Redeeming the Rogue Knight

Reviewing the Rogue Knight.

I’ve been sending out ARCs and this weekend Roger got his first review.

Hilarymackelden's Blog

DCTl41uXoAAISpfI was given an advanced copy of this book and, since I’ve enjoyed Elisabeth Hobbes’ work before, I sat down with my cocoa, looking forward to the first couple of chapters before bed.

At 2.30am, I turned the last page, satisfied with the way the book ended and assured that I’d at last be able to sleep, without wondering what would happen next.

Sir Roger Danby is a bad boy. A player who thinks women are there for his – and their – pleasure. He’s a bit of a bully, too, arrogant and, I have to say, not the most likeable of men. Yet, I felt strangely drawn to him, wanting to know more, hoping he would come good in the end.

His constant innuendo was very real, reminiscent of oh, so many men one encounters. They think they’re witty. We women roll our eyes.

However, there was a certain…

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Medieval Monday- Meet Cathy MacRae

Monday comes round fast doesn’t it! Today I’d like to introduce Cathy MacRae to tell us why she loves writing Medieval Romance.

Cathy MacRae graphic

Romance in a Kilt

Welcome to my world of Medieval Romance! I have always been drawn to historical romance, and love re-reading some of the first books that welcomed me to that special time and place. Books by Kathleen Woodiwiss and Judith McNaught still hold much-loved places on my bookshelves right alongside more current favorites. They are a whirlwind of drama, passion, and promise, where trust is everything, and sometimes love develops in the most unusual places.

I am intrigued by history. The what-ifs and whys; the research into the actions of a few people who set the course for many. You will find often gritty history coloring the background of all of my stories.

My books in the Medieval Era are a blend of high drama and romance set against a backdrop of treachery, hardship and duty. And in a time when women were stronger than history tells us, and marriage was rarely for sigh-worthy reasons, I find it fascinating to relate stories of relationships that blossom into love.

Cathy MacRae is an Amazon best-selling author whose stories feature strong heroes and feisty heroines set in the Highlands of Scotland. Her hobbies include gardening, photography, travel and cooking. Cathy lives on the sunny side of the Arbuckle Mountains with her wonderful husband, three dogs and a cat (who runs the house), and enjoys spending time with sweet granddaughters who are the heroines of her heart.

You can find Cathy MacRae’s books on her website at http://www.cathymacraeauthor.com

Meet Roger- cover reveal

I love getting covers through. There’s always a slight anxiety that the model or scene won’t resemble anything in the book but so far (Saxon’s black hair aside) I’ve been very pleased with mine.

The cover for Redeeming the Rogue Knight was particularly important because it was my first book that was linked to a previous one through a character.  We’ve already met the hero Roger in The Blacksmith’s Wife as he was Joanna’s original crush (boo, hiss).  His brother Hal was on the cover of that book so I made it clear when I filled in the Art Fact Sheet that I was hoping for someone with a family resemblance.  Here’s what they gave me.

RTRK NA cover

The story starts with Roger and his companion leaving a nobleman’s house around dawn.  Judging by the colour of the sky it’s pretty early and he certainly looks like he’s checking he isn’t being followed.

‘Roger finished dressing rapidly in his thickly padded jerkin and travelling cloak and reached for his sword. He cast a final look around the room in case they had forgotten anything before leading the way to the kitchens where he knew there was a door that would be unguarded. Making friends with the maidservant was proving to have a benefit he had not anticipated and they were able to creep out without being spotted and make their way to the stables.

In silence, they wrapped sacking around their horses’ hooves and shouldered their saddles. The animals snickered in protest at the early start and Roger paused to run his hand across the rough winter coat of the chestnut courser. They led their mounts around the edge of the courtyard. Fortune was on their side as they passed through the gateway without notice.’

Have you spotted the anachronism? It was the second thing I saw (right after I’d stopped admiring Roger’s arms) but most people admitted they never got past looking at Roger.  Anyway, I’m very happy with it and I think the covers make a lovely pair.

I can definitely see a family resemblance, can you?

Dany brothers NA covers.

