Thursday, November 27, 2014

Your Christmas present is almost here!


Is there anything finer than a sexy pirate?

YES, THERE IS!
A reformed pirate,
who has returned from the sea,
and now steals and murders 
for the good of England.

And has come into serious wealth.

But his new life comes with a price...
He has to wear gentleman's wear.

It's really hard to knife fight in a suit!

But there are advantages of looking his best.
He finds a lady who thinks he's perfect.
And she is the finest woman he has ever met.

Finally, they both realize that 
despite their troubled pasts, 
they have
A Right To Love.

Their love is as strong as it gets.

But that doesn't mean other people 
won't try to keep them apart.

Coming Dec 1, 2014
at 
Amazon

Free with Kindle Unlimited

Monday, November 24, 2014

Lydia needs your help to be famous

Hello, I'm Lydia Bennet.
You might know me from Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. You no doubt have a bad opinion of me. Eliza always spoke of me in the worst of light, especially after I married her beloved Lt. Wickham. While I won't declare myself a saint, for who on earth would want to be such, I'm not the silly girl that I pretended to be. I only acted so to become my mother's favorite.




Lydia Bennet is the youngest and boldest of five daughters. To set herself apart from her sisters and gain the attention of young men, she hones charm and flirtation to an art. Willing to take risks, she manages to acquire a substantial dowry and marries her beloved Lt. Wickham. Yet, her life remains on the brink until she gains the affection of a wealthy Duke trapped in a loveless marriage.


Liza O’Connor has submitted 
Untamed & Unabashed
 to Kindle Scout.

Please check it out & Vote for if you like what you see.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Liza Reviews Unmask My Heart by Arianna Giorgi

Today, I review Arianna Girogi's book, Unmask My Heart.

Peep Rep: Is there a prize?

Liza: A very unique prize. Arianna will be giving away an original hand-made Venetian mask from Venice to one lucky who enters her rafflecopter.



