Tag Archive | fantasy

J. A. Canter: Viette

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J.A. Canter will be awarding a finely crafted burgundy pearl and niobium bracelet made by Canter herself, which she will ship internationally to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click on the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

About Viette

Stripped of her nobility and taken as a war prize, Viette is determined to take control of her life at all costs, even if it means dominating a King to do so.

At every turn her world is filled with passionate intrigues, silver-tongue lies, and blinding deceit. ‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ rings true, especially if the hand is that of Viette.

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Excerpt

He stood abruptly, leaving Viette sprawling to save herself a fall, and stalked to the window. “I offered them a plan to forge the largest pillary north of The End Sea. A majority of the profits—”

Cover_Viette copyHe ground his teeth together, his chest heaved with angry breath. “And Aust insults me by fixing his eyes on you.”

She sat back on her heels, unsure of how to take his words. “It was mere commonplace flattery. Nothing more.”

“He wants you.”

“Competition then?”

The thought made her laugh, which only made his mouth twist in revulsion.

This feral jealousy of his excited her. Would he fight over her like a rabid hound? His furious expression fell and vulnerability came through. Hands behind his back, he walked this way and that until he was by the bed again. One hand found its way to her side. He held it there, barely touching, for a moment.

“One thing I won’t stand for is for him set his teeth into you to spite me.”

About the Author

AuthorPic_Viette copyJudy is a romance and erotica author who began penning stories a number of years ago. With an eye for trouble and a thirst for kinky intrigues her stories are often a grab bag of wicked delights.

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Dawn Marie Hamilton: Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon

BM Cover 200by300Giveaway

Dawn Marie will gift a Kindle edition of Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon to a lucky commenter who answers the question: What is your favorite gemstone and why? Be sure to include your email addy. Feeling shy? Email Dawn Marie. A name will be pulled out of the garden hat on Tuesday September 17.

Interview

Susana: What inspired you to write?

Dawn Marie: I was always a voracious reader. In my pre-teens, I wrote diaries. Glad those all disappeared. J During high school, I wrote short stories with tragic endings. I was a dark teenager. Those have all vanished too. J College and a career kept me busy for the longest time. Then one day while on a business trip to Brussels, I saw a billboard advertisement for whisky with a hunk-worthy, bare-chested Highlander, carrying a claymore, the large two-handed sword of the Scots. (Similar to the cover for the first novel in the Highland Gardens romance series, Just Beyond the Garden Gate.) It occurred to me that I would much prefer to write about men in kilts, time travel, and faeries than instruct business analysts in the use of buggy software.

Susana: How long have you been writing?

Dawn Marie: A tad more than ten years. When I started writing, I had no clue there were rules. LOL! I joined RWA and my local chapter, took workshops, joined some online chapters and a critique group, and rewrote the first novel several times. I’m happy with the results.

Susana: What advice would you give writers starting out?

Dawn Marie: Dare to dream!!! Join writing groups, take workshops, and find a good critique partner or group.

Susana: Are you a plotter or pantser?

Dawn Marie: Mostly pantser. Ideas percolate in the back of my mind for a while then I jot down a vague outline and start writing. While writing, I create character cards with character specifics. Once a couple of chapters are drafted, I use a storyboard with colored stickies to follow point-of-view shifts and plot threads.

Susana: Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb?

Dawn Marie: Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon is the second novel in the Highland Gardens series. The High Queen of the Fae has challenged a banished faerie princess to unite three unlikely couples living in different time periods. The first match takes place in book one. Finn, the hero of the second book, started talking to me while I was writing the first so I wrote him in as a secondary character. Of course, he wanted his own story. The heroine, Elspeth, is also a secondary character in the first book. They’re prophesized to be together, but must overcome treachery from several directions in order to secure their happily-ever-after.

Susana: Are you working on something new?

Dawn Marie: I have two works-in-progress for the Highland Gardens series. Potentially a novella with a holiday theme and a novel that takes place shortly after the Battle of Flodden.

Susana: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

Dawn Marie: Absolutely. “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” ~Michealangelo

Susana: What is your favorite color?

Dawn Marie: Peridot. It’s my signature color.

Susana: What is your favorite gemstone?

Dawn Marie: I love a rainbow of gems. My birthstone is peridot so it is my favorite. But I also love sapphires and garnets and amethysts and especially moonstones. Each couple in the Highland Gardens series has a signature gem. Finn’s and Elspeth’s in Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon is moonstone. Moonstones have unique qualities. Legends claim that some of the milky, blue stones have the ability to reunite lost lovers while others give the bearer the gift of second sight.

About Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon

What happens when a twenty-first century business executive is expected to fulfill a prophecy given at the birth of a sixteenth-century seer? Of course, he must raise his sword in her defense.

Believing women only want him for his wealth, Finn MacIntyre doesn’t trust any woman to love him. When, during Scottish Highland games, faerie magic sends him back in time to avenge the brutal abduction of his time-traveling cousin, he learns he’s the subject of a fae prophecy.

Elspeth MacLachlan, the beloved clan seer, is betrothed to a man she dislikes and dreams of the man prophesized at her birth, only to find him in the most unexpected place—facedown in the mud.

