Ongoing Giveaways!

Becoming Lady Lockwood by Jennifer Moore - Win $50 Amazon/Paypal cash, ends August 8
Tempted by His Touch historical anthology - Win an iPad Mini with surprise bonus books, ends in October
Mastering the Marquess by Lavinia Kent - A $25 egiftcard to Your ebook retailer of choice and a Loveswept mug.
I Adored a Lord by Katharine Ashe - Win 3 digital copies of I Married the Duke, ends August 26
Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen - Win a paperback copy of the book, ends August 12

Monday, December 30, 2013

Blog Tour: Compromising Miss Tisdale by Jessica Jefferson (Review)


**Jessica Jefferson will be giving away a $50 Amazon or BN.com Gift Certificate, to visit the other stops of this tour, please click here


About the book:
Ambrosia Tisdale is the very picture of propriety and the epitome of what a respectable young lady should be. Haunted by a memory and compelled by her family, she pursues perfection to a fault.

The Earl of Bristol, Duncan Maddox, has returned to London after years of familial imposed exile. As the second son, he has led a life filled with frivolity, leisure, and a healthy dose of debauchery. Now his older brother has died, leaving the family’s flailing legacy in Duncan’s unwilling arms. 


At the behest of his uncle, Duncan is advised to do the one thing that could provide instant fortune and respectability – he must marry. But there is only one prospect who meets the unique requirements to solve all the Earl’s problems – the lovely Miss Ambrosia Tisdale. But securing the prudent daughter of a Viscount’s hand proves to be more challenging than this scandal ridden second son of an Earl has bargained for.


With scandal, extortion, treachery, and even love itself threatening to keep him from his goal, will Duncan succeed in compromising Miss Tisdale?
***
Review: 
This book was a surprise treat for me, not unlike a cup of hot chocolate to enjoy on a cold night. An attraction-of-opposites story with complex, multifaceted and dynamic characters and an engaging plot, this tale hits all the right notes for a great historical romance.

Ambrosia Tisdale, now in fourth season, has already gleamed enough ton wisdom to know how to navigate it with relative ease...that is, until her encounter at a party with a mysterious man piques her curiosity and leaves her, for the first time, unsettled. Suffice it to say, Ambrosia's stone-like exterior and haughty airs did not so much unsettle her new adversary, Duncan Maddox, as inspired his determination, for she seemed to be just the woman - and challenge - he wants to have. What followed after that is a nice mix of Taming of the Shrew, character transformations, and a hearty amount of mutual attraction to spark Ambrosia and Duncan's romance to enthrall the readers into their conflicts and desires. 

What I enjoy the most about this novel is the depth of character transformation that it features. Upon Ambrosia and Duncan's initial meeting, the author provides a good glimpse of Ambrosia's pre-transformation self, that is, her cold exterior, strict adherence to societal rules, and her blatant egotism. It is not until later that her facade crumbles, the perfection with which she prided herself came to be a transient, unnecessary thing, and she struggles internally to comes to terms with herself. Her vulnerability was a key point in this novel internally, and it was a major factor of winning me to her person, as I did not initially like her outward rudeness.

Duncan had lived a life of frivolity as was expected of him as a second son. His importance was ever so small until he inherited an earldom, and he relished it by being wild and uncaring. His trials in this book was like a rite of passage, a trial through which he matures and becomes a better man. And he does that splendidly, coming to understand and love Ambrosia for who she is. 

Ambrosia and Duncan are the winning points of this novel, though the intrigue-filled plot is quite good as well. Without delving much into it (as it is much better experienced than summarized in this case) I can only say that I was impressed by this book and highly recommend it for its poignancy, humor, and a multitude of layers within the plot and the characters as well that drive this splendid novel.
***


Excerpt: 
He stepped forward, a twig snapping under the force of his right boot. 

 She startled and turned.

She had been crying.  Even in the shadows he could see that her eyes were red and face blotchy from the trails of tears.  For once, Miss Tisdale did not look her best, and in that imperfection he found her to be the most enticing she had ever been.

