Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday's Featured Title: The Wager

The Wager
Christine Young
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4

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Coast of England 1816

"It's a bloody cursed day." Damian Andrews swept the child into his arms and waded through the pounding surf to the beach. He braced himself against the out-going current then sloshed through the crashing waves. Salt spray clung to the wind, stinging his nostrils.

Damian turned. Beneath his ribs, his heart pounded the cadence hard and fast. He swore again as he watched the captain shout orders to his crew. The French brandy that was supposed to have arrived this night would have to wait.

Standing in the longboat, the captain of the ship that brought the brandy as well as the political refugees from the Germanies held a torch aloft--the only light in the vast darkness. "Hurry, laddie. We have human cargo tonight and the tide is changing."

A little girl whimpered.

Damian pulled her into his arms, bent on protecting her at all cost.

"It's all right. You will all be together soon." The smuggling of French brandy was a cover for the cause that meant so much to him. Religious and political refugees--at times it seemed they came in droves. All were seeking a better life. A life of freedom. "Your mother is coming as well as your baby brother. You will all be safe."

Damian looked to the captain. "The father?" he queried.

"He didn't come with his family. He said he had one more thing to do. You must hurry."

The child leaned into Damian, her little face nuzzling his shoulder, her silent sobs gut-wrenching. He pulled her closer, cursing at the elements as well as mankind and wishing he could find a way to shield the tiny child from all harm. He knew the feat to be impossible. The little girl touched a place in his heart and for a moment filled that broken space with light. Yes, the mother would be with her children, but why had the father stayed where his life was in peril? He had learned long ago one could come to regret rash actions. And he'd also learned one could lose all chance at love in one instant.

Lord, but he'd lost his concentration and in losing that, he could well lose his edge.

No secrets-- no lies. The thought haunted him.

His life was a lie, but he would change nothing until his penance was paid. A constant drizzle soaked him to the skin. The wind sent goose bumps rising on his arms. He reached shore and handed the girl over to Aric Lakeland, a trusted friend and accomplice in this night's work, then turned and walked back to the longboat. Her baby brother as well as her mother waited.

He had never meant to get involved. It was the greatest of ironies that he was here now. He'd been a man who loved his family and his home.

He'd been content but that seemed years ago--a life time.

It felt like centuries.

The captain spoke, his voice hushed. "Hurry, now, Master Damian.

It's the watch. They are due to ride by here any time now. The patrols have doubled these last few weeks. I fear it's not as safe as it used to be." The captain handed over the baby wrapped in blankets. Damian stared at the child. The babe couldn't be a year old. The child didn't make a sound, not even a whimper.

This was injustice, a travesty. He looked at the mother. "Can you make it on your own?" He prayed the fragile lady standing before him had more courage than she appeared to have. She nodded and with the captain's help, she stepped into the ocean, struggling for balance. Yet her shoulders were squared and her spine stiff.

As soon as the captain placed the babe in Damian's arms and the three of them were headed for land, he gave orders. Two sailors rowed out to sea, moving toward the black ship that rose and fell on the distant waves.

On a cliff above, the dark silhouette of a third man, Ryder McClaren, could be seen for a brief moment. He waved his arms then disappeared into the shadows once more.

"Hurry," Damian bade the mother, his hand resting on the small of her back, urging her forward.

Friday, June 29, 2012

All Right, It's Guy Day Friday Again

In honor of all the wonderful men in the world, I'm looking at the guys point of view today. Damian Andrews the hero in the regency romance The Wager smuggles people from European countries into England then on to America. These individual have been persecuted either politically or religiously and are running for their lives. He falls in love with Amorica Hepburn one of the 12 sister/cousins in the Dancing Princesses series.

"You would protect me?"

He nodded. He would always see to her welfare first. He could almost feel her relief.

She began to speak again, ignoring him, pushing him to simmering, heated emotions.

She wasn't getting out of the night ahead of them. He was not that easily distracted. "Amorica, decide now." Lord, but he wanted her. "If you want this, take the gown off."


"Amorica, come here." He opened his arms to her, thinking she would come to him. Thinking she would surrender herself, give to him what he'd wanted so desperately from the first moment he'd seen her.

He'd been a lovesick fool.

Next thing he knew she was hissing that he was a smuggling son of a bitch, a snake, and scalawag, but she sat up and nearly ripped her gown herself wrenching it over her head.

"Amorica!" What was happening here? He had not thought she would give herself to him and curse him at the same time.

She cursed him just as quietly as she could manage.

Furiously, she threw the gown as well as the rest of her clothing on the moss covered ground beside the blanket, then she sat naked beside him, seething and trembling. Her eyes rose to meet his. They were liquid, green, and shimmering. She threw herself back on the ground, an artful sacrifice to him.

