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Cynthia Ripley Miller: On the Edge of Sunrise

Interview with Cynthia Ripley Miller

Susana: Tell us something about the time period you’ve chosen for your first novel.

Cynthia: The few years I taught history, and my travels abroad created my desire to choose a world somewhat familiar to me. I decided that ancient Rome would become my setting, but I wanted a turbulent and exciting time span that would cross cultures and usher in the Medieval Age. From a writer’s perspective, late Rome in the fifth century AD, and the Germanic barbarian Franks—who later became the French Merovingians—filled the niche for drama, intrigue and a fresh era. It beckoned me.

Susana: What inspired your title?

C.Ripley Miller copyCynthia: On the Edge of Sunrise earned its title through a meditative moment and the strength and transformation of the characters and their personal redemptions. My heroine, Arria, and hero, Garic, are nobility in their own culture. Arria’s a Roman senator’s daughter and Garic is a tribal counselor. Arria is raised unconventionally and carries the title of Roman Envoy. Garic mirrors this distinction as a highly regarded warrior, honored for his wisdom as First Counsel to his tribal chieftain. Their ‘love at first sight’ desires force them to cross cultural boundaries; however, both are torn by responsibility and duty to their countries and families. And against the odds, the hidden secret each carries with him.

Susana: What author or authors have inspired your writing?

Cynthia: As an undergraduate student of literature, I eagerly consumed classic fiction. Authors such as Hardy, Dickens, Tolstoy and Steinbeck awakened me to worlds and insights beyond my personal experience, but another side of me loved a historical novel with an adventurous plot. When I wrote, one might say I leaned toward the dark side—genre fiction. Anne Rice’s vampires brought historical settings to life and demonstrated a diversity of human traits despite their undead status. Diana Gabaldon and her Outlander series captured my attention with her vibrant characters, Scottish history, and splash of fantasy. From these influences, I determined to write a historical and adventurous love story.

Susana: What flavor is your writing?

Cynthia: The combination of a chocolate energy bar with a pinch of cayenne might best describe my novel’s flavor. My story is fast-paced with more dialogue than narrative (although there is enough narrative for imagery and internal dialogue). I like action and conflict to keep the story fresh and some red-hot spice to make the plot tantalizing.

Susana: What is your favorite scene in On the Edge of Sunrise?

Cynthia: My favorite scene involves my heroine, Arria, being accompanied to Cambria, a Roman fort town, by the hero, Garic, a Frank warrior noble who has just saved her from a renegade group of barbarians. As they enter the city gates, they come upon a slave auction. Arria sees that in order to help save a mother and her child from slavery, she must buy them. Garic, encourages her and offers his help. The attraction between Arria and Garic has grown throughout the journey, and they share some tender moments. But just as they express their love, the commander of the Roman fort, Arria’s betrothed, interrupts them.

Susana: What books do you have in your TBR pile?

Cynthia: Angelopolis by Danielle Trussoni and Roma by Steven Saylor.

Susana: What is something unusual that most people don’t know?

Cynthia: Many people don’t know that when I was in middle school I was ‘pen pals’ with Katie Kubrick, the director Stanley Kubrick’s daughter.

Susana: What are you working on now?

Cynthia: I’m working on book two in my Long-Hair Saga series, a romantic historical with strong elements of mystery and suspense.

About On the Edge of Sunrise

When love commands, destiny must obey. Against an epic background and torn between duty and passion, Arria Felix, a Roman senator’s daughter, must choose between Rome’s decadent world and her forbidden love—Garic, a Frank barbarian noble.

ontheedgehr copyThe year is AD 450. The Roman Empire wanes as the Medieval Age awakens. Attila the Hun and his horde conquer their way across Europe into Gaul. Caught between Rome’s tottering empire and Attila’s threat are the Frankish tribes and their ‘Long-Hair’ chiefs, northern pagans in a Roman Christian world, and a people history will call the Merovingians.

A young widow, Arria longs for a purpose and a challenge. She is as well versed in politics and diplomacy as any man … but with special skills of her own.

The Emperor Valentinian, determined to gain allies to help stop the Huns, sends a remarkable envoy, a woman, to the Assembly of Warriors in Gaul. Arria will persuade the Franks to stand with Rome against Attila.

