Articles, Cinderella Movie Disney, Fairytale, Historical Romance, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Patrick Doyle

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!
G. G. Vandagriff, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Regency Romance

"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, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post

"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
Articles, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post

“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
Arranged Marriages, Historical Romance Suspense, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Nora Covington, Unrequited Love, Victorian Romance

"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
Companions in Victorian Era, Historical Romance, Historical Romantic Suspense, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Nora Covington, Whitefield Hall

"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

Historical Romance, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Jane Austen, Sadie Montgomery

"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.

 

http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Leslea Tash, Sweet Romantic Reads

"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

Aidan Turner, Articles, Caitriona Balfe, Diana Gabaldon, Historical Romance, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Masterpiece Theater, Outlander, Poldark, Recdcoats, Sam Heughan, Scotland

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.

P.S.  If you are one of the unfortunate individuals who cannot get Starz; or if your country is not able to get the series, you can follow my weekly reviews on each episode at the following websites:

Historical Romance, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Novella, Period Images, Romantic Suspense

"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 Blog, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Mystery and Suspense, The North Wing

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

BUY FROM AMAZON

Book Promo Blog, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, The Convict & the Cattleman

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.

KoboiTunes | Available in Paper Now at : Amazon

Cowboy Romance, Harder Than the Rest, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Shirleen Davies

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?

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.

He felt rather than saw her behind him and waited for Amanda to announce her presence, but she said nothing.

“You just going to stand back there and stare at my half naked body, Miss Taylor?” Amanda jumped at his sudden words.

Will set down the ax, picked up his shirt, and turned to face her. He wasn’t prepared for the image before him. She wore a simple wrapper over her nightgown, and the full moon cast shadows through both layers of the thin fabric. Her black hair was fashioned in one long braid that had fallen over a shoulder, covering one breast. His mouth went dry and he worked to control his breathing. She was an extraordinary vision.

He took a deep breath and forced his gaze to her eyes. “What can I do for you, Miss Taylor? Did you need something from me?”

“I…well…” She couldn’t force the words out—they’d become locked in her throat.

“Yes?” Will chuckled at her obvious discomfort.

She recovered when she realized he found the situation humorous. “I heard noise and came to check it out. Why are you out here, chopping wood so late? It’s after midnight, Mr. MacLaren.”

“Couldn’t sleep. I often can’t, and need to do something physical to calm my mind. Any problem with that?” He continued to let his eyes roam over her beautiful form as the wind whipped the fabric around her legs and the folds clung to her body. She’d become a stunning sculpture. He tried to drag his eyes away, but found he could not.

Amazon Purchase
Author Page  
Website 
Facebook Author Page   
Blog 
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2012 RWA Golden Heart, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Moriah Densley, Song for Sophia

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. 

He bent his head over the keys, plunked out an unusual chord progression, then a lovely serenade came from the piano. No, more like a nocturne; sentimental, romantic, and lyrical. The melody pealed like a soprano voice, but the dark minor key stole its joy.
She listened, enraptured, as Wilhelm spun elegant, complex phrases. And not a note out of place, every chord logical, the harmony inventive—artistry and technique married.
She waited a few minutes after he finished before asking, “Is this one new?”
“Yes.”
A simple answer for the astounding revelation that he composed music in his head then played it without flaw.
“It’s beautiful, Wilhelm. Will you transcribe it for me?”
He smiled weakly, but she could see amusement—or was it pleasure—dancing in his eyes at her praise. “If you wish.”
She waited while he gathered manuscript paper and a pen then watched as his script flowed as lovely as his music. He titled the work: Her Voice, In Anger and Affection.
Unless she flattered herself, she guessed Wilhelm had given song to Sophia’s side of the argument with Aunt Louisa. If he had listened to her tone of voice and ignored her words, he would have heard just that in her inflection: anger and affection.
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.

Buy Links:

Get the ebook for only .99! Amazon | Smashwords | All Romance eBooks | Kobo

Box Set Historical Romance, Family Saga, Historical Fiction, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, The Price of Deception, The Price of Innocence, The Price of Love, Vicki Hopkins

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.

Book Two – The Price of Deception (Historical Fiction w/Romantic Elements/Family Saga)

Five years after releasing the love of his life to another man, the Duke of Surrey struggles with deep remorse about his past decisions. Chained in a loveless marriage of convenience and strangled by duty, he wallows in regret and drink. Everything in his life changes, when on holiday in Paris, he meets a young boy and his former rival. Suddenly, he finds himself thrown into a whirlwind of deceit and lies as he searches for the meaning of truth and love. Just like innocence, deception carries a price. Book Two of the Legacy Series weaves a tangled web of deceit and dire consequences, which in the end rearranges everyone’s life on a path of either good or evil.

Book Three – The Price of Love  (Historical Fiction/Family Saga)

At the age of eighteen, Angelique Jolene von Lamberg felt secure in life. After all, her stepfather was an Austrian count, and she inherited his wealth and the title of komtesse. But when a letter arrives claiming she was kidnapped as a baby, suddenly everything changes. Unable to dismiss the accusations, she embarks on a journey to London and Paris to seek out the truth. When she discovers that her life has been played like a pawn in a chess game of deceit, adultery, and vengeance, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Will she continue to be the victim of the price of love, or will she become the only person able to heal a broken family from the pain of the past?

