Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Spotlight On… The Viking’s Witch By Kelli A. Wilkins

I’m pleased to announce the release of my latest historical romance, The Viking’s Witch. This full-length novel is set in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual love story with adventure and paranormal elements.

The Viking’s Witch
Scotland, 803 A.D.
About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.
But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence and be used for his ambitions?
After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village?
Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other…before time runs out.
Order your copy here:
Link to all other platforms:  https://books2read.com/u/4EQe0o
Read more about the book on my new site: www.kelliwilkins.com

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.
Her latest historical romance, The Viking’s Witch, was released in June 2019. This full-length novel takes place in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual romance with paranormal elements. 

In March 2019, Kelli published Dangerous Indenture, a historical mystery romance set in Colonial Pennsylvania. She released the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.
Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: kelliwilkins.teachable.com for more details.
If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.

Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock  and iStock  to view her photos.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: facebook.com Author Kelli Wilkins and Twitter: @KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her NEW website www.KelliWilkins.com or blogkelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.comto learn more about all of her writings.

Friday, June 21, 2019

An Amish Historical Romance Rebekah's Quilt by Sara Harris

Who can Rebekah trust when the line between English and Amish becomes blurred?

An Amish Settlement. An English stranger. The Blizzard of 1888.

Rebekah's mother, Elnora Stoll, is the finest quilter in all of Gasthof Village but it seems Rebekah has inherited none of her skill. A sweet and gentle love blossoms between Rebekah Stoll and her childhood friend Joseph Graber, despite attempts by her saucy nemesis, Katie Knepp, to sway the young man's affections her way. When Joseph hints at the promise of forever, Rebekah is positive she should say yes to his proposal - until a mysterious English stranger shows up at her homestead and sets everything she thought she knew about her world on end.

Goodreads * Amazon

Jeremiah! The barn’s on fire!” she yelled to nowhere, taking the stairs two and three at a time.
Her brother’s footsteps fell in behind her. “Let’s go!”
The pair hit the door at the same time, flinging it wide open. It cracked against the strain of its hinges. Not bothering to turn around and close it, they raced for the barn. Rebekah hadn’t grabbed a covering and her wet hair streamed out behind her like yellow ribbons from a maypole. It slapped her in the face when the wind whipped from a different direction.
Grinding to a halt at the water pump, Rebekah grabbed Jeremiah by his shoulders.
You help Pa! I’m going in for the animals!”
Jeremiah ferociously began pumping for Samuel who, before that moment hadn’t even noticed that his two eldest children had joined him.
Blitzschlag!” Samuel yelled in German. “Lightning struck the barn!”

The inside of their cozy barn was ablaze. Piles of the sweet-smelling hay, where Rebekah had hidden from her brothers on lazy fall afternoons, were engulfed by the roaring, ravenous flames. The yoke her father had hewn by hand as a boy was charred, hanging on a blackened beam. A rafter collapsed, shocking her back to her senses.
Cream and Butter were tied up in their stalls, pulling and rearing at the ropes that had become their enemy. Tiny Buttermilk bleated and mooed helplessly from behind her mother.
Rebekah yanked free the knots that held Cream and Butter at bay. The eyes of her normally-docile cows were wild and terrifying, but Rebekah grasped the lead ropes in her hands anyway and turned to lead them out.
She looked back at the tiny calf, frozen in fear. Their eyes met. “I’ll be back for you,” Rebekah swore.
Turning, she sang the flapjack ingredients song loudly, so as to be heard over the roaring flame, in a futile attempt to keep both her and the frightened cattle calm.
Another flaming beam snapped and fell behind them, spooking Butter. The milk cow bellowed and reared, dancing on her hind legs before jerking free from Rebekah and tearing off into the heart of the storm.
Rebekah stumbled and fell with the force of Butter’s yank, sending her sprawling in the mud. Pushing herself up, she managed to miss being trampled by Cream’s frightened hooves that stomped around her.
Cream!” she yelled, her voice deep and foreign in her own ears, “Come on!” Ever obedient, Cream, though skittish, walked on to the house with Rebekah.
Tying the nervous cow to the front door, a strong pair of hands fell upon Rebekah’s shoulders, turning her around.
It’s over,” her Pa yelled, pulling her to his chest in a tight hug. “It’s over, girl. It’s over.” It sounded as though he were trying to convince himself of that fact more than convince her. Over his shoulder, she saw that the fierce fire had overtaken the barn. Angry flames licked skyward from the loft.
Stiffening, a scream tore from her lips. “Buttermilk!”
The baby’s gone,” her father yelled.
No!” Struggling against his iron grasp was futile, but after a moment she managed to wean her way from under his elbow.
Rebekah, stop!” Samuel bellowed. “Stillgestanden!”
Ignoring him, Rebekah dodged Jeremiah’s clutches easily, her eyes and heart already set on the glowing barn.
Buttermilk, I’m coming,” she screamed again. Her father rasped behind her. Thankfully, he was all tired out from fighting the fire. She sped ahead, leaving him wheezing in the mud outside the barn.
Rebekah, don’t baby, please.” His weak words sounded as far away as Germany as she raced into the barn.

