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Archive for May, 2015

Please welcome historical author Judith Laik to the blog! Judith thought her book, A The Lady Protests, would be finished by now, but has had to push off the publication until later in June. But, she has decided to share with us some of her writing process! Judith will give away either the new book or reader’s choice of one of her other books. All you have to do is leave a comment telling her you want it.

Sometimes, or all the time, an author needs visual inspiration to see what their characters look like. And that is what Judith did.  So, she is sharing with you the pictures she found of her secondary her heroine Arietta Foxworth.

Mauzy Mackenzie from Soap Opera Magazine

Mauzy Mackenzie from Soap Opera Magazine

This is a photo of her secondary hero Jasper Linton (although Jasper is a little more blonde).

Jared Padelecki

Jared Padelecki

Eventually, actually, probably pretty quickly, Judith’s thoughts about her characters and story will produce a cover something like this.

the-lady-in-question-web-copy2

Now the blurb.

A Lady in Charge

Since the death of her musician stepfather, Beatrice Foxworth has struggled to hold her remaining family together: her innocent, head-in-the-clouds stepsister, Arietta; and her devastated mother. When Arietta is abducted, Beatrice must save her from ruin – or worse.

A Pleasure-seeking Gentleman

Philip Hollesley carelessly promised a friend to oversee his naïve younger brother’s first essay into London bachelorhood. When Jasper Linton elopes with an unsuitable young woman, the last thing Philip wants to do is become involved. But he gave his word, so it’s up to him to chase down the young fool before he can tie the knot in Gretna Green.

Adversaries turned Reluctant Allies

But there never was so strange a pursuit. Beatrice and Philip, chaperoned by her matchmaking mama, discover an odd assortment of humanity is also tracking them: a rejected lord, an aging demimondaine and her aristocratic lover, a group of rowdy young bucks, and a mysterious man.

The Lady Protests

Beatrice and Philip can’t agree on anything – except the necessity to overtake Jasper and Arietta – and to fight their inconvenient attraction to each other.

 

And an excerpt.

As Jasper paid for two meat pies, Arietta spotted something moving in the alley and nearly moved away from the corner, suspecting a rat or other vermin. The creature didn’t move like one, however, and she peered as it slunk closer.

It crawled under the cart and looked fearfully at Arietta. She realized it was a small dog, the tan color of the dirt in the street, with a matted coat, and, even through the mats and dirt, she could see it was terribly thin. Two bright black eyes shone through the hair falling in its face, and a pink tongue lolled out of its mouth.

With her pie in hand, Arietta bent down, and the dog darted away, just a few feet, then stopped, staring at the pie. “You poor ragamuffin,” she said in a coaxing voice, “do you want some pie?” She broke off a piece and held it out to the dog, who looked at it suspiciously, but longingly.

“That beast been hanging about for days. It’s just a nuisance, but nobody’s been able to catch it,” said the pie lady.

“Come here, love, and I’ll give you some pie,” Arietta wheedled. A stump of a tail wagged doubtfully, and the dog came forward a foot or two.

Jasper said, “The thing is filthy, probably has fleas. You should let it be.”

“No, he’s starving, poor puppy. And he’s so afraid. Come here, baby,” she pleaded again, and the dog crawled closer, merely a couple of feet from her outstretched hand. “Just a little more and the pie is yours.” She waved the bit of pastry slowly so as not to startle him, and he came all the way to her hand and snatched the tidbit, then ran as if afraid to be trapped.

He stopped just a few feet away, looking back at the rest of her pie. “Yes, you can have more if you come back,” she said, breaking off another bite and holding it toward him.

He moved towards her more boldly, but still snatched the bite and ran off. This time, Arietta went toward him. He retreated, and she bent down again with her hand out. He came forward, to discover she didn’t have any treat in her hand this time. As he sniffed, her hand settled very gently on his head and stroked him softly. She offered him more of the pie, with her hand resting in her lap, and he climbed up to take it from her, not retreating this time, but looking at the rest of her pie.