With the help of fae allies, they must overcome the treachery set to destroy them to claim a love that transcends time.

Excerpt

Finn gripped the rowan staff in one hand and leaned against the castle’s outer wall, trying to catch his breath. The short trip from the garden left him weak. If his stamina didn’t return soon, he’d go crazy. He needed to be healthy and strong so he could go after Maclay. Then he must travel home before he did something rash concerning Elspeth.

He stopped again at the castle gate and gulped air to remain standing.

Motion on the bay caught his attention. Men rowed toward the castle in several small boats of the type made from skins and wicker, the kind Highlanders called currachs. When the crafts beached, he recognized Donald MacLachlan as the man jumped from one, strode across the pebbly beach and headed toward him.

Suddenly a weight slammed against Finn, knocking the hard-won air from his lungs. His walking stick flew from his hand as he fell to the ground. Pain shot from his thigh, to his groin, to his chest. Gasping for breath, he found Elspeth’s soft body entangled with his.

Her lush curves wrapped around him, filling his senses with all that was missing from his dreams. The scents of sunshine and roses intoxicated him. His hard-on was instantaneous.

Shit! He attempted to detangle their limbs and set her away from his ill-timed erection, but her body melded with his. She felt so right in his arms. He was tempted to hold onto her and never let her go.

Elspeth caught her breath. Everywhere Finn touched her as they tried to break apart, her skin tingled. When their gazes met, everything else faded away. The world reduced to only the two of them, and his mouth dipped toward hers.

His lips grazed hers and fire blazed through Elspeth to her toes, the moment lasting an eternity. Finn’s tongue pushed between her lips, seeking entrance. Her mind reeled. With little thought, she wrapped her arms around his waist and twirled her tongue around his. Passion. Unlike the minimal pecks she’d received from Alexander, Finn’s fierce kiss conquered, possessed.

She wanted more.

The sound of a throat clearing broke the spell, and Finn’s sinful mouth pulled away, leaving behind a fracture in the foundation of Elspeth’s expectations for the future.

How could she go on as before?

“Let me help you.”

She gazed up through the haze of awakened sensation. Uncle Donald stared at her, a sly gleam in his eyes. He reached a hand down and helped her rise before assisting Finn. Unstable on his feet, Finn leaned on her while her uncle retrieved the walking stick.

She swayed—not from the burden of Finn’s weight, but the desire awakened by their kiss.

Available

Kindle • Nook

About the Author

Dawn Head Shot SmallDawn Marie Hamilton dares you to dream. She is a 2013 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist who pens Scottish-inspired fantasy and paranormal romance. Some of her tales are rife with mischief-making faeries, brownies, and other fae creatures. More tormented souls—shape shifters, vampires, and maybe a zombie or two—stalk across the pages of other stories. She is a member of The Golden Network, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Celtic Hearts, and From the Heart chapters of RWA. When not writing, she’s cooking, gardening, or paddling the local creeks of Southern Maryland with her husband.

Thanks for having me as a guest at Susana’s Morning Room. It’s been a pleasure to visit.

Contacts

Blog • Website • Facebook: • Twitter• Goodreads • Amazon Author Page

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Andrea Cooper: “The Garnet Dagger” and “Viking Fire”

Since The Garnet Dagger is written from Brock’s point of view, we have Celeste here today to answer a few questions that readers might not know.

Andrea: What did you think of Brock when you first saw him?

Celeste: Magical. He took my breath away. I felt compassion for him, which is why I healed him as soon as Father Morgan left. I could not leave him in pain and in such a weakened state. His dark hair hid his face, but I knew he wasn’t human—I healed him anyway even though at the time I didn’t know what darkness clouded his green eyes. I could have taken the dagger and left him there, but I felt such kindness for him that I couldn’t leave him to the whims of Father Morgan. His sarcasm, even while being tortured, made me feel proud even though I didn’t know him. I’d seen too many cower and whimper over the years that his words were refreshing.

garnetAndrea: Why didn’t you give the garnet dagger back to Brock?

Celeste: Well, he gave it to me. First, he didn’t say I couldn’t keep it. (She dusts off imaginary lint from her shirt, then looks up), Besides it belonged to me. Sort of.  It’s hard to explain, but it was as if someone broke off a piece of my soul and fused it into the dagger. I also knew in anyone else’s hands, it would bring ruin. In Brock’s it would either cause him to leave me or if he used it against me it would destroy him. If the Warloc took it, he would bring his reign of evil. Later, I offered to give it back, but Brock said I could keep it.

Andrea: Some say you have Brock wrapped around your finger.

Celeste: What? That’s insane. If that were true, he would have listened when I told him not to kill the Bergone. That would have saved us a lot of trouble. I also told him to leave once he confessed about what he thought the garnet dagger was for, yet he hung around and then followed me.

Andrea: When did you know Brock was the one?

Celeste: I knew before he did—or rather before he could admit it to himself.

Andrea: What did you do after you left Brock in the woods?

Celeste: Despite what happened to my aunt, I needed to see for myself if she was still alive or not. No doubt my aunt’s magic had blasted not only the Bergone, but herself and home as well. I had to be sure. I was careful in case the Warloc had laid a trap back there, but it was as I feared, she was dead.