Duncan fell into her eyes, endless pools framed with wet clumps of black lashes that drew him towards her.  And then her lips, already full, now swollen from her sobbing, parted slightly. 
He was lost.  God help him, he was no longer intoxicated by brandy alone, but rather the beauty of one woman. 

Duncan reached up and cupped her face in his hands.  Without any words or pretense, he simply swooped down and kissed her.  It wasn’t a gentle kiss, nor was it rough.  It was certain and decided.  He kissed her ardently, holding her face and savoring the salty taste of her tears still wet on her lips. 

He waited for it to stop, for her to slap him or push him away.  But then she did something totally unexpected.  She grabbed his arms and kissed him back.  The action left him disarmed and completely infatuated.  This was the woman from the library whom he had come to remember.  And her kiss was not tentative as it once was - but now firm and without trepidation.  
***
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jessica Jefferson makes her home in northern Indiana, or as she likes to think of it – almost Chicago.  Jessica originally attended college in hopes of achieving an English degree and writing the next great American novel.  Ten years later she was working as a registered nurse and reading historical romance when she decided to give writing another go-round.   

Jessica writes likes she speaks, which has a tendency to be fast paced and humorous.  Jessica is heavily inspired by sweeping, historical romance novels, but aims to take those key emotional elements and inject a fresh blend of quick dialogue and comedy to transport the reader into a story they miss long after the last page is read.  She invites you to visit her at jessicajefferson.com and read her random romance musings.
Follow me at https//twitter.com/authorJessicaJ

**Jessica Jefferson will be giving away a $50 Amazon or BN.com Gift Certificate, to visit the other stops of this tour, please click here
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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Blog Tour: Innocence by Elise de Sallier (Interview & Giveaway)

Innocence
A Forbidden Love: Book One
By Elise de Sallier
Publication Date: Dec, 17th 2013
Category: Romance/Historical/ Regency
ISBN paperback:978-1-61213-200-6
ISBN ebook: 978-1-61213-201-3
Available from TWCS Publishing House, Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, B&N.com

I am very pleased to welcome Elise de Sallier to my blog today, in honor of her debut novel, Innocence: A Forbidden Love

** Elise is giving away as a grand prize a paperback copy of Innocence, and 3 winners will receive e-copies of the book! 
Summary:
Forced to flee her father's brutal heir, Miss Anneliese Barlow masquerades as Lisa Brown, a commoner, in the grand country mansion of the Duke of Worthington. Discovering the life she'd known was a virtual fairy tale, and reality a dark and forbidding place, Lisa faces danger at every turn.

Captivated by the beautiful maid, the duke's heir, Lord Marsden, decides the only way to keep the new girl safe—and close—is by offering her his protection. With her reputation ruined and all hope of returning to her previous station seemingly lost, Lisa surrenders her virtue, finding unexpected passion in Nathaniel's arms.

Despite her misgivings about the dubious morality of the role, she accepts the position of Nathaniel's mistress, but the future is fraught with uncertainty. If her identity is uncovered, Lisa's innocence won't be the only thing that's lost.



Thanks to Elise for graciously doing a interview
Q1. Why did you choose to write a novel in Regency times?

My reasons for writing a Regency were purely accidental. I'm a huge fan of romance novels of all genres, with a soft spot for Regencies and Paranormals . . . and historicals, contemporaries, cowboy, sci-fi, shapeshifter, billionaire, small town, you name it, as long as there is romance and a Happily Ever After. When my husband brought the Twilight DVD home one night, I fell in love with the world and characters. Stumbling on the world of Twilight fan fiction soon after, I was overjoyed to find a wide variety of stories by an amazing and eclectic group of writers. After making friends with some of my favourite authors, I plucked up the courage to try writing my own story, contacting Project Team Beta for help with the grammar side of things, something I knew very little about.

