Cinderella Once a Fairytale Book of Romance – Enjoy the Movie!

 

Oh to be ten-years-old again — innocent, impressionable, and mesmerized by the idea of meeting my Prince Charming.

Cinderella. How many adaptations can this story have? Apparently, not enough. One of my favorites is “Everafter” with Drew Barrymore, but this Disney version is pretty much a starry-eyed spectacle of beauty that bedazzles the childhood in everyone.

The perfect audience are females young at heart, girls five to twelve, and young teenage ladies. Although this morning on the radio I heard a middle-aged male critic gush over the movie too. Will little boys love it?  Probably not, except perhaps for the mice and cat.

The Cinderella tale is slightly modified and extended, but it does the story absolutely no harm whatsoever. For the first time in a long time I give Disney kudos for putting together a movie with a message that drills down into your soul. It’s the words of Ella’s mother before she dies encouraging her daughter to, “have courage and be kind.” The theme resounds throughout the entire movie and is played out with such precision that the message stays with you.  In an age where kids are bullying one another or being the victims of bullies, it brings a beautiful message of the meaning of courage and kindness and the good that it can bring into your life.

Your wonderful Rose from Downton Abbey, Lilly James, portrays an endearing and kind Cinderella.  Daisy the cook from Downton Abbey, Sophia McShera, plays the stepsister Drizella, accompanied by Holliday Grainger as the other mean sister. Gorgeously attired and mean to the core stepmother is played by Cate Blanchett.

Some of the cutest scenes are the fairy godmother transforming the pumpkin, lizards, mice, and the duck into the carriage, horses, footmen, and driver. Their undoing at the stroke of midnight is an hysterical scene with fantastic special effects. Cinderella is turned into a gorgeous beauty in a blue dress, who twirls around dancing in a fantastic choreographed waltz with the prince. If I were ten, my eyes would probably be bulging out of my head. At sixty-five, I had a huge smile on my face watching the transformation, the ball, and the end of the spell.

All in all, it’s an entertaining movie that is visually stunning. The anchor that holds it all together is the theme of “have courage and be kind” that is said time and time again until you believe it to be truth, witness that good prevails, and realize fairy godmothers do exist.

Oh, and Prince Charming isn’t bad looking either.
Love the soundtrack!

"Lord John’s Dilemma" by G. G. Vandagriff

Synopsis

 

When Lord John returns from the Battle of Waterloo nursing a serious wound and a case of melancholia, he is hopeful of beginning a happier phase in his life. His sights are set on the lovely Miss Lindsay, his country neighbor’s daughter. But to his mystification, he keeps getting distracted by her family’s governess—a little dab of a thing who is not at all what she seems.

His determination to solve the mystery of Miss Haverley begins to seriously undermine his interest in Miss Lindsay, who is confident he is about to offer for her. In the face of this, how can he pursue his interest in the family governess? Not only must he solve this dilemma, but he must discover what the petite woman is hiding.

When Miss Haverley begs him to resist satisfying his curiosity because such a course could bring her harm, his dilemma doubles. He is more determined than ever to rescue her from whatever demons she is trying to escape, for Miss Haverley alone seems to have the power to stir him to passion and hope for a new life.

"Arsenic and Victorian Lace" (Guest Post by Nora Covington)

How do you commit murder? Well, in the Victorian era arsenic was a good way to do in your rivals, spouses, and enemies. My latest release, Blythe Court, contains arsenic, and you may wonder if my use is accurate. Hopefully, you know by now I do my research, even if it really does sound extremely odd when you read the story.

Arsenic, in case you need a quick education, is a chemical element. It occurs in many minerals. During the Victorian era, it was widely used in commercial products. It was also available to purchase in bottle form from a druggist—half an ounce cost a penny, enough to kill 50 people. Unbeknownst to the Victorians, they were slowly poisoning themselves from wallpaper to clothes. The poison caused agonizing deaths until they finally realized the dangers of the chemical and began putting restrictions in place.

Here are a few of the products that contained arsenic:

1. Wallpaper. The Victorians loved the color green. Scheele’s Green was a pigment derived from arsenic. During the 19th century, homes were decorated in wallpaper that emitted toxic fumes causing illness. If a piece of wallpaper flaked off and a child ate it, death arrived.
2. Dresses. Green-colored fabric in dresses and other clothing contained arsenic. “Drop dead gorgeous,” is a term I see in many articles about women wearing clothes filled with arsenic. You looked stunning in green, but your skin absorbed the poison. You swirled around a ballroom, and your dress gave off fumes dangerous to your partner and those around you. Eventually, a test was developed by simply placing a drop of ammonia on the fabric. If it turned blue, arsenic was present.
3. Other clothing and accessories: Socks, hats, gloves, underwear, etc.
4. Toys. Children sucked on toys made with arsenic and became ill or died.
5. Other products. Cookware, wine bottles, face powder, shampoo, and the list goes on and on.
The Victorian home could be a death trap, as well as your wardrobe. As the population became increasingly ill and deaths rose, Parliament still refused to ban the use of arsenic in products because it was a booming business. It wasn’t until the end of the Victorian era that manufacturing of products that contained arsenic was curtailed.
On the other side of the coin, were the accidental poisonings. If you didn’t read the label closely enough, you could pick it up in the kitchen and add it to your food in error. Arsenic looked like other substances such as sugar—powdery white. It wasn’t until 1851 laws were enacted to color the arsenic so the difference could be detected and ladies no longer grabbed the wrong thing thereby killing their entire household from a newly baked pie. Contaminated well water could also contain arsenic.

If you want to get all “Arsenic and Old Lace” about the subject, arsenic could be easily slipped into food and drinks unnoticed because it was tasteless and odorless. Enough could do you in quickly while a little sprinkle here and there could lead you down the road of a slow and agonizing death. Apparently, the greatest users of arsenic in murders cases were Victorian women wanting to do away their husbands. Can’t divorce the drunken abuser who beats you every night? Try arsenic. Here is an interesting article about famous ladies of the day killing off their husbands with this versatile substance.

CLICK HERE

The symptoms of arsenic poisoning over a period of time included white lines forming on your nails, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, hair loss, muscular weakness, kidney problems, and other not-so-pleasant medical ailments. In spite of the negative symptoms, the Victorians also hailed it as a medical cure for low libido, eczema, and other remedies.
For more information on arsenic poisoning during the Victorian era, here is a good resource:
The Arsenic Century: How Victorian Britain Was Poisoned At Home, Work And Play
by James C Whorton

"Blythe Court: Novella" by Nora Covington

Synopsis

Ann Seddon knew at an early age that her aristocratic parents would arrange an advantageous match on her behalf. Nuptials of convenience blended family fortunes and kept bloodlines pure. After her presentation at court, which marked the beginning of the London season, Ann’s life turns into a whirlwind of tea parties, balls, and husband hunting.

When her parents suggest John Broadhurst, the Marquess of Dorchester, as a potential mate, Ann dislikes their choice. Even though he appears dashingly handsome, she finds him to be a boorish and aloof man. He, on the other hand, shows very little interest in her either, which wounds Ann’s delicate ego.