I journeyed to a nearby village of my aunt’s friend and fellow witch. She wasn’t as experienced as my aunt, but I had no one left. The Warloc had killed everyone I was close to. For weeks I mourned my aunt and tried to forget about Brock. Then I studied her magic and practiced for the battle to come. I journeyed to the Warloc’s lands two days before Nivel and Brock arrived.

Andrea: What is your greatest regret?

Celeste: Sigh, there are too many. I guess it would be not telling Brock what I felt when I touched the dagger. Maybe he would have listened and still come up with the same conclusion that he did, maybe not. But I was too new at trusting others to take that chance at the time.

Andrea: What is a misconception readers may have of you?

Celeste: That I know all the answers. I don’t. Sometimes I just wing it and hope for the best. My instinct usually leads me on the right path. It’s only when I second guess that soft voice inside me that things go wrong.

Celeste: That I’m not kind. I am. It’s just whenever you’ve gone through years watching your kindness used as a weapon against so many innocent people for years, you learn to guard your feelings from others. I hope that by my actions; even if they are not understood at the time, show my intentions. I have only done what I have done to save mankind and Brock—even from themselves.

Andrea: What would be a romantic evening with you and Brock?

Celeste: That we would be able to make love all night, he doesn’t need sleep you know, and cuddle as we watched the sunrise. We wouldn’t have to go anywhere or have anyone, like Nivel, with us. We would be alone for an entire day. I get so tired of traveling and fighting the villain. I just want a night off with my love. To smell his musky pine scent and feel his hands on my body and kiss his full lips. To explore every inch of him with my hands and my lips. Taste him with my tongue and mouth.

Which reminds me…are we done here?

Andrea nods and Celeste leaves the room. Closing the door, she leaps into Brock’s arms and gives him a big kiss.

Interview With Andrea Cooper

authorWhat inspired you to start writing?

I wrote poems when I was fourteen until my senior year of high school. For novels, ironically, it was reading a historical romance that wasn’t logical in my opinion. The hero, a Viking, for no reason I could fathom just gave up his beliefs for the heroine. I thought I could write a better story, so I tried. However, I’ve always been a story-teller.  Earliest memory I have was in first grade, I was the kid my friends came to at recess and asked what we were going to play – or rather what plot and characters we were going to act out.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing novels since my late twenties. Of course this was when I had a full-time job and a child so condensed down, it probably equals five years total writing time. But I’ve been making up stories and characters longer than I can remember.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Read. Read the authors you love, read authors you hate – but understand why. Read writing manuals, take classes, join a critique group. Most importantly, if you have passion for writing do not let anyone discourage you—just keep trying. If you are a real writer, then you’ll write regardless if you are published are not because you can do nothing else.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Since I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the last three years, I don’t suffer from writer’s block; I suffer from lack of time and sleep. The only time I’ve writer’s block is when I have to write nonfiction then I’d rather do anything else 😉

What comes first: the plot or the characters?

Depends on the story.  For Viking Fire, my historical romance, it was the plot. What would happen if a feisty highborn Irish lass was forced to marry her enemy—a Viking? For The Garnet Dagger it was the character. Everyone knows what happens when a vampire bites a human…but what if the victim is Elvin?

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Mostly a pantser. First I come up with an idea, character, or a situation. Then I brainstorm and start thinking ‘What If’ questions. I do not plot per se, I have a general idea of where the story is going to go, and sometimes the ending will change slightly. I enjoy it when characters take over and guide me. However, if they get us lost, I pull out the dreaded outline and map out where we’ve been and where we’re going. Hopefully since there are surprises for me that come up when I write, it will be a surprise for the reader as well.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Elva in Viking Fire starts off as only the handmaid in the story, or she was when I first started writing this novel. As her character unfolded as she tries to help Kaireen and Bram, so too did it unfold when I was writing. I had no idea of her secret (despite hints she gave me) until she let lose her hair – literally.

Are you working on something at present that you would like to tell us about?

I am working on revisions of the second book in The Garnet Dagger trilogy. Another historical romance set during 16th Century Japan, and two Viking romances one which I need to finish and the other edit.

What are you reading now?

Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward. I’ve never heard of her until recently on Goodreads so I wanted to see what everyone’s excitement was about. It took forever to get this book from the library.

What author or authors have most influenced your writing?

There are many, but I’ll name just a few: Terry Goodkind, Anne Bishop, Julie Garwood, Yasmine Galenorn, Kim Harrison, PC Cast, and Christine Feehan.

What is your work schedule like when writing?

I have a four year old and a nine month old, so my writing schedule is when the baby is sleeping and the other one is engrossed in playing—or after they’ve both gone to sleep.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Despite always making up stories and characters, I wanted to be a teacher. However, I think my belief was it would be a perfect class of kids who would love to learn and listen…and that’s not reality. I’m happy with my life now and am ecstatic about being a published author.

What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

Mexican is my favorite food—or rather TexMex. I love spicy foods and cheese.  And chocolate, got have that in there too. Least favorite? Catfish or Tilapia—I like any other fish out there except those two.

