Friday, October 30, 2009

More Things In Heaven and Earth . . .

from Emily Bryan . . .

It's almost Halloween, so I feel obliged to tell you a ghost story. Usually, I write fiction. This tale is real.

There are things that exist just on the edge of our ability to perceive them. They are as much a part of reality as the coffee you're drinking or the smile of a sleeping toddler. We just aren't aware of them most of the time.

Children are more apt to discern them, I think, because children haven't learned to filter out the parts of the world they can't understand yet. Perhaps that explains as well as anything what I saw at night in my bedroom when I was about 8 or 9.

It was a darkness. An amorphous blob that formed in the corner of my room, opaque mostly, but I was able to see through it around the edges. As I peered at it, the thing moved closer. If I shut my eyes, it retreated to the corner. Heart hammering, I'd open my eyes again and it would advance toward me.

Finally, I'd slip off to sleep in terrified exhaustion. It didn't happen every night. It may have only been a handful of times, but the experience felt very real. I didn't tell my mother. She'd only think I was being silly. I didn't even tell my younger sister who slept in the bunk above me. I didn't want to scare her.

Decades later, my sister, mother and I were talking and I finally told them about my experience. To my surprise, my sister began finishing my sentences. She had seen the same thing--the darkness, the advance and retreat, exactly as I had experienced it!

"Oh, girls," my mom said. "I didn't want to tell you when you were little, but before we bought that house, we heard that a man hung himself in your bedroom closet."

Well, thanks, mom! Hope you got a good deal on the haunted house!

What we saw, I have no idea. I only know both my sister and I saw it.

Ok, now it's your turn. Do you have a ghost story in your past? Know of someone who does?

PS. If you haven't entered my MERRY CHRISTMAS BALL CONTEST, now's the time! Don't miss a chance at a $100 B&N gift card on December 1st!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Silver Silence Excerpt

Silver Silence, a Druids of Avalon novel, is in bookstores Oct 27!

To celebrate here on the Chatelaines, I'm running a special contest:

One lucky reader who comments on either today’s post (10/28) or last Wednesday's (10/21) by midnight ET on Sunday Nov 1 will win autographed copies of The Grail King, & Deep Magic, along with an autographed copy of the November RT BookReviews magazine featuring yours truly and the Druids of Avalon on the cover!

Please consider including your email with your post so I can contact you quickly if you win! And if you don’t…check out more chances to win at www.joynash.com.

Also, if you plan to pick up a copy of Silver Silence, it would be great if you could do it near the book's release date of Oct 27, because a book's release weeks sales are the most important to the publisher!

Thanks and good luck to all!


And now an excerpt from Silver Silence...



The shore was cold and damp. The seat of Rhys’s breeches was wet where his arse touched the ground. The discomfort was welcome. Or, if not exactly welcome, tolerated. It allowed Rhys to focus on the wretchedness of his body, rather than the wretchedness of his soul. For that small distraction, he was grateful.


Silence spread like a woolen blanket over Avalon. Far off, a raptor screeched. The village, however, slept. Rhys had tried to do the same, on the spare pallet in Trevor’s roundhouse. He was as tired as he could ever remember—exhausted in soul as well as body. But sleep would not come.


Sleep never came to him easily, here on Avalon.


Aye, he could drop off at a moment’s notice camped by the road, under trees and sky. He slept effortlessly in vermin-ridden haylofts, or wrapped in a thin blanket in front of some stranger’s hearth. And he’d slumbered soundly in any number of beds belonging to widows and whores.
But here in Avalon, surrounded by the people he loved, and who loved him in return, he could not sleep. His loneliness was too profound, his hurt too deep.


He wanted what he could not have. Desperately.


Gwen had scolded him soundly for staying away so long. He was sorry to have frightened his twin. Once they had been so close, they had shared nearly every thought, but now Gwen’s husband was first in her heart, and her connection with her twin had faded. Still, his sister loved him deeply, even if she understood him less well. He wondered if she suspected that Breena was the reason Rhys had stayed away so long.


Now that he could no longer tell himself she was too young to give herself to a man, he could not look at her without wanting her beneath him. Or on her knees, her red lips parting eagerly. Or bent over a bed, or chair, or even a log, as he slaked his lust like a rutting beast. Or with her wrists bound—


He broke that sickening thought with a shudder of raw guilt.


Marcus would kill him for even imagining such things about Breena. But Rhys couldn’t help it. He might travel to Hibernia, or the far northern isles…he might warm the beds of a thousand whores…he might drink himself to oblivion, or walk until he dropped…. And still he would not be able to wipe Breena from his mind.


The worst of his torment, perhaps, came from the knowledge that had he truly belonged to Avalon, he would have been able to have her. If his grandfather had not condemned him to a life of homelessness. Even though Cyric was dead, Rhys did not for one moment imagine he could give up his wandering on Avalon’s behalf. He’d seen, through Cyric’s magic, the terrible future Britain would face if Rhys abandoned his search for Druid magic. Only by bringing the most powerful Druids to Avalon, to be trained in the Light, could he ensure that darkness would not overtake his land and his people.


