Tag Archives: Romance

Wildenwold

Here is something I am playing with at the moment. It is an urban fantasy of sorts.

“Look, I think it is time to call it quits.” John’s voice sounded crisp, clear and rehearsed on the other end of the phone as if he had studied for the part. “We don’t move in the same circles anymore, and I certainly don’t want noisy brats invading my space. You made it clear that you do.”

A woman’s throaty laugh sounded close to him, too close. Ella started shaking. The room blurred under a veil of tears. A lump grew in her throat. What had happened to her husband? Who was this stranger with his voice?

“I’ve paid the rent on the cottage up to the end of this month, in two days’ time, and I handed in our notice. The landlord just told me it is let, so you need to be out tomorrow. I have also removed your name from my bank account.” More throaty whispers came from the vicinity of the receiver followed by John’s low-toned ‘Hush’.
“I am suing you for divorce on grounds of adultery. Don’t imagine you will get any alimony out of me.”

“That is not true!” Ella’s voice came out in a squeak. How could he say these things to her? She had never even looked at another man since he came into her life and who was that woman with him listening in to a private phone call?

“I have pictures of you with another man, someone who is prepared to come forward. The pictures show a very good view of that disgusting birthmark on your leg. If you try to fight me, I will see to it you never work again.”

He could do that, the big name movie star. He could set people up to act the part, with a little help of Photoshop to reproduce her single blemish, an unusual pattern of freckles shaped like a trident. What was the fate of a make-up artist to film producers by comparison? Why hadn’t she seen this coming? They had been so happy, or so she had thought. Her dream, her illusion, built on the bones of an unknown actor and her with a foot in the industry, meeting and getting together.

“One more thing, do you think you could find my passport? I am flying out to work on location in Australia next week so could you leave it on the coffee table for my agent to collect? Cooperate with me and I might consider giving you a reasonable one-time payoff.”

Money, it was all about money and lust. John had a nasty habit of accusing others of his own flaws in any disagreement. Cold logic began to take over from the pain and shock. He had been caught by the paparazzi with some bimbo. He couldn’t risk his image, so this was going to be her fault for cheating on him. How he must have scrambled to manufacture his evidence. Ella didn’t know this person anymore. Four years of living an illusion of love came down to a moment on the phone.

“I will be gone first thing in the morning. I take it you haven’t canceled the lease on my car?”

“No, I was too late. You have it for one more month, not that you’ll need it for much longer. I imagine you’ll want to go back to the States.”

Ella put the phone down very gently. They were done. It didn’t matter whatever else he might want to say. Through it all the smell of a roast wafted from the tiny kitchen; a supper they were to have shared together by candlelight. The supper he had told her to get ready to celebrate his new contract. Maybe she could salvage it to take with her.

He was right on one score; she was not going to stay on this damp and crowded island, despite the lure of its history. The Tudor cottage, with it blackened oak beams now sharpened her loss. This was to have been their love nest. The overstuffed chintz furniture wasn’t theirs. The place had come fully furnished. She should pack her clothes to make an early start since she didn’t want to see his agent. Move, do something, so she didn’t have to think—do anything.

The narrow stairs creaked when she went up to their bedroom, her bedroom now for just this night. What to take? The tools of her trade for sure, but the rest? Where would she need designer dresses again? She left them hanging, along with her wedding gown. What would fit into the tiny foreign car? Pack the practical work clothes and leave the rest.

Two large suitcases full of clothes later to haul down the stairs and Ella realized she had no idea where she was headed. A person couldn’t simply head to London and jump on a plane. It had to be booked, and she had no money, not now he had closed their joint account. God, did she have to go cap in hand to beg him to buy her a seat? No, there was the boat. Frantic now, she attacked the Georgian bureau for her passport, driver’s license, birth certificate and the deeds for her boat. It was in her name—his gift to her when he had scored his first blockbuster. Fairy Child was ocean going and would fetch a good price, maybe enough to set her up without begging from him. Yes, she could go to the West Country and live on the boat until a buyer came along. If she were quick, she could stock it up with provisions before he thought to cancel her Visa card. No doubt that would be done at the end of the month. Tonight, she had to leave tonight.

Ella hauled the suitcase with her work stuff out to the tiny car, flipping up the tail gate to heave in the heavy burden. Light rain anointed her face with sky tears. Clouds covered the stars and the moon, making for a dark and grim night of driving. She didn’t care. All she wanted was to be away from here. One more case and then put the food in containers to take whatever she could. Yes, she would need that tomorrow. She ran for the door.

