Medieval Monday #5 ~ SHADOW OF THE SWAN

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Welcome back to Medieval Monday! I’m sharing Snippet #5 from Shadow of the Swan today, and as you’ll see, Constance is definitely rethinking her relationship with Robert.

Remember to visit Medieval Romance Lovers on Facebook to find links to the other authors’ excerpts. (#MedMonFall20) Now, on to the fifth snippet:

            For the next week, their bedtime ritual followed a similar pattern.  He kissed her forehead and said good night.  Sometimes they talked in bed about the day’s activity; sometimes not.  For the most part, she was content.  But she couldn’t help comparing their situation to the fervid affair between Alice and Guy.  The squire made nightly visits to the handmaiden’s chamber while Meg busied herself elsewhere.

            The comfort of friendship versus the passion of love.  The latter appealed to Constance, more with each passing day.

A little more about the story:

Lady Constance de Bret was determined to be a nun, until shadows from the past eclipsed her present. Marriage is the safest option, but she insists on a spiritual union, in which physical intimacy is forbidden. Not so easy with a bridegroom who wields unparalleled charm! But a long-buried secret could taint his affection and cloak her in shadow forever.

Back from the Crusades, Sir Robert le Donjon craves a home of his own and children to inherit it. From the moment he meets Constance, he feels a mysterious bond between them. When she’s threatened, he vows to protect her and agrees to the spiritual marriage, with the hope of one day persuading her to enjoy a “real” one. She captivates him but opens old wounds and challenges everything he thought he believed.

Two souls in need of healing. Two hearts destined to beat as one.

Buy the book or audiobook:

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&NApple | Kobo | Audible | Apple Audio

That’s all for today. Have a lovely week, and I’ll see you next Monday!  🙂

HIDDEN GYPSY MAGIC by Tena Stetler

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Please welcome Tena Stetler! She’s a sister Rose (published by The Wild Rose Press) and here to tell us all about her inspiration for her latest release, Hidden Gypsy Magic. It’s set in Salem, Massachusetts, a city I’m fortunate to call “home.” Take it away, Tena!

Hi Judith! Thank you so much for hosting me and HIDDEN GYSPY MAGIC on your beautiful blog.  I’m thrilled to be here and so excited to share with you the inspiration for my fantasy, time travel, adventure.

Part of the inspiration for Hidden Gypsy Magic was the characters themselves. Gwen was introduced in A Witch’s Journey. Brock came to fruition in A Witch’s Holiday Wedding. They insisted on their own story. Then my friend adopted three baby desert tortoises. A storyline began to play out in my head since Gwen is a wildlife rehabilitator and Brock is a veterinarian. They live and work in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem has always intrigued me, so I put a twist on the witch trials and a trip back in time. Then I threw in poachers in present time and a dog and owl rescue. Still, the what if’s just kept coming and Hidden Gypsy Magic was born.  

Additional inspiration was the Salem Witch Trials.  How can you set a story in Salem Massachusetts and not mention the Salem Witch trials? Okay, I admit it, I’ve always been enamored with the Salem Witch Trials since I was involved in a high school play The Crucible. Research into the Salem Witch Trials led me to believe that things were not always as they seemed. I wondered if the accounts of those judging the supposed witches had something to hide or were they on some kind of power trip.

Researching one highly visible individual Judge in the witch trials, I had an epiphany. What if that person was not who or what he claimed to be? What if he had intimate knowledge of witchcraft and not just as a bystander?  Well, that could put a kink in the accounts of the Salem Witch Trials. Don’t you think? That’s what’s fun about writing fiction. LOL

How about a little more about Hidden Gypsy Magic?

  The Salem Wildlife Sanctuary is Gwen Taylor’s life work.  Her Irish Gypsy heritage provides a hidden talent she uses to help the creatures under her care.  But even her magical skills can’t help new rescues in dire need of veterinary care.