Unmask My Heart
by Arianna Giorgi

~~~~~~~~~~~~~



When Rome’s loveliest rose and Venice’s fiercest lion team up to win back the love of their respective spouses-to-be, the Serene Republic may expect a hilarious romp – and perhaps the most torrid love story to have ever bedazzled its gilded canals…

Survived a pirate attack on the Isle of Lina, Venice’s sturdiest outpost, Roman Princess Isabella Pamphili and Venetian war hero Brando Loredan escape from the island and arrive in Venice.

Isabella discovers her fiancé is a cheat, her bride dream a lie. Her future husband, the man she loves with all her heart is flirting in… Brando’s fiancée’s arms!

Shock. Disappointment. Anguish. Fear for her future. The rascal deserves a lesson he will not forget, because a princess of Rome doesn’t bow out so easily. Brando Loredan will not be that hard to convince for he is jealous, angry and vindictive enough to get some brilliant idea. So she joins forces with him to get back her fiancé and put together the little dream back on track. But while trying and insisting on regaining the dream, she discovers a new path of light and love. It is not a lie, like the first dream, but it may be even harder to win.


Unmask My Heart is a story of love and sweet revenge set in sparkling, sumptuous Casanova’s Venice where everything is possible and sins are concealed behind a mask.



Brando grabbed her by the arm and forced her to turn around. She struggled against him, punching her fists on his chest.

“Unhand me.” The princess looked like a puppy facing a lion. Brando dragged her in a hidden corner and pinned her between his body and the wall.

“Stop running away, Isabella.”

“Let me go.” She panted and refused to look at him.

“No. I’ll never let go.”

With a deep sigh, Isabella wiped away her tears that threatened to overflow, and collapsed into his arms.

Brando’s arms slid around her waist to hold her upright.

Isabella looked up at him. Brando drowned in her clear emerald pools. His knees were weak and, his desire to kiss her devoured him. He pushed her ermine soft hair from her face. That neck, that skin ... his fingers tried, struggled in every possible way not to touch her. Brando wanted with all his heart to act like a friend. He sincerely wished to comfort her but his hands ached for her, his lips craved her kiss.

He wanted to scrub away the desire for her kiss. Isabella was here in his arms and he could never love her, or taste her as he wished. His face contorted with the pain in his heart.

Isabella stepped closer and wrapped her arms around his neck.

It was too much for him. Brando’s hands cupped her neck and her shoulder. His fingers trailed along her neck and she leaned her head back.

Isabella was there, she wanted love, consolation and passion.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Unmask My Heart begins with a rousing battle and an adorable kitten, so I was sucked into the story. The island is being overwhelmed with Turk pirates and the Venetian Captain Brando risks his life to save the young princess Isabella and return her to Venice. During their journey to safety, an attraction develops between them, but both manage to recall they are engaged to others. Then things go bad. The adorable kitten is lost and once they arrive in Venice they discover that their intendeds have become lovers.

Instead of openly admitting their feelings for one another, Brando and Isobella join forces to entice their intendeds back to them through various ploys including jealousy. All the while, conspiracies roll beneath the surface which puts them both in danger throughout the book. 

Even when Brando has lost all interest in his intended and recognizes he’s fallen in love with Isobella, she stubbornly denies she reciprocates the feelings. Instead, she keeps insisting she loves Leonardo. 

And as a reader, I became anxious and discontented as this pretense persisted. Even after she gives her virginity to the Brando, she still reverts back to her claims of love for Leonardo, putting what she thinks are her father’s wishes before her true love for Brando.

While the author gives ample reasons for Isobella’s lack of honesty, it still greatly annoyed me. I do not like waffling heroines, even when they are firm in their conviction of love inside, but only lie about it to the world for the sake of others. It made life very hard for Brando, and frankly, he had more than enough problems.

I am aware it is a common writing technique to create tension and angst, and I must say, I was very tense, nor could I stop reading. But I greatly wanted to smack the heroine about at times. If she had just been honest with her father and Brando, this book could have ended with a HEA much sooner.  And personally, I would have been happier.  Now I’m a bit grumpy for having had to suffer so much for my HEA.

If you love 50% angst in your romances, with strong passions from your heroine and hero, diabolical misdeeds from the villains, then you should adore this book. I personally like to keep angst down to 25%. On the positive side, the book kept my attention from beginning to end. I loved the hero, had a love/annoyed relationship with the heroine, and missed the kitten from the island (its replacement couldn’t fill its paws). 

Don’t judge the book harshly about my angst complaints. The story line, as written, required it. I just personally prefer a less rocky road to happily ever after.