In spite of their lack of regard for one another, they marry to fulfill their parents’ wishes. Ann, however, harbors a dark premonition that one day the marquess will break her heart. After beginning their married life together, her fears are realized as she is engulfed by a world of secrets, betrayal, and danger at Blythe Court. (33,600 words)

 

 “Romance With a Kiss of Suspense”
Stately homes, mysterious characters,  and suspenseful romance set in Victorian England

"Whitefield Hall: Novella" by Nora Covington

Synopsis
As a young lady, Mary Gleadhell chose the occupation of a hired companion, rather than seeking love and marriage. When she accepts a new position as company for the mother of the 4th Baron of Warrington, Mary believes she has procured an excellent situation. However, when she arrives at Whitefield Hall and meets her ladyship, she discovers a cold and aloof woman who does not want her companionship.

 

To make matters worse, her ladyship warns Mary to be careful because her son is a snake who seduces women. In fact, she blames him for the hasty departure of two previous companions. The baron, on the other hand, warns Mary not to believe everything she hears, calling his mother a poisonous spider.

Unsure who to trust, Mary settles into her new employment with caution. However, as the weeks pass in a strife-filled home occupied by bickering adults, she wonders if she will be the next companion to mysteriously flee from Whitefield Hall. (Approx. 34,000 words)

Amazon | Nook | Smashwords| Other Venues to Follow

Nora Covington Website

"Willoughby" by Sadie Montgomery

Synopsis:
Willoughby is the story, taken from the pages of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, of the ill-fated lovers, Marianne and Willoughby.

Foolish and impetuous, Willoughby becomes involved in a reckless affair, the consequences of which he won’t fully know until it’s too late. Only when he meets and falls in love with Marianne Dashwood does he understand and regret the consequences of his rash behavior.

Cast aside, her romantic illusions broken, Marianne must teach her heart to love more wisely. Despite their separate paths, Willoughby’s and Marianne’s stories are intertwined, and fate brings them together, with unexpected consequences, at critical moments in their lives.

Faithful to the events in the original, Sadie Montgomery integrates new material into Austen’s text and spins a tale of missteps and their consequences, partial truths and revelations, transgressions and redemption. Taking the plot well beyond the final pages of Sense and Sensibility, we follow Marianne and Willoughby into their separate marriages, through joys and sorrows, through battles at home and abroad, to discover that passion does not always fade and that reason alone cannot fulfill us.

 

"The Rancher Takes a Wife" by Leslea Tash

 Synopsis
One look into his piercing blue eyes, and I knew there was no way I could ever say no to Carl Ward. I wasn’t sure he could help me, but more than anything, I wanted to see him again.
“Oh, Mr. Ward,” I said. “Nothing would please me more.”
Chastity Lilly is no flapper. In 1920s New York, she’s determined to find a career as a teacher so she can support her family upstate. But one thing leads to another, and the company she keeps in the big city leads her down a very different path than the one she sought.
When she helps a handsome rancher in town looking for his own errant sister, can she turn her act around? Will she take his offer of a teaching position in Wedlock, Montana and make a brand new start? And if she does, can she–and the rancher–leave the past behind to forge a new future together?
Not if the rancher’s sister has her way.
This is a sweet historical Western romance. There are no PG-13 or R-rated scenes.

Website: http://LesleaTash.com 
Facebook: http://facebook.com/LesleaTash 
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LesleaTash 
Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/LesleaTash

Historical Romance Books Coming to Life

 

Okay, so I’ve been watching on Facebook and hearing everyone else talk about the “highly anticipated” Outlander television series on Starz. On the other side of the camp, all the Poldark lovers are going crazy over that series being redone by Masterpiece Theater.

 

Because, I knew very little about Outlander, written by Diana Gabaldon, except for what I’ve read in multiple blog posts and reader comments, I finally downloaded the first book. From what I’ve gathered in searching the net and reading reviews, there is a lot of polarization regarding the story. The disagreeable readers say this — they liked the beginning and the premise, but as the story continued were appalled by scenes that turned them off (mainly, the supposed marital rape of Claire, Jamie beating Claire for disobedience, and Jamie’s rape by Captain Randall).  I will stay clear of that hot debate.

What makes a story extremely popular is uniqueness. Outlander is apparently one of those novels (a long series), as it takes the reader back in time from the 1940’s into 1700’s Scotland. It contains all of the right elements – mystery, danger, surprise, handsome Scottish hunk, bodice ripping, passionate lovemaking, and a difficult decision for the heroine to make.  To keep abreast of the story, I added Starz for $10 a month to my Comcast account.  Though I have read the first book, I will rely on the television series for the remainder.  As an author myself, it’s impossible for me to sit down and read the entire tale without sacrificing my own time that I need writing.

 

After watching the first two episodes, I am very impressed with the quality of the production.  Starz has brought the story to life through costumes, location, and cast.  They have put a huge amount of money into marketing this series and it shows.  The frenzy of fans are highly emotional, as well.  Just spend a few hours in the Facebook Fan Group with 29,000 plus ladies talking about what is under the kilt.

Now, let’s go to the heartthrob. Pictures of Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie, have been clogging my timeline on Facebook for months. Jamie is quite the hunk–young, virile, strong, and well-endowed, no doubt, as women think about what’s under that kilt. With his thick Scottish brogue, you just want to kiss him to shut him up, if you don’t mind the sweat and blood on his face to get there.

Claire is played by an equally talented and very beautiful Caitriona Balfe.  The others in the production are well casted and doing a fantastic job in their respective roles.  Tobias Menzies, who plays two roles in the show (Frank and Captain Randall), will make you cringe as the evil Redcoat after the Scots.

 

Since the Scots have been garnishing a huge amount of attraction from Outlander, the English have been feverishly working on their own series.
Poldark on BBC Masterpiece Theater is slated for 2015 release, based on the books of Winston Graham.  It first aired on television in the 1970’s and became a hugely successful series garnishing it’s own swooning group of women over the main character, the dashing Ross Poldark, who will be played by Aidan Turner this time around.
Set on the rocky coast of Cornwall, a former Redcoat who fought in the war of independence in 1776, returns home to resume his life and love only to find things have changed.
Needless to say that those who love to read historical romance, enjoy watching the stories come alive.  Of course, adaptations on television or the big screen do not always follow the books.  Already, there have been some comments regarding Outlander straying, and it will be interesting to see if Poldark is kept like the 1970’s series or morphed into something entirely new.

Frankly, it doesn’t bother me if an adaptation isn’t religiously tied word for word to the original book.  I think that the author of Outlander is extremely blessed to see her work come alive on screen as are the readers of the series.  It’s frankly an experience that every historical author probably dreams about–I know that I do.

"Thorncroft Manor (A Novella) by Nova Covington

Just Released!