To my amazement, my first story, Once Bitten, attracted several thousand reviews. A canon story (which means it is set in the Twilight world) it gave me the chance to address the numerous questions I was left with after reading the series. From there, I started thinking about parallels between the human/vampire world Stephenie Meyer created and the class system of the 1800s, where commoners were considered less than the gentry, gentry less than the nobility and aristocracy, and women of all classes of less value than men. I then translated my loose interpretation of the Twilight characters into a Regency setting with this theme in mind, began writing and posting A Forbidden Love, and was soon inundated with reviews – over 12 000. Being contacted by an acquisitions editor from The Writer's Coffee Shop about submitting an original story for publication was unexpected to say the least . . . and very exciting.

I originally had no intention of reworking A Forbidden Love for publication, but whilst writing the first story of my Hearts of Honour series, Passion and Propriety, which will be published by TWCS in August 2014, I was diagnosed with a debilitating neurological disorder. It effects my voice which meant I had to give up my profession as a counsellor and trainer. Faced with a drastic loss of income, I decided I couldn't afford to be precious about 'pulling to publish'. To my relief, TWCS said they were interested in A Forbidden Love also, though my joy would have been tempered if I'd had any idea how much work was involved reworking, rewriting, deTwilighting, and editing a behemoth of a fanfic story (nearly 250 000 words) into something fit for publication! I had hoped to publish it as one story, but that would have meant making enormous cuts (the minor ones were painful enough!) as virtually unknown, debut novelists do not get to publish books much over 100 000 words due to the cost of returns from the spines of larger books breaking. Consequently, A Forbidden Love is being published as two books, Innocence, which comes out on December 17th 2013, and Protection, which will be released in May 2014.

Q2. Do you only write novels in this period?

At this stage, yes. I've written three Regencies with several more planned. I also have plans for a Paranormal/Fantasy romance series which I am looking forward to writing when I get the chance.

Q3. Where did the vision of Nathaniel's character come from?

I wanted to write a strong male character who is confident in his place in the world, secure in his beliefs and yet with a decidedly skewed world view (according to our modern way of thinking, at any rate). I like stories where the heroine isn't the only one whose character grows and develops, as I think a man who is willing to recognise, admit to, and learn from his mistakes is very appealing.

Q4. Have your life experiences impacted the type of stories you write? If so what issues do you address and why?

Definitely. One of the main reasons I like reading romance stories is because relationships are very important to me. Even before becoming a counsellor and family therapist, I read books on what makes relationships work, summarising them to my non-reader husband as well as dragging him along to marriage enrichment weekends, counselling when we hit a rough patch around the seven year mark, and parenting courses when we found ourselves out of our depth with our three, now grown, children. He's a strong, caring, 'teachable' type (the best kind of man in my book!) and I'm happy to be able to say that after thirty years of marriage he is my best friend and we're still very much in love. Did I mention we met when I was sixteen and married when I was nineteen? Shocking, I know!

Q5. This is the first of three novels, give us a small hint on what is still to come.

The sequel to Innocence, the second book in the Forbidden Love series, is called Protection, and we get to see Nathaniel's point of view as well as Lisa's. I had hoped to show his pov in the first book, but in the interests of avoiding unnecessary repetition, and to achieve a manageable word count, those scenes were cut.

Without giving away too much of the story, Protection sees Lisa and Nathaniel facing a whole set of different obstacles to the ones they had to overcome in Innocence, and in an entirely different setting. Where Innocence follows the plot of the original fan fiction story quite closely, Protection has a number of new scenes and characters that help to give what was originally just the ending and extended HEA of A Forbidden Love a story arc all its own.

The third book in the series, Transformation, is one I have only just made a start on. It is Eleanor's and Michael's story, one I never intended to tell but has captured my imagination. It is also quite a challenge, as Eleanor is not a very likeable character in Innocence . . . hence the title.

Q6. How much research on the Regency period did you have to do to write this novel?

A lot! As I wrote the original version of this story purely as an exercise in escapism, I wasn't overly worried about historical accuracy and relied on what I had gleaned from reading countless Regency and historical romances. The issues I raise about the age of consent and the battle to abolish slavery were researched, but the impediment to Nathaniel marrying whomever he wanted and the character of the King in my story were fictional. You can imagine my panic when I realised I needed to tie my fantasy world to the real one! To my relief, I discovered that by shifting my story forward in time to 1831, I was able to solve all my problems. King William IV, who reigned for just a few years between the Regency era and Queen Victoria, fit my story perfectly, as did the Royal Marriage Act of 1772. I found the story of the King's mistress, Mrs Jordan, quite heartbreaking, and the woman who eventually became his queen, Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, a fascinating character.