I give this book 4.4 stars, which sadly rounds to 4, but if you don't mind angst, it would be a 5.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Arianna Giorgi is a historical romance author and a journalist, a college graduate and an avid reader. She makes her home halfway between the Vatican City and the picturesque old quarter of Trastevere at the heart of the city of Rome in Italy, where Julius Caesar kept an apartment as a young man about town and from where a long list of artists gave the world some of its greatest masterpieces.

She has an intrinsic appreciation of beauty and everything eccentrically romantic, including a strong affiliation to the city of Venice which she visits at least twice a year.

Independent and curious, Arianna has travelled extensively around the globe, from America to Africa and back to Europe. Frankly, she never misses a chance to pack her bags and jump on a plane. Driven by a passion for European history and art, she wanders and investigates every hidden corner of the Old Continent, armed with a camera and a notebook, and looking for intriguing stories and settings for her books.

She loves history, astrology, gourmet cooking, and cats. She lives with her husband, her beautiful daughters and her red cat, surrounded by her own cultivated flowers and the magical grandeur of the Eternal City.







DON'T FORGET TO ENTER TO WIN THE FABULOUS HAND MADE VENETIAN MASK!



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Guest post by Katherine Hayton & her book Found, Near Water

Today, I have Katherine Hayton sharing the makings of a crime writer and her book Found, Near Water.

Peep Rep: Is there a prize? I'm sensing a prize.

Liza: Yes, my little psychic Peep. There's a  $50 Amazon or BN Gift card.

Peep Rep *falls to floor*

Liza: Katherine, tell everyone about being a crime writer while I go find smelling salt for Peep Rep. Where am I going to find smelling salts? 


The making of a crime writer

The key ingredients to make up a crime writer are:

-        A keen interest in death, destruction, murder, red herrings and resolution

-        An eye for observation and a low-down dirty suspicion of apparently normal human behaviour

-        A voracious appetite for reading mysteries, suspense, psychological thrillers or whatever else they’re currently calling the books I’ve always referred to as crime novels

-        The ability to retain and call up on demand the excruciatingly detailed rules regarding the written English language and how to use it

-        The ability to ignore the above when it suits you

-        The ability to know that you’re doing the above point, in direct opposition to the two above point

Of course some of these ingredients are not crime novel specific – they are writing things down specific – so I’ll ignore them while I enlighten you further about the first three.

Death. You have to get a thrill of excitement buzzing in your blood as well as the chill running down your spine when you read about death. Oh yeah, that’s awful, where did you get that article? I just want to read it in detail so I can work out how awful it is.

That sort of interest. If you want to describe dead bodies for example, the best way is to use the Internet (or the Pornographer – whichever you want to call it) to bring up pictures and then just describe what you’re seeing. Haven’t got the stomach for it? Go write Romance novels then. Unless you don’t have the stomach for kissing in public either in which case pick another genre you do have the stomach for. Something all literary.

You have to like giving out information that you’re reasonably sure is going to end up with your readers taking a nice walk up the garden path before you clue them in properly. Oh, you thought that meant that other thing? Oh, well gee I thought I’d laid it all out for you. But I can see now how you might have been confused. Hee, hee, hee.
You have to tie things up at the end. Nobody likes a smartarse. Not in genre fiction. I pays my money so that the good end happily and the bad unhappily – unless there’s a jolly good reason for everyone to end unhappily in which case go for it, beat those characters to death, unless you need them for a sequel. Hey, prequels are in at the moment, you beat them good. No. Loose. Ends.

Ever see someone just walking down the street minding their own business and wondered what they were trying to hide? Tick. You’re in the club now. Look at them, trying to look like they don’t have secrets, trying to look like they’re just like everybody else, trying to look like they don’t have a body down in the basement that they’re trying to think of a cool and interesting way to get rid of. Yeah, I’ve got my eye on you mate. And I can describe you exactly to the police when they catch you, or my readers if they don’t.
There is one section in a book-store. I don’t care what they’re calling it at the moment, but if you have the true calling you’ll know the one I mean. The one where every second title is in red so it looks like it’s dripping with blood. If you’re a true believer you’ll give other genres a look-in every once in a while, but it usually just affirms that there’s no reason ever to read outside of your chosen field.

Oh, and serial killers. Never be afraid to pop in a word or two about serial killers. Apparently they exist in real life too. 

Now get writing.


Found, Near Water
by Katherine Hayton

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Rena Sutherland wakes from a coma into a mother’s nightmare. Her daughter’s is missing – lost for four days – but no one has noticed; no one has complained; no one has been searching.

