Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Something Wicked Strikes Blog Hop

“Rainy 

Back in 2012 when the first edition of The Harvesting was released, I had a ton of fun playing zombies at the local zombie walk! Who knew so many people in my city (Melbourne, FL) were interested in zombies! Look at all that gore! (I'm the alive one.)
 
Melbourne Zombie Walk 2012

Not only did I get to hang out with some great people at the Zombie Walk, but I was also featured on a Halloween Special for our local television show, "What's Goin' On." I thought I would share the show as part of the "Something Wicked Strikes" blog hop. The show features our local zombie walk, scheduled  this year on October 18th, 2014, but also tales of ghosts and and witchcraft. Enjoy What's Goin' On!
 
 
Giveaway Time:

For this giveaway, I am offering a zombie-tastic book pack including autographed copies of The Harvesting, Book I in The Harvesting Series, and an autographed paperback of Midway: A Harvesting Series Novella which will be released this fall!
Many thanks to Rainy Day Ramblings, The Nocturnal Library, Candace's Book Blog, & My Guilty Obsession for organizing this blog hop! Be sure to hop by their blogs!
 
 

 
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Keep Hopping! 

Literary Addicts & All About Books Video Chat Show Book Hop


Please Check out the Books Sponsoring the Literary Addicts Hop

             All paperbacks and swag are open to US addresses and digital is INT 
Hop around and check out the blogs in the hop

Sneak Peek: Lady Macbeth Chapter 1




I have a little treat for you today! How about a sneak peek (mind you, we are still in the official editing process) of Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Ravens, Chapter 1!

 