 

Redeeming the Rogue Knight is out in August (print) and September (ebook) and is available to preorder viewBook.at/RogueKnight

The Blacksmith’s Wife is still available if you want to discover his backstory myBook.to/BlacksmithWife

 

Medieval Monday- Meet Ruth A. Casie

Welcome back to another Medieval Monday.    It’s time to discover why Ruth A. Casie Writes Historicals

Ruth Casie graphic

Years ago when I worked for a large bank I did a lot of international business travel. I can remember my first overseas assignment very clearly. It was a two week trip to five European cities. I brought six paperbacks thinking I would catch up on my reading—there was never enough time to read at home. We had three small children. Settled in my seat, I finished a book and a half by the time I landed in Brussels.

Client calls with local bank directors filled my days, but after business hours and over the weekend I was on my own. I filled the time with walking tours, sometimes in groups other times using the track provided by the hotel. Each time I came face to face with history; the Grand Place in Brussels, the Place de la Concorde in Paris, and Hampton Court in England.

As I went on to the different cities I tried to hear the sounds, smell the aromas, and see the sights from a different perspective, a different time. Stories by Julie Garwood, Jude Deveraux, Johanna Lindsey and Lynn Kurland had me enthralled along with Clive Cussler. I know he’s not exactly romance but his Dirk Pit stories always start with some historical fact or thread that’s crucial to solving the mystery. I read my books at night and visited places where I imagined the stories unfolding.

Historical facts mixed with chivalry and magic are the most compelling stories to me. The romance of the middle ages with knights and princesses and their myths of druids, fairies, and fae tossed in for good measure all drew me in. Time travel stories and the ability to visit the past, protect the future, or simply experience a different time were the most compelling stories. Personally, I want my fiction based on fact but I don’t necessarily want the cold truth of reality. I know that history doesn’t always end with a happily ever after but taking a little poetic license to alter history just a bit to make it all work out is what I enjoy reading—and writing.

 

Ruth A. Casie, a USA Today Bestselling Author, writes historical fantasy and contemporary romances for Harlequin, Carina Press, and Timeless Scribes. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and international bank product and marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance. When not writing you can find her home in Teaneck, NJ, reading, cooking, doing Sudoku and counted cross stitch. You can reach her at www.RuthACasie.com , and join her newsletter, on Twitter @RuthACasie, at her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RuthACasie or at Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ruthacasie/

Sherry Ewing on Medieval Monday

Welcome to another ‘meet the author’ on Medieval Monday.  Today I’m welcoming Sherry Ewing to tell us why she loves Medieval romance.

My love for everything Medieval began with the very first historical romance novel I ever picked up as a teenager. For many of us, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss paved the way for the type of novels that would overflow my bookshelves for many years to come. Then I stumbled across a hard copy of Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor, and my fate was sealed. It was only natural that when it came to writing my own novels years later that I would write a historical romance. Since I began my writing career later in life, I am lucky to be able to do any type of research on the internet. Knights in shining armor, damsels in distress, knights breaking down the walls of a keep, and then sometimes throw in a modern day woman who has fallen through time and a series was born. I can’t help but constantly say I was born in the wrong century and continent.

Although I do also write Regency era romances, my true passion lies with my Knights of Berwyck in the12th century. I can still remember the day when I was just about finished with my very first manuscript. The image of a castle sitting high upon a cliff came into my mind. Before I knew what was happen, I had all these characters forming, along with my plot, and I had to tell them to take a back seat while I finished my current book. Yes it’s true… author’s really do have voices inside their heads! My characters continue to battle inside my heading wanting their turn at having their story told, sometimes even keeping me up at night when we could have had such conversations during the day. Medieval’s, time travel, and Regency era novels… all with a happily ever after all to awaken the soul one heart at a time!

Sherry Ewing graphic

Bio: Sherry Ewing is a bestselling author who writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Her debut historical romance, If My Heart Could See You, hit Amazon’s top ten bestseller list for the eBook only two days after the paperback release. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. She is a national and local member of Romance Writers of America, The Beau Monde and The Bluestocking Belles. She is currently working on her next novel. When Sherry is not busy writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist.

 

You can learn more about Sherry on her website at www.SherryEwing.com.

Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/1TrWtoy

Judith Sterling on Medieval Monday

Today I’m delighted to welcome Judith Sterling to the blog.  She’s here to share why she loves Medieval romance.

Judith Sterling graphic

Some of the first romances I read as a teen were set in medieval England.  I loved the passion of the period—the High Middle Ages (11th – 13th centuries) in particular—and the lure of the British Isles.  Ultimately, that love led to a degree in history and a minor in British Studies.