A hand snaked out, covering her mouth. An arm wrapped around her, stopping her from moving. Oh God, oh God, nothing more bad, please don’t let this be happening.
“I’ll not hurt thee. Don’t be a fearful,” a male voice murmured, close to her ear.
The shudders came back with a vengeance. If this man was after money, then he was shit out of luck. What if he tortured her for something she didn’t have? John wouldn’t pay any ransom, of that she was sure.

“Pass through the threshold.”

A tanned hand, leading to an arm clad in prison grays opened to latch to let her in. Oh God, a convict. What had he done? Was he a killer, or a pervert? Heart pounding strong enough to break her ribs, Ella did as she was told. Maybe she would have a chance to grab her cell phone, or a knife or something heavy? The door swung shut behind them with a click as the latch settled.

He marched her into the kitchen. “I smell food. If I do let thee go, will thee serve me?”

Something wasn’t right here. Why was he using archaic language? Was this a setup? Would John stoop so low to intimidate her with another actor playing the part of a convict, or was this man a real a convict? How did one manage hostage situations? Ella didn’t know. She nodded.

“That is good. I will be a letting thee go presently. Don’t thee be making any swift movements, or I will not be pleased with thee.” He released her.

Trembling Ella walked to the stove. She dumped the roast beef and roasted potatoes pan on the hob, next to the boiled carrots. What now? Was she to get the electric carver going? What she didn’t want to do was to turn to see his face. If he was a convict, he would have to kill her.

“Thee can get a knife to carve the meat. Don’t try to skewer me with it. I be a warrior and thee might get hurt if I needs to disarm thee. I don’t want to hurt thee.”

Slowly, carefully, Ella reached for the electric carver. She turned it on.
“Odds blood, what be that device?” A hard arm encircled her again. She hadn’t even heard him moving.

This had to be a setup. No one talked like that. Fine, so she would go along with this parody. “You wanted a serving of meat, and I am about to cut it for you if you will let me.”

He backed off.

Ella continued, reaching up for a plate in the overhead cabinet. She had everything now, including the gravy, but how to serve him without looking at him. Was he an actor or not? Her life might well depend on her next move.

“Serve thyself, too. I’ll not be eating alone.”

Ella reached for another plate to serve herself a tiny amount. No way did she want to eat.

“Is anyone else expected to share the repast?”

“No, just you and me.” Crunch time. She couldn’t serve him without looking in his direction. Was John going to get lucky and become a widower? Was this guy for real? Ella took a deep breath and put both plates on her kitchen table. She tried not to look at him, to keep her eyes downcast and then reached into the drawer for silverware. She set their places, still with eyes lowered. Grunts of enjoyment followed.

“Thee not be eating. I did say I wouldn’t harm thee.”

Ella stared at her plate. “Then why are you in my home, holding me a prisoner?”

“Evil people did lock me away and perform black magic on my body.” His voice hardened in tone. “I needs to get away, to my own place. I needs to hide so they can’t find me, and I needs food for strength to fight them if they does try.”
Shocked, she looked up at him. He was a young man, who might have been a blond, judging by his eyebrows as his head was shaven bald. Faint, darker stubble peppered his jaw and cheeks. Once, he might have been a powerful man, but now his prison clothes hung off an emaciated body. Grass-green eyes stared at her.

“Who are you?”

“They be a calling I John Smith, but that bain’t my name. I be Mordred.”

Ella laughed. This just wasn’t real. She had either lost her mind, or he was a very good actor. “Mordred was the son of the mythical King Arthur.”

He frowned, shoveling in a chunk of roast beef, which he took his time chewing before he answered. “Not so. That was a rumor. I be Merlin’s son and his apprentice.”

Yes, she had lost her mind. “Those people were supposed to have lived twelve centuries back. Who are you really? One of my soon to be ex-husband’s friends sent to scare me?

The man finished his meal with obvious enjoyment. He thrust his empty plate at her. “That was good. Could I have more?”

This was getting surreal. “When you have answered my question. Who are you?”

“I be Mordred. I will prove this to thee when I have more strength. Now, can I have another serving of your excellent food?”

Ella complied. She didn’t know what to do with this strange man. If he was one of John’s buddies, he was doing a stellar job on her. On the other hand, what if he was a madman, escaped from an asylum, which his prison grays seemed to suggest?

Mordred wolfed down his second portion with relish. He then looked directly into her eyes. “Do thee have a candle or a taper?”