 

Caroline Woodard was convinced that she would die a spinster. Her headstrong personality was not her best quality, or an attractive female characteristic to eligible Englishmen.
Upon her cousin’s invitation to be her maid of honor, she travels to Pendeen, a small village on the Cornwall coast of England. Soon after her arrival, Caroline is introduced to Bramwell Croft, who will be the best man. Even though he is a wealthy owner of a tin mine, Caroline finds him to be a brooding and disagreeable man. Instantly, their personalities clash like the tempestuous sea that pounds the rocky coastline.
When she is forced to spend more time at Thorncroft than she would like, she finds herself strangely intrigued and attracted to the gloomy lord of the manor. However, as time goes by, Caroline cannot help but wonder if she will be his next victim of seduction or perhaps murder.
“Romance With a Kiss of Suspense” – Novella (Approx. 38,000 words) – Thorncroft Manor is the first in a set of six individual novellas placed in stately English homes, with mysterious characters and suspenseful romance, during the Victorian era.
About the AuthorWebsite | Facebook | Twitter
Purchase Links:   Amazon | Smashwords | Nook, Apple, Kobo, and others (pending release)

 

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Book Review: "The North Wing" by Susan Butler

Releasing a debut novel can often be a nerve-racking adventure for a first-time author, the outcome of which can be disaster or success. Susan Butler, who has been brave enough to share her talent with the world, has successfully written her first novel that is sure to entertain its readers. As an author, she has mastered the art of mystery and suspense in The North Wing, giving us characters that keep us guessing from the moment we meet them.

Abigail Parker, the story’s heroine, is like any other young woman her age. She meets a handsome, dashing bachelor, who sweeps her off her feet and proposes marriage. Of course, she agrees to become his wife and leaves Vienna for England to prepare for their wedding and life with the man she loves–but barely knows. When she arrives at the impressive Rochester Manor, Abigail quickly learned that the man she is to marry is quite different from the man who romanced her back in Vienna.

Skillfully, the author immerses her readers into a mysterious house, and page by page begins to unfold the secrets behind its walls and what is locked up in the north wing. The journey keeps readers guessing, and surprises and suspense abound. It is not until Susan skillfully takes us to the climax of the story that you are utterly spellbound and sitting on the edge of your seat as you read the frightening passages. The mark of a good mystery writer is to surprise your readers and surprised you will be over the outcome you won’t see coming.

Since I don’t wish to release spoilers and ruin it for you, I’ll just conclude my thoughts. As a romantic mystery, it is well written and plotted to perfection. Susan’s grasp of the language of the day is good, and her insightful thoughts about life a nice touch. She should be congratulated for her successful debut and being brave to share a wonderful story.

I sincerely hope this talented writer will begin another novel or even write a sequel to The North Wing!

5

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Book Promo: "The Convict & the Cattleman" by Allison Merrill

Synopsis

His love is the key to her release.
Sentenced to seven years of servitude in the penal colony of New South Wales, Bridgit Madden is thrust into a world unlike anything she’s known, dangers she never imagined and enemies with their own interests at heart. Certain that the conviction has ruined her chances of ever having a real family, she is fearful of her future.
Despite his reluctance to take in a convict, Jonah Andrus, a grazier and pioneer cattleman, needs a servant to care for his orphaned niece. When presented with Bridgit, who is far too beautiful and distracting, he initially tries to refuse. However, with a busy cattle station to oversee, he needs help right away.
Upon her first meeting with Jonah’s niece, Bridgit immediately falls in love with the girl and becomes entwined the mystery surrounding her birth. As she gets to know her employer better, Bridgit makes it her mission to remind him that family is priceless. When it seems as though she might have found the place she truly belongs, their love is threatened by lies and deceit, and both of them might lose everything they hold dear for a second time.

inks:   Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google Plus | Goodreads | Book trailer

Author Bio:

A love of reading turned Allison Merritt into an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She graduated college with a B.A. in mass communications that’s gathering dust after it was determined that she’s better at writing fluff than hard news.
She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she’s not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.

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Book Promo: "Harder Than the Rest" by Shirleen Davies

Synopsis

“They are men you want on your side. Hard, confident, and loyal, the MacLarens of Fire Mountain will seize your attention from the first page.”

Will MacLaren is a hardened, plain-speaking bounty hunter. His life centers on finding men guilty of horrendous crimes and making sure justice is done. There is no place in his world for the carefree attitude he carried years before when a tragic event destroyed his dreams.

Amanda is the daughter of a successful Colorado rancher. Determined and proud, she works hard to prove she is as capable as any man and worthy to be her father’s heir. When a stranger arrives, her independent nature collides with the strong pull toward the handsome ranch hand. But is he what he seems and could his secrets endanger her as well as her family?

The last thing Will needs is to feel passion for another woman. But Amanda elicits feelings he thought were long buried. Can Will’s desire for her change him? Or will the vengeance he seeks against the one man he wants to destroy—a dangerous opponent without a conscious—continue to control his life?
Excerpt

Will sat in his room at the boarding house, looking at a poster of the man he would go after next. Groups were his preference—two, three, four—didn’t matter, he just preferred going after more men than spending his time on only one. But this one was different. This was the one he needed to get. Maybe then he could put the past behind him, at last.

Emily. His heart always twisted when he thought of his wife and their unborn child. How different his life would have been if she were still here.

He sank deeper into the bed, rested his arm over his eyes, and thought of that one horrific day that had driven him across three territories, a couple of states, and might eventually lead him to hell.

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Book Promo: "Song for Sophia" by Moriah Densley

Synopsis:

To win a man’s heart, a woman must have the mind of a diplomat, a general, and Cleopatra, all in one.
Desperation has led Anne-Sophia Duncombe to a life of exile. Still, she is always just one mistake away from capture and a marriage she would rather die than endure. As a last resort to remain hidden from her former life, Sophia attempts a radical scheme; a life of humility and disguise.
Rumor has it Wilhelm Montegue, the Earl of Devon, is insane. A tormented war hero haunted by scandal, he is only tolerated because of his brilliant mind and swarthy good looks. His unmentionable “condition” which keeps him confined to his country home is also the source of his talent for composing music.
When a new housemaid is hired at Rougemont, Lord Devon is perplexed to find himself fascinated by her. He knows the exquisite beauty is keeping secrets but her siren’s voice draws him ever closer, and he can’t resist the intoxicating scent of danger surrounding her.

 

Author Bio:

Moriah Densley sees nothing odd at all about keeping both a violin case and a range bag stuffed with pistols in the back seat of her car. They hold up the stack of books in the middle, of course. She enjoys writing about Victorians, assassins, and geeks. Her muses are summoned by the smell of chocolate, usually at odd hours of the night. By day her alter ego is your friendly neighborhood music teacher. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband, four children, and two possibly brain-damaged cats. Published in historical and paranormal romance, Moriah has a Master’s degree in music, is a 2012 RWA Golden Heart finalist, 2012 National Reader’s Choice Award winner in historical romance and ’12 NRCA “Best First Book” finalist.

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Book Promo: "The Legacy Series" by Vicki Hopkins

Synopsis:

Book One – The Price of Innocence (Historical Fiction w/Romantic Elements)

Follow the story of one young woman who suddenly finds herself destitute on the streets of Paris in 1878. Faced with the need to survive, she agrees to become a prostitute in one of the most infamous brothels in Paris. Ashamed of her choice and fearful for her future, she meets a handsome lord who has paid a hefty price to take her virginity. Little does she know that the man chosen to deflower her innocence will change her life forever.