Aye, Cyric’s vision of Britain’s precarious future meant that happiness was a blessing Rhys would never know. Perhaps there might have been hope, had Breena been raised in poverty, as Rhys had been. Until four years ago, Breena’s home had been a prosperous Roman estate. She’d been born to luxuries Rhys hadn’t even known to dream of during his own childhood. The comfort and security of the Celtic settlement of Avalon was a primitive life for her. The hard life of a wandering minstrel’s wife? He almost laughed. Unthinkable.


He stared into the fog and the darkness. He should not have come. Visiting Avalon, far from comforting him, had only driven loneliness and hopelessness deeper into his cold heart.


“Rhys?”


He would have known her voice at a hundred paces. As it was, she spoke from only a few steps behind his back. He dropped his head and pressed his forehead to his bent knees. He could not face her. Not now. Perhaps if he gave no answer, she would simply leave.


He should have known better. Even as a small lass, Breena had been too stubborn for her own good.



“Rhys, what are you doing here all alone? Are you…all right? You’re not ill, are you?”


He admitted defeat by lifting his head. “Nay.”


He didn’t look back as she approached. His body tightened as she neared, the scent of roses wafting before her. He could not suppress the wholly inappropriate hardening of his body.


She stood beside him, just visible in his peripheral vision, hesitant, shivering. His first instinct was to pull her into his arms and warm her. But because he had some measure of honor left, he did not.


“Why are you here?” Her teeth chattered a little. She rubbed her arms. “The whole village is asleep.”


“You are not.”


She did not answer. He did not rise, nor did she move to sit. He glanced up at her, but could not discern her expression in the darkness.


“But you should be asleep,” he said. “Did you follow me, Bree?”


“Yes,” she confessed. “I woke and…I needed air. I opened my shutters, and saw you leave Trevor’s roundhouse. When you did not return….”


“You should not have come after me. You should be in bed.”


She hugged herself more tightly. “I…have not been able to sleep much of late.”


He caught the tremor of fear in her voice. “The silver visions?” he asked sharply. “Have they returned?”


“Yes, the visions….” She blew out a white plume of breath. “But that is not all. You were gone so long. Even Gwen was frightened for you. As for me…I think of you often, Rhys. Especially at night, when I….” Her voice faltered.


Dear gods in Annwyn! He did not want to hear this. She stood so close now, her skirt brushed his knee. Exactly when she’d moved, he did not know.


She sat down beside him. He fought the urge put his arm around her. Or get up and run. He wasn’t sure which he wanted to do more.


“The ground is wet,” he said.


“I don’t care.”


A heavy silence fell between them. It lengthened into awkwardness. The night seemed to contract around him, until the darkness contained nothing but the lap of water on the shore, the shush of Breena’s breathing, and his own pounding heart.


He inhaled her scent. She must have put rose oil in her bathwater. It was a Roman fragrance, very much prized by wealthy women. The aroma seemed to draw a thin, straight line between them. He did not try to cross it. He knew better.


Unfortunately, she did not. “Will you stay the winter in Avalon? I…I do hope so. Everyone has missed you.” She paused. “I have missed you.”


He was ashamed at how fiercely he drank in those four words. She had missed him. His cock responded, even as he fought to remain detached from a rush of tangled emotions. In the grand scheme of things, it did not matter that Breena missed him.


“I’ll stay perhaps a sennight,” he said. “Until the harvest feast. After that…I must go.”
She uttered a sound of dismay. “But that is hardly any time at all! Gwen will not have it, Rhys, I am telling you that right now. She will not allow you to—”


“My sister has no authority over my comings and goings.” The words were harsher than he’d intended.


Breena sucked in a breath. “I…I didn’t mean to imply that she did. Only…only that she loves you. She misses you dreadfully when you’re gone.”


“No one should miss me. I am not a part of Avalon.”


“How can you say that? Why, you’re the most important part of us! Without you, the sacred isle would be all but deserted. Most of us are here only because you brought us.”


It was true. Of Cryic’s original small band of Druids, only Mared and Padrig remained. And Gwen, of course. All the others… Dead. Or lost.


As Rhys was.


“I’m used to wandering,” he told her. “I am more comfortable on the road.”


“What nonsense! You could not possibly be.”


He made no reply.


“Mared says in the past, when Cyric was alive, you visited far more often, and stayed longer. But now that your grandfather is dead, and your freedom greater, you stay away. Rhys, is it…is it because of me? Do you…do you hate me so much?”


He turned so abruptly she lurched backward. He grabbed her arm to steady her. He released her an instant later, as if he’d touched a hot coal.