Ella wasn’t sure what a taper was, but she did have candles. Ones meant to go with this supper. She stood up to get the candelabra from the sitting room, but he was there, breathing down her shoulder before she had reached the doorway.

“The candles are in another room. Can I get them?”

“I’ll be coming along behind.”

He did, shadowing her to such an extent that she wondered about him. Ella placed the unlit seven candle candelabra on the table between then as they resumed their seats.

“There be no lights. Thee agree?”

She nodded. Where was this madness going?”

Mordred lowered his head and shut his eyes. “Watch the candles.”

One by one, starting on the right, they flamed into light. Ella gasped, stunned. She didn’t know what to think. No one could do this.

“Watch.” He commanded.

The candelabra rose above the table to almost ceiling height before it gently drifted down to its former position.

He opened his grass green eyes. “I be Mordred, the apprentice and son of Merlin. Do thee believe me now, or do thee think me moonstruck, like the people in white coats?”

“I think I have gone mad. No one can do what you have just done”.

“I can and much more when I have my strength back. Will thee help me?”

He was serious. He had just accomplished an impossible feat. None of John’s actor friends could have done this, let alone an escapee from an asylum. Yes, this whole thing was a hallucination brought on by stress. She would wake up in the morning to her new, horrendous life, and that would be the end of it. In the meantime, she would go along with this madness. It spared her smashing things or dissolving into useless tears.

“What do you want from me?”

“I need to be where the wild things are, away from people. I can’t be going back to the place of sorcery and torment again.” He reached up to wipe a dribble of gravy from his mouth, exposing a wrist with heavy slash-marked scars slicing across it.

Reality slammed through Ella. She was sitting across the table from an escapee from an asylum, who had tried to self-harm. He wasn’t making sense, and yet the candles …that hadn’t been an illusion, or was it? Just how dangerous was this man, if he were real? She stood, turning to reach for the TV remote. A chair crashed back, and the next instant her arms were locked at her sides by his steely embrace.

“None of that long distance talking to call them to me.” His voice was a rumbled growl in her ear, his breath hot on her neck.

Heavens, he thought the remote was a cell phone. Her world tilted askew again. “I can’t talk to anyone with the device.” Now she had better humor him or else. “It is to turn on the box over in the corner that will show pictures and words from a distance, but not hear any words I say to it. I need to know where the people are who are chasing you. How can I help you if I don’t know what traps they are setting?”

He released one of her arms, still keeping her close against him. “Don’t thee be crossing I.”

Ella flipped through the channels until she had a local one. Halsham manor, a secure mental hospital just five miles away, flickered into view, surrounded by police cars and reporters. The camera zeroed in on a reporter describing a breakout of a dangerous and psychotic patient, who was on no count to be approached by the general public. A picture of Mordred, looking drugged, flashed onto the screen, while the voice reported that he had injured three staff, one seriously. Assurances followed of roadblocks and house to house searches in the immediate area. The man was considered dangerous. Ella killed the screen and gently put down the remote before it fell out of her shaking hand.

Serpent of the Shangrove is live now

 

Serpent-of-the-Shangrove-Digital-Cover-1-641x1024Copper is now a fully grown Drakken, but despite his magical abilities, he is shunned and shamed by his pure-blood kin.
Wandering despondent in the wilderness, Copper discovers a portal that reminds him of his lost crèche mate, left behind when the Drakkens fled their ancestral home. Knowing the portal will only remain open for three short days, Copper cannot resist the challenge to bring the lost maiden to safety, and prove himself worthy of his breed.

But the other world is not what he and his kin expected. The peoples are hostile, the Angressi emperor has not forgotten his grudge, and something is killing Samara Maidens.

In this eagerly anticipated sequel to her bestseller, Darkspire Reaches, CN Lesley transports us back into the world of Drakkens, of Connor and Raven, and of their son.

Deep in the Shangrove—a dark place that feeds on creatures of magic—a new evil is growing, waiting for the perfect mate.

http://www.amazon.com/Serpent-Shangrove-C-N-Lesley-ebook/dp/B01CO4E25I

Ss

And here it is. The official cover release of Serpent of the Shangrove along with comments from Kristell Ink.

2016 looks to be an exciting year. We have some excellent pieces scheduled for release and today we’re sharing with you the cover for C.N Lesley’s Serpent of the Shangrove, her follow-on novel to the hugely successful Darkspire Reaches.
Evelinn Enoksen has captured (again!) the feel of the novel entirely. Nature, lush yet dark and dangerous.