"Go ahead then. Do it. Just do whatever men do and be over with it." Hard put not to laugh aloud, he stretched out beside her, resting on one elbow, wondering how to proceed. This was not how he had imagined making love to his wife. Yet he had never thought it would be candlelit.

This book is available as nook, kindle and ebook.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Please Welcome Nancy Adams author of No Matter When

Nancy has written No Matter When a Time Travel Romance and I'm sure she would love to hear from everyone.

Nancy will be awarding a $20 GC to Total-e-Bound Publishing or Amazon to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, as well as to the host with the most comments.

No Matter When
by Nancy Adams



Standing on the battlements of a 16th century Keep was the last place Gabriel Sutherland should be. Then again, being ‘shifted’ to 1503 seconds before a rocket blew his ass to bits wasn’t something he had envisioned either. Still, he was surviving the only way he knew how, as a soldier. Then Lilly arrived. Sweet, innocent Lilly. For a genetically superior soldier whose life had entailed of nothing but serving King and country, the arrival of Lilly proves too much for Gabe to ignore. For the first time in his life, Gabe can have a woman of his own and Lilly is the one.

Lilly Marten lives alone, her quiet life the result of a highly sensitive photographic memory. That changed when she arrived in the year 1503 seconds before Toronto’s popular C.N Tower came crashing down on top of her. Now she was never alone. Gabe was always near. With his unbelievably perfect features and intense green eyes, he is not a man easily ignored. Yet, uncertainty about her new life leaves Lilly with no choice but to put faith in a man she fears and whose strong physical presence causes her to desire more than just his trust.




When McGill had walked into her room, she had convinced herself that the clues had been fake, planted to give the impression of being in the past.

She inhaled deeply, feeling her eyes burn again. It wasn’t fake. It was real—everything Gabe had told her was real. He had told her the truth, and she felt an odd sense of relief about that. But what was she going to do? She was trapped in the sixteenth century.

Tears welled up and slipped over her lids as she covered her face with her hands. A low sob escaped before she could stop it, then thick arms wrapped around her, holding her securely.


He had followed her. Again he had known she was going to bolt. He probably could have stopped her, like the other times, but he hadn’t. When he had stopped her before, had he been protecting her from the truth?

Grateful he’d followed her, even though she wasn’t used to having someone to lean on, she relaxed against him. “You let me go,” she mumbled into her hands. “You knew I was going to run, but this time you let me go.”

 “Yes.” His deep voice was smooth and comforting. “I had to let you run this time. You needed to see with your own eyes that what we said was the truth.”

 “You didn’t lie,” she said quietly.

 “No, I didn’t lie. There would be no point. The sooner you accept the truth, the sooner you can move on.”

“Gabe?” she whispered as a sob shook her body. “I don’t know if I can…move on.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Author Bio:

Nancy’s addiction for a good trash novel began in her late-teens when her grandmother gave her a bag of Harlequin Romance books. She was hooked and spent the next few years lurking in the dark corners of used bookstores searching for her next fix. Until, one marriage and two kids later, her own ideas had her jumping up at 3 am (much to her husband’s annoyance) and typing them into her laptop. Beside her husband and children, Nancy has three passions, rearranging furniture, buying bed linens and, of course, writing. Nancy lives in Eastern Ontario with her family and two over sized lap dogs.


Nancy will be awarding a $20 GC to Total-e-Bound Publishing or Amazon to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, as well as to the host with the most comments.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Please Welcome Patricia Yager Delagrange author of Moon Over Alcatraz

Patricia Yager Delagrange has written Moon Over Alcatraz. She has goodies to give away which you will be entered to win if you comment. So don't forget to at least say HI!

Patricia will award a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and to the host with the most comments (excluding the author's and the host's).

Moon Over Alcatraz
by Patricia Yager Delagrange


Following the death of their baby during a difficult birth, Brandy and Weston Chambers are grief-stricken and withdraw from each other, both seeking solace outside of their marriage; however, they vow to work through their painful disloyalty.  But when the man Brandy slept with moves back to their hometown, three lives are forever changed by his return..



June 26, 2012
Christine Young Romance Writer

1.What or who inspired you to start writing?

In 2009 my daughter came home from school and told me her friend asked her why her mommy didn’t have a job.  I had been a stay-at-home mom since becoming pregnant with my son in 1993.  However this gave me pause.  I realized I had more time since my two kids were becoming more independent.  So I went to the Apple store, bought a MacBook, and told my family that I was going to write a book.

2.How did you come up with ideas for your books?

