Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A big hug for "Kiss Me Hello" by Grace Burrowes

Kiss Me Hello is the final novel in my Sweetest Kisses contemporary series (for now!), and I have to say, I do like this story. I kept the oldest brother--MacKenzie Knightley--for last, and let myself toss in a lot of story elements I'd saved back from the previous four titles.

We have a pair of one-ton draft horse hussies, a sulky teenage foster son with a heart of gold, a city gal trying to find her way without any urban sign posts, and a farm-boy-turned crack-shot lawyer who's given up on love.... almost.

I had such fun. Mac and Sid made brownies and chased loose horses, planted a big garden and leveled a vintage hog house (complete with two-seater in the back). They fell in love to the song of the peepers (c'mon Spring!) and found their happily ever after in a wildly cheering courtroom (this IS a romance, right?).

The family meddled shamelessly, the forces of darkness were overcome, and in pursuit of a happily ever after, our hero might have had to watch a princes movie or two (Shana Galen, represent!) and our heroine had to cut back on the caffeine. Sacrifice is always a part of a worthwhile character arc, after all.

If you'd like to read an excerpt from Kiss Me Hello, you can click here.

Excerpts from the previous stories are also available: Kiss and Tell (novella with a Scottish hero), Kiss for Luck (FREE! novella), A Single Kiss (Trent and Hannah's story), and The First Kiss (James and Vera's story).

If you were writing a novel, what's one quirky, fun, interesting factoid, aspect of your life, or challenging situation you'd include in your storyline? To two commenters, I'll send the entire Sweetest Kisses trilogy of novels.
 

 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

How I Desserted My Family

That's right, I said "desserted." With the double-s that means something delicious is in the works.

See, I'm getting close to a book deadline, which usually means I become less mentally present, unlikely to remember mealtimes, and prone to disappear into my office in the evenings. (Ok, I guess I mean "deserted" too.) My husband has become used to life with a writer, and my daughter is getting there.

Still, I figured I owed them a cake.

I love to bake, and I'm a sucker for recipes printed in the newspaper alongside pretty pictures. So when I saw a recipe for a cake made in a slow cooker, I had to try it. Look how pretty the picture! And cake! In a slow cooker! I didn't even know this was possible.

It was easy to mix up the batter, and after four hours in the slow cooker, it had steamed into something that sort of looked like it might be done. When it failed to turn neatly out of its pot, a friend and I took a kitchen spoon to it. Nothing like a good big scoop of cake, right?

Mr. R thought it smelled good, but the texture put him off. Little Miss R and I liked it, though I think there was too much butter in it. (I know. I can't believe I said that either.) Faced with beaucoup de leftovers, I sent the rest of the cake to Mr. R's workplace, where he said his coworkers approached a slow-cooker cake with trepidation. 

I suppose next time I ought to just bake a cake in the oven when I feel like making a dessert. But first? I have a new doughnut pan I want to try out. Yes! Doughnuts! Baked in the oven! If you guessed that I was convinced to buy this when I saw a picture of beautiful baked doughnuts in the newspaper, you have learned my quirks well.

How about you all--got any unusual dessert favorites? Or baked-doughnut recipe recommendations? I'm going to be cooking up the first batch this weekend, if my family allows another culinary experiment so soon after the slow-cooker cake.

Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest. Find her at theresaromain.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Proud Author Moments (plus chocolate fountains)


Being a writer is 90% writing/daydreaming/plotting/talking-thinking books and 10% reminding yourself the rest of the world exists, or so it seems to me. So last weekend, I took some time out to have a girl's weekend away with my mum and two sisters, just to reconnect.

Re-enactment of myself with
chocolate fountain
For Christmas, I'd gotten them tickets to Cirque du Soleil's Totem (and one for me too!), and mum had tickets to High Tea at the Windsor Hotel in Melbourne, so we definitely made a weekend of it.

The High Tea was amazing. They brought out little trays with scones and sandwiches, and you had your choice of champagnes and different tea varieties. I ate my little heart out... and then realised there was a dessert buffet! Instant regret over the sandwiches. You name it, and it was on the dessert buffet. They even had a chocolate fountain.


