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This week I am so very thrilled and excited that the fabulous author Christine London will be visiting on my blog as part of the Best Ever Summer Blog Tour!

You can find me this week visiting with author Lynn Hones at her blog:   lynnhones.wordpress.com

Welcome, Christine!

Here’s this week’s topic:

July 8th –Week 6 – “If you could organize a dinner party, which fictional characters (choose some from your own books too) would you invite and what would you cook?”

It is a pleasure to be on your blog this week Regina. Such a great topic too.

I would dip into my favorite books and invite Jamie Fraser of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Jamie is a charming, faithful, young alpha rogue when we meet him in the first book, ‘Outlander’. In the rest of the series (which is promised to continue) Jamie is a mature man of forty plus. His years of struggle without his beloved Claire have not embittered him. Rather, he has grown into a man sensitive to the needs and desires of all he meets. He overcomes the mandates of his time (eighteenth century Scotland and New World) to take under his wing those of low social status, questionable morals, racial underdogs and even those who have wronged his beloved Highlanders. As a time travel piece, Jamie is called upon to accept the sensibilities of a far future time in which he will never feel comfortable.

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If I could bring along two characters from my contemporary novels Shadows Steal the Light and its spin off, Hog Wild, I would invite rock star recovering alcoholic Colin Dulow and his manager and childhood friend, Kyle Matthews. Both these men have demons that require them to stretch the very fabric of their beings to grow into the men they want to be. Both men fall in love with the same women. One is not allowed to pursue her; the other knows he should not. These life long friends have that friendship severely tested. Each is strong beyond even his private imaginings. Both are proud Englishmen who have grown into international celebrity, handling the super human restraint required to remain ethical and intact in the spotlight. As is truly said of power, fame too corrupts absolutely.

It would not matter what I served these men as they are so much more interested in the woman before them. Each of them are consummate gentlemen. Each knows it is well worth his time to display genuine interest in his hostess. Each knows that patience and attention to detail will win respect. Each is charming in his unique way. We could be eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches–it would not matter. The conversation would be fascinating.

Sharp wit and pervasive intelligence would run as undercurrent. Each the definition of Alpha, none would take advantage of that strength.

Jamie’s rendition of the ‘45 and the aftermath of the disastrous Culloden massacre would be riveting. Colin and Kyle, through their modern paradigm, might provide perspective across the centuries and convey the healthy respect in which present day England holds the proud and powerful Scot.

And I—I would revel in the magnetic presence of these men.

You can find Diana’s Outlander series worldwide in brick and mortar bookstores as well as online. It is a powerful legacy that shall live in the hearts of its readers for generations to come.

The year is 1945. Claire Randall is traveling with her husband when she touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is hurled back in time to a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord 1743. Catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, she soon realizes that an alliance with James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, might be the only way to survive. Thus begins a work of unrivaled storytelling that has become a modern classic.

http://www.amazon.com/Outlander-20th-Anniversary-Diana-Gabaldon/dp/0440423201/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1341623737&sr=1-1&keywords=outlander+series+in+order

Shadows Steal the Light is available thorough Amazon and other fine book purveyors everywhere in both electronic and print format.

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It’s love at first sight for rock star Colin Dunlow when he runs into sultry jazz singer, Jenna Lindstrom, with a few complications. The woman of his dreams hates rockers and there’s someone who wants him dead.

http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Steal-Light-Christine-London/dp/1927085942/ref=la_B003MX4AW6_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1341622367&sr=1-4

Hog Wild is a fast, fun and sexy electronic read downloadable through e-book distributors everywhere.