Ideas come into my head for whatever reason.  For Moon Over Alcatraz I’ve always been intrigued by how parents live through the death of a child.  Being a mom, it’s always bothered me to see Amber Alerts and news reports about children who are kidnapped and found murdered.  How do parents get through that?  So I decided to write about the loss of a child at birth and how the couple deals with their subsequent grief.
3.What components are necessary for the genre of this novel?

I write women’s fiction which centers around a main female character and how she deals with whatever difficulties are thrown in her life path.  Women’s fiction novels may or may not have a Happily Ever After, but my novels always do.  I believe that attitude is everything and in my books the woman always finds her inner strength, jumps through life’s hurdles, and makes it through to the other side.

4.What expertise did you bring to your writing?

The expertise I bring to my writing is the simple fact that I’ve lived a varied life which I believe enhances a book immensely.  I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and have attended universities in Madrid, Santa Barbara, and Oregon.  I’ve travelled throughout Central and Eastern Europe and lived abroad for a year.  I’ve worked in various offices, from Price Waterhouse in San Francisco to an office of a private Chinese entrepreneur in Alameda.  I own a horse and have been learning to ride for the last ten years.  I love all animals and have two chocolate labs, the mother and her son.  I am a mother of two teenage children.  I think a full life has given me the opportunity to write about a wide variety of characters and themes.

5.What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?

That “riding” my 1,425-pound horse Maximus is harder than “writing” an 80,000-word book.  Learning to ride has been the biggest challenge of my life and I bring that persistence and determination to my writing.  I am an extremely determined person and when I decided to write a book, nothing was going to stop me.  And when I finished, I knew then that I could do it, so I started writing another one.  I now have four completed, edited, and critiqued novels.

6.    As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?

My plans are to write a fifth book as soon as I have a bit of time.  Right now I’m sending out query letters, searching for an agent to represent me and my writing.  As soon as I finish that, I’ll be writing another book.

7.    If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

I would be Jessee Bradford in my book Taken Away.  Jessee is a veterinarian whose wife and child disappear.  He moves away from his home in Santa Barbara, California, and takes over his grandfather’s vet practice in Earlham, Iowa.  There he finds love, a family connection, and his own happily ever after.

8.    Do you outline your books or just start writing?

For my first three books, I was a complete “pantser”.  I had an idea of the theme for the book and the people involved and I would sit down and start writing.  When I finished I would spend as much time editing to get it right.  For my fourth novel, I had complete writer’s block.  The author who edits and critiques all my work suggested I write out a synopsis and chapter outlines after we talked about possible ideas for a novel.  I did as she suggested and was able to write my fourth book much easier than ever before.  So now I’d call myself a “plantser” where I do have a plot, yet I don’t outline everything down to the last detail.

9.    Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you've gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?

My biggest hobby is riding my horse.  I have incorporated that in Taken Away.  Jessee Bradford, the veterinarian, meets a woman who is a horse trainer in Iowa and their relationship blossoms.  There are several scenes with her and her horses and it’s obviously a big part of her life.

10.  Do you have an all time favorite book?

One of my favorite books is the Horse Whisperer, for obvious reasons.  I loved seeing Tom Booker bring an extremely damaged horse back to its owner through his kindness, love, and understanding.

11.  What is your favorite reality show?

My favorite reality show would be Animal Cops: Houston.  Although sometimes it makes me cry, I love the happily ever afters for a lot of the animals.  I am an animal lover to the max.  My blog is all about endangered animals.

12.  Who is your favorite actor and actress?

My favorite actor is Russell Crowe.  When I saw Gladiator (for the first of a gazillion times) I fell in love.  My favorite actress is Meryl Streep.

13.  Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

When Brandy and Weston are at their baby’s funeral you can feel she’s in the pit of depression.  He’s also very sad, but since she carried the baby to term, she’s having a very hard time accepting it wasn’t something she did during her pregnancy that caused her child’s death.

14.  If you were a casting director for the film version of your book, who would play your lead roles?

I’d love to see Sandra Bullock as Brandy and Keanu Reeves as Edward.  I love the way those two work together.


Three days later we were standing at the edge of a hole in the ground at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Hayward, the silence so thick, the insides of my ears buzzed like a distant swarm of angry bees.  Mr. Peralta and another gentleman stood off to the side while Weston and I held hands next to a tiny casket.

Weston had chosen a simple mahogany box with gold handles, a bouquet of white lilies graced the top of the small box.  I knelt down and laid a kiss on the smooth wood then wiped off the tears that had fallen on top.  Weston joined me, placing a single red rose in the middle of the lilies.

He helped me up and we stood side-by-side in silence, my guilt over her death like a stone in my empty belly.  I missed everything I’d dreamed would be happening right now, yearned for all that could have been.

