Five-star Review by N. N. Light’s Book Heaven ~ THE CAULDRON STIRRED

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I just read a wonderful review of The Cauldron Stirred over on N. N. Light’s Book Heaven.  I’m beyond grateful for it!  And remember, there’s still time to comment on my previous blog post for a chance to win an e-copy of the book.

Here’s the link to the review:  https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/single-post/2018/05/14/The-Cauldron-Stirred-Guardians-of-Erin-Book-One-by-Judith-Sterling-and-WildRosePress-bookreview-paranormal-fantasy-Ireland-YAlit

Happy Monday, everyone!  🙂

 

Mother’s Day Giveaway

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Happy Mother’s Day to all my fellow moms out there!  Hope you’re enjoying a day as relaxing as the scene in the painting above!

I’m giving away an e-copy of The Cauldron Stirred, the first book in my young adult paranormal fantasy series, Guardians of Erin.  Comment below or on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/judithsterlingfiction/ by midnight, May 15, 2018 (Eastern Standard Time), and you could win!

In the meantime, here’s a scene from the book in which Maeve Donoghue (the protagonist Ashling’s mother) witnesses a touch of magic while looking at an ancient manuscript’s carpet page:

I gestured toward the manuscript on the table. “It’s incredible. Look at how interlocked the animals are.”

Mom nodded. “Some of them are so contorted, it’s hard to tell what they are. But that’s typical of the beasts in Celtic manuscripts.”

I pointed. “These look like swans. But what’s this?”

“A wolf.” Aengus’s arm brushed against mine as he, too, pointed.

All of a sudden, the carpet page came to life. The entire illustration lifted off the page, morphing into 3D. Ribbons of knotwork and scrollwork wove in and out of one another. Animals whose necks and limbs had once been linked now split apart. The wolves leapt over the shifting image and crept beneath cords that undulated like waves on the ocean. The swans glided across the loosened lines as though navigating ripples on a lake. In the center of it all, a multitude of colored bands broke free and rose higher than the rest, twisting and turning into the shape of letters which hovered above the whole: A-I-S-L-I-N-G.

I gaped at the word. Mom’s hand, still on my back, went rigid.

Her hand dropped to her side. “What the…” Words failed her.

Aengus yanked his arm from mine as though scalded. He stepped back from the table and from me.

Like magic, the page’s three-dimensional version vanished. Its flat counterpart lay as lifeless as before.

Mom blinked hard and shook her head as if to clear it. “Either I need glasses or I’ve been at this too long. Sorry, but I need a break. You two carry on without me.” She scuttled out of the room.

I pivoted around to face Aengus. “Did you see something strange?”

His eyes narrowed. “Did you?”

“You know I did.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

I pursed my lips. “I think you do. I’d be willing to bet that you and my mom saw exactly what I just did.”

“Which was?”

“That whole page was alive. And the word ‘aisling’ stood out as plain as the nose on your face.”

He nodded and appeared to be deep in thought.

After a good ten seconds, I planted my hands on my hips. “Well?”

His gaze found mine. “Well what?”

“You saw it, right?”

He hesitated, then sighed. “I did, but I’ve no time to discuss it now.”

“When then?”

“I couldn’t say.” His eyes shifted, and he looked to the nearest window. “I’ve matters to attend to.” Without another word, he turned and left the room.

I stamped my foot. Secrets. Diversions. Dreams I couldn’t remember. Feelings I couldn’t explain.

I’d had my fill. One way or another, I would uncover what was really going on at Breasal Manor and inside myself.

Again, happy Mother’s Day!  And check out this amazing carpet page from the Book of Kells:

 

Medieval Monday Winner!

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A big thanks to everyone who followed along with our “Author’s Choice” theme for this round of Medieval Monday.  I enjoyed hosting my fellow authors and loved the comments many of you left about my snippets.  My winner, Lori Dykes, already has her copy of Shadow of the Swan.  Happy reading, Lori!  And happy Monday to all my followers.  Look for Medieval Monday to return soon!

N. N. Light’s Bookaholics Unite Giveaway

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Raise your hand if you’re a bookaholic! I sure am, and this month N. N. Light is giving away everything a booklover could want: books and bookish prizes. In fact, I’m one of the authors participating and you could win an e-copy of my medieval romance, Soul of the Wolf, the second of The Novels of Ravenwood.

The list of prizes is long, and while I’d love to win myself, I can’t. So, I’ll just hope you’ll win instead.  Here are the links:

Bookaholics Unite Giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/92db775012

Literary Giveaway Portal: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/literary-giveaway-portal

Good luck, everyone!

Medieval Monday ~ SHADOW OF THE SWAN

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We’ve reached the end of the Author’s Choice round of Medieval Monday, and you know what that means!  I’m featuring the final installment of my own excerpt from Shadow of the Swan.  Today’s my birthday, but I’m offering you a gift.  Comment below for a chance to win an eBook copy of one of my books:  your choice!