Kyle Matthews might have the music world by the horns, but when he loses out in love to his most famous client and best friend, he escapes into the wilds of the desert southwest on a restorative motorcycle trip. Will the hard driving, salty tongued gorgeous mechanic he relies upon to fix his Harley be able to mend his heart, as well?

http://www.amazon.com/Hog-Wild-ebook/dp/B0057AGFSY/ref=la_B003MX4AW6_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1341622367&sr=1-7

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Other places Christine comes out to play:

Website : www.christinelondon.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-London/71009389201

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ChristineLondon

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/christinelondon/

Google plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/114588027061857681170/posts

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Christine-London/e/B003MX4AW6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1339640330&sr=8-1

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Christine London

Author of 100 Romance’s Best of the Year –  When We Were Amazing
AMAZING photos at my PINTEREST page: http://pinterest.com/christinelondon/
Sample or Purchase When We Were Amazing http://amzn.to/J3iU11
Christine At Amazon Author Central https://www.amazon.com/author/christinelondon

 

If you’ve read this far, please take the time to leave a comment. You might just win a book by one of the Best Summer Reading Blog Tour authors and qualify for a $50 Amazon gift certificate to be awarded at the end of tour near the end of July.

This is a stop on the Best Ever Summer Blog Tour.

Eight authors in mixed genres trading blog space for eight weeks for your enjoyment. Someone on the blog tour is giving a prize every week – this week find me, Regina Andrews, with Lynn Hones at her blog:  lynnhones.wordpress.com

There will be a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift certificate awarded at the end of the tour. Enjoy the blogs and leave comments for the opportunity to be the grand prize winner. One entry ticket per comment!

Want to continue the tour? Here’s a list of the blogs:

Ann Tracy Marr –

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-Tracy-Marr/114711658247?ref=ts

Susan Roebuck – http://lauracea.blogspot.com

Sharon Poppen –http://poppensthoughtsonwritingandstuff.blogspot.com

Regan Taylor – http://regantaylorsworld.blogspot.com

Corinne Davies – www.daviesromance.blogspot.com

Regina Andrews – https://reginaandrews.wordpress.com

Christine London – www.christinelondon.com

Lynn Hones – lynnhones.wordpress.com

 

Thank you, Christine, for a fabulous visit!!

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Today I am visiting with Haley Hawthorne, the main character in my Inspirational Romance novel, In Good Faith. As part of the Best Ever Summer Blog Tour, Author (and some characters!) are talking about what inspires them today. I am also appearing on Christine LOndon’s blog this week at http://www.christinelondon.blogspot.com

Let’s hear what Haley has to share with us today!

RA: Welcome, Haley and thank you for your time today.

HH: My pleasure, thank you for having me, Regina.

RA: Tell us a little about yourself.

HH: Sure! I am an Art Director at a high-powered greeting card company in Manhattan. I was orphaned at a young age, and grew up in rural Dunbar Falls. My Uncle Nelson took me in. I felt like Heidi. It was a town of  pasture lands and a clear sense of the things that matter most in life.

RA: Including God?

HH: Absolutely.

RA: Why would you ever leave there? It sounds perfect.

HH: Part of me never wanted to leave. But as UNcle Nelson always said, “A bird’s gotta fly.” He thought I should try new things. He was right.

RA: How did you change when you left?

HH: I became more confident after rising to so many challenges. The flip side of that, though was that I lost touch a little with the values that made me who I was. All the background of Dunbar Falls gave me all the research I needed for a great career in greeting cards, because there was so much caring and so much sincerity.

RA: Then?

HH: Then ironically, I lost a lot of what made me, ME, by getting caught up in the material trappings of what was all aounds me. My cards stopped selling.

RA: So what did you do?

HH: I would have kept going on that way, but Uncle Nelson died and I went back to Dunbar Falls to take care of things. That’s where I reconnected with my roots – did more research, if you will, to find myself again.

RA: What else did you find?

HH: Love, with an old friend, Aaron Carrier. Also, friends and a lot of new adventures. There’s more about that in “Act of Faith” which continues the story of “In Good Faith”.

RA: I heard that was in the wind! Very exciting 🙂 Thanks for being here today, Haley.  Talk to you again soon.

HH: Thanks, Regina! Take care.

Here’s an excerpt fom “In Good Faith” by Regina Andrews:

CHAPTER ONE

“Ms. Hawthorne, could you look at these proofs?”

“Do you have a minute to go over this copy together, Ms. Hawthorne?”

“A call for you from Grace on line three, Ms. Hawthorne!”

Haley Hawthorne tossed her long red curls over her shoulder as she swept through the Creative Area of Sterling Greeting Cards. She carried a designer bag in one hand and a steaming latté in the other.