Weston nodded at the man standing next to Mr. Peralta and our baby was slowly lowered into the gaping maw.  She reached the bottom, and a bird landed on the rich brown dirt piled next to the grave.  It pecked around, chirping a little song then flew off - as if saying goodbye.  My heart squeezed inside my chest.

I picked up a small handful of soft dirt.  “Goodbye, Christine,” I whispered, throwing it on top of her casket.

Weston wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me in close to his side.  Why her?  Why my baby?  Was this supposed to make sense?  And, if so, to whom?

We drove home in silence.  No words existed to express my grief.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I attended St. Mary’s College, studied my junior year at the University of Madrid, received my B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get my Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University.  I live with my husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with our two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and her son Jack.

My horse lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.!/PattiYager

Patricia will award a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and to the host with the most comments (excluding the author's and the host's).

Please don't forget to leave a comment.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cancer June 21 to July 22

Signs of the Zodiac
By Athena Starwoman
Your element: Water
Your ruling planets: The Moon
Symbol: The Crab
Your stone: Moonstone
Life Pursuit: Constant reassurance and intimacy

Vibration: Moody

Cancer's Secret Desire: To feel safe (emotionally, spiritually, romantically and financially)
Those born under the sign of Cancer, ruled by the mysterious Moon, are one of the zodiac's enigmas. It is fair to say that most Cancers are a bundle of contradictions. Compassionate and caring with friends, family and lovers, yet they can cut to the bone with their jealous remarks and ever-changing moods. Endearingly eccentric on one hand, and on the other, insecure about how others see them. Like their astrological symbol - the Crab - Cancers can appear hard and insensitive on the outside. However, for those of us who know and love a "Moon Child", we understand that deep below lies a softness and sensitivity that makes them so very special...

Just as the Moon goes through many changes as it moves from its new to full phases, Cancers too go through many new and full phases of experience. Life doesn't stand still for this sign, even if they remain in one place, because they live so much in their internal oceans of emotions. Their link with the Moon often makes it impossible for them to operate on an even keel from day to day. Up and down like the proverbial yo-yo, most Cancerians feel one way one minute, then sometimes totally different the next. But this characteristic is part of their charm.

Love and romance matter more than anything else to this sign (but this occasionally shares first place with having lots of money in the bank). No other sign romances better, equally though, no sign takes it so badly when romance turns sour either. But with their changeable natures Cancerians are fascinating, mysterious, stimulating and extremely alluring. This sign is one of the most magic of all and once their magic has reached you, they are the most beguiling companions. After all, isn't the Moon the most talked about and romantic galactic identity?
If you were born on the first or last day of a Sun sign, in astrological terms you were born on a cusp. If that's the case, you will probably benefit from reading your own Sun sign and the Sun sign that ends or begins right before or after your date of birth. For example, if your birth date is 22 December, your Sun sign is Capricorn, but you probably have some Sagittarian traits as well.

By Athena Starwoman

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Birthday Fun

Source: via Angela on Pinterest

Yesterday was my 2 year old granddaughter's birthday party. What fun but hectic too. Abbi received lots of fun presents. She had cousins at the party and grandparents galore. We expected rain but had lots of sunshine and could sit out on the deck. The next granddaughter birthday party will be in Disney Land in November. More fun, and hopefully all her relatives will be there to enjoy the fun and excitement.

It's been two weeks since the Psycho deer mauled and chased my poor dog. He is finally used to the he has had to wear. But I think he will get the darn thing off today. I know he gets the stitches out. With the stitches gone he won't have anything to chew. So logically speaking, I think he will get the hood off too.

I hope to get lots of writing done today. I think I finally know where my WIP is going. So maybe I can it down on paper.

Next week I will be editing another book for RPP. Hope it goes as quickly as the last one. Of course I've got to work on my zodiac signs. What comes after Gemini?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hey, It's Guy Day Friday

Let's meet Hunter Grey, the bastard son of an English Earl. He is determined to raise enough money to buy an estate. When he reads an ad in the London Times, he cannot refuse the challenge. After all, if he wins and discovers the fair Allura's secrets, not only will he have the estate but also a wife.


ISBN # 978-1-58749-722-3
April 10, 2009
Rogue Phoenix Press
Ebook , Kindle, Nook
$4.99 US
239 Pages
Historical/Regency Romance
Rating: 4 Cups

Allura McClellan's father wants to see his daughters married before he passes on and has decided to run a contest to see who can reveal Allura's secret and, if correct, the prize is her hand in marriage as well as her land and titles. She fights her father every step of the way, clinging to the reasoning that she does not want to submit to a man and give up who she is because she takes pride in all she has learned and who she has become without a husband.