The opportunity of signing on as the vet for Gwen’s sanctuary dropped into Brock Scutter’s lap after he expanded his practice to include wildlife. The personal attraction he and Gwen experience is undeniable the more their professional and personal lives collide. 

Touring the only “non-haunted” house in Salem they both feel a spark of magic.  A trip to his family’s cabin uncovers a heritage he didn’t know existed.  If they want a future together, it means facing the consequences of awakening hidden Gypsy magic and a race against the clock to correct past wrongs.

A sneak peek between the pages:

“It feels like all the air is being sucked out of this room.” His brother’s face turned ashen white as Beth’s ghostly form took shape in the center of the room.

Brock moved to the little group gathered and glanced at the grandfather clock standing in the hallway. Fifteen minutes until midnight. The witching hour on All Hallows Eve. A nervous chuckle rose up in his throat. How cliche. His brother would be a believer after this night.

He cleared his throat and wrapped an arm around Gwen’s waist. “Can we help you, Beth?” Misfit’s howling could be heard clearly from the upstairs bedroom.

“No, but I hope we can help you.” Ghost Beth glanced back at the painting and sadly shook her head. “The ghost of Judge John Hathorne stands outside ready to curse or worse all those involved in sullying his reputation. The house stands between all of you…protecting—” The ghost’s hand and arm made a sweeping motion toward their group, “— against his magic ability.”

A soft almost hysterical giggle burst from Gwen. “Doesn’t he know that by his actions this night, he has not only outed himself but proved the rumors and article are true?”

“I don’t believe he’s considered that point.” Beth’s ghostly grim face twitched into a half-smile. “He’s bent on revenge, but apparently had trouble passing through the veil this evening.” She pointed to the clock and then laid a finger on her lips.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA | B & N | Apple

A little more about Tena:

Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award winning paranormal romance with an over-active imagination.  She wrote her first vampire romance as a tween, to the chagrin of her mother and the delight of her friends. Colorado is home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-five-year-old box turtle. When she’s not writing, her time is spent kayaking, camping, hiking, biking or just relaxing in the great Colorado outdoors.

 Her books tell tales of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.

Where to find her:

Website | Authors’ Secrets Blog | My Say What Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Newsletter | Pinterest | Triberr | BookBub | Instagram | Tumblr | BookGorilla

Great to have you back, Tena. Best of luck with the book!

Medieval Monday #4 ~ SHADOW OF THE SWAN

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Welcome back to Medieval Monday! I’m sharing Snippet #4 from Shadow of the Swan today. As always, you can find links to the other participating authors’ snippets by visiting Medieval Romance Lovers on Facebook. (#MedMonFall20)

Now, here’s my fourth snippet:

            “Good night, Constance.”  His breath was hot on her flesh.

            She found her voice.  “Good night.”

            He pulled away and strode toward the bed.

            My dear Robert, you are patience incarnate.  She hastened toward her side of the bed and sighed as the feather mattress embraced her weary frame.  ’Twas a glorious thing to lie down with a clear conscience.  Finally!  Within minutes, she slipped into sleep.

A little more about the book:

Lady Constance de Bret was determined to be a nun, until shadows from the past eclipsed her present. Marriage is the safest option, but she insists on a spiritual union, in which physical intimacy is forbidden. Not so easy with a bridegroom who wields unparalleled charm! But a long-buried secret could taint his affection and cloak her in shadow forever.

Back from the Crusades, Sir Robert le Donjon craves a home of his own and children to inherit it. From the moment he meets Constance, he feels a mysterious bond between them. When she’s threatened, he vows to protect her and agrees to the spiritual marriage, with the hope of one day persuading her to enjoy a “real” one. She captivates him but opens old wounds and challenges everything he thought he believed.

Two souls in need of healing. Two hearts destined to beat as one.