“I could never hate you.” He swallowed. “How could you imagine such a thing? You are like a sis—


“I am not your sister! I never was, and I don’t want to be. Rhys, I lo—”


“Gods in Annwyn, Breena!” He jerked to his feet. “Do not say it. Please.”

She stared up at him. “Why not? It is the truth.”

“What you want from me can never be the truth between us.”


Slowly, she pushed to her feet, regarding him with sober eyes. “Rhys. You are shaking.”


He was. He turned and paced a few steps away. His hand went to the back of his neck. He needed some space.


But her voice followed. “I understand now why you rejected me that day at my father’s house. I know why you flung all those hurtful words at me. I was too young for what I was asking of you. But, Rhys, that was four years ago. I’m no longer that girl. I’m a woman now.”


He clenched his teeth. Gods. Aye, she was a woman. A lush, tempting….


Her words battered him. “There’s no longer any need to push me away. Don’t you see? I love you, Rhys. I always have, and I always will. And I think you l—”


Something snapped inside him. He spun around, and stalked toward her. “Breena, stop. Before you say something you’ll regret.”


“No! I won’t. I’ll say what’s in my heart. I lov—mmph!”


He’d covered her mouth with his palm. His other hand gripped her shoulder. “Don’t,” he pleaded. “Don’t.”


Her eyes were huge. In the moonlight they looked gray rather than the clear blue he knew them to be. And in them…a spark of dangerous, feminine knowledge.


Her lips parted. Her breath bathed his palm. Before he could react, before he could even think, she tasted his skin with the tip of her hot, wet tongue.


Don't forget to stop by my personal blog Friday Night Reflections, where you'll find more excerpts and more chances to win! All the best!

Joy
www.joynash.com


























All the best!


Joy
www.joynash.com



Monday, October 26, 2009

QUEEN Countdown Final Days



The countdown for QUEEN OF SONG AND SOULS, the 4th novel in the Tairen Soul quintet, is in it's final week -- only 1 more day to go until QUEEN OF SONG AND SOULS hits the bookshelves! Come join me on my personal blog, Blogging the Fading Lands, for fun and games and a weekly chance to win an autographed copy of QUEEN and other fun prizes. The countdown will continue from now through October 27, the release date of QUEEN.

But the fun doesn't end there....






Join me on Borders True Romance



Join me tomorrow for more fun and prizes at the Borders True Romance blog. If you comment on the Borders blog and send me an email, you'll also get another ticket in the pot for my fabulous Grand Prize drawings.

See tomorrow's Fading Lands blog for details on the grand prize drawing - and the launch of my Release Week blogfest, including more fun, prizes and Fey games.

To read an excerpt of QUEEN, click here.

Week 3 Winner: The week 3 Chatelaine's winner is Linda Henderson who receives the book of her choice from any Chatelaine.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wild Heart by Lori Brighton

10/26 Update: Lori Brighton picked 3 winners to receive her debut title:
HeatherD
Linda Henderson
Virginia

Please contact Lori through her website or you can drop me a note at www.emilybryan.com with your mailing info and I'll make sure Lori received it! Thanks to everyone who visited and left a comment!


from Emily Bryan . . .

I'd like to introduce you to debut author, Lori Brighton. She has a great story to share about her path to publication, so please make her feel welcome. Ok, Lori, it's all yours!

There’s a question that comes up many times when an author does an interview: How did your book come about? The short story is that my son, three at the time, had been watching the Disney Tarzan movie a lot. That combined with the fact that I’d seen a show on feral children and an idea popped to mind that, hey, what if I wrote a romance with a sort of Tarzan/Jungle Book hero? I’d always loved alpha males, and they couldn’t get more alpha than a boy raised in a jungle. Yes, that’s the short story to how Wild Heart, my debut book came about. But really, as with any story, there’s so much more.

There’s a part of me that attributes Wild Heart to instinct. Yep, that’s right. Every day we’re bombarded with this idea of instinct. How many times has someone told you to trust your instincts? But do you really believe in the value of instincts? I’d come up with the basic premise of Wild Heart, but something in the story was missing. What if, I thought, the hero is slightly animalistic, and the heroine has a magical ability to control animals? Instinct told me that in order to make my story more unique I needed to add just a touch of paranormal. Yet, I had many people tell me I didn’t need the paranormal and that I should ditch it. Every time I tried to take it out, the book no longer felt right. In the end, I trusted my instincts and left that paranormal element in the book.

But that wasn’t the only time instinct came into play. I’d been writing for six long years when I’d sold Wild Heart. I’d sent it to every agent I could; all had rejected the book. Yet, I was so sure, positive this was the book that was going to finally sell. That darn instinct was rearing its persistent head. And so, not giving up, I sent Wild Heart to writing contests, hoping the final judge (usually an editor) would want to see more. In the first two contests, Wild Heart finaled but didn’t win. Heartbroken and desperate, I sent Wild Heart to one more contest. But I couldn’t help but wonder if my instincts had been wrong all along. Was Wild Heart destined to be another book set aside? Then I got the email saying my entry had finaled in the Golden Acorn contest and Hilary Sares, an editor from Kensington, gave it first place. Even better, she wanted to see the full.