During college and grad school, I studied in England, Scotland, and Sweden.  I jumped on every opportunity to explore castles, monasteries, and other medieval buildings throughout Europe.  The older the structure, the better!  In ruin after ruin, the whispers of the past seduced me.  I hear their voices still.  With any luck, they add a magical twist to the medieval romances I feel compelled to write and give my readers a world they’ll want to enter again and again.

 

BIO:  Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven and Soul of the Wolf are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred, the first book in her young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin, will be released soon.  Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books—My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories—have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

Visit me on Facebook @judithsterlingfiction.  You can find my books at https://judithmarshallauthor.com/my-books

Meet Bambi Lynn

Welcome to another Medieval Monday ‘meet the author’.  Here is Bambi Lynn to tell us a little about why she loves Medieval romance.

My first introduction to Romance novels came from Rosemary Rogers’ Sweet Savage Love. I devoured that book again and again and any other book I could find that was like it. Imagine my thrill to discover Jude Deveraux’s Velvet series. Set in the Middle Ages, I got lost in the time period and never wanted to return. By then, I was living Belgium, where the shells of Medieval manors surrounded me. One of my favorites was Beersel Castle. Beersel Castle, about five miles from my house in Gages, is in ruins. The grounds were open to the public, free, and seldom visited by tourists. So naturally when I started writing my first book, I set it in that castle. I had the unique opportunity of going there any time I wanted to sit in the courtyard or one of the rooms I’d cleared of cobwebs and write my masterpiece. Oftentimes, I was the only one there and could explore to my heart’s content. That first book has never seen the light of day, but what fun I had writing it—not to mention all the things I learned. Now I live in Alabama. There are no Medieval castles here, but there is a park nearby that looks remarkably like Middle Earth. Luckily, I have a writing room in my barn that my fabulous husband designed and decorated to look like a room in a Medieval castle. Inspiration at its finest! I hope you enjoy reading my Medieval Romances as much as I love writing them.

Bio:

Bambi Lynn graduated from the University of Maryland European Division with bachelor’s degrees in English and History. She writes Historical and Contemporary Paranormal Romances.

Yes, Bambi is her real name.

Bambi grew up on a farm in South Georgia. Her high school was very small with a graduating class of less than 100 people. Shortly after high school, she met my wonderful husband who took her to Belgium, where a three-year tour turned into fifteen. While living in Europe, she nurtured her love of all things medieval. Bambi often gets homesick for Belgium, but with the world wide web, she’s home with the click of a mouse. She now lives with her husband and son in the deep South. When not plugging away at her keyboard, Bambi teaches World History. She loves to ride her big, black Tennessee Walker, Jamaica. She and her husband each have a Harley to go with their collection of classic cars and hot rods

.Babmi Lynn graphic

Link:

http://bambilynn.net/bambis_books

 

 

Medieval Monday- Meet the Author

We’ve finished the Villains theme for Medieval Monday so until the next round of excerpts starts I thought it would be nice to introduce you to the authors whose books you’ve been reading. Today I have Lane McFarland with me to explain why she loves Medieval romance.

LaneMcFarland

Why I love writing stories set in medieval times…

My passion is writing historical romance novels. Throwing my imagination into years gone by, researching dark periods of strife and violence, justice and quests for freedom, and dreaming of what it might have been like to live and survive during these hostile periods have been the most rewarding aspects of writing historical romance.

I’m fascinated with medieval history and can get quite sidetracked in my research, absorbed in reading about the goings on at the time from the political climate and issues of the period to what foods people ate, the clothes they wore, the pastimes they enjoyed. I can get lost reading about the era and have to limit the time I spend immersed in history.

My Daughters of Alastair MacDougall Series begins in May 1297, a time of unrest between Scotland and England. It has been such fun to delve into this period and imagine living amongst the clans. The Turnberry Legacy Series picks up in 1301 with Robert the Bruce vying for Scotland’s crown, much like other power-hungry nobles who fought for control.

 

Bio: My name is Lane McFarland and I write historical romance, spanning the early Middle Ages through the American Civil War. While my books are fiction, each one is based on historical facts, and you will often see known figures such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, or The Red Comyn make guest appearances. All my books revolve around human struggles, sacrifices survivors are forced to make, and their resilience to live and thrive.