When barbarian raiders abduct Arria, the Frank blue-eyed warrior, Garic, rescues her. Alarmed by the instant and passionate attraction she feels, Arria is torn between duty and desire. Her arranged betrothal to the ambitious tribune, Drusus, her secret enlistment by Valentinian as a courier to Attila the Hun, and a mysterious riddle—threaten their love and propel them into adventure, intrigue, and Attila’s camp. Rebels in a falling empire, Arria and Garic must find the strength to defy tradition and possess the love prophesied as their destiny.

About the Author

Cynthia Ripley Miller is a first generation Italian-American writer with a love for history, languages and books. She has lived, worked, and travelled in Europe, Africa, North America and the Caribbean. As a girl, she often wondered what it would be like to journey through time (she still does), yet knew, it could only be through the imagination and words of writers and their stories. Today, she writes to bring the past to life.

Cynthia holds a master’s degree and has taught history and teaches English. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthology Summer Tapestry, at Orchard Press Mysteries.com and The Scriptor. She has reviewed for UNRV Roman History, and writes a blog, Historical Happenings and Oddities: A Distant Focus.

Cynthia has four children and lives with her husband, twin cats, Romulus and Remus, and Jessie, a German Shepherd, in a suburb of Chicago. On the Edge of Sunrise is the first in the Long-Hair Sagas; a series set in late ancient Rome and France and published by Knox Robinson Publishing.

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Marisa Dillon: The Lady of the Garter

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARISA!

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Marisa Dillon will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click on the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

Interview with Marisa Dillon

Susana: How did you come up with the idea for this book?

Marisa Riding copyMarisa: The inspiration for the story came to me after a trip I took back in time one autumn afternoon. I live in Ohio, and we have one of the largest and most authentic Renaissance Festivals in the country.

I even dressed the part and took a ride on a warhorse. I was inspired by what I saw. The jousting reenactments, danger, romance, chivalry, comedy, comradery. It was all there and I wanted to write a story about that world.

Susana: Tell us more about the real history in this story?

Marisa: I love the idea of chivalry and romance mingling together. In the late 15th century, the notion of the knight in shining armor was not a fantasy, but a reality (if history doesn’t lie).  And as a lover of history and romance, I couldn’t resist researching and then writing about a group of knights who have been revered and served the English monarchy for generations. The Most Noble Order of the Garter was founded by King Edward III in 1348, holds the highest order of chivalry, and is the most prestigious group in service to England.

Price William Orde of the Garter copyEven Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, serves as a Garter Knight today.

As a homage to King Edward, I named the squire, who becomes a knight in my story, after the Garter’s founder, but there’s more to my squire than meets the eye.

Susana:  Many readers enjoy a historical romances. What kind of research did you do?

Marisa: Well, as much as I like to think watching jousting matches at the Ren Fair would help me write a story that featured knights in tournaments, I realized early on, that I’d need to do something more in-depth.

Knights at Tournament copyI was surprised to find that the Ren Fair had a book kiosk and stumbled upon a book called “Knights at Tournament,” by Christopher Gravatt.

This resource was indispensable. I also interviewed a man who travels the country working as a jousting knight on the Ren Fair circuit and on the TV show, “Full Metal Jousting.”

He told me what it felt like to be struck by a lance and how it impacted his body, liking putting him bed for a few days to recover after one brutal hit.

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Also, when it came to getting details about the 15th Century. I had these three books at my fingertips. These resources helped me paint my pictures of medieval life and they also ensured my descriptions were accurate.

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Life in a Medieval Castle

Words like bailey, porticus were imperative for the story to describe places in the castle. I also needed to know what period items of clothing were called in that era. A hauberk of chain mail and a houppelande gown, were items I described my characters wearing, helping to provide authenticity and provoke visual imagines for the reader.

About The Lady of the Garter

When Henry VII takes the throne, not all are loyal to the new king. Garter knight, Sir James, is charged with bringing dissenters to justice. Determined to fulfill his vows, he’s unprepared for Lady Elena, a girl from his past he’s never forgotten.

Lady Elena defies her family and disguises herself as a squire to reunite with the man she’s always loved. She might be able to wield a sword, but she still possesses a woman’s heart.

Thrust into a world of danger and family rivalry, James and Elena face the ultimate test.

Can James avenge his father’s death and find passion, or will his Garter oaths hold him to a life of service without love?