As Senior Art Director for the largest greeting card company in the world, these early morning entrances refreshed her enough to get through the day ahead. They were her redemption. But I can remember a time when I didn’t feel like that, and it wasn’t so very long ago.

A hush fell over the flock of artists and interns following behind her as she passed. With a frown she accepted a stack of messages from the leathery, outstretched hands of her receptionist Bernice, a fixture at Sterling’s for over forty years.

“I’m already carrying too much, Bernice,” she murmured.

“There, there.” With a motherly pat, Bernice tucked the papers under Haley’s arm. “Toting a heavy load can weigh you down, Haley. Maybe it’s time to think about what you really need to carry and what you can let go.” She gave Haley a look.

“Maybe you’re right, Bernice.” As if I haven’t already tried! That’s what was keeping her awake most nights. The old Haley used to travel light and breezy, her heart and soul as free as a bird. But lately she felt heavy in her heart and she couldn’t put her finger on why. How had things changed so much?

Ignoring the chirp of her cell phone, Haley walked down the corridor to her office, glancing at the framed collections of award-winning cards on the walls and the shelves crowded with shining trophies she’d won over the years. When would she get a chance to start her own company?

The fact that all her talent was padding someone else’s profit column wasn’t the only thing bothering her these days. There was something else that had been nagging at her for some time now, an emptiness she couldn’t fill with work…or with her boyfriend, Derek, either. All she knew was that she had to get through each day.

Her young assistant, Suzie, unlatched the chrome double doors to her office for her and Haley flashed the smile that had been opening doors for her all her life.

She called over her shoulder, “I’ll get to all of you in a minute.” The entourage scattered, leaving her and Suzie in the peaceful calm of her office.

And then she saw him.

“Aaron Carrier! I can’t believe it! What are you doing here?”

She put down her bag and her coffee and reached her hands out to him after smoothing her lemon yellow designer suit.

She gave him a warm hug, then turned to her assistant.”I’ve known this guy since we were kids. He and his two brothers were like triplets, they were so alike. I’ll never forget when he insisted we start calling him Carrier, to be different from his brothers Adam and Austin. Boy, were they mad…”

With his broad, six-foot frame blocking the Manhattan skyline in the window behind him, Haley noticed how his glinting azure eyes and thick hair had grown more imposing in the ten years that had passed since she had last seen him.

He jammed his fists deep into the pockets of his jeans. “Hey. We have to talk, Haley. It’s about Nelson.”

Her heartbeat quickened. “You’ve come all the way here from Dunbar Falls to tell me something about Uncle Nelson?” She glanced at Suzie, then back at him. “It must be bad news.”

“I’ll have Bernice hold all of your calls.” Suzie hustled off in a cloud of expensive perfume, latching the door behind her with a solid ‘click’.

“Tell me what’s wrong, Carrier. Is it bad?”

“Yeah. The worst.”

“He’s -”

Carrier nodded. “Last night.” His piercing blue eyes, steely as two sapphires, searched her face. But they didn’t stop there; they burned into her soul.

“Oh,” she sank into a chair. Closing her eyes, she did something she hadn’t done in ages; she said a prayer. Bless him, Lord, and keep him in Your eternal care.

Only she wasn’t sure how much of it was for Uncle Nelson and how much of it was for her. After a moment she opened her eyes, focusing on the carpet. “How did he-?”

“In his sleep.”

“So it was peaceful.”

“You actually care?”

Startled by his tone, she looked up at him, only to find him regarding her as if he smelled a vat of rancid egg salad.

“Of course I care!”

He continued accusingly: “You haven’t seen him or been back home to Dunbar Falls in ten years.”

Her heartbeat quickened again. “Well, um,…That’s not quite exactly true. I’ve been back. I’ve seen him.”

“You have?”

She nodded as Carrier approached her so closely that she could smell his cologne. Could it be that same fantastic stuff he had been wearing that night on Johnnycake Hill? The memories flashed back into her mind, and so did her embarrassment.

“When were you back?” He looked at her in disbelief.

“Not too long ago.”

“Just that once?”

She shrugged. “Not really. More like, once in a while.”

“I don’t understand.” He looked closely at her. “Why don’t you want to tell me?” His tone eased. “We go way back.”