Q7. Does your background in counselling and family therapy impact your stories? If so how?

Absolutely! I've learned so much from my clients over the years, as well as from running numerous parenting, relationship and life skill courses. While I try not to get 'preachy' (my editors pounce on it, believe me!) that knowledge both motivates and permeates my writing.

From my experience as a foster carer and working as a school counsellor, I became very aware of the sexualisation of young girls through the Internet, TV, and the pressure they face via social media. With girls as young as eleven and twelve coming to me quite traumatised after being exposed to hard core and deviant pornography, often by older boys pressurising the girls to act out their Internet porn addiction fantasies, (picture an eleven year old sobbing her heart out because she doesn't want to have sex with animals, even though she now 'knows' that's what all adults do!) I found myself wishing for the “good old days”. That, in turn, got me thinking about the opposite end of the spectrum, where girls and women were kept (and still are in some places) in ignorance, powerless and with very little rights or protection. Needless to say, this was the motivation for addressing this theme in Innocence and Protection, one I foresee arising again in my stories.

Q8. Put yourself in Lisa's shoes, would you have done what she did after her father died or would you have taken a different path?

If you're asking whether I would have accepted Nathaniel's offer if I'd been in her boat . . . only nineteen, sheltered, and having been put through what, for her, would have been unimaginable trials . . . the answer is yes! Not wanting my hero to appear quite so controlling as he did in the fanfic (my very mild nod to MOTU at the time) I have him give Lisa some alternatives that some readers may think she should have accepted. But she was in love for the very first time, in a seemingly hopeless situation, and had lost everything, so I don't blame her one bit.

I have received a lot of criticism for making Lisa too innocent, unbelievably so in some people's minds, but funnily enough that aspect of my story is based on the real life experiences of my mother and grandmothers. Intelligent, educated women, they married without having any idea what to expect when it came to sex. My mother was an artist and teacher, and she told me she was six months pregnant when she plucked up the courage to ask the doctor how they were going to get the baby out of her belly button. That level of ignorance seems ludicrous to us today where answers to just about any question we can think of are at our finger tips. To my mind, if it was possible to be kept so thoroughly in the dark in the 1930s and 60s, then it's not implausible for a young woman to be quite ignorant in the 1800s when society worked so hard to keep them that way.

It can be difficult for us to relate to, but young women in this era had very few options and hardly any rights. I've actually made Lisa quite modern in her thinking and a lot more independent and resilient for one of her class and upbringing than would have been typical.

Q9. What is the most important message you want your readers to get out of your novel?

This question is a little more high brow than my intentions, as all I set out to do was write a fun, romantic, escapist story! Once I started researching information about the truly deplorable exploitation of young girls in the 1800s (and throughout history) I became quite passionate about helping girls and young women who are being sexually exploited in the world today. Consequently, I have decided to donate 10 percent of anything I earn from my writing to World Vision Child Rescue and hope I might inspire some of my readers to support them or similar causes. Other than that, my main message is that loving, respectful, balanced relationships take work . . . but they are worth it!

Q10. Who was your favourite character to write and why?

Ugh! This is like asking me to choose between my children! I would have to say, for the first book, that I found Lisa's journey from an innocent and quite ignorant young woman, to one determined to take charge of her life regardless of the difficulties she faces, captivating. Nathaniel, on the other hand, makes me weak at the knees while occasionally wanting to clip him over the ear. In many ways, I think his journey of self discovery and character growth is even greater than Lisa's.

Q11. As you were writing, did you intend at the start to lean the story towards more heroine-centric, or was that due to the growth Lisa had to exhibit?

I started writing my epic fan fiction tale from my heroine's pov, as it is very much her story, but halfway in, I wanted to hear from my hero, to explain his motivation and find out what made him tick. Being a novice writer, I went back and added chapters to the story repeating scenes from his pov. Some readers loved it, but some hated the repetition. 