 Chapter 1


“Toil and trouble,” my aunt Madelaine grumbled playfully as she shook me awake. “Raising you has been nothing but toil and trouble. Wake up, Little Corbie.”
Little Corbie. All my life she had called me Little Corbie, her little raven, on account of my looks: raven-black hair, pale skin, and lavender-colored eyes. I yawned tiredly and rolled over, pulling my covers over my head. I was too sleepy to get into mischief, but Madelaine’s voice told me she was ripe with it.
“Lazy,” she scolded, shaking my shoulder. “Get up. We’re waiting for you.”
Through my sleep-clouded eyes, I peered out from my blankets past the waterfall of Madelaine’s curly red hair to see the silhouette of Tavis, my aunt’s brawny champion, in the doorway. Madelaine’s husband, Alister, was still away, and she wasn’t going to let even a moment of her temporary freedom pass unenjoyed.
“The night is still fighting the morning and so am I,” I complained sleepily, but my hazy head started to clear, and the first glimmer of nervous excitement filled my stomach. Madelaine’s waywardness almost always resulted in fun.
“The raven caws,” Tavis said from the door. “I’ll meet my ladies in the stable,” he added then left, the door clapping shut behind him. I could hear the clunking sound of his footsteps receding down the hallway. I looked out the window. The night’s sky was fading into hazy gray as the first hint of rosy pink illuminated the skyline.
Madelaine crossed my room quickly, her fast movement becoming a blur of swirling skirts, as she gathered up my riding clothes and dumped them on the end of my bed. In the heap I saw my leather riding breeches, an emerald-colored tunic, and some pale green undergarments.
With a heavy sigh, I got out of bed. “And where are we going?” I asked as I pulled on my riding clothes.
“Out, out! To the forest. Amongst the trees. Somewhere where we can run wild,” Madelaine said with a laugh as she tossed me my riding cloak. “I can smell the sap running, can’t you? I swear I could smell daffodils on the wind this morning,” Madelaine said in a sing-song. She moved so quickly that two steps became one.
I couldn’t help but smile. Madelaine was my father’s half-sister, and I adored her. “I wish the forest could come to us,” I said with a laugh.
“Don’t worry. The morning air will perk you up,” she said with a grin. Once I was dressed, she grabbed my hand, and we headed downstairs.
The castle was quiet. Only a few servants were stirring as we wound down the stairwell, passing through the great hall. A fire roared in the grand fireplace. It burned off the cool morning air.
Moving quickly and quietly, we headed toward the stables. The morning sky was lit up with rose, orange, and violet light. Thin strips of clouds streaked the horizon. As we crossed the yard, we stirred up the flock of chickens that had just risen for their morning meal.
“My Ladies,” a servant girl, Aggie, who had been feeding the chickens, said with a smile as we passed. A tender girl with reddish-blonde hair and face full of freckles, she was always trying to help me improve embroidery. Despite her best efforts, I left every lesson with bloody fingertips.
“Aggie, sweet girl, tell your mother I’ll be back by supper!” Madelaine called, referring to Ally, the head of Madelaine’s domestics.
“Of course, My Lady,” Aggie said with a grin. She winked playfully at me.
I grinned, rolled my eyes knowingly, then waved goodbye to her.
Madelaine’s capricious ways were well-known by the servants, but they never betrayed her trust. After all, everyone knew how vicious Alister, Madelaine’s husband, truly was. Everyone loved and pitied her, me included. And when it came to her household, Madelaine was always first to defend and protect them, though there was little she could say in anyone’s defense when Alister found a reason to hate . . . or punish . . . or want. I shuddered. I’d learned the hard way that it was dangerous to be close to him. I swallowed hard and tried not to think about it. Alister was gone, for now, and Madelaine was right. You could smell spring in the air.
The yard was a muddy mess. It had been raining for three days nonstop. All of the grass outside the walls of the tall stone citadel had been worn down to the bare earth. While the rains had finally relented, my boots were caked with mud by the time we reached the stables. Tavis was waiting outside the barn with our horses already saddled.
“Lady Raven,” he said smiling as he held out his hand, helping me onto my beloved black horse, Kelpie. The steed was the last gift my father had ever given me. Given his bewitching color, midnight-black without a speck of color save his dark-brown eyes, I named him for the shape-shifting horse spirits said to haunt the lochs.
“What mischief have you been up to, my water horse?” I whispered once I mounted, leaning over to hug his neck and whisper in his ear. I inhaled deeply; he smelled like oats and straw. The horse flicked his ears backward to listen to me then nickered softly. I patted his neck.
Tavis helped Madelaine mount her chestnut-colored palfrey then swung up onto his own steed.
Madeline smiled at me, the first rays of morning light making her red hair glow like flames.  “Ready?” she asked, her green eyes twinkling.
I nodded.
With a click of the tongue, she spurred her horse away from the castle. Laughing, Tavis reined his horse in after her.
“Come on, Corbie,” Tavis called as we rode toward a forest trail. “And don’t fall asleep in the saddle.”
The air was fresh but cool. Once the sun had risen, it warmed my raven-black tresses. Despite my best effort to keep up with Madelaine’s energy, my head bobbed drowsily. She and Tavis meandered, flirting shamelessly, down the forest path. Madelaine’s red hair shone bright as a cardinal amongst the trees, her gown, the color of brilliant blue forget-me-nots, hugged her perfect shape.
After half a morning’s ride, we came to a lush green valley between three high mountains. There, a small, still loch reflected the periwinkle-blue sky. Large white clouds were reflected on the smooth surface of the water.
“Let’s stop here,” Madelaine called when we neared a small clutch of apple trees. She smiled brightly. Such trips outside the castle were a rare treat for her. Only when Alister was away could she roam the countryside, always with Tavis at her side, enjoying her freedom. She was, after all, a wild thing. She moped like a caged bird in the castle, and the forest—and Tavis—brought her back to life. Since I was almost always part of her capricious plans, I enjoyed the change as much as she did though I hated to wake up so early.
Tavis helped Madelaine and I dismount then spread out a blanket while Madelaine pulled a wine jug and goblets from her bag. I took off Kelpie’s bridle to let him wander where he pleased. He went to the loch and drank deeply from the fresh spring water.
Madelaine filled three goblets and handed one to each of us. “To this fine spring day,” she toasted.
“And to my ladies,” Tavis added, clicking his goblet against ours.
He drank his wine in large gulps, Madelaine refilling his glass when it was empty. She then corked the wine and lay back under the trees. A small wind shook the pink and white spring blossoms, showering her in petals. She giggled when the pearly wisps of silk landed on her face, but she didn’t open her eyes. Tavis laughed and gently blew the petals off her face. The sweet scent of the apple blossoms filled the air.
“It’s getting warm. I can smell the earth coming to life again,” Tavis commented.
“Hmm,” Madelaine commented as she stretched out, seeming to doze under the warm sun. She was settling in just as I was starting to feel ready to move. And from the way Tavis was looking at Madelaine, I knew it was time for me go.
“I’ll be back in a while,” I said, standing.
“Already?” Madelaine asked teasingly. Her eyes still closed, she didn’t see me roll my eyes at her. She wasn’t fooling anyone.
Tavis rose and went to his horse, returning with a sword. “My spare,” he said as he belted the scabbard around my waist. His hands were deft, and as he leaned in close to me, I smelled the heavy scent of lavender oil on him. I breathed in deeply. My heart beat a little faster. Tavis looked me straight in the eyes: “Yell if trouble finds you.”
“No trouble will find her,” Madelaine commented sleepily.
I raised an eyebrow at her but said nothing.

Friday, September 26, 2014

SteamU Lecture: Steampunk: The Duality of the Victorian Era by Kara Jorgensen, author of The Earl of Brass

http://amzn.com/B00L4CWBVE 




Today I have the please of welcoming author Kara Jorgensen to the blog. Kara will be talking about "what is steampunk." Below, Kara states "steampunk is hope for the future in the past." I think this is one of the best definitions of steampunk Kara is also the author of The Earl of Brass and the forthcoming The Winter Garden (love that title!). Welcome, Kara!