“I know.”

“You don’t just throw away your old childhood friends.”

“That’s not what I’m doing. Did. Things just change and people move on, that’s all. I don’t remember getting any messages from you. It goes both ways.”

“You left without saying goodbye. I knew you couldn’t wait to get out of Dunbar Falls! I respected that.”

She stood up.” I thought you came here to talk about Uncle Nelson.”

He wagged an index finger through the air towards her. “You’re trying to change the subject, Haley.”

“Carrier! Uncle Nelson died last night! That is what you came here for, isn’t it? To tell me?” Taking a deep breath, she smoothed her curls. Give me strength, Lord! “When is the service?”

“Actually, Watson’s needs to speak with you about that.”

“I’ll call them right away.” Noticing that his hand was on the doorknob, Haley suddenly felt that if she let him walk out now, she’d lose a part of herself and a part of her past forever. Help me, please, Lord! What do I say?

She quickly slipped herself between him and the door. “Listen, Uncle Nelson raised me. He understood that it was natural for me to leave. Being part-owner with his friend William Tyler, he gave me this entrée here at Sterling Cards. Nelson’s air conditioning company was a great business, but it’s black and white, Carrier, not creative.”

She waved her hand around the office. “Look at what I’ve created here! This kind of vision is what I put into my greeting cards. There’s texture, there’s color. It’s evocative and emotional. I couldn’t do this with condensing units at Hawthorne Mechanicals, as much as I loved Uncle Nelson. And I couldn’t do it in the vacuum that is Dunbar Falls. Nelson understood that.”

“You don’t have to defend your decision, or explain anything to me, Haley.”

“I know. I’m not.”

“But I know the real you. And you were running away, Haley.”

“I was headed for college,” she murmured.

“And what about Brandon Winterbottom?”

She felt the color flood her cheeks as she recalled the gang of kids laughing at her after the prom. “Ancient history. I was over him that night when he dumped me.”

“It was a pretty public dumping. And after the prom.”

“Thanks for reminding me! He dumped me in front of everyone. If it weren’t for you, I would have walked home. So thanks again, Carrier.” She changed her tone, trying to lighten things up between them and added: “Hey, I lived.”

He nodded. “And Nelson knew the way you felt about things?”

Haley’s thoughts went back to her uncle’s cozy study; their prayer times and their endless talks by the hearth with a comforting blaze crackling in the fireplace. Haley always thought of her Uncle Nelson, at seventy-five, as a spry and vigorous man who would just go on forever. What will I ever do without him?

“He never mentioned your visits or anything to me.”

“I asked him not to.”

“Why?”

Her voice was barely above a whisper. “I was too embarrassed.” All the familiar humiliation came flooding back.

“But there was nothing to be embarrassed about, Haley.”

“Maybe that’s not how I saw it,” she said. “The whole town was laughing at me that night.”

He shook her head. “I couldn’t believe it. You never even said good-bye to me. We were friends.”

“I’m sorry about that. I just had to go.”

“You wanted to go.”

“Whatever.” Her cell phone chirped again. She was grateful for the interruption. This talk with Carrier was getting way too close to her core. Glancing at the sender, she saw it was another call from Derek and muted the ringer. She couldn’t deal with him right now. Not when she was dealing with her past. “Sorry about that, too.”

“Typical big city stuff, huh?” Carrier raised an eyebrow.

“Right. Pretty empty, though, all of it. With the news you just brought me, Carrier, my big city stuff and the card industry really don’t seem that important right now.”

Reaching for her designer case, she moved from the doors. She could feel Carrier’s eyes blazing through her like a high-tech core-boring machine. Right through her impeccable facade and deep into her less than perfect heart, just like she knew he would.

Yet, for all the confusion he created in her, the heaviness she had been feeling had lifted since he had been there, too. What did that mean?

“There’s no reason to run from me now, Haley. A lot of time has passed. Things have changed for both of us.”

Her lips were parted to reply, but the look in his eyes stopped her short. His forlorn expression tugged at a very special part of her, the part that designed greeting cards so loaded with feeling that they flew off the store shelves as quickly as she could pump them out. She hadn’t felt this in a long, long time.

