Friday, 18 April 2014

Guest blog: Elaine Violette 'A Kiss Of Promise'

Adventurer Martin Blackstone escapes the stuffy rituals of England to seek his destiny in America. He leaves Alaina Craymore behind, believing she is better off without him. Suffering under the scandalous circumstances surrounding her father’s death, only Alaina’s love for Martin and the memory of their one stolen kiss have kept Alaina steady. But she hasn’t heard from Martin in far too long and cannot wait forever in the hopes that he will return from America. Just as Alaina begins to recover, one of her father’s associates emerges from the shadows with a choice—she must pose as his fiancĂ©e in America or he’ll send her brother to prison on charges of forgery. Willing to endure ruin and an uncertain future, Alaina agrees—she can do no less for the brother who’s spent his entire life protecting her. Only the man who spurned her can save her from the black mailing scoundrel and a ruined reputation.

Martin hasn’t forgotten Alaina or the kiss they shared. When word of her sacrifice reaches him, he’ll move heaven and earth to find her and make her his, no matter the cost.
Will the strong-minded, independent Alaina chose ruin over the fear that a marriage proposal has been offered out of duty rather than love?

 A Kiss of Promise continues the story of the Blackstone brothers, introduced in Regal Reward. It will be released on April 3rd, 2014 by Ellora’s Cave Publishing under their Blush imprint and is presently available for pre-order on Amazon.


Excerpt:


It was much too late to hope for his love. She had compromised her decency beyond redemption. What a mess she’d made of her life.  She still had nightmares of the night her father died, of the gun slipping from her fingers. The dreams had lessened during the year spent with Aunt Cornelia. She had gained some hope for her future, but now she lived in a stranger’s home under the guise of being a widow and strolled the streets in a gaudy pink gown.  Martin would certainly shun her. Better not to think of him.

When they reached the gates set up where the auction was being held, Harrington drew her to a quieter spot but near enough to watch the goings on.

“Remain here, Alaina. I must have words with one of the sellers before the carriages go up for auction. He waved a hand toward a bench that had one remaining seat available.  Do not move from this place.  You know what is at stake if I can’t find you when I return.”

Alaina’s mouth thinned but she nodded her acquiescence. When Harrington strode off, she signaled for Maria to take the empty seat. The woman was older and Alaina preferred to stand and observe the crowd.  As the minutes went by the crowd grew. She glanced toward her chaperone, though she had to rise up on her tiptoes to have the bench in view. She was surprised to see Maria in an animated conversation with another woman. Their hand gestures suggested their own excitement over the venue.  How she wished that she could find a friend in this mob of foreigners.

That was her last thought before clutching her throat. Martin.  He was there in the crowd, standing taller than those about him.  Her eyes grew wide as she watched him saunter casually toward where she stood. He hadn’t seen her. She watched his agile gait, his expression, one of expectation, even determination as he strode closer. She opened her mouth but clamped it shut again. She clenched her fingers into the folds of her skirt—she didn’t know what to do. Should she run to him, plead for his help, or hide? Instead of doing either, she stood paralyzed. She couldn’t believe that it was truly him. He drew closer and his eyes darted in her direction. He stopped when he saw her, nearly causing a man behind him to stumble back into the crowd.

She saw the disbelief in his features as he pushed his way through the throng, his eyes never leaving hers.  She didn’t move, every ounce of her being wanting to run to him, while a warning within her kept urging her to flee.

“Alaina? By God, it’s really you.” He rushed to her side, breathless, grasping her upper arms. “What are you doing here?” He scanned her surroundings. “Who are you with? I can’t believe you’re here.”

She stared up at him, the sensation of his strong hands on her arms, rapturous.  She didn’t want the warmth that encompassed her to end. She dared to lift her fingers and grasp his forearms, feeling the heat of his body beneath his shirt sleeves. Her lips trembled. She had to get hold of herself, say something.

“Martin,” she finally breathed. “I-I, I never expected to see you.  Richard…” she swallowed as the story she must tell him, formed in her mind. “I have come with my brother. He is here to handle some business affairs.  He is in there.” She pointed past the gates, in the direction where Philip had disappeared. “He wanted to look at the items at auction.  He preferred I wait here.” She was amazed that she could utter even a sound or put a sentence together. She’d believed she could fall no further, yet she’d become worse than disgraced, she’d become a shameful liar. Would he believe her? She continued, the words invented as she uttered them. “My maid came along and is over there, on the bench.” She waved a hand, thankful the bench was now fully hidden by the crowd moving forward.

“Alaina, I have thought of you often. And to see you here, I’m speechless.  Are you…how was your voyage? How long have you been in Boston?”