 The Price of Deception

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) 
 “Gentlemen, you may choose your weapons. Monsieur Moreau, because this duel is your challenge, you will have first choice.”
Philippe studied both pistols and grabbed the gun on the right. Robert reached over and retrieved the gun on the left. Pelletier snapped shut the lid of the case and shoved it under his arm.
Robert’s heart pounded in his ears as he waited for the instructions to stand back-to-back with Philippe Moreau and then pace off, turn, and shoot. For a quick moment, he thought himself quite insane for agreeing to accept the challenge. He had put his life on the line to win his cherished Suzette and the son he loved. The stakes were high. In the next few minutes, he could very well be dead.
He held the pistol in his right hand and looked at the maker’s engraved name on the stock, feeling the weight, and gauging its handling. Made by a French gunnery, it felt somewhat different than the English pistols he had been accustomed to holding. He prayed the use of a foreign weapon would not hamper the accuracy of his aim, even though he was a first-rate shot.
Pelletier announced the conditions to them both in a gruff, loud voice.
“Monsieur Moreau has requested that the duel be to first blood, in which case the matter will be settled upon one man being wounded. However, if one man is severely wounded, and that wound leads to death, Monsieur Moreau will receive full and complete satisfaction of the disrespect done to his name.”
Robert knew then his nemesis intended to shoot to kill. His gut turned into a hard knot, as the moments slipped precariously toward battle.
“Gentlemen, please proceed to the clearing, stand back to back, with pistols in hand. I shall count to twenty paces, upon which you will stop upon the number twenty, turn, and fire your weapons. Do you understand my instructions?”
Robert nodded affirmatively. Philippe called out a confident “yes” in response.
“Very well then.”
Quickly, Robert glanced over at Giles who stood on the sidelines watching. The man looked pale as the moon, and Robert lifted his lips in a forced smile. He gave him a quick wink for an ounce of reassurance that all would be well.
“One, two, three…”
Robert moved his booted right foot in front of him and stepped in cadence with the numbers that were spoken. Twenty paces—it seemed like such a long distance, which would indeed make it a more difficult aim. He wondered why Philippe hadn’t chosen a lesser number to do him in at point blank range and be done with it. “Seven, eight, nine…”
Robert faced his countdown to eternity. He focused upon Suzette and his beautiful son, who looked so much like him.
“Twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen…”
In a few more seconds, it would be over. One way or the other.
“Eighteen, nineteen, twenty…”
Robert turned on his heel, lifted the gun to aim, and heard Philippe’s pistol discharge. He pulled the trigger almost instantaneously in return, and waited for the bullet from Philippe’s pistol to lodge in his heart.

Buy Links for Box Set $4.99:    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

Author Links:  Website | Facebook |Twitter

Heather Gray, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Just Dessert

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.

Seventeen year old Mary Fitzgerald stepped up next to the deacon, a beautiful looking strawberry pie in her hands. Today was the day she started taking lasting steps to protect her family. Pa was passed out at home, having drunk so much there was no way he would be waking up to come to the festivities at the church today.
She had been taking care of and protecting her younger brothers and sisters, the four of them, as far back as she could remember, but her pa was getting meaner and nastier with each passing year. Her brothers were getting angrier and more volatile, too. It was important to get them all out from under Pa’s thumb before her brothers were ruined for life, sentenced to turn into men like their pa.
Hoping to find a man willing to wed her and take her brothers and sisters in, too, Mary had entered herself in the dessert auction at a picnic hosted by the church. The auction was one of many events at the picnic, but it was the only one in which Mary was interested. Only eligible men were allowed to bid, and she hoped to use the auction to find a husband. How old, ugly or poor – Mary didn’t care as long as he didn’t beat or terrorize them. That was her highest hope, to find a man who did not cause her to cower, who did not break her bones, who would not harm her brothers and sisters. She had poured all her hopes for escape into making this pie to help her find a husband. Harboring no illusions about love, Mary didn’t even really care if the man was kind; she only needed him not to be too terrible.
As the diminutive deacon with thinning grey hair was about to begin the bidding, Mary glanced up. Fear grabbed hold of her heart and squeezed so tight she thought she might faint right there. Neither the sea of curious faces nor the beautiful blue Idaho sky drew her attention. Pa was coming, and he looked madder’n a hot, hungry bull. Mary couldn’t move. Her breath came in short, shallow gasps as she tried to stay conscious. She was terrified of this man. They had been so certain Pa would stay passed out all day, that he wouldn’t be able to discover their plan until it was too late. The kids had all dressed in their finest clothes and promised to be on their best behavior – no small feat for the boys – and now here came Pa, ruining their chance for escape.
The deacon had not seen Mr. Fitzgerald yet and was taking a big breath in preparation to start the bidding. His mouth was still open, sucking in air, when the bellow came from the back of the crowd, “That’s my young’un and ain’t nobody biddin’ on her pie! I ain’t raisin’ no harlot to get paid for her favors!”

Author Bio:   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 | Smashwords   

Where to Find MeWebsiteBlog | Facebook | Twitter

Bewitching Book Tours, Book Promo Blog, Catherine Hemmerling, Entangled Publishing, Historical Romance, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post

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 Blog, Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Regency Romance, Wareeze Woodson

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

BUY FROM AMAZON

Astraea Press, Book Promo Blog, Heather Gray, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Mail Order Man

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

Box Set Historical Romance, Eliza Knight, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Katherine Kean, Laurel O'Donnell, Medieval Novels

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.