 As the victim support officer assigned to her case, Christine Emmett puts aside her own problems as she tries to guide Rena through the maelstrom of her daughter’s disappearance.

 A task made harder by an ex-husband desperate for control; a paedophile on early-release in the community; and a psychic who knows more than seems possible.

 And intertwined throughout, the stories of six women; six daughters lost.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT:


I set out the chairs in a circle. In my head I counted off each person as I placed their seat. Terry, dead daughter; Ilene, missing daughter; Kendra, missing daughter; Joanne, sick daughter; Christine, dead daughter. That last one is me, by the way.

There used to be a need for more chairs. I had quite the group running at one stage. Not now. We’ve dwindled and whittled our way to a close knit bunch. Like a knitting circle with barbed tongues driving all the young and optimistic members away.

I remember when I was talked into setting up this group. I was whining away to an old colleague one day and she mentioned that I may be helped by a support group. A support group! I “reminded” her that I was a fully qualified psychiatrist who had once had a roaring career until I realised how futile the entire field was. I wasn’t someone who attended a support group. I was the one to run it.

Famous last words.

There was a crunch of gravel outside and I walked to the window to have a nosey. Not one of mine. An elderly gent made slow progress towards the temporary library. He swayed so deeply from foot to foot he looked like a Weeble in full wobble.

I laid out a half packet of stale gingernuts which had mysteriously survived in our pantry and hoped that no one was feeling too hungry.



A story you won’t read twice
This story was disturbing from beginning to end. I would have stopped reading at Chapter 1, but it was too compelling--too well written. Once it had me, it would not let me go.  You will live the stories of women who have lost their children and the destruction that follows. You will also spend time in the mind of one of the children abducted. 

While it is not sexually explicit, still, every conceivable bad thing that can happen, does.

Normally, at least the ending of a dark story gives you a ray of light. Yet, even the bright moment near the end is tainted with probabilities of future problems. And then the epilogue turns to darkness again.

 This is without question one of the darkest, most disturbing, but incredibly well written books I have ever read.

To be fair, I tend towards light, funny stories, so this was totally contrary to my taste.  I am not happy I read it, but once started I had no choice but to see it through. If you like dark, realistic stories about the worst of people, you might never find a better book than this one.


I will score this for those of you who like dark, ugly, realities in life.  Given it was extremely compelling, with surprises throughout the book, and superbly written, I’ll give it a five stars. 

However, I strongly warn those who don’t like dark realities to not read a single chapter, else you could be sucked in as I was. 


Amazon Links:

Author Page: amazon.com/author/katherinehayton
 Kindle: http://amzn.com/B00LNUMCZ2
 Paperback: http://amzn.com/0473279932

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/kathay1973

Blogger:

http://kathay1973.blogspot.co.nz/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Katherine-Hayton/1481785105415848

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8390059.Katherine_Hayton

Website:

http://kathay1973.com

Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter for $50 GC

Friday, November 14, 2014

Liza Reviews and KG Stutts tallks about The Color of Dreams

Today, I've invited the fabulous author, KG Stutts over to discuss a rare find. This book is not a sci-fi story. I want to know how that happened.
KG, explain it me, please!


When I first started writing, it was a sci-fi story. I started writing based on a dream I kept having for a week straight. The story became a trilogy which I am incredibly proud of. The third, Mirror Reformed, releases in January. 

[Liza: The Mirror Trilogy is a fabulous series. Highly recommend it.]

As I was wrapping up the first in the series, Mirror Image, a new inspiration came to me. Mirror Image was a story I began from a dream. What if my character experienced visions through dreams? And The Color of Dreams was born.

Julie was in my head before I had a fully realized story. I had a clear picture of a feisty, beautiful redhead and eventually the blanks filled in. This was my 2013 NaNoWriMo winner. It was fascinating to me. I did research online about the different meaning of color in dreams, how people remember or retain their dreams, if we actually dream in black and white. It intrigued me. Julie doesn’t think much about it, because it has always been a part of her. It doesn’t occur to her to wonder why, nor does she consider it a gift. It’s just a dream.

But is it? Her past dreams varied from being pregnant with Mira to the ceremony when she was promoted to detective. But what woman hasn’t had pregnancy dreams? 

[Liza: I haven't]

Who hasn’t dreamed of a promotion?

[Liza: Me]

Seemed very ordinary to Julie. But dreaming about finding your husband murdered? Well, that’s something entirely different.