Amazon

Excerpt

Cover_TheLadyOfTheGarter copyElena had prayed that James would rescue her, but not at the price he paid. How would she ever make this right? First, she’d lost his trust. Now he lost Dragon because of her carelessness. She fully expected to be escorted back to Warwickshire after they returned to Nunnery. She hoped it would be with anyone but James or she wouldn’t survive it.

“God’s blood, woman, who do you think you are?” His deep, powerful voice made her cringe.

She couldn’t answer.

He sighed, steering the horse underneath some trees. Then he turned so abruptly, she thought he’d strike her.

“Are you daft, woman?”

She covered her face with both hands.

“You’re not ready to be a knight, Elena. Look at me.” He drew her hands away. “You’ve sworn allegiance to me, but you constantly disobey.” His eyebrows knit together. “You’ve begged for guidance, yet refuse to follow my instructions.” He shook his head. “You speak of courage, yet don’t show any. Did you not consider the consequences when you lied your way into my life? You’re selfish and don’t consider the future. The ability to sacrifice for the good of others is what qualifies a man for knighthood. Your heart is unworthy.”

But her heart was worthy. Perhaps not for knighthood, but for love. His love. And that seemed more important to her now. Although his criticism hurt, she knew he cared about her. His eyes showed it. She kissed him, her quivering lips met his. It was the only answer she could give. She needed to sate her unbridled passion. She wanted him. She wanted this. It might be her only chance before he came to his senses.

He responded, embracing her.

When he finally released her, she whimpered and leaned into him, wanting more.

He gazed into her eyes. Why had he stopped?

About the Author

With a degree in journalism, Marisa has spent many years writing for the television industry. As an award-winning producer/director/marketer, she has worked on commercial production, show creation, product branding and social media.

Marisa’s passion for writing began when her first-grade teacher read her poem aloud and posted it on the classroom wall. She soon followed up by writing plays for her neighborhood friends and hosting the productions in her garage.

Marisa has always enjoyed reading romance novels and now realizes a dream come true, writing romantic adventures. She lives in Kettering, Ohio, with her first love and knight in shining armor, James.

You can visit Marisa at: www.marisadillon.com. And you can connect with Marisa on Facebook.com/pages/Marisa-Dillon and Twitter.com/marisadillon.

Louise Lyndon: Love and Vengeance

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Louise will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

Interview With Louise Lyndon

Susana: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Louise: Write. Then write some more. Do not stop after the first rejection – remember, they are rejecting your story, not you as a writer. Enter competitions for feedback. Choose a competition with an editor of a publisher you’re interested in submitting work to. Don’t bombard yourself with reading ‘how to write’ books. I have one or two – and to be honest, I have only read one of them. But just keep writing. This is the only way you’re going to improve on your craft.

Susana: What comes first: the plot or the characters?

Louise: For me, characters. Rather, they come to me in a snippet of a scene. I’ll play that scene over and over in my head and then I’ll write it. Now, that scene is just a random scene. Usually I know nothing else other than that scene. Then I start to think about the characters in the scene. Who are they? Where did they come from? What are they doing there? It builds from there.

Susana: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Louise: Oh, I’m a panster. I mentioned earlier that I’ll have a random scene pop into my head and then build the characters from there that is how I build the plot. I’ll ask myself, what happened in the scene prior to this one to get them to this point? I do a lot of my writing working backward.

Susana: Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Louise: My newest release, Of Love and Vengeance, is about a few things really. Firstly, it’s about prejudices, mainly about how we can tar an entire group by either misconceptions or by the behavior of a few. Both the hero and heroine are guilty of doing this, so we get to see how they deal with this. It’s also about acceptance, not just of each other, but of yourself as well. Laila, the heroine has a birthmark that covers one side of her face, and she really struggles with loving herself because of it. So we also see how she learns to love herself.

Susana: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Louise: I always wanted to be an audio engineer. You know, one of those people who sets up all the audio equipment at concerts and in recording studies. When I was seventeen I took a course in audio engineering, because from as long as I could remember that was what I wanted to do. I got my qualifications and then realized that perhaps it wasn’t what I wanted to be after all!

Susana: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

Louise: I love doing obstacle races like Spartan, and Tough Mudder. To look at me you wouldn’t think so. I refer to myself as a Rueben’s woman (curvy and plump!) and I do not look as if I am into exercise. I always like to put on make-up and straighten my hair (I love my InStyler), I’m a bit of a girly girl. So, the last place you’d expect to find me is shoulder deep in stinky, sticky mud, crawling under barbed wire, hoisting myself up a rope, and climbing over 12 foot walls. My sister doesn’t believe it and she’s seen the photos!