More details coming soon, but for the time being, C. N Lesley has written a little bit about the book. This isn’t the official blurb, but when we asked her to sum up the story in a few paragraphs, this is what she said:

Given one chance to find the fate of a crèche mate, Copper grasps the challenge to save her and to prove himself worthy to the other Drakkens, who look down on him as a half-breed, despite his full array of magic abilities. The other world is not as he expected and the races living there don’t seem to have honor. Then he finds the Serpent, a creature of pure evil. Who will live? Who will die? One of them will not walk away.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMwPuG0FEys

A visit from author Erin S. Riley

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Erin S. Riley is the author of the Sons of Odin Series, Viking historical fiction with a heavy dash of romance, adventure, and suspense. Odin’s Shadow, A Flame Put Out, and Oath Breaker follow Selia, a young Irish woman, as she’s forced to marry a Viking warlord and is drawn into a perilous world of obsession, betrayal, and madness. As dark secrets come to light, Selia must make a heartrending choice that might well destroy everything she holds dear.

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Erin Riley has an undergraduate degree in psychology and a graduate degree in clinical counseling. She is also a board certified lactation consultant and has had extensive training in maternal-child health. Since Erin was a child, she has been fascinated with human nature and what motivates behavior. She enjoys writing stories that reflect real life: Erin’s books feature complicated, imperfect characters who love deeply, make reckless decisions, and try again until they get it right.

A lifelong lover of books, Erin taught herself to read at the age of four and hasn’t been without a book since. She is an equal-opportunity reader of fiction and non-fiction, and her shelves are filled with books on archaeology, anthropology, and general history. The social history of women and their place in society across the ages is a favorite reading topic of Erin’s.

Erin has a bit of an obsession with all things Viking and owns an embarrassing number of reference books on the Viking age. While reading about berserkers she had an epiphany and realized that the crazed, shield-biting men of sagas were actually suffering from a mental illness. On that day the character of Alrik Ragnarson was born.

Erin is drawn to any creative pursuit, from making hand-stitched quilts to producing mini-movies for family and friends from home videos. But writing has always been her passion. When Erin isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her two wonderful children, reading anything she can get her hands on, watching football, and renovating her house with her husband of 18 years. Who just happens to look like a Viking!

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BOOK ONE OF THE SONS OF ODIN SERIES

Odin’s Shadow Obsession. Treachery. Revenge. Redemption. Certain themes resonate across the centuries.

In ninth-century Ireland, Selia is a girl on the verge of womanhood, frustrated by the confines of her gender and resentful of the freedom her brother boasts of. Intelligent and resourceful in a time when neither is valued in a female, she longs for an escape from her sheltered existence. Fascinated by the tales of Viking raids told by her maidservant, Selia’s hunger for independence is fed through the stories of heathen ferocity she hears at the woman’s knee.

A decision to sneak to the city’s harbor to view the Viking longships leads to an encounter with Alrik Ragnarson, a charismatic Viking warlord whose outward beauty masks a dark and tortured mind. With the knowledge that her father is about to announce her betrothal to a man she doesn’t love, Selia marries Alrik and within a day is on the longship bound for Norway and a new life.

While Selia’s relationship with her new husband grows, her friendship with his brother Ulfrik grows as well. And as Alrik’s character flaws come to light and tension mounts between the two brothers, Selia begins to have misgivings about her hasty marriage . . . especially when a secret from the past is revealed, one that threatens to destroy them all.

 

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A Flame Put Out (Sons of Odin Series book 2) Selia’s saga continues in Book Two of the SONS OF ODIN series . . .

As Selia struggles with the harsh reality of existence as the wife of a Viking berserker, a devastating loss pulls Alrik deeper into madness, while a secret Selia desperately wants to keep hidden comes to light, threatening everything she holds dear.

Is Selia’s love for Alrik enough to keep her in Norway? Or will the protection offered by Alrik’s brother Ulfrik sway her to leave?

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Oath Breaker (Sons of Odin Series book 3) Releasing 12/30/15. The exciting conclusion of the Sons of Odin trilogy:

Sometimes the right man has been there all along…
Selia has fled Norway and her Viking berserker husband to protect her children from his rages. His brother Ulfrik, having long loved Selia from afar, offers his protection. As Selia uncovers the man he is, love blossoms in her heart where there was only emptiness. But will their newfound love survive when Alrik returns to claim what is his?

