Tuesday 31 July 2012


Hello! My Tuesdays in July blogs on 'locations used in novels' ends today with a spectacular visit from Sandra Hunter.

Sandra has brought along some fantastic photos for us to admire and a great story about why she set her novel 'Elanraigh: The Vow' where she did. I've 'sort of'' been to the area she's talking about and WANT to go back there! (More later on that)
Sandra attended school in Victoria, B.C. and later graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.A. in English Literature.  After her daughter came along, she chose to work close to home and indulge her love of animals by working for an amiable, if thrifty, veterinarian. She believes in promoting the right of all creatures to live the existence that Nature intended. This value is strongly evoked in her novel.

Sandra’s always lived at the edges of ocean and forest, so it came naturally to have a sentient forest as a major character in Elanraigh: The Vow.  She loves kayaking the scenic Island coastline, swimming and walking. She has a ready sense of humor and an optimistic outlook (a good thing when you’re a writer).

Her publications include Dark Fantasy short stories in pro magazines and she is currently working on a sequel to Elanraigh: The Vow. Here's what Sandra has to say...
In 1995 I read an intriguing article in the Vancouver Sun, titled “Lumber firm wails the blues over “singing forest”. Apparently a local tree planter had a spiritual experience in a forest near Tenise Creek; she says, “something akin to the voice of angels rose from the landscape.” I tucked the thought provoking article away and some years later read the “singing forest” article again. I began to type and wrote, “The Elanraigh quivered with deep unease. Forest-mind sifted the westerly wind and breathed its warning.” And so a sentient forest came to be both a major character and the setting for my YA fantasy.

A local primeval forest is one of my favourite haunts to walk. Near my home in Parksville, on Vancouver Island, BC, is a forest reserve of giant firs, hemlocks and cedars, named Cathedral Grove. The biggest tree is 800 years old and rises 75 m (250 ft) in height.

The grove is aptly named both for its physical resemblance to a Gothic cathedral and for the sense of awe and reverence one feels as soon as entering the grove. Its straight and soaring trees rise branchless for 100 feet, before the dark green foliage fans outward and you tread the filtered sunlight below. Walking its paths you enter a living, breathing silence--these ancient giants whose spirits have been long revered by the Northwest Coastal aboriginal peoples and were alive when Columbus discovered America.

It is this environment of rainforest and stormy coast, both beautiful and ever changing, that so suited Elanraigh’s storyline and complimented a story of a girl’s coming of age and blossoming into power.

Just as an aside, in another scene of the book, my protagonist and her party have an encounter and battle to the death with a party of Memteth raiders. The setting for this scene is “Shawl Bay.” In my mind’s eye while writing, I envisioned MacKenzie Beach, located on the edge of rainforest, just outside the town of Tofino on Vancouver Island. Interestingly, it is this same beach that is used as “La Push” in the Twilight movies. 

Elanraigh: The Vow

Thera doesn’t know why the Elanraigh forest-mind chose her, of all the Allenholme folk, to hear its voice and to awaken her gifts of mind and spirit. The Elanraigh sends a warning dream; black sails swooping toward Allenholme from across the western sea—the Memteth, an ancient enemy, armed with blue fire that hungers to consume life. As Thera awakens to her gifts of bonding with raptor birds and reading hearts, the knowing; she also awakens to love. Will she choose Chamakin the young Ttamarini warrior who is a kindred in spirit to her, or the polished young nobleman who covets her beauty even more than her estate? Forest-mind is aware she is yet too young for such power and responsibility. It has no choice—the lives of all Thera’s people and the existence of the Elanraigh Forest itself, depend on Thera fulfilling her destiny. Can she learn what she must of gift, and heart, to survive what comes their way? 
Thera strolled along, admiring the colourful variety of starry flowers growing on the vines that netted the lichen-blackened rocks. She glanced back-trail, and laughed to see Mulberry dancing at the end of her lead and nibbling at the pony’s rump.
            Their small party rounded the bend; the trail now steeply descending toward the roar of surf. It twisted past some sitka spars and turned to drive its way through more gorsgrass.
            Thera sensed something. A chill…she looked up to see if a cloud covered the sun. No. The sun’s light ignited the washed blue of sky and she shaded her eyes from its brightness.
            Clenching her hand on her dagger she pivoted to look back again. Jon appeared as usual, he had removed his skullcap helm and was wiping his arm across his forehead, but nothing altered his swinging stride or easy demeanour.
            Thera’s gaze narrowed. The horses were uneasy. Mulberry’s ears twitched and her skin flinched, as if she were bothered with flies. Jon’s mount tossed its head, eyes rolling.
            Ahead, Swordsman Innic walked alone, as the path was narrowing. He frequently turned, though, to talk to Nan. Thera could not make out the words they said, their voices were strangely muffled to her hearing as if spoken through heavy layers of cloth. Neither Nan nor Innic appeared alarmed.
            Thera shook her head. Now she suffered a sense of smothering, of struggling to draw breath into her lungs. She sent her senses out groping for an answer.
            It was the Elanraigh.
            The Elanraigh was immensely angry.
            Thera felt a sudden silence like an indrawn breath held ominous and tense, then rage gusted forth. Her hand rose to her throat where her pulse leaped under her thumb. Never had she felt such as this from the Elanraigh before.
             It was as if an advancing army trod the air with pounding footsteps.
            Her throat tight with fear, she tried to cry out a warning. At the same instant, hundreds of crows burst voiceless into the air where they swirled in their unnatural silence, as if they feared to alight.
            They must have seen each other at almost the same instant, the Memteth raiders and the party from Allenholme. The Memteth crew were bent over a freshly fallen sitka spruce they had dragged down to the beach. Their bright-bladed axes hewed away its branches and skin. Their gibing joviality indicated no awareness or regard for the spirit of the deeply shocked sitka. Their black-sailed ship lay at anchor some several horse strides from the beach.
            The apparent leader stood to one side. His manner was both brooding and watchful. The armoured head swung from side to side as he scanned the beach and his partially scaled hand clenched an amulet that hung around his neck.
            The Memteth leader’s strident yell and Swordsman Innic’s clashed in the air as they both cried out alarm.