That night the streets were awash with thousands of people (over 500,000 to be more precise) for the White Nights, an art festival in which Melbourne blocks off the streets of its CBD for all manner of musicians, art displays and people. So. Many. People. I enjoyed it at first, but then there definitely came a moment when this little introvert needed some space. Back to the hotel for some time in the spa and girl talk.

The next day we got to indulge in my personal favourite activity: Stalking bookshops. As an author who lives in a small town in the country, it's a rare experience to get to walk into a bookstore and actually see your books on the shelf - plus a recommendation! This is the first time it's happened to me in Australia, apart from a specialty romance bookstore, so I count this as a definite achievement. I am now in Dymocks.

It's the first time we've all been away together in years, so it was nice to start a new tradition. Sometimes life gets so busy, that it's difficult to find time to catch up for these moments, and rare to just get away from everything - families, husbands, work etc. - and just hang out. It's nice to really sit down and chat with your girls and we've now decided that High Tea is definitely going to be on the menu again!
My pretties...

So I'm curious about what type of traditions everyone else out there shares in their families, or with their friends? You never know, I might need some new ideas for next time...

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Court of Annwyn continues with a free read!

There are three more Annwyn books out this year (yay!)

And while the covers look very pretty they hide something darker as these three books look more closely at the banished fairies living in our world.

Darklings, kelpies and changelings with magic to die for.

After spending the first three books following the drama in Annwyn it was nice to bring the focus back to our world, especially after the plagues at the end of To Love a King. So there is a bit of a dystopian feel as the world recovers.

The best thing is if you haven’t read the first three books, you can jump in now and I have a free short story available to give you a taste of Annywn and my fairies.


The Tenth Life of Vicki Torres
A Court of Annwyn short story

Is he saving the cat or is the cat saving him?
Seth expected the world to end in wars and bombings, not in a plague. When he obeys his dying father and heads for their secret cabin in the mountains as arranged, he gets lonely so fast that he's willing to share his meager food with the stray that appears in the woods. But is the cat what she appears to be or is she something else entirely?

This story takes place during the plagues that happen in To Love a King (Court of Annwyn 3)

Read for free:
Amazon
wattpad
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo

Add to your Goodreads shelf

I hope you’ll join me as the Annwyn adventure continues this year!

SHONA HUSK is the author of the Shadowlands Series and the Court of Annwyn Series. You can find out more information about Shona and her edgy romances at www.shonahusk.com or follow her on Twitter @ShonaHusk, Facebook www.facebook.com/shonahusk or join her newsletter: http://mad.ly/signups/119074/join

 

 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why Vampires Were Perfectly Suited to the British Aristocracy in the Regency Era.




Hi, I'm Regency Paranomal Romance Author, Brooklyn Ann.

My books feature unconventional heroines finding unconventional romance with peers who have fangs. I figured today I'd share why that works so well for me. 

Vampires were perfectly suited for the British Aristocracy, which was a major reason why I put them in Regency ballrooms in my Scandals with Bite series. Here are the reasons why that works out so well:

They're night owls.

Most of the balls and operas and festivities in the regency went from dusk till dawn. A vampire's nocturnal behavior would be unnoticed in this environment.

The Window Tax

Seriously, there was a tax on how many windows one had on their home. People often boarded up their windows to avoid the tax. This was beneficial to vampires in that no one thought it amiss if they did so to protect themselves from the sun

An Age of Enlightment

In an age of reason, vampires are regarded as mere folklore. This disbelief is advantageous. However in the face of scientific advances, discovery is all too possible. Which is why drinking a mortal's blood to the point where they die has been forbidden since the mid Eighteen century. 

Disappearance of poor people would still be unaccounted for.

Thousands of potential meals languish in alleys and gutters all over London's East End. A vampire would never starve in this populous city. Also, they have a house full of servants in case of emergency, though normally it is considered a faux pas to feed from one's servants. 

People drank a LOT at Balls and Musicales.

It's easy to steal a drink from an unsuspecting mortal when the majority of one’s peers are deep in their cups. Sometimes it's hardly even necessary to mesmerize them and banish their memory of a feeding after the claret really flows. There were also many secluded alcoves inside a British Manor and on the grounds.
 All the better to secure a meal. 