What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

That I am one of those writers who had a drawer full of novels before I published my first one. I have eight completed novels, two have been published, and five others in various stages.

Is there a writer you idolize? If so, who?

There are many, but if I had to pick one, it would be Terry Goodkind. I fell in love with his Sword of Truth series and it inspired me to try my hand at writing a fantasy story, which became a paranormal romance, The Garnet Dagger and my first published novel.

What would we find under your bed?

Hopefully nothing. I banished the boogie man to the closet years ago, that’s why I always sleep with it closed 😉 It’s also good feng shui to have nothing under your bed, so it doesn’t hurt to follow that advice J

If your publisher offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming project, where would you mostly likely want to go? Why?

Scotland. My ancestry on my mother’s side is Scottish. I would love to touch the old stones that make up the McLaughlin castle ruins and know my ancestors once lived there. It’s also a quick ride from there to England, Wales, Ireland, and France—so it would be like several trips at one time 😉

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

Yes, I love Robert Frost’s quote: “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader; no tears for the writer, no tears for the reader.” To me it means letting the characters come to life rather than playing dictator.

Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, would you consider straying outside your genre?

Currently, I write in paranormal (with a historical setting) and historical romance. I’ve tried to write a contemporary novel, but I don’t enjoy reading those much. It’s difficult to do, in my opinion, because things can become dated very quickly. I’ve thought about writing YA as that is one of the genre’s I do enjoy reading besides historical, paranormal, and fantasy.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

I would like to write more and have three books published next year. Thankfully I already have them written, but am chipping away at edits.

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

After I read a historical novel, that wasn’t logical to me, I thought I could write a better story. However, it wasn’t until after I wrote my second historical novel that I knew I wanted to be a writer. I’ve always been a storyteller and have made up characters and plot since early childhood and have never stopped.

Every writer dreams of getting “the call.” What were you doing when yours came? Who got to hear the good news first?

I was at home with my three year old and one month old when I got “the call.” I was so excited that I didn’t believe it at first. My husband was the first one I told.

Who gave you the writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

The best writing advice I received was from an Elementary teacher. She said to read the last sentence on the last page of your writing first. Then read the sentence before that and so on. It’s hard to do, but excellent for editing.

Describe the “perfect hero.” What about the “perfect hero” for you?

The perfect hero is compassionate without being wimpy, intelligent without being cruel, brave without being reckless, and passionate without being compromising. It’s hard to find that balance.

The perfect hero for me is my husband. Especially when he watches the kids and cooks breakfast while letting me snooze on the weekend.

What are favorite pastimes?

Besides writing? I love to read. I don’t have nearly as much time as I would like. I also used to play video games (hack & slash, dungeon crawlers)…in fact I have the latest Diablo on my computer but with two kids under the age of four, I haven’t played in months.

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

Having my daughter. Even though I had two boys before her, she has been completely different from them.

What is the one modern convenience you can’t do without?

Though I love my dishwasher and microwave, I’d have to say my laptop. If I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t be  able to write or check all the social media out there and would lose my mind much sooner than anything else.

Describe the ideal romantic evening.

Both kids in bed by 8pm and a babysitter at the house while my husband and I go have dinner and watch a movie. I know it’s not romantic to some, but if you have kids, you know it’s amazing to be able to chew your food and have a conversation and then just to snuggle with your honey while watching a good movie without someone calling “mom is the sun awake or asleep?”

About The Garnet Dagger

Everyone knows what happens when a vampire bites a human…but what if the victim is Elvin?

Forbidden to cross the Elvin barrier into human lands, Brock cannot sate his curiosity. Cursed by a vampyre bite that forces him to feed on the life-essence of others, he is unable to touch another without taking their life. Chained by prophesy, he must find a witch, pierce her heart, and draw her blood for his cure.

Celeste must escape the monks who have held her prisoner for years. Her magic has been kept dormant by her captors. An ancient powerful Warloc craves her powers. If he succeeds in devouring her magic, she and his world will die.

When Brock falls in love with Celeste before realizing her demise is his cure, will love triumph over his desire to be healed? Will he risk everything to save her from a Warloc, an oath breaker, who also wants her dead?

The Garnet Dagger Excerpt

I’ve known death. For over half a millennia, I escorted many to death at the end of my sword. In the eyes of the dying, I watched it shroud them. Foolishly, I thought many more eras would pass before death came for me. It came so swiftly that I could not run; I could not escape. At a village, dressed in human clothes, I took in everything. By observing for eons, I understood and spoke their language. The world of mankind fascinated me. Their hobbled homes burrowed into the ground.

Rocks crunched on top one another with thatched roofs woven from straw. Never had I seen a home or inn that was higher than three levels, as if they were afraid of the sky. I delayed my return to my people as I watched human jugglers bounce torches and knifes. It was autumn equinox and the festivities would continue well into the night. Children laughed as they chased each other. A trail of leaves from their costumes twirled after them. It was dark when I reached the forest. Since I was already late, I hiked uphill to a shortcut rather than take the long path back home. I didn’t need to alert any of my kind near the barrier at this hour. Liana would wonder why I was late.