I’m a southern girl living on top of a mountain in North Georgia, and I’m most happy when surrounded by family and friends. If I am not writing, you can find me hiking with my husband, or fiddling around in my flower and vegetable gardens, feeding the birds and watching black bears and deer. I am blessed to have a wonderful son—my pride and joy, my buddy who, along with my husband, have made my life complete

My website: http://www.lanemcfarland.com

My Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Lane-McFarland/e/B00G7UQZNI/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

Come back next week to meet another author.

SPaG Balls: a slight rant

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing recently and specifically about how we go from being readers, to storytellers, to fully-fledged writers.  Part of the reason is that now I have four books published, another one lined up for release in September (the sequel to The Blacksmith’s Wife telling Roger’s story) and am in the throes of writing book 6, I finally feel qualified to call myself an author.

The other reason is that the way writing is taught – and more crucially, tested – in schools has been going through a lot of changes over the past couple of years.  My son is in Year 6 and next week will be sitting his SATs, including the recently introduced SPaG tests.  That’s Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar.  The Powers That Be have decided it is important that children leave Primary school being able to confidently use the aforementioned (all good) and should be tested on it (not so good).

Im’ all for grammar and punctuation! its important to know if its the right use of its in a sentence and their is nothing worse than a writer who peppers they’re work with mistakes*.

No one would deny that children should be equipped to communicate in writing. The issue that many teachers and parents take with the tests is not that it should be taught, but how, and at what level.  I’m not sure requiring eleven year olds to be able to tick the sentences that show the correct use of the past progressive or whether after is being used as a preposition or subordinating conjunction is the best way to teach them to write, or to want to.  Some of the terminology they’re expected to know I barely touched upon doing A-level English language, never mind aged ten and eleven.  I don’t remember being asked to say whether ‘the insect eating Venus flytrap’ is a fronted adverbial or main clause or identify the correct demonstratives at that age.

Certainly watching my son who brims over with ideas trying to write a sentence that MUST include a number of the statutory spellings (samples include privilege, government, controversy, criticise and hindrance – knock yourself out) and producing convoluted, dull sentences isn’t showing his creative side.

I fell in love with stories at a young age when they were read to me and decided that making things up was fun. Being able to write them down was a bonus but learning and mimicking stories, changing characters or settings, playing with rules and preconceived ideas for what should happen is how we develop our understanding of how stories work.  When I write I start with a characters or a situation I can’t get out of my head, a beginning and (hopefully) and end. The middle is often hazy but I usually know a few key events that will happen. This goes for chapters as well as the whole book. The fun of writing is starting with an idea and running with it to see what happens. Starting with a ‘what if?’ is how children (and adults if they’re anything like me) begin to feel the creative buzz and want to grab a pencil and get scribbling something down. I knew what would bring Joanna and Hal together in The Blacksmith’s Wife but I didn’t know they were going to end up with a dog or what would happen in Malton that ended up shaping their first night together. In A Wager for the Widow one key fact that ended up shaping a lot of Will’s character and motives was a complete surprise to me until he told Eleanor in the garden.  When I gave Aelric a hobby in The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge  I didn’t expect it to play such a crucial part in uncovering the plot.

I’m now five books in to my writing career and can honestly say I have never consciously thought ‘I haven’t used a fronted adverbial for a while. Better stick one in’.  I suspect that if I tried to write that way I would find myself very quickly going off writing and that is the danger I worry is facing our children today.

I play around with word order, change the adjectives and adverbs, delete and rewrite based on what sounds catchy when I read it back. Somehow at the end I have enough words on the page to do something constructive with. As a writer there is nothing better than looking up from the keyboard and realising an hour has gone by, or I’ve beaten my word count target.

As I tell myself (and my son and the children I teach) you can’t edit an empty page. If we get so hung up on the correct use of grammar or punctuation at the start and worse still, try to write with the express purpose of fitting the idea into the grammar, we will never pick up the pencil.  There are few things more depressing than seeing children are wanting to write sentences that I have to tell them to do again because although ‘swam’ is a great word, it doesn’t have an -ed suffix so can they change it to something that does because that is the key skill we’re doing today.  How soul destroying to be a young writer and told that!

I don’t know what the answer is to creating an entire population who accurately use all the correct grammatical forms. Perhaps the people who advocate filling in the blanks to change the root verb to an appropriate adjective will turn out to be right all along and in twenty years time we’ll have literature that surpasses anything available now.