Susana: What would we find under your bed?

Louise: I’m afraid to look to be honest! But, the last time I did work up the courage to look I found an old pair of ASICS trainers I no longer wear, and empty shoe box, which I should have put the old trainers in, and a recipe book for my nutribullet.

Susana: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

Louise: I have two. 1/ Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it. 2/ Bang on enough doors and one is bound to open.

Susana: Every writer dreams of getting “the call.” What were you doing when yours came? Who got to hear the good news first?

Louise: My “call” came in the form of an email. I remember it clearly. It was May 17, 7.59am (I remember the time exactly because I was on my way into the office and I checked the time on my phone) and before heading into the building where I work I quickly checked my emails. There was an email from The Wild Rose Press, and I thought it was going to be a rejection. I stopped reading after the first sentence… I have finished reviewing the manuscript, Of Love and Vengeance.  I’d like to offer you a contract. I must had re-read that sentence at least ten times. Then I called my sister, who thought someone must have died because why else would I be ringing her so early!

Susana: What is the one modern convenience you can’t do without?

Louise: Anything electrical! But mainly my microwave, Instyler, and laptop. Not necessarily in that order.

About Of Love and Vengeance

Forced to marry Lord Aymon to ensure her young nephew’s survival, English Lady Laila vows undying hatred for the Norman she holds responsible for the deaths of so many innocents. Discovering Aymon has committed an act of treason gives her the chance to seek vengeance he deserves. But can Laila let Aymon die at the hands of the king once she learns the truth?

A hardened Norman warrior, Lord Aymon has lived through atrocities no man ever should. With the invasion of England over, all he wants is a quiet life and a wife who will give him heirs and obey his every command. Instead, he finds himself wed to feisty and outspoken Laila. But when she learns the truth of his treasonous act, can Aymon count on her to keep his secret?

AmazonBarnes & Noble Wild Rose Publishing

Excerpt

Aymon caught a flicker of movement from a window on the second story. “I think we’re about to meet the welcome party.” An arrow zoomed toward him and landed on the pommel of his saddle. A half an inch closer and he would no longer be able to sire children. As if in demonstration of his ability with the bow and arrow, the shooter fired again. This time directed toward Hugh. The second arrow too came within a half an inch of his friend’s manhood.

Cover_OfLoveandVengeance copy“You missed!” Aymon called toward the shooter. He questioned his stupidity for mocking someone with such a good aim.

“You want me to show you how good an aim I really am?” a woman’s voice echoed out across the yard.

“Bloody hell,” Hugh half cursed, half laughed. “Where does a woman learn to shoot like that?”

Aymon was shocked and admittedly a little impressed a woman had such remarkable shooting skills. He could use such a sharp shooter on his side in battle. After all, it was better to have someone so skilled firing for you than at you.

Aymon raised his black leather gloved hand in surrender. “No. I’m firmly attached to my balls, thank you very much.”

“Who are you?” the shooter demanded. “And what do you want? There is nothing of value here for you to steal. Be on your way, man, and leave me in peace.”

“Some would say a female is of value,” Aymon drawled sardonically.

A second arrow lodged firmly on the pommel between his legs.

“I do not give third chances. I’ll give you to the count of three to leave. Or else you will find an arrow straight through your heart.”

Aymon’s warhorse whinnied, and he fought to control the beast whose temperament was as black as his coat. “Put down your weapon!”

“One!”

“We mean you no harm!”

“Two!”

“I am Lord Aymon, and this is Lord Hugh. I’ve come to claim what is rightfully mine.”

Silence.

The two men looked at one another unsure what to do. “Should we storm the building and lay claim to what is yours?”

Aymon shook his head. He dismounted but never took his eyes from the door to the manor.

“She will soon make her appearance.”

Hugh, too, dismounted. “How can you be so sure?”

Aymon looked at his friend. “We do not have arrows through our hearts.”

About the Author

AuthorPic_OfLoveAndVengeance copyLouise grew up in country Victoria, Australia, before moving to England, where for sixteen years she soaked up the vibrancy of London and the medieval history of England. She has since returned to Australia and now lives in Melbourne.