She realized that he was as tongue-tied as she and just as shocked at their meeting. Somehow, she needed for him to leave her. Her prayer had been answered only for her to realize how futile it was. As soon as she’d spoken her brother’s name, only seconds before, she had regained her senses and her purpose. She could not involve Martin, not now.  Phillip would return at any minute. She feared his reaction if she saw them talking. She had to complete her mission alone and deny her dreams.

A Blush® historical romance from Ellora’s Cave

Biography
Elaine is a veteran high school English teacher and teaches public speaking part time at a local community college. She holds a BS in English Education from the University of CT and an MS in Educational Leadership from Central CT State University. Her published works include novels, poetry, non-fiction publications, and book reviews. Her first novel, Regal Reward, a Regency Historical published in 2007, and available in ebook and print was a finalist in the NJRW Golden Leaf contest. Her second Regency, A Convenient Pretense, is available as an ebook. Her newest novel, A Kiss of Promise will be released April 3rd, 2014, and is presently available for pre-order on Amazon and at Ellora’s Cave Publishing. Her affiliations consist of Romance Writers of America, CT Romance Writers, and Charter Oak Romance Writers. Visit her website at www.elaineviolette.com

Buy links:
A Kiss of Promise available at Ellora’s Cave

On Amazon


On her website


Visitors can follow Elaine on Facebook at
and Twitter




Friday, 4 April 2014

Guest blog: Faye Hall - 'She's a Lot Like You'

Willow Jameson knew nothing of her family’s past or their connection to the Morgan family when she first met Re Morgan.  All she seen was his ruggedly handsome appearance, his gentle words luring her into his strong embrace.  What she found was a passion beyond compare.

She couldn’t have foreseen the lies and family betrayal that would inevitably rob her of the man she loved and forever change her life.

TEN YEARS LATER

Willow returned to the town life she loved so much, no longer ignorant to those who had separated her from the man she’d loved.  She was back now to make those responsible pay for all they’d taken from her.  In her search what she found was the hardened man Re Morgan had become…

…a man whose mere glance reignited a passion she had thought long since forgotten.

Re Morgan had left a horde of jilted lovers in his trail.  When he seen Willow again across the crowded dancehall, he wanted nothing more than to add her to this list.  Re wanted little more than a short, heated affair.

What he became involved in was far more scandalous than he could have ever imagined.


EXCERPT:

Willow stood with her back to Re, never able to see his approach. She didn’t even see the look of horror on his face...nor did he see the gleam of tears on her cheeks. All he saw was her being held in Chris’s arms, her body only a breath away from his. It was a closeness he knew was far from accepted in polite society.

It was a closeness he shared with her...had thought to only share with her.

Looking to his friend, Re silently pleaded with him. He needed to hear him say it was all just a misunderstanding. He needed him to put at ease the quickly growing doubt in his heart.

But he didn’t hear any of this. All he saw was the obvious lust gleaming in the young man’s eyes.

Chris cocked his brow, as if it was obvious their reason for being together. When Re looked at him, begging to know the truth, Chris’s smile turned into an obvious sneer.

Slowly, he shrugged his shoulders.

“How could I refuse?” he muttered, his words almost a whisper.

Hearing this short statement through her distress, Willow knew someone had found them. Raising her tear-covered face from Chris’s shoulder she tried to free herself from his unrelenting grasp. Realising her struggles were useless, she turned in his arms to see who had approached them. Only too late did she realise just how suggestive her position would look.

Her eyes’ meeting the hurt and pain in Re’s eyes, Willow knew instantly what he was concluding of what he was seeing.

“Re,” she whispered, almost desperate.

His dark stare turned hateful.

“Damn you both to hell!” he spat at them, immediately turning back to make a quick return to the estate house.

“Re,’ she again called after him, struggling against Chris’s tight hold.

When Chris didn’t let her go despite her struggles, she turned slightly and pushed him away with all her might.

“You son of a bitch,’ she spat at him, suddenly realising this man’s intentions.

“I may be, madam,” he replied casually. “Yet even you can’t deny what you wanted when you lured me out here.”

Her dark eyes narrowed with hate.

“I hope you rot in hell, you bastard!”

Turning quickly, Willow ran after Re’s retreating figure. She knew what he must be thinking, but he had to know she played no willing part in it. He had to know the truth.

“Willow,” Chris called after her, slight anger in his tone. “Damn it, you know you want this as much as I do.”

But she never turned back to him. She only kept chasing the retreating figure of the man she loved.