Buy Links for Box Set $6.99:    Amazon | Barnes & Noble (Coming soon to other venues)

If Purchased Separately: (Available Worldwide)

The Price of Innocence – 99 cents
The Price of Deception – $1.99
The Price of Love – $2.99

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Book Promo: "The Count’s Last Mistress" by Bess Greenfield

Synopsis

She despises him on principle.

New York heiress Jeanne Delancy chooses the wrong time to escape her troubled past and begin anew in Paris. After her friend disappears amid the political upheaval of 1871, the idealistic artist vows to protect the abandoned child she’s come to love until her friend returns. When a handsome, charismatic, and suspiciously inquisitive count offers her an absurdly lucrative commission several months later, Jeanne can only assume he is the same loathsome “comte de Chaumenay” who seduced and deserted her friend long ago. As much as she’d like to refuse his offer, her conscience compels her to give the war hero the opportunity to prove he’s worthy of knowing his son, a test she knows he’ll fail. But the independent woman who thinks herself immune to temptation underestimates the gallant Frenchman in many ways.


He’ll stop at nothing to win her over.

Haunted by battle and the death of his brother, aristocratic cavalry officer Olivier Valencourt is elated to discover the existence of a child who could only be his brother’s illegitimate son. Unfortunately, he has no proof, and the beguiling American beauty caring for the boy in her Montmartre hovel offers only lies and evasions. While he admires her courage and probable good intentions, Olivier is not about to entrust his nephew’s welfare to a woman who frequents dance halls to earn a living. To gain custody, he plots to win her confidence and cooperation through patronage, patience, and his never-before-tested powers of persuasion. But it doesn’t take long for the bohemian’s unconventional wisdom and innocent sensuality to obliterate his self-control and avert his agenda entirely. While the strong-willed opposites struggle to reconcile their deepest longings, dangerous alliances and scandalous secrets threaten a tragic repetition of history.
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Book Promo: "Just Dessert" by Heather Gray


Synopsis:

Dessert…the perfect remedy when nothing in life seems to be going right.
What do you do when you are the sole protector of four children, your brothers, and sisters? When each day is haunted by disappointment, disillusionment, and desperation? When you believe that everyone who ever loved you, including God, has abandoned you?
You bake a pie, of course.
What do you do when you find a woman whose heart is consumed by fear? Who does not know how to trust? Who scoffs at your faith and throws your kindness back in your face?
You eat a pie, of course.

 

Buy Links:   Amazon Barnes & Noble | Astraea Press | Smashwords   

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Book Promo: "Romancing His English Rose" by Catherine Hemmerling

Entangled Publishing

Synopsis:

Rose Warren and Simon Trumbull may have been betrothed since birth, but that doesn’t mean they have to like each other. Rose is sure the notorious playboy Simon will never willingly settle down, and Simon, well… he agrees. Never one to be forced into anything, he’d rather drink and gamble with his mates than spend time with the bookish, bespectacled Rose.

When the two are thrown together to investigate a potential poisoning mystery, neither expects the sparks that fly. Simon discovers that Rose is, in face, a brilliant sleuth and – even better – hides a delectable body beneath her flowing skirts. Suddenly, falling into bed may be the best idea either has heard, but can Simon convince Rose his romancing is forever?

About the Author:

Catherine Hemmerling has been a technical writer in the software industry for nearly twenty years and has published many user manuals and technical documentation in that time. She has always had a love of writing fiction but has never pursued publication in that genre until now.

Hopefully, it is the beginning of a long new journey with Lady Lancaster and the Garden Society girls. Certainly, historical romance (especially the scandalous kind) is more fun than writing technical documents!

This author happily resides in Tehachapi, California (near Bakersfield – home of her Alma-mater!) with her family.

Catherine writes for Entangled Publishing’s Scandalous historical line and is thrilled to be part of their family of writers!

Author Links:   Website | Twitter Facebook

Buy Link:  Amazon

Book Review: "Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman" by Wareeze Woodson

Conduct Unbecoming a Gentleman by Wareeze Woodson is a Soul Mate Publishing release. This is a 2013 copyright. I receive a copy to this book from Long Ago Love and Vicki Hopkins in exchange for an honest review.

Laurel’s husband left her in a bind when he died. His sister, Rhonda, was remembered in his will, and their son was to be his cousin Lord Adron’s ward. So, when Laurel attempts an escape, she is chased down and her son stolen from her by Adron’s men. Once she locates Lord Andron’s estate, he sees she is determined to stay with her son. So, he offers her a deal. She can become an unpaid member of the staff and be a nanny to her son and other children that are currently on estate. Having no choice by law, Laurel takes what she can get in order to be with her son.

Lord Adron believes the worst of Laurel. He was led to believe she brought his cousin to the ultimate despair that caused him to take drastic measures. But, Laurel surprises Lord Adron by being a caring, hands-on mother and having a wonderful way with children. No matter what he throws at her, she is able to withstand it. But, he cannot withstand his attraction to her.

In the middle of this drama, there are some valuable jewels that Laurel’s husband, Robert had hidden somewhere. Rhonda and her cohorts are desperate to find the jewels. In the process, Rhonda continues the plot against Laurel, insinuating that Laurel may be a jewel thief. She is even more determined to get rid of Laurel with she notices the attraction Lord Adron has for Laurel. Rhonda has set her heart on marrying Lord Adron herself. With each passing day, Laurel and Lord Andron fall deeper in love with each other. But, there are issues with women that Lord Andron will have to overcome before he can win Laurel over. But, first the jewel thief must be caught and the jewels found.

This was a really entertaining Regency period historical romance. Lord Andron is terrible in the beginning. He is terrified of being duped by a beautiful woman, which is what led, in part, to his bad attitude toward women. Laurel was innocent is all things, but was admittedly naïve when she first married and her husband didn’t do the right thing by her from the start.  But, as worldly as the men in the story liked to think themselves, they too were rather naïve. They were deceived time and time again but were too blind to see. So, Lord Andron was easily led to believe whatever he was told about Laurel and usually, it wasn’t good.

You will get frustrated with Adron a great deal. I didn’t have much empathy for his side of things except maybe his bad experiences in the past. But, with a certain conniving woman that had everyone twisted around her little finger, you will become quite annoyed. Laurel isn’t as naïve as she once was though and shows a little backbone. Will Lord Andron finally wake up and smell the coffee? Will the jewel thief be discovered? There were lots of twist in the story. A shocking reveal will set you back on your heels and really get you thinking about the jewel thief mystery.

A quick entertaining read that is unique to most Regency romances. But, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe a great deal of pain couldn’t have been avoided by making some changes in those horrible British laws in regards to women’s rights. What do you think?

4 Crowns – Princess of a Charming Story (Countess Julie)
4

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Book Promo: "Mail Order Man (Ladies of Larkspur)" by Heather Gray

Synopsis:

Some people get a mail order bride. She got a mail order man.

