#Medieval Monday16, Conflict in Silverhawk by Barbara Bettis

Today, author Barbara Bettis visits us with an excerpt from her medieval romance, Silverhawk. Please leave her a comment and let her know what you think of the excerpt.

Silverhawk--new+cover (1)Blurb:  He’s everything a proper lady should never want; she’s everything a bastard mercenary can never have.

Sir Giles has come to England to kill his father, who seduced and betrayed his mother. First, however, he’ll seek sweet revenge—kidnap the old lord’s new betrothed. But when Giles uncovers a plot against King Richard, he faces a dilemma: take the lady or track the traitors. What’s a good mercenary to do? Both, of course.

Lady Emelin has had enough. Abandoned in a convent by her brother, she finally has a chance for home and family. Yet now she’s been abducted. Her kidnapper may be the image of her dream knight, but she won’t allow him to spoil this betrothal. Her only solution: escape

Rescuing the intrepid lady—while hunting traitors—is a challenge Giles couldn’t anticipate.  But the greatest challenge to Giles and Emelin is the fire blazing between them.

Excerpt: Here is Lady Emelin’s first meeting with her brother since he confined her to a convent five years earlier. Now he’s betrothed her to someone without her knowledge.

Ortha had just finished braiding Emelin’s hair when the door burst open. Sir Garley strode in, his bulk filling the space. He jerked his head, and Ortha slipped into the passageway. Emelin shot to her feet, chin raised. The long forgotten fear nibbled at her heart, but she refused to show it.

He loomed closer, looked over the borrowed gown she wore, and picked up a braid. Lips curled in a snarl, he gave it a hard yank before he dropped it. “Too bad we can’t do something about that color.”

Blood-shot eyes narrowed. He grabbed her chin between his forefinger and thumb and forced up her head. She tried to pull away from the stench of his breath, but he pinched harder. “Don’t do anything else to spoil this arrangement.” His voice grated like rusty steel. “I need the payment Langley made for you. I will not return it.”

Garley gave her head a final shake. “Do not interfere in my plans,” he repeated.

Emelin jerked back. Rebellion overpowered the hurt, and she spoke without thought. Again.  “Or what? You’ll immure me in a convent? I believe we’ve done that already.”

Garley’s slap caught the side of the face, sent her staggering onto the bed. “Keep your mouth shut.” His voice held no trace of emotion as he strode to the door. “At least until after the wedding. Then you’re his problem. Just remember, there’ll never be a place for you at Compton. Give the old man a son, and you’ll want for nothing. Fight him and you may find yourself back at the convent—if you’re lucky.”

Amazon has surprised me by running a 99 cent sale for Silverhawk.

US Veteran Kayelle Allen

Kayelle Allen's LogoAside from being a terrific story teller, a veteran, and a friend, Kayelle Allen is one of the most generous, hard-working people I know. Please welcome her to Author Travels and let her know how much you enjoy her visit by leaving a comment. Also, leave a note for an active duty soldier, sailor, airman, or marine. I’ll make certain the notes get to the right service member. Now, here’s Kayelle to tell you a little about herself and her newest book, Bringer of Chaos.

First, I’d like to thank Rue Allyn for the opportunity to share what being a veteran means to me. Opening her blog to fellow RomVets (female veterans who write romance) is an action I wholeheartedly support. I have a similar program on Romance Lives Forever, my guest blog, on Veteran’s Day every year.

When I joined the US Navy back in 1973, I was a single woman. I had lived in the Las Vegas metro area since I was twelve years old. There were few jobs that didn’t relate to one or more parts of the gaming or hospitality industries. I wanted more. To find it, I entered the military. When I was transferred to a training base in Memphis, I had no idea that I’d meet my future husband. We’ve been together ever since.

The one thing I’d like others to know about being a veteran is that when you raise your right hand and swear to uphold the constitution of the United States, you are doing more than serving your country. You are embarking on a journey that will change you forever.

When I joined, I had no idea how much risk I was undertaking. It’s only years later that I’ve come to understand how much I laid on the line to protect my country. When you’re in the midst of a situation, you are too busy dealing with the details to look around and grasp the significance of each action. That comes later, after the smoke has cleared and you have time to think about it.

Bringer of Chaos, the Origin of Pietas

I was never in combat, and I was put into no life-threatening situations. However, because I was on active duty, I agreed to be willing to go. That willingness came out of my desire to serve. I was twelve when President John F Kennedy was assassinated. His death had a profound effect on my life. I had heard him speak in person only a few months prior. My parents had been big supporters of his campaign. When he died, I swore not to ask what my country could do for me, but to ask what I could do for my country. When the opportunity to join the military came, that was my chance to fulfill my oath. I have never looked back with regret.

Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas is military science fiction set in the far future. Two enemy warriors: one human, one immortal. Different in belief, alike in spirit, marooned together on an alien world. Traitors took everything. Except their honor.
Excerpt     Amazon   Print

About Kayelle Allen

Kayelle is a best selling American author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr. She writes in multiple genres and non-fiction. She is founder of the author-mentoring group Marketing for Romance Writers, manages the successful Romance Lives Forever blog, and is a member of RomVets. Kayelle is married, has three grown children, and five grandchildren.

Join Kayelle’s Romance Lives Forever Reader Group and you’ll get sneak peeks of new books, plus find out about special contests just for members. Want other options to know when a book is released? Join AuthorAlarms and get one email when a new book is out. Follow Kayelle on Amazon. Visit her homeworld, or follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Journey to “The Star World Colonies” with Author, Catherine E. McLean

CatherineEMcLeanKIFEL SPACE STATION

“The Jewel of Sol”

“The Gateway to the Star World Colonies”

In the vacuum of space far from Earth, beyond the colonized Centauri Star System, between the feared Dethramossan Territory and the mineral-rich Empire of Triangulum Australe, hovers Kifel Space Station, guardian of a galactic portal (a star gate jump point).

Kifel is also a city, a commercial port, a pseudo pleasure palace, and a military fortress. The space station is the gateway for thousands of maritime space traders and colonists seeking their fortunes and a new way of life. But some say the station is a taskmaster to the crews that man and maintain her.

In truth, there are a million stories to tell of those beings, human and aliens, who pass through the portals and walk the labyrinths of Kifel Space Station.

The above was jotted down in 1993, when I first conceived Kifel Space Station for a short story. Over the years, and several short stories and novels later, I ended up with a three-ring binder for all things Kifel that included: the history of why, who, and how the station was built, sketches of deck layouts and compartments (which are crude because I’m no artist), the personnel requirements, the caste system of jumpsuit colors used by workers on the station, and whole lot more.

That binder is my “bible” that keeps things consistent when I write a new story. And, yes, new stories sometimes add things to Kifel or makes me rethink areas. The binder also allows me to update the oldest stories so they are consistent with the published ones.

A writer is told to write what they know, but that’s difficult when you’re writing about the future and outer space. Yet, there is a trick a writer can use to extrapolate a future that seems believable to a reader. That trick is to base the future world, in this case, a space station, on what currently exists or will exist in the near future. To get an idea of the size and look of Kifel, I did research. I extrapolated data from cargo container shipping yards (and how much room they needed to store, stack, and move containers about). From city layouts, I got various ideas of infrastructure. Cruise ship layouts showed me how compact compartments were and how many quarters could fit in a given area. Then there were the waste management-recycling facilities, hospital-emergency care facilities, hydroponic farming, and a whole lot more. The results kept making the space station bigger and bigger. I even took a look at the Star Trek technical manuals (the ones done by real engineers), but I did not use them for designs, only verification that what I was doing was feasible, realistic, believable.

As to the shape of Kifel Space Station, I knew from my engineering husband that circles were most efficient in space and so Kifel ended up being a circle divided into twelve pie-shaped wedges, with a center core through which energy (power, etc.) flowed. Beacons, communications dishes-antennas, scanners, etc. were necessary and went at the top and bottom of the station. Other communication and scanning devices were also needed about the landing-departure decks and for the military.

Then I started from the top and went down a sheet of paper listing one item per line that represented appropriate footage. For the massive warehousing and freight decks, I put in additional lines proportioned for their heights. When I was done, a pattern had formed on the page of an elongated “diamond” – like a kite.

I could envision that “diamond” glittering with all its exterior lights as it spun in the blackness of space to maintain its gravity— like a diamond in the sky.

And thus was born the phrase “The Jewel of Sol.” Sol being a poetic term for Earth’s star, the sun.

A lot of romance writers gloss over setting details in their futuristic/sci-fi worlds because the plot of the lovers journey is more important. However, a writer should take the time to look at, sketch out, and find the little things that bring their setting to life for the reader so the reader suspends disbelief.

Like Marlee and Deacon, when you read HEARTS AKILTER, you’ll feel right at home on Kifel Space Station.

Hearts AkilterHeartsAkilter_w9882 high resolution

Love, vengeance, attempted murder, and a bomb…No reason to panic.