I could have given up on my dream. Believe me, there were many times I wanted to. But I trusted my instincts, and I can only say, thank heavens I did. So what about you? Tell me about an instance in which your instincts were spot on. Leave a comment or question. Three people will win a copy of my debut book, Wild Heart!


Lori Brighton has a degree in Anthropology and worked as a museum curator. Deciding the people in her imagination were slightly more exciting than the dead things in a museum basement, she set out to become an author. Her first book, a historical romance, will be available November 3, 2009.

Excerpt from Wild Heart

A sudden breeze sent ripples across the pond’s surface. Ella crossed her arms over her chest, shivering. Above, gray clouds rolled through the sky and thunder rumbled in the distance. A few women on the other side of the pond shrieked.
“Will it storm?” Ella asked, looking up.

Lightning flashed, spreading like tree branches across the sky.

“I guess that answers your question.” He gave one final push of the roars, and they hit the bank of the island.

She turned to look behind them. “Where are we going? Should we not head back with the others?”

“It would be easier to wait it out here. Unless you have a great desire to be in their company?”

“No,” she said, inching her way toward the bow.

Leo jumped from the boat and held out his hands. Always so trustful, she leaned forward, and he wrapped his fingers around her waist, lifting her to the ground. She was only inches from him. Slowly, she lifted her gaze, and their eyes met. Did she think of that field of wildflowers? Did she think of their kisses? Did her body burn for him as his did for her?

A cold drop landed with a splat on his cheek. He looked up to find the sky threatening more. Ella bolted around him, her laughter trailing behind her. Leo glanced across the pond. The others had disappeared, most likely to return home.
They were alone…utterly alone.

Thanks for visiting with us here today, Lori! And thanks for offering 3 chances to win a copy of Wild Heart!

Be sure to leave a comment or question for Lori. And if you'd like to learn more, please visit www.loribrighton.com

PS. If you haven't entered my Merry CHRISTMAS BALL Contest, there's still time! Someone's going to win a $100 B&N Gift card on December 1st. Will it be you?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Reading this week



If I've discovered one secret about being a writer, it's this--it's far more fun to read someone else's books than bang your head against the wall writing your own. :-)

I write *a lot*, but I always try to keep up with my reading. After all, reading was my main inspiration for becoming an author!

At the moment it's three (yep, I usually have 2-3 books going at once):

Eloisa James: A Duke of Her Own

Leopold, Duke of Villiers, seeks a wife. He is determined to find and bring home his six (count them, six), illegitimate children, and he needs a wife who is high enough in rank to pave their way into society, and one who is patient and kind enough to accept them. He meets Eleanor, a duke's daughter, who has declared she will marry no one below the rank of duke (so she'll have fewer offers--she's not interested in marriage at all, so she thinks).

Delightful reading. I always love Eloisa James's complex, emotional plots, well-developed characters, and sparkles of humor. This book is a good example of why I like her work. And also, I can't lie... Villiers is HOT. (And the cover is so pretty--nice stepback.)

More heat with Bonnie Vanak's Immortal Wolf




Raphael is the Kallan--the "executioner" chosen to ease dying Draicon werewolves to the Other Realm. He's contracted by a very traditional pack in Tennessee to dispatch a Draicon woman they claim can kill with her touch. She's longing for death, they say. But when Rafe arrives at his destination, he finds Emily, a lovely young woman who is very different from the other Draicon and definitely not ready to die. Rafe has a dilemma--if he doesn't kill Emily, his brother, Gabe's life is forfeit (it's in the contract), but how can he execute the woman he's falling in love with?

I love Bonnie's Draicon (werewolf) world--so creatively developed and populated with intriguing characters. I'm looking forward to reading about more; and in fact, Indigo's story (half-werewolf, half-vampire) is up at e-Harlequin for free, one chapter per week. Check it out.

And, oh yeah, Rafe--HOT with a capital H. I've been drooling for Rafe, the black-leather wearing Cajun biker werewolf for a year. Indigo too--tasty, dark-haired hotty fighting the vamp within him.

I'm also reading Gerri Russell's To Tempt a Knight, which is a lovely, lovely historical romance.


Sir William Keith is a Scotsman in the order of Knights Templar, who must remain hidden, because their order has been abolished, declared heretical. William and his friends need to keep sacred treasure out of the hands of the enemy. But when William races to the one man who can help, he finds that man taken, and his daughter left alone and at risk. Of course, he needs to rescue her...even if she begins their relationship by whacking him in the head. :-)

An intriguing and satisfying read. The heroine has one of my favorite names--Siobhan, which if I am right is pronounced almost like Chiffon (Gerri can correct me if I'm wrong).

And in case you think I forgot--William is HOT!