Buy Info:
Amazon. Com (Elanraigh: The Vow)

Barnes & Noble (NOOK Books)

Eternal Press:

Sandra can be found at:

Your area of the world is beautiful, Sandra. I made a very short visit of 4 days, to Vancouver Island, some years ago. The colleague of my husband who played host to us whisked us around at breakneck speed. I know I visited two beaches, a couple of forests (can't name any of them, though) and the beautiful Butchart Gardens in Victoria. (We did theVictorian tearoom bit as well) Our friends also managed to take us to the Okanagan Valley, and we took a 'post' boat along a totally beautiful fijord, stopping off for a bit when the post and parcels were delivered. It was fantastic! 

My visit to the Vancouver area was so impressive it made me choose to make my heroine, Aela, in TAKE ME NOW, be from Vancouver!

That was a great story, Sandra. Thank you so much for visiting today and best wishes with your sales for Elanraigh.
Sandra finishes with...

Nancy, thank you so much for this opportunity to guest on your blog and hopefully “meet” some of your blog buddies, and present Elanraigh: The Vow, a Y.A. to Adult fantasy novel, to your readers.


Saturday 28 July 2012

A great review for MONOGAMY TWIST

I just had an excellent 4 * review for MONOGAMY TWIST posted on Goodreads, Amazon and on http://smittenwithreading.blogspot.co.uk/ . Thank you very much Christina Snow! It is much appreciated. Here's what she's got to say about it.

This was an interesting book. The entire book is centered around an old English manor house which has fallen into disrepair. Because of that, the book almost had a historical feel to it even though it is definitely a contemporary story. 

Luke has just inherited this old manor house, but he has no idea why. He didn't know the lady who left it to him. But she's left it to him with some very stringent clauses....he has to live in the house for a year before he gets it and he must do so with his wife. A wife he doesn't have. If that doesn't happen, then the property will be abandoned for 50 years and will fall beyond saving. Something that this guy can't stand the thought of....this is what he does...repairs and rebuilds old properties, but 50 years will put this house past saving.

Fortunately the day he discovers all this about the house, he also discovers Rhia...as they are both hauled off in police custody for trespassing....I really loved the way that this story started. Rhia lives in the caretakers house on the property and is a historian. She loves the old manor house too, so she's the obvious solution for Luke's "wife problem". 

There's also a tiny bit of a mystery to this story as both Rhia and Luke try to figure out exactly why he was left the house. It's a mystery that travels from England to Australia to Italy, which makes for some great ambiance in this book.

There are little details about this book that I love. I love that Luke slips into Italian when he's turned on (and this book is HOT...he's turned on a LOT!) I love the history of the manor house. I got to live in England for two years and to imagine exploring all the old nooks and cranny's of a house like this would be just a fantasy come true. I love Rhia's little cottage. It just seems so cozy and I love that's where they live until they get married.

I love reviews-don't you!

Friday 27 July 2012


Only one more week to go before LAUNCH day for TAKE ME NOW. Here's my last Friday Five sentences from a page that is a multiple of five. Today they come from page  25.

“If you fall down, you great lummox, I’ll find it difficult to get you up, whereas if you’ll just resort to the damn painkillers you’re too macho to take, I might manage to assist you to bed when they’ve kicked in.”

Having disgorged the anger, Aela waited for the fallout. Nairn’s eyelids flickered; his hand gave a limp wave at a bunch of pencils on the desk, the ogle back again. A blister pack of tablets and the original package—a squashed mess of cardboard—were stuffed inside the round pencil canister. She scanned the dosage.

I hope you enjoy them!


Thursday 26 July 2012


I'm launching two books in one month!

 TAKE ME NOW 3rd August 

The coming weeks are going to be the busiest, and most thrilling time, I've had,so far, as a writer. It seems even more exciting than this time last year. July and August 2011 were filled with me creating a website, setting up a blog, making my first book trailer, getting myself onto Facebook-all of that chasing my tail before the launch of my first contemporary novel, MONOGAMY TWIST.

What I didn't do enough of was actual book promotion for MONOGAMY TWIST. That's because I didn't know how. Do I know any more in 2012? Not really but I'm a tiny bit less clueless!

                                                       THE BELTANE CHOICE 31st August    

The coming weeks will see me launch two new books of very different genres.One a light-hearted contemporary mystery with a tiny element of danger. The other is a historical novel with more of the danger but still no gore!