Excerpt 2

Rebekah slid her legs over the side of her bed, easing them down until her feet met the hardwood floor. Her father had laid this floor expertly in just a few days’ time, or so she’d heard tale.
Shards of pain sparked up her leg from her bad foot, making her stomach turn over. She choked on the yell that strangled in her throat as the rest of her body joined her feet on the floor. Tears blurred her wobbly vision.
A strained groan came from the direction of her parent’s room.
Rebekah shook the foggy stars from her head.
Standing up isn’t really an option,” she reasoned as she sat on the chilled floor that had moments before been her ally. She flexed her multi-hued ankle. “Nope, certainly not an option.”
A series of pants echoed in the dark hallway.
I’m coming, Ma.”
Ignoring the seeping dankness, she stretched out on the floor in her thin nightgown, Rebekah pulling herself along the smooth boards with her hands. She slithered to the doorway like a snake through the grass.
Rebekah managed to navigate around the doorframe only to knock her head on something stationary that shouldn’t be there. “Ow!”
Her mother’s labored breathing drew Rebekah’s attention from her own sudden pain.
Rebekah,” she rasped. She seemed completely oblivious to the fact that Rebekah’s head just met her nose. Hard.
Ma, are you okay?” The absurdity of that question filled the air. Of course her pregnant mother, lying here alone in the early morning darkness, was not okay.
The baby,” she started.
Rebekah didn’t wait for her to finish. She scurried to her mother’s feet and paled at what she saw.
By muted moonlight, it was obvious that the dark pool beneath her mother was blood.
Mrs. Yoder said the baby wouldn’t be coming for a while,” Rebekah stammered. She chewed the inside of her lip as the sea of churning thoughts attempted to push a coherent solution to this predicament into the forefront of her mind. It wasn’t working.
Clear fluid puddled around her mother in stark contrast to the crimson stains. “Ahh,” Elnora gasped.
Something’s wrong,” Elnora said, the tension causing her words to break in unnatural places. “With the baby, something’s wrong.”
The tears sprang up in Rebekah’s eyes without warning. “What Ma, tell me what’s wrong.” Rebekah swiped at her face with the back of her hand. “Tell me what’s wrong and I’ll fix it!”
A grunt from Elnora gave her pause. “I have to push!”
Fumbling with her mother’s nightgown, she sucked in a hard breath. “Ma, I see feet.”
Elnora stopped panting. “Feet?” She began to shake her head in tiny little shakes. “Oh Rebekah, no. No!”
What do I do?” The hysteria was rising in her throat, pinging the ends of her words.
Turn him. Turn the baby.”
The sea of thoughts began to churn again in Rebekah’s mind, this time vicious and wild.
Ma,” she began. The icy fingers of fear clenched tight her throat. A very real pain seared there, just beneath her chin. “I don’t know what to do.”
Dear Father,” Elnora prayed, oblivious to Rebekah’s plight, “Please turn the baby or he’ll die.”
Rebekah placed her hands alongside the tense bulge on Elnora’s stomach. “Please Father; help me save my little brother or sister.”

Sara is a mother of four, animal lover and advocate, and conservationist. Little House on the Prairie, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and Lonesome Dove are among her favorite shows/movies and books. Sara holds her B.A. in History and is the author of the historical romance series, An Everlasting Heart, from 5 Prince Publishing and recently debuted into the children's book realm with Chunky Sugars (5 Prince Kids), written for her own chunky baby.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Thirteenth Guardian Guest Post Michelangelo - Research that surprised me.