[Liza: Now that I've done. :)]

Dreams have context, whether it is our subconscious thoughts or worries. There are a lot of theories about dreams which I hope to get into if I write a sequel.




Chicago detective Julie Carter has it all. A handsome husband, wonderful daughter, and a career she loves. She also has the ability to see things before they happen in the form of colorless dreams, sans one color. When her most recent dream comes true, and her husband Aiden is killed, Julie must work with a man from her past: homicide detective Scott Jordan.

Julie must put aside the feelings she buried for the man who broke her heart years ago. As Scott and Julie clash, secrets start to unravel. Can Julie trust the man who abandoned her? Will they be able to find Aiden's killer before her next dream becomes real ... Julie's own death? The answer will shake the foundation of the precinct.


Here’s an excerpt for The Color of Dreams:

This is a dream. It has to be. For one thing, nothing in the house has color. Why am I seeing in black and gray?

That’s right. Because it’s a dream, I remind myself.

This feels eerily familiar to me. I wander the house, which is oddly quiet. Normally, Mira has music playing as she sleeps. I peek in on my sleeping daughter. There is no obnoxious music playing, but Mira is sleeping soundly. Her shoulder-length red hair frames her pretty, soft face. I can’t help but smile at her. Slowly, I back out of her room noiselessly.

At this time of night, Aiden is normally working in his study. I feel like I’m moving in slow motion as I walk down the stairs into his office. There Aiden sits in front of his computer, but he’s just staring at the monitor. I call to my husband, who remains motionless.

“Aiden, everything okay?” I ask, placing a hand on his shoulder.

Aiden gives me no sign that he’s heard me. He’s wearing a blank expression on his face. I glance back at the computer monitor, seeing a blank Word document. That’s strange. He’s been working on his book for a while now. I thought he was just about finished. I call his name again and shake him. Still, Aiden doesn’t move. He doesn’t slump when I let go of him. Something feels like it’s frozen his body in place. I wave my hands in front of my husband’s face, but he doesn’t even blink. Forcibly, I turn his computer chair around. Aiden is still staring off into space.

I can’t shake the feeling of dread as I leave the study and walk into the living room. As I stand in the center of our living room, my eyes scan every inch of it. Something feels off, but I can’t see anything out of the ordinary. The TV turns on by itself. Strange, nothing but static. I walk over and turn off the TV.

When I turn around, I see Aiden slumped down in his recliner. Blood is pouring out of his chest from multiple stab wounds. One of my kitchen knives is sticking out of his chest. I run over and call his name, not surprised when I get no response. I check his blood-splattered throat for a pulse, but there isn’t one.
“Oh, no. Aiden, no,” I cry.

Aiden’s dead! Everything around me is covered in his blood, which is the only color I can see. Red blood is dripping down the recliner. It’s all over the walls and the floor, pooling under me. I scream.
I wake up with a gasp and look around. Aiden is sleeping peacefully beside me.

Oh, thank God it was another dream. My heart slowly returns to a normal rhythm as I brush some of Aiden’s light brown hair off of his forehead. My husband sleeps soundlessly, completely unaware of the drama that had played out in my head mere moments before. I gaze down at him, thankful that he’s still slumbering. His classically handsome features rest comfortably against the pillow. Aiden stretches in his sleep, his muscles rippling under his white nightshirt. Once he settles back down, I lay my head on his chest, just to confirm the sound of his heart beating.

It was only a dream, I remind myself again.





Liza: This sounded way too good. So I read and reviewed it:



First an oddity: This story is told in present tense.
Personally, I'm used to past tense, but I got over the matter soon enough because the story pulled me in. First, Julie's husband is murdered, just as her dream portrayed, then someone tries to murder her...twice. Then a great deal of hidden truths come to light. And more deaths.

To avoid spoiler alerts I can't tell you much more other than figuring out who did what and why is tricky and I settled on the wrong person more than once and frankly I understood precisely why Julie suspected certain people at certain times. A lot of people die, but not so graphically you'll have nightmares.

However, some of the sex scene were more graphic than I like, but not so much as to stop me from continuing to read the intriguing, well done plot.  

Thus, I give this book a 4.8 and round it up to 5 because the underlying story is fresh, intriguing and well written.



K.G. Stutts is the author of two different sci-fi romance series as well as several romance stories. She has a degree in massage therapy. As a contributor to Independent Writers Association (IWA) her insights can be seen regularly http://iwassociation.com/  and on her own blog at kgstutts.blogspot.com and her website at http://www.kgstutts.com

When she's not weaving words, she enjoys reading, playing RPGs, hockey, wrestling, and football, and is a big sci-fi nerd. Currently she resides in North Carolina, USA with her husband, Brad.