I'll be launching them from two different publishers. Two very different book launch blog tours organised. Planning for around twenty blog visits over the space of six weeks has been very daunting, and very energy draining. I'm pleased to say I think I'm almost seeing light at the end of the tunnel on the writing of the blog articles. Way! Hey! Huge cheers and **happy** faces at that.

So, what's different from last year? Apart from promoting two book 'covers', I'm promoting for two book trailers and now have two boards on Pinterest.

My greatest challenge, in some ways, is that I'm organising a Garden Party Book Signing to celebrate both launches. Since this is happening on the 4th August, it means I only have the physical books and the ebook links for TAKE ME NOW. I'm having to be very creative about taking potential order for THE BELTANE CHOICE so... instead of just having a book signing, I'm planning to mount a mimi exhibition which will explain to local people how I got myself first published last year, and what led to my two books being launched this August.

I also hoping that a fourth book, TOPAZ EYES, will be published by December 2012. By mounting a mini-exhibition I can showcase THE BELTANE CHOICE, and to a lesser extent-TOPAZ EYES- in the hope of garnering more sales.

I've put out some posters advertising the Garden Party Book Launch in my local village, but I'm thinking I'll have to go a bit further afield to get more custom. Usually when I organise a party I have a reasonable idea of how many people will turn up. Is that the case for this event? No. I have no clue so 'catering' will be very simple! 

But the exhibition material will be used twice over since I've also got a visit planned for an author talk at my local library-another first-which is not in my own village but is four miles away. That's for the 25th September so it fits nicely after the last stop of my promotional blog tour for THE BELTANE CHOICE.

Am I ready?Are all those pinboards prepared, yet? Er...well, no.

**That's today's Job.**

Till next time.


Wednesday 25 July 2012


My huge welcome, today, goes to another of my fellow Crooked{Cat}authors-Trev Ripley. 

He might have a little difficulty with keeping in touch, though, since I've heard he's on an exciting trip to London-to join in with some of the festivities that are happening in that hopping city right now. We can have a great time, anyway, since he's given me a lovely treat to share with you. Not only do I have a very revealing little set of questions which Trev has volunteered some spectacularly candid answers for, but he's also given us a peek at how his illustrations came into being. Interspersed among his answers, you'll find some lovely little sketches.

Lily Lovebug and the Unconquered Planet-Trev’s recent release- is in for even more exciting times.The cover design going to have a makeover, done by Horton Novak, for the print release of this fabulous novel, but before then you can see how his original cover came to be created!

These are the questions I put to Trev a few days ago.

How long have you been a published writer? 
On 7th June 2012 my first book, Lily Lovebug and The Unconquered Planet was published by Crooked{Cat} Publishing.
Congratulations on your debut release, Trev. I love your cover. I've only read a little of the book, so far, but I'm loving it.  As a teacher of 11-12 year olds for years I'm pretty confindent there's a lot of young kids out there who'll love your story.
Do you only write in one genre, or for one particular age group?
I started with an adult thriller – have been writing it for over ten years – it’s great in places but other chapters I can’t seem to get right. I’ve shelved it numerous times, and resurrected it over again. Don’t think I’ll ever let anyone read it! As my style developed I moved into children’s stories, and Young Adult.
What’s the genre/ subgenre of Lily Lovebug and the Unconquered Planet?
It’s a children's fantasy adventure.
Tell us a bit about ‘Lily Lovebug and the Unconquered Planet’.
It’s funny, gory, and I’ve no idea how I thought of it!

sketch for Lily
Lily, a tomboy and brat, is actually the next Mother Nature. She doesn’t know it yet, but a visit from evil aliens and many new friends (Lily’s Outlaws) helps her discover the truth and save Earth, the only unconquered planet in the six known universes.
Were there any triggers which led to the plotline for Lily lovebug and the Unconquered Planet?
I simply don’t know! It probably developed from the bed time stories I used to make up for my own two daughters.

First sketch for the Queen

Who are the main characters of the story?
Lily Lovebug has  many colourful characters of animal, mystical, alien and zombie origin. 
Do the names for characters just pop into your head as soon as you start a book?
Yes – I have an idea, then, I start typing. I don’t know the plot – it develops as I go along. The names of the aliens (The evil Gresslons) were fun to create – anything disgusting was considered.
That makes you sound like a 'pantser' - as in fly by the seat of your pants! Do you have to do any research for your novels?
I read a lot, and watch documentaries – to my family’s displeasure; they cringe when I impart new found facts onto them. I don’t need much information to get started – for example, a future book about body snatchers came from a documentary, and the British Museum has inspired a novel about Ancient Britons – If only I had the time!

Your book is illustrated, Trev. Can you tell us how you’ve acquired the images?
I’ve illustrated the E-book myself. My style is simple but passed the extensive  research (I showed a few kids my pictures and they liked Um!)

Lily-first sketches

What will be your biggest writing related challenge in the coming year?
I’ve decided to keep my stories simple and shorter (around 30000 words). My challenge is which story to write first, I have them lining up. Unfortunately my Master’s degree keeps getting in the way!
Good luck with those studies. And, yes, I can see exactly how much time that would take, Trev.  (My hubby is just finishing his last year of his Masters and it’s taken a lot of his effort and time!)