I have met people who are serious fine art enthusiasts and connoisseurs. They travel to The Met, The Louvre, The Guggenheim, and The Uffizi Gallery to be in the presence of the work of several of the masters. I love art, but I am not quite at the level of paying the Galleria dell’Academia in Florence to shut down to the public so I can spend 4 hours alone with a famous piece. So, when writing The Thirteenth Guardian, I had to do a lot of research on Michelangelo and his works. Michelangelo is considered by many to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, artists of all time. His paintings and sculptures are world famous and it was easy to find detailed information about much of his mainstream work.

What was astounding to me were some of his lesser known interests. He had a passion for learning anatomy and spent a lot of time studying the human body. During the Middle Ages, dissection of the human body was frowned upon to some degree by the Church. However, the Church would occasionally allow physicians to publicly dissect the cadavers of criminals and artists would frequently attend to study  the inner anatomy of the human body. It is said that Michelangelo wanted to go further in his study of anatomy, and would privately dissect cadavers that he got from one of the local churches before burial. Sometimes, however, he went as far as stealing dead bodies so he could get uninterrupted drawing time. He made intricate sketches of internal organs and it is believed that he incorporated some of this knowledge into his art. That idea blew my mind—but as you look at some of his better known work, like the Creation of Adam fresco in the Sistine Chapel in the heart of the Catholic church, and although it is still a topic of passionate debate, it appears that Michelangelo hid a controversial secret in plain view. Several physicians from leading academic institutions have recently confirmed the anatomical accuracy of the hidden human organs in some of his most famous paintings. It was absolutely fascinating to learn about the lesser known truths about Michelangelo.

Da Vinci’s secret pales. Michelangelo concealed an explosive truth in his famous Creation of Man fresco in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. Everything we have been taught about Eve is wrong—she didn’t cause the fall of man. Instead, Eve carried a far more devastating secret for millennia; one that will change the world forever.

As the modern-day world suffers the cataclysmic effects of the “Plagues of Egypt”, Avery Fitzgerald, a statuesque Astrophysics major at Stanford, discovers that she is mysteriously bound to five strangers by an extremely rare condition that foremost medical experts cannot explain. Thrust into extraordinary circumstances, they race against time to stay alive as they are pursued by an age-old adversary and the world around them collapses into annihilation.Under sacred oath, The Guardians—a far more archaic and enigmatic secret society than the Freemasons, Templars, and the Priory—protect Avery as she embarks on a daring quest that only legends of old have been on before. Avery must come to terms with the shocking realization that the blood of an ancient queen flows through her veins and that the fate of the world now rests on her shoulders.

About the Author
K.M. Lewis has lived in multiple countries around the world and speaks several languages. Lewis holds a graduate degree from one of the Ivy League Universities featured in his book. When he is not writing, Lewis doubles as a management consultant, with clients in just about every continent. He does much of his writing while on long flights and at far-flung airports around the globe. He currently resides on the East Coast of the U.S with his family.
Social media: twitter.com/kmlewisbooks and instagram.com/kmlewisbooks

Blog Tour Schedule -
June 11th
Bookish Looks https://anewlookonbooks.com/blog Promo Post
Lucy Turns Pages lucyturnspages.co.uk Promo Post
More Books Please blog  www.morebookspleaseblog.wordpress.com  Review
A Diary of a Book Addict http://adiaryofabookaddict.blogspot.com/ Review
What Is That Book About www.whatisthatbookabout.com Promo Post

June 12th
BeachBoundBooks https://www.beachboundbooks.com/blogging-about-books Promo Post
The Avid Reader http://the-avidreader.blogspot.com Review
bookblogarama  https://bookblogarama.com Promo Post
Bookaholic's Therapy https://bookaholictherapy.wordpress.com/ Review

June 13th
4covert2overt ☼ A Place In The Spotlight ☼ https://4covert2overt.blogspot.com/ Promo Post
Baroness Book Trove  https://baronessbooktrove.com  Review
Book Briefs http://bookbriefs.net Review

June 14th
ⒾⓃⓉⓇⓄⓈⓅⒺⒸⓉⒾⓋⒺ ⓅⓇⒺⓈⓈ https://introspectivepress.blogspot.com/ Promo Post
Angel Leya www.angeleya.com Promo Post
Quibbles and Scribbles  http://quibblesandscribbles.com  Review
Books Teacup and Reviews https://booksteacupnreviews.wordpress.com/ Promo Post