A well-meaning friend places an ad to find a mail order husband for Sarah, the proprietress of Larkspur’s stage and mail office. Sarah, who is generally quiet and reserved, doesn’t know about the ad and has no idea what to do with all the people that are showing up in her community. Before long, the town is overrun with men and mail alike.

Sarah is trying to avoid some men who have accosted her on the street when she stumbles into Samuel. Through long days spent together at the stage office, some very adventurous pots of coffee and a shared faith, the two became friends. Sarah knows that Samuel is hiding something from her, something important, but that doesn’t stop her heart from leaping wildly into love.

Lacking the confidence to trust her heart, Sarah wars with herself over the feelings she can no longer deny. When some of the men who have come to town show their true intentions, a shootout follows. Sarah finally gets answers to many of the questions circling through her mind. One question remains, though. Where will her mail order man go when the dust settles?

About the Author:

Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing. Years ago, she decided it would be better to laugh than yell. Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.

Buy Links: 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Astraea Press | Kobo

Author Links:  WebsiteBlog

Book Promo: Box Set – "Daring Damsels Collection" by Award Winning Authors

FOUR BEST SELLING MEDIEVAL NOVELS BY FOUR BEST SELLING AUTHORS!

A LADY’S CHARADE by Eliza Knight A Scottish LADY, abandoned and in disguise. A KNIGHT who wants her dead. But he could be her only savior in England–as long as he never discovers her identity.

DANCE OF DESIRE by Catherine Kean One veiled LADY dances to save her brother’s life. One LORD sheriff tormented by barbaric secrets claims her as his bride. The more she learns of him the harder it is to deny his love.

MIDNIGHT SHADOW by Laurel O’Donnell A LADY dons a mask and cloak to right the wrongs and save her people from oppression. A LORD, torn between the woman he longs to trust and the outlaw he has vowed to hang vows to find the truth. Will a legendary hero find love in the arms of her enemy?

SPRING’S FURY by Denise Domning A WOMAN trained to wield a sword, plotting revenge against the man who killed her sire. A KNIGHT, claiming her land as his own. If they are to survive the hungry season it will take every bit of his talent for taming wild creatures.

Book Promo: "His Saving Grace" by Heather Gray

Synopsis:

Will she be able to save him from himself?
Grace finds herself wed to a man who loathes her. She is shunned and exiled to the farthest corner of the land. It wouldn’t hurt so much if he hadn’t once been her best friend.
Thomas became a duke long before he was ready. Now he can’t go anywhere without women trying to entrap him into marriage. He expected better from his childhood friend.
How can friendship, let alone marriage, thrive in the face of bitterness, suspicion, and misunderstanding? What’s to be done when the hurtful choices made in anger have lasting consequences?
It takes a special kind of person to see past the pain to the beauty that lies beyond…
Author Links:  Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Book Promo: "The Reluctant Bride" by Beverley Eikli

Synopsis

Winner of the Choc-Lit Australian Star competition!

Emily Micklen is proud, passionate – and left with no option after the death of her loving fiancé, Jack, but to marry the scarred, taciturn, soldier who needs to secure a well-connected wife.

Major Angus McCartney hopes that marriage to the unobtainable beauty whose confident gaze about the ballroom once failed to register his presence will offer both of them a chance to put the past to rest.

Emily’s determination to be faithful to Jack’s memory is matched only by Angus’s desire to win her with honour and action. Sent to France on a mission of national security, Angus discovers how deeply Emily has been duped, but the secrets he uncovers lead them both into danger. Can Angus and Emily unmask the real conspirators before they lose everything?

 

 

Beverley Eikli and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, Homer

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
 

Beverley Eikli is the author of eight historical romances published by Pan Macmillan Momentum, Robert Hale, Ellora’s Cave and Total-e-Bound. Recently she won UK Women’s Fiction publisher Choc-Lit’s Search for an Australian Star competition with her suspenseful, spy-based Regency Romance The Reluctant Bride.

She’s been shortlisted twice for a Romance Readers of Australia Award in the Favourite Historical category — in 2011 for A Little Deception, and in 2012 for her racy Regency Romp, Rake’s Honour, written under her Beverley Oakley pseudonym.

Beverley wrote her first romance when she was seventeen. However, drowning the heroine on the last page was, she discovered, not in the spirit of the genre so her romance-writing career ground to a halt and she became a journalist.

After throwing in her job on South Australia’s metropolitan daily The Advertiser to manage a luxury safari lodge in the Okavango Delta, in Botswana, Beverley discovered a new world of romance and adventure in a thatched cottage in the middle of a mopane forest with the handsome Norwegian bush pilot she met around a camp fire.

Eighteen years later, after exploring the world in the back of Cessna 404s and CASA 212s as an airborne geophysical survey operator during low-level sorties over the French Guyanese jungle and Greenland’s ice cap, Beverley is back in Australia teaching in the Department of Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University, as well as teaching Short Courses for the Centre of Adult Education and Macedon Ranges Further Education.

She writes Regency Historical Intrigue as Beverley Eikli and erotic historicals as Beverley Oakley.

Beverley won the Choc Lit Search for an Australian Star competition with The Reluctant Bride.

Shortlisted for the 2012 Australian Romance Readers Award for her novel Rake’s Honour

Finalist in the 2011 Australian Romance Readers Awards for her novel A Little Deception.

Links:

Beverley Oakley Website

Amazon 

Barnes & Noble

 

Book Promo: “Hear the Wind Blow” by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Foodies have their favorites. Wine connoisseurs possess knowledge of vintages and grapes. Readers know the genres they enjoy and they expect certain standards. Romance readers prefer a happy ending, whether it’s the classic happily ever after or just happy for now. Historical romance readers also expect a solid historical background. Although I read – and write – various flavors of romance, nothing shakes me out of a story faster than historical inaccuracy. If the heroine’s name is something modern such as Tami and the story is set in the 18th century, I’m turned off. If the characters chatter about modern pastimes or use 21st-century slang, I’m done.
And, if they store their food in a nice electric refrigerator prior to the common use of such appliances, I’m outraged. But I’ve seen all of the above in various works and I strive to never make such a glaring error.
History is a passion of mine. I grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri, an old river city with a rich history. Many westward bound pioneers set off on their journey from St. Joe. The short-lived but long remembered Pony Express began there and outlaw Jesse James died there at the hands of one of his own gang. Old houses, vintage buildings, and noteworthy places once first of their kind west of the Mississippi River abound in the older parts of town. I grew up in a Victorian brick house and every relative on either side of the family lived in an older home. When I first visited a modern ranch house in suburbia, I realized everyone didn’t have clawfoot bathtubs, carved staircases, attics filled with odd bits of memorabilia from the past or antique furniture.
In college, although I majored in both English and history, I knew I would write. Over the years, I honed my writing skills and eventually turned to my first love, writing fiction. My first few novels were contemporary and paranormal but when I first wrote my first historical romance, I was hooked. I loved bringing the past back to life and painting images of another time to give readers a little taste of history. With my background, I vowed to make certain I got facts and research right.
How do I go about writing a historical novel? First I come up with a story set in a favorite time period or place. Then I refresh my memory and read about the period. Whenever possible, I use firsthand sources. When I wrote In The Shadow of War, a World War II novel set in the small town where I now live, I used as many personal memories, printed recollections, and original source materials as possible. I also relied on some of the family stories I heard as a child. When I wrote Guy’s Angel, a 1920’s romance with some paranormal overtones, I set the story in my hometown of St. Joseph and in the old neighborhood, not mine but my grandparents’ old stomping grounds. I used local newspapers from the decade, hands-on research, 1920’s slang, and some of the old tales. Although my next historical, Dust Bowl Dreams, is set in Oklahoma, I also relied on family lore and experiences. I also read extensively about the “Dirty Thirties”.