When a medical robot insists he’s having a heart attack, Marlee Evans, a pragmatic maintenance technician, has every reason to panic. There’s a bomb inside him.  Since Marlee can’t risk the bomber discovering she’s found the device, her only option is to kidnap Deacon Black, an unflappable bomb expert, and secretly convince him to disarm it.  Things go slightly awry when Deacon sets a trap for someone who is trying to kill him, and inadvertently captures Marlee instead.  Instantly intrigued by her refreshingly forthright and gutsy attitude, he’s smitten.  Unfortunately for Deacon, Marlee recently hardened her heart and swore off men, especially handsome ones with boy-next-door grins.  But as Marlee and Deacon attempt to identify and prevent the bomber from detonating the device, they discover that love may be the most explosive force of all.

Available Now

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1faTnHp

Nook: http://bit.ly/1HDMrii

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1fhzVIp

All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/1GvpqqT

The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/1HDhwAT

About Catherine E. McLean

Besides Catherine being a wife and mother, she has ridden and exhibited Morgan Sport Horses. She’s an avid clothing and costume designer, an award-winning amateur photographer, a 4-H leader, and a Red Hatter who loves bling.

She lives on a farm nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. In the quiet of the countryside, she writes fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal stories where a reader can escape to other worlds for adventure and romance.

Her short stories have appeared in hard-copy and online anthologies and magazines. Besides having two novels published, soon to be released is her lighthearted fantasy/sci-fi romance HEARTS AKILTER. Catherine also gives writing workshops, both online and in-person. A schedule is posted at http://www.writerscheatsheets.com/workshops.html

Catherine’s website for writers is  http://www.WritersCheatSheets.com and she blogs at http://writerscheatsheets.blogspot.com/

Hub Website: http://www.CatherineEmclean.com

Connect with Catherine at: http://www.catherineemclean.com/contact-me.html

Or on social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CatherineMcLea7

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catherine.e.mclean.5

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/catherinemclean/

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1Ievnjp

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1I64GqK

DOWN UNDER SIDE TRIP

Please welcome fellow author, Iris Blobel visiting from Melbourne Austrailia to tell us about her book, Fresh Beginnings. Iris is very well traveled, as her bio indicates, so ask her lots of questions, please.

Fresh Beginnings Cover ArtFRESH BEGINNINGS

By Iris Blobel

The small town of Hobart in Tasmania has witnessed many beginnings in recent years. At yet one more beginning, the wedding of a friend, Jared Fraser decides it’s time for some fresh beginnings to come his way… And he sets out for a holiday to the US to travel along the Route 66 in a motorhome.

Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on holiday.

Then the arrival of family friend Mia Levesque and her boyfriend, Josh, turns Jared’s holidays upside-down when he’s forced to play arbitrator between the two teenagers.

Scroll down to find an excerpt.

 

About Iris Blobel: Iris Blobel 2013BIOpic

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she actually had met her future husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only recently emerged, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as her dog. Next to her job at a private school she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Buy Links:

Amazon Australia: http://bit.ly/1y0N4bo, Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1s7xTiq, Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1pBrpEY

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1nqaT6t

Where to Find Me:

My Blog: www.iris-b.blogspot.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/irisblobel, Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4067254.Iris_Blobel, Twitter: @_iris_b,

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/iblobel/, Google+:  https://plus.google.com/107759085454255573026/posts

Excerpt:

“G’day!” He stared at her and for some reason something tugged at his heart. Not that he wanted that. He had no room for women, let alone American ones. They all were on earth to make life complicated. Mark was constantly running around for Sophie or Hope, even though Mark’s wife was one in a million and little Hope was simply adorable, especially when she was asleep.

“Ya know it’s dangerous to hitch a ride,” he finally said when she was still quiet.

She stared at him for a moment, but then replied with the typical American twang in her voice. “I know you said something, but I have no idea what.”

He chuckled. “It is dangerous to hitchhike,” he repeated with exaggerated pronunciation.

The woman stepped a bit closer to the window. “Are you from Austria?”

He laughed aloud.

“Australia, I meant,” she added, seemingly embarrassed by the mistake.

“I am indeed.” He watched her looking ahead towards the horizon. “So you wanna hitch a ride?”

Jared had a feeling she didn’t want to, but her current situation didn’t give her many choices. There they were in the middle of nowhere, with the next place a fair few miles away.

“Name’s Jared,” he said and then he opened the door and walked around the motorhome. Leaning against the vehicle, he looked at her. She was pretty. Thin, but pretty. When her brown eyes met his, he experienced another one of those heart tugs and wasn’t impressed at all. He tried to look right past her. It wasn’t happening though. They were like magnets.

“Jared,” he repeated and held out his hand.

Her look went right past him into the distance, and he assumed she was fighting with herself, part of her wanting to get off the road, the other part being worried.