All Hunter Gray's life, he has been treated horribly for being an English earl's bastard son and as an adult, fought for his country and became a mighty warrior. Now, he sees a chance to get everything he feels he deserves, money and land, and all he has to do is seduce Allura into marrying him.

Even though a crackling fire rears itself every time Hunter and Allura are together, they truly try to fight the attraction, but for different reasons. As time goes by, feelings start to change and as they are in danger of losing themselves and more, can Allura and Hunter both get what they want?

I really enjoyed this book by Christine Young. It has mystery, humor and, whew, steamy love scenes! An awesome group of characters make this read very entertaining, from the tough as nails Allura to her meddlesome younger sister, Aiden. There is never a dull moment throughout this book and you will surely not be disappointed. I can only hope that some of my favorites get a story of their own. Well done Ms. Young.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Hunter's POV:

Hunter touched Allura’s cheek with a trembling hand, her flesh felt like ice to his fingertips. Fear for her life snaked through him as he swept her from his storm-battered boat and carried her to shore. He set her on the grass, and then he quickly secured their only means of transportation back to the mainland.

She might have drowned. Oh, God, he could not stop shaking.

If he hadn’t missed her--

The tempest showed no sign of relenting. Torrents of rain sluiced from the sky washing the sea salt from his face and hair. He turned his head skyward watching more lightning streak to meet the ocean swells and the frothing crests.

How long had it been since he left the celebration? How long had Allura been in the icy fingers of the sea? And would Christel tell anyone where they were?

Christel had been so secretive, so very afraid of breaking her trust with Allura. Now he had to find a way to return. All that he’d worked for was secure, and yet he didn’t want this to reach the ears of those who might not wish them well. Guy came to mind. His stepbrother was ruthless and would stop at nothing to gain what he wanted. And he’d always wanted what Hunter possessed. He would stop at nothing, even ruining Allura’s reputation.

He vowed Guy would never touch Allura or anyone dear to her.

For a moment he stared at his broken sailing vessel. He wasn’t sure if his boat was seaworthy. Hers wasn’t. Hers had splintered into a hundred pieces. In the minutes after he’d pulled her from the churning water, she’d not spoken to him. Once her eyes opened, he’d said a quick prayer of thanks. He was afraid for her life. Afraid her time in the frigid ocean would be the death of her. Only time and warmth would secure her survival.

While the storm raged around them, there was little warmth to be found. His body shook with fear. His gut churned. He imagined a blazing fire and hot spiced wine to warm her inside and out. Carefully, he carried her to the hut. He stripped her wet clothes away and wrapped her in a fur.

"Allura," he called her name softly while he stroked her hair pushing it away from her face. He examined her body searching for injuries. "Allura, do you hurt anywhere?"

"The kitten," she whispered. Her eyes were closed, and Hunter was sure she knew not of what she spoke. "I left the kitten. I had to feed the kitten." Her words were weak, her lips trembling with cold and fatigue. Her fight against the turbulent water had been valiant and spirited.

Good, God, she risked her life for a cat?

"Hush, it will be all right. I will look after it." He offered, wishing he could find a kitten just to reassure her. Yet he was more afraid for her than any kitten. Cats land on their feet and find food by themselves. Bloody hell, they have nine lives.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday's Title of the Day: Allura by Christine Young

Title: Allura
Genre: Historical/Regency
Author: Christine Young
Reviewer: Chrissy Dionne
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Pre
Author Email:
Format: EBOOK, Kindle, Nook
Rating: 4.5 blue ribbons 

Christine Young’s ALLURA is a delightful historical novel full of suspense, lovable characters, humor and a budding romance between two characters determined not to fall in love.  Allura and Hunter’s stubborn, determined natures allowed for some interesting scenes as they attempted to get one up on each other.  As a modern day woman I felt bad for Allura because technically her husband would dictate every aspect of her life and the freedom she loves would be a thing of the past.  Hunter is unbending as far as to how he believes a wife should behave but falling in love changes him and his perception of Allura.  Hunter and Allura are the main focus of this story but there are secondary characters whom I absolutely adored and would love to revisit in future novels (hint, hint).  Especially the youngest sister Aiden and Hunter’s trusted friend Blade.  He doesn’t believe in love and she’s determined to do whatever’s necessary to get him to notice her.

Allura has come to treasure her freedom and the adventures she shares with her sisters and her cousins but her father’s decision to find her a husband threatens that freedom.  He’s placed an ad in the times in search of a man strong and smart enough to discover where exactly it is that the girls venture when they leave the safety of the castle.