His expression was filling a gap in her, for he was filling her with exactly the kind of emotion that was so totally absent from her own life. How had that emptiness happened?

She shook her head. It was too much for now. Her thoughts turned back to the present, with Carrier. He was hurting from this loss, too.

She moistened her lips. “You’re right, Carrier, things have changed for both of us. This is a lot for me to digest now. I wasn’t planning on seeing you, it’s a shock. Just give me some time, that’s all. I know you’ll miss him, too.”

Something in his eyes went cold. It seemed to take forever before he answered her.

“Nelson was a phenomenal man, a pioneer in business and a trailblazing entrepreneur. But in the end, he was just another Hawthorne who never said good-bye to me,” he finally said.

 

Links to Regina Andrews’ sites:

Blog address: http://www.reginaandrews.wordpress.com

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

Awe-Struck Mundania link to “In Good Faith”: http://bit.ly/KSEfdv

 

 

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It’s week two of the Best Ever Summer Blog Tour. Nine fabulous authors in mixed genres trading blog space for eight weeks for your enjoyment. It’s a chance to meet great authors and discover exciting new books. Someone on the blog tour is giving a prize every week – I’ll leave it for you to discover whose blog is featured – with more prizes to come at the end of the tour. What will the big prize be – a Kindle, a hefty gift certificate, a unique needlepoint Kindle cover? Enjoy the blogs and leave comments for the opportunity to be the grand prize winner! Today I am thrilled that author Corinne Davies is visiting. Welcome!

Hi everyone and welcome to the second week of the Best Ever Summer Blog Tour. I’m Corinne Davies and I first off want to give Regina a BIG thank you for hosting me here today!
 
One of the things that drew me to this blog hop is that we all write a variety of genres. Touring around the blogs on this tour you get to experience a wide variety of styles and perhaps find something new to tempt you.
 
 It’s very easy to get lodged into reading the same genre. I associate it to drinking wine, (like, I do most things in life LOL). You might love Cabernet Sauvignon and experimenting with one from a different country is fun but every once in a while it’s a nice to have a big rich Shiraz or really shake things up and go for a  Gewürztraminer. You never know when you might find a new favourite.
 
When I started writing I really didn’t have a genre in mind. I started writing and let the characters dictate where they belonged. Because of that, I have a variety of genres in my portfolio that, coincidentally, they reflect my reading habits as well. 
 
The Believing series were my first two books and they’re heavily influenced by my love of Greek mythology. I had a great time working in some of the lesser known or recognized gods and goddess from the Parthenon.
 
Then I tried my hand at a classic romance with Haunted Hearts. I originally planned that Mac and Gwen would have a third. As I started writing, I realized that they were only interested in each other. My obsession with ghosts and ghost stories heavily influenced some of the situations that they faced.
 
          Then came, Steampunked Lust. I’m not sure if you are familiar with Steampunk but think of it as all the glamour of the Regency/Victorian time period with advanced technology. This style/genre has always fascinated me and in the world I’ve been creating the skies over the Atlantic ocean are ruled by pirates and their flying ships. William Wallace was never killed and the New World battle the Old World for moral superiority.
 
          Then while hiking through Algonquin Park one day, I discovered Ecstasy Lake, a small tourist town in Northern Ontario that is home to a variety of shape shifters and other magical beings. 
I’ve loved getting to know the inhabitants of this small town who are free to live their ménage relationships. (Which is why someone keeps vandalizing the sign outside of town by painting a 3x over Ecstasy.) Ever since I was a kid, I loved the idea of being able to shape shift into an animal. Writing stories about werewolves and tigers and bears, (Oh my! ) I get to live that existence vicariously through my characters.  
 
          And that is a little peek into the genres I have found myself playing in. I’m always on the lookout for a new favourite book, to enjoy along with a new favorite wine, of course 😉 I’ve found a few with the great authors that I’m sharing this blog tour with.
 
 
Excerpt from Believing is Seeing.
 