Curl up with these and enjoy. Share your own recommendations and current reads in the comments!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A letter from Rhys, hero of Silver Silence by Joy Nash

Silver Silence, a Druids of Avalon novel, is in bookstores Oct 27!

To celebrate here on the Chatelaines, I'm running a special contest:

One lucky reader who comments on either today’s post (10/21) or next Wednesday's (10/28) by midnight ET on Sunday Nov 1 will win autographed copies of The Grail King, & Deep Magic, along with an autographed copy of the November RT BookReviews magazine featuring yours truly and the Druids of Avalon on the cover!

Please consider including your email with your post so I can contact you quickly if you win! And if you don’t…check out more chances to win at www.joynash.com.

Good luck to all!


To the Once and Future Readers of my tale,

I left Avalon as a lad of fourteen winters.

It was not my choice. The sacred isle was my soul-home. It was there I learned the magic of the Goddess. The white mists cast by Cyric, my grandfather, hid my clan from its enemies. To my mind, there was no reason a Druid should venture into the outside world.

Cyric knew differently. My grandfather's visions showed him a time when the Light would fade from Britain, when war and chaos would threaten the survival of our people. Only on Avalon, hidden in the teachings of The Lady, could the Light survive long enough, grow strong enough, to influence that grim future.

But we were too few on Avalon. We needed children touched by Druid magic, to be trained as Keepers of the Light. It was my duty and my burden to search for those children. I vowed to bring them to Avalon, whatever the cost.

And so began my exile. I was little more than a child myself, carrying no more than the clothes on my back and a harp made by my own hands. Frightened almost beyond my wits. Terrified by every shadow on the road. The first winter storm nearly killed me. I'd wanted it to kill me.

And then came spring. And Breena.

She was a small child when I first saw her. Round and grubby, always smiling. When I looked at her in just the right way, the white Light sang about her head and shoulders. A happy child, well loved by her parents, who were far too trusting in offering a bed to a homeless Celt bard--even one so young as I. For I'd recognized, at first sight, Breena's rare magic. She belonged to Avalon. I would take her there.

Eleven years passed before I succeeded. Eleven long years during which I was a frequent guest in Breena's home. Her family welcomed me, never dreaming I was a viper in their midst. By the time she grew to womanhood, she was deeply embedded in my heart. I did not dare reveal my feelings. Her brother was my friend—he knew Breena, in her innocence, fancied herself in love with me. That she spun happily-ever-after fantasies in her dreams.

She was so young--in years and in experience. A child. I was a man grown, hardened by duty and eternal wandering. Avalon, populated by the Druids I'd plucked from every corner of Britain, was no longer my home. At last, Breena came to dwell on the sacred isle. She learned to master her magic. I was sure she would take a Druid mate. I was even more certain that man would not be me. I remain a wanderer. I will ever be.

And then Myrddin arrived, crashing into my time and my life on a tide of arrogance and forbidden deep magic. The wily old Druid snatched Breena from the very shadow of Avalon, and plunged her into a future of war and chaos…and a deadly Silver Silence.

I followed.

~Rhys

www.joynash.com

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Stars Are Empty


I'm taking part in a short story started by L.A. Banks. You can read it here It was a different experience for me but I really enjoyed it once I got into the flow. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

QUEEN Countdown - Week 3


The countdown for QUEEN OF SONG AND SOULS, the 4th novel in the Tairen Soul quintet, is in it's third week -- only 9 more days to go until QUEEN OF SONG AND SOULS hits the bookshelves! Come join me on my personal blog, Blogging the Fading Lands, for fun and games and a weekly chance to win an autographed copy of QUEEN and other fun prizes. The countdown will continue from now through October 27, the release date of QUEEN.

Countdown posters who include the phrase "I chat with the Chatelaines" when posting (and when emailing me their contest contact information) will also automatically be eligible to win a book from any Chatelaine. I will announce the Chatelaine book winners here, each Sunday.

To read an excerpt of QUEEN, click here.

Week 2 Winner: The week 2 Chatelaine's winner is Amy Motley - again! Two weeks in a row, Amy! (Time to consider buying a lotto ticket- looks like Fortune is smiling on you! *gg*) Amy has won a book of her choice from any Chatelaine.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Jousting Through the Ages

Jousting started in Europe in the Middle Ages around the 10th century with the emergence of knights as a fighting force. The joust offered knights a means to practice his horsemanship skills and his prowess with a lance and sword against other knights.

The first recorded reference of a tournament was dated in 1066 and refers to Godfrey de Preuilly, who is described as having invented the medieval tournament. In the same year the Normans conquered the English at the Battle of Hastings. The division of English lands amongst the Normans saw the emergence of the Medieval feudal system. The feudal system demanded that everyone owed allegiance to the king and their immediate superior. Every noble was expected to pay for his land by providing trained knights to fight for the king. The tournament came about as a means of practice that eventually became a form of entertainment. Early jousts had the knights lined up, facing each other on horseback, in full armor. They tilted their lances at each other and charged. This form of jousting was called a "lance charge" which began the melee. A dangerous but spectacular sight.