“Anybody else travelling with you?” she asked quietly.

He shook his head. “Nope.”

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and, after a brief moment, reached for his hand. “Nice meeting you.”

Acknowledging that she wasn’t much into sharing details like her name, he opened the door for her. “Where are ya headin’?” he asked.

A smile started in her eyes and played with the corner of her lips. He felt himself smiling back. There was an appreciation in her smile.

“Could you drop me off at the next stop?” she asked hesitantly.

“Most certainly, but where are ya headin?”

She shrugged. “Kingman?”

“Is that on this road?”

Nodding, she said. “Yes, it is. It should be less than a hundred miles along this highway.”

“Then hop in.”

She turned to get into the motorhome, and he took in her small stature and the narrow shoulders which seemed even smaller in her tight, red T-shirt. Jared noticed her cargoes were just hanging onto her hips. A nice steak wouldn’t go astray on these hips. Suddenly she stopped and moved to look at him. “Thank you,” she whispered.

“No worries mate.”

Jared held her gaze and wasn’t sure what to say or do. She simply stood in front of him like frozen.

“My name is Ivy,” she said after a long moment.

“Hedera. An evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plant in the family Araliaceae.”

With a frown, she stared at him. “I really didn’t understand that one.”

He laughed. “Sorry, mate. I got carried away. I’m a landscaper. Ivy is a climbing plant.” Scratching the back of his head, he added, slightly self-conscious, “And, of course, a beautiful name.”

There was a small laugh as she stepped into the motorhome. He went around and slid behind the wheel before driving back onto the road. There was a long silence, and Jared wasn’t really sure what to do or say. Usually, he was good with silence. Actually, he loved it. But at that moment, the silence made him uncomfortable.

“So, what brings ya out into the middle of the sticks?”

When there was no reply, he turned and looked at her. There was a big frown on her face, and he sighed.

“I thought you all speak English as well?”

“We do,” she said with a slight giggle. “But I’m not so sure about you Australians.”

With a grin he replied, “Now, don’t be cheeky, Ivy.”

“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, my mom always said.” She laughed. “No way would I make fun of you.”

“So, you’re expectin’ a meal as well?”

There was a moment of silence again, and he glanced over. The smile was gone and panic was written all over her face.

“I… I didn’t—”

Quickly he reached out for her hand. “I’m pulling your leg.” And when she didn’t reply again, he muttered, “This thing with you Americans not understanding English is turning into a problem. I was kiddin’.”

“Pulling your leg?” She shook her head. “Never heard of it.”

A bark of laughter filled the small space. “Anyway. Talkin’ about food. There’s a small place ahead. Want some lunch?”

The Stuff in My Office—5

BKSHELF1Yep, I’ve got even more stuff to tell you about now that our short pause is over. The four pictures in this blog are of the wall length bookshelves opposite the corner where my desk sits (desk stuff in a later installment). There are six shelves (I couldn’t fit the top self into the camera frame, each roughly 10 feet in length and completely filled with paperback romance novels (and yes, those novels absolutely get included on the list of stuff I like that makes me happy). I won’t describe any of the books, but I will mention some of the other items.

In the foreground of the picture at the left you can see a couple of the items I discussed in the 4th installment of this series. You can also see part of the floor lamp that stands between the table (see installment 4) and my reading chair (also installment 4). I love that shade because it turns this lovely glowing gold color when the bulb is on, and it gives terrific light for reading.

Moving on to the next picture (below right) you see the rest of the lamp. The small needlework pillow peeking out from behind the lamp is another gift from my mother in law. That pillow was sitting on her royal blue sofa in her living room the first time my sweetheart brought me to their home for dinnerBKSHELF2 and to meet his folks. I was scared spitless because I knew about her upper crust Boston background. Mom was everything that is gracious. Nonetheless it took me several years to get over being intimidated, mostly because of my personal fears. I like to think that we now have a very friendly relationship. She certainly remembered that first visit, because one of the few things I managed to say was how lovely the pillow was. Who wouldn’t like a pillow with irises (Mom used to grow award winning Iris blooms) in varying shades of blue, including cobalt. On the shelf above the pillow are four framed covers from my books. Below those is yet another gift from my mother in law. This gift is more recent (just this past Christmas), yet I treasure it almost as much as the pillow. The seascape set into the tray is one of my favorites, and since I love the sea (add that to the list too) I keep the tray where I can see it.