Today’s Lecture by SteamU Professor: Kara Jorgensen

Author of: The Earl of Brass and The Winter Garden (coming 2015), both are part of the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series  

Office Hours:







Steampunk: The Duality of the Victorian Era 

            When I first entered the world of steampunk as a reader and then a writer, I assumed it was just revisiting the Victorian era with advanced technology, but I soon realized steampunk is so much more than that.  The Victorian era was a pivotal moment in the history of the western world with imperialism on the rise and discoveries being made not only in exploration but in medicine, archaeology, and science.  Steampunk marries this rugged utilitarian side of the Victorian era with the lace and corsets we all know so well.  Luckily, steampunk adds a little whimsy to this world of soot and stodgy dowagers, but why?  How did this phenomenon occur, especially concerning a time of such strict morality and Dickensian poverty?  I soon realized it was the indelible hope of the era.  The British Empire was flourishing, the world was still small, anyone could make a discovery, wars were won without horrific casualties, and the future was looking bright.  The Victorians had yet to see a truly tumultuous time.  In our world, chaos seems to reign supreme, and slipping back in time a hundred and twenty years, brings us to a place of social decorum and tea time.  Everything has a rule and there is a rule for everything.  Steampunk is hope for the future in the past.  It is a chance to discuss what could have been if we had the chance to do it over again.  What if steam-power won over the combustion engine? What if Tesla had rose to prominence over Edison?  Would our world be any better if we were able to do things over again?  Steampunk and its various children embody what could have been while still embracing the duality of Victorian frivolity and utility. 


            In The Earl of Brass, Eilian Sorrell is a representation of the era’s dual nature.  His passion lies in unearthing artifacts buried beneath the desert sands, yet he is bound to the world of the Victorian aristocracy by his family.  Is there a way to escape the frippery and finery?  Probably not, but there is a way to strike a balance between both worlds and move towards a better future.  The entire Ingenious Mechanical Devices series will explore not only the possibilities of this steam and electricity driven Victorian era but the social issues that plagued the period.  Steampunk is all about duality, and the stories of the genre should explore not only the promise but the problems.  Through my works, I will continue to probe the questions of what could have been, would it have been for the better, and how would these changes have affected those living in this re-imagined world?  More than anything, steampunk is about how this altered time changed the lives of those living in it. 



Stay tuned for future installments of our SteamU lecture series of visit my archive to see past articles! 




Saturday, September 20, 2014

Deleted Scene: Chasing the Green Fairy


I was just looking through my folder for Chasing the Green Fairy, Book II in the Airship Racing Chronicles Series, and realized that my readers might like to read a scene from Chasing the Green Fairy as I originally wrote it. This is not technically a deleted scene, but it was significantly revised from its original, hot version. For those of you who have not yet read Chasing the Green Fairy, this is a spoiler for Chasing the Green Fairy so I am posting it below the break.

Please note that this is a pretty hot scene and is intended for mature readers . . . don't get steamy surprise.

Chasing the Green Fairy spoiler alter!
Proceed with caution.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Falling for Books Blog Hop: Win my Starter Library!

 
It's the Falling for Books Blog Hop! Are you ready for fall? Many thanks to Lilybloombooks for organizing the hop!

Fall season has arrived . . . at least, that's what they tell me. Here in Florida, not much marks the arrival of fall except "back to school" and the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. But fall in Florida has its own charm. It's finally cool enough to keep the windows open, the lawn stops growing at rain-forest rates, and it cools off enough to plant flowers (summer kills everything but tropical plants here). But sometimes I miss fall in New England. Maybe that's why my dark fantasy/zombie series "The Harvesting" is set in the Great Lakes region of the United States.



The Harvesting is a dark fantasy novel, but it is also filled with images of fall (the season of decay, after all) . . . apple picking, pumpkin patches, vineyards, and the occasional reaping of humans . . . what's not to love? My husband and I were married in North East, Pennsylvania in October. It was a beautiful time of year. Nestled on the shores of Lake Erie, North East boasts a microclimate where vineyards flourish. The very air in North East is perfumed with grapes at this time of year. It's divine.


Fall is also a great time to find new reads. For this blog hop, I have my "starter library" up for grabs.

Giveaway Time:

Win my starter library! The winner will receive ebook copies of Chasing the Star Garden and The Harvesting. These may not be exchanged for cash value.

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*Please note that Chasing the Star Garden is an adult steampunk romantic adventure series and contains several steamy scenes. It is intended for mature readers. The Harvesting is recommended for a PG13+ audience.


