Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Forgotten Sons Series by Gina Conkle

The True Tale of the Viking Woman Who Took Charge by Gina Conkle

Get cozy because I’m turning back the clock to the real life story of Audr the Deep Minded, a leader in Iceland.
Iceland’s settlement began in 874. Vikings like to claim they first settled the island but there’s evidence Celtic monks lived on Iceland in the 7th or 8th century before abandoning it. Little wonder! The island of fire and ice sits close to the Arctic Circle. Early settlers contended with a landscape bubbling with geysers and hot springs on one hand and isolation in frigid climes on the other.
Yet, none can deny Iceland is beautiful. And a little like Viking woman—mysterious, strong, and having little patience for fools.
When Viking nobleman, Ingolfur Arnarsson, settled first Iceland, he knew he’d need capable leaders. Icelandic life was too harsh and the beginning too fragile to mess around with weak people at the helm. Ingolfur divided the island into four parts and selected four of the best Vikings to lead each quadrant. One of them was Audr the Deep Minded. A woman.
This is her story…
The daughter of Ketill Flatnose, a Norwegian chieftain, Audr came from wealth and privilege. Nothing is known of her until she married a Norse king of Dublin. Historians say Audr enjoyed even greater freedom in Dublin than she did (or would have in Norway). She was certainly quick to take charge when things went sideways.
By all accounts, Audr was not a shield maiden or a young woman when history records her greatness.
Upon hearing her husband and son, Thorsteinn, died in battle, she decided it was time to leave Dublin. Iceland was her destination because she had two brothers there. Calm and decisive, Audr prepared a ship in secret with the help of twenty men who served her (thralls). All were loyal to her and she managed to slip away with her considerable household.
Family-minded, she took in Thorsteinn’s daughters. On the journey to Iceland, one granddaughter married in Orkney and the other was married in the Faroe Islands.
Despite having married off two granddaughters, her retinue was so vast that one brother balked at hosting Audr. He offered to host half her household which is a slight in Vikingdom. No matter how rich or poor the longhouse, no one in need of food and shelter is turned away. Ever. Especially with winter approaching.
Incensed, Audr went to her second brother where she and her household stayed until spring. Warm weather got the older woman exploring new lands. Audr took off to Breidafjordur, deciding to settle there.
Here is where she sets herself apart with wisdom and generosity.
This was about the time Ingolfur Arnarsson divide Iceland into four sections to be ruled by four capable Vikings. In the northwest, he asked Audr to lead. She would have to secure the loyalty of her people and settle the land.
Audr already had twenty loyal male slaves. She could’ve kept the status quo. Instead, Audr told those twenty men, if they pledged allegiance to her, she’d give them their freedom and land to own.
Was it a wily political move on her part? A show of gratitude for men who stayed by her side through tough times? History never tells us.
What we do know is she settled in Hvammur. We also know man sites have funny, anecdotal names because of her such as Kambsnes, which means ‘Comb headland’ because she lost a comb there. A Christian, she raised a cross in Hvammur (though her descendants later chose paganism.)
Audr was all about family, making sure the rest of her granddaughters married well. Kind and giving to the end, the deep-minded woman invited relatives to a magnificent feast that went on for three days. During that time, she gave lavish gifts and wise advice to those she loved. At the end of the three days, Audr bade her household hold the feast another three days-a funeral feast. She knew she was dying and she wanted to spend her last days celebrating with the people she loved.
Now that is a wise, wise woman.

Kept by the Viking
Forgotten Sons Book 1
by Gina Conkle
Genre: Historical Viking Romance

Loyalty to the Brotherhood comes before all. Including women.

Formidable Viking leader Rurik knows the law. His loyalty to the Forgotten Sons is his bond, and no woman will threaten what he’s built from the ground up. But the Sons are a roving band of Vikings, and Rurik is growing restless—so when Normandy’s chieftain offers land, the proposal intrigues him. And the sultry Parisian thrall he finds in his tent intrigues him even more…

Safira is cunning and clever and full of secrets. Rurik’s men have no interest in securing her safe passage home, but, piqued with lust, Rurik views Safira’s wiles as a captivating challenge—one he’s determined to conquer, even if lying with her is as defiant as it is inevitable.

Traveling with Safira has been a fantasy come true—what started as lust is quickly turning to the kind of partnership Rurik could never have dreamed. But their arrival in foreign lands marks a new chapter, one that demands a Viking wife. With impossible decisions to be made, Rurik’s alliances are fraying, and past promises may not be enough to save him from having to betray those he’s sworn loyalty to—including Safira.

This book is approximately 83,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Her Viking Warrior
Forgotten Sons Book 2

When an outcast goes home and meets a woman seeking justice, hearts will clash…

Eighteen years ago, Bjorn was exiled from Vellefold. Honor-bound to return, he’ll fight for the settlement…then walk away. First, he must work with his childhood friend, now a beautiful, high-ranking Viking lady.

Fierce of spirit, Ilsa will do anything to save her people, including convincing the banished son to take the jarl’s seat. But she has her doubts about the stone-hearted Viking, despite the lust between them. It’s only a matter of time before Bjorn discovers that Ilsa is hiding dangerous secrets, secrets that may jeopardize all they’ve worked for.

When the darkest hour comes, the once-rejected warrior must choose: rescue his men, the Forgotten Sons—or Ilsa, the woman he craves, body and soul.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Gina's fate was sealed when her mom read 'The Highwayman' for a bedtime story. She was five years old at the time, but from then on, Gina was doomed to love history and romance.

Some days she pens sparkling Georgian romance. Other days, she writes evocative Viking romance full of heat and adventure. Gina spent most of her life in southern California but now lives in Michigan with her husband where snow days are perfect for reading and writing. Her books have won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Poke around her website and you'll run across those accolades.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

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