June 17th
Character Madness and Musings https://jenabaxterbooks.blogspot.com/ Promo Post
Gwendalyn_Books_ http://gwendalynbooks.wordpress.com/ Review
Teatime and Books http://www.teatimeandbooks76.blogspot.com Promo Post

INTERVIEW ~ Druid's Portal: The First Journey by Cindy Tomamichel Genre: Time Travel Romance, Historical Fantasy

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
I had another chosen, but it sounded soppy, and it was already used, so I picked Druids Portal, as being more related to the plot. 

Who designed your book covers?
Soul Mate Publishing chose Melody Pond to design both my covers, and the first one won cover of the month at Books & Benches. Her website is: https://melodyypond.weebly.com/

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I think you always want to rewrite parts, make them better and a closer match to the world in your head. But so long as it is an entertaining read then I can be happy with that. Besides, I have to get cracking on the next books!

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I do quite a bit of research, and this book I learnt a lot about Druid history, ancient religious rituals, and Stonehenge. I also delved into wild flowers, and what sort of flowers, leaves and trees are sacred, both historically and today in pagan circles.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Ethan is a tall, muscular chap, and handy with a sword and a one liner. Jason Momoa fits the bill nicely!

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Keep an eye on the secondary characters – the brothers Quintus, Brack, and Phelan. They are major players in the following books.

What is your favorite part of this book and why?
In the alternate timeline, we get the chance to see secondary characters in a different setting. In one scene Ethan meets the soldiers his father served with, as well as a character that is important in the next book. For me, it tells of the losses of time travel, of leaving behind friends that never knew what happened to you. I tried to portray the deep bonds that had been built up, though 2,000 years separated the characters.

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Branwen is one of my favourite characters. She is the celtic manager of a bathhouse in the Roman fort town of Pons Aelius, which will become Newcastle. She takes Janet in when she arrives from the future, and her three sons become major characters. She loves to cook and bake, so I imagine we would spend the day baking and sharing some honeyed wine and gossip. The bath house is always first with all the news!

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
I have had a couple of characters that come from real people – one walked across a crowded pub and straight into my imagination. Most are entirely imaginary, maybe with a feature from someone in real life.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
I wrote Nanowrimo last year, and a secondary character took over, and I had a Jason Momoa lookalike galloping across Roman Britain, finding love and generally taking over. It was enormous fun, and it developed the story in ways I had not planned. I know the general direction, but it’s fun not to know too much.

Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
Who writes about Roman Britain? Not many – it’s all kilts or regency frocks. Explore a time of history that still echoes in our lives today. Go and find a real hero, and women who are not afraid to get their hands dirty.

Have you written any other books that are not published?
Yes, is the short answer. Science fiction, fantasy, contemporary romance, urban fantasy and historicals are all clamoring for their share of the spotlight.

If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Oak and rose. Oak for Ethan’s link with the forest, and rose for the perfume Rowena has in her hair.

What did you edit out of this book?
Not much, except for 1,000+ hads, and shes when editing. I write fast and tight, and add in when drafting, not delete things.

Is there an writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Robert E. Howard would be great. His Conan books are great examples of fight scenes, and also describing dark creatures and places in graphic ways.

Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.
I read history books like a novel, and really try to get details right. I have consulted archaeologists to get my facts straight, and emailed a museum to find out how a 2,000 year old incense burner worked.

My cat loves helping, and sometimes I am working and balancing the keyboard on top of him.

Roman soldiers along Hadrian’s Wall ate lots of bacon. They had to carry food, cooking equipment, shovels, and tents on their marches, then dig protective trenches before they rested for the night. And do night patrol. Tough men.
Druid's Portal: The First Journey
by Cindy Tomamichel
Genre: Time Travel Romance, Historical Fantasy

A portal closed for 2,000 years.

An ancient religion twisted by modern greed.

A love that crosses the centuries.

An ancient druid pendant shows archaeologist Janet visions of Roman soldier Trajan. The visions are of danger, death, and love—but are they a promise or a curse? 

Her fiancé Daman abandons her before the wedding, her beloved museum is ransacked, and a robed man vanishes before her eyes. Haunted by visions of a time she knows long gone, Janet teeters on the edge of a breakdown.

