simply acquiesce and allow her this.
 She’d not spoken to Wallace, only gaped at him from afar. This great man dedicated as she to her country’s freedom. He had not been what she expected. From the tales people told, he was an impressive ten feet tall and indestructible. He was not ten feet tall, she’d found out that day. He looked to be just a normal man. And to her sadness he had not been indestructible. His capture and subsequent execution threw the country and her own little shire into further turmoil.
Brae rounded the burm and with an additional burst of speed made for the bluff, fistfuls of her skirt bunched in her hands to keep her legs free. But before she reached the crags, more horsemen appeared on the cliffs. The lass skidded to a halt, caught between the two. The men behind her rounded the burm. She turned, the men on the cliffs were retreating. She realized that perhaps the horsemen in chase were not after her at all
 Brae had to make a decision and fast. She chose to follow her first instinct and hide in the caves, using the darkness and the tunnels to escape as she’d done in the past.
 The young woman scurried over the rocks and under the overhang, sliding through the arch that water and wind had eroded over time. Brae launched herself into the mouth of the first large cave she came to. Hiding in the dark she inhaled deeply, drawing breath after breath into her burning lungs. She listened and waited as her breathing slowly returned to some semblance of normalcy. Brae lifted her skirt and picked her way through the empty tunnels, confident now that she had safely lost her pursuers. Relief flooded her. She let out one last breath and lowered her guard. 
In the next instance she found herself thrown against the slimy rocks as a stranger’s filthy hand covered her mouth. Brae squirmed and screamed into his smelly palm.
Brae faced Marschand, unable to look away. He looked furious. His jaw ticked as he hunted her, yet again. She assumed his anger was about the map and the other documents.
He bent and pulled a dirk from his boot right before he reached her. She’d been on the wrong end of that blade already.
“Please. I didna see anathin’.” She backed up.
Marsch was on her in an instant pulling at her skirt. His lightening speed caught her off guard. She fought him. Grainger had warned her. Leashed violence, he’d said.
He subdued her easily. His dirk in one hand, Marschand used the other to loose his leather belt.
“Please,” she cried. “I didna…”
“Stop fightin’ me!” he growled.
Baring her legs, he pulled the leather around her thigh yanking it tight.
“Wha’ are ya doin’?” she asked, frightened not only by his anger but his actions.
“Ya willna go another minute wit’oot bein’ armed. I canna be wit’ ya all the time.” He panted with exertion and ire. “I am tired o’ tryin’ ta keep ya safe. Ya are jus’ too temptin’ ta all ’twould seem.”
His intense black eyes devoured her. She could not seem to breathe properly with him so near. He was an incredible looking man, she realized, so different from Callum in every way. Even in her fear, she wanted to reach out and touch the unruly black hair that brushed his collar, itching to touch his beard and feel for herself if it was rough or soft.
He cut off the excess leather and slid the cool blade of the dirk between the leather and her flesh.
Suddenly she looked at him as his words and his enunciation sunk in. His breathing was harsh, his lips snarled, his teeth bared. It finally dawned on her. Was that what she had been detecting? Her heart started to pound painfully in her chest. She grabbed his chin forgetting her fear for the moment. His black eyes shot to hers in shock of being touched.
“Be ye Scot, then?”
He visibly blanched, from the allegation or her touch she was not sure. “Nay.
Snagging her wrist he removed her hand from his jaw and moved to get up when he stopped, noticing the redness on the opposite thigh. He pushed her skirt higher baring the gash.
“Ah, Christ!” His eyes shot to her again. “Is tha’ from me?” he asked looking appalled. He did not wait for her answer. “Good God! Of course ’tis.” He seethed at the awful looking cut. She also stared at the mean looking crimson that radiated and spread across her white skin.
“Who did ya have tend it? The butcher?”
“Ya see, when ya are conflicted or upset, ya drop yer disguise. Ya are no’ wha’ ya pretend ta be.”
“Whom did you have tend this?” he asked succinctly, carefully, in flawlessly refined English.
“I tended it meself.”
He looked horrified.
“There was na one at home. I couldna control the bleedin’. I had na choice,” she confessed. “’Tis festered? Aye?”
“Aye. No wonder you are so warm. Why you shivered all night long. You are fevered.” He placed his cool palm to her forehead. Brae was shocked by his gentleness. It belied the power and tension radiating from every ounce of his being.
Her eyes fluttered at the pleasure of the simple touch.
He removed his palm and circled a finger lightly around the perimeter of the redness on her thigh. The sensation made her skin feel strange.
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Next Medieval Monday my featured author is Jenna Jaxon with her latest release.