Respect and authority for rank.


One rarely dares question the behavior of a nobleman. If he has odd behavior, he is merely written off as "Eccentric."


So if you're interested in checking out my series, books 1, (BITE ME, YOUR GRACE) and Book 2 (ONE BITE PER NIGHT) are available everywhere where books are sold.

Book 3, BITE AT FIRST SIGHT will be out in a little over a month, on April 7th!

Pre-order links are here and I included an excerpt below:




Kobo 



Excerpt:  
“If one desires a task to be accomplished correctly, one must do it herself.” Cassandra Burton, dowager Countess of Rosslyn repeated the litany as she pulled the rickety little wagon through the moonlit aisle of tombstones.
She shivered under her velvet cloak. Her fingers had long since gone numb with the effort of navigating the dratted conveyance over uneven ground and across slippery, damp grass. Shovels and pry bars clanked across the wagon’s worn pine boards. The winch rattled on its frame.
Something flickered across the corner of her vision.
Cassandra jumped. She stopped and rubbed her gloved hands together for warmth, surveying the graveyard. The area was still and silent as …well, a tomb. Yet the chill in her spine refused to abate. A scornful frown turned her lips at such irrational behavior. Ghosts were an illogical figment of uneducated imaginations and no one could possibly have business out here at this hour …except herself.
“Worthless curs,” Cassandra whispered in as haughty a tone she could manage.
If only the men to whom she’d offered a more than generous sum to perform this troublesome task had done their duty rather than disappearing. She shook her head, further lamenting the inconvenience they’d left her with. If not for their unreasonable negligence, I would now be comfortably ensconced in my laboratory unraveling the secrets of the human body … not out in this cold, dreary place, jumping at shadows.
Surveying the newest graves, she read the dates to discern which would be the best specimen. Her mind nagged her as to the mysterious disappearances of her hired hands. Could a murderer be on the loose? She shook her head and pulled the folds of her cloak tighter, shielding her body from the crisp autumn air. No, the authorities would have found their bodies by now and the news would be sensationalized in The Times.
“They were cowards,” she asserted aloud, fighting back a shiver as the wind whispered through the grass and dead leaves. “But I am not.”
To prove her lack of irrational fear, Cassandra fetched a shovel from the wagon. Her hands trembled as she grasped the wooden handle. “I am only nervous.”
And she had every reason to be. Removing the dead from their graves was illegal. If a constable caught her, she’d be sent directly to Fleet prison. Halting her wagon and taking a shovel, a fresh surge of trepidation curled in her belly.
For some inexplicable reason, exhuming a corpse, rather than having one ready on her operating table was quite a different matter. The prospect of removing the body from its carefully arranged resting place and the chore of winching it out of the ground and loading it onto her cart made the situation seem more gruesome than objective. However, gruesome or not, Cassandra needed her specimen for her work to continue. And she would acquire it no matter how much her nerves protested.
Despite being barred from official education as a physician because of her sex, Cassandra was determined to learn the skills to become a doctor. She needed to learn everything she could about human anatomy. For that, she required cadavers.
Returning to the graves, she made her selection. Alfred Lumley, born September first, 1801, died September seventeenth, 1823. Three days ago Alfred had been a living twenty-two year old man, three years younger than herself. Whether or not he’d been healthy, she would soon determine. A pang of sorrow struck her heart. His soul is in heaven, she reminded herself. A mere shell remains. A shell which will help me to aid the living.
She raised the shovel, ready to plunge it into the soft soil. “I am not afraid. I am not.”
“You should be.” A sinister, accented voice pierced her consciousness.
