Sunday, 16 October 2016

TUDOR ENGLAND, STEWART SCOTLAND

Queen's Courier is now available in paperback as well as on Kindle. Here's the blurb and an excerpt for your enjoyment:

TUDOR ENGLAND, STEWART 

SCOTLAND

The courageous Dowager Queen of 
Scotland works to preserve the throne for her daughter Mary against the machinations of Henry Tudor and greedy Scottish nobles.

Meg Douglas, twenty-eight and still 
unmarried, prays that uncle Henry will finally relent and give permission for Mathew, Lord Lennox, to travel south and marry her before it is too late and her guilty secret is discovered.


Matho Spirston, newly appointed courier to Lord Wharton, 
sets out on a mission north of the border believing it will give him the opportunity to bring south his beloved Phoebe. Unhappily for them all, disaster threatens when war breaks out between the two countries.


EXCERPT:

"The Dowager Queen of Scotland sat at a small card table set on the raised dais in Stirling’s Great Hall and tapped her toes in time to the music. For once her courtiers smiled at one another, and in the centre of it all, the blushing bridal couple seemed dazed with happiness.

In contrast, Arran perched on his stool like a black crow sitting out a rain shower and stared down at his cards.
“Be of good cheer, my lord Governor,” Marie urged him. “It is not every day one of my ladies celebrates her wedding.”

Arran grunted. “Aye, that’s true enough. The Treasury gives thanks for it.” His gaze hovered accusingly at the level of her chin. “Madam, we cannot go on spending on such frivolities.”

Marie smiled, stretched across the card table and patted his hand. “I cannot resist. They are such happy occasions. But you may take comfort in the thought that there will be no more weddings among my ladies in the coming months.”

She turned to observe the dancers. Candle and firelight glimmered on pearls and gems, slid across silks and brocades. Gold frozen into heavy chains gleamed against rich velvets of the gentlemen’s attire, adding colour and depth to the scene.
“Your servants constantly wish to marry, madam.”


He made it sound like a reproach. Could the man not enjoy the beautiful sight of couples executing the intricate steps of the dance without thinking of money? Rarely did Scotland remind her of the French court, but tonight there had been a hint of a similar grandeur and beauty in the great hall. Now Arran’s meanness threatened to spoil the evening."

and here's the link:


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Guest blog: Uvi Poznansky - 'Dancing with Air'

Serving on the European front, Lenny longs for Natasha, the girl who captured his heart back home. At first, he enjoys fulfilling his military task, which is to write bogus reports, designed to fall into the hands of Nazi Intelligence and divert their attention from the upcoming invasion of Normandy. To fool the enemy, these reports are disguised as love letters to another woman. His task must remain confidential, even at the risk of Natasha becoming suspicious of him.
Once she arrives in London, Lenny takes her for a ride on his Harley throughout England, from the White Cliffs of Dover to a village near an underground ammunition depot in Staffordshire. When he is wounded in a horrific explosion, Natasha brings him back to safety, only to discover the other woman’s letter to him. He wonders, will she trust him again, even though as a soldier, he must keep his mission a secret? Will their love survive the test of war?
In the past Natasha wrote, with girlish infatuation, “He will be running his fingers down, all the way down to the small of my back, touching his lips to my ear, breathing his name, breathing mine. Here I am, dancing with air.” In years to come, she will begin to lose her memory, which will make Lenny see her as delicate. “I gather her gently into my arms, holding her like a breath.” But right now, during the months leading up to D-Day, she is at her peak. With solid resolve, she is ready to take charge of the course of their story.

Dancing with Air is a standalone WWII historical fiction novel, as well as the fourth volume of a family saga series titled Still Life with Memories, one of family sagas best sellers of all time. If you like family saga romance, wounded warrior romance books, romantic suspense novels, military romantic suspense, or strong female lead romance, you will find that this love story is a unique melding of them all.