My next historical romance will be out September 3 from Rebel Ink Press. Hear The Wind Blow, Love begins in November 1918 just after the Armistice and end of the first World War. It’s set in the Ozarks where I now live.

Blurb:
When the Armistice ends the Great War in November 1918, the end comes too late to save Maude Whitney’s husband, Jamie. But Maude realizes her heart still belongs to Harry, her brother-in-law who courted her first. He’s been her rock in Jamie’s absence while they shared quarters with the grandparents who raised the brothers. But Granpa died and Granny moved to town so when Maude invites him to move back under the same roof, it’s sure to be a scandal in the rural Ozarks.

Before gossiping tongues can spread the news, Spanish influenza wreaks havoc in the area. It brings death close to home for Maude and Harry. As they fall deeper in love and plan to wed, their troubles are just beginning. Old feuds erupt and the day after Christmas, Harry’s hauled into custody and accused of a murder he didn’t commit. Harry must prove his innocence and survive a serious bout of flu or there’s no happy ending for the star-crossed couple.

Links:

Book Promo: "FASTER Than The REST, Book 2 of the MacLarens of Fire Mountain series" by Shirleen Davies

 

SYNOPSIS

“Headstrong, brash, confident, and complex, the MacLarens of Fire Mountain will captivate you with strong characters set in the wild and rugged western frontier.”

Handsome, ruthless, young U.S. Marshal Jamie MacLaren had lost everything—his parents, his family connections, and his childhood sweetheart—but now he’s back in Fire Mountain and ready for another chance. Just as he successfully reconnects with his family and starts to rebuild his life, he gets the unexpected and unwanted assignment of rescuing the woman who broke his heart.

Beautiful, wealthy Victoria Wicklin chose money and power over love, but is now fighting for her life—or is she? Who has she become in the seven years since she left Fire Mountain to take up her life in San Francisco? Is she really as innocent as she says?

Marshal MacLaren struggles to learn the truth and do his job, but the past and present lead him in different directions as his heart and brain wage battle. Is Victoria a victim or a villain? Is life offering him another chance, or just another heartbreak?

As Jamie and Victoria struggle to uncover past secrets and come to grips with their shared passion, another danger arises. A life-altering danger that is out of their control and threatens to destroy any chance for a shared future.

Buy Links for FASTER Than The REST (Book 2 of MacLarens of Fire Mountain)

Here’s how you may contact or follow Shirleen Davies:
Author Page
Website
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Book Promo: "The Art of Temptation" by Genella deGrey

Synopsis:

After seven failed seasons, Valerie Hempstead decides to take her fate into her own hands, and a tour of the continent is just the thing. Accompanied by a female cousin, and the girl’s childhood companions–all of whom live fast and for the moment, Valerie is about to discover more about life than she anticipated.

Travis Elijah Colin Wade, the son of no one, in particular, has just been handed a vast amount of money and a large country estate and, of all things, a bloody title. However, he’s not at all pleased about leaving his care-free bachelor days behind. Determined to spend some of his money and relax before assuming his duties for Queen and country, Travis goes abroad. Little does he know that he is about to be utterly swept away by the seduction of innocent surrender.

 

Book Promo: "A Stormy Knight" by Amy Mullen

SYNOPSIS

Will his love burn brighter than his need for revenge?

In twelfth century England, Gemma de Vere and Nicholas de Reymes find love at a young age. Too naïve to truly understand what is happening, their fledgling relationship is torn apart by political games and scheming minds. Nicholas and his family disappear into the night and Gemma is left with a shattered heart.
Seven years later, Gemma still harbors a broken heart, and retreats into a life in which she will not be foolish enough to fall in love again. Mysterious deaths and accidents begin to plague those living within the walls of Blackstone Castle, and her father falls ill. She has no choice but to seek the assistance of King Henry.
Help arrives in the form of her childhood love, the handsome and imposing Nicholas, who is now a fierce and loyal knight bent on revenge. The pain and anguish he feels over the fate of his family casts Gemma as his enemy. To him, she represents all the misfortune in his life as he tries to keep her at arm’s length and far away from his heart.
Their journey towards truth is riddled with treachery and danger from an unlikely source. Will they find their way back to each other, or will his need for revenge outweigh the love he feels in her arms?

 

EXCERPT

“You defy me,” he said as he spun around to face her, “and you do it at every opportunity. You have caused me great pain, and I will have no more of it. You lead my men astray and cause them to be weak. I cannot be lord with you undermining my authority within these walls!”
Gemma steadied her voice, her only option clear, “I shall leave then. I will go to my uncle in Wales. We shall remain married. There is nothing that can change that, so your hold on this land is secure. ‘Tis all you care for. I once loved it here, but living with a man who does not know how to trust me is too much to bear.”
“You are my wife, like it or hate it, and you will do as you are told! You will stay out of my way, and you will not step foot outside of the keep until I say so.” His entire body was tense, his voice harsh.
“Nay,” she said while lifting her chin, “I shall leave. What you do not know, Nicholas de Reymes, is that I love you.”
He froze as she spoke but did not say anything.
“And because of that love” she continued, tears falling in earnest, “I can no longer abide this life. For the second time, loving you has been a mistake. My feelings betray me, and they anger you. I will be gone before I cause you more pain. I will take Isabel with me, and my father can come when he is up to travel. All I ask is you treat him well in my absence.”
“You will do no such thing!” he said. “It makes no sense, and I will not have you telling me what you are going to do. You are my wife, and you will do as I say. I will keep you safe, and I cannot do that if you are not here.”
“‘Tis not up to you,” she said, her voice low, “and you will not stop me. I love you, but I must be stronger than love. I realize now you feel I am the cause of all pain here. ‘Tis only right I lift the burden and leave so all who reside here are safe.” She abruptly left the room, unable to face him for a moment longer.

 

About the Author:

Amy Mullen is a freelance writer and romance author living in Corning, NY, with her husband, Patrick, two children, Rayna and Haylen, and an orange cat named Steve. Her first novel is a medieval romance titled “A Stormy Knight.”
Amy has been writing about love both lost and regained since she was old enough to have her first broken heart. Her love of history and her intermittent jaunts into amateur genealogy led her to a love affair with writing historical fiction. When not writing, she snaps pictures, enjoys the company of her children, and when time allows, loves to bury her nose in a good book.