By the 12th century the tournament had grown so popular in England that King Henry II found it necessary to forbid the sport because it gathered so many knights in arms in one place, and it caused unnecessary injuries to the kings fighting force.

King Richard I relaxed his father's order a bit by granting license for five tournament areas in England. Those who wished to tourney there had to obtain a license and make a payment for the privilege.

In 1292 the Statute of Arms for Tournaments was ordained by King Edward I, banning pointed weapons from being used. All lances had to be blunted. These new lances were called the lance of peace. Those knights who did not abide the rules were to be seized with horse and harness.

After 1400, the style of jousting changed to reduce injuries. A cloth was stretched along the length of the lists, soon to be replaced by a strong barrier of timber. The knight in full armor would charge along one side of the barrier jousting with his opponent. This is what we see today in jousting tournaments.

Jousting took its toll on the participants. Many were injured. Some died, including French King Henry II. Henry II was an avid participant in the joust. A jousting tournament had been arranged by the king to celebrate the Peace Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis and to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth of Valois to King Philip II of Spain. On July 1, 1559 King Henry jousted against Gabriel Montgomery, captain of the King's Scottish Guard. During the joust, the king's eye was pierced by a sliver from Montgomery's lance. The sliver penetrated the king's brain, and he died an agonizing death nine days later.

The decline in jousting came with the invention of the musket in 1520. Also contributing to the downfall was the emergence of new ideas in art and literature. Renaissance men, such as William Shakespeare, took entertainment from the jousting field to the theatre.

Yet even into the Renaissance and beyond, tournaments continued, however they took on a the form we see today at Renaissance Faires and in fairgrounds around the world. I attend the Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire every summer in Kings Valley Oregon as a participant. The pictures are from this year's tournament featuring the Imperial Knights.

Do you like attending tournaments? If so, where have you attended?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Be Selfish!

from Emily Bryan . . .

Do something for yourself. No, I'm not going to suggest a long hot bubble bath or a 'girls night out.' Though those things are quite lovely, I'm talking about something that might save your life. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Have you scheduled your mammogram yet?

Ten years ago, my mom went in for a routine mammogram just before she and my dad were planning to escape the snow of Wyoming and head for a leisurely winter in Arizona. Dad was newly retired and they'd been looking forward to this trip for years. She almost blew the mammogram off.

I'm thankful every day that she didn't.

The mammogram revealed cancer, too small and too close to her ribs to be detected through a self-exam. So began the long, dark tunnel of treatment. She went through a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. She lost a good deal of her glorious hair, but my mom isn't the type to let a little thing like that depress her. She went out and bought 9 wigs! She went through that year with such grace and courage and good humor, my view of her was forever changed. She is much stronger and deeper than I ever dreamed.

And--thank you, God--she is still with us today. Cancer of any kind is beatable if it's caught soon enough.

Which brings me back to the mammogram. I know it's a pain--literally! I'm sure if a test for testicular cancer involved smashing scrotums like mammograms squish boobs, some man would devise a different test in short order. But this is what we have to work with. It's so easy to say we're too busy. Or that we feel fine and don't need a screening.

What you don't know, CAN hurt you.

It's all very well for people to march to "Save the Ta-ta's," or for the NFL to slap a bit of pink on their players. But if we don't step up and have the mammogram, all the "awareness" in the world does no good at all. If you're over 40, if there is cancer in your family history, if you have any palpable lumps, you NEED a mammogram.

As soon as I hit the "post" button, I'm going to the phone and scheduling mine. Please leave me a note and let me know you've scheduled or already had yours. It's ok to be selfish about some things. This is for YOU.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I've been dumped!



DH and I were in a Barnes and Noble this weekend, and that's when I saw it.

Midnight Cravings
was sitting in a freestanding display, along with the other Nocturne Bites anthology, Awakening the Beast.

I've been dumped.

Yay!

A dump is a term for a freestanding book display. Midnight Cravings is the collection of Nocturne Bites that features my story, Broken Souls, along with Bites by Michele Hauf, Lori Devoti, Karen Whiddon, Vivi Anna and Anna Leonard.

It was very cool seeing my book there. I told my husband, "Wow look, it's the first time I've been in a dump and it doesn't smell like garbage."

He just looked at me and gave me that indulgent smile. DH knows what I'm talking about.

You see, I visit garbage dumps all the time for the day job. I've been in dumps in Nicaragua, Jamaica, Honduras, El Salvador... all the countries where I travel to get stories of poor people so I can write letters and newsletters to raise money to help them.


Next week I'll be in Haiti, and the scene there is a far cry from the dump at Barnes and Noble.

It's exciting for me as an author to be in a dump... a bookstore one, that is.