I don’t think becoming a creative writer happens by learning to name or correctly spot parts of sentences any more than becoming a good driver involves sitting in a room labelling diagrams of the parts that link the brake and accelerator to the other bits of rod, gears and scary looking bits under the bonnet (I don’t know what they’re called). You learn to drive by being shown the basics (this one makes you go fast, this one makes you stop) then getting out onto the roads and having a go. Writing is the same.

 

*did you spot them all?

May Day Merriment

Today is May Day, a time to celebrate the end of winter.  It has its origins among other sources in the Roman festival of Floralia and the Celtic Beltane, and in Medieval Europe was a time of holiday for the workers.

According to custom girls are supposed to go out washing their faces in the dawn dew because the magical properties will ensure they have a fresh complexion all year.  I spent this morning wrestling away a soaking wet tent in the Welsh rain which isn’t half as much fun (I’m beyond help anyway I think).  Other traditions dating back into the middle ages included dancing round a maypole (and you don’t need to be Freud to see the symbolism there) and games, feasting and decorating the houses with garlands and greenery collected early in the morning.

In The Blacksmith’s Wife I gave Joanna and Hal a chance to celebrate the day together, though true to form things don’t go quite as planned for my awkward couple…

Thundering beats on the door roused them from their bed as men from the villagers came to claim ale from Hal as Lord Danby’s representative. He allowed himself to be taken away, leaving Joanna in the hands of Meg and the other women to gather flowers and greenery from the moors and bind them into wreaths.

The women arrived on the village green at midday. Raucous, uncontrolled games were taking place amid cheers and catcalls of the onlookers already well into the ale, but stopped as they appeared.

‘Crown the queen!’

The call was taken up and repeated by everyone present. Girls giggled and blushed, young men freely ogled them and Joanna felt hands in her back pushing her to the front of the crowd.

Hal appeared from among the men. He took her by the hand and turned her to face everyone. A crown of twisted greenery was placed on her head to cheers and good-natured whistles from everyone watching. Pipers began to play and dancers found their partners.

‘I thought the May Queen was supposed to be a maiden,’ Joanna whispered to Hal.

He held her waist tightly as he led her to the circle. ‘This year I thought I’d exercise my rights to choose.’

‘You can do that?’

‘I can do what I like, I’m their lord’s son,’ he joked. He put one hand on her back, the other to her cheek and looked into her eyes. ‘I cannot give you tournaments and pageants to delight you, but I wanted to give you something to remember.’

She covered her hand with his. ‘You have,’ she said. ‘This is enough.’

She realised as she said it that she spoke the truth.

The dancing and games carried on long into the night. As the sun set Hal and the men carried brands from the forge and lit the bonfire. More barrels of ale were tapped and the ox that had been roasting all afternoon was speedily eaten.

As groups and couples began to disperse to find their own diversions Joanna sat alone by the fire, warming her hands and yawning. She’d danced until her calves burned and drunk far too much wine. Her bed called her. Hal had vanished a while before, called away by the miller, and she was becoming tired of waiting. She walked home and was halfway to the door when she noticed light coming from the forge.

Curious, she walked across the dewy grass. The door was partly open, but no sound came from within. Cautiously Joanna pushed the door wider and peeped around it.

Hal was standing by his workbench. In the dull glow of the furnace Joanna could only see his back.

‘What are you doing?’ she asked.

Hal jumped at her voice. He strode towards her, blocking her entry into the forge.

‘What’s wrong? Why won’t you let me in?’ she asked.

‘Nothing’s wrong. I’m coming now,’ Hal said. His voice was guarded. He took hold of her arm and tried to turn her away.

He was so obviously hiding something. Determined to find out what Joanna twisted from his grip and pushed past him. Her blood drained slowly away, leaving her cold to the bone as she recognised her own drawing pinned to the beam above the furnace.

‘That’s mine!’ she hissed. ‘How did you get it?’

‘You dropped it on the moors,’ Hal said.

She remembered the day, but that had been over a week ago and he had kept it all this time! Furious, she lunged and ripped the drawing from the wall. She rounded on Hal.

‘How dare you keep it,’ she stormed. ‘You had no right to do that.’

She pushed roughly past him and wrenched the door open, stumbling out into the darkness.

Blacksmith's wife cover

If you want to find out what happens next you can get hold of a copy here: myBook.to/BlacksmithWife

Writer of naughty knights and brooding heroes for Harlequin Mills & Boon

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