Buy Links:

Astraea Press

Book Promo: "Conquering Passion" by Anna Markland

SYNOPSIS

CONQUERING PASSION covers a span of over ten years and is rich in details of 11th century England. Book One of the Montbryce Legacy introduces the three Montbryce brothers, Rambaud (Ram), Antoine and Hugh, and follows Ram’s journey with Mabelle de Valtesse through the labyrinth of dangers that existed in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest.

Mabelle, a strong heroine, is more than a match for her warrior hero, Ram. The passion quickly flares between them, but both are reluctant to admit their love. Can a man like Ram, who demands obedience in a wife, find love with the wilful refugee brought to his bed in an arranged marriage? Mabelle is an independent woman who has learned to live by her wits during a six-year exile with her psychotic father.

Only through trials and tragedy do they finally realize that they can no longer deny what their hearts have always known—love conquers all.

Lovers of medieval romance and English history during the time of King William the Conqueror will enjoy this intimate story of passion, betrayal, ambition, vengeance, and of course love.

Amazon

Book Promo: "Tougher Than the Rest" by Shirleen Davies

Synopsis

Niall MacLaren is the oldest of four brothers, and the undisputed leader of the family. A widower, and single father, his focus is on building the MacLaren ranch into the largest and most successful in northern Arizona.

He is serious about two things; his responsibility to the family and his future marriage to the wealthy, well-connected widow who will secure his place in the territory’s destiny.

Katherine is determined to live the life she’s dreamed about. With a job waiting for her in the growing town of Los Angeles, California, the young teacher from Philadelphia begins a journey across the United States with only a couple of trunks and her spinster companion. Life is perfect for this adventurous, beautiful young woman, until an accident throws her into the arms of the one man who can destroy it all.

Fighting his growing attraction and strong desire for the beautiful stranger, Niall is more determined than ever to push emotions aside to focus on his goals of wealth and political gain. But looking into the clear, blue eyes of the woman who could ruin everything, Niall discovers he will have to harden his heart and be tougher than he’s ever been in his life…Tougher than the Rest.

Amazon Purchase
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On A Personal Note . . .

As an author myself, there are times in my own career I become consumed with my work.  Currently,  I’m at the end of my first draft for The Price of Love, which is third in a series that I have written (The Legacy Series).

If you are an author, you know how very time consuming this process can be for a writer.  I’ll be revising and editing in the months ahead, which will need my full attention.  Due to that heavy schedule, I may not be promoting very much in August or September on Long Ago Love until after my own book is released and I can relax.
In the future, I am dedicated to supporting the works of others. However, I need to prioritize my own work in the process.

Nevertheless, you will still see occasional posts and reviews in the months ahead, but the blog will not be as active.

Thank you for your understanding!
Sincerely,
Vicki
“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” ― George Orwell

Review – "The Queen’s Vow" by C. W. Gortner

The life of royalty is akin to playing a game of chess.  Kings, queens, bishops, and plenty of pawns fill the pages of The Queens’s Vow.  As a child in school, history happened to be the subject I hated the most.  However, give me a good book and an intriguing story, and you’ve won me over.  On the pages of a textbook the facts of kings and queens could put you asleep, but in the hands of C. W. Gortner, they keep you highly engaged turning pages in anticipation of what is ahead.

The Queen’s Vow focuses upon the young Isabella of Castile starting at the age of three and continuing onward through adulthood. It begins with the sad reality that the death of a monarch can suddenly leave a wife and his children relegated to poverty far away from the throne. In this instance, Isabella’s half-brother, Enrique, rules Castile. He is married to an unfaithful wife with ambitions for her daughter, who everyone believes is the product of an affair and not of the king’s loins.

The early years of Isabella’s life, with her less than emotional stable mother and younger brother, fill the first few chapters. However, when she and her brother, Alfonso, are finally called to court by their half-brother, you sense the fear of the unknown. Welcomed by the king, but their presence unwanted by the queen, the two of them suddenly become pawns in everyone’s plans for the realm.  However, it’s here that Isabella knows without a doubt that one day she is destined for greatness.

Drowning in a court with unscrupulous advisers and rampant immorality, Isabella finds the court to be a dreadful place. The one bright moment, however, is her introduction to Fernando, Prince of Aragon, who at the age of 12 has led armies into battle.  She dismisses him as a boy, even though he speaks of marriage like a man.  In his mind, they are destined to be together, and when he departs for Aragon to return to his father, he merely writes for her to wait for him.  And wait for him she does – for years.

The book is filled with twists and turns and the ups and downs of Enrique’s rule, Isabella’s favor from the king and subsequent displeasure, along with the characters who play the game of chess behind the scenes. She matures into a strong woman who faces her future with braveness.  I, on the other hand, count my lucky stars for having not been born royalty in an age such as this when the ambitions of others could very well threaten your livelihood and your life. There is an underlying fear of betrayal and captivity that is unsettling in Isabella’s journey to the throne that lasts for quite some time. Finally, in her late teens, she is reunited with Fernando, who she marries against the king’s wishes. The act sets into motion an upheaval that eventually leads her to the throne of Castile.

Though we often read of the conquests of kings and queens in their adulthood and later years, it’s not often we can journey with them on their way to the throne. Of course, if you know your history, Isabella is not without her questionable acts later on in her reign, which are alluded to in the story when a man of the cloth tells her that she’s been chosen by God to clean the land of its wickedness.

C.W. Gornter is an engaging and intelligent author who takes his readers into the world of history-making everything come alive. From the descriptive scenery of Castile to the moldy and musty-smelling castles, the book breathes life on every page. As an author myself, I find his style and writing highly engaging.

I highly recommend The Queen’s Vow for anyone looking for a great historical fiction of a famous queen, sprinkled with the love of her husband, Fernando.  I found the story extremely intriguing from her childhood to the coronation and her early years of rule.  However, when Jewish persecution and the Spanish Inquisition were initiated at the persuading of others, I found my interest waning in the book.

I think that relates back to the bad taste in my mouth left by a profoundly disturbing movie – Goya’s Ghosts.  Perhaps I had high hopes for Isabella and Fernando because I enjoyed their characters early on but found fault in their actions later in their rule.  The author, who did a great job creating living and breathing reincarnations of kings and queens, brings you to a place of being intimately acquainted with these historical characters.  That is a mark of a good writer, especially when their actions bring you disappointment — you almost take it personally.

On a side note, for my historical romance readers, there are fleeting portions of romance within the book.  Nevertheless, I rate it a Four-Star – Princess of a Charming Story (even though it’s about a Queen).

Reviewed by Countess Victoria

 

Novelette: "An Undying Love" by Dana Bartlett

A novelette based in the deep south during the time preceding the Civil War, carried through to the conclusion. The story is centered around Emily, a classically southern young lady, who aims to please others, especially her mother. Emily comes into womanhood, discovers what true love is and experiences passion along with the heartache of loss. Along the way, she finds her true strength within herself, with the testing of her faith and what makes her truly happy. 
By Dana Bartlett 
Rating: Not yet rated. 
Published: July 14, 2013 
Words: 9,020 (approximate) 
Language: English 
ISBN: 9781301473076
Note: For Mature Audiences Only
Available Exclusively on Smashwords

Book Promo – "Blind Allegiance" by Violetta Rand

Soul Mate Publishing

Synopsis

It’s a risk of a lifetime loving a man you’re supposed to hate…

Betrayed by a brother she hardly trusted before the bloodthirsty Viking, Jarl Randvior Sigurdsson, attacks her home, Noelle Sinclair is conveniently bartered as a means to save her cowardly sibling’s skin. Forced to leave her homeland and accompany the petulant Viking to the untamed wilderness of central Norway, Noelle is ever-aware of the burgeoning dangers around her—including her weakening resolve to resist Randvior.