Next week, I won't have internet access. However, starting Monday, Oct. 19, eHarlequin will feature my free online read, SEDUCING THE VAMPIRE. This story features Indigo, a half-vampire, half-werewolf.

Raphael, hero of my new Nocturne, Immortal Wolf, also makes an appearance.

You can read all of the online serials at eHarlequin for free. Just click here to access their website.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

QUEEN Countdown - Week 2


The countdown for QUEEN OF SONG AND SOULS, the 4th novel in the Tairen Soul quintet, is in it's second week. Come join me on my personal blog, Blogging the Fading Lands, for fun and games and a weekly chance to win an autographed copy of QUEEN. The countdown will continue from now through October 27, the release date of QUEEN.

Countdown posters who include the phrase "I chat with the Chatelaines" when posting (and when emailing me their contest contact information) will also automatically be eligible to win a book from any Chatelaine. I will announce the Chatelaine book winners here, each Sunday.

To read an excerpt of QUEEN, click here.

Week 1 Winner: The week 1 Chatelaine's winner is Amy Motley! Amy has won a book of her choice from any Chatelaine.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wish I could follow my books . . .

from Emily Bryan . . .

When a book is released, we authors don't always know how big the print run is or how well it's being distributed. I'm happy to report that A CHRISTMAS BALL seems to be getting out into the world quite well. One of my readers sent me this pic of A CHRISTMAS BALL from her Honolulu Barnes & Noble. (Too bad I can't arrange a signing! I love Hawaii!) And Jennifer Ashley's hubby spotted it at a Target in Phoenix. It's always great to get into the mass market stores.

A couple years ago at RT, Mai Boonpitak, a reader from Thailand, came up to me and raved about MAIDENSONG (my debut book as Diana Groe). I was frankly shocked to learn my book had made it to Thailand (in English. No Thai translations yet.) Since then, my work has been translated into German, Dutch, Italian, Russian and Spanish. And when my DH and I went to Bermuda last May, I found Vexing the Viscount and Pleasuring the Pirate in Hamilton. It's still a wonderment to me how far my stories have traveled.

This pic is from the Ala Moana Mall in Hawaii, where A CHRISTMAS BALL is enjoying itself in paradise! Anyway, if you are out and about this weekend and happen to spot A CHRISTMAS BALL, please let me know where you saw it.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Book by its Cover (or in which Jennifer aka Allyson is Excited)


I found out yesterday that the Hot for the Holidays anthology, which I'm in as Allyson James with Lora Leigh, Angela Knight, and Anya Bast hit:

New York Times! #15

USA Today #50

B&N overall mass market list #6

Heck, we're even #4 in overall ebooks at Fictionwise.

Very exciting stuff! Now, my ego and I know darn well this is due to the lead authors' stories, not little ole me, but yanno, it's fun to be along for the ride!!

I'm sure that candy can has much to do with it too! :-)

So--admit it, have you bought a book for it's cover before? I sure have. What was it and what about the cover appealed to you?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm in a cookbook!

My recipe “Mom’s Stuffed Eggplant” is featured in then new PaperBackSwap.com cookbook!

My contribution is a yummy Italian dish with eggplant, ricotta, ground beef, and tomato sauce. One of my childhood favorites.

The PBS cookbook contains over 200 pages of recipes submitted by Paper Back Swap members AND some of their favorite authors, including:

Angela Hunt, Barbara Delinsky, Bertrice Small, Beverly Lewis, Carla Neggers, Charles David, Christopher Moore, Dave Barry, David Anthony, Diana Gabaldon, Elmer Kelton, Joy Nash :-), Judith Tarr, Julie Garwood, Karen Dinino, Ken Follett, Laura Fitzgerald, Linda Rosencrance, Linda Woods, Lisa See, Lisa Shearin, Margaret Atwood, Margaret Weis, Mindy Klasky, Philippa Gregory, and Rob Palmer!

$12.00


Cookbook order info here


Joy Nash
www.joynash.com



Available NOW!


Santa Honey Anthology

Who's coming down YOUR chimney tonight?


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Winner of MIDNIGHT CRAVINGS


Thanks everyone, who commented on my blog post last week. The winner of the MIDNIGHT CRAVINGS anthology is Orannia.


Orannia, please email me at bonnievanak@aol.com.


This week, Harlequin's My Favorite Hero feature has a post from Raphael, the hero of IMMORTAL WOLF. Raphael penned a love letter to Emily, the heroine. You can read it here.


Thanks again, everyone, for your comments and lovely, thoughtful remarks! Happy reading!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

QUEEN Countdown


The countdown for QUEEN OF SONG AND SOULS, the 4th novel in the Tairen Soul quintet, has begun. Come join me on my personal blog, Blogging the Fading Lands, for fun and games and a weekly chance to win an autographed copy of QUEEN. The countdown will continue from now through October 27, the release date of QUEEN.

Countdown posters who include the phrase "I chat with the Chatelaines" when posting (and when emailing me their contest contact information) will also automatically be eligible to win a book from any Chatelaine. I will announce the Chatelaine book winners here, each Sunday.