*Note I have very much enjoyed the first two books and had the third on pre order. It looks like it is now out and I can have another awesome read*

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019PL2NEK?keywords=erin%20riley&qid=1450834216&ref_=sr_1_5&s=books&sr=1-5

Welcome Author Beth Hale for a visit


Walker and Lainey share one explosive night together, and he awakens to find her gone. Shrugging it off as just a glorious one-night stand, he accepts a new job in a small town: New Hope, Mississippi. That’s where he finds Lainey again. She just happens to be married to the Chief of Police-and Walker’s new boss.

Lainey is terrified that Walker will divulge their secret. If he does, Lainey is a dead woman. But despite the danger, she can’t forget the one passionate night she spent in Walker’s arms. Walker demands answers from Lainey: What secret is she hiding? Why is she so afraid? And when people begin dying, he wants to get to the bottom of it. Why is the police chief trying to brush off the deaths? Why doesn’t he want Walker to work the cases? What kind of secrets is he hiding?

Drawn together, unable to deny their passion, they risk their lives. Lainey is trapped. Walker is determined to save her and uncover the truth. Can they expose the secrets before a ruthless man destroys any hope for a brighter future?

Reviews

Magnolia Secrets is a romance exactly the way I like my romance: full of mystery, suspense, and danger. It is the story of Lainey, the beautiful wife of a small town chief of police; and Walker, the new officer looking for a fresh start. They have a steamy encounter early in the book, before either knows who the other is, and then to their mutual surprise meet again at a backyard barbeque. Walker believes the worst about Lainey, not knowing the dark secrets she keeps. Later in the book he suspects the truth about the terrifying life Lainey lives. As he works to help her find a way out of a seemingly hopeless situation, the full picture of the chief’s activities come to light, leading to an action-packed conclusion. If you enjoy romantic suspense, you can’t go wrong with Magnolia Secrets!

***

Beth Hale’s Magnolia Secrets is a fast-paced cop story that had me turning pages to finish in almost one sitting. It could be an episode of “CSI, Small-Town.” For a shorter novel, it didn’t lack for interesting characters to care about and lots of action. With a handsome hunk detective, some steamy sex scenes, and some nasty bad guys, this first of Hale’s Magnolia Series fits well within the Romantic Suspense genre. She left just enough on the table to have me looking for the next installment. Good job. I give it five stars.

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1H2R0pxYHs

Purchase Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1T5WblH
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1IOXBPU
Nook: http://bit.ly/1TlowcW
iBooks: http://apple.co/1Mmnv0k
kobo: http://bit.ly/1Ja4wp2

Book trailer for Magnolia Secrets a contemporary romance novel A

 

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Beth Hale writes about what she knows: strong, Southern women and the men who love them. She twines believable characters, realistic circumstances, and heart-felt emotions together to create sassy, sexy contemporary romances. She draws inspiration from the every day life problems we all face, and expands them into vivid, interesting, hard-to-put-down stories.

She learned the joys of reading from her mother, and her love affair with books has only grown stronger. If she isn’t breathing life into a new character, she is trying to make a dent in her large to-be-read pile.

Beth lives in small-town Mississippi with her own real-life hero and two children. They share the house with a variety of pets. When she is not working her “day job” as an E-911 dispatcher, you can find her curled up on her couch, with a blanket, coffee, and notebook.

She is the author of the Unexpected Emotion Series and the Magnolia Series.

Social Media Links

website: http://www.authorbethhale.com/
blog: http://www.bethhalewrites.blogspot.com/
facebook: http://on.fb.me/1pLg1pg
twitter: http://bit.ly/1hhLOwP
instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writes4coffee/
pintrest: http://bit.ly/1RgFQup

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^Darkspire Reaches #Sale^

Read a snippet of this dark, romantic fantasy.

The late afternoon sun gave a red tinge to the sky as Raven emerged from the rank tunnels onto the lake shore. She wrinkled her nose in distaste at the smell coming from her wet clothing. Foul water found and polluted every dry shred of fabric on her body.

The hunters used vargel hounds to track, and they would come to this place, so she would spread her scent to confuse them. Raven waded out into the lake, keeping within her depth, then, using the sun as her guide, she headed northwest. They would figure a direct north line of escape to the settlements of the tribes. Raven didn’t doubt Margie would help foster that notion to save her own skin. Again, a bitter smile curled her lips upward. As long as she remained in the water, she left no trail. Almost as an afterthought, she dipped her torch into dull, gray waters and let it fall.