With her golden hair and cobalt eyes, Allura Mclellan was a trophy beyond compare. Her hand in Marriage given to any man who could discover her secret, she set out to bedevil every man who answered the ad her father placed in the London Times until Hunter Gray an Englishman, discovered her island and banished all other men from her life. Burning with indignation and passion, she was determined to keep her secret from the arrogant Englishman and to keep her independence at any cost.

The bastard son of an English earl, he made a name for himself in the service of his country. Hunter Gray vowed no one would keep him from winning the hand of the fair Allura and in doing so realizing his dreams. He was stronger and more cunning than the men who had come before. The man who had fought many a war against the French swore he would capture the heart of the passionate young woman he came to Scotland to claim.


Christine Young
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4

Buy at:

Eddington, Scotland 1815

"You can’t plan to wed me to that--that man down there!" Allura McClellan’s heart thundered and lodged in her throat. Balled into fists her hands trembled. "You promised I could marry for love. I thought when the last man failed to discover this imaginary secret you think I have, you would stop this craziness. I thought you would take the ad out of the Times and the other papers."

From the boxing ring below, fist met flesh, the sound echoing throughout. Hunter Gray whirled and ducked. He guarded his face to block the stinging blows his opponent rained down upon him. He spun and ducked again. The man he fought countered the attack, but he did not move fast enough. Hunter’s next jab was so fast and so hard the other man didn’t block the punch. The man staggered backwards, blood running from his eye. Men yelled and cheered for the two combatants. Hunter paused and spoke to the man he practiced with before the match continued once more.

Allura saw her life as she had planned it slip away as if it was grains of sand in an hour glass. She stopped pacing and watched the men below. She turned on her father. "The ad in the Times--giving me away to any man--you have gone too far. A marriage of convenience is barbaric. You promised." For a moment, she closed her eyes. She did not want to acknowledge anything that went on here. It was not her fault she could not find a man she loved. What horrific bit of bad luck had found her?

The laird cleared his throat. "Perhaps I have not gone far enough or soon enough. And the ad did not promise you to just any man. He must be strong enough and smart enough to win your hand."

It was not Allura’s nature to allow others to rule her fate. “These men,” she waved her hand in the air, frustration sweeping recklessly within. "They don’t want me. They come for one reason only. They are greedy and hungry for power. You have taught me everything I need to know. I can run your estate and all of your holdings. I’ve studied endless hours. I know the men who work for you. I swear I’ll defy your wishes. At the altar I will say no."

The McClellan’s grin faded as quickly as it had appeared and without further thought, he said, "Perhaps not, you are beautiful lass--one with rare promise. And," he stroked his chin, "no matter how much book learning a woman has she cannot dictate her own life. It is up to the men in her life to make sure she is happy and provided for."

A strained silence followed. She sagged against the stone wall. As if sensing her vulnerable position, she stiffened. Outraged and furious she looked upon her father. "They are money grubbers and want your land--our land. They have no right to any of your estate."

The McClellan held back for a moment, seemingly aware there was more than just a little truth in what Allura said. "How indeed?" he questioned her. Yet his smile was tight, forced. "I grow old. I only want this land secured and my daughters happy before I die. You are twenty-two. I have given you ample opportunity to fall in love. I thought it time to bring new blood to this land, a new man. I thought perhaps one would take your fancy."

"That man," she began. Her hand shook when she pointed at the man who danced and whirled avoiding each blow as if he dallied in child's play. She trembled so violently she could not speak. “Is an Englishman.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Please Welcome Susan Leigh Noble author of Summoned

by Susan Leigh Noble



Lina wants an ordinary life in the Grasslands of Zena. But she isn’t ordinary at all. At the age of four, she discovered she could start fires with a mere thought - an ability believed to have died out long ago. Cautioned by her telepathic cat, Tosh, she keeps this Elemental power a secret in fear of how the outside world would react. There is something else different about Lina - she feels a strange force compelling her to go north.

Before she can decide whether to give into this mysterious urge, she is kidnapped by gypsies and wakes in a foreign land. The desire to travel north is as strong as ever. When a strange raging fire prevents her return home, Lina realizes she must find out once and for all what or who is summoning her.

On her journey, she befriends an odd assortment of allies including the son of a High Council member, a thief, a former guardsman and a large sarcastic black dragon. Together they battle mystical creatures and unnatural forces, although such magic had ceased to exist over 800 years ago.  During each battle, Lina must use her innate Elemental power as she becomes more certain that someone is using magic against her. When she discovers the shocking truth, it will change her life in ways she could never imagine.



1. What or who inspired you to start writing?
I don’t recall one person necessarily inspiring me to write. Ever since I was little I have loved to read, and it just naturally followed that I love to write. I had a lot of encouragement from my mom at a young age and now that I am married my husband has always encouraged my writing.

