Unbidden on Medieval Monday

Today on Medieval Monday, I’m featuring Unbidden, Book One in Jill Hughey’s Evolution Series which will take you to the rarely explored medieval world of Charlemagne’s Empire where aristocrats, warriors, merchants and servants find love in the most unexpected places! If you like swoon-worthy yet mildly flawed heroes and independent not-too-perfect heroines, then step in to a Jill Hughey Romance.

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Rochelle of Alda, a feisty Frank noblewoman, expects to continue her industrious life managing her family’s estate. When her emperor summons her to the palace to meet the skilled soldier she is required to marry, Rochelle engages in a battle for independence from David of Bavaria. As her own deceptions multiply, she suspects another of also plotting against their marriage. To her surprise, and too late, David’s passion and patience begin to win her heart. Can their love survive the tangled web of her schemes and the secret adversary David refuses to see?

 

In this excerpt of David and Rochelle’s first meeting, David has arrived to take Rochelle to the palace for the betrothal, and is dismayed to learn her mother has told her nothing about it.

EXCERPT

David turned his head as the noise from the door escalated, unsure what he expected to enter his life. Given her mother’s shocking hair, he didn’t hold his hopes too high for the girl’s appearance, no matter what Theo said. The need for deception to even get her to Aix did not indicate a particularly biddable personality. Based on the increasingly violent rattling from the latch, she couldn’t even open doors for herself.

He was about to climb the steps to offer assistance when the door finally wrenched open, releasing a storm of muttering about city workmanship and rotten carpentry carried in a whirlwind of deep blue linen. She all but flung herself onto the narrow staircase. Not exactly light of foot nor entirely graceful, she rushed down the stairs, noticing his presence in time to abruptly stop on the bottom step.

She stared at him.

From across the room he could feel the chill of cold caution. Even so, his concern about her looks evaporated. She stood taller than her mother, clear skinned, with eyes of a soft green. The gold circlet on her head held her veil neatly in place, covering what it was intended to cover. An unexpected desire to see the color of her hair shot through him. He could only approximate it from her eyebrows:  not quite brown, but certainly not red either. And her female attributes remained a mystery to him as well, hidden under layers of varying shades of blue, though a heavy gold girdle studded with aquamarines suggested narrow hips.

“Mother?” she queried.

David reluctantly turned to Marian, who, it appeared, had been watching him stare at her daughter. A small smile quirked her lips. Her tightly clasped hands now lay on her chest as if in prayer. She did not find her voice until David cleared his throat expectantly.

“Rochelle!” she said too loudly. “Theophilus, the gentleman who has helped us so much, sent this burly young man to escort ye to yer audience with the emperor. He is called David. A Bavarian, no less!”

David raised his brow at her rather obtuse explanation of his role in the upcoming event. Marian gave him a slight warning shake of her head. Well, if the woman hadn’t the courage to tell this girl the truth of the matter, he certainly did. He didn’t know much about getting along with women, but he guessed that starting his marriage with deception – and necessarily short-lived deception at that – could not be wise.

As he opened his mouth to explain exactly who he was, Rochelle spoke, “I do not see why I need an escort. I found the palace yesterday.”  She lowered herself off the last step and strode toward him with a confident swing of her arms. “But if Theophilus wants to share his guard, so be it.”

Marian bobbed her head. “It was quite thoughtful of him.”

David held up a hand. “I am not Theo’s guard. And did you just suggest you were wandering about the city yesterday, alone?”

Rochelle studied him assessingly. Yes, assessingly was the only word for it and, God help him, she was lovely up close. Her not brown, not red brows arched over green eyes flecked with hazel. A dusting of freckles decorated a thin nose that flared pertly at the nostrils. Her soft pink lips were slightly parted exposing straight teeth.

“Not alone. Our servant, Gilbert, was with me.”

“Gilbert, the bag of bones who opened the door?” David scoffed. “He could not keep a street rat away much less a pack of thieves. From this day forth, you will not leave here without an able-bodied man at your side.”  She smelled nice.