Cold seeped into her bones while she waded on the fringe of the lake. It made a harsh contrast to the foul, but warmer, temperature of sewer filth. Hunger clawed at her insides, bringing another form of cold, one that started from within. The baying of hounds startled Raven into a misstep and she fell; her feet rose to the surface, turning her on her back, the motion warring with the wet clothes pulling her down. If she shed them, she would give the hunters another clue to her passage, and how would she get new ones? The fabric belled out to catch a current and draw her to the center of the lake.

She drifted north to the sounds of the horn call of hunters and the baying of their hounds. Maybe they would burst from the thick line of trees almost reaching the edge of the lake. No pyre could send her spirit on its journey now.

She didn’t know the size of the lake. She hadn’t seen the other side across a vast expanse of water, sunlight sparkling off the waves and ripples. No doubt it drained in the direction of her passage for the current to pull her, but that soon ceased to concern her as the icy waters leeched at her, sucking out her life. A small bird fluttered down to settle on her chest and under his bright gaze, she let herself become enveloped by death’s cold arms.

Waves of sleep lapped around her, washing away hurt. She closed her eyes, feeling the wind on her face, on her body, as she hurtled through the air. For a moment, she imagined herself back at the citadel, throwing herself off a turret to ride the wind. One last image of Margie, a smile lighting her face after a good scrying session, and then flashes of gold lanced through the picture in her mind’s eye until only gold remained. Gold upon gold, fading down into nothing—nothing but a pair of shining, golden eyes.

And here is a trailer for the sequel.

READ MORE

http://bookShow.me/B00DJE8RP4

An Interview with Author Jan Petken

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Tell us about your past careers.
I joined the (British) Royal Navy at the age of seventeen. I was a leading Naval Policewoman, equivalent to a sergeant in the Military Police. After the Navy, I went to work for a travel company as an overseas representative. During the first Gulf War I was a security guard at the BBC World Service radio station. After I left the BBC, I spent twelve years as a bodyguard for a Saudi Princess.
My final career outside the house was with British Airways. I was a cabin crew member on the worldwide fleet, which allowed me to travel extensively to every corner of the world, at least two or three times. Unfortunately, I had an accident on board a flight. The aircraft, a Boeing 747, was flying at 39,000 feet above Africa when it was caught in clear-air turbulence. As the plane dropped my body flew upward causing my head to hit the cabin’s ceiling. As a result of this accident, I have had three major operations on my spinal cord and am now retired. I missed the busy and interesting experiences that my job had brought me, thus turning my attention to writing.
I’ve lived in so many countries, I’m dizzy. I’m a jack of all trades but master of none. I’ve made so many mistakes in life that I often wonder how I managed to survive all these years – But, I feel blessed to be able to call writing, my last stand. Long may it last x

Why historical fiction?
I can still picture the day my passion for history was ignited. I was a little girl, sitting with my mum in a cinema watching a re-run of, Gone With the Wind. Whether it was the costumes, dialogue, accents, or horses that caught my attention, I don’t know, but that was the moment my love affair with the past began.

Do you stick to the same historical period, and do you have a formula?
No. I don’t really have a favourite historical period, or event. I’m a Gemini, and as changeable as the weather. It will be impossible for me to cover all the historical periods that I would like to write about, in my lifetime, but I’ll get through as many as possible, because I want to share as many historical stories as I can. There’s an old saying: We are only passing through. That’s so true when you think about thousands of years, full of historical events that we can only read about.
When choosing my books’ themes, I think about where I’d like to be and what I’d like to be involved in. When I write, I see, feel, and go with gut feelings. I enjoy the journey, and rarely plan ahead. There are no outlines, notes, or list of characters. My preparation is negligible, and I rarely follow rules. Right or wrong, this is my method, and I guess I’ll continue adhere to the proverbial saying, ‘going with my flow.’

 

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Reviews
The Guardian of Secrets
“An epic in every sense, The Guardian of Secrets is War and Peace for a new generation. Jana Petken is a natural storyteller and in The Guardian of Secrets she weaves an engrossing, passionate tale of family life, of love, of betrayal, of war and redemption. These are classic themes and they are combined here to produce a classic tale in the finest traditions of historical fiction.”
Dark Shadows: Mercy Carver Series
“Dark Shadows, is the first five-star book in Jana Petken’s exciting Mercy Carver series. This meticulously crafted and riveting tale had me captivated from the very first page.”
Blood Moon: Mercy Carver, Book Two
“The author did a fantastic job weaving this story. I admit I was surprised at some twist and turns. Many times, I found myself holding my breath!”
The Errant Flock
“A glorious read, I was totally captivated by this story. Her descriptions of the people, the country and the history put me right in the picture and I couldn’t put it down. She is a great storyteller with lots of depth to her writing.”
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Widdershins my nano project chapter 6

This has not been edited and may well end up being tweaked.