In honor of Amethyst Chronicles: Winter’s Kiss, a new sci-fi romance series launching on the 21st, I have a rafflecopter! 

Four lucky people will win an amethyst pendant.
[Liza: I wonder where the other two are going?]

Please check me out online and I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Liza reviews New Prints in Old Calico by Jennifer Lynn


Today we have Jennifer Lynn and her book, 
New Prints in Old Calico.


Peep Rep: I sense something unusual is going on here. Is there a gift?

Liza: There is a gorgeous hand painted plate for one lucky visitor who enters the rafflecopter. 

(US & Canada Only)

Peep Rep: Wow! That's pretty, but I think there's something else out of the ordinary.

Liza: Well, let's check out the story. Maybe it's what is different.




New Prints in Old Calico
by Jennifer Lynn

~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Amanda Bradshaw, a librarian from modern day New York City, is suddenly transported to Calico, a small 1880s era western town. Without warning, she becomes the new schoolmarm in Calico instead of a librarian. Bewildered by this sudden change in scene, she is befriended by the sheriff, Austen Riley, and a sympathetic saloon owner named Lil. Riley is a man with dark secrets and an axe to grind with rancher Matt Mallory, who turns Amanda's life inside out. Matt is handsome, determined to win her as his wife, but his shady reputation leaves a lot to be desired. Still, Amanda is attracted to him as they flirt and tease, argue and banter their way towards love.

As Matt, Amy, and Matt's young daughter, Molly, struggle to become a family, Marshall Riley plans to destroy Matt and claim Amy for his own. But how can Amy prove Matt’s innocence to the one man who wants him dead?



She turned to Chili and blew out a breath. “Kettle on?”

He nodded and turned toward the door. “Yep. I’ll pour us a couple mugs o’ tea.”

A few minutes later, Amy was sitting at the long dining room table with a steaming mug of tea between her palms and Chili Bob waiting expectantly for her to speak.

She took a sip and studied the rim of her cup before raising moist eyes to the old man. “I’m scared, Chili. They’re bound and determined to hang Matt, no matter what.”

He scratched a bristled cheek and squinted across the table. “I’ve been telling Matt for years that we should pull up stakes and head for friendlier territories, but he’s stubborn. Refuses to let anyone run him off his own ranch.”

She looked at him pointedly. “It’s that attitude that’s going to get him killed.”

Chili nodded. “Matthew’s mulish, that’s for sure.”

Amy looked back at him with disbelief on her face and fear in her voice. “They’re building the gallows, Chili! He knew this was going to happen. He could have stopped it.”

“You can’t hide from your destiny, Miss Amy. Sometimes ya gotta stand and face it if you want to change it.

“He must face the hangman’s noose if he wants to avoid it?” She guffawed. “Great, just what I need. A nineteenth century Yoda.”


“Yoda?”
“A short green guy with big pointy ears. Says a lot of profound things.”

He quirked his eyebrow and took a mouthful of tea. “You got some strange things in that New York City of yours, that’s all I can say.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Review of
New Prints in Old Calico
by Jennifer Lynn

So what do you do if you’re a lonely guy in the West who's in need of a wife? Well, if you’re a time traveler, you go into the future and bring back a sassy, ball kicking, modern woman. (That’s the painful kind of ball kicking.)

This story begins in modern time where a time traveler sets his eye upon the young librarian, Amanda Bradshaw. She’s dressed in 1880 style dress, for an educational event at the museum, where she plays the role of a school marm. With her propensity to confront vs. run, she follows an annoying curator into his office so she can challenge his rude stares and inexplicably goes back in time.

If you are a sci-fi buff who likes specific details on how the time travel is managed, this probably isn’t the story for you. The time travel is not addressed in a scientific manner. It is merely a unique prop for a delightful story. If you need details in the whys and how they time travel, you’ll be disappointed.

However, if you are looking for a sweet Wild West romance, rich in characters, then this intriguing tale with an admirable heroine, a reliable hero, a not always obedient, slightly spoiled, but adorable little girl, then this book might be one for you. It's non-stop excitement with a near hanging, a near rape, a dangerous showdown, and a happy HEA. 


To be honest, despite being a sci fi buff, I enjoyed this story immensely. I just set aside the lack of details I normally expect and enjoyed it as the creative tale of love it proved to be: A love between a young woman who longed for the old days when men truly treasured their women and a man who could time travel but preferred to live his life in 1880 in the West with no electricity, running water, or hot water, and the bathroom was an outhouse. I know, that makes them delusional and crazy, but they made a delightful couple and I enjoyed the story a great deal. 
I give it a 4 stars.





After a failed marriage, Jennifer Lynn lost herself in juicy romance novels, with the belief that there had to be a happy ending for someone. Finally, she decided to pull herself together and create her own happy endings, and several novels later, she’s still not finished.