“Pasithea…”
“That’s not my name. It’s Amy or Amaryllis.” If her dream kept going this way, she wanted to hear her own name, not that of a long gone goddess.
 “Little flower, one would never be enough for you.”
Amy stood between the two men feeling petite. At five foot ten, she hadn’t experienced such an unusual feeling before. The hands on her shoulders gently kneaded, as another pair slid over her ribs and down her back in soothing circles. Sighing she could feel the anger and sadness drain out of her. The winds calmed down and the clouds dissipated until it seemed as though the storm had never happened. Color flooded back into the world around them, seeming so much more intense after her eyes had become accustomed to the gray.
She would have commented on the weather, but when she lifted her face and opened her mouth to talk, a pair of lips gently brushed against her own. “Let us take care of you.”
“This is a dream.” The thought floated down to subdue the rising nervousness.
“If you would just believe, it could be so much more,” Hypnos gently kissed her shoulder, his words a soft caress against the sensitive skin under her ear.
“But, I don’t know where to start.”
“Then look at me, Amy.” A finger pressed gently on the underside of her chin tilting her head. She looked over her shoulder and up into Death’s warm chestnut eyes. Hypnos took advantage of her arched neck to slide his satiny lips along it.
“A life time ago, you called us Nos and Than. Why don’t you start there?
 

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It’s the Best Ever Summer Blog Tour. Nine fabulous authors in mixed genres trading blog space for eight weeks for your enjoyment. It’s a chance to meet great authors and discover exciting new books. Someone on the blog tour is giving a prize every week – I’ll leave it for you to discover whose blog is featured – with more prizes to come at the end of the tour. What will the big prize be – a Kindle, a hefty gift certificate, a unique needlepoint Kindle cover? Enjoy the blogs and leave comments for the opportunity to be the grand prize winner!

 

Ann Tracy Marr is the world’s worst book promoter. She has published three, but when it comes time to promote – to urge someone to lay out money for her books – she falls apart.

 

Ann lacks promoting talent but she does have a gift for storytelling. She writes for the love of it and it shows. Her view of life is a little off the wall, sometimes class clown, but with an underlying thread of realism. She likes to read about real women looking for joy, so that is what she writes.

 

Knowing we wouldn’t learn much about her books, I asked Ann questions that would reveal something about her approach to writing and life.

 

Question: Who was the toughest character for you to “get right”?

Ann: The hero in Round Table Magician took a long time to evolve. Brinston started out as a conventional Regency hero, but when I added a paranormal twist to the plot, he demanded he be a magician. Magic fit with his reclusive tendencies, giving him reasons to hide his true nature from the ton. Other than that, I struggled to cleverly convey his motives in ignoring Martha. It was a matter of finding the best tailoring for the story. Once the jacket fit, Brinston himself filled it out.

 

Question: Is there a genre that you love to read but don’t want to write?

Ann: I love the Sookie Stackhouse novels. Funny and all about vampires, you know. But I doubt I will ever write a vampire novel. I don’t have anything to add to their mystique; they scare more than attract me.

 

Question: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

Ann: I would make an excellent Rich Bitch. It’s a full time job, but I wouldn’t mind getting up at 10 am, donning the haute couture uniform, jetting past rush hour traffic in my Maserati on my way to a five star restaurant. I’d donate freely to charity and spend money all over the place to keep the economy going.

 

Question: Can you tell us about your books?

Ann: Awestruck published my three book series set in Regency England. King Arthur and Merlin are not myth, but history. They are traditional Regencies with the addition of a splash of magic.

 

Where can readers find you?

Website: www.AnnTracyMarr.com

Purchase the books (e-book or trade paperback) on Amazon.com:

http://tiny.cc/7p0xew

 

And where can readers find Lynn Hones this week?

Head to www.daviesromance.blogspot.com

And, you all can find moi at http://www.regantaylorsworld.blogspot.com

 

Excerpt from “Round Table Magician“: Short, to conserve space!

 

Brinston watched Martha, aware of her every breath. He couldn’t help but smile at the infectious levity. He could see his brother Michael with his beloved through the window. That silly Maria must have done or said something to make Martha laugh so. But when she pulled a handkerchief from her sleeve and wiped her eyes, it shook him to his soul. Just so did the duchess leak tears when she was filled with mirth.

