Medieval Monday ~ Mask of the Highlander

The goddess has heard the cries for more: more story, more character, more detail. More. More. More. In response, the first five stories in the Gods of the Highlands saga is going away. That’s right, as of September 1st, publication will cease. But never fear, the goddess will not stay hidden for long. Mask of the Highlander, the prequel to the series, will be re-released with 35, 000 words of new material. Included is a prologue that sheds light on why the goddess Arduinna hid Ioeannan away in the Highlands, the catalyst that sets the saga in motion. This full-length novel heralds the rebirth of of the entire series, with a new edition being released every other month between now and Summer 2018. Subscribers to my newsletter received the prologue in its entirety. Not a subscriber? You can sign up here. For now, here is a sneak peak.

The Ardennes Forest – a thousand years after the birth of the Son

Arduinna emerged from the trees for the first time in four hundred years. She had not seen Demona in at least a dozen millennia and curiosity had gotten the better of her. Why would the wife of Borvo, the god of warm springs, summon her? They were not friends, not even in the old days, when the entire pantheon had lived a carefree existence, foolishly believing humans would worship them forever. Arduinna had at first feigned disinterest but she could no more lie to herself than she could the small contingent of fairies that flitted around her like annoying little mosquitoes.

She sauntered through what remained of the village, towering over the few humans she passed. Most of them kept their eyes downcast. Others, bolder, gaped openly, waving their hands before them to make a sign that had been in existence long before it came to symbolize the sacrifice made by the Son.

She chuckled. Humans would be pagans until the end of time.

Sign up for my newsletter to read the full prologue and be entered to win an Amazon gift certificate and be one of the first to get word of the release of the NEW Mask of the Highlander.

Medieval Monday ~ Why Cathy MacRae Writes #Medieval #Romance

I am excited to have one of my oldest friends, Cathy MacRae, taking a stroll through the forest today.  Cathy enjoys weaving tales of romance in the Highland mists. Her stories feature strong heroes and feisty heroines in pursuit of their happy-ever-afters in medieval Scotland. When not writing, Cathy can be found curled up in a chair with a book or enjoying the outdoors with her corgis and maybe a German Shepherd or two. Read on to find out why she love writing Medieval Romances.

Welcome to my world of Medieval Romance! I have always been drawn to historical romance, and love re-reading some of the first books that welcomed me to that special time and place. Books by Kathleen Woodiwiss and Judith McNaught still hold much-loved places on my bookshelves right alongside more current favorites. They are a whirlwind of drama, passion, and promise, where trust is everything, and sometimes love develops in the most unusual places.

I am intrigued by history. The what-ifs and whys; the research into the actions of a few people who set the course for many. You will find often gritty history coloring the background of all of my stories.

My books in the Medieval Era are a blend of high drama and romance set against a backdrop of treachery, hardship and duty. And in a time when women were stronger than history tells us, and marriage was rarely for sigh-worthy reasons, I find it fascinating to relate stories of relationships that blossom into love.

Cathy MacRae is an Amazon best-selling author whose stories feature strong heroes and feisty heroines set in the Highlands of Scotland. Her hobbies include gardening, photography, travel and cooking. Cathy lives on the sunny side of the Arbuckle Mountains with her wonderful husband, three dogs and a cat (who runs the house), and enjoys spending time with sweet granddaughters who are the heroines of her heart.
You can find Cathy MacRae’s books on her website at http://www.cathymacraeauthor.com

Medieval Monday ~ Why Mary Morgan Writes Medieval Romance

Happy Memorial Day! School is out, and I’m looking forward to spending the summer being a writer. So it’s fitting that today I’m hosting one of my best friends, fellow writer Mary Morgan. Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. It wasn’t until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling—writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories. Read further to hear the journey that led her to writing romances set in the Middle Ages.

I’ve often been asked this question, “Why Medieval romance? Why not Regency, Victorian, or Western?” In truth, I love them all, but my heart belongs to one. It started when my fingers opened a book about the great Irish King, Brian Boru (941-1014A.D.). His story is legendary, especially with the people of Ireland. King Brian led the Irish to the peak of their Golden Age—from poetry, arts, saints, and scholars. A spark ignited within my soul for more.

I sought out tales of knights in shining armor and folk heroes, delving into a life teeming with richness, though at times harsh and violent. Yet, it wasn’t until I devoured the history of Brian Boru that I became immersed in medieval life. From there, I treasured tales of life in castles, traveling on horseback, studying foods and herbs. My list is endless and always growing on medieval ways. Yes, there are even days when I long to travel back in time and explore the history, lore, and beliefs.