When I caught up with what I'd already written (up to the end of what became Innocence) I started writing chapters from the hero's pov that progressed the story rather than repeating scenes. When the story was put through an exhaustive edit with TWCS, I learned that repetitious scenes have little to no place in a professionally published story. The early hero pov scenes were cut, with Innocence told from Lisa's pov, and the sequel, Protection, from both hers and Nathaniel's.

Q12. Did you intend for Lisa and Nathaniel's story to span two books?

Not at all! I had hoped for their story to be told in one book, but it wasn't possible to get it in under the word count. I couldn't understand why it was so restrictive, as I'd read plenty of best sellers with word counts much higher than Innocence and Protection combined. But my editor explained that the spines of larger paperbacks (over 120 000 words) tend to break, and the publishers have to wear the cost of multiple returns. While they're willing to do that for books written by best selling authors that are likely to sell lots of copies, they can't afford to take the risk on a debut story by an unknown writer.

I'm aware that some readers won't agree with the story being split into two books, but I really didn't have any choice. I did insist the first story not end on an angsty cliffhanger (it was initially going to be split at the big 'disclosure' scene, right after Lisa's identity is revealed), so that readers were able to get some closure. Having said that, there are still plenty of obstacles for Nathaniel and Lisa to overcome in Protection and some new issues that arise as a result of the revelations disclosed at the end of Innocence.
***
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Elise met the love of her life when she was only sixteen, married him three years later, and recently celebrated her thirtieth wedding anniversary. Needless to say, she is a big believer in living Happily Ever After. With a lifetime's worth of experience behind her, Elise also believes great relationships don't just happen, they take work . . . which doesn't mean writing about them can’t be a whole lot of fun.
After surviving all manner of health obstacles while raising a family and nursing her elderly grandmother—her writing namesake, though she’d have been shocked by her granddaughter’s steamy love scenes—Elise established a career as a counselor and family therapist. Seeking an escape from the stresses of her work, she discovered the world of fan fiction, and her timid writer’s muse began to make its voice heard. Two point three million hits, twelve and a half thousand reviews, and an email from an acquisitions editor at The Writer's Coffee Shop later, and Elise's life found a new and fascinating direction.
A romantic fiction addict from way back, writing her own historical and paranormal romances—and having others read and fall in love with her characters and the worlds she creates—is a dream come true. Elise likes to see her characters grow, experience passion and adventure, tackle some difficult issues, and find lasting love . . . eventually.


Connect to the Author- TWCS Book PageTWCS Author PageFacebook



** Elise is giving away as a grand prize a paperback copy of Innocence, and 3 winners will receive e-copies of the book! 
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mary's Merry Christmas and Birthday Giveaway Hop


Christmas is approaching, and what better way to celebrate this joyous season than with a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite and more? Mary, a blogger at Buried Under Romance, is turning one year older on December 20th, and she has gathered the support of some fantastic authors and bloggers in hosting her first ever blog hop.

It's the season of gifting, and what better gift to give back than following our wonderful bloggers and authors on their platforms? In addition, we ask that you think about what you are most thankful for this year, and embrace it along with your family and friends.

What are you celebrating this season? :) Please leave a comment, and don't forget to support our bloggers and authors for their contribution! Click on the linky and visit each blog to find out what they are celebrating!

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Feature & Follow #9 and Book Blogger Hop #10 (&Giveaway!)

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

Feature and Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read


General rules to Feature & Follow Friday:

1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers (This week is Words With Sarah) 

3. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "HI"

4. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers

This Week's Question: 

Pick a book in your favorite genre that you’d recommend to a reluctant reader.



Oh gosh, since my favorite genre is now historical romance, I will pick the book that, as of now, if my best book of the year. And it is...Courtney Milan's The Countess Conspiracy.

Here's the blurb:
Sebastian Malheur is the most dangerous sort of rake: an educated one. When he’s not scandalizing ladies in the bedchamber, he’s outraging proper society with his scientific theories. He’s desired, reviled, acclaimed, and despised—and he laughs through it all.