Buy the book or audiobook:

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&NApple | Kobo | Audible | Apple Audio

That’s all for this Medieval Monday. See you next week!  🙂

Medieval Monday #3 ~ SHADOW OF THE SWAN

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Welcome back to Medieval Monday! Today, I’m sharing Snippet #3 from Shadow of the Swan. Remember to visit Medieval Romance Lovers on Facebook to find other authors’ snippets. (#MedMonFall20)

If you’re new to Medieval Monday or unfamiliar with Shadow of the Swan, here’s the story:

Lady Constance de Bret was determined to be a nun, until shadows from the past eclipsed her present. Marriage is the safest option, but she insists on a spiritual union, in which physical intimacy is forbidden. Not so easy with a bridegroom who wields unparalleled charm! But a long-buried secret could taint his affection and cloak her in shadow forever.

Back from the Crusades, Sir Robert le Donjon craves a home of his own and children to inherit it. From the moment he meets Constance, he feels a mysterious bond between them. When she’s threatened, he vows to protect her and agrees to the spiritual marriage, with the hope of one day persuading her to enjoy a “real” one. She captivates him but opens old wounds and challenges everything he thought he believed.

Two souls in need of healing. Two hearts destined to beat as one.

Without further ado, here’s my third snippet:

            She held her breath.  What is he thinking?  Will he kiss me?

            He hesitated, then stepped forward and leaned closer.  His lips connected with her forehead in a soft, lingering kiss.

            His nearness was at once a balm and a temptation.  But I’m not ready!

Buy the book or audiobook:

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Walmart | Apple | Kobo | Audible | Apple Audio

That’s all for this week. See you next Monday!  🙂

FREE AUDIOBOOKS!

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What’s better than audiobooks? Free audiobooks! I’ve teamed up with several authors in a month-long event on Story Origin, featuring the following genres: young adult, women’s fiction, coming of age, and new adult. All of the audiobooks in this promo–including The Cauldron Stirred, the first book in my YA paranormal fantasy series, Guardians of Erin–are FREE for listeners willing to review.

I have US and UK audio codes to give away, so don’t be shy about requesting a copy!

This event will run through October 31. (Halloween, my favorite holiday!) Coincidentally, the climax in The Cauldron Stirred takes place on Halloween, so it may just be the “listen” you’ve been looking for to put you in a magical mood. Here’s a little about the story:

Ashling Donoghue never dreamed moving to Ireland would rock her perception of reality and plunge her into a mystery that brings legend to life.

At seventeen, she’s never had a boyfriend, but she feels an immediate connection to Aengus Breasal, the son of the wealthy Irishman who’s invited her family to stay at his Killarney estate. For the first time in her life, a guy she likes seems attracted to her.

But Aengus is secretive, with good reason. He and his family are the Tuatha Dé Danann, ageless, mythical guardians adept at shifting between this reality and the magical dimension known as the Otherworld. Evil forces from that world threaten the Breasals, the Donoghues, and all of Ireland. Ashling must open her heart, face her fears, and embrace a destiny greater than she could ever have imagined.

Request it and/or other titles you’d like to review on Story Origin (free account needed) by following this link.

Happy listening, and have a great weekend!  🙂

TRICK OR TREAT BOOK BONANZA ~ N. N. Light’s Book Heaven

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Trick or Treat! ‘Tis the month to celebrate all things paranormal, supernatural, suspenseful, and mystical. If you’re like me, you’ll want to accept this special invitation to join the festivities at N. N. Light’s Book Heaven’s 2nd annual Trick or Treat Book Bonanza. 46 authors share what they’d dress up as for Halloween as well as 53 books featured plus a chance to win one of the following:

~ $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

~ $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

~ $25 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

~ $15 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

~ $10 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

I’m thrilled to be a part of this event. The Cauldron Stirred is one of the featured books today. Wait until you read what my Halloween costume would be. Check it out here!

Bookmark this event and tell your friends:

https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/trick-or-treat-book-bonanza

Enter the giveaway here!

Open internationally.

Runs through October 31.

Drawing will be held on November 1.