Rochelle placed her hands on her hips, pleasantly outlining a slim waist beneath her clothing. “What has given you the idea you can make pronouncements such as that to me?  I will go where I wish, when I wish, escorted or not, as I wish!”  Her chest heaved a bit and there were breasts under that tunic, he could tell, and damn it when was the last time he’d lain with a woman?  He mentally bridled himself. First, betrothal. Betrothal was the task set before him today. It was time to attend to that task.

He stepped forward, purposely crowding her and letting his hard gaze bore into her fiery eyes, daring her to challenge him. “I will tell you what gives me the right –“

Marian made a strangled sound before finding her words. “Ye should be going!  It will not do to be late to the palace.”

Rochelle eyed first him, then Marian, before backing away to grasp her mother’s hands. “Mother, I do wish you would reconsider. Certainly the nobles have forgotten your circumstances by now. Father would want you to have the honor of meeting Charlemagne’s son.”

Marian laughed a bit shrilly. “No, that is no place for me. Ye shall have the glory today, daughter. Here is your cloak.”  She kept babbling as she closed the gold and aquamarine clasp at the neckline of the pale blue garment. “David will keep you safe. Do as he says, my dear. He is in charge of you today. And possibly tomorrow.”

Rochelle chortled. “Mother, do not be ridiculous. This will be over in an hour or two and then we are going home!  Home, where I also do not require an escort!”  She fixed David with a significant look before she walked to the door, wrenched it open with relative ease, and stepped onto the street without him.

 END OF EXCERPT
For more about Jill Hughey visit her website at www.jillhughey.com. Subscribe to her occasional newsletter at www.jillhughey.com/contact.
Medieval Monday is a regular feature on this blog. Subscribe today, or stop by regularly to find new historical romance authors and/or novels.

 

Check every Monday for a new medieval author on this blog exchange and check this and their blogs weekly for more wonderful medieval novels:
Ashley YorkJenna JaxonLaura Strickland Cathy McRaeMary MorganVijaya SchartzJill HugheySarah WoodburyLaurel O’Donnell

Sneak Peek Sunday – Vikings

Welcome to Sneak Peek Sunday

 

Please check the end of this post for more blogs to hop to and read other authors’ fabulous excerpts.

roses2Here’s mine from Viking Fire – a historical romance with a touch of magic:

 

“I missed you.” His blue eyes shimmered.

“Miss someone else. You need to get away from here.” She jerked on his hand, but he would not budge.

Then he grasped her around the waist, hauling her to him. She bit her lip knowing what she must smell like and yet he was still undeterred. One hand held her to him, the other stroked her hair.

She felt the heat of him throughout her body. “Has your wound festered?” she asked, attempting to distract him. “I will tell Elva you need more salve.”

He brushed his lips across hers, making every vat and mordant vanish leaving only his smell of leather, sea and the hint of mead on his breath filling her senses. His tongue wet her lips, sending shivers down through her fingertips. His kiss became hungrier, more intense as she opened for him. Their tongues stroked each other’s. Kaireen’s hands grasped his hair.

Bram smiled against her lips. Then he pulled away from her. Their gasping breaths appeared like wisps of white smoke between them. Pretending as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened, she brushed her grey skirts. She hoped her shaking legs would not give away how he made her want to rip his clothes and feel his skin beneath her fingers. She felt Bram’s stare. He leaned against the wall, the grin bigger than before. “What?” She placed her hands on her hips. “Your kiss speaks more to me than your words.”

 

Buy LinksCrimson Romance ebooks | Amazon | B&N | iTunes

 

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Andrea R. Cooper’s favorite childhood memories revolved around creating vibrant characters for her friends, and then acting out their adventures. Inside her fantasy worlds of darkened forests, dragon-filled glades, and iced islands, nothing was banned. From the ethereal Elvin to the most maligned Vampires, all were welcome in her fictional realities, a stark contrast to her home, where the magical and mythical was forbidden.

Divorced and disillusioned of love and believing all the love songs and books exaggerated, she put aside her creativity for life. Many years past before characters, from the familiar to the freshly conceived, came to her again, but this time teasing at a new passion, the written word.

Gradually, her real life hero brought love and magic back into existence. During the time when her characters were getting reacquainted, the love of her life was showing her that true love never gives up and rekindles no matter how many times others attempt to extinguish it. Today, she is happily married with three children.