She closed her arm around him and cuddled him against her, feeding the rest of the pie to him, then standing with him in her arms. He wiggled a little bit and she reassured him with soothing sounds. “We need to take him with us,” she said, looking up at Jasper. “He obviously has no one to care for him.”

Jasper groaned. “We can’t take him. How can we care for him on the road?”

“It’s no harder than caring for ourselves. He won’t be any trouble. Could you buy me another pie? I’m still hungry.”

With a quiet curse under his breath, Jasper obeyed, and they headed back to the inn. “I strongly doubt the innkeeper will let you bring him inside. He’s filthy and no doubt flearidden.”

“You already pointed that out. He needs a bath, obviously. I’ll ask the maid to bring up a tub. Once he’s cleaned up, I’m sure he’ll be quite presentable.”

 

An hour later, Jasper reflected that Arietta’s airy words had proved utterly false. Not only was the dog trouble, he was a damned pestilence. And the bath that would make him presentable had turned out to be near-impossible.

He looked around their room at a scene of chaos. The tub full of muddy, cooling water, puddles of water dotting the floor, Arietta’s dress and his own clothing soaking, and the dog lying, in his mud-bespattered glory, on the white coverlet of the four-poster bed, which was now spotted with paw prints all over its surface.

The mutt lay panting, an expression that looked very like a laugh of triumph.

Arietta, on the other hand, appeared about to cry. She glanced at him, took a deep breath, and said, “We are not going to let one small dog get the best of us.” She marched over to the bed, picked up the dog, and carried him, squirming in her arms, back to the tub.

“Here, you hold him, and I shall find something to tempt him to behave.” She handed over the wet bundle, and started for the door. The terrier growled at Jasper and, with teeth bared, leaped at his face. Jasper threw his head back, his grip on the dog loosening.

As Arietta departed the room, Jasper’s nemesis squirmed out of his arms, dashed through the open door, and down the stairs. Screams and crashes sounded from below. Jasper and Arietta raced down the stairs.

A party of passengers from a stagecoach had arrived at the inn, and were refreshing themselves while the horses were changed. From the spatters of mud on their coats, the dog had bounced off them all, as well as the barmaid, who had dropped a tray with a teapot and cups on the floor.

At that moment the front door opened, and the coachman started through it. Arietta yelled, “Close the door! Don’t—” But it was too late. A brown streak flashed through the opening.

“Oh, no!” Arietta ran to the door and looked out, Jasper following in time to see the dog run down the street in front of the inn and around a corner, disappearing.

 

About Judith.

headshotI live on a mini-farm near Seattle with my husband, daughter, some horses (only two are ours), two cats, and a number of Collies — we’re a dog show family.

Our vintage farmhouse needs constant upkeep, which we can barely keep up with, since it always needs new paint or new fences or…Luckily the most recent thing we repaired is the plumbing, so that’s working pretty well these days. With us living out in the country, we experience frequent power outages. There’s nothing more romantic than huddling under blankets in front of a cozy fire in the fireplace, with more blankets blocking the drafts from the other rooms in the house. The downside is that without power the well doesn’t work, either.

My husband and I like to get away as often as we can, taking off for a few days at the ocean or the lake. I usually bring my laptop with me on these excursions, working on whatever my current writing project is. I love to travel to more faraway places also. Our big adventure this year will be a family trip to my husband’s birthplace, Estonia. I think his relatives are a little taken aback by the thought of being inundated with seven of us, but we’ll manage.

My favorite destination, though, is England. My most recent trips there, in 2003 and 2005, were with groups equally fascinated with the Regency period, and we visited many sites with associations to that time. Heaven! There’s nothing like actually seeing the locations where my stories took place, even if altered to varying degrees by the 200-some years since those events happened. As a bonus, the gift shops at many of the museums and historic sites have more lovely books that I would never have come across at home!