_______________________________
Red Sage Publishing, Inc. © 2013 All Rights Reserved

BIO:

Faye Hall is an Australian author published with Red Sage Publishing. Her tales are all set in rural towns of North Queensland, Australia in the late 1800's.
Her second eBook, 'She's a Lot Like You' will be release April 2014. Set in Ravenswood, Queensland 1860, the story spans 10 years, and illustrates the constant struggles two people have to endure to be together.  They have to overcome scandal, lies, and a tie between their families neither are aware of until it is too late.
Faye’s debut eBook, 'My Gift To You' was released late 2012.  It is set in the small Burdekin shire, Queensland close to where Faye grew up. Starting in 1866, ‘My Gift To You’ tells the struggles two young people have, one hunting for those that murdered her parents, the other struggling to fit into the society around him.  Together they find a passion filled love they’d dared not dreamed existed.
Throughout the script, Faye has mentioned a few native Australian icons such as Black Opals and Gidgy seeds, her way of including some of her countries unique heritage into her script.
A third eBook has also been contracted also with Red Sage titled 'Mistress of Purity'. Set between the townships of Sarina and Proserpine, it promises to bring suspense…scandal and intrigue unlike no other. There’s old estate houses…secrets passageways…murderers…hidden desires…
Faye’s books can be purchased direct from Red Sage at:-
From Amazon:-
Also you can visit Faye’s blog and website for any updates:-
Or find her on social networks:-

Monday, 10 March 2014

Does a Romance need a Happy Ever After ending? Launching 'The Bull At The Gate'

The answer to the question is... it depends on both the sub-genre of Romance and where the ending actually lies.

The Bull At The Gate, Book 2 in the Torc of Moonlight trilogy, is an occult thriller, hitting as high as #3 in that AmazonUK chart. A romance beats at its heart, and neither it, nor its prequel, would exist if the romance was removed. So should it be categorised as such? Not, evidently, if it fails to provide a Happy Ever After ending, or a strong promise of it, by the end of Book1. The trilogy will provide one, but not until its conclusion.

Like most writers of romance I write about relationships. I’ve never been a fan of stroppy alpha males or sassy, smart-mouthed females; I much prefer to read and write about ordinary people coping with extraordinary circumstances. The circumstances I choose are simply a bit more extraordinary than most.

I love Ordnance Survey maps and I’m a keen landscape walker eager to interpret the contours around me, but it wasn’t until I followed clues to an ancient spring that I was left standing aghast. In the middle of a Forestry Commission plantation of harvestable pine a section had been allowed to grow wild with the native deciduous species. They weren’t tall, 10-15 feet, more shrubs than trees, but as I looked I kept seeing tiny offerings hanging in their spindly branches. The stone well-head, hardly more than a bump in the ground and covered in moss, was crammed with coins. People – a lot of people – had made the journey on foot to pay their respects. I’ve always been of the mind that old religions fade to oblivion because people stop believing, yet here... What if the deity, which even before the Roman invasion had called this small pool home, had not faded into history but had maintained enough believers to lie dormant?

A lot more thinking went into it, of course, but that became the premise of both Torc of Moonlight, and the trilogy itself. But who wants to write about a nameless deity? It’s much more interesting to write about the 21st century non-believers coping with the ripples. And, as these water deities were fertility goddesses, a romance it had to be.

It didn’t take long to realise that a male point of view would make a better counterpoint, and so Nick, with the exuberance of a nineteen year old freed from family ties, stepped forward to become enamoured with studious Alice and carry the trilogy. Alice doesn’t believe in coincidences; she’s convinced accidents happen for a reason. As any teenager would, Nick scoffs – and as Torc of Moonlight unfolds and readers follow a parallel historical thread back to a bloody betrayal at the pool, we follow him through denial, regret, fear and guilt as Alice, he believes, is lost to him forever.

The Celts upheld the sacredness of Three – hence a trilogy rather than a series, and the three years Nick spends in an emotional wilderness prior to the opening of The Bull At The Gate. In York, a walled mediaeval city with Roman history buried beneath every building, he finds the reality of the normal life he’s trying to re-establish beset on every side. The police suspect him in the disappearance of a female student; his landlady is certain he’s dangerous and should be confined to a mental hospital. Only Alice believes he is stronger than he thinks he is. Desperate to right the wrongs between them, he convinces himself that he can cope, regains his self-belief, and vows to return his true love to his side.

And if that’s not a Romance, what is?

If you'd like to leave a comment you'll be entered into a draw for an e-copy of Books 1 & 2. [Thanks - draw now closed]

Torc of Moonlight Book 1 is discounted to 99c/99p for a limited period.
The Bull At The Gate Book 2 is available in ebook only, paperback to follow
All Formats now – filtering through to iBooks, Nook, Kobo in a few days

This post is part of a listed blog tour. For more information on how Celtic imagery is used in the trilogy read Writing About Alternate Realities.