Andrea believes in the power of change and delighting in each moment. But most fervently, she believes in the magic of love and imagination again.

 

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2014 Our Writing Process Blog Hop

INTRODUCTION:  Writer’s write, that’s what we do.

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Find out why and how in this new Blog Hop for 2014:

* * * *

I have found the hardest part about writing a book, for me, and having it published, is not the writing and publishing, it’s the marketing. Is there a fun way to get the word out about my book and my upcoming published works, and help support my fellow writers?

Then, Beth Barany introduced the idea of a blog hop. As she describes it, “a sort of treasure hunt where you get to go from writer to writer,” reading about the things they treasure.

I want to give credit and applause where kudos are due to book coach and fantasy romance writer extrodinaire, Beth Barany. Her blog Writer’s Fun Zone is a fantastic place to discuss the topic of writing.  And her FREE magazine Author Entrepreneurship  is dedicated to helping authors build their businesses as well as strengthening their writing muscles.

Image thanks to google images – usage rights: free to use, share or modify, even commercially.

I also want to thank Carol Malone for inviting me to this Blog Hop. To visit Carol’s post on her writing process, click here or visit her blog at http://carolmalone.net/

In today’s post, we’re answering questions about our writing process. See what makes me tick as a writer:

1) What am I working on?

I recently signed Book Two of The Garnet Dagger series, Son of Dragons, with Crimson Romance. This is so new, I do not have a release date yet. Also, I plan to publish Cursed in Shadow Book 1.5, a novelette in this series and bridges what happens after Book One and before Book Two.

Also, I’m rewriting Book Three, War of Darkness, in this series and hope to have it completed and possibly published before the end of 2014.

Since Viking Fire, my historical romance, has had such positive feedback, I will be writing a sequel. This novel will feature Shay, Kaireen’s sister, and her love interest – yes, you guessed it, another Viking.

I’m also working on a YA Paranormal Romance.

Both of my ebooks are on sale for $1.99 at Amazon for the entire month – February 2014!

Here are a couple of reviews of my debut novel, The Garnet Dagger9781440565601

“The Garnet Dagger is an enthralling paranormal romance . . . The author does a masterful job of building her own unique world . . . The Garnet Dagger is an intriguing and thoroughly entertaining paranormal romance that is worth the read.” –The Lusty Penguin

“The Garnet Dagger was a well written story. The author Andrea R Cooper did fabulous world-building. The relationship depicted between the two main characters is flawless. And the description was very vivid. Highly recommended for all lovers of Paranormal romance.” –Paranormal Romance Reviews

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Because The Garnet Dagger series  is first a fantasy, it differs from other paranormal romance in that setting is another world (similar to our own) and within a medieval period. Where dragons or new mythical creatures could be around the next bend.

Viking Fire Historical Romance

Viking Fire Historical Romance

As far as my historical romance, Viking Fire, it has a touch of magic. Many novels of this genre are straight historical fiction. I strove to write one as well without any fantasy or magic. However, one of my characters revealed her true nature to Kaireen, the heroine, at the same time she told me as I was writing the story. It was unplanned, but I love it nonetheless.

In my novels, I want emotion and plot to drive the story forward, rather than sex. However, when the characters jump into bed together, I do not shy away from them consummating their love once a commitment of some kind has been established. Even if I was never published, I would still write.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I have always loved fantasy and paranormal stories. Despite both being taboo in my parent’s house, I craved them. However, I didn’t read much of anything until my twenties when I stumbled upon Historical Romance. Once I moved out, I started reading fantasy novels and later found paranormal. Then I devoured books. Still, I can’t get enough of reading them, so now I write them too.

Also, I write because I have been a story-teller for as long as I can remember. I created characters and plot – even to the point of conspiring with kids at school to act out my stories. Since I no longer have a cast to play my novels, I write them instead.

4) How does my writing process work?

Funny, when I worked full-time, I had more opportunity to write. In fact, I wrote both of my current published novels then. I was able to take my two fifteen minute and lunch breaks and write. I never worried about writer’s block, because my day was filled with working as fast and diligently as I could so I would have the time to write the scenes playing over and over in my mind while I waited for my break.