So here’s your peek at Robert and Constance’s unconventional wedding night:

She stepped back. “What are you doing?”

“Undressing.” He set his belt on the table.

Her stomach dropped. “Why?”

“Aren’t you the suspicious one?” He pulled off his boots. “’Tis customary to doff one’s clothes at bedtime.”

She whirled around, turning her back on him. “I slept fully clothed at the nunnery.” She stared hard at the stone wall.

“I hate to state the obvious, but this isn’t a nunnery.”

“Well, how do you sleep?”

“Naked, of course.”

Heat flooded her cheeks and forehead. “Is that necessary?”

“I could wear my breeches.”

She sighed. Whew!

“On one condition.” His tone was loaded with meaning beyond her grasp.

What condition? What does he want from me?

She turned to face him. Apart from his calf-length breeches, he was nude. Her gaze locked onto his chest.

Sculpted by combat. Scarred by war. Covered with black hair.

“Any objection?” His voice was soft, deep.

She forced her gaze to his eyes. They looked darker now. Was it a trick of the light?

He’s waiting for an answer. Say something! “No.”

“Good.”

“How did you undress so fast?”

“The battlefield teaches one to do everything fast.” His eyes sparkled. “Well, not everything.”

Did her heart still beat? She couldn’t tell. His tone was so suggestive.

“You blush, my lady.”

Her hands flew to her cheeks. “And whose fault is that?”

He gave her a rueful smile. “Mine. But if we’re to be friends, I have to speak honestly.”

“About sexual matters?”

“About all matters. Can you live with that?”

She hesitated, then gave him a nod. “I can. And in that vein, what is the condition you proposed?”

“Right. If I’m to smother myself with added linen—”

“Breeches, Sir Robert. They’re just breeches.”

He cocked an eyebrow. “So say you. But if I do that, you must sleep in your chemise only.”

Her jaw dropped. Then she frowned. “Why?”

“For the sake of comfort.”

“I’m comfortable clad.”

He looked down, and his fingers seized the tie to his breeches. “Fine. If you’d rather I drop my—”

“Stop!” She grumbled. “Very well. I’ll sleep in my chemise.”

He smiled. “I’ll go lie in bed and shut my eyes, if you’d like.”

“I would like.”

“Do you prefer one side of the bed to the other?”

She shrugged. “It matters not.”

“Then I lay claim to the left.”

As soon as the bed creaked beneath his weight, she removed her headdress. Then she disrobed as quickly as she could and scurried to the bed.

“Why such haste?” he asked as she slid beneath the covers.

“My feet are cold.”

“Mine are warm. You’re welcome to—”

“No, Sir Robert. I’ll warm up soon enough.”

And there you have it.  Here’s a little more info 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.

Buy the book:

Amazon

B & N

The Wild Rose Press

Thanks for spending time with me and my characters.  Hope to see you for the next round of Medieval Monday!

 

Medieval Monday ~ A HIGHLAND MOON ENCHANTMENT

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Welcome back to Medieval Monday! I’m thrilled to have Mary Morgan with me today, and I’m featuring her romance, A Highland Moon Enchantment.

If you’re following my excerpt from Shadow of the Swan, you can find the thirteenth snippet of Robert and Constance’s unconventional wedding night on Mary’s website: www.marymorganauthor.com

Now, let’s check out Mary’s thirteenth snippet:

“Did ye try the spiced apples?” murmured Desmond, placing several on her plate. “I am tempted to lap the juices from my fingers.”

Her mouth went dry as she gazed into the man’s eyes. Desire teased her within his emerald depths.

Ailsa finished her mead and attempted to eat some of her meal. He was correct. The apples were highly pleasing. Though the chicken and quail had become her favorite, it was the man next to her who she craved. Desmond’s hand brushed against her fingers, and she stole a glance at him.

“Would ye care to honor me with a dance?” His smile was a moonbeam of promises yet to come.

“Aye, Desmond.” Slipping her fingers into his, he tucked her hand into the crook of his arm and led her to where others were dancing.

Follow along for the final installment next week on Mary’s blog: http://www.marymorganauthor.com and leave a comment for a chance to win a signed print copy of A Highland Moon Enchantment.

A little more about the book:

You first meet this warrior in Dragon Knight’s Axe, Order of the Dragon Knights, Book 3

Irish warrior, Desmond O’Quinlan has never surrendered his heart to any woman. He has no wish to have his soul tortured by love. Yet, the moment he locks gazes with Ailsa, his fate is destined for an adventure he never fathomed. He may have battled alongside a Dragon Knight, but his greatest challenge will come from within his own heart.

Ailsa MacDuff, a warrior among her clan, has no desire to have a man chain her to a life of obedience. However, that is before she meets Desmond. The temptation to allow this warrior inside her heart is a risk she dares to take, but one that could lead to a future of emptiness and sorrow.

When betrayal looms from within, the battleground of love is no match for these two warriors. Can the power of a Highland full moon be strong enough to unite or destroy them?