What’s the hardest part of a novel for you to write: Beginning, middle and/or end?
Beginning – my imagination is my strength, and not my writing ability. The beginning has to be perfect to pass the scrutiny and catch the eye of a potential agent.
That sounds like not only an excellent answer-but great advice! What about settings? Do you include places you’ve been to…or just invent as you go along?
For my adult thriller – Sheffield Steel, I wrote about the place I knew. I could see it in my mind as I wrote.
For Lily, I called upon my knowledge of space exploration – not that I’ve been into space LOL! But I’m fascinated with science and history and other boring things.
That’s not boring at all! Lots of us are lovers of history and science- me included, though, I guess, less of the science.

Who is your favorite character in Lily Lovebug and The Unconquered Planet?
There are two I can’t choose between. Wolfie –  is an obnoxious and sarcastic wolf spider – with a sense of humour. Tarpit is a very cunning alien. He’s a sort of minister who manages to ingratiate himself with whoever holds power.

What are you working on right now?
The Secret Train – aimed at Young Adults, it tells how a small group of elite Aryan children are caught up in the Holocaust and forced to learn the truth behind Aryan ideals. 

That sounds a fabulous premise, and I’m thinking you’ll be using your knowledge of World War Two facts quite a bit for that one. Good luck with all those project you’ve got in the pipeline, Trev

Here's a little about Trev:

Born, educated and still living in Rotherham (a small town 6 miles from the industrial city of Sheffield), I left school at 16 years old having received a relatively poor education.  I tried my hand at carpet fitting, microbiology laboratory technician, school chemistry technician and limestone quarrying (where I attained an education to be proud of - an HND in Engineering). A weird interest in watching surgical procedures on TV led to my career as a nurse and my current vocation – Case Manager (senior nurse) at Rotherham Hospital.
It was whilst juggling my nurse training with bringing up two young girls, I started my new hobby; creative writing.  
Now whilst pursuing a Masters degree in Managing Medical Conditions, I continue to write children’s fantasy adventures and young adult fiction, and occasionally, dabble with adult crime thriller. I have many projects on the go at once, utilising a somewhat disorganised style of writing where I make up the storyline as I write. It seems to work!

Lily Lovebug and The Unconquered Planet is available from:   http://t.co/EMBC5alP

You can find Trev at: 
Twitter: @TrevorRipley1

Thank you so much for being with us today and for bringing those magic illustrations to share with us.


Tuesday 24 July 2012


Today, I'm delighted to welcome fellow Crooked{Cat} author, Cathie Dunn, who has something wonderful to share with us. What inspires an author to write about a particular place in their novel? It's a question often asked, and it's sometimes a fantastic holiday which can be the trigger.  If, like me, you've never visited Normandy, France, you'll love what's coming! It makes me want to hop onto some ferry and pitch up in France to experience it all for myself. 

I really enjoyed reading Dark Deceit, and now understand even better the places that feature. If you've not yet read the book, just imagine some characters living in some of the fabulous buildings below when they were new, and don't miss the excerpt at the end of the blog either,because that will be a great taster for you!

But it's over to Cathie now...

Thank you, Nancy, for having me here today. Such a pleasure to chat about one of my favourite locations, Normandy.

Normandy is one of the settings of my historical novel, Dark Deceit. Originally planned as a murder mystery set in Gloucester in 1141, I simply had to include Normandy after a holiday there. The county also fits in nicely with the political movements at the time, so it made perfect sense.

Hubby and I visited Normandy for ten days in October 2007. We stayed in a country cottage on the outskirts of the lovely town of Argentan http://www.argentan.fr/en/index.php, a place we could easily see ourselves living. Full of friendly people, great shops to browse for unusual items (we bought a trio of wooden giraffes and other fabulous things), and a walkable historic town centre that just invites you to explore.


Located approx. 50 miles from the coast - with all the touristy bits - it provided us with a calm haven to relax, and the perfect starting place for day trips.

One of my highlights was Bayeux (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayeux), with its old buildings and narrow streets. Of course, we had to visit the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux. I must admit, I cheated and, weaving my way against the flow back to the beginning, I walked through it twice (nobody else did!), simply to take in the exquisite details of the Bayeux Tapestry. It still wasn’t enough to spot each detail. It’s an incredibly moving moment when you stand in front of such a fascinating piece of history. 

La tour Marguerite, Argentan
 Falaise Castle (http://www.chateau-guillaume-leconquerant.fr/index_uk.php) is another incredible place, the location inspiring parts of Dark Deceit. Very little of the original structure still exists, but instead of letting it fall to ruin, the castle had a makeover (not the prettiest from the outside, but very impressive). The interior is now a maze of rooms filled with interactive details, projectors, audio visuals and other amazing features. One of the best castle museums I’ve ever visited - and I’ve been to lots! The town of Falaise has a small, historic centre, and is a lovely place for a stroll.

Mont St Michel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mont_St_Michel) took a full day of our time, but was well worth it. Highly touristy, the monastery sits atop a hill with a narrow winding row of old buildings leading up to it. An amazing sight even from afar. Tacky souvenir shops and an array of cafes and restaurants lure you to to spend your money. We found a place serving delicious seafood and yummy Normandy cider where our basic French was appreciated. The monastery was incredible, though teeming with visitors.