Violet Waterfield, the widowed Countess of Cambury, on the other hand, is entirely respectable, and she’d like to stay that way. But Violet has a secret that is beyond ruinous, one that ties her irrevocably to England’s most infamous scoundrel: Sebastian’s theories aren’t his. They’re hers.


So when Sebastian threatens to dissolve their years-long conspiracy, she’ll do anything to save their partnership...even if it means opening her vulnerable heart to the rake who could destroy it for good.

This is by no means your typical rake-widow romance. It is so, so much more. There is a hidden gem in this vastly intelligent, enthralling tale, and you just have to read the first page to realize that.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Countess-Conspiracy-Brothers-Sinister-Book-ebook/dp/B00HCP4FNO
I would love followers on GFC, NetworkedBlogs and ->Follow on Bloglovin

                                              Book Blogger Hop
Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

Now, for Book Blogger Hop

Q:  Holiday Edition: 

 What is your favorite book set around Christmastime?

A: Same answer as before: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I can't think of a better Christmas book.


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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Blog Tour: ELECT by Rachel Van Dyken (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)


I am very pleased to host an exclusive excerpt of best-selling author Rachel Van Dyken's ELECT, book 2 of her Eagle Elite series. 

** Rachel is hosting a giveaway of a Kindle Fire, an $25 Amazon GC, Team Chase/Nixon tattoo pack and an ELECT cup for 1 winner

About the book:
Nixon Abandonato made his choice. And now he has to pay the price. Tracey is the love of his life, but being with him has made her a target of his family's enemies. The only way to keep Trace alive is convince the world she means nothing to him. 

Trace Rooks has fallen irrevocably in love with the son of her family's sworn rival, and she knows in her bones nothing can tear them apart. Until Nix suddenly pushes her away and into the arms of his best friend... But Trace isn't ready to give up on a future with Nix--and if he won't fight for them, she will. 

In the end, a sacrifice must be made. A life for a life. For what better way to cover a multitude of sins than with the blood of a sinner . . .

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes
***


Exclusive Excerpt: 
“Doesn’t that bother you?” Trace asked, pulling off her sunglasses.

“What?”

“‘Sir’?” Her eyebrow arched. “It makes you sound so old and…just old.”

“It’s a respect thing.” I shrugged.

“No,” she argued. “It’s an old person thing.”

“What?” I pulled to the front of the mansion and turned off the car. “You’d rather they call me Dude? Or Homie?”

Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition #12


Happy Thursday, everyone! And welcome to a new feature on Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday. 

The Historical Romance Edition:
Since Tin of Love Saves the World and I are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, we've decided to focus on our beloved genre.

Here are our rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 3, 2008.

So, the novel I'm featuring is...

                                                   
                                              The Brat by Lynsay Sands, published first in 2007
                                                    Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the book:
WHO WOULD MARRY…

All the knights had heard tales of Lady Murie, King Edward III’s goddaughter and much feted favorite. It was said she was stunningly beautiful, with bright blue eyes, golden hair and a sweet smile. It was also said that the king had doted on the girl and spoiled her rotten. Despite his need, when Sir Balan saw her howling and sobbing, Murie was the last person he wanted to wed.

….THE BRAT?

But all that glitters is not gold, and sometimes diamonds look very, very rough. There was more to Murie than met the eye, and Balan soon learned that he’d be lucky indeed to deserve such a bride. Yet he was not the only one to discern the truth, and the other hopeful hubby was not quite as honorable. A plot was afoot. Soon would come a reckoning, a time to show who was chivalrous, who was a cad…and who had won the love of a heart unspoiled.

To find out more about Lynsay Sands and her books, click the links below:
                                          Website | Goodreads | Facebook

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I really enjoy Lynsay Sands's historicals, and this one is a particular favorite. From the start, it is very clear that Murie was never a brat, but for some unfortunate reasons and circumstances the people around her think she is just an empty-headed pretty face. And while Balan appreciated her beauty, he was also uncertain about taking her as his wife when the king dictated...only to find out she's everything he could want and more. A cute story ^_^

Now, head over to Tin @ Love Saves the World and Ki Pha @ Doing Some Reading for their pick of the week. :-)

Fellow historical romance readers are welcome to join us. Enter your link below so we can visit your TBT: HR Edition post for the week! (Then go here to copy the Link code to your blogs.)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Blog Tour: Highland Homecoming by B. J. Scott (Guest Post & Giveaway)


I am very pleased to welcome B. J. Scott to my blog today!