Buy the book:

AMAZON | BN | KOBO | iBOOKS

See you next Monday, when I’ll feature the final snippet of my excerpt from Shadow of the Swan!

 

 

Now Available in Audio ~ SOUL OF THE WOLF

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Soul of the Wolf, the second of The Novels of Ravenwood, is now available as an audiobook!  Very soon, the first and third in the series–Flight of the Raven and Shadow of the Swan–will be too!

Here’s the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Wolf-Novels-Ravenwood-Book/dp/B07CJ3K6V9

Here it is on iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/soul-of-the-wolf/id1209890366?mt=11

Happy listening!  🙂

Medieval Monday ~ REDEEMING THE ROGUE KNIGHT

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Welcome back to Medieval Monday! I’m pleased to have Elisabeth Hobbes with me today, and I’m featuring her romance, Redeeming the Rogue Knight.

If you’re following my excerpt from Shadow of the Swan, you can find the twelfth snippet of Robert and Constance’s unconventional wedding night on Elisabeth’s website: https://elisabethhobbes.co.uk 

Now, let’s check out Elisabeth’s twelfth snippet:

‘Mean something? To you or to me?’ She laughed. She actually laughed, loud and shrill, until Roger understood it was no laugh at all, but pain escaping in an alarming flood of emotion.

‘I know you want me and you know I want you, too. I’ve resisted you and tried to ignore the feelings and desires I know will only lead to misery but it hasn’t been easy.’
She reached out and put her hands on Roger’s face, fingers spreading to caress his cheeks.

Follow along next week on Sherry Ewing’s blog: https://sherryewing.com/blog/

A little more about Redeeming the Rogue Knight:

The spy who sought refuge… When injured spy Sir Roger Danby comes asking for shelter at her inn, Lucy Carew is wary. He may be strikingly handsome, but the disgraced single mother has learned the hard way with men like him. Against her better judgment, she gives him refuge. Sir Roger has never been at the mercy of a woman before, and he’s never met one as mysterious and bewitching as Lucy. He hasn’t come looking for redemption, but Lucy is a woman who could reach in and touch his closely guarded heart…

Buy the book:

Amazon

Harlequin

B & N

Book Depository

See you next Monday!

Salem Con 4

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Yesterday, I spent the whole day at Salem Con, a paranormal conference here in Salem, Massachusetts.  Because I’ve experienced the paranormal and written about it (in fiction and nonfiction) all my life, it was wonderful to meet with like-minded people for a day of lectures, soulful discussion, and just plain fun!  I got to meet the experts and had some wonderful conversations, particularly with Elizabeth Saint, Nick Groff, and Grant Wilson.  Just a great day!  🙂

Medieval Monday ~ THE HIGHLANDER’S CRUSADER BRIDE

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Welcome back to Medieval Monday! I’m pleased to have Cathy MacRae with me today, and I’m featuring her romance, The Highlander’s Crusader Bride.

If you’re following my excerpt from Shadow of the Swan, you can find the eleventh snippet of Robert and Constance’s unconventional wedding night on Cathy’s blog: https://www.cathymacraeauthor.com/bits-n-bobs-author-blog

Now, let’s check out Cathy’s eleventh snippet:

Her eyes flashed. “I ask only the manner of man ye are. ’Tis in our best interest for each to speak our mind. This night, no matter how we spend it, will set the tone for the rest of our lives.”

“The two of us alone, this entire night?” Caelen cocked his head. “When we last spoke, we agreed only on the manner in which we would live our lives once wed. I havenae changed my mind. We dinnae specifically agree on this night where the expectations arenae entirely our own.”

Follow along next week on Bambi Lynn’s blog https://bambilynnblog.wordpress.com for the next snippet from The Highlander’s Crusader Bride!

More about the book:

Born in the Holy Land only a few years after the Third Crusade, half-Armenian, half-Scot Arbela MacLean is a true daughter of the desert, beautiful and untamed. Trained to be a warrior to avoid her gentle mother’s fate, Arbela has honed her skills with Turkish bow and arrow, sword and throwing darts—and dreads the day her father choses a man for her to marry.

After more than thirty years in the Holy Land, Donal MacLean, Baron of Batroun, is recalled to Scotland, the last son available to take up leadership of clan MacLean. He brings with him knights, treasure, trade—and a daughter of marriageable age.

Caelen MacKern, known as the Bull of the Highlands, is cynical about women. His first marriage formed an alliance, and he did not grieve when his spoiled, immature bride passed away. He has agreed to marry again—against his better judgement—for the men, means and coin to recover from a devastating pestilence that all but wiped out his clan.

Though more than a little resentful at finding himself forced to remarry, Caelen’s proposal to Donal MacLean’s headstrong daughter nevertheless piques her interest. Each will receive what they want most from life—the ability to live as they please without interference from a meddling spouse. But their marriage of indifference will soon change to one of passion that neither Arbela nor Caelen could have predicted.

Buy it here:

https://www.amzn.com/dp/B0762TL89Z

See you next Monday!