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Yes, this is Friday, and normally I would have a guest author. However, I decided to slid her to tomorrow in order to take part is a celebration of historical romance. If you are on Facebook or Twitter, you might notice that some of your favorite historical authors are posting with the hashtag #whyIreadhistoricalromance. Please share the posts and tell us why you read historical romance. After all, in what other genre can you get a cover like this?

Three Weeks to Wed

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It’s finally here, and I’m all over the place!! I’m also giving away books! Please join me. I’ll post the links here and on my Facebook page as they become live!!

Just to make things more interesting, I’m giving away five copies of A Kiss for Lady Mary. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me why you love historical romance!

For more chances to win a copy of Lady Mary, check out Tasty Tours http://bit.ly/1F9JLYq

Ella

Lady Mary Tour

5/26/15 Miss Ivy’s Book Nook Take II

5/26/15 Romance Divas  http://bit.ly/1J2ahm4

5/26/15 Readers Entertainment http://bit.ly/1cXEmaf

5/26/15 Romance at Random

5/26/15 Mary Gramlich http://bit.ly/19RLRsp

5/26/15 SOS Aloha http://bit.ly/1Kk4TcL – Giveaway

5/26/15 Karen’s Killer Book Bench http://bit.ly/1cg0ege

5/26/15 USA Today HEA http://usat.ly/1HHZZZJ

5/26/15 Fresh Fiction

5/26/15 Shelley K Wall http://bit.ly/1Rkx4ML

5/27/15 Manic Readers

A Kiss for Lady Mary

 

 

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Memorial Day

Flanders field

I struggled between posting my usual Monday Excerpts, after all, I do have a release tomorrow. But my heart wasn’t in it.  Instead, I’m going to discuss what Memorial Day means to me.

It has nothing to do with placing flags or flowers on gravestones or crosses, or other outward displays. It is deeply personal. During the 70’s when I was in the Army I participated in a joint German-American memorial day. It was a reminder that both sides lost many brave men and women. Years later, I visited Flanders Field and was startled by the number of crosses. I also visited Verdun, went through the preserved trenches, and saw mock-ups of whole villages that were decimated by war. Since then we have lost many more soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, as well as others who served.

SoldierWhen one is in the military, death comes on a regular basis. It can occur in combat and in training accidents. One of the guys who introduced my husband and me died in El Salvador when his helicopter was shot down. It was a long time ago, but I still grieve for him. After all, if he hadn’t shove me toward my husband, and said, “She’d be happy to join you.” We would probably never gotten together.

Recently, several other old friends and soldiers have died. This time it was heart disease and cancer rather than enemy fire and parachute jumps.

Tomorrow, I’ll get back to book stuff. Today, I’ll give thanks for those who have lived and mourn those who never came home.

Ella

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Happy Sunday! This has been a much quieter week than last week was. Let’s start with the winner of Ashley York’s The Gentle Knight. Congratulations goes to Jenna Jaxon!!

The big book news is that A Kiss for Lady Mary releases on Tuesday!!  As usual, I’ll be doing the blog tour circuit. I can’t tell you how lonely that can be, so please, please, please, stop by some of the sites and say hi. There will be some giveaways as well.

5/26/15 Miss Ivy’s Book Nook Take II

5/26/15 Romance Divas

5/26/15 Readers Entertainment

5/26/15 Romance at Random

5/26/15 Mary Gramlich

5/26/15 SOS Aloha

5/26/15 Karen’s Killer Book Bench

5/26/15 USA Today HEA

5/26/15 Fresh Fiction

5/26/15 Shelley K Wall Blog

5/27/15 Manic Readers

 

A Kiss for Lady Mary

 

 

Buy Links: Amazon ~ B&N ~ iTunes

On to boat news. As you know, we had to divert through the Bahamas on our way up from the Caribbean. They charge a yearly fee that is quite large. Now that doesn’t sound too bad, but in order not to lose your fee you have to return within ninety days of departing. So we made a quick trip to the west end of Grand Bahama. We’d meant to stay for a few days, but the weather report had us leaving the next day. Fortunately, we didn’t run into any squalls and arrived at the Ponce de Leon inlet the next afternoon. We are now in St. Augustine until after Lady Mary releases. Unfortunately, these are the only photos I took.