2. How did you come up with ideas for your books?
I like the idea of a female protagonist in fantasy novels because so many fantasy stories center on a male protagonist. When I begin a story, I usually concentrate on the main character and understanding who she is and what she will be required to do.

3. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
Currently, I am working on Book 3 of “The Elemental” trilogy which wraps up the story of Lina and Val. It features a darker antagonist and more battles and more magic than either of the first two books. After that I have some ideas for a stand-alone fantasy novel with another female protagonist.

4. If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
I would love to be my main character from Summoned. Lina has control over the elements, and I think that would be an awesome power to have. She can make plants grow, make it rain or start a fire with just a mere thought.  

5. When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
My first novel, Summoned, actually was started many years ago right after I finished college. Over the years, I attempted to publish it through traditional publishing houses at the encouragement of my husband. He has always been my biggest supporter and is actually the one who suggested I become an independent author and publish Summoned as an e-book.

6. What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)
The best advice is to keep writing and not to get discouraged. That holds true for the publishing world. You have to keep trying. You are going to get rejections, but that doesn’t mean your writing isn’t good.

7. Do you outline your books or just start writing?
Summoned was my first work and while I had an idea what I wanted for the end of the book, I never did an actual outline. I just wrote and rewrote and reworked until I had the story done. And then I edited it some more. It really was a lot of work. The second book in the series, Quietus, was written with a rough outline of the major events but I still like having the freedom to let the events in the story unfold in their own natural way.

8. Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you've gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?
I don’t really have time for hobbies now that I have kids as most of my free time is spent writing or sleeping. I use to take Aikido (martial art) classes with my husband before we had the kids, and that has helped with writing some of the fighting scenes.  

9. Do you have an all-time favorite book?
I think it is hard to pick a “favorite” anything since my tastes change as I get older. I do like to go back and read books that I really liked such as Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series or David & Leigh Eddings’ Belgariad and Malloreon series.

10. What is your favorite reality show?
I don’t usually watch reality shows. The closest thing would be cooking shows like Top Chef or Cupcake Wars.

11. Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
The black moment in Summoned happens when Lina is separated from the rest of the group. She is kidnapped during a battle scene and held in a tiny cell. She has no clue how she will get out of there or what happened to her friends.

12. Anything else you might want to add?
I have really enjoyed writing these novels and hope that readers enjoy reading them. Thank you so much for having me here today.


 Stern Prison - 402 words 

The cold surrounded her, chilling her bones. She woke slowly, rubbing the sand from her eyes. Only a thin sliver of light from the narrow window barely illuminated the small room. Lina sat up, her boots scraping across the stone floor. Where was she? She glanced around; her fingers reaching out to brush the damp stonewall. She wrinkled her nose at the musty odor. A scratching sound came from the far corner of the small room. She thought of rats and quickly pulled her feet back onto the narrow cot.

As her eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, she saw the door on the other side of the cell. She pushed the thoughts of rats out of her mind and stood up. The room spun. She grasped the wall. Her body felt weird as if it was not fully hers. She vaguely remembered a man knocking her to the ground and the sweet smell of the cloth over her face. She had a faint memory of being thrown on the back of a horse and being forced to drink something with a strange aftertaste.

She leaned against the wall until the room stopped moving and then hesitantly, Lina shuffled toward the door, her arms outstretched until she felt the cold metal door. She pushed and pulled at the handle but the door did not budge.

 “Tosh?” she called. Her voice echoed in the stone cell. She pounded on the door. “Val? Anyone?” She pounded on the door again but no sounds came from the other side. “Tosh? Tosh where are you?”

There was no answer. She glanced around the tiny room. It was bare save the cot. She edged away from the dark corner where she had heard the scratching. The lone window was too high for her to reach, and even if she could, it was barely a slit. Her only exit was the door. But even as she turned to consider it, she knew that her Elemental powers couldn’t help her. Maybe if the door had been wood, then she could burn her way out, but not metal. She would incinerate herself before the door would begin to melt. The walls were made of thick stone. There was nothing she could do. Wearily, she climbed back onto the cot. Cold and hungry, she curled into a ball. She wondered where her friends were and if they had survived the battle.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Susan Leigh Noble has always loved dragons and magic so it is no wonder that she became an author of fantasy novels. As a cat lover, she also threw a telepathic cat into the mix for her The Elemental Series. The first two books, Summoned and Quietus, have already been released in e-book format. She is currently working on the third and final chapter of the trilogy.
When she isn’t writing, Susan is an active volunteer in her neighborhood and at her children’s schools. She lives with her husband, two children and three cats in Texas.