Good luck, and have a wonderful October!  🙂

SPOOKY HALLOWEEN BOOKISH GIVEAWAY ~ N. N. Light’s Book Heaven

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October is here, and it’s one of my favorite times of the year. The weather turns chilly, the leaves change color, and I get an excuse to binge-eat Halloween chocolate. As the wind shakes my windows, I love to curl up with a good book. N. N. Light feels the same way, and they’re hosting a spooktacular giveaway. No tricks, just treats for booklovers! Everything from romance to paranormal to audiobook codes are being given away. You can even enter to win one of my books: Soul of the Wolf, the second of The Novels of Ravenwood.

Go on, indulge your inner kid and enter this giveaway. If there’s a particular book or prize you’d like to win, be sure to say which one when you enter via Rafflecopter. Enter below and good luck!

Spooky Halloween Bookish Giveaway

Literary Giveaway Portal

Medieval Monday #2 ~ SHADOW OF THE SWAN

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Welcome back to another Medieval Monday! Our nature theme continues, and today I’m sharing Snippet #2 of my excerpt from Shadow of the Swan. Remember to visit Medieval Romance Lovers on Facebook to find other participating authors’ snippets. (#MedMonFall20)

For anyone unfamiliar with Shadow of the Swan, here’s the blurb:

Lady Constance de Bret was determined to be a nun, until shadows from the past eclipsed her present. Marriage is the safest option, but she insists on a spiritual union, in which physical intimacy is forbidden. Not so easy with a bridegroom who wields unparalleled charm! But a long-buried secret could taint his affection and cloak her in shadow forever.

Back from the Crusades, Sir Robert le Donjon craves a home of his own and children to inherit it. From the moment he meets Constance, he feels a mysterious bond between them. When she’s threatened, he vows to protect her and agrees to the spiritual marriage, with the hope of one day persuading her to enjoy a “real” one. She captivates him but opens old wounds and challenges everything he thought he believed.

Two souls in need of healing. Two hearts destined to beat as one.

Now, here’s the second snippet:

            They retired to the bedchamber and peeled off layers of clothing until all that remained was her chemise and his breeches.  Constance willed her gaze from Robert’s torso to his eyes as he approached.

            He halted an arm’s length away.  “Thank you for your honesty…and your trust.”

            She grinned.  “Thank you for marrying me.”

            His dimples appeared.  “My pleasure.”

            Pleasure.  The word hung in the air between them like a watchful, seductive spirit.

Buy the book of audiobook:

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Walmart | Apple | Kobo | Audible | Apple Audio

That’s all for this Medieval Monday. See you next week!  🙂

MIDDLE AGEISH by Shirley Goldberg

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Please welcome Shirley Goldberg! She’s a sister Rose (published by The Wild Rose Press) and here to talk about her recent release, Middle Ageish. Let’s see what she has to say…

Tell us something about yourself.

When I was in my teens all I wanted to do was travel. At nineteen, my best friend and I quit university and went to Ireland.

We hitchhiked all around the country, me with a suitcase as big as a sheep. (I ended up sending most of the clothes I’d brought back home.) A sweet couple put us up in their barn for the night and served us a four-course breakfast in the morning.

They would have given us a room, but my friend, Elise, wanted to sleep in a real barn. We hitched all around Europe and ended up meeting a group of travelers at the Youth Hostel in Rome, continued on to Greece with them. We’re still in touch to this day.

Funny that I ended up marrying a Greek physics professor and living in Crete for eleven years.  

Why did you choose the cover concept you did for Middle Ageish?

My novel is romantic women’s fiction. Since the title of the book, Middle Ageish, immediately tells the reader the characters are older, I wanted a cover that conveyed the idea of a rom com for the over-45 reader. A fun, beachy read, but with the real life problems that come with life experience.

Who would you recommend this book to and what should readers be aware of before reading it?