Keep Hopping:






Interest in getting a first look at new works, release previews, free short stories, book extras, heads-up on sales, and other goodies? Sign up for my mailing list! I give away a free signed paperback to one subscriber with every newsletter! Only good stuff, no spam. Click here to join!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Prologue of Lady Macbeth & Cover Reveal

Pre-Order Now Available!


I'm stirring up something amazing!

This December 3rd, I will release Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Ravens, Book 1 in The Lady Macbeth Saga. I'm really excited about this novel. It has been, literally, a decade since I first started writing the book. I have to admit I'm a bit nervous. I just realized that it takes a lot of nerve to select one of Shakespeare's most famous characters and try to make her real, likeable, and complex. I hope I've done the job!

Novel Description:

Something wicked this way comes . . .

Gruoch is born to rule, but long before she becomes Macbeth’s queen, ancient forces claim her soul.

Marked from birth by the old gods, Gruoch is initiated into the ancient religion of her ancestors and begins learning the mysteries of the Goddess Cerridwen. But not everything is as it seems. Soon the Battle Goddess Morrigu imposes her will, and Gruoch finds herself at the mercy of the Wyrd Sisters.

With King Malcolm plotting, the Wyrd Sisters schooling her in arcane craft, and haunted by dreams of a raven-haired man she’s never met, Gruoch feels her fate is not her own. That is, until she meets a druid named Banquo. Gruoch’s heart is swept away when Banquo awakens something in her more powerful than duty, magic, or destiny: love.

This retelling of Shakespeare’s classic work leads readers through an unforgettable saga of one woman struggling to escape her fate without blood on her hands.

Begin the Lady Mabeth Saga with Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Ravens.

Join my Facebook Release Day Party: 


How about a sneak peek? Below, please find the Prologue for the novel. Keep coming back, I will be release Chapter 1 on my blog very soon! You can also join my mailing list for an early look.

Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Ravens

Prologue

I’ve been defamed. The Bard of Avon dubbed me a villainess, an angry, evil murderess. I’m forever painted as an ambitious, blood-hungry queen. They’d have you take me for a mad woman. Slander. Small men tell lies. Poets tell half-truths. Maybe I am a bit mad, but who wouldn’t be after all I have seen? Regardless, I don’t want you to believe such deceits. I don’t want my name to go down in the annuals of times with such epitaphs. My name. What is my name? Have you ever heard it? Did your professor of English ever utter it? My name is quite the mystery. My father gave me one, my aunt dubbed me with another, but in the end, my wyrdness ruled all. Yet I’ve always wondered, who was the Bard really talking about when he titled his Scottish tragedy Macbeth?



I was born in the year 1010 of an Irish princess and an heir to the throne of Scotland. My mother was the reward from a raid into Ireland and a false treaty thereafter. She’s forgotten now, but I want you to know her name. I owe her that. They called her Emer after the Irish legend of Cu Chulainn. She was tall, thin, and had blonde hair that stretched to the floor. My mother died a short nine months after becoming my father’s, Boite’s, bride. My beginning brought her end. They believe she lived sixteen years. Not a long life. And me, I came into the word killing.


As I’ve sought to make sense of my life, my visions in the cauldron showed me my beginning. How did I eventually end up as I did? Andraste would have said it was all destined from the start, but I’m not so sure. My ill-fated birth came at the end of another of my father’s campaigns. As the corpses were paraded past the castle to the burial mound, I emerged squalling from the womb. I was handed to my father who was covered in more blood than me; the sticky red liquid on his chainmail stained the white of my swaddles.

“See here, child,” my father whispered, lifting me to the open window casement. “These men are of your blood. I set the mark of the old gods upon you,” he said, tracing ancient runes upon my brow, my natal blood mixing with the blood of the dead men. “Avenge your kinsman. I call upon the Morrigu, the ancient and dead Goddess of these lands, and ask her to claim you. Let her rise up and take you. Let her whisper battle cries for lullabies. Avenge with the magic of the old gods. Rise up, child, and carry our banner forth. Remember that you are a child of Kenneth MacAlpin’s line and rain vengeance.”


Dark clouds moved across sky occluding the full moon. A raven’s shrill pierced the silence. 

The old gods had listened.


“Hear now, sweet babe, Gruoch, hear how the raven calls.”


Thus the first name fell upon me, Gruoch, an awful sounding name uttered from an angry and vengeful man. Behind my father, the midwives crossed themselves. Though he attended the mass of the White Christ, those close to my father knew his heart belonged to the old ones. And me, the farthest from him, felt his beliefs most of all. Perhaps, in this, he did me a single justice.

Interest in getting a first look at new works, release previews, free short stories, book extras, heads-up on sales, and other goodies? Sign up for my mailing list! I give away a free signed paperback to one subscriber with every newsletter! Only good stuff, no spam. Click here to join!