The city of Caen (http://www.tourisme.caen.fr/anglais/index.asp) was another interesting place, although sadly many historic buildings were destroyed in the wars. But the old abbeys and churches still stand, and their exploration provided much historical detail.

As we zigzagged across Normandy by car, we admired the small villages, many centuries old. Visiting the small town of Mortagne-au-Perche - which I’d already marked as fictional Geoffrey de Mortagne’s home town - was another treat where I took lots of notes about surroundings, layout, etc. Buying a couple of Normandy history books - in French - has also proved handy whenever I need more research detail (especially taking care not to confuse my fictional Geoffrey with a real Geoffrey de Mortagne - a count living earlier that century!).

The WWII landing beach in Arromanches catapulted us forward into the 20th century. It was daunting place to visit, and you could still feel a hint of an atmosphere there. Sadly, any real atmosphere had long been destroyed by commercialisation. Tourists were milling around - some even looking bored - and we ended up translating information for a group of young British tourists more interested in beers and bars who clearly couldn’t be bothered to learn some basic French when visiting such an historic place (and who showed a sad lack of interest). I had to hold back not to growl at them. But that was the only annoying experience of Normandy.

With so many places full of fascinating buildings, castles, churches, links and museums, Normandy provides the historical fiction author with a paradise of research material. I took hundreds of photos and many pages of notes which I typed up quickly in the evening (I’d taken my laptop!). Learn a few words of French, and locals will be delighted to help you further.

I can’t wait to return.

You can view photos of my Normandy holiday and other trips on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cathiedunn/

Dark Deceit blurb:
On his return from battle at Lincoln, Geoffrey de Mortagne, under-sheriff of Gloucester and spy for the Empress Matilda, assists a dying knight caught in an ambush. Promising to look after the welfare of the knight's only daughter, Geoffrey stays at her manor, investigating the murder. Keen to join the Empress on her progress through England, he is torn between his oath and his duty.

Left to defend her manor following her father's death, Alleyne de Bellac reluctantly accepts Geoffrey's support. As she doesn't trust the taciturn stranger, she asks Will d'Arques, an old friend, for help. But loyalties change. Her life in danger and her inheritance at stake, Alleyne must decide which man to trust.

Discover England and Normandy divided by a brutal civil war, where vows are broken as allegiances waver.

Dark Deceit buy links:

Author links:

Here's a little bit about Cathie:

Cathie Dunn writes romantic suspense & adventure set in Scotland, England and Normandy. A hobby historian, her focus is on medieval and Jacobite eras.

She has two historical novels published: Highland Arms, a romantic Scottish adventure, and Dark Deceit, the first in The Anarchy Trilogy.

Recently, Cathie self-published Silent Deception, a romantic spooky novella set in Victorian Cornwall. All her books are available on Amazon.

Cathie lives in Scotland with her husband and two cats and currently works on a contemporary romantic suspense set in Idaho, US, and a historical Scottish romance.

And a bit from Dark Deceit:

De Mortagne placed his forefinger under her chin and tilted her face up before he dropped his hand to his side again. When their eyes met, she saw encouragement. And something else she could not identify. Something deeper. Blushing, she smiled and opened her mouth to thank him again. His kiss came as a surprise, warm and soft. It lasted barely an instant and at first she thought she imagined it. Then a wave of guilt engulfed her.
Alleyne took a step back and aimed at his cheek but he was quicker, catching her wrist just inches from her hand’s aim. Damn the reflexes of a trained knight! She steadied herself against the manor wall with her other hand.
“Forgive me, Lady Alleyne. That was most inappropriate.” He turned away.
“I could have you thrown out right now.”
“That wouldn’t help you much in catching your killer.” He stated the obvious, her empty threat exposed for what it was. His voice gave her a chill. Gone was the warm, soothing tone. She had almost believed him. But he was an under-sheriff, a lowly knight with unknown loyalties. One not to be trusted. She straightened her back.
Will must arrive soon. She trusted him.
“It won’t happen again,” de Mortagne said. “At first light we’ll be out of your way and focus our search on the forest again.” He walked towards the steps, but turned his head. “I shall report to you on our return, or to your steward should you so prefer.” Without a further glance her way, he took the stairs in swift steps.
She watched as he strode to the stables, his broad back straight and fists clenched. He kicked open the stable door. The door banged against something solid, the sound echoing through the silent bailey.
Alleyne closed her eyes. Her heartbeat pounded in her ears. If she aimed her anger at him, perhaps she could banish the memory of the eager anticipation she felt when he had turned to her. She shook her head to rid herself of the demons. No, she had not wanted for him to kiss her. All she needed was reassurance. Damn the man! Perhaps women threw themselves at him in Gloucester, but not here.
Not her.
She descended the stairs, careful not to slip. By now, the bailey lay shrouded in darkness. Inside the hall, the throngs of guests had dived deeper into their cups, their shouting and laughter loud in her ears. Alleyne brushed past them, up the stairs to her chamber, and bolted the door.
She had begun to trust him. How could she now? After this?
Will, on the other hand, would never have let her down in such a manner. After all the years she had adored him, he was still her chivalrous knight. The type minstrels sing about. Tears brimmed in her eyes.
“Oh, Will,” she whispered, her hands covering her mouth as she came to a halt by the narrow window. “Come quick!”