 

It was then he realized how much Martha resembled his adored mother. Brinston could almost feel his heart tightening. They were silken bonds, those bands clenching around his heart, not painful in the least. A man could get used to them, which was a good thing. They didn’t feel like they were going to dissolve any time soon.

 

He heard the echo of his father’s words. “I couldn’t resist the way she laughed.” It was always said with a chuckle and an underlying honesty that couldn’t be doubted. It was why his father had married his mother. They were devoted to each other, but it all started with her laugh.

 

Everyone, including Brinston himself, joked at how much the son resembled the father. He stared at the sky, silently begging Merlin to have pity on him.

 

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Today I am delighted to welcome author Nicole Zoltack. “Champion of Valor”, the third novel in her Medieval Fantasy Romance Series, Kingdom of Arnhem, has been released by Desert Breeze Publishing. Today she’ll be discussing Religion in the Middle Ages. Congratulations and welcome, Nicole.

Religion in the Middle Ages


The medieval people lived in trying times. Many children died before their first birthday. Many mothers died during childbirth. The plague. The Crusades. It comes as no surprise that the medieval people were extremely religious, with many attending daily mass.
Woman of Honor, the first book in my medieval fantasy romance series, is the most historical book in the trilogy. Aislinn is a young girl who wishes to be a knight – this book focuses on her knightly training and the love she finds along her journey.
Knight of Glory introduces different races like dwarves and wind-dancing trolls and focuses more on the fantasy aspect of the world as Sir Geoffrey finds himself torn between two different and mysterious women.
But I felt that I would have been remiss to ignore how religious the medieval world had been so Champion of Valor has religious undertones. The war between Arnhem and Speica mirrors the war between angels and demons as Lucifer tries to bring about the apocalypse before its time.

Excerpt:

Heaven

Christopher glanced down at Terra between the clouds. With the heightened sight of a warrior saint, he was able to see Arnhem castle, his home throughout his knightly training. The marketplace had come a long way since the horrific fire. A large smile graced his face when he saw the queen, his sister, help a young child to an apple from a market’s cart. She, too, had come a long way, her tenacity and determination earning Aislinn her shield and the heart of Arnhem’s young king.
“She has an even harder journey ahead of her.”
The deep voice of his commander, Saint Michael the Archangel, stirred Christopher from his thoughts, and his heart fell slightly. “Aislinn must face more hardship?” he asked, dreading but already knowing the answer.
“I am afraid so. She will survive it, do not fret.”
Christopher breathed a sigh of relief. Although he longed to one day be reunited with his beloved sister, he did not want to rush her death. “Do you want me to warn her again?”
As a soldier in the Battle for Heaven, Christopher was allowed, at certain times and with his Archangel’s consent, to visit one still on Earth about the trying times ahead, to prepare her, to ready her heart, and to increase her devotion to the Lord. He had already visited his sister several times.
“No.” Saint Michael’s large, ethereal wings glittered as he shook his head. “The war between Speica and Arnhem is rapidly engulfing the entire continent of Alethereia. If things continue at this rapid pace, Europe and the rest of the eastern world may come to grapple with the destruction as well.”
Christopher blinked and furrowed his brow. “But Europe and the other continents are still ignorant of magic.”
“Yes.” Saint Michael glided beside Christopher and gazed down upon Terra with a mild look of concern. “Now is not the time for magic to be revealed to them. We cannot allow that to happen.”
“How can we prevent this from occurring?”
“As you told Aislinn many years ago, the battles waged on Terra parallel those fought here in Heaven.”
Christopher nodded with understanding. “We must fight Lucifer and his demon angels.”
“We must win, and soon.” Saint Michael’s gaze shifted to Christopher. “Your time on Terra was cut short, and I am sorry for that, but the Lord had need of you here. You have proven yourself time and again in battle. It is time to ready the other warriors.” Saint Michael nodded his head and vanished in a brilliant flash of white.
Christopher stole one last look down on Terra, his eyes now drawn to the dark castle of Speica. The hint of black magic vibrated and hummed even across the great distance. He shuddered. At least in Heaven, Christopher did not have to worry about dying again, but those fighting for Arnhem, and the light, would have a dangerous road ahead of them. Christopher did not envy them.

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