The shovel fell from nerveless fingers, thudding against the cold ground.
Cassandra knew that voice, it was the same rich, dark cadence which had haunted her dreams since the night she’d first met him. She spun around, the hood of her cloak falling to her shoulders.
Rafael Villar stepped out from behind a mausoleum. The shadows embraced his bronze skin, obscuring the scars on the left side of his face while moonlight highlighted his exotic, Spanish features on the right.
Known as “The Spaniard,” Villar had been an infamous pugilist in Cheapside despite having only one functioning arm. The eccentric and wealthy duke of Burnrath was his sponsor. Cassandra had often encountered him at Burnrath House when attending the duchess’s literary circles. Right away she’d suspected that there was more to the relationship between Rafael and Their Graces. And she’d been utterly and completely fascinated by him.
When the Duke and Duchess departed for the continent to travel, Villar leased Burnrath House. By all accounts he was rich as a nabob. For the remainder of the Season Mr. Villar was all the ton could gossip about. But when months passed without the Spaniard making the slightest attempt to join Society, he was forgotten. Cassandra would have forgotten him as well, if it weren’t for those damned dreams. Now here he stood before her in the most unexpected place and at the most inconvenient time.
Good Lord, will he turn me in to the authorities?
She opened her mouth to inquire as to the reason for his presence. The words caught in her throat as she saw that his amber eyes were glowing like a funeral pyre. His sensuous lips— lips she’d unreasonably dreamed of kissing— drew back to reveal white, even teeth …with two gleaming fangs for incisors.
Before she could scream or flee, Mr. Villar’s fiery gaze widened, then narrowed in recognition. “You! You’ve been the one disturbing my people?”
“Y-your people?” Cassandra stammered dumbly, staring raptly at those sharp fangs. She’d certainly never seen those during their previous encounters. Her heart leapt into her throat in dawning horror. This man was not human. What is he?
His lips curled back in a sneer, puckering the scars on the left side of his face. “Don’t play coy with me, Countess.” The word was spat in acidic contempt. “Some of my subordinates reported hunters disturbing their lairs.” He gestured at the mausoleum behind him. “It is hard to fathom that you’re behind this, though I should have guessed. Is that why you befriended the Duchess of Burnrath?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea what you are going on about. I came here to... well it is no concern of yours.” A wave of indignation bolstered her courage. How dare he speak of her most treasured friendship in such a manner? How dare he accuse her of duplicity when he stood before her, sporting unnatural teeth and luminescent eyes? And of what exactly was he accusing her? “What does Her Grace have to do with this?” Cassandra took a shaky step back. “…And, in the name of heaven, what are you?”
In a blink of an eye, Rafael stood inches from her. With the same impossible speed, he grasped her shoulder, pulling her close against him. Dizziness swarmed her mind at the feel of his firm heat and his intoxicating scent of forbidden spices. His crippled left arm moved lightly around her waist, his fingers delicately brushing across her lower back. The heady combination between rough and gentle made her tremble.
His eyes blazed amber fire as they locked on hers. “I will show you, Countess.”
Then his mouth was on her neck, firm lips caressing the sensitive flesh, somehow more intimate than anything she’d experienced in her ill-fated marriage. Cassandra melted against him, tangling her fingers in his silken waist-length hair.
Sharp pain exploded in her throat as his fangs broke her skin. Cassandra cried out and tried to push him away, but his iron-like right arm mercilessly held her immobile. The pain took flight, and drugging pleasure fluttered within her belly on heated wings. A low moan escaped her throat as she pulled him closer. Liquid desire pulsed between her thighs. Whatever this was, she needed more, craved it with mindless longing.