Thank you so much for sharing your holiday with us today, Cathie. It sounds so wonderful that I can't believe that I've never managed to travel much in France. My best wishes go to you for the contiued success of Dark Deceit.


Monday 23 July 2012


Yes! The delivery has come. I'm now the seriously delighted author of two books now available in print and e book formats.

Taking orders now for TAKE ME NOW....


Friday 20 July 2012


It's my Friday Fives, and today my selection of five sentences is from page 20. 
(Yes, it's another multiple of 5)

 Her shrill tone jolted his eyes open as she maneuvered both hands to rest his cheek against her chest. His head turned and he snuggled right in, good and proper, no mistake as he squashed his nose against her breasts…and sniffed. A prickle of sensation made its presence known. It skittered down her back, as Aela stared down at him, wondering what the heck to do next. The thrumming pulse at her wrist beat against his cheek.

I hope you enjoy them!


I'm delighted, today, to extend a huge welcome to Christine Warner, a fellow Rose from The Wild Rose Press. Christine has put herself in that hot seat and has allowed me to interview her. Get organised, and get settled in for some lovely information about this lively lady!

Christine lives her dream in rural Michigan along with her husband, three children, one laptop and a much loved assortment of furry friends.
Besides laughing and a good round of humor, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing but no arithmetic. A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities. She loves to read and write about strong heroes and determined, sometimes sassy, heroines.

Sunny, in the cover art here, looks absolutely perfect for the heroines you've just described, Christine! 

A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, Christine enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on facebook, twitter and her website at christine-warner.com. 

I'm  just recently into twittering, Christine, and sad to say I've not yet learned the knack of switching off and getting on with the writing! But here come the questions for you, and we'll start with a usual one since some of my readers might be surprised at your answer!

How long have you been a published author, Christine?
I’m going to give you the long version Nancy! Lol I sent in my submission for my first book, Some Like it in Handcuffs, to The Wild Rose Press in December of 2010.  The full was requested in late January of 2011 and I was offered the contract in April of 2011.  My book officially released in both ebook and print on March 23, 2012.  It was a long process, but worth it. Now, my second book was a bit quicker.

I sent Two-Timing the Boss in for submission this year and had a contract within 3 months, and it releases August 24th…which is only weeks away. I’m not sure if the varying wait times were due to the fact that Some Like it in Handcuffs is a romantic suspense and Two-Timing the Boss is contemporary, but I was surprised at how quickly the second book moved.

Tell us about your latest release- SOME LIKE IT IN HANDCUFFS.

Christine says:  "Here’s my blurb for Some Like it in Handcuffs."

Sunny Kennedy, the only female in a family of blue blood male detectives, is determined to prove testosterone isn’t the only qualification required to solve a cold case. Handcuffed while undercover then taken to the precinct by an attractive detective, her domineering family demands she work with Detective Judson Blackwolf, or she’s off the case.

Judson Blackwolf thinks women in law enforcement should work behind the scenes. The prospect of working with his Captain’s sexy daughter doesn’t thrill him. He only agrees in hopes of solving the murder of his one time mentor’s daughter. Once the case is over, he’s moving to Montana to heal his wounds from the loss of his last partner.

But when their investigation takes a dangerous turn, Sunny and Jud soon realize their feelings for each other cannot be denied.

That’s a great blurb, Christine. What’s the genre of Some Like It In Handcuffs?
Some Like it in Handcuffs is a sexy, light-hearted romantic suspense with humor!  Lol  How’s that for a mouth full? Two-Timing the Boss is a contemporary romance, and I also have another story coming out with Entangled Publishing titled, Bachelor’s Special, that is a contemporary romance as well, and tentatively scheduled for release in September. So stay tuned!  

Your hero in Some Like It In Handcuffs is called Jud. What’s he like?
Judson Blackwolf is over 6 feet of dark haired, powerful strength with a dash of humor and arrogance, but always fun and protective over the heroine Sunny.  Although not at first…tempers rose between the heat of their attraction. 

Does Sunny like Judson when they first meet? Are those sparks flying right away?
Sunny is instantly attracted—but leery of Judson Blackwolf because he’s another detective and she’s doesn’t want to become involved with a member of law enforcement. And I can’t blame her. Her father is the Chief of Police, and her four brothers are all over-protective detectives who like to run her life—or at least try.  She is annoyed over her attraction to Judson and annoyed further when her family tricks her into having to work with Judson in order to get some of the information she needs to solve a cold case.

Which bit of a novel do you find the hardest to write?
The hardest part for me is the end and I think it’s because by that point I really like my characters and know them so well. I don’t like saying goodbye.

Which character do you like best in Some Like It In Handcuffs?
My favorite character in Some Like it in Handcuffs is Sunny Kennedy, the heroine. She’s spunky and determined and sometimes awkward and unsure. I love how she sometimes speaks or acts before she thinks and then wishes she could take it all back.  I love that she is confident enough to move forward to get what she wants, but also unsure of herself at the same time because of her inexperience. 

I know you’re super busy, but what are you working on right now?
I’m finishing up the sequel for Some Like it in Handcuffs which is titled, Some Like it on the Run, and features one of Sunny’s brothers named Derek. I’m also working on two other projects that I hope to submit for proposal to Entangled within the month.