Excerpt:

At the back of the castle, Natasha removed her long-sleeve shirt, saying she was burning hot, even though the air had already started to cool down. Upon reaching the bike, she hopped onto the saddle, pretending to be the rider, but fumbling about, because of knowing next to nothing about the controls.
So tell me,” she said, “how long will it take me to learn to ride the bike?”
Two minutes to understand,” I said. “A lifetime to master.”
I showed her how to do it, how to kick the bike two or three times with the fuel and ignition switch off, so as to get the engine primed with oil, and then how to turn on the fuel valve, the choke, and the ignition switch.
If the engine spits out the exhaust pipes while you’re kicking,” I said, “then you must be getting closer!”
She tried it. At first the beast sputtered, but then, by degrees, its sound grew steadily stronger.
I took the seat behind Natasha, and together we rode the bike some distance away.
The grass around us was swaying in the breeze. It had a lovely sheen and a variety of hues, some of them purplish, which were revealed every now and again, with one gust and another, as if a painter had dipped her brush and on a whim, stroked it here and there.
I hugged Natasha and took in the smell of her hair. It was blowing in the wind, one strand over another. Through the red fuzz of them I spotted the last ray of sun, gleaming upon the French coast. Then it was gone.
The road sloped into a gentle dip in the earth, which took us out of sight of anyone who might happen upon these pastures. But no, there was no one here. Amidst the gloaming, we were alone.
I brought the Harley to a stop, and as soon as she felt me leaning in closer, Natasha said, “Close your eyes.”
Why?” I asked.
Because,” she said.
Because what?”
My swimsuit is wet. I want to take it off.”
In place of obeying her, I said, “Let me watch you.”
She slipped off the bike, and with a slow, deliberate motion, she loosened the straps off her shoulders. Then, instead of removing the swimsuit, Natasha lay her fingers on me, tugging playfully at the buttons of my shirt. I stood up, flung it off and then, in a heartbeat, felt her arms around my waist. They closed into an embrace, which stirred something deep inside me.
Rising to the tips of her toes, she tipped her head back and kissed me, a lingering touch of her lips on mine.
I savored the sweet taste of her, which was salty at the same time. The thin, damp material of her swimsuit was barely a barrier between us. Her nipples were hardening against me as I wrapped my fingers, ever so tenderly, around the back of her neck, holding her, keeping her close.
Meanwhile I caught her earlobe between my teeth and teased it, repeatedly, with my tongue.
Oh,” she murmured, “don’t stop.”
Don’t you ever leave me,” I said, in a voice that was becoming husky.
Aroused, I pressed her tightly to my breast. Natasha sighed, for both pleasure and pain, and suddenly pushed me off, releasing herself from my hold—only to rise back into my kiss, as if she couldn’t get enough of it.
I fell to my knees, bringing her down with me. By now, her hair had come completely undone. It was twisting around her head, in and out of the blades of grass, dabbing them crimson.
I brushed my fingers across her toes, stripping off the grains of sand that clung to the moist skin. Then I went on traveling smoothly along her ankles, over her knees, around her hips, into her inner thighs, all the while listening to her sucking in a startled breath.
All of a sudden, Natasha whispered, “I love you, Lenny. Love the smell of your skin, of your sweat, even. Love the way you groan when I come, when I go, when I touch you.”
I saw that this time, she was going to be anything but timid. Soon it became impossible to pull myself away.
First I was on top, then she, then I, she and I rolled into one, heat surging. I took her and was conquered in return.


Uvi's Links:




@UviPoznansky



The David Chronicles:

Vol I  Rise to Power  ebook print audio 
Vol II  A Peek at Bathsheba  ebook print audio
Vol III The Edge of Revolt ebook print

Still Life with Memories:

Vol I  My Own Voice ebook print audio
Vol II  The White Piano ebook print audio
Vol III  The Music of Us ebook print audio
Vol IV Dancing with Air ebook
Vol I+II  Apart from Love ebook print audio

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Queen's Courier by Jen Black

Q

Against a background of political intrigue and Tudor violence, love is not easy to find or sustain. The Queen Dowager of Scotland repudiates it and for both Matho and Meg the struggle is made more difficult by an outbreak of war between England and Scotland. Disaster looms for them all.....

It has taken a while, but this story is now available on Amazon Kindle.

While it continues the story of Matho, Meg and the Queen Dowager of Scotland, it isn't a sequel in the sense that you need to read Abduction of the Scots Queen, or Fair Border Bride, where Matho first appears.

In Queen's Courier Matho undertakes his first solo mission for Sir Thomas Wharton and sees an opportunity to complete his business and then bring his chosen Scots bride south to his home. The complicated feuds of the Scots entangle him in the siege of Lord Lennox where he is recognised and imprisonment awaiting an interview with the Queen Dowager follows; she sees an opportunity to use him to her advantage.