Catch Linda Acaster on  Website ¦ Facebook ¦ Twitter

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Beneath The Shining Mountains - 99c / 77p - Linda Acaster


...shows a fascinating culture...
The Bull At The Gate, the second in the Torc of Moonlight trilogy of occult thrillers, is soon to go Beneath The Shining Mountains to 99c/77p to give readers a taste of my writing style. As I write, it is steadily climbing the Native American bestseller chart.
live, and as part of the pre-launch promotion I’m discounting

Due to this being a time-sensitive discount it only applies to Amazon direct. Those who read via Nook, Kobo, iBooks, etc, can use the Coupon Code HL73P at Smashwords to gain the same price – but only until 03 March. Get it while you can!

Beneath The Shining Mountains  is a parallel coming-of-age story concerning both Moon Hawk, whose starry-eyed belief in the power of love is sorely trialled, and Winter Man who wants to remain free both of a wife and of responsibilities to his people. But the turning of a year tests the lovers, making both rethink their roles. In this excerpt, Moon Hawk is a new bride and the Apsaroke village is on the move to the winter camping grounds
~~
The morning was full of changes. The sky cleared for a while and was as blue as a kingfisher’s wing. The peaks of the Shining Mountains seemed unusually close, and looked, at times, as if they were dancing with white flames; snow, Winter Man knew, being whipped from the high ridges by gales too harsh to contemplate — storm winds. The air chilled, and thick grey clouds reared above the peaks to scud across to the further horizon as if dirty cottonwood seeds blowing before the breeze. The streams began to rise, telling of unseen cloudbursts in the higher reaches.
As an outrider, Winter Man rode beyond the slowly moving column or sat astride his fast, unburdened roan, his keen eyes directed to the deeply folding land either side of the sprawling line, but of the foes he watched for there was no sign.
The land was changing as they pushed south. Pockets of berry-bushes were becoming more numerous and scattered, not merely cleaving to the edges of creeks where the water fed them. The grass, too, was more lush, and of a finer quality. Birch and ash and oak thickets flourished in sheltered delves.
He turned his gaze to the column meandering along the lowlands below. It was a sight which never tired him. So many people . . . So many horses . . . Their noise and colour filled his senses. Who would have thought, during the same journey a year ago, that he’d now have a wife riding there below him? He shook his head. Not he. A complete man — that was what Hillside called him.
Strangely enough, that was how he felt. He’d expected marriage to feel no different from the taking of a new lover, but it did, though he was still uncertain why. Hillside had laughed, and told him to enjoy and not complain. At the time he’d chuckled and nodded his agreement, but Winter Man knew only too well the truth hidden in those words. His contentment with any one woman had never lasted. Despite their marriage, he knew it wouldn’t last with Moon Hawk, either. It was the way of things, something he accepted. Better that he made the most of what he had while it was there to savour.
He flicked his quirt towards his roan’s thigh, and it obediently began to descend the ridge. Boys were hunting jack-rabbits further down the slope, though by the look of it more arrows had been broken than rabbits killed. Two dogs were busily enlarging the animals’ holes, but he decided that the rabbits had little cause for concern.
Altering the weight of the shortened gun cradled in his arms, he heeled the roan sharply in the ribs to quicken its gait. The middle of the day had come and gone. A man was laughed at if his mind dwelt on hunger after travelling for so short a time, but it would be an excuse to visit the column and seek out Moon Hawk. He’d ridden by her position twice just to look at her, though he didn’t think she’d seen him. Perhaps she would enjoy a quiet word, a joke, maybe. It would be something for the other brides to tease her about — a doting husband full of concern for the wellbeing of his wife. She would blush. He liked to see her blush. He’d never known any woman blush as easily as Moon Hawk.
He cantered on to the flatter land, moving parallel and slightly faster than the wide, untidy line. Moon Hawk turned and smiled at his approach, though he knew she couldn’t possibly have heard him. A secret sense, perhaps? A woman’s intuition?
‘How goes your ride? Have you lost any of our belongings yet?’
Her face was a study of affronted pride. ‘Of course not!’
He laughed, as she realised he’d only been joking, and he watced her smile, coyly trying to hide the burning of her cheeks.
‘Is there food for a hungry husband?
~~

Despite hailing from England, Linda Acaster has always been fascinated by the historical lives of the native peoples of the northern plains, and for many years was a re-enactor giving talks to schools and community groups.

Grab a copy of Beneath The Shining Mountains at 99c/77p, and keep abreast of her book launches and offers by following her website or signing up there for a Newsletter. If you enjoyed this post, why not share it via Twitter below? Thanks!