The first is traveling down the ICW. We would have preferred to sail, but the wind was on our nose.

Traveling down ICW

 

 

 

 

 

City Marina St. Augustine

The second is our mooring in St. Augustine. I can’t wait to see the city again. It’s been years. The best part is that they have a Spanish Tall Ship in.

How has your week been going?

Ella

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Please welcome historical author Ashley York to the blog. Ashley is here to promote her latest book, The Gentle Knight!! She will give a copy of the book to one of you who tells her you want it.

As always we’ll start with the cover.

TheGentleKnight5_1400

Next the blurb.

A medieval soldier returns home to find his lover died in childbirth just as his own mother had. Believing he is cursed, Peter of Normandy turns from love. When he must give escort to an Irish princess more noble than many knights, he struggles with his decision to live a solitary life. Can he take the chance that his love won’t be a death sentence and possibly make them stronger?

Padraig MacNaughton’s death bed decree rips his daughter, Brighit, from the shelter of her protective clan in Ireland. Forced to take vows at a Priory in England, she finds herself in the hands of lecherous mercenaries with their own agendas. Dare she trust the Norman knight to see her safely to her new life as a nun? Even when she finds in him the fulfillment of all she’s ever wanted?

Or will honor and duty eclipse their one chance for happiness?

And an excerpt.

The barrenness of the countryside would take Brighit some time to get used to. Perhaps it was only this area, but it seemed nothing like her home which was so lush and green. She missed her family. A tightness began to build in her throat but Brighit refused to acknowledge it. A splashing sound came to her from just beyond the tree stand.

She glanced back the way she’d come. The need to return immediately or confront Ivan’s wrath had her clenching her teeth. That splash sounded very much like the lake Lachlann had mentioned. A chance to clean her face and hands in a refreshing body of water rather than with a soaked cloth? The heat in that confined carriage was making her wilt. She sniffed and confirmed her stench was overwhelming. Before even thinking it through, she headed in the direction of the sound.

Brighit paused on the barely discernible path. Sure she heard rustling, she glanced behind at the open field she’d come from. It was empty. Nothing behind her that could make such a sound. Was it a deer perhaps? Taking a few steps farther, the small rise gave way to the breathtaking sight of a small lake. The top glistened like glass without a ripple to disturb its surface.

The slight breeze carried the pungent aroma of honeysuckle and lavender. The plants would be a wonderful thing to find and put in with her few belongings. Each night she would be surrounded by the smell of flowers. Without another thought she headed through the bushes to her right, careful to not make a sound in case the deer were still nearby. Movement along the banks drew her attention and she froze.

A man stood there dripping wet and naked. He pushed his hair away from his face. A handsome face with a strong jaw and a thick brow. She followed the movement of his hands, sloshing the water off his chiseled body. Blond hair spanned his broad chest and across his rippled torso, leading down his muscular legs, glistening in the fading light. His tarse was visible even from this distance. She looked long and hard. Her breathing became labored. Magnificent.

He turned in her direction. She ducked. She held her breath and shivered in the bush, willing her heart to stop pounding so loudly. When she ventured another peek, he was gone. Disappointment welled up inside her gut. She’d wanted nothing more than to sit and watch him, imagine how it would feel to run her hands down his expansive chest and firm body as he had done, to appreciate the rippled strength there. She blew out the breath she’d been holding and licked her dry lips. That certainly wasn’t going to happen, not in this lifetime—as a nun. A small bush of purple flowers brushed her hand and she snatched it. Lavender. The sun was dropping below the hills in the west and she needed to get back. Enough of these wasted desires.