Friday, January 9, 2015

First Page Checklist

I've been catching up with my inbox. It was getting out of hand. Between being in my cave writing, Thanksgiving and the holidays well, lets just say I needed an intervention. One of the gems I unearthed was a post by Ray Rhamey of the Flogged Quill, The Challenge: Does This Narrative Compel You To Turn the Page?

It's the first page that grabs the reader. Many times its the first sentence. Here is Ray's first-page checklist:

  • It begins connecting the reader with the protagonist.
  • Something is happening. On a first page, this does NOT include a character musing about whatever.
  • What happens is dramatized in an immediate scene with action and description plus, if it works, dialogue.
  • What happens moves the story forward.
  • What happens has consequences for the protagonist.
  • The protagonist desires something.
  • The protagonist does something.
  • There's enough of a setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening.
  • It happens in the NOW of the story.
  • Backstory? What backstory? We're in the NOW of the story.
  • Set-up? What set-up? We're in the NOW of the story.
  • What happens raises a story question-what happens next? or why did that happen?
I remember the first draft of my first story. I eagerly read it at literary group meeting to three well published authors. I had worked hard on the story especially the opening. I saw it as a movie. The first thing I see in a movie is the setting. So, I diligently, and meticulously, described the scene.

Are you laughing? They loved the description. They told me to save it for someplace else but to come up with something more compelling. It was replaced with a fight scene.

Think about some of the books you've read or written. How did they begin? What did you like, or not like about it?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Medieval Monday with Ruth A.Casie

What is Medieval Monday? Fall in love with new stories and find new authors. Each Monday for the next 12 weeks another author will share the cover and excerpt from their story. Today is my turn.
Knight of Runes
When Lord Arik, a druid knight, finds Rebeka Tyler wandering his lands without protection, he swears to keep her safe. But Rebeka can take care of herself. When Arik sees her clash with a group of attackers using a strange fighting style, he's intrigued.
Rebeka is no ordinary seventeenth-century woman—she's traveled back from the year 2011, and she desperately wants to return to her own time. She poses as a scholar sent by the king to find out what's killing Arik's land. But as she works to decode the ancient runes that are the key to solving this mystery and sending her home, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic and powerful Arik.
As Arik and Rebeka fall in love, someone in Arik's household schemes to keep them apart, and a dark druid with a grudge prepares his revenge. Soon Rebeka will have to decide whether to return to the future or trust Arik with the secret of her time travel and her heart.
Available at Amazon   Nook
Knight of Runes is the first book in the Druid Knight Series. Book two, Knight of Rapture, is scheduled for release March, 2015.