Meg rides south to the court of Henry Tudor in expectation of Lord Lennox joining her. As the weeks roll by without him, she begins to wonder if she will ever marry, or if she will bear a bastard child and face Henry's wrath alone.

EXCERPT:


“Harbottle? What in God’s name d’ ye want to go there for?” A goblet of wine half-way to his mouth, Archibald Douglas, sixth Earl of Angus, stared at his daughter as if she were an imbecile.

“I want to see where I was born.” Meg took her place at table beside her father. “Why is that so silly?”

“The place is stuck in the middle of nowhere, lass, that’s why. There’s a sad excuse for a castle perched above a rocky burn and  a hell of a long ride to anywhere. It’ll be raining,” he added morosely. “It was ever raining when I was there.”

Meg chose to ignore the steadily increasing flesh that had all but buried the handsome bones of his face. Loving him did not mean, however, that she agreed with everything he said and did. “As I understand it, you weren’t there very long.”

Angus banged the goblet on the table, anger in his drawn brows, but before he could speak, Meg followed up her attack. “You can’t deny you left your wife there to bear a child and rode off to further your own concerns.”

“Your mother was as hare-brained then as ye are today. Who do ye think had to safeguard what property we had and talk sweetly to Henry of England?” Angus roared his displeasure. “Not your mother, even though Henry was her brother. She expected everything to happen as she wished.”

“Well, why not?” Meg lifted her chin.

“Och, aye.” His eyebrows rose, causing furrows in his forehead. “I didna notice ye an’ James were on such good terms. It’s no’ that simple, Meg. Use your head for a change.”

He had a point. Her half-brother Jamie had never truly accepted her, no matter how much she tried to win his friendship. She softened her tone. “I don’t see what harm it can do, to visit the place where I was born. I’m curious, that’s all.”

“Ye’ll put yersel’ on a platter for the rabble that infests the Borders.” Angus waggled a warning finger under her nose. “If they snatch ye, a demand for ransom won’t be the worst thing ye face. Most sensible folk would take an escort and head for Berwick.”

“I shall be perfectly safe, Father. When you join the Dowager’s train tomorrow, I shall also leave. The English Warden will meet me at the border and escort me south. A courier has gone on ahead. It is all arranged.” She leant forward, and laid her hand on the velvet of his sleeve. “Don’t worry about me. After all, I am half-English and the king’s niece.”


http://tinyurl.com/jo93rr6

 

 

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Guest blog: Laura Ellen Scott - 'The Juliet'

I’m really grateful to Historical Fiction Excerpts for the chance to write about the real life inspiration for Lily Joy, a character in my novel The Juliet, recently released from Pandamoon Publishing. The Juliet is about the search for a cursed emerald in Death Valley, but it’s also about legends, and Lily Joy’s story springs from the legend of Mona Belle, the working name of a prostitute murdered by her lover in the boomtown of Rhyolite, Nevada in1908.

In The Juliet, Lily Joy is the working name of Becky Skinner, a tarot-reading prostitute from the early 1900s who plies her trade in Centenary, a boomtown much like Rhyolite. When Becky kills off her sex worker persona, she rings the final bell on a short but golden era, and Centenary collapses just as Rhyolite did. However, my version is a superstitious take on Rhyolite’s socio-economic reality. At the time of Belle’s murder, Rhyolite was reeling from a financial crash in 1907 that would soon be followed by poor mine assessments in 1908, causing stocks to plummet and citizens to flee. By 1920 there were virtually no inhabitants left, and most of Rhyolite’s structures were picked apart for building materials, leaving the town in ruins that made it appear much more ancient than it actually was.

Today Rhyolite is one of the best preserved of Death Valley’s ghost towns, and its remaining broken walls, piles of square stones, and outlines of foundations make it easy to imagine the city as it was in prime, when it was a testament to prosperity and industry, owing to a huge investment in infrastructure by the famed Charles Schwab. In its heyday, the town boasted a rail depot, two banks, a stock exchange, a school, a hospital, and an opera house.