Now, I am a stay-at-home mom to three kids: two of which are under the age of five. With marketing and supporting my fellow writers, I have little time left in the day for writing. However, stories and characters still tickle my imagination. Usually I write after all the kids are in bed and pray I’m not so wiped out from the day that I crash into bed myself. Setting a timer and telling myself to write for 20-30 mins has helped.

Now on to the next wonderful writers on this blog hop. Be sure to visit their sites and give them some love. Say hello, subscribe/follow/stalk, but get to know them and their books and find out why they write what they write. Their own “Writing Process” posts will be up soon where they will feature other writers:

liza hangliding tilted colorAuthor, Liza O’Connor

Website:   http://www.lizaoconnor.com/

Bio: Liza  lives  in  Denville,  NJ  with  her  dog  Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain orshine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurousnature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ,hang-glide  in  New  Zealand,  kayak  inPennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive withgreat  white  sharks  in  Australia,  dig  updinosaur  bones  in  Montana,  sky  dive  inIndiana,  and  raft  a  class  four  river  inTasmania.  She’s  an  avid  gardener,  amateurphotographer, and dabbler in watercolors andgraphic arts.  Yet through her entire life,  herfirst  love  has  and  always  will  be  writingnovels.  She  loves  to  create  interestingcharacters,  set them loose,  and scribe whathappens.  Author  of  Saving  Casey,  GhostLover, and A Long Road to Love series: WorstWeek  Ever,  Oh  Stupid  Heart,  Coming  toReason, and coming in May:  Climbing Out ofHell.

GetAttachmentAuthor, T.F. Walsh
 
Website:  www.tfwalsh.com
 
Bio: T.F. Walsh emigrated from Romania to Australia at the age of eight and now lives in a regional city south of Sydney with her husband. Growing up hearing dark fairytales, she’s always had a passion for reading and writing horror, paranormal romance, urban fantasy and young adult stories. She balances all the dark with light fluffy stuff like baking and traveling.

She writes young adult and adult fantasy fiction.

CLOAKED IN FUR, a paranormal suspense novel, is her debut novel from Crimson Romance.

How to use exercise to help your writing

This maybe a topic you’ve never heard of, but one for New Year’s Resolutions (which are days away). How can physical fitness or a trip to the gym help your writing? Shouldn’t writing tips be about writing?

Yes and no.

There are plenty of tips that involve the actual writing, reading, or editing. However, that is a small part of the writing process. Much of it occurs in the imagination or back-story that never makes it into a novel.

Being fit can:Exercise

  • Increase productivity. Sometimes it’s hard for me to get out the door or even get on the floor to exercise, but I feel like I’ve accomplished something when I do.
  • Endorphins. Not only does exercise help you feel better, but the mental relief with physical exertion can relieve stress or writer’s block.
  • Health. If you are unhealthy there is more potential for getting sick and having down time and you can’t write. Also, if you do get sick, the recovery will take a lot less time.
  • Energy. You’ll have more energy to forgo that nap during the day and use the time to write instead.

PillsAnd you may need less medication (obtain Dr’s approval before stopping any medication).

Now, I’m sure many  have already heard of thought of these above. How about a few more that might not be so common?

  • Zumba or other dance class – can get your cardio workout in, meet new people, and give you experience when writing about dancing or a dancer.
  • Martial Arts, Boxing, MMA, Jujitsu, etc. – Again, this can not only be motivation for a character, but helps ground you into the story with martial arts or fight elements. You’ll seem like an expert to those who have no knowledge or training and perhaps a nod from for those who are masters.
  • Weight training. Again same as above, but it also can help increase bone mass and muscle burns more calories than fat.
  • Cardio. If you are out of shape, and write about a similar character who has to run two miles to escape the villain, aside from adrenaline, would you be able to do the same? Try it with one mile or half a mile (after Dr approval of course). To me, cardio on the stationary bike, elliptical, or treadmill require little focus so I use the time to think of my story, characters, or a part that I’m stuck on.
  • Character-driven. I’ve heard numerous writing tips on how to create a character-driven story if one is a plot-driven writer. One, is to exercise since it helps pull the writer out of the head and ground them more.

VictorySometimes it’s nice to get out of the house and forget writing for a moment and enjoy yourself while getting your body fit.