Rowan reached sight of the Rockies just as the sun was setting. The low light on his face seared his tired eyes after thirty-six hours driving but the satellite navigator on the truck had helped, particularly at crossing frozen farm fields to avoid a border stop. Neither of them had papers and he wasn’t up to giving explanations. He could just imagine the reaction to his statement, ‘Well, I am a five-hundred year old werewolf and this is a young wolf in the making. No, we don’t have passports because we aren’t really human anymore.’ He’d deal with getting new identity documents once he had Morgan safe.

Luckily, the truck was a four-by-four or he would have been in trouble with the snow. Morgan hadn’t stirred, despite the two stops for gas and one to change to Canadian currency at a bank just as they opened in the morning. He hadn’t thought she would waken after the strength of stuff he had given her. Five more hours to drive through Calgary and Banff and then he was into the interior of British Columbia. Any side road would do after that point. A whine from the rear of the truck raised the hair on the back of his neck. His time was running out. He pulled over on the hard shoulder to check on Morgan. She twitched and moaned. The change was coming sooner than he wanted. Not good. He might not have time to strip her before he released her if he didn’t do so now, a necessity, if not his preferred choice. He tried to be gentle to keep her hibernating. Stars, she had a great body now she had put on a bit of weight and wasn’t such a skeleton. Down boy, he couldn’t think about that. He wrapped her in purloined duvets to cover everything except her head.

The world spun when he tried to climb into the cab again. He took a moment to clear his head. Five hundred years of endurance kicked in. He could do this and he could do it safely for both of them. He rolled down the window, sucking in a blast of arctic air to keep him awake for the next stretch. Calgary flashed by in a glare of garish Christmas lights, followed by Banff with more subdued decorations. The noises from Morgan became louder but this didn’t disturb him as much as an overriding sense of dread. Something stalked them, and yet he couldn’t see any vehicle behind him, not on a consistent basis. The sense of oppression continued until three hours before dawn. Now he knew who hunted him. A vampire and a long distance one at that. Someone needed to check into a motel with vacancies, which wasn’t easy, given the ski season in full operation. Someone needed to make quite sure he had a nice dark room before daybreak. Good, it gave him time to set Morgan free. He turned off on the first side road, driving until he found a cut out. The growls from the back of the truck were getting serious. He pulled over, opening the rear door. One yank got the covers off her. He retreated to the other side of the truck to let nature run its course. The cold would make her change to get her fur, but he had to stay out of her scent pattern or she would attack him. A vibrant howl reverberated. It had begun. He climbed up to the cab roof, out of the way. A slim and beautiful wolf erupted from the rear of the cab. She sprinted into the trees in easy bounds. Rowan slid off the roof to get inside, shutting all the doors. Now, at last, he could sleep. The vampire was going to have to check every vehicle on this route to find the right one and at Christmas time, with people traveling, it was going to take time. Morgan would run and she would hunt until her human memories kicked in, and then she would return to deal with him for what he had done to her. He didn’t imagine she’d be thrilled. Rowan clicked the door locks shut before he surrendered to exhaustion.

***

Morgan came awake suddenly with an overpowering urge to run. She leapt out of a smelly area into clean forest. With the stars above her head and the sounds of nature all around, her world had no end. Crisp snow bore her weight for the fleeting seconds her feet made contact, leaving only a slight indent. Other fresh tracks snagged her senses with the aroma of prey. Mm, bunny, yum. She found it scrabbling in the snow to get at withered grass under the mantel of white. Carefully she edged around the clearing until she was downwind, her tail now wagging in anticipation. One step at a time, she crept closer, belly low. One mad dash, with the white hare squealing, bounding off at jagged angles and she had it. A bite to snap the neck brought the taste of fresh warm blood to her mouth. She started with the entrails, working her way to the muscles and then crunching the marrow out of the big bones, licking out the goodness. A full belly came with disturbing thoughts. This was not right. Memories of her other life bubbled to the surface in that lonely glade. He had done this to her, the man who was wolf. Yes, she wanted freedom, but not in this form. Her damaged leg began to ache in the cold. She must find him; make him answer for his sins. Her own scent gave a trail back to his truck and an impossible sight.