Yet, civility has limits. Rhyolite was not without its murders, suicides, and other violent crimes, especially in its notorious Red Light District. A reminder of that can be found all the way down past the ruins of the jailhouse where there is a single gravesite marked by a white cross with the name Isabella Haskins stenciled on the horizontal bar and Mona Belle on the vertical. The grave is strewn with trinkets from visitors, including booze bottles, high-heeled shoes, toys, beads, fans, and artificial flowers. It’s a riveting sight, especially out there in the desert. The only other time I had ever seen so many tributes was at Saint Louis Cemetery in New Orleans as the purported tomb of Marie Laveau.

Who was Mona Belle? Sadly, the 20 year old hardly made a mark on the world during her short life. We do know that she adopted several aliases, married young, and left her husband to run off with a violent gambler named Fred Skinner. They lived in Rhyolite for only a year, and their turbulent relationship ended when he shot her to death during a drink-fueled argument. It was a shocking crime, and Skinner was moved out of town to avoid a lynching. Belle’s estranged husband claimed her body and took it back to be buried in Washington State where her parents lived. Blogger Osie Turner put together a great post about Belle’s life and death, but if you want a more thoroughly researched account, I strongly recommend Robin Flinchum’s excellent book Red Light Women of Death Valley.

The legend of Mona Belle focuses less on her life than on what happened to her after death. Despite the inconvenient detail that Belle’s body was claimed by her husband, this particular story persists: as the casket of Mona Belle, AKA Isabella Haskett was being carried to the Rhyolite/Bullfrog cemetery by the grief-stricken men of Rhyolite, the women of Rhyolite stopped the procession and successfully prevented the prostitute’s interment with the rest of the Christian community. As an alternative, Belle’s loyal customers buried her behind the jailhouse. Alone but honored in a place of ignominy.

So, is the Belle story true?
No.
Then who is buried in her grave?
Probably no one.

Most people agree that both the site and the story were fabrications concocted by a woman who ran a souvenir shop out of the old depot in the 1950s. Post-collapse, Rhyolite became a tourist stop, allowing a steady trickle of entrepreneurs to trade on the more ghostly aspects of the ghost town. And it should come as no surprise that Mona Belle, being Rhyolite’s most notorious murder victim, is said to haunt its ruins.

That shopkeeper knew what she was doing. The legend of Belle’s funeral procession being turned back is very compelling, offering a twist on the story of Julia Bulette, a beloved Virginia City madam whose funeral procession was attended by thousands. Murdered in 1867, Bulette had become the symbol of prosperous times, and her untimely passing united the community. That Belle’s legend ends with a divided community is a troubling correction, but one that resonates, especially with the mystically inclined.


Blurb:

During Death Valley’s great wildflower bloom of 2005, retired cowboy actor Rigg Dexon gives a rootless woman a gift that will change her life forever: the deed to The Mystery House, a century old shack long thought to be the hiding place of a legendary emerald known as The Juliet. Willie Judy remembers Dexon from cereal commercials she watched as a kid, but now she’ll spend the next seven days searching for the truth about him, the house, and herself, as the history of The Juliet reveals the American Dream’s dark side—one that is corrupt, bawdy, and half insane.


Excerpt:

February 1908: Centenary, NV

Becky made her list for the week ahead. She was a list-maker now. Traveling up and down the bluff was simple enough, but not with supplies in tow. Before she made the journey to Centenary Mercantile she had to write it all out, and be careful with her numbers. Gone were the days when she could step outside her door and pick up a saddle of rabbit and few turnips to improvise the evening meal.
Becky paused over her work. It was too late to start a garden, wasn’t it? In the basin, gunshots echoed, something that didn’t happen as often as it used to.
The contest was over, the results announced, and Hogg’s Bottle house was now called the Skinner place. Though it was only the middle of the day, long shadows kept the house a little too cold for Becky’s taste, but Marcus reminded her how grateful she would be come summer.
She was grateful already, quite glad to be out of common contact with the citizens of Centenary, especially after Marcus’s report was made public. The town’s collapse, which had begun as soon as the mines showed signs of petering out, suddenly sped up. She watched it change from her vantage point on the bluff. First the clusters of tent homes disappeared, then construction stopped on the school. Some of the burros that patrolled the weeds around their home seemed awfully thin and confused. She assumed their owners had let them go in the hopes that they would join a wild herd.
Then, one night, the electric lights of High Street were not switched on, and they remained unlit from that point onward. Centenary would no longer turn night into day.
Becky put more wood into the stove, but just enough to keep the embers going. Even after unpacking all of their belongings there was still so much to do. The Hogg children had managed to make a young house look old, and one of the first things Becky wanted to do was plaster over the bottles. It made her uneasy, feeling as if she lived in a glass house.
A sharp whistle from below the bluff meant a message had come for Marcus, but Marcus was in town. He still went into the office on a daily basis. Becky went out to the edge to tell the courier just that, but when she looked down there was no one waiting.
“Boy?” she called out. “Are you there?” There was no reply. If the kid was still down there he was probably passed out drunk. A year ago she would have climbed down to his aid, but a year ago he would have delivered his news and received a tip before going off to drown in the beer. Centenary was crumbling around the edges.
Becky returned to the bottle house, pausing on the threshold. She could smell him. The sweat, the filth, the alcohol. Someone was inside her new home, and it wasn’t the courier, either.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