She has been writing the moment she picked up a copy of Diana Gabaldon’s first Outlander novel twenty something years ago. She thought to herself, ‘this is what I want to do’ – not travel back in time, but become a novelist! She has always had snippets of dialogue and scenes floating around in her head with characters screaming at her to bring them to life.

In 2013, Louise won first prize in the Crested Butte Sandy Writing contest – Historical category for her story, The Promise, which is now called, Of Love and Vengeance.

When not writing, she can be found covered in mud, crawling under barbed wire and hoisting herself over twelve foot walls – under the guise of competing in Spartan races all over Australia.

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Barbara Bettis: The Heart of the Phoenix

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One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of The Heart of the Phoenix . All comments also qualify as entries for Susana’s September Giveaway, a necklace from London’s National Gallery (see photo at right).

About The Heart of the Phoenix

Some call him a ruthless mercenary; she calls him the knight of her heart.

Memories

Lady Evelynn’s childhood hero is home—bitter, hard, tempting as sin. And haunted by secrets. A now-grown Evie offers friendship, but Sir Stephen’s cruel rejection crushes her, and she resolves to forget him. Yet when an unexpected war throws them together, she finds love isn’t so easy to dismiss. If only the king hadn’t betrothed her to another.

Can Be Cruel

Sir Stephen lives a double life while he seeks the treacherous outlaws who murdered his friends. Driven by revenge he thinks his heart is closed to love. His childhood shadow, Lady Evie, unexpectedly challenges that belief. He rebuffs her, but he can’t forget her, although he knows she’s to wed the king’s favorite.

And Deadly

When his drive for vengeance leads to Evie’s kidnapping, Stephen must choose between retribution and the loved he’s denied too long. Surely King John will see reason. Convict the murderers; convince the king. Simple. Until a startling revelation threatens everything.

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Excerpt

Evie could tell Stephen was angry now by the way he glowered and roared in that whispery sort of way no one else could hear, but left her with no doubt of his displeasure.

THOP COVER copy“Your betrothed.” He bent and scooped her off the floor.

“What? What about him?”

“That’s the identity of the illustrious lord who’s sharing passage with us.”

“You’re drunk. And put me down. I’m perfectly capable of getting up on my own.”

“Be quiet. You have blood on your leg.”

“Of course I do. I tripped and fell trying to answer your pounding when you could easily have opened—” His words finally penetrated her throbbing head. “I’m bleeding?”

Oh, blast. The contents of her—empty—stomach churned. She attended the villagers’ hurts, bound the cuts and scrapes of servants and their children. The sight of their blood bothered her not a whit. But her own? Black spots danced at the corners of her vision, becoming larger and larger until she heard Stephen’s voice.

“Evie, Evie. What the hell?”

His voice echoed so far away. If she didn’t know better, she’d vow he sounded alarmed. Perhaps she’d close her eyes for a moment. As the ringing in her ears crescendoed, she recalled his words. Betrothed.

Her betrothed was on board?

Dear Lord, just let me die.

About the Author

Barb-4Award winning author Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she briefly considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math.

She now lives in Missouri, where by day she’s a mild-mannered English teacher, and by night she’s an intrepid plotter of tales featuring heroines to die for—and heroes to live for.

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Historical Tidbit: Dover

Most of us are used to reading of Dover as the port closest to the continent and the one used most frequently. However, in the Middle Ages, it wasn’t always the port of choice. When King John left Normandy for England where he was to be crowned on Ascension Thursday, 1199, he landed at Shoreham on the country’s southern coast. Evidently, Shoreham was a popular port during those years. According to one source, one of the first things John did when he landed in Shoreham two days before his coronation was visit the church of St. Nicholas.

Here’s a modern photo of St. Nicholas’ Church, although one can see some of the medieval touches at the top.

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Marlow Kelly: A Woman of Honour

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Marlow will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click on the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

About A Woman of Honour

Duncan Campbell wakes to discover he is imprisoned with a woman in his enemy’s dungeon in the Highlands of Scotland. The disenchanted warrior hopes his last few moments on earth will be spent in the arms of the sweet-voiced Isabel. If only she will cooperate.

Isabel Douglas has no intention of obliging the crude captive. The penniless noblewoman considers herself too tall and thin to be desirable. She intends to become a nun. But first, disguised as a boy, she must deliver an important letter to Scotland’s hero in hiding, King Robert the Bruce.