Therefore, when it came time to pen my own stories, it only made sense for me to place them all in a medieval setting. One might say I live vicariously through my characters. It’s a love affair with all things medieval.

For more about my stories, please visit my book page: http://www.marymorganauthor.com/books

Bio: Award-winning Scottish paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan, resides in Northern California, with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.

Medieval Monday ~ Why Barbara Bettis Writes Medieval Romance

My guest today for Medieval Monday is award-winning author Barbara Bettis. Barbara has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she briefly considered becoming an archaeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math. She now lives in Missouri, where by day she’s a mild-mannered English teacher, and by night she’s an intrepid plotter of tales featuring heroines to die for—and heroes to live for. Read along to find out why she loves writing Medieval Romance.

I’m not sure what calls to me so strongly from the Middle Ages, but whatever it is, has done so my entire life. I think it may be rooted in the stories I devoured when I first started reading. Myths, folk stories from different cultures, tales of Knights of the Round Table, they all captured my imagination. It was a different, fascinating world where anything was possible—in theory. Throughout school, history was a favorite subject, and I loved to delve into the events—and lives of the people—of the past.

As I did so, I recognized that the knightly tales of derring do from my childhood were set amidst times of turmoil, deprivation of the many and reward of the few. I usually root for the underdog, so when my studies introduced me to mercenaries and the bad reputation many of them enjoyed (and they probably did enjoy them), I immediately thought, “But they all must not have been bad. What of the ones who fought to better themselves and didn’t practice cruelty?”

Life was not easy for most people. In the eyes of society at that time, bettering oneself usually meant acquiring land. Few folks had the means or opportunity to do so. Later in the Medieval period, landed-society’s restrictions didn’t allow for commoners to aspire to knighthood, except for very limited exceptions. But in the earlier days, it wasn’t all that unusual for a commoner to rise by reason of bravery, strength, and audacity. All but one of my stories have featured such mercenaries who strive to better themselves by acquiring power and land.

All my stories feature strong women, not at all the norm of the period. Yet discoveries tell us there were more strong women than we realize, although most of them were wed or in the church. I imbue my heroines with strength of character given the times in which they lived.

I love creating the stories of strong heroines we women would like to be and of heroes we’d love to live for.

Bio: Barbara Bettis grew up in the rural Midwest, where reading was a reward for chores well done. So you can bet she did her chores well—and fast. She loved history and English. She’d intended to major in English, but when she arrived at her small, Liberal Arts college, one of the European history professors was on a Rhodes Scholarship. Once she met the English professors, she defected.

Thus, she received her BA in English with a strong minor in history and her Master’s in English. After working as a newspaper reporter and editor, Barb returned to college and taught English and journalism, later earning a doctorate in Higher Education with an emphasis in journalism.

After her husband died, some former students lured her into their critique group, where she began writing fiction. A trip to Scotland and England solidified her love of the Isles (the small tour group set up a ‘Barb’s Castle Alert’ on their train journeys). Her earlier fascination with the Middle Ages led her into her medieval stories, where she’s been roaming around ever since.

Now that she’s retired from teaching, her ambition is to write an angst-ridden, tortured hero set in the High Middle Ages, but somehow her guys end up with inappropriate senses of humor. Perhaps in the future…. www.barbarabettis.blogspot.com

Medieval Monday ~ Ruth A. Casie

We’re nearing the end of our Medieval Villain Hop. Only two episodes to go. Next week, we’ll be featuring our own books, so today is my final guest, at least for a few weeks. Please welcome Ruth A. Casie. Ruth is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling action-adventure time-travel romance about strong empowered women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Here is an excerpt from her Medieval Romance, The Highlander’s English Woman.

EXCERPT: In a close clinch, Bryce muttered for Jamie’s ear only. Jamie pushed his tormentor away. Years of restraint from insults and attacks disappeared with the maliciously whispered words.

Bryce threw his punch. Jamie caught the left jab in his palm mid-strike. Alarm and panic flashed in Bryce’s eyes. The bully stared at Jamie’s hand holding his fist.

Jamie almost tore Bryce’s arm out of its socket as he pushed it aside and set his stance, one foot in front of the other.

For a moment Jamie thought to stop the madness, but the idea quickly died. Bryce had no idea what he let loose.

Follow along with excerpt #13 and the conclusion of this excerpt from THE HIGHLANDER’S ENGLISH WOMAN by Ruth A. Casie at her blog, www.RuthACasie.com.