**B.J. will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card, Scottish shortbread cookies, can cooler and mouse pad (US/CANADA ONLY) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a beaded book thong with silver charms, book marks, pen, and canvas tote to a randomly drawn host (US/CANADA ONLY). To visit B. J.'s other stops, click here

B. J. is here to give us some very interesting information on what she learned doing research for Highland Homecoming:

Thank you for hosting me today.
There was so many fascinating things I learned when researching for my books.

The Scottish fight for independence with England is something most people are aware of, but what many do not know is that it was as much a civil war, Scots pitted against Scots as it was a war against oppression.
Kenneth MacAlpin was the first king to rule a united Scotland. His descendant ruled until the last MacAlpin king, Malcolm II, died without a male heir in the early 11th century. The kingdom passed on to his daughter's son, Duncan I, creating a new line of kings, the house of Dunkeld or Canmore. The last Dunkeld king was Alexander III. When he died in 1286 he left an infant granddaughter as heir. At aged four years, Margaret, Maid of Norway, died in a ship wreck while on her way to Scotland.

Edward I, King of England, took advantage of the uncertainty of who should rule Scotland and set out to conquer the nation.  While there were as many as 13 possible claimants, including Robert the Bruce’s grandfather, Edward eventually declared John Balliol king. While he had the strongest claim, he was chosen based on the fact he was a weak man and Edward knew he would be easily controlled. He ruled from 1292-1296, at which point he denounced his fealty to the English King, and sided with the French instead of supporting the English.

 Furious, Edward arrested Balliol and his son and imprisoned them, declaring himself ruler of Scotland. He assigned his own men to take up positions of authority throughout the country and took the Stone of Destiny (Stone of Scone), the sacred stone on which all Scottish kings were crowned, to England. The Scottish nobles and people were forced to swear fealty to Edward and to sign the Ragman Rolls, declaring their loyalty to the English ruler. Those who rebelled or refused, were put to sword. As was the case at Berwick on Tweed in 1296 where Edward began his invasion. He attacked the city without mercy, killing almost 8000 men women and children. It was here that the three brothers in my trilogy lost their father and oldest brother, vowing to someday seek revenge for their deaths. (Purely fictional characters of course)
The Scottish people hated Edward and the unrest and rebellions that followed in late 13th and into the 14th century were known as the Scottish war for independence.

Men like William Wallace and the Earl of Moray rallied armies to fight against Edward. Their victory at Stirling Bridge in 1297 being a key battle. They continued to fight in small squirmiest using guerilla war tactic rather than the frontal assaults the English were accustomed to, but the underlying political turmoil continued to boil.   During this time the leadership in Scotland was divided between the two guardians appointed by Edward, Robert the Bruce and John Comyn (a cousin of Balliol.) The two men hated each other, often coming to blows when they met, and that in itself divided the country. Those who followed the Bruce and those who believed Comyn should rule.

Both men swore fealty to Edward, at least temporarily. Robert was torn between ultimate bid for the crown and leaving the country when his father fled to Norway, gave up his Scottish holdings and titles, leaving Robert and his siblings behind. As the eldest of nine, several of which eventually gave their lives in support of their older brother, Robert decided to stay in Scotland.

When Robert and Comyn met at Grey Friar’s Church in the spring of 1306, tempers flared and Robert wounded Comyn. When Robert left the church, Comyn was alive, but two of his men returned to finish the job, killing Comyn, a deed for which Robert was blamed. Left with the choice to lead the Scottish revolt or flee as a wanted man, he went to Scone and after receiving absolution from the church, crowned himself king of Scotland. This further divided the country.  Some of the people supported the Bruce’s claim to the throne and the remainder, including clan’s like the MacDougalls, believe him a murderer and wanted justice for the death of Red Comyn.