Together, the pair make a daring escape that plunges them into the bleak countryside in the middle of winter. In the struggle to survive, they learn the true strength of their feelings for each other. But when Duncan’s animosity towards the king becomes evident, Isabel must decide between her heart and her country.

Excerpt

Cover_A Woman of Honour copyDuncan Campbell drifted into consciousness and opened his eyes to absolute blackness. He lay perfectly still on the cold, dirt floor listening. A small rustle of fabric echoed in the darkness. He cocked his head, getting a sense of the sound’s location, then rose to his feet.

“Tell me who you are before I tear you apart,” he roared, seizing his opponent. Whoever it was didn’t answer, just silence. A fist punched him on the nose. Pain ricocheted through him, and he grabbed his face. In the dark, he lost his balance and fell in the dirt, cradling his head in his hands.

“Oh my, are you all right?” asked a small voice.

“No, I’m not.”

“You threatened me, and I wanted to give you fair warning I will fight back if you touch me.”

The lyrical voice stunned him. A woman? She spoke Gaelic with a strong, lowland accent. He shook off the pain and asked, “Where am I?”

“Dunstaffnage Castle. Don’t you remember your capture? I’ve heard of people getting a bump on the head and not remembering their own name. Is that what happened to you? Did you bump your head?”

Lord, she was talkative.

“Is it?”

“I remember I was hit from behind scouting the bast….Are we in the dungeon?” He rose to his feet.

“Yes.”

He grunted. On the bright side he hadn’t gone blind. On the other hand they were in a dank, windowless cell with no hope of escape. There wasn’t even a sliver of light coming through the door.

About the Author

After being thrown out of England for refusing to drink tea, Marlow Kelly made her way to Canada where she found love, a home and a pug named Max. She also discovered her love of storytelling. Encouraged by her husband, children and let’s not forget Max, she started putting her ideas to paper. Her need to write about strong women in crisis drives her stories and her curiosity regarding the lives and loves of historical figures are the inspiration for her characters.

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Monica McCarty and “The Raider”

About The Raider (Highland Guard)

After consolidating his gains against the enemy English, King Robert the Bruce of Scotland sends his best soldiers to fortify the lawless borders. These legendary warriors of the Highland Guard let nothing come before king and country—except the calling of their heart.

81sJ6I4ehDL._SL1500_Of all Bruce’s elite warriors, Robert “Raider” Boyd is the most formidable. A true patriot whose bare hands are a deadly weapon, Robbie is the fierce enforcer of the Guard, and his hatred of the English has been honed to a razor-sharp edge. But vengeance proves bittersweet when his enemy’s beautiful sister falls into his hands and he finds himself fighting temptation—a battle he badly wants to lose.

Lady Rosalin Clifford barely recognizes the rebel prisoner she saved from execution six years ago. Though her girlish ideals for fairness have matured into a passion for justice, Rosalin believes she betrayed her brother when she helped this dangerous man escape.  Now her traitorous act has come back to haunt her. But she can’t deny the longing this tormented warrior ignites in her, or deny the passion that turns sworn enemies into lovers. Is the gentle love of a true English Rose enough to free Scotland’s most brutal warrior from a path of vengeance—before it’s too late?

Available

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About the Author

Monica McCarty is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than ten Scottish historical romance novels, including the Campbell series, the MacLeods of Skye series, and the Highland Guard novels.

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SUSANA SAYS: Scots rebel meets his match in an English heiress: 5/5 stars

SusanaSays3Rosalin never forgot her first kiss, at sixteen, when she saved a handsome Scots rebel from being hanged at the hands of her powerful English brother, Earl Clifford. She always wondered what happened to him and secretly felt guilty about betraying her beloved brother.

Six years later, when she and her young nephew are captured and held for ransom by a band of Scots brigands, she discovers that he has become an angry savage bound for revenge against atrocities committed against his family by the English.

And yet…there is something about him that convinces Rosalin that he is worth saving…and loving. But surely there is no hope for a happy ending between them, not with her brother being his bitter enemy.

The Raider is the first Monica McCarty book I have read, since I tend to favor Regencies. But after traveling to Scotland this past year and meeting Monica in person at the RWA Conference, I was eager to sample some of her books. I’m so glad I did! I can’t wait to read the stories of the other members of the Highland Guard, and I have obtained some of her previous novels as well.