The third picture (at left) shows the enBKSHELF3tire tray, and above that the remaining four covers from my books. If you look closely you can see a small two-tone brown box at the end of one of the shelves. That is a recipe box that my own mother gave me. It holds my grandmother’s recipes for Swedish coffee bread, dream cookies, and depression era frosting (made with flour, milk, butter and granulated sugar). The confectioner’s type of sugar that is usually used in frostings was nearly impossible to get during the depression, so flour was substituted. Even granulated sugar was expensive, so frosting on cakes was a real treat. The Dream Cookies are another depression era recipe, requiring only flour, granulated sugar and butter. Preparing Dream Cookies requires careful attention because the butter must be melted and browned to a point just shy of burning. The caramelized bits in the melted butter create the delicate flavor of these cookies. Once baked they have a very crumbly texture. My grandmother called them dream cookies because they practically melt in your mouth and disappear so fast that you feel as if you imagined eating them. Dream Cookies (along with homemade pecan sandies) are my favorite cookies, so they go on the list too. I’ve made the Swedish coffee bread—which is an all day project. Grandma used to fill hers with citron (candied dry fruit). I prefer un-candied dry fruit and more nuts—especially pecans. The bread was a daily item in my life while I was in school during the years when my grandparents lived with us (they moved into a small apartment in our house once neither of them could drive). I would come home from school and Grandma and my mother would be sitting at Grandma’s kitchen table having coffee and buttered coffee bread. They always had at least one piece waiting for me. I’d savor the bread and listed to Grandma and Mother share memories of their early lives. That’s how I learned about depression frosting and the origin of Dream Cookies.BKSHELF4

The last image (at right) shows the end of two more shelves, one of the two windows in my office and the stuff that sits below the window. I’ll write about the window stuff next time. Right now, I want to mention that the elephant bookends were a gift from me to my own mother and probably one of the first purchases I made with money I earned. I got elephants for her overflowing bookshelves so she would never forget where they came from and how much we both loved reading. The elephants came back to me when Mother passed away. Below those sits a small basket containing old checkbooks. I don’t know where the basket came from, but I like open containers. I tend to forget things when they are out of sight. I want the checkbooks in plain sight so I remember to throw them out when I no longer need them as tax records.

So those bookshelves contain a lot of stuff ranging from the treasured to the mundane, and as always a host of memories. Do you have memories of your parents and grandparents; stories and/or recipes that have been handed down and treasured for generations; little knick knacks that hold meaning only for you? Please share with a comment.

The Stuff in My Office–4

SideTABLESometimes life gets in the way and not just of writing blog posts and novels. Take a look at the table (above) that sits next to my easy/reading chair (the chair’s picture is below). What a mess. Wish I could tell you that wasn’t normal. The truth is that much of my life is very messy because I consider myself too busy to be neat. Oddly, I had a  character in one book who was the complete opposite; she was excessively busy and neat. Her claim was that she didn’t have time to be messy and always looking for things which she could find easily if she kept her life tidy. So about the stuff on the table and what it might tell you about me.

The table itself is a ‘gift’ from my mother-in-law when my DH and I moved into our first home shortly after we married. The top of the table needs refinishing. Mind you, we just celebrated our 38th anniversary, so a lot of life has gotten in the way of that particular task. The items on top of the table are used when I’m not ‘writing,’ i.e. pounding on the keyboard at my desk across the room. Under the scissors (I have no idea why the scissors are there, I use them to open packages and trim paper) is a small portfolio containing an 8 X 5 pad of paper and a pen used for taking notes. Behind that is a box of tissues. I have year round allergies, so I keep tissues all over my house. The large can of peanuts is empty (rescued from my DH who ate the peanuts) and is used to keep sweets. At the moment because I’m being good about my diet the can is empty. On top of the can is the hand held massage tool that I use on my sore feet when I get home from my ‘day’ job. Beside the can are two small stacked plates. If I’m working—research reading, revisions—or relaxing—reading for fun, watching TV on my desktop monitor, napping—I often bring lunch or dinner upstairs so I don’t forget to eat. The top plate is cobalt blue glass, and while you can’t see it well, the bottom plate is cobalt blue on white china. Guess what else you can add to the list of stuff that I like and makes me happy. I’ll give you a hint. It’s a color. In front of the plates is another pen and two more small pads of paper. Those migrated to the table with me when I moved from desk to easy chair for revising work. I’d forgotten I already had the small portfolio on the table. The orange cloth under most of the stuff is just there to protect the largest part of the unfinished table surface. Yep, that’s a straw wrapper in front of the second pen. I was sick recently, and I baby myself with straws in my drinks when I’m forcing liquids. Last the brown and white tile is another treasure given by my mother-in-law. It depicts the Old Dutch Church at Sleepy Hollow. Her family hails from New England, so she has a trove of mementos that she shares with all of her children. She well knows how much the written word and authors mean to me, so her gifts often have some connection with the literary world. In this case the connection is to Washington Irving and the 19th century New England school of authors that included, Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau and others. Oh yes, before I go and ask for your comments, note the two bookshelves visible behind the table. The black shelf unit is the one that contains the chotchsky shelf described in the first two posts of this series. The bare wood shelving, I installed myself when we moved in. Both units hold many of my 3000+ books.