Tonight was the two month anniversary of our hand twining ceremony. One more month as was custom, and then we’d be wed. A gasp rustled through the trees. The roots shot a warning through to me with stifled caution. Adjusting my pack, I continued on instead of changing back into my Elvin clothes. After I passed the border which kept humans from entering our land, then I’d change. In the distance, I heard a groan. Curious, I spun in the direction of the sound. The autumn wind breezed through my worn human clothes, chilling me. But someone needed help. I turned in the direction of the sounds. Whatever made the noise should be a few yards ahead.

I hiked slower than my normal speed, so as not to startle whatever human called out. My leather boots crunched upon dried, diseased leaves and bark. Horrified, I glanced up. Branches twisted around each other to suffocating. Lifeless limbs cracked in the wind. Flesh of the trees sloughed off in layers, exposing its bones. Gashes hollowed out chunks of warmth. Fragments of leaves clung to finger tips, marking sepulchers of the dying trees. Trees mourned with wails like splitting wood, and I brought my hands over my ears. I must flee before I became infected, they told me. Flee before the stain of this defilement creeps into you, they warned. Trees spoke to my kind, always had. Yet these trees were in such agony of death that I could not breathe. Felt as though my lungs had folded in on themselves, like a moth unable to break loose from its cocoon.

Nothing I could do for them, and if I lingered too long, whatever disease gnawed upon them may choke me. Where would I go if I carried something so foul as to devour trees from the inside out? I’d never return to Tamlon if I brought this infection with me. I drew away, but a movement at the base of a decaying tree to my right caught me. My night vision picked up the sight of a human. His sallow face seemed to glow in the moonlight. Poking out from rags lay his arms and legs, which resembled skin stretched over sticks. So cadaverous was his face, I’d have thought him dead if he hadn’t moved.

“Please,” he said and his voice sounded like cicada’s vibrations, “help me.”

“What ails you in this troubled place?” I wondered if my voice, foreign to my ears in speaking the human’s language, revealed my nature.

“I am lost.” His dark eyes crinkled around the corners. “Without strength to rise. If you would but assist me up, I’ll be on my way.”

I’d never touched a human on purpose before. Was it that that gave me pause, or dread that stilled my heart? My feet itched to flee. As soon as I helped him, then I’d leave. I gritted my teeth and reached a hand down.

His gnarled fingers snapped on my arm, making me wince. Jerking me forward, his face contorted. Surprised by his strength, I fell beside him. Blackness curled around me. Teeth, fangs, broke through the skin on my neck. Then I knew him for what he was, a vampyre.

The Garnet Dagger Book Trailer  http://youtu.be/ISi0u9LoseM

Crimson Romance ebooks | Amazon | B&N 

About Viking Fire

In 856 CE, Ireland is a land of myth, magic, and blood. Viking raiders have fought the Irish for over half a century. Rival Irish clans promise only betrayal and carnage.

Kaireen, daughter of Laird Liannon, is suddenly forced into an arranged marriage with her sworn enemy, a Viking. She refuses to submit. With no mention of love, only land and the protection of her clan, she endeavors to get her betrothed banished from her country. Will love find its way around her stubborn heart?

Bram, the Viking, finds himself without future or inheritance as a younger son in his family. A marriage to the Laird’s daughter would grant him land if he swears fidelity and if his men will fight along with the Liannons against any foe—Irish or Viking. However, the Laird’s feisty daughter only holds animosity for him and his kind. Is marriage worth the battle scars of such a relentless opponent?

With the blame for a rival laird’s death treacherously set against the Liannons, Kaireen and Bram must find a way to lay aside their differences as an unforeseen darkness sends death snapping at their heels.

Viking Fire Excerpt

Viking_fireIreland 856 CE

“I renounce Father for this.” Kaireen threw the elderberry gown. Dressed only in her leine, she glared at the new gown on the stone floor.

“Shame on you and your children for speaking such.” Her handmaid, Elva, gathered the damask and then dusted off the rushes. “It’s a wonder one of the clim has not scolded you from your hearth for such talk.” She wore her white hair twisted in a chignon, underneath a linen head cloth. Strands of white hair poked out the sides of her covering.

“No, curse Father for a fool.” She plopped on her bed and a goose feather floated away. With a huff, she leaned against the oak headboard. Red curtains puffed like a robin’s chest around oak poles supporting her wooden canopy.

Her bare feet brushed against the stone floor. Why was she not born plain like her two older sisters? Already they had married and expected their second bairns by spring. Well, at least so far she had enjoyed twenty years of freedom. Neither of her sisters had had matrimonial dreams of love matches. Both were arranged marriages.

“You know your da arranged a marriage within a season.” Elva smirked.

Kaireen shook her head. “To another land holder,” and waved a hand in disgust, “not t-this heathen. Twice they raided our land in the last month alone. Many a raid has come from them. Now father wants me as wife to one of them?” She clenched her fists. “No, I will not marry this Viking.”

Elva smiled, reminding Kaireen of the rumors of her handmaid’s uncanny foresight.

Whispers of Elva making strange things happen and often blamed as the cause of Kaireen’s stubborn refusal to behave as a laird’s daughter should.

“You’ve not seen him yet.” Elva wiggled her brows.