Monday, February 23, 2015

That Was The Year That Was: 1879


One thing I love about the Victorian Age is its epic scope. Choose any decade, any year, even any month, in that era and you can find something important--whether political, social, or cultural--happening and not only in England.

My current project is a novella set in 1879, a prequel to my just-finished manuscript, which takes place in 1888. To get the ball rolling, I entered the date on Wikipedia to see which events had shaped that year--with fascinating results.

Here are just a few important things that happened in 1879.

1) The Anglo-Zulu War: Given the spread of colonialism and size of its empire, it was no surprise to learn that Britain was at war, somewhere in the world. This conflict involved the Kingdom of Zululand in South Africa, was marked by a number of bloody battles, and lasted from January to July, when the British defeated the Zulus at Ulundi. But one of the most notable casualties of the war was Napoleon, Prince Imperial of France, the twenty-three year-old son of deposed Emperor Napoleon III and the grandnephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. Attached at his own insistence to the British army, the prince died in a skirmish with Zulus on June 1, 1879, ending any dynastic hopes for a Bonaparte restoration to the French throne.

2) Oxford University admits women: On October 13, 1879, the first female students came to study at the newly founded women’s colleges, Lady Margaret Hall and Somerville Hall. Women had already been admitted to Cambridge ten years earlier, with the establishment of Girton College in 1869. Neither Oxford nor Cambridge granted degrees to women until the 1920s, however.

 3) Let there be light: Thomas Edison successfully tested carbonized thread as a filament for the everyday electric light bulb, which burned for more than 13 hours. Two months later, on December 31, Edison held a public demonstration of incandescent lighting at Menlo Park, New Jersey. He was quoted as saying, “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”

4) Nora slams the door: Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House premiered at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark on December 21. The drama became an instant hit, every performance selling out, and aroused immediate controversy, as well as inviting a deeper scrutiny of women’s rights in marriage and in society. (At the other end of the theatrical spectrum, Gilbert and Sullivan’s popular operetta, The Pirates of Penzance, had its first British performance at Paignton, Devon on December 30, then opened to rave reviews in New York the next evening.)

5) Train wreck: Weakened by a storm, the Tay Rail Bridge collapsed as a train traveling from Wormit to Dundee passed over it. All on board--an estimated 74 or 75 people--were killed, though not all bodies were recovered from the river. An inquiry revealed defects in workmanship, maintenance, and design, which resulted in more stringent safety criteria for future British bridges. A new, stronger Tay Bridge was completed in 1887 and is still in service today.

Pretty mind-boggling, yes? Even the weather in 1879 was apparently worth noting. England and Wales experienced their coolest, wettest summer since 1766, while London was shrouded in a thick fog from November until March of the following year, possibly the longest period ever!

Even if major historical events don’t play a significant role in your characters’ lives, simply being aware of their particular context can help you tell a richer and more rewarding story.

Pamela Sherwood


Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Gift That Keeps on Giving by Victoria Roberts

On Valentine's Day, Mr. Roberts was kind enough to give the whole family the gift that keeps on giving. The flu. Yep, the entire Roberts clan is down with the sickness.

As I sit here curled up with an afghan, hot cup of tea, and box of tissues, I'm gazing out the window at the sub zero temperatures and wondering if this brutal torture will ever come to an end. I live in Pittsburgh, and gloomy winter days are what this time of year is all about. Yeah, well, I'm done with that. Finished. I've had enough. Bring on the sun and my 70 degree weather.

My poor dog, Zoe, won't even brave the cold. Once we let her out the front door, she quickly does her business, then bolts around the back of the house to be let back in--all in less than one minute. lol

Due to this lovely weather upon us, my kids haven't had school for the past two days. My husband is in construction and hasn't worked for the past two days. And guess what? On top of that and the flu, everyone has cabin fever!

So I did what every good mother does. They're all fed. They're all watered. I put in a movie and told them all that I didn't want to hear another word. How long will that last? *shrugs* I'm hoping at least until the movie ends.

What do you do to escape the winter doldrums?


Please visit my website for additional information about me and my books. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Setting the Fire

by M. L. Buchman

I have to admit, I love release day for a new work. I remember in 1997 holding my first novel in my shaking hands. I can tell you exactly how my wife and I were standing when we held my first indie release in 2010 and my first Night Stalkers novel in 2012.

Thirty novels and over a dozen short stories later, the feeling hasn't flagged in the slightest. I've tried to describe this moment to non-writer's many times. The best I've ever come up with was the day I bought my first house. It was old (1911), run-down (it had been a rental for 20+ years), and I was totally enamored of it.

(The fact that it took me 7 years to fix the beastie up to look like this a whole different story that starts with an amazing view from the 2nd story...back before I added the second story.)

The feeling though, at that moment when the door swung open, before I crossed the threshold, was a moment of such joy and anticipation and hope and fear that I never expected to feel it again, until I open the first case of my books from the printer.

When I looked into the box and held my first copy, there was joy at seeing the amazing thing I had just accomplished!

There was anticipation that others would enjoy reading it even half as much as I enjoyed writing it!

There was hope that it would have a future (thirty novels later that's a definite yes).