Lots of stuff in this post to comment on or ask questions about. If nothing else see if you can list all of the ‘stuff’ that I’ve said I like from The Stuff in My Office posts given so far. Who knows, I might draw a winner and use his/her name in my current WIP, The Valentine Tycoon. Can’t wait to hear from you.

EasyCHAIR

Back from a Working Vacation

This past week I spent several days in Chicago. While my DH sat in conference sessions all day, I wandered the streets of Chicago doing research for a book. My adventures took me to the Chicago History Museum, the Navy Pier, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

I’d been to the Navy Pier before, so I came prepared with my camera. If you’ve never been to the Pier, you may not know that one of the best attractions is the Smith Museum of Stained Glass. On display are gorgeous examples of some of the finest stained glass ever made. Here are just two examples.

StainedGlass3Chicago2013 StainedGlass2Chicago2013I love the vibrant colors and natural arrangement of the leaves and flowers. I will definitely find a way to put stained glass into the book I set in Chicago.

Please leave a comment and let me know about your vacation.

ABOUT RUE: Author of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures. Learn more about Rue and her books at http://RueAllyn.com.
Her latest release, One Night’s Desire is available from Amazon and other e-tailers. Isn’t the cover lovely? Check out the following blurb, with following excerpt and buy links

Cover Art for One Night's DesireOne Night’s Desire Blurb:
A WOMAN ON THE RUN: Rustlers, claim jumpers and fire, nothing will stop Kiera Alden from reuniting her family. But an accusation of murder threatens her dreams and sets Marshall Evrett Quinn on her trail. She may be able to escape prison bars and eventually prove her innocence, but she can’t escape Quinn’s love.

A LAWMAN IN HOT PURSUIT: Marshall Evrett Quinn is relentless in pursuit of law-breakers, and pretty Kiera Alden is no exception. Clever and courageous, she evades him until a chance encounter turns the tables. Finally he has this elusive desperado under arrest, but success is bittersweet when she captures his heart.

One Night’s Desire EXCERPT LINK: http://rueallyn.com/2c2ONDexcerpt.html

One Night’s Desire BUY LINK: http://www.amazon.com/Nights-Desire-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00DL3ALFC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373029464&sr=1-1

Find Rue on-line at–
FB: https://www.facebook.com/RueAllynAuthor?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RueAllyn
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5031290.Rue_Allyn
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rue- Allyn/e/B00AUBF3NI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Blog: http://rueallynauthorblog.com/

Cerise Duval Defends Her Actions

Please Welcome Madame Cerise Duval, arch nemesis of Dutch Trahern from One Moment’s Pleasure.Cover Art for One Moment's Pleasure

Madame Allyn claims I am a villainous. While my actions do appear to be evil, I have my reasons. Some of you might say that my actions are indefensible. I peddle flesh for a living; I’ve killed, whored, lied, cheated, abused children, bought and sold lives. If there is a sin in the world I’ve probably committed it. So why should I bother trying to defend myself to anyone. Because I’m a mother. My daughter doesn’t know about all the crimes I’ve committed, the people I’ve victimized, and I intend to keep it that way.

I want you to understand that I was born a slave in New Orleans, bred specifically by my owner to be a whore—a plaything for rich white men. I was educated by tutors and could hold my own in conversation with any man. Hell, I could think circles around most of them. It didn’t take me long to become bitter about my lot in life. After that I plotted my escape to San Francisco. The gold rush was on and the California territory was a ‘free’ territory. Once I got there, I realized that the greatest profit would be made by those who sold goods and services to the fools searching for gold. I had only one asset and one skill, so I used my body to get the money to be able to set up a high class bordello which gained me even more money. I admit that I sank to the depths of depravity in every way except as a mother. It broke my heart to send my baby daughter, Independence away to live with my mother. As soon as possible after the war of rebellion, I sent Independence to an exclusive school in New Jersey and provided excellent guardians for her in my will. She will never know who her mother is, but she will also never know slavery or poverty. She is my reason for every action I take, and I offer a mother’s love in defense of those actions.

Cover Art for One Night's DesireTwo Chances to Win a Free Download of One Night’s Desire.