BLURB: Laura Reynolds is in love with her long-time friend, Jamie Maxwell Collins. She adores his playful sense of humor, caring nature as well as his strong sense of family and honor.

Jamie lives across the border in Scotland. Outwardly carefree, he hides a dark secret. He can’t involve Laura in this deception. He can’t give her hope for a future together.

Laura stumbles upon Jamie’s secret. In her heart of hearts she knows Jamie is innocent. Their relationship in tatters and with no hope of reconciliation, she plays a deadly game to exonerate Jamie, she agrees to a political marriage. She has no idea the entire game has been orchestrated by her future husband, Jamie’s greatest enemy.

BUY LINKS:   Amazon

Medieval Monday ~ Cathy MacRae

I was there the day Cathy MacRae got “The Call”. It was an exciting day, to be sure. And how lucky are we that a publisher finally recognized this great talent and put her wonderful Medieval stories into print for all of us to enjoy! Cathy enjoys weaving tales of romance in the Highland mists. Her stories feature strong heroes and feisty heroines in pursuit of their happy-ever-afters in medieval Scotland. Here is an excerpt from her Medieval Romance, The Highlander’s French Bride.

EXCERPT: “She has my nose and eyes, oui. But her dark hair comes from her father.”

“Raul,” Melisende asserted.

Lucienne slanted her sister a look. “Non. From your oh-so-sweet husband.”

Melisende’s gaze bounced from Lucienne back to the child. Lucienne’s parting words so many years ago loosed themselves from the depths of her mind. What do you think went on whilst he slept in our house—only me and him? He would be unable to look you in the eye if you knew everything that happened.

She shook her head. Non! It is impossible to think of it! He has already assured me there was nothing between himself and Lucienne. But her heart grew cold in her breast.

Follow along for the next excerpt on Ruth A. Casie’s Medieval Monday blog April 24!

BLURB: Heir to a lairdship, Kinnon Macrory is driven to prove his worth by fighting the English on the battlefields of France. His dreams of heroic valor are destroyed by the realities of war—the atrocities visited by fellow soldiers on the very people he is sworn to protect. Three years in a French prison for a crime he did not commit leave Kinnon longing for the one thing of beauty in his war-torn life—a young woman of great kindness and wisdom named Melisende.

Melisende de la Roche struggles to stay one step ahead of soldiers who would imprison her for helping an injured Scotsman wrongly accused of treason. She finds refuge in her uncle’s shop—until a chance encounter sends her fleeing into the unknown once again, haunted by the beguiling friendship with the troubled young Scotsman she is certain she will never see again.

Determined to find the woman of his dreams, Kinnon returns to France, only to discover nothing more than a trail of clues to Melisende’s whereabouts. Their reunion will open the doors to passion, but half-truths and lies from the past could destroy the one thing they both are willing to fight for—each other.

BUY LINKS:  Amazon

#MedievalMonday ~ Mary Morgan

I’ve made some wonderful friends since I hooked up with this fabulous group of Medieval Romance Writers. Today I’m visited by an author who is near and dear to my heart, Mary Morgan.  Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. It wasn’t until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling—writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories. Here is an excerpt from one of my all-time favorite books, Dragon Knight’s Shield.

EXCERPT: “Stop!” shrieked Lachlan. “She will die if ye take another step. Drop your weapons and kneel on the ground.”

Angus had no choice, so he dropped to the ground. “Do as he commands,” he ordered his brothers. The blood pounded in his head, watching as tears slipped down Deirdre’s face. Did he not swear to protect her? Where was his honor, as the stench of fire filled his being and Lachlan’s words continued to mock him?

Follow along next week by checking out Ruth A. Casie’s blog with my excerpt #9 http://ruthacasie.blogspot.com/

BLURB: Angus MacKay, leader of the Dragon Knights, failed his brothers and his clan upon the death of his sister. Now he must fight the darkness of despair tempting his soul. Back on Scottish soil, he comes face to face with Deirdre who can wield a sword as mightily as his warriors, and takes her captive. Yet, with each passing day, the fire dragon inside him roars to claim the one woman fate has destined for him.

Famed mystery writer, Deirdre Flanagan, is unprepared for the next chapter in her life. On a vacation to Scotland, she steps through the mists and enters into a skirmish alongside a Highlander. However, the fight has only begun, and now she must battle Angus as well as evil in order to claim the love of this Dragon Knight.

Will their love be powerful enough to shield them from danger, or burn them to ashes?

BUY LINKS:  Amazon Barnes Noble Kobo Apple iBooks