In the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall and 2,000 years back in time, Janet’s past and present collide. Daman has vowed to drive the invaders from the shores of Britain and march his barbarian hordes to Rome. Trajan swears vengeance against the man who threatens both his loves—Janet and the Empire.

Time is running out—for everyone.
Druid's Portal : The Second Journey

A love that can never be.

Ethan—latest guardian of the Arwen pendant—finds his heritage of time travel a burden he can scarcely endure. Rowena—last of the line of Daman—is a soldier in the Celtic army, forced to perform deeds that haunt her. Both tormented by visions of the other, separated by barriers of time.

A time that should not exist.

Rowena flees the catastrophic end of her time but is trapped by an ancient family pact with an evil goddess. Desperate to save her, Ethan crosses over into her timeline, where his parents never met, and Daman—their greatest enemy—rules.
The past is ruled by a man who knows the future.

Thirty days to stop a goddess taking over her body. Thirty days to save his timeline. Together they will fight their way through an altered history to the dark past of Stonehenge.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Why Poe? by Christopher Conlon author of Annabel Lee: The Story of a Woman, Written By Herself

Why Poe?by Christopher Conlon
©  2019 by Christopher Conlon

What is it about Edgar Allan Poe? A writer of morbid poems and tales of terror who died 170 years ago, Poe stands today virtually without equal in the canon of American literature. Only Mark Twain and perhaps Ernest Hemingway can lay claim to anything like a similar stature in both critical opinion and popularity—and Poe goes back quite a bit farther than either. Why should an author who wrote about crazed killers obsessed with black cats and beating hearts and weird birds who say only “Nevermore” be so central to our imagination now, in the 21st century? What is it about Edgar Allan Poe?

In writing my novel Annabel Lee I gave a great deal of thought to Poe’s seeming immortality, and it seems to me that the answer lies in what I view as the overarching theme of much of his work: anxiety. Today we can hardly open a newspaper (or a news webpage) without reading about anxiety—its ever-increasing presence in our society, its impact on the workforce, its effects on children, new medications, new approaches to treatment. Sometimes it seems as if the entire country is wrapped up in kind of free-floating anxiety.

Edgar Allan Poe is America’s greatest artist of anxiety. We may not personally be obsessed with an old man’s cataract-covered eye or on getting revenge on an enemy by walling him up in our basement, but the emotions of Poe’s characters, their giddy feelings of overwhelming and sometimes inexplicable terror, speak to us with amazing directness today. The language may be antiquated, but the character’s subjective experiences of reality feel completely contemporary. I sometimes wonder if, in some strange way, Poe sensed the world that was coming—vast wars, genocides, insanely destructive weapons—and sent out his poems and stories to the future, prophetic messages in bottles for us to find in our own time….

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
   In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
   By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
   Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
   I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
   Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
   My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
   And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
   In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
   Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
   In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
   Of those who were older than we—
   Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
   Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
   Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
   In her sepulchre there by the sea—
   In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Annabel Lee:
The Story of a Woman, Written By Herself
by Christopher Conlon
Genre: Historical Gothic

Everybody knows Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee”—but who was she really? In this haunting and evocative novel, Christopher Conlon (“one of the preeminent names in contemporary literary horror”—Booklist) imagines a life for one of literature’s most renowned characters. Hers is a chronicle even more thrilling, doom-haunted, and tragic than Poe himself could have conceived, for here Annabel Lee tells her own story in her own words…for the first time.

Christopher Conlon (b. 1962) is best known as the editor of the Bram Stoker Award-winning anthology "He Is Legend" (Gauntlet/Tor), a tribute to author Richard Matheson which was reprinted by the Science Fiction Book Club and in multiple foreign translations. His novel "Savaging the Dark" was included in Booklist's "Top Ten: Horror" for 2015 (starred review) and acclaimed by Paste Magazine both as one of the 21 Best Horror Books of the 21st Century and as one of the 50 Best Horror Novels of All Time. Two of his earlier novels, "Midnight on Mourn Street" and "A Matrix of Angels," were finalists for the Stoker Award, and he has written numerous collections of stories and poems along with two full-length stage plays. A former Peace Corps Volunteer, Conlon holds an M.A. in American Literature from the University of Maryland and lives in the Washington, DC area.

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