These days she calls High River, Alberta home with her husband, and three dogs. Finding new and exciting plots makes the journey worth the hard work. No rest for the wicked, she says, but is she complaining? Nah. Does she need to find another happy ending? Yes. Want to join her in the quest? Great, you can keep each other company along the way!


Twitter: @JennLynnbooks

Buy Links







 Don't forget to enter the rafflecopter for the gorgeous hand painted plate.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Regan Walker talks about England after the Conquest & her book The Red Wolf's Prize



I have always been fascinated by the time in England’s history when the Normans, led by William, Duke of Normandy, conquered England, a much larger country than the one he was from. At the time, England was a place of “unwalled villages” separated by shires and different subcultures, even different language dialects.





In the first part of 1066, the King Harold might have been ruling England, but to those in the north, he was little more than the Saxon King of Wessex. The lands of Mercia and Northumbria had their own leaders.





While the Conquest is interesting, it did not interest me as much as the aftermath, when William was still putting out fires and trying to gain control. It was then he began giving away English lands to his barons and knights. So, I set my story of The Red Wolf’s Prize in Talisand, a fictional holding of a wealthy thegn in the North of England, half way between Scotland and Wales—far removed from the initial battles.

In 1068, not surprisingly, the north of England was to give William much grief. The proud English in the north did not want the Norman king for their ruler anymore than they had wanted Harold, but at least Harold was English. This Norman usurper was not.

I kept asking myself, what would an English maiden do when the Normans conquered her country, slayed the father she loved and now the Bastard king had given her lands and her body to one of his Norman knights? What would a courageous, spirited girl do? Why, rebel, of course! Hence, I had my story line.

So what was the history that I researched in England after the Conquest that became a part of this tale?

William started his reign with uncharacteristic diplomacy, allowing the Saxon nobles to keep their lands and he tried to learn English. However, notwithstanding this, he was faced with rebellions throughout his new kingdom. In 1067 rebels in Kent launched an unsuccessful attack on Dover Castle in combination with Eustace II of Boulogne. The Shropshire landowner, Eadric the Wild, in alliance with the Welsh rulers of Gwynedd and Powys, raised a revolt in western Mercia, fighting Norman forces based in Hereford.

Meantime, in 1068, the year of my story, King Harold's mother, Gytha encouraged the people of Devon to rise up, especially in retaking the city of Exeter. William marched on the city and laid siege. It took 18 days before the king had his victory. As in other locations, he left one of his loyal men to build a castle—one of the timber castles—and a garrison of knights to guard the city.

At the same time, the other main claimant to the English throne, Edgar Ætheling, had escaped the William’s clutches and fled to Scotland with his family and a large number of important men. In my story, the heroine’s brother, Steinar, is one of them.





Edgar Ætheling took advantage of this instability and came from Scotland to receive the men of Northumberland at York, which was rife with rebellion. Among the leaders of the uprising were Edwin, Earl of Mercia and his brother Morcar, both of whom are characters in my story. These young, handsome earls were popular with the people but they were no match for William, who moved up fast from the south and surprised the Northumbrians, arriving in York during the summer. Hundreds were slain and the city torched. Thus the rebellion rapidly collapsed as William moved against them, building castles and installing garrisons as he had already done in the south. Some of the rebel leaders – including Edgar – took refuge at the court of the Scottish king Malcolm III. They would return in 1069, which will be the subject of book 2 in my Medieval Warriors series, Rogue Knight.

It took William until 1072 to finally conquer England and unite the country. Some of his victories were assured by his destruction of food sources and farming implements, effectively starving the populace. He took land from the English and gave it to his Norman supporters and instituted a feudalism that strengthened his reign. He died in 1087 as he lived: a warrior, from complications of a wound he received in France.

 Now for information about The Red Wolf's Prize:

The door opened with no warning knock.

Serena gasped and pulled the cloth over her breasts and belly, keenly aware her legs were bare for anyone to see.

The Red Wolf stepped into the chamber, his piercing gray gaze sliding over her body and coming to rest where her breasts strained against the thin cloth. She could feel the heat of her blush as she looked down to see the drying cloth clinging to her wet skin.

Without saying a word, he turned to the side and took off his belt. Then, with a grunt, he pulled his mail over his head and struggled out of his tunic. She would have offered to help had she not been so scantily clad. Had she not been so shy of his disrobing before her.

When his tunic slid to the floor, she nervously asked, “What do you intend, my lord?”




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