Excerpt: Knight of Runes
England ~ May, 1605
I should not have stayed away from the Manor so long. Something stirs. Lord Arik’s eyes swept the surrounding area as he and his three riders escorted the wagon with the old tinker and the woman. They sped through the forest as fast as the rain-slicked trail would allow. Unable to shake the ominous feeling of being watched, Arik remained alert. At length, the horses winded, he slowed the pace as they neared the Stone River.
“The forest is flooded. I suspect the Stone will be as well. Willem, ride on ahead and let me know what we face at the crossing.”
Willem did his lord’s bidding and quickly returned with his report. “The river ahead runs fast, m’lord. The bridge is in disrepair and cannot be crossed.”
Arik raised his hand and brought the group to a halt. “Doward,” he said to the old tinker. “We must make repairs. There’s no room for the wagon at the river’s edge. You and the woman stay here and set up camp. Be ready to join us at the bridge when I send word.”
Logan, Arik’s brother, spoke up. “I’ll keep watch here and help Doward and Rebeka.”
Arik nodded and, with the others, continued the half mile to the bridge.
“I am not pleased with this new delay.”
“It can’t be helped, m’lord. We would make better time without the wagon,” said Simon.
“I’ll not leave Doward and the woman unescorted through the forest, not with what we’ve heard lately. We’ll have to drive hard to make up the lost time.”
The frame of the bridge stood solid, the planks scattered everywhere, clogging the banks and shallows. Arik leaped from his horse onto the frame to begin the repairs.
“Hand me that planking.” Arik pointed to the nearest board.
Simon grabbed the plank and examined it. “Sir, these boards have been deliberately removed.”
Arik took the board and lifted it before him. An arrow whooshed out of the trees, and slammed into the plank’s edge. Willem pulled his axe from his belt as Arik and Simon drew their swords. In a fluid, practiced movement, Willem spun and found his mark. He sent his axe flying. The archer fell into the river and was swept downstream, Willem’s axe still lodged in his forehead. A dozen or more attackers broke through the stand of trees.
Arik tossed the board into the river and readied his sword. The enemy was poorly dressed carrying clubs and knives. There was only one sword among them. The leader. Arik’s target.
“They plan to pin us here at the river’s edge. Come, we’ll take the offensive before they form up.” They moved forward, driving a wedge through the enemy’s ragged line, forcing what little formation they had to scatter and fight, each man for himself.
A man, club in hand, rushed at Arik. Before the attacker could bring his weapon into play, Arik pivoted around him. He raised his sword high, and slammed the hilt’s steel pommel squarely on the man’s head. Arik moved on before the man’s lifeless body dropped to the ground.
Willem and Simon, on either side of Arik, advanced through the melee. Their swift continuous swordplay moved smoothly from one stroke to the next, whipping through the air. They slashed on the downswing and again on the backswing, sweeping their weapons back into position to repeat the killing sequence. The knight and his soldiers steadily advanced, punishing any man who dared to come near them.
“For Honor!” Logan’s war cry carried from the small camp to Arik’s ears.
Arik stiffened. Both camps were now under attack. He pulled his blade from an attacker’s chest. The body crumpled to the blood-soaked ground. Arik breathed deeply, the coppery taste of blood in the air. “For Honor!” he bellowed in answer. His men echoed his call, arms thrown wide, muscles quivering, the berserker’s rage overtaking them.
The remaining attackers paled and fled headlong into the forest.
Motioning to his men to follow, Arik raced toward the camp. He could hear the shouts, and cursed himself for not seeing the danger. He crested the hill and came to an abrupt halt.
Logan’s sword ripped through the air as he protected Doward. The tinker drew his short blade and did as much damage as he could. But it was the woman Arik noticed. Her skirt hiked up, she twirled her walking stick like a weapon with an expertise that left him slack-jawed. She dispatched the attackers, one by one, in a deadly well-practiced dance. A man rushed toward her, knife in hand. The sneer on his face didn’t match the fear in his eyes. She stepped out of his line of attack, extended her stick to her side, and holding it with both hands swept the weapon forward, striking the attacker across the bridge of his nose. Blood exploded from his face in an arc of fine spray as his head snapped back. Droplets dusted her face creating an illusion of bright red freckles. As he fell, she reversed her swing and caught him hard behind his knees. He went down on his back, spread-eagled. She swung her stick over her head and landed a precise and disabling blow to his forehead that knocked him unconscious.
As she spun to face the next threat her eyes captured Arik’s and held. In the space of an instant, time slowed to a crawl. Her hair slowly loosened from its pins and swirled out around her. His breath caught and his heartbeat quickened as a rapturous surge raced through his body. Something eternal and familiar, with a sense of longing, unsettled him. In the next heartbeat, she tore her eyes away, leaving him empty. Time resumed its normal pace. Another attacker lay at her feet.
Arik joined the fight.

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Next Medieval Monday my featured author is H. K. Carlton with her latest release. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Thursday, January 1, 2015

62% of American's Do It

...Make New Year's Resolutions
Happy New Year! The champagne is finished as well as the party food. I watched the ball drop at Times Square, via television, and welcomed in the new year with those I love. I’ve thought about the past year, what I accomplished and what has been left undone and even ignored. It’s time to look ahead and for me, plan what I want to accomplish for myself and my writing. It’s time for New Year’s resolutions.
New Year’s resolutions, we’ve all made them. While they’re most
common in the Western Hemisphere, resolutions, the promise to yourself to do something nice for yourself or others, are made world-wide. Since the resolution implies a new beginning, what better time to make them than the beginning of the year.
Who started this ritual? At the start of each year, the ancient Babylonians promised their gods they would return borrowed items and pay their debts. Romans made promises to the god Janus, yes that Janus, for whom January is named. Janus is the god of beginnings and traditions. Knight in the medieval era took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry. Christian prepared for the new year at the watchnight services by praying and making resolutions.
Other religious groups have parallels to this tradition: Jewish people reflect upon their wrongdoings during their High Holiday season and resolve to be better. The concept, regardless of your background, is to examine ways to improve yourself.
The ten most popular resolutions include:
  1. Spend more time with family and friends 
  2. Get fit 
  3. Lose weight
  4. Get organized  
  5. Help other people 
  6. Quit smoking 
  7. Enjoy life more 
  8. Quit drinking 
  9. Get out of debt 
  10. Learn something new

These are wonderful resolutions and the top five are definitely on my list but I also have my writing resolutions.
  1.  I will write everyday 
  2. I will write everyday even when I don’t feel like it 
  3. I will write from the heart and dig deep so my readers will feel it 
  4. I will read widely 
  5. I will focus on writing rather than social media 
  6. I will experiment with my writing style and voice 
  7. I will create and stick to a timetable 
  8. I will write two novels and two short stories this year 
  9. I will learn how to market my work 
  10. I will give something back to other writers – they have supported me in all I do and I will pay it forward
I have one other resolution...
        I resolve to post a blog once every two weeks
What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Timeless Treasures