To read an excerpt of QUEEN, click here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

To Tempt a Knight Book Trailer

Life's been a bit wild around the Russell homestead this last month with out of town visitors, school starting, and a book due! But I wanted to pop in and share the book trailer with you for To Tempt a Knight. It features the Seattle Knights. I really like it. I hope you will, too!




The Next Best Celler

from Emily Bryan . . .

Dorchester Publishing is always in the vanguard of the next big thing. Now they're looking for the Next Best Celler! These are electronic novels delivered to cellphones in 500 word increments. Please welcome Candi Wall to THE CHATELAINES. Her textnovel is online now and she's looking for subscribers. Take it away, Candi.

ADDICTION VS. AFFLICTION
Huge thanks to the Chatelaines for having me. I’ve had so much fun thus far on my Textnovel promo blog tour, and I’m ultra excited to be here.
Quick back story ~ I’m a mother of four, auntie of eight, and wife, who divides her time between family, Scouts, sports, Animal Control (my real job which I can say I’m lucky enough to honestly love), and writing. I have a confession… writing takes up a good portion of my free time.

(clear throat as I step up to the podium…)
Hello, my name is Candi Wall, and I’m addicted to writing. I’ve been addicted for as long as I can remember. I don’t really know how it even started, and I’m still shocked at the lengths I’ve gone to, in the process of feeding my need to write…


I’ve often wondered if RWA didn’t actually stand for Romance Writer’s Anonymous. I also wondered if perhaps I was the only one out there who had an unquenchable desire to write. If I was alone in my need to create the euphoric pleasure that ensued when my pen was to paper or my fingers blazed over the keyboard, each word or turn of phrase literally breathing life into the characters inside my head.

My most recent decadent pleasure has been entering Dorchester’s Next Best Celler contest at TextNovel.com. Every word put into the 500 word chapters of ‘STAY’, just fueled my need to write. Every vote or comment affirmed what I’d always wanted. And that was to know someone, somewhere, in some fashion, was affected by my writing. I watch the story grow and come alive and I can’t wait for my next submission (or fix).

But the addiction never wanes, and I’ve begun to think it’s more of an affliction. Like short attention span, sleep-walking, daydreaming, teeth grinding, you know - something you can’t help. My family seems to think it is, and poor DH wonders if my characters will ever ‘Shut Up’.

I can’t seem to stop myself from seeing potential stories in everyday life.
Woman on the side of the road - Suspense!
A beautiful mountain, untouched by technology or human ingression - ahhhh! A highland historical!
The sinister pallor of a cloud soaked moon - oooh! Sexy paranormal.

Okay - you get the point right? Sound familiar?
I knew I had a problem when I managed to write an ultra hot love scene while sitting on the crowded bleachers in my son’s gym, waiting between his wrestling matches. But when my DH brought in a stack of Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds napkins from our van, and each one was scribbled with ideas I’d had during numerous on-the-go-family-schedule outings, I knew I’d been caught. >grin<
He held up the stack, shook his head and laughed. “Babe, I think you’ve got a problem.”

So for those of you who belong on the podium next to me admitting your addiction - share! Is it addiction or affliction? Been snagged getting your fix? Is there a cure and who the heck wants it?

Please forgive the ‘cleverly disguised promo attempt for luring voters’… Okay, it’s just a shameless plug!
You can read/vote for my novel ‘STAY’ at www.textnovel.com ~ if you like what you read.
Have a wonderful day - and I’ll see you between the pages.
Candi Wall

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Chatelaines are Going Nuts in Sept./October


I realized today that there are a ton of Chatelaines books out this September and October!

SEPTEMBER

1. Gerri Russell's To Tempt a Knight released in early September.

2. I've been blathering everywhere about my own Mortal Seductions and Tales of the Shareem: Calder both by my alter-ego, Allyson James.

3. Jennifer Ashley's
"The Scotsman and the Vamp," in The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance II.

OCTOBER



3. Bonnie Vanak's Immortal Wolf!! (Rafe! Yeah, baby, I'm there.) If you have not read Bonnie's werewolf series with Sil. Nocture, order The Empath, Enemy Lover, and Immortal Wolf and go for it. She has a unique twist on werewolves, and, let's face it--hot guys!


4. Joy Nash's Christmas Release in Santa Honey. (Fun stuff)


5. Jennifer Ashley, Emily Bryan, and Alissa Johnson's A Christmas Ball. More fun stuff.


6. Allyson James again in a hot anthology: Hot for the Holidays (with Lora Leigh, Anya Bast, and Angela Knight). A paranormal extravaganza! (Gimme that candy cane.)


Coming up in November and December are C. L. Wilson's Queen of Song and Souls, and Cindy Holby/Colby Hodge with a story in The Mammoth Book of Time Travel Romance.


We have been working hard for your reading pleasure!!

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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