Should Noelle surrender to his resplendent charms and seduction, or fight with every ounce of strength she possesses to get home?

Excerpt

Dark clouds always gathered in Noelle Sinclair’s dreams. Hundreds of nightmares had played out in her mind since childhood. Why should tonight be any different?

The smell of burning wood invaded her sleep. Smoke snatched her breath and she tried to purge her lungs by taking deep breaths. She ran for the great hall and all she could see were scorched rafters and floorboards. Guards scrambled to the battlements, while women and children fled the castle. She searched for her sisters among the people migrating outside …

“Fire!”

Noelle’s eyes snapped open at the sound of dire warning. By God, this was no dream! She flung blankets aside and rolled over, shook her older sister awake, and jumped out of bed.

“What’s wrong?” Margaret asked sleepily.

“The castle’s on fire. Get up, now!”

Margaret scurried from bed and ran with Noelle to the windows overlooking the eastern edge of the castle. Through the swirling fog, Noelle could make out a tangle of men with torches and weapons in the courtyard below. She further scanned the shoreline where the North Sea pounded against the rocks and dunes. The castle was under siege and poorly defended. Most of the soldiers and her father were in Ireland, leaving only her brother and a skeleton army behind.

Her gaze still locked on the beach, Noelle caught sight of three, silvery-white longships anchored beyond the walls. Their blood-red sails snapped in the wind. She stared in horror as the pattern on the sails came into focus—the shape of a dragon.

 About the Author

Violetta Rand holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy and a master’s degree in Environmental Management. Serving as an environmental scientist in the state of Alaska for over seven years, she enjoys the privilege of traveling to remote places few people have the opportunity to see.

Violetta has been “in love” with writing since childhood. Struck with an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age, at five, she wrote short stories illustrated by her best friend and sold them in her neighborhood. The only thing she loves more than writing is her wonderful relationship with her husband, Jeff. She enjoys outdoor activities, reading whatever she can get her hands on, music, and losing herself in the ancient worlds she enjoys bringing to life in the pages of her stories.

Author’s Website

 

Guest Post: "Viking Attraction" by Violetta Rand

Many things attracted me to Vikings. I’ve been in love with history forever. As a highly imaginative child, prone to telling tall tales, reading and writing came naturally. Of course what I read and wrote is another story. It started with sneaking peeks at my eldest brother’s collection of Conan the Barbarian comic books and developed into a full blown obsession with heroes. What’s more compelling than a warrior’s tale? I can’t think of anything I like more. Combine romance, action, and a touch of mysticism and I’m hooked—in a big way.

Lacking any central authority during the early raids, Norsemen seized this opportunity and often returned from pillaging in glory and wealthier than they ever dreamed. Commoners became princes, men of reputation and honor. That’s where I draw inspiration. All Vikings, great and small, sought one common end—a seat at Odin’s table in Valhalla.

Imagining the glories of Asgard, the heavenly realm where Odin and his children lived, made it easy to develop my hero, Randvior Sigurdsson. Herculean and irrevocably devoted to Odin, Randvior might appear the typical Alpha at first glance, but he’s not. His father, Anundr Sigurdsson, decided his only son would benefit from the wealth he’d earned from seafaring. As a result, my hero received an English education. Fluent in many languages and well-traveled, Randvior anticipates change, including the expansion of the Church. He’s worked hard to establish trading rights and new homesteads across Europe. He’s tired of raiding and considers it an unnecessary risk. This wisdom gives him the ability to think more liberally and make better choices for his future. Kill or be killed might be the mantra of the Viking Age, but mercy has its advantages. Randvior demonstrates mercy when he first encounters Noelle Sinclair.

Noelle Sinclair is a young noblewoman from Durham, England. Although she’s not her father’s favorite daughter, he respects her the most because she’s shown how independent and quick witted she is under pressure. That said, Noelle is also educated and quite fond of reading. When three longships appear in the middle of the night, it’s Noelle who springs into action and leads her sister to safety. Once she realizes other women from her household are unaccounted for, she marches back to the castle to confront the invaders and save her kinsmen. This allegiance attracts the attention of Randvior who bargains with Noelle’s brother for custody of her.

Noelle has no intention of forsaking her home. She opposes Randvior every step of the way—from Durham to Norway. Each holds the other responsible for many mishaps, including the legitimacy of their opposed religions. Blind Allegiance offers a glimpse into the turbulent life of a Viking lord who offers his soul to a woman he’s not supposed to love. And Noelle knows it’s a risk of a lifetime loving a man she’s supposed to hate.

Book Promo: "Northman’s Pleasure" by Kate Hill

Ellora’s Cave
Released 7-17-13

Synopsis:

Legend is Grim Hammerhand is half wolf. Vowing never to marry, the muscular, red-haired warrior saves his passion for the battlefield and the forge. That is, until the woman he secretly lusts after is abducted.

Asgerd has loved Grim for years, only to be ignored by the object of her desire. She has eluded the bonds of marriage, hoping that someday Grim will notice her, but her dreams are shattered when she is captured and defiled by the brutal warrior Stein.

After the king sends Grim to rescue his daughter and claim Stein’s land, the passion between the couple finally ignites. In the end, Grim’s mistrust of all women could destroy their one true chance for happiness.

 

 

Book Promo: "Norse Jewel" by Gina Conkle

Entangled Publishing, LLC
Released 6-10-13
70,000 Words

Synopsis:

A stolen woman of rare qualities…
AD 1022…Helena longs for freedom. The Frankish maid wasn’t born a slave but marauding Danes have taken her. She’s desperate to escape their camp. Her savior comes as a fierce Norse chieftain, Hakan, who takes her to the far, icy north.

A powerful warrior who’s lived by the sword…

Hakan wants to lay down his sword and live a peaceful farmer’s life. Betrayal has left him cold to other women, yet his heart thaws to clever Helena. Her tender ways lure him, weaving kindness into his hard life. But, happiness is short lived. Old loyalties and deceit vex the warrior, calling upon his sword arm.

A clash of cultures amidst a kingdom in transition…
War erupts…a kingdom’s in the balance. Can Hakan defend his homeland and keep the woman he loves?


 

About the Author:

Gina’s a lover of history, books and romance, which makes the perfect recipe for historical romancewriter. Her passion for castles and old places (the older and moldier the better!) means interesting family vacations. Good thing her husband and two sons share similar passions, except for romance…that’s where she gets the eye roll. When not visiting fascinating places, she can be found in southern California delving into the latest adventures of organic gardening and serving as chief taxi driver.


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