And there was stark terror that I had done something totally nuts. (Which, in buying that house I had.) In writing, the terror goes deeper. I was holding a finished book that constituted my very best effort as of the moment I wrote it. With each new book, there is always (and I do mean always) the fear that I'm at that instant holding the best work I will ever do.

I think this is the moment where so many one-book authors fail. They have completed a huge effort to create that first book. And the fear of the blank page of book #2 or holding book #1 and knowing how much blood, sweat, and joy was captured there is so daunting to imagine.

This week I have released two works: a short story and a novel. And the joy-anticipation-hope-fear-terror cycle is in full swing. So, while dancing with celebration and trying not to shake with that other emotion, Here they are, ready for the world.

A Night Stalkers short story (click for more info) 

A Firehawks / Larch Creek romance (click for more info)

And the best cure for that fear? For that terror that's wants to stop us cold in our tracks? Start the next book...NOW! Set the fire to warm your toes, and launch in. That too is an amazing feeling, when you realize that you are brave and powerful enough to take the plunge once again.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

FUN IN THE SUN/FUN WITH PITCHES


I just came from a conference with the Florida Romance Writers, and I’m looking forward to a very busy year. I’ll be attending the RT Booklovers Convention and RWA Nationals of course, also Book Expo America. In addition to those mega conferences, I’ll be going to Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans conference, and to the Orange County RWA later in the year.

Asa Marie Bradley and Deb Werksman at Florida RWA conference
 
Here’s what made the conference in Florida so great:

The authors were well prepared

The chapter had run a pitch training session, so everyone was prepared with a smooth and effective pitch. I could tell they had worked on them, shared them with others, and polished their pitches.

BTW, I don’t have any problem with an author reading her pitch to me. It shows a level of preparation and polishing that I can appreciate.

Another thing that was great is that the authors understood the difference between a pitch and a plot summary:
A pitch tells the editor:
·         What subgenre the book is
·         How many following projects are envisioned in the series
·         The length of the book/s
·         The all-important hook—it’s that juicy gem of a sentence or two that makes me immediately know I can sell this—my sales reps and the buyers are going to get it immediately

This meant that we could take full advantage of our time together—I could hear about an author’s project if we ran into each other in the elevator, or at the coffee shop, or while waiting for a session to start, or over dinner, lunch, etc.

Please, with me, know that I want to hear about your writing—that’s why I’m at the conference. So you don’t need to worry about disturbing me, interrupting me, or me not being prepared to hear a pitch. I realize I’m different from other editors in this regard. That’s one of the reasons it’s useful to find out how different editors prefer to hear about/receive materials. Long live submission guidelines!

So, by the time we sat down for the formal pitches, there were very few I was hearing about for the first time.

This meant we could delve deeper, ask questions about subgenres, the category, the industry, the author’s vision for her career, etc. I love these in-depth conversations.

The projects I heard about were fantastic, even when they weren’t right for my list, or for the publishing house.

It was clear that these authors were serious—they wanted to develop their craft, they wanted to build their audience, they wanted to build careers. What they were working on was well-thought-out and original.

·Another great part of the conference was the Floridian Idol, in which 2 pages of a manuscript were read to the editors and agents, and we got to comment and/or request to see the project. It was fascinating to see the breadth and depth of the writing coming out of this chapter, and also to see the very different reactions of the editors and agents. There was something strong about every single one, whether it was right for me or not.

My inner Simon Cowell comes out at these kinds of events, although I try not to be harsh. Remember, Simon gives the best coaching!

Kudos to the Florida Romance Writers, thank you so much for having me at your conference, and I can’t wait to see your proposals.

BTW, I am open for pitches and submissions AT ALL TIMES! 24/7/365! So you don’t need to wait to meet me at a conference, or for a formal pitch session online. Just go here: http://www.sourcebooks.com/resources/romance-fiction-submission-guidelines.html or email me direct: deb.werksman@sourcebooks.com

Don’t be shy!



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

This week my favorite TV show, History Channel's Vikings, will introduce season 3. I'm a fervent fan, but my Viking fascination began back in the early 1990s. Over time, I cultivated an off-beat home library --- including a cookbook on Viking Age meals written by two Swedish history professors.