“So?” Kaireen shrugged. “I would like to never see him.”

“Well then, would you not like to know if you have a handsome husband or not?” She waited for her response, but Kaireen scowled at her. Elva chuckled. “I would rather get a good look at him now than the morning after.

Kaireen’s ears heated. “I am not marrying.” She shook her head for emphasis. “So there will be no morning, nor night, nor wedding.”

“If he is handsome, I may fight you for him.” Elva smiled, deepening the wrinkles around her eyes.

“Welcome to him either way.” Kaireen laughed.

Viking Fire Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/bpk2ZMGwJik

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About the Author

Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrea has always created characters and stories. But it wasn’t until she was in her late twenties that she started writing novels.

What happened that ignited the writing flame in her fingers? Divorced, and disillusioned by love songs and stories. They exaggerate. She thought. Love and Romance are not like that in the real world. Then she met her husband and realized, yes love and romance are exactly like the songs and stories say. She is now a happy wife, and a mom to three kids (two boys and a girl).

Andrea writes paranormal and historical romance. When not writing or reading, one may find Andrea dancing in Zumba.

She believes in the power of change and counting each moment as a blessing. But most importantly, she believes in love.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AndreaRCooper.author

Twitter: @AndreaRCooper

Website: www.AndreaRCooper.com

Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18104475-viking-fire

 

Interview With Fantasy Author Loretta Laird and “The Passer”

Today my guest is Loretta Laird, author of The Passer. Please tell us a little about yourself, Loretta.

eyeMy name is Loretta Laird and I write fantasy romance.

I am a romance-aholic! I love to get lost in a book though seldom get the opportunity being a busy mum. I enjoy cooking, mostly cakes as that’s what I love to eat. My ambition is to buy a cabin by a lake and sit and write all day, creating worlds and stories that are enjoyed by many.

What inspired you to start writing?

I just thought I would give it a try and see what happened. I think turning 40 made me want to give something new a go.

How long have you been writing?

About a year.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

If you’ve got a story inside that wants to get out, set it free! Always good to have an honest friend that will give their opinion – not just one who tells you what you want to hear!

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Yes, I do. I work full-time so I am not always in the mood when I sit down at night. I find it helps to re-read the work I did the night before then it sometimes inspires me. If not, I just switch off and do something else. Usually, I then find that I can’t sleep as ideas bombard me at night!

What comes first: the plot or the characters?

The plot, with me. The characters just grow from there. Then I like to go back and give them a back story.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

The chemistry between the two main characters is electric and I loved the sexual tension that built up.

Are you working on something at present that you would like to tell us about?

The second book in the trilogy and a story about a woman who finds herself in court tried with running a brothel. It is called M.I.L.F.

What are you reading now?

I am reading Matilda with my daughter.

What author or authors have most influenced your writing?

Julie Garwood tells a ripping historical love story and Christopher Paolini is a talented writer of fantasy.

What is your work schedule like when writing?

Busy! I work full-time and have 4 daughters so not much time left for anything else.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A teacher. That is what I am!

What is your favorite food? Why?

It’s got be cake. I just love the luxury and comfort of it.

What would we find under your bed?

Nothing! I have just moved in to a new house and it is still spotless. Ask me again in 3 months.

If your publisher offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming project, where would you mostly likely want to go? Why?

Niagara Falls. I love the sound of all that water.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

“Come up and see mu sometime!’ Mae West

Describe the ideal romantic evening.

I don’t have them anymore; I just write about them!

About Fellnesia

Fellnisia is the setting of my book and I have created a world that I would love to live in. Kins are categorised by the colour of their eyes and they have characteristics unique to each group. Blue eyes are Water dwellers. They live in mountain hamlets near cool, clear mountain streams.

Green eyes are our Air dwellers. They live in treetops homes deep in lush green forests.

Brown-eyed kins are Earth and they are where our Passers warriors spring from. They live in villages at the base of The Fire Hills of Dargoon, home to the noble freegan who are dragon-like beasts that have been enslaved by the evil Greenflack.

About The Passers

From the dawn of time, the passing of a soul has been treated with dignity and respect. The process of ‘passing’, where a soul leaves the body and travels to that of a trained warrior or Passer, has been the way of the land of Fellnesia for generations. The Passer’s task is to then transport the soul to its final resting place. That place is dependent on the kin of the deceased, Air, Water or Earth.

Untitled-2_edited-1One such kin, Air dwellers, find their beloved leader has died. His soul is duly ‘passed’ and, as his family mourn, Greenflack; a rival claimant to his throne arrives with an army bent on death to any remaining kinfolk. The young Passer king, Lambord, recklessly rescues Fernella, the beautiful young princess, from her certain doom.

Several years later, Jadara; a young girl born in the kin-home of Water faces her father and the truth of her birthright. She is the rightful heir of the Air kingdom that has been ruled so cruelly for many years by Greenflack.

Jadara must now face her destiny and embark upon on a quest with her childhood friend, Thanly, and the group of nomadic, tattooed Passers led by Lombard, her father.

Jadara learns to fight and love under the guidance of Adamen, a handsome young Passer, as she travels towards her destiny.