Timeless Treasures ~ Stories of the Heart
A special wish of hope, strength, and love brings five couples what they treasure most in this heartwarming collection of short stories.
Ruth A. Casie ~ Whispers on the Wind A newly minted knight plans to secure his place in his adoptive family through marriage. But the fates have other plans for him. Will he be willing to give up the life he's always wanted to be with the woman he loves?
Lita Harris ~ Trusting Kindness Former lovers are reunited one winter night on a boardwalk at the Jersey Shore. Will a common cause reignite their passion or extinguish it forever? 
Emma Kaye ~ Losing Patience When a wish sends a man back in time, can he save the woman he loves, or is he doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past?
Nicole S. Patrick ~ The Colors of Courage Can a midnight kiss on New Year’s Eve lead a US Marine and struggling artist toward more than they’d ever dreamed of for the future?
Julie Rowe ~ Medal of Honor When a Chicago surgeon is informed her homeless father has been murdered, she’s shocked to discover he won the Medal of Honor years ago in Vietnam. Now the killer has her in his sights, but the detective on the case has no intention of letting anyone hurt her. Ever.

Now available:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Christmas In July

The 1892 opera, Werther by Jules Massenet included a scene of children rehearsing a Christmas song in July. The character’s response—“When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season.”
I think we crave the goodwill and congenial feelings that are epitomized during the holiday season. So what is the history of Christmas in July? Is it more than a marketing sales tool?
  • 1933 – Camp Keystone, a girls summer camp in North Carolina, celebrated with a Christmas tree, presents, and a visit from Saint Nick. Perhaps the girls, who only see each other during the summer wanted to chance to celebrate the holiday with the unique summer camp family.
  • 1940 – The concept was given national attention in the Hollywood movie, Christmas
    in July with Dick Powell and Ellen Drew. In this story takes place in July, Dick Powell’s character is led to believe he’s won $25,000 in an advertising slogan contest. He buys presents for family, friends, and proposes to his girlfriend played by Ellen Drew. 
  • 1942 – The Calvary Baptist Church in Washington D.C., celebrated Christmas in July with carols and the sermon Christmas Presents in July. It garnered an outpouring of donations. The program was held each summer. 
  • 1944 – The U.S. Post Office and U.S. Army and Navy promoted Christmas in July as an early mailing campaign for service men and women overseas during World War II. 
  • Today – American advertisers have been using the Christmas in July theme since 1950. We can find re-runs of Christmas programs on television and many stores run sales. 
  • My offering for Christmas in July? Timeless Keepsakes: A Collection of Christmas Stories, available at Amazon.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Virtual Book Tour

More Timeless Tales 

Now Available

               May 26:  Long and Short Reviews
               May 27:  Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
               May 28:  Sexy Adventures Passionate Tales
               May 30:  Welcome to My World of Dreams

            May 30:  SOS Aloha
               June 2:   BookSkater
               June 3:   It's Raining Books
               June 4:   Nancy Adams
               June 5:   Rachel Brimble Romance
               June 6:  The Blog of C.R. Moss   
               June 9:  Straight from the Library
               June 19: A Book, A Beer, A Dream 

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Timeless Escapes: A Collection of Summer Stories

                 Five Stories ~ Five Romances ~ Five Chances for Love

Escape to the Virgin Islands where the bonds of marriage are renewed, friends become lovers, and new love is given a chance to thrive.

Ruth A. Casie ~ Second Chance by the Sea
Married for ten years, a couple at odds find their marriage was never registered. Will an impending disaster be the final straw that breaks them up or will it rekindle their love and send them back to the altar for a second chance?
Lita Harris ~ Chasing Fireflies
Soured on love by a recent breakup, a travel agent with a fear of flying and open water takes a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands. She meets a boat captain who challenges her fears. Will she survive her breakup and find happiness in the arms of another man?
Emma Kaye ~ In Her Dreams
When an author escapes to the Virgin Islands to work on her latest book, she’s swept back in time to Regency England and must decide whether the love she finds with an English lord is real or only in her dreams.
Nicole S. Patrick ~ Poseidon’s Strength
A beloved hero’s death leads his sister and his best friend, who have never seen eye-to-eye, to discover that helping family can be their happy medium, and possibly lead them to uncover a love that's meant to be.
Julie Rowe ~ A Pirate’s Vacation

A doctor grieving the death of her husband, buys a B&B in the Virgin Islands in need of a lot of fixing. Her old flame arrives to help with repairs, but will she let him heal her shattered heart?

Introduction ~ Roxanne St. Claire