Here’s what a reader said about my book in a review:

“In the beginning I thought, ‘I’m not sure this book is for me. I’ve been married for 50 years.’ I quickly changed my mind. I loved the book.”

My readers are probably in their forties and older, married or divorced and looking for a light read––although there’s some heartbreak and angst in the novel. The heat level is low and the door closes when it ratchets up.

Also, since the book centers around online dating it will appeal to anyone who’s dated online, or is curious about it. If you’d like to read more how-tos about dating, check out my website link below.

And, if you think Sunny’s dating escapades are exaggerated, ask your friends who’ve dated. They’ll give you the real scoop––just as it plays out in the story. 

Relationships are what our books are all about, all different kinds of relationships. What interests you about how people find one another?

Everything about relationships fascinates me, from the meeting and greeting aspect to the reasons couples break up. The book grew out of my own dating experiences, but I needed time and perspective before I began writing. I worked my way gradually from taking notes after dates to transferring the notes to the computer in story form.

And I compared notes with friends, usually over a glass of wine. Our experiences had so many similarities, I began to see a pattern. Everyone wants a special someone. No matter what we say to the contrary, the craving for the one person who understands you is universally important to almost everyone on the planet. 

What defines you as an author?

I want to make my reader laugh. I want her to recognize a little bit of herself in my characters.

It’s been a pleasure having you here, Shirley! Middle Ageish sounds like a wonderful, fun read.

And now, a peek between the pages:

An email from Noah, the guy who lived on Long Island, slid into my inbox. What was I doing meeting some far away guy? What if we hit it off? New Haven to Long Island. A ridiculous commute.

A little thump, thump warning from my chest, an adrenalin rush. Don’t get carried away here. No expectations. We were meeting, only if I liked his phone persona.

Meeting. Nothing more.

I skimmed the email, smiling like an idiot.

To: Sunny

From: Noah

May I please have your most honuorable presence to enlarge by far the companionment of my pleasurelyness on Saturday the eighth of December MCMXXVVIIMZQX at 1030 hrs under the auspiciscisable weather conditions of shine or no shine or falling snow or sleat yes, even that for the purpose of our ffffirst date in the way of a nice slow freaky amble on the Canal in the Towne of Hamden and of my dreams. Boat optional.

My warmest thoughts, hopes

Respect. Fully. Noah

Ps. May I call you? Please.

I emailed my phone number and sat on my bed waiting for the phone to ring. All I could think of was Luke, the day we emailed back and forth until he said I can’t stand it anymore, and I’d sent him my phone number.

Well, Noah wasn’t Luke.

The phone rang.

“Hello.”

“Hello, this is Noah—your blind date.”

“Aren’t we being polite?”

“Yes, should we be something else?”

“Well, I’m nervous, and you claim to be shy.” I picked at my toenail polish.

“You don’t believe I’m shy?”

“No, I don’t. You’re definitely not shy in email.”

“No. But I have the chance to think about what I’m writing.”

“Yes, that’s an advantage.” This guy has a great voice. I wonder if he knows it. “But it can be a problem because then you have to live up to your email potential.”

Plus, he was fun to tease.

“My email potential?” He sounded worried. “Now you’ve got me scared. Running scared.”

“So,” I said, “should we walk and then meet?”

He laughed, a friendly, reassuring laugh. “I liked it when you said that. Made fun of you, too. Did I get you mad?”

“Absolutely. Did I make you jealous when I went on that Harley date?”

“Definitely.”

“Is that why you wanted to meet me?” I asked.

“I wanted to meet you from the beginning.”

“What beginning?” This is fun.

“Oh, I think it was when you called me “honey” in your email.”

“You liked that?”

“I did,” he said. “It sorta broke the ice.”

“Oh. You have a New York accent. I hear something there, especially when you say “becawze.”

“That’s because I live in New York and grew up there, too.”

“Of course.”

“So, let me tell you something, but I don’t want to scare you.”

“You’re scaring me. Do you have a record or something?”