Desire made things happen. It was her grandfather’s favorite saying. As the seventh son, he had been a man of some notoriety among Irish nobility. He was given the Celtic Princess, Faighrah, to wed. When he sired his own seventh son, the other leaders turned to him for guidance, for wisdom, in return for unfailing loyalty. The belief always that the seventh son of the seventh son of the seventh son had a special anointing from God. No evil could befall him.

Brighit was no son and evil seemed a little too close. Ivan had told her he would not hesitate to make up a lie about who she was. Even saying she was his wife. Others would believe him because he was a man. Perhaps a little more protection from the same God who made her a female was not asking too much.

Buy links:

Apple    Kobo    Amazon    Barnes and Noble

 

About Ashley.

headshot Ashley YorkI have wanted to be a writer since the sixth grade. My first story was a mystery and I discovered that my classmates loved it and it kept them guessing. I was a voracious reader, even at a young age, and loved the history in the novels I picked up. I was so enthralled with that history that I decided to get my MA in History. The early medieval period is my favorite, as you can tell from the novels I write.

Although all my works are fiction, I often like to incorporate authentic places, events, and people to increase the reader’s enjoyment. One of the more valuable lessons I have learned as a writer is the importance of using real history with the flair of artistic license. You’ll discover a world of fiction wrapped around historical people and events! I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I delight in writing them.

I live in New England with my husband, two cats and a yellow Labrador named Caledonia. I can be found at http://www.ashleyyorkauthor.com

 

 

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It’s been awhile. On the other hand, it’s hard to post when one doesn’t have an internet connection.

Let’s have a free for all. Post anything you like from a book you’ve already released, or are about to release. If you’re not published, post an excerpt of what you are querying or working on. Buy links and social media links are welcome and encouraged.

Here is mine from A Kiss for Lady Mary which releases on May 26th! A Kiss for Lady Mary

Kit looked out the window as Mary and the rest of the ladies returned. Her chin had a mulish cast, and he wished he knew what the others had said to her.

“Have you told her how lovely you think she is?” Marcus asked as he glanced out the window.

Kit dragged his gaze from her. “That would be forward.”

“Good God, man.” Huntley dropped his head into his hands. “Every woman likes to be complimented.”

That wasn’t fair. Kit did flatter her. He sniffed. “I do. I tell her what an excellent job she’s done with Rose Hill.”

“We could just take him out and shoot him now,” Rutherford said to no one in particular. “It would put him out of his misery and ours.”

“It’s a good thing”—Marcus gave a rueful smile—“you have us here to help you.”

Huntley refilled Kit’s glass. “When being courted, a lady wants to be told she is beautiful and desirable, not that she is a good land steward.”

“They also need to be kissed.” Rutherford shook his head in disgust when Kit scowled. “I think you’re making a mistake. The normal rules of polite behavior do not apply to courting, but if you’re not going to kiss her, then you must figure out some way to be more attentive. She probably doesn’t realize you’re even interested in her.”

It wasn’t that he didn’t want to kiss Mary. Her lips drew him like a siren’s call, but he’d made a habit of correct behavior, and his friends’ advice went against everything he considered honorable. On the other hand, he was becoming desperate, and they could be right. What if he had given her the wrong idea?

“Very well.” Kit took a swallow of the sherry. “I will do as you suggest. If she slaps me, I’ll blame it on you.”

“Here they come.” Huntley grabbed the tumbler from Kit’s hand. “Now tell her how much the fresh air agrees with her. That she has roses in her cheeks or something like that.”

The door opened and the ladies strolled in, all of them but Mary with broad smiles for their men. Kit moved toward her, took her hand, and gave her his most charming smile. “How lovely you look. The fresh air agrees with you.”

God, he sounded like an idiot.

Her eyes widened, and her cheeks turned a pretty shade of pink. “Thank you.”

Well, perhaps not so much of an idiot. She seemed to enjoy the accolade, and she hadn’t even looked as if she wanted to hit him. This wasn’t so bad after all.

Buy Links: Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ B&N ~ Apple

Now it’s your turn!!

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