False Pretences, Regency Romance Mystery and Suspense


 

I am delighted to announce that the 2nd edition of my *5 Regency, romance, mystery and suspense, paperback, False Pretences, has been published by Books We Love

 

“Five-year-old Annabelle, who does not know who her parents are, arrives at boarding school fluent in French and English. Separated from her nurse, with few memories of her past, a shadow blights Annabelle’s life.

When high-spirited, eighteen-year old Annabelle, who is financially dependent on her unknown guardian, receives an order to marry a French baron more than twice her age, she refuses. 

Her life in danger, Annabelle is saved by a heroic gentleman, who promises to help her discover her identity. Yet, from then on, nothing is as it seems. To protect her captivating champion, broken-hearted, she is forced to run away for the second time.

In spite of many false pretences, even more determined to discover her parents’ identity, Annabelle must find out who to trust. Her attempts to unravel the mystery of her birth, lead to further danger, despair, unbearable anguish and even more false pretences, until the only person, who has ever wanted to cherish her, reveals the startling truth, and all’s well that ends well.”

 Please visit my website to read the first four chapters.


 False Pretences is available from:


www.amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

False Pretences Regency Romance, Mystery and Suspense


 

I am delighted to announce that the 2nd edition of my *5 Regency, romance, mystery and suspense, paperback, False Pretences, has been published by Books We Love

 “Five-year-old Annabelle, who does not know who her parents are, arrives at boarding school fluent in French and English. Separated from her nurse, with few memories of her past, a shadow blights Annabelle’s life.

When high-spirited, eighteen-year old Annabelle, who is financially dependent on her unknown guardian, receives an order to marry a French baron more than twice her age, she refuses. 

Her life in danger, Annabelle is saved by a heroic gentleman, who promises to help her discover her identity. Yet, from then on, nothing is as it seems. To protect her captivating champion, broken-hearted, she is forced to run away for the second time.

In spite of many false pretences, even more determined to discover her parents’ identity, Annabelle must find out who to trust. Her attempts to unravel the mystery of her birth, lead to further danger, despair, unbearable anguish and even more false pretences, until the only person, who has ever wanted to cherish her, reveals the startling truth, and all’s well that ends well.”

 
Please visit my website to read the first four chapters.


 False Pretences is available from:


www.amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

False Pretences Regency Romance, Mystery and Suspense


I am delighted to announce that the first edition of my Regency novel, False Pretences, which received *5 reviews, has been re-published as an e-book by Books We Love.

Five-year-old Annabelle arrived at boarding school fluent in French and English. Separated from her nurse, a dismal shadow blights Annabelle’s life because she does not know who her parents are.

High-spirited Annabelle, who is financially dependent on her unknown guardian, refuses to obey an order to marry a French baron more than twice her age.

Her life in danger, Annabelle is saved by a gentleman, who says he will help her to discover her identity. Yet, from then on nothing is as it seems, and she is forced to run away for the second time to protect her rescuer.

Even more determined to discover her parents’ identity, in spite of many false pretences, Annabelle must learn who to trust. Her attempts to unravel the mystery of her birth, lead to further danger, despair, unbearable heartache and even more false pretences until the only person who has ever wanted to cherish her, reveals the startling truth, and all’s well that ends well

 

False Pretences is available form www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.com, Smash Words,  All Romance – e books, Barnes and Noble  Kobo,  the Apple i Store, and at other sites where e Books are available.

 

All the best,

Rosemary Morris

Multi-Published Historical Novelist.