What a waste. That’s all I could think. All those lovely emails, the funny French and Italian translations, the great voice. The man was hiding something.

“No, it’s not that kind of scared.” His voice became faint, as if he’d turned his head away.

“Just say it then.”

A long pause before he spoke. “I was thinking, just in case we fall madly in love, well, I rented a room there.”

“Where?”

“There.”

“Here?” I said, bewildered.

“Holy crap, yes. There. Look, I thought if we hit it off, I could stay over and see you tomorrow. That’s my idea.”

“Oh.”

“Oh? Is that all?” He sounded genuinely hurt.

“Well, I feel pressured, and I haven’t even met you.”

“Don’t feel pressured.”

“OK.” And after a long pause I told him I felt pressured.

“Forget it. It was a bad idea. I shouldn’t have said anything.”

“Yes, you should have.”  He shouldn’t have.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Apple | B & N | Google | Kobo

A little more about Shirley:

Shirley Goldberg is a writer, novelist, and former ESL and French teacher who’s lived in Paris, Crete, and Casablanca. She writes about men and women of a certain age starting over. Her website http://midagedating.com offers a humorous look at living single and dating in mid life, and her friends like to guess which stories are true.  Middle Ageish is her first book in the series Starting Over. Her character believes you should never leave home without your sense of humor and Shirley agrees.

Visit her website for another excerpt from the book. Sign up and grab a copy of Happy Hour, a short story about an online meet and a tiny misunderstanding. 

Find her here:

Goodreads | BookBub | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon

 

Medieval Monday ~ SHADOW OF THE SWAN

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Welcome to another round of Medieval Monday! Once again, our theme will be “Nature.” Last time, I contributed snippets of an excerpt from Night of the Owl, the fourth book in my medieval romance/time travel series, The Novels of Ravenwood. (By the way, my editor should be sending me the preliminary galley of the fifth and final book, Return of the Raven, soon. Stay tuned for updates!)

For this round of Medieval Monday, I’ll share snippets of an excerpt from the third book, Shadow of the Swan. The “nature” elements won’t become apparent until Snippet #6…unless we’re talking about human nature!

This round will also be different from our usual routine. For the next 12 weeks, I and the other participating authors will post only our own snippets, instead of each other’s. To find links to all of our excerpts each week, visit the Medieval Romance Lovers Facebook page and look for the Medieval Mondays post. (#MedMonFall20)

Now, on with the show! Here’s a little about Shadow of the Swan:

Lady Constance de Bret was determined to be a nun, until shadows from the past eclipsed her present. Marriage is the safest option, but she insists on a spiritual union, in which physical intimacy is forbidden. Not so easy with a bridegroom who wields unparalleled charm! But a long-buried secret could taint his affection and cloak her in shadow forever.

Back from the Crusades, Sir Robert le Donjon craves a home of his own and children to inherit it. From the moment he meets Constance, he feels a mysterious bond between them. When she’s threatened, he vows to protect her and agrees to the spiritual marriage, with the hope of one day persuading her to enjoy a “real” one. She captivates him but opens old wounds and challenges everything he thought he believed.

Two souls in need of healing. Two hearts destined to beat as one.

Here’s the first snippet:

            He cradled her face with his hands. “I feel I finally know you. At least, more than I ever have.”

            She smiled through her tears. “I want to be known.”

            “Do you?”

            She nodded. “In every way.”

            He dropped his hands to his sides. “When you say ‘every’…”

            “I want our marriage to be more than spiritual.”

            His eyes widened, and hope shone within them. “You mean physical?”

            “Aye.” Heat flowed into her cheeks. “But not tonight. I still need time to adjust. Please be patient.”

            His gaze probed her soul. “I’ll be anything you want, Constance. Whatever you need, I shall give.”

Buy the book or audiobook:

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Walmart | Apple | Kobo | Audible | Apple Audio

Well, that’s it for now. Have a lovely week, and I’ll see you next Monday!  🙂