Leave a comment about this post, the representation of African Americans in historical romance fiction, or any topic you prefer.

AND/OR

Leave a review of one of my currently available books at Amazon. Just check my author page for book details http://www.amazon.com/Rue-Allyn/e/B00AUBF3NI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1.

I’ll be collecting entries throughout the entire One Night’s Desire release tour (June 13 – July 29—find the schedule of appearances at http://rueallyn.com/4News.html). The winner will be announced July 31st on my blog http://rueallynauthorblog.com/.

If you’d like to know more about One Night’s Desire here’s the blurb followed by a link to an excerpt.

A WOMAN ON THE RUN: Rustlers, claim jumpers and fire, nothing will stop Kiera Alden from reuniting her family.  But an accusation of murder threatens her dreams and sets Marshall Evrett Quinn on her trail.  She may be able to escape prison bars and eventually prove her innocence, but she can’t escape Quinn’s love.

A LAWMAN IN HOT PURSUIT:  Marshall Evrett Quinn is relentless in pursuit of law-breakers, and pretty Kiera Alden is no exception.  Clever and courageous, she evades him until a chance encounter turns the tables.  Finally he has this elusive desperado under arrest, but success is bittersweet when she captures his heart.

EXCERPT LINK: http://rueallyn.com/2c2ONDexcerpt.html

One Night’s Desire and its sister book One Moment’s Pleasure are heavily discounted at Amazon for the entire month of July

BUY LINK: http://www.amazon.com/Nights-Desire-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00DL3ALFC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373029464&sr=1-1

ABOUT RUE: Author of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures.  Learn more about Rue and her books at http://RueAllyn.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/RueAllynAuthor
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/RueAllyn
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5031290.Rue_Allyn
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rue-Allyn/e/B00AUBF3NI
Blog: http://rueallynauthorblog.com/

History Lovers Grand Tour and Scavenger Hunt–Courting Rituals and Ghirardelli Chocolate

 First things first: HOW TO WIN ~ For a chance to win a Ghirardelli chocolate gift card read the post then answer the following question in the comments section. Everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing for the gift card. The winner will be announced here on July 29, 2013. Make sure you complete the entry form on the Grand Tour home page so you can move to the next post, just  click here or on the Grand Tour Logo at the right.

NOW ABOUT COURTINGCover Art for One Moment's Pleasure
Dating and courting rituals in the American west during 1870 varied greatly depending on the particular community involved. San Francisco, despite its wild growth during the gold rush years had developed a core of decent citizens with strong family units. Among those citizens courting was a formal, highly chaperoned process. Parents had a great deal of say in where their daughters went and who could escort them. Rides both in carriages and on horseback in the countryside were possible. Night time forays into the Barbary Coast were not.

Yet that’s what happens to Dutch and Edith of One Moment’s pleasure. Edith is a stranger to San Francisco and without friends or family in the city. Dutch, whose protective instincts are roused, tries to convince her that going out on her own at night is a bad idea, so he takes her on horseback to the worst sections of the Barbary Coast. Lucky for them both they are able to return home without being assaulted (although Dutch does have to rescue some kittens before Edith is convinced he’s right).

Between the settled communities in the mid-west and San Francisco lay vast tracts of ‘unsettled’ territory. The coming of the railroad would change all of that, but in 1870 the transcontinental railway was just beginning to exert its influence. A woman alone in the wilderness had to set her own courtship rules. In One Night’s Desire, Kiera Alden is the one who seduces upright preacher’s kid Marshal Evrett Quinn. She uses a small injury and a healing hot spring to get the job done. Of course, Ev was already half in love with her, or he never would have yielded to temptation. Good thing he did or their story might have ended very differently.Cover Art for One Night's Desire

SCAVENGER HUNT QUESTION:Which couple had a date in the Barbary Coast district of San Francisco and which couple courted in a hotspring?

If you’d like to know more about One Moment’s Pleasure ~ Wildfire Love # 1 and One Night’s Desire ~ Wildfire Love # 2 here are blurbs for each followed by excerpt links.

One Moment’s Pleasure Blurb:

One Moment’s Pleasure will become a lifetime’s passion when spinster, Edith Alden, embarks on a search for her missing sister. Pretending to be a rich bored woman looking for an interlude with an anonymous male Edith enters the San Francisco bordello where her sister was last seen. She escapes the bordello almost too easily, but she can’t escape the passion ignited by a stranger’s kiss.

Born and raised in the brothels of the California gold rush, Dutch Trahern worked for years to erase a childhood spent committing petty crimes and worse in order to survive. That past comes back to haunt him in the form of a woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard won respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for a woman he shouldn’t want.