***
Rowan’s wolf sense roused him from slumber. A predator stalked and he thought he knew who it was. Being inside a locked truck was no security if he guessed right. More pressing, Morgan might walk into a trap if he didn’t spring it first. This showdown was long overdue. He stepped out into the frigid night, snow crunching underfoot, every sense keyed to the slightest movement or sound. Darkness ruled in the time before dawn.

A rustle in a nearby tree spun him around. Stanislav Borinsky, now called Jack Stevens, crouched on a limb, his eyes glinting in the moonlight. The vampire watched, waiting, intent on the cabin of the truck.

“Where is she, old wolf? What have you done with her? You know you will tell me when I’ve finished with you. Why not spare us both the inconvenience?”

Rowan assessed the killing field with a swift glance. Every boulder, depression, fallen branch mapped in his head, every slight depression or hummock in the snow; he smiled at the old bat. “Borinsky, you missed the boat by so much the ticket office closed down hours since. She will never be your prey.”

The vampire leaped off his perch to float gracefully to the ground. “I will have her. I won’t have my operations disrupted by a human. You must see this from my point of view. I need Mullen to front my North American operation and she has fingered him. What is a puny human to us? Come, give me the girl and I will forgive what your pack did to my men. ”

“The girl is mine. Shall we fight?” Bring it on. It was past time they stopped dancing around each other and settled this for good. This wasn’t about Morgan any longer. It was about who was going to survive.
Borinsky hesitated, looking into the shadows of the forest. “How careless you have become in your dotage. Your pack appears conspicuous by their absence. One last chance. Where did you leave her and where is she going?”

A whiff of frigid air brought the scent of wolf. Rowan did have a pack mate, but was she on his side? The old bat missed the spore of a werewolf. Too bad for him. “How about you consider giving up flying? Sink your fangs into me and that is what will happen.”

Borinsky snapped his cloak back from his shoulders. “What makes you think I would want to ruin my dental hygiene on your sorry carcass? We both know I am stronger than you in your current form. I’ll settle for snapping your back to let you freeze to death.” He rose from the ground, floating into battle position.

A sleek gray wolf sprang out of the bush, bounded to the truck bed, and then onto the roof of the cab. She crouched, ready to spring, her glowing eyes intent on the vampire’s throat. The vampire sailed up onto his former perch, shaking out his cloak like ruffled feathers. “That is not a wolf.”

Rowan smiled again. “Not all of my pack are lupine. Shall we discover what happens when a vampire gets bitten by one of my kind? Normally, I am kind to new pups, but in your case I could make an exception. Oh, and by the way, if you want a fight, you had better get on with it. I spy a silver streak in the sky. Still, this shouldn’t be a problem for you in your new life.”

Borinsky made the mistake of looking east. Morgan leapt at him, missing by a spider’s leg, when the vampire flew up in panic. His hiss of outrage made the night colder. “I’ll not forget, or forgive. I’ll find the girl without you.”

Rowan moved close to the wolf, reaching down with one hand to stroke her luxuriant fur. “Oh look, is that some red I see in the sky?”
The vampire took flight in a blur.

Morgan bit his hand, just a little. Reckoning time. “How about if I go get your clothes and turn my back while you change? We can argue all you like after that.”

 

Snow day May 29 2010 297

Evolution in words

I am currently trying out Amazon’s new lending library as they have a free trial for Canada at the moment. I have a hard time finding anything good on the site as those I knew were good were ones I had already read. So I went back to a golden oldie, Georgette Heyer and a three book set starting with ‘The Miracle at St. Bruno’s’. Now this was, is and probably always will be a mainstream book and in just about every library, etc.

What really stood out was how styles and pacing have really changed over the years since I last read this book. At the time it was classed as adult. Well, to be fair, there were only two categories: adult and children’s. Now I would put it in the YA section. What caught me first was the pacing, which was slow, so very slow. Yes, this is an historical romance with a thriller twist but it plods pedantically over many pages littered with extraneous fluff a writer would never get by an editor in this century. Another thing that jumped out at me was the multiple instances of ‘talking heads’; two characters in a room discussing something to the exclusion of everything else so the reader’s attention is focussed on the words of the dialogue and everything else that should be around is a nebulous grey color.

Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying the book and it is perfect for night time reading after I go to bed as it has a pleasantly lulling effect. I did enjoy the book enormously when I first came across it way back when. I love the historical elements, which are brilliant and I love the plot twists. It is just fascinating to see the evolution in the writing style from the then to the now.

Will I continue with the Amazon library? Nope. I can’t find anything I would get that would equal more than the $9 a month it would cost me. For my money, I would like a free choice from all of the books available, not just those solely locked into the Amazons platform.