Anyone who enjoys learning about history via engaging stories and captivating characters will absolutely love this one.

 

B.J. Scott and “Highland Homecoming”

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B.J. will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card, Scottish shortbread cookies, can cooler and mouse pad (US/CANADA ONLY) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

Since this is a historical romance, I was given the option to discuss something interesting about Scottish history. One of things I found interesting was the reason the thistle is considered the emblem of Scotland over the sweet smelling heather.

The prickly, green leafed weed, with the purple floral crown is seen on almost anything associated with Scotland. The legend is that in 1263, during the reign of King Alexander III, Vikings, led by their king Haakon IV landed on the shore of Scotland. Had they come to invade Scotland, were they raiding villages along the coast or had they been forced ashore by a storm?  The answer may never be known, but it castles on the coast were on guard for an attack, because it had been attempted in the past. When the Vikings came ashore, the cries of the barefooted warriors, as they stepped on the thistles served as a warning, allowing the Scots to prepare for the invasion and thwart the attempt. The first use of the thistle as an emblem was recorded in 1470 when it appeared on a silver coin issued by King James III.

The thistle in ancient times was thought to be a symbol of nobility of character and birth. To do harm to the thistle would result in punishment.  Because of this belief when the ancient chivalric, noble Order of the Thistle was founded by James II, the thistle was chosen as the symbol in 1687.  Their motto   “Nemo me impune lacessit” (no one harms me without punishment.) In Scots  “Wha daurs meddle wi me”

The order still exists today, the motto used on many things associated with Scotland.

About Highland Homecoming

Cover_HighlandHomecomingThe last thing Alasdair Fraser expects to find on an isolated beach in Northern Scotland is a beautiful, unconscious lass. Unable to turn his back on someone in need, he delays his journey and tends to her injuries–an act that has him questioning his destiny and his plans to rejoin the fight for Scotland’s independence.

Will he drop the shield that guards his heart or will the secrets she fails to reveal and his own stubbornness keep them apart forever?

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Excerpt

Perched on a stool by the fire, he watched her sleep, wondering how he was going to ever let her go. She was by far the loveliest woman he had ever seen, and she did not seem to be put off by his size, awkwardness, or lack of manners. But duty dictated that they part ways.

After tossing a log on the fire, he spread a pelt on the floor in front of the hearth, then lowered himself to the ground. He pulled the tunic over his head and tossed it on the stool, then did the same with his trews and boots, before settling beneath a length of plaid

The last thing he wanted to do was lie on the floor and go to sleep. If truth be known, he wanted to slip beneath the covers, take Lauren in his arms, and make her his own. But that would not be right or proper. They were not betrothed and despite what people might think of him, he was a man of honor.

The women he’d bedded in the past had all been of questionable repute and none had been untried maidens. If Lauren was not already married or spoken for, he held enough respect for her that he would wait until their wedding night. But then again, if she did not get her memory back, he might never know for certain.

He slammed his fist on the floor. What the hell was he thinking? He was never going to take a bride. Especially one with no past. He was a warrior. There was no future for them, something he best not forget. He tucked the plaid around his shoulders and dozed off.

An ear-piercing scream disturbed his slumber and Alasdair jolted up with a start. Wasting no time, he climbed to his feet and raced to the pallet.

About the Author

AuthorPicWith a passion for historical romance, history in general, and anything Celtic, B.J. always has an exciting work in progress. Each story offers a blend of romance, adventure, suspense, and, where appropriate, a dab of comic relief. Carefully researched historical facts are woven into each manuscript, providing a backdrop from which steamy romance, gripping plots, and vivid characters—dashing alpha heroes and resourceful, beguiling heroines you can’t help but admire—spring to life. A member of RWA, World Romance Writers, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, and Savvy Authors, B.J. also writes contemporary, paranormal, time travel, and romantic suspense.

C.S. Lewis first captivated B. J.’s imagination in the fourth grade, and her desire to write sprang from there. Following a career in nursing and child and youth work, B.J. married her knight-in-shining-armor, and he whisked her away to his castle by the sea. In reality, they share their century-old home in a small Canadian town on the shore of Lake Erie with three dogs and a cat. When she is not working at her childcare job, on her small business, or writing, you will find her reading, camping, or antique hunting.

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