The Scottish people who rallied behind Robert continued their fight against the English, while clans who supported Comyn’s claim sided with the English.  The battle of Methven, was one such battle. And is featured in book one of my series, Highland Legacy. The Scottish army was ambushed while they slept, and as those who survived fled, Scottish clans who supported the English lay in wait to intercept them.  The Bruce, after suffering serious losses and still considered a fugitive, fled the mainland to plan his strategy, returning a year later. It was at this time the tide changed in favor of the Scots. The Battle of Loudon Hill, featured in book 2 of the series, Highland Quest, a decisive win for the Bruce. He proceeded from there to reclaim northern Scotland, then turned his attention south, with retribution against the clans who opposed him as part of his vendetta. Book 3 Highland Homecoming takes place at this time.
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About the book:
The last thing Alasdair Fraser expects to find on an isolated beach in Northern Scotland is a beautiful, unconscious lass. Unable to turn his back on someone in need, he delays his journey and tends to her injuries–an act that has him questioning his destiny and his plans to rejoin the fight for Scotland’s independence.


Will he drop the shield that guards his heart or will the secrets she fails to reveal and his own stubbornness keep them apart forever?


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Excerpt: 
Perched on a stool by the fire, he watched her sleep, wondering how he was going to ever let her go. She was by far the loveliest woman he had ever seen, and she did not seem to be put off by his size, awkwardness, or lack of manners. But duty dictated that they part ways.

After tossing a log on the fire, he spread a pelt on the floor in front of the hearth, then lowered himself to the ground. He pulled the tunic over his head and tossed it on the stool, then did the same with his trews and boots, before settling beneath a length of plaid.

The last thing he wanted to do was lie on the floor and go to sleep. If truth be known, he wanted to slip beneath the covers, take Lauren in his arms, and make her his own. But that would not be right or proper. They were not betrothed and despite what people might think of him, he was a man of honor.

The women he’d bedded in the past had all been of questionable repute and none had been untried maidens. If Lauren was not already married or spoken for, he held enough respect for her that he would wait until their wedding night. But then again, if she did not get her memory back, he might never know for certain.

He slammed his fist on the floor. What the hell was he thinking? He was never going to take a bride. Especially one with no past. He was a warrior. There was no future for them, something he best not forget. He tucked the plaid around his shoulders and dozed off.

An ear-piercing scream disturbed his slumber and Alasdair jolted up with a start. Wasting no time, he climbed to his feet and raced to the pallet.
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
With a passion for historical romance, history in general, and anything Celtic, B.J. always has an exciting work in progress. Each story offers a blend of romance, adventure, suspense, and, where appropriate, a dab of comic relief. Carefully researched historical facts are woven into each manuscript, providing a backdrop from which steamy romance, gripping plots, and vivid characters—dashing alpha heroes and resourceful, beguiling heroines you can’t help but admire—spring to life. A member of RWA, World Romance Writers, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, and Savvy Authors, B.J. also writes contemporary, paranormal, time travel, and romantic suspense.

C.S. Lewis first captivated B. J.’s imagination in the fourth grade, and her desire to write sprang from there. Following a career in nursing and child and youth work, B.J. married her knight-in-shining-armor, and he whisked her away to his castle by the sea. In reality, they share their century-old home in a small Canadian town on the shore of Lake Erie with three dogs and a cat. When she is not working at her childcare job, on her small business, or writing, you will find her reading, camping, or antique hunting.

http://www.authorbjscott.com/home

http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/highland-homecoming/


Author Links: Website | Blog | Facebook

Highland Homecoming( book 3 of Fraser Brother Trilogy)
Highland Quest (book 2 of Fraser Brother Trilogy)
Highland Legacy: (book 1 of Fraser Brother Trilogy)

**B.J. will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card, Scottish shortbread cookies, can cooler and mouse pad (US/CANADA ONLY) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a beaded book thong with silver charms, book marks, pen, and canvas tote to a randomly drawn host (US/CANADA ONLY). To visit B. J.'s other stops, click here
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