Is there a favorite time of year for you?
I love fall.  I don’t like super hot temps (like we’re having now…lol) and I don’t enjoy the frigid cold either.  Fall is colorful and the temps are perfect.  Combined with the smells of burning leaves and the crisp air it makes for an enjoyable long walk around the nature trail not far from my house.

I find I can’t type well and eat at the same time so, I’m thinking you won’t have much time for either for this question, but what’s your favorite snack food?
It totally depends. I switch it up a lot. I find that I go in spurts of what I like. One day it’ll be salty and crunchy and that might last a week or so, and then I’m all about sour gummies, or chocolate covered peanuts, or celery and peanut butter.  LOL How’s that for indecisive?

Funnily enough, I love nuts but not so much chocolate covered peanuts. Mmmm but I do love chocolate covered raisins! I might just gorge on a few of those while I read the excerpt from Some Like It In Handcuffs.

“This isn’t how I wanted it between us.”  Judson grabbed the neckline of her sweater, dragging her body to meet his with a solid thump. Sunny licked her lips in answer to the question in his eyes. He lowered his head to move his mouth over hers. 

Sunny closed her eyes, a small whimper escaping her lips. She didn’t want it like this either, but that wasn’t possible. Unable to resist her attraction she accepted it wasn’t an affair, or a long distance romance she craved, but for him to love her back. It was all or nothing for her. Her heart sank. She accepted this as their goodbye kiss.

With no thought to what was happening upstairs, Sunny rose up on her toes demanding more. Her lips pulsated against Judson’s. When his hand trembled against her cheek in a soft caress she lost touch with reality.
“Judson.” Sunny’s weakened body drifted farther into Judson’s as his fingers glided down her arms, pulling them to her sides where their fingers intertwined. He forced them behind her before his tongue thrust into her mouth. 

Their bodies molded together, she heard her own heartbeat and his as well when he curved his fingers around her rear and squeezed.
That’s when the click of the handcuffs against her wrist connected her to the handle of the locked cupboard.
“What the hell…Judson?” She looked up at him, her knees shook, her body still inflamed with fever. 

“Like I was saying, you wait here and I’ll go upstairs to check it out. Backup’s already been called, so you’re safe until your brothers arrive.” Judson winked before walking toward the steps to the third level. Once he reached them he turned toward her and smiled. “Gotcha,” he whispered with his notorious grin.

Some Like it in Handcuffs is available in print and digital format at:

And you can find Christine at:
My blog/website:  http://christine-warner.com/
Twitter under ChristinesWords: https://twitter.com/#!/ChristinesWords
My Facebook page…stop by and give it a LIKE to keep up on what I have coming up next: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Warner/143430882396013
I love to hear from readers and other authors.

It’s great having you here, today, Christine. Thanks for visiting ‘she said, he said’.

Tuesday 17 July 2012


It's Tuesday again, and this is the third instalment of my Tuesdays in July blogs on using LOCATIONS in novels. What gave me the idea to have my latest release, TAKE ME NOW, have a main base on an island, off the west coast of Scotland? Read on and find out.

Flying not so high.

Up, up and away in a beautiful...? No, I’m not talking about a balloon experience, but a fabulous trip in a lovely little seaplane.

Imagine this scenario.

You board this seaplane of ten seats in total-one of them for the pilot. You’re on a little adventure with family members-a husband, two daughters, two sons-in-law, one niece, a brother-in-law and his wife. Someone has to sit in the co-pilot’s seat. Who jumps in to volunteer? You.

What a fabulous experience you’re going to have!
Seaplane leaving the Science Centre in Glasgow
You’ve been in a small plane but NEVER right up front in the co-pilot’s seat! The little seaplane engine cranks to life, and you put-putter taxi straight down the middle of the river-The Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland- and take off into skies that aren’t exactly blue. 

Wait! It’s not bad weather that’s the problem…they get a lot of that in Scotland, but not today. The huge pall in the sky (just visible in the photo right) is thick, black smoke. A Victorian warehouse building, just a little bit down the riverside, near the airport, is on fire

Most of the commercial and passenger flights are either cancelled or are being re-routed, but you’ve got clearance to fly, since you’re low flying, and not leaving from the airport. 

Readers may ask why you haven’t canceled but have chosen to continue with the flight, knowing the view will be spoiled for a while, with thick black murk. The easy answer is that the return seaplane flight is only the start, and the finish, to a whole weekend of fun. If you cancel the flight you’d have to cancel your chartered catamaran trip around the Scottish islands you’re having in the afternoon. Your evening dinner reservations at one of the best Scottish seafood restaurants would need to be cancelled as well…and, of course, you’d not be staying overnight at the lovely little hotel in Oban, that nice little fishing town on the west coast of Scotland.

So off you fly! 
You’re flying so close to the ground every detail is visible; it seems as though you could touch the grass below you, or the trees you’re flying over. You’ve been told normal flying height around here, in the chartered seaplane, varies between 500 ft and 5000 ft, but since your pilot has to avoid the smoke drift in places, he’s flying pretty low today

Loch Long
Your pilot does a good bit of snaking up and down the Firth of Clyde, to give you the best viewing, and yet still avoid the worst of the gloom that’s drifting around.