Vikings Lagertha played by Kathryn Winnick. Photo credit History Channel


The first romance I ever wrote was based on a little known event in Sweden (AD 1022) ---the end of the Viking Age. The more I dug into Viking history and culture, the more amazed I became.

But, would you think of Vikings and a sense of humor?

Let me share this true Viking tale and see what you find. I call it:

Putting Your Best Forward

Early in the tenth century, famed Viking Rollo and his warriors, camped out on the Seine. Like foxes they came to raid the chicken coop once again. The plan was to take their fill of silver and gold and leave...not unusual for this group of Northmen. After enduring many such attacks, Charles the Simple, King of the Franks, got an idea:
Why not ask the raiders to be his neighbors? 
Charles needed a defensive buffer between Paris and sea invaders of all stripes. The land west of Paris made a beautiful buffer with rich, tempting farmland. People lived there, but there was no order. No ruler. Adding to the king's troubles, southern pagans of Brittany encroached, vying for more land.
And Charles had another motive. He wanted those Vikings so busy protecting and working their new homeland that they wouldn't have time to raid his. The offer was made, and Rollo accepted.
But, the king had contingencies.
To seal the deal, Charles offered his daughter in marriage to Rollo. Such marital unions were standard fare (and are a mainstay for historical romance). Charles also required the Viking to convert to Christianity and change his name to Robert. Rollo agreed. 
Maybe land is better than gold and silver? This question would be tested.
While celebrating the alliance, some disgruntled bishops added a new demand: Rollo had to kiss the king's foot.
They wanted a clear sign of submission. Payback. Those bishops wanted to humiliate Rollo and his Vikings, and they had the power to do it.
No kiss to the foot, no land. How was the proud Rollo going to work this? 
Ever adaptable, he conferred with his men and came up with a plan. One of his men went forward, but even
lower Viking fighters have their pride.
The unnamed warrior approached the seated Charles. The hall was silent. The Viking refused to bend. 
After a tense stare-down, Charles met his former enemy half-way. The kingly foot rose part way to meet the Viking. The warrior grabbed the foot, brought it high to his mouth, and Charles fell on his royal rear.
The hall erupted with laughter. The Franks quit messing with the Vikings, and Rollo took control of his vast domain AD 911, the land we call Normandy.
Under Rollo's rule, the region prospered. 
Vikings intermarried. They took on the language of the region (mixed with their own). Rollo turned Rouen into his city center, a place known for textile trade. His presence made the oft-attacked area peaceful. 
From raiders to businessmen and landowners, Vikings settled into their new home. Rollo (baptised Robert) ran a prosperous marketplace. And the irony? Normandy even boasted a coin mint. 
Maybe the fox can take charge of the chicken coop? 
_______________



Now you know I love History Channel's Vikings. What's your favorite TV show?


I'm Gina Conkle, writer of Viking and Georgian romance with a softly sensual side.

I'd love to connect with you:

My website  ~  On Twitter  ~  On Facebook  ~  On Pinterest



(other photo credits: iStock except for the author photo)

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Japanese Cover of THE FIRE LORD'S LOVER By Kathryne Kennedy

A big thank you to Rights Manager Sara Hartman-Seeskin for the sale of the foreign rights to Japan for THE FIRE LORD'S LOVER...AND for sending me a copy of the book. Here's a copy of the Japanese cover:
How cool is that? I lived several years in Okinawa when my dad was in the Air Force, and have fond memories of the people and island, so this is especially thrilling for me. My son has a friend who is studying the Japanese language, and I'm looking forward to her translating some of the book to me. It will be fascinating to hear how my voice has changed (although I imagine much will be in the hands of the translator, hence her name right by mine on the cover). It's interesting that the book is about 2/3 the size of an American paperback. It also has a dust jacket, which you usually only see on hardcover books.

Have I mentioned lately how much I adore my publisher, Sourcebooks?

Below is a picture of my family in Okinawa, and the backside of me running after my older sister on a beach in Okinawa. We lived there from 1963-65. The photo after that is, of course, my American Sourcebooks cover of THE FIRE LORD'S LOVER.




 Hope your day is as magical as mine!
Until Next Time,
Kathryne