Betrayal and pain come her way before she finally faces Greenflack, saves her people and steps up to her destiny.

Excerpt

Adamen appeared with the carcass of a freshly slain dapple draped over his shoulder. Its antlers had been sliced through and were carried in his left hand, as was the custom for the killing of such a beast. Even animals had the right to a Passing and there were ways to respect the order of life. Removing the maleness of the creature ensured its passage to spirituality. Slinging the body of the creature to a nearby flat stone, Adamen withdrew his cleaned weapon and took up a stance worthy of his experience. He flashed Jadara a fearsome grin.

“Princess,” he confronted her with a quick bow. “Shall we?”

“Warrior,” she inclined her head whilst keeping her eyes on his and backing a safe distance away. Her pulse throbbed in her neck at the closeness of this raw male. He was obviously fresh from a hunt and this made him dangerously tense and alert.

Adamen sniffed the air, catching her scent on the soft breeze. He was a skilled hunter and could read the instincts of animals intuitively. His Earth upbringing close to the Fire Hills of Dargoon, served him well as a Passer. He had had to survive a harsh world since birth and only the fittest made it this far with Lambord. Adamen’s sire and older siblings, all boys, had trained him well so nothing could distract his focus in a fight. Nothing until now. The fresh smell of apple blossom on the wind caught him off guard. For a split second, his thoughts paused on how that scent would taste. That was enough for a sharp pain to course through his thigh. Amid hoots of laughter and taunts from his peers, Adamen saw the retreating blade of a bow sword. Sticky sweet blood seeped from his wound and trickled down towards his knee.

With a growl equal to a fire freegan, Adamen pounced, swinging his long sword over his head. Jadara was quick and dodged several potentially fatal blows before she felt a stinging in her shoulder. Lambord, who’d seen enough stepped forward and held his hand between the two.

“Peace!” he ordered. “Blood for blood and now rest.” He shot Adamen a warning glare just to ensure the younger man’s compliance.

Adamen nodded and offered his hand to Jadara. She extended hers then recoiled quickly as she felt the warm pulse that Adamen’s touch had stirred within her. It spread like liquid through her body and brought an instant blush to her cheeks.

Arrogant in his victory, Adamen’s smile widened at the response he had stimulated in Jadara. His own body hardened automatically at the attraction he felt.

Jadara looked away, furious with her body for betraying her in front of this warrior, again.

She stormed off into the woods with Lambord’s voice behind her saying, “We leave as soon as we mount up.”

Jadara walked until she reached the babbling stream and stood for a moment, allowing the rhythmic sounds to sooth her temper. She was unaccustomed to the feelings that betrayed her when Adamen was nearby. Thanly, her truest friend, deserved her loyalty and if anyone was to claim her as a Primary Mate, shouldn’t it be him?

As if to taunt her further, her skin began to prickle and her heart rate increased as she heard footsteps behind her.

“A lucky strike,” she murmured not turning her head for fear of the troublesome blush reappearing.

“I’m flattered you knew it was me,” teased Adamen crouching down to the stream with a white cloth in his hands. She watched as he soaked it through then squeezed it out, folding it over to make a pad. She gasped as he stood up, towered over her and applied the pad to her shoulder.

He mistook her gasp for pain and had the grace to look ashamed. “Does it hurt?” he asked gently.

“N..no,” she replied. “The water is just cold,” she added. The first thing she could think of to cover her true emotion.

“So brave,” he crooned, rubbing the cloth seductively over her shoulder and across her neck.

His lips were so close to her ear that the words made their own light caress across her cheek. He moved in closer and she turned her head towards his.

Adamen could fight it no longer, he leaned in to the soft lips before him and kissed.

It was hard to describe who was more shocked at Jadara’s passionate response. She returned his kiss with fervour, moving her lips in response to his. His kiss deepened and hardened and hers matched the pace. Her body pressed into his hard chest and a soft moan escaped from her.

“Damn!” cursed Adamen, pulling away and stepping back with his hand raking through his hair.

Contacts

www.lorettalaird.com

http://steamereads.com.au/

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/20138425-loretta-laird

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Loretta-Laird/258280974316057

Amanda Martin: The Book Wrote Me

I write romance novels. Contemporary women’s fiction is the category I’ve decided they fit into, or maybe Chick Lit. I’ve started (and almost finished) four.  I like female protagonists in their late-twenties/early thirties (like I keep thinking I still am). My protagonists are women who are searching for their place in the world, coming to terms with realistic relationships and (lately) having children. The novels are written in the third person, often from both male and female perspectives.

So why is my first self-published novel written in the first person? By a sixteen-year-old girl? And why is it about dragons?

I didn’t set out to write the book. The book found me: Last Easter to be precise. I woke one morning, after a broken night full of strange dreams, and the entire story was in my head. Unfortunately by the time I’d wrestled past two small children to find pen and paper (or, more accurately, my mobile phone) the story had evaporated, as they so often do. I believe if I could only capture my dreams, writing would come much easier to me than it does now.

All that remained was the idea of dragons and the first line of the story.  “My name is Leah, and I know the time and place of my death.”