Having banked to the north after clearing the Clyde Estuary you’re heading up the sea loch called Loch Long, towards Gairlochhead. It is a long loch, but that’s not why it has that name. Your pilot’s telling you that ‘long’ is the Gaelic word for ‘ship’-so it’s the ship loch that has access out west to the Atlantic Ocean. 

It doesn’t take long, though, to see clearer skies ahead. They’re looking fantastic. Banking slightly southwest again, you’re sweeping in a wide arc to head north, up the longest of Scotland’s sea lochs, called Loch Fyne, famous for the quality of its oyster catches.

You feel you could almost touch the amazing towers of Inverary Castle as you fly over it-the turret flag ruffling in the breeze as you swoop past.

Your port of call is the town of Oban, often called the gateway to the isles.

Again your pilot gives you a fabulous experience as he snakes southwards,  to make another sweeping turn, before heading north-east up the Firth of Lorne to Oban. Flying at around 1000 ft you’re seeing even more castles. Some are still inhabited but many are not, and seeing them from the seaplane gives you a taster for viewing them at a lower level. Here's another castle on top of this very heavily wooded hilltop.

What? Your pilot’s asked you to take the controls for a bit. YOUR ANSWER IS…NO WAY, THANK YOU, YOU JUST CARRY ON…


Your descent down to the island of Kerrera jetty is smooth as a whistle. Just fabulous. Well, this is interesting. You’ve landed on a tiny island across the bay from where you want to check in to your hotel. But you don’t despair-you don’t have to swim across to Oban, since part of the package is the tiny launch that ferries you across the bay.

Whoops! The floating jetty is the tiniest bit wobbly as you transfer from the seaplane to the launch. You find yourself making a mental note to recommend that anyone else following in the footsteps of your experience should ditch the high heels and wear sneakers.

All checked in you make a very swift lunch stop before you embark on your second adventure of the day. The catamaran is also just the right size to accommodate all 9 of you.  OFF YOU SAIL on a 6 hour tour of the nearby islands. Mull is a large island, but you circle around other small ones…and en route you see some of those lovely castles up close that you viewed from the air.

Duart Castle

How about this one? This is the inhabited Duart Castle on Mull

Or what about this ruin, name unknown to your pilot? You totally love the shape of what’s left of this one, and wonder just what it looked like in former days…and who exactly would have lived there?

 A fearsome, handsome highlander? Definitely. The stuff of romantic novels. 

Get the pencil out!

Do you wonder where I got my ideas from for TAKE ME NOW? Yes, there’s a tinier floatplane featured in TAKE ME NOW…and yes, there’s a renovated castle in TAKE ME NOW…and would you believe there’s also a catamaran in TAKE ME NOW. A pair of hot pink stilettos also feature. Hmmm. Do you wonder how that works? What about that pall of black smoke? Yep! It’s in TAKE ME NOW along with a sassy heroine and a hunky, if incapacitated, hero who needs to be transported to all the places you see above and a whole lot more. And unlike my own adventure I’ve added an adrenaline stirring exciting scene about flying a tiny floatplane in exceedingly bad weather. 

I love including a little bit of Scotland in my novels, but I’ve seen many other fabulous places so…TAKE ME NOW also has a bit about London, Barcelona, Tallinn (Estonia), Oman, Paris, the Caribbean-as Aela Cameron, whizzes Nairn Malcolm around in search of a saboteur who has been causing a bit of havoc.

TAKE ME NOW, in print, is now available from The Wild Rose Press.

Thee book formats will be available on 3rd August 2012.

Nairn Malcolm’s looking for the impossible. He needs a highly skilled, enterprising aide who’ll be at his beck and call 24/7. No ordinary Jane Doe will do. He doesn’t expect the only candidate who drops in at his Scottish castle for an interview to be so competent…or so stunning.

Aela Cameron’s got exactly the right mix of talents to satisfy all Nairn Malcolm’s needs, and more. She loves the jobs he needs done, adores his castle, and finds his frenetic lifestyle energising. But she’s only looking for temporary: not to fall in love with the man.

 Can Nairn convince Aela she’s tailor-made for him in every way…and not a passing fancy?    

Here’s a tiny little snippet from TAKE ME NOW to whet your appetite, a little taste of Nairn, his restored castle, and feisty Aela-a talented woman he can’t resist.
Unadulterated vigor oozed from every last bit of him—overall a dangerous concoction. Something stirred way-down-low inside Aela again. He was a real honey, and the bee in her wanted to be very sticky.
Her mind whirred. The man bore a vague resemblance to the ruggedly handsome thirty-two year old Nairn Malcolm of the internet photograph, but would the blonde limpet in the recent celebrity snapshot want to curl herself around this forbidding wreck of a man? Aela thought not. She wondered, though, if his blank expression was caused by current circumstances, or if this was his normal demeanor, since he hadn’t been smiling in the photograph either.
With the high granite wall as his backdrop she could easily imagine this man lording over the castle, ruthlessly challenging any invaders to his domain. Taking any woman he wanted? Now there was a thought she was happy to entertain. A tiny smile broke free. Tamping down her crazed imagination she re-assessed him.
What had the guy been doing to get himself in such a state?
Who was he?