She loves to hear from readers:
Check out her Facebook page at
Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLeighNoble
Author website:

Don't forget to leave a comment for Susan!

Susan will award a $15 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and a $10 Amazon GC to the host with the most comments (excluding Susan's and the host's).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gemini -- May 21 - June 20

Source: via Chris on Pinterest

The Twins
Modality: Mutable
Element: Air
Ruler: Mercury
Season: Spring
3rd Sign of Zodiac

Metal: Mercury
Stone: Agate
Color: Yellow
 Hands and arms; lungs.

Keywords: talkative, mental, adaptable, flexible, changeable, responsive, sociable, superficial

Comparison with the Gemini symbol, the Twins:

Gemini the TwinsGeminis are said to have a dual nature, as symbolized by twins. This duality also represents exchange and interaction. The sign of Gemini is closely associated with exchange of ideas, communication, and trade.
The sign of Gemini is thought to be very adaptable and flexible, sometimes to the point of "being" two different personalities.
The glyph for Gemini depicts two lines joined together, showing the symbolism of the twins, and the duality of the nature of the sign. 

Venus in Gemini

Venus in Gemini people will try to win over the object of their affection with witty conversation, displaying just how much they "know", and demonstrating their diverse interests. These lovers are playful—some might even call them a tease. They are hard to pin down, and they resist relationships that promise to become too "comfortable".  Even those with their Sun in Taurus or Cancer, whose outward demeanor may suggest some reserve and caution, will want their relationships to be stimulating and full of conversation with Venus in Gemini.
Venus in Gemini men and women don't want to be tied or bogged down in their relationships. They appreciate lightheartedness in love. Although they are willing to talk (perhaps endlessly) about the relationship, you may get the feeling that they gloss over some of the deeper issues. In love, their tastes change often, and it can be hard to know what to expect from one day to the next (or, sometimes, from one hour to the next!).
Pleasing Venus in Gemini involves supporting their need for fun and variety, showing interest in their brainpower and knowledge, and giving them space for friends and activities outside of the relationship. Let them know just how much fun you have with them. Try not to get overly miffed by Venus in Gemini's changeable, fickle ways. Remember that time spent with your lover will be exciting and invigorating.
Some Famous People with Venus in Gemini: Sandra Bullock (Venus and Mars in Gemini), Cher, Russell Crowe, John Goodman (Sun, Moon, and Venus in Gemini), Jessica Simpson

Gemini Ascendant

Those born with Gemini rising see the world as a place to learn. They are curious about the people around them. Sounds similar to Sagittarius rising? Well it is, but there are some important differences. While Sagittarius seeks to expand their mental and physical horizons in a broad sense, Gemini is mostly interested in moving about in their social circles.
These are people who love to ask questions, to move around freely, and to mingle. Definitely restless and often quick in physical expression, natives of the Gemini Ascendant exude an air of impatience even if they don't mean it. In fact, there is a cleverness to Gemini Ascendants that can intimidate some, especially sensitive folk. Their facility with words can be a wonderful asset, although sometimes Gemini rising individuals identify too much with their mental agility and forget, in their personal interactions and communications, to nurture the people around them. A certain lack of warmth in presentation can be the result, and although this style is generally a facade, it is not immediately apparent to most. People with, for example, predominant Water signs may feel a little ill at ease with Gemini rising people (that is, before they get to know them more personally), while strong Air types more fully appreciate the fun and cleverness of these individuals.
I have found two styles of presentation most common with Gemini rising people. One style is bubbly, changeable, talkative, and a little quirky. These natives are interesting and fun. They constantly explain things, whether it's their own behavior and opinion or those of the world around them. Another distinct "style" is a rather cool and intellectual demeanor. These natives are often quite witty and clever, but they present themselves in a less cheerful and changeable way than the first group. Their observations are sharp and the overall manner is a tad brusque. No matter the style, Gemini rising natives are given to analysis and making sense of their world. Their powers of observation are well-developed, they are mentally active (more often than not, their minds are racing!), and they almost always have something bright or witty to say. It is easy for individuals with this position to get sidetracked, as their curiosity is large, their minds are quick, and their attention spans rather short!
As children, natives born with a Gemini Ascendant are often labeled as the intellectual, inquisitive, and perhaps odd child. Many feel their upbringing lacked some warmth. 
In one-to-one relationships, Gemini rising people often seek a certain amount of personal freedom and space. They enjoy intellectual debates and exchanging ideas. Although they often demand a fair amount of freedom, they are often just as willing to give their partners room to breathe. More on Gemini Rising.
Famous people with Gemini Ascendants include Drew Barrymore, Harry Belafonte, Bruce Springsteen, Steffi Graf, Charlie Sheen, and Ricky Martin.