In the twelve months since I wrote that first line it hasn’t changed much. It now reads “My name is Leah. For a quarter of my life I have known the time and place of my death. I have spent the last four years running, from the truth, from the place. I can’t run from the time. It’s tomorrow.”

And that’s how Dragon Wraiths was born. By the beginning of May 2012 (less than a month after the dream) I had written 35,000 words and I still didn’t really understand what the novel was about. I hadn’t got to the part with the dragons. I was lost and decided Young Adult literature was not for me.

I abandoned the novel and concentrated on releasing my novel, Baby Blues & Wedding Shoes (or Pictures of Love as it was called then) as a self-published e-book.  My writing journey is interspersed with self-doubt, not just about my abilities as a writer but about combining writing with the raising two small children. I often feel that, if I’m going to send them to nursery two days a week, I should be earning money on those two days. I wanted a finished book out there earning pennies and I felt the Chick Lit novel was a better bet.

Then in July I found out about the Mslexia Children’s Novel competition and remembered my languishing YA novel. Baby Blues was with beta readers and I decided, Why not? Suddenly I had a deadline of September for completion of the first chapter and November for the finished/edited manuscript. I discovered I work best to deadlines. Generally I’m terrible at knuckling down and getting on with editing but I really wanted to enter the competition.

To cut a rambling story short I entered the Mslexia competition and was long-listed (meaning they requested the full manuscript). I didn’t make the shortlist but I was encouraged enough to pass the novel to friends and family. Their reaction was amazing. My stepdad, who is a slow reader, finished the book in a day and said “Next one, please.”

I started querying the novel, although it is over-length for a YA book at 112k words (the average is 60-70k). When that didn’t work I decided to self-publish and see what happened.

And so here I am. It’s early days, I haven’t sold many copies, but over 1200 have been downloaded during free promotion days. I’ve received several positive reviews, including one that compared Dragon Wraiths to Anne MaCaffrey’s Dragons of Pern series. Praise indeed.

I’m still not sure self-publishing is for me. Or Young Adult for that matter. But I’m glad Dragon Wraiths found me, in my sleep-deprived state. I enjoyed writing and editing it more than anything I’ve done before or since. Thinking about the Happy Ever After ending still makes me smile and leaves a warm feeling in my heart. And who knows, one day it might be as famous as Dragons of Pern. Now wouldn’t that be nice?

About Dragon Wraiths

DragonWraiths2It’s the day before Leah’s sixteenth birthday. Instead of planning the perfect party she’s stuck in a shabby B&B in the middle of nowhere. She’s not worrying about pimples and presents: she has bigger things to freak her out. Like her Mother’s dying words telling her she will die on her sixteenth birthday. Spending her teenage years escaping from falling trees, burning buildings, killer bees—and the unseen enemies trying to murder her. Or falling in love with a boy who won’t admit she exists, even though they’ve been on the run together for months.

As her birthday approaches, Leah tries to piece together the events that led her there and wonders if she’ll live past lunchtime. What she doesn’t know is her future will include conspiracies, dragons, new powers: Her first kiss.

And the responsibility to save two worlds.

Available

Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk • Barnes & Noble  • Smashwords

Excerpt

My name is Leah. For a quarter of my life I’ve known the time and place of my death. I’ve spent the last four years running – from the truth, from the place. I can’t run from the time. It’s tomorrow.

I look down at the words and, with a sigh, think about scrubbing them out. I sound like I’m writing a gothic novel instead of an explanation of my life. Out the window I can see a bunch of bedraggled birds lined up on the power cables like sheet music. It reminds me of tortuous piano lessons with Miss Hay. I’d probably rather be there than here right now. At least rapping my knuckles with a ruler didn’t actually kill me.

Past the power-lines, low hills fill the horizon. Not the dancing green hills I grew up with. No, these are craggy like a huddle of grumpy old men waiting for the bus. The sky is grey, the hills pewter and ochre, mixing to form a muddy palette of colours. It doesn’t feel like summer. The nearest thing to sunshine is the gold swirling pattern on the curtains. I know if I turn around to face the room I will see the matching bedspread and frilly lampshade. It’s a wretched place to spend what could be my last day on Earth.

Uncle Theo says he chose this place, “for the location, Leah, not the décor.” Just as well.

They’re downstairs, Luke and Theo. I wonder what they’re talking about. What is there left to say? Either we’ve done enough, and I’m far enough away to escape my fate, or this time tomorrow they’ll be heading back south without me. It doesn’t seem the basis for a jolly conversation.

About the Author

AmandaMartinHeadshotAmanda Martin was born in Hertfordshire in 1976. After graduating with first class honours from Leeds University she wandered around the world trying to find her place in it. She tried various roles, in England and New Zealand, including Bar Manager, Marketing Manager, Consultant and Artist before deciding that WriterMummy summed her up best. She lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, two children and labradoodle Kara. She can mostly be found at http://writermummy.wordpress.com

Contacts

Blog: http://writermummy.wordpress.com

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WriterMummy

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterMummy

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.com/e/B00BSPIVC0

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6917684.Amanda_T_Martin

Website: www.amanda-martin.co.uk

Check out Amanda’s previous post on Susana’s Morning Room

Interview With Amanda Martin and “Two-Hundred Steps Home”