One Night’s Desire Blurb:

A WOMAN ON THE RUN: Rustlers, claim jumpers and fire, nothing will stop Kiera Alden from reuniting her family. But an accusation of murder threatens her dreams and sets Marshall Evrett Quinn on her trail. She may be able to escape prison bars and eventually prove her innocence, but she can’t escape Quinn’s love.

A LAWMAN IN HOT PURSUIT: Marshall Evrett Quinn is relentless in pursuit of law-breakers, and pretty Kiera Alden is no exception. Clever and courageous, she evades him until a chance encounter turns the tables. Finally he has this elusive desperado under arrest, but success is bittersweet when she captures his heart.

One Moment’s Pleasure EXCERPT LINK: http://rueallyn.com/2c1OMPexcerpt.html

One Night’s Desire EXCERPT LINK: http://rueallyn.com/2c2ONDexcerpt.html

One Night’s Desire and its sister book One Moment’s Pleasure are heavily discounted at Amazon for the entire month of July

One Moment’s Pleasure BUY LINK: http://www.amazon.com/Moments-Pleasure-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00BFCUTSA/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373044493&sr=1-4

One Night’s Desire BUY LINK: http://www.amazon.com/Nights-Desire-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00DL3ALFC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373029464&sr=1-1

ABOUT RUE: Author of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures. Learn more about Rue and her books at http://RueAllyn.com.

FB: https://www.facebook.com/RueAllynAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RueAllyn
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5031290.Rue_Allyn
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rue-Allyn/e/B00AUBF3NI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Blog: http://rueallynauthorblog.com/

Kiera Alden Sets the Record Straight

Cover Art for One Night's DesireHi there. I’m here today at Mrs. Rue Allyn’s invitation to set the record straight. I’m sure she’d really like it if I disputed something Marshal Evrett Quinn stated when he visited a few days ago. Problem is that I don’t disagree with Ev on much anymore. Not since we got those ridiculous criminal charges dismissed. We even resolved our problems about settling down. However, I do want to correct a couple of mis-conceptions, mostly about my friends the Wind River Shoshone. See, everything that Mrs. Allyn wrote about the Wind River Shoshone is true for the unique group of Shoshone who became my friends. Even among the relatively small Wind River Nation there were, during the late 19th century, dialect and belief differences. Since my friends were the only Shoshone I actually knew, those were the only ones Mrs. Allyn could write about. She did her very best to represent them and their nation with respect. If she erred, well, please don’t blame her, blame her source—me.*

*In Kiera’s defense (she is after all a fictional character), I did quite a bit of on-line and primary text research. My one regret is that I was unable to make contact with any member of the Wind River Shoshone nation to verify my research and my conclusions. Thank heaven, I’m writing fiction and not history.

Two Chances to Win a Free Download of One Night’s Desire.
1. Leave a comment about this post, the Native American Nations, or any topic you prefer.

AND/OR

2. Leave a review of one of my currently available books at Amazon. Just check my author page for book details http://www.amazon.com/Rue-Allyn/e/B00AUBF3NI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1.

I’ll be collecting entries throughout the entire One Night’s Desire release tour (June 13 – July 29—find the schedule of appearances at http://rueallyn.com/4News.html). The winner will be announced July 31st on my blog http://rueallynauthorblog.com/If you’d like to know more about One Night’s Desire here’s the blurb followed by a link to an excerpt.

A WOMAN ON THE RUN: Rustlers, claim jumpers and fire, nothing will stop Kiera Alden from reuniting her family. But an accusation of murder threatens her dreams and sets Marshall Evrett Quinn on her trail. She may be able to escape prison bars and eventually prove her innocence, but she can’t escape Quinn’s love.

A LAWMAN IN HOT PURSUIT: Marshall Evrett Quinn is relentless in pursuit of law-breakers, and pretty Kiera Alden is no exception. Clever and courageous, she evades him until a chance encounter turns the tables. Finally he has this elusive desperado under arrest, but success is bittersweet when she captures his heart.

EXCERPT LINK: http://rueallyn.com/2c2ONDexcerpt.html

One Night’s Desire and its sister book One Moment’s Pleasure are heavily discounted at Amazon for the entire month of July

BUY LINK: http://www.amazon.com/Nights-Desire-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00DL3ALFC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373029464&sr=1-1

ABOUT RUE: Author of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures. Learn more about Rue and her books at http://RueAllyn.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/RueAllynAuthor?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RueAllyn
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5031290.Rue_Allyn
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rue-Allyn/e/B00AUBF3NI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Blog: http://rueallynauthorblog.com/